bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for the ‘mom’ Category

Check This out, Miss Manners!

We continue our series of posts on GOOD MANNERS today with these gems:

  • Smile
  • Knock before entering
  • Don’t lose your temper
  • Respect others’ feelings
  • Be patient
  • Say “Excuse me”
  • Speak quietly

I like these a lot! In fact, I can’t choose just one to write about. So, as a bonus for you, I’m going to touch on each one.

  • Smile – To me, this is a no brainer. I smile all the time. Even when I am feeling down. (at least in public) I was having a rough day yesterday, but when I went to the store, I used all the energy I had to smile at everyone that works there. When they asked, “How are you?” I didn’t say, “Crummy” or “You have no idea.” I, of course, said, “Good, and how are you?” I’ve never thought of smiling as a good manner, but I’m glad it’s on the list.
  • Knock before entering – This to me is just common sense. If you don’t knock before you enter, you may get a BIG SURPRISE!  YIKES! I realize that this is aimed towards children, though. And, in my opinion, this is one that you teach by example. Sure, we started telling our kids, “You have to knock!” early on, but we also knocked on their doors early on to show them how important it is.
  • Don’t lose your temper – Okay, I’m working on this one too. Just like being on time, I’m getting better at it. No one wants to be around someone who loses their temper. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “is it worth all this?” Most of the time, it’s not.
  • Respect others’ feelings – and I’m going to add “point of view.” Note: it does not say agree. Respect is another thing entirely. I think another way of saying this is “Think before you speak.”  Many times, if we had just waited a few seconds before we made a big deal out of something, we would have handled it differently. I know people (and I’m sure you do too) that seem to be “without a filter” as I like to call it. They just say whatever comes to mind without thinking about how that will affect the other people in the conversation. I have a good friend who has been known to say, “You didn’t mean for that to come out that way, did you?” I love that as a response to those “no filter” people.
  • Be patient – Yeah. Hurry up and wait. That guy in line behind you who is sighing big sighs and making comments about the wait time really needs to get a grip and shut up. Be patient, Bucko.
  • Say “Excuse me” – This is one I feel like it is dying out, and I’m sad about that. Maybe I say it too often. We tell our kids when they are little, “Say ‘excuse me.’” But do we say it often enough? When you walk in front of someone in the grocery aisle, say “excuse me.” When you burp, for cryin’ out loud, say “excuse me.” And, no, I don’t care how often you burp. Say it every time.
  • Speak quietly – WHAT!?!? (Obviously this isn’t my strong suit.) There are times when I am out that I know to keep my voice down, though. And, there times when I’m just too loud. Okay, I need to work on this one too. BUT SO DO A LOT OF YOU!

Oops. Excuse me. That was a little rude.

Ding Dong, Avon Calling: Another School Rant

Two years ago, I ranted about school supply lists. This year, I dutifully bought the boxes of Kleenex that were asked of me. (Even though Karen told me that the teachers never tell them what to do with them, so the boxes sit in their lockers all year, and then when they have locker clean-out, they just dump the boxes on someone’s desk. Nice.)

I didn’t rant about the supply lists this year. They seemed pretty normal.

But AFTER school starts comes the fun part.  SELL! SELL! SELL!

Mark is in Concert Orchestra and is expected to sell three 25% off coupons to Macy’s for this Saturday. Each coupon is $5. So, tomorrow he is supposed to go to school with $15. Ideally, he’s found 3 suckers that want to go to Macy’s on Saturday and shop. Unfortunately, he is not the salesman-type, so we will be sending in a check for $15, keeping these coupons, and not even use them ourselves because we have plans all day Saturday.

Is this for a special orchestra trip, you ask? No, my friends, it is not. In fact, I have no idea what it is for, or how it benefits my child. I know other orchestras go do things, but as far as I know, his does not. (There is a slight possibility that I have not seen the information that tells us what the money is used for. I don’t always get all the papers that are to be given to me) Last year, we had to sell $15 worth of car washes. Apparently, the place where they usually do their car wash was torn down, so now they’re doing this Macy’s thing.

So, yeah, a check for $15 isn’t going to kill us. But, later in the year, there will be another fundraiser for the orchestra…selling coffee.  I’m sure the coffee is delicious. Most coffee is. It is a wonderful beverage. HOWEVER, I’m sure we will be asked to sell more than I could ever use. (Well, maybe not ever use, but you know what I mean.)

I’d just like to know the “buy out” number. Tell me how much you need from each person, and instead of having to double that (if we’re lucky) just to get some coffee, I’ll just pay that.

Ever since elementary school my kids have been asked to sell something. When they were in elementary school, we sold gift wrap. (Actually, it was pretty nice gift wrap, I have to admit) But, at least the money (50%) went to the whole school, and was a once-a-year thing. You sold gift wrap in the fall, and then you were done.

