And I thought boys were bad...

All the dirt of boys, plus the attitude...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Open Letter To The Rest Of The World (from an American citizen)

Dear Rest Of The World,

What do we look like to you?

Do we look as bad from over there as we do from where I sit?

Shootings, hate crimes and terrorism (both domestic and from elsewhere), families going bankrupt and homeless simply because someone got sick, pretty close to zero access to mental health care for a large portion of the country, Donald-freaking-Trump...

I can't see anything grand about the "good ol' U.S. of A"...can you?

Do we look like lazy, uncaring, self-centered slobs from where you are?

Is there any good that you can see?

Part of me wants you to lie to me and tell me you can see good in this country of mine so that I can sleep a little better at night.  I want you to tell me that "it's all going to be okay" so that when I tuck my daughters in I have something to tell them.  I want to hear something that will make me feel better, but I know that's part of the problem.  We lie to ourselves and try to forget.

So, please, tell me the truth.  What do you see?  Is it as bad as I think it is?

And do you see a path to make it better?  Because right now I'm in the middle of the forest and I can't see a way out.  All the paths seem to run in circles and leave me right where I started again.

Is there a solution to the day to day fear that many people feel?

Is there a way to stop all the violence?  To educate the hateful so that they are not afraid anymore and maybe, just maybe, teach them to love?

How do you get 323 million people to think about someone other than themselves for more than the 10 seconds it takes to post a "thoughts and prayers" status update?  To look up from their phones long enough to see another human being for the soul that they are?

What do we look like from over there?  And is it fixable?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Not Sorry Not Sorry

There are a lot of wrong things happening in this country lately.  At least, I am seeing a lot of wrong things happening in this country lately.




Civil rights violations.

These are things I was taught aren't excusable in America.  And that's the thing: It's not so much that these things are happening, these things have always happened, it's that people are defending them.  People are excusing these actions.

I find myself in conversations about racism, equal rights, and rape far more often than I ever thought I would and I often find myself apologizing for the passion with which I talk about my opinions the correct side.

Let me be clear, I'm apologizing for being passionate about NOT HURTING PEOPLE.

I'm done.

You're damn right I am "unkind" about Donald Trump and those who support him.

You're damn right I "lack acceptance" about people who hate others because of their skin color, sexual identity, or gender.

You're damn right I "lack forgiveness" for rapists and those who excuse their actions.

Being a good person doesn't require that I be kind about hateful people.  Being a good person doesn't require that I accept or forgive unacceptable and harmful actions.  Actually, maybe it does, but if that's the case then fuck being a "good person."  I'd rather be on the right side. I'd rather be able to sleep at night.  I'd rather be a good parent and leave this world better than I found it.

Being a good parent requires that I stand up for those who are being wronged, because that's what my kids should do.  It requires that I speak out against injustice even when no one wants to hear it, because that's what my kids should do.  It requires that I talk about and never forget the actions of rapists and the lack of punishment that they receive.

I have to explain to my kids why children in their schools are more racist than they've ever seen before, thanks to Donald Trump and those who think like him.

I have to explain to my kids why two people who love each other are hated, or why that lady is supposed to use the men's restroom from now on, thanks to ignorant assholes.

I have to tell my daughters that a rapist received only 6 months in jail after being caught in the act raping an unconscious woman. I have to tell them that's not the first time the judicial system has so blatantly excused the actions of a rapist and it won't be the last.

I'm passionate about humanity.  I'm passionate about making the world a better place through kindness and love.  I'm passionate about accountability.

I won't apologize for it anymore.

I don't care if it makes you uncomfortable.  I don't care if you feel uneasy.  I don't even care if you never talk to me again.  If you break ties because I am sticking up for someone who was wronged, good.  I don't want you near me or my family anyway.

We all need to stop apologizing for standing up for the right thing.  We all need to stop apologizing for being on the correct side of an issue.

