Back to School: Lice Edition

Even the mere mention of the word lice makes me want to itch. I remember getting it a LOT as a kid. And I mean… it was a constant battle in our house to rid our heads of the literal parasites. My poor mom washed and vacuumed and sprayed and picked in an endless cycle. She took all of our stuffed animals, put them in one of those over-sized black trash bags, and stuck them in the attic to both suffocate and char them to death in the Texas heat. She spent a ridiculous amount of money on at-home treatments that killed the lice just fine, but did nothing to keep them from coming back.

My mom’s final resort? Chopping off most of my hair.

In retrospect, I totally understand why she did it, but at the time she was basically Satan incarnate in my eyes. My hair was part of my identity, and a bunch of little blood-sucking you-know-whats stole that from me. At school, kids made fun of me because I “look[ed] like a boy!” To top it all off, most of them knew my hair was gone because of a lice problem, and this made me an immediate outcast, pushed out like a leper.

Let me clear the air about one thing right up front: Having head lice does not mean that a child has poor hygiene or is dirty. This is seriously one of the most frustrating misconceptions about lice, and it often leads others kids, and even some adults, looking down on kids who get lice like less-than human beings because of something that is basically synonymous with childhood.

Spread the word: lice ≠ poor hygiene/dirty hair/dirty home

Lice, unlike our society, are strictly nondiscriminatory. They don’t care what kind of hair you have so long as they have a place to chill and eat and lay their eggs. Like hipsters, you know? (totally kidding. kinda)

While I can’t offer you a miracle solution to the lice epidemic that spares no child, home, or school, I can offer you some information about lice to help you handle them if/when they appear:

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  1. Some things shouldn’t be shared: Remind your kids as school begins not to share hairbrushes, combs, hats, scarves, or even headphones and hair accessories. One of several lice misconceptions is that they can be spread by Spiderman-ing from head to head. Lice don’t jump or fly or web-sling across the classroom, but they can hitch a ride on items worn on or around the head, as well as by–and most commonly through–head to head contact.
  2. Perform frequent head checks: Seriously, I know it sounds tedious, and it’s not like you NEED one more thing to do between work/carpools/sports/ballet/charitable works, but the earlier you catch lice, the better. Female lice can lay anywhere between 6 to 10 eggs (nits, w.e.) a day. They hatch in 7 to 10 days, and can start laying their own little parasites within another 7 to 10 days; all this while you have no idea what’s going on because some kids don’t even itch–which is usually the first sign to parents. I suck at maths, but they can multiply pretty quickly if they aren’t caught early. Think about scheduling a weekly or bi-weekly lice check on your kiddos. And please, please, check your child’s head before school starts.
  3. Don’t rely on your kids to itch as the first sign: Only people who are allergic to the saliva produced by the lice will itch, and more than half of people who get lice are not allergic. Don’t be like me and wait until you see a huge fat louse crawling across your kid’s head at McDonald’s to realize something is up.
  4. Don’t blame it on the pet: Okay, I may have said that lice are nondiscriminatory, but that was partially a lie. They are discriminatory when it comes to the species of their hosts. They prefer humans, not Lassie to the dog or Snowball the cat, and by “prefer” I mean they only pester humans. So don’t blame the pets.
  5. Little Susie and Jack will not get Bubonic Plague from lice: Lice are not known to transmit diseases. The worst that can happen is a secondary infection from your kiddo scratching the bites.
  6. Your pediatrician can help! I took a chance and decided to tell my children’s pediatrician that we were fighting with a lice infestation on three of my four children. Nothing over-the-counter would work. I combed and combed, and picked and picked, and washed and washed to no avail. I did everything by the book. I felt like my mom, but I was determined not to chop off the children’s hair (which, by the way, is also a misconceived idea. Cutting off their hair short of shaving them bald does not guarantee a solution). The doctor wrote me a prescription for “Sklice“, and seriously it works wonders. So don’t be embarrassed to tell your pediatrician about a lice issue at home.
  7. Don’t solely rely on “preventative” oils, sprays, shampoos: I can’t speak on a scientific level about the effectiveness of using things like tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oils as lice repellents, though we have used tea tree oil in the our shampoo and conditioners, but my kids still got a case of lice last year after my niece came home with it from another family member’s house. Also be aware that some kids may have sensitivities or mild allergies to these things. And if you plan on trying to “smother” or “drown” the lice in mayonnaise or Coke (yes, the beverage) or coconut oil, just keep in mind that lice can hold their breath for up to 8 hours because biology is weird.
  8. Keep yourself educated: I’m going to include several links at the bottom of this post because it’s good to keep in the know. Also because the Parenting 101 handbook I got after my kids were born doesn’t include a “how to handle a Biblical plague in your own home!” section. (Literally, lice were part of the third plague the Lord sent over Egypt)
  9. You’re not a bad parent if your kid gets lice: Lice happen. Like I said before, it doesn’t mean that you’re not keeping your kid or your home clean enough (unless you aren’t, which that’s between you and the Lord), or that you’re a bad parent. Seriously. Kids get cuts and scrapes and bruises, and lice. It’s not like chicken pox or polio, for which there are vaccines and you just choose not to immunize them. It’s not a moral dilemma. Just take a deep breath, get yourself a lice comb and a beer/glass of wine, and get to picking off lice like adulthood picked off my hopes and dreams. (totally kidding)

