Mean 

Mean 

Fridays are usually my kids favorite days. No homework means straight up fun all afternoon. After the first full week of school I thought my kids would be stoked that Friday afternoon had finally arrived.
All seemed good in the car. Of course my momdar (mom + radar) should have gone off when my daughter asked, “Do you like my outfit?” five minutes into our car ride home.

By the time we arrived home and kids piled out of the car, tears were streaming down her face. “What happened?” I asked; still not putting two and two together.

After a long hug and a few sobs she tells me that a girl said to her, “What are you wearing? Seriously, if you had just changed the bottom of that outfit maybe it would have been okay.” 

Fury. White-hot anger. Pain. Hurt. All this washes over me for her. As that simmers to a calm, I try to clean away this comment that will forever leave a stain. Nothing I say can completely erode the hurt from her heart. I know from experience. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was a full-fledged dreamer and a stone cold liar.

We talk about responses for next time because apparently this girl thinks everyone needs to hear her opinion no matter what it is. My girl is finally calm and she decides to change her clothes. And even though we move past that hurtful moment, it sits with me still when my eyes pop open at 6 AM Saturday morning.

Kids say hurtful things. Adults say hurtful things. 

I feel that I am doing my part for humanity to teach my children that if something isn’t helpful, kind, or necessary that maybe that little piece of information is better left unsaid. We talk about the Golden Rule at least 10 times a day. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – or in our speak – treat others how you want to be treated.

But…will mean ever never stop?

Hurt people; hurt people. People who feel low and little feel the path to rise up is through stealing someone else’s power. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This quote is embroidered into my soul. 

Children learn to speak by listening to those around them. I hear the words I say spill from my children’s lips.

I have heard people say that parents cannot be blamed for how their children behave. I have heard moms excuse away mean behavior with “kid will be kids”.

If we don’t teach them, if we don’t take responsibility for who they become then who will? What will ever change?

I know what occurred Friday isn’t the first or last time that something like this will happen. Heck, I am an adult and I still face these challenges and comments from other adults! What hurts my heart more deeply is that this happens to all of us. That our world still has people in it that find excuses for hate – they hide behind religion, race, history or whatever excuse they can find to eradicate the simple fact that each of us alone is responsible for what we bring to the table. It comes down to the individual and if you can hurl a hate-filled slur at another human it has nothing to do with anything but your own bad behavior. There is no excuse you can hide behind. Your poor choices and actions stand alone. No circumstance, no religion, no difference, nothing defends that action. You hurt another human. That is all. 

We need to teach our children that simple fact. We are the same. Despite our exterior and cultural differences, we are the same. We all have a heart. We all want love. We all need the human basics – water, food, etc. Treat one another with respect. Do not hurt another person. It should just be that simple. 

Until next time,

Michelle

Lessons afourytale style

Lessons afourytale style

It’s been more than awhile I know. Life keeps a girl busy you know. I know you do…you are flying through it with me.

There have been many happenings in the fourytale hood and I hope I am learning lessons and growing; that at least makes it seem like the rough moments are worth something right? If you attribute it to a learning moment instead of just a rough patch or embarrassing minute in our lives as it moves with barreling speed toward the finish line it seems to make it all more worthwhile.

So what might you ask I have learned these past few months of 2016; well here it goes…

IMG_39301. I still have a teacher voice.

This past weekend my daughter was in a local school production and I volunteered to help. My assignment for this show was to be a mom backstage in the girls’ dressing room. Of course, they have to be quiet backstage or else the audience can hear them. Well they got a bit out of hand and from somewhere came this voice, “I want everyone in their seats right now. And I want your voices quiet.” I looked around to see where it came from and to my amazement as the girls rushed to their chairs quietly they were all looking up at me. I got them quiet and in their chairs. Another mom who was helping came back into the room after escorting a few to the restroom and she was impressed by the quiet. I told her I could still rock my teacher voice. The lesson here…sometimes you never lose the things that are truly a part of you and you can use those mad skills you acquire over your life time. Of course one girl in particular thought I was the meanest person in the universe, but all you got to do is behave and then you don’t have to feel my wrath – which just included taking her clothes bag which she was flinging and staying quiet and in her spot which was near impossible for her. Whateves…I know being tough and sticking to your guns gets results and respect so I will take her assessment as a compliment.

