Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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Mediocrity = Expert

mediocrityOver the past year I have been looking at my life. I have come to the conclusion that I am just a mediocre girl.  Nothing special about me. I don’t stand out and I’m sure I’m not the first person people think of.

In high school I had average grades.  Playing sports I was an average softball and volleyball player. I was an average singer in choir. I never stood out or excelled in anything.

As an adult, I have held entry level positions and two tiny management positions. I am an average parent with no great skills. I’m an average daughter. I was an average wife. A not so great sister at times. I’m not the greatest cook.

I have no special skills in my bag of tricks. I fly by the seat of my pants to get things done. I make more mistakes than make the right decisions. I’m not a great listener. I need to put my listening ears on more often.

I am a below average photographer. A not so good writer/blogger. My creative mind is limited. Generally a one hit wonder. My humor is sarcastic and most of the time people don’t get the joke.

The good part is I have figured out that I don’t give up easily. I may be mediocre but I am not a quitter. I keep striving to be/do better.

I may have mediocre skills but they get the job done.  I have figured out that I am ok with my mediocrity. It seems to work for me.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in a skill. Let’s do the math:

10,000 hours to become an expert at a skill.  That’s 40 hours per week multiplied by 52 weeks and you have 2,080 hours per year.  Take the 10,000 hours and divide that by 2,080 hours and you have 4.8 years. In five years you can be a professional or an expert at a skill.

If I follow this rule, I am an expert at a few things.

I am an expert at customer service. Almost 30 years of experience

I am an expert at parenting. 25 years of experience

I am an expert at sarcasm. 40 + years of experience

I am an expert at cooking. 35 years of experience

I am an expert at doing laundry. 35 year of experience

I am an expert at cleaning. 35 years of experience

I am an expert at solving problems. 40 years of experience

I am an expert at making lists. 35 + years of experience and so on.

I am not listing these things to brag but to prove a point. Experience in life can make any of us an expert at a skill as long as we don’t give up.

In 5-6 more years I will be an expert in blogging and photography. I’m not quitting. I love these 2 skills. Practice makes perfect or at least an expert.

It’s ok to be mediocre but strive to be/do better and never give up.

Oh and by the way…I don’t think I’m all that average. I am too much of a goober to be average. My uniqueness makes me either below average or a little above average just because I am different.

You are not mediocre either. You are unique too and being unique is NOT mediocre. We may see ourselves as being the average ‘Joe’ but we are not. What makes mediocrity is never striving to be/do better.

Don’t sell yourself short. Just like I did. We are above average to say the least all because we won’t give up and quit.

 

 

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My 2 Bad Vices

This post is a scary one for me. I am really stepping out of my comfort zone on this one.

For my readers that do not know me this will be a surprise.

My first vice that I have is smoking. Yep, that’s right I smoke. I have for a long time.cigerette

I started as a teenager and smoked when I would go out with friends.  I thought I was cool. I smoked off and on till I met the ex. From there I smoked every day.

I gave it up when I was pregnant, picked it back up as soon as we came home from the hospital.

I quit for 6 years. But when my ex asked for a divorce I picked up a cigarette instead of going off on him. I have been smoking ever since that day.

I know, this vice can kill me. I know all the horrible things it does to my body. I know it’s not good for me, at all. I know firsthand, from relatives that have passed how bad it is. But here I am typing this blog with a cigarette in my hand.

I have tried several times to stop smoking but I can’t seem to kick this awful habit. I have tried prescribed medicines several times.

One didn’t do a thing for me, the next one made me hungry all the time and left a horrible tastes in my mouth and I couldn’t sleep. I stopped taking it because of the side effects and it really didn’t help.

The last one was the worst. It was beginning to work and I had stopped for 2 weeks but had to continue with the prescription. The pill worked but when I slept I had nightmares. I can deal with a nightmare or two. But these were awful.

They involved family members and their deaths. I had dreams of being in a tornado while in a car and watching my home town get demolished then it was my turn in the car.  The nightmares always included family and myself.

