Just BeTWEEN You and Me

I read your post about tweens, and totally agreed. Here’s the thing, every time I say something about my tween’s behavior, some well-meaning “elder” pipes up with, “Oh just wait til he’s a teenager.” Seriously?? Most days I’m either biting my tongue to keep from cussing this kid out or reminding myself that I can’t punch him in the face. The last possible thing I need to hear is, “Oh well you ain’t seen nothing yet. ” Or, “The worst is yet to come.” What’s wrong with people? Do they think this is helpful?? How do you respond?

Hi honey, your post had me cracking UP. Amen, sister, A-MEN! It’s. So. Annoying!!! It’s like when you have a newborn and are surviving solely on caffeine and the grace of God, and someone says, “Awwww…you’re gonna miss this.”

Insert your favorite cuss words here.

My “baby” is 11. I promise you: I don’t miss sleepless nights. Or someone puking on me. Or diapers. Or drool. Or baby toys. Or carseats, sweet Jesus. Or a being that was fully helpless. I could go on indefinitely. I loved my babies. Enjoyed lots of things about them. Don’t miss it. When I see someone with a tiny baby, I want to say, “Awwww…you’re gonna survive this.”

I really don’t know what people’s intentions are or if they have any intentions at all. Comments like that are about as helpful as saying, “Been there done that.” But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe their kids are grown and they’d give anything for another opportunity to argue with them as tweens. Maybe they just really want to encourage you that this too will pass. It’s kind of a stretch, I know.

And teenagers get a bad rap. Personally, I like them. You can have really interesting conversations with them. And they can show you how everything on your phone works. Tweens can be cool too, but exercise caution as they’re about as unpredictable as feral cats.

My kids are 23, 17, and 11, so when someone gives me advice about my little tween, I smile and nod because I know what it’s like to raise teenagers. Been there done that. 

And that is mostly how I respond to unsolicited advice and stupid comments: Smile. Sometimes nod. And occasionally just stare blankly at them when I can’t muster a smile. This makes people uncomfortable by the way…when you sit and quietly hold space for the stupidity.

Hang in there, mama. Tweens can be demonic, but thankfully, it IS just a phase. Personally, I think teens are way way better. But in the meantime, I remind myself that this awkward phase is like being in a constant state of PMS–for boys and girls because: H O R M O N E S. It helps me to empathize…and to not punch her in the face.

xoxo

 

 

Working Vacations

Every year we take a family vacation and make lots of wonderful memories. Every year I come home feeling even more exhausted than I did before we left. I try to plan things that cater to my husband and children’s likes, but by the time we come home I feel like I was just doing my normal mom stuff in a different location…in other words, I didn’t get a break at all. Do you have any suggestions other than to take a separate trip by myself, haha?

Hi honey, I totally relate to this. My dream vacation is lying on a beach next to sparkling blue water with a frozen drink, a bag of books and minimal human contact, but that isn’t always possible or what works for my family. I also try to plan things that each person will really enjoy. However, sometimes, as moms, we forget to consider our own wants and needs while we’re busy taking care of everyone else’s. What do you really enjoy doing on vacation? Can you schedule time for some of that?

And what wears you out on vacation. Is it the planning? The activities? The busy-ness? You don’t have to participate in every activity. Sometimes too much interaction with people–even people I absolutely adore–drains me. It’s okay to pass on the occasional game of putt-putt or to stay behind and read while your husband takes the kids to ride go-carts.

And sometimes, you might want to stretch outside your comfort zone and participate in an activity you don’t really love simply for the joy of experiencing it with the people you do love. But only if you want to. If you do it from a sense of “should,” you might end up feeling more resentful than joyful.

If you have little kids…well, I imagine it’s not news to you that vacations are not particularly relaxing. Especially if you go to the beach. Going to the beach with little kids is exhausting. But someday, they will be relaxing again. I promise. And you’ll look back with fond memories on the chaotic ones. In the meantime, you might really want to consider a trip by yourself or with your hubby or a friend.

