Category Archives: Family

What to teach our kids before leaving home (that they aren’t taught in school)

In this world of entitlement and technology, I struggle with how to “train up” my children in the way they should go. It is almost a constant battle given the plethora of social media outlets, our privileged society, the rising divorce rate, and many other elements that lead our children into cluelessness. We have abandoned the very foundation of our educational system: The family.

Each birthday that passes I muddle through memories and wish time would slow down. There is just too much to teach them! We can’t rely on schools, churches, social media, friends, etc. to show them the do’s and don’ts, the wrongs and rights, the ins and outs of this life. Not if we want them to have our perspective, that is, and as a parent I think we have the right to inform our children of our thoughts and how we came to be at the place we are. Let’s face it, our wrongs will teach them as much as they taught us and our accomplishments will inspire them, possibly (hopefully), to attain a standard higher than they could have dreamed.

One day while starting to prepare dinner my oldest son asked me how I learned to cook. It certainly was not in school – Gag!  Do you remember those “government lunches?” That’s what I had termed them – government cheese and cardboard pizza. And Pinterest, well that was not even an idea at that time. Nope, I relied on Dorothy Johnson (RIP) and Karen J. Lord. Those two women taught me everything I needed to know to get started.  I had a knack for cooking, and after I was married I bought cook books and tried and tested many entrees after getting the basics down. However, I never did ask my protégés about anything else – balancing a checkbook, how to clean a toilet (Mom did that. Why did I need to know?), having kids (NEVER!), or the hundreds of other things you have to do as an adult. When do you exactly become an adult? When I googled “define adult,” I was faced with a pretty clear answer, right?

 A-dult: A person who is fully grown or developed.

I laughed for a moment thinking about that definition. Then I contemplated when exactly I became an adult. I mean, that definition is fairly vague, don’t you think?  I remember telling my boss one day that I would never marry and I would never have kids. I know some of you were there too? A year later I was married and I needed answers, and after we had kids I needed even more answers. Guess I was an adult at that point, but there was still a lot I did not know! From my experience, there are many things parents should teach their children before they leave the nest. These are just a few of the things I wish my parent’s had talked about with me and those that I will hopefully get to discuss with my miniature humans.

1) Residual Income: Who doesn’t want money coming in without much work? Keep in mind I said “much work.” We need to be clear that things still need to be tended to. Sure, there will be upfront costs to get started accumulating passive income, but if you don’t even know what it is how the heck are you going to gain from it? We need to teach our children about royalties and building assets, and the difference between active and passive income. Here’s the thing, had I known more about real estate as an asset when I was younger, I probably would have purchased a house to rent out and who knows where that would have led me.

2) How to put gas in the car: Case in point…just watch the video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xx-C03NdIU

3) Philanthropy: I am utterly amazed at the amount of nonprofits and other organizations that depend upon donors and volunteers in order to assist in their endeavors. I also had no idea the many types of civic organizations that one can be involved with. There are causes in the world…let me rephrase that…there is probably a cause in this world for anything you can think up. Get the kids involved early. Visit the elderly, tell them about Rotary and Ruritan, encourage them to volunteer in a field of study they enjoy, and lead by example.

4) Financial security: This could incorporate a wide variety of lessons and I believe the key is to start young. Lessons can be taught on buying groceries vs eating out, buying that first home, renting an apartment, buying vs renting a vehicle, and the list goes on. Utilize teachable moments to discuss financial stability and money management. You can search the web for “teaching kids about money” and obtain thousands of webpages. A few are below:

5) How to be domestic: This is important. One day your son or daughter is going to find a significant other, a roommate, or they may even wind up staying at home (Oh No!) and you know the old saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  Cleanliness brings a feeling of satisfaction, being physically and mentally well (IMO). Teach your child(ren) to wash their clothes (fold and put them away), clean the toilet, cook, make the bed and other task that seem so menial but go a long way in giving responsibility and confidence.

And to conclude, I have devised a list of skills that require walking the line very carefully when talking with a young “adult.”  These topics can make the most solid parent/child relationship fragile but I think are necessities before they venture out in the “real” world.

