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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Friendship, Facebook and everything in between

     You know it's funny.  One of the first things we do as parents when our children are old enough is to tell them "Don't talk to strangers", and "Never respond to a stranger online."  .  I really was not too savvy on the interent, and mainly used it to plan my daughter's bat mitzvah.  While planning her party, I found this group of women who were also planning their parties, and we would chat and email each other.  Several months down the line, we all decided to meet for lunch.  Little did I know that this would be the start of friendships with a special group of women, who really are like a family to me.  We have met for the past 4 years, formally at lunches, and informally for parties, dinner, concerts and unfortunately funerals.  I count on these women like they are my sisters.  Because they are.

     When I joined Facebook, about 3-4 years ago, I did so mainly to spy on my kids (yep, I said it!) and to just see what the hype was about, and play games.  One night just playing around, I decided to put in the names of people who I went to elementary school with, and up popped familiar names.  Little by little, we have found each other; from all over the country, all reuniting.  Some of us have known each other from 1st grade.  The funny thing is that I noticed that with some of the people, I may have gone through a lot of schooling with them, but we just will never be anything more than "Facebook friends".  With others, we have sort of found our way back and rekindled old friendships.  Its a nice feeling, to have found your past, and know that there are so many people to share old memories with.

     I started the discussion yesterday about anorexia not only because of the Today show segment, or because I have a teenaged daughter, but because through Facebook, I found out that one of my oldest friends died of it.  She died when she was 34.  I had lost touch with her in college, and we didn't have Facebook back then.  A mutual friend whom I found again on Facebook, told me that story.  I found an old picture of her and put it up on Facebook.  That picture engendered so many comments and brought back so many wonderful memories of our friend and each other.  It turned out to be a ccelebration of her life in a way.

     It also made me realize how lucky our children are now.  They will never lose touch with their friends.  They won't have to wait 30 years to find someone and renew a friendship.  And for all the "bad stuff" that Facebook does lead to, if we know our children and keep that parental eye on them, they can use the Internet for its bast possible use.

    How has Facebook and the Internet changed your life?  Have you found new friends and old?

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Skinny

     So here's the deal.  As women, many of us are conditioned to think that we aren't ever thin enough.  We look in the mirror and we don't see what everyone else sees.  When we were little, maybe our mothers  told us "you don't really need that extra cookie", or "do you really need that?"  Everywhere we go, we are bombarded by the sights of weight loss plans, television commercials and workout videos.  We can watch Celebrity Fit Club and The Biggest Loser, and feel comforted that we are not alone. "See-look, she got fat too!  It isn't just me!!"

     But now we have a different issue.  What about those celebrities who have their babies and are then thin again in 2 or 3 weeks.  What's up with them?  Are they really human?  Look at Giselle, and Gwenyth and Victoria Beckahm.  It seems that one day they are pregnant, and the next day, boom, they are back to a size 2.  Are they starving themselves?  Are they trying to eat healthy?  Are they obsessing over their weight and going to the gym for 5 hours a day?  Maybe.

     Last week, on the Today show, Dr. Nancy Snyderman went off on a different type of momma drama.  The "Mommyrexic"  These are women who are so afraid to gain the weight during their pregnancy, that they actually diet while pregnant.  Is that sick or what?  Now, the controversy has arisen, as Dr. Snyderman sort of "went off" a little during the segment, and called it  "an Upper East Side, white girl issue."

     Now, I don't really know how I feel about that.  (Disclaimer-I don't live on the Upper East Side.)  I do see these women, who teeter around on their high heels, with their little bump and are oh so very proud when they say "Yes, I'm 8 months and I only gained 10 pounds!"  I know that there are doctors who will "help" these women not to gain too much weight while pregnant.  But there are also women who are dangerously obese and do not try to get to a healthy weight.  The truth of the matter is we send mixed messages to women.  We tell them it is ok to "accept your body" and "show your curves".  But then we are bombarded by magazines that do countdown to bikini season and give more ab exercises than there are grains of sand on the beach.

     Anorexia is a very serious issue among the young girls of today.  It is a killer for some.  My children know a girl in their school who is in 10th grade and is in rehab a second time for anorexia.  It is very, very sad to see girls judge their self worth by how skinny they are.  But I don't think the problem is only what Dr. Snyderman says.  It isn't just an Upper East Side white girl issue.  It is a psychological issue regarding control over one's own body  Statistics are changing.  This article shows that eating disorders aren't just a "rich white girl thing" anymore.  It is a problem that we as parents must be vigilant about.

     How do you all talk to your daughters about food and weight and body image?

     I am including a link to the Today show segment, below.