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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Bratty kid

littleaholes

School starts tomorrow, and I felt pretty confident that I had gotten all the supplies, and for once, was ready and fairly stress free.  I know….amazing.  I was just as surprised as you.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I run in chaos. If you’re knew, well you learned that on the very first post you read, so you’re also ahead of the game!  In all my glory, I picked up my son’s backpack that he said he’d re-use from last year, and saw it was almost threadbare.  Since he’s 12, I figure he’d notice such things, but alas, I was mistaken. At 8 PM the night before school, I went on the hunt to find the perfect backpack that would make him happy and not break the bank.

I made my first stop at Marshalls, which may seem like a weird place to begin such a search, but I’d remembered they had a TON of backpacks last week, so I started there.  They had about…15 left.  They did, however, have a unicorn….a backpack at the very first place that I KNEW my son would love and it was great quality at a good price.  I snagged it and hit the mall nearby looking for something I wanted for my daughter.  I headed into Justice.  Now, if you don’t have kids yet, don’t want kids, or have littles, you should know that Justice is the place all us grown women WISH we had open when we were kids.  It has sparkles on everything, it’s all rainbows, unicorns, sequins, leopard, camo, mermaids, emojis and owls.  It has kitties, and puppies, and is every pre-teen to early teen’s dream.  I walked in the first time and felt overwhelmingly sad that such a store had not existed when I was a kid.  My mom dressed me in brown pants and a green sweater….she dressed me like a damned TREE.  I am still horrified by some of the pictures.

As I walked into the store, by the cashiers, I saw a mom paying for a bunch of clothes for her daughter.  The daughter asked her for something, the mom said no, and the daughter got IRATE.  Then she started demanding things.  Then she shouted “you are so MEAN! God!  You’re EVIL!  Such a JERK!” and it went on and on. I physically stiffened and turned to look.  The girl was probably about my son’s age.  She was sulking, yelling and stomping.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was a little asshole in the wild.

Now before you get mad, and chastise me that all children are special little flowers and no child could ever act like an asshole….that’s a damned lie.  Some kids are very simply put, little assholes.

The mom started saying “oh look everyone, I’m evil, I’m so evil I’m buying her over $100 worth of clothes!”.  That’s when I tried REALLY hard to keep my mouth shut, and just leave the store.

My mouth decided today was not the day, and tomorrow didn’t look good either.

“If I were you….” I said, (while my brain was yelling “STOP!  Not your circus, not your monkeys!”) “I would take all those beautiful clothes, leave them on the counter,leave the store and head home.”  Now, this may sound harsh, but it’s 100% true.   She looked at her daughter and said “I should!…so if you don’t stop soon, I may just leave the clothes and go!”  I knew well and good she was going to hand over her credit card and buy her daughter those clothes. You know what? She just taught her kid a lesson that she should be an asshole again when it suits her.

People have told me I’m strict, sometimes very strict.  Sometimes, I guess I am.  Sure, sometimes I am just too tired to fight, and sometimes the kids get away with a bit more than they should.  Sometimes my little one is so tired and miserable that I know I will have to suck up the bad behavior in the moment, but there will certainly be a discussion and correction of the behavior once she has gotten some sleep.  In other words, sometimes you have know know when to fold, but you make sure the lesson is learned even if it comes the next day. The end result is that my kids are mostly very well behaved.  People have gone out of their way to compliment me on their behavior at school, at programs and at sports.  I take that compliment very, very seriously, and I always make sure to let them know that someone noticed their great behavior and commented on it.  I make sure they too are proud when people notice and comment on it.  They also know, however, that people don’t want to hang out with unpleasant, rude, bratty or entitled kids, so it is important they be mindful of behavior.  Do they falter occasionally like any other kids? Sure, but on the whole, I get great reports on behavior.

We’ve all seen a kid who just acts entitled, bratty, rude, or unpleasant.  Look, I try REAL hard not to judge.  Sometimes a kid has special needs, is having a bad day, has parents getting divorced, suffered a loss, or something to trigger them.  I don’t judge that.  We ALL have bad days.  But when a kid is standing there with such CONFIDENCE saying such nasty things to their own MOM, well, chances are that this sure isn’t the first time.  It was clear by the mom’s reaction it won’t be the last, either, because she effectively reinforced the behavior.  The fact is, we have to raise kids who will fit into society.  People don’t want to be around assholes. Let me rephrase that.  Good, kind, generous and loving people won’t want to be around entitled, rude, unpleasant, ungrateful people.  So let’s all try our best not to raise kids like that, shall we?

I felt REALLY bad for that mom tonight.  I felt bad her daughter spoke to her that way, when clearly the mom was trying to do something nice.  I felt bad because she looked tired and she probably didn’t need any of the shit her daughter was giving her.  I felt bad because she had to take that kid home and she was probably pretty fed up with her. I felt bad because deep down, she might have been embarrassed.  That being said…teach your children that behavior is not ok.

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Summer Wind Down

Well, summer is finally finding down.  I can’t say that I’m sad about it, per say.  The Northeast has been unbearably hot and muggy this year.  The humidity is the worst. It’s also been tough because we have been saving for our trip, so we haven’t taken many vacations this summer.  As summer winds down, we have an upcoming trip to look forward to, and then we’ll dive into a new school year.

Personally, I am a creature of habit.  I like to know what’s coming down the pike and to have a plan.  I’m not super structured, I’m not very organized in my out of work life, but I get it done.  The school year is easier to manage than summer often is.  This year we as a family have toned down the obligations.  We’re not a Pop Warner football family this year.  That has freed up a TON of time this fall.  Also, my stint on the PTA was short lived.  I enjoyed the position initially, but I quickly saw it seemed to be type A people being in charge of something.  My phone was beeping with messages from 7 am to 11PM, even on holidays.  No.  Just…No.  I found it overwhelming and could tell immediately there was no way I’d want that kind of situation for the next two years.  I took a hard look at what I have to do, what help I have to do it, and I made cutbacks accordingly.  Within moments, I felt a huge surge of relief.  Women often think the more they overload themselves the better of a mom they will be.  That’s the great lie. I’m at my best when I am not trying to do too much.

Currently, I am learning the life of a middle school parent, and am excited to see my son start a new adventure.  I am watching my daughter start at a new school too.  New beginnings.  I’m trying to hammer through some obligations I made earlier this year.  I feel pretty peaceful.  There will always be plenty to do, but I’m making a concerted effort to not take on extra.  I’m happier for it.

You know, I started this post a couple of weeks ago.  Camp had ended, the kids were home bored, and I think everyone is eager to get back to a routine.  That being said, I think I am far more nervous about the beginning of school tomorrow than the kids are.  There are book-bags to be packed, lunches to be made, and a new routines to follow.  There is the addition of taking a bus for one child, and navigating that system for the first time.  We have two new schools.  The oldest goes to middle school and the youngest moves to the school next door.  Our BOE redistricted the schools this year, demagnetizing a school, and, effectively, segregated children racially and socio-economically.  Many families were ripped out of our school against their wishes, including many of my daughter’s closest friends. I am furious about going backwards rather than forwards.  Add to that other issues with the board, and I am left feeling very distrustful of them and their handling of my childrens’ education.  That being said, the kids take their leads from me, and I need to snap into school year mom mode from summer mom mode and get everyone ready.  I should start by making sure everyone’s first day outfits are selected.  After all, that’s one of the things kids really concern themselves with, and I know I put great thought into it when I was a kid.

I am very happy to have released myself from some obligations, and aside from a few, can enter the fall feeling relatively happy and relaxed.  I’ve cleared the calendar save for a few fun things like trips or parties. I just need to get myself used to a strict schedule again.

The school has already called a half day for tomorrow, because of the heat.  Even my best intentions for a well scheduled, put together day have been toppled a bit.  Even still, I’m ready to let this summer go.

 

 

Letting Kids Fly, But Not By Helicopter

Helicopter-Parenting-300x300

Ahh, vacation.  It’s my first day back from a weekend trip to visit family, and I already need another vacation.  Not because of the family, we had a fantastic time, but because I came back from a Saturday and Sunday away to a shitstorm of work to do.  I digrmyess, however.  Every year, my step mother’s sister throws an annual weekend up at her house.  Since my dad married into the family, they also include me, my husband and kids.  The weekend is filled with laughter, days spent at the lake, and lots of food and beer.  It’s always a fun weekend.  This year, I think we had 16 or more.

Saturday, while lounging at the lake, watching the kids play in the swimming areas and in the sand, I got into a conversation with my…let me see if I get this right….step cousin’s wife.  We were talking about our kids, and how they are growing up so fast, the usual.  She lives in Brooklyn NY, and she overheard her son tell me how excited he was for school this year because at his school, the kids are allowed to leave the school and go out for lunch unattended.  I was completely fascinated by this revelation, and his mom (I’ll refer to her as E) filled me me.  Apparently, starting in 4th grade, the kids are allowed to leave the school building and can go for lunch.  Completely unattended.  In Brooklyn.  I was a bit amazed that the school, never mind the parents, would ever go for such an idea.  I live in relatively small town suburbia, and parents here are CRAZY intense.  Helicopter parenting is mostly the norm, if not encouraged.  Parents direct every aspect of their children’s lives, friends, interests and activities.  Kids are placed into a LOT of activities because the general thought is that they must be active ALL the time.  They must be kept busy.  I have friends who have their kids in about 6 activities a week.  It looks exhausting, not only for the kids, but for the parents who have to drive to (and most attend) as well.  The idea that this school in NY would allow kids as young as 10 to just leave the building mid day and roam to a local restaurant unattended was something I struggled to fathom, but I was intrigued.

For those of you who follow my blog, you may remember I wrote a while back about how I was trying to let me kids have more freedoms, more independence, and promote a sense of self responsibility and good decision making skills.  It went swimmingly, until we had a falter when my daughter forgot to communicate she was going to a friend’s a few houses down and I couldn’t find her.  After that we had to place new rules and explain the communication process.  Things have been going really well, except that it got so hot the kids haven’t really wanted to venture outside too much, never mind riding bikes etc.  Hopefully, we will work on things more in the fall.

As we talked, E explained that the school allows the kids to leave, unattended for lunch, mostly due to a problem with overcrowding in the school.  There really isn’t enough room in the cafeteria.  She said the kids have a radius that they can go to, about 2-3 blocks, and their are crossing guards at the intersections (and to make sure the kids don’t go outside of the “zone”.  On those blocks, there are a bunch of restaurants the kids can choose from, they bring their own money, and buy lunch.  I thought about how this would fly where I live and giggled, because it never would.  After hearing the layout of their school’s plan, it seemed like quite a good one.  The kids have choice, are given responsibility, there are crossing guards to keep them in the general vicinity, and frankly, it was a great way to keep local businesses afloat.  E explained also that the principal is a very strong leader, explains the process to the kids very clearly, and they are fully aware that one misstep means they lose the privilege.  They haven’t had any issues, because the kids take the privilege so seriously, they don’t want to lose it.  Also, with the volume of people in the area, parents feel that the kids are far safer than wandering in the suburbs.

I explained to her my realization earlier in the year that there were so many things I knew how to do at a young age that my children have never learned, simply because they have never had to learn it.  Road safety, because I am always there to walk them across the road, for example.  All those little things, that really are big things, because I am always there to do it for them.  She said she had had the exact same realization, and it really bothered her.  The interesting thing was that with one of us living in the city, and one in the suburbs, we each had a different set of skills we realized we had never taught our kids because we’d always been there to do it for them. Also, the kids needed different skills based on their location.  For my kids, bike riding was more important, but for her kids, there wasn’t much of a good place for her kids to ride.  For her kids, navigating their neighborhood during rush hour was more important than for my kids, who don’t see a lot of traffic in our area.

Both of us have decided a change is in order, and we are working to give our kids more flexibility, responsibility, and more LIFE skills they can do without us.  While the skill sets may be different based on where we live and the needs that arrive from that, the mentality is the same. Our parents let us learn the hard way, on our own quite a bit, and it taught us good, solid lessons.  We weren’t hovered over and coddled.  We were treated as little people who had to learn to live in a complicated world.  I see moms on social media claiming their kids are never out of their sight, that they do EVERYTHING for their kids, and that they keep their kids in activities and busy every minute of the day.  Know what that tells me?  Those kids likely won’t be able to entertain themselves if someone isn’t telling them how.  Those kids will miss many an important life lesson.  Independence and self discovery is important!  If someone does everything for you, how do you learn to do it yourself?

I recalled the conversation I had with the police officer who came that day my daughter left for her friend’s without telling me where she was going.  I was honestly really, really frightened and questioned my decision to let her do more on her own. (And trust, there were the people who had to make nasty comments about what happened, but you know what? 0 craps given.)  The officer told me that I was doing a GOOD thing.  That kids should be outside playing.  He also said that one thing he runs into all the time are kids of helicopter parents.  He said these parents hover over their child’s every move, thinking they are doing the right thing.  He said that he sees the end result of that, where if a parent goes to the store and runs 10 minutes late back, the kids (old enough to stay home themselves) the kids freak out because they don’t know how to cope for a few moments outside of expectation when the parents aren’t there.  He sees a lot of kids without some basic life skills, because they have never been taught them or had to learn them.  When I recounted this to E she thought it was really interesting, and we discussed how true this probably is.

Statistically, we are at a time of lower crime, but more ways to communicate it.  Our kids in some ways are probably safer than we were when we were younger.  Yet parents are more protective and are helicoptering.  I have seen parents call their grown children out of work.  I have seen parents doing laundry for grown children.  How did we get here, where we are so focused on our children that we have stifled them?

One of the greatest feelings I had as a kid was the feeling of being trusted with responsibility.  I felt so grown up, and appreciative of any new independence, that I worked hard to keep the privilege.  As a kid, I flew overseas by myself!  I traveled 3000+ miles myself, with some oversite from the airline.  I arrived, got my bags, and found my ride.  I navigated airports like a pro.  When I traveled with my parents, they had me tell them where to go, what our next steps were, etc.  In time, I learned my way around our frequented airports, knew how to travel responsibly, and became comfortable that I could manage travelling on my own.  If I got separated from my parents, I knew I had a plan to stay safe and find help.  I knew road safety on my bike. I knew how to speak to adults, how to navigate my corner of the world, and even another area of the world.  I walked comfortably across town at 12 years old in a town overseas.  It saddens me that after being pushed to hover over my kids, I have neglected to teach them some life skills, not for not wanting to, but for not thinking of them.  Why? Because I handled everything for them.  The more I talk to people, the more I notice parents having the same revelations.  This year, I am going to teach my kids the process of navigating an airport and how to travel safely.  Time to let them fly, just not by helicopter parenting.

Wha’ Happened?

Facebook is an interesting thing. It has it’s positive points, like the fact I can now easily communicate with and keep up with the lives of my family overseas.  I love seeing pictures, jokes, and funny anecdotes shared by friends.  I enjoy the feature where I can see posts from the past.  On the other hand, there are the political bullshit posts (how many of you are tired of THOSE?)  Whenever people from “the other side” of politics post something attacking my views, it’s sometime worthwhile to take a deep breath and keep on scrolling.  Sometimes I wonder if Facebook hurts as many friendships as it helps.  In the middle of the endless political posts, jokes, TMI posts, etc, there are the weird posts that come across that make you wonder….”wha’ happened?”

Two such posts crept across my newsfeed recently.  A friend and former coworker, who I follow on FB but don’t see outside in the real world now we have different jobs etc, suddenly posted a pic of her with a new fella. When I met her, she was married long term, with a son.  I knew she desperately wanted another baby, but it never panned out for her.  She posted pics of her and her husband on cruise ships, buying and renovating a house, and other, normal family type activities.   “must be a new friend” I mused, and kept scrolling.

Then I notice she tagged him in lots of pics and posts.  This was CLEARLY a VERY good friend.  Then the love post appeared, and a post of the two of them with her son and his kids.  I caught the post where she said she was hoping they would have a baby between them soon. Husband, it appears, was long out of the picture.  Or perhaps not so long. Who knows? As with any breakup of a marriage, it’s often hard to know what to feel.  Sadness for a dream that ended?  Sadness it couldn’t work?  Happiness that a possibly bad situation is over?  Happiness for new beginnings?  It’s always tough for those in the ripple effect around a couple splitting to know what to feel.  I felt sad her marriage had ended, clearly after a very long go of it, but I was happy to see a sparkle in her eye.  Still, I wondered what happened.  How do couples who have been together 20 years or so suddenly call it quits?  I suppose Facebook is what you let it be, and she hid what was going on very well.  I am very much an open book, so I doubt had I been in her situation I would have been as discreet.

Fast forward a few weeks, and another former coworker, from the same company now that I’m thinking of it, posted she was with her ill mother.  She made a comment about starting a new life alone is hard, especially without her family around. For all intents and purposes, it looked like she too may be at the end of a marriage.  This was a military wife who had been married since her late teens or very early twenties I believe. Another multi decade marriage, apparently at the end.   Again, I felt saddened by that.  Then I noticed in her pictures she was looking a bit happier, so I chose to be happy for her.

I’ve been married 12 years.  I got married during the simultaneously best and worst year of my life.  I got married, moved, had a baby, dealt with some post partum depression, lost my mother to cancer, went back to work, and was a new mom without my own mom to guide me.  It was amazing and hard, and joyful and it brought me to my lowest points.  It was a year of utter chaos.  We got through it together, my husband and I.  We’ve been through babies, new beginnings, the death of parents, fights, making up, and all the little life moments. We only really see each other a day and a half a week, but perhaps that makes it easier.  We manage well on our own but work really well as a team.  We don’t see each other every day, so we don’t take each other for granted.  It works for us, but certainly it wouldn’t work for everyone.  Nobody makes me laugh like he can.  Nobody makes me feel safer or happier than he can.  I’m very lucky, and I wish everyone felt that way in their marriage.  Unfortunately, not everyone does.

I’m at an age now where I’m more comfortable with myself than ever before.  Life seems easier in a lot of ways because I know who I am and I act accordingly.  Once you get a grasp of that it sure makes decisions easier, although don’t ask me what I want for dinner…..please don’t ask me that because while I know who I am, my stomach has no idea and it wants to do the equivalent of Rumspringa. Unfortunately, I am also at an age where my friends’ parents are starting to pass away, marriages are sometimes ending, and some of my friends who had kids early are becoming empty nesters.  It’s a different time that when I was younger.  I see a lot of endings and new beginnings cross that Facebook newsfeed.  Sometimes I don’t see the ending.  Sometimes, I miss the middle, and sometimes the beginning is subtle.  I assume I will see many more.

I sometimes wonder what causes long term marriages to end.  I suppose I can understand shorter term ones.  Sometimes, marriage is hard.  Sometimes, the person you marry lets all the habits they had hidden while dating suddenly go free, and some are deal breakers.  Sometimes people change.  Sometimes, the person turns into a bad person.  Sometimes, people just realize they aren’t as happy as they could be, and that life is too short not to be as happy as they can. That being said, 20 or so years into a marriage, what makes someone say “NOW I want to leave.”?  I don’t begrudge the choice, I just find it interesting.  I have an aunt and uncle, married well over 30 years.  They just announced a divorce.  I thought “you’ve put up with each other’s shit for this long…what was the straw that broke the camel’s back?”

It’s not my place to know.  It’s not my place to ask.   It’s not my business.

But I’m still curious.   I’m curious by nature.  I always wonder why people make the decisions they do, what their life story is, what happened in life to make them who they are.  I love to study people and their behavior.  I probably should have made it a career.

Again, I’m not sure what to feel when I hear these stories.  I have one friend who is trying to get a divorce from her husband.  He’s a horrible person, cheats, lies, bullies, intimidates.  He has a girlfriend and a baby with her, but won’t divorce my friend, instead dragging it out.  In her case, I will be happy for her the day it is final.  I have other friends getting divorced, and I feel a bit sad, because they always seemed happy to me, but again, I’m not living with them, so what the hell do I know anyway? I suppose I feel sad for the loss of the dream.  Nobody gets married with the thought “I’ll ride this out for 10 years and then I’m bailing”.  We get married with the hope of forever. It saddens me when those hopes and dreams don’t come to fruition for people.  Divorce and splits are more common that they used to be, but by the same token I’d hate to see anyone sitting in a bad marriage just to keep the masses happy.

So while the dream is gone, it does pave the way for new dreams, new adventures. For that fact, I am happy for my friends.  I have always stood by one very simple statement: “you are only one choice or decision from an entirely new life.”  It’s scary sometimes, it’s amazing sometimes, but at the end of the day, the person making the decision is opening up a world of new possibilities.  I’m very happy in my marriage, and everyone deserves to have that same happiness.  Sometimes they just don’t find it the first try.  That’s ok.

While I wouldn’t ask them what happened, what changed, I wish my friends the very best.  I hope that Facebook shows me their new futures with smiling faces and happy adventures.  I hope perhaps I eventually see new weddings.  Marriage, after all, is supposed to be love, trust, respect, hopes, dreams, and happiness.  That’s why so many celebrate it with such pomp and circumstance.  Those wonderful things are meant to be celebrated.  When they don’t work out, sometimes they are quietly skipped over on facebook, leaving those curious about the change to wonder “wha’ happened?”

 

 

 

Attack of the Sanctimommies

One of my biggest pet peeves in life has to be the “Sanctimommy”.  You know, the mom who has to “do it all” and then humblebrag how perfect they are.  My eyes simply can’t roll into my skull fast enough.  “My kids eat only organic”.  “My kids never leave my side”.  “My snookums would never do anything wrong because I have raised them to be practically perfect, just like me.”  Type A women frantically trying to be pinterest perfect so they can appear like they have it all together.  Like if they are just perfect enough, their child will never have a hardship or challenge.  You know what? It’s all horseshit.

As women, there is this huge push to “do it all”.  How we “do it all” depends on the woman.  Some of us work full time, so we juggle work and home life, trying to keep all the balls in motion.  Some women are stay at home moms, trying to run a household and take care of kids.  We’re all fighting our own battles.  We’re all trying to figure this thing called motherhood out. At least, that’s the slack I try to cut myself and other mothers I meet.  I recognize we all make mistakes, we’re all doing the best we can.  We don’t get a manual when we get kids.  Hell, they take more precautions letting us drive a car that they do with sending us home with a baby.  Isn’t that INSANE? I like to think we all started this motherhood thing with a smidge of fear, some trepidation, and all the good intentions.  What happens is that life happens, and we do our best to get our groove thing going and get a handle on this motherhood thing.  Some women take to it like they were born to be mothers.  Some women take a little longer to pull it all together.

People don’t always agree with my parenting.  That’s ok.  I probably wouldn’t necessarily agree with theirs either.  It took me a while not to take every critique personally and feel hurt by it.  I used to struggle if someone disagreed with my parenting choices.  I’d second guess myself.  I beat myself up a lot.  Now it’s different.  Time, practice, and a comfort with who I am  has really helped.  Now I have goals for what I want for my kids (Happiness, independent, free thinking, kind, loving kids with a sense of humor and good self esteem).  Those are most of my big goals.  Now, instead of trying to be perfect, I just aim to get them to reach those goals.  I won’t do it all right, but maybe I can do some things right, or in other words, get the right things right.  I’d like to think that we’re all doing our very best.  I’m far from the perfect mom.  I swear too much, I’m often overwhelmed, I’m domestically challenged.  The kids think I’m good though, so I’m happy and I’ll continue to try to do better. Now granted, if your kid acts like an asshole, I’m probably stepping away.  I’m just trying to raise kids to not be assholes.  You know who raises asshole kids?  Assholes.  I’m a little bit of an asshole myself, so I have to try extra hard to dust any asshole behavior off them and raise them on the straight and narrow.

But then there are the sanctimommies, who are just out there to show you up, dress you down, and point out how very superior they are.  You use formula? Well, don’t you know breast is best? Don’t you know all they have sacrificed to give their baby the best? And how you might love your kid less?  I had lots of those surrounding my formula fed babies and I.  I checked out of the hospital early because I had  a breast nazi nurse who was borderline cruel. You know what? I had a baby with a full belly, who is extremely smart, well behaved, rarely ever got sick, and who did JUST FINE on formula. Those helicopter moms who hover over their child’s every move? That won’t work for my family.  The type A on top of everything moms?  I salute you, but it’s just not me.  When I try that life, my kids and I are miserable because it all just too much. I’ll do me, and you do you, just don’t shame me that I’m not as “perfect” as you.  Some of these same “perfect” moms have kids that turn out to be heroin addicts. Why? because life isn’t perfect.  It twists and turns, and even with the perfect choices made, all it takes is one bad decision for everything to change. One decision can make or break a life.

Today I saw a post about parents who have accidentally left kids in the car.  I also had a big discussion about this a while ago.  The sanctimommies lost their goddamned minds over this.  “Those people should never breed”, “I could NEVER forget I had a child in the car!” “I live to be a mom, this would never happen to me!”  The comments kept coming.  You know what? I bet the families that had this happen felt the exact same way….until it happened.  My mom never thought she’d get lung cancer either…until it happened.  People who get in car accidents on the way to their job probably never expected it to happen, until it did.  The fact is, life is wildly unpredictable.  Even when it IS predictable, we are human, we make mistakes.  Some of these mistakes are small, and some are HUGE.  Some honest mistakes can destroy lives, literally and figuratively.

I’d like to think I’m a good mom.  If asked, I am pretty confident my kids would consider me a good mom, if not a great mom.  Am I the best mom in the world? Nope.  I have happy, healthy kids who are well looked after.  They also eat a ton of ice cream, play a lot of video games, and sometimes they’re fresh.  They are getting older, so I get more backtalk, more fights for independence, more eye rolling, and more fighting against the rules.  They aren’t perfect, those kids.  But they’re perfect for me, and we make it work.  When I had them, I got baby brain…real bad.  I would leave my keys in the front door and go to bed.  I got out of my car and left it running on the street one day…totally didn’t realize it was running.  This was likely partly due to sleep deprivation, perhaps some hormones, and just being overwhelmed at having a new baby in the house.  I also have been known to head to drive them to school or camp and have instead gotten on the highway to head to work.  It’s as if my brain just went on autopilot.  I’ve driven places and then realized I wasn’t sure how I got there.  Now take the case of a couple where one parent always drops the baby or kid off at daycare.  One day, the sleep deprived, stressed out parent has to do the daycare run, which isn’t the usual plan.  They leave, the baby falls asleep in the car, and the parent drives.  It’s not unfathomable that the brain goes on a bit of auto mode, and before you know it, the parent didn’t go to daycare, but goes to work. They get out of the car and the child is silently sleeping.  I can understand how this could happen.  There are scientific explanations of how the brain works, and how this can happen.  Nobody thinks it will happen to them.  BUT IT DOES.

It’s horrific and a tragedy, and every other horrible description you can think of.  But it happens.  It happens every year.  These parents made a horrible, stupid decision, lose their child, and then have to live with everyone’s judgement.  Companies tried to come up with solutions on how to prevent this.  Know what everyone on social media did?  Announced what an amazing mom they are and how this could never, ever happen to them.  Instead of saying….this is a real tragic problem, how do we make a positive move to fix it, everyone laid their judgemental stank on it.  Imagine if we all stopped grandstanding and made a choice to stop judging and start fixing?

What if we gave other moms a break?  What if we said….you do you, boo, and I’ll do me, and we’ll just do the best we can?  What if we stopped comparing?  What if we stopped trying to convince ourselves we are doing a good job, and just did our best?  What if we banded together to help each other instead of tearing each other down?  What if we came together as a village to help each other?  What if we stopped announcing how things could NEVER happen to us, when statistics show that clearly these things DO happen? What if we looked for a solution to this horrible problem?

One mistake.  One choice.  One decision.

Any of the three can destroy a life.  Let’s be positively proactive and help this to stop.

 

 

Positive Change

People are typically afraid of change.  It makes them nervous.  But if it’s a positive change, that can be a different story.

Positive change, where you begin again with the people you know, and befriend those that you don’t.

Positive change, where you can leave the old you that was going away behind and begin afresh.

Positive change, where you can stop the bullshit, or just keep right on where people may not notice.

If you’re reading this and it makes no sense, no worries.  It’s not supposed to.

‘Tis the Little Things

Sometimes, romance is a new air conditioner.

After a brutal summer with a subpar air conditioner in our bedroom, it was clear that our air conditioner had reached it’s end of days.  While in many ways I am tough as nails, a little known secret about me is that you can defeat me purely with a temperature change. I despise being hot or being cold.  There is a sliver of self approved temperatures I can be comfortable in, but anything too hot or too cold makes me really uncomfortable.  I start to think I feel hot, and from there is sort of spirals in an OCD way to being all I can pretty much focus on.  Many a night my husband laid on the bed next to me and heard me comment “It feels really warm in here.  The AC is on.  It’s just so hot in here!” Now I’m sure y’all might that what happened next might be because he got tired of me constantly feeling too hot and commenting on it, but I’m going to be the everloving optimist and say it happened out of love and romance.  Ok, maybe a little bit of the tired of me commenting on it part may have been a SLIGHT factor.

Saturday night I asked him what he wanted to do yesterday, since we were both off work.  He responded “I think we should go get a new air conditioner”.

WOOHOO!  My joy was palpable.

Romance is not dead.  To a woman who likes to be comfortable temperature wise, these words fell on me like a soft down feather comforter in winter (with just the right amount of feathers, and not too hot of a comforter, mind you).

Off we set yesterday, on a hunt to find an air conditioner.  It’s common in the northeast to use window air conditioners to cool homes.  Trust, I’d love to be a central air girl but it’s just not in the cards.  Apparently it is also so common in the NE to have an AC unit that there were none around.  Well, unless you wanted an $850 unit that will cool your whole house that is.  We needed something much smaller and compact.  After hitting multiple stores in multiple towns, we found one.  I can’t explain the glee I felt as he loaded it into the car.  Nighttime comfort!

Romance isn’t all grand gestures.

Romance is working from home and finding a surprise iced coffee in the fridge he got from Dunkin while dropping the kids off.

Romance is texting me obscure movie clips or jokes because they are part of a private joke between the two of us.

Romance is driving by each other in two different cars and giving each other the middle finger at exactly the same time and then laughing the rest of the way home.

Romance is the little things.

I froze my ass off last night.

Romance is not mentioning that we were a little too exuberant with the AC.