She graduated with honors
Rosa Salgado fulfilled her long-held American dream this past weekend—right alongside her two grandchildren.
The 79-year-old Colombian immigrant donned a cap and gown Saturday to receive her associate of arts in education degree from Miami Dade College, the same day two of her grandchildren received their diplomas from the same institution, reports the Miami Herald.
“My grandchildren, my family, they’ve grown up watching my activity and they are going to learn and fight in life and overcome obstacles,” Salgado, who graduated with honors, told the paper.
The degree is the payoff of a journey Salgado began two decades earlier when she arrived in Miami knowing little English, but determined to create a better life for herself and her family.
According to NBC Miami, the mother of three learned English, enrolled in school and took a job at Miami Dade College’s child care center, at times taking five bus routes to get to school and work via public transportation.
She also suffered a setback 10 years ago when her youngest daughter fell into a coma after an accident, and Salgado needed to reduce her course load to care for her.
“She had some personal setbacks and she beat them all and she’s here graduating. I’m very proud of her,” Sara Bulnes, one of her former professors, told the Herald.
Her family is also proud of the almost-octogenarian.
David Salgado, who graduated with the same degree as his grandmother, told NBC Miami, “For me and my family, for her to take this one step graduating, it fills my heart.”
With degree in hand, Salgado says she plans to head to work, ideally writing children’s books.
“I’m very happy,” she beamed. “Thanks to everybody who helped me.”
Though she's a mom to 7-month-old Esmeralda, Mendes says she's honoring her own mother this weekend
This coming Mother’s Day will be Eva Mendes’ first since becoming a mom herself, but the actress doesn’t think she’s worthy of celebration yet.
“I kind of feel like I haven’t quite earned my stripes yet in a way,” Mendes, who welcomed daughter Esmeralda with Ryan Gosling in September, told Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday. “She’s seven months [old].”
But that doesn’t mean she’s ignoring the holiday altogether—she’s just putting the focus on her own mother that day.
“This Mother’s Day is definitely all about my mom,” Mendes said. “She’s had a really hard year. My brother’s sick, so it’s all about my mom, honoring her. We’re all going to go over to her house and bombard her with love.”
Hint: It doesn't involve flowers.
A recent survey found that more than three-quarters of adults would choose to celebrate Mother’s Day over Father’s Day if both parent appreciation holidays fell on the same day. I agree with the 78%, largely for the same reasons the participants in the survey enumerated. My wife spends countless off-work hours contemplating and anticipating our 14-month-old’s needs—Which foods can he consume? Which music classes should he attend? What is his room’s ideal temperature?—while my role is closer to that of Babe the Blue Ox.
On Mother’s Day people generally show their appreciation in the form of presents and attention. (The word “flowers” is searched more often in middle May than around Valentine’s Day.) Children prepare breakfast and write sweet cards, and the day usually ends with a picnic or a dinner in mom’s honor. For the past few weeks, multinational corporations have been utilizing all the screens that occupy my life to persuade me to buy their products. Last year I bought my wife a massage. This year I’m considering a scarf.
But there’s something a touch cynical, or at least incongruous, about Mother’s Day. Dads praise moms for the multitude of roles (breadwinner, caretaker, chef) they take on to help the family function, even as the guys don’t quite pull their own weight the rest of the year. So in addition to deciding between a rose-gold watch and white-gold earrings, dads should consider adapting their behavior in the following ways.
Pull your weight
Fathers today certainly contribute more to household responsibilities than their fathers did. In 1965, fathers spent 42 hours a week on the job and less than three hours on child care. Today’s dads look after the kids seven hours a week, and average 37 hours of paid work, per Pew Research Center. Moms tend to the kids for 14 hours a week, while averaging 21 hours on paid work.
When it comes to housework, dads put in about 10 hours a week compared with 18 for moms. Working mothers spend more time during the week on parental responsibilities that their husbands, and fathers even do less child care and housework on the weekends than moms. Dads still find the time to engage in more leisure activity. Eschewing a round of golf for babysitting duties should not be a headline-making event.
Support working moms
Only 12% of American workers have access to paid family leave, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By way of comparison, 26% of Americans believe in the existence of witches. Many pixels and column inches have highlighted just how much better other nations treat new families. (You can find a nice graphic here.)
Of course someone has to pay for this country’s insanely expensive child care. The average bill depends on where you live, with married couples in Colorado, for instance, allocating about 15% of their income to day care. Massachusetts parents fork over more than $16,500 a year. That’s around $2,500 less than in-state tuition and fees at UMass Amherst.
