Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Attacking windmills...

It is hard being a parent. 

No matter what the family make up is, it is hard.  The pressures that we set on ourselves is so much more than what any society or child can put on us.  It is us, the person that sets our daily path, that either sets us up for success or some lofty ideal that we surely cannot attain (even if we try like crazy to chase those windmills).
I build mountains, I see dragons where there are kittens and when I see my kids sad and I see red, a brilliant, hot, blinding red.  I don't set out to be this way but it happens.  Something gets ain the path of what one of my kids wants and means something to them and I am out the door and ready to take on the world.  Sadly, I'm a bit more like Don Quixote some days...never quite reaching my goals or righting some wrongs.  But damnit, I'm going to try!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When the sand box gets too small...

I know I haven't been active in a while.  I should correct that and say I have been very active but I haven't had a chance to write it all down!  You haven't really missed much....just the same old, same old as a stay-at-home mom....whining, crying, temper tantrums, pouting and then there is the kid's behavior!

I was thinking today....sometimes the sand box gets too small.  We all want in it.  But we don't want to get in without our favorites toys.  We each need our buckets (the round one and of course the castle shaped one), our shovels, our rake, our sifters and animal shaped molds.  We get into these sandboxes and realize that we are too crowded.  We are all there for the one purpose but each of us brought our individual toys.  The toys are repeated and may only differ in size, style or color.  The problem is usually that we think that our "toys" are the right toys for the job.  It is hard to give up our favorite sand pail and let someone else bring that to the play date.  I've always liked my shovel a lot but I see someone else has one that holds more.  It is hard to give up and compromise.

Yep, the sandbox sure does get smaller as we get older.  Those lessons of playing nice in the sand with others that we share with our kids are still valid as we get older too.

Please actual sandbox was used to create this blog!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Taking on a new role...

This blog is kind of selfish, which by the way is funny as all blogs are selfish and self serving....GUILTY!

So I have been very active in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) since my oldest child started kindergarten in 2003.  I can't believe I have been involved for 8 years now.  I originally joined to meet people.  At that time I had already entered the ranks of the stay-at-home-mom and I was finding that I yearned for adult contact again.  There was only so much conversation I could have with the hubster.  The poor guy may have gone crazy if I regaled him with another story of poopy color and consistency and what happened in the world of children flushing foreign objects down a toilet.  Yes, other adults would surely benefit from those stories too!  I knew I was ready to hear some myself.

I instantly loved what the PTA stood for and what it seemed to give to me.  I found that the brain cells that I thought were wasting away in my head were eager to learn more and were firing on all cylinders!  I found a purpose beyond those toilets that never stay clean and I became known for more than just being my kids' mom.  It was exciting!

I entered my first year and it was great.  I took on a committee that I was told was a fun and easy committee (that's how we get you).  I soon found out that I was taking on a huge committee and it was worth every bit of time I spent on it.  After that year, I moved on to becoming PTA President and soon I was chairing committees (yes, in the multiple form), I was training others to do what I had done through an extended network of PTA called the Northeastern Region and State PTA.  I was asked to lead training workshops (me in my jeans and knit top....which I found out was an error in judgement).  I was becoming a Professional Volunteer.  I was in love with this organization and I was growing with it.  I was not only doing good things for my childrens' schools I was doing good things for myself.  I was reclaiming a voice that went silent when I thought no one was listening anymore.  I found my "people."

I have now been with the PTA in various roles for 8 years and I have been given another opportunity to grow and develop some more (just when I thought I was leveled out).  I am proudly accepting the appointment of Region Director for the Northeastern Region PTA.  This is a group that works with over 130 area PTA units with training, leadership and development.  It is an amazing group of men and women. 

I have been with the Region for 6 of my 8 years in the PTA.  It has been a real gift for me.  I am the first to tell you that the PTA is not your mother's or grandmother's PTA.  We are a diverse group of volunteers that wear many different hats.  Some of us are parents, some are educators, some are concerned citizens but all of us are there for one reason....children.  We found common ground in a group that advocates and cares for children and children's issues inside and outside the classroom.  We are there for children, we are there for each other but we are there for ourselves too.  We are making a difference--in our lives and in the lives of children everywhere.  I am honored to be part no matter how large or small.  I know that I helped shape the future and that makes me feel like I matter on a larger scale.

To view my full blog go to:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding quiet time...

It has been a magic couple of weeks since I blogged last....

My days have started out like any other fantasy.  Kids waking up on time, eating their breakfasts that they didn't complain about, dressing in weather-appropriate clothing and of course this was all done in perfect silence and harmony.  My days have started out this lovely and continued throughout my days.

