Saturday, October 31, 2015

NEW BOOK RELEASE! Breaking the Rules: 7 Controversial Parenting "Rules" and Why Parents Should Be Breaking Them

It is my extreme pleasure to introduce my newly published book, Breaking the Rules! I bring many of the topics that I have researched and blogged about over the years into a compilation that details why parents should be breaking the "rules."

Flip to the back and read the cover:“I break most of the controversial parenting rules. Not because I am a rebel mom, but because I love my kids.” – Bethany Cousins, blogger, journalist, and author of Breaking the Rules.

There are two tenacious sides to every parenting debate. Breaking the Rules is a fearless journey through a jungle of jaw-dropping statistics, eye-opening case studies, and stunning information that is written by a mom of nine children. She tells parents why she dissents the “majority rule” on seven of the most highly controversial parenting subjects, including vaccinating and medicating children, childhood obesity, spanking and co-sleeping.


She contends, “We are being misinformed, and, if we are not careful, we will also be misled. Our children’s best interests are not always on these ‘experts’ minds” and proceeds to reveal how trusted organizations, including our government, have created parenting “rules” to enrich financial and political stances, which are not always in the best interest of our children. Her mind-provoking and factious viewpoints are shockingly blunt.

Breaking the Rules is a must-read book for parents who are on the fence about any of these highly debated subjects and even parents who are resolute about the topics will learn something new. Everyone who reads it is bound to be enlightened.

Not everyone is going to agree with my point of view at first, but it is difficult to argue with facts, statistics, and case studies that many parents have yet to hear. You see, the "experts" have not been completely honest with us! Whether the subject is co-sleeping, vaccinating, medicating children, or spanking, we have only heard the statistics and studies they want us to hear!

I hope you enjoy the book! Let me know what you think, and better yet, be sure to leave a review on Amazon!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Oh, So Cops Can Use Corporal Punishment on Our Kids?

Are things are just getting heinous or what with our police forces? The people who are supposed to be “protecting and serving” are throwing around our children, killing them.

Oh, yeah, and now officers are shelling out heartless, remorseless, and barbaric levels of corporal punishment at school?

It just happened in a South Carolina school the other day, when a school resource officer – a senior level deputy - decided that appropriate disciplinary action for a student who disobeyed “orders” was throwing her and her desk and chair combo, mind you, around the classroom.

Slow down. Before all of you loyal supporters of the cops who run around vociferating that not all police officers are bad guys start throwing your temper tantrums, hear me out here.

I’m just saying that maybe we need to think about things for a moment.

So, this Senior Deputy Ben Fields, tough guy dude – I saw the pics, he’s not a small guy, by any means, estimated at about 300 pounds – gets so mad at this teenage girl that he loses his patience and does something that even her parents probably wouldn’t have done to her. He slings her and her one piece desk and chair back and forth, irrationally, and I would even say psychotically.

That’s not even a fair match. Not even close. Did he seriously think that was appropriate behavior?

Now, if a parent was seen doing that to their child, what would happen? I don’t think that would go over well with child advocates. I’m just saying.
This type of stuff outrages me!

Why aren’t we screening these officers better? How are violent dudes slipping through the cracks and making it into our “protect and serve” organizations? I don’t care what anyone says, whoever is in charge of hiring these people is not doing their job. Period.

On top of that, how in the world are creeps like that keeping their jobs when they already had previous infractions, like Ben Fields did? Not that I want to go into many other details about the pompous ruffian of a cop, but he has been sued a couple of times for his ruthless behavior.

One of the victims was an army vet who claims that Fields had the nerve to say to him, “I’m glad Johnny Cochran is dead.”

So, let’s give the guy a job at a school!

Even Victoria Middleton, who heads the South Carolina ACLU Chapter agreed that there was absolutely no justification for doing that to a child. A child!

And now the student is wearing a cast? She also has a bruise on her head and marks on her neck, reportedly. We are talking about a 16 year old girl who had nothing on the three hundred pound monster of a bully.

