R E S P E C T

In an ideal world, when you give respect, you get respect.

No one lives in an ideal world.

I have also heard that respect is earned. Well, how do you earn that other person’s respect? You would think by being considerate, kind, and oh…I don’t know… maybe even a little…RESPECTFUL towards the other person would garner some reciprocation, but that is not always the case either.

But then, people are tricky creatures. We have feelings that have many meanings at any given point in time. And right now, for me at least, I have feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, embarrassment, and unhappiness. Because I have no respect. That is, I am being given no respect in certain aspects of my life and that is a difficult place to be in and function normally. I don’t think I am ever unclear about how I feel disrespected and I try to model the kind of respect I would like to receive, but I don’t think it is being taken seriously. Or maybe my feelings are so unimportant it doesn’t even register. I don’t know. I just know that sitting here, thinking about it all, a bright shiny flashlight is highlighting this all in my thoughts and I can’t stop dwelling and I just want it to stop.

I want the disrespect to stop.

I want the dismissal of my feelings to stop.

I want the intentional embarrassment to stop.

I want the denegration to stop.

I want the respect that I deserve, that I have earned. I want to feel like I matter.

I don’t think that is too much to ask for in life.

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Sometimes…

I’m a touch flakey. It’s okay. I know I am. All people are, at times, a touch flakey. I have all of these ideas. These GREAT ideas! Ideas for work from home business, ideas for food, for what I want to do through out the week…and then I flake. I mainly flake on personal goals but every once in a while there is collateral damage…

I’m still trying to figure out WHY I flake. Well…to be honest at times I flake because I simply don’t want to do what ever it is I am flaking on. It’s just easier to be like, “Meh…another time.” instead of forcing myself to do something I am less than enthusastic about accomplishing. Sometimes I flake because I have overbooked myself and I run out of time. This is within my control if I would just manage my time better but..hey. Life, you know? And sometimes I am flaking and I don’t even realize it because I forgot. I’ve got a gajillion things running through my head all day and night and with three kids, a husband, cats, dogs, work, household chores, remembering to take my vitamins, making food….phew…sometimes ALL of that gets in the way and I get distracted and I forget and the flakiness is completely unintentional. But still…being better at setting reminders is a goal to keep this from happening. Other times I flake because…well…commiting myself to something SO time consumming and large leaves me feeling overwhelmed and scared of “what if I fail??” and full of the guilt for any time taken away from my family. And facing those feelings is harder than flaking sooo….you get the point.

All of this is within my control. I don’t have to be a flake. I can be the person that I see in my head. I can.

Can’t I?

I mean, it isn’t like I set out to be this flakey person. I have THE BEST of intentions when I start out…but then I really just drop the ball. I need to get better at not picking up the ball if I don’t intend on holding  it like I am supposed to do. The only way to overcome that is to out myself and make the decision to move forward or not on whatever it is that I  am being flakey about and move the hell on.

 

So that is just what I am going to do. I am going to rehab my flakiness and become the Queen of Followthough….

I hope!

I am *NOT* your friend.

I had to reaffirm some rules this weekend. It was not fun, but it was necessary.

My husband and I have long contended over parenting styles. I am more relaxed, I have more of an emotional approach. He is more rigid, more structure based. Our differences are all based on our individual personalities and beliefs, but also on what kind of parenting worked for us best. I am working on my firmness and follow through. He is attempting to be a bit more relaxed and not quite so rigid. We are all works in progress.

i-am-your-mom

So, at times, my kiddos will push the boundaries and limits I have provided to them. My youngest lost her use of a cell phone because of poor choices with social media. We are currently in month almost 3 of her not having her phone back because she has yet to show me that she deserves it back through her choices and behavior. But keeping it from her is killing me! I hate her not haivng what she wants, but I have to remind myself constantly that this is good for her. That I am providing her with clear expectations and consequences and I am allowing her to make the choice of how long her phone is gone. I do remind her that she is the one in control of how long her phone is gone and that I am not budging on what my expectations are for her to earn it back. I’m expecting she will get her phone back in a week or two because she is improving.

i-am-not-your-friend-meme

When my kids got their cellphones, I made them all sign a contract with very clear expectations, do’s and don’ts, and requirements that came with them having access to cellphones. Some of those expectations are all authority figures have the ability to check the phone at all times, that we have access to all social media, and that they can not block us or lock us out of anything on their phones. Thisis to make sure they are not getting themselves into potentially dangerous ar risky situations that could harm them or others. My son decided to block me on a certain social media site. After repeated attempts to access said page, I had to remind him of who pays for his phone, how old he is, and that I am not doing this to embarrass him or cause issues, but to keep an eye out and to make sure he is safe. And I also reminded him that he signed a contract and he needed to abide by that. He gave me access…albeit begrudgingly. All of the teenage sullen looks were received last night. It was unpleasant, but necessary. He needed to be reminded that I am his parent, his authority figure, and even though he lives with his grandparents, that does not negate the fact that I am still his mother and he has to listen and obey.

not-your-friend-because-i-love-youI love my kids…but I am not their friend. I give them the boundaries and rules that I do to keep them safe. To help them learn how to work with others and to teach them how to behave in a way that is socailly acceptable, regardless of who they are with at the time. But staying firm witth them is hard…so keeping my mantra of “I am not their friend, I am their mother” going in my mind as I parent, as I discipline, as I spend quality time with them is what is going to help keep me strong in my decisions and firm in my boundaries.

