Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The year without Christmas...almost

2015 has been kind of a rough year for me and the boys.  There have been tons of changes.  Me going back to work, no more day care for Owen.  Evan starting high school.  It seemed like it should have been an easy year.  The boys are getting older so not so much fighting right?  More helpful around the house right?

HA!!!  I don't know if it was a mix of teenage hormones and little boy mischief but the boys have been rotten to each other all year.  I can literally count on one hand the times they have played together willingly and no one ended up crying, bleeding or grounded.

I feel like I have screamed more this year than in my entire life.  I am sure a quick poll of my neighbors will confirm that they believe a banshee lives at my house.

Chore charts were implemented.  A list of items written plainly with each days tasks.  Ignored.  I literally have to say to them "do your chores" at least ten times.

Privileges revoked.  Electronics taken away.  Plans cancelled.  All freaking year.

Then the backtalk and yelling started.  I expect it from Evan.  Teenage angst, hormones and general attitude is forthcoming.  What I did NOT expect was the fresh mouth that landed on the face of my little Owen.  He has always been a character with a witty comeback but when he started mimicking his brother and acting like an all around jerk I lost my mind.

Around the beginning of October I had reached the end of my rope.  I was exhausted with the daily fights; I couldn't take yelling and bitching and being mad.  Something was going to change. I needed to get their attention.

"Christmas is cancelled"  I announced one day when the madness had reached a peak and I was ready to ship children to military school,  They both stopped sniping at each other and looked at me.  Finally I had their attention.  "What did you say" I repeated my threat and felt it becoming more and more concrete.  It was met with cries of "you cant do that' and "its not fair"  to which I replied: "I can and I will"  No tree.  No decorations.  Maybe a present or two.

Seriously people, their rooms are already overflowing with toys and games and the like and they barely play with half of it.  No one wants to take care of anything...everyone wants to argue with me ...I'm FREAKING DONE. I have zero Christmas spirit and ungrateful children.

As I spread my message of being fed up, I was met with many positive replies.  So many parents are tired of their kids acting like jerks then expecting a million things for Christmas, that you could see the wheels spinning.

Only a few people balked.  My best friend pointed out that Christmas is magical to a kid and that Owen still believes in Santa.  OK , that has been tough.  I caved and got the stupid Elf out and have been traipsing that  thing around the house; not very cleverly I might add.  We still went to Bronner's and got ornaments and had fun with our friends.  I bought a new Nativity set which is the only thing up so far. I am buying them something for Christmas but not much.

The tree was the final battle I was fighting.  More pressure from Tara in the form of passive aggressive texts that she sends in her loving way.  And finally, my boyfriend (yes people, a boyfriend) convinced me I had to put it up.  The boys haven't met him yet so he is coming over tomorrow to help me while they're gone.

I'm not looking at it as caving....I am going to make it look like the Elf did it, I was running out of ideas for that dumb thing anyway.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


"Your kid is kind of weird"  These words were spoken to me by a person who, at one point was a friend and now had become an acquaintance.   Someone who had known my son for years.  Someone who has not been in our lives for a couple years.  

My first response was that guttural one. The mama bear protecting her cub and now I am going to have to rip your throat out; or in the civilized world we are in, I am going to verbally eviscerate you until you walk away in a pile of tears.  My mouth was open, breath had been drawn and the first wave of  lethal words were travelling up my windpipe..  Except something happened.  My brain did this weird flip-flop thing that it sometimes does and instead I just said "You think so huh?  Guess I am glad I am his mom and not you"  I politely excused myself and walked away.  No, I did not chicken out.  I just realized that any reaction, negative or positive was not worth it and would be lost on such a pitiful person.

My boy is not  the cookie cutter, preppy, clean-cut, fall in line child.  At one time I tried to get him to go down that path and somewhere around 12 he started traveling down his own path.  I fought him tooth and nail on clothes and hair.  Music was one thing we agreed on.  Certain friends were not.

  I finally gave up last school year and have just learned to deal. Your kid may prefer the AE, Hollister, Abercrombie clothing. Mine prefers concert T's and floppy hair, black high-top Converse and a wallet on a chain.  Your kid may be on every sports team either willingly or just to please you but mine only wants to play baseball and basketball and if he makes the team so be it, if not, that is fine too.  Your kid may be the popular one who everyone knows and buddies around with, mine is the quiet one, the introspective one who thinks the popular kids are mean idiots (he's mostly right on that one)  My kid bought a top hat a'la Abraham Lincoln on his class trip to Washington DC and yours probably wears that regulation prep boy baseball cap.  My kid is a "weirdo" and I am OK with that.

