Coaching and Wellness, faith, God, Jesus, meditation, self improvement, Uncategorized

What Other People Think of My Boundaries is None of My Business (And other truths I’m learning)

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Having been someone who used to gossip in the past, I’m really uncomfortable with that kind of behavior today. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, I did it to make myself feel better about my own insecurities. Sadly, the behavior was so ingrained in me, and these insecurities so subconscious, I didn’t even know I was doing it.

But when you know better, you do better.

Sadly, when I became aware of the insidious Gossip Weed… when I truly began plucking it… big weeds of People Pleasing started sprouting up to take their place. Walmart bucket sized gallons of Emotional Roundup later, I began making big headway.

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I can handle one greenery or the other, but when both nasty flowers pop up at once, often thanks to someone else for planting an unwanted seed in my soil, it’s like pouring Miracle Growth on both defects. My spiritual garden goes from nicely pruned geraniums to large blossoms of “Screw You” and “You’re a Crappy Person” blossoms.

“Stay quiet, Andrea,” People Pleasing whispers in desperation. “It’s not worth it!”

But these days my conscience is more important than my comfort. When said resistance comes, I water my fears with a line I learned from my sponsor. “I’m not comfortable with what is being said and will not continue the conversation.” If I am still being bombarded with unwanted gossip, I take out the big watering hose: “You don’t have my permission to keep speaking like this.”

A few beats of awkward silence later, the person who has thrown the seeds then has 3 choices:

  1. Respect my boundaries.
  2. Use the opportunity to reflect and see if I have a point.
  3. Ask questions.

Almost all the time Sometimes none of the above points happen. Instead I might get anger, frustration, finger pointing and more defensive walls being built than on Trump’s architect’s plans. It’s then that I can choose to feel hurt, or instead feel compassion for the person who is reacting so poorly. I can’t lie, I feel a little sad (Not people pleasing is new muscle flexing for me!) but mostly I feel empathy.

Because that is what pain looks like.

And that’s not something I can fix.

But God can.

And for now, at this point of my life, I’m gonna have go with, “Amen.” (And start a new garden. I can’t make anyone else grow, but I can grow myself.)

Anyone else working on not gossiping or people pleasing? Leave a Comment!

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. )

(Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

parenting, writing

The Best Advice I Forget to Take

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I am lucky that I am really close to my teenagers. Part of it is that we are huge people, so we are literally close.  (I’m not kidding. Stink is on his way to being 7 feet. We live in a 1950’s starter with low ceilings. We might have to move in a few years. To a yurt. Or a circus tent.)

The thing is that I’ve learned one powerful tool over the past few years. I mentioned it a while back, but it’s such a bootie saver that I’m repeating it. It goes like this:

#1 Parenting Tool to Save Your Relationship (And head from spinning off its axis like Linda Blair after smelling too much High School Axe)

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“Do you want my opinion or do you just want me to listen?”

Then just follow their lead.

Even if you are dying to say something.

Even if you have to super glue your mouth. And then cover that with tape. And cut off your tongue. (Don’t do that last part. You’d never get to enjoy coffee again. That would suck.)

I am telling you, this parental response is like crack for an addict. It just calms everything down.

Still not sure? Think about it: When you’re upset, do you want someone just spouting off their opinion? No, you don’t. If they did, you’d want to punch them in the throat.

Or wash down a Chipolte plate with a large Diet Coke and silently resent them (and hate yourself for being such a wussy).

No, asking before breaking and entering a teenager’s vulnerable emotions is the best course. Every. Single. Time.

Which is why tonight I am typing this a bit defeated. Because not only do I not like listening to other people’s unwelcomed advice, I don’t even take my own.

Come to think about it, you’re not asking for my opinion either, readers! But you’re reading, so I will, unlike how I ever want a date to end with my teenagers, assume consent is implied. (Thanks to Tuskany’s lightning speed text “Is everything okay?” I will clarify the consent reference. It’s from watching One Day at a Time. Such a remarkable series that covers so many issues our teens face – sexual consent notwithstanding. My kids are fine… they are not into dating yet. Thank God.)

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Oh, man, being a parent is hard sometimes. Why couldn’t I just be a crystal gem, like my kids’ favorite show of late, and fight virtual demons while morphing with other dysfunctional beings to create life?

Actually, I think that last part is how I ended up with my kids in the first place.

Happily Ticked Off Tip #19:  When your teen is upset, try asking “Do you want my opinion or do you just want me to listen?” It’s a game changer and keeps you a safe space for future conversation.

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

 

education, parenting

This is the Greatest Show! (Of Anger and Resentment. Send in the Clowns, Baby!)

I thought I hit “publish” on this post yesterday. But after a less than stellar day dealing with a new job, a family death, being low on gas, being a speaker at a meeting with my husband and the realization that “Yes, I CAN do it all, just not all at once” I goofed up. Please enjoy a post where I out myself on being a less than perfect parent. #progressnotperfection.

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Yesterday…

Today I totally overreacted with one of my kids over something I had asked them to do the night before. (Not once, not twice, three times.)

My requests often feel like a stack of dishes on my counter. No matter how high they grow, they are not often met with “Let’s bolt out of our chairs and get right to that, Mom!”

But I had already danced the dance of “Am I nagging if I ask a fourth time? / When will they learn to be independent if I bug bug bug?” so I dropped it. Well, not quite. I also texted from work.

Crickets.

And the request still wasn’t done. I was irked when I finally saw my child and really raised my voice, throwing in a few examples of other things said child doesn’t do in a timely manner.

And then I huffed into the living room. And shock of all shock, my self indignation did NOT make me feel better.

