When competition is too competitive


I’m a mom who believes in healthy competition. I believe in 1st, 2nd & 3rd place trophies. In the right context competition can spur you on to want to do better. Some people even thrive in that environment. But not everyone.

Somewhere along the way, my kids have managed to surround themselves with really smart kids, to which I’m thankful. I consider it a blessing to have them being influenced by kids who want the most out of their education (or at least, the kids’ parents want the most for their education).

But it comes with its disadvantages too.

The wrong kind of competition.

It can be horribly damaging to a person’s ego and self-confidence, especially when you find yourself comparing your abilities to those of others who seem smarter than you are, or who feel the need to remind you they’re smarter every chance they get.

When my kids get down on themselves for not “measuring up” to their peers (according to their own eyes, because of course I think they’re geniuses), I have to remind them that first and foremost, the only person they need to compare themselves to is…well…themselves.

And second, if they want to be “smarter,” they have to work for it.

They forget that their “smart” friends probably weren’t born that way. They work to be that way. I can bet that their friends’ parents are much stricter than we are, and their friends’ lives are probably filled with many more extracurricular academic activities. “Minecraft” is probably not first on their list.

But my kids, like the rest of us, want it both ways. They want unlimited computer time AND they want to be at the top of their class.

They also need to remember that many “smart” and successful people failed numerous times. But they got “smart” and successful from learning from their mistakes, and learning to ignore the nay-sayers and others who tried to keep them back.

So I’ll keep encouraging my kids to strive for 1st place, as long as they remember what it takes to get there, and to remember that if they reach 1st place, not to lord it over others. It’s okay to be proud of your self, but it’s a whole different animal to be arrogant about it.

The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.

Where do I put all the crap?

living-room-457793_1280I’m not one to use words like “crap,” but I don’t really know what else to call it.

I set out to clean today. But I was only minutes into it before I realized that I would need to pick-up all the crap before I could even get to the surfaces to clean them. #messyfamily

Between the paperwork that goes along with school starting (yes, I’m aware that was months ago) and with spending all of my off-time helping my husband search for a job, the house was out of control.

Now before you send me your latest organizing method, I’m not talking about needing more buckets, or bins, or organizing accoutrement, because I have all that. My family just doesn’t seem to understand how to use it!

I’m referring to getting people to just pick up after themselves! #doyourjob

There are a few things that I would assume to be logical, but apparently are not:

  1. if you’re done with it, put it away
  2. if it’s trash, throw it away
  3. if it’s yours, pick it up
  4. if you got it out of the drawer, put it back in the drawer
  5. if you haven’t finished it, don’t get out a new one until the old one is gone
  6. if you didn’t wear it, hang it back up
  7. if it’s dirty, put it in the hamper
  8. if you spilled it, wipe it up
  9. if it’s broken, fix it or toss it
  10. if you take notes, keep them in a notebook, not all over the computer desk

You think these would be self-explanatory, but you would be wrong. I spent the first several hours of my day picking up after people.

All of the clever organizing websites and pinterest are wonderful for organizing…but none of them tell you how to get people to clean up their own crap! (there’s that word again)

And then there are the things that are “in progress:” my daughter’s Halloween costume, cut out and scattered on the living room floor; my son’s latest art project half-completed on the dining room table; the order forms for the school fundraiser on the kitchen counter; the book someone is reading sitting on the coffee table; the jacket hanging on the kitchen chair that didn’t yet make it to the closet; the bag of clothes waiting to be donated…you get the idea. I know…the place sounds like a mess, doesn’t it? It is! And apparently I’m the only one who sees it! #momeyes

Needless to say, after picking up and doing laundry I only got ONE room vacuumed, and ONE counter wiped down before kids came home from school and homework started.

The kids were surprised to find a pile for each of them with their random papers and books piled on the table waiting for them to put away…BEFORE they did anything. I suspect we’ll have to start all over again tomorrow.

So, how do you control the chaos at your house? I think I failed somewhere along the way.


Anything but politics


The blogging world seems relatively quiet this week, unless you want to talk about politics.


I am way past my fill with politics. The way our politicians are behaving is anything but Presidential these days. BOTH of them. I’m never sure if I’ve turned on the news or an episode of TMZ or Jerry Springer. It’s disgraceful and I am sick of it. Get over yourselves and start showing us what you can do FOR our country.

So that’s it…that’s the extent of my political opinions. Believe me, I have more, but I won’t be sharing them here.

So…what’s new with YOU?

Here are a few good things from the week that AREN’T political.

My husband starts his new job on Monday! Praise God! An answer to prayer! Life can get back to “normal.” #Godisgood

Halloween is around the corner, and my daughter and I have plans to start on her costume this weekend. She’s going as an anime character named Monet – she’s a harpy with green hair, giant angel wings, bird legs and talons. Not entirely sure how we’re going to pull this off, but it could be an adventure. #futureblogpost

My son is going as a “Steam Punk Guy” – his words, not mine. That shouldn’t be too hard. We should be able to pull things from other costumes and from our own closets to put that together.

The house needs a really good cleaning. I’ve had a cold-flu thing that’s been holding on for the last two weeks, and I’m finally feeling good enough to get back to normal. Not the most exciting plan, but, trust me…it’s necessary.

I can finally get back to writing. I’ve been so distracted with our current unemployment status, that writing has fallen by the wayside, and I need to focus on my current work in progress. I plan on using NaNoWriMo to finish it.

Celebrate! We’re going out this weekend to celebrate the NEW EMPLOYMENT status! Maybe dinner, maybe a movie, maybe even something with the kids. They have been so understanding during this time and deserve to be part of the celebration too.

