Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Entrepreneurial traits

Entrepreneurial traits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parenting –  RULES and PARENTING GUIDELINES – we all struggle with these.

I have given some thought recently into my parenting “rules’ and guidelines. My “thoughts” were more of me venting due to frustration with my son’s behavior last weekend. It led to him being grounded for the week and a two part series (discussion) I like to call the infamous, “Coming to Jesus Meeting.”

As for Rules a Guidelines – they are, you know, those things that you do or don’t do. Your pet peeves and the things you choose to enforce and unfortunately let slide. (For the record, I hate picking my battles. It seems too arbitrary and inconsistent.) It seems that almost every parent has a different set of these. I have seen that even within a household the mother and father have different and sometimes competing “rules and guidelines.” That may not be a bad thing. What works for some parents and kids may not work for others. EVERY situation is unique as we are dealing with people here. And God created all of us differently. We all have different backgrounds and circumstances that shaped who we are and our beliefs and ideas.There are things that I’m a stickler about ad things I let slide. Alicia and I are similar in most and different in others. Again, every parent has their ideas for what they think is the best way to do it. I’m by far not perfect and neither our my little angels (tongue-in-cheek).

1. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I’m a firm believer in this. I’m the parent/father/husband. I have executive privilege. I pay the bills and until you have your own house, it’s my rules – my way. I can stub my toe and say “shit” you cannot. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. I can talk over you when you are being disrespectful or I need to make sure you shut up and hear me. As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure you are taken care of. What I say more than likely is more important than yours. What you say is important, too, so let me say my thing, you acknowledge, then say what you need to say. In summary: there’s a pecking order: parents then kids. CLEAR line in the sand.

2. When I say something you comply. Not in a minute. Not when you finish whatever you are doing. Not “hold on.” And do not say something smart. If you don’t like what I said or asked you to do, say whatever you want UNDER YOUR BREATH. I better not hear it. You can roll your eyes, grit your teeth, or whatever you want. Just do not let some disrespectful word fly from your mouth that I can hear.

3. Empty threats. I hate empty threats. Part 1: Don’t say “do —– now” and then start counting. If your kids are over age 6 ( kindergarten) you do’t need to count. Do it right now. Ok, I’ll count. ONE! That’s all you get. Part 2: If you do —–, you are going to get —–. Final warning. 10 minutes later “final warning” an hour later “final warning.” Part 3: when we get home, (you go straight to bed, you’re getting a spanking, I’m taking —— privilege) and then you don’t do it. As I said, last weekend one of my son drove me nuts. He wouldn’t listen and did something really really stupid. He had one warning on that Friday. All week, he had no TV, no video games, no DVD player, no games on his phone had to clean house, empty all trash all week, and clean a bathroom. We watched TV during dinner one night ( a rare occasion) to watch something and he had to eat by himself in the dining room. I’m sorry but too bad. You acted like a jack ass, you get no privileges.

4. Your kid has tons of privileges- phones, video games, nice clothes/shoes, electronics, etc and treats you like shit. Are you kidding me. The little ungrateful f***ker needs to be in their room with nothing. No privileges. Early bed and some chores added. How dare you bust your ass at work to provide for their needs AND extras and have to deal with that. Your kids should thank you every day. They should have chores and responsibilities, too. No free rides and most importantly they should be respectful.

5. Structure: I am a firm believer (now I am) in structure. Structure everything. A small example – on the weekends kids can stay up later but in general still have a bed time. They need their rest and most parents, if you are like me, need some down time, too. At some point, the house needs to be in chill mode.

6. I break this one. There is no need to scream and act like a fool. A kid says or does something stupid. Go back to your plan of enforcing whatever it is you had in mind and keep cool. Wish I could keep this.

7. Be affectionate. Hug your kids as tell them you love them an are proud of them. Even when you are fussing. On good days and bad days. I find that I do this at bedtime after prayers are said. It’s one on or private time an I know I have their attention. (Hint here: PRAYER TIME)

8. Censorship: it’s hard to e everywhere your child goes especially as they get older, but I feel censorship should be employed whenever possible. I cringe at some of the things they have seen or heard on YouTube and even on regular tv. We didn’t have that stuff growing up. And we weren’t allowed to see and hear that stuff. I live in fear what they will hear on tv, at school or on the radio, internet, etc.

