Parenting: We’re doing it wrong

20170703_141203I cannot recall my mother ever telling me or my brothers what to do with ourselves during our summer vacation; especially not at age 15. My mother never made me a daily list of things to do. She never required proof they had been done.  Hell… she never even knew where we WERE most of the time, And we all turned out JUST FINE!

Yet somehow, as I sit here watching my son clock in another hour of ps4, I feel guilty, like somehow it’s MY fault that he is wasting his summer.

Why has my generation of parents decided that it’s our job to make sure our children’s lives are a never-ending amusement park of memories? Why do we now label parents as bad or lazy if they are actually letting their kids figure shit out on their own?  Every time something negative happens that involves a kid, the world swiftly responds with, “WELL WHERE WERE THE PARENTS!?” We have completely absolved our children from any sense of responsibility, autonomy, or morality, and yet expect them to magically become responsible, autonomous, moral adults when they turn 18. When I was growing up, summertime was me out and about in the neighborhood learning life lessons until the street lights came on. If I did something wrong (and I certainly did!), blame wasn’t placed on my mother, it was placed on me; where it belonged!

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“My Summer Vacation” by Sean J

In truth, WE are the bad parents. We have created children that have no idea what to do with themselves when left to their own devices. We are creating kids that leave home at 18…19….29….. and are immediately reduced to puddles of anxiety because we haven’t let them figure anything out on their own!

The solution? Hell if I know!? If I knew the magic answers, I probably wouldn’t be getting angry side-eye right now because I told my kid to turn off his ps4 to do a french lesson and some laundry.

This week’s lesson

“The only behavior we can control is our own. No one can make us do anything we do not want to do, as long as we are willing to endure the consequences (i.e., punishment for not doing what others want us to do). If we choose to do what others want us to do under the threat of severe punishment, we tend to be passive-aggressive by not performing well. When we try to force others to do what they do not want to do, they may choose not to do it—or choose to also be passive-aggressive by not performing well (Glasser, 1998).”

So there you go. Today I wrote a paper on “Glasser’s choice theory of explanation of human behavior.”  And true to “Colleen behavior,” said paper was due yesterday. See above quote for the reason.  Deadlines. Due dates. Forced reading of shit I don’t want to read. (Ok, that’s not entirely true, most of the stuff I am studying gets me all wound up and ready to throw on my Social Worker Superhero Cape!) Sometimes it gets to me, especially when life gets busy, or I get the stupid flu.  Fortunately, also true to “Colleen behavior,” I always pull it off in the end and somehow have maintained a 4.o.

When researching grad school, I had a choice between brick-and-mortar, or online. I chose online for the flexible schedule and the promise of enhancing my writing skills.  While I absolutely do not regret it, I DO think I made things much more difficult… ok “CHALLENGING,” for myself. Rather than classroom lectures and discussions, it’s reading scholarly journal articles, textbooks, and periodicals, and then formulating a “discussion post,” (in APA format, of course!), and then responding (in APA format, of course!) to other’s “discussion posts” with more reading and research.  So instead of classwork, reading, and maybe writing one or 2 papers a week, it’s basically writing 6-10 papers a week.

It’s all good, though.  It’s tough, sometimes almost insurmountably tough, but it’s wo20161218_154238rth it.  I can already see the difference in my writing from the first class and today.  I have changed my point-of-view on SO. MANY. THINGS. and I LOVE THAT!

Full Disclosure: I had two papers due yesterday and totally made the choice to blow them both off in favor of spending the day with my husband eating grilled cheese sandwiches, drinking, making cookies, watching football, and taking selfies with my puppy. A choice I paid dearly for at 6am this morning. #worthit

 

All in a month….

20161026_212836This past month has been CAAAA-RAAAAZY!  Jessi has come home from Richmond, for what was going to be just a visit, but ended up being a stay for some regrouping and replanning for her next adventure.  I am so proud of her for getting out there and giving it a shot, but I am also proud of her for being able to accept defeat in a healthy way!  Richmond, Virginia is not what we thought it was.  The crime is real.  The public transportation is not. One of the straws that broke the camel’s back (And there were already a whole lotta straws on that guy!) in my mind was when her coworker was carjacked at gunpoint.  ONE TICKET TO BANGOR COMING RIGHT UP!  Having her home has been an adjustment for sure, but since it’s 6:58 AM and I am up blogging to the music of the dishwasher, I think I am getting back on track after a couple weeks of sleeping late, eating crap, and feeling overwhelmed.

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged is because I have been so upset about the whole Trump thing,  and knew that any blog post would turn into yet another rant about racism, sexism, ismism…..  Which is pointless, and honestly, making me feel angry and helpless all the time.  And now he’s been voted President by our archaic electoral college system. I am trying to just avoid thinking about it, so…..  moving on…..

