Judge Dispels The Myth Of The 'Perfect' Rape Victim In Powerful Verdict

“For much of our history, the ‘good’ rape victim, the ‘credible’ rape victim has been a dead one.”
That’s just one of the many powerful statements Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker said in court last week while delivering his verdict in a Canadian university rape case. The judge announced that he found the defendant guilty of sexual assault and proceeded to point out the insidious effects of victim-blaming in his 179-page verdict. 
“The myths of rape should be dispelled once and for all,” Judge Zuker read aloud in court last Thursday. “We cannot perpetuate the belief that niceness cannot coexist with violence, evil or deviance, and consequently the nice guy must not be guilty of the alleged offense.” 

Ururyar found guilty of sexually assaulting York U student Mandi Gray. " Rape it was" @CityNews pic.twitter.com/8ebisnsf2u— marianne boucher (@CityCourtsTO) July 21, 2016

The case, which began in February, involved Mustafa Ururyar and Mandi Gray, two doctoral students at Toronto’s York University. According to The Guardian, the two had been casually dating when Gray went to Ururyar’s apartment one night in January 2015. 
As the two made their way back to Ururyar’s apartment, Gray said he became angry and started calling her “a slut” and “needy.” Gray testified that Ururyar forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her later that night. 
Ururyar had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, claiming that he and Gray had engaged in consensual sex on the night in question. According to Judge Zuker’s verdict, Ururyar’s defense repeatedly attacked Gray’s character and attempted to discredit her story throughout the trial. 
Judge Zuker was not accepting Ururyar’s “twisted logic,” as he said in his verdict. The judge denounced Ururyar’s defense, calling it all a “fabrication” that is “credible, never,” adding, “I must and do reject his evidence.”  

The judge described how traumatizing the defense’s character assassination must have been for Gray and condemned a culture that is so quick to victim-blame: 

The court was constantly reminded, told, as if to traumatize the helplessness, the only one we can believe is Mr. Ururyar, because she, she Ms. Gray, cannot remember. What a job and a real bad one, trying to shape the evening. We must not create a culture that suggest we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.
How can you prove it? You don’t remember. He knows you don’t remember. He is going to write the script and he did. Testimony incomplete, memory loss, etc. etc. And, of course, typically, no dialogue in the story. One full sentence by Ms. Gray? What is it? No power, no voice, defenceless [sic]. To listen to Mr. Ururyar paint Ms. Gray as the seductive party animal is nothing short of incomprehensible. He went or tried to go to any length to discredit Ms. Gray, if not invalidate her. Such twisted logic.
… There is no demographic profile that typifies a rapist. There is a danger of stereotyping rapists. When the accused is a friend of the victim and uses that relationship to gain, and then betray the complainant’s trust; there may be a need to be informed in order to recognize and understand the accused’s predatory behaviour [sic]. No other crime is looked upon with the degree of blameworthiness, suspicion, and doubt as a rape victim. Victim blaming is unfortunately common and is one of the most significant barriers to justice and offender accountability.
…The responsibility and blame lie with the perpetrator who takes advantage of a vulnerable victim or violates the victim’s trust to commit the crime of sexual assault. Rape is an act of violence and aggression in which the perpetrator uses sex as a weapon to gain power and control over the victim. It is too common to redefine rape as sex and try to capitalize on the mistaken believe that rape is an act of passion that is primarily sexually motivated, It is important to draw the legal and common sense distinction between rape and sex… There is no situation in which an individual cannot control his/her sexual urges.

Mustafa Ururyar ordered to step into custody to await sentence hearing after conviction for raping Mandi Gray. pic.twitter.com/BCT9WT2i65— marianne boucher (@CityCourtsTO) July 25, 2016

Towards the end of his statement, Judge Zuker clarified  what consent really means and why a survivor’s actions before the assault should never be used to excuse rape. 
“Without consent, ‘no’ means ‘no,’ no matter what the situation or circumstances,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.” 
In his verdict, the judge actually underlined that last sentence (on page 172 in the embedded statement below). 
The same day Judge Zuker read his verdict, Gray released a public statement in response to Zuker’s powerful words. “I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it is supposed to do,” Gray wrote. 