I realize that my kid is different than most kids his age. He is more mature and can think of ways to entertain himself other than just who he can give a wedgie to, or intimidate and make fun of at school.  He is a deep thinker, preferring documentaries on everything from the Holocaust to the history of video games as opposed to  nonsense drivel that kids watch nowadays.

He is my throwback kid with a poster of Kurt Cobain and John Lennon in his room and a Sega Genesis gaming system straight out of 1992.  He prefers vinyl to CD. He taught himself how to play the guitar and drums and would rather do that than practice his jump shot.

He has a kind heart and no patience for the nonsense that happens in high school. He recently became extremely upset at the fact that some "popular" kids at school thought it would be a funny joke to nominate a kid no one really liked; another weirdo to the freshman homecoming court. 

Yeah, my kid is weird,  He is quiet and thoughtful, sometimes in his own world and doesn't have the best judgement.  He sometimes wears a top hat around town to see what kind of reaction he can get.  He is miles ahead of his peers. 

My kid is a weirdo and I am just fine with that. I will take my kid over yours any day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The death of dating

date verb (MEET)

B1 [I or T] mainly US to regularly spend time with someone you have a romantic relationship with 

Above is the technical definition of dating.  You will notice it says "regularly spend time with"  

I have an announcement.  You may have already heard it or experienced it yourself,  if not let me be the first one to tell you: Dating is dead.

That's right. You heard me correctly.  That age old tradition of making arrangements to meet with the person whom you have or hope to have a romantic relationship with has been massacred.  Killed.  Thrown in the shredder.  Run over by a cement truck.

The culprit? Social media and texting.

Dating used to mean meeting someone and getting to know them via phone call, or gasp, in person.  You used to "Meet up" with people and spend hours talking to them face to face and seeing if you got a vibe from them.  You would call each other on the phone to find out how the other was and if per chance there were plans to arrange another meeting.  You had no idea what they were doing if you were not with them.  You had to drive to their house, work or pre-arranged destination.  There was an allure, mystery, tingly excitement of what was to come.

Then technology happened. Texting. Facebook. 20 different dating sites.  All of a sudden the floodgates opened, there was more variety, more opportunity.   You could "meet" people you would have never run into on a normal day.  Instead of waiting for fate or that chance meeting, your destiny could be uploaded, downloaded, poked, sexted, tagged, liked, and you never had to actually meet them.  With so many options why narrow it down to one person when you could chat with 10 simultaneously

We started falling for pictures and words and forced moments put there to make us all look like fun, cool people.  Only our best sides are shown.  We morphed and cropped and filtered ourselves into this desirable mate for someone to look at and "chat" with.  We joke and text and flirt and say witty things that may never come out of our mouths if we were face to face with another person.

Here's the issue; for the most part, instead of meeting someone organically, we have met online.  We have been set up and have "chatted" beforehand.  Not on the phone but on FB messaging, via text message, some mode of communication where we didn't hear each others voices, make real conversation. 

Then you meet the person face to face.  You have constructed the whole relationship based on snippets of information they have carefully crafted, only letting you see the perfect, constructed parts and not the real parts. They aren't exactly what you had in mind so bam...end the date and go back to the dating site and find the next perfect sounding person.  In this instant gratification society, we don't want to get to know anyone.  If you don't do it for me in the first hour, I'm going to disappear into thin air and never be heard from again.  It's called Ghosting and it happens more than you can imagine.  You only talked to that person in cyberspace.  All they know about you is what you told them and you can disappear like that. Back to the drawing board. There's five other women who have shown interest so why not go on to the next one.

So let's just say that date one went well.  This leads to date two then maybe three and four and by golly gee, maybe you are dating, dare I say a relationship??? Good luck.  With all the available choices many men (and some women) are basically just keeping your company until the next shiny new toy catches their attention.    Remember what I said about instant gratification?  Well here is where it comes rearing its ugly head.  Dating Girl A and that is going OK but here comes Girl B, blowing up your phone and liking all your FB posts and flirting hard. Well maybe you should just "chat" with her.  No harm in that right? I mean if Girl A gets boring or doesnt' work out we need another option.