(see below for resource links)

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(P.S. – Mom, I’m totally over you cutting off all my hair. Love ya!)

Sometimes Kids Just Need To Be Bored

 

Why do we as parents feel the need to keep our children engaged and entertained every minute they are awake?

I mean, I get it. A bored kid is oftentimes more of a headache to us than the boredom itself is to them. When my kids are bored, I’m their go-to to supply them with entertainment, even if that entertainment comes in the way of watching me lose my s*** because I’ve listened to “but moooo-OOOOm, we’re so bored!” more times than Trump has tweeted the words “fake news”.

Seriously. They hate nothing more than when my husband or myself tell them to shut off the electronics and come downstairs. Why? Because downstairs means they have to make their own fun. They can’t just plug-in and let their awesome Uncles Mojang and Pop Cap keep them entertained. Downstairs means they have to go into their rooms and play with real toys, create their own zombie apocalypse in diecast cars, army men, and Lego blocks. Downstairs means they have to use critical and imaginative thinking to stimulate themselves. Downstairs means they have to endure moments of silence and disconnect.

And you know what?

It’s good for them.

As much as it drives me insane, boredom in moderation is good for kids. Yours, mine, and even Susie-perfect-mom-down-the-street-with-her-24-hour-schedules’. Unstructured free time does wonderful things for kids, and it even helps us as parents grow in the virtues of patience and fortitude–because nothing gives me fortitude like staring four “so-bored-we’re-going-to-die” children in the face and saying “no” to the electronics. The temptation to give myself a moment of peace and let them plug-in is sometimes palpable.

And you know what else? My children aren’t going to starve if I don’t make their meals colorful and shaped like animals or cartoon characters or their pet goldfish.

I’m serious, y’all.

We’ve dealt with our fair share of picky eaters. We’ve dealt with that fun stage when the kid doesn’t want to eat anything and you’re 90% sure they’re going to starve to death and you’re desperate enough to julienne, batonnet, brunoise, and paysanne every ounce of their food and make it look like The Last Supper on a kid plate if it’ll get them to eat. But you know what? I don’t owe it to my kid to do stuff like this. It’s not my job to make every moment of every day fun fun fun! Because that’s not life. If they want pancakes shaped like baseballs or teddy bears when they grow up, they can go to Denny’s and order off the kid’s menu.

This isn’t a personal attack on any parents to who do this, who go that extra mile to do something fun for their kids, but it’s not me. On a personal level, food is food and everything in their life isn’t going to be handed to them diced up and decorated. The light company could send our bills on neon pink cardstock complete with flourishes and dancing lightbulb cartoons, but I’ll still wince every time I pay it. Moses could have come down the mountain with two elaborately decorated tri-fold display boards that would put a 3rd grade science fair presentation to shame, and it wouldn’t have made the 10 Commandments any easier to follow, and the same with Jesus and His commandments.

“Yo, would it be easier for you guys to clothe the naked and feed the hungry and love your neighbor if I made it into a rap song with a sick music video?” — Things Jesus Never Said.

