Got Teenagers? Parenting 101 (from ages 11 through 17)

Parenting a teenager can be one of the most frustrating times of a parent’s life. You wait up at night worried about who your daughter is hanging around with, if they will come home on time, and an assortment of other worries. You see changes in their appearance, attitude and demeanor, and wonder if this is my kid.

Yet parenting a teenager can also be one of the most rewarding times. You see your son growing into a mature responsible adult who is forming his own opinions and identity.

Let’s start with your worries. When your teen makes choices that are troubling to you, you’re not alone. Most teenagers at a certain age start experimenting and stretching the boundaries you set. All teenagers know right from wrong. What they sometimes don’t understand is the consequences of their choices and actions. Here is where you come in.
Keeping an open dialogue is the key. Once a teenager feels there is no use in talking to you because you will fly off the handle, give an unjust punishment, or simply give no explanation at all, you will lose the most valuable asset you have—the ability to communicate.

Teenagers want answers, so they are testing boundaries to see what works and what doesn’t work. Talk situations through fully so your teen can understand why they made a specific choice or why you are giving a specific boundary.

Saying no might have worked when a child was 5 or 6, but when a teenager is trying to figure out their identity, future, sexuality, and a number of other things, they need an educator—not a yes or no person. They deserve an explanation. They already have your trust, love and respect. Down deep whether they say it or not, they want boundaries, limits, and answers.

When things go wrong, never give up. As a man who deals with “at-risk” teenagers every day, my motto is “I don’t believe in bad kids, I believe in bad choices”. I also believe all kids are at-risk. If you are having a problem with your teenager, be pro-active in helping your son or daughter understand the consequences of their choices.

Larry Lawton is the President of Reality Check Program for families which provides assistance in reaching teens and young adults with a strong message about choices.

Article tags:teens, parenting, boundaries, teen limits, choices, reality checkprogram

Read More

Are They Worth Your Time? |

Spend a little time online and you will notice that lots of companies want our opinions.  If you were so inclined, you could spend a lot of hours in the day completing surveys.  But, would you make enough money to make it worth your time?  The answer, like so many others, is not black and white.  There is some money to be made by completing surveys, but I wouldn’t plan on that being the sole source for your child’s college fund.   However, you could have a nice nest egg for this year’s Christmas shopping.  It also is like anything else.  The more you put in, the more you get out.

There are multiple survey companies and each one does things a little differently.  Some offer points, some offer cash and others offer entries to win items and/or cash.  Look at each one to see what is offered and decide if it matches your needs.  In the end, I have found that the best way to make a decision to to try out the different options.  I have found some to be a good fit for me and others not to be.  I also find that some weeks I have more time to complete surveys and other weeks I do not.  The good news is that all of the sites offer free registration and none have any minimum participation requirements.  I chose to sign up with multiple sites to be able to make comparisons.  Here are the sites that I visit most frequently.

Toluna is one of my favorite surveys sites because you can also receive free full-size product samples.  You’ll receive an email for each opportunity, but the number is not excessive.  For each survey that you complete, you earn points.  Points can be redeemed for cash via PayPal or for other prizes.

MyView is another site that I like.  You earn points even if you do not qualify for the survey and that appeals to me.  There’s not much worse that taking the time to answer the initial questions, be knocked out of the survey and receive nothing for your time.   Points do not expire as long as you log in at least once every 90 days and can be redeemed for Prepaid Visa Cards.  My email inbox has not been flooded and I’m on my way to a gift card.

Mindfield is a little more straightforward.  Every survey is assigned a dollar amount that you receive if you complete the survey.  Your account is credited once the survey has closed.  If you don’t qualify for the survey, you are entered into their monthly drawing.  Once your account balance reached $5, you can request payment.

Vindale Research is a little bit different than the other sites.  There is a chance to earn more, but some offers require that you use your credit or debit card to sign up for free trials.  This does put the burden on you to remember to cancel during the trial period.  However, there are many offers that do not require a credit or debit card.  Being a busy SAHM who sometimes becomes disorganized, I tend to select only those offers.