OK Men, before you get all huffy puffy thinking you are getting singled out, just look at the FB page of any newly single dad.  Once a man goes "back on the market" you can practically see the vultures circling with their perfectly manicured red nails.  Seriously, take a look at all the likes and comments and "hey cutie" comments they get when they post a selfie.  Put up a picture of him and his kids??? Every single woman with a pulse is jumping all over that trying to say the cutest, cleverest thing.  I once dated a guy who had three girls.  It became  a joke between us. I used to text him and say "I see your fan club just had a meeting" We would laugh but deep down I felt a bit insecure.  To me it's the technological equivalent of women throwing their panties at a man.

Technology has made us crazy.  Those of us who just want to be in a relationship have become paranoid.  Wondering why some chick is constantly commenting on our mans posts, does she like him? Does he like her?  Is she texting him or messaging him?  We don't want to become that girl who sneaks a look at her mans phone.  We don't want to think some other woman is moving in on our territory.   And we certainly don't want to ask because then we look like the crazy, jealous type.

I want to meet a guy without a smartphone.  No FB.  Maybe an InstaGram that he posts pictures of his dog, and sunsets and food.  It would certainly make dating easier and give me peace of mind.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Please, tell me more....

I have been single for five years now.  Not completely single, I was in two longish relationships, a couple shorter ones, about 25 crappy dates, a handful of great ones and too many questionable choices.  It has been interesting to say the least.  Because of all of this there has been a great many conversations about the aforementioned forays.  Mostly with my girlfriends and sisters and few select friends. I have talked to co-workers and on occasion total and complete strangers.

Being single is almost like being pregnant.  Most people aren't. Some have been and almost everyone has an opinion.  Over this time frame I have had some astounding conversations, been on the receiving end of good and bad advice and subject to the offhand, rude, or off-color comment.

The following are the most common things people say to me and at this point I am either annoyed or amused.  Most have good intentions but just like the expectant mother who just wants to have her baby without a litany of advice and old-wives tales, I too just want people to let it go.

1.  I don't understand why you're still single.  

Often followed up w
ith "You're so pretty, smart, wonderful" whichever adjective you want to describe me with, I have heard it all. I know all of this. Your guess is as good as mine.  I have my own theories which we have discussed in previous posts and my newest one which will be posted in the next day or so.  My only reply to say to that is; Get in line, I don't get it either.  It's basically the $65,000 question and no one has the answer to it.  Oh wait but they do....

2.  It will happen when you least expect it

Really? Will Prince Charming fall out of my apple tree? Jump out of my closet? Is he hovering nearby waiting for the precise moment for me to give up on the thought that there is one single, decent man in this world only to jump out and shower me in confetti and yell "Surprise, here I am"  If you aren't sure, that is sarcasm.  I gave up expecting a great guy a long time ago. I am not looking out my window waiting for my prince to gallop up on white steed or harbor the saccharin romantic movie fantasy that we will bump into each other on the street, our eyes lock and fall in love surrounded by a crappy soundtrack.  It doesn't happen. If it happens when I least expect it, it will probably be some sort of kidnapping and please call the police.

3. Maybe you are just too picky 

This is one one of my personal favorites. Yes I am picky.  You would be too if you were married to a verbally abusive semi-sociopath.  I have gotten my priorities straight and because my kids come first for now I am extremely picky on what qualities I will accept in a man.  I am sure I could have a boyfriend if I wanted one, yet if I just settled for whatever swirled about I wouldn't be any further ahead than what I was five years ago.  I have standards people and they are set a tad high.  I don't really care about money.  Looks are somewhat important but chemistry, decency, honesty are things I am not going to settle for.  If it's not there and our values are not aligned I am not wasting my time.