9. Quitting/ crappy participation: If you sign your kid up for a sport, chorus, theater, scouts, etc. They need to participate. They need to attend all meetings and practices and games. And if they don’t like it, they need to at least finish the season/term. We dont miss practice or rehearsals because little Johnny or Suzy doesn’t feel like going. Same for parents. No shit. You had a long day and are tired, too. The activity isn’t about you. Teach the the kid it’s important to stick with it and take them anyway. When you signed them up, did you think a unicorn was going to handle the transportation?  Don’t teach them to be a quitter or slack ass.

10. Guard them against your lifestyle: Hey you might be divorced, single, or a sob cheater. Whatever I’m not going to judge. Just please spare the kids from your flavor or the month. They don’t need to be exposed to whomever you think will be the most awesome step-parent ever. Chances are it won’t work anyway- as statistically blended families separate- and you are in a fantasy world of happily ever after. Summary: guard the kids against your flame of the month. Your kids should meet the person once some time has past and it obvious that a long term deal is imminent.

11.  Don’t be an idiot and do things like smoke in your car/house with your kids. Don’t be friends with your kids on Facebook and post things they shouldn’t see. Don’t use your kids as leverage. And chances are if they screwed up in school it was more likely than not their fault. Not the teachers or Johnny B Bad from down the street. Chances are he didn’t put a gun to your kids head and forcibly coerce your kid into participating. Try teaching your kid to be a leader an not a follower. See also the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible. Don’t blame the teacher for your kid’s bad grade or the crappy school system.

12. Be involved and push education. Know what they are learning. Talk to them about it. Study with them. Make sure homework is done. Check, double check, triple check. Pop in once in while and ask the teacher how things are going with little Johnny. Hell an email would even suffice. Stay with your finger to the pulse. Kids get one shot at education and in many ways it is the only opportunity to have a better life than their current one and most certainly their best opportunity for successful independence.

13. Idle hands are the devils work shop. My grandmother an great-grandmother used to say this all the time. I hated it then but am a firm believer now. So so true. I have noticed when the kids are busier with school, sports, church, etc they are much more respectful, they fight less, and get more rest. Almost ever time I hear “we’re bored” trouble is soon to follow. Part 2: A lot of kids these days don’t help out with things like yard work and chores. We had no choice growing up. We were not allowed to play until the grass was cut, limbs picked up, etc. Mama would take us to the beach at Edisto ONLY AFTER our buckets of tomatoes were picked. The longer it took (we stood around whining) the less time we had at the beach. As a kid you quickly learn to reason with yourself to bust ass and get it done so that you can do what you want to do.

It is time we all get off our lazy asses as parents and do our jobs. We run this show. My .02. 🙂

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toys

Anyone ever pause and watch your kids play? I do quite often. I have actually pretended to be playing working on my laptop or iPhone so that they would not know I was watching and listening. The more fascinating kid conversations I have heard are when Jeremy and Ronald are playing Leggos. Apparently, if you switch a head and arms on a guy he becomes a pirate-zombie-police officer-soldier with a very large assault weapon. I always listen to see if there is an logic behind this transformation and what this new super-Leggo man is capable of doing.

As an adult I think we males do something very similar. Like putting so and so’s face on so ans so’s body to create super sexy woman. Sorry, I got distracted and that’s not the point. It is neat to listen and think about what is going on in their little heads.

Those guys love Leggos and the Leggos of today aren’t what we had. Today they have moving parts, glow-in-the-dark, and the themes of the sets are all over the map. Also funny is when they get a set of Leggos for birthday or Christmas and Alicia spends hours putting the set together. I tried the first time to tell her to let the kids do it and that it was part of the experience, but she wasn’t having that. Deep down, who doesn’t like playing with them?

My favorite toys when I was their age was not Leggos. I was completely enthralled with GI Joe action figures and He-Man. My favorite Joe was Tunnel Rat. He had the huge backpack. I also like the Bridge layer. My favorite He-Man was He-Man himself, except I had the one where the shield on the front dented twice before being resent. It showed his wounds in battle. I also had Castle Greyskull. Since my birthday was so close to Christmas, I had to ask my grandmother for it, as compensation for both occasions. It was well worth it. I loved that thing and all was great until I took it outside. I mean, you cant have a castle without a moat. So i dug a moat and filled it with water. later when it was time to come in, my mom wouldn’t allow this muddle castle back in. So, I left it outside. It seemed as if my room was empty that night.

Life lesson I learned here was that I just tell the kids to wash their toys  off and dry them, but that they can bring them back in the house because the experience of having to leave mine outside sucked.