Kids, my kids especially, need the mundane, tedious parts of life. They need monotony and blandness. They need realistic expectations, because I’m not going to wait until they turn 18 to pull off the rose-colored glasses and push them headlong into “real life” while simultaneously insulting their general lack of knowing how to handle “real life” because I didn’t want to ruin their childhood.

And honestly, I want them to know the value of, and to be appreciative of, silence. I don’t want them to be afraid of silence like I am. I don’t want them to be afraid to just… be at times. I want them to know stillness and calm, and so I have to gave this to them now, as children, so that one day they’ll be self-disciplined enough to seek it for themselves.

 

I Don’t Want A Perfect Life

“Perfect” is an ambiguous adjective. We all have our own idea of perfection; the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect home in the perfect area, complete with the perfect vehicle in which to transport the perfect kids.

My idea of perfect as a teenager was marrying a bull-fighting, guitar-playing poet. He would be handsome, charismatic, and deep. We would live in a run-down but well-loved flat in Prague. We would write, make love, and change the world through both. My plan was to be married by 23, and have my first child by 25, so that I would still be young and flexible enough to chase him/her around. Of course, my love-child would be gentle, soft-spoken, intuitive, and life would be bliss. The perfect husband, and the perfect child. This was my dream, and my plan.

 

I was 16. Give me a break.

Thirteen years later, my life is none of these things. My husband is not a bull-fighting, guitar-playing poet. He is handsome, charismatic, and deep, but sometimes these exact things drive me insane. Our home is run-down, but it’s not a love-nest in Prague. And I did manage to be married with a child by 25… In fact, I managed to be married with FOUR children. Four rambunctious, loud, sticky, impulsive children.

Thirteen years later, and my perception of “perfect” has drastically changed. I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want the perfect husband and the perfect kids. I want grit. I want to forge this family out of blood, sweat, and tears. Give me the sticky and obstinate children, the husband who snores and drives me absolutely bat-s*** crazy with how literal and analytical he is! I want the kids who talk back and make messes, who are stubborn and impulsive.

Why? Because these things are what help us grow. These are the crosses we have to bear—each other’s weaknesses. These things are mirrors reflecting where I myself am lacking, and where I could do better. These things serve as reminders, both through their actions, and my reactions, that I am flawed. I’m not perfect. I would rather this family be swords forged in fire than sprouted in a field of daisies that wilt beneath too much heat.

I am glad my husband is analytical, because this quality in him–as crazy as it drives me sometimes–has helped him to see things differently than others. It helps him to solve problems both at home and in the work field.

I am glad that my children make messes and are stubborn. If they never made messes, they would never learn to clean them. If they aren’t stubborn, then they will be easily swayed in life. If they don’t talk back, they’ll never learn to speak up for themselves and others when it is most necessary.

I know some parents would try and hammer these qualities out of their children, to make them quiet, docile little things, but this isn’t what I want. I want to hammer and refine their perceived negative qualities and show them how they can be used to find success in life, to establish a firm foundation of faith in morality in them. I want them to be stubborn and vocal when it matters. I want them to have backbones. I don’t want them to be afraid of life, to be afraid of screwing up and making a mess, because they will. No matter how they try to avoid it, they’ll make bad decisions, both big and small. And you know what? I’ll still love them.

Of course, I get frustrated and angry when they talk-back, when they do exactly what I told them not to, and don’t do what I tell them to do. There are times when I want to rip the hair out of my head just to show them how done I am with the way they act and speak sometimes. I’m still human. I’m sure there are things about me my children dislike. In fact, our 5yo daughter told us we’re the worst parents ever earlier today because I grounded her after she refused to do something I asked her to do.

And you know what? I pray that she’ll stick to her guns that hard if/when a boy ever tries to pressure her into sex, or when her friends try to pressure her into drinking or doing drugs. I hope she looks them in the face and tells them where they can shove it, fiery little thing she is now. I hope she’ll fight as fiercely against people who would want to harm or use or mistreat herself or others as she does when her brothers try to steal her Peppa Pig toys.

I hope my oldest son can one day use his impulsiveness to bring fun and silliness when and where it’s needed most. I hope he adapts it to quick thinking and being mentally agile. I hope it sends him on adventures worth telling his grandchildren one day.

I hope our second-oldest can take his incessant–and oftentimes infuriating–need to argue, and use it for good. I hope he finds something he is passionate about to put this quality to good use. I hope that his being able to laugh through literally everything will be a comfort to him and others when life gets really tough, because it will. It always does.

I hope that our youngest, the little boy who is like the Bruce Willis of two-year-olds, will take his adventurous curiosity and explore the world, explore other cultures and other ways of life. I hope he’ll never stop seeking, never stop wondering.

Because I was once a prisoner to comparison. I would look at my friends’ children, the children who were so well-behaved and docile and quiet, and I would feel jealousy. It made me resentful towards my own children. It made me wish I had something other than what I do. It made me wonder what was wrong with me as a parent that my kids turned out to be the ones who end up on Ellen because of their shenanigans. How fair is that to them? That I should resent them for who they are, because who they are doesn’t fit into my neat little box of who they should be? What does it teach them about love, about acceptance and understanding if I try to make them fit a mold they were never meant to fit?

Yes, I want them to be successful, productive members of society, and I understand that this requires discipline, fortitude, and obedience. It means tact, social aptitude, and certainly not giving someone a detailed account of your daily BM, or loudly shouting “I FARTED” while in Mass.

I don’t let them get away with being disrespectful. They face punishment when they talk back, when they deliberately disobey, and when they hurt each other. Day by day, I’m teaching them prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. Some days we have to learn the hard lessons together. Other days I have to use my own shortcomings as lessons for them: don’t be like your mother and engage in fights with people on the internet! There are even some days when I’m the one who learns a lesson from them.

I thank God everyday for what I have, and for who I get to share it with. Even when they drive me batty.

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Here’s How You’re Screwing Up Your Kid

There’s this funny phenomenon that occurs when you have kids. Ever heard that saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, almost from the moment you announce your pregnancy, the village arrives ready to shower you in congratulations and unsolicited bits of advice.

This is especially true if you frequent social media.

Articles and videos involving children are almost always guaranteed to be inundated with comments about what the parents should have could have done. No matter how innocuous or innocent the content, someone somewhere is going to be offended.

That’s a risk that comes when you use the internet. And I knew this the day I posted a public video of my 2yo after he smashed an entire carton of eggs on my kitchen floor. In the video, I didn’t know what to do. Laugh? Cry? Scream? It was one of those messes that takes your breath away, and leaves you wondering how someone so small can make such a huge mess in so little a time.

I stood there filming as he belly-flopped in egg guts and chased an unbroken yolk along the linoleum. I didn’t scream at him and make a scene, which, to patrons of the internet, automatically meant I did nothing–I let him make the mess by being a neglectful parent (where was the mom?!), and then, being judged by this one incident, I was accused of raising one of those wretched children who thinks it’s okay to walk all over authority and get away with whatever they want.

Am I upset about some of the comments? I was for about five minutes, before I realized that being upset was pointless. One, because I opened myself up to that kind of criticism by posting it publicly. Two, because no matter what I do as a mom, someone somewhere will not agree. Someone somewhere will slap “if that were my kid…”, or “my children would never…” into the comments. It makes me more upset when I see other parents catching flack.

Parenting blogs can be some of the most savage places on the internet. Why? Because the internet is full of Susie-perfect-mom’s. People who think they know it all when it comes to raising kids. They don’t take into account that every child, every parent, every household is different. They don’t take into account that what worked for them won’t work for some people.

But, hey. To each his own, right? Unless you’re a parent, in which case you’re probably screwing up your kid in some form or fashion. And I figured, since I now have all this amazing wisdom about parenting thanks to the digital village, I might as well share it with you guys!



So here’s a comprehensive list of all the ways you’re screwing up your kids so that you can avoid making these mistakes:

Helicopter mom? – Time to cut the cord, lady. How are they ever going to learn independence?

Free-range mom? – Admit it, you’re just lazy. We all know it.

Co-Sleep? – Yeah, your kid is screwed. They’ll be codependent the rest of their lives.

