Category Archives: Michelle and Debbie – Opinionated MAMAs

About O-MAMA’s Democratic Voice: Michelle Tingler
Michelle grew up in Rochester Hills, MI, raised by a single father. A graduate of the University of Michigan and former VP, Management Supervisor at Dailey & Associates Advertising in Los Angeles, CA, she left her advertising career when her first child was born in 1999. However, her professional skills overlapped into her role as a mother – every birthday party was approached like an integrated marketing campaign; every holiday assigned an innovative theme with broad family appeal.

Happily married for 13 years, Michelle has been a busy, engaged, stay-at-home mom of three kids, a dog, and a tortoise for nine of them. Michelle became engaged in political issues during the 2008 Presidential campaign and, again, merged her learned skills in both advertising and motherhood with her new passion – politics. The idea for O-MAMA was born. Michelle now spends her days talking with moms all across America, as well as the media, empowering moms to be a voice in the country’s most important conversations.

About O-MAMA’s Republican Voice: Debbie Devine
Nothing is ordinary about this Southern California Republican. She grew up in Corona del Mar, CA, graduated from the University of Southern California, and was raised by parents who are still married after 45 years. Typical. But Debbie studied abroad, became fluent in Spanish, and spent her career years working for Telemundo, CNN en Español, and CNN International, where she helped launch television programs and networks in Spain, Mexico, and Turkey. Surprise!
Finally, motherhood took precedence and Deb traded in her international globe-trotting career for a second one teaching Spanish. She owns and operates a student travel business that takes middle school and high school students to Latin America to help them become global citizens. Her goal is to get kids :out of the bubble” of the United States, use their language skills and perform community service projects.
Debbie is a divorced mother of two great kids and a dog. Her enthusiasm for motherhood, teaching, travel, and news is infectious. O-MAMA integrates all of her experiences and interests and she and Michelle enjoy sharing their passion with America’s moms on the site as well as spreading the message and mission of O-MAMA to a national audience.

To see Michelle and Debbie in action, click here to view their latest video:

Lucky Charm

Top of the morning to you, O’mamas!

Let St. Patrick’s Day inspire you to invoke the leprechaun spirit and play a little hooky. A recharged and rejuvinated MAMA provides balance.  Plus, it’ll give you some time to come up with all sorts of fun ideas of where to put the green food coloring!  (-:  In Chicago, they turn the river green.  In D.C., they turn the fountain in front of the White House green.  In our house, we turn the toilet water green!?! What do you do for fun in your house on St. Patrick’s Day?

We know your kids are your lucky charms, but don’t forget to take a MOMent to kick back and relax. You deserve it!

Change begins at home.™

-Michelle & Deb

“Balancing It All”

Moms know how hard it is to find the balance in our lives and keep it. We’ve got love and marriage, kids and family, business and pleasure, budgets and binkies…MAMAs balance it all.  We need advice on how to remain steady because motherhood is a constant balancing act and we try so hard not to drop the ball.

Opinionated MAMA is proud to announce that we are bringing our opinions on news and events from a mom’s perspective to The Balancing Act blog.  Tuesdays are #balancedtuesdays.  Check in today and let us know how you balance it all, MAMAs!?

Change begins at home.™

-Michelle & Deb

Balancing It All

MAMAs know how hard it is to find the balance in our lives and keep it. We’ve got love and marriage, kids and family, business and pleasure, budgets and binkies…MAMAs balance it all, so tune in today to The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television – sometimes we need some advice on how to keep all of our balls in the air, right MAMAS?

O-MAMA is proud to announce that we are on set today talking about “the playground of politics!” And, we are bringing our opinons on news and events from a moms’ perspective to The Balancing Act blog every month. Now MAMAs have another outlet in which our voices can be heard. Tune in!

Change begins at home.™

THE STATE OF OUR UNION: Opinionated MAMA's Perspective on "Keeping It Together"


When the honeymoon is over and the day-to-day grind of real life begins, it takes a lot of hard work to create a healthy, happy…more perfect…union. Whether we are talking about the state of our country or the state of our own marriage and family, the message is the same. We need to take time to evaluate what is working, what isn’t and figure out how to adjust accordingly. If we are in a dysfunctional relationship, it is hard to deal with any problems, big or small. Never mind an economic crisis, healthcare crisis, education crisis, natural disasters, terrorist threats and wars. It is too much. If we go into any relationship expecting it to fail, then it will fail. If we go into it committed to making it work, regardless of the circumstances or the magnitude of the problems, then we have a chance.

