Courage in Parenting

On Tuesday evening after picking my son Liam up from school (5th grade), he told me something that happened in one of his classes that day and I had a deep pit in my stomach that lasted for a good hour. He rarely wants to talk about his day, let alone relay something he feels uncomfortable about. I went into full mother alert and began texting other moms to see if they could corroborate if anything weird happened in religion class.

It took forever for anyone to respond to me so I called my husband to relate the incident. I had initially tried texting the details and he wasn’t getting it so I called him. Yes, the teacher said something completely offensive about a student’s mother and it was sexist and suggestive and completely inappropriate for a 5th grade RELIGION class.

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The Rhythms of Life


I tend to get suspicious when life is going along just fine. After a while I get used to it and then when an issue comes up, I’m unprepared and knocked back just a little bit. Oh, right, life isn’t supposed to always be easy, I remind myself! This is an important life lesson that I keep trying to instill in my son Liam who is elven. He seems to be coming home with different issues from school these days and I try to give him my best advice to help him along.

Sometimes it has to do with academics – a poor test grade or missed assignment. He will get very upset when he doesn’t do well on a test even if his grade is in the low 90’s. I do not want him to put so much emphasis on one grade or one assignment. I simply tell him to learn from these situations and just to always do his best. We can never be doing everything perfectly.

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A crazy idea

I am forever trying to get my act together. You’d think by 50 I’d have things well under control, but instead I find myself still messing things up several times a week and this morning’s was a doozy.

Liam is playing basketball over the winter so he’s had to miss Sunday school for the past few weeks because his games have been on Sunday morning. I was very excited we didn’t have a game this weekend and while Jim ran him over to church, I got back in bed with a cup of tea and a book – sounds heavenly, right? I still had to shower before we went to collect him before mass and I kept telling myself just one more chapter.

Then Jim came in and announced there was a family activity during his class today where we were all supposed to make Valentine’s together. Jim had thrown on jeans and a sweatshirt and didn’t stay with him because he also needed to shower before mass. I was upset because I could picture him at a table all by himself in a corner sulking that we did’t love him as much as the other kids parents. I pictured him in many years hence describing to a therapist the various ways we had let him down through the childhood and I hightailed it to the shower and was ready in an astounding 15 minutes, makeup and all. I managed to get there with 20 minutes left in class but I could tell he was sad.

I’m sure I have an unread (or worse, an unread and deleted email) from the organizer because we always get reminders when something special is going on. I usually make time to read these because I am trying to be more organized but sometimes my email gets so overwhelming I just delete a bunch without reading – most of it is junk.

I really don’t know how to get it all together and that’s where my crazy idea comes in. Last week I had the idea to start a vlog about “getting it together”, but I’m not really sure there would be any interest in it. I myself love to follow several vlogs but they are run by extremely put together people. By all appearances they have perfect homes, cleaning routines, flawless makeup, healthy diets and excercise schedules and just all around good organizational skills. I was thinking of something more realistic for the rest of us who might not have it all together.

I did end up shooting a five minute video to introduce it last week, but I’m not sure how to even edit and publish such a thing. These people all have good camera presence and editing skills and I am just so raw. What do you think? Would you watch such a thing? It might be kind of like looking at a trainwreck!

I’ll have to think on it some more.



Disrupted sleep leads to a hard topic

I’m drifting off to sleep when I feel something jostling my arm. A soft voice whispering but I can’t make it out. I want to sleep. The jerky nudging continues until I can’t ignore it anymore and my eyes adjust to see the hazy outline of Liam bending over me, loud whispering something I still can’t hear. The words are lost but I can hear the urgency in his voice, a mother’s fine-tuned sense of when something is wrong with your kid.

This is the third time over the past week we’ve been through this. I urge him to tell me louder what’s the matter since I’ve taken my hearing aids off for the night and sound is like an underwater cacophony to me without them. He tells me in a louder voice, right next to my ear, he can’t fall asleep. He’s ten and five feet tall, nearly my height, practically adult sized but he wants to get in bed with us. I try to dissuade him telling him he’ll sleep better in his own bed, knowing I’ll sleep better if he’s in his own bed.

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Halloween regret


I wore my pajamas to work yesterday. Easiest costume ever. The coziness of flannel, the soft fur lining of slippers pressed against my sockless feet, the pure comfort of it. Who doesn’t dream of wearing pajamas to work? I sprayed my hair into a rat’s nest (it really didn’t need much help), threw a roller in the back of my hair and was at work in record time. And then I realized I had a meeting with several managers and a couple VP’s and I instantly regretted my decision.

I was one of the first to arrive at the meeting first thing that morning and one of the VP’s looked at me through squinted, questioning eyes and I said, yes, I’m wearing my pajamas. In a teasing, scolding tone, she said she’d be sending her managers home if they came to work dressed like that. My boss came in shortly after and sat nearby, glanced my way and then inched closer to whisper I’d left a roller in my hair. I said, I know, I’m wearing my pajamas and got another quizzical look. It’s Halloween, I explained. Ah, enlightenment dawned and there were smiles and jokes about how I’d pulled one over on them.

