Making you reconsider having children, one post at a time

Banning Entitlement and Getting Help from the Kids

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what kind of adults I’m raising.

Well, when I say “lately,” I mean the past seven and a half years, really.  Yes, at some point, while I was pregnant with Joey, I started thinking about who she was going to be when she grew up.

The kid wasn’t even out of me and I already had her in the White House, people.

My most recent mental meanderings, though, are a little more practical. I’ve been reading Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement and it’s got me worried about my kids.

I am not raising productive members of society.

Everything is done for my kids, either by me, their father, or (most often) my amazing mother. Who did everything for me, too. Which explains why it took me a good eight years or so to figure out how to clean an oven. (And even then, it was with copious amounts of Google.)

My kids are seven and four. They’re not going to be cooking dinner any time soon. But, I do want to set up some responsibilities for them.

And it’s not because I’m sick of cleaning up their shit.

Okay, it’s not JUST because I’m sick of cleaning up their shit.

I want them to have the sense of pride that only comes from a job well done. I want them to understand the amount of work that goes into taking care of a house and family. I want them to work together towards common goals.

I want them to grow up to be mature, responsible adults, who do not have that amazingly annoying sense of entitlement that so many kids nowadays seem to have.

The world owes you nothing, kids. You have to work for it. All of it. Any of it.

Over the next week or so, my husband and I are going to be working on our plan to ban entitlement from our home. I’m hoping to start, with baby steps, in July.

How about you? Sick of your kids expecting everything to be done for them? Good. So am I. Let’s work together to make sure our kids feel valuable and capable.

I’m giving you homework.

Have a real discussion, with your partner or with yourself, as applicable, about what responsibilities your kids have, and about what responsibilities they probably should have.

Write down what you’d ultimately like your kids to be handling around the house, keeping in mind this isn’t (just) about lessening the adult work load, but also about teaching your children important life skills.

Meet me back here on Thursday morning and we’ll take the next steps together.

Optional “extra credit” (you’ll laugh your tail off about that if you read the book): Go get the book and give it a perusal. Barring that, check out Kay’s blog, The MOAT Blog, for ideas and inspiration.

See you on Thursday (list in hand)!

Trying to get pregnant? Check this out…

In the interest of full disclosure, FertilityFlower.com is one of my clients, however, I have in no way been compensated for this post.

When I started trying to reproduce, I figured a couple months off birth control, and voila! Swollen ankles!

It doesn’t generally work like that. Well, for some, it might. It didn’t work like that for me, though.

I’m forever grateful that my best friend, Lianne, was pushed into my life at just about this time, because she taught me just about everything I know about fertility. And as it turns out, at this point, I know a lot.

We were both trying to conceive at the same time. She told me about a website where I could track my temperature every morning, like she did. I went months quietly chuckling to myself about this before I actually gave it a whole hearted attempt. This was something people did in 80’s rom-coms.

As it turns out, it got me pregnant. Well, technically, I suppose, my husband got me pregnant. But I don’t know how much longer it would have taken us on our own.  As it is, we finally got those swollen ankles a full year after I went off birth control.

Fertility isn’t as easy as it appears at first glance. Here’s the basic idea… once a month, your ovaries spit out an egg (sometimes two, look out!). That egg travels down your fallopian tubes and hits your uterus. If, during this journey, it meets up with a swimmer, it will land in your uterus and hang on. It’ll start to divide into more cells. About two weeks later, your period will be late, you’ll pee on a stick, and shriek. Or cry. Or whatever.  I shrieked.

So, how do you know, exactly, when this magical window occurs? How can you tell when your ovaries are going to push that puppy out? Well, there are all kinds of signs that your body gives you to let you know that you’re fertile. And listen, this magical window only lasts a couple days every month.  Doesn’t it make sense to track for these symptoms to give yourself the best possible chances of catching that egg?

One of the best signs of ovulation, is a temperature shift. Your basal body temp will rise the day AFTER ovulation, and it will stay up there till you get your period. By the time you see that temperature shift, it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to keep this temping thing up for a couple months and look for your body’s own patterns.

This is how I found out that I typically ovulate on the 17th day of my cycle, and not the 14th day, which is what most medical models are based on.  I’d never have picked up on it if I wasn’t charting, and probably would have ended up getting pregnant eventually, completely by accident. Or maybe not. After a year of trying, it was hard to keep going.

There are other secondary signs of ovulation, and there are all kinds of cool testing supplies you can use to check them. I have, in the past, used ovulation predictor kits, which you pee on every morning. It changes color to indicate ovulation. I have also used a spit-o-scope (not at all what it’s really called), which is a small microscope that I spit on every morning, let dry, and then blinked into to find “ferning patterns.” If it ferned, I was fertile.

One of the best signs of ovulation, next to temperature, is checking your cervical mucus. Hey, trying to get pregnant is no time for being squeamish. Snag some on your finger and check the quality. If it’s stretchy and elastic, like egg white, have sex. You’re likely fertile.

What makes all of this come to together in a neat little baby shaped package with a bow on top is quality ovulation calendar software. I’ve recently been doing some work with the good people at FertilityFlower.com and really wish I had them when I was trying to get pregnant. I did use another online fertility calculator, and obviously, it worked, but I love that with Fertility Flower, I can continue tracking things into my pregnancy. (Not that this is ever happening again, folks.)

I also love that it helps me track my nutrition, and my lifestyle, helping set up optimal conditions for making a baby.

