I Yelled

Yup. I lasted 10 days and then the yelling started again.
Here is my list of 5 things to avoid if your trying to not yell at your children:

5. Spend 9 hours in a car with them.
4. Buy them gigantic snow cones covered in craze inducing corn syrup.
3. Keep them in a hotel room for most of the day due to rain
2. Take them to the buffet breakfast and expect them not to run around while others are carrying their hot coffees around.
1.Try to balance a 3 year old’s snow cone inside a porta-potty while trying to pull up her pants in. Such a way that it causes that snow cone to fall on your head.

So now that the above lessons have been learned, I will try again.

The Magic Word

MrLibertyDee and Baby Girl got into quite the conversation yesterday that made me once again think about how simple kids are and how we as adults just make life way too complicated. This is how the conversation went:

MrLibertyDee:  Hi Baby Girl
Baby Girl:  Hi Daddy
MrLibertyDee:  Come give daddy a hug and a kiss
Baby Girl:  But you didn’t say the magic word
MrLibertyDee:  Give daddy a hug and kiss please
Baby Girl:  Nope that’s not the magic word
MrLibertyDee:  Come give daddy a kiss. Pretty please.
Baby Girl:  That’s not it
MrLibertyDee:  Please give daddy a kiss. Pretty please with a cherry on top.
Baby Girl:  Nope
MrLibertyDee:  Ok then Baby Girl what is the magic word?

Baby Girl:            Magic. Silly daddy..

.If-you-cant-explain-it

Did Someone Say Road Trip?

It’s late, I’m tired and I’m procrastinating blogging.  Tomorrow is the start of the big family road trip and the true test of my “no yelling” challenge.  The first lag is supposed to be eight hours but I’m guessing with the kids and all the contradicting following of the GPS it will be more like twelve hours.

I’m still waiting for one more load of laundry to dry so that I can finish packing and I still have to find all my makeup pieces  (I’ve decided I want to look half decent in the pictures). I tend to walk around with my lipstick, or mascara, or moisturizer while trying to find missing shoes or pack lunches in the morning so its a bit of a scavenger hunt when I need everything at once.

WAIT! BREAKING NEWS:

Baby Girl as at my feet saying she wants to go to bed and she actually looks tired! Gotta go this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Turns Out I’m the Problem

It has been 7 days since I last raised my voice (in anger) to any of my kids. It turns out that they are perfect little angels and that I am the one with the problem. Who would have thought? All this time I’ve been placing the blame on them. THEY are driving me crazy. THEY are too loud. THEY are too demanding. THEY never do what they are told. THEY complain about everything.

Turns out that THEY are not the problem at all. THEY are kids. Perfect, fragile, kids. I, LibertyDee, I am the problem.

It’s only been seven days but what I have learned in that short time about the kids and more importantly about myself is tremendous. Let me break it down:

What I have learned about my kids:

  1. They will get in the car if I get in and turn it on.
  2. Just because they roll their eyes doesn’t mean they are not going to help anyway.
  3. They will yell less at each other if I am not yelling at them.
  4. They are willing to listen and are even more attentive when I explain something in a normal tone.
  5. They really, truly appreciate that I’m trying not to yell. My boys actually thanked me!

What I have learned about myself

  1. I’m a control freak. I didn’t know this about myself but when I have caught myself getting angry with the kids it has been because I’m not getting what I want, when I want it, how I want it.
  2. I’m more likely to snap when I’m tired. I find the most challenging times have been right after dinner when all I really want is some peace and quiet but there’s none in sight.
  3.  I am capable of dealing with issues without raising my voice.
  4.  Being respected and being feared are two very different things. By yelling I am teaching the kids to fear me.
  5. Yelling had become habit. I was yelling without even thinking about it. Now that I am aware of it, it seems unreasonable to raise my voice in the daily scenarios I find myself in with the kids.

As you can see from the list above, They did not need to change, it was not them that was the problem, it was I who needed to make a change and it was I who was the problem.

I know that this does not mean that I have been miraculously cured from yelling and that this doesn’t mean that I will never raise my voice ever again. But if I can do it for seven days why not do it for seven more?

Nothing-you-do-for

Looking for Some Naughty Adult Entertainment? Try Old Sesame Street

I am guilty of overprotecting my kids but at the same time think the world is going way overboard. Read this great post about how even classic Sesame Street is considered inappropriate for children. I can only hope that one day my son sneaks a Sesame Street DVD into the house.

Field Notes From Fatherhood

SS1969CastYou’re not going to believe this, and in fact I had to look it up myself in order to verify its veracity.

For the DVD release of Sesame Street: Old School – Volume One (1969-1974), the folks at Sesame Workshop felt obliged to slap a warning on it, namely that it was “for adults only” and that it “may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

“For adults only.” Why were the contents suitable only for grown-ups who wanted to relive their childhood? Why was this television show that had been produced specifically for preschoolers no longer appropriate for them?