There has been a lot of stress on our union in the past few years. We certainly don’t need to add to the drama by “kitchen sinking” all the time. We’ve made mistakes. We need to fix them and move on.  We are a nation that is confused and scared, wondering how we racked up so many bills and let ourselves go over the years.  The things we care about seem to be upside down – from our country’s infrastructure falling apart to our own homes being under water, from the value of a dollar to our family values, from our blind faith in religious leaders to revered football coaches. We kind of feel like crap about it.

All the political bickering is not helping.  It’s like fighting in front of the kids – it stresses everybody out! We want to know that we will be o.k., that as dysfunctional as it seems sometimes, we are still committed to each other and will do whatever it takes to keep our American family strong. We want accountability and consequences for past mistakes, otherwise, how will we know you get it?  How will we know that you understand how much it hurt us?  How will we know that things can really get better?  We can pretend.  We have to be honest with each other.  And, yes, we should let each other up for the little things, but it’s so hard when we are not constructive and keep tearing each other apart.  So, for the sake of the kids, we need to get our priorities straight and remember what’s really important…for better or worse, we’re in this together.

Communication is not just about “talking,” it’s about connecting.  We can communicate with a look, a touch, a gesture, if we are truly connected. If we respect each other and trust each other, then communication is easier. Respect and trust are the foundation.  If we earn each other’s respect – if we feel it, really feel it – then trust comes and the inverse is true, too.  If we trust that our partner has our family’s best interests in mind at all times, we will respect him for it.  We might not always agree, but those shared values will get us through the toughest times.  Because, let’s face it, there will be a lot of tough times…and they can bring us closer or they will tear us apart.

Today, as we reflect on the state of our country, we will determine if the solutions presented meet our needs. Do we have the same dreams for our union? Do we have the patience to make things work for the long term, or not? Do we believe that things can really change? Will our children have a better future?

The President’s speech must translate to a happy home for our family…our American family. Because if our home is broken, figuratively or literally, then we won’t be able to focus on much else until we pick up the pieces. The bottom line is that we wake up every day and we have a choice to work on it or not. Like Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Good advice for us as moms and for us as a nation.

Change begins at home.

–  Michelle & Deb

REALITY BITES: Resolutions That “Don’t Bite Off More Than MAMAs Can Chew"

We’re sick of pretending like we’re going to join a gym, lose the same 10 lbs. as we’ve pledged before and finally fit into our skinny jeans.  Really?  Who cares?  Not us, or we’d do it.  So, how about just resolving to do what we can do? Let’s embrace the Spanks and stop dumping so many unrealistic expectations on ourselves all at once – to stop smoking, stop swearing, stop eating crap, oh my.  To find yourself, to find the love of your life, to win the lottery…and on and on? Paaaaleeeeease. Stop. Take a deep breath and realize that January 1st is just one day – so, we don’t have to “bite off more than we can chew.”  Instead, just try to nibble away at some things all year long.

1. stop setting double digit weight loss goals – keep expectations low and consider any missing ounces an accomplishment

2. say “no” a lot more – not just to your kids and their whining, but to everyone who asks you to do stuff you really don’t want to do or have time to do

3. don’t wear sweats every day – change it up and make sure you still fit into your fat jeans

4. throw out the granny panties in your drawer – good grief, we all have them and some of us have ones with holes…comfy, shmumfy, they’re heinous so dump ’em

5. use paper plates when you have “friends” over – you’ll be happy you don’t have to do dishes and they’ll be happy they don’t have to help you

6. take a holiday from waxing (or doing anything painful to yourself in the name of beauty) – that’s right, instead of dreaming of a spa day, give yourself a real break and go au naturel for awhile in 2011

7. don’t listen to radio Disney when your kids aren’t in the car – it’s not cool, it’s kind of embarrassing that we know the words to Justin Bieber, so change the channel, pump up the volume and rock out to your faves because you ROCK MAMA

8. stop driving around looking for the closest parking spot – instead, park in the farthest spot and consider it your “exercise”

9. consider “warming up dinner” as the same as cooking dinner – no one is preparing julienned vegetables when you’ve got three kids to get to and fro, homework and scrub downs every night, so consider heating up left-overs or buying prepared foods the new “home-cooked” meal – it counts

10. don’t pretend to have a headache – take 2 aspirin, close your eyes and remember what you actually like about the person in bed next to you

Sometimes we’ve got to cut ourselves some slack, ladies.  We do it all – sometimes with grace and sometimes like a klutz, but we still get it done.  Start the year off resolved to take things day by day – know that you’re doing the best you can and you’re going to try some stuff and you’re going to blow off some stuff.  But at the end of the day, when you tuck your kids in safe and sound, know you did a good job that day.  And, let that be enough.  We hope that 2012 brings you a lot of good days, MAMAS!  Happy New Year.