Let’s just say for a moment that the teen in the video was your child. I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but I would see red if it had been my child. I would about lose control of whatever is inside of me that prevents me from seeking violent revenge. I swear, outrage is not the word.

But, you know what?

This 16 year old girl just lost her mother, the poor soul. Then, to make matters worse for her, she is now living with a foster parent. Of course she is acting out! Her whole world has been turned upside down!

And then a man in uniform brutally assaults her? Where is the compassion for children who are grieving and needing some love and support?

Hey, let’s throw them around like we are barbarians when they misbehave and show out. Then, let’s slap them with charges of disturbing the peace or whatever we can nail them with to cover up the fact that we totally violated and victimized them.

On top of that, what are we letting our very own children see?

My kids have heard the news. They confronted me about it. Its not the type of subject that I ask my children whether or not they have heard about it. Kids hear about this stuff. You cannot protect them from the media. Even if the cable and Internet were off, they would still hear the biggest news stories at school.

Kids were right there, witnessing the violence. And, the one girl who stepped up to try to speak out for the girl gets charged with some phony disturbing the peace type of charge, as well.

I assume the charge was a ploy to keep her from talking about the incident. Yeah, maybe she used profanity and called the officer vulgar names, but heck, I probably would have, too! Watching a teen who certainly can't defend herself get accosted by a man twice her size does something to a young woman.

It makes her want to step up and defend the girl. It is more comfortable to stand there and watch it, but stay out of it to protect oneself. It takes guts to stand up.

Do you think this abominable behavior is building a youth who respects our police officers? We hear story after story on the news of police brutality of our youth and murdering children!

I’m just saying that even my kids are very wary of police officers, and that is just sad. It is so very sad. They are supposed to help us.

Sure, there are good guys on the police forces and they outnumber the bad ones. But, the gap is only getting bigger between citizens and cops. The trust is gone.

The trust has been gone.

Do I believe with all of my heart that every single cop would protect and serve me and my children? I’m not gullible. I’m just saying.

We can all see what’s happening. Why isn’t anything being done about this? Stress tests, psychological testing, the whole shebang. You want to become a cop? Then, you should be willing to undergo a myriad of tests to ensure your mental and behavioral stability. That’s not much to ask.
Keep our streets safe.

Our police officers should have their morals and values questioned and observed closely. There is nothing wrong with that.

Otherwise, I don’t want them anywhere near my children! Definitely not in a position where a cop has the choice of physically disciplining my child. Corporal punishment has been banned in schools. It is illegal.

Yet, once again, there is an officer on duty doing something incredibly illegal.

As far as schools, there needs to be a concrete procedure for dealing with discipline issues. I mean, that's a pretty simple solution.

I applaud Leon Lotts, Richland County Sherrif, for expeditiously firing Ben Fields. But, the rest of our country needs to be just as swift to take action, not only after an incident occurs, but prior to any potential issues, so we - and our children - can all feel safer and protected by the people who are empowered with law enforcement positions.

You know the saying, “I can do bad all by myself?” Well, with that kind of protection, we can protect ourselves just fine on our own.

Protect and serve, my behind. (And, that’s saying it nicely.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Surviving the Witching Hours