These are just a few of the sites available and the ones I have personally used.  If there are others that you have used and would like to share your experience, please do!

Read More

When We Had to Wait

I usually post a picture for Flashback Friday, but you will have to use your imagination this week.  The political and financial ills of our country have me thinking about when times were simpler.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what has changed in my just my lifetime.  Like so many others, I guess I have been trying to figure out what is “wrong” with the world today and why there seems to be so much turmoil.  This post is not meant to be the answer to that question, but it may be a symptom.

The thought for this post started yesterday as I was making some Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup for my daughter.  I always heat up the soup on the stove top.  I may be wrong, but I think it tastes better.  Of course, it would probably be even better if I made chicken noodle soup from scratch, but that doesn’t happen very often.  Still, I won’t go as far as dumping the can into the microwave safe bowl and pressing start.  I’m not some sort of elite mom who insists on everything being homemade, but I do have my quirky limits.

By now, you are wondering what is my point.  Here it is.  Maybe part of the problem is our instant food culture.  I remember as a child, if my Mom took a night off from cooking we either ordered pizza or went out to eat at a restaurant.  Now, if I want to take a night off from cooking, I have those options, but I also have hundreds of instant options right here in my kitchen.   Think about it.  How many things can you make in your kitchen in less time than it would take for the pizza delivery guy to ring the doorbell?

As much as I like all of this convenience, I am wondering if it is part of our problem.  Our children are being brought up in a world where you don’t have to wait.  And, in my opinion, waiting is part of the experience.  Think about Thanksgiving.  All of that preparation and the aromas wafting through your home are a part of the experience.  Somehow that turkey tastes better because of the wait.  If you made Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave, it just wouldn’t be as good.

Now, I am not suggesting that we all prepare Thanksgiving type meals on a daily basis.  There isn’t enough time.  But I do think we have to make time to prepare some meals and involve our children in the process.  I like that Gwen helps to mix the batter for a cake, watches it go in the oven and has to wait for it to be done.  I like that she watches as I prepare a meal and sees that we have to wait for the food to cook.  She is learning through that process.

As a child, I was always jealous of other kids because their moms used Hamburger Helper and my mom didn’t.  Once I was a single woman living on my own, I bought some and used it.  I hated it.  My mother’s creations were and still are so much better.  My Mom cooked for us and I’d like to think I’m carrying on that tradition.  I hope that our children carry it forward too.  What do you think?

Read More

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition at the Irving Arts Center

The residents of and visitors to North Texas have an exciting opportunity available to them these days.  Genghis Khan: The Exhibition is on display at the Irving Arts Center from June 1 – .  This marks the first time an exhibition of this  scale has been on view at the Center and in the City of Irving.  You may be wondering a few things about Genghis Khan and this exhibit.

What Was So Special About Genghis Khan?

Genghis Khan is a fascinating part of history and, as it turns out, you just might be related to him.   Nearly .5 percent of the world’s male population can trace their heritage back to Genghis Khan’s family.  That’s nearly 16 million men!

Genghis Khan was also an innovator.  He is noted for his cultural influences on the world, his appreciation of the arts, and his creation of a stable government.  Passports, international borders, the postal system, hamburgers and even pants can be traced back to his rule.

Of course, Genghis Khan is more known for his role as a conqueror.  In just 25 years, the Mongolian Army conquered more lands and people during the Romans during their 400 year rule.  He and his sons united smaller countries into larger ones and developed international borders for countries that still stand today.  These include China, Korea and India.  At one point their empire spanned between 11 and 12 million square miles, across Europe and Asia.

Most interesting to me is Genghis Khan’s burial place.  It is one of the greatest archeological mysteries of our time.  The warrior was placed in an unmarked grave in Mongolia.  According to one imaginative account, 800 horseman trampled repeatedly over the burial site to obscure the location of the grave.  The horseman were then killed by another set of soldiers so that they could not disclose the grave site.

