Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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6 Ways I Am Learning To Graciously Accept A Compliment

Thank You

 

I have to admit, I do not take a compliment with grace. I feel awkward. I think I have to either down-play the compliment, make an excuse why I’m not….fill in the blank, or I completely ignore it and compliment the person that is trying to give me the compliment. I also divert by telling the person I got it on sale or where I purchased item, who does my hair, you get the idea.

Why can’t I just say, Thank You. Why can’t I see myself as others do?

I know, I’m weird (I’ve heard that before). Why can I give compliments left and right, be truly sincere, but I can’t accept one? Is my self-esteem too low? (Maybe) Do I not feel worthy? (Probably)

My Mom did teach me how to accept a compliment, but that lesson just didn’t ‘take’ for me. She said a simple, Thank You does the job every time. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just a “Thank You” and move on.

It’s really that simple.

Here are my tips that I am working on.

  1. Take a breath after I hear the compliment. This allows me a moment to gather myself and remind myself just say “Thank You” without any excuses or explanations.
  2. Remind myself to have an open heart. Not to be closed minded.
  3. Practice saying, Thank You. Replying to comments on the blog has helped.
  4. Don’t over-think the compliment. Take it and keep my mouth shut.
  5. Always remember, that the person giving me the compliment likes/loves me.
  6. Remind myself that I am worthy, sometimes. Work in progress.

If you are struggling with the same thing, I hope these tips help you.

Let me know what you are working on to be better. Maybe we can help each other out.

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Guilt and Parenting

guilt 1

Being a mom is all I wanted to be since I was 9. As a young adult I knew I wanted/needed to be a mom.

Motherhood has been the biggest blessing, most challenging, most heart breaking, heartwarming, and joyful thing I have done so far. Parenthood has also brought up the most guilt ridden I have ever been in my life for many, many years.

If you have been following along with my blogs, you already know my son is 24 now. I will refer to my son as “R”. I was married for 10 years and “R” was 7 when the divorce came. Even before the divorce I considered myself a single parent because my ex was never around. That’s when my guilt started.

Being a single parent is tough, whether you have one child or 15. I think we all have guilt when it comes to our kids. I know I have a ton of guilt.

We feel guilty after the divorce, that the other parent is no longer in the same house. Guilt because the kids have to pack up and go to the other parents home to visit.

There is guilt in trying keep the same life style the child is used to after a divorce. It’s hard when there is only one income.

There is guilt because you know you need help and can’t do it alone. Even though we try our best, we still need help. It’s hard asking for help.

We carry guilt for not always being there when they need us the most. Especially when they are sick and we have to work. The only thing I ever wanted to do on those days was hug my kid and take care of him. But someone else was doing that for me.

Guilt for not being able to show up for the baseball game or science fair or help them prep for the big Prom night, because we had to work.

There’s even guilt for working. It keeps us from our kids and anytime away from you children there is guilt. (At least for me)

There is guilt knowing YOU are not the one that is supposed to teach your child (fill in the blank).

We carry guilt knowing you cannot be both mom and dad. Even though we try.

There is guilt (for some of us) knowing we cannot/couldn’t provide for our kids the way we need to or the way they deserve. Sometimes just providing the necessities is a tough task or impossible.

After they are adults we still have guilt. We carry the guilt knowing we are the responsible party that messed them up. Because, we did too much or too little. We corrected them in a wrong way or not at all. We took things too far or not far enough. Realizing that half of the decision we made for our kids was out of guilt or because of guilt.guilt 2

Geez, that’s a lot of guilt to carry. No wonder we are exhausted all the time.

I have some good news. Some of the guilt has made us better parents. Because of our guilt we are more connected to our kids. We show them as often as possible how much we love them.

In spite of the bad things we have done for/to our kids, they always love us. To me, that is great news. They love us because we were there (when we could be). When they grow up they will see that we did our best. Most of the kids will forgive us of our mistakes.

I do have some advice to share. Since my kid is now grown, I can look back and see my mistakes. I try to do better when I know I mess up.

