Tag Archives: parenting

How Does One Make the Perfect Life Choices?

I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, wearing bright orange compression socks, thinking about the latest book I’m writing. It’s been harder to write.

The main character is divorced. She was pregnant when her husband left her for her friend and she had to quickly get a job. She goes back to school to get a secondary education degree because her bachelor’s was in English.  

She had planned on getting a Master’s and possibly a Doctorate in English but then she met John. They fell in love. He got a job and they got married and she didn’t get a Master’s. When she got pregnant with their first child, she kept working. Then the two of them together decided she would stay home with their son. After childcare costs, it made more sense. And he made enough. Plus, she believed her kids would be better off if one of them could stay home. He made more, so she stayed home. She often thought about getting her Master’s, but then a kid would get sick and she wondered how she would do it all. She kept putting it off.

Until the day her husband came home and said he wanted a divorce.

She doesn’t think much about her choices (Why bother? It won’t help) until she has to work with a graduate of hers who has just finished her bachelors and wants to go get her Master’s. But she met this guy….

So Grace looks over at all of her decisions.

And this is where I’m stumped.  

Of course women should get an education and support themselves. Of course they should accomplish all they want to accomplish. But what if the two spouses decide that one parent could stay home. They think it would be better for the kids. But then the spouse who stays home loses potential income. Loses years of experience. May pass up on education that would help because they put their trust in their spouse.

Is this possible anymore?

Do both parents need to always work because relationships seem to be so fluid these days?

I stay home. Yes, I’ve had different jobs and done different things, but when I thought of applying to be a substitute teacher and saw they wanted 3 professional references, I started to cry and didn’t finish the application. I couldn’t think of a professional reference. Sure, I had people who would give me a reference, but I hadn’t worked for anyone in years.  

At the same time, I think having one parent able to stay home is great for a family. I think I’m slowly going insane, but besides that, I think it’s a good idea. If possible.

I had a parent home until I was about 12 or 13 and then I would come home and be alone for about an hour. It wasn’t that big a deal. I would do my homework and watch Days of Our Lives. The worst thing I did was eat a whole box of Kudos and then throw up. I never ate another Kudos again and I’m not even sure they make them anymore. They probably heard my story and realized they didn’t have a future.

But I remember when I missed the bus and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I was scared. I thought I’d have to stay at the school over night. My neighbor came and got me and it wasn’t a big deal except for the 30 minutes when it was.

I’m around if my kids forget their lunches or nice clothes for a presentation. I pick them up for appointments and make sure things generally run smoothly.

Except for those times when I mix appointments up and I show up at the right time a day late. Or when I give each kid a different kid’s lunch so when I see one on the counter and it says my youngest’s name but I know I gave him something, I just eat that lunch myself.

I’m not a very domestic stay at home mom but I’m a “I’m here if you need me” one.  

As I write from my character’s point of view, I wonder if this is still a good idea.

If I went back into the workforce and actually used my law degree, I would never make the money I would’ve made had I stayed working. I’m so far out of the game, I wonder if I could get a job.  

Some people volunteer and keep up their resume that way. I haven’t kept a file of what I’ve done. I think I was taught you don’t get credit for volunteer work. It’s a service. (And if it gets around that I’m a helpful person, people may actually ask me for help. No one wants that.)  

So what’s the answer?

Is staying home still a viable option?  

How does one make the perfect choices in life? And never regret them?

I would love to hear your views.

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Solidifying Back into Life with Springsteen

Well, this has been quite a year so far, hasn’t it?  I am learning that you have to just keep going no matter what happens.  

There seems to be a turning point sometime in life, I’m not sure when exactly, we are supposed to figure out how to shore ourselves up and keep going.  When we are kids, we can have gigantic melt downs and people figure it’s fine and we have the right because we are young.  When we get older and we have major melt downs, someone wonders if they should call for help and a padded room.  When really, we just need huge melt downs no matter how old we are.

Huge melt downs show themselves differently.  For some they may be loud and wet and messy and for others they may be 48 hrs in bed without speaking.  I think as we get older the only real difference is that we know what our huge meltdowns are and then we can tell people not to worry.   

We are about to melt.

The hard part is keeping going while melting or after the melting.  It can be so nice to just lose it.  But for most of us, this isn’t a state we can linger in permanently.  We have too many obligations and other people depending on us.  So we have to figure out how to solidify somehow.

This last week, I solidified at a concert.  My brother and I went to Bruce Springsteen.  I was incredibly sick and the slide guitar gave me a slight headache when it was played, but I still loved every minute of it.  

Springsteen is an amazing concert.  He played for 3.5 hours straight. He just kept going from one song to the next.  I was exhausted at the end of the concert and all I did was dance and sing and cough.

But oh how I need that 3.5 hours of just sheer joy.  I was amazed to be in the same room as him and to be at a concert of his and to hear him.  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

I understand not everyone can go to a Springsteen concert when life gets hard.  Let’s be realistic.  Springsteen isn’t always in concert.  We must learn to live without him at times. 

But I’m glad for those moments in life that help stop the melting.  And that give us something a little more to look forward to.