Why Should I Go to this Exhibit?

The story of Genghis Khan the conqueror, the myth and the man is told through a stunning and highly interactive world-tour exhibition. Genghis Khan: The Exhibition follows the life of a poor, illiterate child as he becomes one of the world’s greatest conquerors and leaves a lasting imprint on modern-day culture. More than 200 artifacts including gold jewelry, weaponry, silk robes, currency, tomb treasures and more are displayed alongside video-screens, hands-on activity stations and role-playing kiosks to create an educational and historical experience for visitors of all ages.

This exhibition features the largest collection of 13th century Mongolian artifacts ever gathered in a single showing.  Of particular note, the exhibition features the recently uncovered mummy and tomb treasures of a Mongolian noble woman, nicknamed The Princess Giant because of her unusual height.  And, for the kid in all of us, the interactive aspect of the exhibition leads visitors through a life-size ger (traditional nomadic dwelling); and allows visitors to shoot a model trebuchet, create a Mongolianstyle hat and use computer touch screens to live out the lives of characters from the 13thcentury.

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition was produced by “Dino” Don Lessem, with curatorial consultation by leading Genghis Khan scholars Dr. William Fitzhugh of the Smithsonian Institution and Dr. Morris Rossabi of Columbia University. Lessem is an author, longtime science journalist and president of Exhibits Rex, Inc. The exhibition was developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Lenders include the National Museum of Mongolian History, the Institute of Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, the National Library of Mongolia, the Military Museum of Mongolia, the Dornogobi Province Museum, and the Dornod Province Museum in Mongolia. Artifacts are also on loan from private collections including the Kooros and Gotuaco families, Natsag Gankhuyag and Francis Boyd.

Opportunities Like This Don’t Come Often

Exhibits such as this do not come to every city and town.  The Irving Arts Center is privileged to have Genghis Khan: The Exhibition on site through September 30.  There are multiple lectures, special discount days and event scheduled throughout the summer.  Admission prices range from $5 – $12 depending on age and group size.  The exhibit is open 7 days a week and parking is free.  I know that I will be visiting this exhibit before it leaves and I hope that you will too.  I am pleased to announce that Yankee Texan Mom will be hosting a ticket giveaway soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Read More

Activision Games For Girls Giveaway! | Yankee Texan Mom

As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to attend Activision’s Games For Girls Summit.  I learned a tremendous amount about gaming for girls and also had the chance to check out Activision’s new line of games for girls.  Many of these games were released in just the last week and I am happy to share the information with you.  While I was at the summit, I had the chance to see a preview of each of the games including the Wappy Dog.  In our house, this is the only dog my daughter has a chance of owning, so I really enjoyed the Wappy Dog!  According to Kidsay Trend Tracker 2010, 45% of kids aged 8 – 15 play games on a DS and that trend is growing with our daughters.  Girls are a growing part of the gaming population!

All of the six games recently released by Activision for girls are included in this giveaway!  There will be 6 winners, so lots of chances to win!  Here are the games that are featured in this giveaway.

The whimsical and magical world of Lalaloopsy has been brought to life on the Nintendo DS. As the new girl in town, you start by selecting your very own playable Lalaloopsy friend. Reunite all the familiar Lalaloopsy dolls with their lost pets to build incredible friendships and unlock exciting crafting activities. Special surprises and cool collectibles make it a unique and exciting experience. There is so much to do and so much fun to be had, it’s time to get sewing!


  • Play with Your Favorite Lalaloopsy Dolls: All 12 dolls are available to play with including: Mittens Fluff ‘N’ Stuff, Blossom Flowerpot, Bea Spells a Lot and many more!

  • Colorful and Whimsical World: The handcrafted feel and bright palette is preserved in the game. Every doll’s environment and items will feel familiar to all Lalaloopsy fans.

