Monthly Archives: May 2012
I’m in need of some real advice here and wanted to share my story. Maybe some of you may have dealt with this issue in your family whether it was when you grew up or if you have children of your own.
Okay, enough prefacing already!
As I’ve written in Women Unplugged before, my son is 18-years-old, graduating high school in June, has sort-of plans to go to a junior college in September, doesn’t want to look for a job, doesn’t like to do chores, and expects us to still pick up the tab for everything he does with his friends just because we’re his mom and dad and that’s what moms and dads DO.
So, I read a book about what teens are like. It wasn’t an advice book, but rather a study in what to expect. The name of it is Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager. The author doesn’t tell you how to handle your teen, but tells you what he might act like during the teen years. But the thing that struck me the most out of the entire book is when he says that instead of withholding things that you do for your kid when he’s acting creepy, you show him through your example that you’ll do things for him anyway because you love him unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. Therefore, you’re teaching him the value of kindness and giving and love with NO conditions of wanting something in return.
When I do a good deed for a stranger, I don’t expect that individual to do something for me in return, do I? No, I don’t, because I’ll never see them again in my whole life. I just DO it. So his suggestion is to do the same for your kids in order to teach them love and kindness no matter what, true unconditional love. Therefore, when Dylan turns into his creepy self, instead of taking things away from him and cutting him off at the knees with regard to money, I lecture him on his selfishness and attitude of entitlement, and then continue doing his wash, feeding him, driving him to school, and the like.
Now, my husband doesn’t work this way. He takes things away and cuts Dylan off financially because of Dylan’s crappy attitude. And this morning Dylan informed me that he’s no longer going to do chores because Dad has taught him that dangling the dollar in front of his face is the only reason Dylan is supposed to help out around here. He wants to “prove a point” to his father.
So what does one do in this situation? I lecture him about our family being like a basketball team, which he can totally relate to, and that we have to work together no matter whether we get paid for it or not. And now “I” have to do Dylan’s chores because he’s trying to prove a point to Dad? Dylan asks why should he do chores if he’s not getting paid for it because Dad says if you’re going to behave like a creep I’m not paying for anything any more?
AACK! What do I do?
I’m often quite oblivious to what’s going on around me. Perhaps it’s because I spend so much time in my own imagination. So it should come as no surprise that when my family lies to me— in the name of protecting my sensitive sensibilities— I’m totally oblivious to their deceit.
One Saturday evening, my man and I splurged on a couple of mega-size chocolate bars, and with our treats in hand, sat down to watch TV. My man finished his bar, but I only ate half of mine, so I wrapped up the remains and set it on the end table beside my chair.
On the following Monday, I returned home from the day job, ravenous with hunger. While supper cooked, I decided to alleviate my hunger by scarfing down the rest of my bar. But the bar was gone.
I searched the floor, under the table, under my chair. Nothing, nada, zilch. Not even a piece of the wrapper in the garbage. The only explanation was that my man or boy had found it, consumed it, then hidden the evidence of their crime, which was in truth, odd behaviour for them both. Although I’ve been known to raid their stashes, they never touch mine. But I digress…
The inquisition was on. When my man and boy arrived home from work, they both denied eating the bar. My man suggested I’d woken in the middle of the night, done the deed myself, then forgotten it by morning.
Huh? I’ve never sleepwalked in my life.
The next night after work, too hungry to wait for supper to cook—yes, there’s a pattern here—I widened my search and again found nothing. Perplexed, I emailed our oldest son. Had he dropped in while we were all at work? His answer…a definite no.
Over the next few nights, still fixated on the missing chocolate bar, I searched the house and quizzed my family. But they stuck to the sleepwalking story.
The following Thursday, I headed downstairs for potatoes and opened the cold room door. A mousetrap, along with a poor dead mouse, was on the floor between me and the potatoes.
I closed the door and went back upstairs to cook rice.
Later, my man and boy confessed they’d conspired to keep silent to protect me from myself. They knew me well enough to know that a mouse in the house would bring out my latent crazy gene. If I’d known about the mouse, I’d have had them tearing apart the house until they found the poor frightened creature.
Instead, they quietly resolved the issue, setting traps and determining how the mouse gained access to the house so they could prevent it from happening again.
Has your family ever lied to you to protect you from a similar truth? Or do they man-up, tell you the facts, then live with your craziness?
My daughter cried herself to sleep last night after thinking about how fast her childhood has gone by—and she’s twelve! Imagine how I feel, I wanted to tell her. I can still remember the wonder of her birth, her clumsy first steps, and her stubborn refusal to speak before she could form complete sentences.
My little get-up-and-go girl wasn’t one for cuddling (like my pass-out-on-my-shoulder son). One of my fondest memories was when she was just shy of a year and had a hundred and four degree temperature. She felt so poorly, that she let me cuddle her for hours in the emergency room. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the feel of her breath on my neck and the soft cotton of her Onesie as I rubbed her back.
I remember when my son called me a “big, strong woman” when I lifted a box of kitchen pans from Costco into our cart. Now that he’s taller than me, I doubt I’ll hear those words again. This week, he’s studying to get his learner’s permit. How in the hell did this happen?
Time is going by faster than I can catalogue all the memories. One of my greatest fears is getting Alzheimer’s and not being able to remember even the smallest things about my life. But before I jump to a disease that wipes my memories away, I also fear that I may be living each day without truly soaking up all the ways I can spend with my loved ones.
For the last fifteen years, I’ve been blessed—blessed beyond compare—to be a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the money, success, or fame in the world. But even being at home with the kids, I still know there were times I was too busy with something else to listen intently, watch them closely, or appreciate the joy of being around them.