Shortly after dinner, but just a bit too early to start the whole bedtime routine for our nine children, a bizarre phenomenon occurs in our house, sometimes two, sometimes three, days of the week. From what I have gathered, I am not the only mother who has experienced it. Maybe you can relate.
There is something that could ruin that perfectly paradisiacal day and make a turn for the worse without warning. It is the one thing that keeps me on my toes with anticipatory apprehension when a day appears to be progressing with an unusual amount of normalcy.
When you are dealing with nine children, the phenomenon tends to evolve and accelerate at a much faster pace than it would with less kids. Let me describe what takes place.
Somehow, simultaneously, all of the children need something from me. Or they just need something. Often, they don’t even know what they need. Bored? Who knows.
The baby starts acting like she drank an entire case of Red Bull, climbing and zipping around with an energetic force we could only wish to bottle up for our weakest moments. Or she starts behaving like she is fussy and whiny out of the blue. Nothing consoles her.
Then, the toddlers and younger school-aged children will start coming to me with urgent papers to sign or an incident or a story from their day that they want to share.
Or a reminder for lunch money. Or help with homework (I thought homework was already done?). Or just anything.
All at the same time.
Regardless of whatever else I am dealing with at the moment, they cannot wait one more second to tell me.
Or, they start running around, playing hide and seek or whatever they play, darting and scampering down the hall, in and out of closets, leaving cookie crumbs – or whatever else they have found to munch on – in their wake.
Or they begin to bicker and argue. Or two or three are running around and the other two or three are fighting and bickering.
And tattling.
Of course, the teenagers have piles of homework that did not exist merely a few hours ago. (“I thought you said your homework was done?” “I still have some studying to do.”) Either way, they find an ingress to ditching their chores, letting the house rumble to shambles as the six other tornados create destruction throughout the house.
Or they tell me, “I was going to get to that...” to shut me up. And then disappear. Or they take to talking back, which, for me, is like scratching nails down a chalkboard.
Or, better yet, they begin to bicker amongst each other with what they think is a higher level intelligence than the littles and the middles. (Little do they know, their arguments sound just as puerile.)
What seems like an organized and somewhat “normal” day – for a house with nine kids anyway – turns into high-speed chaos with a side order of screaming, high-pitched squealing, tattle-taling, bickering, and “Mom” - ing around the 6 or 7 p.m. time slot.
The Witching Hours.
Once it starts, it lasts until they all collapse. Unfortunately, in my house, it can last up to four or five headache and hair- loss causing hours. If the day has not already done me in, the Witching Hours just might.
Keep in mind, by this time in the evening, I have pulled at least a 12 hour day, if not longer, and am still facing another 4 to 5 hours of “work” before I can even think of getting some zzz’s. Maybe they sense the turmoil inside of my body from a long, stressful day, despite how hard I try to hide it.
But, I doubt it. I will tell you why.
The Witching Hours is an unpredictable phenomenon, which is probably the worst thing about it.
There have been plenty of wonderful days that I have woken up, feeling refreshed after a night of unusually decent slumber, gotten the six older kids onto their busses and off to school without a snag, and enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee and some quiet reading or writing time before the littles arose.
(Unlike some moms I know, I do not have the sheer luxury of going back to sleep after the kids get on the bus. I never have, as a matter of fact, except on very rare, blue moon occasions. I still have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 10 month old asking for breakfast, a movie, and some “Read a book!” bright and early in the morning.)
The littles would play nicely all day, rarely to never calling me for intervention. The baby would play along with the toddlers, leaving my hands free to do what I pleased (which usually ends up being work or chores).
Then, all three of them would nap around noontime, falling asleep within a half hour of each other. This not only gives me a break, but also ensures they get the sleep they truly need at nap time, rather than them being awoken by children bustling off the school bus and into the house after school, at about 3 p.m., which is what usually happens.
The children would get home from school, chores and homework would be completed without a quandary whatsoever. We would eat dinner, and then bath and shower time would be accomplished. Everyone will have their school clothes ready for the next day, and the entire house will be calmly watching a movie or doing something else equally tranquil, until they all fell asleep, one by one.
I have been lucky many, many days like that. It actually does happen. Once a week or so, we all get it all right and perfect. We can do “normal.”
Then, it happens.
Just like when a tropical storm escalates into a category five hurricane faster than the technology clad weather experts can predict it, the unusually normal day can convert into the Witching Hours before I even realize it is happening. By the time the conversion has occurred, it is too late to stop it.
There is no choice but to hunker down and wait out the storm. Or wade through it. Or pray through it. Whatever it takes.
It never fails, no matter how bad that Witching Hours episode tends to be, though, something very memorable happens. I tiptoe through the house when the storm has passed, careful not to step on the Legos and other foot-piercing bits and pieces of toys that were left in the wake, kissing cheeks and tucking blankets around precious little sleeping bodies.
Every single one of them, from the 10 month old to the nearly 16 year old, has a peaceful, sweet angel face when they are sleeping. And, inside those bodies that I swaddled blankets around are warm, giving, loving spirits and thoughtful, intelligent, ever-evolving minds.
I thank God for those nine faces and bodies every night before my own weary head hits the pillow, no matter how rough it gets. Even in the worst of the worst chaotic and stressful moments of the Witching Hours, I am blessed in nine big ways. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Milk-Bone Study - Dogs Are Ultimate Trick-or-Treaters #TreatsForAll

Halloween has been known to be a holiday for kiddies, but we all know that we adults look forward to the candy and even dressing up.

