When your children want to know the gory details…

(Original Post July 2015)

 

So I found myself caught between a rock and a hard place (sorry for the cliché) the other night.

My daughter wanted to know if I was a rebel when I was younger.

Maybe it was the deer in the headlights expression that gave it away, but she knew immediately that I was not always the straight-laced, button-down, Christian woman that I am today.

Don’t get me wrong, I was always the one who everyone’s parents trusted, including my own. And for good reason.  For the most part, I stayed out of trouble, rarely broke the rules (I was usually too scared) or at least was smart enough not to get caught. But my daughter wanted the dirt, the gory details.

At first I told her that if she could guess something that I had done, that I would fess up. She couldn’t really come up with anything, to my relief, but she was relentless.

So what’s a parent to do? Make up something? No, that’s not my style. I’m too honest for that. I mean, really…honesty has always been my enemy.

This was a dilemma. If I told her a rebellious story she may use it against me further down the line. You know, throw my words back at me…”But YOU did it!” That would be bad. Or she could go the other way…”Just because YOU never did it doesn’t mean that I can’t do it!”

There really was no way to get out of the messy situation. It was a teachable moment…for both of us. So I thought of something forgivable, and told her a brief story from my rebellious youth. It was entertaining and not something she could really duplicate, so I was safe there. No one in the story got hurt. I told her how I learned a lesson and why it wasn’t a good idea to begin with.

Discernment…that’s what I learned. I learned that it isn’t so bad to tell my kids the gory details of my past mistakes, as long as I keep them in my past, and as long as my kids can learn a lesson from them. I think I’ll be ready for the next time one of them asks about my history, and I’ll keep the gore to a minimum. I’d like to keep my straight-laced, button-down reputation intact.

I’m just glad I got to live my teenage years BEFORE the internet.

Do you tell your kids about your gory details?

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Letting Go…but Not Giving Up

My life with my children has been a series of “letting go.”

I let go when you didn’t need me to rock you to sleep when you were an infant.

I let go when you didn’t need to hold my hand to stand and walk on your own.

I let go when you could hold the spoon to feed yourself.

I let go when you walked into preschool that very first day and waved goodbye.

I let go when you learned to write your name all by yourself.

I let go when we took the training wheels off your bike and you balanced on your own.

I let go when you started choosing your own friends in school without my help.

I let go when you stood on the stage in your first Christmas play and sang your heart out.

I let go when you spent the night at your first sleep over and didn’t need me to tuck you in.

I let go when you got on the bus your first day of middle school and rode bravely without me.

I let go when you didn’t get the grade you wanted and learned you had to work a little harder sometimes.

I let go when you had private conversations with your friends.

I let go when I learned I wasn’t necessarily privy to every corner of your life, and that privacy didn’t mean secrecy.

I let go when I gave you the keys to the car and you drove out of my sight only to return safely.

I let go when you went on your first date, and I prayed you’d make wise choices. You did.

I let go when your choices weren’t necessarily my choices, and that was okay.

I let go when holding on tighter would only strangle you and make me crazy.

I let go just far enough so that you would know I am always here, waiting, when you need to come running back, no matter how far you wander.

I let go in so many ways, but my love for you will never lose its strength.

At the Mercy of Others

I haven’t posted anything all week because when I haven’t been working on my NaNoWriMo Manuscript, I’ve been in pain. A lot of it.

Over a week ago, I did something to my back, though I can’t remember anything in particular that I did, and I’ve been in horrible pain. I can’t lay down, I can’t sit up, I can’t stand for very long without a LOT of pain…you get the idea.

I’ve thrown out my back before, but this pain is different. It even hurt to lift my leg to go up the stairs. I finally broke down and went to the doctor. But I didn’t like her prognosis – “It’s either a kidney stone or you have a bulging disc. Go home and drink lots of water, and if it gets worse, go to the emergency. Oh, and take these super strong pain killers in the meantime.” Are you kidding me?! How about I go get a new doctor! (I’m going to get a second opinion tomorrow).

Because of the pain, I’ve had to rely A LOT on the mercy of others.

The first day I was laid up was laundry day. I watched my dear husband do all the laundry and fold and put away the clothes. Even the kids got involved. Being the control freak that I am, that was hard to do. Watching the laundry being folded by someone else as well as hearing the washer be done and waiting for people to put it in the dryer drove me crazy. As I said, I’m a control freak.

It also showed me that I’ve spoiled my family entirely too much. They don’t know where anything is in the house! I have failed as a wife and mother! And trying to describe to my husband where I kept the heating in the bedroom closet while I reclined on the couch downstairs, was a true test to our marriage.

It has been a mixed bag of blessings all week.

Towards the end of the week, I had to go back to work, where I am a stock clerk in a grocery store. My male co-workers, who treat me as their equals and not as a “girl,” were super helpful. They lifted the heavy boxes and pushed out the heavy carts for me without complaining or judging. I need to make those boys some cookies.

Instead of going out to lunch with a friend, because it hurt to sit in a regular chair, my friend brought lunch to me.

My husband made dinner (or brought it home) several times and my kids helped with the dishes.

The worst part, besides the pain, has been the boredom! I’ve watched more Dr. Phil and sitcoms than I’d like to admit. But at least the Hallmark channel has been running their Christmas movies round the clock. Although that makes me want to go Christmas shopping, and though amazon is practical, it doesn’t take the place of being out in the decorated stores to really get in the mood.

I’m glad I have people in my life that don’t mind helping, and even get mad if I try to go ahead and do things even if I hurt, but I’m about done with this pain. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s doctor has a better solution than drinking lots of water.

