Monthly Archives: July 2017

Entitlement: It’s in the Cereal

Earlier today I was text messaging a friend of mine. We were having a very important discussion on lipstick shades and those with maximum stay-ability. I had been browsing through the MAC cosmetics store and found a perfect color… and so did my 9 year old daughter. It was a metallic purple and she just  had to have it. It was $18. No freaking way. 

First, I’m not uptight about makeup and dress-ups. It’s fun and little girls like to dress up now and then, and I’m perfectly okay with that. She has a few lip glosses and she and I make beaded bracelets together. But on the whole, she’s actually quite a tomboy (5 brothers). She has a baseball cap that she never removes except for family portraits, and only then at the threat of death. She loves tarantulas and snakes and hanging out with the boys… and lipstick. 
So when I told her no way would I even entertain such an expenditure, she got pissy and pouty fast. I was so unfair. 

I also relayed this portion of the shopping trip to my friend and she said, “They must be putting entitlement in the cereal.” Oh my gosh, YES. 

I’m not the first or even 10,000th person to write about this “phenomenon,” so I won’t provide links to studies or online help programs for managing entitled children. Instead, I’ll just rant about my own 😉.

When I was growing up, Al Gore had not yet invented the internet the way we know it today.  Very few people had pagers, and if you did, you obviously were dealing drugs in high school. My mom had a cell phone the size of a Smart Car and it cost a small fortune to make a one minute emergency call. I drove the ugliest car a teen could be doomed to drive, and only because the school was too far for my dad to conveniently take me and my mom to fetch me. But they were strict. I always thought they were way too strict. I was grounded all the time. And I don’t mean “go to your room filled with a stereo, TV, game systems, personal phone line and think about what you did”… I’m talking exile from the universe. For weeks. And after enough screwing up, I lost the privilege of driving the ugly car and walked to and from school.  And then, they hand delivered me to a “get your act together program” a thousand miles away.  And yes, it all seemed awful. But I certainly didn’t mouth off to my dad about how unfair he was. All hell would have been unleashed!!

I have a friend in the city I’m currently visiting. He worked his butt off and owns a very well known hair studio in the area. I get my hair cut at the cheapest places possible every two years, but ironically just had it cut last month. I wasn’t due, but my 9 year old certainly was. So we went in, she asked about purple highlights, and I agreed.  She was SO excited. The man worked for hours on her hair… coloring, washing, cutting and drying. Then he took pictures for his social media page. It really looked amazing. The price tag nearly killed me but it was already purple, so…

Immediately she wanted to throw it all up in that God awful baseball cap. I said no!! Leave it down for at least the day! Oh the go to hell looks I got… The stomping, the tears, the pathetic attempts at negotiating. It was enough to make me march her back to the salon and strip every spot of purple from her hair AND toss that cap in the trash. But no… we took her and her cousin to an indoor jump place instead (It is the cousin’s 10th birthday….). Did this improve moods? Nope. Just sulking, fiery eyes and demands for the cap. 

My 13 year old has major entitlement issues. He actually told me it is unfair that he shares a bathroom when I don’t. My head spun on that one. 

Truly, I could go on and on and on… But it’s not just the idea that kids feel they are owed everything, it’s a lack of gratitude. And some very serious flaws in my parenting that I need to quickly find and remedy before I contribute 7 more entitled young adults to an already me – driven world. A frightening world in which everyone is special and unique for no obvious reason other than they exist. Everyone is a unicorn. Or those who truly are underprivileged, should be given everything because they have nothing. And those who don’t want to work? Well, they should get something too… or hop from job to job until one “feels right” and they are appreciated for their awesomeness. 

I don’t have a solution, except the aforementioned one. But I am growing increasingly resentful of this behavior and am close to stripping my kids’ worlds bare: bed, clothes, food. Oh, and MAYBE I’ll give them a ride to school. 

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Sigh… And Cry…

As I begin to write this, I am sitting in the car with my 5 year old autistic son. It’s the 4th of July, which means fireworks and panic for this sweet boy. Three of my boys are with their dad, or who knows… the heartache of divorce… 

I’m okay sitting in the car with my little boy.

I’m coming to terms with a failed marriage (twice attempted, twice failed, with the same person).

What should matter is my children, my relationship with them and moving forward. And what should not matter is the negative flurry of slander, hate and anger behind me. 

But it does. 

It hurts. It hurts real bad. And I hate giving power to that pain by acknowledging it… But I guess healing comes with acceptance of pain and failure. 

I have seven children. Two of my boys are autistic, my 16 and 5 year old. The oldest has grown to be such a delightful young man. He is smart, humble, quiet, gentle and kind. My 5 year old is still struggling through his emotions and anxieties, and this is also a great struggle for me. It’s hard to reach him at times and even harder to calm him in the midst of his “moments.”

What’s also hard is the backlash I have received from those closest to me.  My family seems to only be able to tolerate the older children in doses, and the youngest three scarcely at all. They are quick to point out my short comings as a parent… even quicker to jump on the backs of these three for simply being children. 

And then there is my ex husband’s side of the family… although only his parents have ever come to visit – and no more than a week a year, at most – there certainly wasn’t a shortage of pure evil, hateful messages from the siblings (who have NEVER visited in 16 years and never met the younger FIVE children). Thankfully, I’ve been able to keep a mostly loving and positive communication with his parents. As for the others, I should be strong enough to dismiss their unfounded judgment and just focus on the beautiful, innocent faces in front of me. 

But it’s hard. Real hard. 

I wonder… do my parents, his parents, [some of] my siblings and his siblings, random acquaintances, etc, ever stop to remove the log from their own eyes? Do they really think that through their actions they are lifting up a woman and her children? Or worse, are they trying to bring her to her breaking point?

I may be weak. They may hurt me a lot. But they will not break me. Let me be clear on that. They can block my messages and not make eye contact in church. They may say all manner of things behind my back – deserved or undeserved. They may try to turn my own children against me with their poison. Yes, they can do all this and more, while pretending to be righteous, saying their morning and evening prayers daily…

Meanwhile, I struggle to pray, struggle to bring my children to church. I wake up daily and make my kids food adherent to a diet for those on the spectrum. I cry and work through the tantrums of the little ones. I struggled for 8 years to home educate because I felt it was best for my kids. I try to help a very moody and emotional, freshly-minted teenager navigate through his complex emotions and new life changes. All the while, trying very hard not to let myself succumb to the negativity and hatred from those I love the most, outside my children.

Sigh… And cry…

Life is always a struggle. One beautiful struggle after another. And if I can come out of one, I trust that God will carry me and mine through the next battle. 

And when I cannot pray because in that moment my faith is lost, I hope that God sees me through those moments as well. 

And when I want to hate in return those who have hurt me over and over again, I beg that God give me the patience and love not to do so. 

After all, none of us are in any place to judge another. My struggles may be unbearable for many, but for sure, there are so many families in the world who face much worse. 

We are all broken. And those of us brave enough to admit that are just trying to find our footing each day. 

At the moment, it’s sitting in the car with my sweet boy so he feels safe with me from the noise of the fireworks… tomorrow I don’t know.