My 3 year old no longer subjects me to children's programming.  I no longer have to wonder why Special Agent Oso can fly a helicopter but can't seem to brush his teeth with the young child in need of his assistance.  Seriously, if you can fly a helicopter perhaps life skills should be a bit more accessible to you!  Poor Special Agent Oso.

The more remarkable find was the utter lack of dishes.  Apparently my children have discovered the dishwasher that has been a part of my home even before they themselves were a part of my home.  Dishes have been placed inside just the way I like and I didn't have to search for the bowl from someone's fruity-something-or-other cereal from that morning.  It is like searching for the Holy Grail some days.  I'm not sure if it was a game they like to play with me but no one told me the rules!  I know I win when I discover the lost relics before they congeal or emit an odor.  Altough, I have to admit, it is easier to find sometimes once the pungent stage sets in.

A miracle has happened TWICE in my bathroom.  First being the toilet.  I don't know how it happened but apparently all of the boys have discovered their full potential in terms of aim and flow!  I have yet to sit on a wet seat or have to hose down the area with the help a HAZMAT team.  The second miracle comes in the form of pairs.  Pairs of socks.  They go in the wash together and come out together.  No more hunting, no more stock piling left socks hoping the right socks would return (I imagine that it is always the right sock to blame in these situations).

It has been a wonderful few weeks since I blogged last.  If you were having the stars and planets align with this kind of perfection you would take time to enjoy it too.

Oh, yeah....I wish this was true!

To view my full blog go to:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"But she's so pretty and what a nice looking family..."

I said this today. 


I realized that I suffer from the same mass media induced preconceived notions of what makes us "normal" or at least having the appearance as such. 

I was chatting with a friend when she told me that her child's school called to tell her the tragic news of her daughter's classmate committing suicide.  What?  The same age/grade as my kid?  So, the social networker that I am, I looked up the name/family shared with me and said, "but she's so pretty and what a nice looking family."  What???  Horrifyingly, had I assumed that the pretty and popular kids weren't vulnerable?  Clearly I had.

I've seen it in the news.  It has made for gripping Dateline NBC specials on bullying and its effects on all involved.  But to hear of a case of a child killing herself separated only by geography and by not so many degrees of separation???  I'm lost.  I'm a parent, the grown-up and I'm lost.

I have been known to say more than once... "if you can live through Middle School then you can do anything." For the love of Pete, why should they have to "live through" school? Why can't they thrive, flourish and discover who they are without fear of what others will do and say?  Why do we place these kids in these fish bowls and then watch the piranhas feed on the guppies?  Do we simply excuse the behavior as "kids being kids"?  When did that become approved child-like behavior to create an environment for other children to struggle, hide, fear and ultimately hate themselves because of the words and/or actions of others?

I don't know a parent who hasn't said, "they bully others in an attempt to make themselves feel better."  Great.  Problem solved then, right?  I mean we have outlined a cause and an effect here.  Shouldn't we be past this growing concern and the increasing bullying situations?  We seem to outline the cause and effect just fine it is the solutions that we seem to struggle with.  How do we fix this?  Some parents don't want you involved in their lives for any reason, others live in denial, some may not care and some just don't ask for help.  How do we reach out to them and hope that they let us in?

Someone said to me today..."In the 'old days' as my 13 year old says, we feared hellfire, and that kept us from attempting such [bullying behavior]. With religion falling so far by the way side, kids are only thinking 'they will be sorry when I'm gone.' "  Sadly, I think that this is true.  Some falsely see it as a revenge while escaping.  While we all believe, practice and hold things differently I think that we have let pieces of our values go.  In the iconic era of "Leave it to Beaver" or "Father Knows Best" they seemed to lead idyllic lives.  But even The Beav had issues but they were prettied up and watered down for that generation's viewing standards.  They had real school yard bullies.  This generation didn't invent it. They had absentee parents.  This generation didn't corner that market.  They had children full of insecurities and self doubt.  I think it just feels like we perfected that when it is so close to us now.

My own child has said to me, "the guidance department does nothing so why bother going to them?"  Of course, my kid said it a bit more colorfully than that!  This has been a rough year for her.  I'm afraid she hasn't revealed all the pain she has felt this year as she can see in my face my anger, fear and shock when I hear about school bullying.  I've seen it first hand with things kids have said to her on-line.  I have intervened.  I was also amused by the school representative telling me that I should take her off-line.  Dear friends, that won't end it.  That just means I won't see it.

