Phone Etiquette: An Acronym Kids Should Worry About

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I read a very interesting article posted on cnn.com a few days back and it’s been on my mind. The article was warning parents about some of the new acronyms on the street and how to stay hip. A few that have been forever burned in my mind include;

GYPO-Get Your Pants Off

9-Parent Watching

99-Parent Gone

PIR-Parent in Room

NIFOC-Naked in Front of Computer

CU46-See you for Sex

The rest of them baffled me too, as my first thought was sheer horror kids aren’t even attempting to spell out their thoughts anymore! How can a parent compete with that? How in the world am I supposed to hover over cnn, msn, Oprah and the likes to give me tidbits of information on ways to communicate with the bots that are now our children? My second thought was, of course, a personal one. Are my kids using this language? We have two children with cell phones and I take a cruise around the phone every once in a while but the truth is with Kick, SnapChat, text messaging and email how in the world are we supposed to keep up?

I believe the answer to that question is relative to two very important things in a relationship between parent and child;

(1) Responsibility

(2) Trust

If your child isn’t responsible or trustworthy than they more than likely are not ready for a cell phone. Society is putting on the pressure but don’t cave, it will only cause more problems than it’s worth.

The other strategic move to set in place is the village. By village, I mean other parents. We must have multiple people keeping after our kids and willing to share what they may have seen in their kid’s phone about your kids etc. The village has become more important than ever this day in age, build it up!

I figure if none of this works and I still find myself drowning in the abyss of teen social media, I can remember three things:

(1) Their kids people! My home, my rules, my way.

(2) He/she who pays the bill, controls the phone.

If they really push, kids should become familiar with an acronym they will have no choice but to communicate in person at school.

(3) MCMPO: Mom Cut My Phone Off

Just remember parents, this is a two-way street & we can’t forget that. There was a time we lived without cell phones and our kids can certainly survive it (and we can too parents)! If cell phone etiquette isn’t to your standard than take that phone away and shape that kid up until it is! The real danger in a kid’s phone is the parent who is afraid to poke around, unwilling to take action and feels trapped by the social pressure!

I’m always open to suggestions, cell phones can be tricky business!

Source:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/08/living/internet-acronyms-every-parent-should-know/index.html

Working Mothers: What about Us!?

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For some reason I woke up this morning with the thought what about me? What about me, the working mom? I’ve read many blogs, posts, articles, comments and feelings on the stay at home mom. Their many sacrifices, the difficulties of staying home and the lack of understanding the world and often their husbands have for them. Well, I think the world has a lack of understanding for me too, for all working mothers! The working mother  has also made a host of sacrifices and much like the stay at home mom, it takes a shot at her career.

#1 Sacrifice: I’ve returned to work after each maternity leave and I’ve often wondered where does all the juggling really get you? I’ve had the thought many times that I certainly have potential to be in the top ranks of some business by now if it weren’t for the “mommy track”. What’s the mommy track? I’m glad you asked. The mommy track is that very invisible line corporations draw between you, your actual contributions vs. their perceived contributions. In plain English it means, “I can work late whenever you want, I can be here as early as you need me, I’ll never want to chaperone a field trip, I’ll never have to leave work five minutes after I arrived for a fever at school, and I’ll never-never never ask for a week off at time to be home for (choose one, there’s too damn many) break! Yea, that’s actually what they want to hear. The reality is, that’s actually EVERYTHING the mommy track will ask for plus working from home if you’re really a negotiator! Ha! Unfortunately, the mommy track often leads to your actual contributions being perceived much lower than actual value. Surely a semi chaotic, very spontaneous, semi inflammatory, I mean explosive (not helping) calendar worth the tapered lenses we’re often viewed through? Society says?? (insert your opinion here)

#2 Guilt: In addition to the ticking time bomb calendar there’s also days where I’m quite certain we could equal our body weight in the number of tears we’re fighting back heading to the office having sent a child to school a little unsteady. It can be a lot of guilt! STOP! Before you judge, by unsteady I mean; a splinter in a foot, a cheese sandwich with no cheese (oops), an unsigned permission slip, a hole in the khaki’s, a permission slip marked cannot chaperone etc. Yes, we’re ALL mothers…fevers, green goo, pink eye etc. YES! We stay home too. Clearly, all items are survivable, but none the less the things we beat ourselves up about all day long (while working).

