Confessions of a Middleagedmom

surviving motherhood in the “middle ages”

What My Mother Taught Me About Integrity September 5, 2009

(Note: This post was supposed to be published yesterday.)

This morning I happened to be watching a The Early Show about a woman who lied on her resume to get a job. She was not a college graduate but she said she was. Although she probably had a “good” reason for lying (threats that she would lose custody of her daughter), she didn’t think of the consequences. In fact, she said she tried to forget about it. She ended up losing a marriage and her job at a bank. To this day she claims that her loss of integrity really affected her. She says that she is still working on getting her integrity back.

She says (about lying to get a job):

“You’ll lose your integrity, you’ll lose friends, god forbid family along the way,” she said. “You’ll always have an Achilles heel that you can be taken down at any moment and no one wants to live like that.”

So what is integrity?

According to the online dictionary:

Integrity means “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.”

I attribute much of my integrity to my mother. As a child, I remember my mother being almost ultra-aware of doing what is right vs. doing what is wrong. She constantly reminded us to do the “right” thing. I don’t remember her teaching of integrity as being enforced by discipline as much as being taught through example. She never said that if we lie or cheat we would get in trouble. Or if we lie and cheat, we would go to hell. I think her argument always centered around the idea that we shouldn’t treat others badly, esp. because we wouldn’t like it if someone treated us badly.

These morals and ethics were not a product of her belief in God. You see, when I was a child, we did not attend Church. God was not really present in our lives. Even so, my mother would let us study with our aunt who was a Jehovah’s Witness. I never really asked her why. I think at the time she thought it would be good for us.

If you ask her today, she will probably say that her sense of moral and ethical code came from her attendance at Sunday school with a girlfriend when she was a child.

One of the clearest examples that is burned into my memory is her insistence that we never lie about our age to get an advantage. For example, if we were paying admission to some place we would never be encouraged or allowed to lie about our age in order to get a discount.

Another example is her insistence that we never take advantage of a situation where we might profit from someone else’s loss. IRL…if we ever were undercharged at a grocery store or given extra change, we would always go back to the store to return the change or pay the correct amount for out items.

She also taught us to never belittle or make fun of someone who was less fortunate than us. We should always try to treat people with respect and dignity. I think that probably came from personal experience since my mother has been disabled for many year by a debilitating disease.

To this day, I still adhere to these same ethics and morals.  I won’t lie to take advantage of a situation. I discourage others from doing the same thing, esp. mothers trying to get discounts based on their children’s ages. I also don’t believe in taking something that doesn’t belong to you (stealing?). Prior to Princess’s birth, friends told us we should take the receiving blanket that they used at the hospital because it was perfect for swaddling. After her birth, we asked hospital personnel if we could take the blanket home. They said, “no”. So we did not take the blanket or anything else (the little shirt) that they said had to stay.

I could never understand how people could be happy when they got away with some kind of financial gain at someone else’s expense. I remember once when a girlfriend of mine said she paid X amount for something and I informed her that it was the wrong price. She was excited that she got a deal even if it was by mistake. She did not feel any sense of remorse or did not feel that she should correct the situation.

I”m not saying that I’m perfect. I’m far from it…as evidenced by numerous posts on this blog. I’m not trying to stand on my soapbox and preach to anyone else either. I’m sure I’ve made ignorant mistakes too. But, if I am aware of something then I can not claim ignorance.

So, I try my very best to have integrity in all situations. I hope that as a parent I can teach the same lessons about integrity that my mother taught me. If they at least learn how to live with integrity, I think it will help guide them throughout life and make them proud of themselves. I know that I will definitely be proud of them.

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Letting Go is Hard to Do August 27, 2009

Filed under: children,family,life lessons,moms,preschool — middleagedmom @ 3:15 pm
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As a parent, I often struggle with the idea of “letting go” of my children. Remember I’m the overprotective mommy.

When Princess started preschool, it was difficult to let her go. I was worried about her being by herself  in a new environment. I was worried about how she would make her needs known to a teacher who didn’t really know her. I was worried about how she would “get along” with other children. I was worried about her eating lunch and taking a nap at school. Let’s face it. I was worried about everything.

As it turned out, her preschool had a great transition period. It not only made it easier for Princess on the first official day of preschool but it helped me alleviate a lot of the fears that I was carrying around.

Just think in just about a year, my little Princess will be starting Kindergarten. As far as I know, there really isn’t a transition period for Kindergarten. Okay, maybe a half day or so in the first week so that the students can get tested, so I hear. I know that it will be a huge step towards growing up for Princess and for me.