Most of all, just take some time to really think about what will make you feel relaxed and nourished on vacation and during your normal life and plan for more of that. Let me know how it goes! xoxo

This is Supposed to be Fun?

Lately, it seems like all I do is scream at my kids. I’m a pretty happy person with a normal amount of stress. I have a good marriage, a great job, and I’m not overwhelmed–any more than other working moms. I don’t need medication or a vacation from my life. But I always hear people talking about how these are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them, and I really just feel like…I can’t wait until they are grown and not arguing constantly over who looked at whom or who touched what. I’m not a bad mom, but every morning I wake up vowing to enjoy them more and yell at them less, but most nights I go to bed feeling like I fell short. I love my kids so much it hurts, and I don’t want them to have bad memories or baggage.

Oh honey…reading this I can tell what a good mom you are and that your kids are so very fortunate God gave them to you. I have children in various stages of development: an adult woman–23, a teenage boy–16, and a tween girl–10. In 23 years of parenting, I’ve had a million realizations, but one is that I’m best with babies and adults. If I can hold, bounce, snuggle, or stick a boob in your mouth, we get along. If we can have wine and talk about feelings, we’re golden. It’s the years in between nursing and drinking that keep me in flux. Parenting teens and tweens and preschoolers–can we agree 3-year-olds are assholes–is not that much fun.

I promise you’re in good company. I wake up every morning with the intention of doing better, and many nights I go to bed beating myself up. Here’s the thing: All of that beating ourselves up means we’re paying attention. We’re trying. If you go to bed at night and don’t question at least one thing you did or said during the day, good for you; you might be a psychopath. I’m kidding obviously, kinda, but isn’t awareness always the first step whether we’re addressing addiction or overeating or yelling at our kids? We can’t change anything until we realize there’s something that might need to be changed.

You’re not alone, friend. I’ve felt this more times than I can count. And I’ve had this discussion with so many great moms because I surround myself with fabulous women who overthink their parenting. Never had it with a bad mom though…go figure.

Here’s the thing: If you wake up every morning trying to do better, you’re probably already doing great. Give yourself a break. I yell at my kids too much. But I also say, “You know what…I’m sorry I yelled about that. I was feeling [insert whatever emotion or baggage I projected onto the situation] and reacted inappropriately.” They’re well-versed in Brene Brown and Shefali Tsabary.

We’re human. We fuck up. That’s not going to change. But we can accept those times we fall short as normal, own our behavior, and keep on keeping on. Works in progress, sweetheart, works in progress.

If you haven’t already read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton, I suggest you read it, frame it, tattoo its wisdom somewhere on your body, because it’s pure gold.

xoxo

Happy New Year, honey

“How are you always so happy?”

Those who know me really well, my  husband for instance, are saying, “She’s not. She’s a damned mess 75% of the time.” And that’s the truth. I’m not always happy. I try to put on a happy face. I try to be happy. But sometimes, I’m not. You can read all about my malaise…my dark place on Adventures in Overthinking.

I try not to overthink here. Or give advice.

But here’s my answer: I’m not always so happy. I try to put stuff in perspective. Count my blessings, cliche as it sounds. Remind myself that whatever unpleasantness I’m experiencing is temporary. Shift my focus to something that makes me smile. Meditate. Do yoga.

And sometimes I take to my bed. Cry. Throw tantrums. Feel sorry for myself. Eat a bunch of shit. Drink too many beers.

No one’s always so happy, my friend, please don’t hold yourself up to a false standard. We’re all struggling in different ways, and if someone seems to have a perfect life, you can bet under the surface they’re paddling like mad to make that way. Or to make it appear that way to themselves or others. Good for them. We’re all in this together. Your success is mine. My happiness is yours. Let’s do a better job of cheering each other on in 2017!

Wanna chat? Great! send an email to: hihoney.jfz@gmail.com