Daily Life, Parenting

Lessons For My Daughter: Part I “It Really Isn’t About You”

What Other People Think About You Is None Of Your Business

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a very personal post on parenting and faith. In that same spirit of sharing about my life (which is not always something that’s easy for me to do), I want to talk about the most important lesson I plan to teach my daughter as she gets older. It’s a lesson that’s taken me years to learn and it’s something that, even as someone who tends to think logically and objectively, I still struggle with from time to time.

The way people treat you has nothing to do with you.

It has everything to do with them.  

I am the adult by product of divorce. My father, who retired after serving twenty years in the United States Air Force, and my mother, who made her career working with new and expecting parents in Labor and Delivery, divorced in the mid-nineties. About a year later, my brother and I, along with our mother, relocated to the East Coast where we lived until I started college. My junior high and high school years were a whirlwind. Full of changes in our family structure, adjustments to a different life, and an assortment of other things that are irrelevant to this post. My relationship with my dad changed very little throughout the years in that it was, at best, distant. With lengthy deployments under his belt from the time he spent serving our country, I didn’t know that our relationship could have been any different and I spent years excusing his absence from my life on physical distance and busy schedules. One thing always remained the same, I love my dad. Always.

The issue is that the way that I express love is so vastly different from the way my own father does and, in the past, it left me feeling inadequate, undervalued, and unloved.

The little time that I did spend with my dad in my own childhood was wonderful. I have fun memories like the time we attended the “Father/Daughter Dance” when I was young or the vacation we took together to Orlando when I was a teenager. It’s easy to let those moments become overshadowed by the lack of communication in our day to day lives. The same can be said for my father’s relationship with my own daughter.

As my daughter grows and begins to understand more about the World, I want to give her the gift of understanding. It’s something that’s taken me years to figure out on my own. I want her to understand that the way that other people interact with and treat you represents who they are, not the other way around.

I want her to know that she’s worthwhile, good, and amazing. 

I want her to know that the only thing that defines who she is as an individual is the way that treats herself, others, and the World around her.

I want her to know the one thing that I’ve spent years figuring out: That we’re all different. The way I express my love for those around me may not be the same as the way my own father does but that has nothing to do with me.

Simply put: Take the good, leave the bad.

Daily Life, Parenting

Let’s Talk About Date Nights…

Let’s face it, being the parent of a toddler can be tough and not having a lot of downtime can start to strain a relationship over time. For that reason, it’s so important to spend some quality, alone time, with your significant other on a reasonably regular basis. I am the stay at home mom of a two-year old and my husband works full-time outside the home. Because we’re a single income household, it’s hard to try to hire a sitter every weekend and get out on a date. Given the fact that quality childcare providers charge and arm and a leg (not that I blame them, because I don’t) per hour, it’s almost impossible to have dinner and a movie without breaking the bank. My husband and I are so, so fortunate to have some incredible people in our lives that like having our daughter over to play for a few hours every now and then. We generally get to go out on a date once every month or two (sometimes more frequently, sometimes less). One of our friends graciously offered to watch C for a few hours on Sunday so that my husband and I could get out for a little while. We hadn’t been out on a date since early January and we desperately needed it. I wanted to share our evening with you. We saved a lot of money and had a wonderful night. Hopefully this post will inspire you to enjoy your own date night sometime soon.

We knew that we wanted to go see a movie and it came down between Silver Linings Playbook and Oz The Great and Powerful. Since this was opening weekend for one of our two choices we opted for Silver Linings Playbook. Neither my husband nor I are big on large crowds and so we figured that might be a safer bet so that we didn’t have to sit in a theater crammed full of people. We purchased our AMC tickets at Costco for $16 total (though we could have gone with “Silver” passes instead of “Gold” for a few extra dollars in savings). Movie tickets in our area are usually ten dollars a piece so that saved us $4 (enough for some Starbucks!).

silver-linings-playbook-poster

The movie wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be but I really enjoyed it so if you’re looking for something to watch in theaters, it gets my seal of approval.

