raising kids

Sorry, not sorry.

At the beginning of next school year, I’m going to implement an optional monthly mental health day for each of my children.

A day to recharge, rest, or catch up if they need it.

This will be a day that they can choose, and I will not question.  The same theory as when a child calls and needs a ride home because no one is sober, you pick them up, no questions asked.

A mental heath day in my opinion is about safety, just as is the call to pick them up, no questions asked.  It’s about promoting safety from stress, anxiety, and possible depression that can come from today’s school expectations.

I understand the other side of the  coin is schools not getting their ADA money on a day that I allow my kids to check out for a mental health day.  I’m sorry about that.  But I’m really not.  My kids give it their all, they put up amazing grade point averages.  I got straight A’s on one report card in 5th grade.  I don’t know where these three kids of mine came from, but they have a drive to succeed in school, and the numbers to back up allowing them to take one day a month if they need it.

I’ve read many articles recently about the anxiety and stress that school and homework can cause.  To be very clear, I fully support my kids teachers.  They have been amazing components in my children’s growth.  In no way are my feelings of frustration over the stress that school can induce directed at them.  I personally feel that the standards that are expected, and the workloads that come home are unrealistic and squeeze out many opportunities to live life outside of school.

So, in order to promote peace of mind in my children, I will give them a day in their back pocket to use if they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or just plain exhausted.

If one day can help to create a calm effect and a sense of support, I’m all in.

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Too soon T-Mobile fees lice ad, too soon!

This commercial came on the other night, and the whole family cringed:

 

It isn’t a coincidence that lice is a 4 letter word.  It is the worst non life threatening thing ever!

Please feel free to laugh at my full lice account from March of 2015:

Lice is Evil

Pop tarts to the rescue again.

Went to Target this morning, and while checking out, started explaining my purchases to the cashier.

“I never would have thought I’d be buying Pop tarts for my kids’ before school breakfasts!  But if it helps them to get up for these last three weeks of school, I’m in.”

The cashier went on to tell me she gets up early to make eggs and home made stuff for her kids each morning.  That’s nice.  It really is.  Thankfully, she told me her kids are 5 and under.  I made a mental note to check in with her in 10 years and see if the egg thing was still working out for her.  If it is, I’ll allow myself to feel like a loser mom then, not now.  I’m in survival mode.

No one wants to get up for school anymore.  They’ve been doing it for just. too. long.  I’ve heard so many arguments such as “They (teachers) want us to get our sleep, so why do we have to get up so early?”  We even get to the point of “Why do we even need school,” as they walk past me in zombie like fashion.

So, in comes Pop tarts.  If these morsels of sugar can assist in my lovely children getting out of bed without me putting on a one person circus, I’m in.

Deal is, out of bed by specified time, you get Pop tarts for breakfast before school.

I wrote about this epic parenting technique last year, you can find it here:

Pop tarts for the win!

Hoping for a peaceful last three weeks of school, and minimal health damage!

Don’t judge. Whatever works man. ‪#‎poptarts‬

Baseball knowledge converted to parental technique

I just posted this on my Facebook page:

My husband has always talked to my son about needing to have a short memory in baseball. I’m now thinking I need to have a short memory in raising teens. I told my husband I’m about a step away from putting a toilet on the wall like Fullerton has in the dugout so I can just walk by and flush things as they happen!!! New radical parenting technique! Ha!

 

*Where can I get a flushing toilet for my kitchen wall I wonder?

If I were to talk to middle schoolers…

Middle school sucks.  Not the school in particular, the years of middle school life.  I know because I’ve been through middle school, watched one of my children go through it, and currently have one in middle school.  Kids are trying to figure out who they are.  Many start to make bad choices.  Others struggle with trying to keep on the right path.  Socially, emotionally, hormonally, things are on warp speed.  We’ve had our share of incidents through these years.  The incident I refer to below probably won’t be the last.  All is fine now, and my daughter does not know I’m writing about this, so if you my family, please don’t mention it to her.  Because of the stellar attention and actions from the administration at my child’s school, it was able to be determined that the student’s intention was not to threaten my child.  This incident in fact, opened a door to the student that may have never been opened in order to get some attention and assistance that was needed.  