In a conversation with reporters after the hearing, Gray called the verdict a “huge victory,” but added that Zuker’s statements can’t undo the trauma she’s endured. 
“I think it’s massive, these statements,” Gray said. “But, I mean, these statements don’t un-rape me, first of all, and nor does it erase the process that I’ve had to go through.”
Read Gray’s full statement, which she also published on Facebook, below. 

Ururyar’s sentencing will take place Sept. 14.
Read Judge Zurker’s full statement on the verdict below. 

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Keeping Your Kids Safe At The Pool: What A Lifeguard Knows

What does a lifeguard know about keeping your kids safe at the pool? I asked my son, who has been a community pool lifeguard for over five years, and who had a “jump” last summer, the term lifeguards use when they’ve needed to save a life.

It had been a 90 degree day, and in the middle of a crowded pool, my son saw a child floating face down. Within two seconds, the well practiced plan and hours of training that the lifeguards are required to complete, took over. He blew his whistle calling in other guards to action, and he jumped, pulling the child out. The child is thankfully fine, but my son came home saying all the things that could have been done to avoid the near drowning.

I asked him to tell me the most important things we need to know about protecting our kids when in water. His answers went beyond the usual routine advice we have already heard about water safety.

Here’s what a veteran lifeguard has to say about being a lifeguard and how you can help him to keep you and your kids, safe in the water:

1.) Lifeguards are not there to be babysitters. Our job is to help in an emergency, but we are watching lots of kids at one time, not just one.

2.) Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s cloudy. You’ll get burned through the gray, trust me. Every year, I see bad burns and people are always surprised at how it happened.

3.) When we say your kid isn’t able to do something, don’t take it as an insult. Lots of us teach swim lessons besides lifeguarding. We know what makes a swimmer strong enough to move to the next level and be safe swimming in a deeper depth. Practice, sign up for an extra set of lessons and get better at swimming before you enter into water that’s deep.

4.) We don’t make the rules, we’re just paid to enforce them. Don’t get mad at us and argue with us about how we don’t want you to have fun when we ask you to not throw your kid in the pool. Your kids see you yelling back at us. We do want you to have a good time, but we want you to have a good time by being safe. When we tell you as an adult to not play chicken with your kid on your shoulders, please show your kids that you will listen to us, respect the job we do and obey us.

5.) Take a break, kids get tired easily and you can see them become weaker in the water the longer they play. Swim for awhile, then sit it out and let them rest before you come back in.

6.) Want to know why we use our megaphone and say “WALK!” 100 times a day? It’s because we have seen enough kids run on a slippery surface and fall on their head and need some serious stitches.

7.) Talk to your kids before you get to the pool. Tell them about pool safety, show them where to go and where not to go. Tell them to listen and obey the lifeguard. You’re at the pool to have fun, the last thing you want is an accident. When you make it clear how to behave at the pool, you lessen the chance of that.

8.) Always know where your kid is and tell them they have to tell you where they are going to be.

9.) The best way to keep your kid safe in water is to watch them. Know where they are, always, and watch them. Don’t read a book, don’t be on your phone, don’t fall asleep, don’t walk away and get a snack. We have seen kids climb up slides and go down them not knowing they empty into deep water. We have seen kids run and jump off diving boards without any idea they’re about to go into water over their head.

I was a kid at the pool once, too. I used to think that lifeguards just liked shouting WALK! because they liked the megaphone. Until I became a lifeguard. I remember being yelled at for running and doing cannonballs off the edge of the pool. Now I know there’s a reason for it. Kids get hurt, kids nearly drown.

Water is fun, but you have to be aware of how it can turn from fun to danger if you’re not careful. This isn’t just for kids — adults, too, have to be responsible for their safety in water. Don’t go where it’s deep if you can’t swim in it.

And one more thing: every summer, parents ask us why they can’t use water wings. It’s because they make kids falsely feel they’re safe in deeper water, and the parents think so too. But water wings aren’t life preservers and can’t be used for that. We’ve seen them deflate, slip off and even pop. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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How to Save Your Marriage from Parenthood

By Amie M. Gordon

I became a parent a year and a half ago, and my life changed forever.

When I was pregnant, lots of parents gave me advice (Enjoy going to the grocery store by yourself while you still can! Go out on dates! Clean your house!). One even warned me that becoming a parent would “rock my world.” I thought I understood. I thought I was prepared for the huge change coming. And while I wasn’t unprepared, I really had no idea exactly how life-changing becoming a parent would be.