As child care costs have skyrocketed, women are leaving the workforce. In 1999, 23% of moms did not work outside the home. By 2012, that percentage had risen to 29%. And the average number of hours worked by mothers declined slightly between 1995 and 2011. The female labor force participation rate has dropped by about 3.5 percentage points over the past 15 years, now well below other advanced nations.
Meanwhile 60% of Americans believe that children are better off with a parent at home, per Pew. Mothers, and fathers for that matter, should stay at home if that’s what they feel is best for their family. But the idea that one choice is better than another strikes me as anachronistic. I for one am proud that Luke will grow up with a working mom.
I don’t mean to suggest that dads should spend mom’s Sunday engaged in a wonky debate about gender equality. But I do think that dads would do well to appreciate the disadvantages endemic to our society, and in the division of household chores. Its benefits may be longer lasting than flowers.
More From the First-Time Dad:
- Why Millennials Are in for a Worse Midlife Crisis than their Parents
- The One Benefit All Millennials Should Consider Before Accepting a Job
- Read This Before Taking a Road Trip with a Baby
- How to Cook a Real Dinner for Your Family…and Finish Before 9 p.m.
- Why Work-Life Balance is Just as Impossible for Dads
Show your love for that extraordinary woman in your life
If you can’t find a card with the right sentiment, personalize this floral watercolor greeting by just filling in the blank. (Think of it as a maternal Mad Lib!) Hand-lettered and printed on white cardstock by Vine & Thistle, it’s a great way to thank your mom for being a teacher—in addition to chief cook, bottle-washer, and…fill in the blank!
To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.
No, you don’t get to choose your parents, but this bold, simple statement will let Mom know that she was—and always will be—the right choice. The handmade, hefty white-linen card (from Row House 14, a small company specializing in bespoke cards and stationery) is blank inside and comes with a cheery yellow envelope.
To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.
Give mom the ultimate compliment: You want to be just like her—but probably won’t achieve that lofty goal. On the inside, the card reads “that would mean a whole lot.” And you have the option of adding this quote from Philippians 1:3 on the back: “I thank my God every time I remember you.” Made with recycled paper, the card is printed on heavy stock.
To buy: $4, etsy.com.
Perfect for a variety of influential women (a stepmom, mentor, aunt, and more) this card will let that special lady in your life know what a, well, maternal influence she’s had—and that we sometimes find honorary parents even outside the biological family. The colorful card is paired with a tan paper envelope.
To buy: $4.50, emilymcdowell.com.
For 25 percent off purchases of $10 or more, use coupon code REALSIMPLELOVE (valid through April 17).
Celebrate Mom by complimenting her parenting skills (and give yourself a little pat on the back in the process) with this bold, tongue-in-cheek card. The simple message on the inside reads “Happy Mother’s Day,” and the card is paired with your choice of envelope. (We like the bright blue shown here.)
To buy: $5, etsy.com.
Sure, you remember those painful middle-school years—and probably wish you could have skipped right over them. But poke fun at your past on mom’s behalf with this throwback to the days of braces, big glasses, and frizzy hair. After all, Mom thought you were a swan even in your ugly-duckling days.
To buy: $4, etsy.com.
When it comes to her children, Mom’s not supposed to play favorites, of course, but you can still pretend you’re Number One (think Marcia, not Jan!) with this whimsically entitled sentiment. Printed on recycled paper, the card is hand-drawn and blank inside, so you can consider using it to apologize to your siblings!
To buy: $4, etsy.com.
Mother-in-Laws have been the butt of more punch lines than Rodney Dangerfield or Henny Youngman could count. But let your partner’s mom in on the joke—and show her some love in the process—with this snarky and sweet card. She’ll appreciate you thought of her, too—all kidding aside.
To buy: $3.50, etsy.com.
For the daughter who doesn’t mince words, this bright card gives Mom the ultimate compliment—and in no uncertain terms. It’s perfect if you like to get right to the point, but the card’s inside is blank in case the cover’s sentiment is not, in fact, the end of the story. (Additional periods optional!)
To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.
Best friends first, mother and daughter second? If the Gilmore Girls’ chatty, companionable mother-and-daughter dynamic reflects your rapid-fire relationship with your own mom, this greeting card is just right. Consider giving it to her at the local diner you both love—and maybe add a few “Gilmoreisms” on the note inside.
To buy: $3.50, etsy.com.
