Raising the Next Generation of Wusses

My school district cancelled school today due to freezing temperatures. Yes, I live in Massachusetts and it’s cold in winter. The sheer amount of people with their panties in a twist over it was shocking. Do these people complaining even have kids? “What’s the big deal?”, I wondered. “This is why the next generation is full of wusses.” That was the answer.

I get it. There is some questionable behaviors from the next generation. But what bothers me is that they say, “Well, it was good enough for us to go to school during a blizzard in negative 20 degree weather…” Great, we should just settle for the status quo because that’s how it’s always been done? Shouldn’t we want better for our kids? Parents in my generation took a belt to their kids. Doesn’t mean we should be doing that today. We shouldn’t just make things, especially with the safety of our children, stay the same when there are things that we could do to improve their lives. For instance, car seats. Car seats used to be optional, but we use them today because it’s safer for kids. But I mean, because not having seat belts and car seats was good enough for us, it’s obviously good enough for our kids. (See how ridiculous that sounds?)

I get it. With stories like a basketball coach being suspended because their team had 80 something points on the other team, there is some level of babying that goes too far. The coach shouldn’t be suspended because the other team sucked. That’s life. There’s going to be something/someone miles better than you. Doesn’t mean they should be punished for it. That’s a line. There’s a difference between a participation prize and a babying prize. There are things that are making kids not ready for the real world, such as not having any rules or consequences for their actions. But, making them walk in negative wind chills is not really the play here. Especially when your argument is, “I have to work in the cold.” Well guess what? You’re an adult. If you don’t want to work out in the cold, get a different job. Isn’t that the argument when fast food employees want more money? It’s just that easy to find a new job, right?

The point is there are things that are making the next generation soft, but is that really necessarily a bad thing? When done right, this is what helps make a generation of people who want to do good in the world, and honestly we could use a lot more of that these days. Now, when they start asking questions like “Is peanut butter and jelly racist?” then that’s a line. When they think they can do whatever they want without consequences (cough: Kyle Rittenhouse, “affluenza teen”, Brock Turner) that’s a line. No one is above consequences for bad behaviors. But frostbite because kids are walking to school in negative wind chills really is not the hill to die on.

The New Year is Coming for Us All

I remember back as 2020 was approaching, I had some atypical optimism of how that was going to be a great year. I very quickly learned that what I was feeling was probably more impending doom and I was lying to myself with how that year ended up. 2021, it was going to be my oldest son’s year. He would get all those fun senior activities, filling out scholarships and college applications, getting accepted to his first choice school. Then, a fun graduation. He didn’t get all those fun senior activities, which apparently he was thrilled about. But, he did get into his top choice school so there’s that.

In 2022, I’m going in with trepidatious optimism. This could be my year. This could be a fantastic year for me. It could also go very wrong. I never go into the New Year with that “New Year, New Me” crap. If I wanted to change something about me, I’m not going to wait. I’ll just do it. I don’t believe in resolutions. Those are just lies that we tell ourselves for about a week before forgetting the whole thing. I do go in a little hopeful of a fresh start. For instance, I’m hoping that this is the year where I get at least a single parking spot in front of my house from the apartment people who don’t feel like using their parking lot. Which is honestly, much closer than walking from my house. Maybe I get that wish this year. Doubtful though, because they own our street and we have to just suck up the fact that I can’t use my driveway sometimes or that my guests have to park at the end of my street to visit me. /endrant

The thing is that you could let the fear of the New Year take you down, you could let it inspire you to make that change you’ve been wanting to… or you could just view it as another day. It doesn’t matter. The New Year comes for us all. We are just living out whatever fate it brings us. Hopefully, it has decided that we’re all due a little big luck. Maybe I hit the lottery, the housing market finally cools a bit, and I can move out of this house. Maybe people will suddenly realize that the “conservatives vs. liberals” is just something that the politicians use to control us, so while we’re all bickering like toddlers about it they can do whatever they want without us noticing. Maybe people will learn to be more open-minded to other’s beliefs and accept others for those beliefs. There’s a lot of possibilities. That mostly won’t happen because people are only going to get worse and I have no faith in humanity left especially after these past few years.

