Friday, April 27, 2012


The post this week is about the differences between Men and Women.  The stereo-type is that men are manly and not emotional and women want to talk and talk and are emotional.  But, I would like to say that men and women fall into each camp.

I say this, and I feel like I am going through a fairly bad time in my personal life.  The irony of the situation is that the people that are helping me feel stable and ok about what is going on are men.  There are two men in my life that are nuturing and tending to my well-being.  The people I have reached out to to help me have almost exclusively been men.  These men have stepped up too.  I have been sort of a messy emotional wreck too... they didn't run for the hills.

When we start to put people into convenient buckets, we force them to perhaps ignore parts of them to meet our expectations.  I don't believe that men are less emotional than women.  I have watched my boys cry about not being invited to birthday parties.  Does it hurt a boy less than a girl to be excluded?

My girl is more likely to act out in anger than cry when someone hurts her feelings.  So like her mother that one.  As I am fairly closed off to my hurt.  I don't generally cry about things.  I tend to get mad and want to fight about it.

Are my experiences unique?  Is my situaiton different than the norm?  I don't know. I think all people are the way they are.  We try and conform to what society thinks is right, and there is some truth to gender differences but are those differences because of how we expect people to act?  When a father plays rougher with his kids does that mean he is doing what he is biologically programmed to do or societally programmed?

When I look at a man or woman, I try and see the person and not the gender.  I try and accept that person as who they are; I do not always conform to gender stereo-types, and I hope that they will do the same for me.

Want to see what the other Venuses have to say? Check them out at: Froggie, Momarock, and Merrylandgirl.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Letting Go

Things in my life have been pretty out of control lately.  Not out of control in a good way either.

When I was first learning to water ski, I was holding the tow rope and I fell face forward.  There was water going up my nose, and choking me.  I was being dragged on my face.  I felt the tow rope jerk and pull from my hands.  My Dad circled back around and said, "Honey, when you are being dragged, let go."

When you are being dragged, let go.  It is amazingly good advice.  I have felt like I have been dragged for sometime by a freight train that is my son's school.  The Principal is a forceful character, and he moves at a pace I just can't keep up with.  He does things in a very big way, even if a smaller way is more appropriate. 

See, I tend to clamp down on things and by freakin' g-d that is the way it is going to be.  Like a pit bull, I don't tend to ever release, even when I am being dragged.  I focus on what was wrong, what should have happened, what I could have done.  Not really helpful.

I met with a friend who knows how things go at schools.  He told me, don't focus on what has happened, focus on being pro-active.  Give the administration a tool box that they can draw from, create a scenario where the choices they make are the choices you want them to make.  It sounds a lot like what Mac's therapist says all the time.  Guess I wasn't listening.  While he didn't specifically get into the let go of what has happened point of view, I could hear my father's voice.  My Dad was big on not worrying about things that have happened, but rather focusing on what you are going to tomorrow to get where you are going.  His point was that, what has happened can't be changed.

While what happened in Friday, was truly horrible, there is nothing I can do to re-write that chapter in my life.  It is over, and that part of my story is done.  What I can do, though is think about what the end game is, and try and take actions that will help us move from the spot we are today in that direction.  I can wish that things went differently as much as I want, but I can not change it.

I have a vision in my head of my Dad's face when he looked at my 7 year old self with a bloody nose, coughing and choking on water all because I would let go.  It wasn't a good time, but it was a good lesson. 

Luke Skywalker saved Princess Leah and destroyed the Death Star by letting go and closing his eyes.  -- Guy Forsyth

Friday, April 20, 2012

No Fail Zone

Today's topic is about failure.  The question specifically is, what would you do if you knew you would not fail?  But, before we delve into the main question, I have a word or two about failure.

I have written about failure in this space before.  I shared with you my feelings about Sam's soccer team loosing all their games.  About how even when they were loosing, they were still learning.  That even the most successful people around us have failed.  Think what you want about Donald Trump, he has made millions, lost millions and made them again.  He did not curl up in a ball and say, ooh, I lost all my money I am a failure, end of the line for me.

It is the attitude of accepting that your failure is in some way indicative of you that bothers me.  Failure is an opportunity to reevaluate your path.  Perhaps the path you have chosen isn't the path to where you want to be.  There is always more than one way to get to the end goal.  That said, maybe the goal is where you really want to head to either, something to think about.

