Monday, May 14, 2012

Scared Parenting

Recently, I have discovered a new trend in parenting styles..... I call it "Scared Parenting".  I say "new" but I would venture to guess that it really isn't all that new.  The parents that practice this particular style say things like, "Well, I'm afraid if I do ___(fill in the blank)_____ then my child will be upset", "I don't want to do that because she might get mad", "He really hates when I do ______________ even though I know it's for his own good" or "The last time I did that (think of a particular punishment) she got so upset.....".  These might also be the same parents that "Count (ie: "Do what I say....1...2...3...4....5 alright, here I come!)  This parenting style is dictated by how the CHILD will react or how onlookers/other parents/other children will react.  I have seen this from the perspective of a teacher and a parent.  Parents that use this style are also eager to be their child's friend and not the disciplinarian.  But most of all, these parents are absolutely TERRIFIED of upsetting or embarrasing their children. 

I remember a story told by James Dobson.  One day he came out to see his daughter digging a hole in the ground.  When he asked what she was doing, she said she was planting rose petals.  When he asked her "Why?" she replied that she wanted a rosebush to grow. He explained to her that in order to get a rosebush you had to grow the plant from a small sprout, it must be protected from the harsh elements and nurtured.  Occasionally, you will have to prune the plant and feed it plenty of fertilizer and fresh water. After a long time and lots of hard work..... THEN you get the rose.  That is your reward.  So it is in parenting.  After lots of Hard work (and it takes a LONG time!) you get the reward of being friends with your child. 

When I was teaching school, I had a huge sign that spanned the length of my chalkboard (it was a real chalkboard so that tells you how long ago it was that I taught school!).  The sign said, "That which is easy is not always right and that which is right is not always easy."  How true.  Being a "mean Momma" does NOT make you the most popular girl around.  Telling your child "no" when it would be much easier to say "yes" is not the fun way of doing things.  Requiring your child to take responsibility for their actions and allow them to partake of natural consequences is sometimes tough to witness.   

Now, needless to say, my children are right smack in the middle of growing up.  I am certainly not the world's greatest parent.  I am well aware that tougher days are coming!    However, as I pray throughout the day for my children, I don't pray for their happiness.  No, I pray for their contentment.  I want them to stay so close to their Savior that, no matter what their circumstances, they will rest in His care and plan.

So, I'm OK with being the "Meanest Momma in the World".  And I'm OK with hearing, "Do I HAVE to?".  I'm OK when my children's friends say things like, "Wow, your mom is strict!".  It's OK that our kids don't have everything..... the newest this, the most updated that or the most expensive whachacallit. I am just working as hard as I can to be the best momma I can to these little lives that have been entrusted to me.......

And I'm not Scared! 



Monday, March 26, 2012

Are you a Member?

Over Spring Break this year, our family had a chance to visit Disney World. After a patchwork of discounted rooms and good deals on rental cars we had everything ready. Two days worth of driving landed us in the Hilton Hotel and Resort in Orlando across from Downtown Disney. So Cool! We checked in and found our room. Mike mentioned that he was NOT impressed with the staff that did our check in. Now, he travels wwaaaayyyy more than I do and because I didn't really know the difference, the check in process was foreign to me. We got our room key... what's the big deal? I just kinda shrugged my shoulders and we all headed out to Disney!!!!

The next morning, Mike called down to the front desk and asked for extra coffee for our in room coffee pot. After looking at our account on the computer the front desk clerk said housekeeping would be happy to help. "However, Mr Pendergrass, you could get plenty of coffee down at the Gold Member lounge......" What? Nobody told us about this? With Mike's job, he travels a lot. I mean....... A LOT. As a result, he stays at the same hotel and has earned hotel points. That makes him a member of some secret hotel club. Yes, we are very high end. Apparently we were supposed to be informed of all the perks upon check in...... but we weren't. We soon found out that a Full On breakfast was waiting for the Royal Pendergrass's in the Hilton Honors Lounge. After the front desk realized we were in this special-hotel-Gold-member-secret- membership-thang they treated us TOTALLY different. They answered the phone different, they talked to us differently as we left the hotel, they went outoftheirway and fellalloverthemselves to be out New Best Friends. Hmmmm...... something smells fishy. And not just because we were near the beach.

When we were just a Run Of the Mill family from Arkansas we got Run Of the Mill treatment. No special "Yes Mr Pendergrass" or "Right away Mr Pendergrass". However, once the staff realized we were members of The Club..... well that changed everything.

So, I started thinking.... do I do this in my everyday life? What I mean is- when I first meet someone do I treat them one way and then when I find out they are a Believer or that they go to a church (ie: they are a member of "The Club") do I treat them a different way? Now, don't get me wrong..... I don't MEAN to do this. I would like to think that I treat everyone the same- Believer or not. But do I? If I want EVERYone to be a member of "The Club" shouldn't I treat everyone equally? The more I thought about this, the more convicted I became.