Finding their moral compass, choosing a good partner/spouse, choosing good friends, when to say “yes” and “no,” and lastly, how to change a tire (oh, arguments can ensue over this!).

I will leave you with this quote from Ann Landers:

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

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To Just Being His

Let’s face it, we are all at times something other than ourselves.  Kevin has on many occasions become “mean daddy” as Kendra used to say.  I, myself, have been Ms. Sheila (spoken in a Bahamian accent), the tooth fairy, monster, horse, nurse, a friend and the list goes on.  Gosh, we have big shoes to fill.

Daddys shoes

I often find myself asking my mom how they did this – this parenting thing?  Well, one thing is I was the only child (mom seconded that ;-)), a pretty quiet child and in daycare. 🙂  Not to disregard the parenting my mother and father did.  I did talk incessantly and I’m sure there were other things that I can’t remember which required nerves of steel.  Yes, we parents have nerves of steel or some very imaginative ways to cope.  There are days I want to be INVISIBLE, but until I find some way to produce super human powers (I’ve tried) I will just have to settle for mommy night outs occasionally.

In church we have been learning some Life Apps and going through the book of James.  Pastor Chris has mentioned over and over that this book is hard to wrap your mind around, that it is Word that we often want to skip over or skip certain parts.  Personally, I have not found that to be the case.  It has pushed and inspired me, actually, to the point that I am scrutinizing myself to no end. I know I am not where I want to be as a Christian, or as a mom for that matter.  I’m probably harder on myself.  Aren’t we usually the first condemn ourselves?  I have been in a constant state of turmoil for years and especially since becoming a parent. Am I doing my best?  Am I good enough? Why is A not like B, Kelly’s kid? We do that as parents.  Even as others praise us, like the friend from my last post, we drown ourselves in “yeah rights” and put even more pressure on.

The silver lining – YES, there is one! – is this:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:17

If God does not condemn then why do we?  Is that fair to do that to ourselves if He will not even do that to us?  It’s almost like not obeying Him and expecting to hear His word.  “The less we are manipulated by the expectations of others, the more we are open to the expectations of God, ” says Richard Foster.  We are weak and we will fail but He is strong and He prevails (a little quip I coined). As the Women’s Devotional bible states, [we need] “to discover who we are in the light of his love, freedom and grace.”

Even though our roles may be parent, princess, superhero or therapist in the end we are His sheep and I don’t need to fill big shoes.  It’s already been done. Amen!

 

superwoman

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A Picture of Imperfection

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. ~ Jill Churchill

What a statement of truth.  Sitting in a room full of women, my friend said something to our new friends that took me aback. She referred to me as a perfect mother, the queen mother, the mother of all mothers.  Well ok, maybe she didn’t take it that far but she did say perfect and that, my dears, is so far from the truth. I do not want to fool anybody and if that is written on my person then I need to make a correction…quickly.  Let’s face it.  I don’t have time for the magazine articles, TV shows, and book tours that come with being The Perfect Mother.

After nudging her slightly hard in the shoulder from her mishap of a word, I let it go…until I got home.  My mind took off like a race car at the start line. Perfect.  What does that look like?  Wanting to run away after 5:00 each night?  Dreading coming up with a dinner they are going to eat? Yelling, yelling, and yelling some more (still working on it)?  Or is it correcting them when they talk back?  Giving them a hug after they just called me stupid? Taking them to their favorite restaurant? Planning the best birthday party? Trying hard to teach them the ways of God?

Perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

Hmmm, let’s stew over the as good as it is possible to be part of that.  How many times have you heard someone say, when speaking of parenting, I/we did the best I could?  Maybe you have even said it.  Pretty sure I have.  Does that qualify as perfect?  I can only answer that for myself….

When we first started our family, our lives were far from perfect.  Our marriage was tumultuous at best with lots of baggage floating in streams behind us, probably stacked 2×2.   I’m pretty sure between the two of us the kids have enough junk to write a novel or spend years in therapy working through.  Honestly, it’s life.  We’ve had 10 years to get something right and I will confess, with happy emotion, that recently things have turned around.  The novel is ending.  This parenting thing is hard though.  There is no handbook, no class, only life experience to hurdle through and at the end, and hopefully,  somewhere along the way we hope to be “good” parents. We long to do the best we can, not being perfect, but to train our children in His ways so that they will do the same with theirs and mimic what they learn.

So, we really are doing the best we can – most of the time- and this is how I would like to be known by my children:

A wise mother knows: It is her state of consciousness that matters. Her gentleness and clarity command respect. Her love creates security.
~Vimala McClure, The Tao of Motherhood

Perfect, I am not.  I hope I am not deceiving anyone because I strive to be honest and transparent. I am no Mother Teresa.   I have many faults for which I cry out to Him to help me surrender daily. I took my friends comment to heart because I know she loves me and she thinks I am a good mom.  That’s what friends do, encourage each other. However, I also took it as a sounding board because this stuff is rough, hard, and sticky as all get out. I can’t do it alone.  I NEED help and I need my friends.  On those days when I am not perfect, I’m gratefully honored to have someone to turn to…who is perfect.

image

My imperfect loves

 

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We ARE Those People!

Lights go down.  “We’re just resting” says Kevin.  “Yeah, resting” comes from my withering body.  It was 8:32 when I last looked at the clock.  Kevin had just put his arm around me as we cuddled closely in the bed. Next thing I know it is 10 something and I feel a tap on my shoulder.  I’m thinking at that moment…

wake me and die

Woken from a peaceful slumber, which I have no idea I went into, Kendra is asking me if she can sleep on the couch.  REALLY?  You woke me up for that.  Mumbling something that I still don’t know exactly what was said, she left.  Back to sleep.  THUMP!  I lay there for a minute or two listening to screaming from upstairs.  The thump was the all too often sound of a boys feet hitting the floor above our bed.  What were we thinking when we set up these rooms?  Already decided, our next house will be a ranch with a GIANT split floor plan. Great.  Kevin got up to deal with that and I fall back to sleep, kind of.  This screaming, pretty much happens about every night, is louder than usual and very annoying as I was in dreamland right before.  UGH!  How could I have been asleep for 2 hours?  I still have my clothes on and my feet were getting quite warm in my cozy socks.

We are those people, I think, as I really get ready for bed, which consist of me pulling off my socks.  Those people.  You know who I am talking about.  Those people who are in bed by 8:00…ok, maybe not right at 8, but pretty close.  When did we get to be THOSE people?  This thought has lingered in my brain for some years.  When we were in our mid twenties our neighbors had small children.  Mind you, our neighbors at that time were about our age.  At night as I would be settling down for my TV shows or getting ready to go out with friends, or even on a job (Tupperware it was!), I would see all the lights off in their house…all except their bedroom. ” Gosh, how could they be going to bed already?  It’s like 8:00.” I would think with some concern.  What kind of life is that?  I was Judge Judy not believing these folks could really be going to bed at 8:00. LOL  Boy did that one come back to kick me in the butt!

Well what I didn’t realize, because we did not have kids then, is that those little souls can suck the ever living life out of one large body.  How can little people like that have so much energy and take so much from ours?!   OH MY GEEES!  I ask for forgiveness for judging my neighbors so poorly.  SLEEP!  SLEEP when those life suckers are soundly tucked away because they will again rise from their slumber, oh too soon!, and begin filling up…again, and again, and again.  And I assure you I will be asleep as soon as they are tucked in the next night.

sleep

 

 

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Don’t Worry, Be Prayerful

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. –Robert Brault

There are so many mornings I sat in church listening to the preacher talk about how he prayed for his children.  That they would meet the right person, that they would have the right friends, that they would be good.  Nah, I don’t think he ever said that but I would surely and have prayed that over mine.  I don’t pray as much as I should – well, let me rephrase that.  I don’t pray for the right things as often as I should.  I find myself “spot” praying as I call it.  Brady has done the unthinkable – “God please grant me some restraint not to hurt him.”  Kendra has talked back once more today – “Oh God!”  Yeah, that one just slipped out.  Hey, I’m being totally honest here.  I pray all day but they are not the deeply routed in my soul prayers that I think the good pastor spoke about.  Plus, I think he AND his wife may have prayed together and you know what they say about more than one praying, He is there.  Getting real for a second though, prayer works.  I have experienced it myself and though we don’t always get what WE pray for, the knowing that HE hears our prayers and wants us to relate to Him is all the reason to send up some love.