Well, for starters, in one episode Gordon takes a lonely little girl by the hand and brings her to his wife, who feeds her cookies. Obviously a dangerous pedophile, and setting a bad example for the youth of today, who, upon being approached by a stranger, should blow…

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I’m Being Tested – The Orange Rhino

I came across the Orange Rhino Challenge and decided to join in on the “fun”.

The Challenge is to not yell at the kids for 365 days. Crazy I know. I’m a yeller. Actually I come from a long line of yellers. Yelling is in my genes. This might come as surprise to some people who know me because I tend to come across as a pretty calm and collected person and I am. Just not with my kids. My kids have a way of knowing exactly how to push my buttons and I lose my patience on a regular basis.

I have taken the challenge in a bid to become a better mom and a better person overall. The yelling never feels good and in reality, whatever the kids are doing or not doing for that matter, is not because they can’t hear me. So in really, yelling is not logical.

I woke up on my first official first day of not yelling and did a little affirmation ” Today, I will be patient. I will not yell at my kids and less yelling equals more love” I even called in a special favour ” Dear God, please shower me with patience today”

I think asking God for help was my mistake though. I don’t remember where it was, but I remember seeing it or reading it somewhere that when you ask God for things he cannot simply give them to you but what he can do is give you opportunities to practice. So on this very day when I asked for patience I think he heard me and showered my with opportunities to practice patience through the following tests:

Let me set the stage. I am supposed to leave the house at 7:30am so that I can drop the kids off and catch a train at 8:05. In reality, I never catch that train. I always end up catching the very last train that leaves at 8:20am.

Test #1 @ 6:50am – I had left a hamper full of clean, folded clothes in the boys bedroom and gone to get dressed in my own room. I heard some arguing (which I ignored) and then a “MOM, MOM, MOM”. I ran over because it sounded terribly urgent. When I got there I found that the boys had managed to empty the hamper (one was blaming the other) and then had stuffed everything back in. They were now arguing because The Life had not helped stuff place things back and The Plan had threatened to punch The Life in the face.

Test #2 7:10am  – It has been very hot around here so I have been dressing my baby girl in her summer dresses to keep her as cool as I can. On this day, she decided she wanted to wear a long sleeve shirt and her winter boots.   I pleaded with her to let me get her dress on but she crossed her arms in front of her and wouldn’t budge.

Test#3 7:30am– I finally bribed Baby Girl into putting the dress on by offering her a freezie but then I tried to brush her hair. How can a girl who is so concerned about what she wears be happy to leave the house with a bird’s nest on her head. I ended up having to chase her around the dining table with a brush in my hand while she ran with both hands over her head singing ” No, no, no don’t brush my beautiful hair”

Test#4 7:50am  As I’m leaving the house The Life says he has to go get something from upstairs and he promises to be just 1 minute. I tell him I’ll wait in the car. I gather our things, walk to the car, buckle Baby Girl into her seat, promise The Plan that he will not die of heat if he gets into the car while we wait for The Life, and tune the radio to my favorite radio station. Still no sign of  The Life.

Test #5 8:00am – The Life is finally in the car as I’m pulling out of the driveway I notice that he has left the front door wide open. AUGHHH!

Test # 6 8:15am – As I’m leaving Baby Girl’s daycare I realize my wallet is not is not in the car. I was positive I had left it in the car the night before and forgotten to go back and get it.  I tell the boys to get out of the car and help me look for it.  The Plan starts complaining about how hot it is and how he doesn’t want to get out of the car.

Test #7 8:25 am- (yup my train is far gone, I’ll have to take a bus) We are back home to find my wallet. I stress the importance that they help me look everywhere. The Plan runs upstairs, The Life goes over to the computer area. (all good signs) The Life stands in front of the computer for a minute or two then turns to me and says ” I can’t find it anywhere”.  The Plan runs down the stairs and says ” Where do you want me to look?” Too which I respond ” So you didn’t see it upstairs?” He reaches into his pocket, pulls out some candy and says ” I haven’t looked. I went to get my Push Pop!”

I did finally find my wallet (in the car) and dropped the boys off with my mom, and got in to work just after 10:00am. But I didn’t yell. Not once. It was nice to do that final 10 minute drive to the station feeling good that I had held my composure instead of feeling guilty about whatever I had yelled about that morning.  I have now officially completed three days of no yelling  and at 8:00am of Day 4 I’m still doing well. Don’t think that  just because it ‘s early doesn’t mean I haven’t been tested. Please refer to above.

Lots and Lots of Letters

I have a box full of letters written to me back in high school. Some are from friends (these were the days before email and texting) some are from ex boyfriends (before they were ex’s of course), there’s one from an admirer who I never saw again after he gave me the letter, and some are even from MrLibertyDee back when we were “just friends”.
It’s been years since I actually read any of them and as I came across the box recently, I considered throwing them out. (I have become a bit paranoid since I started watching hoarders)

My box of letters
My box of letters

I have decided however, to hold on to them solely because I want to share them with my daughter when the time comes. Not only will they be piece of ancient history when people communicated with a paper and pen, but I think there are lessons to be learned from those letters. Some of the letters are  written by people who are still in my life today, some are from people who I simply lost touch with and some are from …well…just people I went to school with.