I was out for a run the other day.  It was longer than I expected and it was hard.  I was hot and I didn't feel real good.  As I rounded the corner into the home stretch, I told myself, this is hard, I can't do this.  I kept trying to come up with excuses to stop.  Then, I realized what I was doing and I changed my tune.  With every step I told myself, YOU CAN.  It is the home stretch, only 4 more easy blocks, YOU CAN.  Guess what, it got easier. 

If you do not believe that you can do something, then guess what, you can't.  I tell my kids all the time, if you have that attitude (the one of I can't), then don't even bother trying because it won't go well.  You are going to fail, so don't waste your time.

So, to the specific question, I am sort of stumped.   There are things that I would like to do, but I haven't, not so much because I feel I would fail, but because I don't want to put the time and effort in, I don't think that they are a good fit for where I am with my family, etc.  While these things smack of excuses, it isn't the failure I fear.  It is more the time commitment I would need to make to be successful.

I would love to open a yarn store.  Granted failure is a bit of a hindrance in realizing this dream.  Our family could loose a lot of money, and that isn't a risk I am willing to take.  That said, when I think about the work involved in opening one and making is successful, well, I don't think I want to do that either.  It isn't really possible for me to work 6 days a week, at night, and what not.  I just don't really want that "dream" that bad.

Perhaps I am just full of self-denial.  It is something to think about.

Want to see what the other ladies would do?  Check them out at: Froggie, Momarock, and Merrylandgirl.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The question for this post is:

Hypothetically, a credible authority from the universe reveals that the meaning of life is one big talent show. Success is measured not by $$, but the extent to which your contributions to society actually increase the quality of life for others. If the reward for winning was truly exquisite, how would this revelation change your game plan?

I like to think that my game plan generally revolves around doing the right thing, even if it isn't the most lucrative thing.  Of course, since I don't actually contribute to society in a monetary fashion, it is easier for me to focus on the ethical/"right" thing.

That said, I wonder if I really do that.  It is so ingrained in us to look out for ourselves that we are often not compassionate towards others.  I say this because right now we are embroiled in a big conflict.  A kid at school is being mean to Mac.  This kid is having a lot of problems at home, I am not sure what those problems are, but the emails/facebook posts I have read would make be believe that his parents aren't always real nice to him.:

So, if my objective is to improve the quality of life for others, should I be taking a hard stand against this kid for bullying mine?  Should I be going both guns a-blazing trying to get this kid to STOP?  Or, should we be inviting him to our house and trying to offer him assistance?

I don't have it in me to house and comfort my son's bully.  But if the objective is to make things better for others, I think that I should try and find it in myself to do that.  Sure you can argue, that by getting him to stop, we would improving the quality of life for the kids he bullies.  That said, I think that you need to approach it at the base level of improving the quality of life for the bully.  My belief is that he is doing to Mac, what is done to him at home. 

Since the reality is that what this kid is doing is wrong, I fully intend to have it stop.  At the end of the day, I have to protect my own. 

In a very tardy fashion, if you want to see what the other ladies have to say, check them out at Froggie, Momarock, and Merrylandgirl.  You might have to wade through some of their newer posts to find the one on this topic, but hey, you might find something else you like!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It takes a village

In this day of cyber-bulling, shootings at schools, kids committing suicide, and all other manner of crazy behavior, we as parents have to be extra vigilant.  We have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to ensure a positive outcome for our kids.  I think all the threats we feel might harm our children we have no choice but to be hyper involved.

Some parents manage it by over-scheduling.  The thought process being if the kids are busy in some structured activity they don't have time for boys/girls, the internet, doing bad things, etc.  There is a fall out from that point of view, the kids get stressed out from being over committed and trying to cram too much in.  It is a lot of pressure.

Some parents manage it by helicoptering.  Fighting every battle they can for their kids.  That isn't good because then the kids never learn to manage things themselves.  Some parents ignore the kids, and let them manage on their own.  There really is no good answer. 

I know that I want to create responsible adults that are productive members of society.  My objective is that my kids are not a burden on say the prison system, or public assistance.  I want them to be able to fly solo and be in a position to complain about taxes.  I think most of us would agree that my goal is on point.