The advice is: Don’t make any decision because of guilt. In my experience that does not work in our favor or the child’s. Making a decision because of guilt is not how we are supposed to decide. Leave guilt out of the equation. Guilt has no place in making a decision. I know this now. Wish I would have learned that earlier.

Keep loving your kids. We all have some guilt just because we are parents. But leave guilt out of it. Do what’s best for them and you, not because of the guilt you carry.


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One Tough Gig = Single Parenting

My son and I

My son and I

Parenting is the toughest gig out there, let alone being a single parent. Weather your child is a baby or a teenager, parenting will suck the life out of you (sometimes) and be the most rewarding job EVER.

It is a blessing and a privilege to be a parent. I count it as an honor to be a parent. Parenting is a life changer. In my opinion for the better.

I love my kid so much that I will do almost anything to make him happy and to protect him. As a parent all I want to do is, be more, give more and do more for my son.

Even with the greatest intentions my plans didn’t work out.

We didn’t take any vacations. Usually because I never had enough money to go anywhere. On a rare occasion, I was able to save up some money and we would take a ‘day’ vacation and do something very close to home.

I will admit, those “day” vacations were some of the best days we had together. It was because we knew it was special to do/go someplace different. To this day, one of my son’s favorite places is an ice cream parlor we would go to once every summer to have a treat. I had to save up for the ice cream trip too.

Money wasn’t always the issue. Discipline was tough too. We have to discipline our kids. When you are a single parent it’s hard, because we don’t want to be the bad guy. I didn’t want my kid to hate me.

What I did realize, is kids are looking for structure. Discipline is one form of that structure. It’s our jobs to teach them right and wrong. The hard part is how tough am I supposed to be. Not having someone to support me or talk me off the ledge, was hard. It’s easier when there is another person who is helping. You can talk out what punishment is deserving of the crime. I always second guess myself when it came to discipline. For me, I went with being a little strict because I saw the potential in my son and I wanted him to have respect for rules.

I have found that structure and consistency are key requirements to being a good parent. Developing these skills are difficult when you are the only one setting the ground rules. There is a fine line from being the bad guy all the time and having your kids like you.

I promise it can be done. Set the ground rules and punishments (that suit the infraction). Inform your kids what the rules are and what the consequences will be. It is up to you to follow through, no matter what.

For instance: in our home, there is no slamming of doors. If he slammed a door, I grounded him for a week from a video game or his favorite toy. I know it sounds harsh. To me, slamming a door shows a few things: disrespect to me and the home we live in. It also told me that my son was mad about something. I would rather he tell me why he’s mad then slam a door. Simple really. Don’t slam a door, show some respect and talk to your mom when you are mad.

To this day, he does not slam a door or act out when he is upset. Don’t forget my kid is 24. He respects me and the house we live in and we are closer because he knows he can talk to me. I got so much out of this simple rule.

Just the other day my son told me, that it was good that he had rules to follow when he was growing up. My son also told me that he loved having structure in the house because he didn’t have it any other place. He told me I did a good job. That was all the “Thanks” I needed. It was great hearing that I did something right. Granted it took 24 years for me to find out. But better late than never.

Remember, we are raising the next generation. We need to be the examples for our kids.

Being a single parent or parent is not for the faint of heart. You have to be loving, kind, understanding, tough, and thick skinned to get through it.

I know you are great parents. Keep up the great work. I promise it pays off in the end.

Here are my tips to help you single parents:

You don’t have to be their best friend, it will come later. You can be a friend to them but don’t forget you are the parent first.

Do what is ‘right’ by your kids…..not what makes them happy. (They will be mad at first, but will still love and respect you). If you do the right thing, no matter how hard. It will pay off in the end with respect and love.

Kids need discipline, they almost beg for it. Our kids do bad things for 2 reasons. One, is to learn thier boundaries. Second, because they are wanting your attention.

Provide structure in the home. Set rules, guidelines and chores. Kids crave structure and they are looking to you to set the rules and they will follow by example.