IMG_39352. Still feel small

There are still times I feel so small and out of place. We have a family friend who is a great cook and beyond that she runs her home to a T and always seems knowledgable…about everything. I always feel small and out of place when I am around her. Like there is nothing that I have that can add to the conversation. See I am a mac n cheese, follow a Pioneer Woman Recipe, fly by the seat of my pants mama and sometimes that just doesn’t feel like enough when I am in her presence.

I haven’t watched the news in close to a decade (I read it occasionally, but there is so much bad I kind of skim it to be honest). My mom brain is so full of schedules, what needs to be paid when and who has what assignment due that I don’t have a repertoire of interesting conversation topics. Plus I have a knack of horrible small conversation skills, so I just feel plain inadequate around her.

My point behind this…sometimes no matter how comfortable we think we are there are times we can all still feel small and insignificant.

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Seriously who could say mean things to this cute face?! Kids can be so cruel.
3. What happens when someone calls your daughter an ass

See the flying by the seat of your pants mama also thinks that kids need to handle some of their own disputes because they have to become adults that can handle other adults. I have my own bully that I have to deal with on a regular basis and I know my kids will run into people who act like idiots in their lives, too. So when my daughter told me that another girl called her an “ass” I told her to ignore it and steer clear of this girl. If she felt she needed to she could address it and tell the girl in her own words that she didn’t appreciate being called names. We talked about how when someone else calls you names it says a lot more about them than it does you and that this girl was just reacting to getting into trouble and taking it own on her.

Well what I didn’t realize is that my daughter actually felt threatened by this girl. So she was afraid to go to play practice. In a nutshell we had to have other talks about how you need to tell an adult that someone makes you feel unsafe and if you feel like someone is going to hurt you that you need tell an adult, “I  think this person might hurt me” or something to that effect.

So if someone calls your child names you may want to inquire if they actually feel threatened instead of it taking two teachers and two days to figure that out. Just saying in case this ever happens to you.

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He looks sweet and innocent but he can dig in and be relentless.
4. Life isn’t fair.

So, your child orders chocolate chip pancakes. Then they take three bites of said pancakes and ask for dessert. You tell the child no, that their dinner is much like dessert because of the chocolate chips. Be prepared for your child to tell you, “You are not being fair” and that “You are so mean”.

Said child also after downing an extra large M&M cookie, a full can of pink lemonade, and two handfuls of M&Ms asks for more snacks and you say no, they have had plenty of sugar and can wait until the show is over, one hour without a snack will not kill them. Be prepared to listen to whining for an hour regarding how unfair you are and how hungry they are and how could you starve them to death.

I kid you not, no matter how much you ignore them or tell them life isn’t fair, or time out them, you have to keep up with this for days for it to sink in that they will not get their way EVER! Be prepared to repeat this at age 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 18 as a child seems to forget this lesson every 18 months or so and needs to relearn it. It is exhausting and you know what…it isn’t fair…because life isn’t fair and your kids make you aware of that at every turn.

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I know only four lessons in two months. I am sure there were more and I am also sure that 4 is enough when your plate is full. So I leave you with those four lessons this month:

  • use the gifts you have even when you think you have lost them, they are still there
  • it is totally normal to feel inadequate from time to time we are human
  • always remember to ask your child lots of questions when they tell you things
  • last but not least life isn’t fair when you are 5 and can’t have dessert or when you are almost 40 and your dessert sticks to your thighs.

Love, laughter, and lots of learning to you,

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Would you be beautiful?

A friend posted this on FB today and definitely got me thinking:

If the words YOU spoke were written on your body….would you be beautiful??

Yikes…as much as I try to always treat others as I would like to be treated I am sure there would be some pretty ugly words; especially from my youth. But maybe even a couple interesting words from days like today.

There is too much whining in my house and too much on my plate to always respond appropriately. I am way over the whining and definitely way past my patience point. But we all slip up sometimes so I am sure we would all be pretty colorful. And maybe just maybe the good and the bad all swirled together would be a beautiful way to show how human and alike we all are.

So what would your answer be; if the words YOU spoke were written on your body….would you be beautiful??

