Is it Too Late to Unplug Our Kids?

Kids and technology. It seems to be a love-hate relationship for parents. For me these days it’s more of a hate relationship. Everywhere I go I am seeing more kids plugged into technology, glued to a screen, walking around like zombies. This frustrates me and makes me sad at the same time.

I wish we could rewind to the days when Atari was considered ground-breaking technology and the thought of having a cell phone seemed like something only the Jetsons could achieve. But, the reality is many kids are obsessed with their various devices to the point they don’t know how to have a conversation or use their imagination.

Market research found that children ages five to sixteen spend six and a half hours in front of a screen everyday! If you take into consideration the fact that they sleep for at least eight hours if not more, that means there’s less than ten hours left in the day. When you factor in school and activities, there’s hardly anytime left to have a simple conversation. Is it too late to unplug our kids or have we lost them to technology forever? I guess it depends what side of the screen you’re on.

Have you ever watched a child while they’re on a device? It’s like they’re in a trance. It totally consumes them. Part of me thinks that’s why so many parents let their kids spend so much time on them. It acts like a free babysitter. No parenting required. No interaction needed. Sad isn’t it?

Before you think I’m a technology hating mother who only lets my kids play with pen and paper, I will tell you my kids do play games on my iPad and my phone. But, they do not have their own devices. Why do a 7 and 5 year-old need their own iPads or tablets or kindles? I’m sure many people have their reasons, but they’re not enough for me to take out my credit card.

I am fully aware that kids need to understand and work technology to exist these days and to compete with the rest of the world. I know there are a lot of educational apps and games and books to read. Does that mean we throw out real conversations and books or imaginary play or the arts? I surely hope not. From what I see that seems to be where we’re headed, if we’re not there already. So many kids don’t know how to interact with real people because they spend so much time interacting with their devices.

In order to change the tide, there needs to be balance, as with anything in life. While my kids are allowed to use technology on a daily basis, I usually limit their usage to 15 minute intervals. Once the time is up they have to go and do something else that doesn’t involve a screen. Most of the time they agree, other times I’m “mean.” I can live with that title if the result is that my kids go out and play or use their imagination instead of gluing their eyes to a screen.

When it comes to technology addiction many kids are only copying what they see their parents do. Truthfully there are times when we’re no better. I know I’ve been guilty of a little phone addiction every now and again. Do we really need to constantly check our Facebook feed to see who is blowing their nose every minute? I think we all know the answer to that.

That’s why I have a little rule called “no phones at the table”. It means just what it says. My husband and I are not allowed to have our phones at the table when we’re having a meal. This way we can pay attention to each other and have real conversations. Crazy, I know. But, it works.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tempting to run over and check a dinging text or go back and finish scrolling through Facebook. But, it’s also important to set an example. If kids see their parents glued to their devices, they may be more inclined to do the same. If we set the example that technology is not king, then maybe we can start to slowly unplug our kids, one device at a time. Hopefully it’s not too late.

 

 

More Patience & Presence in the New Year

It’s almost time to watch the iconic ball drop in Times Square, signaling the start of another year. It’s the time many of us make a list of cliché resolutions like losing weight and exercising more. While those are important, often times we make them, can’t or don’t keep them, and then feel like a failure…again. Aren’t resolutions supposed to lift us up instead of pull us down?

I love the start of the new year for the fact that it’s a time to start with a clean slate. This is not to say that everything that happened the year before doesn’t matter, because it does. You can learn from what the previous year left behind, but you can also embark on new journeys with the hope a new year brings.

A chance to do better.

A chance to be better.

A chance to make a difference.

A chance to chase your dreams.

A chance to appreciate the things around you.

As a mother the days are so jam-packed with work, kids, and everyday nonsense that you forget to appreciate the things around you. In fact, instead of appreciating them, you often ignore them and tell yourself you’ll have that extra five minutes tomorrow to take it all in. But, tomorrow doesn’t seem to come. There’s always something to occupy that extra five minutes.

If 2016 has taught me anything, it is to truly value each moment and day because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Things can change so quickly that you’ll think you’re living someone else’s life.

That’s why 2017 will be the year of patience and presence.

Patience with my kids when they yell “mommy” for what feels like the hundredth time in a day. One day they’ll think they’re too cool for their mommy. That’s why I need to appreciate every minute I have with them now.

Patience when my kids want to play another board game when all I want to do is sit and enjoy my coffee. Time will pass so fast that those board games will end up in a tag sale quicker then I can say “go fish”.