Follow through with what you will do. If you say the punishment is (fill in the blank), then make sure you follow through with that punishment. If you promise to go somewhere special…keep your word.

When things get too bad or out of hand, ask for help. Have someone give you a break. Get out of the house for an hour. If that’s not possible, give yourself a break. Take a long shower/bath and start again tomorrow. I promise, the house will not cave in if you take a break.

Love on your kids. Hug them, even when they are teenagers. Ask questions about their day. Get involved, but don’t be a hovering parent. Kiss them good night, even when they don’t want you to. Tell them you love them as often as you can.

Being a parent is tough, but the rewards outweigh the bad stuff. I promise.

I hope these tips and story have helped you in your journey of parenting.

Tell me your tips for being a parent. I would love your input.


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50 ‘WOW’ Moments Of My Life

wow

I was asked about moments in my life that made me say “WOW”. That got me thinking. When I first started writing them down I came up with 7 things. That can’t be right. I know I am boring and uninteresting, but still, 7 events, really???

So, I slept on it and began again. This time starting from the beginning and thinking about things I have learned, been through, touched my heart and have seen.

Some things are not that exciting but when you are living in that moment, it can have that “WOW” factor.

  1. Learning to ride a bike
  2. Learning to skateboard
  3. Anytime playing in the back yard with my siblings and cousins
  4. Getting glasses at the age of nine and still needing them.
  5. Living through the Blizzard of 1978
  6. Going to a small Christian school as a teenager.
  7. Serving 13 aces’ in a row for Volleyball and winning the game
  8. My softball coach telling me I was his best player
  9. Winning singing competitions in high school
  10. Vacations with my cousins
  11. Getting my driver’s license
  12. A day trip to Kentucky with my Grandpa D.
  13. Any Christmas at Grandma S.
  14. Any lesson my mom/dad taught me and still teaching me
  15. Graduating High School
  16. Senior class trip to Bahamas
  17. My dad having a heart attack while on his job.
  18. Getting married
  19. Giving birth to my son and raising him
  20. Building a home
  21. Being a stay at home mom till my son was 8
  22. Learning that my husband was having an affair
  23. Getting divorced
  24. Knowing I have to start over
  25. Getting served custody papers
  26. Winning the custody battle
  27. Moving 11 times as an adult…any of those moves, was a “wow” moment
  28. Losing 135 pounds and going to New York for a photo shoot (gained all of it back)
  29. Having a clock stolen that my Grandpa D. made by hand
  30. Watching my son get his high school diploma
  31. Celebrating my 40th Birthday
  32. Having someone total my car while it set in the driveway and me sleeping. Hit and run.
  33. My mom falling down a flight of cement steps…..it about killed her.
  34. Taking son to Tennessee for college
  35. Watching my son grow up and becoming a man
  36. Becoming an Aunt and a great Aunt
  37. Any family reunion
  38. Every conversation I have with my son, He amazes me
  39. Watching my parents dance at their grand-daughter’s wedding
  40. The day I was debt free….going on 5 years
  41. Watching a loved one pass away
  42. Losing my job of almost 14 years
  43. Taking a vacation after 20 years
  44. While on vacation seeing the Water Gardens in Texas, absolutely beautiful.
  45. My cousin recovering after 3 brain surgeries and doing very well, A miracle
  46. Writing 2 books
  47. Posting my first blog
  48. Reconnecting with a cousin, you know who you are
  49. This journey I am on right now.
  50. Every time someone says “I love you” to me.

 

Tell me some of your “WOW” moments.


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10 Graduation Gift Ideas

Grad gift

Graduation gifts can be hard. Do you give money and how much? Do you buy a gift, what do I buy?

I know it’s hard to get the right gift for anyone, let alone a teenager that is stepping into the grown up world or for the college student entering the real world of working. It’s a huge milestone in their lives and how can we celebrate that with them with a gift. Decisions, Decisions.

