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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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?

Parenting Teens – Unshakable Love

Parenting Teens

My oldest child is 16. Sixteen! How did that happen?!

It’s been an emotional roller coaster this last year. Lots of tears, lots of hurt feelings and misunderstandings, and lots of times when her father (who had no sisters) had no idea what he was in for.

I think we’re at a good point at the moment. I can’t say how long it will last, since emotions run high, and things seem to turn at the drop of a hat or the slam of a door.

I think parenting teens is so hard because we remember what we did as teens, and how much we didn’t tell our parents. We know what they’re probably doing when we aren’t around, or, thanks to technology, even when we’re in the next room.

I have a new slogan for my kids that I keep repeating:

“It isn’t what you do that makes me love you, it’s who you are. I will always fight for you…ALWAYS, even when we disagree.”

It’s sort of a mantra for both me and them. I want them to know there is nothing they can do to lose my love…NOTHING. There is also nothing they can do to EARN my love. I love them because they are my children. That’s it. It’s just that simple.

Let’s face it, there are going to be times when we will disappoint one another, but that disappointment will never make me turn away for them.

There will be times when we make each other really mad, maybe too mad to even speak. But they can’t shake my love.

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!

Learning to Laugh at Myself

I’ve talked about not being very photogenic before. In all truth, I’m not photogenic AT ALL. I like to think that I’m one of those women whose beauty comes from her personality. I’ve never been happy with photographs of myself. I can count on one hand, the number of adult photos where I actually think I look good: I didn’t smile too big (my biggest problem), my eyes were opened just enough without looking half-asleep, and my nose didn’t look too big. I know we can be our own biggest critic, and I, too, am guilty.

With the invention of “selfies” and “filters,” my daughter and her friends are always taking pictures and laughing at themselves. My daughter is a red-headed beauty (I might be a little prejudiced) and looks cute no matter what filter she uses. But her biggest gift is her ability to laugh at herself even when the filter makes her look ridiculous.

We were playing around with a hairstyle app recently, in which you take a selfie, then you try on different hairstyles. I absolutely hate selfies of myself…and I can’t stress the word “hate” quite enough. If I can’t take a decent picture when someone else is taking the picture, then imagine how bad a selfie turns out: All nose, every single time! But my daughter was the one that helped me laugh at myself. We started taking selfie after selfie, trying to get one that looked good, and ended up laughing hysterically at how they were getting progressively worse. Needless to say, I did not find a new hairstyle…yet.

On Facebook, there’s an app going around on Viralemon.com where you take one of your pictures and it turns you into a Glamour cover girl. Sounds fun, right? Well, I watched several of my girl friends do their Glamour Covers before I tried my own. There’s were beautiful. They looked just like a magazine cover. Mine? Well, it was horrible. I wasn’t going to share it, but it was too horrible that I had to share it. My daughter and I couldn’t stop laughing.

I think it’s because I’m finally at an age in my life where I don’t really care about what other people think of me. I live in an area where nearly every woman goes to the gym and the salon on a regular basis. To date, I have never been to a gym and I am not fighting my grey hairs that stick up along my hairline. I was recently at an event at my son’s school, and there wasn’t a grey hair in the place…except for mine. I clearly don’t fit in.

I learned a long time ago that I was never going to be the prettiest girl in the room. But I’m learning to be the most comfortable. And laughing at myself is a big part of that. By the way, the only reason I’m not sharing my Glamour Photo is because I like to remain anonymous. Otherwise I’d be happy to give you a good laugh.

Can you laugh at yourself?

I’ve Never Understood Cliques

So, you would think at 48 years old, that putting up with “Cliques” would be a thing of the past, right? A right of passage that every female seems to endure at some point in their lives. And I thought those days were long behind me.

I was never part of a “Clique.” I couldn’t make “the cut.” I wasn’t the right material.

I grew up with brothers, and always had male friends, and as such, ALWAYS struggled with the stupid games that girls played: friends one day, and enemies the next. What is that? I never understood it. And spent most of middle school and a good part of high school trying to figure it out, then finally circumnavigating any clique that I could. Who in their right mind wants to play games like that? It’s exhausting!

I guess nowadays they would call some of the mental and social things that the “Populars” did to me bullying. But it built my character and in the long run showed me I NEVER wanted to be a part of that culture…EVER.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had friends that were girls. Some close enough to be sisters. But they were also the type of girls that stayed away from cliques. And the “clique” issue didn’t rear its ugly head until recently.

I’m in a work environment that is generally male dominated, and I’m fine with that. In fact, I actually PREFER working with men. You know where you stand with men. They don’t play games. If you have a disagreement, it’s generally worked out by the end of the day. Men, I understand. Women? Not so much. At least not the “Cliquey” ones.

In all my years of working in different industries, I’d say this is the FIRST time that I’ve had to work closely with women, and young ones at that. I’m not sure if that makes a difference, except that there’s about 20+ years between us. THAT’S a big difference.

So, here I am, doing my job, minding my business, completing tasks as their assigned to me. And BOOM, I’m thrown into an episode of Mean Girls. Whispering back and forth right in front of me, chatting online between themselves, spending time on their phones when they should be working, not even acknowledging that I’m in the room, treating me like the “old lady” in the office. It’s ugly, and it’s getting old…real old.

I’d like to think I’m above the clique, and if we weren’t in such tight quarters, it would be much easier. But it’s getting harder and harder to go to work each day.

So, why are women so dang mean? Why are we so competitive? Why do we feel like we always have to watch our backs? What is it about us that makes us this way?

I know there’s no perfect job, and with my limitations, my options are few and far between. But, come on! All I want to do is go to work, do a good job, exceed expectations, and provide for my family.

I just want to get along, not drudge along. I’m fairly easy going. I just don’t know how to play the games. And I’m getting too old to have any interest in learning how to play.