If you’re like me in this struggle to “let go” of your child, you may enjoy this letter written by a mom to her son on his first day of Kindergarten. It was so heart warming and brought a tear to my eye.

This was one of my favorite parts:

Once I expressed my own hesitations about school to a teacher acquaintance. Her advice stuck with me: The hardest part of releasing you to elementary school — or any new experience — is realizing that I must give you up to the less-than-perfect world that awaits you.

 I don’t think it gets easier as the grow older and transition to different phases of their lives. I know that I’ll probably always struggle with the idea of “letting go” of my girls. I also know that writing a letter like this and putting it into their Letter Box will not only help them but it will help me let go. (See my previous post about the Letter Box.)

 

Gosselin Hope in God June 22, 2009

Filed under: children,Christianity,dad,family,life lessons,moms — middleagedmom @ 10:22 pm
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Update: TLC has suspended filming the series until August. I hope that God uses that time for healing.

Yep, I’m adding in my 2 cents. Forget the money talk.

I’m saddened by the news of Jon & Kate’s decision.

I already had a feeling that the big D word was around the corner. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that one of them said that divorce was not an option or something to that effect?

I am disappointed.

The thing that really strikes me as amazing is that I haven’t heard the word “God” come out of their mouths in recent months. Why? What happened to their belief in the power of prayer?

I remember when Kate was going in for her plastic surgery and Jon prayed for her before the surgery. I was happy to see that they made prayer a priority. I remember how they mentioned that the time the spent together after the surgery was good for their relationship. Communication was the key. I also remember when they went to California to give their testimony at a church. Remember their vow renewal in Hawaii?

So what happened to God in all of this?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the image of a triangle in reference to marriage. Imagine an isosceles triangle with you at one point on the bottom and your spouse at the other point on the bottom. God is at the top point.  As you and your spouse move closer to God (meaning you follow the line up to God) you move closer to each other. If you only move closer to your spouse (you move from your point across to your spouse) then God gets lost in the marriage.

Somehow God got lost in the picture. The one thing I do believe is that God wants the best for marriages, even Jon & Kate’s marriage. I believe that God wants the best for those children too.

If we remember that God is first in our lives, then we remember what is important in our lives.

(Proverbs 3:5-6 ) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

What My Mother Taught Me About The Golden Rule June 19, 2009

Filed under: childhood,Christianity,family,life lessons,moms — middleagedmom @ 5:26 pm
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The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

My mother claims that she learned about The Golden Rule after she attended Vacation Bible School as a child with 2 of her neighbors. 

As a child, I can still remember my mother telling us that we should always treat people the way we want to be treated. She would often remind us that we should be respectful to people who were different from us or who were less fortunate than us. I can remember when she would tell us not to laugh or stare at someone if they “talked funny” or “walked funny”.  Of course, that probably happened more often than she wished, especially since young children are always laughing at things or saying inappropriate things (due to their age not their ignorance).

I think much of this belief in The Golden Rule comes from my mother’s disability too. My mother became disabled with an auto-immune disease when I was a young child. She was unable to work most of the time. She would often need assistance to do simple tasks. Having a disability gives you a different perspective on life and on people.

This belief was passed on to me by my mother.

Just last night I was having a conversation with one of my cousins. She happened to be hanging out with on of her friends when I called her. We somehow got on the topic of things that she does not like. Her friend answers the question with this response, “We don’t like __________.” (Fill in the blank with an ethnicity. I will NOT print the actual word used by them.) After the response, they started giggling. I was FURIOUS! I told them that I was not laughing and that the response was inappropriate. They claimed that they were joking.

Believe me, I would never say anything like that about another person’s ethnicity or ethnic group even if it were a joke.  I would not expect anyone in my family to make a comment like that. Not only did I feel the comment was inappropriate, I felt it was just plain wrong. One of the things that irritated me was that we have friends (close friends) that are of that particular ethnic heritage. My cousin also knows some of these people. Yes, I know that you’re thinking it’s just downright prejudice. I agree.

I hate to say it but it really is a reflection on their parents. Those kinds of views are passed down by parents to children.  When children are younger, they don’t dislike anyone based on age, race, religion, disability, or economic status. Let’s face it…children like all other children when they’re playing. Okay, maybe not the bully who cuts in front of them. The reason why children grow up to be young adults who make inappropriate comments about other people based on their race is because that’s what they lived at home.

It’s true what they say, “Children live what they learn.”

I will be having a conversation with my cousin very soon. I blame some of it on immaturity but most of it on ignorance.

