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April 11, 2012 / Tara

Struggling with “Doing It All”

Raise your hands if you just said “me too!” I am really feeling the crunch today.  I don’t know what more I can do to get organized.  I think I have just taken on too much.  I’ve got a list the size of my arm of stuff I need to do for my blogs and my business.  I’ve got the school fundraiser paperwork to get off in the Fed-Ex which I don’t think will take very long but I just need to do it.  And I’m supposed to be taking my online class that I signed up for to help me with some of this Social Media stuff.  Why I thought that was a good idea right now, I don’t know! lol

Oh yeah, and I’ve got a messy house destroyed by Easter and a chicken in the crock-pot I need to do something with later to photograph and blog about.  Making a “2 for 1 dinner” out of it, I think I know what i’m doing but we’ll see how that goes later.  Plus I get to go to family therapy with the eldest of my kids today who right now is laying in bed because she couldn’t be bothered to go to school today.  Tell me I’m looking forward to that??

You know what I’d like to do? No, drink a martini is the wrong answer…well at least until it’s about 5 pm my time.  What I’d like to do is take off on a Momcation!  Think anyone would notice?

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February 14, 2012 / Tara

Who Hates College Board Like I Hate College Board?

What is this scam they call College Board?  Did this even exist 22 years ago when I was applying to college?  Oh crap, I just outed my age!  Whoopsie.  Seriously though, I just got done filling out a CSS profile with my daughter for her financial aid for a few schools and they charge a $9 application fee and then a $16 per school fee.  What is up with that?  Didn’t I already pay to apply to these colleges and now I have to pay more money to fill out the form that they require to make their lives easier because they can’t just go by what the federal government says we should be paying.

I think I’ve put out about $700 to College Board in the last two or so years between AP test fees, SAT fees, SAT Subject Test fees, sending extra copies of scores to the schools above the four they will send for free or whatever.  I should have invented College Board.  Maybe I will make a competitor.  Call it Rip Off Board.

GRRR.  Maybe I need some more chocolate!

 

February 13, 2012 / Tara

My Own Social Media Parenting Moment

So by now, most of us have seen the YouTube video of one dad’s answer to his daughter’s Facebook rant about her family.  I have to admit when he was reading her post at first I thought, “well, wow you kind of treat that child like a slave from the sounds of it” but of course knowing teens tend to exaggerate, I reserved judgement until the father made his comments at the end. I have two teens, I know how it goes.  Would I have shot my kid’s laptop?  Well my kid doesn’t have a laptop anymore.  My oldest, now 18 had one but we have gone through 4 power cords and it is old and sluggish so I’ve been waiting til she graduates from high school this year to buy her a new one as a graduation gift.  She would like one now but truth be told, she doesn’t deserve one.  My middle child, 15 does not have a computer of his own.  He may have one soon though because he is pulling his weight around here.  Does what is asked for him (most of the time) and gets decent grades. I would buy him a laptop.

They both have an IPod Touch though.  So either on their Ipod or my laptop, they are able to go on the internet.  There have been a few times when my dd posted things on Facebook and I made her delete them.  Only once was it a complaint about me.  She was required for me to be her Facebook friend but mainly because I wanted to make sure noone was harrassing her on Facebook due to some bullying issues she had in Freshman year.  I told her now that she’s 18 if she doesn’t want to be my Facebook friend, she doesn’t need to be.  So far she surprisingly hasn’t unfriended me! Of course she only just turned 18.

Now before you think this will be a heartwarming tale of how my daughter praised me on Facebook (well she did once… happiest day of my life?), let me bring you back to reality.  See we are having a little disagreement this young one and I.  She thinks she should live in my house rent free and do no chores unless she feels like it and I should do whatever she needs.  I disagree.  So over the last week, I have totally pulled away from trying to parent this child.  And yes she is still a child.  No matter what she thinks age does not automatically qualify her for adulthood.

She has a few easy chores we expect her to do around the house.  They are: emptying the dishwasher, cleaning her room, cleaning her bathroom, doing her laundry and taking care of the cat litter pan since she says it is “her cat”.  She is expected to go to school and do her homework and once in a while I may ask her to sweep or vaccuum or watch her little sister.  Pretty typical stuff, right?  It has become more and more of a struggle to just get her to do these things.  She recently complained that she no longer wants me to ask her if she did her homework.  So right now, my plan is that she will get a ride to school, a ride home, a roof over her house, food to eat and medical attention if needed.  That’s it.  She wants a ride to her friend’s house-out of luck!  If she decides she wants to start pulling her weight around here and agrees I am her parent, not her maid/landlord/chauffeur/cook/personal assistant then she can get back on the gravy train.

Well Saturday rolled around and my daughter spent most of it in bed.  She had been asked to change the litter box on Friday, didn’t do it.  She was asked to empty the dishwasher and “forgot”.  I asked her to come upstairs and log me into her FAFSA application so I could finish it (I’m pretty sure the money is for her not me) -nope, couldn’t be bothered. My son was sleeping at a friend’s house, so we took my youngest daughter to dinner and didn’t even say good-bye to oldest daughter.  Of course as we were finishing dinner, weren’t there two phone calls to my cell wondering where I was.  She was not happy to hear we had gone out to dinner and wanted to know why I didn’t wake her up to come.  You bet she’d have been up if I had said “Olive Garden”.  And of course when I came home, my first-born child wanted to know what she was going to have for dinner.  I gave her several options and showed her where the stove was.  She can boil water and make grilled cheese, she won’t starve.

So how does this all relate to the story of the dad who’s daughter posted on Facebook about their family?  Well thanks to my son, I found out that darling daughter #1 posted on Tumblr about her family.  Nothing too awful but she did use a few swear words.  Now if she was a little younger, I might ground her and take away the Ipod.  But at 18, I feel like grounding is almost pointless.  If she drove I’d take away car priveleges but she doesn’t.  I think instead I’ll just file this away for my “reasons why I won’t” box and next time she tells me how unfair I’m being, I’ll remember this and stay strong.  And I’m re-thinking that graduation gift.  Maybe I’ll buy her a book on karma instead.

How do you handle discipline for your older kids?

January 13, 2012 / Tara

Bloodwork Came Back Normal-That’s Supposed To Be Good News

So my oldest child has been suffering from what they’ve now deemed Fibromyalgia for a while. She has days when she is really in pain and can barely get out of bed. I hate watching her suffer so. We’ve been trying to figure out the right combination of meds/exercise/rest to help her and not mess with her depression and anxiety which have been pretty under control of late. The last thing I want to do is have her spiral out of control emotionally and end up in the hospital, especially during her Senior year.

 

We went to two different rheumatologists because the first one told us he didn’t treat fibro patients. Umm, ok, if not you then who? The second talked alot about exercise and gave us some reccomendations on meds to talk to her psychiatrist about. He also did a bunch of labs so we could rule out any other underlying conditions. I especially wanted him to check her IGG and IGA levels since my younger daughter has CVID, a form of immunodeficiency disease and both girls have had the classic constant infections.

 

We finally got the results today and everything was perfectly normal. Which is good news. But why do I feel less than happy? I almost wish she had something more clear cut that we could treat a little more aggressively. I’m not sure that she’s ever going to be able to exercise as much as it sounds like she needs to in order to get over the pain. She’s in pain right now-alot.

 

Does it make me a bad parent to wish my child had something that we could give her a medication for that might make a difference in how she’s feeling?

January 12, 2012 / Tara

Wow! Where Has The Time Gone?

My oldest child is turning 18 tomorrow. There were times I didn’t think we’d make it to 18. Seriously! What do I even do with an 18 year old? I feel it’s a little ridiculous to say “I’m taking your Ipod if you don’t clean your room.”

Hoping that I won’t need to do this anymore. Magically she’ll become responsible and show me. Most likely, things won’t change too much tomorrow except that she can buy state lottery tickets and vote. I doubt 18 is some magic number.

I’m just hoping she’s going to get her room clean before her friends come over to celebrate tomorrow. She may not care if she’s got a pile of dirty laundry but I sure do!

Luckily for me I can stay upstairs and not have to see the dirty room unless I want to. She’s going to be 18 after all, I guess it’s up to her whether she wants to be messy or not.

January 4, 2012 / Tara

Stay Strong It Really Works-Tales from The Table

How many times do we hear from parenting “experts” and pediatricians and the like to be consistent and firm in our rules and expectations of our children and they will get it eventually. How many times have I tried to be consistent and strong without giving in and end up more frustrated while my child wages the largest power struggle ever seen by mankind? (yeah that should probably say womankind huh?)

But a breakthrough has occurred! Let me back up a minute…

My five year old daughter went from being a pretty non-chalant eater to super picky. About 3 months ago she decided that she really likes turkey sandwiches. On white bread with nothing else. So when she brings lunch to school that is generally what she eats. However about a month ago, she began fighting me at every dinner and lunch and would refuse whatever we were having and beg for a turkey sandwich. Not wanting her to be hungry, I made the mistake of giving in once and then twice and whoops it became a habit.

So on our last visit to her nutritionist I mentioned how the only thing I can really get her to eat at mealtime is a turkey sandwich. The brilliant nutritionist advised me to require my daughter to eat a few bites of what we’re eating first and if she really decided she didn’t like it, then let her have the turkey sandwich. Mostly because she’s been losing weight and we don’t want her to limit her food choices even more because of her health issues.

I love our nutritionist but I was very skeptical thinking I was in for it later that night. I braced myself for the mommy and daughter power struggle. Then it came, the nerve wracking question she asked me every afternoon. “What’s for dinner?” I just about ducked behind the kitchen island when I responded “Roasted pork and potatoes and peas”. And in typical “her” fashion she launched in to her monologue about how she hates “that” and she wants a turkey sandwich. “No you’re going to have to have a few bites of pork first and if you really don’t like it, mommy will make you a turkey sandwich”, I fired back all the while thinking of how this night was going to suck now. “Noooooo!” she screamed and went into the chants of “turkey, turkey, turkey”.

Now I exaggerate a little here but if you have young children, you know how these battles go.

After a trip to the “naughty step” and a few deep breathing exercises for mommy, I sat her at the table with her plate of pork, potatoes and peas. “I need ketchup please,” she said with a little bit of a pout still. I think she figured if I gave her ketchup, she still won. Ha! Sugar free ketchup-you lose.  Sure in my own head I won that mini-battle at least.

And she managed to eat three bites of each thing on her plate before she asked for a turkey sandwich instead which I gladly gave her.

The next night, she sat down at the table with us and didn’t even fuss about what she was served. No requests for turkey either. “It can’t be this easy,” I thought to myself. Yet the next night we had barbecue ribs and she engrossed herself in eating and asked for seconds (albeit with some ketchup). It seemed my picky eater was at least branching out a little.

Now if only I could get her to eat a fruit besides strawberries!

December 30, 2011 / Tara

College Acceptance Letters Bring On Anxiety

When our children are born most of us think about all the opportunities we want them to have. Whether it is college, a good career a family or all three, our dreams for them can outweigh those of our kids. But when your kids are old enough to start creating their own goals and dreaming their own dreams, you want to support them in any way you can.

My oldest daughter recently started applying to college. She has a few schools she was really interested in so she applied early action. When she got her first acceptance letter I was overjoyed as was she. Seeing her set a goal and accomplish it was very rewarding for both of us as the last few years have been a real struggle. Attendance and performance have both been an issue due to her depression and anxiety and recently diagnosed fibromyalgia. So we went from three years ago assuming she would be accepted to most colleges to which she applied to worrying if she would be able to go to college at all. I felt like that first bit of weight lifted when she got her first acceptance. That in fact she could go to college.

But it didn’t take long until I started to really worry about her ability to handle living independently and especially if she goes three hours away to this school how she will handle her emotional difficulties and school. This college was one of my top picks for her in all aspects minus the distance. If not for her disability, I would definitely want her to travel a distance so she can grow as a young adult. Now I worry if she’ll be able to handle it even with services the school offers.

When she came to me the next day and said she hadn’t slept well the night before it was because she too is questioning if she will be successful living away from home and going to school. What should have just been a period of joy became anxiety provoking for my daughter which just doesn’t seem fair. Shouldn’t we both have the time to just enjoy that she got in to one of our favorite schools with a nice scholarship?

I know when the time comes, we will make the decision together that makes the most sense for her. I hope that there will be many more happy moments before we have to stress too much about the “where will she be” question. And I will try to encourage her to just enjoy these times and take pride in her accomplishments.

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