Then, there are the furry children. I'm not 100% sure whether or not they enjoy the dressing up part. Who knows if Fifi actually wanted to be a Disney princess? Maybe she wanted to be a minion.

But I know, for most dogs, the excitement of the holiday, the kids running around, and the possibility of special treats is at least somewhat enjoyable. Except for the poor anxious pups who get nervous when the wind blows. They have no clue what they are missing out on.

Anyway, Big Heart Pet Brands, the creators of Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Canine Carry Outs and Milo's Kitchen, surveyed 3,000 parents of dogs across the U.S. The results of the survey made me smile.

Here is what doggy parents said about their babies and Halloween:


>> 44% of NY pet parents have dressed their dog in costume versus 28% of California pet parents
>> 38% of NY pet parents have greeted trick-or-treaters with their dog while 18% of pet parents in California have
>> 18% of Texas pet parents have given their dog extra treats for Halloween and 16% have taken their dog trick-or-treating.

Treats vs. Breeds

>> Big dogs like Dobermans and Great Danes prefer "real meat treats", while most small ones (Pomeranians and Pugs) choose "soft and chewy" snacks - like Pup-Peroni
>> Soft and chewy treats are also the all-time favorites of terriers (58%), and toy dogs (59%)
>> Biscuits and crunchy treats (like Milk-Bone) are the clear favorites of hounds (53%), herding dogs (56%), and sporting dogs (57%)


Because dogs are the ultimate tricksters, Milo's Kitchen brand dog treats wanted to uncover, for the first time, which tricks dogs are best able to perform. The nation's most popular doggy tricks are:

#1: Sit (77% of dogs can do this on command)
#2: Shake paws (58%)
#3: Lay down (57%)
#4: Stay (50%)
#5: Give a kiss (44%)
#6: Beg (31%)
#7: Roll over (27%)
#8: Speak or bark (26%)
#9: Spin (14%)
#10: Play dead (10%)

Click on this link for more Halloween fun with Big Heart Pet Brands, follow @milkbone on Twitter, 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Scary Mothers

I wonder what it takes to look your immaculate little infant in the eyes and think:

I am going to throw you out a window.

Or I want to drown you.

What exactly drives mom's like Tenisha Fearon or Andrea Yates (remember her? Most of us would like to forget, I am sure.)

I read in article that one of the neighbors who knew Tenisha Fearon said that she lived for her children and that "something must have snapped."

How can something just snap? How can you look at your innocent child - or children - and forget that you are the one person that God put on this earth to protect that little person?

I have had rough days with nine children. Days when I wanted to at least jump off the roof myself. But, not hurt my children. Not kill them.

Even with migraines and other aches and pains, I manage to make it through the day, caring for both myself and my children, without ever once thinking that I wanted to kill them. Not even when the screamed and sent my migraine to a level 10.

Not that there are not times I do not want to strangle a talker-backer or a liar, but when it all boils down and I look at these amazing little creatures I have given birth to and raised, I could not imagine my life without them.

Would schizophrenia do it? Maybe there are multiple personalities and the mothers were confused.

Then again, I would assume they were psychoanalyzed before arresting them.

Is this a sickness that any of us could come down with at any time? The desire to kill your own children. Where does it stem from?

How does it get that far without anyone noticing how far gone the mother is mentally? Can people seriously mask that type of insanity from the people who see them and interact with them every day?

Apparently they can. And they did.

And then they killed their babies.

How tragic. And the poor babies who were left behind, the three other kids who belonged under the "protection" of Tenisha Fearson? They are destined to be confused and scared the rest of their lives.