The New Year is coming for us all. We can either change what we put out in the world or we can stay the same and nothing happens. There’s always a choice and maybe this new year is the year we finally make the right choices. But I do want to wish you and your families a very Happy New Year.

There are 4 Sleeps Until Christmas

It’s that time of year again when I remind everyone what the greatest gift of all is: love. And love is free. I would rather have your love all year long than an expensive present. I love the thought behind gifts, but what I love most is being with the people who are family, whether by blood, marriage, or friendship. That’s the most important thing this time of year. Family. It’s something we missed out on last year to keep everyone safe, but I’m actually really excited to get back into something more normal this year. And it’s going to be a great Christmas.

With that in mind, I’d like to do my annual Christmas reminders:

  • It’s easy to get caught up in spending a fortune on Christmas presents. I’ve learned a long time ago that I never go into debt for Christmas presents anymore. Your kids and family members may like the presents for the short-term, but your credit score and financial stability are far more important than being impressive. If you can afford fancy, go for it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter. Your thoughtful gifts matter no matter how much they cost.
  • Don’t forget to give back. Find some little way to give back this year. You may not think that you’re fortunate, but I guarantee there are plenty of people out there that wish they were as “unfortunate” as you are. Buy that bag of groceries to donate to a food pantry or family in need. Buy grocery items off the list for the U.S.O to help our troops. And don’t forget the furry cuties in the shelters, who could also very much benefit from your generosity.
  • Be kind. Holidays can be extraordinarily hard for some people. Maybe they recently lost someone they loved and this is the first holiday without them. Maybe they are missing someone every year that they wish could be with them. Maybe they have no one to share the holidays with. Even if you can’t be bothered to go out of your way to be kind, do everything in your power not to be an ass.
  • It’s all about family and those who matter most to you. These are the people who are there for you for your ups and downs. Take this time to really cherish how fortunate you are this holiday season as you are surrounded by love. I know I will.

I say all of this as a self-professed Grinch who absolutely hates the holidays. There are better emotions to spend your energy on this holiday season than negativity. You may even find some glimmer of hope this year. Because we could all use some of that after the past year or 2 that we’ve had.

When They Come Home Again

My oldest has only been back from college a handful of times since he moved on campus across state at the end of August. He was home a couple of times on random weekends. He came back for a week at Thanksgiving. But next week, our boy comes home for an entire month and I cannot be more excited. While he does indulge his sometimes-too-loving parents on a nightly phone call, a routine he doesn’t seem to mind or complain about, it’s just not the same as having him home. The hardest part of parenting is when they grow up.

They do leave eventually, and that’s the point, isn’t it? We spend all of our time and energy trying to shape them into productive adults that, at minimum, live long enough to move out on their own. At best, they do something remarkable to leave a lasting impact on the world and making it a better place. But ultimately, we just want them to be happy. We want to teach them that their worth doesn’t come down to their income, that as long as they are making enough to get by that’s an accomplishment that not everyone has the luxury of. That they don’t have to accept what they have, because acceptance means they remain stagnant. No. We want them to be grateful for everything that they have, but to have aspirations that take them to the stars and beyond.

When my oldest comes home again, he will be (hopefully) welcomed by his favorite Christmas cookies that were lovingly made by his mother. He’ll get long talks about video games, anime, and superheroes with his father. His little brother will just have long talks about anything, while he politely obliges his brother’s inability to stop talking. He’ll be welcomed home by all of his family that love him dearly, excited to see their college boy that they’ve been so proud of for as long as he’s been born or since he became a part of their lives. The grandmothers will dote on him, asking him about when he’s going to bring home a “friend” or whether or not he’s eating enough at school. He will catch up with his friends and cousins to the point of I’m not sure if I’ll even get time with him while he’s home. But at least he’ll be home, for a month anyways.

It’s always that torn feeling you get though. You want them to go out in the world to accomplish their dreams. You want them to grow up and become the amazing individuals that you believed they would from the minute they were born. But, you want them near you so that you can protect them forever even when you know that you have to let some of that go. For now, I’ll just enjoy having him home.

