Teen Pregnancy

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. I know Tyson and I have a lot of time until we need to worry about these types of things, but I think it’s a good parenting move to have these big discussions with your spouse before you reach that point in life. Prepare yourself. Get on the same page. Make sure you know how you want to deal with these types of issues when they arise.

I am not entirely sure what the right way to deal with sex and pregnancy is. My husband and I grew up in two different homes when it came to that sort of thing. Maybe the best route would be to meet somewhere in the middle. Who knows. Sometimes I wish there were legit parenting books. I say legit because there are ungodly amounts of parenting books, but they range from crazy anti-vaxxers to helicopter moms to exclusively breastfed to formula fed, etc. I think you get the point. Everyone has their own opinion on how to parent children and which is the right method. I wish there was one right way to parent that leads to good adults.

Fuck. Parenting is hard.

How do you talk to your kids about sex? What are your tried and true methods?

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAM).

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This year, more than ever, we need to raise awareness for sexual assault victims and survivors. We have a president who does not hold women in high regard, but this isn’t just about women. It’s about sexual assault on any man, woman, and/or child. He doesn’t seem to have much respect for anyone unless you are on “his side” and even then it’s skeptical.

I do find it funny that the POTUS declared April the month of sexual assault awareness and prevention when it’s the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) picked a week in April in the 1980s. It was nationally recognized as SAAM in 2001. Since 2001 the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has promoted national unity for SAAM activities, encouraged interaction and feedback from the nation, and built momentum to prevent sexual violence.

The campaign this year is “Engaging New Voices.” Which means involving coaches, faith leaders, parents, Greek Life, and bystanders with helping prevent sexual assault. The NSVRC hopes to help these voices begin to talk about preventing sexual assault and educate them on how to help.

If you want to learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, campaign planning, get merch, or really anything else check this web page.

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Tricky Person

I will be the first to admit I watch way too many crime tv shows and crime movies. I already have anxiety and these shows usually add to my anxiety over my children and their safety. I can watch those dumb commericals about tortured animals all day and not shed a tear, but if I happen to see a mother who has lost her child or a child who has been hurt you can bet your ass I’m crying.

I always have those heart stopping moment when I lose sight of one of them, usually Cash, for a minute in any public area. It usually happens because he’s gone inside a tunnel at the play ground, behind the slide, or behind the car, just right out of sight in a matter of seconds. Thank god we have never been in a bad situation or a potentially harmful situation but it’s still the worst feeling in the world.

I have been thinking lately about how to approach the subject of “stranger danger” and safety with my boys. I think Cash is getting old enough to understand that not everyone is your ‘friend’ and some people can be mean or potentially dangerous. I’ve also talked to Tyson about when we should teach Cash about 9-1-1 but that is a whole other post. You always read those stories about children who were abducted by someone they knew, thought was friendly, or had a close call. I want to try and avoid any sort of situation like that if at all possible, as does every parent.

I came across blog post talking about one mother’s close encounter with a possible bad situation. Long story short she had an ovarian cyst ruptur and rushed her and her 4 children to the ER. She left her two older boys (10 & 8) out front to wait for their neighbor to come pick them up and take them to school. She assumed this would be a 5 minute wait but the neighbor was not actually at home and it actually took closer to 40 minutes. The two boys were approached by strangers who kept asking for help. They wanted the boys to go into the men’s restroom and convince their friend it was safe to come out and be helped by the doctors. The boys politely refused but the strangers kept insisting and told the two young children they could potentially save a man’s life.

That’s pretty compelling stuff to be telling a child. Honestly, I would probably fall for it as a 27 year old adult.

Anyway, the boys kept declining and the strangers eventually gave up. A man came out of the restroom, got into the car with the other strangers, and drove off.

How terrifying is that?!?!

The boys knew this person was a ‘tricky person’ because “Adults don’t ask kids for help.” She did not teach her children about “stranger danger” because there are times when a child does need to ask for help from a stranger and it’s perfectly okay and safe to do so.

