Done Waiting

It was 2 weeks ago that I posted about how I need to step up my game. In writing and in life.

So, did I do anything? Am I all talk and no walk?

Yes, I did and no, I’m not.

Wait…you get that, right?

I started with a movie. I took myself to the movies. I went to a matinee to see Hangover 2. There were about ten other people in the theater, so I got to stretch out and get comfortable. (I’d like to add that matinee is prime time because if you heard a whole theater laughing, you may have missed half of the jokes as they were layered in one after another.) While I usually bring my own snacks in my oversized purse….ssshhhh!…this time I bought myself a snack and drink there. Hey, if no one else is gonna splurge on me, why don’t I do it? I spent two hours in worry-free bliss, relaxing and laughing.

A few days later, I treated myself to some new summer clothes. Nothing extravagant, but a few bright colored things from Old Navy perked me up a bit.

This week, I took my kids to the local zoo. Not a big city zoo, but a local one where we can still walk around and enjoy the day outside. The kids had a great time and I was at ease allowing them to run around and watching them ooh and aah at every little creature.

Tuesday. Tuesday was a big day. I took my son to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. My quest to spend more time in the city has begun. A bit nervous on the drive in, we made it there with no problem. I only freaked out mildly when I found out I couldn’t park in the usual parking lot in front of the building.

WHERE DO I GO?!!

Street parking…ugh. We found a spot, and the bonus? I didn’t have to pay for parking. Score one for me.

And even though the residual effects of the stress tainted my stomach for the next two hours, I managed to suck it up and make the most of the day with my son. We strolled. We admired. We wondered. He received several compliments on his hat; he has a fedora he loves to wear. There’s something elating about seeing your child beam at random compliments. We even marveled at our favorite room…The Armor Room.

All in all, I think I’m on the right track. The past two weeks gave me a boost and I feel like some life has been breathed back into…well…my life. I’m definitely going to take myself to the movies more often. And finding things to do outside with the kids will be a priority, as well. There are a bunch of playgrounds nearby. Maybe that will be next week’s fun.

What are YOU doing to live a little more? Let me know!

Chaos Is Not My Thing

I’m feeling flustered. Frustrated.

I like order. Everything has its place. When I need to get things done, I make a list. I check off the list as things are done. This is how I keep my sanity. Checking off each completed item is fuel for my momentum.

I feel like my sanity is dissolving. There are too many things I need to do, that I’ve volunteered to do, or that I simply want to do. Never enough time. I’m spreading myself too thin and things are not getting done. I need to write more. I need to find a job. I need to pay the bills, decorate, clean the house, do the laundry, raise my children, blog more, exercise, fix up my blogs…the list is endless and I add to it daily. Daily.

What comes first? And how can you check something off a list that is never done?

So, I guess now it’s time to pull up my big girl pants and figure out how to solve this. Do I focus on one thing at a time? Do I assign a time limit to each item, so they get sufficient attention? And how do I avoid letting people down in the process?

I feel like I’m sitting in a dinghy in the middle of a turbulent ocean with no motor and one oar. The waves are crashing over me and I’m clinging to a boat that will soon capsize.

I need better schedules. Maybe less idealistic goals. More detailed planning. Setting limits would help.

 Today’s lesson: Don’t wait until you are drowning to look for the lifejacket.

Little Boys Lost

I generally try to avoid the news because all too often, it’s too depressing.  I might skim over a news site to educate myself on what’s going on in the world, but I don’t read every article or sit through an hour of the news on television.  We are all aware there has been an overwhelming number of suicides being publicized recently.  While I usually try to stick to topics that are not so saddening, I think these kids need their voices to be heard since they can’t speak for themselves anymore.

Asher Brown

My heart aches for these parents.  I imagine they have spent many hours wondering what they could have done differently.  Endless tears shed for the boys they will never see again.  These victims need to be remembered.  Look at their young faces.  Remember their names.  Think about what you can do to be there for your loved ones, so that they don’t fall prey to the same fate. 

