Author Archives: Kara Gause

Kara Gause

About Kara Gause

Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog, MasterofWhat.com.

pregnancy_july-august2010

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Pregnancy Magazine Scrutinizes Social Media Use During Childbirth

pregnancy_july-august2010.jpgWhen my daughters were born, my husband posted the happy news on the social networking websites Facebook and Twitter for friends and family to see. Of course, I have no memory of this due to all the drugs coursing through my veins from a Cesarean. As far as I know, there were no moment-to-moment updates or YouTube videos of the delivery–just that final post to our loved ones: the twins had arrived! After reading the July/August 2010 issue of Pregnancy magazine, I am relieved my husband didn’t reveal more. He would have had me to contend with after the drug-induced stupor lifted.

In the late summer issue of Pregnancy, the article “The TMI of Childbirth” poses the question of over-sharing in the delivery room–that’s “TMI” as in “too much information” for those of you who may be in denial that social media sites are taking over. The article takes the stance that less is very much more with such personal issues. Through technology today we can readily  access the rest of the world at any hour with just the click of a button. The real danger is that sometimes it can feel like we’re doing things for the single purpose of being able to post something fabulous later. (No, I’m not saying people are having babies just to Tweet about it.) On the other hand, there really is no crime in wanting to share something with friends–or is there?

Being able to share our excitement in the moment keeps friends and family close when they can’t be there in person. No one would ever argue with the use of social media for that. However, not everyone wants a play-by-play of labor pain, an episiotomy, or–please forgive me here–the mucus plug! Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, texting (it seems pretty benign here), or YouTube, it might be worth recording something privately first. Reflect on it and live with the blessed event, edit a bit, and then send it out into the virtual world. If you’re a receiver of unwanted photos or video footage of your nephew’s birth, well, Pregnancy magazine also gives readers tips on how to graciously avoid those sorts of “press releases.”

In my humble opinion, protecting our own privacy can also protect that of our Twitter feed. But that’s just modest, ol’ me. What do you think? Did you give updates from the hospital? How did you share the happy news?

boyslife_feb2009

Boys’ Life Magazine: Cue the Inner Lion’s Roar!

boyslife_feb2009.jpgBoys’ Life magazine‘s May 2010 issue declared on its front cover that it was “For All Boys,” and it was. Or maybe it’s what we should all hope for our boys. Sure there are a couple pages in the back devoted to computers and gaming (that’s still in the “genetic” makeup of my 30-something husband), but the real heart of the magazine is about getting out there and doing something active like….

Well, like hiking, for example. That May issue got to the point with its cover shot of a boy climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome summit.  Below the picture is a challenge: “Think you can make it? You can; we’ll help.” (And the lion cub within us all begins to roar!) This is what young boys, men–who am I kidding here?–all of us want. We want a challenge. We want the opportunity to be heroes in our own stories, not a celebrity’s, and not in the future, but here and now.

The feature is full of quotes from individual boys who found the hike to be overwhelming at times. However, they’d been preparing for the trip for several months (such a great life lesson!) and were physically and mentally prepared for such a strenuous task. The story is set against a backdrop of photographs showcasing the boys’ teamwork during those last excruciating minutes, and then at last, standing high on their well-earned perch.

It’s refreshing to read a magazine that’s so well suited toward boys. The reading level is very appropriate, and the topics invite the reader into an adventure that is tangible and relatable. But what else would you expect from a magazine published by the Boy Scouts of America?

Moms Unite!

parentingschoolyears_june2010.jpgOne of the best features of Parenting School Years magazine is its section “Mom Time.” It’s devoted to all things “mom,” including its newly formed “Mom Congress.” The purpose of Mom Congress is to educate and empower parents to get more involved in their children’s education.

Each month they recognize one of their own “Mom(s) of the Moment,” or M.O.M. I think what’s really golden about this spotlight is that these women are normal, everyday mothers who are taking the time to do something truly extraordinary for their kids. Parenting highlights the M.O.M.’s major achievement and what inspired her to get involved, affecting such a huge change. The monthly honorees also share a “motivation secret”–what puts the idea into action. Women like these are inspiration to us all.