She goes on to talk about how to teach your children about the “tricky people” rule. Which is “If a safe adult needs help, they’ll ask another adult. Not a kid.” She got this tip from Pattie Fitzgerald, the creater of Safely Ever After.

I am going to go through that webpage and write another post with all the important tips and tricks Pattie Fitzgerald talks about. I will try and condense the information for you and make it a “quick” read.

I wanted to share this story with you today in hopes that you will talk to your children and spouse about safety and “tricky people.”

 

***Note, Jodie’s blog, Time Well Spent is great and you should definitely go check it out!***

Raising Kids

Now let me begin this blog post with the fact that I have little experience with teenagers. My experience strictly begins and ends with myself, my friends, and my younger brother. I am in no way an expert, just interested.

With that being said, my mom is in a relationship with a sweet man who has 5 children. 2 are grown adults with children of their own and 3 are still living at home. They range from the ages of 14 to 20. We have talked recently about the struggles she going through raising 3 kids who aren’t hers. Raising 3 teenaged children specifically and the struggles that come with it.Which prompted me to do some research on what are the positive or proven parenting styles for teenaged kids.

My mind keeps going back to the issue of the blended family. I can imagine that raising children gives you years and years of sweet memories, funny moments, lots of love, and cute photos to draw on when you are struggling with your teenaged child. Basically, you are storing up a ton of great memories and love for when they are difficult teenagers. However, if you come into the situation of a blended family with teenaged children you don’t have any of that. You have to take this frustrating, difficult, annoying teen as they are with no past love or fun memories.

But let’s be honest, that sounds terrible. I don’t really like children to begin with so taking on teenage children sounds horrifying. Absolutely terrible. This is where my husband will shine. He used to coach high school basketball and absolutely loved it. He still has great relationships with these boys, and I admire that about him. I hope that our own children get so lucky with great coaches that truly care and love our children like Tyson loves those boys. (Who, I have to add, are only a few years younger than me. ahaha)

Now back to the subject of teenage kids, I will take all the advice I can get to prepare myself for this stage of our lives. Granted I may be a little ahead of myself seeing as how our kids aren’t even school aged yet, but I will still willingly take any and all advice from more experienced parents. 🙂

I went deep into the internet for this one! Mamma, you should be thanking me. 🙂

The first and most important tip I found for parenting or step parenting was to be a positive role model. If you don’t want your kids to be assholes then don’t be an asshole. Simple right? (Yeah, not so much) My mom used to tell me, “Do as I say, not as I do.” and it never worked. I grew up acting so much like my mom it was insane; I probably drove my dad crazy with my attitude, but he won’t tell me to protect my feelings. I had her habits, mannerisms, attitude, and quirks. I had to take a look at my life and how I wanted to raise my own children to start changing my behavior. I’m not saying it’s completely gone because my husband has told me a few times how much I am like my mother and I have caught myself cleaning like crazy thinking, “hmm… this is something mom would do.”

The pointer that spoke to my teenage self, was to not be nitpicky. What I mean by this to choose your battles wisely. If they want to get a permanent tattoo or they want to drop out of school, fucking stop them. Right now! Lock them in their room if you have to! If they want to go to Tennesse, Florida, etc (or BYU) over UGA, stop them immediately! Their brother-in-law will tease them incessantly. You need to keep their priorities straight. Those are life changing decisions. On the flip side, if their room is a constant mess let it go. There’s no reason to constantly argue with them and cause problems at home when you could simply shut their door. If they want to pierce their nose, so what! They can take it out when they are older with no repercussions. I think you get my gist.

Another tip, that would honestly be useful for any aged child, is to decide the rules and discipline in advance, especially if you are in a two-parent (or more) situation. Discuss what you want the rules to be as your children grow and discuss the discipline beforehand so you can be on the same page when the time comes. Coming in as a united front is so important! I’m sure this is a struggle for any parent, co-parenting situation, or step-parent situation. It’s hard to raise kids and it’s even harder as you start adding different personalities and opinions.