  • Build Lasting Friendships: Help the dolls find and care for their pets to unlock their specific craft mini-game; giving the finished crafts as gifts unlocks even more accessories!

  • Create Cute Crafts!: Twelve doll specific craft activities are made uniquely personal with various customizations and themes.

  • Rewards A’Plenty: Frequent rewards, accompanied by distinctive animations, sounds and content, coupled with delightful hidden collectibles, make the game engaging and exciting.

  • Added Bonus: Included with each game purchase is a limited release Mini Lalaloopsy™ doll.

The world’s fastest growing online game for children presents Moshi Monsters. Moshling Zoo on Nintendo DS. Boasting over 50 million players across over 150 countries worldwide.  Moshi Monsters is one of the largest and most loved online games for children. Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo is set to become one of the most sought after presents for children this Christmas!Features:

  • Find ‘Em, Keep ‘Em: Explore the Wooly Wilderness in search for ULTRA RARE Moshlings to add to your Moshling zoo!

  • Play Cool Mini-Games: Play exclusive Moshi mini-games to help boost your Moshling’s level, mood, health and happiness.

  • Explore the World: Explore all new areas of Monstro City including Buster’s Baby Care, the Glormatorium and Raaghly’s Stararcade.

  • Unlock Moshi Rewards: Unlock ULTRA RARE Moshi Monsters rewards including achievements, trophies and super secret items to be unlocked within

In Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize, players will explore the recently opened Adventure Mall Surprize. As young gamers control their squishy, squashy character, they learn to navigate the mall in a quest to invite the other lovable Squinkies to a fantastic Squinkies party. Along the way, you get to collect magic coins which, when deposited in the Gumball Playhouse, unlock secret playable characters. There are literally hundreds of Squinkies to meet and greet, so get bouncing!Features:

  • Unique Setting: The Adventure Mall environment is entirely new for the game and exploring the amazing environment is just plain fun!

  • Hundreds of Squinkies: There are 600 Squinkies in the game, some that are playable characters and others you simply add to your collection. The 40 available playable characters also have 10 “rare” and un-lockable friends that must be purchased with the Magic Coins found around the mall.

  • Unique Environments: Four distinct play areas, each with four stages of thematic backgrounds keeps the game feeling consistently fresh and distinct. Specific locales include: Aquarium, Food Court, Wedding Castle and Amusement Park.

  • Included Squinkies Toy: Each purchase of the game will include an exclusive, limited release and ultra-rare 3-piece Squinkies playset!

Wappy Dog brings forth the next generation of interactive toys, connecting a physical pet toy with the virtual world, where young gamers care for and raise their very own interactive puppy to adulthood through an immersive experience communicated through the Nintendo DS, truly touching both the pet toy and videogame audiences. Players choose between “Home Mode”, which enables them to engage with the physical dog through the Nintendo DS, or “Travel Mode”, which gives on-the-go Nintendo DS players a chance to continue caring for and playing with their pet virtually. In Home Mode, players can communicate by selecting a prompt on the Nintendo DS and Wappy will respond through vocal barks and movement. Players can converse with Wappy in this manner, ask the physical dog to perform tricks (such as singing and dancing) and play mini-games with their Wappy Dog to which the physical dog responds. In Travel Mode, players can nurture, play games with and customize a virtual version of Wappy Dog on the Nintendo DS. When players reunite their system with their physical pet, the two entities sync to enable the same dynamic personality and status giving players constant access to their pet. Each Wappy Dog is a personalized experience enabling players to customize both the virtual version with different colors and accessories, as well as the physical dog with spots, colors and accessories via in-pack sticker sheets. Players train and care for their Wappy Dog to determine their pet’s constantly evolving personality, skills, and happiness, as well as use their game system to communicate with their dog.

The ZhuZhu™ crew is at it again! This time, Razzmataz has wandered off during a safari trip in South Africa and the friends back home need your help to find him! You’ll travel around the world and visit exotic cites with the ZhuZhu Babies to help find Razz and bring him home safe and sound.Features:

  • 11 Babies to Play With: Familiar and new characters, each with their own adorable personalities, include Razzmataz, Luana, Izzy, Sox, Legend, Bandit, Riley and more!

  • So Many Levels to Explore: 35+ levels of twists, turns, and big surprises! With 10 little babes a little creativity is needed to find the best hiding spots as they make their way through airports, bus stations and popular tourist destinations.

  • Race through Cites All Over the World: Starting at home in St.Louis, the exciting adventure will take you to cities like Chicago, New York, London, Rome, Cairo and Johannesburg.

Zoobles™ are magically springing to life! These mischievous and fantastical creatures are waiting to pop open before your eyes when you least expect it. The Zoobles videogame for Nintendo DS™ takes all this exciting fun and puts the control right into gamers’ hands. Young players care for and nurture their lovable companions as they explore 6 distinct lands in Zooble Isle, each featuring a diverse range of characters. Those familiar to the toy and even kids new to Zoobles will have a blast collecting and sharing their finds with friends!Features:

  • Explore the Magical Zooble Isle: Set out on an adventure to see all the familiar Zoobles lands including: Petagonia™, Azoozia™, Pinegrove™, Chillville™, Petal Point™ and Jungleopolis™ with 18 unique playable Zoobles! • Decorate and customize your Happitat: Choose from 6 unique Happitats, and decorate with furniture and objects you’ve unlocked, including rugs, kitchens, sofas, bathtubs, and even special items like fountains! In your Happitat your Zooble can cook in the kitchen, dress up in adorable accessories, take baths, and more!

  • Make lots of Zooble Friends: As you explore, you’ll come across more than 40 of your favorite Zoobles. Make friends by playing with them or hanging out in your Happitat! If you become good friends, they might even give you presents! There are so many Zoobles to meet, and you’ll want to collect them all as friends! Check your WikiZoob to see just how many Zooble friends you have!

  • Love ‘Em and Play with ‘Em: Caring for and nurturing your Zooble is key. You’ll need to pay attention to how hungry, clean, and tired they are, and also play with them and make new friends to keep them happy!

  • Adorable Activities and Zooble Fun: As you explore each land and make more and more friends, you’ll get more and more fun things to do, such as sliding down curvy slides, pulling off tricks on trampolines, gardening, playing hide-and-seek with your Zooble friends, and even hosting dance parties with all your Zooble friends!

  • Added Bonus: For a limited time, each game purchase includes a Zooble toy.

AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!  This is a Rafflecopter Giveaway. US ONLY. 18 AND UP.  There is but one mandatory entry but lots of optional entries to give everyone a lot of chances to win!  As always, no cheating  !Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Read More

Forty Days of Fabulous Keeps Going: Have You Entered?

If you haven’t heard, Yankee Texan Mom is turning 40!  I absolutely refuse to go quietly and have partnered with some fabulous bloggers to celebrate.   Each blogger has donated a giveaway and we will be giving away nearly $1000 in prizes!!!!!!!!!  There will be a giveaway a day for 40 days!

We started Sunday, August 28 and have already given away prizes for a week.  You can see the winners here.  As great as that is, the even better news is that we have THIRTY THREE DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS TO GO!!

Here are the prizes on tap for this week:

And after those prizes, there are more prizes!!!  Future prizes include Amazon Gift Cards, Restaurant. com Gift cards, PayPal Cash, Coupons, beauty products, books, health and wellness items, a booster seat, a camera and more!  There is something for everyone in these 40 days!

You will have a ton of opportunities to enter and  this is a Rafflecopter giveaway, so it is easy!  There will be one Mandatory Entry with the remainder being optional.   In order to win the prize from a particular blog, you must complete the entries for that blog.  So, if you’d like to be entered to win all of the items, you will need to complete all of the entries.  As a bonus, each entry throughout the month enters you to win the grand prize from Yankee Texan Mom.  Once you have entered (from any of the blogs participating), you do not have to re-enter.  However, you can complete the daily entries such as tweeting to increase your chances of winning.