Here are the lessons I hope I can teach my daughter in her teen years by sharing these letters and telling her the stories behind them ( I hope the letters will act as proof of real events)

1. Your first love will break your heart but you’ll move on and you will love again.

2. Your second love will break your heart even worse than your first but again you will live, the world will not end and you will go on to live a full and productive life.

3. Gossip is just gossip. Take it for what it is and nothing more. Never judge people based on what others have to say about them.

4. As a follow up to the above, don’t let gossip define who you are either.

5. A boy will promise you the world but will rarely deliver.

6. Your best friend will be the one who tells you things  you don’t want to hear.

7.Be careful what you put in writing  as someone may blog about it 20 years later.

Do you keep old letters?

Don’t Call Me Supermom

Maybe there’s something wrong with the way I’m wired. Maybe I can blame it on my mom because after all she raised me.  Or maybe I can blame it on society.. yes that’s a good idea I can blame it on society because my mom still scares me to this day and I don’t want to make her mad.

Nah, I think it’s just me. I just blogged yesterday about how proud I am about being called The Worst Mom Ever and now today I’m going to tell you about why I don’t like being called Supermom.

I can only assume that the term, Supermom is in reference to Superman, the man of steel, the beloved superhero of super heroes.  He could leap over tall buildings, he was faster than a speeding bullet and could take a bullet without flinching.  I am nothing like that. Forget leaping over tall buildings I can barely jump with two feet on to my stepper at the gym. Faster than a speeding bullet? uh?  no. If you ask MrLibertyDee he will tell you I am the opposite of fast. (don’t mistake being in a hurry for the same as being fast because they are two very different things. Perhaps if I was faster I wouldn’t have to be in such a hurry) That whole thing about taking a bullet? Let me take that metaphorically because  after all, all of us would at least flinch if we were hit by one of those. So let’s assume that in real life the bullet is a metaphor for those things in life that hit us hard.  I flinch. I more than flinch. I fall. I cry. I’m heartbroken. And I’m not even talking about really tough things like loss. I’m talking Toy Story 3 when Andy gives up Woody.  I can’t even read I Love You Forever without breaking down.

I am nothing like Superman and I am not a Supermom. I am far from perfect. I strongly rely on MrLibertyDee to be an active father. I rely  on my family and friends for support  and just because I can and will do anything for my kids and have a knack for “sucking it up” does not make me Supermom.

I hate housework, laundry and cooking.  I hate the fact that I work and worse yet that I have a great  job ( It takes me away from my family and I feel guilty that I like being there) I’ll take the kids to the park even if I don’t want to. I’ll take a day off of work to see their play that really isn’t even very good. I’ll take all three to their doctors appointments at the same time. I’ll drive for hours in traffic just to keep a promise. I’ll watch wrestling. I’ll listen to Gangam Style over and over again. I have even been known to build a medieval castle out of sugar cubes.  I’ll do all their laundry ( eventually) and cook all their meals. I’ll get a second job if I have to to give them everything I can but don’t call me Supermom.

That title is just too much pressure and makes me feel like a fraud. What if one day I really just don’t want to suck it up?  What does that make me then? And what message is my daughter getting? That as a mom you need to be perfect or at least have people believe you are?  That is not the message I want to raise her with at all. So no matter what I have done or what I will do in the future for the sake of my family and most importantly my children. Don’t. Call. Me. Supermom.

I made a T-Shirt for this one this one too.

Don't Call Me Supermom
Don’t Call Me Supermom

Worst Mom….Ever!

The Worst Mom Ever is a title I wear proudly. I earned it. I had to dig deep into my values and sense of purpose to even be considered for the title. After years of hard work I have finally been bestowed the honour of being called The Worst Mom Ever.
I didn’t get a certificate or a medal or anything like that, which is too bad because if I had, I would hang it on the wall for all to see. The privilege of calling me The Worst Mom Ever is currently held by my two boys. They don’t call me by my “title” everyday, but when they do, I am validated as a mother because it serves as confirmation that I am doing the right thing as a parent.
Now, you should know that although I love the spotlight, I enjoy it even more when I can share it with others. Below, I will share with you some of the things that have helped earn me this coveted title so that you too can become The Worst Mom/Dad Ever.

  1. Tell your 9 year old that it doesn’t matter if little Johnny’s parents let him play Call of Duty. He still can’t play.
  2. Tell your kids they can’t stay up to watch Ultimate Fighting
  3. Have your kids finish doing their homework before turning on the TV although there is a Phineas and Ferb marathon on.
  4. Make the kids play outside on a beautiful sunny day even though there are only 2 days left until that Xbox game they took out from the library is due back.
  5. Have them clean their room in hopes they find what’s causing that foul and mysterious smell.

This is just a small sample,  but these definitely have played a huge part in obtaining my title. Feel free to try them too.

I am embracing it so wholeheartedly that I have even created a T-Shirt.