 

Hard Choices and Parental Guilt

They make you second guess everything. They make you sit back and mull over all of the events leading up to the need for said choice. They make you rethink everything you have ever done when it comes to making that hard choice and they leave you wondering if the choice made was the right one once you actually make it!

My hard choice is still a hard choice. I’m over the second guessing myself, because I know in my heart that I made the right one…but it is still hard emotionally. Emotionally, I am torn. I am torn between what I know is right and what I want. But what I want is not based upon anything other than soothing my own emotional discomfort.

My hard decision was this: allowing my son to stay with my parents when my little family moved from my parents home into our own home in a different school district and county. Truth be told, it was a positive decision for him. My son is happy. He is doing well in school. He is making good choices and learning to do things that he needs to learn. Why did I allow him to stay? Well, he finally felt settled into a highschool and I didn’t want to move him. He is surrounded by friends that are good influences. He gets to be the only child that he wants to be while still maintaining a relationship with his younger siblings. But most importantly, he is happy.

I, on the otherhand, am pretty torn up. I miss my kid. I miss his goofiness. I miss his jokes and telling me all about some new game he is into or how he is trying something new with his lizards. I miss him being there in the morning and at night. Being physically seperate from him for an extended period of time like this is not okay and I feel guilt. I feel massive guilt.

Honestly, the massive guilt is probably why I feel so crappy. I really am thrilled that my son is happy and healthy and doing well. I am so fortunate to have parents who love my son so much that they would be okay with him living with them on a permanent basis. But that guilt…it’s brutal. And it eats at me at every possible moment.

I feel guilt for not being able to provide for my kid the way he needs. I feel guilt for not having the kind of relationship with my son that I had hoped we would have. I feel guilt for allowing someone other than myself to care for him. He is my first. The one who made me a mother 16 years ago. A young mother. And I think that is where it all comes to a point. I was a young mother. Not all young mothers have the same relationship with their children as I have with my son. Some grow to be inseperable. My son formed that bond with my mother rather than me, I think, because I was so young when I had him. I was barely more than a child-not even a month past my 20th birthday-when I had him. I needed her more than I knew and being a mother was something I had not planned on doing until faced with it realizing I couldn’t NOT be a mother because of what was in my own heart versus what society expected of me. And so I had him and cherished him (I still do) and I made the hard decision to allow him to live away from me.

I couldn’t ask for two better people than my parents to teach him, though. I am beyond blessed that they love him so much and are willing to look out for him and teach him and help him to become a good man. There is no lack of appreciation there, or gratitude, for their selflessness and generosity.

But this is hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be. And even though I know this is what is best for my child, and as a parent I want to do what is best, it still hurts.

Teenagers…Sigh

raising-teenagers

 

I LOVE my kids. LOVE THEM. But they can push those buttons and do ALL the things that drive me insane. I joke that they are in a contest to see who can put me in a straight jacket first, but honestly, it feels like I am teetering on the precipice of insanity 99.9% of the time.

parenting-insanity

Can we talk pre-teen/teenage girls?

Are they *ALWAYS* this squirrelly? Are they *always* this emotional? Must they *ALWAYS* pick a fight with their siblings over *absolutely NOTHING* and then get mad when called out??

The answer to all of the above is a loud and resounding Y E S. Yes, they are. Yes, they must. It is ingrained, I think, in the DNA and when they hit a certain age, all reason goes out the window and it is an out and out free for all of emotions and actions and behaviors.

 

Complete and total chaos and unpredictability. ALL the emotional rollercoasters, all the drama, all of the hormones….ALL OF IT IS HARD!!!

phoebe-madness

 

This was me. This past week and weekend. This is almost how I had to handle the girls. I thought I was going to go insane!

But they survived to make me crazy another day. As did I. And of course, I am sure the rest of this week, should I play my cards right, will be almost a repeat of this past week. Exciting, eh?

parenting-teenagersI guess my point in all of this is that where there is insanity, where there is conflict, once has to find the humor. Humor has been getting me through a TON of parenting situations. Because sometimes, all you can do is sit back and laugh at what is going on. Because getting mad doesn’t work. Getting sad doesn’t work. But laughter…well, laughter can help to soothe the savagery and help my progeny live to make me crazy another day.

Raising teenagers is tough, y’all. No lie.