I won't even apologize for not being sorry.  Fuck #sorrynotsorry.  I'm #NOTsorrynotsorry.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Thing About Having 2 Kids

So, my life lately has been a series of putting out fires that Miss A started.  The problem with that, you know, aside from me going slowly insane, is that I have have another child.

I have another child who just turned 10 and is doing really well in school.  She is working hard in her extra curricular activities.  She follows the rules, mostly.  And she's suffering because the teenager won't just put her shit on pause for a little bit.

We've both made, and continue to make, the effort to do special things with CC.  To make sure that she still gets to do the stuff she wants to do.  To make sure that her home is still a safe space for her.
To make sure that her childhood isn't completely screwed because Miss A is acting out.

It's freaking hard!

I feel so bad when dinner is late because we have to have a conversation with Miss A about her behavior.

I feel terrible when I'm stressed beyond words and it's time to read Harry Potter with CC.

It's not fair.

I also have to remember that just because CC does something that's not as bad as what Miss A does, it's not excusable.  I need to remember that I am not parenting by comparison.  I did for a bit and CC developed quite the attitude.  I had to remember that just as it's not fair for CC to have to deal with the crap made by Miss A, it's also not fair for my expectations of CC to diminish.

So, we will go to her math competition.  We will make sure she gets to her baton twirling lessons.  We will read every night.  And we will keep holding her accountable when she needs it.

Parenting 2 kids when one is demanding all the parenting is really freaking hard.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Life With A Teenager

It has been a really long time since I've written anything here.  There are many reasons for that, but there are 2 that really stand out.

1) I stopped because I was concerned with the privacy of my teenager.  I didn't want to air her "dirty laundry" on the internet.  (This is what I told myself)

2) I didn't want to tell you all how much trouble she was getting into because I was worried about looking like a bad parent.  (I think this is the real reason)

It's been a really hard couple of years with Miss A.  I couldn't even begin to tell you how it started or all the things that have come up, and honestly I don't have the energy to type it all out.  I'll just start with recent and we'll see where we go as time goes on.

Simple background: Miss A had gotten in trouble and lost her phone and all her privileges due to some crap that she did that I'm not going to type out right now.  She is also in theater at school and has told us she really likes to stay after school to help out with building sets.  She had lost her phone and as long as that was gone, she was not allowed to stay after because we had no way to get in touch her.  She finally got her phone back and asked to stay after school for theater.

We agreed to let her stay after with the condition that she promise to stay on campus and be where she said she was going to be.  

She agreed, I checked.  Trust, but verify.

When I spoke to her teacher I found that, not only was she not in the theater class, but she also had only ever stayed after once.  We've let her stay after half a dozen times.  

I called her.

She didn't answer.

I called her dad, my husband, and he went to look for her.

She was found off campus with a friend.  Not where she said she was going to be.  Not answering her phone.  Not returning text messages.

I yelled.  I screamed.  I told her how she made me feel.  I told her that since she doesn't seem to care about how her decisions effect us, we would stop making her happiness a factor in our decisions.  Her health, her care, and her needs would always be a factor but her wants?  Those were gone.  The extra?  Done.  I'm not willing to continue doing extra for someone who won't do the basics for me.  I'm done.

I also stripped her room.  She has a bed and clothes.  I'm done.

I did leave her one book.  A book about a girl her age who has made incredible choices to do the right thing no matter what.

I'm hoping that she will learn something.

I guess I'm not done.

Monday, October 6, 2014

I have a teenage daughter...

My name is Kristen and I have a teenage daughter.

This is an admission far larger than it looks.  It means, I have no idea what I am doing.  It means that I feel like I have lost control.  It means that I am terrified that I'm doing it wrong.  It means I need help.

I am coming up against things I never dealt with as a teen because the internet wasn't a part of my life when I was her age.  I didn't have a cell phone.  I don't knwo what to do when she abuses these things.  I mean, I do.  I take them away, but the reality is that she is going to have to live with this technology and she needs to know how to be safe.  It's like any other social have to learn it to do it safely.  You have to use it to learn it.

The problem is that I feel like I have lost control.  Like I don't have any idea what is going on in her life, though at the same time I feel like we have a pretty open line of communication.  Am I fooling myself or can both be true?

After spending way too much "at work" time googling the interwebs for answers, I have come up with one.

I feel like I have lost control because I have.  She is not a child anymore.  She is a teen.  She is going to make mistakes and the consequences of those mistakes are going to suck.  All I can do is try to minimize the size of the mistakes that she makes.  Not giving her a data plan for her phone is one way.  Taking away the camera phone when I see an issue is another...

...but there will be mistakes and there is nothing I can do about it.

How do I make peace with that?  How do I raise her without locking her down, and therefore losing her, completely?

My name is Kristen and I have a teenage daughter.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Letting go

So I have already failed.  I wanted to start writing at least one post a week and I completely missed last week!  Talk about a lack of commitment...

Oh, well.  It's Monday and it's a new week.  I can just start again.  That's the awesome thing about life, right?  Having a bad day?  It's only gonna last 24 hours!  Having a bad morning?  Only till noon!  We have this amazing ability to change our perception and change our lives whenever we want.  We are never stuck!

This is something I have to remember for myself every day.  See, I work in sales.  Over the phone.  I get people hanging up on me and yelling at me for existing most days.  How in the world would I be able to continue to do this job if I couldn't start my hour/morning/day/week over whenever I need to?

It's a valuable lesson, though, outside of work as well.  I don't have to sit in a bad feeling.  I don't have to stay in a shitty moment.  I get to leave that minute in 60 seconds and I can choose to leave it behind me.  Now, I can also choose to carry it with me.  We all can.  The problem is that if we choose to carry it with us, we end up carrying around a figurative bag of bad minutes and days that just weigh us down.

One of the main things I try to impart on my little and not so little ones is that they don't have to put minutes in that sack.  They don't even have to have one!  They can just let all those bad minutes go and make the next one rock!  It's hard and it's a process, but anyone can do it and everyone should.

How do you let go of the crap that weighs you down?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Life Is Good

It's been brought to my attention that I have not written anything here in a long freaking time and it's true!  I've been really busy with living life and I haven't made much time to write about it.

So what's been going on with us?  Well, let's start with the kids since that's what this is all about. 

Miss A turned 13 a couple of weeks ago, though we all know she's been a teenager in mind for a while...No, she's actually blossoming from an amazing child to a wonderful young lady.  I am very proud of her!  She went on her first airplane trip by herself to visit her Nana in Utah.  They went to the zoo, an amusement park, and her very first concert!  The baby who made me a mommy isn't much of a baby anymore...

CC is coming into her own as well.  She's definitely becoming her very own person: smart, talented, and has her very own interests in things.  She's got opinions about everything.  The biggest challenge with her is teaching her when it's appropriate to express those opinions and when going along is the best option.  She's got some spunk in her and I love it!  She'll definitely be one who gets what she wants out of life and she'll do it by force if need be.

Hubby and I have started our very own business.  You may or may not remember that we switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping a while ago.  Part of getting on board with that, for us, was learning to make our own e-liquid, or e-juice.  It was important to me to know how it was all made.  I needed to know that I was moving away from something really bad for me and toward something that was going to be better.  A lot of research went into really committing to vaping and that lead me to become passionate about the flavor of my e-liquid.  Needless to say we developed some flavors and released a juice line: Shades of X.  We are doing well and are loving every minute of it.

Of course we both still have our jobs.  I don't know that this will ever become something I can do fulltime, but it's fun and we are helping people.  That's the point.

I am going to try to find time to write at least once a week.  It's a really good exercise for me, even if no one ever reads it.  It's good to find time to reflect on life and find out what really matters.  Life can get pretty overwhelming if I never take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

If you're reading this, how are you?  What's new in your life?