Archives for October 2020

Scary Mommy?

Flipping through the greeting cards at Target, I bumped into this one…

I saw Mom at the store today. (I sure hope she didn’t see me!”)

 

(Note to self: Don’t be that mom)

We’ve all been ‘that mom’ from time to time (I’ll be the first one to raise my guilty hand), but I’m here to say, we can choose a better way, as we gain insight into what builds camaraderie versus what repels our children from us.

We don’t have to perpetuate the problem of the breakdown of generational relationships. Period.

But it takes a lot of wisdom and intentional effort on a daily basis to become the kind of parent our adult kids want to be around.

This time of year always takes me back to this moment…

My son.

He was becoming less mine and more his own in this season.
He rarely needed me anymore.

We hold our breath as we sense this shift.

How could I stay connected to this amazing young man?
How could I nurture our friendship as adults?

His diligent efforts as a home schooler had landed him a full scholarship to the premier cosmetology school in our city to achieve his dream of becoming a hair stylist at age 16. His flexible schedule allowed him to pursue his passion full time and expedite his licensing.

He casually mentioned they were having a dress-up day for Halloween at the student-run salon on campus.
As he created his ingenious Mad Hatter costume pictured above, (awesome, right??!) I had a thought.

I, too, would dress up and surprise him at school that day!
And so I did.

I remember getting lost on the California freeways – sooo hopelessly lost…most intelligent adults would have given up and gone home.

Not me!
I don’t give up.

He literally did not recognize me and dismissed me as a client. #winning

He walked right past me with his cluster of fellow students as they returned from grabbing snacks at the nearby 7-11.

(No, I didn’t mention the Dr. Pepper he was holding was crap and would tank his immune system within 15 minutes, and that he shouldn’t be drinking it with those blasted poison GMO non-food taco-flavored Doritos, and that Halloween was the devil’s holiday, and that I smelled cigarettes. Nope.)

Such ‘wisdom’ is better left unsaid in this season of transition, as our children become adults. (I’m laughing out loud right now!)

Oh, how much I’ve learned as a mother of adult children. 
And I’m so glad I’ve employed it (umm…most of the time), because my children don’t hide from me now that they’re grown.

No, my journey of parenting adults hasn’t been Easy Street, but I’ve determined to glean the treasure in it all, win the battles and live to see the dreams God has put in my heart.

(And I always make sure to take really good notes when I’m in the school of hard knocks!)

I’d love to share my notes with YOU because on the other side of my inner battles, I believe I can help you navigate this transition to parenting your adult kids so you, too, can enjoy more peace, better sleep, less guilt and painful regret while fostering healthy friendships with your grown-up kids.

I don’t share fancy pants platitudes and religious blah blah blah. I believe in super practical, easily actionable advice. And I’ve got some hard-earned wisdom I can hardly wait to share with you!

Join me HERE!

 

Got millennials? You’ll get me…

If you’re parenting young adults at the moment, here’s an article I think you’ll enjoy. Tears in My Coffee…

No tricks just my favorite treats...

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I do my best to sow lots of seeds toward good heath, but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat treats!

A girl’s gotta have some fun, and we’re privileged to have some seriously awesome goodies available these days that are scrumptious and better than Snickers, M&Ms and Almond Joy bars!

Here are 3 of my absolute favs I buy regularly and highly recommend!

P.S. Costco sells them here in the U.S. so you get lots for your money!

UNREAL DARK CHOCOLATE COCONUT MINIS
  • 3 SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: Organic Coconut, Organic Cassava Syrup & Dark Chocolate
  • ONLY 3G SUGAR: we keep sugar to a minimum, without using sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. We carefully formulate our coconut bars with only the best, quality ingredients that put flavor first without all of the sugar.
  • NON-GMO
JO JO’S ORIGINAL GUILT-FREE CHOCOLATE
  • HALF THE SUGAR, DOUBLE THE DELICIOUS Always low-sugar and low carb but more importantly JOJO’s Dark Chocolate is so delicious you won’t actually believe it’s low-sugar.
  • SATISFY YOUR SUGAR CRAVINGS, 70% Dark Chocolate, Pistachios, Almonds & Cranberries + Plant-based protein
  • EVERYTHING YOU WANT, NOTHING YOU DON’T- Certified Gluten Free, NON-GMO, Soy Free, Paleo, Vegan & Keto Friendly
LAKANTO MONKFRUIT SWEETENER
  • Contains zero net carbs, zero calories, and is zero-glycemic; Perfect for cookies, coffee, desserts, and other sweet, sugar-free treats
  • Matches the sweetness of sugar; A healthy cup-for-cup alternative to ordinary sugar
  • Works with ketogenic, diabetic, candida, paleo, vegan, low-carb, low-sugar, non-GMO, and all-natural diets
  • White sugar substitute for baking and cooking
  • A mix of monk fruit extract and erythritol with no fiber, no maltodextrin, and no artificial flavoring or sweeteners

Taylor Ransom creates and acts in this Halloween parody – a brilliant, sometimes stinging, satirical sketch that most likely has its roots in his childhood as a church kid.

