Ready! Aim! Aim! Aim! Aim…

When I quit my “day job”, I had this list of plans… ok so a hundred lists of plans. I knew what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it, and how long it was going to take… and nothing was going to stop me. I promised myself that I’d take my much needed 2 week break to recharge and then get started with my business.

Image By Carrot Creative

Well… here we are. It’s been 2 weeks. It’s Monday. So far, I skipped out on my 8 am walk. I posted a grocery deals list – which is great and helpful, but NOT on my list of deliverables. I’ve played Farmville, took the kids for ice cream, started side dishes for dinner (after searching for “The Right Recipe” for 2 hours), read Twitter and Facebook, and changed my seating arrangement three times.

Guess what I haven’t done… you got it… I haven’t done a single damned thing on any of my lists. There’s probably not one single reason that I’m throwing stumbling blocks in my own way, and really, that’s not the important thing anyway. The important thing is that I not allow myself to fall into the habit of blowing off my responsibility to myself and my goals.

If you see me goofing off on Twitter or Facebook or any other social networking site, kick me in the ass and ask me what I’ve accomplished today. If I’ve done what I should, I’ll be thrilled to share… if I haven’t… then I’ll be publicly shamed and should only be plowing 32 more plots on Farmville before I’m back at work again.

Before I Was A Mom

I read what a lot of other Moms say, every day. Some make me think. Some make me laugh. Some make me weep. Some make me remember what my girls were like when they were tiny.

Today, they’ve made me do some of each… most of the articles were all on the same topic: Before I Was a Mom. This is a writing prompt from Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop (of which I am not a participant because I didn’t know about until all these links to today.)

By the time I’d read the 10th one, I thought “cool… think I’m going to give that a go.” Then I started to mentally tally the list of things. You know what? My list made me sad and more than a little ashamed.

I don’t have a Sex and the City past. I was never “just me”. That’s what happens when you’re pregnant at 16… you don’t get to be you as an adult.  You don’t get to travel.  You don’t get to live with reckless abandon.  And you don’t learn until far later who you really are. I’m still not sure if I know.

Before I was a mom:

  • I was the fat kid with the giant curly hair who never shut up that everyone loved to make fun of.
  • I was the teenager who finally melted off all the baby fat and turned into a curvy pretty girl… that still felt ugly and fat.
  • I had sex with boys just because they paid me 10 minutes of attention. Which, of course, was as long as they stuck around afterward.
  • I drank and smoked pot for the exact same reason.
  • I was amazingly smart and I knew it… so I blew off school and skated by on my test scores.
  • I could sleep through tornado sirens, car accidents outside my bedroom window, and bone jarring thunderstorms.
  • I LOVED babysitting other people’s kids and hanging out at their houses… because it meant I didn’t have to be at mine.
  • I was an angry and combative teenager with no future because I was pissing it away.
  • I thought the purest love in the whole wide world was what I felt when I was with my granny (turns out this was pretty close to the truth).
  • I NEVER EVER thought that the life I have today was within my reach.

Almost every moment my life that makes me proud has been since I became a mom. I really don’t think I would have ever gotten off the self destructive, unhappy, broken path that I was on if I hadn’t become a mom. I think becoming a mom saved me from me…

17 Reasons My Teens Aren’t Jerks

Yesterday I wrote that my teenagers are scarily normal people and haven’t been abducted by aliens. I’ve been planning to write about this for a while but, over the weekend I asked the girls WHY they weren’t asshole know-it-all teenagers. I got very different answers than I was expecting, but I’m still happy to know I’m on the right track where they are concerned.

I started the conversation by saying “Most teenagers we know are assholes…” and heard an immediate and emphatic “YEAH, WE KNOW!” (Evidently, they share the same opinion. I’ll have to write about that another time.) Then I asked “Well… why do you think that you’re different? What makes you not behave that way?”

Surprisingly, they had quite a few answers to that question. I really expected “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.” So, here are both lists… the reasons I think they aren’t rebellious and angry… and the reasons THEY say they aren’t.