 

Billy Lucas

As parents, we want the best for our kids, but we don’t always have the answers. What we can do is try our best to create an open and honest relationship with them.  Talk to them, support them and most importantly, accept them.  Accept them for who they are and what they want to be.  Support their decisions and provide guidance when they need it.  These children are ending their lives over what other people think about them.  They are dying because they had been pushed so far down by others that they couldn’t bear to live another day and put up with it.  How does this happen?!

Seth Walsh

I don’t know what happened to these kids.  I don’t know if they told their friends, parents, or any adult that may have been able to help; I don’t even know if they received any help at all; What I do know is, whatever happened, it wasn’t enough to keep them on this earth.

Tyler Clementi
Raymond Chase

 

Please, get involved.  Remember these faces and use them as an example that we have to listen AND act to help our kids and our friends and our students.  Make our kids aware that they have a support system.  Let them know that they have a voice.  Most importantly, help them understand that they are wonderful no matter who they are.  If we cannot get rid of the bullies in this world, than we can arm our children with the confidence to be proud of who they are and the ability to stay strong.

Discipline, Talking and an Afterschool Special

In the spirit of school starting, I think this post’s lesson should be about parenting.  I’ve seen some discussion lately about parents and the different ways that they discipline, or don’t discipline their children.   My favorite being the following:

http://rockonmommies.com/paris-hilton-was-an-undisciplined-child/

As our kids grow up, we really hope that we’ve done right by them and they won’t end up some sad story on the nightly news.  It is hard to decide if the actions we take when they misbehave are going to be beneficial in the long run.  It’s essential to be able to say no to your kids.  So I would like to follow up on the above video with the next step after discipline.  Sometimes,  it is the actions we take after the scoldings or punishments that are what create the foundation for a solid future.

Part of being a parent is talking to your kids.  They aren’t just a small person that wanders around the house attempting to break one of your rules.  You brought that child into this world to love, support and one day send off to live his own life.  Unless your intention was to provide a nanny with a job, I think maybe some interaction is required on your part. 

I am under the impression that many of the problems kids face could be solved with some genuine conversation with family.  Let’s be real here.  I’m not talking “afterschool special” conversation.  You don’t have to get out the milk and cookies and a reference book.  All I am saying is show your kids that you do care about what is on their minds and talking about it shouldn’t be an uncomfortable situation. 

I have always been very open with my son, who is now 10, about many topics.  Example 1, two girls in the neighborhood keep pushing him off his scooter and then when they get it, they don’t give it back.  He’s afraid to do anything because he doesn’t want to push a girl.  Ok, so I don’t have the perfect answer for this.  But, we talked it out.  We tried to figure out some options.  Point being, he felt a little better afterwards.  Example 2, for years there has be a certain nearby store that we pass that is for, ahem, adults only.  For ten years my son has never noticed this store…until there were protesters outside with signs that say “Pornography Hurts Our Children”.  How ironic.  So, as I am driving by praying he didn’t see them, he asks “Mom, what is pornogra..what does that say?”

*facepalm*

Ok, sometimes we are gonna have conversations we don’t want to have.  If you can put on a brave face and an even tone, you can show your kids that they can come to mom or dad with anything without feeling embarrassed.  That’s the real lesson here.  Just asking how they feel once in a while can be beneficial.  School is approaching.  Ask if they are nervous, excited or scared.  Let them tell you what they think and give them advice if they are unsure about starting school.  Get them to look at the big picture to show that even though things may be tough one day, other days will be better. 

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?  Were you afraid to raise your hand to ask a question in class?  Did you feel confused in health class?  Did you loathe having to change in front of classmates in the locker room?  There are LOADS of embarrassing moments for us to choose from.  If we can remember those times, we can surely help our kids get through them knowing what we know now. 

Maybe we don’t have all the answers, but just being there to say “I understand” can mean more than you realize. 

If Only He Knew

As school approaches and I ready my son for fifth grade, I think back to what life was like when I was in fifth grade.  The social realm really started to open up that year.  Liking boys and walking to the local Burger King with friends were top priority.  Cliques started to develop.  What you wore and how you looked started to be much more important than it ever had before.