Let them cry it out at night? – How do you even live with yourself, you cold, heartless monster!

Breastfeed? – Don’t even get me started you promiscuous hippy. You’re probably just trying to steal my husband with your milk bags.

Bottle-feed? – Um, excuse me… do you even know what’s in that stuff?

Natural birth? – Okaaaay, and this makes you special how? What, you think you’re better than everybody? The only reason women opt for natural birth is so that they can brag about it. We all know it.

C-Section? – Oh, girl, please. You didn’t “give birth”, you laid on a table and bled for a few minutes. How are you even considered a real mom?

Feed your child? – But what are you feeding them? It has to be Vegan, gluten, and dye free otherwise your future grandchildren are going to sprout tentacles.

Feed your child a special diet? – Are they allergic to sunlight, too, or what? I mean, really. Enjoy your gross rabbit food.

Medicate for a legitimate medical condition? – I hope you enjoy being a puppet of the pharmaceutical companies. ADHD isn’t even a real thing. Duh. And Autism is only caused by vaccines which you totally could have avoided if you read those fifteen articles I tagged you in. Just sayin’.

Choose not to medicate? – Yeah, good luck with your essential oils and herbs there, witch doctor. Maybe you can smother some coconut oil on your brain.

Spanking? – You know who else believed in spanking? Hitler.

No spanking? – You’re everything that’s wrong with our society. Your children are going to grow up to be entitled and selfish just like you! The only real way to discipline a child is with violence.

Working parent? – What was the point of having kids if you were just going to let someone else take care of them anyways? Awful.

Stay-at-home-parent? – Must be nice to just sit on your butt all day long, sipping wine or drinking beer, and channel surfing. Bro, do you even work?

Public school? – Sure, if you want your child pregnant and on drugs by the time they’re 15. Public school is the devil.

Private school? – Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, but with embroidered uniforms and a cricket team. Woo-woo!

Homeschool? – Homeschool is for religious nut-jobs who don’t want their children to believe in science. Duh.

The moral of the story here, kids, is that someone is always going to have an opinion about the way you parent. Whether it’s your doddering mother-in-law, or strangers on the internet. You just have to take it all with a grain of salt.

Or, you know, you could surrender to the digital village. Because the digital village knows all, sees all, hears all.

lucille-portable

Here’s What You Do When Your Kid Makes A HUGE Egg Mess

Step one: Don’t PANIC!

(You can skip past the narrative and head to the bottom for the rest of the steps, if you’d like)

No, seriously. Two mornings ago I had my Here's What You Do WhenYour Kid Makes A HUGE Egg Mess.pngalmost-2-year-old helping me clean up the mess he made in his sister’s room when he wandered off on to a bigger and better mess that involved an entire carton of eggs. Most parents know just how fast kids can get into things, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in a mere TWO minutes, me managed to crack every. single. egg. All over our kitchen floor. Not only that, he decided to bathe in them.

A friend of mine made the comment that this must be a rite of passage for kids. My oldest son did this on a lesser scale, but on CARPET! My daughter had her rite of passage when she set our microwave on fire at the age of 2, while trying to make herself some oatmeal. And I’m pretty sure that it was my middle son who spilled red Kool-aid all over the kitchen once. (Thank you, Jesus, for magic erasers because red Kool-aid stains SO bad.)

You would think that after raising three other children through their toddler years, I would be pretty well versed in messes of all shapes and sizes. Nope. I walked around the corner into our kitchen and almost lost my s***. I didn’t even know where to begin cleaning up this mess, especially since I had to leave in 10 minutes to get my daughter from pre-school. So first order of business was to clean up the baby.

I let the egg-catastrophe sit and stew while I picked her up, but afterwards I grabbed three of our biggest, thickest towels and proceeded to mop up the sticky, gooey mess. Thirty minutes, two gallons of soapy water, and two Swiffer sweeper pads later and VOILA! My kitchen floor is still sticky.

Toddler: 1, Mom: 0

It wasn’t until a day later that friends began giving me advice on how I could have cleaned up the mess without so much expenditure. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? So here’s what they told me:

How To Clean Up A HUGE Egg Mess!


