We Cannot Expect Kids to Save Our World

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Recently I have chuckled to myself as I watch many of my intelligent friends make the silliest Facebook posts about how responsible and intelligent kids are these days. They really do believe that these kids are changing the world. As a parent of a 15 and 19 year old, it is apparently clear to me that kids aren’t meant to take on the serious responsibilities of the world. This is a time when they are struggling to find their own way and no matter how gifted we think a child may be, at the end of the day kids are really just kids.

I was reminded of this when I dropped my 15 year old off at school today…the second time! The first time I pulled up to the school, we discovered that he unknowingly left the house without his shoes. I am happy to announce that after an hour an a half of driving back and forth to school twice, he made it successfully through the door. And to think, I’m a few short days he will get his license. Am I mad? Yeah a little but kids are expected to make mistakes now while they are still kids. It’s all part of growing up. As for me, I will continue to repeat the words, “when you do less, someone else has to do more.” Someday I know he will understand.

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The Hope to Try Again

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Mad doesn’t even come close to what I was feeling tonight. I was trapped in the car while my husband was in Home Depot, stuck with the feelings that were burning me up inside. I had this incredible urge to rip open my skin and step out of myself so I could escape the rage that was building inside of me. I am feeling tired and worn from my son pushing me past my limit to be a decent human being. His lack of concern for anything leaves me completely concerned about everything and by the time Sunday evening rolls around, I have reached the end.

We picked him up from church a few hours later and he got in the car like nothing ever happened. He leaned into the front seat, “Hi.” Just the sound of his voice made my heart race. I wanted to continue the argument we were having before I dropped him off.  I sinking into the depths of hell and my instinct was to grab his arm and drag him through with me. I took a deep breath. “Let it go Kim.” All my life I had heard the phrase misery loves company and I was fighting the urge to invite  him over. Would rehashing the unhashable do any good? A tear rolled down my face. Sometimes the desperation I feel as a parent weighs on me heavily. How do I reach him?That tiny  voice in my head whispered quietly, speak softly and maybe he will listen. Yes, soften. Start with your voice and your words and heart will follow. Sometimes I just have to sit long enough with my feelings until the intensity comes down. Acting on feelings that are inflated beyond containment is unhealthy for everyone involved.

Tonight I pray, not that God changes my situation but that he changes my perception of it. I pray for the strength and courage to continue to reach out to my son regardless of how many times he pushes me away. I pray that I never give up on him even when the hurt gets hard. I pray for a way to quiet the anger that sometimes builds a wall between myself and the people I love. Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow offers hope to try again. 

Why So Soon?

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I knew this day would come but I didn’t realize it would get here so fast. I remember how stressed I used to feel when I tried to juggle two small children at the grocery store or rush from one gate to the other with toys, bags, snacks, a stroller and two kids who weren’t going to walk on their own. I remember waiting for my husband to get home truly believing I needed a break. I thought those days would never end of constant messes, endless feedings, clutter, crayons, tantrums, whining. They did actually come to an end though and I can’t even remember exactly when. As a parent, you move from one phase into an entirely new one with a different set of challenges along the way. 

I’ve put this week out of my mind the entire summer. I guess I tucked it back into a place so deep I could rest in denial for a few short weeks. Now it is here, the week I have been dreading. Thursday I will say goodbye to them, my babies, as they leave for school together for the first time in seven years. For one child, this is the last year of her high school adventure. The other child’s adventure is just beginning as he starts this year off as a high school freshmen. How in the world do I have two high schoolers already? Where did the time go and how can I make it slow down? I’m not ready to let them go yet. Just a few more months, a few more days, a few more hours to keep them close. It’s bitter sweet for me of course as I watch them grow into young adults who I’m sure will go out and contribute to this great big world but in my heart they are still my little ones who have made my world so very big. Without them I will feel small because they are a huge part of who I am. I pray the next three days creep by so I have them to myself a little bit longer before day by day they inch away. Parenting has been my biggest blessing and I cherish every single day.

There are Some Things We Cannot Ignore

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Sometimes I have to get real with myself and double down on the truth. There are 2 kinds of people when it comes to doing tasks, one that gets them done and one that takes forever to do them and sometimes never even gets it done. I am a doer and I do things at a rapid pace. I don’t believe in taking breaks or distractions. I put my mind to something and I get it done. 

