Tag Archives: Advice

Small Town Life – Airport Diva

What with the whole 4 funerals and a baby thing we’ve been dealing with this summer, I have spent alot of time in airports.. with my newborn… trying to be discrete about diaper changes and breastfeeding.

At one of my many layovers, I was sitting next to a lovely teen. When I say lovely, I mean, this girl was fashionable, naturally pretty, and had a very bubbly personality. She had never flown before and started to freak out when she couldn’t find her boarding pass. After assuring her she could simply walk up to the counter, show her ID and get a new pass, I gave her a few other bits of advice and then moved a few seats down when she got a phone call.

It was a small airport and no matter how much I tried to give her privacy to have her conversation, I couldn’t help but overhear her talking to her friend.

“Well, he didn’t ask me to come. I TOLD him I was coming. I know! If he wants to be like that I’m just going to have to tell him what I think! He’s my boyfriend and she’s not even there! I don’t know. My dad paid for the ticket but I mean, I’m going out there and I’m GOING to be there for 10 days so it BETTER go good.”

Hmmm…. I wanted to grab her and say, “I have a great show called ‘How to Lose a Guy in 1 Easy Step.’ Wanna star on the first episode?”

NO! DON’T GO! The relationship isn’t worth the cost of this plane ticket.

But I didn’t.

I don’t have advice that would be listened to and I don’t understand so I stayed out of it but… It was hard. I wanted to say to her, “You are worth so much more than that! Don’t be that girl. Dump him and move on to someone who will want you where ever they are! That’s a real relationship.”

But… she was a teenager.

Oh, the drama….

Small Town Living – Expectation to SETTLE DOWN

norman-rockwell-if-your-wisdom-teeth-could-talkThere is something about living in a small town or going to a small church or whatever that seems to give the older generation a feeling they have a right to have expectations of us younger people. Not only can they have these expectations but they can voice them whenever they feel the urge and dole out unsolicited advice. Ok, I’m all about learning from those who have gone before but there are some things that I think should change.

For example, why are we expected to get married? Why is it that every little lady in the church feels the need to set up anyone who is single? Have you thought maybe we like being single? Maybe we want to be free! Or maybe there is pain that cannot be explained and needs to be left alone. If we want to be set up, we’ll ask.

Flowers in Tender BloomOr how about when we do get married and at the reception we start getting the question, “When are you going to start a family?” Excuse me… I thought I just did. I just got a spouse. What if I don’t want the responsibility of kids? What if I can’t have kids? STOP PRAYING FOR ME TO HAVE KIDS!

Or how about after we actually do produce offspring and everyone wants to know when you are going to have that kid a sibling?! REALLY?!!!!

If you think society has changed, great but there is definitely a generation that thinks this progression is the only way to live life and frankly, it’s not.

I’m a wife, mother and I chose all that but I know people who want to be single. I know people who choose to not have children because they want to have a career. I know people who have no choice.

People in small towns expect their kids to take over the family business, they expect their young people to play on the football team, and especially in this agricultural area – to farm!

Should all these expectations really be put on our young people? Should we really be asking them questions like, “When are you going to settle down?”

Small Town Living – Generation Wise

When I was struggling, I was in MOPS and a small group. They were both different. MOPS is moms mostly of the sameish age who support each other and it’s great. images (3)The small group was mostly made up of women who’s children were between high school age and my age. They were old enough to be my mother. I was the baby of the group at 32. But when I needed people to say that my life was going to be ok, it was the small group women – who had been through cancer, divorce, pain, loss, life – who I believed.

Here in this town, there is a small university with a couple of professors who have been stirring up stuff. They give lectures that glamorize the 60’s and the free love movement. However, there aredownload (1) people who lived through that time and were hard working, real people who remember the riots and the disease and the terror. Those small town people tell me about the reality of the 60’s in this town and I believe them more than any imported professor from New York or Boston. Sorry….

My mother had polio. Grandmother had it as well.
They know what the fear of that disease was like. They know how detrimental the recovery was. They know what it means for a preventable disease to be eradicated.

My clients often are those who lived through the depression. They know what a REAL depression is like. Learning From HistoryThey understand what it is to have a job and make money and support a family because work is available. They are not entitled.

In my small town world, experience matters. In my mind, those who have gone before are the only ones to be believed. Sometimes, it’s hard because you can’t get them to figure out the remote or their phone but they are Generation Wise. That matters more.

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*All Images Found on Google

From Those Who Have Gone Before.