Now I try to explain to my friends who don’t have children what exactly getting swept into parenthood felt like, and the best I have come up with is this–I had my daughter and she was more wonderful than I could have imagined, and the rest of my life fell into chaos. One of those pieces of my life was my relationship with my husband.

We look at each other and marvel that we used to sit around on the weekend and lament that we did not know what to do with ourselves. Now we would give anything to learn the secret to freezing time. Now we try to hold on as life rushes by. Now I tell my husband we need more time and he agrees but asks, “what time?”

In just a little over a year and a half, our life before baby is becoming a distant memory. Nights cuddled up on the couch together, lazy weekend mornings, and all-day hikes are a thing of the past. I know they’ll be back someday, but I fear in the meantime we might get used to the “new normal” of having very little time together. I worry that the stress of jobs, long commutes, lack of sleep, and the realities of taking care of a sweet little girl who can’t take care of herself yet will do a number on our relationship, and it might have bent into an unrecognizable shape by the time we again find ourselves able to cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie.

I worry about what parenthood might be doing to our relationship because I have spent the past 12 years studying the psychology of relationships and there are countless articles examining “the decline in marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood.”

There are disagreements about how bad that decline really is, whether it is worse for men or women, and what helps prevent it. And because researchers can’t randomly assign people to have children or not, we can never have the necessary experimental evidence to definitely say that parenthood is bad for marriage. But studies of couples who were followed from before they had children until years after their first child was born (and compared to couples who did not have children) seem to consistently show that for a sizeable portion of couples, having a child is hard on the relationship.

But these studies also show that this hit to your relationship is not an inevitability. There is always variability and some couples in these studies aren’t in a downward trajectory after having their first child. Of course, we all want to know how to be one of these couples. Some of it is not easy to change–having more financial resources, having a planned pregnancy, and having parents who didn’t divorce have all been suggested as protective factors. And of course, prioritizing your relationship and finding time together as a couple is important. But that is easier said than done.

So regardless of your income level or whether you planned your pregnancy, even for those of you who can’t or don’t want to hire a babysitter for regular date nights, here are a few suggestions for how to maintain (or reignite) the spark in your relationship.

1. Prioritize sleep

Easier said than done. But researchers think that one of the reasons the transition to parenthood might be hard on relationships is because that adorable bundle of joy wreaks havoc on your sleep. When you’re low on sleep, you might find yourself feeling more irritable and hostile and reacting more strongly when something bad happens. And my colleague and I found that couples fought more, and were worse at resolving conflict, if either partner had slept poorly the previous night. Even if you are no longer dealing with nighttime wakings, you might still be suffering from a massive sleep debt. After several days of sleep loss, people report not feeling as tired, but they still perform poorly on mental tasks.

I, of course, am bad at prioritizing sleep–it’s hard to leave the dishes unwashed and the living room strewn with toys and sometimes you just want a little bit of me (or we) time at the end of a long day. But even if you are still waking up at night to care for your little one, there are things you can do to prioritize sleep. For example, try giving yourself a bedtime, don’t take your phone or tablet to bed with you, engage in good sleep hygiene so you’re not tossing and turning all night long, and even consider sleeping in a separate bed from your partner at times if you wake each other up. Think about whether there are ways to divide up the night so that you can both get a bit of consolidated sleep.

The bottom line: Everything is easier and better if you’re facing the day fully rested. You’ll be more efficient, get your work done faster, make fewer mistakes, and have more control over your emotions. So rather than stay up to deal with some household, work, or personal problem, get some sleep and see if that problem isn’t easier to solve in the morning. Oh, and forget the old adage “never go to bed angry.” Instead, try “if you’re angry, say I love you and goodnight, and see if it’s still a problem in the morning.”

2. Give each other the benefit of the doubt
Sleepless nights, a crying baby, and all the other demands of parenthood are added on top of everything you were doing before baby came along. Although a joyous time in so many ways, the transition to parenthood can also be incredibly stressful. Stress makes it difficult to be a loving and present partner.

So when your partner snaps at you, forgets to do something you asked them to do, or just isn’t as loving and affectionate as you’d like, rather than getting angry, trying chalking it up to the fact that, like you, he or she is probably sleep-deprived and stressed. Blaming minor relationship issues on external causes like lack of sleep or baby-induced memory loss can help you keep things in perspective, possibly preventing something small from turning into a big, sleep-deprived fight.

