Name: Shelley Walcott
Kids: daughter, age 7; son, age 4 months
Works: anchor/reporter for Today's TMJ4
Favorite part about being a mom: The unconditional love my children show me.
Least favorite part about being a mom: The guilt. Oh, the guilt!
Famous for: Calling home during commercial breaks to give my husband dinner instructions. Talk about multi-tasking!
As someone who works in the news business, not much shocks me. But I must say... the death of Michael Jackson truly, truly shocked me. And frankly, it made me sad.
In fact, I've been trying to psychoanalyze myself... trying to figure out why I've taken news of Jackson's passing so hard.
Yes, I loved his music. Yes, I watched with intrigue as his life took a bizarre and somewhat sinister turn. But I have a hard time figuring out why I care so much... until I received the following email. It's from a man who knew me when I was a loud-mouthed kid in Montreal. He was the youth pastor at my church, who remembered me all these years later when he heard about Michael Jackson's passing. Here's a portion of his message:
I don't know if you remember me but I was your Sunday School teacher and Youth Pastor many years ago in Montreal.
Strange how the mind works. When I heard about the passing away of Michael Jackson I immediately thought of one person: Shelley Walcott, a girl I taught in my pre-teen Sunday School class and youth group at Golden Baptist Church, Montreal. You loved MJ and gave us updates on his life every week (those were the "Thriller" years). That was, what?, 25 years ago? And yet I remembered you clearly
I knew that you were in broadcasting somewhere in the States and thought you must have a work blog and would probably write something about MJ. Sure enough, a quick Google search turned up your post.
And with this email, I remembered: I once LOVED Michael Jackson. Talked about him ad nauseum, to the point where my Sunday School teacher from 25 years ago had to message me about his death. Michael Jackson was a huge part of my social experience. His music was the soundtrack of my youth. And I forgot how deeply ingrained he was.
Rest in peace Michael. My hope is that you are in the arms of the angels. May you find some comfort there.
“John and Kate Plus 8" is supposed to be a show about a middle-class couple raising their eight children.
But after watching some clips of the program, I think it's more of a "how-to" guide on emasculation.
Full disclosure: I've never actually watched a full episode of "John and Kate." But now that there's been so much press about the couple's relationship.... well now I just have to.
It all looks so good on paper: A young, telegenic couple from
But then came the tabloid reports alleging that John was stepping out on the marriage, having been seen around town with some pretty young thing. Shortly after that storm died down even more tabloid reports surfaced, claiming that Kate was having an affair with her bodyguard.
(Question: Since when to cable reality stars need bodyguards??? But I digress....)
Forget the interaction with the kids on the show... have you heard the way Kate talks to John? She scolds him in public, chides him like a child. Anyone who's ever watched Dr. Phil knows that you never, never talk to a man like that. Not if you don't want him to seek his validation elsewhere. I mean, does she have any female friends??
The reason John and Kate stay together? Probably that fat paycheck they get for doing the show. I mean, they're probably counting on TLC to send those eight kids to college. Isn't money the motivating factor in most dysfunctional relationships?
So good luck to you John... and try to seek some solace in those eight cute little kids. And if you absolutely can't take Kate anymore...
I hear Octo-mom is available.
My daughter was thrilled when she came home from school a couple of weeks ago.
"You're coming on my field trip to the museum!!" she said.
"Oh... yeah," I said.
Don't get me wrong... I really do want to chaperone field trips. But this was one of those deals I had signed up for at the beginning of the school year when I was fresh off maternity leave... rested and ready to take on the world.
Six months back on the job and into the school year, well frankly, I just not nearly as peppy. Especially when the field trip was slated to end at 2 p.m., and I had to be on set anchoring at 3 p.m.
Knowing this, Ashley's teacher was ready to let me off the hook.
God bless these teachers who get the whole 'I'm-a-working-parent-just-trying-to-make-sure-my-child-doesn't-resent-me-but-dang-I'm-exhausted" thing.
But I told her I absolutely wanted to go... so she let me drive my own car.
We all arrived at the museum at 9 o'clock that morning. By about 9:45 some of the seven-year-olds started getting bored. At around 10:30 one parent turned to me and said, "I can't take it... I just can't take the complaining anymore!!!"
Really? Ever been to a newsroom just before deadline?
The rest of the day was basically a blur of "I'm hungry!" and "I'm tired!" and "Can we head upstairs to see the mummy again?"
Five hours later, I was exhausted... and just about two hours out from the start of my work day.
But when I kissed my daughter and put her and her friends on the bus back to school, I felt wonderfully gratified. Because career or not, my children come first.
