How to Parent a Budding Adult

Last Friday I posted something about my most recent frustration with my oldest.  Jake  skipped his mandatory advanced placement biology exam. When he got home, he met my wrath, which resulted in my giving him the silent treatment for the rest of the weekend.
But, as the eternal optimist, I do believe these moments allow relationships to become 10x stronger than they were before.
By Sunday, we finally sat down to talk, and the conversation was straightforward and simple.  We were both visibly upset—at ourselves and at each other. I lamented that I felt I had babied him his entire life, which resulted in his not being able to do for himself at anything – not even sitting for a damn exam.  He admitted he hated my pushing him constantly to do things he didn’t/doesn’t want to do.
I told him welcome to real life; we sometimes do things we don’t want to, because it helps us later. Overcoming difficult – or challenging experiences is the fuel for more trying times, and the strength to persevere.   And the trying times are always going to be there.
But that’s the boring stuff.
What came next was the icing on the cake—the crowning jewel on my ever developing relationship with a child that is really no longer a child anymore—but just about an adult.
At the end of our discussion he said: I’m really sorry I disappointed you.
And I blurted: I’m glad you did.
I paused for moment before finishing, because I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to say at first.
I’m glad you did. Because believe it or not, it is your job at this point in your life to disappoint me. Just like it’s my job to let you down, or watch you struggle. That is life. I have to push you, you have to push back. This is how the world works.
It all seemed so simple, and suddenly what happened Friday felt not only unavoidable but absolutely necessary. I’m always discovering and rediscovering different parts of parenting with him—likely because he’s my oldest. I had him when I was so young, at 22 years old—when the rest of my friends were still going to frat parties and scoring internships. We were both inexperienced and I’ve always cringed at the fact that I am learning how to parent using Jake as an example. I’ve made all the mistakes on him. So, the first kid should be disposable? I’m not so sure, because I wouldn’t ask for a do-over on any of these experiences, tough as they are.
So-Called Mom
So then, it’s fair to say we’ve been learning along side each other for almost two decades. Which means the Biology blunder on Friday was a part of his growing up. And that it’s possible that the sting I felt was really just my own growing pains in letting go.
Still Learning,
So-Called Mom

My So-Called Friends

My last post was about my kids making friends, so it only feels natural to talk about how I’m making new friends too. Even though I should be on the lookout for some mom friends in our new suburban neighborhood, I’m actually not quite there yet. I’m not talking about face to face friends; my new pals have come via social media and my So-Called Mom message that I post out on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Youtube and the blog itself.  When I started this a few months ago, I really had no expectations that anyone would follow me, much less respond.  The happy discovery is that I’m not alone in my insane life as a mom, who’s just figuring it out day by day and most of the time, rowing with one oar.  I’m finding myself in a daily dialogue with people I’ve never met, and slowly developing an unexpected and yet totally satisfying relationship with many of them.
so-called mom
Of course I’ll still always have my crazy girl group that I usually have a few too many cocktails with, albeit few and far between. But there is something magically honest (and somewhat addictive) about making friends with people who have watched you bawling in an empty tub with your clothes still on AND delivering a baby in a luxury hotel, and still want to converse with you.
One local mom reached out over the weekend and asked me out for coffee; another invited me to join her “mamapreneur” group; and of course, those invaluable moms that cheer me on and cheer me up: it’s all going to be OK, So-Called Mom—You got this! One asked where I was from: Portland, I said. And her response: I take it that means USA? How very So-Called American of me to assume she knew it was. I made a Craigslist joke, and she didn’t get it.  We don’t have Craigslist here. Apparently, my so-called humor doesn’t translate as well as my So-Called Mom breakdowns do.
One mom asked me what the purpose of my blog was. I had to think about this, but I now know the answer: I just want to be relatable. I told her. That seemed like a good enough answer for the both of us.
so-called mom
In some strange way, I’m realizing that much of this interaction gets to the heart of what friendship means.  And while I have certainly cursed the internet’s influence on my teens – and certainly see its dark side-  I’m seeing the flip side of its allure:  the honesty, the immediacy, the connections – the authenticity that social media invites.
I am discovering something about myself in this online mom blogging world: I love connecting with other moms. I don’t mind hearing I’m doing an OK job at momhood, and I also don’t mind hearing I’m doing it wrong. I’m not a women who needs to be told what she wants to hear. It keeps me real, both with myself and with my kids. It’s OK to fuck it all up and still wake up the next day and give it another go. Why the hell not? None of us is perfect. Knowing this alone makes me feel like I can take on the world.
Hitting it off,
So-Called Mom

Me Time Part 2: Stay in Shape

The toughest thing about being a mom – or at least the thing that my friends and I complain most about – is staying in shape. There’s no time; it’s too hard to get to the gym or yoga studio – or I waste money because I never go; there’s no privacy. I’m here to argue that it’s so important for your sanity, that you need to make time. It’s not an option to do nothing. What follows is my simple fix.

I have four things I try to rotate on a regular basis (and I’m not suggesting you try all four, but just for options):  yoga, dance, strength training, and things for flexibility or stretching.

My rule of thumb is simplify!  I do most of my exercises in my bedroom. I wear as little as possible (so I can see my muscles at work), add some music and let it rip. It is me time with the aim of being disrupted as little as possible.  Of course, this rarely happens, but as we say in yoga, it helps me to stay “On the mat” – which means stay focused.  I used to stop what I was doing when they burst through the door, but I have learned to keep going and they either camp out on my bed and watch or even join in.

 

I use a blank wall for balance exercises and my dresser like a ballet barre, and the small space around my bed for everything else. Sometimes I focus on resistance training basics – you know, those exercises we all used to hate (and still do!)—I do as many sit-ups as my abs can handle, 10 pushups and about 120 leg lifts and lunges on each side. We have a pull up bar installed in our bedroom doorway, and I do 6 pull ups.  Of course, butt exercises are a must.

Always push yourself – easy to say; hard to do. But try to always increase the reps.  When you do pushups, start with ten and add one more every other day.   The same for plies and planks and any other exercise in your routine. Mix it up.  And most importantly, breathe. If you are holding a difficult pose, picture it as one of life’s challenges.  Picture the air intake enveloping the muscle group you’re working on and use it to breathe out as a stronger woman.

Remember to use your workout time as your time. Let your kids see you taking care of yourself, there is no need to hide behind a locked door or stow them in childcare at the gym all the time. My kids see me dance in the kitchen when I’m putting dishes away. I read vogue while sitting in pigeon pose. When you integrate simple activity like this into your daily routine, and stagger it throughout the day, you give your metabolism and mood a boost. And, you don’t let a lack of time (or money) be your only excuse to getting the strength and endurance you want to feel great.

At the very end of the day, unwind in a tub of epsom salts, stretch out and massage your sore muscles in the warm water. You’re worth it after all!

Your Simple Fitness Guru,

So Called Mom

Using Dinner to Stay in Your Kids Lives VLOG

Hi there!

Here’s a sweet mini-VLOG for today on what our busy blended family does to stay connected with one another.

If you have other tips and tricks to add, please share in the comments below, I’m always open to trying out your ideas.

Thanks and don’t forget to subscribe!

So Called Mom