Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right???? (Part 2)

Hello all! Nothing like a snow day to help one get a little more caught up. (Who are we kidding? Is being caught up ever really possible?)

“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”

That’s where I left off next-to-last post. If you missed it, you might want to check it out. (Pinky swear: it ain’t all that long. )

My coworker’s question really struck me; to this day I often wonder about it. (That question also inspired the name of my parenting workshop , come to think of it. 😉 ) Those of you who have been hanging around the blog for a while might remember a series of posts I did about Discipline vs. Control. (I’ve linked you to the first. Feel free to take it from there, for a total of five essays on the topic, and maybe a bit more insight into groundwork laid.)

Not that he didn’t help before, but since Hubby took on the role of stay-at-home-dad, he’s taken on many of the responsibilities involved in keeping a house running. He often refers to the house as “his job”. So, he models by doing a lot of the cleaning, along with showing consideration. (That’s an important component, folks. Kind of like the subtext in a story: what’s not written but inherent and working on your psyche as one reads.)

Example: We usually all pitch in after dinner, but on many occasions, when Hubby knows I still have paperwork to do, or errands to run after work, he’ll offer to clean up on his own. Most of the time though, I try to move a little faster and make sure to employ everyone present. If every person does a small part of the bigger job, we all get done more quickly and one person isn’t stuck with all the work, right?

And here’s a bit of an aside, but it ties in: Years ago a friend and I were chatting. Something came up about her husband offering to “help” her do something home- or kid-related. My friend took the offer; she also jumped on the opportunity to point out that whatever had to be done was their responsibility—not hers alone with him jumping in to assist because he thought it was kind, or his duty, or whatever other reason spurred him to offer his time and efforts.

Back to subtext: This was a big shift in perspective for me! Being a doer, I tend to initiate and ask others to take on parts of the job. I quickly grasped the concept my friend illustrated and passed it on to Hubby. Little by little, could it be the sons got this too?

And one more take on this before I get back to the point: When my full-timers were small and my part-timers (a.k.a., stepsons) were still children and spent time here regularly (i.e., weekends, overnighters, etc), the bulk of my time outside the day job—which never lacked for work to bring home—was taken up with two to five boys at any given time. One day, Hubby got a little annoyed with my availability for him being pretty limited. He told me, “I feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole.”

My reply came quick (thanks to that chat with my friend 🙂 ).  “Actually, I’m at the bottom. You’re probably the next step up. Since, however, we’re supposed to be equal in this relationship and family situation, I’m thinking you should be at bottom next to me.” (Chances are, Hubby wasn’t too thrilled with me at that moment. 😇)

IMHO, this brings me back to a single word: RESPONSIBILITY. Perhaps that is the “key” to the “foundation” Hubby and I might have laid for “something like this to happen,” as my coworker put it.

If nothing else, I’ve always been responsible. Not that it was necessarily a choice: as the first-generation-American (and only) daughter of Italian immigrants, I was groomed for being so from the first English words that came out of my mouth. My work as a health care provider is responsibility after responsibility. And dealing with the ramifications of not fully understanding my part of my responsibilities in my first work setting led to growth (which, I promise, wasn’t without pain).

So, teaching responsibility, and EXPECTING my kids to BE responsible, are probably the two most foundation-building things I hope to have done along the way. (BTW, this applies to my students too, and something I sort-of drill, especially as kids vie for increased independence, which is typical as they grow. I’m also big on pushing the idea that freedom/privilege is WROUGHT with responsibility–think driving.)

We’ll talk about this more next week.

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Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving through the hiccups and rough spots, or inspiring us with jaw-dropping moments of whaa….?

Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. As soon as I get that danged Instagram thing together—setting it up has only been annoying with nothing to show for it to date—you’ll be able to post there too. (To the chagrin of my kids—Younger Son, in particular–who are not thrilled with mom sharing their platform, lol–which is why, I’m told, kids left Facebook. 😀 ) As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below!

Enjoy the (snow) day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Could We Have Done Something Right?–Part One

Hello, all!

I am FINALLY launching the second series of parenting posts I promised. As always, thank you for taking the time to be here.

NOTE: These essays originally posted starting 11/11/2013, for a total of six articles, right around the time my boys were turning 17 and 15. Very special thanks to Doctor Lori and Ms. Paula, for unknowingly inspiring me to pull together the rest of the Could We Have Done Something Right series, and subsequently, my workshop.

Here is Part 1:

“You realize we’re both hating you right about now,” said a new coworker, a few weeks ago. She, myself and a student’s assistant were discussing kids and getting them to do their chores without it being a struggle.