To further honor their readers and what they have to offer, Parenting School Years decided in February 2010 to open the application process for moms across the country to get involved in the first annual Mom Congress on Education and Training, to be held in Washington, D.C., at Georgetown University. In April, the 51 delegates were introduced, most of whom are incredibly involved in their schools’ PTAs.

While it’s encouraging to know that all these talented and determined women are on the side of our country’s kids, it’s also great to know that Parenting’s Mom Congress stopped at nothing to get the very best leaders in education involved in the reform process. In May, experts including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, National Education Association Vice President Lily Eskelsen, and George Lucas Educational Foundation senior director David Markus convened for the first time with the Mom Congress delegates and faculty from the Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies. On the agenda were issues such as technology in classrooms, parent involvement, childhood obesity and literacy and reading development.

While there will no doubt be further coverage of what was discussed at the event in the next issue of Parenting School Years magazine, readers can also expect that the Mom Congress will not be stopping there. The magazine promises to continue pushing for educational reform from the grassroots up. And the means through which to accomplish such an endeavor: moms like you and me.

girlslife_june-july2010

Girls’ Life Magazine Chimes In With Texting Etiquette for Your Teen

girlslife_june-july2010.jpg“Why doesn’t her mother teach her some manners?” Well, probably because her mother is busy texting on her phone too. Ugh. I’m guilty of this one, and frankly, embarrassed that once, on a much-needed date after giving birth, my husband and I spent part of dinner texting and checking in on Facebook. Gross.

The even more unfortunate thing is that kids–who in my opinion are getting their own mobiles too early and using them in my classes (interjects the English teacher)–are learning some pretty bad habits by watching how adults wield their power via text. Thank goodness Girls’ Life magazine has taken it into its own hands to bypass us and speak directly to our girls about being ladies on their mobiles. Here are just a few of the highlights from “Are You a Toxic Texter?” in the April/May issue:

“But that’s not what I meant!”: Oh, yeah? Well, your text says otherwise–at least, I think. That’s the “message” (heh, heh) you’re sending when you text important things that should be said face-to-face. Kids and their adult counterparts should learn that with all this new power of avoiding tough conversations, perhaps the old-fashioned break-up or confrontation is the way to go. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to take things out of con-text (sorry, that one was too easy).

“No means no”: I can’t believe I’m writing this, but as a teacher I can tell you that this one does exist. I’m talking about SEXting. It’s real, and kids are falling into some unfortunate situations by texting racy messages and sending pictures that frankly, we might have a certain lingerie catalog to blame for. This is a big one, parents, and I’m happy to say Girls’ Life does an amazing job of telling girls this isn’t even an option for a classy girl.

“Be present”:
Whether at the dinner table or in class, kids owe it to themselves and to everyone around (listen up adults!) to be engaged in the un-virtual conversation right in front of them.

Once again, this magazine for girls is stepping up to the plate to open the door for some difficult conversations. Let’s be honest and say that a lot of the time just having a voice other than that of a parent or teacher to say, “No! Not cool!” is just what they need. The more sources they hear positive messages from, the better. Girls’ Life is just another one of those resources.

Pregnant Minds Want to Know: Will I Get Back Into My Jeans?

pregnancy_june.jpgWhen will he sleep through the night? Should I stay home with baby or go back to work? Nurse or bottle-feed?

Pregnant and new moms are flooded with these and so many more unanswered questions. And with all the questions comes the strong desire to find something familiar in all the chaos. At the top of the list for a return to normalcy is getting back to a pre-pregnancy weight. Magazines for the expectant mom are all hoping to present you with the “golden ticket” of tools to get you back in shape fast–and if not, well, at least to help you learn to live with yourself in the meantime.

You might expect to find some practical help with this from Fit Pregnancy magazine. The April/May issue delivered with “Ab Rehab: Learn the Right Way to Get Rid of Your Post-Baby Pooch.” It featured the Tupler Technique by trainer and childbirth educator Julie Tupler, R.N. Below the title is the introduction of diastasis, a condition that can be caused by pregnancy and which results in potential back problems due to the lack of a healed postpartum core. While the title of the article may lead you to think it’s just another abdominal workout with the expected accompanying picture tutorial, the purpose is really to help you heal correctly after giving birth, the added bonus being a tighter tummy.