Something I found interesting, but could completely agree with, was the fact that being a step parent meant you might have the feeling that your children/child could do no wrong and your step children/child could do no right. I have dealt with this with this issue personally and it’s a bitch. It is a difficult issue to overcome. Ultimately you need to realize every child is different and faces different challenges. As hard as it may be, don’t compare your children to your stepchildren. Or even your own children to each other; each person faces their own obstacles.

The same goes for forgiveness. You can easily forgive your children/child for being incredibly difficult and at the same time hold it against your stepchildren/child. Forgive your step children, they are just kids after all. Try and remember they are only 13, or 14, or whatever age but honestly, they are just kids. What the hell were you doing at that age? I’m sure you were pissing your parents off just like these kids are doing. Give them a break. – Yes, I know I say this now and I will be losing my mind in 10 years. Take it all with a grain of salt. 🙂

This is something that needs to be taught at every parenting class, hospital room, or where ever parents will listen to someone; actions have consequences. There are so many children that don’t face any real consequences for their bad behavior and it drives me nuts! I can’t handle it. Even worse is my son will come home acting like a monster because he picks up on these things. Tyson and I are pretty strict I think, so we come down on our boys hard, maybe too hard from time to time. But, they are well-behaved kids, everyone tells us so. I think a big reason they are so well behaved is because they know if they do something wrong there are consequences and they are not going to like them. Now I’m not saying my kids are perfect because they most definitely are not! They mess up, they make me angry, they push and take toys from each other and other kids, they yell, they scream, and they throw tantrums just like any other kids their age. But I can say with confidence that if I say “CHRISTOPHER CASH” or “DAVID TATE” in my “mom” voice they turn around and listen to what I have to say because they don’t want to deal with whatever will happen if they don’t.

I loved the idea of empowering your children. Empower them to express themselves in your family. Ever since I got pregnant I have always wanted to be the kind of mother my kids felt comfortable coming to with their problems. I want them to know I have their back and they are in a safe place when it comes to me and their dad. Even if they have something negative to tell us or think they are going to be in trouble, I want them to come to us. I want them to come to us when they think we aren’t doing our best. I want them to come to us when they are having problems at school or with friends. I know that’s asking a lot, but I think it can be done. Let your kids know they can trust you.

This tip is more important when you are dealing with blended families, but should be applied in all families; involve the other parent. If you are in a blended family situation then you should involve both parents and any step parents that are involved. All of you should go to school functions, parent-teacher conferences, therapist appointments, etc.  You should all be on the same page when it comes to disciple, curfew, rewards, and expectations. If you guys can work together you are showing your children a united front that they can lean on and depend on. It’s also showing them if they get in trouble at Parent A’s house they can’t run to Parent B’s house and get away from it. I know this is an issue for any blended family. My brother and I both did it. Any friends of mine that had divorced parents did it. Even kids whose parents are together, do it; they will try to play the two of you against each other. Stay strong!

I say it all the time but, parenting is hard work. I commend anyone that can do it and stay sane, especially when you add in pressures like divorce and blended families. I know I am nowhere near close to having ‘serious’ problems with my kids, seeing as how they are both so young. I also know I am not in a blended family situation, though we did have some growing pains of our own having Tyson come into the family after Cash had turned 1. All I can really say with confidence is try your hardest to raise good kids, the world will thank you.

And stay strong mamas and daddies!

 

This Post is Raw

BeautyBeyondBones is such a strong and inspiring woman. If you don’t already, please go read her blog and follow her.

BeautyBeyondBones

I had been putting off writing this post for about a month and a half.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Feb 26-March 4

I had been dreading writing this post because, obviously BBB is an eating disorder recovery blog, so I feel kinda…obligated…to address the topic, but honestly, I’m kinda luke warm on the whole “awareness” thing.

It just seems a little…glorifying if you ask me. And I have a problem with that. Don’t throw around photos of healthy-yet-slightly-thin girls in stock photos pretending to be sad, or even worse, smiling and holding a piece of pizza, and gloat that you’re raising “awareness” or fighting the stigma. The theme: “It’s time to talk about it…” that’s borderline insulting.

