Our Time

At dawn (6am) my son woke me up to  remind me that we would sit on the couch together.  He would do his thing, and I would do mine.

I get up each morning at this time to do some light meditation, journal, or respond to emails.  He’s been fascinated with the idea that I get up before everyone else and have “my time.”  Last night he told me he’d like to have it be “our time”  so I explained that if this were to be- we would need to both sit quietly doing “our own thing” so that my quiet time could be happy time spent in his presence but he had to remember that my “mom time” with him does not kick in until that time is over.

As I sit here typing, we are currently at the end of “our time” and his eyes have met mine at several points this last hour. He with his drawing supplies and pad and me with my journal or computer and we just smile quietly to each other and go back to what we were doing.

My last five minutes will be spent in a quiet meditation of gratitude with him.  How blessed I am to have “our time” as mother and son in this “life time”.

Thank you God.

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The Childerness: a Definition

chil·der·ness

n.

1. The unsettled, uncultivated region of parenthood left it your arms after delivery. 

a. A large wild tract of carpet covered with a dense array of toys, giblets, stray cheerios, broken crayons, and lego’s.
b. An extensive area, such as a house or apartment, that is barren or empty of any semblance that a grown-up once lived there.
c. A vehicle’s interior growing (ch)ild with sticky icky disgusting repulsive foul, frightful, grody, gross*, horrid, horrific, icky, nasty, yecchy, yuckiness.
2. Something characterized by bewildering vastness, perilousness, or unchecked profusion: the childerness of the house, laundry, handbag; the childerness of anti- terrorism; a childerness of voices.

n

1. (Family Sciences / Physical Geography) a wild, uninhabited, and uncultivated region of parenthood, the wild untamed landscape of parenthood
2. any desperate tract or area pertaining to an adults very last nerve
3. a confused mass or collection of children accompanied by one or more confused, overwhelmed, or exhausted adult
a voice (crying) in the childerness a person, group, etc., making a suggestion or plea that is ignored
in the childerness no longer having influence, recognition, or dominion. 

[Old English childēornes, from childēor wild beast (from child + dēor beast,) + -ness; related to Middle Dutch childernisse, German childernis]
You getting the picture?

"I say, is there anybody out there?"

How Women Become Enablers

1) They are an older sister to a “baby” brother
2) They get punched, kicked, pinched, bit and taunted by said “baby” brother
3) Baby brother gets punished for hurting his sister and gets sent to his room without dinner
4) Baby brother cries and sobs and acts like a Pajama Queen (That’s his version of a Drama Queen) and tells her “I am so so so sorry Manon and I will never do that again.. I am sorry I behaved so badly- and will you sleep with me tonight because I am alone and scared?”
5) Big sister thinks he’s “sooo sweet mommy” because he never acts that way unless he’s in DEEP do do and decides just one little eeeinsie weensie peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into fours with the crusts cut off and snuck upstairs to him in his bed might be just the thing her now compliant sweet brother needs in order to realize what a wonderful, beautiful, lovable big sister she reaaaally is.
6) only to repeat the same cycle again until
NOW: FAST FORWARD
1) She’s dating, and he’s soooo cute.
2) He’s a dick.
3) She puts her foot down and a boundary in place.
4) He continues to be an ass (threatening, ignoring, name calling)  till he see’s she is an immovable ROCK and only then does he finally surrender…. tears, “I’m sorry it will never happen again, I was such a jerk i don’t even know why you put up with me” blah blah blah… and “will you sleep with me tonight because I am alone and scared….?”
5) Uh huh.
6) Yep.
7) It’s clear now.

Invited To Blog On TLC: Help Wanted

 

A couple of weeks I shared with Y’all on Facebook that I have been invited to blog for the TLC / Discovery Network’s new parenting blog YAY! (name and web address to be announced).

I was of course elated, and spoke with the editor about what topics I should blog about. Then proceeded to OBSESS about what to write about and how and what I should say, not say, and what would be good topics, what would be fun, interesting, compelling, worthy…. ok, so perhaps now you see I am entirely in my head about this and have not yet written one darn thing!  I think I have digital stage fright which is hard to believe based on the fact that I have no problem blogging about the most random embarrassing or most mundane things in my life knowing people who know me best are reading my posts (and I love you for it, and completely appreciate it).

Some people ask me why I do it at all… and I’ve thought about that long and hard.  I think I do it because I love to write, and after a lifetime of journaling and being social, blogging just seemed a natural extension of that.  I used to love blogging when the kids were babies. Brad was always gone at night and I felt isolated.  Then I was trying to build an audience for my company. Mostly I blogged in the beginning thinking no one was reading it (That was BFB = before facebook),  Although I struggle with grammer, and writing style, I am working to get better and I am inspired by several blogs out there that I follow such as:

Her Bad Mother :  I love – funny, entertaining, honest.