So, what do you do when it seems that some kid is causing your child distress?  Let's reference back to the above, people are afraid of all the scary things that go on in the school system and some parents are wack-a-doos.  How do you avoid having a difficult conversation with the parents?  You get the school involved.

Let me tell you, you may walk away feeling like you did the right thing but you didn't.  You didn't.  We need to put our big girl/boy panties on and deal with the parents.  The school is not the right place to take this kind of stuff, ESPECIALLY, if it happens outside the four walls of the school.  Once you have reached out to the parents, then and only then should you consider going to the school.  Really, that should only be done IF the call with the parents does not go well.

It is simple, you pick up the phone and you say, hello kids-mother/father, I am my-kids mother/father.  I just wanted you to know what your child has been saying/doing.  Explain what is happening.  Then end with saying, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, kids will be kids, but I would want someone to tell me if it was in reverse.  If there is anything I can do to help you please let me know.  End the call.

In the event that the parent on the other end doesn't seem receptive, then tell the school.  You have done this family a service by telling them what the story is.  You handled the situation with class.  You will have taught your child a lesson about owning your behavior.  If the phone call does not go well, hey, shit happens, you tried.  Fine, let the school deal with it.

It is not safer to call the school, don't kid yourself that you can hide in anominity.  Your phone number, address and email are listed in the school directory.  You are only a google search away.  Frankly, given how much schools over-react these days, you may piss the other family off more.

I speak from experience.  I have a had a parent call me and I have had them call the school.  Sure as shit, getting that call from the other parent was top 10 most awkward experiences.  But, getting the same call from the school... so, so, so, much worse.  The fall-out from getting the school involved is unimaginable.

What lessons do you want to teach your kids?  Remember we want them to stay out of prison and pay taxes here.  We need to teach them that part of being responsible is owning your actions.  Part of owning your actions sometimes means doing a little dirty work.  Sometimes to show/teach compassion, you have to make that awkward call.

It is a hard decision, especially if you have never been in either situation.  You want to do the right thing, but what is it?  I am telling you here, put on your big boy/girl panties, be an adult and call the other family.

Friday, April 6, 2012

That door is closed or is it open?

The topic for this week's blog post is:

There's an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" where they all go to the Museum of Natural History. There's one point where Lily finds herself talking to an exhibit called "College Marshall," who is now extinct, since he's married and working in the corporate world of NY. It got me thinking....what part of YOUR personality is now extinct?

I have struggled with how to answer this question.  Yeah, I partied and had a good time in college.  But, that part of me, the part that likes to have a good time, isn't really extinct, it just focuses on different types of good times. So, what is different?

Then I was added to a Facebook group that is populated by a bunch of folks about my age who lived in my home town.  We have been posting pics and telling stories from the day.  It has been fun to meander down memory lane.  Except, I wasn't really a part of most of the stories.  I didn't really participate in the mayhem.  I was a goodie-two-shoes.  I think some of it was that I was pretty motivated to not get in trouble, but I was also sort of socially awkward.  I didn't want to rock the boat. 

Fast-forward to today.  Boat rocking, yeah, sign me up for a double.  I dive head first into sorting out "injustice."  Granted my focus is generally on religious tolerance, but hey, I am good for a racial tolerance tussle any day.  (That is just harder to sound credible with being white and all.)  Just yesterday I was in the school building dropping off a letter for the principle when she was wishing everyone a happy weekend.  You could tell she was starting to wish everyone a Happy Easter, when she saw me walk by.  I was waiting to pounce.   Like a tiger, eyeing it's pray.  She stammered and wished everyone a good long weekend.  I gave her the thumbs up and moved on.  My work there was done.

In high school, that wasn't how I rolled.  In college I was a "devoted" Christian.  I even was a part of the very conservative Christian club.  I certainly wasn't aware of or cared about religious tolerance.  Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny... Praise Jesus! Amen.

Oh, I left that closed minded, socially awkward little girl behind.  I maybe have gone a bit to far to the other side.  Perhaps it might be time to reflect before pouncing, but my message is consistent and clear, include everyone, do not exclude.  Funny how things work out.  Happy Passover to all.

Want to see what the other ladies have left behind? Check them out at: Froggie, Momarock, and Merrylandgirl.