Overwhelmingly Overwhelmed?

Have you ever just had a day, where you feel the weight of everyone else’s world on your shoulders? Where you don’t know where to look or who to help or what to do, so the easiest thing to do is close the curtains and pretend you aren’t home? Uh huh. You know you have.

And the thing is, it’s not one or two big things. It’s more a culmination of many many many MANY little things. Sprinkle in a few big bombshells and BOOM, that crushing feeling is upon you. Divorces, family members not speaking to other family members, (some family members just fine with never speaking to a certain other family member again), affairs, lost loves, bankruptcy, cancer, alcoholism, recovery, friends struggling with friends, friends struggling with family, lost friendships, lost spouses, lost pets, children sick, weight loss, weight gain, kids struggling in school, with friends, with peers, with boyfriends or girlfriends…..OMG, I could seriously go on longer and that’s just in the past week!!!!!

This is the overwhelming part for me. And I have cried on enough shoulders and vented enough to my family and friends that I owe them my shoulder in their time of need. At least my shoulder. A few of them need me to call the divorce lawyer and pack up that spouse and kick them out. A few need me to get a shovel and a rural (unfrozen) parcel of land and start digging, if ya know what I mean. The fixer in me wants to wave my magic wand, sprinkle some fairy dust and make those impossibly difficult, narcissistic, egomaniac, selfish people into decent normal human beings. But I can’t do that and watching them struggle with this idiotic spouse/friend/person can be overwhelming.

High school kids are hard enough to deal with on good days. When they get mean for the sake of being mean, and hurtful for the sake of being hurtful, what can you do as parent? Most of the time they don’t want you involved anyway. So it gets tricky sometimes. But when the meanness causes your child to weep, do you step in? When and how do friends become enemies? It’s sad and overwhelming.

No matter how hard you try to be optimistic, or looking for the silver lining, what do you do when it’s hard to find? For the parent who finds their child suffering, suggesting they look on the bright side seems callous. What bright side? But do you allow it to make you become withdrawn? Bitter? Angry at the world? Or do you try to be a friend and walk a tightrope of not knowing what to say? A friend found out her daughter has cancer. How do you comfort them, especially when she wants to push everyone away? I don’t know how to help. It’s heartbreaking and overwhelming.

So how do you handle it? No really, I’d love to know. For me, I’m thankful today is a barre day, because even thought my triceps are still sore from Tuesday, I’m gonna work the hell out of them today! It’s gonna be a “sweat dripping off my nose” kind of work out. I know that I can’t be the fix it person to anyone but me. I can lend an ear, a shoulder, support. But I can’t fix it. Great lesson learned in Al Anon is that I can only be in charge of me and my behavior. No one can change someone else. You can try, but then you’re just manipulating. You don’t want to do that, do you? Cuz that’s just not nice. So I’m going to try to focus on me and what I need (this is the year is ME, right?) and I’m going to go work out. And I’m going to remember this:

Just try to be a good person. That’s enough. ~~ The Dalai Lama

Namaste

Load

Skipping yoga and other perceived sins

This morning I skipped yoga to help my brother. If that’s the worse thing I do all day, I’m in luck and glad it’s over so early in the day. He needed help, I helped him. I could have gone to yoga and not helped him, but it didn’t seem right. So I did what I felt was the right thing to do.

That’s what I have been trying to do all week. I’m trying to do what is right for me and my family. That doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your family. Might not even be the way you see the world. That’s fine. We all see things through different lenses, view the same situation in different perspectives and pull our own experiences into what and how we are dealing with everything every day. What is right for me might not be right for you. What is right for you could certainly not be right for me.

I want to make something clear, since it appears not to be: I am not naming names, pointing fingers, on a tower of judgement, or looking down my nose at anyone. Have you actually read what I wrote?? I mean, I have been brutally honest about my own situation. Have I asked other parents to perhaps look at what their kids are doing? Absolutely! I am not condemning all children in Westerville. Not calling all of them liars. Not saying every parent in Da Ville is reckless and uninvolved. If anything I have said struck a nerve, again, perhaps you should figure out why. Not for me, but for yourself.