Winners will be announced throughout the month, so make sure that you are checking your email!  Winners will be verified, so no funny business!  You may enter below, from any of the blogs participating or from Yankee Texan Mom’s Facebook Page.  Good luck!

Read More

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage


When the sales were on before Thanksgiving, I had picked up a few cans of Pumpkin.  Admittedly, I did not but it to make pumpkin pie.  I bought it because I had seen Rachel Ray make this pasta recipe once that had sausage and pumpkin.  It sounded interesting to me and I’ve had it on my list to make since before the holidays started.  Last week I finally had most of the ingredients on hand and the time to cook, so I gave it a shot.   I made a few changes to the original recipe to suit what I had on hand and also to change those ingredients I did not wish to use.  I have included a link to the original recipe so that you can refer to that if needed.   As a side note, this cooking experiment also began with a brilliant plan to take pictures of the dish as I was cooking it and then as the finished product.  In true YTM fashion, I managed to burn my pinky fairly early on this process and honestly forgot all about taking pictures!  I have included a picture from the Food Network site to give you a sense of what the finished dish might look like. My husband LOVED the dish.  I liked it but I like the taste but would have preferred more sauce.  If I make it again, I would adjust the recipe further to have more sauce.

Picture of Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage Recipe

Pasta With Pumpkin and Sausage Courtesy of Food Network

RECIPE: Pasta with Pumpkin & Sausage (as made by Yankee Texan Mom)

Original Recipes Courtesy of Rachel Ray via the Food Network


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped1 medium onion, finely chopped1 bay leaf, fresh or dried4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons**2 cups chicken stock, canned or paper container1 cup canned pumpkin1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) milk1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly gratedCoarse salt and black pepper1 pound pasta of your choisee, cooked to al denteRomano or Parmigiano, for grating**I used dried sage as that was what I had on hand. 


  • Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate.

  • Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

  • Add bay leaf, sage, and 1 Cup Chicken Stock to the pan. Reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in milk. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

  • Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with laots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Enjoy!  Please let me know if you try this and what you thought.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Read More

The Irony of the Blogosphere: What’s Behind the Curtain?

Did you ever have one of those days?  One of those days where in the course of trying to do a good deed, you end up getting kicked in the gut instead?  That was my day yesterday.  The details are not important and they are not for public consumption, but I am, like so many others, tired and frustrated.  So, for a few moments, the product reviews, giveaways, deals, blogging tips, and more have been put aside.  It’s time for this woman to vent before I just lose my mind.

As a blogger I have seen the good and the bad side of bloggers.  Sadly, I’ve seen more of the bad side lately and some days I want to throw my hands up in the air and yell “uncle”.  Fortunately or unfortunately (it depends on your point of view), those thoughts are usually followed by the thought that I will not let anyone get the best of me.  I suppose it’s my Irish ancestry that throws down the proud and stubborn card.  I suppose it is that thought that I will not go quietly that keeps me in this blogging game.

Still the irony of the blogosphere has hit me like a ton of bricks today and I just cannot bite my tongue one more time.  I’m going to rant and if you are offended, so be it.  What I have to say does not apply to everyone, so there’s no need to feel personally attacked unless you feel that I have described you.  I have met and made friends with some fabulous women who happen to be bloggers.  But, being a blogger does not make you a fabulous woman and those who do not fall into the fabulous category make a bad name for all of us!