Of course, it’s hard to remember to give the benefit of the doubt, especially if you are running low on sleep, so you could try creating a rule for yourself (called an implementation intention). For example, every time you start to feel annoyed at your partner, you could repeat to yourself, “It’s not him, it’s the lack of sleep,” or something along those lines. You could also try to remember the last time you did something similar and remind yourself that you are both going to make a lot of mistakes during this time.

Of course, if you find yourself facing real relationship issues, it’s not healthy to just shrug them aside; there are things you can do to reduce conflict in your relationship. But it is still important to keep a good perspective.

3. Be appreciative
Little time and lots to do may mean you find yourselves taking each other for granted. Who has time to say thank for making dinner when you’re rushing to get the baby ready for bed? Plus, again, that whole not getting enough sleep thing–I have found in my own research that people tend to be less grateful when they aren’t getting enough sleep. But a little gratitude could go a long way.

Research shows that more grateful people are more satisfied with their relationships, and this might be particularly true during transitional times like having a baby. So little things, like recognizing your partner’s efforts, taking a few moments to feel lucky you get to share this chaotic journey together, or reflecting back on how you felt when you met and then expressing those feelings to your partner, might help keep the spark alive.

And if you start expressing your gratitude, you’ll likely find that your partner is more likely to express his or her gratitude as well. And how good would it feel to receive a heartfelt thanks for all those dinners you’ve made or those diapers changes that you thought went unnoticed?

4. Start a new (not time-intensive) hobby together

Research shows that engaging in novel activities together is good for couples, and this might be particularly true during the transition to parenthood when so much of your time is spent focused on things other than your relationships–especially if you find that your old hobbies don’t work well in your new lifestyle.

Sure, we go on walks pushing our daughter in the stroller, but it’s no longer reasonable for us to take day-long hikes up the mountains each weekend or make pancakes and watch a Psych marathon on Saturday morning. Nights out at the movies or late-night dinners are also a thing of the past.

Even if you are able to engage in some of your old hobbies together thanks to a babysitter, it still might be worth finding a new hobby the two of you can start together. A new hobby could bring you together, give you something new to talk about, and provide you with a little bit of fun during a time when the majority of your interactions sans children might feel like business meetings.

Of course, I’m not encouraging you to pick up skydiving (maybe after the last kid leaves for college?). Choose something not too time-intensive that you can easily fit into your new lives. If you both like reading, start a book club with just the two of you or take turns reading a chapter to each other before bed at night. Pick up a new game–I played boggle for the first time in years this summer and thought how easy and fun it would be to play 10 minutes of boggle together a few nights a week. Into food? Find a top-10 list for restaurants in your area and commit to trying one every few weeks and work together to plan out what you’ll eat before you go.

5. Commiserate with each other
When things are at their worst, don’t stew in silence. Remember you are in it together. Even if you’re not sleeping, are snappish, and have no time for appreciation or new hobbies, it might help you feel better about your relationship if you take the time to gripe together.

If you know that your partner is also tired and wishes more than anything he or she could run away to a deserted tropical island with you, you might not feel so alone and frustrated. It’s not that your partner doesn’t care, it’s that she is also struggling with getting through her day and forgets to tell you that she cares.

You could even schedule a weekly gripe session–just five minutes on Friday night to sit down and take turns complaining and commiserating with the other person’s woes could help you stay a “we” rather than turn into a “you” and “me.”

Did you have a hard time in your relationship when you became a parent? Did you find any strategies that worked? How old were your kids when you had time together again?

This article was originally published on Psych Your Mind. Read the original article. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Hilarious Pregnancy Announcement Turns The Tables On Expecting Dad

In two photos, a Boston couple announced that they were expecting and shared a hilarious twist.
In February, Kevin (who requested his last name not be used) posted the pregnancy announcement that he and his wife, Melissa, used to share their big news with friends and family on Imgur. In the first photo, Melissa appears to be sick over a toilet while Kevin holds a sign that reads, “We’re pregnant.” The second photo shows an adorable punchline.