I’m rolling…

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Tears in My Coffee

Today my son texted to say he would be at my door soon. I assumed he must need something as he leaves tomorrow on an important business trip, and I’m always at the ready with a stocked fridge, natural remedies, stain removal kit and answers to the riddles of life for my young man. I was sure he had a to-do list as long as his guitar-playing four-foot arms, and the stress and preoccupation to go with it. He’s a music producer, performer and writer, stopping at several cities on this particular journey for collaborating and production, carrying responsibility and weight beyond his young years.

A few moments later, he bounced in and declared, “I wondered if you’d want to walk to get coffee; I’ve been wanting to take you out before I leave town!”

I must have looked like a raccoon staring at headlights in the dark, mumbling to find my words…sooo not prepared for this gift. Whenever my children present me with this mom-luxury, I hesitate awkwardly, then my first reaction is to say “thank you SO much but really, you have soooo many important priorities in life, it’s OK you don’t have to go with me or spend your limited time and money on ME your boring old (limping) (click here for the lowdown) mother!”

But I overrode my insecurities and said, “Sure, let’s do it!” I flew into hurry mode, spending just enough time on myself not to be an embarrassing hag-mother. Fifteen minutes max and we were strolling on the sunny side of the street in our urban neighborhood and yes, I was giddy as a schoolgirl. (Funny how the tables turn in midlife.)

I can’t express what it means to have my grown son choose to walk with me on this golden fall day, sharing his thoughts and dreams aloud. My beaming grin tells the world what a lucky girl I am; yet just beneath my smiling eyes, tears threaten because I recognize this moment, this blessed now, this glorious pause and I think, “what more could a midlife mama want?!”

We arrived in the bustling cafe to order. When he pulled the cash from his pocket to pay – that wrinkled well-traveled paper bill representing his thousands of hours of study and preparation, the hundreds of hours of driving cross-country performing his art – that humble slice of green left after the rent, utilities and cell bills were paid, the new guitar strings purchased, the gas tank filled, THIS! the portion he chose to spend on me rather than on himself…

Oblivious to the cashier, his outstretched hand held what represented his very life and here he was, giving it back to me in his love language: a perfect cup of fair-trade, shade grown, single-origin hipster drip, just to bless me, his Mama. I had to turn away because his sacrifice meant so much to me.

We lingered long out front on a bench, rays of autumn sunshine highlighting our deep and meaningful conversation…I hung onto him tight as we strolled home, wanting to freeze the frame, to replay the tape again and again. And I saved the cup until I see him again. A symbol, empty now and yet so full of priceless memories to me, his Mama.

    THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

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    Cut Through the Noise: What Do YOU See In Your Little One?

    I have to ask, how are we assessing our kids? A proper assessment assures us we’re on the right track as we aim our children toward their destinies.

    When my sons were growing up, most schools administered broad assessment tests once toward the end of the year, while report cards went out quarterly. I never put a lot of stock in what the S.A.T., C.A.T or the I.T.B.S said about my kids. They always tested acceptably on these, but the scores didn’t carry a lot of weight with me.

    In our home, their progress was monitored daily and their character assessed relentlessly; those were the tests I was concerned about. I didn’t care if they’d read every book that Nietzsche or Darwin had written and memorized it backwards. It didn’t matter if they’d been invited to honors classes. At the end of the day, from my perspective all that stuff was meaningless if there wasn’t character, integrity, and world-changing purpose in their lives.

    I found it necessary to continually resist the standards set by popular culture as they related to my five sons. Often the world’s perspective was diametrically opposed to how I viewed true success for my boys.

    If my children didn’t possess prized qualities of distinction like perseverance, respect for authority, quick obedience, faithfulness, and a solid work ethic, then what kind of impact could they possibly have in our world?

    If they didn’t display active compassion to the hurting, and think outside of the tiny box of their own personal happiness, then in actuality, no matter what the test scores told me, I would have failed to produce a successful man.

    John Taylor Gatto, former public school educator and prolific author, had this to say about the children he taught for three decades in the public system:

    “The children I teach are indifferent to the adult world. The children I teach have almost no curiosity. The children I teach are cruel to each other; they lack compassion for misfortune; they laugh at weakness; they have contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly. The children I teach are dependent, passive, and timid in the presence of new challenges.” *

    This assessment is troubling. How many educated children of our day would be similar? That is a specimen you and I don’t want to produce. A person who is highly educated, but without character, is an educated idiot. God knows there are more than enough of them populating the earth as it is. Many of them teach at our universities.

    Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Education is important. In fact, it’s so important to me that I labored long and hard educating my children for over 20 years. I took their life preparation very seriously, but all my eggs weren’t in the academic basket.

    This world’s system of assessing our children is based on their good looks, athletic prowess, personal charisma, academic standing, fine arts talent, and so on. This information is collected and used to compare our kids with others their age. Comparisons are often destructive and can prove to be a death knell to us and our children. And although a child may excel in any or all of these categories, he may still greatly lack true substance in his life.

    Sadly enough, grandparents, educators, and adult friends aren’t always a good litmus test either. Depending on what their basis for evaluation is, they might be out in left field in their assessment of your child.

    I’m not endorsing lone-ranger parents with an independent spirit, but I am saying the buck stops with you. You have to own the responsibility of knowing your child, assessing your child through the lens of your values, gathering wisdom from those you deeply respect and applying it appropriately to your unique situation.

    This isn’t a one-size-fits-all microwave-speed method of child rearing, because, trust me, you don’t want a one-size-fits-all microwave-speed method for your little miracle who is as unique and set apart as his or her own fingerprint indicates.

    *Gatto, John T. Dumbing Us Down (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992), pp. 30–32.

    If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.

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    Letting Go: the first day of school on repeat.

    There is a season when we control most everything in our children’s lives. That’s the easy season.
    It’s when Jesus takes the wheel when they’re about 17 we begin to lose our hair and drink more wine.

    It seems my new Mama job these days is saying “goodbye.” Can you relate? It doesn’t matter how old they are or how many times they turn to walk out that door, my heart always dips a little and I feel vulnerable and sappy.

    “Mama I’m just goin’ to school! The store! Work! Band practice!” they’ll say.
    You just don’t get it, hon. You’re my baby. Always and forever.

    I never knew fear until I had grown kids. Not the real extended version, that is. The kind that robs you of untold hours of sleep, creates grey hair and indigestion and drives you to the Doc for sleep aids so you can avoid the looney bin and wake up somewhat sane to face the world. (Until you realize medicated sleep leaves you ‘functioning’ in a fog the next day.)
    Yawn. Sigh.

    Today at 7 am, wrapped in my oversized granny robe with hag hair and tired eyes, I followed my son to the front door like an anxious puppy.

    I hugged him tight, reminding him of this and that, urging him to “be safe!” then I leaned hard against the open front door as I watched him get in the car and start the engine. The frigid air confronted me, adding to my melancholy – ice on the cars and streets, frost on the lawn, and I pulled my robe in snug and waited. He hung up from his cell call, fastened his seatbelt, backed out and creeped up the steep hill.
    I didn’t move. I just stood there, shivering, watching him until I could catch no further glimpse of his paid off 90s white Toyota…and I saw my mother in my mind’s eye.

    There she was back in the 70s, all five foot two of her, standing on the front stoop of our Midwestern rambler in her faded cotton robe with no make-up and greying pixie urging me with her timeless mantra, “Be careful!” and a hug. Then she would stand there for the longest time, while I started the car, organized my seat belt and piles of stuff, backed out, and gassed it up the hill. There she’d be, still standing with the door cracked open…it could be 30 below zero and she wouldn’t budge until I was clear out of sight. I never understood why, until now, as I watch my son do the same…

    How we linger, hug twice, say things like,
    “Be safe! Drive careful! No loud music, no texting, and please don’t go the interstate! LOVE you a million billion zillion!!!” while madly blowing kisses.
    When actually we’re saying,

    “Please let me look at you as long as I can. Please don’t get hurt. Please don’t ever not come home to me. Please choose your friends wisely. Please forgive me for when I’ve been a bad mom. Please know the depth of my love for you. You are my everything.”

    As I fixed my gaze on my twig-thin teen-aged college student loaded down with his thirty pound backpack heading out into the fray, little did he know what my heart was communicating. How could he? He’s only a boy, learning of life, oblivious to the real dangers…the risk of driving up that hill.

    At that moment I understood my mother and her annoying, clinging, obsessive behavior and I appreciated her caring so much for me, so many years ago.

    Yep, full circle. I get it now.

     

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