I believe, I wrote something recently about how I AM NOT a mom with the mentality that MY KIDS WOULD NEVER!! As far as kid stories go, this one isn’t too bad. I am telling you, though, it seems like “The Blogging Gods” give me MORE material to write about then I have TIME…sheesh. I guess I never realized how much my life could ACTUALLY be made into a TV series or movie. Of course, it would be some weird mix of a Lifetime Movie and Situation Comedy…hehe. A brand new genre….DRASITCOM!
I will soon be writing about my ordinary day of grocery shopping that involved an elderly lady, a cement blocked sign, another car and me….for pete’s sake! All I will say is…NO ONE WAS HURT!
Today I am going to tell you about my very bad day yesterday. I was definately STRUGGLING to do my 3 deep breaths. Hey I tried, but they were more like shallow, short, hyperventilating breaths than deep, calm, cleansing breaths….as I said…at least I tried, right?
The day started with my husband being a dumb boy! It is not even worth getting into the details. Nothing earth-shaking or the like…just TYPICAL run-of-the-mill dumb boyness. Sorry boys…. ladies, I am sure you KNOW exactly what I mean and, as for you BOYS.…well…if you ever dated or were married to yourself you would KNOW EXACTLY what I mean too! It is just the way it is….we girls need to own our minute, harmless moments of say….PMS, while you guys need to OWN your dumb boyness….jus’ sayin!
The second thing of my very bad day….discovering that my precious little angel had snuck a Facebook account….I won’t mention any names here, but… DUH Olivia, did you really think I wouldn’t figure that one out! Sidenote: I actually have her permission to write about this on my blog….I always ask permission if the topic is at all somewhat personal. I discovered her account moments before taking her to her orthodonist appointment. I will say this…it took all of my restraint to not ask for some pliers to tighten-up her braces for her! You know…I am very (tighten) disappointed that you would (Tighten) go BEHIND my back (TIGHTEN)!!! All in all, it is NOT the worst thing I have dealt with as a parent (not even close) and it will CERTAINLY not be the last!
My Facebook rule is…..you can have a Facebook account AFTER 8th grade graduation. It is my rule…there are tons of people who think I am ridiculous and some who agree and they are all entitled and justified in their feeling. HOWEVER….. MY RULE FOR MY KIDS IS AFTER 8th GRADE GRADUATION!
Olivia is my NEGOTIATOR…every family has one! I wish I could rent her out as a prodigy child lawyer…lol! In any event, Olivia has been pestering me for a FB for 2 YEARS! I have been very firm with my rule and VERY PATIENT in repetitively explaining why I have it in place. Well…. that little booger….decided my rule was SILLY and made a FB page on July 6th….I discovered it on July 28th. She did make 3 attempts to deactivate on July 16th, 17th and 18th…YES I CHECKED…I CERTAINLY wasn’t about to take her word for it!
The third and final straw of my bad day was my car blowing up on the way home from the ortho, NO NOT LITERALLY, but PRACTICALLY…..good times people, good times. My water pump went and THANKFULLY, THANKFULLY, THANKFULLY I did not seize the engine!! So…a dumb boy, a sneaky teen, NO CAR AND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS LATER, I was hyperventilating, as a way from keeping everyone around me safe! Now before I read Zen Heart or began my quest for MANAGING my emotions better…I would have torn up, down and through all of them, but I didn’t. I explained through CLENCHED JAW and TWITCHING BODY that it might be a GRAND idea if everyone just left me ALONE for A BIT and we could DISCUSS things later! MUCH LATER!!!
Around 5 o’clock, I was able to get my car (and even though the 5 hundred wasn’t easy to swallow, I was thrilled it didn’t cost thousands). I was ready to tackle Olivia, who spent MOST of the day in and out of tears because I had mentioned that I was DISAPPOINTED in her. It’s a KILLER that disappointment word. And here is where parenting gets tricky. I truly believe she was sorry. I also believe she felt guilty about going behind my back BEFORE she was caught, hence the 3 attempts to deactivate the account. You know your kids…you know when they are sorry and when they are sorry they got caught. I believe Olivia was sorry. And it breaks your heart to see your child feel bad, feel guilty, feel your disappointment. I just wanted to wrap her up and hug her and say…“it’s ok, sweetie, just don’t do something like that again.” HOWEVER….unfortunatley, for my kids, that is NOT how I roll!!! Regardless of whether I believe her to be genuine or not, she is a teenager and ALL TEENAGERS are masters in the art of manipulation…..it isn’t even a CHOICE…it is BUILT INTO the developmental stage of what being a teenager is….IT IS THE TRUTH!! Believing her or not is a moot point. We had a discussion about deception, dishonesty, disappointment and disrespect…man those D words will kill ya….was it overkill….maybe, maybe not.
