Setting the Right Example.

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I found myself reflecting back on some of my recent posts…

And it got me to thinking…am I setting the right example? Sure, we all can get ‘fired up’ about certain topics. We can all state our ‘opinions’ (which we know, are like blank and everybody’s got one). But I guess it’s how we deliver those messages that really set or don’t set the right example…

Recently there was a trending topic about the owner of a restaurant (a woman) who yelled at a toddler who was crying in her restaurant. Since there are two sides to every story, the argument seems to revolve around the woman owner yelling at the toddler vs. the parents not removing their child from the restaurant. As a mom, I do not feel it is appropriate for another adult to yell at my child, no matter what the circumstances. However, there are others who felt were happy she yelled at the toddler as one individual commented, “Kudos to the managers for setting that mom in place. So sick of parents not parenting.”

Now here’s where I get fired up. Parents not parenting? First, you weren’t there, so let’s just hold the phone on that one. Second of all, what makes you think they weren’t parenting? And who are you to judge? Have you ever taken a toddler to a restaurant? It’s not the easiest thing to do but that shouldn’t mean those with toddlers can’t go out to eat! This is where I believe everyone starting jumping on one bandwagon or another and the media went crazy with its exploitation of the situation (are you surprised?).

I guess my point is that we need to set the right example in life, especially those of us that have children/watch children/are children caretakers/etc. And sometimes its hard to figure out what those examples are. My baby doesn’t have the capacity to understand ‘no’ yet or how to reason. Here’s a great article explaining this if you don’t believe me. So if we’re in a restaurant and I tell her to stop yelling and she doesn’t, I’m not a bad parent and she’s not a bad kid, she’s just at the age (12-18 months) where she’s learning to express herself through her voice. I do tell her ‘no’ in a quiet tone or we don’t talk like that in a restaurant to encourage her to stop or distract her with something if needed, but I don’t yell at her. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments where she makes me so angry and I do yell (then of course I see that scared look on her face and immediately apologize and hug her!), but does that make it right? Do I want her to learn that every time she is upset or frustrated she can yell? No.

There are things in life we all have issues with. I don’t think there should be websites for married people to have affairs. I don’t think Victoria’s Secret should target teenagers to buy their ‘lingerie’. I don’t think Facebook is an accurate representation of people’s lives. These are my opinions. And maybe I haven’t gone about them in the right way, but it’s how I feel. Our feelings are what drives us. They make us passionate, crazy, angry, excited, fearful…the list goes on. We live through our feelings. But just because you feel a certain way doesn’t give you the right to act a certain way either. If I feel mad at a co-worker I can’t just go and punch them. I mean, I can, but I would most likely lose my job and be facing a lawsuit in the process.

I want to be a better example…and my example starts from Jesus and my faith. Here’s a man who was ridiculed, betrayed by one of his own and persecuted. He died for me and my sins…for the sins of the world. That is the ultimate example. And no, I’m not saying you need to die, but I’m saying that sometimes setting the right example isn’t easy, but there is a reason for it. I want to be someone my daughter looks up to. My love for her is like Jesus’s love for the world. I would die for her. If I had to, I would without hesitation so that she could live. Sometimes while I believe my intentions are good, I don’t always say things in the right way to get my point across. The point becomes lost in my rants. I think the same goes for most people.

So as I reflect upon the example I want to set, I know one thing is for sure. I want the best for my daughter. I want to give her the best of me, so that requires more patience, more practice and more understanding to those around me. There are lots of situations completely out of my control, but how I behave as an individual is not. If I can’t respect myself, how can I expect anyone else to? It’s time for me to start setting the right example not only for my daughter (and God willing any future children), but myself.

Ben Affleck and the Experts ARE Right, Marriage IS Work!

I am normally not one to comment on articles unless I am really passionate about the topic, like this article I read here entitled: ‘Ben Affleck and the Experts are Wrong: ‘Marriage is not Hard Work‘. My two passions here are Ben Affleck and marriage, in that order, kidding! Maybe

As we’ve all heard/read, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced after 10 years of marriage that they will be getting a divorce. As a wife and mother myself, this saddens me (despite the huge crush I’ve had on him for the past fifteen years). While we do not know the private details of this situation, the media will speculate and tabloids will continue to exploit these stars (because remember, they’re not people) during this very public split. When I first saw this article, I was quite bothered. The title alone put my head in a tizzy. Marriage is not hard work? What? I mean seriously…WHAT?

The author states she has been married for 31 years. As someone who has only been married almost four, I believe that marriage is hard work. While I realize I don’t have the miles that she does, I agree with Ben Affleck and the experts. Let’s break down this article piece by piece, shall we?

“You are only as happy as your most unhappy child. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Deciding whom you’ll marry is the most important decision you’ll ever make. Marriage is a lot of hard work.”

She seems to be setting up this first paragraph to be all things that people say/believe but aren’t necessarily true. The first sentence for me is one of those puns I don’t like so I’ll skip it. As for ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, DUH! There have been studies proving this to be true (a study from Harvard Medical School found that people who ate breakfasts of whole-grain cereals had lower rates of diabetes and heart disease compared to skippers). Some may argue with me saying that there are also studies showing breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day and that is true. I, however, don’t think they are as supported. Next, ‘deciding who you’ll marry is the most decision you’ll ever make’. Hmm, what to eat for lunch today or whom to marry? Yeah, I’d count that as pretty weighty. You actually repeat the vows ‘until death parts us’ so unless you’re planning to ‘Dateline’ your spouse, it’s kind of a forever thing and in my eyes, I think spending my life with someone is the most important decision….after what to eat for lunch, that is. And she nailed it with the last statement…’marriage is a lot of hard work!’ She could have stopped there, but she didn’t, so I shall continue.

She links Ben Affleck’s Best Director Argo Oscar speech (highly recommend the movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it), where he mentions that his marriage is work. Well, you know what, it is! And I don’t think he was insulting his wife either, I think he was speaking honestly. You are entering into a binding (and legally, I might add) partnership when you get married. You are fully committing yourself to another. You are saying you will love, support and honor that person until death do you part. You speak the words, ‘in sickness and in health’. Have you ever cared for a sick person? It’s work. The author continues stating that she asked her husband and he agreed their marriage isn’t work. Well of course he agreed with you and for two obvious reasons:
1. She was holding a knife (that part of the article made me chuckle)
2. If he disagreed with her then there would have been a long discussion as to why (and we all know men hate long discussions!)

The article continues about how the author and her husband have asked each other this question over the years and her most recent reply was this: “Not at all. It’s never been work for me. Not even for a day in 30 years.” I told him.

I know I have not been married that long, but my follow-up question to this statement would be ‘do you have kids?’ Because if she does, then I would say that answer above is bullshit. If not, I still call bullshit (and I call it Kate Hudson style…if you haven’t seen ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ this won’t make sense to you).

My parents will have been married for 35 years this August. I, too, asked them both this question. And guess what? They both agreed that it is! My mom did say that some people would agree with this author, but believes the majority would not. So why is it hard work? Because it’s a relationship that requires effort. It requires being present. It requires making time for one another. All of these things take work. Maybe this author feels complacent in her marriage and for some people, that is okay. They get along and go about their lives. But for me, I just don’t see it.

The author winds down the article with the following: “I am not saying that everything is always perfect, that Mike doesn’t sometimes disappoint me, that I don’t get angry at him. I am not saying that there are not hard times, hard issues, hard problems. But I must say that he overwhelmingly makes it easier to handle these things. So maybe if marriage seems like really hard work, there is something that needs a little fixing.

Mike and I spend hours cuddled up on our couch. He scratches my head if it hurts. He hugs me when I am sad. But he doesn’t consider that work either, because when I am happy, he is happy. And I know the reverse is certainly true, so I do what I can to make him happy too. Did I mention that I sail overnight on the boat every summer taking a three-hour shift on my own in the middle of the night? So is our marriage work? It can’t be. Because I never feel like I need a vacation. Does anyone else have a marriage that isn’t hard work?”

I agree with some of what she’s said above, but her overall message, I do not. My husband and I irritate each other. We disappoint each other too. We fight, we forgive and we continue to love. That’s just simply part of marriage. We also have work stress, personal stress and overall life stress that sometimes spills into our marriage. We have a child that requires our constant attention. We can take each other and our relationship for granted. We can fall or drift apart from one another. And then we reconnect. We work at it. We work at it because marriages just don’t magically stay together. They require two people committing to that relationship. No, it’s not a 9-5 job, it’s actually a 24/7 job that when you don’t put your time into, can really affect its productivity.

This doesn’t mean our relationship needs fixing. That means our relationship is real. We have a love that while it is full of joys, affection and appreciate is also full of sacrifices, compromises and hard work (some of these the author mentions). And by the way, when you are sacrificing and compromising you are working…you are working to satisfy your partner, to keep them happy. That takes work, whether you want to admit it or not. So maybe you believe that your marriage is not hard work, good for you (and I say that in the most sincere way). As for me, I will continue to work at mine each and every day because my goal at the end of it all is to bring out the best in my husband and in me…and how can I ever do that without working on it?

