Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category
I don’t normally read the funnies from the paper. I don’t know why, I used to be a very loyal reader and especially on Sunday, but I have gotten out of the habit of reading the paper and I have been trying to change that lately. I mean, really, I pay for it, and the poor newspaper person has to deliver it at o’dark thirty in the morning just to cater to me, the paying customer. So I should at least read what I spend my money on, even if it is all nothing but bad news.
The other day, Family Circle had a cartoon where the kids are looking up at a group of birds flying in the v-formation and the little girl says “The bird in the front must have the map”. I let out a little chuckle about it. And then I sobered up. My thoughts went towards my little circles of people around me: my family, my friends, my church, and people I am trying to make friends with.
I feel like I am always the one in the front, but I don’t have a map and sometimes it feels like nobody is following me, either in a straight line or a v-formation. Then other times it feels like they are following too close and the burden is way too much and I want to dump it all on someone else’s shoulders. Of course, then I can’t complain if someone else is leading and I don’t like where they are going.
But, back to the map, as a parent, I am constantly searching for a map, a guidebook, anything to show me the way. The Bible says “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Colossians 3:20. I obey my mother and I am an example for my daughter, always, in this situation. But as for my 7 year old, how do I teach her to obey me? I can tell her that God says it is pleasing to Him. Then she wants to know if she can see Him. I tell her he is all around, and in her heart. And it’s a concept she doesn’t grasp now. I know she will when she is older, but for now, how do I instill in her obedience? The guidebook feels like there are pages missing and everything is vague.
I know it’s not just me. I see my friends struggling with the same issues, and we are all trying to deal with it in different ways and nothing seems to be working. We try to support each other and back each other up and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I have too many rules and other moms don’t have as many rules. I say that rear end needs to sit flat on the chair when you are eating your meal. Another mother says oh she does that all the time. Okay, well I’m trying to teach my child to do that, and another mom isn’t. So my child sees the other not doing it and reverts back to her behaviors.
At the same time, I’m not enforcing rules on my child such as clean your room every night. I can tell her until I am blue in the face to clean up her room and throw away the trash. And it is all wasted breath. I threaten to take away the favorite toys… the tv in room, the computer, the wii, the nintendo and the dvd player. All with no results. Even no playdates or sleepovers. I follow through on my threats too. I have taken away privileges for weeks on end and it is still the same. I have taken out bags of toys and put in storage, and still the same behavior prevails.
I’m not the best housekeeper in the world, but I do try to keep some semblance of order in the house, so I can understand a little laziness in the cleaning up department, but I do take time out to put things away and I know she sees me doing it. Why is it that children seem to only imitate bad behavior and not the good behavior? For instance, in language or social interaction with others. Just because another kid is hitting you doesn’t mean you can turn around and hit someone else. Or because you overhear your best friend’s daddy drop a 4 letter word in casual conversation doesn’t mean you have to repeat it.
Another problem I am having is going to bed at a decent hour at night. Granted, I’m not the best role model for that one. I have trouble sleeping at night, plus that’s when I get a lot of things done that I can’t do during the day. Lately, my daughter has been staying up past midnight. She can’t sleep, she says. She is sooooo like me…. afraid she is going to miss some opportunity to play, or hear something good. I am dreading when school starts back (in a little over 3 weeks) and I have to start really enforcing the bed time at 9:00 rule.
I’m a single mom, and I don’t have a regular backup onsite, so to speak, to give me that edge of an authority. I am always struggling with resenting the idea that I am always the bad guy and having to make her do things to keep order and sanity in my life and in her life.
I don’t want to be in front anymore. I need to keep studying my Bible, and reflecting on the Word, then maybe that will give me the confidence and courage to keep flying up front and being the example that I should be not only for my child, but for my friends and their children also.
Children have the biggest hearts in the world and it’s always uplifting to see them take the initiative to do something for others. They create a hope and a dream, not only for themselves but for others. It’s very discouraging to learn that bureaucracy can stampede and crush an idea born out of caring hearts and minds.
The idea of a Lemonade Stand near the U.S. Open golf tournament in Maryland was brought about by a group of young children. These children wanted to donate half of their profits to help fight pediatric cancer. This was a proud moment for the parents of those children and preparations were made to make their idea a reality.
Reality is sometimes difficult, however. A Montgomery County Inspector was not pleased with their enterprise, and gave them several warnings to remove the lemonade stand. The problem with the stand was a permit had not been applied for. Imagine the horror of the parents to realize their children’s dream was about to be crushed. The inspector issued a fine of $500on the parents for not heeding his warnings.
This created a furor within the community and an apology was not forthcoming from the County. Rules are rules, and this little enterprise, however endearing, could bring in other non-permit holding vendors. Of course, this means a loss to the County because the cost of a permit is $300. In essence, the entire incident has caused a PR disaster for the County officials.
A similar incident occurred during Girl Scout cookie sales in Savannah in February 2011. It is an honor to be able to set up a cookie booth in front of the Juliette Low home to sell cookies. This year, the City would not allow them to sell on the sidewalk in front of the historic home because it is a “public” sidewalk. The City Ordinance states “No person shall use the streets, sidewalks, lanes or squares of the city for private purposes of any sort.
