The (not so) random blahs

Do you ever feel like you’ve hit a rut in life?  You’re feeling blah, not depressed blah, not sad blah, just…ugh.  So what is it?  Do I suffer from this Trump Anxiety Disorder?  I might.  Do I suffer from depression?  Yes.  Do I feel discontent, like a failure?  yes, yes.  I definitely feel like I should be further along in life than I am.  Let’s recap.

Trump- yeah he’s taking America to hell in a hand basket and fast.  This bothers me.  The apathy that has come out in people is disgusting and heartbreaking.  Depressed- yeah, I take medicine for that.  It keeps me from crying, like all the time, not ever.  Discontent- yeah, everyday is the same.  I love my new employer but the work isn’t that challenging and I often find myself bored.  I’ve done a lot of Christmas shopping and blog writing at work.  Failure- yeah, in my last post I mentioned that I’m married with two kids and living with my parents.  Yeah, I should not still be living “at home.”

I’m finding it difficult to combat the blahs and be happy.  I go home and often just stare out into space not even wanting to talk, because really, what is there worth talking about?  The world is depressing.  Nothing seems to be going right.  Guns in schools, families separated, making friends with the enemy.  And not even recognizing who really is the enemy anymore.  I try to be positive, I really do.  My kids are happy and I wish I was a kid again.

My daughter is smart.  She has told me on several occasions that she doesn’t want to grown up and get big. She subconsciously knows being a kid is far better than being an adult.  We have to go to work and don’t play with toys.  She knows.  My son’s biggest concern is Fortnite. Every Facebook video you’ve seen out there where mother’s reenact their son’s playing Fortnite is accurate.  Eerily accurate.  Yes, boys must really all be the same.  So what’s their secret to endless happiness and carefree life?

I know what it is.  Naivete.  They don’t know the world is horrible yet. My daughter seems to have no idea that school shootings happen yet she has taken part in drills in school where they hide in the class room so they can’t be seen from the door.  My son knows they happen but he is not scared to go to school.  Not yet anyway.  Luckily nothing crazy like that has happened close enough to home for him to really take notice and have concerns.

I don’t know talk to my kids about politics but between my parents, me and even my husband, they seem to know (think) Trump isn’t good.  But they don’t know why exactly.  They probably don’t know about the wall or families being separated.  And, you know what?  I have no plans to tell them.  I hated the news as a kid and never understood why my parents watched it.  As an adult I watch the news almost every night and read about things online.  This is part of the problem.  I’m bombarded with bad news.  It’s everywhere.  You don’t just get 30-60 minutes of news every night on the tv, you get it all day.  Now, I could just not read the news but that is hard to do.  Even Facebook and Twitter are full of political leanings and causes.

So no.  As long as my kids are happy and naively unaware of the world’s troubles I tend to keep it that way.  I learned as I grew and developed my own thoughts and opinions.  I didn’t continue to grown unaware of the world around me and neither will my kids.  But I don’t want to take away their happiness.  As issues arise and they have questions I will talk to them about it so they can understand what is happening, but I won’t make them grow up.  Once you figure out what the world can be there’s no turning back, and at ages 7 and 10, there’s no need to jade them yet.  They have a lifetime ahead of them to be jaded by the world.

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Can’t we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along?  This is something I ask myself all the time lately.  You won’t bake a cake for a wedding because the couple is gay and it’s against your religion.  What religion teaches you to hate?  You want a wall so people stay out.  How do you think your ancestors got in?  People are out of control and I wonder, why can’t we all just get along.

I don’t think there’s necessarily more hate in the world than before, I think people just feel empowered to speak their minds more than ever.  There has always been freedom of speech, but not freedom from consequence.  People are using the First Amendment to be hateful and say cruel things.  People are using the Second Amendment as an excuse to not do anything about gun violence.  People are using the Bible as proof that their misguided beliefs have merit.