I should probably explain pajamas are the opposite of my working MO. I tend to take great care with my appearance when I’m leaving the house, even to run to the grocery store. On days when I work from home, I shower, dress, put on make-up and jewelry as though I’m going into the office. It just makes me feel better and I think I do better work when I’m “suited up”. So this Halloween “costume”, while at first so enticing, had me wanting to run home by noon to shower, fix my hair and put on real clothes.

The end of the day couldn’t come fast enough. I would have enough time to shower and change before picking my son up from school so we could go to his friend’s neighborhood for trick or treating.  When I got to school, he was dressed in his costume with his friends and they talked me into letting him go with them so I told the mom I’d meet them at the appointed house at 6:00 where there was a pre-trick or treating party. A pre-trick or treating party?!

I arrived well before everyone else and sat in my car because a) I didn’t have a kid and b) I didn’t know the hosts of the party. Minutes passed and I worried I had the wrong house and texted to make sure I was in the right spot. They assured me they were on their way and soon pulled in and the kids jumped out of the car ready to go. I had tried to talk Liam out of the costume he chose. I knew he’d be picked on but he wouldn’t be deterred.

I think it turned out to be a disappointing night for him. As I suspected, he was picked on for the costume and said someone had actually hit him. He quickly discarded the mask and the boys ran through the neighborhood like their life depended on it, picking up treats along the way. As the night wound down and he had one more confrontation with a girl who wanted to spray his $100 jacket with shaving cream before I intervened, he said he’d learned his lesson about his costume choice which will remain a mystery here.

We had a quiet ride home as we both mulled over our poor choice of costumes this Halloween.



Offline living

Oh my, it’s been ages! We are officially at summer’s halfway point (at least in my mind) and I should update you on what’s going on here. I don’t know if you remember, but back in May, I decided the family needed a technology break (including me).  I have posted just a handful of blogs since that time because you know, I’m on a break which means everything is happening offline, including writing.

The break from technology has been, overall, a mostly fabulous experience. You know how sometimes you don’t know how stressed out you are until you are sitting on a beach with sand filtering through your toes and then you dig in a little deeper to get to the cool, wet sand and you let out a huge sigh? That’s kind of what it’s been like. To know that you are not going to be fighting with your kid about when to turn off their iPad and go do something outside like you did when you were a kid is just, well, pretty amazing.

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Tech Free Parenting

Status update


A few years ago I ran into an acquaintance at an event. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years but we carried on a conversation as though we’d talked just last week. It went something like this. How was your vacation? The pictures looked fabulous! You kids are getting so big. Congratulations on your new job!

As we walked away my husband remarked that he didn’t know we’d kept in touch. Facebook, I explained. The highlight reel of our lives. Carefully curated for the highest yield of likes. I had to admit, it was weird, the exchange this woman and I had. How did life get to the point that I was hyper aware of what near-stranger/acquaintances were up to? How much unnecessary information was taking up valuable real estate in my brain?

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The technology reset continues

“What can I do when we get home?” was the greeting I received when I picked my son up from school yesterday. I gently reminded him we had an appointment with the therapist, followed by an audible groan of displeasure. Why and ugh were uttered and I was right there with him. I didn’t want to go any more than he did. With the rain beating down, I wanted to snuggle on the couch with tea and a book and a movie for him. Not an option.

Since last September we’ve seen R, the therapist, about a half dozen times and the maxresdefaultappointments are usually scheduled on the heels of a major meltdown as this one was. That was about three weeks ago as he experienced a a breakdown over a fidget spinner and a birthday party I didn’t end up letting him attend.  It’s when I finally took his iPad and Roblox away. Roblox could be a post all it’s own and has been a major source of conflict for L with his peers over the past few months. I didn’t totally get what it was when he first started playing but knew there is a social aspect and a multi-player game facet that included things like hide and seek and role playing games which he gravitates toward. I don’t feel it’s a healthy environment for him.

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Technology Detox

In my previous post, I hinted at the difficulties I’ve had with parenting a child who is so much different than I was growing up. He is headstrong. I am easy going. He is argumentative and I go with the flow. He is kind and passionate but sometimes a little (lot!) more than I can handle. And I don’t do this alone because my husband (J) is right in the trenches with me but we don’t approach it from the same perspective. So anything I write about the experience is wholly from my perspective which is why I use the word I a lot.

I also feel I am more engaged in finding solutions to the difficulties we experience with our son (L). Is this unusual in family dynamics? I don’t think so. It does make getting to the root of a problem that much harder if you’re not both on the same page. We have traveled a long somewhat difficult path over the last few months with a major melt-down at the end of last summer really being the spark that started the fire. We looked to a family counselor to help us along and we’ve made slow progress in areas only to be back at square one time after time.

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Parenting a sensitive, intense child

Like the chronic dieter eager to try every conceivable plan to help reign in their eating habits, so too have I sampled many different parenting approaches with my now ten year old son. From the time he was a highly active infant, I found myself paging through book after book to try to find the answers to parenting, starting with Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block. I didn’t really understand if this was they way all kids were or if my kid was just a little different.

Looking back, I can see he was a pretty intense kid. He walked early and from there he was off like a bolt of lightening. He climbed anything that went up and there isn’t to this day a banister that hasn’t seen his backside. My default is to tell him no. Don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself. Don’t do that, your not modeling good behavior for the younger kids. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that.

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