These nightmares were so vivid.  I would wake being out of breath, sweating or yelling. HORRIBLE!!!! I just couldn’t do it anymore.

So here I am slowly killing myself with what my son calls cancer sticks. Sad part is, I enjoy smoking. I like the taste, I enjoy all the rituals that go into smoking. Like the crack of a Zippo lighter.

When I did quit for 6 years, I did this cold turkey. It was tough but I did it. The only reason I quit was for my son. I was a stay at home mom and I didn’t want him to pick-up on this awful habit. Good news: He hasn’t and says he never will.

I’m sure one day I will quit but for now…..nope.

over eatingMy second vice is food. I have always had a love hate relationship with food. I love to eat and food hates me.  Because of the relationship with food, I am obese. I hate that word “obese”.  I think I would rather be called fat, heavy or overweight. Overweight is probably an understatement.

The truth of the matter is, I am a big girl. Have been for almost 28 years. I wasn’t always ‘fat’. But I had always carried a little extra weight.  Even as a teenager I wasn’t skinny. I was athletic, a tomboy and was a little overweight. But I still looked good. Or so I thought.

I started gaining weight when I got married. That should have been my first sign that the ex was not the man for me. But I was young and stupid and food became my outlet, comfort and therapy. (WOW! A therapeutic moment. I have never said that out loud.)

I have lost weight off and on but nothing substantial over the years. Almost 10 years ago was a big moment for me.

My son was 13-14 and he was ashamed of me because of my weight. He didn’t want me to go to school functions or meet his friends. Sad, really, because I am the only parent he has and I was making it harder for him to be proud of me.

So I decided it was time to do something about my weight. I went on-line and signed up for Weight-Watchers. I have to say it worked. For 2 years I thought of nothing but food and exercise.

Everything else was second, including my son, family and job. I seriously mean every thought was about me losing weight. It consumed me.

I did this for 2 years and lost half my body weight. I know, sounds awesome and amazing. It kind of was.

I wrote my story to Weight Watchers and they flew me and a friend to New York for a professional photo shoot. It was for a long weekend. They put us in a nice hotel. I had my hair and make-up done by professionals. That was fun. The shoot lasted a few hours and the rest of the weekend was sight-seeing.

I had never been to New York. I have say that was one of the best vacation I had ever had. It was so much fun. We did most of the typical things, like visit the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, SoHo, Financial district. Ate at some amazing places. Had the best cheese burger, ever. Had a pretzel from a street vendor. We saw a show on Broadway. We had the scariest cab ride ever.  I had never flirted with so many good looking men in my life.  It was a great time.

Weight Watchers decided they were not going to use my story to feature. That was a big letdown, but they still paid for everything and I had the best time.

The down side to losing the weight was, I was sick. I was losing my hair, I had dizzy spells, I was on medication for the first time in my life. I may have looked good to the world but I felt awful.

When I came home from New York, some things happened in my little family that was not in my control, and as you already know, I am a control freak.

Within weeks things fell apart for me.  We had to pack up our apartment and move. We moved in with my folks. My job was changing. My little world was spinning way to fast.

Because of all these things/events happening so quickly I had to put Weight Watchers on the back burner. To be honest, I threw it out the window. I didn’t and couldn’t focus on myself.  Others came first. So I began to put the weight back on.

I didn’t even notice at first. But within a year I was right back where I started.

Ever since those awful months, I have not dieted. I enjoy my food. This is my vice and I know how to use it….all the time. My focus is family. I am second.

I know what you are thinking, Wow, she is a mess. She should put herself first, especially since those awful times are behind her. You are probably right.

But here I am. Again, maybe someday that will happen. For now, you have to accept me for my faults, flaws, scars and weight.

Can you be brave and tell me what your vices are?


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Do We Cater To Our Kids?

kids

In my opinion, Yes I think parents today do cater to their kids. I know I am going to make some people upset with this blog. This blog is about what I witness at the store, restaurants, church, and the park, everywhere I go.