Patience when I need peace and quiet and my house feels like it’s out of control. One day the house will be too quiet and I’ll miss all the noise.

Patience when things don’t happen fast enough or when I think they should. Everything does happen for a reason. Every time I get frustrated and look back it’s clear why things turned out like they did.

Patience when I get down on myself for one thing or another. No one is perfect no matter how things may appear.

Presence with my family. Facebook and e-mail can wait. Our parents didn’t have their heads buried in their phones, so why do we? I can admit I’m guilty of it.

Presence in “little” moments…a laugh, a smile, a sunset. Not to sound morbid but you don’t know when it will be your last.

Presence in everyday life. Many of us, myself included, just seem to go through the motions. We do what we do because it’s what we’ve always done. Are we really into it? Many times the answer is no. It’s time to tune in and take in every moment, even the mundane ones. Sometimes being present in your life means saying no to people every once and awhile and doing what makes you happy. This is not to say we should all become selfish people, but there comes a time when you have to put yourself first. Be present in your life.

The list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  I simply felt compelled to write this because I think patience and presence can get pushed aside when we’re dealing with our kids and busy lives. They are the things that we sometimes need to be reminded about from time to time. There’s no better time than the start of a new year. Hopefully I inspired just one person to try to be more present and patient in 2017. If I didn’t, that’s okay too.

Here’s to a new year of new memories and possibilities…and to patience and presence! Cheers!

 

Gifting Experiences Over Presents This Holiday

As I sit here at my kitchen table and write this blog post, I can’t help but notice something out of the corner of my eye. It’s my children’s playroom. It’s a mess. I’m not ashamed to admit it because it’s the truth. Sure there are bins in there to organize the toys that are too small to put in my hands and the ones that are too large to leave out. But, those bins have failed. Or, should I say I’ve failed those bins. My kids and I just keep jamming more junk in there to the point where I couldn’t tell you what’s in there except for toys.

Many of those toys my kids haven’t played with in who knows how long. They always play the same things…school, dancing, Barbies, games. The other miscellaneous toys seem to get lost in the clutter. I can honestly say I think I’ve only bought about 10% of the items that are in that room. With two kids you tend to accumulate a lot of things through birthdays, holidays, and other events. That’s the reason why I’m choosing to gift experiences over presents this Christmas.

Of course my girls have asked Santa for toys. Honestly, they haven’t asked for all that much. They will get the one or two things they really want from Santa, minus an iPhone, because no 7 year-old needs one,  and minus a FurReal Cat because I find it extremely creepy. If Santa has the toy thing taken care of, what do Mom and Dad give? More toys? Nope. How about something that can’t really be wrapped?

I’ll explain. See, my 7-year-old has been asking for guitar lessons since she was five. I don’t know why, but she is infatuated with the guitar. So, this got me thinking. How about giving lessons as a Christmas present? Lightbulb on and Google activated. After a bit, what did appear at my googling fingertips, but music lessons in my area that not only specialize in the guitar, but several other instruments! This was better than using manufacturers coupons and store coupons on an item that’s already on sale! It gets better! Hard to believe, I know. There are even classes that my younger daughter can take since she likes music as well.

My husband and I decided this would make the perfect Christmas gift because it would introduce both girls to several instruments so they can figure out which ones they like. In the end if they decide playing an instrument is not their thing right now then that’s okay too. At least they gave it a try.

Giving the gift of this experience is far better than some toy they’ll play with for a week and then toss in the bin. Sure they may be confused when they open the box and see a paper explaining the lessons, but they’ll have the memories they’ll make together while learning something new. Perhaps it will even make them want to pursue more lessons. Whichever the case, I think it’s a win-win all around. Plus, it alleviates the clutter in the house which makes me one happy momma. Merry Christmas!

Teaching Kids About Death & Grief

Death is one of those things that is indescribably difficult to deal with and to understand. Imagine trying to do it as a child who still believes in things like the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. It’s nearly impossible. But, as parents it’s one of our toughest jobs. It’s tough because it’s painful and because there doesn’t seem to ever be the right words.

Finding the right words should come easy when you’re used to writing for a living, but that is not the case with something as fragile as death. You need kid gloves, no pun intended, to delicately explain to a child why someone has left this Earth. I am by no means an expert when it comes to this subject, but I’ve had to do it so many times already that I’m unfortunately becoming more used to the uncomfortable situation.

When someone they love dies, the hardest part is telling my kids they’re never going to see that person again. They’re never going to get or give a hug. They’re never going to hear that person’s voice. It’s heartbreaking to see their faces when it begins to sink in. And sink in it does. Although they may not understand how bodies are buried and souls go to heaven, they can understand the fact that they’ll never see someone again.

Then, of course, come the questions of why. Why did someone have to die? Why did they get sick? Why couldn’t the medicine fix their boo-boos? These are all questions none of us know. The best answer I can give is to be honest and admit that I don’t know why. As disappointing of an answer as that may be, it’s the truth. When it comes to a subject like death, the best thing we can do for our kids is to be honest. With that honesty comes the acceptance of letting them be sad. Parents don’t like to see their kids in pain or sad or crying. We always want to take their pain away and make them feel better. Sometimes we just can’t and that’s okay. What we can do is comfort them through their sadness and let them know it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to miss someone. It’s part of being human. It’s part of having emotions. My kids have seen me cry when someone dies because just like them, I’m sad. I don’t know if it makes them feel any better, but at least they know it’s normal and everyone is human…even moms.

While I let them see me cry, I also let them see me wipe away my tears and get up again. Hopefully, that is teaching them they can take their time to mourn, but at some point, they have to keep going, as difficult as it may be. Grief can’t consume you. I try to tell them that the person who died would not want them to be sad forever. They would want them to be happy and play and dance and do all those things that make them a kid. These words seem to work, at least for now. But, I also tell them you don’t forget about the person who died. We never forget. As parents, we can help our kids keep memories alive by maintaining traditions and continuing to do the things we used to do with the person who is no longer with us. Traditions don’t die with a person unless we let them. Kids should know that keeping traditions is how we keep loved ones with us always.

If death teaches us nothing else it is that life is fragile and tomorrow is not guaranteed. That’s a lesson we can all learn no matter how big or small.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do Kids Hate to Wipe Their Own Butts?

Why do kids hate to wipe their own butts? As a mom, I know cleaning butts comes with the territory. I’ve handled many diaper changes and blow outs as I’m sure you all have too. But, at what age do you have to pass the toilet paper torch down to your child? There comes a point when they have to start taking responsibility for their own butts, both figuratively and literally. Right?

I honestly thought that would happen in my house when my kids started going to full-time Kindergarten. Teachers certainly aren’t going to do it. That’s not part of the curriculum. So, kids have to take matters into their own hands, so to speak.  But, my kids have not.

I should have known that the whole “wipe your butt at school” thing wasn’t going to work when my now 7-year-old daughter was horrified at the idea of pooping at school. When I told her that those school tacos may have her running for the border she vowed never to poop in school. Two years later, she’s kept her word. Needless to say, she still isn’t volunteering for the clean-up committee. At home, I get the dreaded, “I’m done” call which means come and clean my butt.  Before I say a big hello to King Charmin, I do tell her to do it herself. The look of disgust I get is incredible. I can see in her eyes what she’s thinking.

You want me to clean my own butt? You must have had too much wine mommy. That will never happen silly lady. Now clean my butt!

To avoid a major craptastrophe, I oblige for the one-hundredth time in my mommy career.

Her little sister isn’t much better. But, I can cut her a little more slack since she just turned five. We also had the “you’re going to have to clean your butt at school talk” too this past summer. She wasn’t buying it either. She also took a solemn pledge to the poopy gods to never go number two at school. Just like her sister, she’s kept her word. Sigh.

But, I may get a bit of a reprieve with number 2…child number 2 that is. Although I still get the dreaded “I’m done” calls, she has actually taken the plunge a few times and cleaned her own butt at home. Was she mortified? Absolutely. Did she do it? Yes! Does she do it regularly? Nope. Sigh.

What baffles my mind about it all of this is that kids will play in mounds of dirt and grime for hours. They will spill all kinds of things over their clothes and fight you not to change them. They’ll sit in wet sand at the beach all day totally unbothered by chunks of sand getting in places they should never be. But, ask them to clean their own butts, even with a mummified hand of toilet paper, and you are asking way too much!

The only solace I find in this whole ordeal is that I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to plenty of other moms who are battling the same problem. I know there are those of you out there who swear your kids have been wiping their own butts since they were potty trained. Talk all you want. I know you’re lying. There’s no shame in it. Hop on the wiping wagon and just admit you still have to do it like the rest of us.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to fight the good wipe. Hopefully my tour of duty will be over soon. For now I’ll just take it one toilet paper roll at a time.