For Hard Surfaces:

Step One: Don’t Panic

– That’s what the kid(s) wants us to do! Because nothing makes their day quite like watching mommy and/or daddy flip their lid. At least in this house.

Step Two: Shake It Like A Salt Shaker

– While you may be tempted to tackle the mess head-on with paper towels, start with some table salt, instead. That’s right. Whip out that good ole’ container of table salt and sprinkle it generously over the egg mess. This is even something you can get your little mess-maker to help you with, since they like spilling stuff all over the floor–apparently.

Make sure you get the whole spill, and then let it sit for ten minutes. And while you’re waiting, you can take the opportunity to give your touch-every-hard-surface-in-sight, adorable little cherub a bath!

Step Three: Wipe On, Wipe Off

– Take your paper towel of choice, whether yours are made from a lumberjack’s chest hair or quilted from a grandmother’s hugs and kisses, and wipe up the egg mess! The salt helps solidify the gooey egg-guts that are nearly impossible to wipe up otherwise. Why? Because science. Then you can just take your Swiffer sweeper-mop for a round over the residual stickiness, or a Clorox wipe, or just good wholesome soap and water.

Be smarter than me. Try these steps.

Now…


For Carpet!

(I am so, so sorry if this is you)

Step One: Remove the Excess

(I’m not even going to bother telling you to stay calm because, like, there’s egg on your carpet. Who can stay calm for that?)

– Use a spatula or another flat-edged utensil to carefully scrape up the excess egg. If the yolk isn’t broken, God be with you that you don’t break it yourself.

Step Two: Cold Water ONLY

– Take two cups of cold (seriously, do not use warm or hot water unless you want to cook that egg into your carpet) water and two tablespoons of dish detergent, and dab–DAB!–at the stain from the outside –> in, until the stain is gone.

Step three: Patience is Key

– It may take a few passes to get the stain out, in which case you want to pat the stain dry between cleanings. However, once the stain is gone, pour yourself a glass of wine, or pop open your favorite stout, and pat that once-egg-mess with cold water, then use a dry cloth to pat it dry.

(I am not responsible for any spilled alcoholic beverages on your carpet)

Scrape, dab, pat!


Now, if you’re not here because you have an egg mess to clean, and you’re just looking for a good time, I invite you to check out the video proof of what my almost-2-year-old did to my kitchen, and my eggs.

If you ARE here because you have an egg mess to clean, then I invite you to watch the video proof that you, my friend, are not alone. #Solidarity, amirite?

Let me just say egg mess one more time,

Egg mess!

Parents of the Millennial Generation

I did it once when our oldest son was about 7-years-old. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right at home. No one was having a good day. Maybe it was something in the air, a misalignment in the stars. Maybe the barometric pressure was off that day and it put everyone in a foul mood. Who knows? if-you-want-to-bring-happiness-to-the-whole-world-go-home-and-love-your-family

It was one of those days when all we could do was try to survive one another until daddy got home around five.

And believe me, survival is exactly how it felt. One minute to the next. I tried all day to remain calm, to be present, to not shut down and vegetate in front of the television like I’m prone to do when the stress is too much.

My then 7-year-old wasn’t having it. He did everything in his power to get a reaction out of me; whether it was good or bad, he didn’t care. He pushed my buttons until I finally gave him what he wanted: a reaction.

I set him out on the front porch. I told him that he wasn’t allowed to come back in until he was done acting the way he’d been acting, until he was ready to follow rules and listen to his mother. It was around 4:45, it wasn’t too hot or too cold outside, and I sat right by the window watching him the entire time. We were both angry, we were both at our wits-end, and it was a last-ditch effort on my part to rattle some sense into him.

Truth is, I hated doing it. Even knowing that he was perfectly safe sitting there on the porch, that I hadn’t put him in any kind of danger, I hated what I’d done as soon as I’d closed the front door on him. What was I teaching him? Sure, some parents will say that I was teaching him that I am the authority; it’s my house and my rules. If he can’t obey those rules, then he doesn’t get to be in the house.

I wasn’t teaching him tolerance.

I wasn’t teaching him obedience.

I certainly wasn’t teaching him love.

