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I Will Not Ask Your Permission to Parent You

As you may know, we now have an official teenager in our home. Not the 13-year-old wanna be teen. Not the emerging effort teen. We have the full out hormones are making me weird and mindless teen. And no matter what you say, there are certain things I will not accept as normal for a teen.

This is a kid who was so good I used to say he needed a day where he had permission to just be bad all day. He was polite if not thoughtful. Sure Dad, yes Mom. And then, girlfriend, lockdown, and his demands to make his own decisions about his use of “his” phone (paid for by us) hit our house like a hurricane.

That way he would camp out on the sofa, rubbing his stinky head into my couch pillows and leaving his chaos and trash in his wake, was upsetting. So I came up with the dice jar and the driving carrot. That worked for about two weeks.

My husband lost it when, in one day, he spent 7-8 hours straight on the phone. And routinely would just forget any of the chores that we asked of him. The good student was now going to bed at 2 am and sneaking his phone up to his room when that was literally the only rule I had, no phones upstairs.

Two weeks ago, I had had it. His insolence, his arrogance, and his swearing off of the phone if he couldn’t use it the way he wanted. I said time to get a landline then. Pull it. I was unimpressed with all of it. He asked to write us an essay about what he was thinking. And I wrote a rebuttal.

You are correct in saying that you are very responsible in many many ways. Perhaps I do not always see these actions or I take them as for granted as you take me. The respect and consideration that you think you deserve isn’t the same you exhibit.

Your privilege leaves a small wake of chaos behind you. Waste and messy spaces do not look like honor and respect of yourself, your home, or the people you share it with.

When you regularly forget chores, your disregard for how it affects others could be remedied if you were aware your choices always affect others.

The respect of our house and our rules while you live here is non-negotiable. We all have to follow the rules of the road and the world and this is us ensuring that you understand how we value teaching you this and keeping you safe. We will not ask your permission to parent you. We love you too much.

Your old friend Mom.”

When my husband and I spoke before we had a follow up discussion with our son, we both agreed that we stood strong on the phone rules. Rules is rules. When he begins to drive, there are rules that will save his life. We agreed that we did not need to ask permission to parent and bemused the old quote, “management has the right to make bad decisions”. But the phone and all it’s content and liabilities still were in our name.

But what I really wanted to stress was that I honored my job as Mom and keeper of the house. This was a job I took very seriously and his disregard for how hard I worked to make this house a home was very distressing and very disrespectful.

So to all those people who say, Oh that’s just a teenager, I say that he came to my house and he needs to live by my rules. Sometimes this behavior may be predictable but not necessarily acceptable. I will not be intimidated by glowering and sulking. I think these are just tests again to see if he’s important enough to rein in. And I think I can show him both he and I matter in resolving this situation.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Ah Do Do Do, Ah Da Da Da, S’all I Want to Say to You

Am I doing it right?

I dunno.

Am I doing it anyway, Yup!

This week is filled with anticipation of Autumn and all the cleaning and doing projects that seem to accompany the break in hot weather. Home and garden maintenance and cleaning. The windows look horrid. The bought potted perennials need planting. Things need painting.

The littlest child is returning to school on Thursday. Seems no one died from the virus this week in Maryland. She will be masked and I will be driving her to school. But it gives me some hope that this will all be a nightmare sooner than later. I need that space and time back in my days. She needs the connection with her people.

Ah Do Do Do, Ah Da Da Da, S'all I Want to Say to You on Shalavee.com

Mark and my wedding anniversary is today. We’ll hope to celebrate it this weekend. And then his birthday is coming. So much to be grateful for in these weird times.

I’ve been doing better with an anxiety med adjustment and am hoping to have great things come to fruition before the new year. There’s a bump I need to get over.

I am happily redecorating and replacing some pieces with new inexpensive finds and feel that this season will reflect a lot of positive change for all of us.

We just have to plant the seeds of hope.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Plague Parenting

I’ve been with my kids perpetually since March. Which means I have been their sounding board, their punching bag, and their home base. To maintain our family’s equilibrium, and my sanity, I’ve had to get even craftier about my parenting.

Buying them things sometimes brightens the mood. Restricting screen viewing works occasionally. But what I’ve found is very effective is installing a carrot that you can yank whenever they get used to the taste. Bwahahahahah!

My son is just about driving age. So physically learning how to drive is the obvious carrot. Meanwhile, he’s been such a slovenly lay about in the house that I am beginning to twitch every time I see his computer in a new place or his shoes out on the floor. So this is what I decided to do.

I told him to go and get me ten fancy dice, the ones he uses for Dungeons and Dragons stuff. And this is the contract I created for him and me. He needs to pick up his shoes, put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and pick up after himself. Essentially, for every infraction he gets a die taken out of the jar. He can earn them back for thoughtfulness and initiative but so far, he’s not figured out this bonus. This lasts from Monday to Friday night and if there is one die left in the jar, he gets to go driving with Dad.