“Now you know. And knowing is half the battle – GI JOE!”

toy3

toy2

On Disappointment

Posted: June 27, 2013 in Life, parenting, relationships

Disappointment: Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself.

Disappointment can be: getting that dreadful call from school that little Johnnie kicked Jimmy at recess.

Disappointment can be: Andrew Pinnock fumbling the ball on a pitch to the left that had him wide open at the 2 yard line for the game winner in 2002 against Georgia. (after you stood in the heat and driving rain for 4 hours)

Disappointment can be: Loving someone and not feeling it returned.

Disappointment can be: The cake that burns in the oven.

Disappointment can be: Ordering NO onions on your burger only to take a bite and CRUNCH, taste buds tarnished for the rest of the meal.

Disappointment can be: walks and costly errors that send your team home 1 run shy of the World Series.

Disappointment can be: Going to he ATM and and the machine telling you “You do not have enough funds to cover this withdrawal” (Screaming Frig You! is acceptable).

Disappointment can be: waiting for something in the mail and going to the box each day only to find junk mail and/or bills.

Disappointment can be: getting a haircut then getting out of the chair and thinking “HO – LY shit, What have I done?”

Disappointment can be: the last night of a trip – disappointed it must end.

There are many of these pitfalls that get us down. I recommend getting your blues tanned as the better alternative to therapy. 8 hours of sunshine, 1 bottle of rum, a grilled burger (no onions), some SPF 30, some saucy swimwear, a cool beach towel, and may the  words of Bobby Boucher – “Happiness is magic rays of sunshine that come down when you are feeling blue” heal your wounds.

For Friday fun, I’m going to share something that I’m embarrassed to love. As I type this, I cringe and slink down into my chair and under my desk.

I am. *sigh

Embarrased to say.* shift in chair

That I “love” Taylor Swift.

There. Pure honestly.

She can’t sing very well. Her shows are over-produced and a Liz Rose in Tennessee writes most of her songs. Her dating life reminds me of this guy with the infamous line: “I get older, my women stay the same age.”

matt

Taylor, You’re 23, hun. Maybe you should date guys that are DONE with high school.  She’s 5’10” so that eliminates a lot of guys, so maybe her pool is shallow. She does have 165 million reasons to be choosy.

Her songs make me laugh. I often play MEAAAN while riding in the truck by myself. I sing the song obnoxiously loud. A while back, “We are NEVER NEVER EVER ….” was my wake up alarm. I jumped up and went running screaming to shut it off. (Was COMPLETELY awake then)

I have no idea why, but for some reason I felt the need to share this with my teenage stepson: NICE! Father of the year right there. 🙂 Nice lacy whites Taylor.

Back on track here. I’m embarrassed to say I think Taylor is awesome so long as she’s not sporting the chopped of bang look:

taylor bang

No Taylor.

 

yes taylor

 

YES Taylor. yes, yes, yes.

Oh, well the secret is out. Happy Friday everyone.

Almost everyone has a hobby or interest that they love doing. It can be fishing, hunting, reading, facebooking, tweeting, playing video games, candy crush, playing a sport, following a team, or even following their favorite television program. You cant wait for the next opportunity to participate in whatever it is you like doing. It pulls at you like a jealous mistress. The mistress that lurks when you are home with your family.

Bonne Esperance, Saint Croix, United States Vi...

Bonne Esperance, Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My jealous mistress is a 27 by 6 mile wide island known as St. Croix. I miss her and everything about her. She’s beautiful. She’s smells wonderful and she warms my heart. Upon arrival, I embrace her with a deep breath, a stretch of my arms and a calm warm smile that flows from the heart to my mouth. I shut my eyes for a second and take it all in. Ah! Here at last. I begin greeting everyone I recognize which is usually a lot of people. Quite often Dave or Wally is there to pick me up. More smiles as I embrace brothers whom I have been close to for many years.

There I am happy. I stare out the window as we drive into Christiansted. I like to watch the changing landscape and view all the roadside vendors. And I stare at the water. That blue is hypnotizing. I once told Alicia her blue eyes could stare into my soul. Its the same effect here.

It wouldn’t be a mistress if it didn’t compete for my love. See, my kids and family are here – stateside. To be there, I had to be without them. To be with them, I couldn’t be there. I believe it became obvious to Alicia when she kept catching me just staring out the window. I remembered a quote from Herb Louthian that said,  “The law was a jealous mistress.” (He’s a lawyer.) It hit me. I was infatuated and I lusted after something else. I have been back and forth I estimate 50 times since August 2003. I have been there as short as 2 days and as long as 3 months.