I was teaching him that he’s only wanted so long as he can follow the rules. I was teaching him that when people upset you, it’s perfectly okay to set them out on the curb like unwanted things, like you do with broken toys or appliances.

You’re taking that a little far, you may say. But kids think differently than adults. They are both far more literal and far more abstract than we are. They are not tiny adults, they are children, and children receive messages differently than we do. But you have to admit, even for our spouse to say, “you’re pissing me off so you need to go. I don’t want you anymore,” it would hurt.

I know some parents will say that I had every right, and that I did the right thing. They’d do the same thing to their children, because kids need to understand authority, they need to understand respect. They will say that children who have no respect for authority are the same ones running the streets and looting and setting things on fire as we speak. They will say that an inability on behalf of the parents to teach their children respect and obedience to authority is teaching them to be entitled, sniveling idiots.

But you know what I think these entitled, sniveling little idiots lack more than respect and obedience and self-control? Unconditional love. They lack a love that says, “we disagree, and I’m not happy with your opinion, but we can still work together, we can still be civil, we can still be friends.”

Sound like a bunch of hippy talk to you?

Do you know how many children are left to live on the streets because their parents found out they were gay? Do you know how many children have been kicked out or forced into abortions because they got pregnant young and out of wed-lock? Do you know how many children have been ostracized by their entire community because they chose a different religion, or because they chose to love outside of their race?

Nothing says entitlement quite like “this is MY house, MY rules, and if YOU don’t like it, you can get the hell out.”

Nothing says entitlement quite like treating your child like a possession that can be used and disposed of whenever they make YOU unhappy. Or telling your child that you brought them into this world and you’ll take them out of it.

Nothing says entitlement like the parents of the millennial generation.

And I’m not sorry if that pisses you off. You know why? Because if you’re offended by that then you’re probably old enough to be excluded from the Millennial generation, which means that you’re, of course, quite competent enough to handle your emotions responsibly. I.e. not sending me hate mail or telling me that I myself am an entitled know-it-all.

I get it. There comes a time in every person’s life when they have to make the decision that they’re either going to allow their past experiences, their childhood, to control who they become and what they do, or that they’re going to learn from it, grow from it, and do better. I’ve had to do it, and as hard as I try to be a good mom, I’m sure that my children will reach this point, too.

I can’t solely blame the parents for the actions and choices of the child; my mom raised my siblings and I with the same rules and philosophies and we still have that one sibling who went off into left field and got mixed up with some bad people and bad habits. It happens despite our best efforts, trust me, I know.

My point is, unconditional love starts at home. Acceptance starts at home. Responsibility, obedience, and respect begin at home. And it begins with not treating each other like property. It begins with teaching our children that we can still be courteous and amicable in our disagreements with others, even when others call us names and act uncivil. It begins with showing our children that we will love them no matter their grades, their lifestyle choices, the music they listen to, the friends they hang out with, whatever.

If you’re Christian, it begins with understanding that Christ didn’t send Judas away, even knowing that he would betray Him. He broke bread with him, shared in Communion with him. He loved him until the end. He didn’t say, “love your enemies and pray for them, except for that back-stabbing bastard, Judas, over there!”

If Jesus didn’t do it to Judas, and we’re not expected to do it to Jesus when things aren’t going our way, then on what plane of existence would it be okay for us to do this to our own children? The most vulnerable and malleable of all.

Don’t teach your children through your own actions towards them that they’re allowed to treat other people like shit when those people don’t do what they want, don’t give them what they want, don’t fit themselves to their beliefs and ideologies.

We can teach our next generation to speak out against injustice and to speak their minds without being destructive and outright violent. It begins at home.


Disclaimer: I’m not talking about situations with adult children that compromise the safety of the household, and/or of themselves. My own family has been in this situation with addictions and stealing. It’s not an easy thing for a family/parent to do, to draw the line between being supportive and being an enabler, and my prayers go out to any families dealing with this type of situation.

I’m Not Raising My Sons to Please Your Daughters

Raising children can be one of the most terrifying jobs in the world. The future of an entire human being rests on your shoulders. How you raise them to treat others will one day play into the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people they encounter. How they go out into the world will rely heavily on the values and morals yoim-not-raising-my-sons-to-please-your-daughtersu instilled in them from their first breath.