Tonight I am particularly emotional for some reason, and when I get this way waves of thoughts and feelings just wash over me.  I have to almost heave cry…you women know what I’m talking about right?…to get through it all.  IT.FEELS.SO.GOOD.  Of course I have to do this after my kids are in bed or hold up in the bathroom with the door locked, hoping they don’t find the key.  After sifting through the garbage, holes and sometimes lies, it pretty much ends at the road of worry.  Gracious, I worry about everything! My mom can attest to that, right mom?  I worry about the kids falling on their bikes, falling from a tree, getting snatched from me, hitting their head on the coffee table, breaking a leg, falling out of bed, getting lost, getting hurt by a friend, getting hurt by a loved one, hurting each other!, falling down the stairs/or being pushed by a sibling, and the list goes on.  See, I’m insane right?!  And what if any one of those things were to happen?  What would happen?  We would go to the hospital?  I don’t even want to think about that anymore.  I think I was born worrying.  I would love to see a study, or better yet be in a study of why people worry so much…and they find the cure!  Oh wait, the cure has been written for ages.

prayer

On the couch, crying over whatever was coming to mind as I was reading my newest novel, I began to anguish over our eldest.  My sweet baby girl who is growing up before my eyes.  I feel like time has cheated me and I have let so many opportunities slip through the sand.  There is so much sand and I want to scream!  As she was going to bed and I kissed her goodnight, I began thinking about her taking her first trip with a friend, to the Outer Banks no less (following in my foot steps).  This is when the worry set in – already.  The trip is in August!  I won’t bore you with the list of incidences that came to mind because if “they” read this, they are likely to think I am more insane than I already act.  LOL I still remember the first time she was away from us.  She just went to my parents for a weekend but she was a baby.  I showed up on the doorstep of a friend and began bawling through a fake smile while saying, “I’m free.  Kendra is at my parent’s for the weekend.” Gaaa, that was hard.  It did get easier and that gives me comfort that each first will bring with it a little more peace. It’s just that this is my baby, our first born (who cares if from heart or womb)…she is my baby girl.  So, through tears of happiness  I will let her go because I know this will establish her independence and give her those wings we hear about.  This day is coming too soon.

I will continue to pray my spot prayers I know, I will not lie, and I am vowing to begin to pray the fervent prayers for all our children that I believe our pastor did with his.

As I end this post I leave you with one last quote and this.  I so believe in these words and pray that my children will see me in this light as I do my own mother.  I think as we grow older and certain things come to pass, we gain greater understanding of the ways of the world and hopefully that which lies beyond as well.  For all the moms out there…

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. – By Washington Irving

 

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Squirrels and Medication

“Squirrel!”  Really?  The things that get the attention of children.  While my kids, the boys actually, do still get very excited when they see a fluffy tailed mammal run across the yard, this is actually a continuation of my last post.  It was not my intention of making post #2 of MHAC.  However, as I sat here teaching this morning I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of my picture from yesterday.  Someday I will look back and pat my son on the back while telling him, “Now you know how I felt” with a giant grin.  Or I may just be the shoulder that is lent for a few tears – because, well, because I will have been there done that.

So, here is how this morning went:
Me: Et sine ipso factum est nihil q…
Brady: You know you can get Wipe Out online? It shows you how to play…
Me:  Let’s focus on our verse please.
Brady: There is a pizza one too.