And I’m already looking forward to his next tour.  I will be there.  Singing and Dancing and Screaming my head off the whole time.

  
(This is the part of the concert where he thanked me for coming even though I had a really bad cold.  It was very thoughtful of him.)

Shopping with my Daughter

I just went to Target with my 10 year old. Everyone should experience the joy of shopping with her. So with her permission, I share our recent experience. 

Every other year or so she gets Valentine’s and St. Patrick Day shirts. We went over to that section and I showed her this: 

  
Her response?  

“But gold is a solid rock. I don’t want my heart to be a solid rock.”

Then we saw this:

 
Her response:

“Donut pants?  That’s something YOU would wear.”

And there you have it. 

I have no idea why the second picture is sideways.

(And I probably would wear them if the situation was right.)

A Delayed Post About a Bomb Threat

This has been an odd week.  Actually, that’s probably not the right word.

Our school district had three bomb threats this week.  THREE.  Monday there was a bomb threat at one of the high schools.  Wednesday an anonymous caller said there was a bomb at an elementary school.  Today, an anonymous caller said there was a bomb at one of the schools.

All of the schools were evacuated.  I picked my kids up Wednesday and today.  Both days things were handled very efficiently and calmly.  My kids asked me what was up and I told them that someone had called in and threatened the schools.  Today my 6 year old told a friend he was out of school because “we had another bomb day.”

I remember growing up during the Cold War and that there was always this slight fear a nuclear war would break out.  As a kid, I didn’t really understand what all of this meant except that Russians seemed to be bad guys in A LOT of films.  I guess every generation grows up with a little fear but this seems much closer to home.

I didn’t believe there was a bomb either time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not completely and utterly pissed off.  A person should not threaten children.  It is not a “gag” to threaten a school.  I want this person caught and prosecuted and I want them to rot in jail.

I don’t consider myself a very violent person.  Sure I like the occasional hockey fight as much as the next person, but I’ve never had the desire to punch anyone until this week.  I think if I met the person or persons responsible, I would take a swing.

I don’t know if that makes me a bad person; if I should learn to forgive and move on.  Here is my problem with that: I think it’s someone out to just have some fun and games.  I don’t think it’s someone who needs help.  I think it’s a complete and utter jerk.  And I guess, deep down, I believe it’s OK to punch complete and utter jerks who threaten kids.

How We’re Teaching Our Kids About the Founding Fathers

Yesterday we celebrated President’s Day by not going to work or school. It’s kind of odd to celebrate the Founding Fathers who worked their tails off with no work but I got to sleep in so I’m happy. My husband decided we should take this time to help our kids appreciate what life was like for Washington and Lincoln so we turned off all the lights.

Growing up, the power would go out all of the time and we’d often spend a night by candlelight. I remember doing homework and playing monopoly with candles and a flashlight.

My kids have never experienced a power outage (minus the huge one in NYC when My oldest and I got stuck on a subway but he was 1 and has no memory of it. I still remember walking along rails holding him and sighing in relief when I reached the street.). But we do take them camping and so they’ve done things without electricity before. I think the problem yesterday was that my daughter saw NO REASON to go without electricity when it was readily available. And she let us know.

She was dead-on with her observation of “I thought the whole reason people invented things was so WE COULD USE THEM.”

And that “George Washington would’ve used electricity if he’d had it.”

We couldn’t argue with any of that. So we simply said, “You may be right but we’re your parents, so deal with it.”
(I believe it was Adam and Eve who came up with that brilliant line.)

Next month we’re making our kids speech in an Irish accent and learn how to chug a nonalcoholic beer.

(It’s really hard to sneak a picture so this is what I got. I should’ve just taken one and said George Washington would’ve had an iPhone.)
Happy Holidays.

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Parenting Quiz:

Is this NATURE OR NURTURE?

(IE: Does this something I would’ve said coming out of my children’s mouths?)

I picked up my 10 year old son from Wilderness Survival Camp.  (Someone in the family must be prepared for Zombies.)

Me: So how did it go?

Him: Well there was this one kid who was really bossy.  He took control and was so bossy.  I asked him if he was an only child.

My 6 year old son was telling a joke. My 8 yr old daughter was listening.

6 yr old: What do you ask a person hanging from a limb?

Kevin: How’s it hanging?

6 yr old: No.  How are you hanging there?

8 yr old: Uh-uh.

6 yr old: Uh-huh.

This goes on for a while until I say: Who cares:

8 yr old: He shouldn’t be telling that joke anyhow because it’s from a movie.

Me: So?

8 yr old: It could be copyrighted.

Hint: I proceeded to explain to her that often copyrighted things can be used for personal, at home use as long as no profit is made.

Stay in Your Room

I sent two kids to their rooms for fighting all through dinner. My 10 year old had to go the bathroom. But I had told him he had to stay in his room. And he wanted to be obedient.

So instead of using the bathroom, he took the screen out of his window, peed on the lawn and ran around the outside of the house.

Because this would be staying in his room and using the bathroom would not be.

I really, really, really need a sheet cake.