Toddler tantrums and an entitled society

 

A celeb went viral a few months ago for a post he made about parenting. In it, you could see his 4 year old throwing a fit at the store and he was letting her work through it. Rather than forcing her to do anything, he was just letting her work through her feelings so they could move on.

There were cries of outrage and there were screams of joy that someone was parenting in this way.

The outrage came from people who feel as though letting your child throw a fit creates an entitled child. They feel that the kid needs to get up and do exactly what the parent wants and behave in public or they’re going to get in trouble. Many people cited spanking as a means to an end to get a kid to listen and commented that the people who were in favor of letting their kid behave in this way were attachment, crunchy parents – and they meant that as a derogatory term.

I disagree for many, many reasons and I am not a crunchy mom.

Think back to the last time you were super mad about something. If someone walked up to you, picked you up or tried to hug you and tell you to get over it, how would that feel? I bet you $10 you wouldn’t get over it. I bet you $20 you’d get madder and I bet you $30 you’d react or at least consider reacting and try to distance yourself from that person.

Why do you expect something different from the least rational human beings on the planet? Toddlers and younger kids have complex needs that they don’t even begin to understand. Toddlers especially cannot even tell you what they need in some cases. Can you imagine how difficult it must be living in a body that desperately needs something, but can’t explain exactly what they want? Can you imagine how hard it must be to get told no so frequently? These are the lives toddlers live.

And if you think I’m someone that thinks a kid should be allowed to roam and do as they please, you’re also inaccurate and you’ve misjudged me.

Kids do need to listen, but we need to have realistic expectations for their age group. I do not expect my 2 year old to know how to sit through a full 1-1.5 hour dinner. I can barely sit still that long. I do not get mad at her when she tries to get down. Do I make her try to sit? Yes. Do I sometimes get up and walk with her? Yes. She has limits. She is learning.

I do not think that if you child throws a fit you should give into said fit. THAT breeds entitlement. The notion that if I throw a fit and cry hard enough my mom will toss me that popsicle because she just wants me to shut up is definitely something I’d continue to employ as a means to an end if it was successful. Heck yes.

But that’s not what this dad was doing. This dad said no to something. Their kid got worked up about it. They let her work through those feelings. They didn’t give her what she wanted, they just let her throw her fit, get it out of her system and then moved on. I parent similarly.

If Elle wants something and it’s not appropriate – like candy, I tell her no. When she melts down and throws a fit, I ignore her to the best of my abilities. I tell her to let me know when she’s doing with her feelings and then we can play together again. She works through her feelings. She periodically even looks up at me to see if I am paying attention and I do my best to avoid eye contact. I make sure she’s safe and can’t hurt herself and I carry on with my day.

When’s the last time you did something over and over again with no reward? Conditioning teaches you if something is or isn’t worth your effort. No means no in my house. It means you’re not getting that and no amount of kicking and screaming is going to make it happen for you. Sorry bout it. Eventually, when she realizes that her tantrums are just that – tantrums, she will stop. She will stop crying and whining and she will start doing things that do result in rewards. It’s a basic notion really, but it’s very complex.

I agree with the dad in the supermarket on so many levels. Nobody is more frustrated about a situation like that – it’s super embarrassing. What would also be embarrassing is watching her grow up assuming she can be a giant pain in the butt and get her way. It would be embarrassing to know that she thinks she deserves these handouts in the world and that we’re going to give them to her if she raises enough hell. THAT is embarrassing. I can explain a 2 year old throwing a fit. I can’t explain a 15 year old that thinks she deserves everything and doesn’t want to put effort in. That’s when I’ll feel like a failure. Until then, my house may be a little louder occasionally, but shhh, we’re teaching some serious life lessons over here.

Please stop talking down to me because I’m young

I know, you’re older than me. So is everyone else.

I also know you have more experience than me (in some areas, I would argue not all areas). I appreciate your experiences. I value your perspective. What prevents you from valuing mine?

My age in my office is a running joke. It’s a running joke because frankly, I am pretty young. I play into it also, and remind people I am basically a toddler compared to some of them. I am fortunate that my age has nothing to do with my respect level around many of my peers and all of this is in jest. When I walk into a room, I expect to have to earn respect. That door swings both ways. I may respect you as a person because inherently, that’s just what I do. I do not respect you professionally just because you’re older than me.

