Guest blogger: Would horoscopes help us understand our kids better?

I asked my friend Beth Gates Bumgarner to be a guest blogger for us. We worked on the high school newspaper staff together. She is now raising four kids in Gwinnett County. Her kids are 2, 5, 8 and 10. She always has great links to news articles on her Facebook page or funny anecdotes about her kids.

Beth and her son Lucas.

Beth and her son Lucas.

By Beth Gates Bumgarner

As a child I identified with my horoscope sign, Taurus, as if it were as much a part of me as my eye color and last name. I loved my birthstone, emerald, and the Lily-of-the-Valley flower that represents my birth month of May. It didn’t really matter that I had never actually seen the flower in person; I knew it was special.

When I was a teenager I checked my horoscope religiously.  I was the Bull: loyal, stubborn, dependable, and a lover of the outdoors. I read the horoscope in the paper on a daily basis, searching for that “ah-ha” moment where I could identify myself as the exact person the astrologer had in mind when she wrote her snippets of wisdom.

In college I moved up to the monthly horoscope column in Cosmopolitan magazine. Surely that one would give me some truth or insight into my life as a young woman, right? My roommate and I were thrilled when the January issue had a special horoscope insert that gave us clues about the coming year. I was also thrilled when my grandmother gave me an emerald ring. I finally owned my coveted birthstone!

Fast-forward to 2010. Now it is rare for me to give my horoscope even a quick glance. In fact, I don’t even know what my children’s Zodiac signs are, except for my son, Owen, whose birthday is 4 days after mine. What used to be my favorite part of the newspaper doesn’t even get a glance. I’d rather check out the weekly meal planner, the local news, or the editorials.  As far as the birthstones go, I do know those for each of my children. Maybe it’s because I like jewelry. (Hint to my husband!)

Looking back on my love of horoscopes, I have to wonder why they no longer capture my attention like they did. At the time it sure was fun and completely harmless.

Are horoscopes as popular as they were in the 1970s and 1980s? Do other moms discuss the signs of the Zodiac with their children and the personality traits they describe? Maybe I should rediscover them today. Could they possible give me some insight as to why my daughter Jillian so sensitive, physically and emotionally? Would they explain why my son Lucas cannot remember to shut off lights and flush the toilet?

Or, do teenagers try on their identities in many ways and then eventually outgrow being defined by outside factors? I realize now that, while I am dependable, I am really not a very stubborn person. Do you still identify with your horoscope qualities? Have you ever made decisions based on a horoscope?

Do you own piece of birthstone jewelry for yourself? What about a mother’s ring or necklace containing the birthstones of your children?

54 comments Add your comment

JJ

October 14th, 2010
2:14 pm

You’re joking, right? Horoscopes? If you need a horoscope to understand your child, you have bigger problems……

Jeff

October 14th, 2010
2:25 pm

I’m a taurus as well, but I never have been in to signs, etc. I used to catch the horoscope when i stumbled across it, but it faded away like alot of things from that age.

No, I don’t know my daughter’s and it hasn’t crossed my mind to look. It’s not important to me, but if it is to you, have at it.

I’m showing my gentlemanly, polite, southern etiqutte and not telling you what I really think of the topic because you’re a guest blogger and I know you mean well and are trying something that might be out of your comfort zone. But it gives me insight in to you for future topics.

I am with JJ (as usual)...

October 14th, 2010
2:29 pm

…you have got to be kidding me with this “topic”…

HB

October 14th, 2010
2:31 pm

I honestly thought this was a joke, but can’t quite tell from the tone. Is it supposed to be a real topic?

Becky

October 14th, 2010
2:33 pm

All I can say is that I agree with the first three posters..

Kate

October 14th, 2010
2:40 pm

I really don’t think owning a piece of jewelry with your children’s birthstones is on par with following their horoscopes! Using a horoscope as a parenting tool has got to be one of the silliest things I’ve heard of in a long time. Call me crazy, but if I want to understand my kids I just talk to them.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 14th, 2010
2:45 pm

Guys — i think it is meant to be amusing — her point is we were so focused on horoscopes in the 70s and related to ourselves that way as kids and teenagers and now horoscopes are never really talked about and virtually ignored.It is a question (but tongue in cheek) — would it help explain why her daughter is so sensitive, why her son won’t close the toilet — that’s funny — Beth is a very good mom and is very involved and tuned into her kids. It’s a joke.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 14th, 2010
2:46 pm

Jesse’s Girl will be up tomorrow — – I was just trying to give some different view points -

Just who...