Schools used to expel or suspend students.  But with that action in today's day and age you find that there isn't a 'place' for those kids to be housed during the day.  Our schools are too small with too many kids to find a special in-school suspension location and forget about out-of-school suspension.  What is learned when the children can be left home with countless stimuli including the family computer.  Sure, take the computer away and what is a child left with?  A cell phone....a game system linked to the phone....and so on.  They are still armed with today's in-a-instant bullying aids.  Send a mean text.  Send an embarrassing picture to others.  Post an insult on someone's on-line "wall".  Bullying has only evolved with our evolving society.  We have given the bullies and the bullied an instant form of pain and torture.  It isn't real or truly mean when typed out.  They never verbalized the words so they must have less power.  Let's ask the victims that took the most permanent way to escape their pain.  Oh, wait.

It's easy to say what is right and wrong in hindsight or in theory but harder yet in practice.  The benefit of the doubt is given more freely than you would think.  Kids being kids; children need to work it out themselves; [that child] must have a bad home more excuse means one more child lost.

To view my full blog go to:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beware the Ides of March...

"Beware the Ides of March," sound advice if you are Julius Caesar.  In my world, the Ides have come early and mean different things...although, I will be on the look out for those with daggers (just in case).

My Ides: my daughter has turned 13 this day.  I know, I know....The Cupcake Mommy is far too young and glamorous to be a parent to a teenager.  Yes, yes that of course is all true.  It is a modern marvel that I am so young while my children continue to age.  I credit that to the halting of my birthdays at the age of 29 and a good moisturizer.  I'm pretty sure that there is a math formula that gives X a value, carries numbers over, has integers, cotangents and medians that can explain this miracle but damn it I'm young I tell ya....YOUNG!

So my husband and I have finally welcomed a teenager into our lives.  This means that I will be able to officially attribute all that drives us crazy as parents to the phenomenon known as the American teenager.  The wacky, fluctuating drama of a teenager!  I now get to say I have one in my household and for that I know I will be forever changed.

They really should have told us during the 9 months of pregnancy or during 20+ hours of labor what was in store for us.  There was ample time and as a first-time parent I was ready and eager to heed any and all advice bestowed upon us.  I'm thinking that while I was prone and getting my epidural (happy-maker) that someone could have mentioned that these cute, pink, mewing, screaming little babies turn into teenagers full of angst and wild abandon to all things parental.  I was there, unable to move.  I was unable to feel anything from the waist down.  I was yours!  I was yours to convey all this to.  They gave me an ashen colored and muck covered wailing ball of life.  They don't come to you all pink and smelling sweet but they give you this colorful mush of baby and ick and you know in an instant that it was all worth it and that you would be forever in love with them as you kiss their slimy little foreheads and cheeks.  They gave us something far more amazing than those Gerber-like babies that are falsely angelic and pristine...they gave us our future teenager.  A sassy, smart, beautiful and kind kid that will forever hold my heart even when she won't hold my hand.

I love you Haley.

One more thing....

Go clean your room.

To view my full blog go to:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life's little lessons....

"Thank you."
"Good job."
"I'm proud of you."

Those phrases seem simple enough.  I dare say fairly basic too!

Wouldn't it be nice if ALL children were thanked and celebrated the same way as those shining stars that you see center-stage?  Sometimes it is the quiet kid in the corner that gets forgotten because they haven't found their voice yet.  It would be nice for kids to be on a level playing field but frankly some kids go unnoticed and they feel that in a very real way.  I was talking with my daughter recently and discussing how sometimes adults don't do the right thing (and this can be for a million different situations and reasons).  It isn't because they don't care or they were neglectful it is that there are just so many kids and to acknowledge them all would be a lot of work.  It is still so hard to see the disappointment in her eyes. 

I hope for every disappointment she experiences that it is out numbered by the joyous moments in life.  Sadly, she is not alone in the disappointment.  I'm bit disappointed too but I have to be the grown up here.  She's bright and doesn't always have her light shining as brightly as she could due to the shadows of others she feels she lives in.  I'm working on that one with her.

I've been debating on my further action on some recent events.  This certainly isn't a huge moment in life in the grand scheme but for a 12 year old it is real and noticeable at this age.  I also know that 'MOM' can't and shouldn't fix everything.  I guess the lessons of growing up are not only for the young.  We are re-learning all the lessons we once learned growing up.  Hang on...I'm going to ask it....was my mom right?  Do I now understand that lesson too hard to grasp then because I have my own kids?  I'm adding it to the list of things I will be saying to my kids for sure!

I'm tired of excusing behavior away of those that don't do the right thing.  I think this time I will tell her the truth....and then I'll tell her that she'll understand it when she has children of her own too.

To view full blog go to: