I hate when people judge my parenting decisions!

I have read so many blog posts about “The Hunger Games” lately.  Parents talking about why they don’t want their children to see the movie.  Some talking about not allowing their children to read the book.  They feel it is not appropriate for their children.  As if they somehow feel the need to apologize for making a decision they feel is best for their own kids.  Concerned about being judged by other parents as “too conservative” or not “with the times”.  Then there is the other side of the coin.  Parents who feel they have to explain why they DID allow their children to read the book or see the movie.  They worry about judgement for seeming too “permissive” or not caring about the scars their kids might get from the message of the books or the violence.

I have a difficult time with both of these points of view.  Not because I think there is a correct age or time for a child to see a particular kind of movie or read a particular book.  Not even because I disagree with the message or storyline of the book and/or movie.  (By the way I just finished reading The Hunger Games, and have not yet seen the movie).

The problem I have with those two trains of thought is why the parents even feel the need to explain their decisions to every one else.  I am of the opinion that 7 out of every 10 people are reasonable, intelligent, caring individuals, with the other 3 being the jerks in this world.  That being said, why should the 7 reasonable, caring and intelligent people feel as if they have to justify or explain their decisions or actions regarding their children?  Especially since they are probably explaining it to the other 3…the unreasonable, uncaring and unintelligent people.

The parents who need to justify and explain their actions are the ones who neglect, physically, emotionally or sexually abuse their children.  They are comprised of the 3.  The other 7 are making a decision regarding the things they think are appropriate for their children in a thoughtful and meaningful way.  That is not to say that every decision they make will be the right decision.  Parenting is fraught with mistakes and learning curves.  There is no manual that a person gets to help them when they become a parent, and even if you did get a manual with your first child, you would need to toss it in the trash when the second child comes.  Each child is unique and what works for one child won’t work for another child.

For example, my oldest, Joe Cool, was a very easy baby and toddler.  He listened and responded very well to time out and removal of toys as discipline.  I can still discipline him by taking away his toys (now a cell phone and PS3 instead of legos and trucks), and I can still “get” to his conscience by letting him know I am disappointed in him.  I thought I had this baby/toddler thing mastered and then came along my second child, The Genius. COMPLETELY different in every way shape and form from his older brother.  Time outs and taking things away didn’t phase him in the least.

I had to use physical discipline with him, and even then he would act as if he was going to do as he pleased.  I am not proud of using physical punishment on him, but it was my last resort, and the only thing that worked.  However, since I am one of the 7, I know I did the best I could, and I knew the most appropriate way to discipline my kids.  Even now The Genius will try to argue, cajole, redirect and excuse his behavior.  I no longer have to use physical discipline, as he is 12 now and removing computer time works best.  But he is very different from his brother in many ways.  He is definitely the more sensitive and considerate brother, while the older one is more musically inclined and has an amazing sense of humor.  I love them both tremendously, and I STILL know what is best for my boys.

I used to feel as if I had to explain my actions and motives regarding my decisions about my kids, but no longer.  They are pretty awesome people, and I know that the only person that knows them better than themselves….. is me.  I know what makes them tick, what motivates them, what they are afraid of and what they want from life.  I know their hearts and most of the time I know their minds.

My point is that I want those of us parents who are part of the 7…….the people who are reasonable, caring and intelligent….to own that we are part of the 7, and know within ourselves, that we do not need to justify or explain our decisions regarding our children to anyone besides our partners, ourselves and (sometimes) our kids.

So if you want your kids to see a movie or read a book, (or not), it is your decision to make.  If you think they should r should not attend a party or a school dance, or a movie or a football game, that is a parents choice as well. So decide, and own that decision knowing that you are always trying to do the best for your children.

(This is a repost of a blog previously posted on The Next Family)

My son thinks his Gay mom is Cool!!

When I first started dating my lovely partner Karol, we had to keep everything a secret.  First of all, she was still in the military and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was alive and well.  Plus I had just gotten divorced and was unwilling to let my children know I was in a relationship with her.  They knew we were best friends, and I decided to leave it at that.

Then we bought a house together and we decided it was best for each of us to have our own bedroom.  She was about to retire, but I had not yet “told” my kids and she had not told hers.  We did sleep together most nights, but actually lived in our own bedrooms for the most part.  It was an interesting time.  Neither of us was “out” professionally but we were to our close friends.  Looking back on it I think we were crazy, but it worked at the time, and I suppose it made things easier for the children to get used to living with new people.

We decided after living together for a year we would tell the children that we were actually a couple.  Of course they all said, “Um, we have known forever Mom.”  They were okay with me being in a relationship with a woman, and that made me happy.  We had actually prepared ourselves for the worst and realized we may need to sell our house and live apart if our kids freaked out.  Our number one priority was the children and how they would feel about our relationship.

Because I had been in a “traditional” marriage when my children were young I never forced the issue about them saying anything to any adults or their friends.  I always introduced Bluebell as my “friend”, and they did the same.  They called her “my mom’s friend” if talking about her to others.

At some point my oldest son (age 15 now) began telling people his mom was “bi”.  Apparently people his age thought that was cool and I scored him some “cool points”.  I suppose technically I am “bi” in his mind since I was married to his dad and am now with a woman.  I don’t consider myself bisexual. I consider myself a lesbian, but I never pushed that issue with my son.  Whatever he was comfortable with worked for me.

My son is now in 10th grade and is very comfortable with Bluebell and with our relationship.

However, I was still surprised when she came to me a few weeks ago and brought me a paper that I saw had my son’s handwriting on it.  “Uh oh”, I said.  “Is this going to be bad?”  She said, “Just read it.”  She had seen this paper lying on the dining room table near my son’s book bag and picked it up and read it.  I held it in my hand and braced myself.

He had an assignment to write about himself and his family for his English class.  In his own handwriting I read, “I found out a few years ago my mom is in a same gendered relationship.  I think that is cool. My mom is cool.”

I cried tears of joy.  My son thinks I am cool! That is a pretty amazing thing for a mom of a teenager to be considered cool by her kid!

My son thinks I am cool!!!

My enormous grocery bill

I have kids.

I have three boys.

I have three teenaged boys.

They eat.

A LOT!

Most people go to the grocery store on a weekly basis.  Their grocery store is the Piggly Wiggly or the Food Lion, or Grand Union, or Farm Fresh…you know a regular grocery store.  Not me.  My grocery store is BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club. You know, the huge wholesale clubs.  That is my weekly grocery shopping store.  I need to buy things in bulk.

For example, last week I bought a beautiful 6 pound London Broil.  I put it in the oven with some roasted garlic tomatoes and served it with macaroni and cheese (a family favorite), and mixed vegetables. When the kitchen was cleaned there was a small piece (about 6 ounces of meat) to be put away in the fridge for “leftover” night.  “Well”, you might say, “there are 5 of you eating, I could see that.”

I might agree with that also if  Bluebell and I had actually participated in eating the beef with the boys.  In fact, she and I are not big beef eaters, so we had grilled chicken.  That means that my three sons ate over 5 pounds of meat for dinner.  Besides the fact that their bellies must have been totally weighed down by all that beef, is the bigger concern of how eating all that beef affects my grocery bill……

Besides BJ’s, I also shop my local Harris Teeter almost weekly.  I am an E-Vic member, so I get weekly emails with their specials.  They very often have cereal, steaks, chips, bacon, etc as a “buy one get one free” item.  They also frequently have items on sale for “buy two get three free”  I have saved over $1500.00 already this year.  Yes that is one thousand five hundred dollars.  1 5 0 0……not 1 5 0.  I buy whatever is on sale that I need, and nothing more.  It is pretty bad when you walk into your local grocery store and the cashiers and management staff know you by name, and also know the fact that you are feeding three teenaged boys.

Thank god Bluebell has a great job as a Civil Service employee and we are both retired from the military and receive pensions.  Otherwise I might have to get another full time job just to feed my boys.

It is possible I have some passive aggressive bones in my body, and somewhere deep inside me I must have some subconscious resentment about my enormous grocery bill, because I feel the need to get back at my kids through food.
For example, I do my grocery shopping after lunch, so I can time it just right to get home right as their buses have dropped them off from school.  I require them to help me carry the groceries into the house, and then because apparently I must be a descendent of a torturer from the Inquisition (according to my kids), I make them carry the cat litter and feminine hygiene products up to my bathroom.  (Just imagine all of the groans I get about THAT……. it does my heart good)

I have to say though, that I was impressed my kids knew what the Inquisition was. So instead of  being angry at their comment, I was all, “Wow, you learned about that in school? I am so proud of you!  So glad you are using your education…even if it is to malign your mother.  Oh, you don’t know what that means, well, look it up sweetie…..”

 

So while my boys are still teenagers, I will be forced to continue to work, because as hard as I have tried, I just cannot get them to stop eating…….and don’t think I haven’t tried……..because I have……just sayin’………