In middle school, it’s magazine subscriptions. Okay, I get that. I need my Entertainment Weekly, so I’ll get it from the school. It’s a good deal for me, and it apparently works for them. Plus, it is also the only thing that we are asked to sell.

We don’t go from house to house selling any of this stuff, mind you. We ask a few relatives, and that’s about it.

Then comes high school. Where it is every man for himself. Whatever activity you are in, you usually end up having to sell something. Or, in Mark’s case with the track team last year, he had to send out letters to people (a mandatory number of people, mind you) asking for donations. “This is the way colleges do it, and they do it successfully.” Unbelievable.

JUST TELL ME AN AMOUNT THAT YOU NEED, AND I’LL WRITE A CHECK! Or at least give me that option. If I’m a salesman-type person, then maybe I’d rather go around and sell stuff. But, this gal ain’t one of those folks.

Now that I have that off my chest, I’d like to give a shout out to my son’s Cross Country team. They are not asking us to sell anything. They used to charge a little more for the spirit wear that they have, and that would go to the team for the end of season banquet, yearbook ad, etc. But now they don’t even do that. They charge less for the spirit wear and ask parents to donate an amount of money. THANK YOU! I gladly wrote that check.

This was a 700 word rant. I’m sorry that you had to read through all of it. If you did, indeed, read this whole thing, how about telling me how you feel about this stuff with your kids?

Tough Times

My favorite time of year is over.  Bummer. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is my smiling time. There is always something to look forward to.

It starts out on Christmas Eve. Dinner with the folks, then off to church, then back home to open presents. This year we didn’t go to church because of the snow. We stayed home and had our own service. Each person chose a Christmas song, and Tom read the Christmas story from the Bible. It was pretty neat, actually.

Then CHRISTMAS DAY! This is my favorite part of my favorite part of the season. We drove down to Marshfield, MO (which we have done as long as I can remember. Unless someone was sick) to be with my extended family on my mom’s side. We always have a great time. Lots of laughing, lots to eat, and lots of love.

The day after Christmas means lunch with several kinds of soup at my aunt’s house. Then we are off to visit Tom’s side of the family. His brother lives in Springfield, so we stopped there first and visited with them and met baby Charlie! After that, we headed to Tom’s mom’s in Joplin. As always, she fixed a delicious meal. No one makes mashed potatoes as good as she does.

The next day we head home for some rest and relaxation, since Tom almost always takes the rest of the days off until the new year.

New Year’s Eve means a wonderful party that our family is invited to hosted by our friends at church. We have a great time playing games, and of course, eating. Now that our kids are old enough, they play games with us, or go off and play other games on their own. This year the “new game” was Just Dance 2. Hilarious, and fun. Yes, of course, I played. Those young whippersnappers nearly wore me out. I may have to get that game just to get some exercise. It’s not as complicated as DDR.

New Year’s Day is a day to relax and enjoy the last day off. (At least most years. This year we got another day, but you know what I mean.) Some people make resolutions. I just start trying to do something better. I cleaned up 1/4 of the basement. That’s saying a lot. Seriously. No, really.

Now, that is all over. (sigh) Wow. I really did just sigh. The kids have the day off tomorrow, Tom is back to work, and the usual routine will start soon enough. We’ll get back to our hurried schedules, which we do because we choose to. But, for one short period of time, we got a break from that. A time where we didn’t have to keep looking at our watches (except for that New Year’s Eve countdown, of course), but just enjoyed being together.

Whirrrr…Whirrrr…

Okay, that was supposed to be the sound of helicopter rotors.  Did anyone think that?  Oh, well. Titles are tough. Moving on…

I am having trouble deciding how to balance between being a mom who lets her kids learn responsibility on their own and being a helicopter parent.

My son is a Freshman. I asked one of my son’s teachers if hounding him to do an ongoing project was “helicoptering.” She was very vague. So, in other words, not helpful. But, then again she’s probably half my age and doesn’t have kids. She said things like, “If he would work on his project for an hour a day instead of waiting until the last minute, that would be beneficial.” Well, duh. My question is, “Do I treat him like I did when he was in elementary school and tell him, ‘You can’t be with your friends until you complete an hour on this project?'” Does that teach him independence?

My daughter is different. She’s doing very well in school. In most classes. One class she is bombing. I don’t know how to help her. We study for the test (it’s math, by the way), and she gets it. She takes the test and BOOM! Bad news. I asked her how her homework grade can be 100%, then get so many wrong on the test. Apparently, the homework is just an “effort” grade. If you do the homework, you get 100%, regardless of how well you do on it. Well, that explains why the homework doesn’t figure into the final grade, but it’s a little misleading.

But, she’s in 7th grade. I don’t have as much of an issue with making her sit down and work on the math with me each day. She’s still learning “the ropes.” But, am I doing the Freshman any good by “mothering” him? In just 3 1/2 years, he’ll be in college. On his own. Certainly as far as studying goes.  His grades are good. No complaints. Do I just let it go?