The kids say:

  1. When you say no, you tell us why. (Ida says: Sometimes the answer is “because I said so”, but I try really hard to let them know there are rational and reasonable reasons for the decisions I make.)
  2. Sometimes, when you want to say no, you give us all the risks and then let us decide for ourselves. (Ida says: It’s VERY hard to not just say no, but sometimes I use their requests as teachable moments. If the only danger in saying yes is that they aren’t going to like the result, I’ll let them roll with it and see how it turns out.)
  3. You don’t lie to us. (Ida says: This is Rule Number One. I don’t lie. I may be obnoxious, rude, and have a bazillion flaws, but at least you know you’re getting the truth.)
  4. You’re really open and you talk to us. (Ida says: They roll their eyes and groan and mutter under their breath… but dangit we communicate!)
  5. You’re the same person when your friends are around as you are when it’s just us. (Ida says: I wouldn’t want to be someone around my friends that I’m not proud to be around my kids. Of course, convention weekends are completely excluded from this!)
  6. You don’t micromanage us. – Anna says “Like the time I wanted to paint my room. You let me pick all 3 colors and you even helped me paint it. Most parents would veto the colors or make the decision for us.” (Ida says: It’s always best to pick your battles. Blue bedroom with green and yellow trim? That’s an easy yes. The more decisions they make now, when you can help if needed, the better.)
  7. You make it easy for us to talk to you. – Sierra says “Like the dinner topic. It’s easier for us to talk to each other than the other families we know.” (Ida says: To be fair, the dinner topic was Mark’s creation, I just participate. It’s been the best thing we’ve ever implemented in our house.)

I say:

  1. I never make the mistake of minimize their feelings. Telling them they’re too young to have valid feelings is the fastest way to alienate your kids. I have never said:
    1. It’s just puppy love. You’ll find someone new in no time.
    2. I know she moved, but you’ll make new friends.
    3. You’re not old enough to know what x, y, or z feels like.
  2. I recognize the signs of PMS or a really bad day, and take it easier on them during those times. I know that some days just suck. On those days, I don’t want to have to deal with chores, bad attitudes, or people in general… why think that it wouldn’t be the same for the kids? Signs that you should bite your tongue and be more understanding:
    1. Sudden acne outbreaks
    2. Mood Swings
    3. Coming home from school in a dark mood
    4. Emotional outbursts for no reason (or out of proportion to the reason)
    5. You know your kid best… what seems “off” for them? Look for the signs.
  3. I try to remember how I would have felt at that age and treat them the way I wish I’d been treated in those instances. I’m not talking about failing to punish because I wish I hadn’t been punished. But I am talking about trusting them to do the right thing and treating them as young women instead of children.
  4. I never ever settle disputes between them. I DO remind them (often) that they “are speaking to someone you love” when they’re snippy with each other, but I keep my nose out of who is right and who is wrong. As a result, I don’t have to spend time in the middle and they work harder to resolve their own disputes.
  5. I expect the same behavior from their friends that I do from them. In my house, the rules are the rules are the rules. I’m all for fun and games and hanging out playing Rock Band or whatever… but if you’re rude, inappropriate, or otherwise misbehaving in my house, you are just as in trouble as the kids I gave birth to. Why does this even matter? Having a double standard is a surefire way to lose their respect.
  6. I enforce what I expect. I don’t tolerate bad behavior. I don’t tolerate backtalk (debate yes… expressing their own opinion yes… backtalk no). I don’t tolerate bad grades. I don’t tolerate hurtful words being hurled. There is a standard and a code. When they don’t live up to that, I call them on it. Every. Single. Time.
  7. I listen to them when they talk. Teenagers are notorious for not talking to their parents after a certain age. They clam up and give one word answers to questions. But I’ve learned that if you shut up and listen, they’re talking. They will tell you everything you need to know as long as they aren’t on the defensive. And yes… I DO know how much babble that you have to listen to in order to get to anything meaningful. J It’s just part of the joys of parenting.
  8. I let them be responsible for their own actions. The single biggest problem I see in teenagers is that they are no longer scared of consequences. SOMEONE will bail them out, fight the school to bump their grade to passing, clean up their chores to keep dad from yelling, buy them replacements for things they wantonly destroyed or simply didn’t care enough to take care of. Screw that. Life is tough. They should learn it while they’re still in the relative safety of “the nest”.
  9. I encourage them in everything they do. Chorus, French Club, Plays, Talent Shows, Band, ROTC, Karate… if I can make it happen, and they want to pursue it, I do my best to support them. It makes them feel important, heard, cherished. We all need that to boost our confidence in life.
  10. I trust my parenting skills. I trust them to do what I’ve taught them. I let go of the bike and wait to see if they keep pedaling or if they fall over. If they fall over… at least they’re falling while I’m still here to catch them and NOT when they’re out on their own and the falls are harder.

