Appreciating Mommy, Humor

A Dream Retreat for Parents?

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Just the other day, when Emmie was balking at cleaning her bedroom, I reminded her how lucky she
is that she has her own room, a space she can call her own. We talked about how not all kids have their own rooms, and how parents definitely don’t (unless maybe if they have a home office with
LOCKING doors…I wish, I wish…). The average parent usually has to share everything, with either their spouse or the rest of the family– their bed, their bedroom, living spaces…even a
“master bathroom” can have kids marching in and out at all hours of the night. And when they get to work, well, the average parent who works outside the home still doesn’t have their own
room/office. And of those that do, only a small number have one with a door. That shuts and …

Being a Better Parent

Nurturing Addiction: Parents Who Allow Teens to Drink

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In my “Uncool Mom Manifesto” on the right hand sidebar of this blog, I talk about how some parents worry so much about being “cool” that they hurt their kids in the long run. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with parents who proudly say, “I’m letting my teen drink, but they’re going to drink at home, where it’s safe, and we can monitor them.” As if they’re quoting some parenting guru or some other wise sage that has told them this somehow teaches kids “smart drinking skills”. And what a bonus that they’re seen as “cool” by the kids, and they feel good (and probably “young”) that they can toss back a brew side by side with their teen and their teen’s friends. Ah, gotta fit in that quality bonding time however you can get it, huh?

Kids and school, Raising Girls, Raising Teenagers

Homecoming 101: Short Dresses and Stripper Poles

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Some words of advice for parents of high school girls who are going to Homecoming (and this probably
comes too late for most of you since we’re right in the middle of homecoming season): be prepared to spend a lot of time shopping for “just the right dress” if she’s going to the
Homecoming dance, since most of the dressy dresses that have been offered in retail stores for teenage girls over the past several years don’t pass dress code. In a school, that is. Or
probably by your own standards as well. But they’d fit right in at a “gentleman’s club”!

I remember being amazed two years ago during Allison’s freshman year how so many dresses she tried on were so short, they didn’t pass when she stood up straight, arms hanging down at her
sides to do the fingertip test– school dress code …

Kids and Money, Kids and school, Overscheduled Kids

Putting the Fun Back Into Kids’ Fundraisers

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A lot has been written and debated about kids and fundraisers (I once wrote a section cover story for the
Dallas Morning News about the topic eight or nine years ago), but things don’t seem to change much over the years– basically, as kids add more activities to their schedules
and a family’s life gets busier, not only do they/we have to think about practices, team photos, physicals, release forms, concerts/games/tournaments, private lessons, parent
meetings, parent volunteering (Who wants to be the Snack Mom? Um, how about The Prop Pop?), “buttons”/car decals/yard signs, and possibly traveling to out of town events, a lot of
activities come with fundraisers. Either the school hardly funds the activity and the organization must raise funds in order to do what they want/need, or they’re independent and don’t get any
school funding, or the …

Being a Better Parent, Dealing With Back Talk

Teaching Kids to “Respect Their Elders”– Is It A Lost Cause?

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Sorry for not writing for more than a few days, but I’ve been deep in
thought and research about a topic that I know is near and dear to many parents’ (and grandparents’) hearts, not to mention Aretha Franklin’s: Respect. It has occurred to me this fall that, among
the many values that Andy and I have actively tried to impart to our kids over the years, respect for adults has not been one of those we’ve worked especially hard at. Geesh,  do we have
to teach everything? Can’t some things just occur naturally?
Well, for our oldest, respect for adults pretty much did come naturally, with the exception of the adults known as her parents,
but hers is more of a “defying parents for the sake of defiance” issue rather than respect. As far as I know and have seen over these past (almost) 17 years of her life, she is

Humor, Kids and school

Button, Button, Who Wears “The Button”?

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Recently we officially became a “two-button” family– i.e. both of the kids are now in extracurricular activities which generate photo buttons
of their faces, for parents/grandparents to wear when attending those activities. The Mom version is usually blinged out with colorful ribbons, beads and plastic charms surrounding it and/or
hanging off the bottom; the Dad version is usually “just the photo”, to be more manly of course, so they’re more likely to wear it. But, sadly, my husband Andy is currently a no-button man
living in a two-button world.

I understand his reasons completely, mainly not wanting to buy into every “parent pride” merchandising opportunity that comes along, like yard signs (got ’em), expensive ads in printed programs
(“You go girl!! We love you SOOOOOO much!!”) and personalized car decals (got those, too, although Allison is still too embarrassed by our vehicles to allow us to …


Just Chequing Things Out…

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I’m out of checks (or as you Brits spell it, cheques). Yes, I ignored the “TIME TO
REORDER” warning sheet at the top of the very last bunch and here I am, nary a check in sight. I keep writing “Order Checks!!!” on my To Do lists and it’s not getting done—but I better do it now
because I’m tired of going to the bank for cash, and hubby has started having to write a few from his own account—and I know he might have heart trouble if he sees just how many checks have to be
written from the joint account each week.

And so, since I’m one of the “lucky” ones whose bank lets them order any kind of color and style and design they’d like, I
thought this time I would finally chose something “different”. I mean, writing checks is boring and never-ending, …

Being a Better Parent, Sharing and Venting

It’s Cold Here Out On This Limb…

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I have a friend who raised her daughter with the philosophy of never saying no, of never having her be upset for too long, of always giving her
what she wanted, no matter how crazy the request or how far the parents would have to bend over backwards to grant it.   It didn’t matter if they hurt themselves while bending
over—whatever she wanted, she got.   “I don’t like hearing the crying and carrying on,” my friend told me.   “It’s so much easier this
way.”  Hah, I thought to myself, easier now, but just wait ‘til later. I imagined the girl as an incorrigible, unpleasant diva as an adult.  

Well, “later” is here– she’s an adult now, and as far as I can see, she’s  a nice, intelligent college graduate who lives on her own;  a law-abiding,
church-going, tax-paying citizen with a good job and …

Kids and Media, Kids and TV, Movies, Sharing Stories

Parents Who Shrouded 9/11: Is It Time to Lift the Veil?

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On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was standing in our hallway bathroom, staring at a wall, when the phone rang.   It
probably took me a few rings to snap out of my trance—after all, bathroom remodeling is serious business.   But after I answered the phone, deciding on paint color and tile
didn’t seem so important anymore.   It was Andy calling from work, telling me to turn on the TV and see the events unfolding over 1,500 miles away.   I put
down my tape measure and watched in horror.   It was so unbelievable, at times I felt as if I was watching a twisted episode of Batman where the villains were winning,
 in an over-the-top, diabolical way, using only a few people and a few box cutters.   The atrocities kept happening, and somewhere, you just knew

Humor, Kids and school

Musings on “Meet the Teacher”

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Around here, late August not only
means The First Day of School but also very soon after, “Meet the Teacher” night. Growing up, I remember we had “Open House” in the middle of the semester, so we could show off our work to
our parents and introduce our teachers (if they hadn’t already met them by then) but I don’t ever recall anything like this:  About a week or even a few days after school starts, parents of
elementary and secondary students get to “walk their child’s schedule”, without the child present, visiting each classroom via a “special bell schedule” and sitting
in class while hearing a brief presentation from the teacher. Each presentation takes only about 10-12 minutes, and you have five minutes between them, so you may or may not get to personally meet
the teacher on Meet the Teacher night …