Category Archives: Parenting

The Run Away Mommy (In my head at least…)

kids-i-quit-mom

In the end, today was definitely ONE OF THOSE DAYS. Exhausting, I want to run away from being a mom days.

Oddly, it started well enough considering my mild hang over from too much wine and carbohydrates at Ladies Comedy Night. We went to church as a family and my daughter did a great job singing to the congregation in the Cherub Choir. After, my daughter and I headed to my parents where we picked up my mom, went out to lunch (SmashBurger Jersey Burger is a burger you dream about) and enjoyed a performance of Fancy Nancy where my mom purchased her a Fancy Nancy wand.

Happy faces headed back to my parents, and that folks, is where the bottom dropped out. Fancy Nance wand revoked. Silent car ride home (not the worst). More yelling (by her, I am on a no yelling kick). And more tears. Lots and lots of tears. And a chorus of “you’re the worst mommy ever!”. (Seriously kid? You ain’t seen nothing yet. I am going to get so much worse in about 10 more years!)  It is exhausting. It made me want to go into my room, lock my door, and not be a mommy for some period of time.

Things calmed down and then reared their ugly head again during the bedtime routine. More yelling. More tears. More threats I cannot even understand through the tears. Sigh.

Today felt like a day where I should have earned combat pay. I want to crawl into bed and sleep and sleep. I don’t even care that it is Monday tomorrow. Monday means I get to go to work. A place where, in general,  nobody yells, cries, stomps their feet or issues silly ultimatums directly to me. A place where  I don’t have to ask anyone the last time they went potty or turn down the 1,000 request for a snack.

As Scarlet O’Hara said… “tomorrow is another day.” I pray that it is a day like we had last week where I truly felt the joy in being a mom. Good night everyone!

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Judgey Wudgey Was A Mom

I like to think as a parent I’m more tolerant of kids screaming in the aisles and having meltdowns. After all, I haven’t been immune to them myself and often think “Oh, I’m sure they understand what I’m going through” when they look at me out of the side of their eyes.

Today, however I found myself being a little judge-like. I was in Costco shopping with my 3 1/2 year old. It was morning, so she was still in a good mood and snacking her way through Costco due to the samples. Which put her in a really great mood. My kid is a happy eater, and for those few minutes a silent kid (bonus for me!).

Anyhoo…we were checking out. In the lane next to us was a mom and dad and their 3 kids. Guessing around 7, 5 and 3 from the looks of things. The youngest, a boy, was sitting in the cart screaming. Who knows why. I didn’t pay much attention to it. But the screaming kept going and going. And it didn’t seem like either parent was caring much to stop it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand sometimes you can’t stop it and the only recourse you have is to muddle through and get hell out of dodge as quickly as possible. But they didn’t. Get the hell out of dodge that is.

Photo from HERE.

Since it was lunchtime, we stayed for lunch. For some reason, a Costco lunch excites my kid like few things and is considered a big treat. Since it costs me all of $3.50 to feed us both, how could I say “no”? So, we placed our order and sat down. The family appeared to be sitting 2 tables in front of us, but then moved to a bigger table next to us. The first thought that popped into my head “ugh, why do they have to sit next to us?” And yes, sonny boy was still carrying on. He continued to carry on and scream through most of our meal, except for the few moments when food was actually in his mouth. I didn’t give the parents any sort of nasty look, but did glance at the kid from time to time trying to figure out what his problem was. Which was odd, because if his parents couldn’t figure it out what made me think I could?

That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t as non judgemental as I thought I was. I’m not naive enough to think I don’t judge how others raise their kids and vice versa. But I did think I was above this.

The realization did hit home with me, and I guess as an adult that’s a positive sign. We can’t work on ourselves if we don’t realize what we are doing wrong. So, I spent the rest of the meal not glancing over at them and focusing on my own child. I gave her kisses and told her how proud of was of her good behavior. After all, who doesn’t like to hear good things about themselves? I’m sure I also said a quick silent prayer for not letting the screaming kid be mine.

Next time, I hope to be quicker with a smile whether it be to the child or the parent and to realize we all have bad days.

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Mother. Or Mother F*cker?