School,  School, School!!  Sean is doing much better, but still needs a LOT of “encouragement!”  Piper just finished puppy school!  Lonnie and Jessi are applying to nursing school, and I just finished up 2 more grad school classes!  I am thinking about where I want to do my field experience in February and am leaning toward…. hell…. I am not really leaning toward anything yet I guess. I am dreading the whole thing, and still not sure how I intend to make it all happen….

But for NOW!!  I have 2 weeks off from school and it’s my FAVORITE time of year for projects and stuff, so I am LOVING LiFE!!  We have tried some new recipes. We made bath bombs.  We have Alton Brown’s Aged Eggnog aging in the fridge.  Lonnie is going to make a batch of beer this weekend. We made Lonnie a new website for his D&D stuff coughcoughnerdcoughcough.  It’s almost time to decorate for Christmas.  Black Friday!!! The new Gilmore Girls is coming out ON Black Friday!!  SO. MANY. FUNS!

I think it’s time to head over to Pinterest!

 

 

Shifting Focus

My jaw has been sore for about a week because I am clenching my teeth at night.  This election is getting to me more than it should.  I think it’s because I have to write 6-10 papers a week for grad school focusing on social justice, oppression, and inequality, then I go on facebook and read people’s posts in defense of Trump and it just sets my teeth on edge.  I find women’s posts especially disappointing. The picture of that woman circulating around wearing that t-shirt that says, “Trump can grab my…..” with the arrow pointing to her crotch just made me sad for humanity. Do you know the comments Trump would make about her imperfect body? I would bet money that she also has ranted about the queers going in the Target bathroom and kids having to see that… and then wears that shirt for kids to see. I wouldn’t want my daughter, or my son,  left alone in a room with Trump.  That right there should be enough to tell you that he is not PRESIDENTIAL! ::::sigh::::

I need to shift my focus away from facebook and election stuff, or I am going to need dentures  and a new jaw by next Tuesday.  I deleted the facebook app off my phone.  I turned off automatic sharing of my blog posts to facebook too.  I have awesome things to focus on that DON’T piss me off and add to my stress levels.  IT’S AWESOME IN NEW ENGLAND!!  I have an adorable puppy! My daughter is coming home soon!  I do fun stuff! Honestly one of the few things I will miss seeing on Facebook is the “I Require Art” page because I love their posts!

 

 

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Autumn in Maine
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Awesome football game with friends, who afterward joked about me being on my phone the whole time, and they are RIGHT!

 

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I require art!

 

How to add an extra day to your week

Last weekend we brought home the German Shepherd puppy we have been talking about getting for years.  While it was talked about for years, it was NOT planned and very spontaneous (Cuz that’s how we roll!).

Sunday night, we realized the cost of spontaneity.

Lonnie: What are we doing with the puppy when I go to work and Sean goes to school?  Crating her won’t work, she will have just woken up and will be all hyper.

So… my usual 9:30-10ish wake-up time is now 6-30.  AND I DON’T HATE IT!  That extra 3 hours a day gives me 21 extra hours a week!!  Holy crap! My house is cleaner.  I’ve had time to get in a hours walk every day, which doubles as puppy training time.  My school work feels less overwhelming. I fall right to sleep bedtime. Lonnie and I are more in sync.  With everything done, I can fully focus on Sean after school when we sit down for homework time.  I actually made it to Zumba this morning! This is freaking fantastic!

And no, it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine.  When 6am rolls around, several days I laid there brainstorming ways to allow me to remain in bed, but decided that the benefits far outweigh the blechiness.  So I have set a rule for myself, that I will get up every day at this time, and at least go downstairs on the couch with a blanket to watch the puppy.  I always end up doing school work, cleaning, or other stuff, but I don’t HAVE to… the only thing I HAVE to do is get my ass downstairs.  My ADHD will take care of the rest 😉

 

 

Disarray

Sometimes there is just a perfect word to describe something.

This is the first quarter of grad school where I have realized that grad school is no joke.  I am certain that’s how they get ya. It starts out all nice and kinda fun and easier than you expected, and then BLAM!!!!!!!, you are in too deep to get out and it’s taking over your life. Welcome to crack… I mean… grad school. In addition to my mountain of papers and discussion posts, our fridge died (which has somehow caused our entire house to be torn apart and our healthy eating has gone to shit), my mother is up visiting from Nashville, and work cases have been far more intense and heartbreaking than usual,  and to top it all off we had to put my husband’s beloved elderly dog to sleep.  Everything really needs to just PIPE THE FUCK DOWN for a bit.

Heading over to visit with Mom (who is staying on the coast in a cute little cottage) tomorrow. and while I can’t completely relax because I have school work to do, I don’t have to be in this house of horrors or deal with any crises, so I am calling it a vacation.  It’s all in the words.