If I were to talk in front of middle schoolers today, this is what I’d say:

My daughter was threatened by another middle school student last week.  I’m not going to go into the details about it.  The reason is because some of you may be scared hearing about what happened, and others of you may think ‘what’s the big deal about that?’  So, I’ll let you use your imagination.  Unfortunately, some of you may have your own experience with being threatened that you can relate to.

I feel that negative experiences at times are perfect opportunities to realize some positives.  So, I’m going to focus on some positives.  Some of these are general, some are specific.

Thank you to the student, who each day, walks up to my child and tells her something nice to make her smile.  Each and every day.  We should all be so lucky to have someone think of us and want to make us smile everyday.  You know who you are.  Thank you for your attention, and for making her smile.

Thank you to my child’s friends.  Both old and new.  Thank you for the laughter, the good times shared, or just sitting next to each other at lunchtime, those moments are important.  Friends are an extension of family, people my child can depend on.  Thank you.

Thank you to my child’s teammates.  No matter which sport, thank you for pushing my child, for picking them up, for constantly confirming what it means to be a team.  Being part of a team allows for a sense of belonging.  That is so important in life.

All of you here are a community. Your community became larger coming into middle school from elementary school.  Being in a community brings a feeling of needing to protect it.  When someone threatens a part of your community, you need to work together to make sure everyone is safe.  When you hear students talking about other students, and hurting them, or hurting themselves, that’s a warning sign. Even if you are hoping they are joking, it’s not something to take lightly.   It’s not your responsibility to decide whether something is or isn’t a ‘real’ threat to your community.  Parents, teachers, principals, counselors, those are the people you go to when you feel that your community needs to be protected from something.

YOU MATTER. Everyone matters. The person who is making the threat, they matter too.  Be proud of your community, and work to do your part to keep it safe.  You don’t ever need to feel embarrassed about something that you feel scared or uncomfortable about.  If you are not feeling safe, or feel someone else is not safe, those are real feelings, and always worthy of attention.  Your feelings do not have to match others.  If you are uncomfortable with something, tell someone.  YOU MATTER.

*You Matter is one of three essential messages used in the aMasongrace project @ amasongraceproject.com. 

Part 4: Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.

I read this article just a few minutes ago.  It hit me right in the gut.  It’s so similar to my exact feelings.

“Not a single morning goes by that I don’t drop my son and daughter at school and wonder for a split second — that’s all I allow myself — whether they will be murdered by a gunman that day.”

The full article can be found here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-oregon-shooting-school-lockdowns-balancing-1002-20151002-column.html

Every single night, I pray that my kids, and all kids, and schools will be safe the following day.  I will continue this.  But I just don’t know what else to do.

I get so mad, and I question so much when these school shootings happen.

Do I homeschool?  That keeps them safe from school shootings, but not movie theaters…

I told my husband this morning that I am starting to wonder what my little piece of political power, my one vote, holds.  That is something that I need to keep looking into, and in the end it may change how I’ve voted in the past, it may not.

This post is Part 4, because I’ve written about my children’s school drills three previous times.

Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb. (Part 1)  My kids take on what a ‘cool’ lockdown drill is.

Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb. (Part 2)  My first lock down experience while my child was at school.

Part 3: Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.  My children’s conversations in the car about the recent changes in an active shooter drill, and their nonchalant comments about the probability of being shot.  All while I am about to pass out at the wheel while listening to them!

Again, as I have said often, I fully support my children’s school and they are doing their very best to keep my kids safe.

But I wonder, big picture wonder, what the hell is enough to keep them safe anymore?

Just keeping it real…

While shopping at Target for the second time in 3 days one recent morning, after getting all 3 of my kids off to their 3 separate schools, I saw a sign that read:

IMG_6507

I wanted to tell it to shut up, and then maybe give it a little shove to knock it over.

This particular recent morning, prior to my Target outing, had been a rough one in our household. Therefore, a more appropriate and accurate sign to be hung in my house would have read something like this:

Slide2

And while thankfully the majority of the time I could accurately display the love and laughter sign from Target, my own sign of attitudes, fits, temper tantrums and yelling is definitely an accurate portrayal of my home during certain moments.

(Disclaimer: moments where my ATTITUDE sign can be displayed may be getting more and more frequent as the number of teenagers in my house increases.)