I’m a self-proclaimed old soul. I find I have many more similarities to people that are 10 and 20 years older than I am rather than my own peer group. It’s always been that way. I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve been around (both my age and older) and I’ve just found my personal comfort level to be more similar to people older than myself.

It kills me that I do encounter people that dismiss me because of my age. They see it as a weakness where I leverage it as a strength. I’ve still got the stamina of a 21 year old in college when it comes to studying. I have the benefit of being able to stay up all night and not feel it as bad the next day. Heck, my hangover might not even be as bad, though I can count on one hand how many times I’ve even had a hangover in my entire life (not my jam, y’all).

I’m trying to make moves here. I’m trying to build a name for myself, not just at my company, but in my personal life. I hate it – and I mean for real I hate it – when people preface things with “When I was your age I also thought X item was a big deal” or “You will get over this when you’re older.” Nothing invalidates a person quite as quickly as pointing out that their feelings aren’t worthy or they’re blowing it out of proportion simply because they lack maturity to handle a situation.

Maturity may often come with age, but age does not define maturity. What seems like a big deal to me is oftentimes A BIG DEAL! I’m extremely logical, I don’t react emotionally to nearly anything and I think with my brain, not my heart, not anecdotally, but about the entire big picture (as best as I can see it). I do not need someone telling me that if I was 10 years older, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Maybe it wouldn’t. I don’t know and neither do you. You know what we do know? That your comment didn’t help this situation. I also know that not everyone is like me, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve a level of respect for our opinions and our experiences. Being older doesn’t negate this. It is a fundamental necessity.

Recently, in a friend group on Facebook there was a major falling out. You might roll your eyes here and say that nobody should care that much about the internet, but I bet if you are, it’s because you’re old. Err, I mean, not a member of some tight knit groups on Facebook. I know the age shaming goes both ways (this is my attempt at a joke).

But seriously – a constructive conversation was being had. People were being transparent. They were speaking their minds and expressing their feelings. Then the mamma bear (her words, not mine) came in and said something that was pretty wise, but she prefaced it with “When you’re older…” and then I stopped listening.

When you do something like that it sends a message that because we’re not older, we’re not able to understand or comprehend on the same level as you. That our feelings are invalidated because we’re young. That we shouldn’t be worked up about something that we care about because there are bigger problems in the world and that your experience has given you the opportunity to look DOWN (not back, I said down) on all of us from your high horse and laugh because you think we’re being ridiculous. It’s not constructive, helpful or appreciated. It’s actually the worst. Literally, the worst.

Then there’s the folks that assume you’re not qualified because of your age. They take a look at you and immediately talk down to you because you can’t possibly know more or the same amount about a specific topic. Even if you did, they don’t take you seriously.

Now, I am not for giving things away for free. I earn my respect. I earn the trust of my peers and frankly, I don’t disagree with many of the sentiments of folks older than me. I too think participation trophies are dumb. I also don’t think that people should sponge off their parents and work part-time for the rest of their lives. I value hard work, commitment, dusting yourself off, putting in your time. I get it.  I do disagree with an automatic negation of my thoughts and feelings based on age. I do disagree that I am not as capable of you because I’m only 25 years old. I disagree. If you don’t, I guess you miss out on the opportunity to watch me succeed. That may sound arrogant, but honestly, I am not about to let age keep me from sitting at the table and what I lack in talent I make up for in grit.

If I have to work a little bit harder to prove my points, I will. I do believe people need to put their time in and I am not expecting anyone to hand me anything. They never have so why would today change that? I don’t want a handout. I want you to give me a chance and not look at my face – which looks like it belongs to a 12 year old – and decide off the bat that I am not capable or worthy. I want you to quit saying “those damn Millenials” as if we’re some disease (can I remind you that you raised us and it was your idea to give out participation trophies?). Stop making assumptions and let me show up to work and show you how I work just like the 30+ year olds.

This message has been brought to you by a salty 25 year old that’s just trying to succeed in life.

LOL wanna go vegetarian?

