I can’t do it myself!

If I had a nickel, heck even a penny, every time my kids told me they can’t do something themselves, I’d — yes I’m saying it — I’d be rich.  I know, horrible saying.  But it’s popular for a reason.  I’d totally be rich.  My kids are in serious need of some boot camp.  Or more accurately, us parents are in need of a boot camp. After having one kid after another for several years, we just got into this routine of doing things for our kids for several reasons:

1) Because they were all little and needed our help.

2) It’s quicker, and let’s be honest, we’re better at it.

3) We’re trained!  We, as parents, are trained by our kids to do things for them with a simple, and somehow convincing statement, “I can’t do it myself!”

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It’s amazing the things my husband and I will do with just a whine or slight resistance from our children whom we somehow envision as still being 2, when in fact, are all now in school.  We got stuck in this pattern of doing things for them, and in some ways, enjoyed doing these things for our children because it made us feel useful and that it’s our job as parents to wipe our kids’ asses until they are 5.  Yes, I said 5.  Our youngest has been potty trained since he was 3 (age 3 is the youngest of any our children to be potty trained, so this is obviously not an area of strength for us), so he’s had plenty of time to practice wiping himself.  But for 5 years we’ve been doing it for him.  I mean, why should he do it when he’s got these suckers around him to do it for him?

If you think your children are helpless, or like us, think they’re just too young to do something for themselves, go watch them at daycare or in their schools, and you’ll see just how not helpless they are.  It’s a clear case of enabling.  The tail wagging the dog!  It starts young and is a very powerful (and sneaky) phenomenon used by kids.  It’s not like they’re intentionally doing this, it’s just that us parents make it so easy for them.

Parenting is hard.  All kids are different and all parents are different.  We each have different personalities and each of us parent differently.  Why we do the things we do is a puzzle so big, with so many pieces, it’s nearly impossible to connect them all.  But I know that kids are usually not hard to figure out.  Sometimes it just takes us parents to take a step back and look at what we’re doing and why.  And we need to ask ourselves, do we want to raise the type of children who expect someone to wipe their asses for them?  I don’t.

Update:  Layton is now wiping his own ass.

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Dreary = Lazy

What is it about dreary days that automatically make you lazy?  And moody?  And irritable?  Living in the Seattle Metro area, this can be very debilitating and lead to piles of laundry, days without working out, and a bad mood I can’t blame on my period.  I prefer to save up my moody days for my cycle.  I’m afraid my husband will leave me if I’m moody the other 4 days of the month I don’t blame it on my period.

I woke up yesterday and it was dreary and cold and rainy, and that’s also pretty much how my day felt.  I had no reason to feel this way besides I looked outside and the weather was basically flipping me off.  It’s like it knew I had plans to get a bunch of stuff done around the house and that I hadn’t worked out in many days and it said, “Add one more day, Toots!”  I wanted to flip it off right back and get a bunch of things done and go sweat it out for 2 hours at the gym.  That would show it!  I ended up on the computer most of the day, talked on the phone with a couple of girlfriends, and barely picked up the house before I had to get the kids.

Today I got up and the sun was peering through the clouds and I was immediately rejuvenated (probably also had something to do with the nine and a half hours of sleep I got), but I prefer to think that the weather felt bad for its apparent lack of respect for me, my mood, my ambition, my husband’s sanity, and my parenting abilities that also seem to diminish when it’s crappy out.  Today I made my juice, hummed while I made the 3 rounds of waffles and 3 bags of lunch, and didn’t yell at my kids once!  I’m also about ready to head to the gym.  Yes, today will be marvelous.

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So now that I sit here and ponder the weather’s bizarre control over me, I immediately am frustrated.  I am the type of person who will chant to my friends and family when they’re having a bad day, or year, “You make your own happiness.”  And I truly do believe this.  So why, will someone with this mentality, allow the weather to dictate the type of day, wife, mother, and all around productive person I am going to be?  Why am I to be controlled by the weather that is clearly attempting to taunt, rule, and decide how my day will go??

I’m done being controlled, weather.  You can blow all the wind, pine needles, rain and hail you want because, one, after I get done posting this I’m heading to the gym (and I don’t care that you made the sun go behind those now questionable clouds as I rant about you), and two, my husband will totally clean all those pine needles out of the gutter and sweep the driveway and walkways, so again, you have no control over me.

Now, if I can just somehow tell my menstrual cycle, period, the 10 days leading up to my period, and the 10 days after that it takes to recover from my period, that they don’t rule me either, I would be eternally grateful.  Okay, my husband would be eternally grateful.  And my house would be a lot cleaner.  And my kids would probably smile more.  And my dog would stop hiding from me when he has this 6th sense of what’s happening.  I can’t be expected to be responsible for all my moodiness, can I? I didn’t think so.

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DIY or bust!

I debated whether I should admit this, let alone post it.  After all, when you log into Pinterest or Google ideas for the home, decorating, frugal living, money-saving tips, and anything else to stir up your creative juices or save a dime, all that appears in your search is DIY this, DIY that, DIY Halloween costumes, DIY crafts, DIY decorations… DIY, DIY, DIY!!!  I didn’t know what DIY was for an embarrassingly long time.  Oh, for those of you who still don’t know and are embarrassed to ask, I’ll save you the time of Googling it.  It stands for Do It Yourself.

I’m actually not opposed to doing things myself.  I love to cook wallet-friendly meals and doing DIY home projects.  Although, my home projects usually involve my vision and my husband’s manpower.  One of my favorite visions is the one I had for our back patio.  We ordered a cement stamper from Amazon and the description said “create a patio in just one afternoon!”  Well let’s just put it this way, it didn’t take one afternoon and my husband will never let me order DIY parts or tools by myself again.  Ever.

Patio

Half Complete

But let’s look on the bright side.  I got to watch my husband for many days working outside with his shirt off.  Plus he really came out on top on this one.  I mean, he did get a cement mixer out of the whole deal after all.

Patio Keith

Cement Mixer

So I guess we could call it DIH (Do It Husband).  But regardless of who does the actual work, me or my husband, it does get done by one of us.  So that’s technically DIY.  I mean the acronym isn’t important, it’s more about saving money, right?  And we now have a beautiful outdoor patio and fireplace area where we spent hours hanging out and roasting s’mores all summer long.  Thank you, Honey!

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But the DIY home projects is not the part I’m ashamed of.  I know my husband secretly likes to do these projects.  The thing is, as moms, I feel like we are expected to do DIY crafts.  You can’t get through a complete scroll on Pinterest or half-way down WordPress reading Mom blogs without seeing some amazing mom’s crafts she did with “simple instructions” and “only a few items” that “only takes an hour”.  My head starts to hurt when I read these supposedly simple instructions.  It’s like as moms we’re supposed to have this innate ability and desire to do crafts with our kids.  And to make things worse, our kids beg us to do them!

Okay, it’s not like I’ve never sat down to do crafts with my kids.  It’s just that they’re usually very simple.  For realsies.  A five-year old can do them without a Martha Stewart workshop to prep them.  I’m just one of those moms who feels inept sometimes (or probably more likely guilty) that I don’t have this overwhelming desire to do all these amazing crafts.  Please tell me there are other moms out there who feel the same.  And those moms out there who are gifted in this area, I give props to you!  We all have our strengths.  Crafting apparently isn’t mine.

Now if you want to know what brand of Pinot Noir is the best buy for your money, call me.  Like I said, we all have our strengths.

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Facebook Identity

Facebook is used as a platform for millions of reasons.  Our individual personalities shine through with each post.  Although, some posts that are out there really should be kept in the deepest, darkest caverns of our minds.  Some posts, my personal favorites, are those that make me laugh.  I’m the type of person who could spend all day reading Blunt Cards.  We can post just about anything we want to Facebook. Some use it as a platform to complain about every single minute detail of their day.  Unfortunately.  Some use it to post photos chronicling their children’s lives.  Guilty!  And we are all painfully aware of the political and religious platforms that are oh-so-ever-present, especially every four even numbered years.  Even though I may make fun of certain things I read and see, I do respect each person’s reason for posting what they do.  I’m not easily offended nor do I often engage in the controversial stuff.  What you post on your own wall is your business.  If someone does happen to offend me, I simply defriend them.  This has happened once.  And since I’m not easily offended, you can imagine how bad it was.

What fascinates me is our ability to present whatever image of ourselves and lives that we want.  I call this our “Facebook identity”.  It is completely different than our “true identity”.  I do realize I mostly post perfectly formatted and photo-shopped photos of myself and family.  I also try to do the same with those I tag and upload as well.  You’re welcome.  Plus I am very selective in what I post.  I think most of us are, at least in the 30 and up age category. I’ve had many sit downs with my teenage son on what’s appropriate and what’s not and reiterate the concept of the “World Wide Web”.  Facebook has become an expression of who we want our audience to see.  Distorted or not.

I have just over 500 friends on Facebook.  Do I have 500 close family and friends?  No.  Do I know every single person I’m friends with?  Yes.  To an extent.  I find myself sometimes lost on someone’s page, or guiltily stalking a former high school classmate’s 3,521 photos.  And as I am viewing this person’s posts or photos, I start to develop a picture of what they’re like.  I have a mental catalog of their likes, personality, family life, interests, etc.  I also develop a feel for how happy their marriage is.  Or what type of parent they are.  Why do I feel like I know someone based on their Facebook profile?  I mean I haven’t seen or talked to this person in 20 years!

Well in all honesty, I don’t really pretend to know them.  I just get a feel for what they must be like with the limited amount of information they allow on their profile.  But because of the world of social media, I feel like we are somewhat mislead as to someone’s true identity.  And it’s not only social media, it happens all the time in real life too.  Ever heard of the saying, “What happens behind closed doors…”?  Well that’s exactly what’s going on with Facebook.  We don’t know what’s really going on in someone’s life.  I mean if you tried to paint a picture of who I am based on my Facebook profile you would be lead to believe my children always smile, I never yell at them, my husband and I have the perfect marriage and never fight, and every single moment of every single day I look immaculately put together.  Mostly.  I have posted some not so impressive photos of myself.  Only because I’m a fan of self-deprecating humor.

Moe Hung

So I’m going on about my day, perusing my News Feed, and all of a sudden I find out this amazing “Facebook couple” is getting divorced after 13 years together.  What?  Wait a second.  Just last week I was flipping through their album called “Anniversary Mexican Getaway” with the hash tag #second honeymoon, all filled with photos of selfies of them kissing, shots of their gourmet meals paired with the perfect cocktails, topped off with romantic commentary of each photo. You were so happy!  What happened?  You can’t blame me for feeling a little deceived.

So I’ve come to accept that Facebook is only a platform for what we want it to be.  Good or bad.  Too much information or room for mystery.  I will no longer pretend I know someone and cry deceit.  I’m just as guilty as they.  Although my kids do really smile a lot and I’m very happily married.  Have I raised my voice a few times to both the kids and husband?  Yes.  But I’m pretty sure it was warranted each time.

So there you have it.  My Facebook identity conundrum.  How about we all agree to not judge or be quick to make assumptions about people based on their Facebook identity.  Too preachy?  Nah.  Just trying to save you from some feelings of deceit later on.