Mostly moms is the reality

raising aloneTimes are tough. There are many children who are being brought up by single moms. Most of the work hard and do their best for their children. Still, being without a spouse is doubly hard. I think it takes two parents. The stress on one parent is horrendous. We all need help and in the case of raising children it is critical.

Regardless of who is doing the raising having more than one person to be looked up to and hopefully emulated is so necessary. It is helpful if boys have some male in their life and a female for girls. This is not always possible but hopefully some other family member is able to step up and help.

raising alone 2When we grew up in small towns there were many others to help. It really does “take a village” to raise a child. The more adults loving and molding growing up the better. Many of the children I am seeing now have only one parent and it is most frequently the mother. We need to grow the organizations “big brothers” and “big sisters” to fill in the gaps. children who are mentored do so much better. If not they seek affirmation from all the wrong people.

We must care for our youth

An amazing manifesto from parent to child

This is from my daily readings by Richard Rohr. I find this truly amazing and wish I knew about it when my children were small. I plan on creating a copy for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My whole family needs a beautiful framed copy of this!

parent child

Researcher Brené Brown knows the importance of vulnerability and open-heartedness. In her book Daring Greatly, she offers a parenting manifesto that can serve as a touchstone when we feel afraid or resist vulnerability. You might read it aloud to a child, someone you love, or yourself:

“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude. I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.”

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Avery: 2012), 244-245. Visit brenebrown.com for a copy of the manifesto and other resources.

Families are unique

It has been a fun and interesting week. The visit with my daughter and her family has been fun. Family together is never without its moments but this has been good.

welcome

I feel so blessed that my children “like” each other as well as love. the “liking” part is not always present in families. It is so easy to love someone as family but dislike the way they are. There are times when we can get on the outs for some reason but is has always blown over. I hope that part of that is due to my husband and I. At least I would love to think so.

Families are tricky things. It is so easy to forget that everyone is their own person and has thoughts, beliefs and ideas separate from others. The lifestyle of my three children is much different from each other but they still get along. They are vastly different in personalities and have each pursued totally different careers. I am glad they have followed their own paths.

nuts

If you have children don’t be afraid to let them follow their own path. Obviously, they need love and direction but they are individuals. As they grow they need solid underpinning knowing that there is someone who will be there no matter what. They also need someone who will teach them a moral compass. With this behind them they will grow into good people.

Grandparenting– great fun!

I am so bummed. I can’t manage to get my IBSD under control. It is better than it was but still giving me problems. I feel bad complaining because I don’t have the problems that many people have. The hardest part is not being in control

love children

There is a new baby about to be born into our family and the mother is sure that her child will be perfect. I suspect that most of us felt that way before we had children. We had expectations that were usually completely wrong. When we are young and naive we think that everything will go the way we expect…and then life begins.

 

When we have children life is no longer in our control. It really isn’t anyway but we don’t realize that until things go wrong. Children are their own selves and have their own minds and personalities. Every day is a new experience. It is amazing how quickly they get smarter than their parents. They are superior at reading moods, finding loopholes and pitting parents against each other.

grandparent

 

It makes me glad that I am a grandparent and great-grandparent and can love the children and send them home. Life is good!

Responsible?

A mother is neither cocky or proud, because she knows the school principal may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle through the gymnasium. Mary Kay Blakely, b. 1957

I found this in a little book of quotes from women. My experience as a mother finds this to be so true. I was never sure what was coming next. Mostly from my son but not always.

no to blame

 

I think the reason it struck me is that even though I love my children  I never doubted that they could make some mistakes of bad judgment. Having received that call I would immediately have known that it was true and one of my children at fault. I wonder if this would be true today. So many parents now want to remove any blame from their children. Somebody else must have caused this.

 

Taking this attitude does such a disservice to the child. If we are never responsible for our actions and there are no consequences we don’t learn. Actions always have consequences. Sometimes good…sometimes bad. When the outcome is bad we need to learn that we have to take responsibility and that may not be fun. Reparations must follow.

Responsibility

I have known families whose children were never responsible for any bad behavior. The sad part is if they don’t learn when the response is minor they may end up in jail for a major offense.

Think about those parents who falsified records to get their children into college. Not only have the children learned that it’s ok to cheat to get what you want but also that it’s fine to laze your way through school. Someone will fix it for you. Those children believe that everything will be handed to them forever. They have no coping skills when things don’t work out the way they wanted.

responsible2

I wonder why parents have come to the conclusion that saving children from their actions is good parenting. I hope that the pendulum starts to swing back the other way.

Time out

This is my last day with my daughter and her family. It has been a wonderful visit and I look forward to being with them again soon. Each of my children’s families are different in personality and the things they enjoy doing. That is as it should be and I would like to think it means that I allowed each of them to be themselves.