Have you ever had a situation where you’ve had to rely on others and give up control? I’d love to hear about it.

Calling All Moms

Moms Opinion

Hello Moms and welcome,

I’m doing a bit of research and I need your help.

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR BOOKS TO READ, IF YOU READ AT ALL?

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’m a writer. I have two books published at the moment, and more on the way.

My target demographic for my women’s fiction novels is women, usually moms, of ages 30 and up. This is my general demographic.

In the “novelling world” (not a real term, I know), independent authors spend money, sometimes lots of it, marketing their books to their “target audience.”

My target audience, however, generally doesn’t have time to read. Nor do they spend their time searching hours on end for a new book. They just don’t have the time. They’re busy being moms and scheduling appointments, and driving carpools, and meeting repair men for the newest leak in the roof.

I get it…I’m you.

So, I’d like to know how you choose your next book to read, and what format works best for you?

Do you prefer it in audio format, so you can listen while making dinner? Do you prefer a novel in small chunks on a blog post, so you can read it when you get a chance? Do you prefer it in electronic form or as a tangible book you can hold in your hands?

Also, where do you get your recommendations? From searching amazon? From friends? From the library? From Twitter? From Facebook? Or other social media outlets?

And one last thing…

Do you prefer stories that you can relate to, or would your prefer to read a book where you can escape from life (ie. Romance)?

You see, your opinions matter to me. I’m not in the writing business to make money, however, that would be a lovely side effect. I write because I want to tell stories and entertain.

Please take a few minutes and let me know your opinions in the comments below, when you get a quick 2 minute break. And feel free to share this post so I can get more opinions.

Besides, when was the last time someone asked for YOUR opinion?

Have a fabulous day!

Mom Therapy

Mom Therapy

When my first born was about six months old, I went a little crazy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I definitely had cabin fever. I felt like a shut-in, like I had lost contact with any adults other than my husband. He’s the love of my life, and my best friend, but he isn’t a woman. There’s something about “sisterhood” that women need, especially when they’re short on sleep and buried in diapers.

Come to think of it, now that my kids are teens, I STILL need that “sisterhood.” There aren’t diapers or crying fits anymore (unless you count mine – LOL), but there is a certain need for a sharing of our lives.

I call it Mom Therapy.

It comes in many forms. Years ago, when the kids were babies, it meant stealing a couple of hours (if we were lucky) at Starbucks with babies in strollers. When they got to toddler age, we took our coffee to the park and pushed the kids in swings while we chatted. Shhhh…don’t tell the kids that the park is really for you too.

And then partial day preschool and kindergarten kicked in, and it was back to Starbucks, sans strollers, for coffee and maybe a quick trip to the mall or Walmart. We never bought clothes for ourselves, mind you, it was always for the kids. But we still managed to talk about life and laugh about how ridiculous it could be at times.

Now my kids are teens, and most of my friends, like myself, have gone back to work, ruining our Mom Therapy time. Oh, how I long for those days of strollers and Starbucks.

Some Moms forego the Coffee Therapy in exchange for Gym Therapy (I assume…I’ve never been to a gym), or PTA gatherings, or Church Functions (ie Bible studies), or Book Clubs.

But however Moms get their “therapy,” we need it. It’s essential to our survival.

I’m sure Dads have their own version of Dad Therapy, but I’m not a Dad, so I wouldn’t know what they do.

To my “Mom Therapists,” you know who you are, and thank you for your time.

What do you do for your Mom Therapy? Do you have a group of “therapists” that meet regularly?

Why Moms Need a “Village”

When I had my first child, over 16 years ago, I was elated. Growing up, I never aspired to be a CEO, or a big executive (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I just wanted to be a Mom and a Wife. My dreams were coming true.

And then the hard work began.

For starters, I have a minor disability which makes me somewhat dependent on others, which I hate, by the way. But it can’t be helped. That’s where my “Village” comes in.

I knew going into parenthood, that I would need help, especially getting around town with the kids. And it became evident immediately when the doctors screwed up my C-Section (a small portion of it opened back up) which sent me to the wound center EVERY DAY for the first 10 weeks of my daughter’s life. My husband couldn’t take that much time off work, so my village took me there and waited with the newborn while my wounds were cleaned.

Because I can’t drive, I try my best to be close to schools, grocery stores, and doctors, and God has provided that for me. But there are times when stumbling blocks get thrown in the way. That’s when I need my village. Sometimes it’s made up of good friends or family and sometimes near strangers.

The truth is parenting is hard, whether you have a disability or not. There are times when you’ll be criticized, and judged, and you’ll need your village to support you even when you’re wrong.

My Village comes in all shapes and sizes.

I’ve had friends who are like surrogate parents to my children. They love them almost as much as their own. They’ve watched my kids early in our friendship when my husband had a gall stone attack (we didn’t know what it was at the time) and had to be rushed to the hospital. They’ve picked my kids up from school or watched them when I was stuck on the bus or they’ve taken them to school functions when I couldn’t get them there on my own.

Sometimes the “Village” support comes in emotional support as well. When I thought I was losing my mind as most of us Moms do from time to time, they picked me up off the floor and reminded me that “this too shall pass.”

My kids are now in their teens, and I still need my “Village.” Moms with older kids who have gone before me to advise me with high school decisions. Moms with younger kids to remind me not to take any moment for granted, because they pass quickly. Moms with kids the same age to support each other in the insanity.

My Village…I love them all and there’s never any way I could every repay their kindness. Somehow “thank you” doesn’t seem to be enough.

What about you? Have you found your village?

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.