4. Maybe you just need to put yourself out there more     
You mean wearing my single girl sandwich board and ringing my bell aren't enough?  I have toyed with the idea of buying one of those signs at Costco...the ones that flash neon and say OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  Do you think that will work????  Please.  I have done the online dating thing.  Spectacular fail with the exception of one guy.  I am as outgoing as they come.  I am not going to meet anyone decent at a bar.  My church is full of married men, or the single ones are nowhere near my age range.  School....ditto.  Work? Doubtful, but you never know.  I am involved in a number of things where potential single men gather.  It just hasn't happened.   People know I am single.  They want to set me up constantly.  I don't wear any type of ring. If a guy doesn't have the kahones to ask me out or get to know me then it's his loss.  I am done advertising, 

By now some of you are sitting there, legs crossed and lips pursed because you know, YOU KNOW you have said one or more of these things to me.  Stop. Don't get all offended and self-righteous on me.  Those that are my true friends know my struggles and stories and idiot mistakes that I have made and continue to make.  I appreciate the shoulders to cry and laugh on.  The pep talks and the anecdotes, the good advice and the texts that brighten my day when I want to chuck it all and become a nun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father Figure

Father's Day was Sunday and I was all prepared to write another blazing tribute to my dad and all the men in my life that have filled that role as surrogate dad.  I haven't actually spent a Father's Day with my dad in a few years and it was bumming me out.  Since my divorce I have graciously let the boys go to their dad's house even on my weekends, it's only fair since I always want them on Mother's Day.

At church I was talking to one of the teens whose own dad is no longer in the picture.  She said she was having kind of a hard time and we hugged and talked for a minute, I felt for this beautiful child.  Her father would never see how wonderful how she is.  How devoted to her family and to God she is and how at such a young age she uses her gifts just as God wants her to.  I then started thinking about my friends who just lost their dad's. Some just less than a month ago and suddenly lost all desire to write on this day.  I cannot imagine not having my dad in my life, just a phone call away and it seemed selfish to write about my own good fortune, how God blessed me with the kind of father every girl should have.

My thoughts soon turned to my own boys.  They have a father. One that lives about four miles away and they seen him often.   As much as our relationship is strained I only ever wish the relationship with my boys and their dad could be solid.  If you ask my oldest it's fine but my youngest has a different feeling on the situation.  When he was born our marriage was at it's worst and just went downhill from there.  The bond between them was never sealed and as much as he loves his dad and I know his dad loves him it's not like it should be.  There is a striking difference on how he treats the two, not just because of the age difference but in the way he approves, accepts and encourages.  I am not going to turn this into a post of how I think he could have been a better husband or a better person but I wish with all my heart and every fiber of my being that he would step up and be the dad my boys need.

My 14 year old needs to be guided into becoming a man.  I try and teach him love and patience and kindness and tolerance and nurture everything a mother should,  but I cannot teach him how to be a man.  There are already things in his demeanor and behavior that need to be corrected and his dad, being the person he is doesn't believe there is an issue.  My 7 year old needs the love and attention and the feeling of security that a little boy his age needs.  He needs a daddy, someone to make him feel like he is the safest in the world he could possibly be when he is with him. 

It's killing me that they are not getting what they need.  It's killing me that my dad and brother in law are across the state and we don't see them enough.  It's killing me to see them struggle and see my little one cry when he has to go to his dads and not be able to have a decent conversation with him without it turning into being about me and him.

I am thankful for the men at church who do pour into their lives.  When I can get my oldest to go to church those positive influences help.  My little one loves to be there and I see him interact with these men and it breaks my heart.  They are so good with him and he goes to them, getting the positive interaction he is lacking.  He clings to his leaders at times, soaking up the attention and love.  I have watched him other places with other dads and men who have time for a game, a joke or to just talk to him.  Today I picked him up from camp and his counselors were teenage boys.  In those three days he managed to develop a bond and when it was group time at dismissal he wasn't far from their sides, sitting closest among the group. He wants so badly to have that in his life constantly.

This is where I turn on myself. Not because their dad and I are divorced but where I wonder why it is I cannot be in a relationship with someone that can be that constant that they need.  I know it's not my fault.  I know there is nothing I can do about it, but I do know that I would do anything in the world to make it happen, not as much for myself but for my boys who so badly need it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Mother Load

Hey mamas! I hope you all had a wonderful day! Whether you are a brand new mama or all of your babies are grown I truly hope that you felt the love today.  I did.  Nothing special happened other than we all went to church, the boys kept their bickering to a minimum and mostly did what I asked them to do the first time.  That is enough for me.  I got homemade classroom art and hand picked flowers, Coldstone Creamery and coffee for Mother's Day.  The only thing that would have made it perfect is if I could have been with my own mama.  I saw her last weekend, so I will take what I can get.