Whether you and your mom have a long-distance relationship or are practically neighbors, this card will show her that, zip codes and geography aside, your heart is always with her. Made by Stranger Days, a company that specializes in “greeting cards for emotional people,” the card comes with a matching envelope and is blank inside. It’s also suitable for framing.
To buy: $4, etsy.com.
This card is both hilarious and, well, accurate. Though it may hit a bit too close to home (literally), it’ll make mom feel like she’s both needed and appreciated. If you really can’t cook, consider treating her to dinner on her special day—even if it’s just her favorite takeout. (As long as you clean up!)
To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.
Give your favorite baby-beleaguered new mom a much-needed laugh (and maybe even a confidence boost) with this irreverent (and, uh, graphic) handmade card. She’ll love knowing that—even sleep-deprived, and covered in infant upchuck—she still looks great. This card comes with a tan paper envelope (but no bib, alas).
To buy: $4.50, etsy.com.
More from Real Simple:
Three hundred years ago, the new royal princess might not have been in the line of succession
The new royal princess, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, younger sister to the heir to the British throne, could ascend to the throne one day—but right now, she is fourth in line, after grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William and her older brother George.
But had it not been for a now-obscure 1701 law, the baby might not have been royal at all, much less fourth in line for the throne. The ancestor that the royal baby has to thank for its place in the line of succession is Sophia, Electress of Hanover.
Here’s what happened: as explained by the official website of the British monarchy, the late 17th century wasn’t exactly a stable time in England. King James II had created some major disgruntlement by converting to Catholicism—the King of England is the head of the (Protestant) Church of England, so that was a problem—and ended up fleeing the country. His daughter, Mary II, and her husband, William of Orange (William III), were Protestant, and ended up being given the throne by Parliament.
Around that time, as that side of James II’s family took the throne—rather than the Catholic children produced by his second marriage—Parliament passed a bill that was an attempt to settle who would inherit the throne, in order to avoid future revolutions and wars, which had tended to happen whenever that question didn’t have a clear answer.
Except the people to whom the law applied didn’t exactly cooperate by producing heirs. By 1700, Mary was dead and William was sick. Mary’s sister Anne, who was next in line as the oldest Protestant child of James II, had no more surviving children.
So Parliament made another law, the Act of Settlement of 1701, that said that the heirs of James I’s granddaughter, Sophia of Hanover, would be the heirs to the throne. When Queen Anne died in 1714, Sophia’s son became King George I. George I’s great-great-great-granddaughter was Queen Victoria, whose great-great-granddaughter is the current Queen Elizabeth.
But were it not for that 1701 act, the Catholic children of James II might have made a claim to the throne—at least, that’s what the people who wrote the act worried—and the new baby would have been just a random, extremely distant cousin of the actual royals.
But the Act of Settlement isn’t the only law that affects the young princess’ place in line. Until recently, she could have been bumped down if she ever had a younger brother. In 2011, the Act of Settlement was tweaked before Prince George’s birth, to ensure succession would not be affected by gender or by marriage to a Catholic. (Previously, daughters came to the throne only when there were no sons available.)
Even so, the monarch is still prohibited from being Catholic him or herself—something that has drawn criticism from those who wanted the reforms to go even further.
The joy and terror of teenage hormones
Even the president and his first lady, it seems, are not immune to the terror of teenage hormones.
Michelle Obama stopped by The Late Show on Thursday and commiserated with David Letterman over the “cloud” that sometimes passes over his 11-year-old son, Harry. “All of a sudden, all we do is argue and reason escapes the planet!”
“Yeah, you’re in that phase,” replied Michelle, assuring him that it does go away, but that she’s currently dealing with that situation in the White House – but wouldn’t confirm whether it was Malia, 16, or Sasha, 13.
“We have one who generally stays here,” she said, holding her hand flat out in front of her, “and one we call our ‘Grumpy Cat.’ Our ‘Salty Biscuit.’ You just never know what you’re gonna get from that one!”
The first lady also shared that Malia recently obtained her driver’s license – and that it’s a great way to get her to run errands.
As Letterman pointed out, there’s nothing like raising children in the White House to add to the pressure of parenting. However, “we treat them normally,” said Michelle. “We don’t let our circumstance become an excuse for them.”
“See, I do,” Letterman joked. “My son thinks he’s being raised in the White House.”
His children were going to support him at the Boston Marathon
Pennsylvania dad Mike Rossi had been planning for years to run the Boston Marathon and bring along his family to see him make it to the finish line.
