I Told You So

It is REALLY challenging to refrain from uttering these words when someone who seems to insist on being right all of the time ends up being wrong about something … again.   A perfect example just happened this week.  I had asked my husband recently to make sure whatever beverage container he put his drink into gets put on his placemat and not directly on the wood table.  He insisted that there’s no way his thermal cup could leave rings on the table due to condensation. Theoretically, they are not supposed to, and most of the time his don’t, but I know I have picked up at least one of the ones he uses before and found a ring on the table more than once and would rather be safe than sorry.  I thought it was a pretty simple request, but he made a big deal about me asking him to be more conscious and treated it like it was a ridiculous request.  Sure enough, I picked up his cup the other day to clean the table and found a small puddle of water underneath it. This was right next to the partial burn ring on the table that was left by him putting a relatively hot bowl of rice there after I asked him to put it on a hot pad instead, and he insisted it would be fine.

I don’t know if it is so much that he doesn’t want to be wrong or just doesn’t want me to be right about anything, but I’m guessing it’s both.  He doesn’t usually utter the words, “You were right” or, “I was wrong” and seldom apologizes in situations like this, at least not without it sounding like it is a struggle to do so or that it is sarcastic rather than sincere.

Unfortunately, these are just more bad examples being set for our kids.   Continue reading

Poking the Bear

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In my last post on being good role models and setting standards for our kids, I talked about how I now tend to lose my cool relatively easily, even though I often talk to the kids about not overreacting and trying to stay calm in a variety of circumstances.  I am doing my best to not do that, but I can’t seem to convince my family that I am not just randomly lashing out or lecturing anyone because that’s what I like to do.  I am reacting to something they are either doing or not doing, and most of the time, whatever it is has been an ongoing issue or something more than one person tends to do or not do.  Therefore, I have very little patience with whatever behavior and am easily frustrated.  That makes it very difficult to keep calm all the time.

What gets me is that everyone is always surprised at the fact that I am upset or frustrated yet again and that I am reacting accordingly.  I don’t want to feel those things or react in a negative way, but it is a cumulative thing that has been more and more difficult to control over time.   Continue reading

Being a Good Role Model and Setting Standards

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This is so true, but it seems to me that there are a lot of parents out there who don’t understand this and/or who don’t see how their own behavior is so different than what they expect from their kids.  I’m certainly not a perfect role model, but at least I am aware of when I occasionally do something that is the opposite of what I am trying to teach my kids.  The one example that comes to mind is losing my cool when I am always trying to get them to stay calm and not overreact to various situations.  I do talk to my kids about that when it happens and let them know I am aware I have not been setting a good example and at least try to explain why.  Then I tell them I will continue trying to improve.

I can think of plenty of other examples that I have witnessed where parents say one thing to their kids and then do the opposite themselves.  Lying and being deceitful is a big example in my house. Continue reading

Taking People For Granted

I think most people do this more than we might care to admit.  Even those of us who try to be conscious about not doing things of this nature can sometimes be found guilty.  It’s hard not to.  We get used to people always being there when we need them or always doing certain things either for us or that need to get done.  We forget to thank them for the everyday tasks at least every so often.  It’s one thing to consciously think about the things and people for whom we are grateful, but it’s another to express those thoughts to them.

Unfortunately, it’s usually the people we care about the most whom we end up taking for granted.  And it isn’t until they either walk away or stop doing the things we are used to them doing that we realize how important those things are and that person really is to us.  It shouldn’t be that way.  It is easy to slip into a situation where we feel we are being taken for granted.  Likewise, if the other person allows it, it’s equally as easy to do it to them.  It’s something that takes conscious effort and being able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.  If you’ve ever been taken for granted, you know how that feels, and you shouldn’t want others whom you care about to experience that feeling.  We also need to make it clear to others that we will not allow ourselves to be taken for granted, even if it means having to make some changes including walking away in order to get the point across.

I think this is one of those things that you can talk about all you want, but unless you model it for your kids, they will not learn to really appreciate those whom they would normally take for granted.   Continue reading

Having A Sense of Adventure

I think it’s important to have a sense of adventure as we navigate through life.  I’m not necessarily talking about a desire to go sky diving or climb mountains, but at least being willing to try new things once in a while or do something differently than you have always done it.  And if you do like to climb mountains or have gone sky diving, hang gliding, or anything else along those lines, I applaud you.  That’s more than I would dare to do.

We all get stuck in a rut with routines and our day to day tasks, so it’s nice to mix things up every once in a while.  Maybe try a restaurant you’ve never been to, seeing a performance you might not normally go to, or take a different route home from work, just because.  I have a hard time myself getting out of my comfort zone, but all it takes is a friend inviting me to go somewhere I have never been to or do something I have never done, and I am usually game.  It’s definitely more fun to try new things with other people.

I am better at trying to encourage my kids to try new things or a different way of doing things than I am myself, but you don’t have to twist my arm.  My kids are a different story though.  As they have gotten older, they have definitely lost their sense of adventure.  I miss being able to suggest that we all go somewhere like the zoo, an animal farm, a new playground, an amusement park, a performance of some sort, or anywhere we hadn’t been to yet, and they would be agreeable and excited.  Now, forget it.  It’s like pulling teeth to get them out of the house to do much of anything, even if it is something simple like visiting a nearby farm for some freshly pressed apple cider and to buy or pick some apples, which might take an hour.

I know that’s partly because they are teenagers or almost teenagers and are more interested in their friends than family, but I also know I am competing with video games and social media.  They would rather sit at home all day in front of a computer or with their iPods in hand.  Even when we do go somewhere, they bring their electronics in the car and have their earbuds in or have their nose in a book (which I know I shouldn’t complain about).  I guess I should be happy they are not arguing and that it is a quiet car ride, but I think that’s what bothers me most is that they don’t seem to appreciate the time together with other people.  I know we are together a good part of the time, but I wish they would value spending some quality time together every once in a while and be up for doing fun things as a family, or minimally be willing to take a break from their electronics and social media to do something outside of the house without me almost insisting.

For those of you with younger kids who still enjoy piling in the car for a new adventure, appreciate that while you can. And for anyone else, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone or routines and dare to do something different every so often.  I am trying to do that in spite of the fact that I don’t have kids who are willing to join me in that effort.  Thank goodness for my friends and other family members who are willing to accompany me or invite me!

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Finding Balance

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This is something that can be difficult to do, but it is very important for both our mental and physical health.  This can encompass so many things from what we eat to how we choose to spend our time.  Maintaining a good balance of foods is always good for your health.  We shouldn’t be working and getting things done all the time and leave no time for play.  We need to make time in our schedules for doing active things so that we are not too sedentary.  Parents need to find balance between how much time they spend with their kids and how much time they save for each other.  And they should make sure there is a balance in their parenting styles so that one parent isn’t viewed as the fun parent while the other is seen as “the nag” who only is concerned about the kids getting their things done.  Some people tend to focus more on meeting others’ needs and forget to make sure they devote some time to their own well-being.  We can easily blame others for things that go wrong or are not right in our lives, but sometimes we need to step back and assess our part in the situation and admit to our mistakes, if we made any.  At times we may find ourselves needing to hold on while other times needing to let go.  We may find ourselves focused on all the negative things happening to and around us, but at some point it all becomes easier to deal with when we can shift gears and find the positives and things for which we can be grateful.  Sometimes we need to find balance between wants and needs.  And there are times where we will be more apt to make decisions based on our fears and playing it safe, while other times we may be more willing to get out of our comfort zone and take chances.  The thing I struggle with is while spending too much time reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, I forget to enjoy the present.

These things are all great areas to strive for balance, but we shouldn’t get too undone if we can’t always achieve that balance all the time.  I look at it more of an overall thing.   Continue reading