How could a mom do it?

I wish someone would explain it to me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

PrivateWriting Website Review

As a writer, I happen to know my way around the writing world on the Internet, however I was just introduced to a new website that might be of some interest to many of my colleagues.

PrivateWriting is quite similar to a company that I worked for when I first set out to try my hand at a writing career almost a decade ago. The owner of the company took orders for college papers from college students and passed all of the necessary details (on to the writer so that the writer could thoroughly research and write the paper for the student.

Which is a GENIUS idea!

From a writer's standpoint, it is a migraine level headache. Students often decide, at the last minute, that they need fifteen page dissertations with thirty references.

From a student's standpoint, however, PrivateWriting can be a lifesaver. I ran a quick price check on a 4 page case study, and the price was less than $70. For the thousands of dollars that are spent on college, 70 bucks is nothing to ensure that you are going to ace a paper that is worth 50% or more of your grade!

As far as the website, all of the services that PrivateWriting offers is detailed nicely, with separate articles that distinctly outline the different types of papers and what they normally require, focusing on what the writer will do for the student. I searched and searched, but what I did not seem to find were samples of papers that have been written for "clients."

Then again, I guess sample papers probably should not be posted on the Internet if they were used to ace a vital civics class or a psychology class. The last thing any student wants is for their professor to come across the paper they submitted for 50% of their grade posted as a sample on a discreet type of website like PrivateWriting.

What could be posted instead are papers that are written on general topics, just to show a sample of what will be provided, but as long as the writers that they employ do have the qualifications that are boasted on the home page, there should be no reason why they cannot crank out top-notch, well-researched and written documents.

If this was my website, I would probably add more pictures, possibly pics that included college students smiling and holding their paper marked with a bright red A+ on the top or something corny like that, but just on first glance, as the website sits, I cannot tell what kind of service it is offering without starting to read. First impressions are everything.

For the most part, though, I have always felt like this type of service is a win-win for everyone. The student is happy, the writer gets paid, and the owner of the website makes money, too. As soon as I was introduced to the concept, I thought it was brilliant.

Just remember, writers work long, hard hours to create fantastic work. If you use a service like this, throw the writer a bonus. They deserve it for the long hours they put into your work. :)

(This is a sponsored post written by Bethany Cousins on behalf of

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Attitudes Changing with the Seasons

Maybe I am the only mother on this planet experiencing this phenomenon, but it seems as if my children's attitudes are changing with the seasons.

Granted, I do have 3 teenagers, whose hormones can change with the wind, never mind the season, but as summer fades and fall slides in, threatening the bitterness of winter, I have noticed a negative change in the atmosphere.

The little ones are getting antsy because we don't go outside every day anymore. The older children are just grumpy and testy.

I cannot blame them, of course. Summertime is 200% more fun, and Lord knows we all need the sunshine and warm weather and to be able to step outside, scantily clad, and smell the sweet aroma of flowers to start our days right.

Who wants to get up before the sun wakes up and dress in layers to go out into chilly air, when summertime allowed lazy mornings in bed until far after the sun rose? Not me.

I want my coffee out on the back deck, under the rays of sun that tingle on my arms through the slots in the wood. Not the cool drifts of wind that reach to my bones and scratch at them with coldness.

No wonder the attitudes have changed.

I have noticed my attitude change, too.

Maybe the kids are just reflecting my natural born hatred for the season changes, rather than developing their own attitude change. Maybe they are just mimicking what they have learned over the years from watching me.

It's probably my fault.

So, I am going to consciously figure out how to face the next seven or eight months with a smile on my face. For my children's sake.

I will try my best to look forward to the holidays that are coming up. While the holidays are exciting times that my children look forward to, they are truly stressful for a mom of nine. Have you heard what these kids ask for nowadays?

I am going to have to find a way to join in on their excitement and look forward to the holidays, too. I will try to find a way, at least.

In the meantime, I just have to take it one day at a time, being thankful for the blessings that our family constantly receives, and, rain or shine, smile.

Because this attitude change when the seasons change has got to fly south with the birds.

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