Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Work Ethic

Will has taekwondo every Tuesday and Thursday.  He's been doing it for months, achieved his yellow belt and loves it.  However, every Tuesday and Thursday without fail he will complain about going.  He's good when he gets there, but he doesn't want to go.  The same was the case during football, swimming, even scouts on some nights.  The gist of it is that he wants to do the fun stuff, but not the work.

Tabbi was the same way.  She purported to love volleyball, and we even agreed to pay the $1,000 minimum fee to get her into club volleyball.  However, she went so far as to quit before her first practice.  She quit violin, too.  She was so afraid of doing the work, she just wouldn't.

I'm sitting here after giving Will five more minutes to play with his friends before getting ready to go and I'm at a loss.  How do I instill a work ethic in my sons?  Mark sort of has it.  He goes to work ill, or on no sleep.  Even the kind of yucky sick when your coworkers are pissed that you came in because they're going to catch it.  When we were dating, he went to work so sick with the flu that was killing people, he semi-passed out driving and totaled his car.  However, at home... he doesn't have it.  He won't mow today, when he could mow tomorrow (or never).  He won't stake our newly planted weeping willow up without me nagging at him to death  to the extent that he'd rather walk away from Mine Craft than have me utter another word about the tree.  And, I fear that I don't have it either.

I was kicked out of band in middle school essentially because I refused to practice.  In college, looking back, I'm pretty sure I graduated with an English Lit degree just because it was easy for me.  Was it a lot of work?  Yes.  I giggle when I hear people complain about 10 page papers and reading a novel a month.  (Hee hee, amateurs).  But, it wasn't HARD work.  That's the difference.  When I was a working professional, I worked hard.  I succeeded.  But, I can honestly say that now as a semi-professional part timer, there are days when I phone it in.  At home, I am a get the job doner, but I am not sure the kids even see it that way.  I do laundry and cook dinner because I have to.  Not because I'm getting my work done.

So, I am left with the question of how to make the practice that is required for my children's success seem like a good idea?  How do I get Will to see that he'll never reach a black belt without the work?  I have no answers, so I am truly writing this, not to give my point of view, but in search of others.  Because right now, I can't find the answer.  Or maybe I'm just too lazy to try.

Monday, March 10, 2014

You Can't Write About Fat Girls

I just finished reading a book last night that was about a fat girl.  I realized upon its completion that I've read a lot of fat girl books and they all annoy the poo out of me.  It must be my holier than thou attitude thanks to my supermodel thin physique.  Stop laughing....

This book was about a fat girl who meets a personal trainer by happenstance and he takes pity on her and decides to make her his project and once she is fit and skinny, he actually falls in love with her despite her former fatness and magnanimously decides to ignore the extra 20 pounds she still could stand to lose.  You'd think I'd be thin after reading 200+ pages of this barftastic book.

Other fat girl books are different.  They are based on the fatties who find men to love them in spite of their girth.  Those are gems, too.  The man finally realizes that her witty personality is all that matters, not her dress size.  In addition to the men being willing to love them, they're filled with women just sitting around waiting to be loved.  Often our heroines have great careers, friends, etc, but without the man, they are worthless.  Those books don't induce my urge to purge.  Instead, they make me want to track down the authors and punch them.  In the face.  With their books.

I realize that there should be books about pleasantly plump people, because the world is full of this epidemic of obesity (one that I am a shameful member of).  But, it would be nice if the books were a little less, I don't know.... INSULTING.  Maybe men do fall in love with fat women in spite of their looks, but I'd like to think that some men just fall in love, looks and all. Not that I'm praising those pervs trolling the 500 lbs. and up porn sites, but maybe some guys find curves appealing.  Maybe some men don't need a stick person to be happy.  Maybe husbands of women that aren't thin are just happy.  Not in spite of anything....  just in love with everything.  And maybe some overweight women don't sit around pining for a husband.  Hard to imagine, but maybe they have self confidence even though they could use a Zumba class or two, and lead full lives with or without a man in it.  Maybe it would be refreshing to see a book like that.  Then again, a book about two normal people who meet, fall in love and just live probably wouldn't sell.  But, I for one would like to see someone try.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Men See

Disclaimer:  The following is an anthropological essay on differences between husbands and wives.  Mark, this isn't entirely about you, nor is it from a place of anger.  It is about most men in general, and comes from a place of utter mystery and confusion.  End disclaimer.