Kevin told The Huffington Post that Melissa got inspiration from other announcements she found on Pinterest and Instagram. The couple’s photos went viral on Imgur with more than 424,000 views as of Monday. 
“It caught fire so fast that a lot of people we knew found out online before we had even had a chance to send the announcement to them directly,” Kevin said.
Melissa gave birth to three boys on June 28 and Kevin told The Huffington Post how proud he was of his wife. 
“My wife is a rock star and did such an excellent job keeping herself and the babies healthy and continues to amaze me with how strong she is and how great of a mother she already is,” he said. 

That special day was no doubt a game changer for the couple.
“It was certainly the greatest moment of our lives,” Kevin said. 
H/T PopSugar — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

15 Emotional Photos That Capture Birth In Military Families

In a lot of ways, childbirth is universal. And yet military families face certain challenges and circumstances that simply do not exist for most civilian families, such as deployment. That’s true whether it’s the mother or father who serves ― or both. 
So we asked the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers for photos that capture childbirth in military families ― an experience that feels at once unique and familiar ― and the stories they shared were extremely moving. Here are 15 of them, with captions from the photographers.

 Captions have been edited and condensed for clarity.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

13 Confessions Of A Mom Barely Keeping Her Sh*t Together

Let’s be honest.

Motherhood is an enlightening, fantastic, humbling experience, but it looks nothing like Pinterest (which I’m not even on, by the way, because that shit would bug me).

It looks like this:

1. Coffee and mascara save lives.

2. It’s a good day when you don’t yell at someone.

3. I should be the one getting a toy at the end of doctor’s visits.

4. My kids don’t bat an eyelash at crust on bread, but residual plastic from the straw wrapper still stuck to their juice boxes makes me the worst mom ever.

5. The real reason why we let our kids watch TV is so we don’t implode or explode if we don’t go to the bathroom alone at least once before dinner.

6. I love when TV show characters have babies but the babies are never around.

7. I hate using the “wait ’til Dad gets home” line or “I’ll tell your dad about that.” I don’t believe in making him the bad guy. But sometimes it’s all I’ve got left, so it’s worth a try.

8. The fact that there are no sick days totally sucks. Especially since it’s my co-workers usually getting me sick.

9. It feels more incredible than anything else to be called “Mommy.”

10. Why is play cleaning so much fun, but picking up their toys is so far fetched?

11. Cutting my kids’ toenails is pure torture, for everyone involved. And to the people who say cute things like, “I always did it while they were asleep,” please know that I’m either having sex or drinking wine or both when my kids finally pass out.

12. I don’t read shitty beach reads when I finally get to sit down with a book. Instead I read all of the classics I never had to for school, or something new that really is well written and inspiring. It makes me feel like the woman I am outside of being a mom.

13. If crazy looked like something it would look like neon orange powder that once was a Goldfish cracker ground into the carpet I just vacuumed. Or it would look like me with wet, dripping hair running underwear-less underneath my bathrobe down the front sidewalk to wave the bus on that I forgot to call and cancel when my kid got sick. Crazy would also have a smell. It would be other people’s poop.

But for all these times when I feel like I’m going crazy, I know that in some love-drunk, perverse way, they truly are the best years of my life. I remind myself of this, too, as I kiss little girls’ bumps on their foreheads, and as I try to escape to the bathroom to pee. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Not Your Mother's Pregnancy

It’s 4:00 a.m. and I’m about to leave the house to catch a plane to San Francisco for work. My husband and I have been trying for several months to get pregnant, so I decide to take a pregnancy test before I leave. Much to my surprise, it’s positive. I am elated but my husband is fast asleep. What does one do? I want to tell you that I hopped on that plane without so much as a peep and devised some amazing way to share this wonderful news. But I am not that kind of woman (sorry, honey). I leaned over the bed, said goodbye and then whispered, “I’m pregnant.” Yep, I really did that — queue sad trombone music here.

That was in December. Fast forward to now, about 34 weeks later, I am still very much pregnant. During the course of this pregnancy (my second), I have tried my best to follow the “rules.”

As I carefully limit my caffeine intake and avoid deli meat, my mother shares that she nearly lived on Pepsi during her second pregnancy and doesn’t recall dietary rules of any sort. I’ve also had many choices regarding how much I want to know about my pregnancy and future child, while my mother had virtually none. She occasionally wonders out loud if the choices I’ve had are just creating undue worry.

