Category Archives: Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen- What I Want My Kids To Know

I lost a good friend recently, (I wrote about it here) and, because she was a mother, leaving behind a girl and a boy around my kids’ age, it has really gotten me to thinking about my own kids, and would they be ok, if I were suddenly out of the picture?  And, after I sobbed a while at that thought, I thought of the lessons I hope I can pass on to them, to help them in their lives, whether I am in it or not.  Some of these are profound, but others are just practical.  Some of the lessons I have mastered personally, but more are like giving them homework, setting them the assignment for things I never managed to figure out, but wish I had.  Since my kids will likely ignor my advice or resent it, or both, you get it.  Lucky you, lol. 

1.  It is impossible to please everyone.  No matter how wonderful you are, there is going to be someone who doesn’t like you.  It is just a fact of life.  Even people who do like you, frequently have unreasonable expectations of what you should do for them.  In the end, you might as well please yourself.  Those who love you will understand, and those who don’t, don’t matter as much.

2.  Forgive yourself, and forgive others.  No one is perfect, not even you.  Life is a school where no one gets straight A’s, no matter what it looks like.  Forgive, try harder, move on.

3.  Your priorities should be God, Family, Friends, Community and World, in that order.  Also, self so belongs on that list, but heck if I can figure out where it fits in.  Maybe you will figure it out and tell me.  Wouldja please?  Also, here is an easy test to see where your priorities are:  Where do you spend your money?  Where do you spend your time?  Where you spend these two most valuable comodities is where your priorities lie.

4.  Have one fancy “company” dish that you know how to make, and keep the ingredients on hand so you can throw it together quickly.  Mine is sausage penne with marinara sauce–the sausage rope I keep frozen and it is pre-cooked so I can just thaw it (microwave) and throw it in; the penne boils up in 11 minutes, and the sauce is Barilla from a jar.  I throw in onion and garlic if I have extra time, but otherwise, the whole thing is ready in 15 mins, tops.  Why should you do this?  Because being able to entertain and feed unexpected guests is a) necessary sometimes, and b) a pleasure if you are prepared.

5.  When you hem a pair of pants, make a knot about every fourth stitch or so.  That way, if the thread breaks in one area, the whole hem won’t come out.  (I am a costume mistress for a children’s theatre and I hem a whole lotta pants.  Also, I am short and hem all my own.)

6.  Treat your kids like you want to be treated.  Don’t yell, hit, embarrass, shame or hurt your kids.  When you have to correct, do so in a calm, normal voice, with the intention to teach, not punish.  Definitely do discipline, because sometimes “no” is the most loving word you can say.  Remember that they are people and you are teaching them how to treat you and others by how you speak to and treat them.  Do be the parent, set limits, and don’t worry too much if they “like” you.  If you’re doing it right, often they won’t–for the moment.  They need their mom or dad–they have plenty of friends, but only one of you.  Here is a very important thing: don’t say “no” right away, but once you do, NEVER change your mind.  If you do, your kids will know you do not mean “no” and that if they nag enough, you will give in.  This is very, very bad.  Don’t go there.  Remember that your kids are not you, don’t try to make them live your dreams.  They deserve to have their own dreams, and to make their own mistakes. 

7.  Write thank-you notes.  That means snail-mail, on pretty cards.  Even if you have said thank-you verbally, a prompt note is required.  E-mail does not count!  Texting?  Do you really have to ask?  It says, “I know you didn’t have to do the nice thing that you did and I really appreciate that you thought of me whether I liked the gift or not.”  Everyone hates writing them, everyone loves getting them.  Just do it.

8.  Take care of your self.  Be nice to yourself.  Take time for a nice long shower, buy shampoo that smells good and makes you happy.  Splurge on your favorite coffee or tea, or whatever little thing makes you happy.  Eat healthy food and do a little exercise every day, just as a way of saying, “I love you” to yourself.  Wash your hands frequently and avoid crowds to keep from getting sick, which makes you miserable.  Get enough sleep!  You only get one life:  enjoy it. 

9.  You will never feel better about yourself than when you are doing something for someone else.  Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, though, because the high you get from service is addictive.  If you do too much, you wreck it by feeling resentful.  Remember your priorities:  take care of your family and your home and work, and then, in small doses, volunteer to help others.  You’ll feel great.

10.  You can’t have it all–at once.  To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  When you are young, it is time to party and play and have fun.  When you get a job you love, it is time to climb that ladder, baby!  Show me the money!  When you have kids, they should be your first priority over job and party.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have a job (sometimes you’ve got to) just that you need to figure out how to still be present for your children.  Good luck with that, and tell me if you figure it out!  Trying to be “super-mom” (or dad) will only make you miserable.  Make choices instead.

11.  Don’t worry.  It does no good.  Period.  Expect the best, plan for the worst, and give it all to God.  Also, eliminate un-necessary sources of stress.  Always leave early and give yourself plenty of time to get places.  Stress is toxic, and much of it is just a waste.  Learn to go from, “Oh no!” to “Oh, well.”  Accept life on its terms.  Find a healthy outlet for feelings and stress.  I recommend exercise (specifically walking because of its meditative qualities) and journaling.