When I was in MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers), someone said, “When your kids get older, it doesn’t get easier. It just gets different.”  Amen, sister!

Like a Baby

Ever wonder why people use the phrase “slept like a baby?”  In my experience, babies aren’t that great of sleepers.  They wake up several times a night.  What’s so wonderful about that?

But, the phrase, “cry like a baby” makes a lot more sense.  Babies cry.  Hard.  And, so did I yesterday.  I sent my son off to high school as a Freshman.  Sometimes he looks so grown-up and other times, like yesterday, he looked so young. As soon as I shut the door as he walked to school, I bawled my head off.  Tom looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.  So many things were swirling in my head.  Would he actually find his locker in time? (As of that morning, he still didn’t know exactly where it was.) Would he have someone to sit with at lunch? Since he forgot his lunch and left it at home, would he be able to figure out how buying lunch worked?  Would he find all his classes?  And, finally, how did my little baby grow up so fast?

I’m happy to report that he had a good day.  Even though I had to wait until 5:30 to find out.  He has joined the Cross Country team this year, and, in fact said that was his favorite part of the day.  🙂 

And, yes, I waited and waited for him to come home.  I was out in the front yard “pulling weeds” so that I could see him when he was coming down the sidewalk.

It’s Now an Official Tradition

Last year, Karen entered middle school, so I took she and Mark to Five Guys and they spent the time discussing what to expect, how things are different from elementary school, etc.

Yesterday, Karen and I took our neighbor to Five Guys to do the same thing.  Our neighbor had lots of questions, and seemed very happy with Karen’s answers.  It was so strange to see the role-reversal, though.  There was Karen looking all mature and answering questions, when just a year ago, she looked all small and unsure of the future.

Sure, she probably provided her friend with more information than she needed, “I sat at Table 2-5 for lunch.  Let me draw you a diagram of the tables.”  Her friend just wanted to know if you could sit anywhere, or if there were assigned seats.  🙂  But, she seemed to really enjoy the time together. 

The typical questions came up.  “When can you go to your lockers?” “Isn’t it really crowded when everyone is at their lockers?”  “How do you change clothes in the locker room for PE?” I really liked Karen’s response to that one.  “It is kind of creepy at first.  You’ll want to go in the bathroom stall and change, but everyone tries to do that, so it doesn’t work.  Really, it’s not that weird after awhile, because everyone is doing it. Plus, I wore an undershirt, so that made it easier.”  The look on her friend’s face was one of huge relief. I’d forgotten what a big deal that was.

She thanked me at least three times for taking her to lunch.  She’s a wonderful girl, and I’m sure she’ll do fine.  And, as Karen said, “You don’t have to wave at me if you don’t want to.  But, if you are having a bad day or just need a smile, give me a wave, and I’ll wave right back and say, “Hi Maggie!”” What more could a girl ask for?  ha

Just One of Those Days

I’ve been having some incredible days lately.  I mean, flat out awesome!  My change in medication has made a world of difference in my energy level.

First of all, a couple of weeks ago, I got cast in the musical “Nunsense” as Sister Mary Hubert!  There are only five people in the show, so I’m quite excited!  I’ve had one week of rehearsals, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

Tom and Mark headed off to Philmont (A Boy Scout place in New Mexico.  A pretty big deal) last week for 10 days.  I got a postcard from Mark near the top of the mountain telling me that he wasn’t dead.  ha  Loved it.

While they are gone, Karen and I have been enjoying some great “girl time.”  We’ve done so much I can’t even list it all.  Let’s just say we haven’t gotten on each other’s nerves one iota!

Then…TODAY set in.

Emotionally, it’s a fine day, so don’t worry.  I’m just having a day like everyone else does, when things seem to go wrong, wrong, wrong. 

I can’t find my .mp3 player, and I really want to take it to New Orleans with me this week.  (I’m very excited about that too!  YEA!!!) I’m going to put the choreography and music for the play on there, so I can work on them while I’m gone (and missing 5 rehearsals!  They knew that and still wanted me!  Unbelievable!) so I’d really like to find it.  The worst part is remembering that I saw it on the counter, where it laid for weeks, and thinking, “Oh, I really shouldn’t put that there.  I need to move it to a better spot.”  BUT WHERE, MICHELLE?  WHERE?!?!?!?

Now, Hotmail is messed up and I can’t send messages or search my email for my Southwest Airlines ticket info.  But, I’m calmer knowing that I don’t need it until Wednesday.

AND, I have a stupid sinus headache, that actually started when I sneezed really hard this afternoon.  And, it just won’t go away.

Sure, now that I write this out, it seems silly.  Which is part of the reason I decided to write it.  I was hoping this would happen.  I’ll go eat that Ben & Jerry’s now, and it will all be better.  I’ll deal with it tomorrow.

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