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What Do You Do All Day Mommy?

She asked me this question when we were waiting in the car rider drop-off line at school. What do I do all day? I told her that I was going to exercise and that when I get home I have to do household chores and writing. And then come back and pick her up at 2:30. That’s 5 ½ hours to do as much as I can. She said that sounded like a lot, bless her heart.

Because my work does not compensate me, it may seem less worthy than someone earning a paycheck in a “real” job. But what I can tell you is that you couldn’t pay me enough for the work I do. The abuse I take from that same near 8 year-old exhausts me. Hauling laundry, cat litter, and recycling up and down stairs isn’t very glamorous. I went into uncompensated waste management.

It saddens me that we stay at home Moms are still looking at ourselves as “less than”people. As if what we do is a default job because we weren’t good enough for anything else. But this is a very patriarchal view because this job is the backbone of every country. I’d say men pee their pants if they experienced the distress we are under to which they often add to with their own needs. Unless these same men didn’t want or help to create those children, we’re in it 50/50 for keeping them safe and cared for. Money earning isn’t the most important job.

It saddens me even more that women would be so quick to disregard themselves and not ask for the respect and honor for this job of keeping the seams of the country stitched together. The future of our country is the toddler in diapers and the angry teen. Refusing to acknowledge that families need special care and love dooms our next generation to their entitled anger for emotional abandonment. I will fight with and for my children by showing up for them until they can fly by themselves. And I’ll ask for their respect in return.

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Sharing Our Space and Our Lives

I had a birthday visit from my oldest today. She’s a surrogate daughter, an adopted sister soul to our family. And she spoke of feeling that need to have a nesting partner. That next chapter where you feel the need to share your space with someone and your DNA with the world.

I have always been a nester. And there was no one worthy of doing this with me until I met my husband. I knew he’d value the fathering job as much as I honored the idea of mothering. But Boy Howdee, sharing constant space with these mooks for nearly a year has been a challenge.

I abhor visual chaos. It was how I grew up. So living with a teenager has become a battle against the chaos. A recent discussion about rules restriction and entitlement had me write this.

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.”Sharing Our Space and Our Lives on Shalavee.com

My constant presence in the house has somehow substantiated my function as constant maid and waitress. And while I don’t mind doing for others, the moment it is expected and taken for granted is the moment I’m unwilling to continue.

This parenting and marriage thing is a perpetual process. As I learn to respect myself more and learn I’m entitled to both parent and set boundaries, it does get slightly easier. I do see glimmers of hope when I hear thank you’s and pleases without prompting. But being responsible for 21 meals per week is exhausting. No not all of them are going to be healthy.

And when this is all over, I’ll be glad to have “time to myself”. But meanwhile I grab the time I can to write and event plan Christmas. And I endeavor to be honest with myself and my family about what’s getting on my nerves. And what I need to have happen to make it stop.

Interested in reading my future ponderings on Creative Soul Living?Subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my weekly posts via your emailbox.

Find 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 a community kinda person and am always practicing Intentional Intouchness.

I live for conversations.

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

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.

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