I look my son and think, if only I could tell him.  His sweet, kind demeanor may be in for a shock this year.  I have already noticed the difference in the friends he hangs out with in the neighborhood.  We recently moved to a new home in January and he still feels a bit conflicted about which kids he wants to call friends.  It seems to me that he expects his “friends” to never say a bad word and be constantly knocking on the door for him to come out and play.  But, it doesn’t work that way, I tell him.

Sometimes they will say things to be hurtful.  Other days, you’ll be picked first to be on their football team.  I try to explain that so many friends will come and go over the years.  The best you can do is enjoy the fun and try not to take too much to heart.  Having a conversation with a 10 year old requires a short delivery if you want their full attention.  If only I could tell him all the great things I look back on now, and that I’ve forgotten the bad things. 

If only he knew all the things that I know now.  But then how would he ever learn it for himself?

Boys vs. Girls

When I had my son ten years ago, I was young and optimistic about knowing exactly how I wanted to raise him.  Ten years have gone by like a cool breeze on a hot day and I can honestly say that he has been a fairly easy kid.  As a baby he ate well, slept through the night and barely made one sound of discontent.  I probably could have left him alone for half the day and he would have cheerily played with his toys without bothering one precious item in any room.  Now, he’s well mannered, kind, intelligent, funny and very easygoing.  Pride is bursting out of me for the boy he has turned out to be.  I can only hope that his teenage years will be tolerable as I always expect the worst since kids pull so far away from their parents during that time. 

However, three years ago, I had a beautiful baby girl.  Little did I know that my first hint at her indignance was a hospital photo holding up her hand and distinctly giving the camera the finger.  Yes, the middle one…for all the world to see.  To this day, I regret not getting that one printed for proof that she began her life as a rebel.  While she was also a fairly easy baby, it was clear to see she was going to be a handful very quickly.  She more often squeaked than cried, earning herself the name “Baby Bird”.  Also proven by the way she opened her mouth and waited for someone to put food in it when hungry.  Once mobile, she was ready to cause maximum damage.  If I would leave the room for mere seconds, I could hear giggles and the pitter patter of her running feet, as I dashed back in to find that she had turned off my laptop.  The laptop that I used for my job which I then learned to save everything after any update. 

As she learned to speak, it was evident that her nickname was once again proven when she parroted everything said within a four room radius.  And now at three, I’ve dubbed her the “swearing police”, scolding us when someone says anything she finds offensive, such as “stupid”.  Let’s just say my choice of words of frustration has been cut off at the knees.  With a full vocabulary and excellent speech, she suddenly sounds like a teenager with the comebacks that come out of her mouth.  I’m amazed at her ability to neck roll an insult back at a parent with breakneck speed. 

I’m not saying all girls and boys are the same.  I’m not even going to say any girls are the same as mine.  What I will say is that my guess is, there are quite a few girls out there giving their parents a run for their money.  And as teenagers, we may want to consider locking them in a tower until the age of thirty.  All I know is my parents must have been out of their minds…they had four girls.

Paying Attention is Affordable

In today’s economic state, a lot of us are trying to find ways to cut back on spending.  We are eating out less and taking “stay-cations” to save money wherever we can.  While parents are more accepting of making these sacrifices, sometimes our children are not so enthusiastic.  So, how do we get them to jump on our bandwagon willingly?

The most affordable answer is to pay attention to them.  One of my son’s favorite rainy day activities is to make our living room a movie theater.  We close all the curtains and make it as dark as possible.  We pick out a movie and turn up the volume on the TV, and if you have surround sound it makes it that much better.  Grab some pillows and blankets for maximum comfort.  And don’t forget popcorn, gummi bears and whatever snacks remind you of the movie theater. 

Ask your children to think of an at home activity that they love.  You might be surprised to find that they don’t often care what the activity is, but that you are the one participating with them.  Sending them off to play video games might keep them quiet, but picking up some crayons and drawing on paper with them will always be much more rewarding for both of you.