Let me explain — after my first OB appointment I went home with a several page document outlining the types of screening and diagnostic tests available to me. Professionally I am a genetic counselor and acutely aware of everything outlined in the brochures. The choices ranged from carrier screening for inherited genetic diseases, to first trimester screening, a quad screen or non-invasive prenatal screening for chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome, and of course, the level II ultrasound. Finally, should I wish to have a definitive answer, I could also choose between chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. I’m not going to detail every test available, as there are several excellent resources already out there (here, here and here). Rather, I will simply say that things have most certainly changed over the years. Personally, I believe in having as much information as possible, so as far as I’m concerned, things have changed for the better.

And thanks to the screening I chose to do, I know quite a bit about my baby: he’s a boy, he’s unlikely to have certain chromosome problems, like Down syndrome, and he’s also unlikely to have certain other genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis or one of nearly 100 other recessive genetic diseases. I understand that the screens I underwent do not provide any guarantees, nor do they screen for everything, but I was happy to at least get a glimpse into the health of my pregnancy. I fell short of seeking out diagnostic testing that would have provided more definitive information because I simply couldn’t stomach the risk of miscarriage associated with an invasive procedure, even though I know the risk is very low.

Was I anxious while I waited for my results? Sure. Do I sometimes wonder about that damn echogenic intracardiac focus (a “soft sign” of a possible chromosome problem) found on the ultrasound? Of course. Did the screening I pursued cause undue worry? Absolutely not. I am comforted by the information I have and thankful for the choices available – both in screening and diagnostic testing and in what to do with the results. The truth is that to be a parent is to worry (that’s why my mother is worrying about undue worry, right?). But it also means to learn to live in the moment and realize that some of life’s greatest pleasures simply can’t be planned for. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Mila Kunis' Simple Explanation On How To Be A 'Great Mom'

Mila Kunis wants fellow mamas to try to not be so hard on themselves, even when mom guilt gets in the way.
The “Bad Moms” star welcomed her daughter, Wyatt, with husband Ashton Kutcher in October 2014. In an interview with A Plus (which Kutcher co-founded), Kunis revealed she felt “so much guilt” for returning to work after having Wyatt. 
“I felt like I was failing as a mother because I wasn’t there for her every minute of the day,” she said. “It took me a little while to realize that I was a better mom going back to work because when I was with her, I was present 100 percent. If you are with your kid and you are present, and you are there and you’re engaged, and you care, then you’re a great mom.” 
Kunis also stressed that the “perfect mom” doesn’t exist. If mothers are giving it their all, no one should expect anything more.
“It’s so taboo to be like, ‘I feel like I’m not perfect,’” she said. “You just have to know you’re doing the best you can, and that’s more than enough. I know I’m the best mom Wyatt’s ever had, and I’m the best mom for her.”
The “That ‘70s Shows” star had a similar message in her interview with ET Canada when she gave herself well-deserved credit for her motherhood journey.
“I’m the only mom my daughter is hopefully ever going to know and I’m the best version there is for her,” she said. “I’ve only been a mom for 21 months.”
And in those 21 months, Kunis, who is expecting another child with Kutcher, has learned what it means to truly love someone. In her interview with A Plus, she explained that she and her husband now know what it’s like to love without limits.
“I thought that I could not have greater love than the love for my husband,” Kunis said. “This is not to be cheesy, but I literally was like this must be the greatest love a human being can have and we both felt that about each other. Then, we had Wyatt and we were like, ‘Whoa!’”
Read Kunis’ interview in full at A Plus.   — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

On 18th Birthday, Bindi Irwin Shares Photo Of Steve Irwin Full Of 'Love And Light'

The daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin shared a beautifully emotional tribute to her father to celebrate a big milestone. 
For her 18th birthday this past Sunday, Bindi Irwin took to social media and posted an old baby photo of herself being held by her father, alongside her mother Terri.
And while Bindi expressed just how much she missed her father, she also offered some incredibly hopeful words about their time together. 

Hello lovelies. Well today marks 18 years of life for me, here in Australia and I really don't know where to begin in thanking so many people for an unforgettable journey so far. So I think that I'll start here, with this photograph. This photo was taken within the first year of my life. To be perfectly honest life has changed in a million ways since this photograph was taken. Along the way we gained another incredible part of our family, my brother Robert. Our conservation work with Wildlife Warriors took off around the world. Our home, Australia Zoo continued to expand and has become the greatest zoological facility on planet earth. Our Dad, Mum's soulmate and a superhero for us all, passed away. However, since this photo was taken, 18 years ago, one life ingredient has remained, unchanged, unbreakable. That is the unconditional love that is shared between my beautiful little family and the loyalty we have to eachother and everyone else who has taken this journey with us. I don't think that when this photo was taken even my beautiful parents could have known what life would evolve. I know that I am endlessly grateful for the love and light I have been given since Day 1 of my life. A photo posted by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on Jul 23, 2016 at 2:25pm PDT

“To be perfectly honest, life has changed in a million ways since this photograph was taken. … Our Dad, Mum’s soulmate and a superhero for us all, passed away,” Bindi wrote. “…One life ingredient has remained, unchanged, unbreakable. That is the unconditional love that is shared between my beautiful little family and the loyalty we have to each other and everyone else who has taken this journey with us.” 

The 18-year-old, who celebrated with her family and boyfriend Chandler Powell at the Australia Zoo’s “Camping with the Stars”- themed birthday event, described the changes that have occurred since the photo was taken. Along with the birth of her brother Robert, the teen also explained that she’s witnessed the work of her parents’ organization, Wildlife Warriors, flourish as well as the expansion of the Australia Zoo, which she calls “home.”
She wrote that reflecting on the trajectory of her life, she feels simply thankful. 

….leading on from my last post, I have so much happiness in my heart for the journey to come. Being 18 and embarking upon my adult years, I can't predict what life will have in store for me. All I know is that I will try my very best to make a difference in this world with each moment that I'm given. Life is constantly evolving and I'm determined to find the light and love around every corner and share this with everyone who is a part of my story. Thank you so much to every single soul who took the time to read these last two posts, it means so much. I can't wait to see what is yet to come. A photo posted by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on Jul 23, 2016 at 2:26pm PDT

“I don’t think that when this photo was taken even my beautiful parents could have known what life would evolve,” she wrote. “I know that I am endlessly grateful for the love and light I have been given since Day 1 of my life.”
 In a follow-up Instagram post, she wrote that though she doesn’t know what adulthood will bring, she’s committed to creating a bright future.  
“All I know is that I will try my very best to make a difference in this world with each moment that I’m given,” she wrote. “Life is constantly evolving and I’m determined to find the light and love around every corner and share this with everyone who is a part of my story.” — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Ben Vereen On His Decision To Promote Arts Education At The DNC

“Life, itself, is an art form,” according to actor Ben Vereen.
This belief is why the legendary entertainer wants to help preserve the country’s artistic legacy by promoting creative thinking in business and politics.
During the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 26 Vereen plans to advocate for arts education in schools by speaking on behalf of the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing arts education, American’s for the Arts.
Vereen told The Huffington Post in an interview that the next generation of world leaders can benefit greatly from the intersection of the arts and politics. 
“In order to do what we do in society, [it’s] gotta come from the creative aspect of art,” Vereen told HuffPost. “The politicians need it in order to move society or civilization into a forum which is supposed to be better for the people. Everyone has their own agenda, but an agenda comes from a breath of creativity. My want is that they [politicians] will consider putting [the] arts back into school[s] full force for our children who can make a better difference in our world if we give them the tools that they need.”
The Tony Award winner went on to say that this “creative aspect” for children can be achieved by having access to key tools, such as: art supplies and music instruments, which can provide them with the chance to explore career opportunities.
“I’m not saying everybody’s got to be a song and dance man or an artist, or whatever aspect that we separate ourselves from,” he said. “We need our creative thinking people in politics, in corporations to think on the up, rather than the down.”
A 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership found that students who were exposed to drama, music and dance may have a better chance at mastering reading, writing and math. But there have been other reports which have suggested that arts programs tend to be the first thing cut from school’s facing budget issues.
As a solution, Verveen said he wants to urge Americans to empower themselves by working in conjunction with the government in order to see an effective change in schools nationwide. 
“We turn to the government, a lot, and expect them to do things, but we must do the things that need to be done,” he said. “We are the thinkers that make things happen. My want is that they [politicians] go back into the communities and say, ‘we must become a force for the arts.’ We need government funding in order to keep the arts alive, yes. But the funding comes from us. So we need to reallocate where that funding goes.”
For more info on American’s for the Arts click here. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families