I see a lot of this on Facebook: Where was the outrage when…?  Why aren’t people outraged about…?  I’ll tell you why.  PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT.  If you want people to join your outrage on an issue, let them know about it. Get them to rally around you.  Get the media involved, get the government involved.  Get on social media and tell everyone about it.  There’s lots of: this happened under president X too.  Why didn’t people care?  Did YOU care?  Did YOU even know about it while it was happening?

All this finger pointing amounts to throwing stones in your glass house.  We should be working together towards a solution for problems not finding out who to blame.  Unfortunately, we don’t all want the same things.  We don’t all think the same way.  Some people don’t think there’s a problem with separating families, or refusing to bake a cake, or allowing anyone and everyone to buy guns, or to build a wall.  Some people think closing borders is wrong.  Some people think not letting love to flourish no matter who it is is wrong. Some people want to end gun violence without fringing on rights.

Some people wonder why we can’t all get along.

I don’t know if we, as Americans, will find enough common ground to do some good.  Will we become isolated and live on an island?  Will we be too busy fighting with each other to realize we are destroying ourselves?  I hope we find a way to lessen the hate.  I know it won’t go away completely, but I’m open to suggestions for how to fix this.  I’m tired of the hate, I’m tired of listening to the ignorance, and mostly I’m tired of being tired.  I’m tired of laying awake at night not being able to sleep because too much is going on in the world that needs attention.

Maybe one day we can just all get along.

Dear Abby

I haven’t posted anything in over 2 months.  I’m emotionally exhausted and uninspired.  Why, you may ask?  It’s more than being a wife, mother, and full time employee.  That’s regular stuff that people deal with all the time.  What maybe not everyone else deals with is where I live.  We live with my parents.  We have for the past 20 months and have about 10 months more to go.  It’s grueling living back under the roof of your parents who still essentially try and parent you, and your kids.  My dad still tells the same jokes he did when I was a kid.  They are no longer funny, to anyone.  My mom has always been judgmental but the lack of hiding it is highly annoying to deal with.  Always under a watchful eye of what you’re doing wrong as a parent and how you could be doing it better.

There are financial reasons why we are here and my husband and I are working through those just fine.  That has turned out to be the easy part.  It’s my parents, the fact that my daughter has taken over her dad’s spot in the bed and he sleeps on the couch, and my son is starting to hate it here.  How do I not let all this negativity surround me all the time?  It’s hard.  It’s my parents so this should be easy right? (According to my husband) But it’s not that easy and I don’t always know what to do.  So my friend had an idea.  Most people always have good advice for other people but rarely listen to themselves.  She said to be Dear Abby to myself.  Ask for advice for how to deal with my problem and answer it myself, because I probably know what to do anyway.  So here goes…

Dear Abby,

My husband, two kids and I live with my parents.  While our family is doing well financially now we are kind of falling apart into a mess.  My husband and I are disconnected and the kids aren’t always sure who is actually in charge.  How do we get through the next several months?

Sincerely,

Lost Mama

Dear Lost Mama,

I’m sorry for your financial difficulties and are happy to hear you and your husband are taking care of things. First,  this isn’t your kids’ fault so make sure they know being with the grandparents is not supposed to be a punishment for your failures.  Talk to them about how great your new living situation is.  Maybe they get extra snacks or attention when you guys aren’t around.  Maybe there’s more for them to do and they like their new school.  Also, have them excited about the future.  Tell them they can pick out colors for their new room and help decorate it, if that’s something you will allow them to do.  Keep positive in front of them at the very least.

Talk to your parents about boundaries.  Your kids need to know that you are in charge and grandma and grandpa are only in charge if you are not there.  Assuming, your parents are understanding (I’m assuming they are since they let a whole family move in with them in their retired years), then they should respect rules that you set up for your children and follow them to keep things running smoothly.

As for you and your husband.  Why would he think this is easy for you?  Are his parents easier to get along with, are yours a nightmare?  It’s hard to see that someone may be as miserable as you when you’re not the one sleeping on a couch in the basement.  The two of  you need to understand things will change but these changes aren’t permanent and therefore don’t permanently have to change your relationship.  He will not always be on a couch, your daughter will not always be in your bed, your son won’t always hate where you’re living, your kids will only have one set of authority figures soon enough.