“It was an important moment for our family,” Rossi tells PEOPLE about his decision to run this years’ grueling race. It was about teaching his kids about “accomplishing a goal and the value of hard work and dedication.”
Before the 26-mile race, his wife emailed teachers letting them know that their two third graders would be out of school for three days.
“They knew for months we were going,” says Rossi. “My wife emailed them and told them they would be out and why they wouldn’t be there. We were truthful: ‘Their father is going to run the Boston Marathon.’ ”
However, when they returned, Rossi got a letter, dated April 22, from Rochelle Marbury, the principal of Rydal Elementary School, saying the time off the children took had been officially marked as “unexcused.”
The letter also warned Rossi that, “an accumulation of unexcused absences can result in a referral to our attendance officer and a subsequent notice of a violation of the compulsory school attendance law.”
“It struck me as nasty,” says Rossi. “Getting the letter rubbed us the wrong way and I reacted.”
Rossi posted the letter on his personal Facebook page along with his own critical response. The letter and his response quickly went viral and Rossi has since become the father of the moment, viewed by many as fighting back against the zero-tolerance policy of the school district that is thought to be outdated and nonsensical.
In his response, Rossi argued that in the three days his children missed school they not only learned about “dedication, commitment, love, perseverance, overcoming adversity, civic pride, patriotism, American history, culinary arts and physical education” but “watched their father overcome injury, bad weather, the death of a loved one and many other obstacles to achieve an important personal goal.”
“While I appreciate your concern for our children’s education, I can promise you they learned as much in the five days we were in Boston as they would in an entire year in school,” he wrote.
While in Boston, Rossi wrote that they walked the Freedom Trail, visited the site of the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, and visited the graves of several signers of the Declaration of Independence.
“It was a life-teaching moment they will never forget,” he says. “It was teaching them lessons about life. It was one of those moments. In 25 years, they will remember being with dad at the Boston Marathon.”
In a letter posted on the Abington School District website, school board president Raymond McGarry wrote about his support for principal Marbury and their district policy.
“It’s up to an individual family to decide whether a particular trip is worth taking their children out of school,” he said. “And when that happens, it’s the school district’s obligation to let the parents know what the law and policies are – and what the potential consequences are if the policies are abused.”
Since his post went viral, Rossi says he met up with school officials to discuss the policy Wednesday.
“It was a good meeting,” says Rossi. “It was productive. They are obviously not thrilled how this has taken off and the light it has cast them in. It was not my intention. It is this policy I don’t agree with. It is one of those ‘zero-tolerance policies so no one has to make a decision’ policies.”
Rossi says he has no regrets about posting his response but says he feels badly about the viral attacks directed towards the principal.
“The principal unfortunately has become the bad guy and has taken a lot of heat and personal attacks and I feel really badly about that,” he says. “I didn’t intend that to happen. My letter was not personal. I have got some personal attacks myself. It should not be me against the principal. I had a disagreement with the policy and let’s have some good dialogue about it.”
“I feel strongly as a parent that we have the right to be able to take our kids on a trip like that or any other trip,” he adds. “I was just trying to say how important this trip was.”
We all have our preferences for cheap thrills when it's warm outside. What's your top choice?
The origins of 'Jack and Jill' aren’t as clean-cut as you imagined
In the canon of great horror writing, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley tend to dominate the craft. But Mother Goose isn’t too far behind. Yes, that fictional grande dame of kiddie poems has got a bit of a dark streak, as evidenced by the unexpectedly sinister theories surrounding the origins of these 11 well-known nursery rhymes.
Though most scholars agree that “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is about the Great Custom, a tax on wool that was introduced in 1275, its use of the color black and the word “master” led some to wonder whether there was a racial message at its center. Its political correctness was called into question yet again in the latter part of the 20th century, with some schools banning it from being repeated in classrooms, and others simply switching out the word “black” for something deemed less offensive. In 2011, news.com.au reported on the proliferation of “Baa, Baa Rainbow Sheep” as an alternative.
It’s hard to imagine that any rhyme with the phrase “goosey goosey” in its title could be described as anything but feel good. But it’s actually a tale of religious persecution, during the days when Catholic priests would hide themselves in order to say their Latin-based prayers, a major no-no at the time—not even in the privacy of one’s own home. In the original version, the narrator comes upon an old man “who wouldn’t say his prayers. So I took him by his left leg. And threw him down the stairs.” Ouch!
