Feb 012015

As our kids grow, they become more and more independent. Once they hit the age where they are working their own job and driving a car, it seems like they get farther and farther away from us. It can be a very difficult transition for any parent. We are used to our kids needing us and once they begin to float off on their own, it can be disappointing because we miss them!

When this happens there are a few things you can do to still have some quality time with your teen – the key is to make the time.

Date Night

If you can schedule a date night with your teen, this is one of the best ways to get some of their time. Scheduling it in advance is even better because it can give you both something to look forward to and it is less likely to interfere with other things. Go to a movie, go out to dinner, go to the mall; whatever the activity as long as you both enjoy it then you will enjoy the time together.

Meal Time

If you can even catch 30 minutes to sit down and have a meal together, that time can be priceless. If one of you will be out around dinner time, try to meet somewhere for lunch. Eating a meal together is not just about the food, but about the company and the time you have to chat about your day or upcoming events.


It may sound silly, but take your teen grocery or household shopping! If you are heading to the supermarket, chances are that your teen would love to pick out some treats for them or help with meal planning for the family. Or, if you are planning a trip to buy household supplies at Target, bring your teen along and let them browse for other items. A one-hour shopping trip can actually be fun and gives you just that little bit of time together you both need.

Regular TV Show

If a new series is starting up that you are both interested in, try to plan on watching it together each week. This is another one of those scheduled events that you two can look forward to and share.


Go for a run, take a walk, or head to the gym. Not only is this a healthy activity, but if you and your teen do it together on a regular basis it will be terrific for you both. Whether you bond over weights or just chat while on the treadmill, use this as an opportunity!

Again, the key to time with your teen is making the time. Find something you both enjoy doing and do it together. Chances are your teen will be just as happy as you that you found that time!

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Oct 182014

sad photo

Most of us learned about punishment from our own parents or guardians. Some of us employ the same methods while others learned to do differently. So, when your small child or teen does something wrong are you convinced that the punishment you administer fits their crime? Are you too tough? Are you too lenient? How do you feel about the punishments that you give to your kids?

I learned a lot from my mom; she was the one in charge of punishment in my house growing up. It was never “wait until your father gets home” it was “wait until your mother gets home” for me. I grew up in a blended family so-to-speak, with stepdad. So, I assume that is why.

My mom was tough. She was tough on me when I did wrong and especially if I lied. Now that I am a mom I look back on that. Sometimes I think she was too tough and sometimes I think she was just right. But one thing I can say is that I definitely learned from it all and remember it now as I have found at times I need to punish my own daughter.

What I have definitely learned not only from my own mother, but from friends with kids is that the punishment should fit the crime if we are to teach them the lessons they need to learn.

If the punishments are consistently harsh it will not necessarily have the same effect as if they differ according to the wrongful act. After all, the goal is to teach a lesson so that they do not perform the wrongful act again, right?

My opinion is this…a really bad grade or poor performance in school not warranted by history should not invoke a 3-month grounding. At the same time, getting in trouble with the law should invoke a punishment stronger than one night without a cell phone.

Who decides what is too much, not enough, or just right when it comes to punishing our kids? We already know there is no rule book or manual (unfortunately). So then, we are the ones to decide – as parents.

All I can say is that the punishment must fit the crime. Everyone’s view of what is “bad”, “wrong”, or “over the line” is different. But, as parents we must remember that if every punishment is fierce that does not necessarily mean our children will grow up to be “perfect” when making even the smallest of errors.

Everyone needs to make mistakes in order to learn. We all need to learn right from wrong, accountability, responsibility, and how to be an adult.

Standard punishments where every time our kids do something wrong they get the same punishment will definitely not teach them severity of their actions. At the same time doing nothing at all to let our kids know that they have done something wrong and need to “suffer” in some way will certainly never teach them consequences.

What are your thoughts on punishments? Do you have standard punishments and levels of those that you use? Do you come up with your punishments on the fly according to the wrongful act?

Share your thoughts below!


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Jul 272013

We try so hard to teach our children to have confidence in themselves and to believe that they can do anything they choose when they grow up. So, to have the tables turned can feel very unusual. But, that is what happened to me.

I have always enjoyed writing and aside from technical documents for my job, I only wrote in a journal, some poetry, and jotted down little things here and there. I did not talk about it or ever show anyone anything I had written. (Well, aside from the documents at work, but that does not really count.)

I told my daughter one day how great it would be if I could write for a living. I told her how much I would enjoy it and wish that I could switch careers. She said, “Well do it Mom”. It sounds odd, but she said it so matter-of-fact like that it made me think, “Yea, why not”.


Well I gave it a shot, but stalled for quite some time before taking the plunge by actually submitting an article online. But, I finally did submit that article to a website and waited so anxiously to see if it would be published. I had such little confidence that it would be, that I did not write anything else while I waited. I guess my thought was that if it was not published, that I should pretty much forget the whole writing thing. But, as I waited my daughter was my biggest supporter. She kept reassuring me that it would be published and that I should keep writing. My daughter was also my only supporter at the time because I did not tell another single person what I had done. I was just too nervous, especially if I failed.