Photo below is from: http://www.psst-bc.ca/student-works/whats-wrong-us

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I think you would all still be beautiful,

M

All of these things make my skin crawl…

Keeping up with the Joneses.

Status Quo.

Perfection.

All of these things make my skin crawl. Absolutely without a doubt make me want to puke.

Beauty my friends is in the quirks, the differences, in the chinks in the armor, but if you are a regular here you already know that.

What brings about all this keeping up with the Joneses talk you ask?

Well two things actually – the first was a conversation I had with my sweet friend, Janet today about how parents she ran into are forcing their sons to play baseball whether they like it or not. And the other is how people react to one of my sons and his love for dolls and all things pink.

It all started when 6 months ago one of my sons asked for a Princess Sofia Castle for his birthday. We bought it for him. It was the one and only thing he asked for.

At Christmas he received some money from his great-grandmother and he chose to buy a Frozen toy.

During the day he puts on fashion shows and sings Let it Go like he is on Broadway.

Recently we went through Old Navy and what did he pick out:

sophia

That shirt was all he wanted. Sofia, Anna and Elsa are his favorite cartoon characters of all time. Which I think is pretty awesome because they are kind, strong, funny, independent individuals. They put family and friends first.

But to be completely honest, I am worried about him wearing this shirt and don’t really encourage it if I can help it. In fact, I am so awful that last week when he was wearing it around town I tried to explain it away to a couple that was giving him strange looks.

“Oh wouldn’t it be nice if Disney made a more gender neutral version of each of their character shirts. I just couldn’t talk him out of getting this Sofia shirt.” I say with a wave of my hand.

To which the gentleman replied, “Well when he starts school you won’t have to worry about that anymore. That will put an end to THAT really quick.” His eyeballs giving a piercing stare to the pink Sofia shirt with puffy sleeves.

His words made my stomach turn. I think I even threw up a little bit in my mouth. I don’t want anyone to put an end to it. My sweet son, who puts others first and shares everything, who doesn’t hit or argue should have every right to continue to like pink and love princesses.

Why is it that boys like my son and like Grayson (check out his story here) have to conform to typical gender stereotypes? Ones I don’t really agree with in the first place.

For example, I can’t double-check if my son is okay when he trips and falls without someone telling me, “He’s fine – he has to be tough. He’ll dust it off.”

Puh-leeze; my children were born with inherent personality traits and they know what they do or don’t like and are able to communicate that well. So what if my son wants to be the Broadway Star singing in musicals his whole life and after taking care of dolls for years is a great, hands on father that sounds like a perfectly wonderful type of person to be to me.

So what if my daughter is the “toughest” one in the group, keeping her feelings to herself and never shedding a tear when she scrapes her knee. Sounds like she could be a great CEO or have the kind of strength it takes to be a great mom. Or maybe SHE will decide not have kids and travel the world. Great, I want to raise her so that she can have HER dreams come true.

So what if one son is going to be the Welterweight Champion or play professional football. I don’t want to ever see someone knock down my baby; a baby I protected with every fiber of my being for 8 months. But HIS dreams trump what I want. HIS dreams are what matter in HIS life.

Or what if another one of my kids decides to move to a whole other country, design video games and never visits me. Again, that is fabulous if it is what HE wants in HIS life.

We need to raise our kids not in our own image, but allow them to become the best version of themselves and pursue what makes them happy.

I think what a lot of parents are missing; what a lot of our society is missing is that children need the room to be themselves. We only need to offer support and encouragement in a safe, comforting environment where they can truly express themselves. If the home is the place where they can comfortably be themselves then they will have the strength to do that out in the world as well. The hard part is that we are all in this together parents – our kids have to share this world like it or not so we all need to teach them to respect one another.

We need to remind our children that beauty is in the differences. What makes us unique makes us interesting. Accepting people as they are without any prerequisites or stereotypical bias is what is important.

We need to describe people as they are in all their glory; not try to conform to make sure we are keeping up with our neighbors or society’s expectations.

Yours Truly,

A hot-tempered, serious-minded, overly optimistic, super shy girl doing the best I can to offer my children room to grow into their best selves. A woman who adores her husband, in spite of how upset he can make me. Writing against my better judgement to an audience I am forever grateful to and above all else I love my family, friends, books, converse and coffee. Oh, I do love coffee. And Converse – I also really love Converse.