Eamon’s Ten Dice Jar Rules

There will be 10 dice in the jar at the beginning of the week.

If there are any dice left in the jar by the end of the week, Friday bedtime, Eamon will get some driving practice that weekend.

One Die will be taken out of the jar when one of the following occur:

  • Leaving shoes out of the shoe place

  • Leaving computer, cord, or gaming equipment anywhere but designated spots.

  • Not putting dishes into dishwasher after making them

  • Not making bed on weekdays or when asked

  • Leaving couch a mess

  • Not putting away clothes on the same day as laundry done

  • Not following through with a request within a “timely” fashion especially at dinner time

  • Leaving trash or dishes around sitting spot for longer than a half hour

Dice will be given for initiative taken according to the importance and impressiveness (taking care of your sister, helping in the kitchen without being asked).

Dice will be taken away if super dumb choices are made according to parental discretion.

I agree to these terms…

My son looked at me and said I was so smart.

The first week, he had ten dice in the jar. He ran though them pretty quickly. He had one left. And I warned him, if he runs out, that’s it. He had one left Friday night. The second week I had 8 in the jar. And I post-it-noted his infractions onto the dice in case he wondered what they were for.

Developing good habits, considering the people you live with, and earning a privilege. These are the lessons I am hoping to teach my children. And people tell me they’re good kids. Boundaries for me and for them helps us all not feel resentful while we are trapped in here together. We’ll see if the week to come solidify these habits.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

I Refuse to Feel Ashamed

It wouldn’t be shocking to say that shame is one of the most damaging emotions we can feel. Feeling badly about ourselves shuts us off from the world. We are isolated and silent and of no threat or use to our world. The moments that I remember shame the most are when someone has said something to me intending to cause me shame. Now when I think of them, I just feel mad and a little remorseful that I didn’t have a shame filter installed earlier.

As this pandemic has evolved through our year, I have become aware that there are many opinions on what choices we should and shouldn’t make when it comes to the public health and our private health. And these sticky areas are fraught with shame pot holes. People having guests over to their house when the government said it was verboten. Scolding words of shame were thrown about.

Now as things are lifting, we are still wearing our masks into the world, but our homes and choices on who will visit or have visit us is strictly our business. Provided we also give people disclaimers of our unmasked events. Perhaps it’s a little like telling your lover who you’ve had unprotected sex with. But unless we can test ourselves in front of one another, we have to be resigned to mistrusting each other. It’s nothing personal.I Refuse to Feel Ashamed on Shalavee.com

So be it ! But I can say this much, I will not be ashamed for allowing my daughter to have a play date. The little girl who was trapped at home without her friends was beginning to suffer from depression. I felt it would be cruel to keep her quarantined any more. That was my choice as her parent. The mother rule has always been to warn other mothers if your child has been sick. I will offer all mothers the information that we’ve had unmasked play dates and let them know I won’t be mad if they choose to say no.

But I will refuse to feel ashamed if my choice for my family doesn’t fit with your needs and choices for yours. And that goes for everything beyond this Covid-19 pandemic. Because as mothers and managers, we retain the right to make bad decisions as well as good ones. But they are our decisions to make.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Struggling With Priorities : Them or Me

The largest part of who I am is needing to have my kids feel safe. In the beginning of our coronacation, I have fussed and hovered like I did when we would take our littles on vacation and I would worry they wouldn’t sleep. I’d be the sleepless one while the kids would pass out happily. They have done well, broken down and cried on and at me. But their feelings have been honored and I feel successful that they feel safe. However, it is exhausting to care for people this hard. Especially dramatic redheaded daughters.

Truth is, I can see how we Moms have a perfect excuse to not pursue our own personal creative goals. I have long struggled with what I “really want to do”. Even as it seems I’m doing “it”, I’m not feeling like I am. I realize it’s all about considering myself as not enough. Not enough of a good parent or a committed creative. So many ways I can look right at my life and deem it a failure.

I found this poem that I wrote a while back and I really think it sums up the inner battle I have with my expectations to succeed and what is enough.

 

I chatter at it and

Batter at it and

still it is not fixed.

The ages old self-diatribe

I am not enough, I am not enough

 

I tell everyone, I’m OK, I’m fine

But in my mind there’s a line

And I’m on the wrong side.

 

The impossibility of moving on

Tethered to a ghost.

I trust no one, even myself

And so I remain lost

 

I crave the ease

The easy squeeze

that will fill my future full

Of gratitude and tenderness

of purposed hours filled.

 

I write at night

with all my sight

that I might

win this fight.

I have come a long way from where I was when I wrote this poem. I am more convinced that I am on my path just taking a more leisurely stroll along it. The medication was a wonder as it allowed me to use all of the education and hard work I had done prior. But the viral disruption that is 2020 has thrown all of us off balance and I am busy figuring out where my children stop and I begin.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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