I see it every day. I see parents buying toys kids don’t need just to stop them from crying in the store. I hear moms asking their kids what they want to eat when grocery shopping. I hear kids telling their parents “NO” when mom asks them to stop acting up and mom just goes on and ignores the child.

I hear parents say they want to give their children everything they didn’t have. That’s great that you want your kids to have “things”. But do you have to give it to them at their beckon call? Why can’t they earn the “things” you are wanting to give your child?  We can teach our children that things in life aren’t for free and that you have to earn the things you want in life. Hard work has its rewards.

I hear parents say I don’t want to hurt their feelings by telling them “no”. What??? Really???

Do you really think this is how the world is? Isn’t it better that we hurt their feelings and teach them how to react better and do better? I hurt my kids feeling all the time, just so I can teach him. You can get over having your feelings hurt.

Seriously, I have never had a job where my boss didn’t say no to me. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice though. It sure would be nice to ask my boss to get paid and not work for the next 3 months and the boss says sure that sounds great…….go ahead.  Reality is your boss will laugh at you and probably make you work harder just to prove a point.

In the real world, we are told no all the time. No, you can’t drive 100 mph. No, you can’t drink and drive. No, you can’t have a raise. No, you can’t have the weekend off and so on.

Saying “No” to our kids is a way of life. We will teach them that sometimes we have to wait, or do without. We teach them there are rules to follow for their safety. We teach them that sometimes we don’t always get what we want. Even when it’s deserved.

I hear parents say, I want my child and me to be friends. Well, don’t we all want that, but let’s be real here. Our kids don’t need us to be their friends, we are their parents and that role includes discipline, rules, chores, curfews, love and respect. The friendship role comes later, much later.

When we are our child’s friend we are not teaching them to respect authority or us as parents. We are not setting guidelines for them to learn from. We are not setting the example of what a parent is. We are not teaching them limitations. We are not showing them right from wrong.

My question is: Are we doing our kids a favor or an injustice by catering to them?

My Answer: We are doing an injustice. Because we are teaching our kids to be ‘entitled’ adults.

If we as the parents are not teaching our children respect, rules, the word ‘No”, or giving them everything they want when they want it, we are raising a group of ‘entitled’ adults.

The way I see it, these group of children with have a much tougher time being accepted with friends, employers and co-workers. Because they are expecting everything to go their way. They are expecting a job to fall in their laps without having to make a resume. These kids are expecting to dress any way they want to go to a job interview or work. They are expecting the maximum income just because they think they deserve the max paycheck without any experience in the job. These kids will think that speaking ghetto will fly in the work force.

These kids are set up for failure. All because we as parents didn’t do our jobs and train our kids to respect others, work hard to earn what they want or deserve.

I’m not just picking on you. I have made some of these mistakes too. I protected my kid way too much. And he is paying the price now. It’s harder to watch them fail as adults then to train them right in the first place.

We are hurting our kids and their futures. Heck, we are hurting our own future because this group of kids will be running the country in 20-30 years.  Now that’s a scary thought. A group of entitled individuals running the country. We think it is bad now, Just wait.

Here’s a question for you to ponder: If your parents raised you by telling you “No”, made you earn the things you wanted, gave you curfews, you had chores and rules to follow: Why is this not good enough for our kids too?

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Work with what you already know is right and you can’t go wrong.

My intent here was not to offend anyone but to enlighten folks on what I witness every day. We are the parents, it’s our job to do right by our kids. I am not the perfect parent. I admit that. But I have done the best I could for my son to be a respectful, loving, hard-working, kind man. He will be the first to tell you, he has NEVER had anything handed to him. He has a better appreciation for what he does earn. He has pride in his work and the things he has accomplished.

We as parents, just like our parents did for us. Must Do Better. Not just give in to our kids but teach them.

Tell me your thoughts on this topic. Would love to hear your feedback.


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Making A Mountain Out Of A Mole-Hill

Mountain

I think this is my son’s favorite past-time. I realize he is still young and can freak out about things he encounters for the first time. But, really to stay in that freak-out mode and to build on it, just seems tiresome to me.

