Category Archives: Parenting
Why is it that when we’re at work the time just drags by, but when it comes to our kids it just flies?
As the school year winds down, I am flooded with emotions, which – I’m quite sure – every mom is. We watch with disbelief as our babies become young men and women. We reminisce about the past, and feel a complex mixture of emotions. We long for their innocence and carefree spirits to return, yet we stand in awe of their newly-forming maturity and responsibility.
I still remember the day, 14 years ago, that Gerald was born. He was a perfect little seven pound, fifteen ounce miracle.
And the day that Ronald, my baby boy, made his tiny six pound, thirteen ounce entry into our family…
And even still the time when, literally, overnight, I went from having only two kids to four! Marrying Eugene and blending our families was both the greatest and most difficult thing we’ve ever done.
I get teary-eyed even now as I think of the day we took Gerald to meet his kindergarten teacher, Ronald following his every move through the classroom, wanting to be just like his big brother. I just couldn’t believe that I had a child who was old enough for school already!
It’s bittersweet as I recall Ronald’s graduation from preschool, when he just couldn’t wait to start “big school” that fall.
As much as I’ve tried to slow down their rush to grow up, I have to admit that I’m fascinated and in awe of seeing their personalities develop and character build.
I’ve watched this year as my step-son’s focus has changed from that of an elementary schooler whose hardest decision in life is what snack to take for lunch to how to start choosing friends wisely.
And I’ve been simultaneously terrified and amazed at my step-daughter’s transition from a carefree tomboy to an actual, real little girl. She’s begun stressing over what she should wear and how her hair looks. Trying to calm Daddy down and keep him from having a nervous breakdown has been a chore for me in and of itself!
Ronald will be starting seventh grade in the fall, and if any of you have had a seventh grader, you know that means I’m in for a LOT of hard work, heartache, and a tremendous need for patience! As is the case with most kids this age, he’s having to learn to balance school with popularity and a social life – all while being completely managed by out-of-control hormones, causing him to feel every range of emotions within a span of five minutes!
And finally, we move to Gerald… Gerald, who just attended his eighth grade dance. With a girl! Okay, now it’s my turn to have the nervous breakdown! I still can’t believe that he starts high school in the fall. While it’s terrifying to see him mature and become a man, I’m in complete awe of the maturity and responsibility he’s learning. I’m learning what a fine line there is between being a disciplinarian and a confidante and friend. And I’m seeing firsthand how difficult it is trying to balance on that line without falling too far to either side. As parents, we can only hope and pray that we’re raising them to be responsible and be Godly young men and women who will make good decisions once they’re out of our sight.
So, parents, as this school year wraps up and our children continue to grow up far too quickly, know this: You are not alone! You are not the only parent who’s constantly wondering if you’re doing a good job with your kids, and you’re certainly not the only parent who’s terrified of failing. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have. And also remember – our kids love us. They love us despite our rules and mistakes and uncertainty.
We all know how time flies as we watch our children grow up, so I’ll leave you with this – Cherish every second of being a parent… every second of the joys, the accomplishments, the milestones, and yes – even the fights, the arguments, and the trials. We’ll never get another chance to raise our children, so keep doing the best you can, and treasure it even when you want to give up. We all want to throw in the towel at times. I can assure you that you’re not alone in that. But let’s just choose to hold on to the time that we do have, even when it’s flying by.
At one time, I was Teen Mom to a beautiful, brown-eyed, curly haired little boy. He changed my whole world and showed me a love that I didn’t know existed inside my young, calloused heart. He constantly wanted to be in my arms, which was quite okay with me.
Then, I was New Mom to a second precious, brown-eyed little boy. How my heart didn’t explode from an overflowing love, I’ll never know. He, too, wanted nothing more than to snuggle on my chest and would cry when I put him down.
I soon became Mommy to these two rambunctious balls of energy. In fact, that was every other word out of their mouths. Oh, how they needed me for everything – pouring cereal, tying shoes, reaching the top shelf in their closets to pull down their favorite teddy bears.
Then, as they started school, I was Momma. But even with my change of title, they still needed me. At this point, they were impressed with my knowledge of times tables and the water cycle. They were both so proud to show me off to their friends as they held my hand tightly down the hallway to their classrooms.
Only a few years later, I got another title change to Mom. I may have still been able to help with homework, but other than that, my knowledge base started to decrease. I became much like a banker, wherein I was really only needed to fund whatever outing was planned without me. At least I still got hugs and kisses after our bedtime prayers.