As it turned out, my article was published. I was shocked, to say the least. It, along with my daughter, gave me the boost I needed. My daughter told me she was not surprised at all – she had confidence in me the whole time. I just did not have the confidence in myself, nor the belief that I could actually become a writer.

Things seemed to explode for me since then. I now write for several websites, continue to work on a book I have started, have made many friends and connections, and have taken a hold of a freelance writing career part-time. I have to say that the more I write, the more I love it.

The moral of this story is that my daughter really did teach me to believe in myself. I think the fact that she believed in me so strongly was a huge push for me – it was the push I needed. Our kids do believe in us and our abilities – sometimes they think we are Superheroes, I think! If it was not for my daughter, my writing career would not be where it is now. I may not be doing it full-time yet, but that is my goal and now I really do believe that I can do it!

Thank you to Abby for her faith in me.

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Jun 162013

There will be so many times that I will say something or do something and my teenage daughter will refer to those things as “Mom Powers”.  She does not understand how I know things.  How I know which way her sheets should go on her bed, how I know how to open the package we just bought, how I know that a little of an ingredient in a dish is just enough or how too much of another ingredient will be too much, etc.  There are so many things that I do and say that prompt my daughter to call them “Mom Powers”.

sxc.hu, stock.xchng, PixelCake, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1331542

sxc.hu, stock.xchng, PixelCake, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1331542

When I think back to being her age, I actually remember thinking something similar about my mom.  It seemed like she knew so much about so many different things.  I really thought she was one of the smartest people I had ever known.

It is really the same thing – it is not special powers, although I certainly wish it was!  It is so simply experience.  Life experience.  I know that when my daughter is my age, she will know things too and maybe her kids will feel the same way.

When my daughter brings this up I try to tell her it is just life experience.  You go through life, you learn a lot, you gain knowledge.  There is nothing special about it, you do not try to do it, it just simply happens.

She knows this – she does not really think I have special powers!  But, she says it as a joke and we both laugh.  She will say “there are those Mom Powers again!”  It really is kind of funny when you think of it.  You do not realize the things you learn that you did not set out to learn.  They just come – with life, with age, with experience.

Mom Powers – it sounds so much cooler!

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May 102013

I recently wrote an acrostic (name) poem symbolizing what the word ‘mother’ means to me as I think of my mom this Mother’s Day.  If you would like to read the poem, please visit Yahoo! Voices.










I was recently asked what being a mom means to me. I was asked to give 3 reasons.Being a mom means different things to different people. Some can be easily described while others can only be known or felt by a mother. This Mother’s Day I would like to share my thoughts and what it means to me to be a mom. If you are interested in reading, please visit Yahoo! Voices who asked me this question by clicking here.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Me and Abby - when she was a baby

Me and Abby – when she was a baby

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Apr 202013

Turning 16 brings along thoughts of wanting a job and a driver’s license for our teens.  This is where my daughter is right now.  These are brand new, huge, responsible points in my teen’s life.  They bring about so much thought of independence and teaching from us that I wrote articles on each one separately:

Photo by: sxc.hu, stock.xchng, 04evil, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/204375

Photo by: sxc.hu, stock.xchng, 04evil, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/204375

I feel a little overwhelmed with all of this at the moment, but my daughter does not seem fazed at all.  I guess I have to take a page from her book for a change!  She seems to take everything in stride, but then again that might be because these are exciting moments for her while they are terrifying moments for me.  At the same time I have to learn from what I know, as a former teenager and now as a mother.  These are just additional moments that a parent must face at some point.  The moments grow harder as our children grow older.  That is because with each memorable moment, especially when they are teens, seems to be another time to let go…just a little more each time.

Allowing our children to grown up into adults is difficult for most of us.  Letting go is even worse.  The older they get, the more responsibility they can handle, the more they venture out into the world without us is all a sign of the day to come where they leave the nest and begin their own life…without us.

Ahhh…growing up.  It seems whether it is with our children or for some of us with ourselves, we just do not want it to happen.

Unfortunately, growing up will always happen, no matter who it is.  So, the best that we can do is nurture it.  We need to help our children grow because they will all always leave the nest eventually.  So, preparing them the best we can is the best thing that we can do.  Like it or not.

I have learned that my daughter needs me to help teach her to grow up – to be an adult.  It IS my job to teach her about what will happen with her first job.  It IS my job to teach her to drive and be responsible behind the wheel.  It IS my job to teach her to be the most responsible adult that she can be.  I am her mother and all of this IS my job.

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Mar 302013

For my almost 16 years of being a mother I have tried to find a way to deal with the milestone birthdays of my daughter.  The most important ones so far have been her 5th birthday because she was starting school and her 13th birthday because she hit the teen years.  We are now getting ready next week to celebrate her Sweet 16.  These can be very difficult times for some parents.

We are seeing our children growing up, we are yearning for the previous years when they were “little”, we are counting down the days we have left with them before they leave for college, we are also being reminded of how old WE are becoming.  Oh yes, when our children have those milestone birthdays, it can cause a flood of thoughts and emotions.