Now, I have no idea where the pizza came into play.  I know that he was watching YouTube yesterday and how to beat the Wii Wipe Out game.  My parents have it and apparently Brady and my dad play whenever they visit. Squirrel!  That is pretty much how our school days go.  I ramble on about whatever I am teaching, as I am sure that is what he is thinking besides “Squirrel,” and he interjects with some off the wall thought.  And persistent.  Oh my gracious is he persistent.  If we were ever supposed to do something he would take it to his grave telling us, probably speaking to us beyond the grave.  In between anything that I did the last two days I heard over and over, “You said we would go out tonight.”  I don’t even need to tell you why.  He is a kid and they remember everything, well everything they are supposed to get or have.  Remembering to put the seat down on the toilet, impossible however!

The above dialogue between B and I was actually with him on his meds.  About three months ago after much research, praying, advice asking and so on, we started B on Ritalin.  This comes from YEARS of going back and forth whether to try meds or not.  I’ve never thought meds were the answer to this active lifestyle my child exhibits.  Though when I started homeschooling him and I saw first hand his thought pattern when it comes to work and focus, I knew I had to try something new.  I researched some natural methods but had already set up the doctor appt for the “ADHD” consultation.  We got the script and started him the next week.  We’ve gone up twice on the dosage and as of two weeks ago I started seeing signs I am happy with.  People LISTEN UP.  If your child is taking some kind of anti-anxiety, hyperactive med do your research.  We thought we had and I went into my peds office thinking they knew it all.  For the last two weeks I have watched or read several things on these ADHD meds.  The worst of the side effects I have seen is the tendency for OCD issues to worsen.  Last week Brady went through every spoon in our drawer because they were all dirty and he needed a clean spoon for his yogurt.  No matter they just came out of the dishwasher. He would cover the computer mouse with tissue before he used it – I still have not figured that one out.  First he said it was because Kendra ate shrimp and then touched the mouse.  Nope.  He has a big issue with shrimp and the smell.  Talk about gag reflex!  He has changed clothes, all the way down to his underwear, at least 3 times every day he has taken the medicine.  Finally this past Sunday I stopped giving it to him to see how things would be.

Not really me ;- but how I felt!

Not really me ;- but how I felt!

I don’t want to be that way.  I’m tired of being that way AND, the most important thing that breaks my heart is that I know he probably feels bad inside as well.  I mean, can you imagine how any of these children feel that are made to sit still for hours on end while their bodies/minds feel like they have to be doing something?  I know something has to be done.  I don’t mind talking about this.  It might have been hush, hush once upon a time but I have been told that 6.4 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD.  And apparently in the last 8 years the percentage diagnosed rose 42% among earlier years. CRAZY!  A movie we watched the other night entitled The War on Kids has a great part on ADHD and the reason for it’s existence.  I urge you to watch the movie if you are a parent of a child who has been “diagnosed.”  While we are more conservative than most when it comes to drugs (using more natural methods) and our health (listening to how our body feels and not how the gov’t tells us to eat/be), I would gladly urge you to do your own research.  It really is up to us to live the life we want to live.  Our bodies are our sacred temples, those that He created for us and in His likeness.  I don’t know about you but I want to be pure as can be.  I could go on about how food is the only natural medicine we need but I’m sure I would lose you somewhere if not at the beginning. But I digress. It’s hard.  It is hard to raise kids and then to have something that makes it all so much harder – Geesh, mothers should be awarded medals.  Forget those scientist.  We figure out how to get gum wads out of hair, be at three places at the same time, multitask like nobody’s business, and manage to keep everyone in the family alive and then snuggled in tight to bed.  Now, all of that probably does not comes without tears, yelling, or mumbling under ones breath but that is what we do for our families.  That is what we do for our kids.  No matter how many squirrels we talk about during the day, we manage to get through them all.  I love my overactive child and I will continue to do anything and everything I can, even through the “hates, suckers, wishing I were deads, shut ups”…to naturally help him be WHO he IS.  Look, tree. 🙂

Resources:  I’ve listed just a few links to sites that speak about ADHD.  I did not sway one way or another.  It is what it is.  There is so much controversy, as I said earlier you must do your own research and go with your gut feelings.  For us, it is just trial and error.  We are on to more natural methods now.  Will update in the coming weeks.