Why I Still Make My Kids Write Thank-You Cards

Thank-you.

They’re just two words, but they mean a lot. Sure you may say them from time to time. Hopefully, you teach your kids to say them too. But, when was the last time you sat down and wrote a thank-you card to someone whether it was for a gift or something nice they did? Better yet, have you ever made your kids write or sign a thank-you card?

I can hear the crickets as you read this.

In the age of texts and tweets, the thank-you card has long been forgotten. While bordering extinction, it’s hanging on by a thread. While a lot of people may say who cares? I actually do. That’s why I still make my 7 & 5 year-old  write and/or sign thank-you cards when they get gifts.

I know, I’m such a nag.

But, I’ll take the title proudly if it means my children learn they are not entitled to things and need to express their gratitude. Just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean you have to get a gift. Someone felt like doing something nice for you. The least you can do is send a thank-you card. It’s a pretty simple concept.

I know, I know. Why would you take the time to go to the store, buy a thank-you card, sit down and actually think of something nice to write, buy a stamp to put on it, and then go to the mailbox? Even more so, why would you sit down and have your child write one (if they’re old enough) or simply sign their name? Quite frankly because it’s the right thing to do.

Believe me, I’ve heard all the excuses why not to send thank-you cards. They end up in the trash. The cards are too expensive. The stamps are too expensive. I don’t have time. Blah, blah, blah.

Of course if that’s what you think, that’s what your child is going to think too. The thank-you card will never get the love and respect it deserves. It will die along with all the other “old school” things like dressing up on a holiday and asking to leave the dinner table instead of bolting like it’s on fire. I think we need to bring some of those things back if you ask me.

If you really break it down, the time and money spent on thank-you cards doesn’t have to bankrupt you or take up your day. You can go to the dollar store and get a pack of at least 6 for $1. Stamps are stamps. They cost what they cost.You just need to deal with it. In reality, it may take you a half-hour tops to write a handful of cards with your kids. Big deal. Isn’t that time well spent together?

I think the pros of writing a thank-you card outweigh the cons by a long shot. In my eyes, there really aren’t any cons to hand-writing a thank-you note. Just think…the person getting it will be excited to get something other than bills in the mail. Maybe you can instill a little love for the thank-you card in your kids so it truly doesn’t become extinct. That wouldn’t be so bad. Give it a try.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Kristina

 

 

 

If My Children Were Running for President

I’ve never been one to publically display my political views or beliefs. But, this election season is certainly different than any other I’ve ever experienced. With that said, I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re not satisfied with either of the choices for President this time around. So, that got me to thinking, what if my two daughters were running for President? What would their campaign promises be? What agendas would they try to push? At ages 7 and 5, they certainly have minds of the own. So, let’s take a look, shall we? As both of their campaign managers, I have some insight.

Presidential Campaign of my 7-year-old:

Promises:

If you elect me as your President, I would provide taco supplies to each & every American household once a week because tacos are yummy and everyone should eat them. I would also abolish all bed times and all rules that kids need to sleep in their own beds. After all, they made mommy’s bed big so that must mean I can sleep in it too. As Justin Bieber as my Vice President, I would make sure everyone in America has his latest CD at all times, even the non-Beliebers.

Slogan: The only thing we have to fear is bedtime itself.

Health Care: Everyone would be guaranteed one sticker after each routine doctor’s appointment, but not at specialists. There are no excuses for running out. You’re a doctor’s office. You know people like stickers. Get with the program.

Taxes: No taxes on money collected from The Tooth Fairy, Santa, or any of their cousins (even second and third ones).

Jobs: You should get one. I plan on becoming a teacher, hair dresser, nail person, and writer, that’s after I become your President of course. 

Education: I actually like to go to school, so you should go too. But, I’m really trying to get the perfect attendance award. So, if you miss a day, oh well. That’s less competition for me.

That’s what the 7-year-old is banking on. Now let’s take a look at the 5-year-old.

Presidential Campaign of my 5-year-old:

Promises:

If you elect me as your President I will make sure ice cream is put on the dinner menu and not the dessert menu. We all know ice cream is a meal so it needs to be treated as one.  I will make sure each and every American has their own teddy bear to sleep with every night. Expecting anyone to sleep without one is just cruel and unusual punishment. Any walls that need to be built will be built with my Jenga blocks or Duplos. They will probably be knocked over and rebuilt over and over again on a daily basis. Oh well. One last thing, as  Pharell Williams as my Vice President, we will all be happy all the time.

