Family therapy

Why you aren’t jacking up your kids unless you really are

Unless you are doing something blatantly awful like beating up your kids or leaving them home alone while you jet off to Vegas, you are probably doing a fine job of raising your kid/s.I only have one child so I have plenty of time to wonder how I am totally screwing this up.  I think if I had a bunch of kids I wouldn’t have time to worry about all this screwing up nonsense.  

I’m not sure if it’s just me, it might be, but I don’t want my kid scheduled into classes, clubs, activities every day of the week and on weekends where I am made to drive all over the state.  If you are a parent with a child and you both like that lifestyle, more power to you.  I happen to like the fact that my son isn’t scheduled out the wazoo.  He’s in school from 7:45 until 4 or 5 pm.  I think even that is a bit much but he loves his school so it’s all good.

I tend to feel guilty when he shuts himself in the game room playing his video games. He plays too many video games and I let him.  Horrible by today’s standards, right?  What would society (other parents) say?!?!  I don’t know, but I do know he is also having fun and I did the same thing when I was a kid.  He also gets almost straight A’s.  When I was a kid we entertained ourselves with videogames, MTV, movies, and TV dinners.  If we were bored we made up games to play, burnt bugs with a magnifying glass (sorry bugs), had mud pie wars and ran around the neighborhood.  

Things I have done to jack up my son:

  • Allow him to play all day on the XBOX
  • Shamed him (accidently but still…)
  • For sure I taught him swear words (I can’t believe I fucking did that, but I did.)
  • Not enough veggies and fruits and way too many chips and ice cream.  
  • I didn’t believe him and then found out he told the truth.  Sigh….
  • Had one too many cocktails in front of him
  • Fought with my husband and for sure he heard

(side bar - my mom told me once that my dad came home after too much boozing and peed in the closet cuz he thought it was the bathroom, hahaa, I have NOT done that)

So if you are a parent who spends quality time with your kid/s, gives them lots of love and hugs and kisses, is there for them when they need you, well you are one awesome human being.  They don’t HAVE to have a phone.  If you are considering it, call me so I can get The Phone Contract out to you asap.  My son’s job is to try hard in school, be a good friend, have fun and be a nice human.  That’s it.  He doesn’t have to be numero uno at a team sport, he just has to play if he wants to and enjoy the game.

There are way too many kids ending up in hospitals and inpatient facilities because of the huge amounts of anxiety put on them in school, sports, social settings, you name it.  The super sad part is that often all the beds are taken.  Let’s just encourage our kids to be kids, to be who they are and we love them no matter what.  If they get an F, we love them.  If they strike out, we hug them for trying.  If they no longer want to play when the seasons over, they don’t have to sign up again.  

If you have a list like mine, congratulations, you are a real live person who makes mistakes.  Own your shit, apologize when you jack it up and move on.  It’s called being a good role model when you haven’t been a good role model, get it?  Let’s all stop pretending that certain parents have it all together cuz I’m here to tell you it’s total bullshit.

If you are brave enough (and you don’t have to be!), go ahead and put your list of jacking it all up in the comments section.  Let’s all bond over it.  Or, if you’d rather do it in private, call me and we can chat.  No more feeling like we are alone in this parenting business, the only one confused and sometimes freaked out.  Cuz I really think we are ALL a part of that group.  


The Book: Part Two

The book is complete…. I think.  For those who missed it, I spoke in a previous blog about creating ‘the book’.  For many in the adoption process, creating a scrapbook snapshot of your lives is how birth parents choose which potential adoptive parents they want to meet.  This book can be the key to getting a baby, so it’s a big deal.

Creating the book, for me, was a bit agonizing. Normally, my husband is the perfectionist in our relationship, but in this case, I was the one obsessing over the details.  I love to travel. Its an absolute passion in my life and I have so so lucky to have been to many amazing places.  Therefore, any book about me is going to have to include talking about travelling.  Normally, I’m more than happy to talk about anywhere I’ve been and all the places I still want to go.  However, when trying to show this in the book, I was suddenly questioning everything.  Here’s what happened in my brain: “What if the birth mother also loves to travel? I need to be sure to show that connection and put up fabulous pictures in from the pyramids in Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru! She’ll love that!” But then: “wait, what if she hasn’t had the opportunity to travel? Maybe financially it’s not an option in her life and putting these pictures up will make me look disconnected from the hard reality of life and she’ll think I’m totally pretentious and don’t understand where she’s coming from.  Ok, take those pictures off”.   But then “But maybe she’ll wish her child will have the chance to travel that she never had.  Put the pictures up”  But then…..  You get the picture.

So, with some advice from the owner of the adoption agency, I decided to just be as authentically myself as possible.  All I can do is put it out there in the way that is the most true to who I am and who we are as a family and trust that the right person is out there.  Turns out that this process feels a lot like dating.  I recall some dates in my younger years when I would spend most of the night trying to figure out if I was acting right and saying the right things etc.  Then I learned that if I wanted to meet the right person to be in my life, I needed that person to like me for exactly who I am, not someone I’m trying to.  Turns out that’s true when adopting a baby also….

If you are looking to adopt, or have adopted in the past, and need someone to talk to about all of the emotions that come along with adopting, please come see me and we can work through it together.

The Book: Part 1

For many people who are looking to adopt a baby, creating your personal book is part of that process.  For those who haven’t had to do so, the book is like a scrapbook snapshot of your life.  Nowadays, most people use internet photo services to upload photos, add descriptions and print out hard copies. Then, these books are shared with birth mothers who use them to help match up birthparents and adoptive parents.

My husband and I are in the process of creating our book right now.  When I first heard about these books, I was  excited.  I thought it would be fun to look through old photos and share the story of our lives with others.  However, now that I’m in the middle of it, it’s really quite daunting.  With the agency that I am working with, these books are shown to the birth mothers who have most of the control when it comes to the matching process.  I like this model and I agree with the reasoning behind it; however, it is also the reason that I have about 20 pages to try to convince a total stranger that she should give me her child… her CHILD!  I’ve found this process to also make me feel very vulnerable.

How do you display seven years of a relationship in way that makes you look loving, caring, responsible, etc.  Additionally, how do we make ourselves stand out from other couples who are also just as deserving of this amazing gift?  Are we likeable? Seem pretentious? Not good enough? Generic and exactly like every other couple? I’m suddenly regretting never having gotten into the scrapbooking fad! I love my life.  I think we’re pretty great.  But honestly, in Colorado, everyone loves to hike, ski and has at least one adorable dog so how I can get us to be THE ONES?  So now I have a pile of photos, some other books to use as references, no idea what to do next… An update to follow when the book is completed.

If you are looking to adopt, or have adopted in the past, and need someone to talk to about all of the emotions that come along with adopting, please come see me and we can work through it together.