Thanksgiving is Nearly Here

This year, people can share their homes for the holidays after that year we would like to all forget. But with this annual holiday, I’d just like to remind people of a few things.

Be grateful for what you have, even if you don’t think it’s that much. You have more than others and that’s something to be grateful for. I’m grateful because I have an amazing family system, both my biological family and the one I married into. I’m grateful because I have the best friends on the planet and you can’t change my mind. I have a roof over my head, that may not seem like much, but it’s ours. We worked hard for it and I don’t care whether or not you’re impressed by it. It’s mine and I’m grateful every day for it. I’m grateful for my writing jobs and my current job. I’m grateful to have my husband and the boys. It’s easy to forget about the things that you should be grateful for when you’re busy trying to keep up with the Joneses. But once you start listing them, you realize there’s a lot to be grateful for.

You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind to them. These days, there’s this hard line drawn between conservatism and liberalism. It still boggles my mind how crazy people are about this. Instead of tossing childish insults and ignoring the other side, maybe try finding some common ground. Can’t find anything to agree on? Who said you had to? One person’s beliefs should not dictate whether or not you should be kind to them. Kill ’em with kindness anyways. Sometimes taking the higher ground is the best choice, because then you can walk away with the moral satisfaction that you didn’t stoop to someone else’s level. Just be kind. And here’s a little hint: it doesn’t even need to be a holiday for you to be kind. Think about it.

And finally, take the time to give back. I’m of the belief, and this is something I’ve worked so hard to instill in my kids, is that you should do something that can make a difference in someone’s life. I think you should do this every day that you can, but this is especially important at the holidays. Some people have difficult relationships with their families. Some people don’t have families. Some people don’t have homes or money for their own holiday meal. You shouldn’t need to advertise your good deed to get social media karma points. You should just want to help your fellow person. Even the smallest act can have some significant impact, whether you realize it or not. Make your impact today.

That’s my annual reminder for the holidays. Enjoy your time with your family or friends or anyone else that you choose to spend your day with. Life’s too short, so appreciate it more.

Finding Your Voice

I’ve always encouraged a little activism in my boys. I told them to fight for what they believe in, whatever that may be. That if they believed so strongly in something, they should educate themselves and if they need to fight for it, then they should. That’s how positive changes are made in the world. Whatever they are passionate about and believe in, that’s what cause they should back. I would support them no matter what. Well, I mean within reason. If they aren’t hurting anyone or encouraging anyone to be hurt, then knock yourself out. Well, I mean also within reason. I think people who hate on others and start hurling slurs at another human being deserves a nice knock to the jaw. Not that I would actively encourage that on any platform. I just won’t denounce anyone for it. What’s the joke? Punching Nazis is the American way?

My oldest son has always been hesitant to fight. He wanted to participate in things like walkouts at the school to support the teachers, but he was afraid of the consequences. I told him that was his choice. But that if he was suspended for doing that, I certainly wasn’t going to punish him for it. I’m a firm believer in the right to a peaceful protest. He wanted to go to college and not have any blemishes on his record. I told him that the right school wouldn’t care. As far as I know, he never participated in those protests. He’s boring. I would bet anything my youngest boy wouldn’t hesitate. Mostly because he’s a bit on the mischievous side. And we love him for his… willfulness.

On my oldest son’s Facebook, he posted a thing about a counter-protest on his campus. This protest was for a supposed preacher who was spewing hate on campus. (I believe no true man of God spews hate. If they do, then that proves my side of atheism because that’s a God I want nothing to do with.) That if you’re in the LGBTQ+ community or support them, you’re going to hell. From what my son had told me about him, he walks around the area where the classes are, speaking fire and brimstone. Which, I suppose tracks for Salem, MA. I’m hopeful this is a sign that he has found his voice. That he was going to use his voice to fight for something he believes in. And I’ve never been more proud of my boy.