On March 1st, the ruling was reversed and the Acting City Manager was one of the first customers to stock up on cookies when the booth sale opened back up. Girl Scout officials used this opportunity to strengthen their mission to “build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place”.
Unfortunately, the Montgomery County officials did not reverse their decision, but they did come to a compromise with the parents and the children. The Lemonade Stand could continue, but at a safer position some distance away from the very busy intersection at the entrance of the golf tournament. The officials also waived the $500 fine that had been imposed.
An idea started from the mind of a child, and was pinched by an official, and the dream was crashing around the feet of the children. If only the officials could have taken a moment to review the situation before issuing the fine, the simple solution of moving the stand could have saved the County some embarrassment and the uproar from the parents.
The children now donate 100 percent of their profits to a race to benefit pediatric cancer research.
Article first published as Standoff Between Lemonade Stand Entrepreneurs & County Officials Resolved on Technorati on June 25, 2011
I have to celebrate. I am doing the happy dance, I’m a happy camper, I am ecstatic, and giving high 5’s all over the place. Well, not really. Anybody who knows me, knows that I am very calm and don’t show a lot of excitement (anger yes, but not excitement). However, today is such a big deal that I feel like I’m bursting to jump and shout.
My 7 year old has, in the past, had an outrageous attitude. She would talk back to me, wouldn’t do what I asked her to do, and took advantage of privileges of watching TV and playing Nintendo DS. Almost everything was taken away from her, a lot of toys, her TV, her game, and her portable DVD player. Her attitude improved greatly. She wasn’t stomping around the house saying I hate you and I’m not inviting you to my party. Party? Wait, what party? Oh, never mind.
The other day she asked me if I would make a chores chart for her to check off every day. I forgot all about it (I have a habit of doing that). Then I suddenly remembered it this afternoon. In the past 2 days, I have had to repeatedly tell her things, “Leah, put your pajamas on”. “Leah I am going to get your pediasure ready and I expect you to have your PJs on by the time I’m done. It’s bedtime.” Ohhhh, why didn’t you tell me? DUH?!? I’m wasting my breath.
This morning, I had to constantly remind her to do things. All she wanted was her hands on that Nintendo DS , if only just to listen to the music playing from the game. Now, personally, I don’t want to hear the “tinky” music as I call it while I’m trying to wake up and focus at 6:30 in the morning. I tell her to go brush her teeth and get dressed, in that order. She starts to get dressed first (she is notorious for getting toothpaste all over herself). Okay, that got sorted out. Then she comes to me in my office, dressed, and asks for her game. “Leah, where are your socks and shoes?” “Oh, I forgot.”
So this afternoon I decided she was not getting her game back tonight and her attitude better be ship shape. I made out a to-do list for her.
- Put your dirty clothes in the basket in the laundry room, where they belong.
- Pick up the “trash” on the living room floor. We have an 8 month old puppy that drags things out of the trash can and shreds them all over the floor. It is Leah’s job to keep that clean and to put away the dog’s toys at night.
- Pick up the “trash” on my office floor.
- Pick up HER trash in her bedroom. Her trash bin was overflowing with juice boxes, bowls, and spoons and used kleenexes were all over the floor.
- Clean up her bedroom.
- Make Bed.
- Vacuum living room.
- Pick out clothes for school tomorrow.
- Homework pages.
- Bible reading lesson.
- Bathe & dress for bed.
- Brush teeth.
- Say bed time prayers with the night time prayer bunny (she added this last one).
She managed all these chores, some we had to go back and “do over”. Wait, the “whoot whoot” is coming. See # 7? That was really for me. But guess what? She did it herself, for the first time ever, she vacuumed the floor.
Wow, I am still amazed. I never thought she would have the strength in her hands and arms to pull that vacuum back and forth, but she did it. YEAH!
[Mission completed: Teach Leah to use the vacuum]
Every day I struggle with the daily grind of waking up (the biggest struggle of all), meal preparation duties, mother duties, job duties, household duties, friendship duties, bloggy duties and on and on. More importantly, the duty to take care of myself too, both physically and spiritually. I can’t seem to get the motivation to be up and about. I start a project, then I quit. Most days I use the excuse of Chronic Fatigue and pain associated with Fibromyalgia, other days I put it down to just plain laziness. I’ll go along for a while then I have to tell myself “get ahold of yourself, woman, you have things to do”.
My will power and determination is as undisciplined as a two year old toddler. I need to snatch it up and tell it to grow up and take responsibility. But, all it does is stick it’s tongue out, laugh at me, then run away. Of course, this is very depressing and I begin to doubt my skills as a parent, my worth as a person, and my value as a friend.
In the middle of thinking about writing this post and trying to pull it all together, I encountered a minor moment with my daughter that was not the most pleasant. I am very relaxed about keeping a spotless house, therefore, I’m not an extreme stickler for her room always being spotless. We spend a lot of time just by ourselves and for the most part this works for us. It has been pointed out to me lately, frequently in fact, that I am allowing her to be selfish and lazy. Well, that IS the role model that she has… me, so what can you expect?