Admit it, you fooled around with the lyrics to “Jack and Jill” a bit yourself when you were younger, turning what you thought was an innocent poem into something a little bit naughty. But its origins aren’t as clean-cut as you probably imagined. One of the most common theories surrounding the story’s origin is that it’s about France’s Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who were both found guilty of treason and subsequently beheaded. The only problem is that those events occurred nearly 30 years after “Jack and Jill” was first written. The more likely possibility is that it’s an account of King Charles I’s attempt to reform the tax on liquid measures. When Parliament rejected his suggestion, he instead made sure that the volume was reduced on half- and quarter-pints, known as jacks and gills, respectively.
In 2006, Fergie got saucy with some of this classic kid tune’s lyrics. But the original song wasn’t much better. Depending on whom you ask, “London Bridge is Falling Down” could be about a 1014 Viking attack, child sacrifice, or the normal deterioration of an old bridge. But the most popular theory seems to be that first one. More specifically: the alleged destruction of London Bridge at the hands of Olaf II of Norway some time in the early 1000s. (“Alleged” because some historians don’t believe that attack ever took place.) The song’s popularity around the world is often cited as further proof that it was the Vikings who created it, believing that they brought the tune to the many places they traveled. Oh, and that whole child sacrifice thing? That’s an idea that is also often debated (there’s no archaeological evidence to support it), but the theory goes that in order to keep London Bridge upright, its builders believed that it must be built on a foundation of human sacrifice, and that those same humans—mostly children—would help to watch over the bridge and maintain its sturdiness. Which we’re pretty sure isn’t a practice they teach you in architecture school.
“Contrary” is one way to describe a murderous psychopath. This popular English nursery rhyme, which reads like a solicitation for gardening advice, is actually a recounting of the homicidal nature of Queen Mary I of England, a.k.a. Bloody Mary. A fierce believer in Catholicism, her reign as queen—from 1553 to 1558—was marked by the execution of hundreds of Protestants. (Silver bells and cockle shells are torture devices, not garden accouterments.)
“Three Blind Mice” is supposedly yet another ode to Bloody Mary’s reign, with the trio in question believed to be a group of Protestant bishops—Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Radley, and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer—who (unsuccessfully) conspired to overthrow the queen and were burned at the stake for their heresy. Critics suggest that the blindness in the title refers to their religious beliefs.
No, there’s nothing particularly inflammatory about the lines “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo, Catch a tiger by his toe.” But there is when you consider that the word “tiger” is a relatively new development in this counting rhyme, as a replacement for the n-word. Even with the lyrical switch-out, any reference to the poem still has the ability to offend. In 2004, two passengers sued Southwest Airlines was for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress, following an incident where a flight attendant used the rhyme in a humorous fashion during takeoff when she told passengers: “Eeny meeny miny mo, Please sit down it’s time to go.” (The court sided with the airline.)
“Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” is often sung as part of a children’s game. According to historian R. S. Duncan, a former governor of England’s Wakefield Prison, the song originated with that 420-year-old institution’s female prisoners, who were exercised around a mulberry tree. Which is probably not the connotation your six-year-old self had in mind.
One interpretation of this famous lullaby is that it is about the son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena. It is widely believed that the boy was not their son at all, but a child who was brought into the birthing room and passed off as their own in order to ensure a Roman Catholic heir to the throne.
Considering that some of today’s classic nursery rhymes are more than two centuries old, there are often several theories surrounding their origins—and not a lot of sound proof about which argument is correct. But of all the alleged nursery rhyme backstories, “Ring Around the Rosie” is probably the most infamous. Though its lyrics and even its title have gone through some changes over the years, the most popular contention is that the sing-songy verse refers to the 1665 Great Plague of London.“The rosie” is the rash that covered the afflicted, the smell from which they attempted to cover up with “a pocket full of posies.” The plague killed nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, which makes the final verse—“Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down”—rather self-explanatory.
But Snopes labels this reading false, and quotes folklorist Philip Hiscock with a more likely suggestion: That the nursery rhyme probably has its origins “in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as here in North America. Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban with what was called in the United States the ‘play-party.’ Play-parties consisted of ring games which differed from square dances only in their name and their lack of musical accompaniment. They were hugely popular, and younger children got into the act, too.”
To many, “Old Mother Hubbard” is not a mother at all—nor a woman. The poem is speculated to have been written as a mockery of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, whose refusal to grant an annulment to King Henry VIII, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, led to his political downfall.
More from Mental Floss: