Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is it all genes?

Have you ever had those moments as a parent when you realise it's all your fault?

It's ok, I need a moment too....

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to enjoy family but also to relax, watch, reflect. And there were those moments of - Oh God! That is all me.

As I watch my mother struggle with memory loss I try to remember that Alzheimer research is saying it's not written in stone, it's not all in your genes. But it doesn't feel that way.  I see my Grandmother more and more in her every day and then I find myself holding my breath.

My thirteen-year-old son is such an amazing young man and yet I watch him do everything just half way. If he doesn't get something right the first time he shrugs and walks away resolved that he is no good at it and then I find myself holding my breath.

I am 45 years-old and I still have trouble speaking up for myself, making time for myself, finding a passion or a hobby even and pouring my heart into it. But perhaps that is not entirely true? Literally. as I am writing this (which is why I write obviously) a little voice in my head yelled "Wrong Buzzard Breath!" You have your people. But I find myself holding my breath.

I pour my heart and soul into my people. The problem with this is that people don't always know that they are getting your whole heart and soul - and they didn't really ask for it - and they may not want it.  I know that I do not want the responsibility of being someone's only reason for living. Look at all the cool stuff out there in the world!! Who throws all those eggs in one basket?

Me. That's who. I don't show my son how to be anything but me - and that's scary. I guess I thought by pouring my whole heart and soul into him I could make him everything but me. HA. Time to re-read Brene Brown, huh? I thought that I could override the genes without any hard work. Sound familiar?

Maybe there are some genes we can override and some that we can not. I don't know. But I do know that it is time for me to get to work. And get more baskets.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Confessions from a C+ Mom

My sister-in-law gave me the coolest gift, knowing that I write about everything, she found a journal for all my Awesomeness.  Knock Knock I'm kind of Awesome Journal
I sounded very arrogant for a minute there didn't I? 

Every day you grade yourself, and being that it's an Awesome journal your choices are A+, A++, A+++.  So the other day as I was writing down something that my youngest did and my poor reaction I reached the - Hey grade yourself - part and thought. Ugh. Where are the C's? 

That's kind of what I would give my parenting. A solid C+. In the comments section of my parenting report card it would say, "Needs to be more focused and consistent, work on communication skills and temper, could play better with others and be cooler."  

Most days I feel like I am not teaching my boys anything other than curse words and worry.  I don't make anyone go to church, or do chores regularly. I do not enforce a strict bedtime and I no longer stand guard while they brush their teeth. (Or retainers, ugh. FYI - make them brush their retainers or they grow things, gross things.)

I am consistently inconsistent and a total pushover. I never really understood being grounded so I don't even bother with that one. Maybe they just need to be older for it to work, I don't know? I'm afraid to take away their electronics because I would put them somewhere "safe" and then totally forget where and we may never see them again. Kinda of like the cordless phone that went missing in our house three years ago.

What do I consider an A+ parent? I guess those people who have great kids AND they are great too. They have a full-time job still workout and throw great birthday parties, coach the sports, can help with homework, get everyone to church, volunteer in Niagara, dole out creative discipline, and bake their own bread.

I'm exhausted just typing it and all I can think is - "Try Hard's!"

Maybe I am the only one who looks at my kids and thinks WOW, You did not get that from me. I am so incredibly proud of my boys. I can definitely give them and A++. Way to go boys! Now put yourself to bed will ya' Mommy's got a date the couch and a glass of wine.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

You can be anything you want to be....except the President.

It's funny, 8 years ago my friend who teaches in an inner city school saw her students light up for the first time after an election saying things like - "I wanna be President." But after this election, she had to stop the class and reassure her students that there were laws against slavery in this country and that as American citizens they can not be shipped back to Africa on a boat.

How sad.

Strictly speaking of only these things. 1. How he ran his campaign and 2. The public persona that he projected, it makes me want to say to my children "You can be anything you want to be - except President of the United States."

How sad.

What makes me sick about this election is that it felt like Junior High all over again. The bully won. The liar, the pot stirrer, the rich kid won. He was called out on several points in the 60 Minutes interview and it was so typical. Pretend he didn't say it, change the subject by telling another lie, and then abuse the questioners.

How sad.

I've told my kids from Day one - Life isn't fair.  My older son has struggled to be a part of a group, make friends, has been bullied, and made fun of for his appearance. Now that he is in Junior High he also gets pushed away for not having his own computer, phone, and for not being on Instagram, Snapchat, and more. He's been very aware of who the popular kids are since grade school and now gets upset by what they get away with because of their money and status. But he stays away from them for their crappy behaviour and bad attitudes.

How sad.