No One’s Life Looks Like it Does on Facebook

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Alright, let’s get real here for a minute (or two). Facebook is not real. It’s an illusion. An illusion of people you know or don’t really know (yet somehow you are “friends”). There is nothing real about Facebook. Heck, some people don’t even use their real names (gotta love those ‘first and middle name only’ individuals…I get it, keepin’ it private, because you know, Facebook is all about that, WINK)! Facebook, or as I like to call it Stalkbook, wasn’t designed to keep you ‘in touch’ with your friends/acquaintances/ex-lovers/etc. No, no my friends, it was not. Facebook was designed so that you can literally stalk what any one of your 800+ “friends” and see their incredible lives. Did I say incredible? I’m sorry, I meant ridiculously fake.

First, I am an avid user of Facebook. My husband and I constantly argue over it. He finds it to be incredibly pointless…kind of like the way I find the video game on his phone to be! So, we agree to disagree. But nonetheless, I use Facebook often. My blog has its own page, I post lots of updates and share things I find to be interesting or important (DUH, like my blog!) but I also share how incredible my life is. Yes, there is some sarcasm in that last sentence. My life is great, it is. Not everyday is a fairytale but I’m very blessed and that I don’t BS about. I adore my daughter and enjoy showing off her sweetness as well so most of my posts are now consumed my her. Still, I do promote the ‘incredible’ because it’s better then the latter. When you see the same people posting the same drama filled status updates, don’t you kind of want to punch them in the face? Please stop airing your dirty laundry on Facebook. Please. Take that shit to People’s Court or something (at least you can filter your news feed now!). But again, in the reverse, people could say the same about all those my-life-is-so-amazing posts. Thank you for showing us what we can never have, a-hole.

Because I’m a frequent Facebooker, I can say that no one’s life looks like it does on Facebook. No one. The pictures? Edited/cropped/enhanced/filtered….. The lovey-dovey marriage/anniversary posts? Not as ‘happily ever after’ as it seems. The sales pitches to join some period scheming pay structure job because it’s ‘the most incredible opportunity ever’? BEYOND ANNOYING! Facebook has crafted a beautiful bubble where people go to see other people’s lives and get depressed about their own.

If you haven’t seen my post ‘Dear Victoria’s Secret‘, please check it out. Photos are edited ALL THE TIME! Models are edited ALL THE TIME! It’s a fun little program called Photoshop. So when you look at these ‘pictures’ on Facebook, just remember that. As for the relationship posts? I knew a girl who was posting thanks to her ‘hubby’ on Facebook for her birthday present (a romantic vacation for two!) when they were in the process of getting a divorce. A divorce. Again, an illusion. And the ‘who wants to join my team’ crap for all those products out there nowadays sorry, but stop. Stop with your fourteen paragraph status updates. I’m happy you have the most incredible job ever (really though?), I am, but I don’t need your amazing job shoved in my face every other day. I’m not here to judge either, I’m really not, but the amount of BS posting is astronomical.

Wait, there’s more! Facebook isn’t just to for stalking, but it’s also magical. Yes, this magical site will tell you where people are and what they’re doing even though you can’t see them (ooooooooooh) and even provides visual pictures (aaaaaaaaaah). Selfie anyone? Don’t forget your duck face!

Honestly, I don’t mind Facebook, but the more I find myself ‘stalking’ the site, the more I realize…what am I doing? Why am I on here? To compare? To see pictures of vacations I wish I was on? Am I really that bored? Or worse…have we as a society become so consumed my technology and social media that we have to ‘show’ our lives instead of ‘live’ them?

The other day my daughter cuddled up with me on the couch. It was sporadic and so wonderful. I quickly took a photo and shared it. Then I thought to myself, why did I do that? Can’t I just enjoy the moment without having to make it a public affair? On the other hand, what’s so wrong with sharing it? I guess I see both sides. This is an eye-opening article from Parents Magazine, it’s called ‘How Social Media is Affecting Your Parenting,’ I suggest you read it.

I have a lot of friends that have left Facebook or ‘deactivated’ their account for a bit (I have this feeling you’ll never really be able to delete your Facebook account). When I ask them why all the answers were quite similar…’I was sick of the things I was seeing on there’, ‘I was wasting time just reading about what other people are doing all the time’, ‘I just didn’t want to be on there anymore’. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a great avenue to connect with old friends, colleagues, etc. As I’ve stated before, I use it frequently. I’m just starting to wonder what kind of impact it will have on us and future generations in the long term. Will my daughter one day ask me what people said about a photo of her I shared? Will I be forced to let her have an account because I do? What if she is being bullied on there? How will I handle that?