We went to an early movie and decided to do dinner afterwards. We’d gotten a Groupon gift card through some rewards points we had and saw a Groupon for Hereford House, a local restaurant that has steaks, lamb, and other yummy dinner options. The Groupon was $20 for $40 in dining at the restaurant. We paid $5 out of pocket for the Groupon and knew we would likely have to cover the rest of the bill (you can almost certainly expect to pay more than $40 for a dinner for two there) while we were there. I think we ended up paying an additional $30 including tax and gratuity on top of what our Groupon was able to offset.

All in all our fabulous date night cost us around $51 out of pocket. Without utilizing the Costco AMC movie discounts and our Groupon, we would have paid almost $100 for dinner and a movie. My point in all of this is that no matter what your budget is, having an amazing date night every once in a while is important and it can be as inexpensive as you’d like it to be if you’re willing to look for great deals. We’re so incredibly thankful for our friends who are so willing to let us get a few hours away every once in a while…because, as any parent will tell you, it’s so important for your marriage.

Culture, Mad About It Mondays, Rants, Society

Mad About It Mondays: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Enjoy Telling Them

Mad About It Mondays

Welcome to Mad About It Mondays! If this is your first time coming across a MAM post, feel free to take a look at some of my most recent rants:

Marco Rubio & The Water

What Part of “NO” Do You Not Understand?

On Homosexuality

Never Enough

For a few weeks, I had invited people to ‘link up’ with me for Mad About It Mondays. It didn’t catch on like I had hoped (and that’s okay). Some people didn’t have anything to complain about (lucky ducks) and some would rather branch off and do their own version (which is fine, I’m just happy to have inspired people with my blog) and so I’m going to hold off on that for a while. My blog is still relatively new (just five months old) and so I’ll wait until it picks up some more steam to try again. In the meantime, I would love for you to share your links (if you have one) in the ‘comments section’. This week’s post is brought to you by MTV’s show “Catfish”.

I should preface this by saying that I don’t really watch a lot of shows like this. The only two ‘reality’ television shows that I really even like are Survivor and The Biggest Loser and since we don’t have cable, I don’t usually run across a lot of annoying programming anyway. Saturday Night Live, however, introduced me (sort of) to the show “Catfish” a few weeks ago when they ran a spoof making fun of this MTV show. In case you missed it, take a look:

When I saw that season one was on Hulu Plus, I decided to check it out. It isn’t often that I see a show that leaves me wondering what in world is wrong with people but “Catfish” does just that. At first, I thought that the people who had blindly participated in these online relationships (with people they’d never met) were complete morons but the more I watched the more I realized that the problem is in the compulsive, pathological liars who sucker innocent people into thinking they’re someone they don’t turn out to be.

There are a few things that I just cannot wrap my head around. First of all, if you’re involved in an online relationship with someone, why wouldn’t you do your research? Some of these people have invested years of their lives talking to someone online and on the phone only to be heartbroken when they discover that the person has been lying to them the entire time. Even when you’re armed with only an email address, phone number, and pictures, it’s not that hard to sniff out a liar when you take the time to fact check.

That’s the part of me that doesn’t always feel bad for the people who’ve been duped by these psychopaths. In the five, seven, ten years you’ve been romantically involved with someone, the thought has never even crossed your mind that they might be lying to you? The fact that they never send you recent pictures doesn’t raise a red flag? The fact that they’ve heard of Skype or somehow can’t use a free service that’s available with internet access and a web cam doesn’t make you a little bit suspicious? Really?! REALLY?!

The other part of me, perhaps the more compassionate part, does actually feel bad that these people get their hearts broken. Why on Earth would you pretend to be something that you’re not…for years!? It doesn’t even make sense. These people need help (clearly). I just find it odd that someone can exchange those three little words with another person and not feel the slightest bit of guilt that they’re being deceptive. Part of me believes that there should be some sort of law protecting people from going online, stealing images, and passing them off as if they’re your own.

Until that day comes (and probably long after still) there will always be those people out there who lie for no apparent reason other than the fact that they are lying liars who lie about stupid stuff. In the meantime, if you find yourself involved with someone online…do your research.

Uncategorized

What Messages Do You Send to Others?

Hello, my name is _________ and I am a serial participant in one-sided relationships.

Sound familiar? Today I want to talk about the messages you send through your relationships with others. Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  That’s why it makes sense that you feel like an insane person when you constantly put forth the effort in relationships only to be met with a brick wall. I’m sure we’ve all been involved in a one-sided relationship at some point in our lives…but what are you saying to others when they see you in a relationship that isn’t mutually beneficial?

One sided relationships

What does that say about what you value in relationships?

valueothers

It’s great to value others but you have to also value yourself. You have to find yourself worthy enough to be involved in healthy, loving, mutually beneficial relationships. My daughter and I frequently listen to Kids Place Live on the satellite radio while we’re in the car and there’s a song (it’s silly) from Segret Agent 23 Skidoo that sums up what I want to say:

I’ve been so guilty of being the one who always puts myself out there in relationships to the point where I look like an asshole calling, emailing, and trying so hard all the time. You would think I would get the hint, right? The thing is that I don’t. For the longest time I continued in these relationships looking (and feeling) pathetic. There have been a few times where I’ve deleted phone numbers out of my phone because I know that’s the only way I can stop myself from trying to continue the relationship. The few times I’ve done it I’ve thought, “so-and-so will call me when they want to talk”. Guess what? Those people never called. Why? Because they were never interested in having a relationship with me in the first place, which is fine.

What message do I want to send?

positive message

What does that say about what I value?

valueselfandothers

I’m at the point in my life where my relationships with people I love (and who love me back) mean more to me than anything else. I value the time I spend with family and friends and I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I’m also at the point in my life where I realize that I don’t have to be friends with everyone and I accept that sometimes people don’t want to be friends with me.

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” -Bob Marley

Culture, Daily Life, Society

Righting The Wrongs of The Past

I was perusing Facebook, my usual pastime, when I happened upon a photo of someone I was once close with in college. She was an incredible friend, a wonderful person, and what happened between us will likely be among the biggest regrets I will have in life. Very long story short, we lived together in a townhouse one summer and I became friends with some of the neighbors who didn’t really get along with my friend. I was young, I was immature, and I ended up siding with the wrong people in a very heated fight (not physical) between my alcoholic neighbor and his wife and my best friend. I said and did things I shouldn’t have and I lost that friendship. It wasn’t until I moved to the Midwest and was able to look at the situation objectively that I realized how very, very in the wrong I was and how unfair I’d been to someone who didn’t deserve to be treated so unfairly. After some time, I can’t remember how long it was, I finally sent her a message apologizing for my actions and the hurt it caused her. I’ve kept up with her on Facebook and saw that she was recently married. We’re grown-ups now and we’ve both moved on with our lives. She seems so happy and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her because she deserves it.

Seeing her picture tonight is what prompted my Facebook status (and now my post). Here’s what I wrote:

One of the biggest tragedies in life is the inability to go back and right the wrongs of the past. The best you can do is reflect, learn, and move forward. If an apology is owed, give it…even if that apology is to yourself.

I think apologies that come from heart are incredibly important not just for the person that has been hurt but also for the person responsible. We all make mistakes, we’re human beings. It’s learning from those mistakes that help us become better, that help us grow. We don’t get do-overs. What we do get, though, is do-better-next-times. I’d like to think I’ve come along way as a human being than I was back then but I still have room to grow. Don’t we all?!

I’ll leave you with this, a picture of something I saw a few months ago that really moved me. I hope you love the concept as much as I do: