Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Read this, or WALK home...

Did you hear about the woman a few years ago who told her daughters (I think they were like ten and twelve or something like that) to get out of her car and walk home? I don't remember the exact story, but I do remember that one daughter had a cell phone and called the police on her mother (who was--I believe--in her vehicle following behind the girls).  The mother was charged and I couldn't help but think (then AND now) about who will run that household after this event? The mother has been undermined in the worst way and the girl knows that SHE has control.

I remember feeling sorry for this mother BEFORE my children became mouthy and unruly. I remember wondering WHY she was in trouble. Clearly the children were misbehaving to a point where she thought they needed to learn a lesson. She didn't RUN THEM OVER with her car. She didn't LOCK THEM UP in her car. She didn't even strike them in her car. She removed them from a difficult situation and forced them to look at their actions while getting some exercise and fresh air. Hearing about this story made me think about my own childhood. We used to walk to school on our own from kindergarten on (though most younger students had parents or older siblings to walk with them) and it was  at least a mile--in the rain or in the snow near BUFFALO, New York (and it was uphill BOTH ways...and we didn't have shoes...and we LIKED it!).  No one called the police THEN (though they may have offered us a ride!). Why is this behavior considered abusive now?

I do not have all the answers--in fact, I don't have ANY answers, but I do know that as a society we are making parenting  MUCH more difficult than it already is and it is SO VERY DIFFICULT. Maybe it's because we blame our parents for so much instead of embracing how well WE turned out--so they must have done SOMETHING right...I don't know. What I DO know is that I would N-E-V-E-R--EVER speak to my parents or question my parents the way my children do me. I was afraid of my parents--still am. My children scoff in my general direction (usually) when I discipline them. I was grounded for most of my childhood. I'm lucky to get a ten minute time-out from my son. My children (my son especially) argue about EVERYTHING. We were taught never to question authority.  I use the word "taught" loosely--we were TOLD and did it or suffered consequences--REAL consequences. Why is it so easy in theory yet so difficult in practice?

My son does not care about consequences. He gets pissed (yes, I said PISSED)  if either of us questions or corrects him--as if WE are the children and HE is the parent. SERIOUSLY PISSED. Like a grown up with an attitude. He  does not humble himself--EVER and he rarely accepts responsibility which is why it is impossible for him to correct his behavior. You can't fix something you don't believe is broken.

Brayden has always been extremely intelligent and  when he was really young, it was easy to talk to him about his behavior. We discussed (too much it would seem) consequences from the time he was two and for a while he even put himself in time out if he knew he did something wrong. Now I see that he did that so that he could have control. Now if I tell him to go to time out, he refuses. It turns into a power struggle and one or both of us ends  up in tears and hurt in some way or another. The funny thing is, I am sending him to time out for his own safety usually--I know if he stays with me for one more second I just may hurt him. The school gave us a fifteen second cool down card which I thought would be helpful--quite honestly, we BOTH could use the fifteen minutes seconds when things get crazy, but the child is so very stubborn...I just may lose my mind.

When we first moved to Montana, my maniacs were four, three, and Addison turned two the second week we were there. Brayden had just started to get a little mouthy and rebellious. My formerly compliant and peaceful preschooler turned into an unhappy tyrant. He started fighting about EVERYTHING. If the other two were happy and behaving, Brayden would pinch them or hit them or do something to make them unhappy. It was particularly difficult to do the shopping. The three of us were together ALL THE TIME, We were unable to grocery shop without one (or ALL) of us breaking down completely (and don't even get me STARTED on our trips to Target--I shudder to think of those trips!).  We would talk about the rules in the car before we got to the store. I would bring a fun thing for them to do and a snack for them to eat so that they would be busy, but they had no interest in anything I brought for them. No matter what strategy I stole from Parents magazine or Dr. Phil, it always ended the same: Me lying in the fetal position and rocking back and forth--wishing I could become a crackhead so they would send me away to some fancy rehab where the celebrities go--without any children OR Target.