Synopsis from War on Kids

Drugging Our Children

Long Term Effects

Ritalin Explosion

Natural help we are trying

 

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Brought to you by MHAC

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.  You’re mean” Brady screams in the car on the way home.  “Why am I mean?” I say sarcastically to my overactive 7 year old.  “You never let us have candy” he says.  Rolling my eyes and huffing under my breath, because he is just waiting for a fight, I ignore his comment…for the 20th time today.  He continues to mock and aggravate me under his breath. “For the love of #$!÷=, can you HUSH!”  That is not said quietly or with a face that is not bright red. Lord give me strength to teach my child the way that you would have me do and please choke me when my words start coming out and not Yours. That should be my morning prayer before my feet hit the floor each day.  I think I would be dead before the end of breakfast said the Mother of a Hyperactive Child (MHAC).

Our 7 year old has been the Prince of hyperactivity since, actually before, the day he was born. Coming into this life 6 weeks early, he has been a fighter since that day – and not a lover. He’s the one that when it’s quiet you know you’re in BIG trouble. He’s the one that you want to pull your hair out everyday from, the one who causes the most trouble, the one that you worry about the most, the one that you know is the smartest of the bunch, and the one that you know can be anything in the world he or she wants to be… If you can just get the self impulse, hyperactivity, and attention under control. Notice I do not mention ADHD. There is a plethora of reading one could do as to whether this “condition” really exists or how to live with it.
imageimageimageimage

Draw your own conclusions. This is just my account of our story.

We have been through the ringer for 7 years. Time outs, bribes, treats, special conditions, spankings, yelling, yelling, yelling…did I say yelling. Yeah, I really need to work on that. Running after in circles, charts, marbles, counseling, counting 1,2,3 (oh the counting!), diet change, medication and other things. I’ve taken to putting his head in the toilet recently (not touching water – gross!) for his “potty” mouth. Don’t judge. It works for us.  Do you remember the Hot Sauce Mom?  I feel for her. If her son was anything like ours, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing. (I have not done hot sauce by the way.)  Mothers have it hard.  Spare the rod spoil the child. Isn’t that written to some degree in some really old book somewhere? 😉 Most days I feel broken by 10:00 and I’m sure he does too. :/

When it comes to children who have hyperactivity, who are extremely hyperactive and hard to handle, there are just some things that have to be tried and tested because these children cross lines like no child ever has. I know this because I speak from experience.  There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have tears coming down my face at some point.  Though these children are the hardest to handle, they are also the ones that can bring the greatest joy.  IT’S JUST WHO THEY ARE.

In light of me letting him live this long 😉 and issues arising in the public education system, we finally decided to homeschool him this year. The catalyst for homeschooling wasn’t the events that happened in the school. This had already been on our minds but the issue saddened and empowered me at the same time. I could give my child the education I would like him to have. Who needs NCLB? Not us, and it was extremely clear to us after many prayers that I could give Brady what he needed.  God set us up!  He’s good for that.   I graduated with a B.A. in Elem Ed and taught for a bit. Hmmm, His plans we never know until they are made clear.

This story could go for days about how we deal with our beautifully hyperactive child. A day in the life of a MHAC goes something like this:

image

That’s the thought pattern I deal with minute by minute

The picture above about sums it up with the exception of constantly being called stupid, being told “I hate you, you’re mean,” having my ear drums blown out by never ending screaming, saving the siblings from flying objects, making sure fire starting items are secure, making food only for it to not be eaten, and more…much more. And that my friends is only a sample of why I cry each day. Our son could give Dennis the Menace a run for his money! In fact, that’s what our neighbors call him. This small, lanky piece of my own flesh and blood I have decided is my trial and tribulation in this life. I literally sit in my “safe” spot at times pondering what He is preparing me for – help me Lord. It’s hard, and if you see me very angrily and quietly whispering to my child, who is demanding candy through clinched teeth, in the grocery store line; Just say a prayer. We need that more than the comments.

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