12.  Remember, love is a verb.  If someone loves you, they will behave in loving ways.  They will not deliberately hurt you, put you down, be sarcastic all the time, or do things to “get your goat.”  Similarly, if you love someone, you will be patient and loving and forgiving, doing little things to make them happy and be there for them.  Anyone can say, “I love you.”  Find someone who shows it (outside the bedroom, too.) 😉  Marriage takes a huge amount of work.  Most people get divorced, unfortunately.  Love anyway.  Know that you will only be as happy with someone, as you were without them.  Others cannot make us happy–that is an inside job.  Unfortunately, the wrong someone can definitely make you unhappy.  It takes a mighty good spouse to be better than none, so choose carefully!

13.  Have a prayer life.  Being able to go to God with all my problems, joys, sorrows, worries, and happiness has been one of the most comforting and best things in my life.  I want for you the friend I have in Him. 

Along with all of this, know that I have loved you, beyond my big-mouthed capacity for expression, beyond all measures.  I treasure you, I am proud of you, I believe in you.  You two are my light, my reason to smile in the face of anything.  You have taught me so much, and it has been a privilege to be your mom.  All my love, Always, Mom

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Second-hand–It’s not just for cheap skates anymore

Last Friday, my mom, dad and I went out for a nice dinner with some other couples that mom hadn’t seen since before she got sick (Dec. last year.)  Several people remarked that Mom looked great (she did) and how pretty her slinky turquoise dress was.  One lady went so far as to ask where she had gotten it.  “Oh, it was a gift from Mallory,” she said quickly.  “Well, its beautiful.  Where did you buy it?”  “Um. Hmm, I don’t remember where.”  But actually I did know, and so did Mom.  I got it at my favorite thrift store.  It cost all of $5 and it had been brand new, still had the original tags on it, from Nordstrom’s actually, where it originally sold for $72.

If I hadn’t thought that it would embarrass Mom, I would have gone ahead and told my mom’s friend about my great find.  I am not only not ashamed of buying second hand, I truly believe in it, for lots of reasons.  Here are a few of them: 

1.  People tend to think of second-hand clothes as being stained, ripped, and from grandmas’ closets from 1972.  And sure, you can find all that at thrift stores.  But you can also run into high fashion, ultra-hip or fancy brands that are just there because they didn’t fit any more, or because they were a gift that someone didn’t fancy.  You might have to hunt a little more to get the good stuff, but that’s part of the fun.

2.  You probably won’t run into anyone who has your exact outfit on.  You can develop a unique style.  I get compliments all the time on my clothes.  Almost none of it was purchased “new.” 

3.  You can support worthy chairities that assist the poor and provide jobs for disabled people, people with language barriers, and other people who might have a hard time getting a job.  I would rather support the Salvation Army than the 4 Walden heirs of Walmart who each make over $4 billion a year individually but can’t provide health care for their workers.

4.  Because it is still Hollister/Nike/Columbia/Prada/Ann Taylor/Talbots/Lands End/Hanna Andersen no matter where you bought it.  (And yes, I have found all of the above designers at my local thrift stores.)  My kids are at that stage where “labels” are important to fit in.  My daughter even had a girl at camp say “I know you are rich because of your clothes!”  We had a really good laugh about that one.  But, I have to admit that sometimes you get what you pay for when you are buying new, and this way I get the “good brands” whose quality is a little better than the “K-Mart Fall-aparts” I would otherwise be able to afford.

5.  You will be recycling and saving the world’s resources.  You will also be saving tons of pesticide from being used to grow cotton, petroleum products from being used to create synthetics, not to mention packaging and transportation fuel.  There will be a little less demand for sweat shop labor.  Make no mistake–every action is political.  Buying decisions are political.  (And you thought you were just being cheap!)

6.  You will be buying locally.  Your dollars will go to support your own community.

7. You’ll have the thrill of the hunt and the joy of discovery.  Not to mention those awesome Steve Maddens that match your new dress perfectly, in great shape and in your size.

8.  Because all clothes are “used” the minute you purchase them new and take them out of the store.  That’s right:  you have a closet full of used clothes right now!!!

9.  Ok, yes, it is cheap.  Use the savings to donate to charity, buy organic food, invest in your kids’ education, put away more for retirement, get naked and roll around in all the money you saved…what?  you don’t do that?

10.  Buying second-hand makes a ton of sense for parents of babies and little kids.  I don’t have to tell you that they outgrow their clothes before they wear them out, right?  And we’re talking about people who are going to spit up and smoosh peas on whatever you buy them, whether it comes from Goodwill or Nordstrom’s.  Like to dress your little sweetie in Osh Kosh, Little Me, Carter’s, Hanna Andersen?  I find hella cute things all the time that make me wish I still had a little ankle biter at home.

11.  Are you pregnant?  Why spend a fortune on clothes that you are only going to wear for a few months?  Save the money for your baby’s college fund.

12.  Right now, I am changing sizes rapidly as I lose weight. I can get a whole new wardrobe, then turn around and donate it and get more new-to-me clothes without guilt.  I lose 5 pounds?  I deserve a new little something. 

13.  When I find those awesome, still has the tags on, way cute, big name item that doesn’t happen to fit me or anyone I buy for?  I sell it on ebay.  Cha-ching!

So Goodwill, Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission, Value Village (run by Vollunteers of America), William Temple House, American Cancer Society Thrift store, you will continue to see me there.  Save the good stuff for me, wouldja?

Thursday Thirteen–Thirteen Acts of Germicide

(First off, props to Wacky Mommy (www.wackymommy.org) and Mamatoo, (www.mamatoo.blogspot.com) talented purveyors of the Thursday Thirteen for introducing me to it!)

How it starts:  your kid comes home from school with a little runny nose and a wee cough.  The virus that causes your little angel mild discomfort just about kills you.  No, you only wish it would kill you.  Instead it makes you feel like you want to sleep for the next ice age or two, except you can’t because you are hacking up a lung every time you lie down and your nose is so runny it could win the Boston Marathon.  Make no mistake, being sick sucks.  When I get a virus, I treat it as a act of war on my defense system.  I set aside my normally pacifist ways and set out to commit premeditated germicide thusly:*

1.  Take it lying down.  Get thee to bed.  You are tired because your body needs to focus all its energy on getting you better.  Call in all those favors, get someone to watch your kid, and go undercover.

2.  Vitamin C  Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling said that Viatmin C would help lots of things, especially the common cold.  That’s good enough for me.  Why not have a great big glass of O.J. so you can get your C on and…

3.  Pump Up The Volume of your fluid intake that is.  Pushing fluids helps to flush out toxins in your body, and can help you combat the dryness caused by some cold remedies.

4.  Zycam  I swear by this stuff!  I am referring to the original Zycam, the zinc homeopathic gel that you put up your nose.  It comes in other forms, but for me it’s nose gel only.  It is thought that over 90% of common cold viruses are rhino-viruses–meaning they originate in the nose.  To me, it only makes sense to stop them in their tracks, arrest them and keep them from reproducing where they start, before they spread to your sinuses and lungs and make you miserable.

5.  Airborne  Lots of my friends think this is the bee’s knees.  It is like an Alka-Seltzer fizzy tab that delivers a big punch of Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.  Again, can’t hurt, might help, and it lets you get your fluids and tastes pretty good too.

6.  Garlic–It’s Not Just For Vampires Anymore!  Garlic is known in herb-lore as “Russian Penicillin” and is used medicinally all over the world.  It is one of the only know anti-virals and has anti-bacterial properties too.  Plus it tastes really good in your…

7.  Chicken Soup  It could be that it has garlic and onions in it, or that it has a saline-like salty broth, or that it is warm and the heat loosens phlegm, or just that it is another way to get your vital fluids, or a combination of all of these, but whatever it is, chicken soup seems to have a magical curative effect.  And it tastes really good, too.

8.  Don’t Share  your germs, that is.  Wash your hands frequently, every time you wipe your nose.  Cover your sneeze with your arm rather than your hand, and cough down your shirt.   And for goodness sake, toss those tissues as soon as you use them, “saving” them spreads germs.  It is better for you (any everyone you come into contact with) if you stay home when you are sick, if you are able.  You really do need to rest to recover.  If that is not possible, warn people that you know you are going to see later that you are ill.  Especially, stay away from babies and seniors–both can get serious respiratory problems from the same bugs that cause only minor discomfort to us.  And tell people your kid is sick BEFORE you show up to the play-date.  If you get their kid sick, they might return the favor in the future.

9.  Wipe Don’t Blow  According to www.realage.com, blowing your nose spread germs all through your sinuses and can make your cold worse.  Fight the temptation and dab delicately at your poor little red nose.

10.  Use Good Tissues  not napkins, paper-towels or even dollar store tissues–they can be really rough on your nose.  Stick to Kleenex or Puffs.  You deserve to be pampered right now.

11.  Put Up A Good Defense  against chapping and chafing.  Use a lip balm at night to protect your lips that get chapped from mouth-breathing when your nose is stuffed.  Protect your nose with a thin layer of petroleum jelly.  It will thank you later.

12.  Get Steamed  A nice warm shower will feel great, and the steam will open your sinuses, soften mucous, and wash away germs on your skin. (Follow with a smooth slathering of your favorite lotion.) You can also use a humidifier but it is not as nice and warm as a shower.

13.  Don’t Beg For Antibiotics  We all want something that will make this go away, NOW if not sooner.  Colds are miserable.  They can feel really serious and scary.  But the fact is, over 90% of URIs (upper respiratory infections) are viral, so antibiotics won’t help, and worse, they could give you diarrhea, you could become allergic, and they can upset the delicate balance of benficial bacteria in your belly and other places–like you really need a yeast infection right now.  Most colds last 7-10 days, but the cough can hang on longer.  You just have to wait it out.  If I use Zycam right away, and faithfully, my colds seem to go away in just a day or two.

Hope you feel great again soon!

*This is just what I do.  I am not a doctor, nor am I giving medical advice.  Consult your doctor for your medical advice!