#3 The Trophy: Ahhh, the sought after “trophy wife”. I’ve read in so many blogs this is the part where stay at home mom’s often say we have the advantage? We get the pleasure of heading to husband’s Holiday Party, cocktail party etc. and having an all too impressive resume to dazzle his coworkers. It’s more than “I’m a mom.” In reality the five-minute elevator speech about our high-powered careers left out the following; before work I wrestled with a blood blister on a ballerina’s foot, frantically ran after boys making sure they remembered deodorant, picked out a tie for the hubby, asked myself 100 times should I iron this shirt or not? (the answer is always not), fussed in the carpool line while listening to my email notification “bing” my ears to death and calculating if I have enough time to grab coffee. Note: Traffic never allows time for coffee.

I also left out while at work; sat on hold to request a fax from the Dr’s office for one child, while taking a business call on my desk line, responded to the teacher’s email, got a phone call from the school about said blister and also managed to accomplish returning an insane amount of emails, attend meetings on time while earning that paycheck baby! You don’t get to say all of this at the Holiday Party but it’s what you’re thinking! Note: Assistant? Something to consider.

#4 Adult Interaction: Let me keep this short and sweet. The adult interaction at the office often leads to emails that raise my blood pressure, conversations that raise my blood pressure, meetings that raise my blood pressure and unhealthy frequent lunches that raise my blood pressure. Do you see the pattern here? An advantage? I suppose it depends on who’s paying for lunch? Okay. I am glad we cleared that up. Moving on…

#5 Lack of Understanding: If I read one more blog that says “my husband doesn’t understand what I do all day.” Ladies, they’re men! Do you think being a working mother somehow mysteriously makes him an all-knowing expert on any one thing I juggled in a day on top of item #1, #2 and #4. Husbands don’t get the working woman either.

So you see ladies, the moral of the story is we have it hard too. Some would say harder but that’s not for me to judge. We all made our choice. I haven’t walked in any other shoes but my own and I make an effort to understand all walks of life and that’s all I’m trying to do here (be understanding and be understood). The common thread between all of us is motherhood! We keep our guilt, our adult interaction, lack of understanding etc. in different places in different ways. There’s no right or wrong choice, and we’re all being challenged to raise our kids the best way we know how.

To all mothers…keep being amazing!

Single? What Your Closet May Say About You!

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I woke up this morning to the site of a closet overflowing. Filled from top to bottom with shoes, hats, clothing and random belts and purses lopsided on the shelf. It’s clear our impending move could not come at a better time, we’ve outgrown our space. In years past, waking up to this site would have immediately put a crooked smile on my face and urged me to overlook really important things in life to reorganize this dastardly site. Thank goodness I’ve matured a bit in this lifetime.

Today, instead of the crooked smile it made me fondly look at my husband as I remembered my life just a few short years ago. When we began dating he would poke fun at the organization of my closet. The color coding, the neatly placed belts and shoes, the boxes filled with neatly stacked purses and more. While he appreciated the organization, I recall him saying to me one day “there’s no room in your closet for me?” He then went on to explain that I parked in the very middle of my 2 car garage, I utilized every single inch of space in the closet, all the drawers in my dresser and I often had a single Dr. Pepper in the refrigerator. I, of course, took his observations to mean that I was a super put together single woman powerhouse and what more could he want from me? The observations said to him the available space in my life was looking extremely limited and where exactly did he fit in this picture? After giving this clever metaphor some thought it turns out he was absolutely right! As much as I enjoyed spending time together I had never considered “making room for him” in that way inside of my tidy little life. I mean, why in the world would I ever consider a new system in my closet, garage, or Dr. Pepper runs? It had been that way for years! Well, you do consider those things when you open your heart to everything love has to offer. I was guarded, he recognized that and the clever metaphor was the beginning of the end of my single lifestyle as I knew it.

In four years I managed to take the color coded closet (still is on my side-ha!) and make room for his not so color coded semi organized WE closet. It started with me clearing a drawer for him and that drawer turned into a marriage. So you see, I couldn’t be happier to wake up to a closet that is far from the closet of my dreams. It will forever represent a part of myself that I had to let go and remind me daily of all that I gained by doing so.

My single closet is now a distant memory but I’d like to challenge any single women looking for love to inventory their single ways, how much space is available for Mr. Right?

Saturday Shenanigans

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Morning breath, Syrup, Eggs and Orange Juice

Sweeping, sleeping, dancing, cleaning and ringing door bells too

Chatty mornings on the phone, paper crinkling, and newsfeeds scrolling on

Cats meowing, dogs barking, and child’s play on high

Spooning in bed, playing footsie

Morning sex? Yes! Okay

Steamy showers, cologne, lotion, and coffee mixed with perfume

Kids bed head, curling irons heating, and laundry on the stairs

Open windows, cool winter breeze and sun pouring in

To do lists, trash overflowing, laughs and what to do on the brain

Dryer sheets, folding clothes, and possible nap time on the way

More sex, maybe? Okay, yes!