There are a few pieces of advice I have gotten over the years that were amazing and made a difference in my life.

1. “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” An oldie but a goodie. It’s simple and as a kid, I actually understood this. I didn’t always follow it but it did prevent some pretty horrible moments in my life. I can remember not pulling the trigger on some pretty awful things after putting myself in the other persons shoes.

2. “This to shall pass.” Also an oldie but a goodie and much easier to believe from mother’s who had older children than mine. Sometimes, as a mother, you feel like a stage your kids are in will never be done. You will ALWAYS BE BREASTFEEDING. Will they EVER go to sleep on their own? Someday, they have to be able to FIND THEIR OWN SHOES, right? Yes… it will pass.

3. “Guys just want to be treated nice.” Pretty much, if you are nice. If you aren’t crazy grouchy about stuff, if you aren’t trying to CHANGE them, men are pretty simple. They just want you to be NICE. Think about it.

4. “Let him lead.” Oh, so hard. I’m not a follower kind of person. I like to make a decision and get it done and fix it and let’s MOVE OK?! But sometimes, you need to let the guy do it. Just let him. Taking a breath and letting him do it is not so bad. It relieves stress. It frees up some time. It allows him to feel like you aren’t STEERING HIM! I know the Greek mom says she’s the neck but sometimes we are just a pain in the neck with the bossy! It’s only funny in the movies. Not in real life… seriously.

And now for a piece of advice from me. “If you want to have a good marriage, find other people who are married and like it and talk to them about it.” Other wives who love their husbands are awesome at bragging on those awesome husbands which breeds more bragging from others which basically makes all the wives go home and take a look at their husbands and think, “Hubba hubba!”

What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

-the wifey

White Rose B&W

White Rose B&W

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ” James Michener

Just love this quote.

A Lesson in Absolutes for New Parents

As a new parent, I gave in to the hormones every other day and made “absolute” statements all the time. Like most new parents, I was terrified and in awe of my new baby. She was perfect, she was innocent and suddenly, I had motherly instincts of protection and they were in overdrive. This instinct is where the “absolute” statement is born and it usually begins with, “My children will NEVER….” or, “We are planning to make sure our children always…”

Let’s take a look at some of these statements I made when I was a new mother and see how I measure up to my own expectations, shall we?

“My child will never eat at McDonalds!” – until I am on a long car ride and in a small town that I don’t know and there are only little local dives that look… frightening. McDonalds might be the only reliably awful thing around. I pull into the McDonalds faster than a Nascar racer. McDonalds, in all its unhealthy glory will be the only place I can find where my babies can run free in the play place and get out the wiggles while I refuel on a Caramel Macciato. Not only do I take them there on trips but whenever I need to get out of the house, have very little money and only want to have to watch one exit because when there are two of them and one of me, McDonalds suddenly becomes HEAVEN ON EARTH!

“We are planning to make sure our kids only watch a half hour of TV a day and then only after they have had educational blah blah blah blah and/or while I’m doing their hair so they will sit still.” – until I am crazy tired and one decides to wake up at the crack of dawn and ask for food. I get them a frozen waffle, a sippy of juice a nice long TV show and whew… back to bed for mommy. Not only do I allow them to watch outrageously more TV than I ever planned, but the happiest moment of my life was when my oldest could wield the remote on her own (thank you NETFLIX for giving me the ability to have a queue that I can fill with only children’s programing and no commercials) and make her own frozen waffles in the toaster.

“My kids are never going to have Disney Princess stuff. It gives them all the wrong idea of what’s important.” – until I go into Walmart. I live in a small town and sometimes there is no other option and after many purchases against my former statement, I noticed that although my girls are princesses, there is nothing wrong with it and whatever… they are not being abused or taught to be abusers so… I’m cool with it.

“We are planning to make sure our kids only go into school after they are 7 or 8 and never go to a daycare.” – until we both get jobs, need jobs and can’t afford the luxury of being stay at home parents. We were offered a slow introduction to school for our kids and free childcare by my mother and well… who can pass that up? It’s FREE! And who can say what is going to happen in the future? I’ve seen many a kid come out of daycare and be PERFECTLY HEALTHY! There is just no other way to do it sometimes. The luxury of being a stay at home parent isn’t always practical.

“I will never yell, spank, or freak out. I will always have a discipline plan that I stick to.” – until the first time my child back talked to me and then I was like, “My head is EXPLODING!” Do I make mistakes, change my mind constantly about what we want to do, and deal with completely unforeseen circumstances in the middle of an expensive theme park experience that cause us to think about letting our kid act out without the normal consequences just so we can get our moneys worth? You better believe it.