My husband is a good man.  You can ask him to do things and while he will heave a hefty sigh of "I Don't Want To" (which he denies, by the way), he will do it.  But, my utter mystification comes not from the things he/they are willing to do, but from the fact that he/they don't do it until you ask them to.  Let me explain.

If Mark suspects the computers, Internet, laptop, Xbox, or smart phones are running improperly... he can sniff that problem out from a mile away and devote endless hours to its repair.  Endless.  However, if the pictures on our walls need leveling and sticky tacking, even if he sits in that room to Xbox with the boys on a daily basis, either he doesn't see that the pictures are so crooked it looks like a blind person hung them, or he feels there's no time to get such a monumental task accomplished (which took me 10 minutes today to do all our pictures in our house) or he likes them like that.  I don't know the answer.  I only know that is man-land, it doesn't exist and will not get done until I ask.  Wait... let me rephrase.  Until I nag him to death.

Other men have similar blind spots.  Some men will use a glass, walk over to the kitchen and deposit the used glass either on the counter or in the sink, seemingly blissfully unaware of this machine just inches below that if you open the door and deposit said glass, it will eventually come out clean.  I'm not sure if its the abundance of science fiction that most men watch or sheer ignorance of how things become clean, but if you put the glass on the counter, its never going to get inside the washer without a human's help.  There's no teleportation.  There's no little arm that comes out of the machine and reaches for the glass and sets it on the rack.  Another person (I'll go out on a limb and assume its the other adult living in your home) has to do that step. 

Another conundrum...  In our house, we have a relatively new dog who occasionally seems to confuse our playroom with a park full of fire hydrants in the middle of the night and leave a little present on our carpet. See above where said husband plays video games with my boys in that room every day.  I'm guessing that his laser sharp vision is so acutely aware of the critical happenings on Lego Marvel that he is blind to the yellow circle on the carpet.  My vision must be more suited to pee spots than Lego versions of Pepper Potts, because I tend to spot them upon entry. 

These things are not worth fighting about.  They are not reasons for divorce or even the female patented snippy "I'm fine" followed by the silent treatment.  Its just something that I ponder.  If men are from Mars, who puts the dishes in the dishwashers there, and how many pictures are permanently crooked?  Wait, who would tell them to purchase and hang pictures in the first place?  Mars must be the land of blank walls and unlimited supplies of Solo cups.  I know that the genders are chromosomally different, but until marriage I had no idea the affect that Y chromosome has on vision.  That, or it stand for "y bother to clean up the urine if there's a digital citizen in peril on my video game?"

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Love My Son

Today, I am honored to be featured in the Hendricks County Home online magazine.

Take a gander here...

http://www.hendrickshome.com/i-love-my-son/

Then make sure and read the rest of the magazine and subscribe.  You may not be in Hendricks County, but the articles are fantastic wherever you are. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Things I Just Don't Understand

There are several things on a daily basis that just don't make sense to me.  Now, keep in mind, MENSA has never knocked down my door or anything, but still... I'm not Sarah Palin.  I am a reasonably intelligent functioning adult, but still.  Sometimes, I just don't get it.

For example... 

Why do people feel the need to open conversations by asking stupid questions?  For a short time, we owned a Great Pyrenees, which is basically a giant white snow beast of a dog.  When walking that dog, people would ask me "Is that your dog?"  No.  This canine is really a figment of your imagination.  Actually, even though I have three children and another dog, I just find strays and walk them when I have free time.  Ha ha,  free time.  Get it?

Why do people feel the need to point out that you don't look very good?  I'm at Meijer today and my cashier, who I don't know, feels the need to exclaim that I look "toe up."  I'm not sure what that means, but when I googled it, it doesn't seem like a compliment.  Clearly, I have a cold.  You can hear it when I speak or sniffle, and I have a droopy eye that is following in Bob Costas's eyesteps... but that doesn't mean I still don't pretend in my head that I look like Heidi Klum. (I realize I don't look like her when I'm healthy either, but my mental picture of myself doesn't have to know that.)

Why do people say things like, "This smells bad.  Smell it" or "this tastes bad.  Taste it."  My answer to both.... no.  I am more than willing to take you word for it.  I don't need to confirm it by experiencing the yuck for myself.

My son will not wear lip balm on his chapped red lips because he says he doesn't like the way it feels wet and slimy.  Then he licks his lips 100 times a minute.  How is that not wet and slimy?

Its not just other people, either.  Sometimes, I confound myself. 

When given too much time on my hands these past few weeks, I decided we needed a complete rearrangement of the playroom.  I executed this mission with the precision of a marine and the time frame of a.... well, I can't think of anything that actually works on time and efficiently anymore.  But, in a matter of two days, it was repainted, rearranged, reconfigured, etc.  I work tirelessly until its done.  However, it resulted in several photos that I chose not to rehang, and while I needed to get that room done immediately, I am quite content to let the stack of photos sit on my dresser upstairs indefinitely before I put them with the other photos in the bin in my closet.  But, by God, I got the playroom done.

I know that I need a pair of clean black yoga pants to wear to work tomorrow, but I just keep restarting the dryer instead of switching the laundry. In my head, I know I can take it out and move forward, but in my laziness, I feel like it needs a little touch up.

I menu plan for the week and grocery shop Monday mornings.  I rarely actually cook Monday night.  I feel that much effort should be rewarded with take away or eating out. 

So, with all that being said, I am heading to Cheddar's for dinner, because I shopped today and probably wearing dirty yoga pants at work tomorrow. But, if you see me, don't mention how bad I look.  I'm over it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Price of Being a Pushover

I, like every woman, am a weird combination of personality traits.  Not weird in a Cybil way, but more in a Meredith Brooks, "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover / I'm a child, I'm a mother / I'm a sinner, I'm a saint" kind of way.  And yes, I realize every reader now has that song stuck in their heads.  You're welcome. 

I am steadfast in my beliefs and I do not cower.  If you say the R-word, I am on it like a dog on a bone (or a dog on my shoes, if we're using my actual dog as an example).  I am pro things and against things, and while I know my friends and family might disagree, I will respect that, but I won't change.  In contrast, I am a complete wet mop, door mat, knock me over with a feather pushover if you need something.  I am easily guilted into doing whatever project or serving whatever function you need.  Make a note, because if you need something, I will agree to it even when I don't want to.  I'm handy to have around.

I used to assume that this need to please just affects me.  I am pressed to fit it all in and I have the need to make it all really good, so I won't even half ass the stuff I don't want to ass at all.  I'll do it well, but I've come to realize that it isn't just a weight I put on my shoulders.  Its shouldered by my family as well.

When I am stressed to fit it all in, I stress my kids out, too.  I work three part time jobs so I can be home with my children, but I am not doing them any favors when I bite their heads off constantly because their wants aren't fitting into my hectic schedule.  How fair is that?  We're tightly scheduled with the things that my kids want to do, and I'm fine with that because they deserve to participate in scouts and sports.  But, then I add in my own junk and suddenly the 2 minute window I've created for a potty break is gone and my kid needs a drink of water which is outside the time allotted to getting him drinks and suddenly I'm snapping at him for the fact that he dare get thirsty when I am busy.  Good thing I don't have him in daycare when he can get cared for with this much love and affection, right???

The funny part is that I can say no to my friends.  I can tell them that I don't have time to go out, or I don't feel up to it.  I know that they will love me (and/or tolerate me) regardless.  Its the acquaintances I can't say no to.  In my need to prove to a total stranger that I can do it all and help where needed, I am proving to my kids that I put a stranger's needs above their own.  I'm showing that my time is most important solving problems that someone else can solve, instead of the ones in my home which need a mommy to do it best. 

