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.

TechNO-Christmas

I’m sorry son, I can’t afford your Christmas List.

We’ve been sold a bill of goods that technology is the way to go…not if you’re on a budget.

My 12-year-old son’s Christmas list is an array of Steam Gift Cards and Amazon Gift Cards. Woohoo! What a boring Christmas!

Since he is a gamer, he’s all about the technology right now. There’s no changing his mind, unless I just simply pull the plug. But since the kid’s school district LOANED them all their own personal computers for the year, he will find a way to game no matter what.

So, I put out a plea to my friends who also have boys in the same age group and we’re all in the same club.

But I wasn’t really Gobsmacked until I googled “Gifts for Middle School Boys” and up popped a list from heavy.com called “The Best Cool Gifts for Boys: the Ultimate List 2018.” If you want a good laugh, google it. No offense heavy.com, but your budget for a middle school boy is WAY out of touch, in my opinion.

Of course, there are a few items thrown in for budget-conscious moms like me like the “Kingdom Come: Superman Graphic Novel” for $12.19 or the “1ByOne Bluetooth Sport Wireless Earbuds” listed for $38.99. But the list got downright hilarious as I scrolled past the “ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501VS Gaming Notebook” listed at $2299.00!

There are some varied other selections to choose from: An Ergonomic Gaming chair for a mere $349.99, or a Logitech Gaming Mouse for a conservative $126.99, or the budget-conscious AKAI Professional Mini Keyboard and Pad Controller falling just under $100.00 at $99.00.

Whatever happened to the days of Stretch Armstrong or video games like Aztec or Oregon Trail for the Commodore 64? Somehow, we could afford those things.

Ahhh, but I digress. Those days of old (yes, I know I sound like my mother) I remember well.

So, until I win the lottery (which I would actually have to play to win, right?) or Publishers Clearing House comes to my door (again, I have to play the game), I guess my kids will never know the joy of the gift of a $2299.00 computer until they earn the money themselves.

Until that day, they’ll be forced to unwrap presents of worth and not extravagance.

I’m sorry technology, but your price is too high for my family.

Happy Christmas shopping to you all! And if you have any ideas for affordable Christmas presents that don’t require taking out a loan, I’d love to hear them. By the way, you can still get Stretch Armstrong if you’re interested. Amazon has almost EVERYTHING! LOL

Confession – I’m Guilty of Enabling My Kids

“I’ll just do it myself.” Even if I don’t say it out loud, I often think it. Not out of martyrdom, not out of self-pity, but just because I can do it faster, and get it done when I want it done, whatever the “What” may be.

Am I alone on this?

I wouldn’t say my kids are spoiled, not in the traditional sense. They don’t have the latest iphone, they don’t get showered with unnecessary gifts, I don’t buy them brand name clothes. They aren’t spoiled in that sense. But when I step back and look at what I do around the house in comparison to what they do around the house, I realize that I am an “enabler.”

It started because I was a stay-at-home-mom, and my only job was to take care of the kids and the house. But the kids got older (12 and 16) and yet I still do almost everything.

I do their laundry, I make their lunches for school (except the 16 year old makes her sandwich), I make dinner AND wash the dishes AND put them away when they’re dry. Our dishwasher is broken, so I hand-wash everything. I dust, I vacuum, I clean the bathrooms, I empty the trash and take the bags to the garbage…I do way too much.

And it isn’t helping them AT ALL.

These are vital survival skills they need. But rather than engage in yet another argument, I just do it myself.

But ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

With my back being injured this past couple of weeks (it’s getting better), it’s become very apparent to me how I’ve cheated my kids out of figuring things out on their own.

Please don’t misunderstand, they are good kids. Put to the test, I’m sure they would survive. But I’ve made it really easy for them to sit back and not have to take responsibility.

But this week, due to necessity, I’ve been forcing myself (and them) to take on some more responsibility. Doing the dishes without pushing back has been the biggest change. And when they argue about whose turn it is, I’ve stepped back and let them figure it out for themselves.

Tonight was a big step forward for me and the kids. We decorated the Christmas tree (we have an artificial tree and it’s our tradition to set it up the day after Thanksgiving). And for those of you who “re-decorate” after the kids have had their shot at the tree (you know who you are), you know this is a big one.

I didn’t hang a single ornament…not a single one! I couldn’t. The mere act of getting up and down off the floor and bending and stretching hurt my back. I even passed the torch of arranging the lights on the tree to my oldest and she did a fabulous job. It was my job to take the ornaments out of the box and hand them to the kids (and my hubby) to hang.

Somewhere along the way, I lost track of time, and forgot that they weren’t babies anymore. I forgot where my responsibilities ended and theirs began. I forgot when “helping” became “enabling.”

My hope is that I can keep it going and not slip back into my old enabling ways when my back is better. Maybe everything really does happen for a reason.

Can you relate to this? I’d love to hear that I’m not the only one.

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!