It is human nature to lie. White lies, big lies, lies of omission. When a child is asked point-blank if they did something they know they will get into trouble for, they lie. Yep. Right to your face. Haven’t you ever lied to the cop who pulls you over for speeding? “NO officer! I wasn’t going 50 in the 25.” Uh huh. What about the little child who breaks the lamp and then denies it. He’s 5 and lying to not get in trouble.

That has been one of the biggest lessons. Everyone WILL lie. Looking you in the eye. Nope didn’t break that lamp. Nope, I didn’t drink at the party. Nope, wasn’t speeding. Trying to open communication, not only between me and my son, perhaps you and yours too. And realizing that parenting them when they are teenagers is just as important than any other time. The needs are just different, but they are very real. And there are very real consequences.

I would like to end this post with a favor. If you have comment, please post it here. My inbox on Facebook is becoming unmanageable. Facebook is a conduit to find this blog, not as the place for communication. I welcome the differing opinion. Keep it respectful as I feel I have done.

Parenting Teens – Standing strong in times of trouble.

I wanted to follow up, explain, expand, perhaps clarify from my post yesterday. I’m glad some are actually discussing this huge problem we have around here, I’m saddened to hear that most are still burying their heads. But that brings me to my main topic today.

I have not been elected the police of Westerville among high school students. I am not some vigilante running around trying to find kids doing wrong or illegal things. I do not have some self-imposed moral high ground. Actually, if anything, from where I stand, I feel like it’s the opposite! Until Monday morning, I was the parent who would’ve said “My kid wasn’t even there!” or something to that effect. We have discussed these issues for years with our son. He’s taken the middle school and high school classes at church. He even attends church with us every Sunday! We have told him how alcohol, in his bloodline, is literally like drinking poison. But that’s a different story for a different time.

I want to use a very real example of parents burying their heads. If this sounds remotely true, please pay attention. Our schools have a Ski Club. Buses take the kids roughly an hour north to ski for a few hours, bus ride back home. It was reported by students to advisors, teachers, and parents that many, many students were smoking weed on the back ski trials. This was not a one time occurence. Not by a long shot. By the time it had finally escalated to some parents being told that their kids were doing this, what did they do? A big fat nothing. Oh they got a “talking to”. They asked their kids, who denied it and then it was over. How many of them searched their phones? How many searched their rooms? How many went to buy a home drug testing kit, handed their child the bottle and made them on the spot go fill it up??

I wouldn’t have. Not my son. He wouldn’t do that kind of thing. He knows better. We taught him better than that. Blah, blah, blah. The child who has the nurse for the mom. The child who has the successful junior executive for a dad. The honor roll child. The child who is involved in sports, or drama, or any other club or group. The child who has both parents working in their own business to afford all the good things in life, but not spending time with the child. The child who has a stay at home parent, like me, and I have no idea. You ask if they have done it, they say “Gosh Mom! Gosh Dad! How could you even ask me that?? Of course I would never drink! I would never smoke that!” And Mom and Dad want to believe soooo badly, that they do. Even if the signs are there. And those parents, even in light of what has been brought to light this week, are still believing their child.

Then we have the parents who do know what is going on. And they are fiiiiiinnnnnneeeee with it! Well, that’s just dandy. I am not your child’s guardian. Parent your kid your way. None of my business. But do not expect me to be ok with it when it comes to my child. We can agree that we have different philosophies, different ways of raising our kids. But my child won’t be with your child. They say “It takes a village” and I agree with that. But the village needs to at least have the same general guidelines or that village has chaos. Our world has enough chaos without adding in mixed signals of “Well, so and so’s parents don’t care the he spent the night at that girls house or that he drank, or that he smoked that weed” (Remember, I am talking about mainly about 15 year old Freshman in high school here!)

These parents are of the mindset that they’re going to do it anyway. Again, freedom to parent how you see fit. I am not of that mindset. Maybe I am the outcast, the strict one, the delusional one, the unrealistic one. I am not ok with standing by and allowing my child to do these things without consequences.

So please don’t paint me with a broad stroke brush that I am climbing up some moral superior tower spewing my own beliefs and expectations on all the good citizens of Westerville. I most certainly am not. And if you have a different opinion, I would love to hear it. The more us parents talk about this, openly, honestly, without fear of how you think it will look in the eyes of someone else, the better it is for our kids. We have almost 3 1/2 more years to go. Banding together, helping each other and leading by example will only make our wonderful community better and stronger.