Let me set the stage. A few months ago my son had to replace the engine in his car. He had many choices to pick from but he decided to replace the engine. In this situation he did not freak out at all. (I did for a few minutes).

A few days ago, his car wouldn’t start. He checked everything and he could not find the issue. He comes in the house and is just deflated, his attitude is bad and he’s talking about how his savings will be gone once he gets the car fixed.

He continues to rant about how this, that and the other won’t work out. He just kept building layer after layer of how bad all this is, without even knowing what is wrong with the car or how much it will cost to fix.

He stayed in this phase/mode/mindset for over a day. Never taking any action to resolve the car issue.

As some of you know, once your kid reaches a certain age, we as parents can’t tell them anything. So, I didn’t say a word till he asked me.

That’s when I asked if he called our mechanic, he said “no”.

Here I go being a mom and telling my adult kid what to do. I tell him to get on the phone and make sure the mechanic can take care of the car within a couple of days. And then tell him to call for a tow truck to take the car to the mechanic.

He comes back to me and says the car will be picked up the next day and the mechanic will be ready for the car. Awesome….wheels in motion (pun intended).

The next day everything is done and within a few hours the mechanic calls my son to tell him it was nothing major just a faulty spark plug and he can pick up the car anytime.

Best part, not a lot of money out of my son’s savings.

He drove himself crazy for 2 days all because he made things worse then they were and expected the worst thing to happen. And it wasn’t that way at all.

My brother likes to say this kind of action is ‘going from zero to hammered’. I call it, making a mountain out of a mole hill.

We all do this to ourselves at some point. For me, I’m ok with being in that stage for a minute or two. But to stay in that stage for a day or longer is just ridiculous.

Nothing gets accomplished and your stress level goes through the roof. Then fear sets in because we are afraid of the outcome. All because we went on a tangent to make things worse for ourselves.

Lessons learned:

We make thigs out to be worse than they really are.

Nothing is as a bad as it seems (most of the time)

Don’t let a problem sit and boil, get busy and resolve issue (ASAP)

Take a breath when a problem comes up and then tackle said problem.

I hope my son’s example of what not to do is helpful for you.

Tell me a time when you made a mountain out of a mole hill and how you resolved the problem or what you had learned.


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Did Your Get Up And Go, Got Up And Went

MultitaskingHave you ever been looking forward to something and when that day came, you just didn’t want to anymore? Or have you been in the ‘zone’ and working hard and all of a sudden your ‘zone’ was gone?

This happens to me all the time.

In my family we say “Get up and go” which means it’s time to do something, time for work, chores, anything. For instance if I know my son has a list of things to do, I will gently remind him by saying….Don’t you think it’s time to get up and go. That’s his queue.

Now, my mom will say this to my dad and my dad’s response (just to bug mom) is: My get up and go, got up and went. Which means, he really doesn’t want to or he’s just bugging mom.

Seriously though, have you ever had the energy to do something, go someplace or be in the middle of a task and out of the blue, you just don’t feel like it anymore or you lost your momentum? It’s not that you are tired, you just no longer have the energy to follow through. What is up with that?POOF- Gone

This confuses me every time. I had the energy 10 minutes ago, where did that energy go? It got up and went. I‘ve been trying to figure out why this happens to me. Am I missing something, Do I have ADD, or am I just lazy?

I may have ADD, I do like a shiny object and I do get side tracked on occasion. I can be lazy too. But when I am in the middle of something or have committed myself to a task or friends I will follow through. This one has me befuddled.

I have been practicing a few tricks to help myself with this anomaly.

The first thing I do is try to figure out why I no longer want to do the thing I was looking forward to. I ask myself these questions.

Am I board with said project?

Do I really NEED to do this right now?

Do I really want to go to…..?

Will this impact my day, week, friend or family?

Should I do it anyway?

Once I have answered these questions, I generally have my answer to what I will do next.