Sometimes I wish life wasn’t so technology driven. It wasn’t all about the internet and texting and immediacy. No one’s life looks like it does on Facebook, sometimes not even mine! But many will never admit that (yep, I just did!)…and I guess that’s just all part of the illusion 😉

How to be a Partner in Your Marriage

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As a wife and mother, I think it’s hard to remember how to be a partner in my marriage. I get so caught up in telling my husband all the things he needs to do that I stop telling him the things I should like how much I love and appreciate him. I forget about the feelings we had when we first met, the love that grew over time and all the special moments in between. They become distant memories and at times, so does our love.

My sister, who was the maid of honor at our wedding, said something I’ll forget, “Always remember how you feel on this day and try to live each day like that”. I haven’t done that…we haven’t done that. I’m too focused on my to-do lists, my stress and my anxiety. I don’t treat him like a partner and I don’t act like one either. I become resentful towards him for all the things I do as a wife and mother instead of how grateful I am for everything that he provides our family.

It’s easy to get angry, feel frustrated and place blame. It’s harder to be understanding, loving when you want to be yelling and accepting of each others flaws. Marriage is so tough, it really is. It’s something you have to work at every single day. It’s a partnership that requires participation from both parties. Of course there are times when one person is giving more effort than the other, but that’s when you go the extra mile. That’s when you comfort instead of criticize, love instead of leave and really be a partner instead of a pessimist.

The balance of wife, motherhood and work is challenging. I am constantly finding myself in an internal battle of how to manage and at times, an external battle with those I love most. I think the best way to be a partner in your marriage is to just be there. Be present. Put down the phones, share a meal together, have a date night (even if it’s in your own home!) and communicate. The biggest fights can sometimes come from miscommunication. Men and women have different roles in marriage but the common ground begins with love. After all, isn’t that what brought you two together in the first place? You fell in love. You saw this person over time as someone you can truly spend the rest of your life with. You got engaged, you got married and along that way maybe you’ve had a few kids (and pets!). But the one thing that should never change is your love.

Be the kind of partner you want your spouse to be. And never, ever ever give up. You took the vows and you made the promises. You are a team…so partner up and enjoy the ride!

What is This World Coming To?

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I don’t watch the news. I don’t really read it either. As a journalism major, it doesn’t even pain me to say this. I can’t stand the news. I really can’t. I’m tired of all the violence, depressing stories and celebrity crap no one really cares about (actually a lot of people do because it’s so overwhelming covered).

Sure, maybe some people will say I’m naive (or maybe even stupid) or how can I stay up-to-date on current events but here’s my reply: one, sticks and stones (hopefully you can finish the rest) and two, I stay current on what I need to. Ebola? Yes. I watched and I read. Measles? You bet.

But there are some things I draw the line with. Do I want to hear about some lunatic that killed his entire family and now wants to plead insanity? NO! Do I want to hear about another that put her child in the microwave? NO! Or one who killed two of her kids and put them in the freezer? NO! It sickens me. It really, really does. When it comes to children I can’t handle it, I really can’t. What is this world coming to? What is wrong with people?

I am not here to judge, that is not my job, but it pains me what people do. Why can’t they get the help they need before they commit these terrible crimes? Are their symptoms going completely unnoticed? Do they just snap one day? What is it? The questions rack my brain as I hear about these stories. I recently watched a video that went viral regarding two parents abusing their children (if you haven’t seen it, click here, but be warned it’s brutal). The sister of the mom actually filmed it. I cried. I hugged my baby extra tight that day. Why? These children are innocent. Why? (side note: the parents in that video aren’t being charged yet for child abuse because there isn’t enough evidence…what?!)

I wish I had answers, I wish someone did. But what I do know is this is the reason I don’t watch the news and don’t read about it either. I can’t stomach it. And when I do find myself caught on something (I intently followed the Laci Peterson story in college), I can’t stop. I keep reading, searching and wanting to know the latest updates. As a mom now, I can’t do it. I can’t follow these stories. It’s too heartbreaking.

I pray for justice, I really do, but I also pray for these people. No child deserves this…ever. But there has to be something seriously wrong with these people. I can’t fathom anyone mentally stable doing these types of horrific crimes. There has to be an internal struggle they are dealing with.

I still have hope for the world. I hope that people stop killing and find a way to deal with their issues in a healthy manner. In the end, good will triumph over evil…we just have to continue to hope and pray. So the next time you’re tired of, fed up, frustrated and angry with your kids, try to focus on how much you love them. Children are a blessing to be loved for, protected and cherished no matter what…let us continue to hope that even in the toughest times, parents always remember that.