June’s issue of Pregnancy magazine aims to help new moms accept their bodies where they are, right now, instead of hoping for unrealistically fast weight-loss results. The cover issues a promise: “Love Your Body After Baby” and reject what the media says you need to look like in no time flat postpartum. The cover story, “The Big Lies of the Bump Watch,” attempts to shed some light on the possibility that women are sadly influenced a great deal by what Hollywood moms look like right after giving birth. In fact, we the public might even help perpetuate the cycle by expecting Hollywood celebrities to get back into their bikinis at the rate of some Olympic sport. Could we all just be too hard on ourselves after all? Pregnancy magazine seems to think so.

The only thing that can be said for sure is that most women are insecure about getting back to a slimmer shape. The proof? Well, most pregnancy magazines include some sort of fat-burning, fat-melting or fat-disappearing act. The good news is that when you are really ready to start working out again, there are great practical help and resources available to you in magazines like Pregnancy and Fit Pregnancy.

While they all look informative and really helpful, the most inspiring thing is knowing we women have some common ground in our insecurities. Perhaps the greatest truth of all is that the power of our old, faithful jeans can never be underestimated.

fitpregnancy_june2010

A Fit Pregnancy… and Beyond

fitpregnancy_june2010.jpgIt should be said right off the bat that Fit Pregnancy magazine is more than a magazine for the expectant mother. It is definitely a go-to guide for moms-to-be, but it also takes those newly anointed moms beyond the delivery room and into the realms of nursing, baby talk and for some, heading back to work.

As a (very) pregnant expectant mother of twins-to-be, I found myself experiencing pregnancy on steroids galore. But like all moms, I had some major questions about what was best to eat for me and for the babies. I wanted to know what to expect (without reading the sometimes incredibly scary book by the same name) with delivery and pregnancy. And I had questions about breastfeeding: Would I be able to do it or was it even really important that I try? There are no doubt TONS of these questions floating through the hormone-inflicted minds of the pregnant masses (ever notice just how many of us there are now that you’re expecting too?), and they need answers! Now pass the snack bowl and open up this relevant piece of pregnancy literature.

I find Fit Pregnancy magazine to be a textbook of sorts for everything you need to know about the happy but delicate “condition.” In the April/May 2010 issue, there’s even a “Pregnancy Glossary” for all those terms tossed around in the doctor’s office so many times that you’re embarrassed to ask what they mean now that it really matters (e.g., zygote, preeclampsia).

What I hadn’t necessarily expected was how helpful the magazine would be for mothers after the delivery and even for folks like me who are trying to understand the speech patterns of 9-month-old girls, for instance. Here are some of the other regular features of the magazine that I found to be incredibly insightful:

Mom & Baby: This is a general all-inclusive for your growing relationship with baby and with motherhood itself. Topics include the all-important “Milestones” (try hard not to compare your baby with the other kids!), which in May included an interesting piece on how babies track movement and objects with their eyes. Other tidbits include what to expect with your changing (putting it very mildly) body all the way through to separation anxiety with your toddler. Make no mistake: Fit Pregnancy aims to make itself indispensable to you, Mom, well beyond the birthing process.

News-to-Use: Covering everything from home birthing trends to air travel while expecting, this section gently debunks some myths about pregnancy.

Healthy Baby: What do I need to feed baby now? What about infant massage? What color should baby’s poop look like? Ah… not your normal dinner conversation before you became a mother, and perhaps still not the most appropriate. Good thing a magazine like this gives you a color and texture synopsis of any and every possible poop scenario. Don’t worry, pictures aren’t included.

Ask Dr. Jay: “Is there a doctor in the house?” No and… yes! Dr. Jay, a traditional and alternative medicine pediatrician of nearly 30 years, answers questions inquiring moms like me want to know.

There are workout suggestions for home, a rundown of breastfeeding that is not to be missed, and a HUGE–mammoth, people–guide to baby gear in the April/May issue of Fit Pregnancy. All-in-all, the magazine really is super informative, chock-full of invaluable things to think about in the midst of a pregnancy-induced mental fog.