How are you feeling about your mothering lately? I am in one of the phases that run between everything is awesome, to me wandering the house muttering to myself.  I really cannot complain because the latter has not been too prevalent as of late. 

Maybe you have had a day like I had Saturday.  In my head the day was going to be great.  I was up early, getting things done and we were going to work in the yard and go to the Farmer's Market and have fun and just a great day.

Here is what actually happened: Kid A spent the night with a friend and came home on three hours of sleep and promptly went back to bed.  OK, fine, I mowed and cleaned and Kid B played with a neighbor boy.  I finally got Kid A out of bed and showered and we headed to the farmers market.  It was crowded and Kid B was being a goofball which immediately annoys his brother who starts pushing him and being a jerk.  All I wanted to do was look around and get a few things and they turned it into a miserable event.  By the time we left and hit the parking lot, I lost my shit.  Completely.  If it was OK to punch your 14 year old son in the face I would have.  I love that kid but there are days I want to knock him out.  The little one would not stop pushing it either so I swatted him and put him in the car crying and hollering.  Good ol' family fun.

Why do our kids do the things they do?  What would possess them to drive us bonkers, push our limits, make us crazy? I know they know we are there.  We tell them.  We warn them, yet they push ahead full well knowing it won't end well for them.

Here is another example of  kids doing things we can't explain or understand.  The other night I took the boys to get their hair cut.  That evening Kid B asked to take a shower instead of a bath. Sure, OK.  He is nearly 8 so I got the water ready and in he got.  I walked past the bathroom every few minutes asking if there was in fact body scrubbing and hair washing happening.  I was assured these things were happening.  When he was done I gave him a towel and he looked at me and said "Mom, I cut my thumb."  Now there is only one way he could have cut his thumb in the shower.  My razor. The razor that is up high.  Where the stuff only mom uses resides.  He cut it pretty bad too.  I got him out bandaged and clothed and it was bedtime.  It wasn't until the next morning I saw the result of the great razor debacle. A three inch chunk of hair.  Why...why...why in the blue blazes would be he take a razor to his head?

He doesn't know why........ Now we get to try and style his hair in a way that it doesn't show until his hair grows back.

So mama's....your kids do things that make you want to cry, scream, question, and go crazy.  They will do things that make you question yours and their sanity.  Just remember the times they make your heart melt and make you proud and I pray it all evens out!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Help me, Help you , Help me

I love helping people.  It's in my nature and it's who I am.  I believe that a good part of it comes from my famly and how I was raised.  My parents helped people all the time.  Not a grand gesture or large monetary gift, but small things that they may not even remember or think was out of the ordinary, but we saw it and learned that the greatest joy in life is to help other people.

Need a ride somewhere? Call me.  Hungry? Come over and I will feed you? Sad? Upset? Call me or let's get together and talk.  I would probably give someone my last $5 if they needed it more than I did and not think twice about it.

I want to help people for a living.  I am in school to do just that.  I am involved in organizations that help people.  And when I say help people I mean all people in all circumstances. It doesn't matter the situation.  I want to help women who are in abusive relationships, children who are at-risk, the homeless, those who cannot help themselves.  My problem is I want to do it all because everyone deserves the same love and same chances and same resources.

But ask for help for myself?  Ha Ha you silly fool. Never. I hate asking for help.  I am an independent, strong, able-bodied woman who can do things for herself.  I will figure it out.

That works only so long before shit breaks down and you are sitting on your floor bawling your eyes out because you don't know what to do.  NEWSFLASH: You can't do it alone.

It has taken me years to get to the point where I will accept help or even ask for it when I need it. A turning point for me was when I heard Brene Brown for the first time.  To hear someone take the feelings you have, the ones you keep buried deep down, the ones that never see the light of day can rip you open so fast and wide you don't know what hit you.  To hear someone vocalize your exact thoughts or reasoning and then make sense of's unnerving.  It's also enlightening.

The way she explains helping and being afraid to ask for it has made me rethink my own mentality on the subject.  I have slowly come around to accepting the fact that asking for help does not in fact, make me weak, pathetic or sad.  Vulnerable, yes.  Vulnerability is not a bad thing to me anymore.

I have started asking for and accepting help because if I won't take it, then how can I save the world?