If I see that I really don’t have a need for or it won’t impact anyone, then I will either drop it or move on, or some sort of guilt will rear its ugly head and I will do it anyway.

If my answers are, I need to, I have to, and it’s the right thing to do then I will force myself to do/go. I generally feel good about my decision to go through with it.

I have found out that even when I don’t want to and I do/go anyway. I have great time and I get so much accomplished.

It works out in the end. But I still haven’t figured out why I lost the gumption in the first place.

I can’t be alone in this. Well, maybe I am the odd ball after all.

If you have any ideas on why I/we do this to ourselves, please share with me. I really want to know. This is one thing that drives me nuts sometimes.

Share your thoughts to help a girl out. Thanks


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Food For Thought

What’s for dinner? This is the question every day. I know most of us moms dread this question.whats for dinner

The simple answer is: we have no idea what’s for dinner.

I have more questions than answers on this topic.

It’s not like it was when our moms fed us thirty-forty years ago. They fixed whatever they wanted or whatever they had and put it on our plate and we ate it. No back-talk, no wrinkling up our noses, no: I’m not eating that. Nothing. We ate what was served and then went on with the evening playing in the yard or doing homework.

When did this change? Is it because moms are super busy? It is because there is such a vast variety of foods that we no longer crave something to eat? Is it because we eat too much as Americans and we are eating for the enjoyment of eating and not because we are actually hungry?

Let’s break down these questions. I don’t have all the answers but I do have an opinion.

When did this change? I think this started in the late 70’s early 80’s. More married moms were having to go to work because the economy was so bad and two income family were able to meet the needs of the family. This is also the time where more moms wanted to go to work. To put their education to work and to feel better about themselves because staying at home was not meeting the moms need.

During this time frame the family unit was changing too. More single moms, more divorced families where the mom didn’t’ have a choice but to work.

Moms are too busy? Really???? Too busy to provide a basic necessity to our kids….Food. That can’t be right.

Moms are busy people. I understand that completely, being a single mom too. We have to work 40-60 hours a week just to provide for our family. When we get home after work and take the kids to all their venues, help with homework and clean up, we are exhausted and food is the last thing on our minds.

When we are so tired, cooking and figuring out what to fix, is not something we want to do. So a frozen pizza or some take out is the answer for us. It’s just easier for everyone. Maybe not the healthiest for our kids.

If this is the case, we need to do better for ourselves and our kids. We moms need to learn to plan ahead or have someone help us with the cooking.

Too much variety? There is such an array of foods to eat. Most of us has tried every type of cuisine out there.

I know for me, I don’t crave any certain food. I did when I was a kid. But I do crave a certain cuisine.

I don’t think it’s because of the variety we no longer know what’s for dinner.

The variety helps us figure out what we do want to eat. At least for me it does. The variety helps us eat differently and in most cases better.

Being American? Living in the USA, we have the luxury of having such a vast variety of food and a restaurant on every corner.

I think this is more likely the answer to the dreaded question: What’s for dinner?

We live in a country where everything is convenient. That’s a wonderful thing but it has it has its down falls. Since we have so much food so readily available to us, we have tried everything under the sun and now we want something different or better.

We have so much and it’s there for the taking. We are privileged to live in such a great country and we take it for granted. Now we are bored. We want something different to serve our families.

I think that’s the real reason we don’t know what’s for dinner.

My personal thought on, what’s for dinner is: let’s get back to basics. Serve one meal at dinner time. Plan ahead. Serve the meal, be grateful there is food on the table. And be thankful you were able to provide that meal for your family and feel blessed you have a family to feed.

It’s not about what’s for dinner, it’s about who is setting at my table. Serve a simple meal and enjoy the people in your life.

I want to thank my cousin Debbie for this idea. She provided the question and I used my own opinions. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. Just food for thought (Pun intended).

Tell me your thoughts. Let me know if you think I am right or wrong. I would love to hear from you.

As a side note: My next post will have a few recipes that I use to feed my family. I will still be answering that question, what’s for dinner, by providing some meal options.


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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.