For me, I have 2 general rules. First, I don’t spend more than I can afford. My gift is to help the student, not complete the list of ALL the must haves. A little can go a long way. Second: If the gift is for a close relative and I have a big connection with the student I give up to $100 (when I can). The gift can be cash, gift cards or physical gifts. The least I give is $30 or a gift that matches the $30.

Money is a given for a graduation gift. If they are going away for college or entering the workforce, money is a great option. Who couldn’t use cash?

Let’s think outside the box a little bit.

  1. For the car: You can buy a kit that includes jumper cables, tire gage and tools. Gift card for an oil change, GPS device, tire patch kit,
  2. Dorm living: sewing kit (travel size), desk lamp, wash cloths, towels, scissors, Plastic (reusable/picnic) plates, bowls and cups. Rolls of paper towels, air freshener, Clorox wipes. You can put all of these in a Rubbermaid tote or laundry basket. The tote or basket is part of the gift.
  3. For electronics: Surge protectors, HDMI cord, docking station, I-tunes gift cards, ear buds, security box for laptop, Bluetooth speaker, portable DVD player, flash drives cord keepers, noise canceling head phones.
  4. Emergency kit: Make a list of family contact phone numbers, Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, Neosporin, Tums, Aspirin, thermometer
  5. Office supplies: Printer paper, ink cartridges, pens, spiral note books, stapler/staples, paper clips, Dry erase board with markers, Post-it notes, Highlighters, Sharpies, 3 ring binder, 2-pocket folders and 3 prong folder, staple remover, hole punch

Now let’s look into some one gift ideas:

  1. A tablet: Such as the Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy or whatever brand you like. These can be priced a little over $100. These are great investment for the student. I bought one for my son and it paid for itself in one quarter of school. They can load textbooks, study guides and other helpful apps.
  2. Security devices: Such as a water bottle that holds a credit card, a key and cash. These price out about $20. How about an apartment/dorm security kit that offers a door stop alarm, window alarm and a personal alarm. Price for security kit can be $20 to $200. You can also buy a device to help locate keys, purses, bags. There are many items out there like this and range from $25 to $200.
  3. Camera: Digital cameras can be under $100. You could also go with a camera lens that attaches to their cell phone to take better pictures. These are a little bit pricier. Another idea would be a video camera such as the Go-Pro ($$$) but a hand-held is just as good and less expensive.
  4. Kitchen items: Most colleges allow for a microwave and a mini refrigerator. Generally the microwave will be under $100, but the fridge can be expensive. Another option is something called a 3 in 1 breakfast station. This is a one cup coffee maker, a mini toaster oven and a skillet top. These can range from $40 to $100.
  5. AAA car service for a year. I renewed this every year for my son and it paid for itself in the first year. He locked his keys in the car, a battery died, and he had a flat tire. All taken care of by AAA service.

As you can see some of the gift ideas can be used for the high school grad going to college (or not) and for the college grad for their apartment or going into the workforce.

I hope the ideas have helped you in your search for gifts.

Please “Rate this”, share/like on Facebook, re-tweet on Twitter or pin on Pinterest.

I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.


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6 Points For Planning a Graduation Party

Center piece, my son's graduation

Center piece, my son’s graduation

Planning for your Grads party can be hard and time consuming. I know it was for me when I planned my son’s.

Since I live on a budget, I planned a year in advance. This way it didn’t hurt my wallet as much.

I know graduation is only about a month away, you still have plenty of time to plan your Grads’ party and keep the budget down.

Let’s keep this as simple as possible. I have found out that you don’t need to spend a lot of money do have a real nice party for your Grad.

Keep in mind this is a party for them, not you. Most kids don’t want all the stuff we want. Like, expensive decorations, an array of food or a grand venue. The only thing our kids want are their friends and family, the gifts and some food to eat. Maybe a game or two to play.

Outdoor setting for my son's graduation party

Outdoor setting for my son’s graduation party

1.Food: Ask your child what is the one (1) food they would like to have. If your kid likes this food then all his/her friends will too. (No waste).

