When You Don’t Fit in the Box

Have you ever felt different than everyone else? Guess what? Everyone has felt that way at some point in their lives.

I’ve talked before about the area where we’re living. It’s super competitive. Which is good when you’re talking about having good schools. Our schools don’t just want our kids to strive for excellence. Sometimes it feels like they demand it…even if you don’t fit into the Excellence Box as defined by their terms.

Our school districts encourage…nah, that’s not the right word…they PUSH for excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s quite admirable.

Except for one thing: NOT EVERYONE FITS IN THE “STEM” BOX.

I have at least one child that fits that description.

She would rather get a root canal than sit through a math class. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But she hates math with a passion. She’s a “creative” down to the depths of her soul. She can tolerate science because it’s kind of fun and creative in its own way. And technology, so long as she’s using her computer to create some elaborate artwork, then, yeah…she’s in. But engineering and mathematics…forget it.

Almost every day I get an email from the school district about some new opportunity for a STEM camp or Advanced Placement Exam or Advantaged Student Experience (whatever that is). But rarely does something come across my email for “Regular Kids.” You know, the ones who fall through the cracks because they don’t fit in with the AP kids and don’t fit in with the Athletes. They don’t fit in “the Box.”

We used to send our kids to school to prepare them for life…ALL parts of life. To teach them to be well-rounded, to expose them to culture and history (and some reading and writing), and to teach them how to work together in a controlled environment. Oh, and to have some fun along the way. Now it seems, we’re sending them to school to prepare them for “a Job.” But that’s what College is for. There’s plenty of time for that.

I can’t tell you how many high school kids are depressed or experiencing crazy amounts of anxiety. Oh, and I get emails about classes to help your teen manage those emotions too.

Look, I’m not saying that striving to be the best you can be is a bad thing. I’m just saying that maybe we’ve become a little too one-sided. Maybe we need to lighten up a little bit. Maybe we need to not panic so much when our kindergartner gets held back a year because they aren’t ready to move forward just yet. That’s okay. Everyone is different.

I’m also not knocking the kids that are excelling in STEM. More power too you! Good job! I sometimes wish I had those skills, or even that interest. But I’ll tell you that the adults that have their Master’s Degree and the ones that barely made it out of high school both buy their groceries from the same store. Their basic needs are the same.

I’m just saying that there are a lot of different paths to get to the same goal…being a healthy, fulfilled, responsible, contributing member of society.

Maybe we should consider that ONE BOX does not fit ALL.

Because at the end of the day, all we want is for our kids to be happy and our educators not to be exhausted.

And if your kid is one of those that doesn’t fit into the Box, relax. They just haven’t found the right Box yet.

I’m raising Average Kids and I couldn’t be more proud.

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I Am So Over Dinner!

Maybe it’s because there are only 2 weeks left of school, or maybe it’s because the weather is finally warming up and I don’t feel trapped inside, but I AM SO OVER COOKING!

I’ve talked about cooking dinner on this blog before and how it’s probably my least favorite job to do, well that and cleaning my all white bathroom, but that’s another post.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love that my family still sits down together at the table to share a meal and talk about our day. But as far as coming up with ideas for dinner that EVERYONE AGREES ON is next to impossible. It can’t be done. And I refuse to cater to every person’s whim. If I gotta cook it, you gotta eat it. Period.

I have a Pinterest page of easy dinners, and a folder (yes, I still print things on paper) of recipes separated and categorized for easy access.

But here’s the thing…I DON’T WANT TO COOK ANYMORE! It’s exhausting!

The weird thing is that I don’t mind the grocery store. I actually like seeing if I can hit my budget every week. But when it comes to taking the time and getting motivated to actually MAKE the food, that’s where I hit the wall.

At the end of a long day, cooking is the last thing I want to do. Every week I plan out a menu and swear that I’m going to stick to it. And every week I FAIL miserably! Fast food sneaks in there right along with my laziness. It’s my Kryptonite.

If only there was Fast Food Healthy Food. I’d be all over that in a heartbeat!

For my fellow Anti-Cookers, how do get over the hump and convince yourself to just do it?

Day After Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was yesterday, and I hope it was a happy one for you!

Without going into details, mine was a little less than disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I have wonderful kids and I love them very much, but sometimes our expectations exceed our reality.

I saw lots and lots of pictures on Facebook of friends and relatives that had picture-perfect Hallmark-worthy Mother’s Day festivities. Congratulations! You deserve it!

