Design by Sawyer Pennington


Just Like Mom?

One of the things that drove Red crazy growing up was when our mother asked everyone questions. Lots and lots of questions. But that was due to the fact that Red was a quiet, unassuming child who disliked attention of any sort. However, as she grew up, she realized how else do you find answers? Black, on the other hand, rarely asks personal questions, figuring if you want her to know something, you'll volunteer it. But, that doesn't mean she doesn't ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. (WARNING! Her favorite one is, "Why?")

Send Us Your Questions!

We'd love to say that as soon as we get a question, we'll drop everything and post an answer. (Especially since Red gets very excited to see them arrive in her inbox.) But who are we kidding? That's never going to happen. But you get it! All of us have more things on our "to do" lists than time to get it all done.

So, here's our plan … Signup for Red & Black in your inbox on the "sticky bar" at the bottom of this page, as that's who we invite to submit questions to Red, Black, or both of us. We promise to read your questions almost immediately, and to respond to those questions we think will be of most interest to our followers. Plus, we promise to post our answers as soon as we can!

Design by Sawyer Pennington


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My children are no longer young. My younger daughter is now a teenager, so between her friends and social media, she's bombarded with different messages and information. Luckily, ever since she was young, I made sure she felt comfortable coming to me with questions or even just her thoughts. (She still does.) So, I think besides making sure your explanations are age-appropriate (I used to have a tendency to provide way more information than necessary), I think it's critical that your child knows not to bottle up any emotions or confusion about information they're seeing. I usually could tell when there was something bothering them, and if they didn't say anything, I'd gently try to start a conversation. The most important thing you can do is let them know they have a "safe space" with you to discuss what they're feeling and thinking.


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First, to address the elephant in the room, we fully appreciate the topics of discussion will be different for people of different races, but that does not change the fact … Communication is absolutely essential.

Although I do not have children, I believe that children are born as "clean slates" with no preconceived beliefs or opinions. However, I also believe that children are sponges and "learn" from everyone around them. Especially people they look up to and trust. That means you need to be very careful of what they may hear you say – not only when you talk with them, but also out loud to yourself (if you are like me, and sometimes talk back to the computer screen) or to another person. Children will parrot their parents and others they see as role models, in both words and actions.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington


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I'm guessing this is due to the pandemic, but before that you could substitute "children" for "partner" so I'll give you my "mom" perspective (although dealing with children may be easier). Anyway, when the girls were young and "driving me crazy" I decided to follow Black's advice – rather than trying to be the "perfect mom" all the time, I just did a timeout. For me, not the girls! I'd find a way to take a short break from them. The same was true when my husband got fired and was home all the time. Then I'd escape with a magazine to Starbucks or, even better, a movie. With the pandemic, you might not be comfortable with those options, so maybe a walk? A very long walk if they're driving you really crazy.


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As Red noted, being around people (even those you love) "too much" is not a new phenomenon – the pandemic just brought it home to so many people (sorry, could not resist). Find some space when you need it – and accept the fact you and your partner might need space at different times. I suspect that you are driving your partner crazy, too. Do not take it personally, and recognize everyone has very different coping strategies. (Red likes to default to her theater degree and get emotional, and I have learned telling her to "calm down" only makes it worse.) Try to have a quiet conversation to acknowledge the situation, talk things through, and, if possible, laugh about it. But you may want to position it as, "I need to figure out how to be less cranky when I get overwhelmed" versus "You are driving me crazy!"
Design by Sawyer Pennington


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Honestly, I just don't know. My heart hurts for the families of those that passed in such a tragic and senseless way. This could be any of us! This could be me or my girls. We all live our lives, never thinking, until such a horrific event happens, that merely doing something as ordinary and routine as going to the grocery store could end everything. Is it better gun control? Is it more emphasis on mental health? Is it getting back, if that's even possible, to where we just have more respect and tolerance for each other as human beings? The answer, of course, is all of the above. The problem is how do we, as a country, as a people, make this happen?!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Obviously, two mass shootings in less than a week, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, have placed a renewed spotlight on the problem of gun violence, and have people asking how can we stop it. This is not my area of expertise, but (of course), I have my opinions. There are various highly-emotional and highly-political gun-related strategies that involve changes to gun laws that will be debated, and this will also re-focus attention on mental health issues. However, what I think is just as critical is what is happening in terms of legislation in so many states that would result in voter suppression. Currently, in some places, it is easier to buy a gun than to register to vote. Think about that …