What say you? Can you add to this list? Disagree with something on here? Let’s chat.

Why do they call it Stay At Home Mom???

Today began the newest phase of my life… the one I’ve been babbling about since my first post here. I officially became a “Stay At Home Mom”. I didn’t count the weekend because it was vacation and all of the mom duties were on hold.

Let me just give you the rundown on my day.juggling_mom

  • Walking on the Silver Comet Trail
  • Scrub the pantry and reorganize it
  • Social Media Break (yay!)
  • Start dinner in the crock pot (beef roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions)
  • Organize Avon order and print invoices
  • Call a few customers who probably thought I fell off the face of the earth
  • Shower
  • Drive kiddos to pick up a friend and drop them all off at Six Flags for the afternoon
  • Drive eldest kiddo to dog sitting gig and get her settled
  • Doctor appointment – 6 month checkup (fantastic blood pressure! Weight down. BONUS)
  • Get car detailed
  • Deposit money at the bank
  • Call and check on mom (she had surgery today)
  • Pick up kiddos from 6 Flags just as torrential downpour hits

I’m home now and getting ready to feed everyone before heading to Sister Scarlett’s house for dinner with friends. Still have to drop off the kiddos’ friend too. So again, I ask… why the hell do they call it a stay at home mom?

If this is Day 1… I’m super interested to see if this is the norm or an anomaly. J Are we taking bets?

Were Your Teens Abducted By Aliens?

Mine haven’t been… even though I have been waiting for it for years.

I’ve always heard that when my sweet girls reached their teen years, they’d be replaced by surly, nasty, mean spirited aliens, and that they’d EVENTUALLY return to being “human” again when they reached their mid 20s. Since I was a pretty wild teenager myself, I’ve spent a lot of time bracing for the rebellion and temper tantrums that come with being the mother of a teenager.

I had so much dread over this that when Anna was about 10, I sat her down for a little talk. I told her that before too long that we’d be butting heads a lot and she was going to hate me and that I probably wouldn’t like her much either. I told her that it’s just what happens when teenagers become more independent. Then I held her and told her that it would pass, but I wanted her to know that I’d always love her no matter what.



The poor kid burst into tears and threw her arms around me, sobbing “I can’t imagine a time when I won’t like you as much as I do now. You’re the best mommy ever.” (Why yes… this family IS a little dramatic.) I patted her and felt my eyes tear up too. Seriously, I didn’t want to fight these girls tooth and nail to keep them from repeating my teenage years.

I’m surprised as hell to say that Anna is 17 now and hasn’t given me one moment of the nastiness that my mother has wished on me since I was a teenager. Those terrible teen tantrums, fights, and dramatics haven’t happened… not ever. Sierra (14) isn’t showing any signs of being abducted either and I’m beginning to wonder if I may be doing something right because Faitha (12) is her same sweet self too. They’re respectful, loving, fun to spend time with, and work hard in school. They don’t dress like prostitutes, throw things across the house, and never ever have I heard one shout that she didn’t love me or that I’m ruining her life or that I don’t understand.

Now, don’t take that to mean I think they’re perfect… they’re snarky and grumpy at times. They’re sarcastic and boy can they get their digs in when they’re on their A Game. They have some definite opinions of their own and aren’t shy about voicing them! I don’t consider that rebellion … I just call that being real people with real personalities.

I’ve always known I was different than most other parents (because I’m a bossy loud mouthed hard ass!) but I always assumed that my girls didn’t rebel because I carry a big stick … and I don’t walk softly either. I don’t have a problem ruling by fear. A little fear is healthy, in my humble opinion.

As it turns out, the stick and the loudness have nothing to do with how these young ladies are turning out. After spending some time chatting with my daughters about this during our vacation, I have a pretty decent list of reasons why my daughters aren’t asshole teenagers (both in their opinions and mine). I’ll be sharing that with everyone tomorrow.

Can you guess what some of those reasons might be? What about your kids? Have they been abducted by aliens? Why do you think it happens/doesn’t happen? Discuss amongst yourselves. I have some bonbons around here somewhere….