I remember one late night there was an ad on television with a woman grabbing her son by the arm, dragging him out of the store yelling, 'Why do you ALWAYS make me do this to you?!" and another woman put on a cape and rushed to the child's aid. The byline read: "You have the power to stop abuse or neglect!" I started to bawl and woke my husband to tell him that I needed to be sent away because I was an abuser. He placated me--mostly because it was like one in the morning, but that commercial stuck with me. I couldn't let it go and it prevented me from parenting at all. I was always afraid that I was being abusive, so for a few months anyway, my children were beasts with a mother who didn't want to raise her voice (HA!) for fear of being abusive.

After a few LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG weeks of THAT behavior, I changed my attitude. I became angry at the advertisers. We really didn't get enough information to make a fair assessment of the situation. We didn't see the small child knock over the Vlasic pickles and the Hormel chili while trying to shake up the Pepsi and coke bottles to see which one had more fizz upon opening. We didn't see this child kick an old man in the shins to get him to move away from the Reeses and Kit Kats. We didn't see the child hurl himself on the floor when his mother told him "No, you may NOT climb up the shelves in the store and you may NOT jump from cart to cart! The lobster's claws MUST stay banded together and you are NOT allowed to dive in to play with them..." We didn't see ANY of that and I can't help but wonder how THAT public service byline would read. "I too have been tempted to abuse or neglect. Call for help or guidance--BEFORE you make your child (EGADS!) WALK home..."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Everything (well--almost everything) is stolen...

There are SO MANY THINGS for me to discuss, I don't know WHERE to begin! FIRST, I have to address the fact that someone on facebook must have plagiarized my blog. Tell me THIS doesn't sound just like most of what you read on here EVERY time I write something:

Tony Truscio's Photos

I would take action, but--LOOK--something shiny! Where was I again? Oh--facebook. So I want to create "tabs" on my blog and I have NO IDEA how to do it. One tab I want is "Funny Facebook Findings" (I know--it's overkill on the alliteration--I LIKE it, so leave me alone!) and another is "Funny movie/TV quotes." I know--that one needs work, but I'll have time since I HAVE NO IDEA how to do it! I also want a tab for Braydenisms, Ryanisms and Addisonisms(?) Addieisms...? There are others, but I really hate when people say what they are GOING to do instead of simply DOING. That said, I would like to share some funny facebook findings with you. Don't go--even if you HAVE seen them splattered all over my facebook page and again on yours, you MAY learn something new and you MAY even LAUGH. OR you will be bored out of your mind and annoyed that you will never get this five minutes back. It's hard to say, but why not give it a chance?

The first thing on my list is a headline from LifeScript (which I don't even REMEMBER what it is or WHY it is sending me facebook headlines, but anyway). It reads: 

Now Demi Moore is rumored to have a substance abuse problem. Why do so many celebs get into the addiction cycle? 

Really, LifeScript? REAL-LY?! We are now able to write things like "...RUMORED to" followed by questioning celebs and their drug usage based on...RUMORS now?! I do not have any feelings for or against Demi Moore, I just have a BIG problem with the fact that we can now readily admit that we are basing the terrible things we say about people on rumors instead of fact. It used to be that writers had to at least PRETEND to have solid proof. Now they are just like, "Listen to THIS rumor...can you BELIEVE celebs have these drug problems?!" Speaking of DRUG problems...:

David Hughes

I LOVED this when I saw it and isn't it SO true?!  We've blurred the line between parenting and abuse and even made it so much more difficult to parent now. Everything I do is met with guilt and uncertainty and I am P-R-E-T-T-Y sure my parents didn't have that problem. Insecurity is not a helpful trait to have when raising little people. Just sayin'  

Talking about insecurity, my friend's daughter and the tiger in this picture seem to be just secure enough:
Liz Kapelus

  Speaking of HUNGRY...

...NOT that the tiger is hungry. I'm pretty sure my friend's sweet daughter is, because aren't kids ALWAYS hungry when you take them to the zoo or...ANYWHERE that isn't your kitchen table for an actual MEAL that a parent has prepared?!

How about THIS:

 Jackie Connolly's photo

As a crazed lunatic mother trying to keep it together, I can't help but think of horribly sadistic things to make me smile. YES, SMILE. And laugh. Out loud. To steal a line from The Middle (Which you REALLY need to be watching if you aren't already) "Don't judge ME. People do Meth!"  (And they DO).

If I don't get a laugh out of someone else's pain, I get one from being incredibly goofy. For example,

Tom Jones's photo


Mobile Uploads

I am actually ASHAMED to admit to how often I repeat these lyrics in  a week. SOOOO ASHAMED...

