Just Heather

Earlier this week, I did an interview on my reasons for not letting my tween daughter see New Moon this weekend. As it turns out, the article was for CNN. I had no idea. I also had no idea people would view my decision as something bad. In the comments, I have been called a cruel, controlling cougar. Okay, one comment, but it has several Likes so there are obviously people who agree with Krista.

I am, quite honestly, shocked that anyone would disagree with me. The movie is rated PG-13 and based on a “young adult” novel. My daughter is only 11. It seems only logical that I would have to make a parental decision on the matter and assert some authority as her mother. In fact, I have trouble understanding the parents who let their children read the books or watch the movies without any personal knowledge of the content.

I have read the entire series—10 times. I, obviously, love it but that doesn’t make it automatically appropriate for a child. I love Cosmos too but you don’t see me passing them out at family dinner. Twilight is quite tame, as is New Moon, really. The Volturi are creepy & scary, sure, but she has enjoyed Aliens and Poltergeist so that is not an issue. She’s also read the entire Harry Potter series and seen the movies (in fact, she’s watching one now on a sick day) so the fantasy thing is clearly not an issue.

Where I take issue is with Eclipse, as the content turns more adult. Bella faces decisions about premarital sex and teen marriage. In Breaking Dawn, her struggles expand to include the topic of abortion. Yes, I’ve discussed all of these with her but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to see them played out in her imagination or on screen. I did finally relent and let her read Twilight & New Moon, but I put my foot down on finishing the series. At least for a few years.

However, I was not willing to let her see this movie yet. Mostly, because there is always the chance with a book-based movie for content from later books to insert itself into earlier movies. I wasn’t sure how much of the above subjects would be a part of New Moon. As it turns out, the movie is actually quite accurate to the book. I was pleasantly surprised. We’ll probably let her see it when it comes out on DVD.

That’s called parenting. I see nothing cruel about letting children know some things were not meant for them. When did it become okay to let children make their own decisions. I either stand idly by while my daughter does whatever she wants or risk being called a mean mom and a helicopter parent. I tend to be fairly liberal about a lot of things. I think their dad and I do a pretty good job of finding middle ground—giving our children freedom as appropriate and reining them in when they need guidance.

Why is everything black or white with Mommy Wars? You either breastfeed or you don’t. You can work or stay at home. We draw so many lines about what is and isn’t a good mom. There doesn’t seem to be any recognition that every parent has different children and, therefore, will need to tailor their own decisions. I can’t even use the same parenting twice because I have 3 very unique girls! Is it really so hard to understand each child, situation and parent may need to make decisions unique to their circumstances?

It’s been an odd month. Actually, it’s been a rough year. It gets capped off this week with fabulous news from the station. My executive producer called yesterday to talk about my segment. The Tribune Company (which owns the station) filed bankruptcy this week which results in budget cuts. The want to keep my segment, but no more than once per month. They already canceled me for tomorrow and I have no idea when I’ll be back on.

It sucks because we had really begun to rely on that money. We’ll be okay, for the most part, but there goes any fun whatsoever. I’m also really going to miss doing it. I loved the creativity of it all, and I’ll admit the recognition was nice to. My dad was finally proud of something and now it’s (mostly) gone.

I was just getting ready to put a deposit down on the Buy 4, Get 3 free Disney resort for a summer vacation. That’s not likely to happen now, though I’ll probably put down the $200 just in case we can come up with a way to replace the income. Of course, part of me hopes the station changes their mind down the road. The segment has been a huge hit and I’ve been told my several viewers that it is the only reason they tune in.

Last Thursday, my mom lectured me about 5 times because I went to the store in cutoff sweats and a t-shirt. She says I’m not allowed to dress like that anymore because I am a “television personality.” I say, this is my personality!

On Friday, I took my oldest to a High School Musical 2 party with 2 of her friends. While they were playing a game, someone came up to me and said, “This is going to sound really weird, but are you on the news?” The girls thought that was really cool. Well, two of them did. My own daughter thought it was “embarrassing,” but I’m pretty used to that.

When I called my mom to tell her I got recognized she asks what I am wearing!

It’s official! I have a 3-4 minute segment every Friday morning on a local television morning show. I was hopeful that it would be a recurring thing, but in television it is all about viewer response. The first week, the anchor said I would be back “on a regular basis” but I didn’t know how that would pan out. The second week, the co-anchor said I would be there “every week” so I’m pretty excited that it worked out as planned.

I am getting a name and a web page on their site which will have details about each week’s segment as well as a link to my business website. They seem pretty pleased with me and the nerves are disappearing. I was visibly nervous the first time, but much more relaxed the next time around. I think it will only get better as we go.