Now, as my youngest brown-eyed baby enters middle school, my label has been shortened to only Ma. I’m not allowed in the school anymore, except for awards ceremonies and conferences. I know that tomorrow, as I drop them off outside the school doors for the start of another school year, I’ll be lucky to even get a sideways glance, much less that hug or kiss that keeps me going.
Who will I be now? Who am I if I’m not needed anymore? What is left of me?
As I slowly lose my boys to life, I realize that I’m also losing myself.
First, let me make this very clear to you before I go any further. I don’t like you.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I have a few more things I need you to know.
1. You are only 13. That means you need to act like you’re only 13.
2. You don’t need to wear shorts that show off your hoo-hah. That should be a well-kept secret until you’re at least in college and preferably married.
3. You are a lady. Watch your mouth, and sound like one, too. Cursing every other word doesn’t make you sound cool. It makes you sound trashy.
4. Your duckface is ugly. Stop posting it all over Facebook.
5. You do not need to be using your phone in the middle of the night. Only whores need to do that, and hopefully you are not a whore yet.
6. Do not text my son anything relating to what you’d like to do to him. Because I promise you – your daddy will not like hearing about it.
7. You need to stop posting pictures in those shirts where your boobies are nearly popping out. Please, for the sake of all things good and holy, save something for prom night.
8. If you ask my son to go to the movies with you, you better plan on answering a 50-question test when you get home, regarding every single aspect of the movie. Including the last 30 seconds.
9. I know my son’s passwords… to everything. Phone, Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Linked in, Pinterest, everything. Just keep that in mind.
10. I know how to aim and shoot a weapon. Pretty well, in fact. Daddies aren’t the only ones with shotguns. Again, just a little something to keep in mind.
11. I will meet your parents before you ever step foot out of your house with my son. And I will have their phone number programmed in my phone.
12. Remember, I will share all pictures you send to my son on my public Facebook page if I need to.
13. Smart girls are more attractive than stupid hussies. Don’t play dumb. It’s not cute.
14. If you ever come over to “study” with my son, you’d better believe that all you will be doing is studying. And I will damn sure quiz you, so be prepared.
15. Getting pregnant will never be a retirement plan, so don’t even think about it. It will never be your ticket out of your home town. If you want him to stay with you forever, then just be a damn good girlfriend. When you’re both 20. Not 13.
Every trifling heifer who is constantly texting, calling, and messaging my 13-year-old son needs to read and understand this list first. And then, after each one of them is sure she understands it, she needs to come meet me – to my face – and introduce herself like a lady with proper manners and grammar. I just want to make sure they all know up front what to expect…
And now – just for gits and shiggles – these are some of the actual text messages I’ve received from said 13-year-old son. Enjoy!
How does one become a parent?
That may seem like a silly question, and your automatic first response may be, “Well, you have sex, duh, and then once you get pregnant and your baby is born, you’re a parent.”
Seems legit, but I disagree. Let me explain.
First, let’s review the general characteristics of parents:
1. They’re tired.
Parents work their butts off to raise their children to become respectful, responsible, hardworking adults. They often work full-time in order to provide for their kids. When they’re not at work, they can often be found cleaning up after, cooking for, or caring for their children. Beyond even that, however, they are also responsible for toting their kids around from sporting event to band practice to tutoring to student council meeting. The bottom line is: They never stop or get a break!
2. They’re broke.
Kids are expensive! The always need something: food [geez!], clothes that fit because they won’t stop growing, supplies for school, money for the movies, etc. I don’t know how it is for other parents, but it seems like as soon as I get a little bit of money in savings, one of the kids gets nominated for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to participate in a youth leadership conference in Washington, D.C., and welp… there goes my savings!
3. They’re stressed.
Parenting is hard work – and stressful! Parents are constantly worried about or for their children. Are they safe in school? Are they hanging out with the right crowd? Are they being introduced to drugs and sex? (Lord, I hope not.) Am I doing a good job? All of these are normal and common stressors regarding parenting. To sum it up, parents are always worried about something.
4. They’re loving.
Parents love no one more than their children. If their child was ever in danger, they would switch places with him or her in a split-second. They love their kids and want to see them succeed in everything – school, sports, relationships, friendships. The want the best for their children, and they worry about failure. Parents hurt when their kids hurt, and they’re happy when their kids are happy. They tell their children that they love them a hundred times a day – sometimes to the point that it drives the kids crazy!
5. They’re approving.
Parents praise their children when they’re proud of them or when they try new things. They encourage them and guide them. They often lovingly push them when they’re at the point of giving up on something. They teach them that it’s okay to be different and that they should be leaders and not just followers of the crowd. In the case of a failure or setback, parents are the ones standing behind their children, heads held high, patting them on the back and encouraging them to try again. They’re not judgmental or humiliating.