Image result for vegetarian meme

Okay, so I am not vegan, nor did that happen the way the meme implies, I just thought it was funny. 🙂

About 2 weeks ago, I was in the shower and my husband was shaving at the sink next to me and I called out to him “so what do you think about being a vegetarian?”

He laughed. Not just a little, like a full on belly laugh.

we went to breakfast and I ordered a country fried steak and he laughed at me again for my comments earlier.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am now on day 7 of not eating meat. Jokes on…who?

Ryan’s doing okay with the not eating meat thing. He hasn’t been eating it at home because I haven’t been making it and he made an awesome sweet and sour cauliflower meal the other day that we’re sure to have again. He still eats it for lunch and claims he cannot go cold turkey. We shall see what week two looks like. He’s lost 5 pounds. I’ve lost three pounds.

I should say we’re not being staunch about it. We’re still eating eggs and dairy and if something has meat in it (chicken broth, baked beans), we’re not going to turn it away. If Ryan’s mom makes a casserole and it’s got meat in it, we’re going to eat it for dinner.

For us, we’re not making a move like this because of the animals. If you do, I commend you. It’s kind of just maybe an added bonus I suppose? I didn’t watch a documentary and suddenly grow a conscience about what I was eating. I just simply felt like we don’t get a lot of the fruits and vegetables that we otherwise should and I was feeling otherwise uninspired in the kitchen. It was getting tiring continuing to make the same heavy casseroles, meat with a veggie, etc. I wanted to spice it up a bit.

Then I considered the health benefits. A more balanced diet, potentially longer and healthier lives, lower incidences of obesity. The list goes on.

I still wasn’t really sold, per se. I think if you asked me to explain to you why we decided to stop eating meat it would come out much like the word vomit you just read above. Really, I just quit making it and here’s how my week kind of went.

Sunday we said goodbye to our visitors. We did not grocery shop. That made Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday pretty terrible. When I sat down Wednesday and added up how many calories I was eating, I was seriously deficit and it for sure explained why I felt like a giant pile of poop with a  constant headache.

So Wednesday I sat down and I decided to actually try to pre-plan for the rest of the week. I baked 2 spaghetti squash and stuck them in Tupperware for lunches, munches, you name it. I also hard boiled a bunch of eggs for simply snacks when we got hungry. Then I found some vegans and I asked them for food ideas.

Thursday I made a better grocery list and ordered those groceries on Friday. I got us a protein powder for the morning and I also cracked open a bottle of this terrifying stuff called Healthy Skoop. I dumped that in some OJ and to my surprise, I didn’t hate my life. I actually didn’t have a headache right after drinking it and gasp, it didn’t make me gag. I’ve been drinking that since Thursday and I even convinced my best friend to drink it. She also didn’t die and now we’re both getting more veggies in our diets!

I feel better than I have in a long time. I’ve been bloated and I am not anymore. My stomach isn’t cramping like it was. I’ve tried to cut back on my carbonated beverages as well (so I am sure that’s helping the bloating in a big way). This is the longest I’ve ever done a “diet” if you can even call it that. It’s more of a lifestyle really. I feel good about it. I am curious how long and if I will sustain this, but I am already planning for this weekend and we ate more vegetables this week that we probably have in the last month, so I feel even better about the quality of our food.

We’re not sanctimonious about it. We’re not even strict about it. We’re just a few people testing the waters on something I used to think was completely ridiculous (*pats self on back for growing as a person*) and unattainable. It’s good for me. It’s good for the environment. It’s good.

My next task: figuring out what the heck you should do with lentils.

Grit

Image result for success requires grit

I’ve been struggling my way toward a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation for like…3 years now. It feels like 478396498324632 years, but I guess it really only has been 3.

For most anyone, those words are accompanied with a “huh,” or a “what’s that?” They mean virtually nothing to people outside my working profession, but to people inside my profession, it holds a level of esteem as only around 2% of industry professionals hold a CPCU designation.

Only 2% hold it because it’s kind of a giant PITA (pain in the a$$).

When I say struggling my way through it, I mean literally struggling. Struggling to find time to do it all outside of work. Struggling to find energy. Struggling to care. Struggling to pass. Struggling to pretend I don’t care that I didn’t pass. I am driving the CPCU struggle bus, there’s just no other way to put it.