So now it's a science project :-). "Emily's Study of How I Treat Total Strangers"....... to be continued..........

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Crazy is THAT?

So, the other day BaileyRose (who is now 11) and I were driving home from bowling league. BaileyRose has been on a league for over 2 years now and is quite a little bowler. Anyway, we were listening to AFR (American Family Radio) and the subject of abortion came up. I shook my head in response to one of the comments a caller made and BaileyRose asked me why. I said,"Well, you know what abortion is, don't you?" "No", she replied.

These are the things they don't prepare you for in prenatal class...... how to carry out these conversations is NOWHERE in the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book. So I did what I usually do...... I plunged ahead into a full blown teachable moment. Forever a teacher I guess.

I explained as best I could, in terms that an 11 year old could grasp, exactly WHAT abortion was. As I got deeper into my explanation, the words that were coming out of my mouth seemed more and more ridiculous. I was saying things like, "Abortion is a surgery that some women CHOOSE to have so that they will no longer be pregnant" and "Yes, they have to pay for the abortion" and "Yes, even though doctors are supposed to HELP people, they still do this surgery"....... "No, the babies don't live after the abortion but they were alive before"....... "Yes, sweetie, their little hearts WERE beating before the surgery".

At one point BaileyRose asked me WHY the pregnant women don't just HAVE their babies and give them to people like our friends Missy and Kyle or Amber and Dave (Who have trouble conceiving). I told her I wasn't sure. I begin to explain that many women simply didn't want the inconvenience of giving birth...... or they were embarrassed....... or they had been raped....... or they were scared. Again, my own words sounded flat out crazy.

BaileyRose quietly took all this information into her precious little 11 year old heart.

I have always said that she was born with her hip out...... just far enough out to perch a baby. She LOVES everything about children...... she helps teach a toddler class at church and she does it all...... from snotty noses to dirty diapers. If you are ever searching for her in a crowd, find the little children and BaileyRose won't be far away.

After she pondered all the subject matter we had discussed, she looked over at me in disbelief and said, "Momma...... they are KILLING those babies."

Funny how an 11 year old can figure that out.........

I simply replied, "Yes, baby, they are......"

Like I said before...........CRAZY.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kids Are a Hassle.....

So I had an interesting conversation with a lady the other day..... a teacher actually.
Me: "Have you read this book by Janet Evanovich?"

Interesting Teacher Lady: "I don't read...."

Me: "You don't read? Oh..... ok?"

Interesting Lady (with a little attitude): "Yeah, I have four kids! You wouldn't understand..... you only have two kids...... four is way different. And the older they get, the more time they take."

Me (trying to keep it light hearted): "Oh, well I didn't know this was a Mom contest! I love to read..... I will leave a dirty kitchen sink and clothes to fold for a good book....."

Not so Interesting Teacher Lady: "You know where I am going after this??? To VOLLEYBALL practice! Yeah, til EIGHT tonight....!!!!"

Me (turning to another teacher at the lunch table): "Have you read this one by Janet Evanovich?"

Now...... here is the deal. Kids are a BIG hassle. My momma has said this for a long time......They smell funny, they produce lots of laundry and require lots of food, they whine, they argue and they are ALWAYS doing SOME type of fundraiser. It is soooo much easier to go to Wal Mart WITHOUT a two year old..... A. LOT.

I know kids are a blessing and a heritage from the Lord and all that..... but, truth be told, they take a lotta work. And when we signed on for this rollercoaster, we kinda knew that. We didn't know to what extent (cause no one can really tell you, ya just gotta live that part). But we knew that our lives would be different.

So, I am wondering if this lady with four kids was somehow surprised with how different her life had become? And does she have a life outside of her kids? Does she have an identity?

Kids are a hassle. But the reward FAR out weighs the hassle.

Kids are funny and snuggly and they smell good after they get out of the bath. Kids turn to smile at you after they score the winning point and they write essays about how they wanna be just like mom when they grow up. Kids tell you your zucchini casserole is the best and they laugh at your dumb jokes. And when you hear your children pray..... well, forgettaboutit.

Yeah, they DO need you more as they get older and I will certainly BE there more until they just can't stand me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This is Oscar.....

This is our newest family member..... his name is Oscar. He is a Chiwennie. I didn't make this up- that's what he is. He is half Chihuahua and half Dauchsund. Now, just ONE of either of these breeds is a very high maintainece, high strung little creature. When you MIX them- heaven help us! He is one of the most nervous animals I have ever met. His security level is always on high alert. Someone is always out to get him. Or me. Or one of the kids.