6. They’re consistent.
“No, you can’t go to that party just because Johnny’s mom is letting him go. We’ve already discussed this, and I haven’t changed my mind.” Parents work hard to enforce rules that are beneficial to their children, even when that makes them the bad guys.
7. They’re role models.
Parents are always careful of their own actions and words because they know that they’re being watched by little eyes. They know that their kids notice every little thing, and they will repeat what they see and hear.
I’m sure we all know (or have even dealt with) that person who has children, yet doesn’t possess these characteristics. We’ve seen those people – or again, have dealt with those people – who fit in the following list:
1. They’re not tired.
They have no idea if their children are respectful or responsible, and they don’t clean up after or cook for their kids. In fact, sometimes they don’t know how their kids are doing in school or even what school they attend. They don’t attend sporting events or extracurricular activities. They could be called deadbeats.
2. They’re not broke.
Sometimes they may or may not contribute a few dollars towards expenses for the kids. In some cases, they only send money because they’re mandated by a court to contribute financially, so they do so grudgingly. They could be called deadbeats.
3. They’re not stressed.
They don’t care about what going on with the kids, unless it reflects poorly on them. Then, they’re quick to blame the other parent. But wait – If the kid does something spectacular, they’re all over that, suddenly the proud parent. They could be called deadbeats.
4. They’re not loving.
They don’t know what’s going on in school or who their kids are hanging out with. They’re not around often, so they really don’t know much at all about their kids. They might call their kid every once in a while, and they might not. They could be called deadbeats.
5. They’re not approving.
Often, they’re looking for things that aren’t perfect with their kids so they can complain about the other parent and try to make him or her look bad. They’re not around enough to encourage them to do anything or to support them in their endeavors. They could be called deadbeats.
6. They’re not consistent.
Again, they may or may not call or come around. They see their kids every once in a blue moon, often requesting to do so at the last second. Even then, they may pawn the kids off on their parents or other family. They don’t have rules or discipline guidelines because they’re usually trying to one-up the other parent. They could be called deadbeats.
7. They’re not role models.
They’re often off enjoying their lives without the hassles of children. They’re not responsible, consistent, or concerned with their well-being. They could be called deadbeats.
Now that we’ve looked at the characteristics of those with children, let me ask you my original question again:
How does one become a parent?
Ahh, now you see where I’m going with this. Not everyone who has a child deserves the title of “parent.”
Let me tell you something. If you are not there for your child financially, physically, or emotionally, then you are not a parent. You are a sperm or an egg donor only. You don’t have the right to “show up” only when your child is recognized for some awesome achievement, and you sure as hell don’t have the right to get that child’s praise and affection.
Sadly, most kids will still love these deadbeats only because they want nothing more than to feel loved and accepted by this donor. No child wants to believe that his or her parent doesn’t care about him.
We’ve all heard the saying that anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. I’m calling bull – No, not anyone can be a father. Anyone can be a sperm donor, but I’ll be damned that someone who only sees his kids for a week out of the year will be called a father. Or a dad. Or a parent. Yes, the same thing goes for women. I’ve seen moms who fit this category, as well. I don’t care if you gave birth to that child. If you’re not around to raise him, and you don’t financially support him, then you’re not a mother. You’re a deadbeat.
To all those parents out there who are busting their butts to raise their children without the other “donor,” good for you! Keep working hard to do your best with your kids. One day it will pay off, and we can all only hope that one day your kids will see the truth and will love you and respect you even more once they realize who was really there supporting them on their journeys through life.
And thank you to all those men and women out there who are helping to raise someone else’s children. It’s hard work to take the role of step-parent. You don’t have to raise children if they’re not yours, but you choosing to do so anyway speaks volumes about your amazing character.
To all those out there who have children – Be a parent. Visit your kids. Pay your child support. Come around every once in a while. Pick up the phone. Not for your child’s other parent, but for your child. Don’t be a deadbeat.
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school…” ~ Muhammad Ali
Last night, I found myself in a position to teach Gerald (the teenager) a very valuable life lesson.
Here’s how it went down:
Gerald: “Mom, Megan and Chase broke up again, and they are so mad at each other.”
Me: “Really – what happened this time?”
Gerald: “They’re just talking about each other to everyone else. They both talk trash about the other one to all our friends.”
Me: “What do you say since you’re friends with both of them? Or do you just listen and not really say anything?”
Gerald: “I say, ‘I know, right.’” [Hee hee]
Me: “Gerald! You can’t do that! That’s throwing fuel on the fire!”