Well, I've decided today that I'm done with that.  I am going to be a good mother, and to do that I might not be able to be a good school, PTO, church, scouts, work volunteer.  I am going to say no to others so that I can say yes to my kids.  I will still have my three part time jobs, but when I'm home with my kids, I'll focus on them full time.  And for that, I'll be liked and appreciated by the ones that mean the most instead of those that matter least. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Really, Girls???

I have a serious pile of work to do today.  Will has been home sick the past two days, and for a 7 year old, he takes up more time than a baby!  Either he feels so awful he needs constant cuddling or he feels decent and is B-O-R-E-D.  Luckily, he's at school and today is my day to "make like a burger and KETCHUP!"  But, today I am sitting at my computer and every site I open has the same story over and over and I finally have to have my say.  Pause while I step onto my soap box...

To Avon (and all other) Teen and Tween Girls With Cell Phones, Ipods, and Other Gadgets:

Your generation is the first of its kind.  You have grown up with technology that I could not have imagined at your age.  I had Prodigy Internet that basically did nothing and a cell phone when I hit college.  You had phones in your hands at birth.  Your phones have Internet, cameras, and the ability to connect to anyone and everyone at the touch of a button (or screen)!  You are connected and tech savvy in a way that my generation was not.  But, here's the part that's a problem.  You are equally as STUPID as all past generations of teens.

The difference between your stupid and my stupid is that my stupid didn't result in a permanent record.  Your stupid does.  I knew girls that would flash their ta-tas to attract boys or keep boys or just make the boys talk about them, but that flashing, while still dumb, stayed between them.  You put your ta-tas out there for the whole world to see.  Really, girls?  Two things to consider....

1.  Because you are the generation of technology rich teens, you ought to know better.  You've been raised in a world where social media spreads faster than the common cold.  Sex tapes and embarrassing photos of celebrities are media frenzies and you know that. No matter how much your boyfriend says he loves you, you know that things happen.  Break ups happen.  Remember how you were in love with a different boyfriend last week, month or year?  And what happens when that love dies, and yet your ta-tas live on in his phone?  IT NEVER GOES AWAY!!!  Look at SnapChat, the app meant to let you send naked selfies and they disappear. Let's all pause to thank the moron who thought that was a good idea.  You and I both know, there are ways around it.  One little button push and the image is saved as a screen shot to be passed around to the masses.  And, maybe you won't see it today.  Maybe not tomorrow.  Maybe when you're running for Senator and your naked teen body is splashed around the tabloids.  Maybe when you're getting married and your future in-laws Google you and they get an eyeful of their new daughter.  You have the technology ladies, don't be ignorant to how it works.

2.  You're better than that.  Boyfriends will love you without selfies.  Nudity is not required to get a boy's attention.  I can picture your eye rolls now, but speaking from someone who may be (gasp) 35.... I was once 15.  I get the pressure you're under, but rather than bowing to the pressure to impress a boy, think about the person that you should value most.  Not him, you!  A boy should earn the right to see that part of you, and that doesn't come quickly.  If you profess love, make him prove it, not you.  And in this case, proof is in the lack of pudding!  If your boyfriend says he loves you, he won't pressure you for something that is just plain DUMB!  It could get you both in trouble, result in  your humiliation and exploitation, and he shouldn't want that for you.  If you are trying to get a boy's attention, that's not the right way.  Dazzle him with your class, your mind, your self esteem.  If it takes your bare breasts to make him see you, he's not really seeing you at all.  He's using you.  Don't volunteer to let someone use you.  You're better than that.  I know that even if I don't know who you are.  If I can tell that, you should be able to see that, too.

I was seriously disappointed to learn about this story.  As the step-mother of an almost 15 year old, it takes my breath away.  Be smarter than this, ladies.  Be stronger than this, girls.  Protect yourselves, women, because I am promise you this, no one else is going to look out for your best interests except you.  Be smart enough to do it.