I am currently using Fertility Flower, although, I’m  using it as a natural form of birth control. I mostly track my cervical mucus, as far as fertility signs go. But, from working so hard to make my babies, I’m pretty well tuned to my reproductive system. I can generally feel when I ovulate, which is uncommon. I know how my body feels when I’m spitting out the eggs.  It’s kind of amazing.

In fact, I wasn’t charting when I conceived my second baby, but just knew my body so well, that the next day, when I felt a slight cramping near my ovary, I said to my husband, “We made a baby last night.” And I was so right.

Fertility Flower allows me to track this ovulation pain in a way that the other software I’d used simply didn’t.

So. Are you trying to get pregnant? Check out FertilityFlower.com for more information on everything I mentioned here, and to get your own TOTALLY FREE account to start charting your own cycle. They do have a premium membership, with flexible payment options, but you don’t need to pay to use the basic charting software.

I love Fertility Flower so much, that I’ve stopped using the software I used to get pregnant and have been using for birth control, even though I paid for a lifetime membership there. If you’re trying to make a baby, go check it out and see what you think.  I sincerely  hope it helps.

Is this guy for real?

Have you seen this father, who is being lauded as a hero among fathers everywhere?

I think he’s a douchebag.

I get that he’s trying to teach his daughter a lesson about respect. And, I have to admit, she’ll probably never post anything negative about him on Facebook again. But seriously?

What a waste! Regardless of who paid for the computer and all the computer upgrades (ostensibly, the parents), the fact remains it is a bought and paid for computer, that probably cost more than the bullets he used to destroy it. If he doesn’t want his daughter to have a computer anymore, there were much better ways to go about it.

He could have wiped the hard drive clean (working in IT and all, he should be able to do that, no prob.) and given it to someone who isn’t as blessed as he. Whose child doesn’t have a computer. Whose family doesn’t have a computer!

He could have given it to the school and asked that they give it to a student who stays after school to do his homework on the library computers, because he has no computer at home.

I know it’s hard for us to imagine, but there are people, lots and lots of people, who do not have a computer.

The fact that there are children in my own daughter’s school who don’t have access to word processing programs at home makes me want to rage against this man who so cavalierly puts bullets in a perfectly good computer.

What he’s really teaching his daughter is that everything, even really big ticket items, like computers, are disposable. What he’s also teaching her is that he can do whatever he wants to any of her stuff, just by virtue of the fact that he’s her father (and that he’s got a gun. I mean, there is that.)

I don’t abide by that stuff. When I give something to my kids, it belongs to them. It was a gift. I might give my daughter a break from her DS, but I’m not going to murder it in the backyard to teach her a lesson.

In fact, I just took my 4 year old’s Leapster away from her and told her she can have it back tomorrow. This, after she smacked me because she was unhappy with the way I was helping her play a game. Which I was doing at her request. So, like, damn kid, I’m doing what you asked! But, again, I didn’t drown it in the kitchen sink, in an attempt to teach her a lesson about respecting me.

And honestly, I doubt a lesson has been learned here. Sure, this guy’s daughter will be more covert about her parental disrespect, and probably won’t be posting open letters to her parents on Facebook anymore, but I doubt she’s learned anything here, except that Dad is a bully. And the whining and moaning isn’t going to stop.

No, it doesn’t seem that she’s got such a horrible existence. But I didn’t have a horrible existence either, and I still bitched about my parents when I was a teenager. It’s just part of being a teenager. It’s part of the whole “pulling away to become an adult” thing.

I’m not saying this dad should have sat idly by while his daughter berated him in a very public forum, and even went so far as to lie (as he claims. I don’t know. I’m not in their house.) about her responsibilities. I’m also not saying that he’s wrong to take the computer away from his daughter (seeing as how I just took that Leapster thing away from my own daughter). I am saying that what he did was wasteful. It contributes to our disposable society.

Someday, his daughter will likely be faced with a rebellious teenager of her own. I hope that what she doesn’t take a gun to the problem when she is.

You’ve gotta fight…for your right….to work?

There is a four year old screaming at me from her bedroom. This is especially sucktastic, because her bedroom is right next to where I’m working.

Makes it hard to work.

She got mad at me, while I was working, and decided to let me know she was mad by repeatedly screaming, top of her lungs, right next to my left ear.

Which is bleeding, now.

I dove into my bag of awesome mommy tricks and tried to pull her out of the fit. But the screaming continued.

I warned her that if she couldn’t stop screaming, she was going to have to go to her bedroom till she calmed down. Because, you know, my ear? It’s bleeding.

And so, now, there is a four year old screaming at me from her bedroom.

There are joys and pains to everything, I suppose. Working at home is no different. I’m  not sure what I was expecting, but the idea of kids leaving you alone for an hour and a half while you write an article is just laughable.

My kids will leave me alone for hours on end if I’m doing nothing important. If I want to get on the floor and play with the 6 year old’s Monster High dolls, I’m “lame.”  But as soon as I get a cup of coffee and pull the computer out, it’s all over.

Some of it isn’t even their fault. The last stomach bug we dealt with started seconds after I locked the bathroom door to dye away the gray hairs these kids have given me.

But truth… working at home, working outside of the home, not working at all and just trying to stay on top of the kids and the house… we need to fight for our time, moms. Am I right?

I use the TV more than I should, especially with my younger daughter, who I think might be secretly in love with Dora. I also lean on my mom, and my husband, when he’s home.

What do you do? How do you fight for mom time? And what does your mom time look like? Are you working, or trying to dye your hair? Or both?