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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Getting Involved

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be one of those helicopter moms. I'm sorry, but I did. Do. I want to know what's going on with my kids at every moment, I want to know that they're OK, that they're safe, that they're feeling confident and that they succeed.

Ok, so reality slapped me in the face, like it does, and I realized that hovering over their every move and feeling their every breath on my cheek was not going to work out quite like I'd originally thought. In fact, I've come to realize that it actually does more harm than good in the long run. Oops. So what is a mother to do? Give them space. Not a lot, just.. enough. Let them mess up and let them know that you're there for them when they do. Remind them constantly that life is full of mess-ups and that's how we learn. That's how they learn. It doesn't hurt to tell them that you also mess up from time to time. Knowing their mommy isn't perfect sure does wonders for their self esteem!

Stay involved, though. With everything. Ask them how their day was and don't let them get off with "it was fine" or "same ol' same ol'". Ask for details. Get them in the habit of throwing out a daily run-through with you. It's good for the both of you and a lot of times there are things they would have forgotten to mention otherwise. ;) Keep in touch with their teachers, let them know that they can come to you with any questions they have about your child and let them know that you are available if your child needs you while they're at school and you're at home or work or wherever you may be. Their knowing they can reach out to you, even when you're not there, makes a huge, huge difference in things. It also helps keep down the naughty behavior, knowing mommy is just a phone call away!

Don't be afraid to intervene. This is important. I see a lot of moms and dads that want to "let them deal with it". Well, that's all good and well if they're 18+ years old. But younger than that and they don't know how to deal with things appropriately. Did you? Maybe sometimes, and sometimes they will, too. But don't let things escalate to the point that things become out of control. Once you've lost control it's a son-of-a-bitch to get it back.

Now, I'm not going to be winning any Mother of the Year awards any time soon, I'm sure of it! But, to me, these things are common sense and just things we all, even myself, forget from time to time.

Oh, one more thing. Hug them, kiss them, tell them you love them every.single.day. More than once a day, even!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

So, spanking is the answer?

Rant.

I am getting so sick of all of these "When I was growing up my parents spanked me.." yada yada about how they grew up "just fine" and there was no damage done, etc. Then in the same breath they talk about how people could go out at night and leave their houses unlocked and let their kids play outside and this that and the other. Well, so far as I can tell that didn't seem to do anyone a whole lot of good did it? Now days there is so much crime our prisons are insanely overpopulated. Our kids can't go out and play with their friends without us parents watching them for fear that they're going to get kidnapped or hit by a drunk driver or ten million other things. We can't go anywhere and leave the house (or car for that matter) unlocked because of the probability that it's going to get broken in to.

It really seems that "spanking" worked out well, huh?

Us non-spanking parents haven't been parenting long enough to have caused all of these crazies. Our children are still young and growing and learning. It's still yet to be seen how this generation will turn out but by all means, please tell me again how great it was growing up and getting spankings for our wrong doings and remind me how things used to be. Then let me again remind you how things are now and you can tell me how they got it right.

Looking up statistics on things like kidnapping, homicide, rape, and other violent crimes it's amazing to me how much higher these things are now than they were in the 50s or the 80s... and now "we kids these days" are responsible? I'm sorry, I don't think it works that way. You can't condone how your parents raised you and our parents raised us and say they/you did a good job when crime rates are this incredible. Maybe if more parents didn't take violent action so often things would be different. But, I digress on that because there's no way to know. Maybe the next generation will show a new trend, though, because of those of us who choose to teach rather than hit. We can only hope. Because clearly "how it used to be" isn't working out so well for any of us now.

End Rant.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Growing Up Without a Mother

I was raised by my dad. A wonderful man with every quality a mother or a father should have. He was kind and gentle but also stern when needed. He taught us responsibility, respect, and most importantly, love. He was the most loving father I knew! And I knew quite a few fathers. My dad always kissed us, hugged us, and told us he loved us. Always. More than a handful of times every single day. In front of friends or strangers in a grocery store, it didn't matter. If the wind blew he was letting us know that he loved us. And I loved it. I never grew up thinking I was supposed to be embarrassed by him for showing his affection like some people did. To me, it was natural. He is the best.

But there were always times when I'd wonder what it would be like to have a mom. Dad would never speak ill of her, he would never tell us "horror stories" or anything, really. He'd just tell us that she was sick and he'd ask us to pray for her. He didn't force us to, but when we were little and he taught us our bedtime prayers, he'd sneak it in there. As we grew older and started realizing it, he didn't stop us if we omitted her from our prayer or adding to it. We'd ask questions of course but it wasn't something he liked to discuss with us. It wasn't until I started keeping in close contact with my sister, Stormi, that I found out why our mother wasn't around. There were a lot more things I came to find out in the years that followed.

I won't get into that here, though.

The earliest memory I have of my mother is from when I was very young. My dad, brother and I had driven up to visit her with the stipulation from my father that she be sober. While we were there we went for a walk, I'm not sure where, but there was a creek or some sort of water flowing that we walked through. She had a styrofoam cup and I'd asked her if I could have a drink. She told me I couldn't because it was "big peoples drink". My dad took my hand and we left.

I think about that a lot.

I often look at my three beautiful children and wonder if things would have turned out differently had she been a part of my life. Whether a rocky part or a stable one, either or. I don't know. What I do know is that my children will never have to wonder about me. I will be here for them as long as I can and with any luck that will be long enough to at least see my grandbabies (or maybe even great grandbabies;) )!

I had a lot of friends that had amazing moms that "took me in" when I was around and let me get a glimpse of what it was like to have a mom. It was because of my dad and those moms that I knew what kind of mom I wanted to be when I grew up.

I may never have had the opportunity to grow up with a mom and any interaction I've had with her since was not my idea of good, but thanks to her absence I know what kind of mom I don't want to be. It also made my bond that much stronger with my daddy. It taught me to rely on myself and be careful with my heart. Most importantly, it taught me to cherish my children. To always do my best for them and for me and my family, to never give up and never let life get the better of me. To stay strong and keep my head up.

When life gives you lemons.... Make lemon pops with your kids :)