I passed my 6th test a few weeks ago. Passing is usually accompanied by a feeling that I can accomplish another one and then it is quickly followed with a reminder that I am a mom who works 40 hours a week and drives 30-45 minutes to work one way and I like to keep a clean house and cook dinner and go to bed at 8:30pm. It’s a good reminder that I don’t actually know where I am going to fit these things in.

But, somehow I manage. I manage because it is important to me no matter how much I am going to downplay it when I actually do hit the finish line. No matter how many other people have it. It matters to me in a way that I can’t explain and for reasons that probably don’t make a lot of sense.

I recently watched a Ted Talk called “Grit” and in it, Angela Lee Duckworth, an esteemed professional, talks about what makes people successful. As it would turn out, IQ and raw talent have nothing to do with success. Successful people are gritty people. I found myself in that Ted Talk, finally understanding a little bit about why I am (in my own opinion) successful. I am a gritty person.

I don’t have raw talent. I’ve never been particularly good at anything. I sucked at playing the Cello. I was even worse at the Violin. I might be considered athletic, but my short little 5’3” frame is hardly considered an athletic talent. Still, I played varsity softball and I played the Cello clear through high school.

It wasn’t talent that kept me going. It certainly wasn’t people showing up to my games to tell me how good I was (lol that never happened, I was NOT good). It was grit. It was tenacity. I didn’t want to sit on my hands and be told I couldn’t do something. I operated under the fall down seven times, get up eight philosophy.

I knew I couldn’t be the only kid in my high school program (IB, highly, highly recommend) that struggled to figure out how she was going to college. I knew I didn’t want to be the one that people whispered about that ended up not going after showing promise all through her academic career. I busted my butt in a Barnes and Noble for days on end typing up essay after essay to win a scholarship. I won. That’s grit. It was scary. It was risky. It paid off.

I am a gritty person.

Getting my CPCU has reminded me that there are going to be a plethora of failures before you reach success, and that’s absolutely okay. Where I might’ve found these failures earthshattering 10 years ago, I don’t anymore. I am not afraid of them. I tackle them head on understanding that at least if I fail, I moved forward. I can pick myself back up, apply what I’ve learned, brush off my knees and try again.

As an adult, it has taught me so many lessons about who I think I am, what I think I know and how terrible a studier I am these days. These things are taught in the material, they’re taught in how I manage it (and frankly, I could do a better job).

Reminding myself to focus on the long-term goals and not sweat the short term failures has been a major push for me. I am not going to run out of steam because I am a gritty person. I may not be able to sprint very fast, but I have the endurance of marathoner when it comes to my life goals and I recognize the long term payoff that propels me forward. Every. Single. Day.

 

Michelle Carter charged with 2.5 years for her crime

Michelle Carter’s sentence came down today. Carter was sentenced to 2.5 years, with 15 months mandatory. Her attorney got her sentence stayed, so she will not serve any of it until she has exhausted her appeals.

If you’re unfamiliar with this specific case, Carter was 17 and her boyfriend was 18 years old and very obviously not in the right state of mind. From the appearance of the text messages, Carter encouraged and egged her boyfriend on in his suicide attempts, in some cases threatening him. When he attempted to kill himself in his car and got out, fearing it was working, she encouraged him to get back in the car and finish the job.

It’s sickening, really. Reading through some of the text messages that have been published, it’s very clear she encouraged him in his suicide by helping him decide how to do it and pushing him into doing it when he kept changing his mind. There were points in the text messages where she was making him feel guilty that he kept talking about it, but never acted upon it.

There were so, so many cries for help in those text messages. They were met with someone who agreed with him that his life was worth ending after originally trying to convince him otherwise. Why the change of heart, Michelle?

For those defending Michelle, their basis seems to be two-fold – that she was not there and did not openly cause the suicide, it was a decision that Conrad made himself and the other point seems to indicate that she might’ve also been in a situation where she wanted to help him and she thought she was helping by supporting him. For those with more far-reaching knowledge of the law, they don’t feel involuntary manslaughter is being interpreted in her case correctly. Massachusetts does not have a law against assisted suicide like 40 other states in the USA. Typically when you hear the words “assisted suicide” your brain floats to a terminal patient who knows he/she is going to die and would rather avoid the pain and suffering that comes along with it. That seems different. It feels different. So much different than this.