They make fun of kids with special needs, they terrorize anyone who is not like them - white, rich, Christian, and they don't believe the rules really apply to them. If anyone dares to stand up to them or call them on this behaviour they strike out at them using every available weapon to a 13-year-old. Starting outrageous rumours and lies and spreading them through social media.  When they don't get their way they call foul, fraud, unfair because nothing is ever their fault. Does any of this sound familiar?

How sad.

Even though life isn't always fair or fun there are some things in our house that are non-negotiable. Be kind and respectful. Treat people the way you want to be treated no matter how they are acting. Be humble. Everyone you meet has something to teach you, be open to learning.
Be Happy. It's good to feel lots of  emotions, but every day you have a choice, why not be happy?

This election took away that last thread of hope I held that maybe, just maybe - if you work hard, follow the rules, and preserve you can be anything - even President of the United States.  And that most people are good. But I am open to learning, so prove me wrong Trump. Please.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What scares me most?

My boys are 10 and 13. The election has not only been a hot topic around the country, but around our house.  I'm impressed my boys are more political savvy than I was at their age, perhaps even still. Because I am not a very political person I worried that I wouldn't know how to guide them in understanding the system.

Then I decided that it didn't matter. Maybe figuring it out on their own will make them understand it better than I do. Most of what I know came from parents, grandparents, teachers, news outlets, and cynicism!

Like most things in our house, I asked them to take it in from all sides and from many sources. We talked about all the candidates - ALL of them. Why some are allowed in the debate and some are not. We encouraged them to ask questions and listen to the answers. To gather information, process it, and form their own opinion.

What we didn't do was tell them who to vote for or who we were voting for, not until the last minute. That is one thing I was taught that I do hold on to. Never ask people who they voted for.  My grandparents would be - heck they were appalled at a  lot before they died and this would set them over the edge. I can just hear my Grandpa Jack now, "First rock music and now this!"

The election is over and it is not the candidates who scare me - it's us. We the People.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I hope that this resurgence in political interest does not end after this election because your candidate won or lost. I hope that watching everything that politicians say and do does not end because the debates are over. Because what scares me is not the people in Washington DC, but the people that put them there.  My Uncle Chris one of the smartest people I know is very politically savvy and he taught me this. This government was created For the people, By the people. You have not only a voice with your vote but a responsibility to your future.

What scares me the most are not the candidates. What scares me the most is people giving up their power. That would cause these great men who risked their lives to build a new country - to surely turn over in their grave.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Go ahead and Steal it!

I was in a hurry the other day because I had about 30 minutes to run into two stores grab what I needed and get back to school to pick-up kids and get them home before 9:00 p.m. I dash through the food store because, sadly, I know it like the back of my hand. 10 items 3 three minutes - YES!

I didn't pay close attention being so late at night I went directly into the only open check-out lane not realizing that I was behind a woman who was unloading her second cart of groceries. The checkout girl was scanning as fast as she could, the bagger was bagging as fast as he could, but to no avail. The items just kept piling up right along with my frustration. Had she pulled out coupons I think I would have gone ballistic.

The sort of funny thing was,  this woman was not in a hurry.  She was regaling everyone within ear shot of what she does in her Free Time.  Um, shop for a zombie apocalypse?  The list of things I despised about this woman was mounting with each scan let alone her babbling on about all her Free Time.

Who has Free Time??The dead, the retired, Federal employees? (Just teasing love you all!!)  And is it really Free? Free from what - someone yelling MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM. Free from chores, carpool, work, sports, technology, fighting, campaign commercials? 

I think I started to giggle out loud because I got the look. Oh, you know the look. The one you give Grandma at Thanksgiving dinner when she suddenly asks someone if they are pregnant? When they clearly are not. That look you'll get from a good Southern woman just before she says to you "Bless your heart."

But I couldn't help but wonder if there really is such a thing as Free Time? Mine feels a lot more like it's Stolen.  When I am reading a good book, which I love to do, I can't stop thinking about the laundry piled in the basement, the dishes piled in the sink, or the pee piled on the floor around the boys toilet,  And it's rarely if ever free from MOM, MOM, MOM, MOM.  So it dosen't really feel like free time because the amount of guilt that comes along with it makes it feel more like it's stolen.

Time that really feels earmarked for other things, however I am choosing to ignore that fact. So I stood there giggling to myself in that crazy lady way that you do when you are starting to get a little hysterical. And you need to use the bathroom. That is when I decided that if there is one thing it is OK to steal, it's time.  There should be no guilt in stealing time to read a book once in a while when your children are old enough to help with the piles or laundry, dishes, and pee that they created.

So go ahead Mom's - steal away - you have my permission. But FYI, it doesn't mean anyone in your house will actually help with that laundry, the dishes, or the pee they are too busy enjoying their Free Time.