Gerald: “I know, but it is kind of funny!”
Me: “It’s mean. You should tell them both to just get back together or get over each other and move on. They’re both gonna’ get their feelings hurt if they keep spreading rumors about each other.”
Gerald: “I know, but I’m kind of on her side.”
Me: “No, no, no…!!! I’m about to teach you a very valuable life lesson that you need to remember until the day you get married.”
Gerald: [listening intently] “Okay, what is it?”
***Drum roll, please…***
Me: “Bros before hoes, man. Bros before hoes.”
Gerald: [amazing look of wonderment on his face] “Hmm, okay. Thanks, Mom.”
And that, folks, makes me….
That’s right – – I’m officially the WORLD’S OKAYEST MOM!!!
Some people really need to just lighten up. I bet if they did, they would probably find life a lot less stressful. I’m in no way just a jokester or prankster all the time, but I’m still able to laugh a lot of stuff off. I know when to be serious and when it’s okay to chill out a little. Some people, however, don’t, and their “offended” button is set at way too sensitive.
For example, The Huffington Post posted an article yesterday about t-shirts that are made for toddlers that are just “shocking,” according to some parents. People, if you don’t like them, then don’t put them on your kids. It’s not that difficult – especially at the toddler age, when kids don’t pick out their own clothes and dress themselves. (Okay, some 35-year-old men don’t do those things either, but that’s a topic for a whole new blog… don’t get me sidetracked.)
The “shocked mom” in the article was appalled at a shirt for a 4-year-old that read “Barely Legal.” Okay, I get it. Probably not appropriate for a toddler. But wait… The mom then says (and I quote), “I grabbed it without even registering what the label said, it just looked like a good night shirt for the summer. Carried it around for about 5 minutes before I read the text and threw up in my mouth a little.” Really, lady? You were buying a shirt for your daughter that you didn’t even READ until five minutes after you picked it up?! Yet you’re blaming the shirt designer? Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Anyway, at the end of the article, there was a slideshow of pictures of baby clothes that just aren’t appropriate for babies. According to whom? Other than this one, I actually thought most of the others were quite funny:
This one just grossed me out a little.
But tell me, what’s so inappropriate about this one?
I actually found it funny. Did the critics and writers of this article actually think that the designer was insinuating that the child who wore this would eventually grow up to be a no-good hoodlum who would never keep a job, smoke weed every day, and end up being kicked out of his roach-infested apartment? I mean, c’mon man… I think it’s pretty safe to say that what they really meant was that the kid was just pushed out of mom’s little “apartment.” What’s so offensive about that? You want him to stay in there forever? Isn’t that fostering a future and acceptance of co-dependence? Certainly we wouldn’t want that.
And then, perhaps my favorite of all of their shameful examples, there was this: (Which I LOVE, by the way, and wish I had a toddler to put it on.)
This has got to be the cutest little chubby-baby shirt I’ve ever seen! But wait! Stop everything. Tattoos make people criminals, right? I have two, so I must be a crack whore at night when I leave my office job, right? And that guy who works in the office down the hall has one on his arm, so he must be a drug dealer, right?
People, GET A LIFE!!! If you don’t like it, don’t dress your kid in it. Otherwise, shut up, and let me parent my future delinquent kid however I see fit. If you want something to complain about, I’m sure I can give you a hundred good examples of my bad parenting. The way I choose to dress my kids (with funny sayings on their shirts) is not one of them. If someone wants to put his toddler in a clever shirt that takes you ten minutes to fully “get,” then you’ll just have to gasp in complete and utter disgust and get over it.
In the meantime, as you stare at my post in outrage, I think I’m going to design a t-shirt with this saying for my tween and my teen:
What do you think? Cool, right?
Yeah, sure, we love homemade cards and macaroni necklaces, but I have enough dang noodles to make mac and cheese for dinner for a year. And my stupid conscience won’t let me throw out the 67 construction paper cards I’ve collected over the years. You know… the ones with the scribble scrabble you can’t even decipher? So dads, grandparents, aunts – help a kid out. And a mom.
What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day:
1. A massage.
2. A nap.
3. A clean bathroom.
5. A truce.
7. To see an amazing movie that’s not made by Disney or all about shootin-‘em-up.
8. A drink. (Or seven.)
9. An orgasm. (Hey, they cure headaches, right??) *This gift can only come from limited recipients, obviously.*
10. A day off. From life.
Okay, so there you have it. Now go get the wife, mom, sister, etc. something she really wants for Mother’s Day!
And Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing moms – You have the hardest job in the world!