I’m looking forward to the challenge, but not the hour. I have to be up by 6 am to get there on time. I’m a sleep ’til noon kinda girl if left to my own devices.

Yesterday I loaded my 3 girls in the van and headed to the television station. They had asked me to do a run through with the anchor, but it was so last minute that the news director told me to bring the kids knowing I would not have enough time to arrange a sitter.

They were very well behaved (who are these children and why can’t they live at my house?) and enjoyed seeing where Mommy “works” now. The rehearsal was designed to allow me to hear the questions the anchor would ask so I could be prepared. He asked different questions every time we ran it. Then he asked a completely different question today—live on the air.

Never fear, I am an expert in my field (apparently) so I was able to answer everything efficiently. I then shared some of the good buys for this week with a referral to my website for even more deals. I felt good about the segment, but I haven’t it seen it yet. They showed a video clip of my kids and some graphics showing the math on the deals I shared along with the live video we were filming.

Our DVR managed to skip right over it. It recorded the news from 6:00 to 8:25 am and from 8:50 to 9:00 am, but I was live at 8:41. It manages to malfunction about twice a year and just my luck today was the day! The station is sending me a DVD so I’ll be able to see it and share it soon. I have no idea what happened, but I was devastated. My parents are out of range for the station and were counting on me to send them video.

Now, not only do I get paid to be on television, but I get a free DVD too!

On a related note, PayDays now come in a protein bar so when I eat one for lunch I can pretend it is a real and actual meal replacement instead of just candy.

This morning before my meeting at the news station, I panicked about the fact that I have never been on a job interview before. I am 30 years old and I have never had a real and actual job interview. I got all my jobs because I knew someone who knew someone, and then I became a stay at home mom.

I wonder if I can use that term now. Starting next Friday I have a job as a morning news weekly contributor on the subject of savings and coupons. I will have a 3-4 minute segment each week, primarily discussing the top 5 deals of the week and directing viewers to my own website for more information. It is basically a big advertisement for my business, only they are going to pay me.

They want to come up with a name for me and/or my show. I need something catchy, but I’m drawing a blank. I did suggest Smart Shopper or Shopping Smart, from a previous comment, which they liked but we’re still brainstorming. I also came up with Good Buy Girl, which seems fun though I don’t know if they’ll go for the Neil Simon wordplay.

I’m still kind of in shock over how quickly this is all happening. I am excited, and I’m sure the nervous part will come next week. My mom reminded me that if I can handle the national evening news, I can do this. The difference is this is live and being local actually makes it more important to my business. I have 9 more days to panic so for now I’m just enjoying the excitement—and the idea of a paycheck—not to mention the fact that my father actually seems proud of me.

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a reporter from the Indianapolis Star. She was working on an article about rising grocery prices and had stumbled across FeedIndy.com. She came to the house to interview me and then followed me to the grocery store to see what I do. Her focus was on how local families were combating higher prices at the store.

I figured the local coverage could have a bigger impact on our business than CBS and the Chicago Tribune. I couldn’t have been more right. Since the article was released, we have seen a remarkable increase in traffic and I have been contacted by many people—old friends I had lost touch with, family members who saw my face (quite large and a little creepy) staring up at them and the news director for a local television station.

I have been invited to join their morning news team as a weekly contributor on the subject of shopping and savings. We have discussed the idea via email and phone. On Wednesday I will be meeting the news team to see if we are a good fit and discussing further details with the director. He already has several ideas on topics for my live segment. Me! On live television! Every week!

Today is a Disney-only day. We’re having a Charlie and Lola marathon (is it too embarrassing to admit I love that show as much as her?) rather than allow any other channels to broadcast on my television. I don’t need the reminders. I don’t need the memorial tributes.

I definitely don’t need to see those planes fly into the towers yet again to see it clearly in my head. I remember it all vividly. But what I choose to remember most is how everyone came together. I remember the initial shock that it was anything other than a terribly tragic accident.

I remember the feeling of helplessness, wishing there were something—anything—I could do. I remember dashing around the house, emptying pantries, filling boxes, and stuffing bags once I found out a location nearby was collecting items for affected families.

I remember the tears in my little one’s eyes when we were done unloading the car—because she wasn’t done helping. I remember the elation she felt when I told her she could gather up any money in the car and donate it too.

I remember the normally intense homecoming float competition at my high school being abandoned. I remember the United We Stand float the classes created together, donating the remaining funds to the 9/11 families.

I am sad today, like everyone else. I am sad for the thousands of lives that were lost and the thousands more that were changed that day. For the lost feeling of safety since we all realized it was intentional. For the exploitation of the victims and the feelings of 9/11 that some continue daily. For the fear-mongering, hatred, and vast separation those events created. For the last united stand.

For the end of freedom as we know it.