After a bit I remembered that just a few hours earlier the dean had called my classroom regarding two kids who had escaped from my room and were found pounding on bathroom doors.

Um, is it possible I dumped on my kid because I felt dumped on?

Ding ding ding!

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Why do I always go back to the same well? I guess I need to keep getting hit with the same lesson until I change. It’s not unlike what I’m teaching being taught at school with my art students. Just like the classroom kids, I have every right to give my teen a consequence for not following up. But getting angry and surly? It does nothing.

What’s it about, Andrea?

It’s all about ME setting expectations, letting go and knowing that some things are just what they are – age appropriate defiance/immaturity/distraction. Doesn’t matter. It only matters how I perceive and react to it.

Bottom line: ITS ALL ABOUT ME! (Hey, I normally like that last part. Just not in these cases. You know… the ones where I need to give God my character defects and be willing to change to avoid pain.)

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Ten minutes later I had prayed, gotten quiet, saw my part and was ready to start fresh. This meant going back into the kitchen and apologizing for my outburst.

Which I did!

Only to be met with a slow, direct stare and be told, “Please come back in 20 minutes. I need time to decompress from my grrrr’.”

I wanted to pop the kid. But at the same time, this particular knows who themself, and said self means not deigning to dive my instant gratification/push push push/apology well of crazy. I had no choice but to respect it or head on over to the big clown tent for another show.

Now if I only I can learn this same lesson before my emotional explosions instead of afterwards. Constantly buying circus tickets is expensive.

Happily Ticked Off Tip #16: When I try to fix or criticize other people, there is always something disturbed in me. And that gets me mad. Because that means there is no one to blame but myself. #Stupid truth.

My book is available on Amazon. (Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook. 

books

Uncategorized

Is Your Kid Joyful or Feral? It’s a Fine Line!

 

It’s Saturday. I slept until 10am – a rarity for this tired mama.

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I just lingered under the covers until I felt like shuffling toward the kitchen for a lovely cup of Starbucks in my favorite mug. It was, dare I say, peaceful? Which of course could only mean one thing:

There would be hell to pay.

My son was found hunched over a video screen with his buddy, Tyler.

Me: “Stink, how long have you been on that thing? Be honest.”

Him: “About one hour.”

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Me: (Attempting to be calm.) “Really? Because isn’t one of your friends coming over at 1 to play with you?”

Him: “No.”

Me: Sigh of relief.

Him: “Two more are coming. Holden and Adrian.”

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Me: (Blood now rising like hot air balloon…. in Hades.) “If you only get two hours/day on the computer (picture Patience with Control Issues rising) and you’re now playing for one hour (insert the image of a harpie on steriods) then do you mean to tell me you’re only going to play for one hour when your buddies come over?”

Him: (Instantly shutting down the screen) “Sorry, Mom.”

Me: (Determined not to go into a full on lecture. Going into a full on lecture.) 2

“You are 13! Thirteen! I don’t want to micromanage you, dude, but apparently I’m going to have to because if I can’t trust you to be responsible with your gaming limits then clearly I can’t trust you in the future when you are driving and going to work… if you even qualify for anything besides playing Mario Cart… and really is this what I am going to have to do deal with first thing in the morning FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

Him: (Calm as a cucumber) “No, Mom. Just for today.”

Me: (Taking a deep breath) “Okay. You’re right. I’m sorry I over reacted.”

Him: (Hugging me) “It’s okay.” (Then) “To make it up to me, can I have a few more minutes?”

Con artist.

I could have gone loco. (Like just yesterday, when I had the grand idea that the way to stop an arguing ADHD teenager is to put my hands on his mouth and see if it would block the noise from coming through the pie hole. Um, note: That totally doesn’t work.)

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Instead, that’s when I took the high road. I put my arms around him, took a deep breath, told him how much I loved him, and invited him into a moment of prayer to bond and connect with our Lord, Jesus then reached my long arms down and pinched his butt.

He retaliated by grabbing a bag of gluten free bread and smacking me on the side of the noggin.

GAME. ON. (And this one didn’t require a plug.)

The moral of the story: Sometimes turning a potentially explosive moment into a joyful one can keep you from killing your offspring.

Underlying points of the moral of the story: I can be controlling sometimes. The kid is not a baby. I don’t need to be policing his every move.

The flip side of my controlling tendencies: If I don’t teach him consequences and boundaries, who will? And even more to the point (yes, I over think… like you don’t, readers?) if I don’t keep my anger in check, what’s the point of keeping him off the games in the first place if he’s only going to deal with a crazy mother who screams at him first thing in the morning with bad hair and no caffeine in her pre-menopause body GOD HELP US ALL!!!?

No, as Farmer Stacey always reminds me, relationship trumps being right.

This kid will be out of my house of my house (idealistically) in five years. While I want him to grow into a man of discipline and respect, I want him to remember being a boy who experienced silliness, laughter and love.

For me, this area is difficult, because I don’t always have the most boundaries with myself.

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I don’t care about time restraints and house tasks and being on time for important meetings (Dear God, please let me work on my time issues) as much as I value chatting up the random shopper at Trader Joes about her guinea pig business and the pros and cons of fresh tumeric vs. cholesterol meds. If only I could be paid for being a chatty Kathy human being instead of a warehouse worker!  Life would be perfect! (Oh yeah, I scored the perfect job for me! More to come!)

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How about you, mamas?

Where is your happy balance in this parenting deal? How do you find the balance between a kid who is joyful and a kid who is feral?

The line is shaky, is it not? (Especially when you have a kid like mine.)

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

book cover