Speaking of shame, here's an idea

Tony Truscio's photo

for those in your life who may draw shame for one reason or another...you know--maybe this person has a blog that rambles on AND ON...or something like that...

 My last few favorites speak directly to my life.

I'm pretty sure this is MY fridge. Oh no--wait--there isn't disgusting food growing on the outside of it and there is actually a message of SOME kind indicating that someone ANSWERED the phone and took a message...

Add caption
I get most of my laughs from facebook status updates, though now that I am blogging, I don't keep track of them as much. My friend, Jim kept me entertained for over a year with his updates. I seriously looked forward to them every day until the facebook intervention of 2009.  At that time I was given a limit as to how much facebook time was considered unhealthy. I was about five times OVER that number, so I broke away from checking updates. 

Today, Jim wrote:  
Sometimes I get emails that have so many possible sarcastic responses that I'm just overwhelmed and I have to answer them seriously. I call this irony paralysis.
I call THAT extremely funny. AND extremely true. 

Yesterday he wrote:
"OK so until Tom told me just now that it was real, I thought this line that Newt Gingrich wanted to build a city on the moon was some kind of joke. Seriously people that guy is batshit effing crazy. Santorum would be a better president."

I love this more because I find Jim to be one of the most intelligent voices when it comes to politics and he usually stays pretty level. And if he is calling for SANOTORUM over Newt, trust me--there's a problem!

My friend whose daughter I have never met. but am convinced is somehow my daughter, Ryan's twin,  frequently posts about her conversations (and I swear she needs to write a book with the same name)
‎"Noa, can you bear to buy the hot lunch at school today?"
"Good, because I'm running really late and that will save me a lot of time."
"Wait! What does 'bear to' mean? Can I change my answer?"

"FromtheBackSeat: "I don't want to have only one life!"
FromtheFrontSeat: "Well, some people believe in reincarnation."
FromtheBackSeat: "But I don't. Plus, I would want to know all the same people I know in this life. And when you get old you get forgetful. So in the next life I wouldn't recognize anyone."


OutforIceCream: "Noa, will you share some hot fudge with me?"
"Why not? I always share with you!"
"Mom! Just think of how long you were alive before I came along and all the hot fudge you had all to yourself!"

Or this from my friend Jen's son who sounds like he is going to be the next Michael Corlione:

"Will is on a roll tonight. He's calmly refusing to go to bed (finishing a new puzzle on the kitchen floor). He says, "I'm just here to have fun, Mom--not to complain. That's what kids do--we have fun. Unless you don't let us do what we want. Then we get agressive. And then you have to be careful with us." Uh--should I consider this a threat?!"
This I took from my husband's friend, Don:

"I volunteered in Alex's kindergarten class this morning. I took three things from my experience. One, kids are awesome! Two, teachers don't get paid enough. And three, I miss being in an environment where picking your nose is socially acceptable."

...and his friend, Julie shared this:

Dylan's refering to his testicles as his 'consequences...'" 

To which I responded:

 If only more boys felt like that...(Just kidding!)

I included the "just kidding" because this week has been full of defensive people who don't yet know that I think pretty much EVERYTHING is funny and a joke (Unless it's from my husband. Or my children. Or if it's REALLY early. Or late. Hmmm...)

Speaking of private parts and people justifying  their jokes, take a look at this post stolen from my friend, Tricia's page:

Some people are really just ungrateful boobs no matter how much you bend over backwards for them and go above and beyond. Nothing will make them happy.
  • .
    • Maybe they weren't breast fed enough as infants, thus making them unsatisfied in life. Ironic that you called them boobs, don't you think?
      Wednesday at 10:36am ·  ·  2
    •  Unfortunately I dont there is any correlation between my boobs and them...
      Wednesday at 10:37am ·  ·  1
    •  ooooooooooh sooooooooooooo not what I meant! I meant the boobs I have dealt with... lol
      Wednesday at 10:37am ·  ·  1
    •  Now this is funny!
      Wednesday at 10:38am ·  ·  1
    •  Boobs make me happy
      Wednesday at 10:43am ·  ·  1

    • At least NOW you are laughing--at least I am laughing anyway...
      Wednesday at 10:55am · 
    • I hope you know I am only joking, and it was all meant to just make you laugh.
      Wednesday at 10:56am · 

    • I don't know who could read this and NOT laugh!
      Wednesday at 11:08am · 

This made me laugh (from my friend at The Joyful Jungle):

 "Emma and her little friend from school decided tomorrow would be a great day for a play date. Problem is, neither of them know their phone numbers, last names or addresses."