Planning for Christmas – Yes…I said it. I need to start keeping an eye out for presents. Every year I say I’m going to get started early, and well…maybe THIS will be the year I actually do. And, yes, I am aware that some of you started your Christmas shopping in July, and are laughing that I consider October “early.”

Fall – the leaves are starting to change and I can’t wait to pull my warm, cozy sweaters out of the back of the closet. Maybe this year we’ll convince the kids to go apple picking. I know, it’s a long shot, but miracles can happen, right?

What are you looking forward to? Are you as tired of politics as I am?

Writing for my toughest critics…my kids


I usually write Women’s Fiction. Not romantic women’s fiction, but stories about women of all ages in real-life situations.

I’ve mentioned before that I live with a bunch of nerds who all prefer fantasy, manga, or comic books, so getting one of them to listen to my story ideas or help me proofread is next to impossible.

I recently decided to branch out, if you will. With NaNoWriMo coming up, I figured it would be a perfect time to try something different: YA Fantasy. Besides, there’s a good chance I might never be published, which leads me to question, just who am I writing for?

It would be really nice to write something that my kids might actually want to, or at least pretend to, read.

Now I realize that there’s no guarantee they will read this one either. After all, they are all a bit particular. #booksnobs

My daughter cried (One Piece Spoiler Alert!) when Trafalgar Law died in the One Piece series. And both my daughter and son refuse to watch the Percy Jackson movies because the actors don’t match the book characters. So their standards are a bit high.

Let’s face it…my first attempt at YA fantasy doesn’t stand a chance. And I haven’t even written it yet! But what have I got to lose? If nothing else, it could be a really cheesy comedy.

As I said earlier, there’s a good chance I might never be published, at least in New York Best Seller standards. But I have this “back-up” fantasy. One day, when I’m gone, my grand kids will be going through my belongings and find my writing: all my poems, my short stories, my novels, and my unfinished manuscripts. And it will inspire one of them and THEY will write a New York Best Seller.

Is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you trying something different?

Who is your toughest critic?

10 Things that only a Mom (or Wife) can do…apparently


*Disclaimer: Or maybe it’s just at my house.

  1. Change the toilet paper roll.
  2. Make appointments (this includes doctor, home repair, parent-teacher, play dates, etc)
  3. Wait for the cable guy, the plumber, and all home repair personnel.
  4. Make school lunches, unless you’re kids are old enough to make their own.
  5. Plan for meals ahead of time.
  6. Find necessary paperwork (i.e. the home repair that just fell out of warranty, the receipt for school pictures, etc)
  7. Be the Keeper of All Schedules and then keep everyone on schedule.
  8. Notice when the trash is actually full, then nominate someone to take it out.
  9. Change the toilet paper roll…I felt it needed to be mentioned more than once.
  10. Know where the secret stash of Bandades is kept.

Now before any Dads or husbands send me nasty emails, please see my disclaimer at the top. It’s entirely possible that this is only happening at my house, but I have a sneaky suspicion it’s not. And to those Dads and husbands that resemble the list above…good for you🙂

I wish my kids watched more TV


I know, weird, right? It even felt odd writing that title.

Trust me, I’m the first one in the house to scream about “screen time.” But in our house, “screen time” refers to any computer, whether it’s hand-held or otherwise. And they get WAY too much screen time.

Somewhere around puberty, it just sort of happens. They migrate to different corners of the house, and become enveloped and isolated in their imaginary worlds.

That’s why I wish they watched more TV.

Watching TV is a social activity. It used to be that all 4 of us would sit down and watch a funny, family-friendly show. Sure, they’d argue about who sat where, and what show we watched, but at least they interacted.

And we laughed. Together. And a lot!

Family games are good too, but they take organization and a good block of time, and a lot of twisting of arms (especially for the older one). That’s too much commitment some days.

But TV is different. Sitting together just for a 30 minute show allows conversation to arise spontaneously. We can even discuss something we’ve just watched, which is so much easier, especially with teens, than trying to drag a conversation out of them. They don’t even realize they’re talking to you, but nuggets of wisdom are getting through.

But when everyone is on their own device and plugged in with their headphones, it’s silent. There is no conversation. They don’t want to be bothered.

Memories are made around the TV.

How many from my generation remember growing up to the Tuesday night line-up of Happy Days & Laverne & Shirley? We ALL remember that. Usually our parents were sitting right there with us. Or who else watched the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights with their family? Or Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom?

Now, how many of you sit crowded around the computer watching YouTube together? See? It’s not the same thing.

It’s almost 8:00 on a Wednesday night. Think I’ll go see who wants to watch the Goldberg’s with me. Or maybe I can find a repeat of The Middle?

Wish me luck!

What do you think? Do you watch TV as a family?


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Because I said so…

person-828632_1920Because I said so…

Oh, how I hated when my mother said those words to me. I wanted an explanation. Why? Why did I have to do whatever it was she wanted me to do?

How many times have I used those same words with my own kids?

Because I said so…

Sometimes there is no explanation. Sometimes it’s just a matter of following the rules, of doing it because I asked you to, and I want you to show me that you can follow my directions…no questions asked.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that life says those words to us sometimes. Sometimes God just wants us to follow directions and wait, and do what He’s asked because He said so.

My husband and I are at that sort of point right now. Sometimes the rug gets pulled out from under you and you don’t know why. “Because I said so” still isn’t enough, especially as an adult. But sometimes it has to be. We aren’t always privy to an explanation, especially when it comes to the timing.

So we wait. And do as we’re told. And follow the directions. Because, like most parents, God has a plan. There’s a reason we don’t always have a crystal door. Sometimes it’s for protection, sometimes it’s just to rest in Him.

Sometimes it’s just because He said so.