Blair cartoons and sneak away

Closed door romance, music, and what did I forget to do?

Door knocks, Lifetime and mangled hair dos

Jeans and tees, no ironing

All the food you can eat

Cheat day, sleep day, me day or we day

Saturday Shenanigans, the best! Who cares what we do!

Family “Unplugged”: Debate Night!

Family “Unplugged” is my version of a family time like we use to enjoy in the good ol days before cell phones, television, laptops, iPods, ipads and any other distracting electronic device you can think of came into our lives. It is so wonderfully refreshing to enjoy each other without the plug binding us all to the ever so entertaining game, article, newsfeed etc. that’s currently showing on-screen. With that said, the husband and I love getting creative with ways to spend this time.

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Debate Night “Unplugged”

The Background: We have four children and they love to bicker about any and everything from what color the sun is to how long it took someone to shower etc. They just love to stir up a good argument, and that’s when the light bulb went off!

The Goal: What if, we took all this bickering and turned it into constructive and meaningful banter rather than the kind that makes your ears want to fall off. Thus, debate night was born. The goal is to let them constructively debate one another on topics that affect their lives today! This helps them gain public speaking skills, writing skills, listening skills, the ability to formulate an opinion and use credible material to make their point.

The Topics: A few topics we threw in the hat are; Do uniforms improve education? Is animal testing ethical? Is public humiliation a good form of punishment for kids? Should cell phone use be allowed in class? Is cloning animals ethical? I have to say, out of all the topics they choose from I am hoping they pick public humiliation for punishment as I would love to hear they’re take on some of the videos we’ve seen on YouTube demonstrating examples of that form of discipline.

The Rules: They will each get an opportunity to read the pros and cons of the topic(s) they choose and some time to formulate their argument (no google-good old fashioned brain power). They will have two minutes to present their argument to one another without being disrupted. They will have an opportunity to counter each other’s arguments and then the husband and I will be the judges.

The Fun: Kids LOVE all eyes on them!! We’re expecting a lively household tonight, some good laughs, loud praise and constructive criticism and counter arguments only.

The Take A Way: We all see the world through our own eyes. No two views are the same. It’s important to be open to how others view the world, consider other perspectives but ultimately make the decision for your life that you feel is best.

Raising strong minds! Looking forward to debate night. Go Team!

10 Simple Ways to Take Cinderella to the Ball

Romance, what every woman wants and what so many men are so horrible at. I’ve narrowed down the root issue to be, a lot of men believe romance is and should always be the big grand gesture! We’re talking hotel room, expensive dinners, fancy gown, high heels, a night downtown or something outside of the normal routine. Don’t get me wrong, that’s incredible and surely a night to remember when these grand gestures occur. Let’s face it, the grand gestures tend to come with a grand occasion such as; birthday, anniversary, celebration or some other milestone in the course of your lives. While this is surely commendable some men find their grand gesture is met with a grand eye roll and they’re confused as to why? Here’s the answer; no woman wants to be Cinderella before the ball the entire year and then count down to midnight when her carriage turns back into a pumpkin, her glass slipper goes missing and her knight in shining armor is gone. The glass slippers can stay on year round, and it’s easier than you think! Here’s my most honest advice: Ditch the concept of grand gestures only and adopt a more practical, affordable and logical way to make her feel like Cinderella at the ball all year long.

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10 Simple Ways to Take Cinderella to the Ball 

(1) Fill Her Shoes: If your wife cooks, cleans, picks up the kids or whatever her daily thing is (I am sure you have multiple options here) offer to take over and send her off for some me time or wait on her at home. The key word here is OFFER if she has to ask it’s not quite the same.

(2) Order Up: Perhaps you’re working late and she’s home with the kids or maybe everyone is free for the night. You can’t go wrong in taking the liberty to order some take out or delivery, pick a movie and set the mood for a hassle free weeknight. *Bonus: You might not have to leave the recliner for this one!

(3) Put on Your Dancing Shoes: Most couples have a song that is unique to them, reminds them of a great time in the relationship, and summons the essence of love. One dance in the living room, bedroom, or kitchen is all it will take to send her back to the ball!

(4) Flowers: Fellas, you can’t go wrong with flowers. If you haven’t come home with flowers in hand you need to check the romance meter and be sure it’s still active! Here again, the grand gesture is having them delivered to her job or home. Ditch the delivery guy and see that smile on her face when you deliver them yourself!

(5) Love Notes: Remember how simple things were when we were kids? It can be that simple now! A hand written note left behind to say have a good day, you’re beautiful, I love you or something naughty can go much further than one might think! We’re so busy texting and emailing the personal touch of a love note is sure to score bonus points!