The next two appeal to my former life as an English teacher and a student who actually CARED about how many spaces there should be between sentences.



Did you click on it? DID YOU? Good. My friend Melissa (find her at Adored Before and  Designher Brand) touched on grammar in this update:

"We're at the point now where punctuation is all but ignored in text conversations. Capitalization, you're on deck. Spaces, you're probably next."

I stole this next update from Juliana (a woman I respectfully call "The Child Whisperer" because Brayden was lucky enough to have her mold him when he was a toddler):

"The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson."

How about my own post last night:
Braydenisms:" Do you have to PAY to get a job? Then why doesn't EVERYONE have one?" "When I get older, I am gonna stay home and make my wife work. That is if anyone WANTS to marry me!" "Remember when we lived in our "mansion" and Daddy just stayed home and played on the computer? Now YOU just stay home and play on the computer..."

And that is JUST what I am doing, isn't it?! I will close on this quote I stole from my friend Gayle at 

The Farmer's Daughter of Fredericksburg:
"I think this quote is so applicable to motherhood: 'The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes selves with everyone else's highlight reel.'"

As long as we are all as happy as THIS girl (or her camel) at the end of the day--or EVER-- life is good!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I've been Punk'd--I'm CERTAIN of it...I think...

Sometimes I think I must be getting Punk'd. I look around and try to locate Ashton Kutcher in my closet or under the bed because there is NO WAY that these things happen naturally. Take our sleepless nights for instance. I am NOT exaggerating when I explain the pattern of events at our home(s) for the last few years.

Night number one (in the cycle):

Light knock. A little louder. An all out BANG...

"Momma?  Momma! I'm ascawewrt!"
"Who are you--Brayden? Ryan? Addison? You're fine--go back to bed!"
"Nooooo. I'ma not fine...I'm ascawert! I haddabad dwreyeam!"
Sigh.  Pause.  fall back to sleep for what feels like hours until I hear:
"MOMMA! I wan toseepif YOU! I don WANNA seep in MY bed!"

Now, this is where the story changes depending on the day. Day number one usually consists of me getting up and carrying her to her bed and staying there for an hour or two until she releases the death grip she has on my arm. I then spend the next hour or two trying to fall back to sleep which only happens five minutes before the cacophony of alarms informs my husband (and everyone in the tristate area) that  he must wake up and start the day. THIS is when my real sleep finally begins--when my husband is in the shower and I am  supposed to be getting myself and my children ready to start OUR day. Only I'm not READY to start ANYTHING that doesn't include me snoring.

By this time, Ryan is up and rattling the door. Rattle, rattle, rattle.  Scratch, scratch, scratch. Rattle. Rattle rattle. Five minute pause. Rattle, rattle, rattle. Pause. RATTLE, RATTLE...you get the point. The good news is, I get a good two to three minutes of sleep in between rattles and scratches. YAAAAYY...nope--I can't even feel it for the sake of the story.

Anyway, night number two:
"For all that is good and green on this earth, WHAT?!" If you didn't get it, the child screams at the top of his lungs until I get there. Sometimes it's Brayden, but sometimes it is Ryan. It's ALWAYS on the second night.
"I had a nightmare."
"Again? I'm sorry honey, but you seem to have nightmares all the time. Do you want to talk about it? Did you dream that you were peacefully sleeping until someone screamed like a crazy-person and woke you? THAT'S a nightmare..."
"NO! I dreamed that I had bad thoughts."
"Bad thoughts about WHAT?"
"Nothing. A nightmare about bad thoughts."
"I don't know what that means. Think about happy things and get some sleep or you aren't going to feel well tomorrow."
"I want to sleep in YOUR room. MY room is scary."
"Your room is fine--you just had a bad dream. I'll cuddle with you and rub your back until you fall asleep."