“We are planning to only have babysitters that we know very well and have had a thorough background check.” – until we haven’t had a date night in months and need to have a conversation without a kid using us as a jungle gym or interrupting us OVER and OVER! “Mommy, um…. mommy, mommy mommy MOMMY?!” “WHAT?! Can’t you see I’m trying to have a chat with DADDY?! Give us a second?! Now… what the hell were we talking about?” That’s when I called everyone I knew and finally settled on a friend of a friend who I had never met and said, “Have at it,” and we went out and never looked back.

I could go on and on about what I planned to have my child learn to read before the age of 3, or how I planned to potty train them to cut down on the cost of diapers (you don’t potty train them, they train you and when they are ready to use the potty, if they are 2 or 6 or 25, you will most likely not be able to MAKE them do it any faster than they want to), or any number of plans I had for them that were completely impractical.

I can’t tell you how often I have walked through the mall and seen children and thought, “Not my kid. They will NEVER do that.” And then they do. And what can I do but deal with it in the best way I know how? I am only human and so are my children and so are those other parents. I hope that parenting is teaching me something important that I never thought I needed to learn… to be less judgmental.

The conclusion I have come to is that I should just keep my mouth shut about the absolutes (usually spoken to a friend when watching someone else parent their children), communicate with the other parent in a fluid and constant way and realize that every situation will warrant a new way of “dealing.” Parenting is not right or wrong… usually. As long as there is no abuse, we are all doing the very best we can and what more can you ask from sleep deprived people growers?

I’m a Mom… Perfect and Real

I read a lot of blogs. I used to have my own blog but since I became a working mother, I only guest star on my husband’s blog. I am on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

I get bombarded by “PERFECT PARENT” blogs all the time touting suggestions on how to save time when making meals, how to save money on groceries, how to make your own clothing, grow your own food, save on your energy bill… You would think mothering was a study in living off the grid!

HOWEVER, I also read blogs from people who are “REAL PARENTS.” These people also apparently read a lot of blogs and somehow, someone elses’ success at grocery shopping or feeding their child only organic food or homeschooling the next Einstein makes these REAL PARENTS feel inferior. They write with a bit of a chip on their should confessing to yelling at their children and locking themselves in the bathroom to cry over a failure to be the PERFECT PARENT. The PERFECT PARENT will then retort with an angry tirade about how the REAL PARENT should be more grateful to even have their little brats at all!

Let me just say something about all of this. I love the REAL PARENT. I also have the feeling that if I don’t become an alcoholic, I won’t make it to my kids graduation day alive. I have been known to stand with the refrigerator door open and spray whipped cream into my mouth as a coping mechanism for whining.

I also love THE PERFECT PARENT. I love reading about some parents epiphany about how to make a single shopping trip last all month, how to make pillowcase dresses in 20 minutes, and look at pictures of smiling kids happy and healthy in a loving home.

I get both sides of the aisle because I don’t think there is an aisle. Yes, there are angry parents who will tell you that if one grain of sugar passes the lips of your child’s mouth, all their teeth will fall out and you will be responsible for their autism if there is mercury within a 500 mile radius of your home. There are people who never wanted children and had them by accident or because of social pressure and now don’t know why they ever did. However, this is not the norm.

We are all excited when we (even if it’s just one month out of the year) are able to do stuff with our family that makes something in our life easier or better. We all revel in the acclaim we receive when someone says, “Wow! How did you do that?” We want to share our knowledge and learning with other parents who are as desperate as we are to make life just a little bit smoother. Isn’t it nice to take that one extra step one day we have more energy so we can rest on one step the next day when our child decides she is going pee every 5 minutes ALL DAY LONG?

We also all have those times when we need to take a time out and say, “OK, what the hell is that thing in the highchair that just spit my homemade baby food in my face? SATAN?” And take a bath, and get a babysitter and spend the night in a motel crying and come back a better parent after.

So let’s not hate. Let’s not allow someone sharing something awesome they have discovered make us feel like less of a parent if that particular exciting bit of step-taking doesn’t fit into our life. Let’s not get all up and upset when someone feels like their only outlet for feelings of failure that day as a parent is to confess on a blog or Facebook. Let’s not participate in the freak out! Let’s encourage each other because damn… these kids didn’t come with an instruction book and we all need all the help and encouragement we can get.

AM I RIGHT? Can I get an AMEN?!