O-MAMA's Tips For Faking The "Perfect" Family" Holiday


Faking the perfect family takes years of practice, so MAMAs don’t put too much pressure on yourselves for perfecting it immediately.  With one major holiday down, here are some tips that can give us a head start on the next one!

1. The perfect family photo/holiday card

Really? Why do we pick out matching clothes for our kids and expect that a) they are going to like it, b) it will make them smile bigger and behave better, c) it looks even remotely like our kids every other day of the year

Solution:  Keep the kids in their dirty clothes and just have them make a funny face – say “jingle bells!” It’ll save a lot of time and aggravation, get the job done, stand out from all the other “perfect” cards and everyone can move on to the next perfect task.  Don’t worry, it’ll be perfectly THEM.

2. The perfectly decorated house

O.k., so this one gets tricky…it’ll probably require someone on the roof and his name is not Santa.  Not to mention, the perfectly decked halls and all the fa la la la la that follows a trip to Home Depot to fight over the tree – you know, “honey whichever one you want…no, not that one!” Times ten.  Bah humbug.  Stay calm  Get it done.  Tis the season.  (If you don’t do the tree/St. Nick deal, skip to #4)

Solution:  No way, we’re not advocating a faux tree – that is not perfect enough.  You need the smell of pine, the hassle of schlepping it in and out of the house and vaccuming of needles to check this box off the list.  But, we do think you should recruit elves…your elves.  Stick their crazy holiday art all over the fridge and on the tree.  The real tree, with the holes and lopsided Charlie Brown-esque thing goin’ on.  Hang some candy canes on it, put them in bowls and add to the wreath on the front door.  Super cheap. Fun, festive and practical – whenever you want a little snack, have at it MAMA.

3. The perfect holiday MOMent

Oh, the anxiety of it all.  If you’re dating, you’re “dreaming of a white Christmas” playing in the background with candles flickering, snow flurries falling and mistletoe hanging. If you’re a kid, it’s about sugar plum fairies, Santa’s bag of toys, jingle bells and hot cocoa (yep, throw in a candy cane). But, when you’re a parent, it is about your kid making it through the school pageant without doing anything completely embarrassing, not getting busted putting together the dollhouse at 3 a.m. and capturing the desired expression and squeal of joy from your perfectly imperfect kid when they see it.

Solution:  We can’t help ya with the pageant, just prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  But, for not being outed on Christmas Eve, put bells on their bedroom door.  It goes with #2 and helps with #3.

4.  The perfect hostess gift

The fruitcake is not the answer.  It looks weird.  It tastes weird. And you can’t even wrap it to make it look appealing.  The perfect hostess gift is all in the wrapping, because, let’s face it…it will probably end up being re-gifted anyway.

Solution:  Don’t spend a lot on the gift, make it about the wrapping. The presentation is key in the perfect hostess gift department. All it has to do is look impressive (because no one but the hostess will ever know what it is) and she won’t even know who it’s from.  Just smile and hand it over…no gift card necessary.  Oh pleeeeeaaase, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!

5. The perfect extended family dinner

Perfect is in the eye of the beholder, of course.  Fake perfect is all about perception.  A beautifully set table can hide a multitude of sins. After all, everyone has the crazy aunt who likes to bring homemade cheese ball hors d’ouevres, and an uncle who thinks its fun to trap someone under the mistletoe.  There will be the sister whose hubby is obnoxious after too much egg nog, and the tweener nephew who tells the the little ones that “Santa isn’t real.”  This is too much for us to mitigate when deciding who will sit next to deaf grandpa, while making the perfect scratch gravy at the same time.

Solution: If you’re the host, parse out the menu (we love us a little pot luck) because everybody has a recipe they think they’ve mastered. Let go a little and let the cheese ball roll!  Serve plenty of wine and turn up the Christmas music.   Make sure you sit next to the most fun family member at dinner.  It might even be the most dysfunctional person…but, what the heck…you owe yourself a jolly good time after all of your holiday preparations and jingled bells.

Remember MAMAs, the holidays are all about being together.  Raise a glass and thank your crazy family for their contribution to the day.  Lighten up! Embrace the the fact that most of us totally fake being “perfect” during the holidays.  Heck, most of us are faking it most of the time! So, treat the holidays like a normal day…just with better outfits, more food and a cleaner house. “Nobody’s perfect”…and sometimes it’s the imperfect MOMents in our lives that turn out to be the very best memories!