(6) Be the Masseuse: Becoming an adult the point is to support yourself and it’s wonderful when we reach the point of being able to buy the things we want in life. There isn’t a woman out there that will turn down a pass to the spa but no one can bring the touch of her loving husband! The key here is to play the part & bring the spa to your home! Rub the stress of the day right off of her.

(7) Couples Project: Perhaps there’s a book she’s been wanting to read, or a bathroom she’s wanted to remodel. Remind her how interested you are in her world and offer to be a part of getting these goals completed. Go with her to shop for the paint, or read a chapter or two from the book she’s reading. Above all, let your efforts confirm you’re interested in her.

(8) It’s Just Lunch: If lunch together during the work day is not the typical routine then bless her workplace by showing up with lunch or taking her out of the office to dine with her favorite guy.

(9) Light as a Feather: Let’s face it, women with families and some without have a lot on their plate. Show her you recognize just how much by being “light as a feather”. Don’t add to her plate by being too messy, or inconsistent with the “honey do list”. She’s sure to notice you taking the extra five minutes is five more she has to relax.

(10) Before Her Feet Hit the Floor: Tell her you love her. Starting the day off with a few words of affirmation is sure to send her off in her day smiling all the way!

Frequency is the key! Don’t let a year pass you by before you realize it was the last time she’s seen flowers, been served, pampered or appreciated. What are some other ways to take Cinderella to the ball right in the comfort of your own home?

“Confidence is Scary”

I am pretty sure since the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child 11 years ago I haven’t had a day yet that I haven’t been in complete awe or amazement over something my children do or say. This awe and amazement of course can go both ways because they do have those days where amazement is actually pure disbelief that they did or said that. Nonetheless, it’s amazement and I take it all as a gift. At any rate, it leads me to the more pressing point of how important it is to really TALK to your children. I don’t mean “how was your day?”, “what’s new?”, “how’s your friend?” or any of the other in passing jargon we spew to one another in the midst of homework, practices, and preparing for the following days events. We often assume that we’re getting the job done and somehow with all of the vocabulary they have picked up along the years they’re also fully aware of the meaning for all the words they’ve heard and are using.

This revelation could not have been more clear to me after a very deep and teary eyed conversation I had with my 8 year old daughter. She and I have recently been on a journey to conquer the big math monster, as I mentioned in a recent post Learning Curves: Shaping Mothers Into Experts, and all the technical stuff aside I realized my daughter has become her own bully. I attend her tutoring sessions so we can both learn the concepts and I can better guide her at home and I began counting the number of times she would start to write the correct answer, abruptly erase it and then stare at the paper as if she was paralyzed with fear. I truly believe she is. It was all I could do in our most recent session not to break out in tears as I watched her little mind battle the fear of being disappointed, and incorrect even one more time. Luckily the session was near it’s end but it ended with a silence that blared in my head like a loud speaker the rest of the night.

The following morning I woke up still plagued at what I can do to help her realize how amazing she truly is! As I was brushing her hair I asked her does she know how smart she is? She paused for a moment and replied “yes”. I then asked her if she knows what confidence is and she paused again and said “yes.” I kept brushing her hair, and asked her to tell me what confidence means to her. She paused again and replied “When you go on stage (she’s a dancer) you can’t be scared or mess up because people might laugh at you. Confidence is really scary.” I kept brushing her hair and reminded her of how often she’s been able to conquer some scary moments she’s already had in life and math was the same. I reminded her all of those times had one thing in common, she was confident and she believed she could do it. I outlined what it means to be confident, and admitted to her that confidence is something we have to work on as human beings because people around us are constantly trying to convince us we’re not as special as we think we are. All the while we’re having this conversation, the more I talked about believing in yourself the more the tears welled up in her eyes. I knew I’d found the root problem to the big math monster but the worst part was she knew it too. We both realized we would have to face the worst kind of bully around, yourself.

As I sent her off to school, I couldn’t help but sit in the parking lot for several minutes and ask God what have I done wrong? Why doesn’t my daughter believe in herself after all she has achieved to this point? What haven’t I given her or said to her that makes her beat herself up in the classroom? Or what have I said to her that brought her down? I don’t yet have the answers to these questions but what I realized in having this conversation with her is the notion that we can’t take the self-esteem of our children lightly. They smile, they laugh, and they play because that is what kids do but we have to be able to see past that into their deepest thoughts, steal their private moments and access where all the fears lie. They are much too young to navigate the complicated waters of managing yourself and all the emotions that come with this part of development. As parents we have to be the lifeboat that saves them over and over and over again until they can swim on their own.

Lynette