Image result for families

It has been cool since I have been here unusual for Austin but a great break for me. I will now return to warm weather and humidity. My mind is beginning its shift to what is ahead and the things I need to do this week. This has been a wonderful break. I didn’t have to plan anything or think about anything in particular.

Image result for down time

 

We all need down time. It refreshes us and allows us to go back to our routine with renewed enthusiasm. This time out has been a blessing. I hope that each of you can find time in your lives to back away and just vegetate.

Disappointment

Disappointment. Today I was disappointed. I have been handling a my best friend’s will and am just about finished with it. There was some stock that had to be cashed out. We thought it was around $900 but the final check was only for $54. I was hoping to give some more significant money to the family and I am disappointed. I know that the money has nothing to do with me but I am still sad about it.

disappointment

This has been a long time getting to the end. We now have to divide up some personal items and I am not looking forward to that. The two heirs have a difficult past and don’t really speak to each other. They will be fine during this last task out of deference to me but I still will be glad to get it done. They are both nice people who have gone through some stuff growing up.

I have been sad for them through this whole circumstance. It is so sad that with very few relatives they can’t even have each other. Families are complicated. Things happen and lives are damaged. Children are so vulnerable and parents are the ones who have the most influence whether they mean to hurt or not.

past

What happens to us as children travels with us until the day we die. Hopefully, if hurt, we will be able to get help and learn coping skills but it can be difficult. Parenting is the most crucial role that anyone can have. Whether the child is ours by birth, adoption or any other way our role can make all the difference in the entire life of someone.

I am disappointed about this situation and will help where I can but the past is present in their lives.

The past lives with us

Many times when I am reading other’s blogs I see the tragedies they have endured. So many had childhoods fraught with abuse, neglect and pain. My life has been so different. I makes me wonder why I have been plagued with anxiety and IBSD. Then I remember that even though I grew up in a loving family attitudes and ideas about parenting were different.

Pat & Murrel Clark
My mother and father

My mother was isolated from me when I was small. I remember little about it. She was diagnosed with TB that she caught from my paternal grandfather. She had a very mild lung case and was allowed to stay at home in a separate part of the house. Unfortunately, the TB attacked her adrenaline gland and the doctors were unaware of this. She was well for a while and then by my early teens had declined and was quite ill but no one was able to diagnose her disease. The ins and outs of that period are for another post.

Do-parents-sit-down-and-tell-their-kids

The bottom line is that I was aware that my mother was very ill but the family never talked about it with me. It was thought that you didn’t share this with children. She was in and out of the hospital and my aunt would come to help and keep me entertained by taking me shopping. Needless to say this was not a good coping skill to be learned by a teenager.

Just prior to succumbing to her illness she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease and lived to be 95. I know now that those years of her illness were terrifying for me and explain anxiety and fear of illness. Anxiety and all its companions also run in my family.

It is nice to know why I suffered in those years and it is wonderful to have coping skills that keep me sane. So much was not understood in those days and mental health was not discussed or treated. Women had the vapors and spent several days in the hospital with “nerves.”

Even though mental health is not treated as well as it should be it is much better than in my growing years. I am grateful for the strides that have given others help and hope. I pray that things will continue to improve and that one day things will be much better.

The bed

When my son was engaged he asked my husband ( a gifted carpenter) to make a bed for them. He made a beautiful four poster bed. I wrote the following poem about it.

edel-illo

The Bed

 

Its posts are silky

as the sanding is done

each coat of finish

a step of love

 

as loving as the lives

who will rest and love

in its grasp

 

the work of finishing

will be done

but the love nurtured in its depths

never complete

Do children feel secure?

Today at lunch with friends we were told about a family who lost a 10 year old son to suicide. He shot himself in the head. Later the family lost another son to drugs. This is a loving family and their relatives say there was nothing wrong with their childhood. The younger child was bullied and I don’t think the other son ever got over his brother’s death.

media

It scares me that suicides are occurring in such young children. It’s hard to know why. I know that our exposure to so much data may be part of the answer. A child growing up when there was no media would probably never know anyone who committed suicide and certainly would not be bullied on line. There was some bullying in school when I was a child but it was nipped in the bud by the teachers. This was also the era when parents believed the teacher and usually there was some sort of punishment to follow for the child. Things have really changed.

Now we are so exposed to all the terrible events around the world that to take a gun and shoot oneself or someone else is not unusual. Exposure desensitizes us.

There is so much anxiety and depression in children. I have mentioned that I see it as being related to parenting in such a way that children do not have a safe base….a place where there are rules and secure love. Children need limits. No limits is a scary thing. It means that no one cares what you do. No one loves you enough to set limits for you.

safe child

I can see some changes in parenting recently and I hope that the changes are for the better. I so want to see children grow up loved and secure.