To the Mom with the Fussy Toddler

 

I was working at the Grocery Store when you came down my aisle. Your toddler was fussing, and you trying desperately to calm your child. You seemed embarrassed when I smiled at you. But I want you, and every other mom who must shop with a fussy toddler, to know that it’s okay. I get it.

All of us moms have been there.

There are going to be times when your toddler is not going to cooperate with you when you need to get your errands done.

I remember those days.

The child arching his back making it impossible to strap him into the stroller or car seat.

Bargaining with the child that they can have the treat if they just make it through this one more stop. Trying to hurry, and forgetting half the things on your list, just to avoid the dirty looks from the clerks, or worse, from the other mothers who don’t seem to remember those days.

I remember apologizing as my child knocked over a display while I tried to help clean up and wrangle my child simultaneously.

I remember thinking I had done something terribly wrong, and that my child was going to behave like that forever. And then being jealous when they didn’t behave that way for other people. Those days were long and frustrating, but they will get better.

I remember wanting to avoid social situations that I knew would take too long, and then I’d end up walking the halls, or pacing outside, while I waited for my child to “get it together.”

I am thankful for my tribe of moms (and some dads) who would see my frustration and offer to entertain my child while I finished a cup of coffee.

So, to the woman in the grocery store with the screaming toddler, I get it. It won’t last forever. It is a season and it will get better. I know you’re doing the best you can. And I smile out of empathy. I wish moms had a universal sign to show solidarity and understanding. Maybe we need to invent one.

Rest assured, you aren’t doing anything wrong. Your child is doing just what they are supposed to do: asserting their independence. They just don’t know anything about timing. LOL

And I hope I get the same sympathy when you see me struggling with my teenager as they give me an attitude when I set boundaries for them. Again…we need a universal sign.

It gets better.

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I Choose Hope

I posted this graphic to my Instagram yesterday. I’m not sure why.

I’ve been avoiding the news like the plague lately. It seems it’s never anything good.

I’ve tried to steer clear of the debacle that’s happening in Washington right now (not that today is any different than any other day in Washington).

And when I looked at Facebook today and saw New York’s heartbreaking decision that caused them to light up the Empire State Building in pink, I wanted to cry.

Add to that the Covington students’ controversy, and I just can’t stomach it any more. Any of it.

It isn’t healthy, and I feel powerless to change any of it. Truly, I do.

The only recourse I have for my own well-being, and that of my family’s, is to hope and to pray for something better.

As a human race, I know we can do better. I know we have it in us to reach out instead of push back.

There is so much to hope for, so much good in the world that goes un-noticed because we’re too busy screaming at one another and standing our ground. Forgiveness has been thrown out the window completely.

So, here’s a list if you’d like to join me with some good news for a change:

  1. Watch an episode of Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor on Facebook. There’s a new episode every Tuesday and it will lift your heart and give you back some hope for humanity.
  2. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  3. Pick up that piece of trash on the sidewalk that’s been there for the last three days.
  4. Say “thank you” to the salesperson who may be having a bad day.
  5. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  6. Pay it forward – pay for the cup of coffee or fast food of the person in the drive-thru line behind you.
  7. Turn off the news when you feel yourself getting angry…especially if your kids are in the room. If it angers you, think of what it does to them.
  8. Put down your phone and be present with the person you’re with.
  9. Call your friend instead of sending a text.
  10. Look around and see what you can do to make a difference in someone else’s life, even if it’s a small thing.

Choose hope instead of despair, love instead of hate, words that lift up instead of tear down.

It starts with the person in the mirror. I know we can do it, because we are better than the media wants us to think we are.

Best wishes and blessings to you all.

What are you going to do today to make this world a better place?

Never Buy a Model Home

This is a bit off topic from my usual posts but consider it a tongue-and-cheek PSA from someone who made that mistake. On the surface, buying one of the models in a new home tract seems like a bonus. It’s move-in ready, right? Well, not exactly.

We sort of “fell into” buying our house. We were renting, and our landlords offered it to us for a great price. Since we were looking to buy, we were familiar and happy with the area, and not having to pay to move was a huge plus, we decided to jump in. And for the most part, it was a good decision.

But there was one main drawback – it was originally one of the “model homes” for our townhomes.

That means a few things, which I’ve learned along the way.

The first drawback is a term I learned almost immediately. EVERYTHING IS “BUILDER GRADE.” And I mean everything! Every home repair person we’ve had to the house grimaces when they see what they have to deal with. In fact, just today, I went to clean out the p-trap under the bathroom sink only to find that it doesn’t have a nut on the p-trap which could be easily removed. Our p-trap is GLUED TOGETHER!  A short cut the builders took to hurry up and get the model home done first.

Now, getting the model home did mean it came fully decorated, which, at first glance, looks fabulous. But the more we started looking at details and corners, the truth started to make itself apparent. We have crown molding in several rooms. But where the crown molding ends and a new room begins, for example at a corner, they didn’t bother to miter the corners. The molding just ends…chopped off…sometimes before the end of the wall. This would have frustrated my engineer father to no end.

Let’s talk appliances…all builder grade. Not just the cheap built-in microwave and stove either. We’re talking toilets, faucets, shower doors, bath tubs, and garbage disposals. Not a single brand name.

And counter tops? Tile? Granite? Soapstone? Marble? Not even close. Try plain white laminate that stains the MOMENT something like a drop of red juice is spilled on it. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my new best friend.

Can we talk cabinets? Not a glimmer of chrome or brass hardware on any cabinet in the whole house. Not in the bathrooms and not in the kitchen. But they did remember to use industrial strength magnets to keep the cabinets shut. If only there was a handle to open them up!

Now there is one thing that none of my neighbors have. We ended up with what only a handful of the neighbors have…a two-car garage. Apparently, after they made our model, they decided that a two-car garage would not let them cram as many places in here as they could. So, they got rid of the two-car garage option.

Oh, we also have a fully painted and dry-walled garage complete with green trim and a small closet. It seems that our garage served as the “front office” for the complex. So at least our pipes in the garage don’t freeze every winter. And there were heating ducts in the garage when we first moved in until we sealed them up because having heating ducts in a garage that is attached to the house is potentially lethal. (Something the inspector missed, by the way).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am eternally grateful for our home. I love it and know that we are very blessed to be able to own a home. I just want others who may be looking to buy a home to be aware of what it means to buy a model home.

If you buy a model, just be prepared to make a lot of upgrades and get used to the term “Builder’s Grade,” and the pity look the repay people will give you.

What is the worst or quirkiest thing about your home?

When Your Teen Doesn’t Share Your Beliefs Anymore

 

The following post is a reminder to myself in this season of my life and my teen’s life. But I thought someone else might benefit from it as well. I hope you can find some comfort in the following words if you’re experiencing growing pains of your own.

My child’s “unbelief” was pre-ordained. It’s only a surprise to me, not to God. He knew this was coming, and He knows the outcome.

It’s not my job to “convert” my child. It’s my job to guide and let God do the “converting.”

Forgive myself. It’s nothing I did wrong. Sometimes when your child is coming to their own conclusions, it means they are acting on their own. They are doing exactly what you taught them – to think on their own. They are maturing and thinking about what life means to them.

Don’t take it personally. Sometimes their unbelief is out of rebellion, but more often it’s out of discovery. Sometimes I think it can even be out of sheer laziness – they don’t want to be accountable to God, so they are taking the easy way out. It’s the “because I don’t want to” reasoning.

It’s a growing pain. Both my teen’s and my own. Just like growing out of dolls or playing with legos, they’re maturing and deciding what works for them. For me, it means learning to let go. They’re getting closer to adulthood, and my belief will not always be their belief.