I am grateful that my mother raised me to live The Golden Rule. I may not always get it right, but I sure do try. I hope I can do the same for my children.

 

My Mother’s Daughter June 16, 2009

Filed under: childhood,children,dad,family,life lessons,moms — middleagedmom @ 3:51 pm
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I am my mother’s daughter.

I remember when I was a young child my mother would always say how I was so different than she was at my age.

When my mother was a child, she was a bookworm. She loved reading and would devour books. She would tell me stories of her father calling her for dinner and getting mad because she was so caught up in her books. This trend lasted well into young adulthood. My mother would also refer to herself as more of a “tom boy” than a girlie girl. She was not really concerned with beauty products or anything fashionable.

As for me, I have always been a girlie girl. When I was a child, I never wanted to do anything remotely rough or dangerous. Why? Well, because I never wanted to get scars on my legs. (I know you’re laughing now!) I remember once when I was in elementary school. My girlfriend had a new bike and she wanted to pack me on the back of the bike. My grandparent’s home was on a slight hill so she wanted us to go down the hill together. We did. Of course we fell at the bottom of the hill. My girlfriend landed first and got a huge cut on her shin. I landed after her and partially on top of her and I was not hurt at all. I was so relieved.  It’s not that I didn’t participate in the usual childhood activities (bike riding, skateboarding, etc.) but I was always careful not to get hurt. In fact the first and only scar I have on my leg is from an accident I had at a dance club in New Zealand.

I was also into beauty and fashion at a young age. I always wanted my nails polished and long.  I always wanted fashionable clothes and shoes. When I got into 7th grade, I couldn’t wait to pluck my eyebrows and wear make-up. In those days, elementary school went up to 6th grade and that was too young to wear make-up.  To this day I still enjoy shopping for clothes, shoes, and purses. (Note: Even if I enjoy shopping, I rarely do it these days.) When I was a young adult, one of my earliest jobs was at a major department store in the cosmetic department.

Besides these obvious differences, I remember saying to myself, “I will not be like my mother.” As a teenager, you can’t stand how your parents do things. For example, my mother liked us to fold the towels a certain way and then to rotate them putting the newly washed ones under or in back of the the older ones. I used to hate to have to do that because I thought it was just so much work. The same would go for groceries. My brother and I were in charge of unloading the groceries from the car and putting them away in the pantry. I hated that job! Why? Because I had to rotate the canned goods too!

One of the most frequently heard lines from my mother was, “If you do something, do it well the first time so that you don’t have to do it again.” Ugh! When you’re a teenager/young adult, you don’t want to  hear stuff  like that. Franky, it irritates the heck out of you because you think that you know everything and you’re just a lazy person who wants to have fun.

The funny thing is that I have become my mother. All those “rules” and “expectations” have been ingrained into my wiring. I find myself doing exactly the same things that my mother expected us to do. I fold the towels the same way and rotate them. I get irritated when Mr. MaD uses the newly washed towel instead of the older on. I even expect him to do the same thing if he happens to put laundry away. I even hear myself saying the same things. Scary, huh?

It’s uncanny how much your parents influence your life. Even if you think that you will be different, you somehow find your way back to the childhood you grew up with. Don’t get me wrong. My mother taught me great lessons. I have only come to appreciate them as an older adult and a mother.

So, thanks Mom for all that you’ve taught me. Even if I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I appreciate it now.

I have to wonder how my 2 little girls will be when they get older. Remember Mr. MaD mentioned that Baby is just like me because she likes to grumble. Hee, hee, hee, is that a sign of things to come?

 

Parking Privilege? June 4, 2009

Filed under: children,family,life lessons,random thoughts — middleagedmom @ 3:54 pm
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I happened to park near this car at the mall.

parking1

Notice the left side of the car?

parking2

Now here’s the right side of the car.

I think it was a Land Rover.

Yes, this person somehow believed he/she had the right to take up 2 parking spaces in the parking lot.  Not to mention that these stalls were in the shaded area of the mall. Is that some parking privilege or what?

I wonder why people feel they have a right to take up more than one parking space. Don’t they ever think that someone else might want/need that parking space? Do they think that  their car is so precious?

Is this an example of the “ME” generation? I’d say it is a good example. It surely doesn’t demonstrate consideration for others.  Frankly, it saddens me to see people  whose actions are inconsiderate of others. I didn’t say that the person was inconsiderate but their actions were.

I hope when my girls grow up they will be considerate of other people. I hope and pray that they don’t get caught up in the “ME” mentality. Instead, I hope they always think of others before themselves. I hope they are kind, considerate, and compassionate.