ARG!!!!!! I’m SO MAD!
I can’t even type right now.
Motherhood is a challenge at all angles. But the biggest challenge is in not wanting to DESTROY your children when they pull one over on you–or WORSE: Their teachers.
DAMMIT! Click on the link to watch this go down…and I have a FEELING, this is only the beginning.
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It’s been awhile since I first posted that the kids were going for so called make-overs. As could have been anticipated, the girls new hair styles were a great success all around. Em and Milla enthusiastically embraced the new looks, and everything that went with a grown up hair salon.
I’m not like this usually, but I’m glad I called the salon and scheduled the redo right on the heels of yesterdays mess-up. If any more time had passed, I’m sure I would’ve let it slide. The bonus? We got to spend a few extra hours hanging out and having a sort of inadvertent mom/son time together. And we realized on the spot that neither of us could remember the last time we just hung out, just the two of us.
So Called Mom
I’m a believer that when you look good, you feel good. And looking good involves a good hair style and make-up. It may not be the most ardently feminist position I could take, but it’s always worked for me. (frankly, this is not just for girls, but the teenage boy seems to be more generally resistant). And looking good doesn’t have to mean looking like everyone else or that you have to be classically beautiful. In fact, it shouldn’t. Sure, that girl is pretty. But how about you? There is no need to look like anyone else, as that look is already taken. I believe you can be yourself and still be fabulous.
Hence, the make-over lesson. Which in my definition means more than just a hair and clothes overhaul, but also self-care which starts with skin and make-up. One thing you can be sure of, if you don’t teach this stuff, the internet will. And that usually doesn’t end well, with some pretty caked on versions of so-called contouring.
So far it looks like only one of my four girls is ready to start this conversation, even though technically Milla and Em are the same age. Milla has already decided, I look good enough without makeup, thanks anyway. And she may forever be that person, content with who she is. The other two girls are still too young.
But Em and I are going to play. (added value is a great bonding opportunity!)
Next up: A Good Haircut and Shopping Spree!
Your Sophisticated Lady,
Time for an update on the whole Internet Predator/Milla Debacle.
I can’t believe it, but Milla is already showing drastic improvement; and it’s been only a week since we discovered the issue. I was convinced Milla was traumatized beyond repair and that she would need several therapy sessions to help her process what happened. But literally pulling the plug on screen use has proven to be worth it’s weight in gold. The bulk of the issue was too much freedom—too much running wild, completely unleashed in the internet jungle. And so reeling it in has just about resolved the problem on it’s own.
She’s like a whole new kid.
And it feels like she’s happier than before. She has a sense of humor, is less irritable and even comes to check in with me throughout the day and night, wherever I am in the house. I love this!
Of course counseling will still be in the picture—I believe in giving all of my kids an opportunity to seek help with a professional—and having complete confidentiality. They can pour their hearts out one session at a time and gain an understanding about themselves in a way that I cannot teach. Milla will be able to learn some meaningful tools to help her cope in a busy world—with someone she trusts. I only wish I stepped in sooner to offer this.
I’ve also been policing her viewing history as I religiously collect both her iPhone and iPad every evening. She knows I look through it—the transparency has us trusting each other more. And she agrees that the freedom she has is enough and understands the freedom she had before was far too much. I should’ve been doing this from day one, but I’m glad I have a much better understanding now.
I randomly told the story to my doctor yesterday and she said that another patient of hers confessed to learning how to cut herself online—simply from being exposed to it as an option for self expression or anxiety relief.
We have to protect our kids better than this, I said.
Kids are so impressionable. Too much independence could easily yield a dangerous situation. When they become teens, everything rides on that edge of you can’t tell me what to do, you really don’t know anything at all. They seek other meaning—oftentimes opposite what you have told them. But this doesn’t mean Milla doesn’t need me anymore—it means she needs me now more than ever. I have come to understand this sort of backwards rationale.
Even though there is nothing more precious to me than my kids’ innocence and security, this So Called Mom has also been careless with it. I see it clearly now that Milla has directly experienced my lackadaisical approach to the online world. Consequently, ignorance is not bliss— it’s hazardous. Parenting teens means patrolling them too. Especially with their online usage—otherwise it’s all out of sight, out of mind.
If something is amiss, we need to ask ourselves, what is it they are not getting and how do I fulfill that need?
I understand this is a challenge—all moms are busy. There’s a lot that is demanded of us these days. But we need to engage, to stay involved and lean into it. Because what we don’t know will hurt us. We need to see the apps they have, the profiles they’re creating, the viewing history. We need to ultimately talk about the scary world they are navigating, and talk about it often. Even if we are afraid of what we’ll find, we need to stay connected and stay close by.
Surveillance on High,
So Called Mom