And then I read a friend’s post that smacked of Mother’s Day reality and it made me laugh out loud.

It was such a fabulous juxtaposition to the flowers, and chocolate covered strawberries, and Mother’s Day brunch that we’ve grown to expect.

The truth of Mother’s Day is that no matter how well-planned your festivities may be for Mother’s Day, we never stop wearing our Mom-Hat. We never let down our guard.

Lucky is the woman who gets breakfast in bed, goes a whole day without breaking up a fight, and doesn’t have to coordinate the whole thing herself.

That same friend’s post at the end of the day was this:

 

But I did see in the comments that her friends came to her rescue and they ended up going out for drinks at the end of the night. So, the lesson here? We’re all in this together. And if you felt let down because you saw all the posts on Facebook of “perfect celebrations” don’t worry about it. You didn’t see what was going on behind the scenes. You didn’t see what it took to get everyone to sit down together and pose for the picture. You didn’t see the dessert that was spilled just before the picture was taken. And you didn’t see the mess in the closet or thrown under the bed in preparation to get ready for Mother’s Day.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day and here’s hoping it was as “perfect” as every other mom’s day was. Blessings!

A Letter to My First Born

To My First Born Child,

There’s a reason you’re called the “first born,” and it’s not just because you’re are first in the lineage of my children. It’s because you got the “first” of everything, both the good and the bad.

You are the one I have the most pictures of. There are pictures of your first smile, your first coo, your first toy, your first visit with grandparents, your first ‘Mommy and Me Class,’ your first “friend” before you even knew what a friend was, your first taste of green beans that you hated (and still do). There’s a picture of the first time you fell asleep on your Daddy’s chest, and the first time you went on the potty. Don’t worry, we’ll destroy that one before you get your first boyfriend.

I’ve had the most time with you which means for the first three years of your life, you had ALL my attention, the good and the bad.

You’re my “experimental” child. The Beta-Child, if you will. I had no idea what I was doing when you came along, so I screwed up…a lot. I’m still screwing up.

When you were very young, I told you “no” and you listened, and I thought it was MY good parenting. I had no idea it was because you were an easy baby. Now when I tell you “no” you don’t always listen, and I attribute it to YOUR temperament and not my bad parenting. See how that works? (Just kidding)

You were the first one through the horrible middle school years. I knew what was coming, having experienced middle school myself (a lifetime ago), and so I could commiserate with you. You are also the first one to reach high school, and I’m terrified that I’m going to forget to make sure all your testing is done, all your credits are reached before you get to college. But I somehow got through it, and so will you.

So, I feel the need to apologize for screwing up, but also rejoicing that we have learned together. I hope you won’t end up in therapy when you’re older for all the mistakes I’ve made.

For the Beta-Child, you’ve turned out pretty good. I’m proud of the woman you’re becoming, despite my errors in parenting.

Thank you for being patient with me. We’ve got a long way to go, and I still have a lot to learn.

I Miss John Hughes Films

I am a child of the 80s, a GenX-er, raised with Punk Rock and Synth Pop, and, best of all, raised on movies made by the late, great John Hughes: Mr. Mom, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, National Lampoon’s Vacation to name a few.

The movies were fun and relatable, no matter your economic or political stance. John Hughes films had a way of reaching out to everyone.

“Breakfast Club” was, and still is, iconic. Even teenagers of this generation can relate to it. We can all find something of ourselves in that movie.

When I see the Post-Apocalyptic films that my kids must choose from, I’m saddened for them. They have enough stress. I don’t want them to go to the movies and worry about which sibling will have to be sacrificed to save the other. Granted, I’m not really a SciFi fan, but I can appreciate movies like the Star Wars Series, and The Avengers (though I’m not sure that would be classified as SciFi), because they offer storylines that have hope in them.

But even the choice of movies for adults is at times horrific. For instance, I just watched “Gone Girl” (Yes, I understand how late I am on this), and, though it was a good movie, the ending was horrible! Someone needed to take that woman down for goodness sake! LOL

And “La La Land” seemed like it was written by someone who had never really seen a musical in their life! Even Ryan Gosling couldn’t save that one for me.

I miss John Hughes. I miss movies with a beginning, middle, and a definitive ending (and it doesn’t always have to be happy…but it just needs to resolve!).