#Woke

via Daily Prompt: Oversight

It was gradual. But powerful. Sitting back and watching the protests in  Ferguson, where ever there was violence against people of color, the beginnings of #BlackLivesMatter movement, I thought to myself, “Wow-how angry these people are.” And went about my own business. I wasn’t indifferent, just ignorant in my understanding of their experience. Sure, I could watch the tv news every morning and night and see the violence that people of color are subjected to daily by the government meant to protect us all, but hey-it didn’t affect me, so….I didn’t think about it too much. Am I showing how deep I was in my own white privilege?  I hope so. Honestly, I am still shoveling my way out of this deep hole I am in.

Then I spoke with people. SPOKE with them about their experiences. SPOKE with them about their thoughts, their feelings, their beliefs. And it started to sink in. I wrote a piece earlier last year…about 6 months ago…and I stated that violence begets violence begets violence…but I better understand WHY there has been violence. I was still mired down in my own privilege and allowing that to influence my thoughts and feelings. But not anymore. I GET IT NOW. We have, since the founding of this country, used non-peaceful protest and actions to achieve the desired results (Hello…the American Revolution! A giant war that included an act of rebellion and governmental property damage in Boston). WE WERE FOUNDED ON NON-PEACEFUL PROTEST. I get it now, my friends of color. I get WHY there has been so much violence. I get WHY peaceful protest does not always work. And I understand that, if I want to be a part of this protest against the atrocities taking place in our country against people of color, women, immigrants, the LQBTQIA community, I HAVE to WAKE THE FUCK UP to the fact that it will not be peaceful, silent, or pretty. I HAVE to be okay with that because if I am not, I will remain in my bubble of ignorance surrounding myself with the unrealistic and idealistic point of view that just by talking about it, something will happen.

NO. I was WRONG to think that a peaceful protest will always be the best way to be heard. And it is uncomfortable. I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I feel like I have been part of the problem. And I am going to try my damndest to correct my oversight. I am going to try my damndest to continue to be uncomfortable, because when I am feeling this discomfort, I am learning about what I have done to overlook the truth of it all. And MY truth is that I was too scared to be fully involved because I didn’t want others to think poorly of me, to think I was stirring the pot, to think that I was supporting something just to support it and not because I truly believed in the movement. I didn’t want to catch shit from my family, whom I love dearly, but I do not share the same political beliefs as they do.

The amount of emotional labor that my friends of color and my friends in the LGBTQIA (of which I identify as being a part of, btw) have put in to educate cisgender, heterosexual white people has been tremendous. They are the ones experiencing the violence, condemnation, anger, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc and then they have to EXPLAIN WHY they are upset?? No. Not okay. NOT OKAY AT ALL. I should not expect them to go through all they do and then do MORE work to try to explain why things need to change. So, I plan to stay uncomfortable. And I plan to make other folks uncomfortable as well by talking about it.

So, my friends of color, my friends in the LGBTQIA community, stay angry. Keep protesting. Keep speaking out. I am going to be a better advocate for you. I am going to be a better listener. I am going to pay attention to the ignorance that is around me and try to educate people as best I can. And I may come to you from time to time to help me use the right words so I am not furthering misconceptions or passing along unhelpful and ignorant information. I am going to stay #woke.

Remembering the Lost

I’ve had some ups and downs here lately. And yesterday, I had a big shock. A dear friend, someone I have known for the past 24 almost 25 years of my life, died.

He was an enigma. Rob was someone who, as cliche as it is, marched to the beat of his very own drum. He was never one to conform, always trying to new, different, and sometime dangerous things in life for the experience and the thrill. Rob was easy to love, easy to hate, easy to forgive. He had a way about him that would draw you in, anger or not, and you would find yourself smiling in amusement at the conversational twists, turns, and topics. Rob was, simply put, himself.

I met him in middle school. He was a wild child, bucking against authority and that appealed to every young girl he knew and met. He was a “bad boy” in his thrift store gear and combat boots, as though he was daring anyone to challenge his sense of self and style. I knew, from the moment I met him, that despite everything, we would remain life long friends. You see, it isn’t often you meet your male counterpart who shares the same birthday-year, month, and day…with only a few hours of difference between time. He was my birthday twin. And there was a friend connection that lasted over two decades and while he is no longer with us, that connection will remain for the rest of my natural life. I am sure that I am not alone in this sentiment.

He was a father, a brother, a son, a friend. And while I won’t lie and say he made only the best choices in his life, I will not stoop to slander him either by saying he was the worst kind of person; I truly believe he was a good man with a good heart and a lost spirit who only wanted to find his true and rightful place in this world. Everyone has a dark side. It’s our choice as to how much of that we share with others. And Rob, while he kept some things to himself, shared these moments with those he trusted. Not many people do that.  He was a musician. A talented guitarist and piano player. He loved his friends and his family with a fierceness. He was someone who loved and needed love in return.

I shall mourn the loss of my friend. I shall mourn the lost time with him here on this earth. But I shall celebrate his life. I shall celebrate his spirit. I shall celebrate him.

Rest In Peace, Robert F Cook IV. I hope to one day see you again on the shores of Valhalla.

rob

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