I'll go on the next field trip, and many more after that.
Because if you miss these days... you'll never get them back.
Ever try getting ready for work with a rambunctious nine-month-old teetering around? That's the challenge I face now that my baby Noah is crawling/pulling himself up/getting into everything!
My husband and seven-year-old daughter are usually long gone by the time I have to start pulling myself together, so there's no extra hands around. I usually try and put Noah in the exersaucer in my bedroom while I watch him from the master bath. But he's getting to the point where that thing bores him... he'd rather be out, exploring.
Not good for mommy, because looking good is a crucial part of my job. If I don't have time to flat-iron out the kinks or slap some makeup on, viewers just might call the station complaining that I look like a bag lady.
(No joke. That actually happens. Can you imagine?)
But recently on one of my days off, I made a wonderful discovery! I was watching an episode of Sesame Street with my son, and he sat there, absolutely riveted. I put him in his exersaucer, and he couldn't take his eyes of Elmo.
So now, I can put him in his exersaucer and play a DVR'd episode and he'll just sit there until Mommy finishes up with her primping. In fact, I sometimes think I may be actually bothering him if I try talking to him while Sesame Street is on.
So here's to Sesame Street! I loved it myself as a kid. My older kid loved it. And now my baby is officially on board.
God bless the people who work behind the scenes there, and the work they do!
This was a discussion that I thought was years away.
But yesterday, I decided to talk to my seven-year-old daughter about drugs.
The reason? An image that has been seared into my conciousness: Madison Kiefer's family mourning her at her funeral.
Her father's incredibly touching and honest eulogy. Watching him and the rest of his children escort their Madison's coffin out of the church to her final resting place. I don't know Madison Kiefer's father, but I'll be he's an incredible dad. What happened to his daughter was not his fault. Sometimes in life, all you can do is equip your child with information, and pray that God protects them as they make their way into the world.
So I decided to talk to my seven-year-old about drugs. She wandered into my bathroom as I was getting ready for work on Saturday, like she usually does. She was babbling on about something when I cut her off mid-sentence.
"Ashley," I said. "Mommy read a news story about a young girl who died of drugs. Bad drugs that bad people gave her. If anyone ever offers you a pill or anything else that they say will make you feel good, tell them no, and tell Mommy or Daddy. O.k.?"
"O.k.," she said.
"Never take any drugs from strangers. Never take any drugs from your friends. If they offer you drugs, they're not your friends."
"O.k.," she said.
I guess the conversation was a little more heavy than she bargained for, so she kind of slinked out of the bathroom right about then to do something else.
That's o.k. We'll be having plenty more conversations like this one. Many, many more.
As much as we would all like to, there is no way to bring Madison Kiefer back to this world, back to her family.
But though her death, I for one have become emboldened about talking to my own child about drugs. And I'm sure there are many more parents in our area doing the same thing.
And if there's something I know for sure in this world, it's that the Madison Kiefer story will resonate with someone's child, and save someone's life.
So through the pain of telling her story, the one thing we can take comfort in is knowing that Madison Kiefer's life was not in vain.
In the era of America's first black president, prepare yourself for America's first black princess.
Here's a rendering:
Last year, I wrote a blog about how the Walt Disney Company was preparing to release a new animated film this year featuring its African American heroine. The character was to be a new role model for little girls from every background. And the movie was supposed to be a chance for Disney to redeem itself after coming under criticism for not having ever featured an African-American princess in any of its big budget animated movies.
Then the pundits stepped in.
The original movie was supposed to be a musical set in 1920's New Orleans. The "princess" was to be a girl named Maddy, a black chambermaid working for a white Southern debutante. Maddy was supposed to get help from a vodoo priestess fairy godmother to win the heart of a white prince. And the working title of the film: "The Frog Princess".
Yikes. You see where this is going, right?
Critics said the name "Maddy" sounded too much like "Mammy", a term that echoes back to the segregated south. They said the fact that the black character would be working for a white woman also smacked of bigotry. The whole vodoo angle? A stereotype that black people (especially those from the West Indies) would rather not be associated with. The white prince? What about a royal black brother? And the title "The Frog Princess"? That was interpreted as a racial slur.
The folks at Disney... savvy marketers that they are... retooled. New story, new character name, new attitude.
Then they released this statement:
"The story takes place takes place in the charming elegance and grandeur of New Orleans' fabled French Quarter during the Jazz Age... Princess Tatiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney's rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity."
Hmmm. It really is a far cry from that chick with the seven dwarfs.
And in just goes to show that even in the world of fairy tales... nothing is as simple as black and white.