But, stressed out as he is I am not sure how we got along without him. He came to us via a friend of my momma's who rescued him from a family that was moving. When he came to our house, he was quite skinny and all the hair was rubbed off of his ears and tail. I wondered how he would respond to our "raw feeding" practice.... he is so little and skinny. Let me assure you, there is a bit of wolf in EVERY dog and he took to the raw with no problem! His fur also came in thick and shiny on both his tail and ears. He also gained some weight....not too much. Just enough to get rid of the "rat" look.

Oscar has also been great for our elderly dog, Anney. Oscar is 5 and Anney is almost 15. She is a standard Dauchsund and her best trick is sleeping. Since Oscar has joined our family, Anney has had occasions of frisky, playful behavior and has taken almost a motherly role toward Oscar. In a few situations she has even disciplined him. We were concerned how she would do with another dog in the house.... she can be a female dog (in every sense of the word!) but she has been nothing but a lady. And I believe that Oscar has helped her regain a bit of her youth.

You may notice in these pictures that he is RIGHT BESIDE me as I sit on the couch. He gets as CLOSE as he can and then buries his nose between my leg and the couch cushion. I'm not sure how he breathes. Apparently he does..... And while he is RIGHT NEXT to me, he makes these awful groaning sounds. Like he is in pain. When we first heard him make these sounds, we thought he was uncomfortable or hurting. After close examination we realized he is just full of drama.

We sure do love you Oscar Tequila.... we are so glad you came to live with us. Now, relax........

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BaileyRose's Bloomin' Bash! (AKA: How'd my baby turn Eleven?!)

Each girl went home with a goodie bag of flower themed cookies!

They all crashed to watch "Madea's Family Reunion"...... Tyler Perry is a big fav with BaileyRose.....

She opened her gifts....

She ate cake.... ready as we were, I forgot to get candles! So we had to use tea lights (see them on the top tier on the side?).

They painted their own flower pots.....

Serious business folks.....

Upon arrival, the girls sat down for a game of Tri-ominos.... a twist on the usual dominoes and one of our favorites. They also played Uno but those pictures contained too much violence so we couldn't post them ;-).

We had lots of activities..... painting flower pots......

Making hair flower clips......

Making lavender scented bath gel......

Tying hair tinsel into their hair......... (this is super cool fun if you haven't done hair tinsel yet! We ordered ours on line and have PLENTY to last us a long while!)

We made bracelets.....

BaileyRose had a MILLION design ideas and flavors for her cake..... each time I made a cake she liked, that was the inspiration for her next design. Finally, after we picked out plates and napkins I told her I was taking over and I would come up with the design and surprise her. She seemed almost relieved! I took my cue from the napkins/plates that she choose and also got to experiment with some brush embroidery technique with royal icing. The flavor is our new summer favorite.... Lemonade!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't Lie.....

So this may turn out to be more of a rant than a post. Be warned.

Yesterday, my darling, charming, sweet, gentle, white haired, blue eyed, Apple of my Eye Boy.... LIED to me. Now,if you know me- even the LEAST little bit- you know that if you lie to me, it will never end well. NEVER. Wreck my car, rob a bank, misplace my dog..... BUT DO NOT lie to me. When I was little, my momma used to say, "Emily, you don't have to tell the truth about Everything!" But, I did and I have and I will til I die. It's who I am. And I am also a terrible liar so I rarely practice in areas in which I don't excel.

Here's the deal- it wasn't even something that merited lying. He messed with the top to a spray bottle and the contents emptied out onto the kitchen floor. When I asked both children, both replied "Not Me!". BaileyRose held fast to her story. After I repeated the question a few more times, Isaac began to waver. Oooooo honey! Don't even!

Now, here is a tip if you Live in my Life..... If you suspect that I am angry and I stop yelling- Leave. Run. Get far away from me and anything breakable. So, when I started speaking very low and controlled, Isaac got a tad freaked out. And rightly so. The "Yes Ma'ams" and "No Ma'ams" started flowing freely.

Tears ensued, along with restriction from the tv and a very clean bathroom (compliments of Isaac) and things were back to whatever is Normal around here.

Then I got to amazing Husband has been traveling for the last three weeks. Mike and Ike are VERY tight. When Mike comes home from work, I pretty much become invisible. And that totally works except for when Mike isn't here. You know that feeling when you are leaving for a trip and you feel like you forgot to pack something or you wonder if you left the stove on? That is what it feels like When Mike is Gone.

When Mike is gone, it always feels like something is outta whack. It feels like something is missing. When Mike is gone the house just feels off balance. When Mike is gone.... lies get told...... about lids and spray bottles.

So, while it doesn't excuse it, it DOES explain it. So, even though he doesn't get TV back right away at least I know he probably won't become an axe murderer. When Dad comes back home and our family is together again, maybe.... just maybe my spray bottles will be safe once again.