Image by: sxc.hu, stock.xchng, ba1969, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1200968

Image by: sxc.hu, stock.xchng, ba1969, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1200968

So as parents how do we deal with these big birthdays?

Personally, I believe we need to be sure that we make these dates as special for our children as we can.  Although every birthday should be special; those birthdays that come with the tag of being a milestone – a more meaningful birthday in the scheme of life – should be celebrated as such.  And we, as parents, need to remember these birthdays are not and should not be reflections of our own lives.

We have our own birthdays to remind us of how old we are becoming (ew!).  We should not use our children’s birthdays to remind us of that as well.

So whether our kids are turning 5, 13, 16 or 21 – we need to celebrate that and celebrate them!  These are huge moments in their lives.  These are moments that our children WILL remember.  Do something special, buy them something special, spend that day with them doing something special.  Whatever you choose, whatever you are able to do, make that day so very special – for them.

Try to think about how wonderful they are, how much they have accomplished, how good they have been raised, and what special people they are becoming.  And if you need to cry a little bit later, then go ahead – after they have had their special day and gone to bed. :-)

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Feb 172013

My teenage daughter is no different from other girls her age when it comes to “girly stuff”.  She likes clothes, messing around with her hair, trying different makeup, shopping, painting her nails, and all those teen girl types of things.  She does well in school, is trustworthy and responsible, so I do not mind her interest in beauty and fashion at all.  I also remember being the same way when I was a teenager!


Now when it comes to me, I noticed that over time I became less conscious of these types of things.  Most of my clothes were about ten or more years old – I was rarely buying myself anything new and if I did it was comfortable clothing.  My hair style rarely changed, I did not take pay attention to my skincare, and I did not have much to say about fashion or beauty in general.  I did not even realize this until my daughter became a teenager and more interested in hair and clothes than Barbie and Spongebob.

It started with looking through a fashion magazine together.  My daughter started telling me I should buy myself some up-to-date clothes and she wanted to help me pick them out.  She became interested in the types of lotions and moisturizers I used on my skin.  She showed me shoes and jewelry that would be sensible for work but still look nice.  She really became interested in helping me get back into those girly things.

Then, I suddenly realized that it was fun to update myself a little AND these also became topics that my daughter and I could share.  Now we go shopping together and help each other pick things out for the other.  We even have fun disagreeing on what looks good or works good sometimes!  It has really become a way for us to bond as mother and daughter and got me out of my comfort zone at the same time.

I do not think that you have to go as far as changing your look or spending a bunch of money.  But if your teen has an interest in these things; showing your interest in them as well can be a great thing to share.  And, as the parent of a teen I know that sharing a common interest can be a challenge!

This all might sound superficial to some.  But as long as she does not go overboard or lose sight of where this all falls in the big picture, then it is all good.  I still make sure that my daughter knows that looks are not everything.  This is just one small thing that we can share that makes us feel good as “girls”.

So, I thank my daughter for helping me to feel like a girl again.

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Jan 302013

I know there are days when I feel like I have to do everything.  Go to work, take care of the home and family, make dinner, and still try to find time for writing.  Then I need to make time for myself and my relationships; friends, family, etc.  (Yes I know, finding time for ‘myself’- what’s that?)  It can be so hard to keep with everyone and everything all the time!  I think that I actually feel like this MOST days not just SOME days.  It can make me feel like I need to be a superhero to even make it all happen, much less master it all.  But, there is something that I realized recently and working moms have to realize and that is that we do NOT have to do it all.

sxc.hu, stock.xchng, julosstock, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1159083

sxc.hu, stock.xchng, julosstock, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1159083

Tell yourself, “I’m not alone here.  I have a family.  I have help.  I don’t have to be Supermom!”

Now, the trick to admitting that you do not have to do it all yourself is actually accepting it.  THAT is where I get stuck.  I have a really hard time asking for help.  I sort of expect other people in the house to just offer up help and I find myself saying, “I shouldn’t have to ask!”  Well, that does not always work and if you have tried it then you know.

So, this year I am trying a different approach.  I am going to actually ask for help and have already started!  If someone pops in while I am preparing dinner and asks to help I say, “yes” and give them a job.  If I am cleaning and someone asks what they can do I say “here you go” and give them a job.  If someone else offers to play chauffeur for the night and drive my daughter somewhere I say “sure” and let them go on their merry way.  If no one offers help then I say “hey” and ask them for help.

At first doing this made me feel sort of selfish and I really am still getting used to doing it.  But I also thought about this; when they are doing something and I offer to help they say “yes”.  When I am not around and they need my help they yell for me.  It is a two-way street!

No matter how you look at it, a family is a team.  There is nothing wrong with everyone pitching in to help.  It is honestly good for the family and the individuals both.

So if you have as much trouble accepting help as me, give this idea a try too.  Do not be afraid to accept or ask for help.

Now if you want to be supermom then I say “go for it”!  But me?  I would rather be part of a team than the Lone Ranger. ;)

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