As I have said before, I view these moments as an OPPORTUNITY for teaching…..I truly do. And even though, I believe her remorse to be real, it is a valuable lesson for our teens to learn that even when you are sorry,consequences remain. It is a fact of life…it isn’t negotiable for anyone. I was struggling with what I felt was a reasonable consequence. This is what I came up with…..she has lost her phone, computer and iPod (since she used her iPod to access FB along with the computer) for 11 days. I came up with the 11 days by subtracting July 6th from July 17th…the amount of time she was on FB BEFORE her guilt got the better of her. I gave her a pass on the 17th to the 28th (the day I discovered her account) for being honest when I asked her about starting an account and maturely handling the fact that there would be consequences….what I mean by this is she didn’t roll her eyes or give me any huffy sighs. She refrained from…“You are RUINING MY LIFE and EVERYONE is on FB and I AM THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD WITH A CRAZY MOM WITH DUMB RULES!”
It is difficult to see your kids cry, to hurt, even at their own hand and it is tempting to “let them off,” but the cost of sparing our kids hurt and consequences only perpetuates the self-centered, callous world we live in today. I don’t know about you guys, but I want to stop the ride. I want my kids to be responsible, positive contributors to their family, friends and the world around them.
One thing I have come to learn is that there are NO HARD AND FAST RULES to raising children…you must have rules, you must have communication, but you can’t be STRICT all of the time and you cannot always give in either. IT IS TENDER BALANCE…really really difficult.
You guys may all think I handled it wrong, but I feel content with how I handled it….I feel “aligned” within myself. I feel that Oliva will learn a valuable lesson. Do I think she will NEVER deceive me again…“NO, I do not think that!” She absolutely will….it is sort of her “job” to push against her boundaries. We are all the sum, at least in part, of our experiences AND the knowledge we (hopefully) gain from our experiences. Children have no anchor to what is moral or immoral (except from their parents), they are developing their “compass.” As a parent, we have to help them to realize that mistakes are okay, even the big ones. What is most important is to own them, good and bad! Celebrate accomplishments that come from the “smart” choices and rectify and accept the consequences of the “not-so-smart” choices. There is nothing more admiral, to me, than a person who can say…“man, I really screwed that up… I am sorry.” It is aggravating when you deal with an adult who tries to deflect responsibility to others or outside forces. It is RARE and REFRESHING when someone simply owns their mistakes and offers an apology when need be. We have to teach our kids this quality…we may even have to learn it ourselves.
Parenting is analogous to someone dropping you in the middle of a jungle, laced with hungry wildlife and informing you that you are on your OWN to maneuver your way to a place of safety. We are all doing the best we know how. We all struggle, and again…this little FB thing is NOTHING in the scope of parenting, especially in my own experience. This is why we need to open up with each other. We are all in the damn jungle together, whether you have kids or not, navigating in this tumultuous world is difficult. The more we share, the more we learn that we are not alone…we are not FREAKS. The more we share the more we GAIN perspective of the BIG PICTURE. The more we share the more we are connected to something bigger than ourselves.
When I discovered Oliva and the FB scandal…hehe…it was not long before I was on the phone with a few of my girlfriends venting my frustration and “thinking aloud.” This helps me tremendously. I know that when I am on the receiving end of those calls or conversations the person who is venting seems lighter at the end, there is a peacefulness. I am not saying that venting or conversing cures the problem, but it helps to release the emotion you are feeling about the situation, which enables you to have a clear level head. If I had laid down the consequences upon the initial discovery of the FB account….well…let’s just say the consequences would have been so off the charts it would have been counter productive to Olivia “learning” anything AND I would have been left with guilt and grappling over …do I lessen the consequence that was given in an emotional outburst or leave it in place to avoid going back on what I have said…keep the consistency? I needed the day to cool down (especially because I was dealing with dumb boyness and car breakdowns on top of the FB thing). I needed to air my emotions, sort them out, in order to get to the business of responsible, logical parenting. Emotions have NO BUSINESS in the administering of consequences. Emotions create murky waters. We need our emotions, but we need to manage them before we act. I am an emotionally-driven person, so this lesson has been eye-opening and challenging for me. However, I feel so good and healthy when I allow myself to experience my emotions fully and THEN behave/act from a more calm, thought-driven place. It is great when I accomplish it…..IT ISN’T EASY, at least, for this fiery Italian, but I love when I can deal with a situation that triggers a lot of emotion within me…..calmly. There is no after-guilt for things said that shouldn’t have been or for over-reacting.
There is simply…. peace.
I love peace!
I have said this a gazillion times and so here is a gazilllion and one….
CONNECT!! To yourself, to your family, to your friends! Just CONNECT!!
Back to the JUNGLE for me!!
Enjoy your day!
Oh and if any of you enjoyed this post….please feel free to repost and share…THANKS! 🙂