Teens and the Death of Common Sense

Well, this past week has taught me so many lessons, I don’t even know where to begin. So I think I’ll list my lessons, and then expand on them as I go.

1. Parents have learned that as long as there is no photographic proof, it’s almost impossible to prove anything.

2. Honesty does NOT pay off, especially when dealing with the school.

3. Kids getting drunk and/or high is ok with 98% of the people around here. (Also see #1 regarding this)

4. Only a handful of parents actually care about their kids well being.

5. People will never fail to surprise and shock me.

It is simply AMAZING to me how parents have been handling a situation that occurred in our relatively small town this past weekend. Huge party. HUGE. Kids from 8th grade through seniors in high school. Drinking. Pot. Make out sessions. And if you’re reading this from my small town, and you think for one second your child wasn’t involved, I have an island to sell you in the south Pacific. How can you truly believe that your child was the only one who wasn’t participating? Your child knows better, right? Your child would never do something like that, right?? Mmm hmmm. Let’s be clear, you’re contributing to the problem. Denying that there is a problem is part of the problem too.

Some parents are thinking, well, my child wasn’t even there so this doesn’t affect me. Really? Bet they were. Unless your child was home with you, curled up on the couch, watching a movie right next to you, you might want to check into where he or she really was Saturday night. All night. You might want to check some text messages, or their Twitter account. If they still use Facebook (which I doubt), check it. Check Instagram, check all of the latest apps, you might be surprised at what you find. Or better yet, what you don’t find. All texts deleted? Wonder why?

One of my favorite Judge Judy-isms is “Ya know when teenagers are lying? When their mouths are moving.” Yep. That’s the truth. My own darling told me he was spending the night at a friend’s house. I won’t name the name, but it was a male friend. 3 of them were going. No big deal. They’ve done it before. Lots of times actually. Except they pulled the ole bait n switch and that child told his parents he was spending the night at one of the other boys houses. Got it? Yep. So they go to a girls house to a party. A girl who all 4 of these boys had been forbidden to go to her home for past grievances. Sigh.

They worst part of this whole thing, is we had NO IDEA this was going on. None. We didn’t find out the truth until Monday from a brave mom who told us the truth, told us what had gone on all night long at this party. We are grateful and thankful for her honesty and courage to tell us something she knew we would not like, something we didn’t know and something that would surely cause divide.

Which brings me back to my numbered list. I realize that we live in an age of technology, where it seems video and/or pictures are taken everywhere. Please don’t think that unless there is photographic proof of your kid taking a drink or lighting up a blunt that they aren’t doing it. If a parents comes to you, actually comes to you, saying, look, this is hard for me to tell you, but your child was doing this, for the love of all that’s holy, believe that parent!!! Believe them! Yes, even over your own child saying “It wasn’t me.” “I wasn’t there.” “I didn’t do it.” And for the parents who are having the parties, supplying the alcohol, looking the other way from the smoky haze in the corner, you are more guilty than these children. Just because there is not photos of you pouring into a glass of a smiling teenager, karma will find you.

That brings me to point #2. You parents who have denied your child was involved when asked, I hope you’re happy of the example you are sending your child. “Lie so you don’t get in more trouble.” That’s the message, loud and clear. You’ll be living with those consequences for a lot longer than the consequences of our honesty.

The last three points are pretty clear. Parents just don’t care. Saturday night was their date night, or their sit on the couch night, or maybe their own party to attend. More concerned about being their friend than their parent. More concerned with how it will look to other parents for anyone to find out their kids were doing wrong.

Well, I care. I care that my child lied to me, that he was somewhere he was forbidden to go, that he did something he was not supposed to do and that he will have consequences from his actions. I care that he learn a hard lesson now than thinking he can keep getting away with it. I installed the locator program on his phone, for if and when he gets it back. I’ll be walking to the door to any house he goes to that, once he’s allowed to go anywhere. There are only 2 other people who will be permitted to drive him anywhere outside of our household. I can’t seem to fathom a time in the distant future where he will be able to be out past 11. No sleepovers, no parties, no lying.

But you go ahead and believe your kid wasn’t involved.