Full Bellies & Empty Souls

Dear Paul Ryan,

I want to talk to you today about what I read in an article from Time Magazine. Here is the link: Paul Ryan Says Free School Lunches Give Kids ‘An Empty Soul’ I want to address the  idiotic thing you said to CPAC. Yep, that’s right. I called it idiotic. Because expecting children to want dignity more than to not be hungry means you are expecting them to go hungry. Let’s say that together…slowly.

“I, Paul Ryan, would rather children go hungry with dignity than have full bellies from a “free lunch”.”

Guess what, Paul Ryan? That makes you a certifiable douche nozzle. Now, lets look at statistics for a second, which you seem to have cleverly ignored in your bid to end the liberal left from wanting all children fed equally…but then, your policies never have gone in that direction, have they?

A quick Google Search pulls up a host of articles that show the affects of hunger in relationship with how children learn and the effects of hunger on a child’s ability to learn. Just pulling the abstract, from a scholarly publication, btw, and it says this:

“This study investigates the correlation between food insecurity, educational achievement, and health among kindergarten children in the United States. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort are used to analyze educational achievement and physical growth of kindergartners faced with food insecurity. The results demonstrate that children begin to experience the effects of food insecurity even at the most marginal level of household food deprivation. Children in households with any signs of food insecurity score lower and learn less during the school year.”  -Winicki, J. and Jemison, K. (2003), Food Insecurity and Hunger in the Kindergarten Classroom: Its Effect on Learning and Growth. Contemporary Economic Policy, 21: 145–157. doi:10.1093/cep/byg001

There is even this article, published in The Journal of Nutrition. Do me a favor, read it.

I’ll even provide the link…here ya go: Food Insecurity Affects School Children’s Academic Performance, Weight Gain, and Social Skills1,2,3

Paul Ryan, did you even do your research? Did you? Did you tell your speech writers to do their research? Guessing from your speech, you did not.

Children do not deserve to go hungry. Children do not deserve to have their learning abilities hindered because YOU and the rest of your Republican cohorts believe that “dignity” is over hunger and should always be considered before feeding a hungry child.

I am ashamed of you and for you, Paul Ryan. I am ashamed that, as a father, you would suggest that a child go hungry. Where is your conscience, sir? Where is your heart? And most importantly, where is your compassion?

As a parent, it hurts my heart when I hear of a child who isn’t eating because their parents can’t afford to buy them lunch. It hurts my heart to know that there are kids out there with that awful, gnawing feeling telling them it’s time to eat and they have nothing to satiate that hunger. Also, I was that mom whose kids were on the Free or Reduced lunch program. I sacrificed *MY* dignity in order to make sure my kids were fed. Why? Because their need for nutrition outweighed my own pride. I would sacrifice my pride and dignity for them any day…but I am a mother-a parent- and that is just what parents do. Did I like doing that? Absolutely not. But their need to eat outweighed my own discomfort and it became a non-issue.

Paul Ryan, I hope you listen to what people are saying. Not just what the upper middle class white suburban republicans are saying to you. Not just what the lobbyists and political demagogues are saying… I hope you listen to those who have taken part in these programs and have benefited from them. I hope you read the research and evidence that is out there which shows nutrition and hunger play a significant role in how our young people learn, grow, and mature. And I hope you realize that your words are potentially condemning the youth of this nation to hunger, pain, suffering, and diminished education. Your words are powerful, Paul Ryan, and with power comes great responsibility. Try to use yours for good instead of the bullshit you seem to believe is “right”.


A Mother who thinks you are pretty much scum.


Failure is Okay

“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” ~Mia Hamm
This is a hard topic. I know there are harder topics out there…but this is hard.

Parenting is hard. I love my kids. I would bend over backwards for them, kill for them, die for them. I love how intelligent they are. They have this way of just knowing, even if I don’t say anything, if I am having a bad day or feeling a bit down. But this current situation is hard and it hurts and I feel, as a mother, as though I have failed my son.

My son. My son is a smart, funny, compassionate, sweet, adorable, goofy, distracted, geeky, nerdy but in a cute way, suffering from ADD teenager. Honestly he is so much more than that, but I am not here to wax poetic about how amazing my kid is (which he is). My son is dealing with some school stuff that we have all been struggling with since the first day, honestly. As a parent, it is my job to push him, to challenge him, to make sure he understands how to follow through with his responsibilities. Follow through at school is such a struggle for him. With his ADD, medicine might help…or it might turn him into a zombie with no appetite again and that is the last thing we need. But he gets distracted. forgets things. Loses track of when items are due. No amount of organization attempts have really helped him. School meetings, action plans, parent/teacher conferences…nothing seems to help.

We did home based online school for a while. At his request, I re-enrolled him into public school as he missed the social aspect of it. We were confident after his semester in a home school situation, with his grades up, he would be great in public school. We were wrong. He has struggled since the beginning. And we are facing a bitter truth: this won’t be the year he passes this grade level. At least, that is what it is looking like.

Failure is a bitter pill to swallow. Thinking back over everything that could have been done as a parent, and realizing you did everything you could only to end up with the outcome you were dreading and trying to prevent is a very frustrating experience. And as defeated as I feel, I can only imagine how defeated my son must feel. This directly affects HIM. In the past, I would simply make the decision I thought best for him and be done with it. As his father and I are divorced, and as my kids live with me, I would make that ultimate decision and not accept feedback from his father or anything else. But I need support on this. I need back up. I need to know I am not the only one frustrated with this situation and I am not the only one grasping at straws trying to help my son. So I made that hard phone call to his father, who is well aware of our son’s struggles, and I am dreading his response.

I don’t do conflict well.

Failure is scary. It hurts, stings, reminds you of your fallibility and that sometimes, things don’t always work out the way we want them to. I refuse to look at this as a dead end, though, This is not the end for my son. He has many years of school, mistakes, proud moments, failures, and successes left to him. My job, as his parent, is to encourage and support him through all of these moments. His failures are not my failures and his successes are not my successes. But I can love him through all of it and that is the best, as his mom and biggest cheerleader, that I can do.


“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C. S. Lewis