Today I realized that I am entrenched in a community that spends a great deal of time writing in the name of supporting women but is filled with those who have no intention of being supportive to other women.  Blogs filled with tips about raising children, saving money, saving the planet and offering to make your life easier are often run by women who would just as soon shut the door in your face as look at you.  Think of it like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz.  The legend is far more impressive than what you find when you move back the curtain.  I have encountered bloggers who own and maintain frugal living blogs who do not cut coupons.  Women who write tips about how to keep your house clean and organized who haven’t taken their own tips.  Individuals who write about the importance of building strong relationships with your children who may need to take their own advice.  Bloggers who espouse to be more honest than the rest of us because they tell you exactly what each offer posted earns them even though they are dishonest in their dealings with others.  That is the irony of the blogosphere for me.

It would be so refreshing if we would all just tell the truth.  The truth that some days are better than others.  The truth that some days are homes look like a tornado came through.  The truth that some days we don’t have it all together.  The truth that we sometimes spend more than we should and behave less well than we report.  The truth that sometimes we do or say things to others that are less than supportive.  Basically, I wonder why don’t we tell the truth that we are human.

As I write this, I wonder if I tell the truth and I would like to think that I do.  I am not perfect – far from it to be honest.  I am a forty-year old woman, wife and mother who continues to be a work in progress.  I have days when I think I need to be better wife, mother, cleaner of the home, organizer of the life, saver of the money, blogger and overall person.  I have days when I have a sense of accomplishment and I do relish those moments.  I have other days when I could spit nails and God help you if you are in my path.   I have moments when I it seems like all is in sync and moments when nothing seems to be going right.  I try not to verbally “throw up” on my blog on those days, but maybe I should.  Maybe we all should once in a while.

Here is where it comes full circle for me.  Women bloggers are women and women, in my experience, slap a happy face on it and pretend that all is well.  Sometimes women hide behind all that is good in their life and pretend that the bad doesn’t exist.  Well, right up until you anger one and then they will tell you all that is wrong in their life so that you can feel even worse for whatever crime you may have committed.  I have encountered very few women who will just say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong”.  Instead, it is “I’m sorry” that, but let me tell you everything that is going on in my life that justifies my poor behavior.  Funny, if we would just be honest about what’s going on, we probably wouldn’t have to justify our bad behavior after the fact.

So, here is my truth.  I have three blogs – Yankee Texan Mom, Mama’s Money Tree and Mommies Vote Too.  I have three because I have a lot to say and because I am desperately trying to earn an income to help our family come out of a mountain of debt from a failed business.  I am married to a wonderful man who tells me every day that I am beautiful and that he loves me.  That does not mean that there are not days where I want to literally just smack him upside the head.  I have a 3-year-old daughter who is my world, but there are times when I would kill for 5 minutes of peace and quiet.  I have a 16-year-old stepson and 12-year-old stepdaughter whom I love very much, but there are days when it can be a struggle to be a stepmother.  I turned 40 this year and when I look back at my life, there have been highs and lows, successes and failures, great choices and horrible mistakes.  I have been blessed with great friends and family, but I’ve not always done a great job of being a great friend or family member.  I can be a wonderful person and I can be a complete bitch too.   I am a work in progress who, at the age of 40, has realized that life is what you make of it and that there is no reward for creating a facade to hide behind.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Read More

I’m a Mom – It’s Not About Me

Earlier this week, our three year old princess went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a whole day and night.  I was presented with 24 hours child-free and had visions of the multitude of things I would accomplish.  I had a doctor’s appointment early in the day, a meeting for some volunteer work in the afternoon and date night with my dear husband at night.  On my list I had included reviewing the Walgreen’s and Kroger flyer’s, matching up my coupons, making my lists and shopping at both of those stores.  I also thought I would complete a few days worth of blogging, organize my to-do list for the blogs, do some research for future posts, and more!  It didn’t stop there.  Somehow I thought I would find the time to clean out the refrigerator, pack up the remainder of my Fiesta Ware for sale, post the ad on Craig’s List, do the dishes, wash the kitchen floor , pick up the house and maybe do a load of laundry. Last but not least, I intended to get my eyebrows waxed before someone takes my woman card away!   Just a few things right?