It’s empowering when you finally find your voice. Whether it’s being away from your comfort zone causing you to stand up more for what you believe in or age or wisdom or newfound confidence in yourself. Your voice, oral or written, is one of the most powerful weapons you have. You have the choice to use it to fight for whatever injustice you feel needs to be fought. You can use your voice to make a difference. And I will always support a strong voice as long as they aren’t used for the wrong things. If they are used to incite violence or hate, then I will never support that. I don’t care what side of the aisle you are on. As long as you’re being respectful and aren’t running on a platform of hate and/or violence, you should use your voice. The minute we stifle that voice, especially because we don’t agree with it, we’re stifling another person’s voice. And as much as it’s hard to think about in this divisive world, they have the right to their peaceful voice.

Find your voice and use it. That’s it. That’s the advice.

Taking Back the Power

We’re all guilty of taking other people’s perceptions of us and using that to prove our worth. But our worth isn’t dependent on other’s perceptions of us. We determine our own worth. The minute that you let others take that from you, you let them win.

Too many times, we shy away from striving for our dreams. Why do we do that? It’s mostly fear, but is it our fear that we can’t do it? That we’re not good enough? Or, does this fear come externally? Are you afraid of achieving your goals because other people will think that it’s silly? It’s easier to just give up on your dreams than fight through all of the noise trying to achieve them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college freshman or a nearly 40-year-old woman. We all have this believe that we should have it all figured out by a certain age. But let’s be honest here: how many people actually do? I’m willing to guarantee a lot more people died in the world, just winging it because they didn’t have it figured out. Knowing that should give you some type of comfort that just maybe, there’s no age that you need to have everything figured out. And as I always say, “that’s ok.”

You just need to find some passion in your life, no matter how silly you think other people think it is. If your passion is to stay home and raise a family while your partner works, good for you in knowing what you want to do. If you want to be a writer or a teacher or an FBI agent, and you are truly passionate about achieving that goal, the only thing that should be holding you back is you. And if you decide, “nah, maybe not?” That’s okay too. Sometimes you just have to experience it to know whether or not that’s the right path for you.

This can sometimes be the pressure that makes kids more stressed out than they need to be. That they need to apply to college with a specific program and stick to it because they had to have a plan. Then, for some reason, people make them feel guilty for deciding to go another route. Maybe they found that what they though was their passion, really wasn’t. That’s okay. That’s what college is for. I switched my major halfway through. I get it. You have a dream and realize that maybe you don’t love it anymore.

But, you should never give it up for other people. Don’t give them that power. If you are truly passionate about something, pardon my language, then “fuck ’em”. They don’t dictate your life. You do. Take back the power and do what you want with your life. As long as you can go to bed at peace with yourself, you’ll be all right.

BluishOblivion’s Day on the Internet

I’ve had trouble finding inspiration for these posts recently, primarily because between my 2 jobs, my brain power is already stretched too thin. But I always find the best inspiration in my everyday life, so today I would like to talk to you about my day on the internet Sunday.

By the time this posts, it will be Tuesday. I’m writing this Sunday while the hilarious events of my weekend are still fresh in my mind. Because honestly, I’ll probably forget about it by tomorrow. It all started by my usual “Asshole Parking” posts that I do on my Facebook, which are the only public ones that I post. I keep those public because sometimes people like to share them. We all like to laugh at them. It’s fun. Then a family member invited me to join a group about “Masshole Parking”. I’m among my people now!

Except I apparently either A) didn’t fully understand the group or B) the person who’s car I posted in the picture was in the group because apparently it wasn’t as amusing to them when I posted Sunday’s edition of Asshole Parking. Honestly, it was my bad. I ended up deleting the post and leaving the group, primarily because as an adult, I don’t engage in arguments with people hiding behind a keyboard. With the time and effort that they put into trying to be “savage”, they obviously have their struggles so if they want to win the internet award in their mind today, let them have it. I barely care what people I know think about me; some rando on the internet certainly doesn’t impact my world.

So why am I posting about it? As a lesson to everyone on the internet. Why waste your effort to be cruel or to argue with someone on the internet? You don’t. You leave it alone and let them win because life’s too short to give a crap. It’s like that high school bully. They only act like that because of their own insecurities and need for superiority. My ego is fine. You want that win over me, have it. Sometimes stepping back is more powerful because you’re showing that you’re the bigger person. Except not really, because I’ve definitely considered using the illegally parked car picture as my post picture.

There’s Not Enough Time in the Day

I noticed that I haven’t been up to date with this. I’ll be better about that, I promise. I’m still trying to figure out that work/work/life balance that I keep hearing and ghostwriting about so much. Spoiler: I think it’s as fake as a unicorn. Or I’m just taking on too much. Honestly, it could go either way. But there’s just never enough time in the day.

Normally by now in the year, I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo. It hasn’t been a successful November so far, but I try every year. Sometimes I hate that I try, mostly because I hate failing at it. I don’t think this year will be much better. I haven’t even decided whether or not I’m doing it, but maybe. I will probably decide at the last minute.

We’re all getting well-adjusted to our new routine. One of our fears of me deciding to go back to a physical office to work was that our youngest would have a disruption in his routine. He’s a creature who loves his routine, so any disruptions to that tend to bother him. When I say “any disruptions”, I mean that something so much as I ask him to get dressed before the time I usually ask him to get dressed can trigger him. But, he adjusts well after he’s established a specific routine. We’re getting there.

I’ve been working at my new job for over a month now. I love it. I’m happy to go to work everyday. I low-key even love the grunt work of unloading pallets and moving them into the warehouse. In this month, we have established routines that seem to just be instinct now. I get up early to shower, do some writing work, then get myself, my husband, and my youngest ready for the day. I make lunches in between pouring hot water into our Chemex to make our coffee for work. I take one of our puppers out, then get dressed for work. Then, we leave for work. Come home, I feed the dogs, take our Arya out, then start cooking supper while my husband brings the babysitter (my brother) home and helps our youngest with his homework. It quickly becomes natural. That’s where everything else gets messy.

There’s not enough time in the day to do anything other than basic cleaning, if that. And honestly, sometimes I’m way too tired to bother. The good news is I’m now too busy for guests to come over, so the cleaning is secondary to everything else in my life right now.

However, there’s still that expectation of everything that a working mom should be looming over me. I shrug it off, mostly. But sometimes it’s hard to think about how little I think I actually do when I’m home. Because even after I clock out of my out of home job, I’m still balancing my writing jobs. But, money helps because that’s the society we live in. Especially now.

Don’t worry about running out of time in the day. Focus on your priorities and honestly, to hell with everything else. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning, but prioritizing your day can really be the lifesaver that you need to come up. Also, I promise to do better. Maybe not promise. I will strive to do better.

Back to the Grind

I’ve been missing lately, primarily due to illness and general busyness that is life. I’ll be better, I promise.

Among the latest moves in my life was a shift to working back in a normal job, at least temporarily for now. Maybe more permanent later if the option arises. Even if there isn’t another opportunity for me, it’s been really great to be back at it. You underestimate the boosts to your mental to get out of the sweatpants and house for a little bit. It’s refreshing. It’s a little sad missing my boys, but it was time. Even if I’m somehow blessed with another one, it’s still time to be back at it.

It’s still a bit of an adjustment period, especially as I still navigate my writing career on the side. It’s something that I think is important to keep because I like writing and it’s still money. While my writing jobs have taken a hit from COVID, I just take it as a sign that it was time to find something outside of the house. Plus, being home all the time during COVID did take some of the enjoyment I had working from home. But I’m a creature of habit who thrives on routine, so finding a new routine is hard and annoying to get into. I’ll get there though. I’m an intelligent, reasonable, and resilient person. I’ve got this.

This is just a reminder that no mom has it easy. It’s not easy when they work from home. It’s not easy when their sole job is being a mom and homemaker. It’s not easy when they work outside of the office. You’re not going to win no matter what you do. What matters is to not compare yourself to the “more perfect” moms who have everything seemingly together. I guarantee that they don’t. Social media only gives glimpses into an entire story that you can’t see. It’s hard being a woman with all the expectations society places on you, especially when you’re a mother. But, you got this.

We just need to be reminded that we got this. That even on those bad days, we’ve got this. Even if you are too tired to cook and the Burger King is right next door and you don’t care if it’s the 3rd time this week you had fast food because your fridge is still dead. You’ve got this. Even if you feel guilty that you’re happy about being at work and not dealing with tantrums. You really have got this.