The best thing I can do in this time of their life is to love them. It should be a time of “show” and not “tell.” Lecturing will only push them away. They need to know I love them. They need to know that my love for them doesn’t come with conditions like sharing a belief in God.

Let them experience Grace – mine and God’s. Forgive when they don’t deserve it, be kind to them just because. Really show them God’s love with how I respond to them.

Most importantly, this is God’s battle, not mine. I don’t have the ammunition or the army or the stamina to run the race with them, but God does. He’ll be there when they choose Him. And even if they don’t choose Him, God will love them in spite of themselves.

God tumbled down the walls of Jericho by having men walk around, time and time again He brought people out of despair and raised them up when they didn’t even know He existed. He waited while his followers groaned and walked through the wilderness for 40 years, and He was there every step of the way.

What makes me think He will not do the same for my child?

Take a breath and say a prayer and love your child. There is a time for everything under the sun. And now is a time to wait.

Where There’s a Woman, There’s a Way

Girl Power

Where There’s a Will Woman, There’s a Way

I’m feeling sort of powerful and accomplished today.

I’ve mentioned that I recently took a job at a grocery store as a dairy clerk. It’s probably one of the most physical jobs I’ve ever had, but I love it. I come home tired and exhausted some days, but it’s a “good exhausted.” And the best part is every day when I walk out the doors of my work, I LEAVE MY WORK THERE. I don’t bring it home with me. I don’t stew over it or dread the next day. I haven’t experienced that since I started working there.

Today was especially tiring.

I work with a small crew of men. There are the nicest guys to work with: good work ethic, good sense of humor, they are like brothers to me, we’re all on the same page.

We usually work in teams of two or three. One of them is on vacation for a few days, and because of a scheduling issue, I was alone for 4 hours this morning. Not a big deal, except for a couple of issues. As I said, I work in the dairy department. There’s some heavy lifting that goes on: crates of eggs (those suckers are heavy!), boxes and crates of gallons of milk, and generally, the men take that portion of the job (they’re fine with that). Believe me, I don’t like to be treated differently just because I’m a woman. But let’s face it, they have more body weight than my 125lb frame and more upper body strength too. The biggest issue comes with unloading the delivery trucks. It’s heavy enough that they haven’t even let me near the loading dock yet.

So, when two deliveries showed up before my boss got to work, I went back to receiving to see how this was going to work. The receiving clerk was shocked to learn that I was scheduled alone. But fortunately, the “Egg Guy” (I didn’t get his name) was nice enough to bring the palette back to the refrigerator for me. He shook his head and sympathized when I explained what happened. I shook his hand and thanked him, grateful for the kindness of strangers. Then I proceeded to unload the palette with a little creativity and ingenuity. It had to get done, and I had to use my “womanly ingenuity” to get it done.

I think that’s where women shine the most…Ingenuity. I’m not denying that men don’t have it, nor am I saying that women (some women) don’t have the same brute strength of a man. But for those of us that don’t, we learn to get creative. I’ve moved heavy loads to smaller carts to get them where I need them. I’ve unloaded heavy loads, piece at a time, to get the job done. I’ve reached and stretched and balanced in ways I can’t even begin to describe at this job to make up for my lack of muscle. I’m a woman…I do what I need to get the job done.

I have a friend who uses her womanly ways to make up for her lack of strength. She goes to Home Depot in her office attire (short skirt, nylons, full make-up, and heels) and ALWAYS gets waited on immediately. She and I were roommates eons ago, and she didn’t even hang her own pictures on the walls when she moved it! I’m telling you, she had her method down. Not my style, but it worked for her.

So, when you feel like you have to “measure up” to male counterparts, don’t bother. Know that, as women, we aren’t necessarily meant to “compete.” We are resourceful, and resilient, and can get the job done. Don’t ever doubt Girl Power.

And don’t forget to teach your daughters how to be resourceful too. They can embrace their femininity, and still work along side a man. We can have the best of both worlds if that’s what we choose.