Nie Nie : Which is so heartbreakingly honest and inspiring I want to hold this woman close to my heart and never let her go ever.

Post Secret: Which is brilliant- like making a confession for all the world to see except anonymously!

Ohdeedoh: which is just a visual feast on home design and children

Operation Beautiful: Transforming the way you see yourself.

Epic Self: I just like to look and think about maybe looking at myself as Epic one day… you know, treating my body to healthy food, Yoga, and such.

Indexed: I so envy the mind that can think this way.  Every single entry is done on an index card by diagram, and I was turned on to this one by my friend Adam.

anyway, these are just a few of my favorites (If you want more let me know).

I decided maybe I should ask all of you who know me or semi- know me what things you would like to read or hear about from me on topics you think might be relevant.  Because the objective of the blog is as mostly a community for parents, topics can range from marriage, family, modern family, business, cooking, education, organization, home improvement, work, divorce, hobbies, humor, lifestyle, etc.  You know, everything people do anyways + the kids part.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject and I will be sure to post the web address when it goes live.  I also want to say THANKS in advance for reading, and even thinking about topics on my behalf!

The Revelation Project: “Character Lines”

It’s interesting what happens when you photograph women who’ve really not been photographed in a LONG time.

They notice things about themselves they’ve never noticed before.  One of the area’s many women comment on are the deepening character lines around their eyes that bring out their beauty, wisdom and transparency.

Those gorgeous enhancements to our features have been EARNED my dear friends.

Personally I look at those women under 30 and think… “wow, sister, you’ve got a long way to go”, and I know they don’t need my pity for their shapeless bodies, flawless skin and perky boobs, but I can’t help it.  Clearly they just have not yet lived.

Imagine not knowing what it’s like to wake up from a deep yummy winters sleep bundled deep inside your soft blankets and get vomited on? Or how it feels to hold the precious responsibility of making life work for everyone around you as you set off in the early AM to climb the towering mountain of each precious day with the weight of atlas on your shoulders?

THEY have NO idea what it’s like to be this wonderful wreck of motherhood and be the glowing gorgeous representation for femininity everywhere.  They look at us longingly (and don’t think they don’t dear sisters).  They covet the very stains on your threadbare out of style jeans, and long for the glorious sheen of your unwashed hair.

Notice next time how they look at you longingly in the coffee shop or grocery store as you clutch the grubby hands of your whining, sullen or unkempt children. Go ahead,  glace at them with a mix of pity and contempt and let yourself veritably SWELL dear ladies with fierce pride as you flash your character lines their way.  OH YES… that’s what they want.

They want to BE YOU- and don’t you forget it.

The Gift of “NO”

I have had heard from many this week through email and comments (always welcome!)  saying how much they’ve enjoyed the humor posts lately about my struggle to regain control of my children.

As much as I have made light of this situation, it’s truly been troubling me. What happened to my sweet kids? I witness them hitting each other,  saying unkind things to one another, acting entitled, disrespectful, rude, ungrateful and oh,  did I mention ungrateful?  They feel that everything is a negotiation and that they should be the center of attention at all times.

I have put my mind to researching every book and text I can access on the subject of discipline lately and as I poured over excerpts, essays, and entries online and off line the term “family values”  comes up repeatedly. This has brought me to an interesting crossroads…..

What ARE my family values and have I ever communicated them to my children?

I think back to my own upbringing, and all of the ways i undermined my mothers techniques with my internal dialog vowing  never  to repeat her words, mistakes, or measures …. OH YES I WOULD BE DIFFERENT- BETTER . We all do the BEST we can….

OR DO WE?

For instance…

1) I KNOW that letting my children watch three movies in a row so I can get some work done and allow them to scream “MOOOOOOM I NEED A SNACK!” as i distractedly talk on the phone and fill yet another snack bowl and bring it to them so as not to disturb the catatonic state i have going for me is NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

2) I KNOW that giving in and opening the yet unpurchased bag of oreo cookies in the grocery store and saying “maybe” while being peppered with the “can I get a toy?” questions to avoid a scene in the grocery store  while finally rewarding them at the end for not acting like ANIMALS with some form of additional treat or bribe is NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

3) I KNOW that negotiating with my five year old as he turns my own words on me telling me “Mom, it’s your choice, a popsicle or a cookie” as he deny’s my pleas to eat something healthy, while I whine “how about some proteeeeein”?  Is NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

4) I KNOW choices of chicken nuggets, pizza, pasta with butter, cheese quesadillas and gogurts as a family meal each night in order so I don’t have to deal with the “YUCK!” comments, dinner table fights, prolonged whining and remaking something they will eat all the while hoping I do not dirty another dish I will have to wash for the umpteenth time IS NOT THE BEST I CAN DO.