"I'll Be There": Opinionated MAMA's Perspective on the Life of MICHAEL JACKSON


As we watch Michael Jackson’s family walk into the courthouse, we are again reminded that our hopes and dreams are often wrapped up in our children…all they will do and all they will achieve.  How proud we’ll be.  The problem is that we’ve gotten so wrapped up in the infinite “checklist” of what they are doing, or should be doing, that we don’t really know HOW they are doing today, let alone who they’ll be and what they’ll be doing tomorrow. “My kids are great.  Jack is getting all A’s, he is the captain of the football team, he is very popular, he’s working on a cure for cancer and…oh, did I tell you about Sophie, she’s really something…?”  Check.  Check.  Check.  The reality is that our kids are stressed out and we need to be there to help them figure out how to balance the pressures of childhood with realistic expectations.  Because when we tell them we’ll build our world of dreams around you, it freaks them out a little.

The King of Pop grew up in a fishbowl, for all of us to judge from the time he hit his first high “C.”  MJ and his siblings were children competing in an adult world…the expectations were unfair.  Subjected to total parental control and exploitation, Michael never really had a childhood.  I’ll be there to protect you, with an unselfish love that respects you did not happen for him.  He recognized that his childhood was taken from him and he endured a kind of stress that no child should have to bear. His parents let it happen.  Seemingly, Michael spent his entire adult life on a quest to recapture the innocence of his youth.  Our kids will not likely deal with that kind of pressure, but heavy expectations nonetheless.

In fact, it seems to be mounting with each generation.  The bar keeps changing.  A 4.0 GPA is not the gold standard anymore, there are AP classes and only a 4.3+ will do.  Today, some parents have traded dinner table conversation about the day’s events to food on the go dashing between tutors, sports and everything else on the check list.  Our kids are over-scheduled and it is our fault.  Somehow we have convinced ourselves that more is better.  More stuff.  More programs.  More trophies.  Why does every kid need a participation trophy, by the way?  For them?  No.  They understand the difference between the courtesy trophy and the ones they win.  The trophies are for us.  To validate all the things on the check list.  There isn’t time for playing outside after school with the neighborhood kids.  Hardly anything is unscheduled.  Nothing is left up to the child…to chance, to fate, to whim, to experimentation, to choice.  All is a means to and end.  Check.  Togetherness, well that’s all I’m after.

We need to think about letting our kids be kids if we are to raise confident, well-rounded, whole human beings.  Let them get dirty.  Let them make a fort out of the living room pillows.  Let them climb the tree.  Let them have time to just be.  You and I must make a pact, to bring salvation back. Otherwise, we might raise the next King of Pop on the outside, but on the inside, he’ll likely be a lonely, one-dimensional person, who has not been allowed to stop and smell the roses once in a while.  Someone who doesn’t know how cope without being the center of attention…without an award, constant praise and someone else’s definition of “success.”  Someone who is unable to adapt to life in the real world…constantly trying to achieve the elusive trophy.  Great IQ, no EQ.  All the checks in place, but still something will be missing.  Our kids need to try, err, get roughed up, take a look around, know themselves. More from experimenting, than watching.  Our job is to tell them, it’s o.k. give it a try…and I’ll have faith in all you do, but our kids cannot do everything to perfection and we shouldn’t expect them to.  Sometimes, they will learn more from their failures than they will from their successes. We need to accept that they are going to fall down sometimes.  And, we need to take a deep breath and let it happen, so they learn how to “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again.” Otherwise, it’s like getting the courtesy trophy.

Our job is to teach them resilience and perseverance, but they need to do the hard work.  If they know that it is o.k. to fail sometimes, that it is part of the learning process, that they just have to put themselves out there sometimes…then maybe they will work harder for themselves, not for us.  The pressure might be less intense.  Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter is our role…cheering them on…easing the pressure a bit by letting them know that no matter what happens I’ll be there.  Maybe then, we’ll raise flexible, multi-dimensional, well-adjusted people who will be good friends, neighbors and citizens that can look at the Man In The Mirror and like who they see.  Sadly though, Michael Jackson’s mom and dad bought into the successful, one-dimensional caricature parenting philosophy and his life turned out a little spooky…more like the Thriller video than the lyrics of I’ll Be There.

Change begins at home…and it starts with YOU!

-Michelle & Debbie