I miss characters that I can relate to on some level, or root for, or cry with, but most of all, I miss characters that I can laugh with.

I pray that no Hollywood producer ever tries to “remake” the “Breakfast Club,” or “Pretty in Pink,” or “Ferris Bueller,” because that would be a tragedy. Some movies should never be remade. There are plenty of other scripts to choose from.

Think I’ll go watch “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” because, let’s face it…Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?

I Am “One of Those Housewives”

This week I was called “One of Those Housewives” as if it was a curse word. Uh, yeah…I am “One of Those Housewives.” I’m also “One of Those Moms” and “One of Those Wives” and “One of Those Women.”

And I am darn proud of those titles. I’ve earned them. I have the scars to prove it.

But when I got the comment, which has since been deleted because I like to run a happy blog not a critical one, it struck a nerve. I didn’t know how to answer it. I try to live by “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” And I knew, if I answered it directly, then it would only encourage my commenter (who, by the way, commented on a post written 2 YEARS AGO) to spout back and start not a conversation, but a war of opinions. It’s usually not my style.

I know, that’s completely unheard of in this age of social media. What? Remain silent? Don’t engage? My husband likes to say, “Social Media is not a conversation.” He’s right.

But I’m regretting not defending myself. So, I’m making an exception this once, not just for myself, but to give a voice to all “Those Other Housewives” out there.

If my commenters happen across this, here’s what I would say for the record: I am not one of those housewives that think that social media is “evil.” I never said that and that wasn’t my point at all. I do, however, think it can be a catalyst for “evil” to be done. See the difference? I am also not one of those housewives who think that video games cause kids to shoot people. But I do think that isolation can feed into a person’s psyche, adult or child, and if they don’t have someone keeping them in reality, it can be dangerous for their well-being. And that includes RPG platforms as well. Because what’s acceptable for an 18-year-old to play is not necessarily what’s acceptable for a 12-year-old. It depends on the kid.

And most important, I am an involved mother…not a S’MOTHER. I DO care what my kids are watching on-line. I DO care who they are chatting with on-line. And I believe it is my responsibility to make sure they can make wise choices. And if a part of making those wise choices means temporarily taking away their technology, then I will do it. I AM THE MOM. IT’S MY JOB to make sure they don’t end up going down a path before they’re mature enough to handle it. I wouldn’t let my child talk to real life strangers, especially ones whose influence may be potentially harmful, and I don’t want them talking to those same strangers on line either. That’s just common sense.

So, if that’s what you’re referring to when you try to insult me by calling me “One of Those Housewives” then I guess I am. It isn’t a curse word, it’s a privilege. And to my commenter, I hope that you have “One of Those Housewives” in your life.

That’s all I got. My apologies for breaking my rule of “not responding to petty comments,” but I felt the need to defend myself and all the other Moms working hard to keep their kids safe and help them make good decisions.

We do the best we can, even if we are just “One of Those Housewives.”

Avoiding the worst job in the house

 

This is a re-post (is that a word?) from last year, but it’s appropriate for my “To Do List” for today. Only I didn’t get out of it today.

Our bathrooms are white: white tile, white grout, clear glass shower doors on one shower, and a stark white bathtub in the other bathroom. WHITE! Everywhere you look!

AND we have hard water which not only leaves horrible water spots, it cements any mildew to the grout. I can forget about using baking soda and vinegar. Only harsh chemicals will cut through that mess. And there’s NO WINDOW for ventilation in the bathrooms, only the lonely bathroom vent fan.

So, needless to say, cleaning the bathroom is the WORST job in my house.

I will do almost ANYTHING to avoid it, including cleaning out the garage or scrubbing the kitchen garbage can! #responsibility avoidance

The smell of the ammonia in the tile cleaner is enough to take down a small elephant, let alone a woman of 130 lbs.

I’ve been known to devote entire Saturdays to reorganizing closets, or vacuuming all three flights of the house just to avoid the bathrooms. Today has been one of those days.

I had almost convinced myself that no one else was going to clean it, and I may as well bite the bullet and get busy, when my son wanted to WALK to the library. It’s over 90 degrees today, but if my son wants to go to the library, then who am I to say “no” to him! LOL

And now it’s almost time to start dinner, so I can’t possibly start a cleaning project of that magnitude now, right?

Tomorrow…yep…definitely tomorrow…unless…

 

What’s the one job you avoid? And what lengths will you go to to put it off?