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Why don’t you ask the mother whose daughter died of heart failure due to anorexia, or my mother when I was 78 pounds and she was checking on…

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Things Non-Parents Don’t Understand

We only have one couple friend that has kids so the rest of our friends just don’t understand the struggle that comes with having children. Especially young children. They are usually pretty good, but there are times that I just want to smack them for their lack of common sense and/or empathy.

So, to all you childless people out there let me give you some insight into a few things;

  1. It’s really hard for us to go out. This is hard for a few different reasons. First off you have to find a babysitter. Then if you don’t have family around that means you have to pay for a babysitter, which is usually $20 an hour or more. So a night out could cost well over $130 and that’s not including dinner, drinks, or whatever else you’re doing. When we can go out, don’t sit there on your phone the entire time. We are paying good money to come out with you!
  2. Hangovers really, really suck when you have kids. This goes along with us going out. Childless friends can stay in bed until noon, get up, go get brunch, go home take a nap, etc. Not us; oh no. In my house, we are up no later than 7 with two very rambunctious and loud boys. Even if one of use sleeps in, the other one still has to get up. And it just doesn’t stop in the morning, it’s all day. We have to deal with demanding kids while we nurse a hangover all day!
  3. It’s not easy to just go run some errands. This is really specific to having younger kids. Getting two kids in and out of car seats, in and out of shopping carts, etc is a pain in the ass. It takes me twice as long to go grab some medicine from CVS with one or both my boys. They whine, they run off, they ask for things, and they can not sit still. So if you ask me to stop and grab something real quick when you know I have my kids, go fuck yourself.
  4. We can’t usually just do last minute things. We usually need to plan things in advance. We can’t just decide an hour before that we want to go do something. We need to figure out sitters, schedules, snacks, packing, and the list goes on. Life is not simple anymore. But we like it better this way.
  5. We don’t want your advice. You are not a parent. You do not understand the struggles of parenthood so please, just shut up. I absolutely hate hearing “My kids will never act like that.” Or “Have you tried XYZ with Cash?” Or “Why don’t you do this?” Or “I would smack their butts if my child acted such and such a way.” I honestly just want to tell them “Just you wait…” I also dislike hearing my childless friends judge other parents, even if I don’t know them. Again, you do not have children so you can’t possibly understand the full situation. Stop judging. Parenting is hard!
  6. It’s very frustrating when you flake on us. We took a lot of time planning being able to go out with you (with or without kids) and it’s incredibly rude for you to bail on us. And if we are bringing the kids they are most likely really excited to see you too and now you’ve let them down. Which in my house means I have to hear Cash complain about it for several days.
  7. Being a stay at home mom is hard.You may think we just sit at home all day watching TV and eating bon bons but let me tell you, it’s nothing like that. We are constantly cleaning up, feeding, entertaining children, and craving adult conversation. On the flip side of that, being a working mom is just as hard. Daycare is expensive, we miss our kids when we are at work, and we still have to do all of those household chores when we get him. Being a mom is a 24/7 job. Do not ever criticize either style of motherhood. And don’t ever assume our life is easier one way or the other. Again, parenting is hard work!
  8. Schedules. Schedules are so important to our children! They are so important to us. Nap time schedules, feeding schedules, bedtime schedules, any kind of schedule helps our lives run smoothly. I know my children get a little crazy when we don’t follow our normal schedule or our normal routine gets changed. So when you want to do something in the middle of the day and want the kids to nap on the go or skip their nap, you are asking for trouble.
  9. We really don’t want to hear all about your drunk weekends, over and over again. We get it, you like to party. That’s fine and all, but we have moved on from that time in our lives and have no interest in hearing you brag about how much you drank, that time you passed out, etc. If it’s a rare occurrence then hell yes, tell us all about it! We would love to hear about your random drunken make out with the hot guy you just met. Or the other night when you got so drunk for your birthday you fell over. But we don’t want to hear about your wild weekends every single time we talk. Thanks, but no thanks.