I’d happened onto their discussion, just in time to hear the assistant saying she was tired of “paying” her teenage kids before their chores were done, then having to argue about it.

Interestingly enough, this conversation took place a few days after Hubby and I decided to leave the dinner dishes and go hit tennis balls before dark. Younger Son (who at the time, was a few weeks shy of his 15th birthday) had cleared the dishes, but there were still pots to be washed, the counter to be wiped down…you know.

Aside: This Italian was raised to NEVER do the next thing—God forbid, something fun—until the house is clean. Somehow, Hubby got infected with this disease and looked at me like, You want to go now? Leave this mess? (I assured him it would be there when we got back.)

Well, Hubby and I took off, had some fun and headed back home. (So glad I went! I happened to have an awesome day on the court–for me, anyway. Just sayin’.) It was still just light enough for a walk, so I opted to sneak in a short one before it got any darker. “Oh sure. Leave me with the kitchen clean-up,” Hubby grumped. (Not terribly.)

“I don’t know why we own Younger Son,” I answered. “There’s no reason we couldn’t have asked him to do it.”

Lo and behold, we entered a FULLY CLEANED KITCHEN. It was like the Cleaning Fairy had dropped in for a visit.

This is pretty much the point where my co-worker expressed hate. And when I mentioned the episode to someone else a day later—hey, I’m still every bit as amazed as the day it happened—another coworker overheard. She did the slow head turn, eyes wide: “What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”

BTW, on another night, in the vicinity of that time, Younger Son did something similar—washed the few dishes in the sink without being asked.

And a few weeks after that, when I picked up my mom from the hospital, and I was tied up helping her transition from hospital to home, and I hadn’t made it to cleaning the kitchen (Hubby was away), and it was 10:30 PM, I walked into the kitchen while Older Son (who was pushing the ripe age of 17) was doing what had to be done, without anyone asking.

And on another occasion close to that, when Younger Son had an orthodontist appointment at 6:30 PM—don’t ask why anyone would schedule that time when after school is so much more convenient at my house—and Hubby wasn’t home, and both boys and I were scrambling to leave the kitchen clean before taking off, Older Son casually said, “You guys go. I’ll finish this.”

Mother does the glance askance at Older Son. Huh? (This is the same kid that would step out of his shoes in the middle of the doorway and keep walking. At least he slips out of them to the side of a step these days, with one shoe pointing outward every time, which is pretty much how the kid walks, and still proof that he literally steps out of his shoes, lol.)

“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?

My co-worker’s question really got me thinking big-time. Next time, I’ll share some of the thoughts her question provoked.

Your turn: if you have kids, have they left you flumgubbered enough to wonder what YOU might have done right? Take a minute and tell us about it, please! Feel free to post a comment below, share on my Facebook page or email me (if you’re shy 🙂 ). Or simply help share the content by clicking one or more of the buttons below!

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Photo by Sara Wether from Pexels

Have a spectacular day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, content and images (unless otherwise specified), 2019.

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Getting Back to that Parenting Stuff…

Welcome back! T’is the season when I’m going to be more patchy than at others—depends on how much paperwork there is to do for the day job. Just for today, I’m as caught up as I need to be, so I want to get back here and post!!!

So… I started this around December and got sidetracked with Christmas, keto, reports due. As per Sir Elton John’s lyrics from Circle of Life, there will always be, “more to do than can ever be done.” (I got teary-eyed the first time I heard it. What do you mean, I can’t do everything I’ll ever need or want to do?????)

Anyway, dear parents, guardians and caregivers of children, please allow me to get back on track.

First and foremost:

Many, many thanks for spending your very precious time here! I am humbled, grateful, and indebted. As with my previous series of thoughts on children, I hope you find inspiration via my journey through motherhood, and perhaps some tips to help you feel empowered while you navigate yours.

Just a few reminders for those moments you wonder which alien creature took over your body and signed you up to bring people into the world and help them find their way into the realm of adulthood.  At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here, yes? (Yes???)

Anyway:

This parenting gig is W.O.R.K.

Hard work.

Long days of seemingly doing the same thing over and over, with little or no acknowledgment, let along thanks.

Efforts that often seem unrewarded, or worse yet, fruitless.

Please note: Given the correct circumstances—mind you I didn’t say “perfect”—those efforts add up, much like Aesop’s famed crow dropping one pebble at a time into that pitcher with an inch of water or so at the bottom, in order to reward himself with a drink.

So…

I am starting a follow-up to my Discipline vs. Control series. Ironically enough, several weeks ago (specifically, on the day after Christmas), I left the sink full of dishes and the kitchen to clean after I relaxed a little with Hubby after dinner. It was after 9 and Younger Son (who recently turned 20) had come in from the mall a little earlier. After his shower, he tends to grab food I leave on the stove and head downstairs, where he usually hangs out playing video games.

From the living room, I heard the kitchen faucet running. After it ran for a steady 10 minutes, I realized my “little one” was cleaning up my mess—unasked. (Whaaaat?? This from the same kid who hadn’t managed to wipe down one bathroom sink after two weeks of his ma asking him to do so. I had the perfect teachable moment planned when he started looking for socks fresh from the laundry. I was going to give him first-hand instruction on how to Google use of the washer or refer him to a YouTube video of the same. I’m holding off for now. 😉 )

And this evening’s episode, which catapulted me back five years, segues me perfectly into the next series of posts directly related to parenting. Please stay tuned. Episodes such as mine can be a reality in your parenting life too! 🙂

Go forward. Be empowered. And always remember, you can start your day or even your journey over anytime you choose to do so.

Your turn: has one (or more) of your children done something so awesomely unexpected that made your jaw drop? Please tell in the comments or share on Facebook!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have a wonderful day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, all rights reserved, content and images (unless otherwise       specified),  2019.

Posted in holidays, Reflections, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving: Memories of the Meal That Almost Wasn’t

So, folks, Thanksgiving is a day away, and we typically host the big day.  (We’ve had up to 18 regulars, including me, Hubby and “da boys.”) I’ve done this! I’ve almost got a routine worked out!

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And yet, mishaps happen, no matter how prepared or experienced one is.

I’ve been married over 24 years and have had Thanksgiving at my home 23 times. A relatively small house fire pre-empted Year 12.) That translates into 22 successfully cooked turkeys, right?

We-e-e-ll… Lucky Year Number 13 had its share of errors. Turned out to be quite a comedy of them. That year…

(1) Hubby brought home a twenty-nine pound bird. (The man loves doing things on the grand scale.) We’re lucky we got that bad boy in the oven. (I mean, who measures the bird’s height at the food store?) Good thing my mother-in-law had recently given us a counter-top multi-function broiler-oven unit. Without it, there would have been no side-dishes that day—at least, none done in time to serve with the turkey.

(2) While stuffing this creature, bleary-eyed at 6:30 AM, a quick glance at the cooking times suggested roasting him close to seven hours. No biggie—until I realized the directions stopped at the twenty-four-pound mark. (Oh, and I’d already scheduled everything around a two-o’clock dinner time after putting the bird in at 6:45 AM. Good thing my mom brought those appetizers.)

(3) Of course this monster-sized critter’s foil pan needed to be supported underneath, so I placed it on a baking sheet—with a plastic market bag under it to keep raw turkey juices off the counter. About three hours into cooking I uh, went to baste that baby and noticed the Plastic. Was. Still. There. (How nothing smelled of plastic was beyond me, but I went with it, removed the bag and replaced the baking sheet with a clean one. The one from the oven was now coated with melted plastic. I tossed it. What else could I do?)

(4) A while later, I heard way too much sizzling coming from the oven—smoke, too. This bird’s drippings were beyond the roasting pan’s capacity to contain. Hubby lifted Tom out; we drained as much liquid as we could, had a good laugh and put the monster back in the oven along with a few sweet potatoes. (I piled them onto the side of the pan.)

(5) Fast forward ninety minutes later: I pull big-bird out to baste. The oven was way cooler than it should have been. Er, I’d forgotten to turn the oven back on after mishap #4. (Add praying no one ends up with salmonella to the to-do-on-Thanksgiving-list. At this point, poisoning by petroleum and/or food were both significant possibilities.)

Despite the potential for disaster, that holiday meal somehow came together. My kids, ages thirteen and eleven at the time, kept their four favorite little cousins (aged 7-3) entertained on the trampoline or with video games until dinner was ready—by 3:30.

Not bad for a near-disaster, right? While we waited, my mom and my brother did the Italian drive-each-other-nuts thing that everyone else ignores or laughs about. The turkey turned out incredibly moist, tender and delicious–no hint of petroleum there! 😉 My stuffing got its usual raves—and did I mention? I forgot to put one part of the basket assembly into the coffee maker. Did that once before and ended up with coffee all over the counter. That Thanksgiving, we were spared such puddling. Then again, once the counter is piled high with all the leftover food, who would notice brown liquid on the tan-n-brown-speckled counter?

Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories here!

Wishing all of you a wonderful, peaceful holiday!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018 (content and images)