As a parent, I often don’t have the time or energy to stay on my kids. Sometimes it is easier to do the task I am asking them to do because it relieves me of following up all day to see if it’s done. Today I stepped back and allowed myself to observe. My son couldn’t complete a single thing. He would start something, disappear, get called back and start something else but the original thing I asked him to do was left unfinished. This is a pattern with him especially in school. I don’t know how or when people became so scattered. I see it everywhere I go both in adults and young kids and especially teens. They do a lot but the problem is they do a lot of nothing. 

We are starting something new in this house. We are going to make a list of weaknesses and work on turning them into strengths. We cannot change what we choose to ignore and we have to stop ignoring what we need to change. What is something you are going to change starting today?

When Hope Shines Through

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Headway is a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to watching my children grow in leaps and bounds. I think I have officially survived the worst of the teenage years when it comes to my daughter. I sat back and watched painfully as her attitude and work ethic became more of a hindrance than a positive trait. Lately though, something magical has been happening. She is smiling more and the amount of dedication she has been putting into her school work and studies is admirable and her grades are the best payoff of all. I’ve mentioned that she is a swimmer. Her best stroke is the 100 fly but she has refused to do the 200 fly the last few years because well, it requires pain, hard work and physical along with mental exhaustion. Her coach put her in that event today. I gave her permission to scratch because I didn’t want to hear the complaining. She got up and left at 6:10 and almost seemed to be excited to be going. Not only did she drop ten seconds and make it to finals, she is actually going back to swim it again. 

To all you parents who have lost hope, the teenage years are hard. Just when you feel like giving up hope, something wonderful changes overnight. We just have to trust that those selfish, bad attitude teens will turn around and if you’re patient enough, when you least expect it, they probably will. Here’s to a positive moment in parenting. Cheers!

How To Tell If You Are Doing A Crappy Job As A Parent

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First of all, if you are reading this, you must be questioning your own ability to parent. You are probably cringing, wondering to yourself, AM I a crappy parent? Read on to find out.

I’d like to start by reassuring you that I don’t think the majority of us are crappy parents. However, I do believe all parents act crappy from time to time.

Today was my daughters first swim meet of the season. I was sitting next to one of the moms I know, when her son walked up after finishing the 50 free. He asked her if she saw him swim and she nodded her head yes. What was your time, she asked? He responded 32 seconds. Her response actually made my heart hurt. He was excited about his time. In fact, for a first year swimmer he said he was proud of that time. What did mom say? That’s not a good time. It’s just not good enough.

There I was sinking lower in my chair. Was I that kind of parent ripping my child’s confidence away instead of building it up? Did my child’s success or failure depend on my expectation of her instead of what she was actually capable of? We all want our kid to win the race. When she comes in first place, we as a parent win because our child is better and faster and stronger than everyone else. The problem with that is there can only be one winner. We have to learn to be proud of our own child whether she comes in first or last. Imagine swimming a race with all you have only to step out of the pool and hear your own mother(who should be your biggest cheerleader) say “that was not good enough”. You are not good enough.

We’ve all done it to some extent or the other. The important point is to recognize it and stop that pattern right in its tracks. Are you perfect all the time? Are you the best at everything? Anything? Give your kid a break and make her feel good for having the dedication and commitment to step up and want to be in the race. Some kids don’t even make it that far. Do you like to be measured and compared to the people around you? He or she probably doesn’t either. 

Before My Eyes

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Today was cold. I actually dragged my Uggs out and dusted them off to wear on my feet. It’s easy to not notice the things that are obvious and staring me right in the face. When you look at something day after day, the changes are so subtle that they often go unnoticed. We went to the outlets today to get the kids some winter clothes. Today that in between stage came to an end as my youngest moved out of kids clothes and into men’s clothes. I had to notice. I couldn’t miss that one. The clothes are so much bigger on “that” side of the store and I stood there shaking my head wondering, when did all of this happen? My youngest, my baby, in men’s clothes. Look closer. Don’t miss the changes that are happening right before your eyes. Find a way to ignore the distractions and pay attention to what is really important. Someday you will look back on this day and probably wish you looked a little closer. Start now. Do it today.