Thursday, May 9, 2013

Epic Fail on the Parenting Scale

I guess the saying is true.  We do learn something new every day.  I've mentioned before that the last few years have been incredibly pivotal and life-changing for me.  There have been many realizations and I've put an incredible amount of work into changing the things in my life that needed changing.  As they say, with age comes wisdom.  And I say what's the point in all the life lessons if we don't change because of them?  We have the ability and are capable.  We only have to reach that magical point where we realize it's time

Some lessons are more difficult than others and I find myself smack dab in the middle of a doozy at the moment.  It's a 'Mom' lesson, so I suppose that anyone who isn't a parent may be hard pressed to understand it.  I always find that if it involves my kids and/or my parenting, it will be the most trying and this one is no exception.  A child-induced heartache can make a mom unable to focus on much else and also proves how little influence we have over what life may hand us.  Sometimes our only measure of control comes in the form of how we deal with it and how much we allow it to change us.  More simply put:  Sometimes, no matter how much we want to make something go away, we can't.  We have to do the best we can with what's there. We just have to deal with it

I confess.  I'm not dealing with this particular situation in an admirable way. 

If you know me at all, you know that it was never unusual for me to allow others to walk all over me.  They could use and abuse and take advantage and I seemed powerless to stop it.  I've gotten better at standing up for myself and I don't allow things to get quite so out of control anymore, but there are still times when I'm apt to allow their poor treatment of me at the time, then simply avoid that person in the future.  (Perhaps not a perfect solution, but it works for me.)  However, I am a Mama Bear when it comes to my kids.  Do NOT mess with them.  There is no better way to earn the wrath of Kelli than to do something mean or hurtful to my offspring.

And then...there comes a point when the mistreatment comes at the hands of someone in authority, someone who really has the final say.  Whether or not their behavior toward your child is justified is strictly a matter of their own opinion and they have to answer to no one for it.  A personality conflict?  Maybe, but if that's the case we are completely unaware of it.  They do as they see fit, handle the situation at their own discretion and that's just the way it is.  It makes me angry.

It also makes me sad.  I've watched my child's self-esteem diminish throughout this ordeal.  I've seen the effects it has had on other aspects of her life.  This one person, the one who wields all this power, should actually have very little control over her life as a whole.  But when the one thing he does control is something that is very important to her, the result is crushing.  So significant are his actions that their effects spill over.  We've managed to get some of these 'side effects' under control but I can't just wave a magic wand and heal her heart.  And that breaks mine. 

As a parent, I've been a terrible failure these last few weeks, at least where this situation is concerned.  I'm not proud of some of my actions and many of my words, but sometimes an aching heart has more control over us than we care to admit.  I've worried, lost sleep and even been sick over it all.  I've come to realize that none of that changes any part of the situation.  I've also come to realize that as long as the situation doesn't change, it's incredibly difficult to change my reaction to it.  I feel completely powerless.  It's one of those no-win situations.

I'm sure that somewhere down the road we will come to the realization that it all happened for a reason.  We'll find that there was something better awaiting her, something so much more significant than this huge THING that's consumed us for so long.  None of this has changed who she is or what she can long as she doesn't allow it.  That's the hard part.  But I also know my girl and she's strong, smart, beautiful and capable of anything.  She'll get past this (probably a whole lot sooner than I do, if you wanna know the truth) and she'll file it away as one of her life lessons.  I think it will read something like this:

Fair is a matter of perspective.  People don't always have your best interests at heart.  We aren't always given the same chances that others are given and sometimes we have to just live with it.

And P.S.  Having hissy fits about it the way Mom does won't change anything.  ;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

As Easy As Saying 'No'

I've told you before what a difficult time I used to have when it came to telling people "No, I'm unable to fit that into my schedule" or better yet, just simply "No."  It can be rough when you're born a people-pleaser.  I am finally to the point where it is easier for me and I don't feel as guilty about it as I did in the past.  Sometimes you have to look out for yourself because no one else is going to do it for you, if you know what I mean.

Now it seems I'm learning another of those life lessons.  It's all about "I can't."  Not so much the act of actually saying "I can't" as convincing myself that some things are simply beyond the realm of possibility.  And again, it is something I must learn to accept and not feel the guilt that keeps trying to creep into the picture.

There is, for instance, my complete inability to blog on a routine basis.  I make promises to myself when it comes to how often I will blog and I simply end up breaking those promises.  It isn't even as if blogging is a chore for me.  It's actually quite the opposite.  I love to blog.  I enjoy writing just as much as I enjoy reading, if not more.  Truth be told, this is one promise I despise breaking.  But it is what it is.  There are just too many other things that need to be done, too much that needs my attention, too few hours in the day and too little energy to do it all.  Being unable to post here as often as I'd like hurts no one other than myself, but then I guess that's another reason it bothers me.  My inability to find the time to do something that is important and therapeutic and cathartic for me makes me just a little sad.

But here I am, learning to say "I can't" to myself just the same as I learned to say "No" to others.  I will make no more promises regarding how often I'll blog or even if I'll blog because it seems to only add to the pressure I already have coming at me from all sides.  And when I say pressure, I don't necessarily mean it in a bad way.  It is only the day to day stuff that makes up this beautiful life.  As much as I love my husband, my children, my grandkids, life in general...there is still a certain amount of pressure that comes tagging along with all the joy they bring.  The pressure to do what needs done in order to keep this house running, clean clothes on our backs and healthy (for the most part) foods on the table.  The pressure of keeping up with practice schedules, music lessons and who is playing what game on which side of town.

Thanks to the calendar on my iPhone, I've actually gotten pretty good at keeping up with all of it.  The kids haven't missed a practice or a game and I haven't misplaced a kid.  I may need to tell myself "I can't" on occasion, but I guess when it comes to life in general, I think it's safe to say "I CAN."  And that's pretty much all that matters.  :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guidelines for the Uncool Parent

I'm totally uncool.  And I'm cool with that. 

As much as my teenager hates it, I'm not one of those whose kids get by with a whole lot.  I watch the news and my heart breaks when I hear about the teenagers who die as a result of their own poor judgement and I ache for those left behind to mourn.  Goodness only knows the news has been full of these stories recently.  God willing, I will never wear those shoes.  

I have plenty to say about being the uncool parent.  In my opinion, it is totally cool to be uncool.  It is okay to be the parent who is always lurking in the background, keeping an eye on things.  'Stalking' my kids is not only okay, it's my job.  And maybe, just maybe, it will help keep them safe.  In today's world there are plenty of things to cause a parent to worry.  It pays to be vigilant.

I've been a parent for more than 29 years and I still have a teenager and a 10 year old living under my roof.  Over the years I have witnessed plenty of parenting styles and I've had to adapt my own to fit various circumstances.  It's okay, I'm flexible like that.  To an extent.  ;)  But in these changing times there needs to be more black and white and less gray area.  And we, as parents, need to stop judging each other for the way we choose to parent our own children.  Don't judge me and I won't judge you.  But if you're interested, here are my ground rules:

1.  As a parent, you CANNOT be 'too involved' when it comes to knowing where your kids are and with whom.  Right now they should be honing their decision making skills with your assistance, not turned loose to do as they please.  They'll have years of adulthood to exhibit their independence. 

2.  It is never wrong to ASK QUESTIONS or to expect your child to check in/stay in touch.  And when you call their cell phone and they don't answer, there SHOULD be consequences! 

3.  Kids are going to fib and they're going to make poor decisions.  It's a matter of fact because they must test the limits from time to time. Life is a learning process and no matter how wonderful you know your kids to be, there will come a time when they feel the need.  My kids are awesome but I would be the one fibbing if I didn't admit that I have indeed caught them telling a little white lie in the past.  So far it hasn't been anything horrible, but there were indeed consequences.  Friends and classmates who are willing to push the envelope can be very convincing creatures.  When it comes to your kids, question anything that sounds fishy.  Talk to other parents.  Check out their stories. 

4.  It's much better to be looked upon as a meddling parent and to be called 'overprotective' and 'smothering' than to lose a child.  Call me all the names you want.  As long as my kids are still here, still living and learning and growing, I can live with your name-calling and finger-pointing.  Your opinion of me isn't nearly as important to me as the safety and well being of my kids. 

5.  I'm okay with not being the 'cool parent'.  I will not knowingly allow ignorant behavior to take place among my kids and their friends.  Having fun is one thing.  Doing things that can cause harm is another.  And if by any chance you happen to be one of those 'cool parents', please do not take it upon yourself to make your 'cool choices' for my kids as well as your own.  Don't allow them to drink at your house.  Do not allow them to take part in promiscuous, questionable or illegal behavior because you allow your child to do so.  This is not your choice to make so do not take it upon yourself.  Just like there would be consequences for my child, there would also be consequences for you. Promise.

6.  Stalk their Twitter, FB and other social media accounts.  Stalk their friends' accounts.  You will learn SO MUCH.  Trust me. 

I could probably go on about this for days, but that pretty much covers the basics.  So go on out there and be uncool.  And be proud of it.  Not in your face, embarrassingly proud, but you know what I mean.  ;) 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Angels Among Us

angel:  [eyn-juhl]  a person having qualities generally attributed to an angel;
a messenger, especially of God;
a conventional representation of such a being, in human form

I've been seeing angels left and right,
both in person and in the media.
I don't know about you,
but I had gotten so tired of the bad news 
that I pretty much stopped watching much news at all.
I seldom click on the news links posted on FB
but I'm really glad I checked out this one.
This story is packed FULL of good news
and a handful of angels, too.

This one hits a bit closer to home. ;)

Makes a mama proud.  :)  
Drew loves being a firefighter
 and even though I worry every time
 I know he's out on a call, 
I love that he is passionate about helping others.

Then there is this guy:
One can be labeled an angel for many reasons.
Sometimes it's because of the example they set. 
This is my Tucker Man.  He's 10 years old.
Yesterday his class went to visit a local nursing home.  
Those who are band members 
put on a little concert for the residents, 
then they all sat and talked, 
giving each of them some one-on-one attention.
Tucker came home just bubbling over 
with stories about this little excursion 
and ended it by saying
 "I really enjoyed going there.  
It was fun to talk to them." 
He told me of the conversations 
he had with a couple of the elderly residents
and he spoke with so much 
enthusiasm and joy.
My heart was so full it nearly burst. 
He is such a loving, giving, sensitive young man.
And that makes him an angel in my eyes.

When the news of the day is getting you down
with stories of political unrest,
rising food and gas prices,
and crime after crime...


I feel certain you can spy an angel or two. 
Move past the depressing headlines
and allow them to lift your spirits
 and, more importantly,
 restore your confidence in mankind.

The wings of angels are often found on the backs of the least likely people.  ~Eric Honeycutt

Everyone entrusted with a mission is an angel.  ~Moses Maimonides

Anyone can be an angel.  ~Author Unknown