Just keeping it real.

3 tough questions my kids asked me over the weekend.

  1. Is Santa real?  (9 year old)
  2. How did Robin Williams die?  (9 year old)
  3. What exactly is cancer?  (12 year old)

Amazingly, of these three questions, number 1 was the easiest and most direct to answer.

stephantom_santa_hat_clip_art_22346

She had asked me the ‘Is Santa real?’ question earlier in the week when everything was crazy busy and I was able to Jedi mind trick her with ‘let’s talk about that when we have time to really have a good talk.’  Then, a few days later, she cornered me in the backyard as I was watering the plants.  She just needed to know.  No emotion, just needed affirmation.  We talked, she was cool, and on she went to ride her Ripstick in the front yard.  Three kids, three different reactions to that question.  My 15 year old still has never asked me that question.  My 12 year old was extremely emotional during our conversation.  And I think I need to investigate why my husband has been away for a night when this question has been asked….

Question number 2 happened in the car while driving with all three of my kids.  This question I did not answer as directly as question number 1.  The movie ‘RV’ is our family go to movie.  All five of us love it, and consistently laugh each time we watch it (which is usually at least twice a year).

We, as many did, felt that we almost knew Robin Williams personally, so our family was very sad when he died.  Why my youngest wondered how he died while driving in the car yesterday, I do not know.  I wasn’t sure how honest I needed to be about his death, which isn’t really something I know too much about anyways.  We instead talked about that he had been married, and had adult children.  They were amazed when I told them I thought he was about 60 when he died (turns out he was 63).  My son said ‘but how did he look about 40 then?’  One thing I did say was that I had read that he had been sad at times during his life and making people laugh probably made him feel good.  I have talked to my kids about suicide, and learned to use language such as ‘you matter’, and ‘moments pass’ due to a mother’s extremely heartbreaking true story which has allowed me to learn how to help educate my kids http://amasongraceproject.com/about-the-project/.  And although suicide is something I have talked about with my kids, I wasn’t confident in going there and using that term yesterday with the Robin Williams talk.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s something I will revisit.

Question 3 happened out of the blue in the kitchen.  I tried to explain cancer as it happens in a persons body the best I could.  I tried to ‘answer only what is asked’ as I have in the past.  The follow up questions were ‘does it hurt?’  Then specifically about breast cancer and how ‘sometimes women just get them cut off?’

It’s these types of conversations that make me feel like such an amateur in this parenting thing.  But, I just keep doing my best at being honest while trying to keep in mind the maturity level of my kids.  Having Google implanted in my brain so I can reference it in the middle of these talks seems like a good idea to me.

It’s all going to be ok, Back to School edition…

I find myself telling my kids as they are getting older things that my friends and I have been telling each other for years.  As they are facing challenges and disappointments that come with an increasing age, I have found myself giving them the tools of ‘it will be better in 5 minutes’, and ‘the first day is the hardest, it will get a bit easier every day after.’

As my middle child went to middle school for her intro half day last week, she was nervous of course.  My words to her were, ‘focus on 12:08 when the school day is over, at that time, it will no longer be new, and no longer be as scary.’

And after the conversations with my children are done, I then start telling myself the same things.  Man, this worrying about your kids thing just gets harder and harder with some of the things growing older presents.

There were times in my life that I couldn’t see around the moment I was in in order to see the possibilities of the future.  And only through living life have I learned, that it really is better in 5 minutes, and the second day is usually easier than the first.

So, I will continue to tell my kids, and I mean it when I say ‘it will all be ok, I promise.’

As school starts tomorrow, and I look into my crystal ball and see myself waking up repeatedly throughout tonights sleep, I will tell myself as I often do in the middle of the night ‘everything is ok’ and allow myself to go back to sleep.

I hope the little things I say (mantras?) that help me move on and not get too tripped up on things actually help my kids rather than make me resemble Bob Wiley more and more.  They humor me at least making me feel as though they do help!  🙂

With the first day of school comes the enjoyment of a routine (and a quiet house), which will only too soon be replaced with  missing the kids and wishing for summer to return quickly!

Here’s to a safe school year, and strength to all of the wonderful teachers that spend each day teaching our kids!