Good Luck,

Dear Abby

I’m not sure if this was completely cathartic for me or not but at least it’s out there.  I’m also not sure I learned anything new that will help me.  However, it’s out there and it’s done.  Maybe I can at the very least move from here and not dwell on it so much.  There’s a great future out there and that’s what I need to be focused on.

A mother’s random thoughts on school shootings and talking to your kids about it

I’ve know for a while that my son and daughter do lockdown drills at school.  One teacher referred to them as a safety drill so I asked my kids one day if they had a safety drill at school, knowing that they had.  The response I got was, “what’s a safety drill?  Oh, you mean a lockdown?” I was a little taken a back by how nonchalant my ten year old was about this.  Like, gee, it’s just like a tornado drill, you know, something that will never happen.  I had to realize this is now the new normal for school aged children, including my own.

I never really thought to talk to my children about school shootings.  I, naively perhaps, kind of assumed it would be something they wouldn’t have to worry about, at least until high school.  Except of course there’s Sandy Hook.  Which kind of brings me to my point.  My childhood was vastly different from my children’s. This also made me realize that my childhood was also different than my parents.

A lot of people want to say, well I was a kid once too you know, I know what you’re going through.  And to an extent, every parent knows what their child is going through.  Kids are mean and can make fun, school work can be hard to learn, and making friends is hard.  But my parents had to practice air raid drills and do research for school work without the benefit of the internet or even an electronic card catalog.  I had more technology to work with, but teacher’s limited it.  No more than 3 sources can be from the internet and they had to be legit (what did we even know what was legit back then?) We had no air raid drills or lockdown drills either.

This is where you may not know what you’re child is going through.  The first school shooting I had ever heard of was Columbine.  I was a senior in high school at the time so we all just thought it was some crazy kids.  An aberration, so out of the ordinary, that it would be a rare, one of a kind occurrence.  Turns out we were all wrong.  By the time Virginia Tech happened I was already out of college for 3 years.  When Sandy Hook happened I had a preschooler and a one year old.  I had no direct relation or experience to these events. I never thought, gee it could happen here next.  Because there was no here.  High school was almost over when Columbine happened.  I was no longer on a college campus when Virginia Tech happened.  I didn’t even have elementary aged kids when Sandy Hook happened.  I could not put myself in those situations.  I did not feel their fear.

Because my children are so young I never thought to bring it up.  But then something  happened.  Two officers in our otherwise peaceful suburb were gunned down while responding to a domestic violence call.  Luckily, the woman in danger lived, the officers did not.  Four days later the Parkland incident happened at a Florida high school.  Still, I wondered if I should bring it up to my kids.  At the suggestion of some school teacher friends, I decided to only bring it up to my ten year old son.  My six year old daughter still seemed to young for me to do this.  Mainly because I didn’t think she would understand what happened at the school.  My son however had seen the stories of Parkland on the national news.

I brought it up to my son one day after school.  He seemed excited to have one on one time with mom to talk.  Did I come across any big revelation talking to him about this gun violence?  No, not really.  He knew it was bad.  He thinks guns are bad.  Despite playing an online video game where the goal is to be the last one alive and playing with Nerf and other guns all his life, he still thinks guns are bad.  He thinks people should only have rifles and shotguns for hunting (his dad has hunted in the past and his older half brother has a BB gun).  He says no one needs an AR-15, only military.  Even though he prefers some guns over others in his video game for killing, he still understands no one should own them for real.  Even at 10.

Where exactly he came up with these thoughts and opinions, I honestly don’t know.  He thinks the news is boring so rarely watches it with us, but we don’t make him leave when sensitive topics come up either.  I don’t know what the teachers tell him at school or what other kids are saying.  Should I know all this?  Maybe.  Maybe I should ask.  Maybe I don’t want to be a helicopter parent.  Maybe I just really don’t know what I would say because I don’t know what I would have wanted to hear, because no one had to talk to me about it.  Because it wasn’t happening.