*If you don’t want to cook, I suggest going to your local grocery store and ask them to make up fruit trays, vegetable trays, cheese tray and a lunch meat tray. This is simple, convenient and you will only have to purchase a few more items (chips, dip, and buns) and you are done. You want to call now to make sure the grocer has plenty of time.

*If you and your family are cooks then you can do your own catering. You can cook a large ham, hamburgers/hotdogs on the grill, make sloppy joes, meatballs (for sub sandwich) or a vat of spaghetti. You can have a salad, baked beans, make grandma’s potato salad and some fruit.

*The key here is at least one main dish (I suggest 2 just for variety), 2-4 side dishes and a couple snack items (chips, fruit, raw veggies).

2.Drinks: Bottled water and lots of it. You can buy 12 packs of pop/cola. In my family we have to have sweet ice tea. Lemonade is always a favorite. You can do a punch of some sort. But there always has to be someone filling the bowl. Have plenty of ice. Have a cooler full of ice.

3.Cake: No need to go fancy (unless you want to). Have your local bakery make a sheet cake that has a creative top. Like: your kids school mascot and the year. Use your imagination.

4.Decorations: Keep this simple too. Some balloons in school colors, a Graduation sign, and a few center pieces. You don’t have to decorate every table.

My centerpieces were my sons’ senior pictures and a couple baby pictures put in frames with confetti on the tables. Simple, cheap and easy.

5.Gift table/picture table: If you don’t use pictures for center pieces you can do a montage of pictures on foam board or a DVD loaded with pictures. This table can also be the gift table.

Get a box, cut a hole in the top (so cards can be placed inside and wrap box with wrapping paper. Have plenty of space for wrapped gifts as well.

6.Items for party:

*Table clothes, enough to cover all tables. It makes a big impact and it’s pretty.

*Plates, napkin, silverware, cups: Dinner plates: enough for 2 per person. Cake plates: enough for every person, Napkins: 2 per person, Silverware: 2 per person, Cups: 2 per person. You may have leftovers, but better safe than sorry.

*Crock pots, warmers, roasting pans,

*Coolers: to hold ice and cans of pop/soda/cola

*Serving utensils: forks, spoons, tongs,

*Extension cords: for crock pots, TV and anything that needs to be plugged in.

*Tents: if being held outside

*Chairs/Tables: you can ask in the invitations for people to bring chairs, you can rents chairs and tables. You can also ask your local churches if they would lend/rent out chairs/tables

*Trash cans/bags: at least 2 large trash cans

*Helpers for set up and clean up: I suggests 3-4 helpers

*Leftover containers: containers that you can freeze or containers to send home with people

*Condiments: for sandwiches

Tips: Plan for everyone to have at least one serving of the main dish and ½ eating the sides. 1/2 of your guests will eat cake, plan accordingly.

Drinks: plan at least 2 bottles of water and one other drink. Especially if your party is outside in the heat.

Partycity.com is a great website to get your supplies

Make sure there is plenty of parking.

Send out invitations at least 2 weeks in advance. I recommend 1 month ahead so people can plan for the big day.

Don’t forget to remind your Grad to send “Thank You” notes to every person that helped with the Graduation party or sent/gave a gift. You want to send these out as soon as possible but no later than 1 week after the event.

LAST: Have fun, relax, take pictures (or have someone do that for you) and watch how much fun your Grad will have at their special day, celebrating them and their achievement.

If you have any questions please leave in a comment. I will respond within 24 hours…..Promise.

Let me know if this is something you liked or what you will use. Thanks.


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Did you forget Common Courtesy?

Golden Rule

I am stepping onto my soapbox. Where is common courtesy? When did it become ok, not to be polite? We want people to be polite to us but we are unwilling to give it first. There is something wrong with this picture.

My folks taught us to say please, thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry and can I help you, when we see someone struggling. My folks taught us to be polite and courteous to others by being on time or holding a door for someone. If we did not do/say any of these things, we were scolded and reminded to do better.

I have taught these simple rules to my own son. He’s 24, and I am told he is one of the most polite people they have met. He says: please, thank you, I’m sorry. He holds the door for people. These were not hard rules to teach him and it didn’t take a lot of energy either.