As I write this, I realize how utterly ridiculous it is to think that I would accomplish all of that in 24 hours – especially if I intended to sleep at some point.  I also didn’t account for anything going wrong – which it did.  For some reason, I always think that the moment my child leaves the house, I develop super powers that will allow me to be three times as productive as when she is here.  I think that there is a special time warp and that I will be like a highs-speed bullet train!  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some things that I can do faster when I am alone.  Blogging is a bit easier when you are uninterrupted; it’s easier to write when you can string two thoughts together at one time.  Other things such as the laundry or the floor can be easier to do when the house is empty, but it still takes a certain amount of time for the washer to run or for my to make my way across the floor.  Why I think this is not so, I do not know.

I started to think about this because my dear girl will be starting preschool this year and I imagine I will have to be a little more realistic in my goals for the hours she spend in school.  She will be there for 10 hours a week, but I will try to schedule in 30 hours worth of tasks.  Again, why I think this will work, I do not know.   I do know that I learned to maintain my home and my blogs with a child at home.  We have our little routines and they work for us.   It took me some time to adjust to motherhood and to being a SAHM.  Now that she is starting preschool, it is almost as if I have to be reprogrammed for how to function without her.  I heard it once in a movie and did not understand it until recently.  In the Bridges of Madison County, Meryl Streep’s character Francesca explains it like this:

“You don’t understand, no-one does. When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave they take your life of details with them. And then you’re expected to move again only you don’t remember what moves you because no-one has asked in so long. Not even yourself. “

In one way that may seem sad and I imagine to some extent it is.  No one tells you ahead of time that being a mother can consume the woman inside of the mom.  Marriage changes your life, but becoming a mother transforms it in a way that cannot be described.    I would not trade being a mother.  The rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.  Still, I do know that as she grows, we will gradually spend less time together and I will find myself on my own more often.   There have been times I would have traded my right arm for the chance to pee in peace, but someday she will be spending hours in the bathroom showering and doing her hair – telling me to leave her alone.  Each day she will become more independent so that someday she will stand on her own two feet.  It will mean that we have done our job as parents and we will be proud.  However, the woman inside of me will be forever transformed and will have to learn how to function without her.  I know this because this post started about me, but in the end, is about her effect on me.  She has changed me.  Seeing the world through her eyes has made me a better person and I am grateful for that.  There is no doubt that I will be the one crying on that first day of preschool and she, in all her 3-year old independence, will be ready to take on the world!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Read More

Sometimes, We Are All Still Children

A strange thing happened to me yesterday.  I’m almost embarrassed to share, but why not?  A random stranger mentioned me via Twitter to let me know that there was no such thing as a “Yankee Texan”.  This woman, apparently a native Texan, was apparently insulted by the mere suggestion.

I could have and should have chosen to ignore the Tweet and move on with my day.  I did not.  A few Tweets back and forth quickly showed me that this woman had dug her teeth in and wasn’t going to back down.  A suggestion to “agree to disagree” was rebuffed.  Humor was also not a response that was accepted.  A hint at her bully tactics was denied but her Tweets told a different story.  She informed me that she was simply “giving me knowledge of who I was, a damn Yankee.” In the end, I blocked her from my Twitter and moved on with the rest of my day.

This little exchange made me think.  As I have gotten older and more self-aware, I try not to engage with these types of individuals.  I have tried to learn that my identity is my identity.  A random stranger cannot change that.  Still, something in me wouldn’t let her comments pass.  I was compelled to respond.  It was not until her opinion could not be influenced that I realized the sheer insanity of the exchange.

It was as if I were back on the playground facing down the bully.  Only now I am older and can fight back.  Halfway through, I realized that I was giving this woman power simply by responding.  That’s when I picked up my toys and left the fight.  A few clicks, a blocked user and the power was back in my hands.  Her opinion is her opinion.  It does not change who I am.  Thank God the adult took the brain back over and figured that out.

Read More