Honestly, I’m more worried if my son is having a hard time at school.  With mean kids, making friends, paying attention in class, behaviorally, academically.  I just didn’t think it was time to worry about this yet.  And maybe it wasn’t.  He seemed pretty chill about the whole conversation, almost confused why I was even asking him about it.  At least now he knows I’m paying attention to the world around him.  He knows I’m ok talking about these things.  We do what we can for our kids.  And whether we talk to them about big stuff too soon, or much later, at least we are talking to them.  Even if we don’t know what to say.

Lying Cheating Bastard

Please excuse the title, for some of you this may seem misleading.  For me, it’s perfectly fitting, inappropriate or not.  My son cheated us out of $70 then lied about it…more than once. **heavy sigh**

My son got a PS4 for Christmas from “Santa.”  Isn’t he the best?  He never played his Xbox more than an hour, plus he had an iPod to play games on, what could go wrong?  Everything.  Everything could go wrong.

My son soon learned of an online game you could play on the PS4, which is free, called Fortnite.  Yes, there’s shooting involved, yes there’s guns and the occasional grenade, but this is the least of my worries.  There are more graphic games.  They don’t even show blood when someone gets shot in this one.  The problem was his almost immediate obsession of the game.  I’ve never seen a takeover like this before.

All of our conversations revolve around him telling me different aspects of the game and what he did in them, if he won, what weapon he had, etc.  It got to the point where I had to cut him off and just say, “I don’t care.  I don’t want to hear about this game.”  This of course branded me as “rude” and not caring about anything he likes.  Insert eye roll here.

Here’s where the problem started.  There are virtual coins you can buy with very real money.  With these coins you can buy outfits, weapons, moves, yes, moves, and other things that are for fun only.  They do not help you win the game.  My son decided he wanted this super cool black knight outfit or whatever it was called.  It cost ten real dollars.  We said no, we even said no to him using his money.  He wasted his money on lots of dumb stuff because he would spend it as soon as he got it.  He wanted to try earning an allowance (again, it never took off before) so we told him it would be best to learn how to save his money and get something he really wanted and could use.

This made no sense to his 10 year old brain.  It’s my money.  I promise I’ll start saving after this.  These unfortunately are all things we’ve heard before, more than once, because it never stuck.  So here we are putting our proverbial foot down.  This is what parents do right?  Well, I somehow missed something during the start up of the PS4, but my son figured it out.  Before you know it, my husband is asking about a bunch of $10 charges to our card.

What?!

At first he only saw one charge and figured I said he could have his stupid outfit and put money on the account for him.  Unfortunately 6 more ten dollar charges showed up. I was pissed.  Did I mention this ‘him asking – us saying no thing’ went on for 3 days straight before this happened?  He’s ten but he’s not stupid.  He knows the stuff isn’t free to get.  After lying about it, my husband actually had to finally say, “now don’t lie.  Did you do this?”  He finally confessed.  He never said he didn’t know what he was doing or didn’t mean to or it was an accident. uuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhh

So yeah, cheating lying bastard.  But what could we do.  We took away his privilege of the game until my husband figured out  you could password protect purchases. (Why didn’t I see that??)  He had no money, not even in the bank, so we couldn’t take it from him.  His attitude was getting bad so he was about to lose all of his first week’s allowance as it was and it would take months for him to repay that out of his allowance.

We’re hoping our loss of trust and faith in him will help him figure things out.  In the meantime, I’m carving a paddle.  Just in case.

For Nonno.

I had a grandmother with dementia and it is truly a sad way to lose someone.

Justina Francesca

Two days ago was the one year anniversary of Nonno passing. For those of you who are not Italian or who do not watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Nonno means grandpa in Italian.

My Nonno had Alzheimer’s, which I’m entirely convinced is the worst of all the diseases. You forget the most beautiful things you have in life, the people and the memories of them. It’s heartwrenching.