October 14th, 2010
2:49 pm

…was focused on horoscopes in the 70’s? Theresa, you were barely old enough to read back then…

JATL

October 14th, 2010
2:50 pm

I also LOVED horoscopes in high school and college -and even into my 20s. I enjoyed the books and horoscopes that marry western and Chinese astrology. I think you can find certain character traits in horoscopes that are going to apply to most people. For example -you may see 10 traits listed for a Capricorn, and someone born under Capricorn may exhibit 4 of them -but when we read the horoscopes we tend to think -AH -he IS a Capricorn! I guess other interests, time limitations, etc. have taken over, because I just don’t get into it much anymore either. The most I’ve done is look up my sons’ Chinese astrological profile in an old book I have that actually marries the two traditions. It’s interesting and fun, but I don’t really think it explains them or describes them or tells me what’s going on with them. My Chinese horoscope really does ring true for my personality, but you’re always going to have some people who the horoscope really does just happen to describe.

As far as birthstones -I’ve always loved my birthstone -a garnet. Both of my grandmothers are/were January babies as well, and one didn’t have any garnets, but I have a lovely garnet ring of the other grandmother’s that I love. My engagement ring also has garnets in it. I have garnet earrings and necklaces and my parents and husband have always loved giving them to me, but I think it’s just as much because I love them as it is because it’s my birthstone. I *think* my sons’ are aquamarine and opal, and I don’t see either one of them ever wearing one of those stones! They’re not my favorite either, so I’ve bypassed “mother” jewelry in lieu of other jewelry with photos, monograms, etc. of my kids.

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mom of 3

October 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

@ Jeff, I’m not a southern gentleman but I am a southern lady and I too will refrain from commenting on such a trivial topic.

shaggy

October 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

Horoscopes were developed in ancient times by smart guys to keep the king (or other really strong & brutal ruler) happy, and thus, the smart guy keeps his head. Since the king always had a great horoscope, the smart guy made a pretty good wage. +

These days, we call that a con game, except then it could get bloody very quick.

It actually facilitated inventing science, because the guys were…well, smart. They were able to figure out science stuff by trying to make other stuff to make this brutal, but very superstitious, guy “believe” they were magical. In that they were hugely sucessful, e.g., Archimedes of Syracuse…I know, but you gotta look this guy up.
Lucky for us they passed the smart stuff on to others. If caught doing the other “not kingly” sanctioned stuff, they were mostly tortured, boiled alive, and other fun stuff like that.

And we think we live in violent times.

penguinmom

October 14th, 2010
3:40 pm

I think one reason many adults don’t focus on horoscopes as much as they did when they were teens is because they realize the horoscopes in papers are so general and non-specific that they are obviously going to fit into whatever situation you find yourself.

I don’t think knowing your child’s horoscope is going to help you understand anything about them. My two oldest are 4 days apart, same sign and yet they are nothing alike. One is very compliant, easy-going and the other is hard-headed, dramatic. My daughter is close to my personality event though we are different signs. I was close to my father’s personality and he was many months apart from me.

Reading a horoscope just confirms things you already believe. You ignore things that don’t happen or are not pertinent to you and latch onto things that resonate.

Caycee

October 14th, 2010
3:41 pm

Lighten up people, like Theresa said, it’s all in fun. I also followed the horoscopes in my teen days but rarely glance at one now unless I’m bored and see one in the doc’s office or something. I think as we get older and wiser we realize that most of them are written with such broad ranges that anyone can apply them to their life in one way or another and in reality, there was never any truth in them anyway. As far as the birth stones, mine is Ruby and I’ve never cared for it. I also don’t have a clue what my children’s are….is that bad?

JATL

October 14th, 2010
3:48 pm

@Shaggy -exactly! I’ve always found the intersection of the ancient astronomers and astrologers interesting.

Folks -it’s FUN! Lighten up! Nowhere did I see the suggestion that you throw out your parenting skills and start raising your child by his/her horoscope!