Recently, I went with a group of friends to a kid’s amusement/water park to the tune of over $50 to get in. We’ve never been and a good friend was in from out of town, so the cost wasn’t really an issue. The cloudy day that turned into a light rain on the way up? Not an issue either.

What was an issue? The fact that the moment we set foot through the gates my daughter (3 ½) started in with the whining and “I’m afraid” business. Go on the spinning dragons? No! How about the little racecars? Tears. How about the airplane? No followed by tears followed by screaming (okay, the screaming was me!). Nothing pisses me off faster than wasting money and time. I’d just driven 30 minutes and spent double that to get in the door and you are going on a ride missy! So, I did what any parent running for Mother of the Year would do. I picked her up and slapped her down and belted her in a ride and watched her go round and round. No, she wasn’t sitting alone. Yes, it was evil on my part.

I believe this photo sums up my parenting skills that day.

I tried to regroup and let her select what she wanted to do. Carousel? No problem, let’s go! Helicopter? No. Hot air balloon? No. Roller coaster? Hell no! Once again, I attempted to force her onto a ride. She cried. She screamed. She begged the man going around checking seat belts to let her out. He did. Nothing made me feel worse as a mom than this moment. (In my poor attempt at defense, I would like to point out that forcing my daughter to do things usually results in her liking what she thought she was afraid of and watching her do it over and over again.)

For the rest of the time in the amusement park, we sat on a bench and watched her friends.

Okay…water park up next. This will be fine. She loves water. The pool area is, at its deepest, not even quite calf high. They had little water slides for the kids. 3 to 4 feet in length. She did one. Her face got wet. End of story.

Change of tactic. They had a wonderful lazy river and the sun had come out. What could be scary about sitting on my lap floating in an inner tube enjoying the cool water? Oh, the fountains and water falls and whatever else they had going to get you wet. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to paddle our tube to the left, to the right, to the middle to avoid all these “fun things” they added. And she thought she wanted her own tube.  Ha!

After all this, I had to step back and take myself out of the experience. Was she having fun on her own or by having her mother force her to do things she didn’t want to do? Obviously, the answer was clear. So, I sat down on the edge of the pool and let her splash around and do things on her own terms. Her enjoying the experience was more important than my perception of what I felt we should get out of the day.  Once I let it all go, I was more peaceful and she was more peaceful.

In the end, was I proud of my behavior that day? No. I’m sure my friends made a mental note not to take parenting advice from me. But, I like to think I grew as a mom from this experience and also realized I have to say “no” to trips or events that I know my daughter can’t handle. She has a high sensitivity to loud noises and is very timid/cautious when it comes to new things. I’m learning to embrace that about her even though I don’t quite understand it.

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Kissy. Kissy. Where Do Yours Land When It Comes To Kids?

There has been some serious debate going on in blogland about where one kisses their kids. Some just plant one right on the lips. Others are a forehead or cheek kisser. Is one more “right” than the other?

I will admit, I’m a lip kisser. I smack my daughter on the lips when I give her kisses. I don’t recall my mother doing that to me as a child, but I can’t recall that she didn’t either. To me, she’s my kid and why would it be weird that I kiss her on the lips?

When I greet other family members or close friends, I kiss them on the cheek (and sometimes I wonder “what’s with all this kissing business? when did this start?”). I would never think of kissing them on the lips. They are not my husband or daughter. I guess to me the cheek kiss is more casual.

And, if I’m going to put it all out there, I kiss my dog too. But not on the lips. Heavens no! More on the top of his nose. He’s cute. He’s a lover boy. He likes kisses.

So, what about you? When it’s time to pucker where does it land?

Want to see what others are saying about the topic? A Cup of Jo started a firestorm when she posted about it. Then Parenting had their say so. The nice thing is there is no right or wrong answer here. As long as you are showing that love to your kids, no matter where the kiss lands, that is all that matters.

S.W.A.K.

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Timeouts: Do They Work

Ahh, the timeout. What was thought of as new age or hippie parenting 40 years ago, is now commonplace.

In our house, timeouts are big. We’ve read the book “Magic 1-2-3” and have been following (well, mostly) their guidelines and use of timeouts. Soon, because she’s getting bigger, we can add taking away privileges to our arsenal. At the end of the day, have the timeouts changed her behavior? Not that I can so easily and obviously see.  I think what they do is give everyone a break. A break from the bad behavior or action that is going on and the parents a break from going into yelling or possibly hitting mode. A chance to get out of each others faces. Many days, that’s a big plus.