We are all “Gifted”

 

I love this video. (From YouCubed)

I live in a competitive school district. Everyone is “measured” in one way or another. Every child seems to have a stamp across their forehead and an image to live up to. A Label. What is it with this generation’s need to label everything? As if we need to compartmentalize everyone into a category to see where they fit.

Our school district has several “Advanced Learning” schools and school programs, mostly in math and science (STEM). There is one Public High School in our district so coveted that parents start training their kids to pass the admissions test when they are in elementary school. That’s crazy! Talk about pressure. When we first moved here, I asked a group of parents what the long term advantages were of that high school. For instance, was it guaranteed admission to the college of your choice? Apparently, it does look stunning on your transcript, but you still have to do the work. So, I pushed further and asked if they had ever done a survey of the kids once they got into college or even beyond college graduation. Were they far superior in some way to the kids who took the Community College route then transferred to a four year college? I looked around at the blank stares. No one seemed to know.
So, all the pressure, all the prestige was a launching pad. Okay, I get that.

But what about the creatives? What about the artists, the writers, the kids who work with their hands? Aren’t they “gifted” too? Don’t they qualify?

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to put down people for wanting their kids to have the best education possible (especially if you are lucky enough to afford it). I’m sure you’re just as proud of your kid as I am of mine. But not everyone is “gifted” in STEM. Not every child’s brain works that way.

But I think that being micro-focused on having a “traditionally gifted” child can be stressful and very limiting.
Of course, this is from a mom who is raising “average” kids  (at least according to all the tests), and I’m darn proud of it. My kids are gifted in other ways.

It really boils down to how they use their gifts, how we all use our gifts, that makes this world a well-rounded and better place.

I hope you enjoyed the video. Have a great day!

The Fear of Dr. Phil

I’m home from work today because I pulled a muscle in my back. Because of that, I’m also stuck on the couch, and, while I should be working in my current WIP, I’ve been binge watching Dr. Phil.

I know, I should be ashamed to admit it. But if people can admit they binge watch whole seasons of shows in one weekend, then I’m woman enough to admit to watching Dr. Phil.

Besides, I owe Dr. Phil and Oprah a little something.

Years ago (we’re talking a whole lifetime ago), when I was in a relationship I had no business being in for longer then a day, it was the fear of being qualified to be a guest on Dr. Phil that got me out of that relationship.

Without going into too much detail, I was in a dead-end relationship that was on a fast road to nowhere. And as I lay on the couch one day wallowing in my own misery and having a grand old pity party, Dr. Phil came on the Oprah show.

I don’t remember what the topic was that day, but it suddenly occurred to me that I never wanted to be in a relationship that would ever qualify me to be a Dr. Phil guest. I never wanted to be that screwed up.

The thought of bearing my dirty laundry in front of millions of viewers terrified me. I remember changing the channel because the thought shook me so much. Of course, when I changed the channel, a music video channel was on (I’m not sure if it was MTV – I can’t remember), but Garth Brooks’ The Thunder Rolls was on.

It was a sign. It was time to find my inner strength and move on. And I did as soon as I could, and I never looked back.

It’s funny how our brains work: how one second, we can be headed on one path and in the next second, we can make a decision that can completely change our life…for the good. And, in a weird way, I have Dr. Phil to thank for that. Well, Dr. Phil and God. I mean, I’m sure God used Dr. Phil to get my attention.

Besides, I have to tell you, Dr. Phil provides some great inspiration for character development. You can’t imagine better characters than what Dr. Phil serves.

So, the next time someone says they’re binge watching something like Dr. Phil, don’t laugh…they may be on the road to changing their life. Or writing a book. Either way, it’s a plus.

And if you are currently going through a relationship struggle in your life, know that it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Get the help you needs and surround yourself with trusted friends and family. You don’t have to be alone.

Have a blessed day!