I realize we live in a much faster paced world than we did 20 years ago and we seem to be busier too, but that is no excuse. I believe it is necessary to be polite. It doesn’t take any more of your time to be polite and say thank you.

When was the last time you said ‘Thank You’ to some one that was kind to you? When you went out to eat last night and your wait staff did a good job, did you say thank you or just leave a tip? Sometimes the words are better than the tip. I know, you are thinking my waiter didn’t do a good job. Did you stop to think that maybe, just maybe the waiter was having a bad day because they had a death in the family or their car broke down or maybe they were just having a bad day? We’ve all been there, so instead of making things worse for the waiter, ask them if they are ok? Be polite, it goes a long way.

Why do we think saying ‘please’ is a sign of weakness or begging? Saying ‘please’ is just a polite way for asking what you want. If we don’t say ‘please’ then, whatever you are asking for it comes across as a demand. Hand me the remote….. Is a command. Hand me the remote, please……is a thoughtful way of asking for something. It comes across less demanding and the person you are asking is more apt to honor your request.

When you are at the grocery store and the clerk asks, paper or plastic, simply say “paper please”. I bet the clerk hadn’t heard a ‘please’ all day. If you add a ‘Thank You’, your customer service experience will go up a few notches. Being polite has it perks.

I’m sorry: These two words have gotten lost in our vocabulary.  I know, we never want to admit we are ever wrong. It’s a pride thing. Saying I’m sorry is not about your pride, it’s about being polite when we screw up and acknowledging that we made a mistake.

It’s simple, if you mess up, fess up. Say I’m sorry and be a big boy/girl and take your punishment. If you did wrong there is always some sort of punishment. Suck it up and take it on the chin.

Saying I’m sorry is also empathy for another person’s suffering. When we have a friend that is going through a tough time, we need to say, I’m sorry you are having to struggle or I’m sorry that you are so sad. With this type of “I’m sorry” you should ALWAYS follow up with…..is there anything I can do to help. You have to mean those words too and be willing to follow through.

Why is being on time so hard for some people? Being on time shows respect. It’s also being polite. Being late is rude and lazy, especially if you do not call to say you will be late. To me, it tells me I am not worth your time, or that you don’t care enough about me.

Have you ever showed for a job interview and you were late? Did you get the job? I really doubt it. Before you even got your foot in the door, the employer already knew what type of employee you would be.

I have a friend that is in Human Resources. He said it doesn’t matter how qualified that person is, if they can’t be on time for the interview, he will not hire them. The reason is, you were late. If you are late for the interview, then you will be late to work. Being late shows my friend that you really don’t care about the job or you do not have any respect for the company you are interviewing for.

So, the next time you are going to be late, please call. It’s the polite and respectful thing to do.

No one asks anymore: Can I help you, may I help or do you need some help? When did this courtesy go away?

When we see someone struggle, we walk away. Saying, I don’t have the time or someone will help them or I really don’t want to get involved. I say, “Shame on you”. We all need help. Whether it be for a moment or longer, we can all use some help.

I know you have had someone ask you, if you needed help. I’m pretty sure you accepted their offer for help. When you did accept the offer, things were better because that person offered their time, energy and maybe money. I hope you at least said ‘thank you’.

If you see a short person (like me) struggling to reach for something, Please ask if they need help. I know I appreciate it. You will feel good about it too.

You see your neighbor using a hand shovel to remove the snow, offer to help, especially if you have a snow blower.

Hold the door for someone: A mother with a newborn/kids, a person on crutches or in a wheelchair, an elderly person, or just for the person behind you. Now don’t be surprised if no one says thank you. Remember that’s the world we live in now. By you showing some kindness and courtesy, you are showing that person they have value and you respect that.

Maybe your act of common courtesy will show others how easy it is and they will start doing the same. We all need common courtesy and we all need to show it too.

Remember what we you taught in kindergarten or by our parents: GOLDEN RULE: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

Leave me your comments about this post. I would love to hear your view point on this topic.