Depending upon the day, this conversation can go in circles for up to two hours. On a particularly good day, we don't even talk about it, I just immediately climb into bed and sing a song or rub backs. On a particularly bad day we go back and forth for hours and the child finally ends up in bed with us--kicking me in the kidney the rest of the night.

Night number three--Addie's back. Night number four--Brayden's turn. Ryan is only seen or heard from once every two or three weeks, but she REALLY packs it all into one night, let me tell you.  On the fifth night, it gets interesting. THIS is the night when I hear from EVERYONE. it is usually once an hour and I get up no fewer than five times. FIVE times. How is THAT even possible? By this point in the week I am crying when I hear the knock, scratch or yell. And I am looking for Kutcher.

If I am lucky enough to get a night without children screaming me awake, my husband usually steps up to the plate with his incessant--I mean--endearing-- snoring. OR I am lucky enough to get a pounding and debilitating migraine. Yaaaayyyyy me.

I just don't understand WHY this is happening. Ashton Kutcher usually shows up when the victim is nearing the end of  her rope and could very well lose his mind. SOOOO...where IS he? Kutcher? KUUUUTCHHHERRR...I'm ready to talk about how very SILLY all of this is now. Hahahaha! VERY FUNNY. Joke's on ME! HELLOOOOOOO...?!

Since Kutcher was either A. not brave enough to face me or 2. not really a part of this conspiracy, I suppose I have to deal with it on my own. Only, I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHY THIS IS HAPPENING!

Yes, I know that consistency is key in all aspects of raising children and yes, I know that we are VERY inconsistent, but have you seen how little sleep we (I) get?! I am lucky I am still standing most of the time. PLUS, my children are FIVE, SIX and EIGHT. There is NO REASON for them to get up so frequently. I KNOW they are waiting for the day when we let them sleep with us and I KNOW it inevitably does [happen], but...well, I don't know what to do! When I am THAT exhausted, I just want the crazy to stop. I don't want to talk, laugh, rationalize, walk, MOVE...so I give in to the behavior and make things oh-so-much worse!

Sleep on my floor, sleep on your floor, lock the door, open the door, no television before bed, television before bed if you SLEEP all night, no computer or DSI, use all of these things if you JUST SLEEP ALL NIGHT PLEASE! I know we need to stick with one thing on a regular basis, but I am not equipped to do this on little to no sleep. Do OTHER people go through these things? I know it is expected for parents to get up frequently every night with babies at home, but my children are certainly old enough to sleep through the night, right? I know I spoke about my conspiracy theory in http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2012/01/let-ranting-begin.html , http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2011/12/children-of-mass-destruction.html , and
 and that I have complained about this sleeping thing ad nauseum, but I HAVE to know. I MUST know. It HAS to stop. Kutcher--I'm watching you...

Monday, January 23, 2012

If we can't support each other, we're doomed!

I cannot believe how many haters there are in this world. Not just haters--haters with TIME on their hands! I don't understand why it is so difficult to allow each person to have a respected opinion about things. I spent the entire morning--okay, maybe not the ENTIRE morning...I DID go to the gym and "clean" my kitchen, but the REST of the morning was spent reading comments on an article I "liked" on facebook last week.

The thing is, I know better than to read comments on posts (unless they are on MY blog--THEN I try to read and respond to ALL of them...so keep them coming!) because there are always haters, but I checked my email for the first time in months (weeks...? days...?) and there was one informing me that there were comments on this particular article. It hooked me because the first comment I read was negative and angry--not what I would expect for the article I had read. It reminded me of when I was pregnant with my first. We didn't know if we were having a boy or girl and I TRIED not to do the "I will NEVER" list, but I think we know how THAT turned out for me http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2011/11/ive-decided-that-instead-of-making-to.html?showComment=1327346411431#c6993091237695591002.

I was on the computer registering for the gazillion freebies that they promised me (but I never got because I got overwhelmed and confused by all of the shiny lights...I'm a L-I-T-T-L-E ADD). I somehow got onto a message board of some kind--I guess it would be considered a blog now...that WAS eight years ago (YIKES!)--and read about some STRONG opinions on breastfeeding, circumcision, nutrition--pretty much ANYTHING a new mom would ever think about was covered on this message board. The problem is, the board was FULL of haters. People on the defensive taking every word on the board out of context and as a personal assault. Not to mention the fact that most on there felt that everyone needed to either agree with them or die! It was the most horrifying thing I had ever seen, yet I couldn't stop reading it--you know--the whole train wreck thing. There were mothers who were grossly appalled at the fact that a person would do anything as inhumane as circumcising a baby. There were fathers who claimed that any mother not breastfeeding is a narcissistic human being who does not deserve to parent a child. There were those without babies insisting that to immunize your children is to send them off to certain death. There were those WITH babies insisting that those who do not immunize their children should be arrested and their children would be better off in foster care. I remember how very sad I felt when reading comment after comment of hate-filled words. I couldn't help but wonder what the goal was.