However, as most of us do, we find joy in the pain.

So one summer as I took care of Nonno, I also took down funny and memorable quotes from that time as well as pictures…enjoy!

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.16.15 PMIMG_0020.PNGScreen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.16.08 PMIMG_2523IMG_0143.PNGScreen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.16.02 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-10 at 9.15.54 PM

Ugh. I loved that man so big.

And when we were not joking or in a heated debate (or argument), then we were singing and dancing.

We danced to Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” and sang our hearts out to Andrea Bocelli. I still can’t listen to…

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Lazy

I’m sure everyone’s been called lazy at least once in their life before.  But have you ever been called that by your own child?  I have.  The first time I heard it I was offended.  How rude?  Where have they ever even heard that word? As if it’s some sort of cuss word.  The next time I heard it I was still offended, but also like, where do they get off talking to me like that?  As this continued, it’s been going on for a couple of months now, I keep wondering how I should handle it.  I either: ignore it, tell them they’re rude, tell them they’re just as lazy, say “just do it anyway” because I probably just asked them to go do something because I was too lazy to do it myself.

Yes, I admit it.  I’m pretty lazy.  I also probably shouldn’t tell my kids they’re lazy, even though they will ask me to hand them their water bottle that sits on the coffee table in front of the same couch we are sitting on together.  Seriously, they are just as close to it. Besides looking for new retorts to say to them that will make it impossible for them to have a comeback, I’m thinking a little more deeply.  I know kids in general are observant but what exactly are my kids seeing.

Are they seeing me sit on the couch too much?  Do I not want to play with them enough?  Am I setting a bad example of some kind?  The answer to all these is yes, but how much bad am I actually doing here?

The couch: my best friend after work where I sit with my other best friend, my husband.  I used to have a much more physical job so I was tired when I got home from work, but now I have a desk job and shouldn’t sit so much.  But now it’s winter and cold and I’m not going outside.  You can’t make me.  Let’s wait until the spring to fix this problem.

I don’t play with them enough: This is true.  My son doesn’t ask me to do much with him anymore but when he does he asks me to watch him do stuff.  Watch me build this Lego, watch me play this video game.  Uh, no thanks, I’ll pass, I have a pot of water to watch boil.  My daughter on the other hand wants to play everyday with me, no matter what. Can we play before dinner, after homework, when I’m done with my playdate, after I go to the bathroom, etc.  It’s nice to be wanted but really?  We could play for an hour or more of whatever she wants to do (and yes this always includes Barbies) and it still won’t be enough.  Why not?  I don’t want her to become too attached, she still sleeps in the bed with me after all, I got to draw the line somewhere). I want her to have friends besides me and to be able to self-entertain when i don’t want to play.  She’s six after all.  Seems reasonable.

Am I setting a bad example?  Of course.  Is there a parent out there that DOESN’T do something that maybe their child shouldn’t see or hear?  Stop, you’re lying.  My kids are still very active and I don’t let them stare at screens for too long.  How long is too long you ask?  Probably longer than you would let your kid do it, but I’m flawed here ok?  I do set other good examples:  I make sure I brush my teeth, wash my hands after using the restroom, say please and thank you, and all the other things that I want my kids to do; like, wear my seat belt, look both ways before crossing the street, etc.  I even bought a bike helmet to wear.  A bike helmet!  It’s not the 80s anymore people.  I even quit smoking, what more of a good example do you want from me!! *Side note, I never smoked when I was pregnant and I quit smoking so long ago they don’t even remember me smoking.  I still feel like I should get bonus points though.

Ok, so I cuss in front of them, I don’t eat as many vegetables as I should, and I eat too much chocolate.  So I’m not the perfect role model, but they also have a father and he’s not lazy.  Of course they call him lazy sometimes too.  Maybe they’re just rude.  That’s it, they’re rude, I’m not too lazy.  So there!  Oh crap, they can’t be learning to be rude from me can they?