This kid was 18. I can think back to being 18. I can think back to how large my problems felt. I can reflect on what they feel like now, many years removed. Conrad needed help and assistance and he was met with someone who was willing to conspire.

But surely you see that supporting someone in their quest for self-harm is not supporting a person, right?

If I am being completely honest, I am surprised she was charged at all. Massachusetts did a thing here. They set a precedent that can be used in other cases. One that was not previously considered. This is a monumental case because it brings text messages into evidence and uses them to help prove their point –  that Carter is guilty of manslaughter. The case was made well enough that she was convicted. It indicates she knew what she was doing and she made a conscious decision to do it regardless, understanding the outcome was the death of her boyfriend.

This case is so groundbreaking because it indicates that her words are violent in nature. Typically, you see words protected under the first amendment. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but her text messages don’t seem to fit under any of them. What’s not being highlighted enough in this case by the media are the phone calls that she had with Conrad at the very end. I am of the opinion that this is much less about the text messages and much more about those phone calls. Conrad called Carter after he got out of the car and she reportedly told him to get back in the car. He obliged and she was on the phone with him when he died, knowing he was dying. She did not act. She sat there. That, in my opinion, is what makes her guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Getting out of the car = trying to save himself. If she had not been there encouraging him to get back in, stands to reason he wouldn’t have. Absolutely he played a role in his death. Absolutely, he did. His role ended when he got out of his truck. Her active role in his death began when she told him to get back in. She later admitted in messages to her friends that she could have prevented it, it was her fault and she was responsible for him getting back into the truck.

In MA, there has not been a ruling like this prior and it certainly extends the idea of what constitutes manslaughter. It’s difficult to say if this will or will not be upheld in appeals, but it brings to light a very serious conversation about something that oftentimes gets glossed over. Words are powerful and you are responsible for what comes out of your mouth.

Loving your child starts with loving yourself

Image result for children are always watching

I read something I found profound the other day. It highlighted something along the line that children don’t really realize anything is wrong with them until someone tells them it is. It was said in the context that if you’re looking in the mirror and picking yourself apart in front of your kid, because maybe you don’t think you’re beautiful, or your thighs are too big or you hate your stomach, if your child is watching, that might be the first time they ever consider the fact there COULD be something wrong with any of those areas. Kids just aren’t aware because they’re not predisposed to these societal norms.

It made me reflect on the first time I was worried about my own insecurities. If you know me in person, you know I have a gap between my teeth. Maybe what you don’t know is how frequently I’ve considered getting braces to fix this gap between my teeth and how I wished my parents would’ve just gotten me braces when everyone else my age got them. Maybe you also don’t know that I didn’t even realize there was an issue with having a gap between my teeth until someone on a playground told me my teeth were messed up and I was ugly when I was 8.

From then on, I stopped smiling with my mouth open except on a rare occasion. It didn’t JUST make me self conscious about the gap. It then made me self conscious about the size and the color I started looking at everyone else’s teeth and judging mine against theirs and they never seemed to size up.

I’m older now and I couldn’t care less about the gap between my teeth. In fact, it’s apparently “trendy” these days, though, as someone who didn’t get to choose to have it, I still wish is was gone. I am just too lazy to get braces to make that happen.

I’ll admit I’d never considered this before. I think about all the times Elle mimics what I do. If she sees me brushing my teeth, she brushes her. She even wants to put on deodorant and tries to do it just like I do. Good behaviors rub off just as easily as bad behaviors and sometimes we do things that we assume are small, but they have a great impact.

Kids don’t realize they’re not perfect until someone tells them they’re not. They don’t realize they can’t be something until someone says “you can be anything you want.” The doubt that can be created with that statement (which is obviously meant to do more good than harm) never existed until they start questioning why someone would state what might seem obvious to them. These kinds of statements are especially prevalent when you’re raising girls. I’m guilty of saying them myself. I am guilty of buying “boy” toys just so Elle doesn’t grow up solely around baby dolls. I am guilty of telling her she can be whatever she wants because I feel so strongly inclined to protect her ability to rise and grow and not let her gender get in the way of anything she wants that I am also simultaneously creating an environment where I might be accidentally be causing those specific doubts I am trying to prevent.