When I taught, I got my share of hate mail--some you would not even BELIEVE that a person would write to another person--usually based on something a sixteen-year-old child told his or her parent while pinky promising that it was true. Really--there was an instance of pinky promising that had my friend April and I roaring over for days. I cannot list how many times a parent has said to me, "Well, my child doesn't lie..." and proceeded to berate me for not being up to par for their brilliant  "Honest Abe," while I thought of whether or not it would be appropriate (or legal) to video tape just one class to show the parent the true behavior of said child. It never came down to that and I never blamed the students. You are supposed to be an idiot when you are in high school--that's like the only job I excelled at in high school quite honestly, but your parent should know better. Your parent should...well...PARENT.  I learned then that some people are full of anger and spend their lives deflecting and blaming others. Noted. On the message board I saw SO MUCH of that and it was really sad. The same thing happened today.

The article   http://www.ncregister.com/blog/to-the-mother-with-only-one-child is a "letter" to any mother of one child, yet speaks to mothers--or parents--in general.. The title is a bit unsettling to some--this I understand. It appears to be the typical "Your life is so easy because you only have one child" title, but it is the exact opposite of that. The author conveys the difficulty of parenting ALL children regardless of number. She even goes on to state that it  may even be EASIER for a parent of multiple children at times. After reading the comments, it finally occurred to me--people WANT to fight and be angry. People were seriously REACHING for things to anger them. Several even had the gall to be angered by the fact that the author has nine children. Really? Several went on to say that she is damaging the environment by having so many children. Are you kidding me? REALLY?! Don't get me wrong, I do not have the time, patience, money, or ovaries to have nine children, but are we really going to defend our rude judgment of others by using the ENVIRONMENT? I am just as worried about our environment as the next person, but are we really going to save a planet we have all but destroyed by not procreating as much? What if the person who can save our planet is your neighbor's thirteenth child, but you talked her out of having another (by bullying her and making her feel guilty and like she is a bad mother) so she could do her part to save the planet? Ridiculous.

So many of the comments (I think there were like five hundred total) were from people who took the author's words personally--but twisted those words to make them negative and hurtful.. they called her names, claiming that she is arrogant and demeaning, when all this poor woman was doing was to try to make others feel better about a time that may or may not be overwhelming and guilt-ridden for them. I don't know about you, but when I read something that does not apply to me, I move on, but these readers attacked. The fact that they could NOT relate to her words angered them and put them on the defensive while they hurled hateful insults at the writer. I have to say, It was the only time I felt happy that my little blog isn't syndicated. Why do so many people automatically assume the worst? Although most people liked what the author had to say and got the point (even if it did not apply to them) that she was trying to make, those few who did not, REALLY did not. They spoke of the author's tone as being condescending when it was compassionate. They called her arrogant when she was being real. Wouldn't life be so much better if we truly gave EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt? If we don't know the intent, perhaps we should assume it's to make people feel good. If we don't understand the words, perhaps we should assume they are meant for good. If we don't have something nice to say, perhaps we shouldn't say anything at all. And if we don't like what we are reading, perhaps we shouldn't read it. Unless it's MY blog. THEN you should read it and say REALLY nice things about it.

I guess my problem is with the fact that we live in a world where we spend our time comparing ourselves to others, assuming the worst and wishing we had what others have instead of embracing what we have and being happy for others when they have something we don't . To the parents who think that having multiple children is selfish and to those who think that having one child is selfish, you are all wrong. Wasting your time deciding how selfish OTHER parents are is selfish. Your time could be better spent doing about five thousand other things that would benefit your family--whether there are two of you or twenty.