@Just who -actually my mother, my aunts, all of my mom’s friends and a bunch of my older cousins were REALLY into horoscopes, love signs (Linda Goodman’s Love Signs is truly a sign of the 70s), numerology, etc. in the 70s. I also found out my MIL was seriously into to the point that she used to do people’s charts. It was a big trend then! I remember them constantly talking about people’s signs, who was getting together and getting divorced and how that related to their signs,etc. Astrology was extremely popular then.

jjqrob

October 14th, 2010
3:48 pm

Theresa is right…this is a refreshing and amusing article! I think Beth’s question, “… do teenagers try on their identities in many ways and then eventually outgrow being defined by outside factors..” is valid and pertinant in today’s society as well as the 70’s. Good point, wrapped in a humourous article!

shaggy

October 14th, 2010
3:49 pm

The only way you can use a star to predict YOUR future, is if it is a shooting one, (meteor – not really a star) and it’s heading straight for you. Then, you can predict a pretty short future, unless you duck really quick.

shaggy

October 14th, 2010
3:55 pm

JATL,

They were one and the same, just “moonlighting”, so to speak, as the science guy. You NEVER said no to the king.

Photius

October 14th, 2010
4:00 pm

Horoscopes? If I come home after a long day of work and hear my stay at home wife say, “I posted on the blog horoscopes – let me tell you all about it” – I’m out the door and going to a bar. The next day the kids are going in day care and she’s going back to work for her brain is starting to melt.

FriendofGuest

October 14th, 2010
4:07 pm

You people taking this seriously are completely nuts. Heaven forbid you should have a little bit of a sense of humor that might replace your sense of self-importance. What a joke you people are…

FCM

October 14th, 2010
4:32 pm

I know what my children’s signs are but I don’t read their scopes to find out anything. I don’t read mine either.

I did read up on the traits of each sign. Not because I hug trees (I don’t), not because I am ultra liberal hippy (Libertarian), and while being a nut job has been argued by some on the blog…it is not the reason either.

God created the Heaven and the Earth (imho)…He did it in a precise order and ascribed percise laws of nature. This includes how various things travel around the sun etc. Nature laws most certainly are effected by the celestial beings….high and low tide for instance. The seasons of the year, etc.

Therefore it always made sense to me that the time of year…the month/season in particular would be part of what makes a person’s character. I have noticed that if you read the characteristics of a person’s birth sign they are often dead on. I also notice that it doesn’t matter if it is the traditional zodic (Aries, Taraus….) or the Chinese one (Roster, Tiger….).

While I would NEVER use a horscope to plan a day or whatever…I see it as yet another possible tool to give insight into the child. After all this strang being showed up in my life (after a great deal of work on my part) and I had no clue who she was…I needed all the help I get in trying to learn about her.

Beth Gates Bumgarner

October 14th, 2010
4:49 pm

Sorry to see some of you find it too lighthearted for conversation. My ouija board told me that this would be a great topic for today. ;)

Lori

October 14th, 2010
4:49 pm

Seriously!!!!!!

jjqrob

October 14th, 2010
5:10 pm

I vote we give Beth a chance at this… I can honestly say she has made me smile today!

DB

October 14th, 2010
7:40 pm

Haha, I remember horoscopes in the ’70s, big time. After all, one of the big songs was “Age of Aquarius”! “When the moon is in the 7th house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars . . .”. It was fun, and, as a teenager, I had my go at putting charts together. (I’m a Scorpio, with Aries rising and moon in Libra if anyone is keeping track anymore :-) ) I even knew how to calculate sidereal time! But after a while, I got tired of it (I think about the time I got interested in boys?) and now I hardly ever even look at a horoscope. I read my fortune in the cookie at the local Chinese restaurant more than I read my horoscope!

I know what my kids’ signs are, and I think I read up on their traits in a book when they were born, but I haven’t thought about it in a long, long time. (And I always hated my birthstone — I would have loved an emerald!)

Beth, pull out that Ouija board! I’ll play! We used to love playing with the Ouija Board during slumber parties!

Jesse's Girl

October 14th, 2010
9:09 pm

My kids’ signs are more along the lines of 666:)

ABC

October 14th, 2010
9:28 pm

These topics lately are so bad, I may have to stop coming to this blog at all. What a waste. And TWG, just because someone criticizes your friend’s choice of topics doesn’t mean they are questioning her parenting. You mentioned she is a good mom, etc. I don’t think anyone said otherwise. You can be a great mom and still come up with really lame blog topics. I think I’ll stick to John Kessler’s Food blog.

catatonic

October 14th, 2010
9:35 pm

Horoscopes are the real deal, people. I gave up 2 of my children for adoption when they were born under the wrong sign. I don’t need that baggage for the rest of my life! Seriously, you all need to lighten up. What a fun topic for a beautiful Thursday!

LightenUp

October 14th, 2010
9:41 pm

Wow, it sounds like there are a few “Crabs” out there today… ha ha ha (horoscope humor for you).
This blog was obviously meant to be light hearted and funny, not solve all the world’s problems. I used to read my horoscope too. I loved seeing words like “dramatic” and “imaginative” used to describe me instead of how I felt sometimes… quiet or shy. I still have the horoscope somewhere that the AJC printed on my bday years ago describing those of us born on May 15th – “naturally magnetic” and “beautiful” were used to describe us. I can’t help it, it was written in the stars :)
In college, my brother gave me the book “The Secret Language of Relationships – Your complete Personology Guide To Any Relationship With Anyone” – a few years ago I took the book into work as a joke, but that book turned our lunch break into an event. Everyone passed the book around & laughed as they read how their sign matched up with their spouse, kids or co-workers. Some people couldn’t believe how accurate it was… others not so much. But either way it was a great time!
I thought this blog was fun – I even pulled out my “Relationships” book when I couldn’t find my horoscope on the AJC. It’s weird though… it says “For those that can’t take a joke, be careful… you might find out that there is a moon in Uranus.” ha ha ha. Seriously, horoscopes are fun! :)

Pressley

October 14th, 2010
9:47 pm

I loved my horoscope as a kid. Yep, I’m a proud Sagittarius. Now my horoscope sign is just a fun, useless statistic about me. Just like birth order books, seances, and the whole “New Age Crystal” fad in the 80s, people are always trying to find new ways to define themselves and relate to their surroundings. It’s fun, harmless, and interesting to talk about. Some of us outgrow these interests, some continue to enjoy them, and some move on to new ones. Sounds like an appropriate topic for a blog to me.

deidre_NC

October 14th, 2010
9:53 pm

@JATL lol i STILL have the linda goodman book lol…its pretty tattered, i wonder if its a collectors item by now lol…i fit all the taurus stuff pretty well and so does my daughter who is a taurus. there are actually a bunch of taurus’s in my family. i know this is a fun topic, but i actually can lots of times tell what sign a person is after getting to know them.not always, but often. you have to get more into it than the generic horoscope in the paper or in cosmo….i do believe if you really study it and find out all the planet alignments etc at the time of birth it can come pretty darn close. i have stopped having anyting to do with horoscopes simply because the bible says its wrong. so i dont do it. its just a conviction of mine.

snoozefest

October 14th, 2010
10:14 pm

Another out of touch, hyphenated, middle class white woman that cant write, give her a regular blog AJC!

Beth Gates Bumgarner

October 14th, 2010
10:34 pm

@DB- slumber parties were hilarious! The ouija board, standing in the dark bathroom trying to get visions of dead people in the mirror- fun times!

@Deidre- my whole family is full of Tauruses- my husband, father-in-law, son, best friend, sister. We joke about my 2-year old being stubborn because he’s a Taurus. And male. :)

@FCM My daughter really is sensitive, and so is my nephew who was born the same year. Sometimes I wonder if it’s “something that’s in the water” as they say that may influence children. I was pregnant during 9/11 and so was my sister-in-law. Could that time of raw emotion have influenced our pregnancies in some way? Who’s to say, but it does cross my mind now and then.

@LightenUp- Sounds like a great way to spend a lunch break!

@snoozefest- I’ve got 4 kids. I can assure you I’m up to my ears in reality! :) By the way, there’s no hyphen in my name.

deidre_NC

October 14th, 2010
10:40 pm

@beth-my daughter came in tonight with friends and said ‘mom all my friends think im just like you’ i said..well that the taurus in you lol.. like FCM said…god created everything and i do believe there is a realtion in everything in this world. it does say in the bible that we are not to live by these things. i think that is exactly what it means. we can live our life according to what the stars and planets designate-but that doesnt mean there isnt truth in all of it. i have seen too many people who are exactly as their true sun and moon signs say they are.
and i think this topic was ok…dont feel bad…some people just hate any topic that comes around. instead of just going away they have to make rude comments lol..

deidre_NC

October 14th, 2010
10:48 pm

should have been we canT live our life

Georgia Girl

October 14th, 2010
10:57 pm

Dear Jeff & Mom of 3, while you were oozing your southern charm you “accidentally” actually commented on this “trivial” topic while trying so politely not to… I thought it was funny!! I’m wondering though… are those that didn’t “get it” maybe too old or too young to have enjoyed the popularity and fun of horoscopes?? I am in my mid-30s and growing up I read my parents’ and siblings’ horoscopes almost every day. My father is a Marine and my Mom is no hippy, but we still enjoyed reading them and pointing out the similarites we read. Did I make any major life decisions over it? No. Did I have fun reading them? Yes!
Theresa, I feel like you were apologizing for a funny, well-written article – don’t! It brought back fun memories of my banana seat bicycle, pet rock and leg warmers! Unfortunately, I think some of these people may have their banana clips on too tight :)
Catatonic, thanks for the laugh!

LightenUp

October 14th, 2010
11:20 pm

I have to share.. when i was little I thought horoscopes were so much fun that I just had to call the Jean Dixon Horoscope line that I kept seeing on TV. It was like 50 cents a call… but I had to try. Surely my parents would understand. :) I tried several times to call, but didn’t understand why Jean kept hanging up on me. But since I never got my horoscope I figured I wasn’t being charged. After a large phone bill and a long “discussion” with my parents, I finally understood that our ROTARY phone was never going to let me dial a 5 for my birth month (May) – everytime I turned the dial to make my selection I was getting disconnected!! HA!! :o)

Astrology Cynic

October 15th, 2010
12:27 am

I do not believe horoscopes and astrological signs hold any significance at all. However, the blog entertained me (as did the variety of responses). For those who were overly critical…loosen up. This is entertainment. The article accomplished the purpose it serves: to entertain and get people talking. Kudos to the guest writer for being brave enough to try her hand at a difficult job with an apparently tough audience. It is easy to be critical of the hard work of others when hiding behind a screen name.

JATL

October 15th, 2010
8:09 am

Geeez folks -it’s not like the AJC ran this blog under a headline of “Breaking News” or anything. Why don’t you all relax, pour yourselves a cup of tea and read your horoscope? Maybe it will shed some light on why you’re so humorless.

deidre_NC

October 15th, 2010
9:11 am

LM

October 15th, 2010
10:19 am

I learned not to date a Pisces or Gemini. That I have better relationships with certain signs.

I also had a hard and fast rule never to date man who go by their middle name, men of a certain faith, men who smoked.

It was always half seriouse/half joking but it worked for me.

JoJo

October 15th, 2010
10:22 am

Wow…tough crowd, Beth. Don’t sweat it. I can appreciate our differences in opinion, but some of these people (regardless of their self-proclaimed ’southern’ charm) are just rude, not to mention clearly lacking a sense of humor. Also sounds like there are some out there jealous of your role as a stay-at-home mom. Sweat that even less-you certainly don’t need their approval.
Next time, maybe try a ‘knock-knock’ joke, and they’ll ‘get’ it.
Keep on bloggin’, girl!

what the heck???

October 15th, 2010
10:25 am

OK, Theresa, I also went to school with you guys and can honestly say I didn’t even know you had a blog, but after I have seen the kind of comments that people have posted and how serious your followers are….I will not be following for sure. They really need to lighten up especially those that claim to be southern men and ladies (jeff and mom of 3) come on, really….you guys are WAY TOO SERIOUS….

shaggy

October 15th, 2010
12:29 pm

Ok Theresa, I don’t complain when my posts disappear, but I took time write a second one, because the first one evaporated. In essence, they say the same thing.

Young@heart

October 15th, 2010
1:03 pm

I love to read my horoscope every day! My parents Were true hippies! When we Lived in Michigan and I was younger My mom would have great true ghost stories to tell, play with the Ouija board when we had a sleep over, do charts for us and give me books on sun suns and Chinese Astrology…for me I’m a Leo Tiger which means I want all the attention keep my head in the clouds and I’m very fun to be around sometimes the life of the party…And when we moved to the South it was not looked upon kindly to even speak of these things. However I married against my sign’s advice to a Scorpio OX who is so ‘level/Bull headed and down to earth he has no imagination and sometimes forgets how to have fun that doesn’t involve a sporting event.

Young@heart

October 15th, 2010
1:04 pm

oops should say Sun signs

1911A1

October 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

What’s the sign for people who take themselves too seriously?

Young@heart

October 15th, 2010
4:44 pm

Ooops I forgot to finish my point and I went off topic… My boys don’t take it seriously If I start talking to in depth about it they lose interest quickly.. I have read their horoscopes & told them their signs & birthstones but make it a fun conversation because alot of the things I read say what wonderful men they will grow up to be even the character flaws they put in any book aren’t anything to out of the ordinary… like Shaggy said earlier they were written for kings! I also know you can’t base your life around one of those books because they aren’t always right about signs and their compatability because I love my Down to earth Strong willed sports lovin man.

abc123

October 15th, 2010
4:45 pm

They are just for fun