I’d like to say I’m a more calm, peaceful less loud vocal mom, but I’d be lying. But I do think it has helped. I’d probably be screaming way more than I do.

Others have been taking a look at the effectiveness of timeouts (although, I’m wondering, if they are deemed ineffective, what other methods to parents have? We know we can’t go back to hitting.)

Circle of Moms has recently posted an article examining just this.

Circle of Moms member Kara F. wonders why timeouts are so popular. “Do timeouts work?” she wonders, explaining that her nearly 3 year-old so “will rarely stay where we put him.”

She’s not alone. Every day, no matter where I am I hear parents say, “Stop it now or you get a timeout!” But after 18 years of teaching parenting and raising two kids, it’s my opinion that timeouts (as they’re practiced today), don’t work very well for young children (ages 1-5).

The “timeout” was originally conceived as a breather for both parent and child. It was created so both could take a short break, get calmer, and then talk about how to resolve a difficult situation. That is not the way timeout is being used today. These days, timeouts are used as a punishment, one that’s more socially acceptable than say, spanking.

Why We’re Sloppy With Timeouts

When parents first begin using timeouts they get down to their child’s eye level, they say the right words and gently escort them to a timeout spot. Then, as a child approaches age two, three, or four…well, things began to change.

Continue reading HERE.

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Are You The Neighborhood Drug Dealer?

Think about what is in your medicine cabinet. I’m sure there is something in there that would be appealing to the age group ready to try drugs or a child who already has. Cold medicine with alcohol? Pain pills from that surgery a year ago? Antidepressants? Sleeping pills? Move stuff around and you’d probably be surprised by what you find.

And don’t think crafty kids aren’t above going through their grandparents cabinet, aunts or uncles cabinet, or the cabinet of their BFF’s parents.

What do they do with these drugs? Besides taking them straight on, I’ve heard of pill parties. Everyone dumps their pills into a huge bowl and they take handfuls and wash them down with alcohol. Others might say pill parties are an urban legend, but really, who wants to take that chance?

Here are some disturbing facts from NJ Family magazine:

  • 2.1 million teens abused prescription drugs in 2006.
  • 3.1 million 12- to 25-year-olds used OTC cough and cold medications at least once to get high.
  • Prescription drugs are the #1 choice among 12- to 13-year-olds.
  • One-third of all new abusers of prescription drugs in 2006 were 12- to 17-year-olds.
  • 13 is the mean age of the first non-prescribed use of sedatives and stimulants.
  • One in 7 boys and one in five girls has shared or borrowed a prescription drug.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors admit abusing pain relievers.
  • Girls age 12 to 17 are more likely than boys to misuse OTC medications, but the trend reverses with 18- to 25-year-olds.
Want to read and learn more? Click HERE to view the entire article, and most importantly what you can do to prevent being the unwilling neighborhood drug supplier.

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Who’s Easier to Raise? Boys or Girls

I think there  is a school of thought out there that girls are easier to raise when they are little, and boys are easier to raise when they are older. I’m not so sure. I have a 3 1/2 year old who is proving to be quite the independent little person who challenges my patience. If this the easy part, then I’m scared!

In your years of parenting, what have you found the case to be?

Parenting magazine posted a great article where they take a closer look at this topic:

I often say that I spend more time and energy on my one boy than on my three girls. Other mothers of boys are quick to say the same. Forget that old poem about snips and snails and puppy dog tails, says Sharon O’Donnell, a mom of three boys and the author of House of Testosterone. “Somehow it’s been changed to boys being made of ‘fights, farts, and video games,’ and sometimes I’m not sure how much more I can take!”

Not so fast, say moms of girls, who point out that they have to contend with fussier fashion sense, more prickly social navigations, and a far greater capacity to hold a grudge. And as a daughter grows, a parent’s concerns range from body image to math bias.

Stereotyping, or large kernels of truth? “I think parents use ‘which is harder?’ as an expression of whatever our frustration is at the moment,” says family therapist Michael Gurian, author of Nurture the Nature. “Boys and girls are each harder in different ways.”

To continue reading, click HERE.

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