In September 2009, I took Alicia for 9 days. Me, Alicia, and the mistress. Its the closest I ever want to come to a threesome. I was nervous and scared. What is she hated it? My goal was to live there once the kids were in college. Little did I know she would end up falling in love with her, too. In fact, if you ever read her blogs, you’ll see that she posts more about St. Croix than I do. I actually saw her cry when she had to tell her goodbye and board the plane.

She made a lot of friends during that trip. We were invited to live with complete strangers in little apartments above their shops in Fredericksted. We’re odd for saying it to most Cruicians, but we love the West End and Fredericksted. Cane Bay, which is my favorite beach is located nearby. The most amazing drive is Cane bay to Fredericksted via the rain forest. Stopping of course to see Momma, having a shot of MommaWanna, and sharing a beer with her pigs.

Sunday Fundays are spent on the Chinese Cookie anchored out at Buck Island. Saturday is the party bus which hits so many local beach bars you forget how many you have visited, where your flip flops are, you “real” name, and of course your shirt.

English: Buck Island, St. Croix, USVI Slovenči...

English: Buck Island, St. Croix, USVI Slovenčina: Buck Island, St. Croix, Americké Panenské ostrovy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are so many places I love to eat that i fear naming any would leave some off. My top four are 1. David J’s deck (haha so I can stumble to my room), 2. Savant, 3. Bachus, and 4. Kendricks.

So see my mistress, is beautiful, can cook, has awesome curves, is fun to play with, encourages me to bring along my wife, and offers things that cannot be found anywhere else.

One thing I have failed to mention adequately. St. Croix is home to some of the nicest people in the world. EVERYONE speaks. You announce “Hello” when you enter a room in St. Croix and everyone responds. Everyone gives from the heart. All of those lives form the Bob Marley songs are true. Its a one love community. In St. Croix you can find someone worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sitting next to someone who is homeless and sharing a beer and a laugh.

cane baycane bay sign

I leave you with Cane Bay Beach. The sun set behind those mountains in the distance. It resembles the fire that that burns in my heart that one day, we’ll be living just on the other side of that hill.

I have 4 children; 2 are biological (ages 8 and 9) and 2 are step-children (ages 11 and 13). You could almost group them into pairs, but the most obvious pair wouldn’t work. During the course 9.875 years of being a parent I have had the luxury , unfortuante opportunity to be a single parent. HOLY CRAP. As I looked through the recently pressed page, I saw hundreds of single moms. Not one single dad. I’m not sure if there are any or that they choose to write about other things. I skimmed a few blogs as I was brainstorming for this one. I also didn’t have to look very far to see my very own case study. My Alicia has been a single mom even when married as many ladies noted (“It felt that way because Mr. X was never around or participated.”) She was a single mom between her first marriage and me, and often was a single mom with me. I used to travel A LOT out of the country, sometimes for a month or two. We also had our bumps in the road and she felt like she was alone in the parenting gig as did I. (Look, it ain’t easy adding 3 and 3 and expecting 1.)

Rarely did I ever hear My Alicia complain. I often think of this other lady when I think of My Alicia: superwoman

SAUCY and TOUGH. Sorry, dear. thats the only image I googled, promise ;-). My Alicia is superwoman in every way possible :-0

Until she started blogging – her “new therapy” I really only had a small clue as to what she thought and felt. Now I have a better understanding of her internal challenges. And, as I said, I read some others on here to gain their perspective. i see a lot of these type folks – we can do it, a lot of angry folks and a lot of sad ones who sound like the moving van just pulled out of the driveway loaded down with all their hopes and dreams as they sit on the steps and wave goodbye while sobbing.

I wanted to add my take on it since I have been on the “other team.” I was a single dad while married to my first wife (“C”). We had two infants and she was in med school full time. She was basically out of the house 6 days a week for 16 hours and 1 day a week for 12 hours. I was cool with it at the time ans I loved being a parent and having control over the kids. (control freak alert). Maybe I latched on to them because the kids reciprocated my love and I was not getting it else where. I have no idea and thought of that before typing this. Three years later came the divorce and I was “single” officially. Alicia and I married 2 years later.