Now- these are just four examples and trust me, I can go ON and ON but what it really comes down to is

What the hell am i teaching my children and who wears the pants in this house anyway?

The fact of the matter is that I DO KNOW what i should be doing to illicit the proper behavior in my children but I have let my own agenda, self doubt, fatigue, and countless conflicting messages in the media cloud my vision on a minute by minute basis instead of simply DOING what MUST BE DONE.

I know I have GOOD children,  AND that they REQUIRE direction, support, and limits at all times at this stage in their development and that I am the best one for the job.  If I bungle this NOW…what will that mean for their future? In my excavation on the subject I re-read this little gem:  the gift of NO, (If you click on this link this article pretty much sums it up). I love this article…. it makes sense to me and I think it will make sense to you too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and I truly appreciate all of you who are also exploring this conversation with me it makes me feel somewhat normal and not so alone!

God Save The Queen (Mother)

 

Parenting is no picnic sometimes.

I have to admit that my parenting has gotten a little LAZY.  I’ve been letting little things slide over the course of the last month since I no longer have an ELF on the SHELF to keep order in my home.  Behavior has snowballed into what I would categorize as  DEPLORABLE and I really have no one to blame but their father (ok,  sorry that’s just a joke).

Yesterday I decided that I have to regain supreme reign of this household and that law and order must be instituted immediately before someone was to get seriously injured.  It was them, or me.

After a rough night of consequences (Shaw age 5.5 to bed with no supper) and a less that glorious morning routine which wound him back in his room after school for 40 minutes I decided to create a chart that will earn him privileges ONLY on weekends, and ONLY if he manages to have three GOOD days in a row.  That means that the weekdays are for school, playing with his sister, chores, and reading and that if all goes well possibly a movie, play date or special treat on the weekend.

I have no idea if this will work and frankly I wonder if the novelty of the chart will wear off but since I instituted the new laws in my kingdom i have heard barely a peep of protest, whining, or mis-behavior.

Both he and his sister have agreed that they will abide by my laws or risk the wrath of the Queen Mother.  I have been terse, tight lipped, and short and quick in my responses to them, and I am here to delightfully report that it got me fairly far this evening.  They both brought their plates to the kitchen, took baths, brushed teeth, and got into bed without even a whimper of protest ( THIS IS NOT NORMAL).

Infractions include fighting, being fresh or sassy, hitting, whining, or just outright being a naughty butt.

It’s amazing since these new boundaries are set how much happier they both actually seem.  As a wise woman once said…

When the Queen is happy; the land is happy.

Five Tips on Discipline

Last night I attended a parent gathering at school to discuss “discipline” at home – a subject I find both fascinating and haunting.   Fascinating because It’s something I’d love to be better at, and haunting because of what i’ve stooped to thus far. Sometimes I forget that the goal NOW is to parent in such a way that the RESULT is that my children are well adjusted, compassionate & competent adults.

Here are a few things I learned I learned last night….

1) Sitting on my small child’s chest while yelling “who’s da man?” is only going to cause resentment and require a hefty investment in psychotherapy later in life ( yes, I’m ashamed to admit, he has pushed me this far)

2) Negotiating with your child is a bad habit and if you do it – you teach a child NOT to accept your limits. Most of the time there is NOTHING to negotiate.

3) Stop making empty threats: you will lose your power and your credibility.  Have a few rules and enforce them regularly with realistic consequences that actually work  (I remember i once took away Halloween like three times before we went out trick or treating! )

4) Discipline *as much as possible using natural consequences: for instance ; If dinner is served and your child makes the choice not to eat it, he or she will go to bed hungry.  Choosing NOT to eat the dinner causes the consequence of going to bed hungry.  It’s a guarantee this behavior will not persist for very long and your child will stop fussing when you put dinner on the table ( imagine? – this is going to be a hard one for me)  This does not mean, however that you allow your child to go outside without a coat and become cold if they so choose, but instead a natural consequence might be that they lose out on another privilege that might be important to them or that they be required to sit by themselves inside while everyone else play outdoors.

5) Your child is not your friend.   Children need a competent adult who loves them without strings attached. When you try to be their best friend you rob them of their parent.  Don’t make this mistake.

No matter what – discipline with consistency ( not consistently inconsistant) so that your child has a firm understanding of what his or her limits are. This also allows them the opportunity to self regulate later in life when you are not around.