As a parent of a girl, I especially work to have a heightened awareness around how Elle is raised. If she wants to be a stay at home mom, I want her to be. If she wants to be an astronaut, I’ll support it. If she wants to be a tattoo artist, awesome. She can draw on me. I never want her to grow up in a world where she feels like she cannot do something or be someone and I don’t want to be responsible for putting any doubt in her mind about her capabilities. Little did I consider or know that how I view myself and what I say about myself could shape what she thinks about herself. It seems obvious now that I consider it. There are many things that are societally shaped in a person just based on their environment, but I’d never considered it down to this level. If nothing else, it’s a great reminder that loving your kids starts with loving yourself.

 

“Hey babe, can I buy this?”

Marriage statistics will tell you that one of the top reasons people divorce is because of money. Either one person wants to spend, spend, spend and the other is the opposite, or there just isn’t enough and people get so stressed out they can’t find their happy place and eventually turn on each other.

I can say definitively that my husband and I have never fought about money. That’s not to say he and I haven’t made casual remarks to each other, but we’ve never knock down drag out fought about money at all. For the most part, we’re on the same financial page and we always have been. I know it’s not that easy for some folks though and there are varying degrees of tolerance as to what an individual will accept to be with the person they love.

I see a lot of women “asking” their husbands if they can buy things and then, on the rare occasion I see a man asking his wife if she can buy something. I don’t like that, regardless of the gender of the person asking. Everyone needs to be on the same page with the budget and there needs to be limits set. I am not saying not to consult your spouse, but don’t confuse consulting a spouse with asking a spouse.

Some of the strongest couples I’ve met don’t ask permission, but they do let each other know when they’re going to purchase something. The amount is of varying degrees based on their finances. For some people, $30 or more is a need to consult a spouse. For others, it’s only on larger purchases that they feel inclined to tell each other what they’re buying. For me, I try to consult Ryan when it’s something frivolous so he’s aware. I consult him so he has the opportunity to remind me about something I am not thinking about – like the fact we’ve already spent the fun money budget, for example. If he doesn’t say anything, I go about my business. He’s not the be all end all though. If he doesn’t respond, I have enough financial awareness that I will decide myself if I want something badly enough to spend the money on it.

This sounds like asking, right? Except it’s not. It’s different in a fundamental way.

Asking implies you need permission. Asking implies the money is not yours to spend and therefore you need someone else to tell you it’s appropriate to do so. Asking creates an imbalance in a marriage the same way an allowance can create an imbalance.

In most situations where I see wives asking for money, it’s because they’re stay at home moms, so they have no income coming in. The “ask” for money is because they don’t have funds of their own. Let’s not forget why they don’t have funds though – because they’re doing a job that is typically extremely stressful, thankless and ultimately, supporting a household that would not be able to run in as efficient a manner without them. They’re absolutely doing work, often giving up careers to do so. So why do they need permission to buy something or spend money from the JOINT budget? It’s situations like this that I do not care for that approach because it indicates on person controls all the money and the other person doesn’t have as much of a role. This can be debilitating in a marriage and can cause stress. If both people aren’t on the same page, it’s easy for someone to unknowingly do something that will cause issues in the marriage unintentionally. These types of things can build resentment amongst spouses and ultimately cause tension.

That’s not to say that these things are not without merit, but I think many of these things are specific to a situation. If you’ve got an over spender, it might be good to get them on an allowance so they’ve still got control over their money, but they’re not wreaking havoc on the family and all bills are met. I’m not of the opinion that this is necessary all the time though and in most cases I’ve personally seen, it’s an imbalance between two spouses.

At the end of the day, we’ve got to do what’s best in our own marriage, whether that be joint accounts or separate, consulting on all purchases or not, carrying cash and never using a credit card, etc. Some things can make life easier than others. Open lines of communication are the best lines of communication and ensure that at the very least, you know where the other person stands.