The “moment” with the other person involved crying on her part, hurt feelings on both sides, and a little bit of blood pressure rising. I, of course, had to step in and protect my daughter, that’s a mom’s job, right? I know I spoil her, I give in a lot, and she has got my number. She will even tell you that she has me all figured out. Nobody understands that my daughter does not always get her way, but I always get my way. Because I’m the mom.
I do little things to make her happy though, I cut off the crust of her bread, not because she is spoiled that way, but because of her eating issues, she has trouble eating the crust. I squeeze the tube of toothpaste for her, not because she is lazy, but because of the limitations in her fingers and hands, she can’t squeeze the tube. I brush her hair for her because she has limitations in her arm and shoulder and can’t reach the back to brush it completely. Any stranger that came in and saw me doing those things for her would naturally think I was spoiling her. Sometimes I forget that.
The “moment” I mentioned before involved a Christmas present my daughter received from her Grandmother. A guitar that is still in the box, leaning up against a wall in my bedroom. She has asked several times to play with it, but I have been sick in the bed for the past 3 days and I just haven’t felt up to listening to it or sitting with her while she is learning to play it. Earlier today she asked for it, and I was on the phone, and I didn’t answer her. So, the “moment” arrived later this evening. She asked for the guitar and when told “no” by the other person, she started to cry. It all escalated from there. I came from my sick bed and sent them to seperate corners.
First, I spoke to the other person and asked that she not be talked to in such a manner. Leah was being told she was “selfish” because she was not being considerate of me during my illness and that I needed rest. She cried and said she didn’t have anything else to play with. Uh, hello, you have 10 million things in your room that you can play with. And the crying got worse, and the blood pressure was rising. That was the point where I separated them. My BP was up too at this point, so it was taken out on the other person, in protection of my daughter.
Again it was pointed out to me that she wins, I always take up for her, defend her and she gets her own way. There is some truth to it. But the point is, I don’t approve of telling a 7 year old they are “selfish”. I try to be more creative about getting my point across instead of just saying that at the top of my voice. Unfortunately, my friend does not see it that way. I was asked, “Do you want her to grow up being selfish? How does she know she is acting that way unless you tell her so?” Fine, tell her so, but not by calling her names at the top of your lungs, and making her burst into tears. Call me crazy, but I just can’t take that. Unfortunately, my efforts to get my point across to the other person hit a brick wall. Our issue is still unresolved, as usual, for this is not the first time we have had a discussion on this subject.
I then sat down with my daughter in her room and explained to her that she needed to be more considerate of others. In fact, we later remembered that was part of her Daisy Girl Scout law and promise. That was a letdown moment for her. I apologized to her, and told her that I had intended earlier to let her have the guitar, but I forgot about it. Now I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I gave her the guitar now, it would appear to the other person that I was letting her have her way. Of course, the other person did not know of my earlier intention.
I have to keep in mind too, that this person’s intentions were also good and really not trying to be hurtful, but trying to be helpful. I’m not sure my daughter understood the reasoning I was trying to present to her. So I tried a little redirection, I told her that if she would clean up her room, I would do something in return for her. So the rest of the evening smoothed itself out with no more fuss. We ate dinner, she cleaned up the table, fed the dog, picked up the dog’s toys, brushed her teeth, and went to bed. Both parties apologized to each other and hugs were shared. All with no more mention of the guitar. And, no, she did not get the guitar. 🙂
So, as I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I constantly doubt my role as a parent and I always feel off balance. Just before going to bed, my daughter came to me and threw her arms around my neck and said you have the best parenting skills ever. Now how in the world did she know that? It’s not something I’ve spoken to her about. I brightened considerably, and on the inside I felt some of the constriction release around my heart and the tension ease from my body.
Earlier I mentioned that I was working on putting my thoughts together for this post, but I hadn’t found a true focus on it yet, but I already had the title in place “A Mission A Day”. I think I was going to focus on a plan for the new year, not necessarily a New Year’s Resolution, but a motivation for keeping my focus on the “prize” from each day, or a mission completed for each day.
Today I feel that a mission was completed, a confirmation that I do have a set of parenting skills that work, even though they don’t fall in the parameters of what somebody else would call good parenting. Now I feel energized and that I can accomplish one of my “duties” for the day. Even if it is only to get up and brush my teeth, brush my hair and put on clean pajamas (don’t forget, I’ve been sick in the bed for 3 days).
So, I am committing to recognizing a mission I completed each day during 2011. Whatever that mission may be… reading my Bible devotion for the day, or retweeting posts for my online friends, or having a small moment with my daughter to make her happy. No matter how small, I need to recognize it at the end of the day and be thankful that I am able to do those things. I want to present myself as a better role model for my daughter, and it’s time I made that change, to take responsibility for the good things, not remembering only the deficiencies in my life.
I have a few blogging challenges that I am considering joining in on that I hope will help me to focus on things that are good and delightful. I am so ready to end my day remembering the joy that occurred during that day and thanking God for giving me that experience.
P.S. I love comments, but if you prefer to just leave a thumbnail of your visit through the Linky List below that is fine too. I’ll be sure to visit back. xoxoxo
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