Back to the main topic: Let me share the “advantages” about single parenting (and those tailored to Moms):

1. “C” and I are completely opposite when it comes to parenting. I’m the drill sergeant she is the “friend.” She fought my style tooth and nail ever since we separated in 2007 up until she moved out-of-state last summer. (Oddly enough, I have been told by here twice in the past year that the kids are doing great and I have done a great job). Obviously, I have them full time now and since moving away, she doesn’t interfere any longer – AWESOME! If the two “parents” aren’t on the same page, it will only cause repeated problems. If you re-marry, you better pick someone close to your ideals. (no one is going to be exactly like you and you (me) ain’t the perfect parent, either) Less hassle from ex = more peace

2. If you are a woman (sure as hell don’t offer these for single dads), you get “free” things such as Mom’s Morning Out, Free Oil Changes, Free House or Lawn Maintenance, and Quite often you hear “She’s a Single Parent” which usually tows a feeling of sympathy. Also, you get child support. If if that “lazy, no-good asshole” doesn’t pay, the Courts send out the deputies to pick his ass up and drag him to Court to face the wrath of the Judge and the angry stares from his ex. free babysitting, house care, lawn care, car care, and overzealous judges who have jail power who have your back.

3. You are acknowledged. Do you know how many times I have been at a PTA meeting, awards day, field trip, sporting event, or church event and while standing their with the kids, the speaker begins the message with “Alright, MOMS….” Respect

4. Children acceptance. I bet if there was a study performed, you’d find that it is easier for a woman to find a man who will love and care for her preexisting children than it is for a guy to find the same. If you don’t find someone who will genuinely love your children – good luck to you. Easier for women to transition.

5. Single Moms have “bro” help. Quite often you have friends that will come chill with you at home or go places with kids and almost always a girl will help with something. Not dudes! I can see calling up a bro now: “Hey man, wanna come hang ouy? I have some laundry to do and then we can hang out.” (Dail tone) “Hello? Hello? Dude?” social interactions

Do you know what “benefits” single Dads get? JACK SHIT! If there is 1 slip up with the kids, its because they need their mother. Certainly not a pat-on-the-back-he’s-a-single-parent. No one offered to come clean my house, or give me a break to go fishing, or service my car or lawn, and don’t get me started on child support in arrears. Nope, single dads are expected to do everything a single mom does, AND the husband/daddy chores, too. And as I said one slip up and its because they are with the Dad as if Father’s have no business having full custody.

Well, some of us do deserve it. And stop patting guys on the back for “doing the right thing” which usually entails paying child support on time and picking up the kids when they are supposed to. Single parent or not, dad or mom, it doesn’t matter. YOU are a parent. Its your damn job anyway. You signed up for it when you consented to sex. Deal with it. And no parents (mostly Dads) its not babysitting when your wife goes out for a few hours. You don’t babysit you own damn kids.

 

bang head here

In psychology, frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be.

Some of the top stress causing factors are:

1. Employment (lack thereof, limited growth, company pressures, financial concerns);

2. Children;

3. Financial Concerns;

4. Interpersonal Relationships (spouses/significant others, family, friends, co-workers);

5. Traffic;

6. Technology – “my computer is frozen”;

7. Services – Cable/phone/internet are down;

8. Conflicting schedules (family, work, etc.) and limited amount of time to spread yourself out;

9. Not being able to come up with a topic to blog about;

10. This little number:

puzzle bra

 

Life is full of stress inducing hurdles each day. For some, those squeezy balls do the trick. I used to chomp the hell out of ice, but that doesn’t work anymore and I  often sliced the roof of my mouth by chomping the ice into shards. Lately, I have given deep thought into getting one of those hanging body bags (punching bags) although I have genuine fear of causing my hands to suffer from boxer’s fracture. For those that don’t know,  a “boxer’s fracture” occurs as a result of axial loading of the 4th and/or 5th transverse neck of the metacarpal bone secondary to an indirect force such as striking an object with a closed fist. I have done this once already and my 4th digit which has not been deformed for 15 years because I was too stubborn to have it reset. If I do make this purchase I’m wise enough now to purchase some tape and some gloves. Other things I like to do to rid my body of stress and frustration is 1. dropping 40 bucks in the batting cages and smashing 80 mph pitches from the left and right side, fishing, and/or blasting my iPod, with gangsta rap (yeah I know), some awesome rock, or even a little country. The batting cages with the iPod is the best thing ever.

If you ever run into me at the batting cages with my iPod blasting —stay away! Haha far away.

Feel free to leave your stress inducers in the comments and/or how you like to expel all that penned up frustration. I’m going to get some quarters. No. 10 has me angry today. Or was it No. 5? Who cares, give me the quarters.