Motherhood, middle-age and marriage. Insights, stories, tips, and musings on the joys and challenges of motherhood and marriage in middle age. Experience and reflections of a career woman with two teenage kids and a loving husband.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Raising Teens in a Recession

Raising teens is challenging enough but if you have kids in their mid or late teens the current recession adds additional challenge. While they are aware of the recession they still grew up mostly in a time of entitlement. While I always tried to instill the value of money and hard work this was a generation that did not grow up with the same values that I did -- and it was a challenge. Now that the economy has been totally turned upside down these kids don't have the luxury of entitlement. In some ways I think it is for the better but it is a pretty severe mindshift that has to happen.

I find that it is easier with my one kid who has always had a bit more of a healthy work ethic to begin with then the other. But communicating the reality of the economy and what it means to them without igniting anxious concern is a delicate balance.

We all want our kids to be happy but the world they are entering after high school and college is not the same. Although when I graduated the state of unemployment was about the same as it is now. So at least I have some practical insight and experience to share with my kids as I try to get them succeed and be happy in the "new" economy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Proud MoMMa

This week was a banner week for me and MoMMa pride. My son, who is incredibly talented, clever, handsome and charming (no really, he is) is not a great student. He took the initiative however to take two summer classes at a local college and got a B+ and an A. Sharing that triumph with him was pure joy...

...and my daughter...well I got a report from her drum teacher that she is a natural drummer if he has ever seen one! She was amazing at her recital - she did the arrangements and everything. She really, really loves it...and when she sits down at those drum the whole world smiles with her. Truly.

As much as our children may frustrate us sometimes, these are the moments we cherish...aren't they?

What proud MoMMa moments have you had recently?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is Overnight Camp a Good Thing?

Well, I shipped my daughter off to camp a couple of weeks ago. She tells me she is having an awesome time. And I know she is. She loves overnight camp and has been going for 6 years now. I never thought about it as "getting rid of her" or free time for me or my husband...but when I listen to other parents it seems that some of them do think of it that way. And in the reverse, one parent at a recent house party was saying that she would never send her daughter away to camp. She thought that it was her parental responsibility to keep her at home and that parents who sent their kids to camp...well she implied that maybe they shouldn't have kids??

Now, she never went to camp herself so maybe she doesn't understand the kind of experience it is. I did and I loved it. Or maybe overnight camp is really not a good choice for her kids. For me, as a kid, it was a major influence on my personal development and socialization. I have vivid, wonderful memories of it and I wanted to bring that to my kids...but only if it seemed right for them. My son went to day camp a few years but never to overnight camp. It wasn't right for him. But my daughter is another story and I know that camp is a vital part of her life. This is her last year and while I know she is somewhat sad about that, she is also ready to move on to different adventures.

If you are truly focused on your children, their needs, personality and not your needs as a parent, you have the best chance at creating life experiences, including camp that are right... I think....but let's face it even parents with the best intentions don't always make the right decisions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Get a Summer Job!

Kids in college and those graduating this year have never had the challenge of finding a job in an economy even close to our current recession. I graduated college in 1983 and the job market was about as depressed as it is now. But this generation is woefully unprepared. I remember that I had to take around 7 different jobs and only one of them even paid anything and it was for a weekly paper, $25 an article.

So everytime I bark, "Get a job" to my 19 year old, I feel a bit like I am sending him out on an impossible mission. Or at least one that doesn't have great potential for success. One that he is certainly not prepared for. So we are looking at other alternatives. The goal is to do "something" that enriches his life experience and himself in some way shape or form. Like summer classes or volunteering for a few non-profits.

A friend of mine with a kid graduating told him to take advantage of this time, to look at it as an opportunity; travel, do something that you ordinarily wouldn't do but that will enhance your life experience.

What other options are there? How can we best calibrate our kids who grew up in a time of entitlement when the world has shifted so dramatically. Many of us with college age kids have struggled with this generation to begin with, so now maybe our life experience has some more relevance to our kids...but will they listen?

Monday, April 6, 2009

When you Bark - Mean it!

The clean your room saga continued...and I made her cry. She never cries. But you know something I did worked. I think it was mostly I just stuck to it and didn't budge. She wanted to do a surprise birthday party for her friend. Great idea! Loved it! But I told her no party and she wasn't going out unless...she cleaned her room and it had to be done by Friday night.

Friday night comes and she asks to go out. I told her no, her room wasn't uh, straightened up. She went through all the different arguments that I have heard before and then she tried a new one. She started sobbing. I didn't budge. And guess what, her room got cleaned. She ended up staying home all night but she did it. And not only that but the next day she was open, we talked about it, how each of us

When you "Bark"...mean it. Good things can happen.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I am a sucker. Particularly when it comes to music and my daughter. Oh yeah, and I have had many sucker moments for my son too. But when there is something they really love, when it brings that high voltage smile to their faces and the -- thanks mom. I just can't resist.

So I bought the ukelele and I said we could do a surprise party for her friend but I also said only if you..."bark" - yep I said it -- clean your room...or uh organize your room - actually I didn't say it. Why? Because she said that when I keep telling her it makes her want to not do it. So I said, okay we can have the party and so forth but only if you do the thing that you don't want me to tell you to do...

We will see how that goes....she has until tomorrow. And the saga continues....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Clean your Room!

OMG! I can't believe it. Yes, I feel like I am constantly barking "clean your room". Actually I changed it to straighten your room or organize your room cause my daughter once gave me the argument that she is really not "cleaning" her room, that would be different like doing the floors or something. I have tried almost every logical and illogical discussion to get her to "straighten her room". So far, nothing has worked really well.

I tried - you will be able to find your things. She is always losing or misplacing things.
I tried - it is respectful. You have to respect your things.
I tried - we all have some responsibility and this is your responsibility.
I tried - bribing.
I came really close with what I call the "You want, I want" mantra. Basically, when she says that she wants something, I say I want something too. You want an iPod, I want you to straighten your room. And so on. It is difficult to argue with this logic but it only works sometimes and her room is still a mess.

She says things like - it's my room and I should be able to have it the way I like it. I like it this way -- all the things that ....gulp...I said too!!

One time, my parents were going out and my dad told me to clean up my room and he expected me to do it by the time he came back. When they came back, I was already sleeping. My dad came into my room and saw that...uh...I hadn't cleaned my room. Well, he lifted me out of the bed and dropped me to the floor and told me to clean my room. I never forgot that but I don't think it really helped to motivate me to clean my room!

It's amazing though how we as parents even in this generation and time still have the same issues with our kids that our parents had with us. Isn't it time we figured this stuff out? What is it with kids of any and every generation with cleaning or, uh, straightening their rooms....