So this morning (I’m writing this post on Mother’s Day), while they sleep on the day meant to celebrate my contribution to their lives, I vow to spend the rest of my days doing a better job of being their mom. It’s been the greatest pleasure of my life.
If you get a chance, share a memory of your kids with us. Just thinking of them will make us better mothers.
It was 19 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in a a wheelchair, riding down in a hospital elevator, my newborn son cradled in my lap. My husband stood behind me hyperventilating. “Don’t you give us a video or an owner’s manual or something?” he asked. Beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. “Are you really going to let us out of here with a baby and no instructions?” The nurse efficiently wheeled us out of the hospital and, after checking the safety of the infant car seat, loaded us into the car. No doubt she’d seen this kind of behavior many times before and wanted to get back to safety before my husband totally freaked out. “Good luck!” she called.
Good luck?! And so began my journey into motherhood. And it is a journey. One without a manual, a video, or a road map. It’s strictly on-the-job-training for this gig.
Throughout these 19 years of Mommydom,I’ve learned a few things. Well, a lot of things. For instance, once a garbanzo bean goes up the nose, it usually requires a medical professional to get it back out. If a child flings a pacifier, it will hit the only person in the room never to have a child of their own. Poop does come in many colors. The three second rule is proportional to a child’s birth order. And, kids will exhaust you physically when they are young, while they exhaust you mentally when they get older. (We’ve had many examples of this in the past few days!)
I’ve also learned that the sound of a child’s laughter is a balm to the soul. A sticky hand is magical if held in yours. There is no sight more precious than a peacefully sleeping child. And, I can never hear “Mommy, I love you” enough times.
But, the most significant thing I’ve learned is that being a mom is 24/7/365. BK (before kids) I believed I could do it all and having kids would be just another one of those things I juggled in my life. Yeah, hard to believe with all those advanced degrees I could be that naive. The fact is, whether you want it to or not, mothering your kids becomes the most important thing in your life. It’s a fact of nature that can’t be altered.
I also used to believe the whole “mother’s intuition” thing was just a bit of hogwash. But when I became a mom, my “spidey sense” became so well-honed my kids live in fear of it. (And my husband secretly envies it!)
The Mommy Wars are heating up again, thanks to the political, talking heads on television. I’ve been on both sides of the battle lines: a working mother of two and an at-home mom of two. Wanna know the truth? Neither scenario is perfect. The fact of the matter is, we are all “full time moms” whether we work outside the home or in it, so what’s the issue? Let’s stop the nonsense. Tell the talking heads to put down their broomsticks and let’s work together for the good of the kids instead of tearing each other down.
My message to all moms this Mother’s Day—and every day—is simple: go easy on yourselves. Whether you’re a working mom or you stay at home, give yourself a break. There is no right or wrong way here. You, or your child, do not have to be perfect. Turn off your inner Tiger Mom and enjoy the moment. You’ll be glad you did! (If you don’t believe we are all Tiger Mom’s, sit yourself down at any competitive event pitting kids against one another and listen!)
My dear friend shared something on Facebook this week that I want to close with. Her post is worthy because she also happens to be a fabulous mom. In fact, she first introduced herself to me as my son’s future mother-in-law. Sadly, her daughter has wised up because my son should be so lucky!
Pay particular attention to number 25.
Excerpt from The Gifts of Imperfection , by Brene Brown:
1. We need to change what we say and what we allow to be said in front of us.
2. There are infinite numbers of do overs for your teen girls.
3. The most powerful teaching moments are the ones where you screw up.
4. Do you light up when your kids are coming in the room or do you become the instant critic?
5. If we own the story then we can write the ending.
6. Every time you watch the Jersey Shore, a book commits suicide.
7. You need at least one friend who will help you move a body. No judgment. There in a second. No explanation.
8. Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”
9. We have to be women we want our daughters to be.
10. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
11. It’s no longer a question of can I do it. It’s a question of: Do I want to do it?
12. There’s nothing more daring than showing up, putting ourselves out there and letting ourselves be seen.
13. In our moments of most intense joy, we realize how vulnerable we are.
14. You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.
15. What would you be glad that you did…. EVEN if you failed?
16. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.. Definition of courage: Tell your story with all your heart.
17. We cannot give our children what we don’t have.
18. You are imperfect & you are wired for struggle; but you are worthy of love & belonging.
19. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.
20. Talk about your failures without apologizing.
21. It’s not about “what can I accomplish?” but “what do I want to accomplish?” Paradigm shift.
22. Think about what’s pleasurable, not just what’s possible.
23. Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.
24. You can’t dress rehearse the bad moments.
25. Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.
Happy Mother’s Day to all!
My best friend in Dallas lost one of her best friends this week. Her sweet dog, Roxie had to be put down because of a bleeding tumor that was causing her to go down fast, and with alot of pain. My friend is struggling with Roxie’s absence, and it got me thinking about our furry family members and how important they are in our lives. So I thought I’d do a little tribute to them, and invite you to do the same with yours.
Here is Roxie in better days, and what a sweetheart she was…
They have another dog, a golden retriever, Gracie, who is blissfully ignorant about most things in life…lol…but is also full of sweetness and love and thinks she’s a lapdog. And also thinks she belongs on a pool float with a drink…
Here’s my old lady dog, Ruby, who lives for Sonic runs so that she can snatch tater tots.
So tell me about your babies!!!!
And dear sweet Roxie…I will miss you dearly. Hope you’re having fun up there with Josie and Honey.
RIP sweet girl.