No pressure, though, right?

Now, I understand those circumstances when you do your best as a parent and they still grow up to get into unsavory things and become rather unsavory characters. It’s only to be expected what with free will and all. We can only do so much to try and give them the best shot at life, but once those wings take off from the nest, their decisions are their own, and all you can do is lay in bed at night praying your hardest that they’re safe and happy. Or, if you’re Catholic, you can pray diligently for intercessions from St. Monica whose son, St. Augustine, was basically a hot mess before becoming one of the most-loved Saints, Doctor of the Church, and author of the famous line, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” (If you’re not familiar with the story, in short, St. Monica chased St. Augustine down both with her feet and her prayers until his conversion.)

From an early age, my husband and I try to instill in our children a respect for all peoples, for all living things, and for our planet. We teach them that all persons should be treated with dignity, even when they don’t treat themselves with much dignity; even when someone makes them angry, hurts them, or talks down on them. I know that this is counter-cultural in a world that is so vocal against perceived injustices toward the individual, but whatever.

For our sons, we teach them to hold doors. We teach them to be gentlemen. More than anything we teach them to see more than just a body when they look at another person. We teach them against the dangers of objectifying people; of the detriments not just to the other person, but to themselves as well when they take this view.

We teach our daughter that, while it’s polite for a gentleman to hold the door open for her, what’s more important is whether or not she holds the door open for herself and for others. And if a boy/man chooses not to hold the door open for her, not to take it as a personal insult to her femininity, which should never be determinant on how someone treats her, man or woman. Just like with all of our children, we do our best to teach her that her value should not ­be measured by another person’s thoughts, opinions, or actions. Nor should they expect that another person’s value is based on their thoughts, opinions, or actions. As Christians, we understand that a person’s value is inherent from God, through Christ.

And so—and pardon my expletive here—I will be damned if another person ever makes my children feel as if their existence revolves around that person’s happiness. I see it every day, these memes and cute photographs of couples that say things like, “a real man treats his woman like a queen”, or “a real man will do a, b, and c, to keep his woman happy [even if said conditions and expectations are completely ludicrous].”

I’m just going to throw this out there: our society needs to STOP trying to raise boys whose sole purposes are to cater to women. We need to stop treating boys and men like incompetent apes who can’t function without the guidance of a woman.

A stay-at-home-dad? Haha! I bet the kids eat nothing but macaroni-and-cheese and watch baseball naked; does the guy even know how to put toilet paper on the roll? A dad who works ridiculous overtime to provide for his family? Well, a real man would attend his little girl’s dance recital instead of working the hours needed to even put her in ballet if he really loved her. But wait, there’s a man who actually seems like a decent guy, who is helpful and competent and loving? His wife must have trained him well.

I’ll be damned if a girl or woman comes along and makes my sons feel as if they have to grant her every wish and whim in order to prove they love her, even if it comes to her doing things that are damaging to her well-being. Sadly, I’ve seen it before, where a man who truly loves and cares for his girlfriend/wife tries to keep her from self-destructive behaviors and she and everyone else turns him into a controlling misogynist with an intrinsic desire to oppress anything with a vagina!

We’re not raising our sons with the sole purpose of pleasing your daughters. We’re not raising them to treat her like a queen while she treats him like a peasant. We’re not raising our sons to be with women who think they have to be “trained” in order to make good husbands and fathers. We’re not raising our sons to be servants and henchmen. We’re raising them to be men who are respectful towards all people, who treat everyone around them with dignity, who will be helpful, charitable, and kind, but know when and how not to be taken advantage of. We’re raising our daughters the same way.

            We’re raising our children with the understanding that men and women are biologically different. They see, smell, hear, taste, and feel—both emotionally and physically—differently from each other, and that’s okay. Each gender has their strengths and weaknesses, and they were meant to be complementary. This doesn’t mean that one sex is better or worse than the other. This doesn’t mean that we have to treat the opposite sex poorly because of their short-comings. So please, parents, don’t raise daughters who look down on men. Don’t raise sons who look down on women. Raise kids who have respect all around. Raise kids who know their true value isn’t dependent on who loves them, who hates them, or how pretty they are.