Friday, January 20, 2012


It has come to my attention (AGAIN) that people are going to think that I do not love my children (see http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2011/11/i-love-my-children.html). Actually, the exact words were, "People must think that you HATE your children." I DO NOT HATE MY CHILDREN. EVER. Even when I mumble, ":I HATE them" under my breath when they all attack me at one time in the middle of the night. Even THEN I do not hate them. I ALWAYS love them. Always. I don't always LIKE them--I have to be honest. I don't always run around with a cheesy grin on my face singing about how blessed I am to have them in my life, but those who point out the whole "People must think you hate your children..." did not do that either. Some do--that is another approach, but I cannot pretend to be happy with something when I am not. I refuse to pretend that my child is wonderful if he is beating up your child (or anyone really) and I REALLY cannot pretend that YOUR child is wonderful if he is beating up mine (or anyone again).  At least I'm fair about it--right?

I KNOW I am blessed. I have three GORGEOUS and BRILLIANT children--and I am not even being biased. Have you SEEN them? They are RIDICULOUSLY cute and they are HORRIBLE for pictures (anyone who has tried to get them to sit still for a photo knows that I am not being hyeperbolic (that's right--HYPERBOLIC) when I say it. In fact, they go OUT OF THEIR WAY to be difficult when getting photographed. That's why most of my good photos of them are not posed (I think candid photos are the best anyway, but that's the Herff-Jones yearbook training in me I guess...). Point? Well, if they look that good when they are TRYING to look bad, IMAGINE how cute they REALLY are. Add to that their personalities and your heart just melts. Until it turns cold with rage over the fact that the oldest pushes the middle one down and spits in her face like the biggest bully you have ever witnessed in your life. Or when the middle one gets in the little one's face and tells her she should sleep with one eye open. Or when the youngest says, "I can do anyfing because I am cute and EVEWREYONE ywuffvs me--yrwight, Mama?" Okay--that last one may not fill your heart with cold rage (or any kind of rage for that matter), but it DOES make me question my actions as a parent. We were so worried about building self-esteem in our children, we forgot about humility. Oops.

I spend my time these days replaying EVERY event in my brain to see where I am going wrong. A good teacher will make time at the end of a day to reflect on the good things and the bad so that the same mistakes aren't repeated and so that the good things ARE [repeated]. Reflection is key in every avenue of life. Wouldn't things be so much easier if EVERYONE sat down at the end of the day to see what needs to be fixed and what should stay the same? The problem is, if you are the only one reflecting and changing, things will not get better and you will burn out quickly. Welcome to MY life.

Here's the problem. We have a home full of leaders. Not just leaders--DICTATORS. Everyone seems to know everything about--well, EVERYTHING. The only one who claims to know nothing is me and that is deemed weak by Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Napoleon. The educator in me prides herself on not knowing everything and admitting when she is wrong. The other four members of my family pride themselves on never being wrong and if they sense that they COULD BE wrong, they modify the problem so that they are right. I can't get upset with the little people--they come by it naturally.  They are like vultures--they sniff out weakness and set out to destroy it. Where I think that admitting to being wrong is a strength, the rest of them find it weak. Twice in my ten years of teaching this same thing happened to me and the result was unimpressive. The first time was during my first year of teaching high school. I'm just realizing now that it was teaching seniors and my second experience was teaching seniors as well. I've thought about this before and attributed the behavior to gifted students, but now that I am REALLY thinking about it, the problem was that they were SENIORS.

I remember the only time I "knew" everything was when I was eighteen. I was after all a SENIOR and I was HORRIBLE. My two difficult teaching years I was teaching seniors and admitted to them that I did not know everything--or even MOST things. They chewed me up and spit me out. They of course knew everything and shouldn't I? I was after all IN CHARGE, right? This is how my husband and son view things--like they are seniors in high school. You must know ALL, sniff out weakness and destroy it.  NEVER admit to being wrong. Ever. Never allow someone to show you how to do something--that is just as bad as admitting you don't know. Fake it and blame the other person if it doesn't work out for you. *sigh* It is even exhausting TELLING about it--I cannot even IMAGINE DOING it!

My goal as a parent is to create people who other people enjoy spending time with; people who are good friends and reliable, kind without being pushovers, and easy to befriend. I want my kids to be the type of people who make other people feel good when they spend time with them. I don't want them to be energy suckers or people who bring the room down just by their presence. This is a difficult job. I am CONSTANTLY on my kids for--well, EVERYTHING, and people give me a hard time for it. "Oh it's fine that he grabbed that out of my hand simply because he wanted it RIGHT NOW...leave him alone, he's just a kid!" REALLY? Because isn't that the same child you will refrain from inviting over the next time? You will remember that he is obnoxious, not that YOU allowed him to be obnoxious. I am constantly on my kids to use their manners and people give me a hard time for that, but what child do you want to spend time with--the one who demands things or the one who asks if he please could participate in things? When a person says thank you doesn't it make you feel good--even appreciated? What about when they simply take and leave? How do you feel then?

Luckily, my husband feels the same way about parenting. My son would NEVER treat my husband the way he treats me--probably because my husband does not point out his weaknesses, nor does he allow any disrespect. I have always encouraged talking about feelings and behaviors where my husband lays down the law. "This is how it is-- period." I like to think that I am the same way, but I think we all know the truth. "This is how it is and let me tell you why..."  In fact, my husband has recently gotten tougher because I am slacking. There have been SEVERAL times when I have undermined him or forgiven behavior that usually is not tolerated simply because I am sick of being mean ALL the time. Not okay, I know, but it definitely won't become a regular thing as long as I address it.

This parenting thing is more than a full time job and it is exhausting. I am honored to be privileged enough to parent my three beautiful children and it is a responsibility I don't take lightly, nor does my husband. I NEVER get a break because when I do take one, it takes five weeks to undo the damage of ignoring one rude moment or one act of bullying. My children test the boundaries DAILY sometimes hourly (secondly?!) and when I am not "on" I pay. I could spend my time not caring and letting what happens happen--and there have been days when I've done that, but I pay later. If I want the end result to be well-adjusted people who are easy to get along with and who others WANT to have as friends and companions, then I cannot afford to take ANY time off--not if I want to do my job right.

I do love my children--and they will tell you how much I love them. More than chocolate and ice cream. More than a trip to the islands. More than ANY video game or television show. And more than any amount of sleep or "time off" that I might take to make my life a bit easier. I love my children enough to "hate" them every-so-often and to know their weaknesses when they do not--not to point out those weaknesses, but to help them turn those weaknesses into strengths so that they are able to succeed in life without me. I love them more than anything in this world which is why I commit to this fight--and it IS a fight--daily--so that I can look at my work one day and KNOW that it was worth it.

I can say with confidence that my children are extremely polite (usually). I rarely have to remind them to use manners, to introduce themselves or to ask before they play with or take something at another person's home. I never get anything but glowing reviews from school (though the middle one is a bit social like her mother!) and it would seem that our constant parenting is working. They seem to only act out with us or with people they know HAVE to love them. That's something, right?  The thing is, their "acting out" is nothing compared to what I see some other children do (I know a lot of you out there and your children are also this great), but the behavior is still unacceptable.  They should respect others--period--and should not go out of their way to make another person feel bad (yes, it IS bad, not badLY--look it up...).  I want them to feel empathy--to treat others the way they want to be treated and to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. When they sniff out weakness, I want them to stand up for it, not destroy it. I think we are definitely headed in the right direction, but our job is not even CLOSE to being done.

Now I know why my mother said, "Now she's YOUR problem--I'm done!" to my husband on our wedding day. I was so insulted at the time, but I get it now. She worried about my every move for twenty-eight years. She probably didn't sleep a full eight hours during any of that time, so FINALLY she was released of that duty (though there have DEFINITELY been other times since then when I've had her on her toes!). I think of my aunt who is a second mother to...well...EVERYONE--while being the mother of two incredible young men-- and I think of how tired SHE must be! I also think (and hope!) that it is rewarding to see what that hard work created. I think that every good decision I make must make them feel proud of themselves for what they did, though I fear that every poor decision does the opposite. THIS is what I signed up for when having my babies, and I wouldn't trade it for anything--not even a solid eight hours!

I WILL continue to complain about my children. I do not EVER pretend like everything is okay if it isn't. I am honest to a fault (at least MY version of what I think is right!) and change my mind regularly. Even when I am screaming at the top of my lungs or threatening to leave my house sans children, I LOVE my children and my life. I would rather FEEL that love in my heart than PRETEND to feel it on paper.,