Slogan: Ask not what your Teddy Bear can do for you, but what you can do for your Teddy Bear!

Health Care: Under my presidency there will be no more boring Band-Aids sold anywhere. All Band-Aids will have characters. No one uses brown ones anymore. Not having characters is just inhumane.

Taxes: Everyone getting more than $2 a week for allowance will have to pay taxes. I firmly believe the rich need to do their part.

Jobs: That’s why I’m running for President. Do you know anyone who’s hiring 5-year-olds? I don’t. Duh.

Education: Each child will receive proper Shopkins training so that they can learn the names of each Shopkin from every season. Education is key people. This is important stuff.

So I think that pretty much sums up the campaigns of both of my pint-sized candidates.

On a serious note, I did ask each of them what they would do if they were President. They actually both said they would help poor people and give them food and houses. They didn’t say how they would pay for it all. But, everyone would have a house and enough food, which I thought was sweet. Oh, and my five-year-old wants to buy everyone flowers! So, she’s got that going for her too!

I don’t know about you, but I kinda like these presidential choices better. I can get on board with stickers and teddy bears in a heart beat, can’t you?

 

 

What I Would Tell My 18-Year-Old Self

Sometimes you don’t know how good you had it until you move forward and look back. You see, I went to my 20-year high school reunion recently. First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I graduated. It may sound cliché, but I can honestly tell you I don’t know where all the time has gone. I also can’t believe how many things, both good and bad, have happened. If you ever told me some parts of my story over the past 20 years, I would have told you, you were nuts.

As I walked through the newly painted and renovated hallways of my high school, I could see visions of my teenage self at various stages of my high school years. I even turned to my friend and commented about how I could close my eyes and immediately be transported back 20 years.

If I could go back 20 years, there are so many things I would tell my 18-year-old self.

Have More Fun. As much as getting good grades is important, I would tell myself to have more fun. This really is the most carefree time of your life! At what other point do you not have to worry about paying a mortgage? When else can you go out Friday and Saturday night and not have to worry about a babysitter or getting up the next morning to kids who think it’s cool to get up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning? There will be no other time like this in your lifetime. Live it up.

It’s Quality Not Quantity with Friends. It truly doesn’t matter how many friends you have. Although it may seem like the end of the world that you only eat lunch with two other people instead of ten, it really isn’t. There are far worse things. If you have to put an exhausting amount of effort into a friendship it really isn’t worth it. It took me a long, and I mean long time to realize that. But, once I did (well into my adult life) I was a much happier person. A true friend is one you can talk to after a year of being off the grid and feel as though you were just with them yesterday.

Not Being Cool is Cool Enough. I was not “cool” in high school. Totally not cool. I knew it and so did all the “cool” kids. Enjoy the real friendships you do have. In the end, you’ll be better for it.

Your Life Plan Will Change. I’m fully aware of your life plan. But, guess what? It’s going to change and that’s okay. Not every prophesy you declare when you’re 18 will come true. You will grow. You will change. Things will happen and it’s all okay. If you ever told me I was going to quit a job I loved to become a stay-at-home mom in my thirties, I would have laughed in your face. I would have laughed even harder if you told me I wasn’t going to be a television reporter. That was the big dream. But, over time my big vision shifted…more than once. I decided being on-air wasn’t for me. I liked the behind the scenes television life instead. Then after a long time, I decided that career wasn’t cutting it either. I decided to follow my passions, even if it meant being viewed as unsuccessful in the minds of some. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy and what’s right for you, not anyone else.

Time Flies When You’re An Adult. As kids we want time to fast forward itself so we can become fancy adults. When we become adults we want to pause time so we have more of it to enjoy our lives. As we all know that’s not possible. There comes a point when you really don’t know where the time went. When you finally become that adult you dreamed about all those years you quickly realize it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, life is full of rainy days and bulls. Don’t rush to become an adult.

Don’t Take People or Things for Granted. People are not immortal. Things don’t stick around forever. Enjoy them. Appreciate them. Don’t be self-absorbed. There is much more to the universe than yourself. Open your eyes and appreciate the things and people around you. Guess what? They’re not going to be around forever. People get sick unexpectedly and there isn’t always a happy ending. You really need to stop and enjoy everything and everyone around before it is too late.

The saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now” holds a lot of merit. If I knew some of the things I knew now when I was 18, perhaps things would be different. For better? For worse? Who knows? Perhaps my 30-something self can learn from what my 18-year-old self didn’t know.

A New Frontier For Mom

As a mother you’re always looking and waiting for your child’s next milestone. Learning to talk, learning to crawl, learning to walk…they’re among the biggies. As children get bigger, so do the milestones. Things like getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school, graduating from college…they all signify major changes.

While we our mindful of our children’s milestones, our milestones as mothers seem to get lost in the background. Whether you are a working mother or a stay-at-home mother, sometimes the big changes in our lives seem to go unnoticed. For many of us, having kids means taking a bit of a backseat.

But, what happens when you get to ride shotgun again, even for just the short rides? Well, I guess you can say that’s kind of what’s happening with me these days. If you follow my blog regularly (which you should), then you know my youngest daughter started Kindergarten this year. I was and still am sad to see her go. We were like peas and carrots while her sister was at school. Although she went to pre-school, Kindergarten is a whole new game. Her and I had a good thing going, but now that’s all changed. For better or for worse, that special time is over. We still have our time, just not like that. Now, for the first time in five years, I have a bit of unprecedented freedom.

It is a new frontier for Mom.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about being able to focus on myself more and not feel guilty. As a stay-at-home mom for five years, a lot of what I did or didn’t do revolved around my kids. Honestly, I wouldn’t change one second of it. I feel totally blessed to have been able to stay home and witness so many of their milestones first hand. There comes a point when your role as a mother shifts. Trust me, my kids still need me, but it’s different. They’re just not as needy if that makes any sense. They can go off and play together while I work on writing in the other room. They can sit quietly and watch TV or read a book. I don’t have to worry about someone choking on a Lego while I try to meet a deadline. We still have our time together, but I can have mine too.

Before you think I’m about to pull a “Thelma & Louise”, I’m not. But, I am ready to explore. It’s only been a week and in just one week, I’ve already been able to scope out new writing and job opportunities…ones I wouldn’t dare to before because I just didn’t have the time to devote.  I can carve out a new path for myself which is exciting, liberating, and scary all at the same time. I can try to figure out what’s going to work and what isn’t right now as we all adapt to these changes. I can think out of the diaper box and it feels wonderful.

Some may say I could and should have done this all along. But, I chose not to. Everyone makes decisions that fit their lives. That was my choice. I don’t judge you, so hopefully you won’t judge me.

Although I feel like a little Davy Crockett these days as I explore new frontiers, I still miss my babies when they’re at school. I wonder what they’re doing and if they’re having a good day. I wonder if they ate their lunch, if they went to the bathroom, and more importantly if they washed their hands. That’s why I love seeing their smiling faces when they get home. I love to be able to hear about their days and help them with their homework and just be their Mom. I am even more focused when they get home because I’ve had “my time”. Now this is their time.I don’t feel frazzled because I’ve played ten-thousand rounds of Candy Land or played referee to a million arguments. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’m sure you can relate!

There is a bit of Zen in this new frontier and it is simply amazing.

 

 

 

I Don’t Want to be “That” Couple

The other night I was out to dinner with my kids at a “semi-adult” restaurant. By “semi-adult” I’m talking about no crayons or paper kids’ menus. There were families eating as well as just couples. Some of the couples were middle-aged, the others a bit older. The common denominator was that they didn’t have any kids with them. It was just the two of them. Just a couple enjoying a nice dinner…alone.

Besides having no kids, they had something else in common…no conversation. It wasn’t because they were distracted by something else. They were just not talking…at all. Perhaps they said a few words here and there about the veal or the salad. But, that was it. You could tell there was no vital conversation going on.

Before you start calling me judgmental, this was not the first time I’ve seen couples like that out at a restaurant. I know you’ve seen them too. I know we all don’t know the circumstances surrounding their relationships. Perhaps they have engaging conversations at home and go out to enjoy silence. Who knows? You may be saying, well maybe they just had a long day or maybe they were just really hungry. I honestly hope one of those scenarios is to blame. If it’s not, then I truly feel sorry for them. I can also say I don’t want to be “that” couple.

It seems “that couple” is often the pair that has grown old together, raised their children and are now left with their partner. Just the two of them. Everyday. 24/7. There are no more “how was your day at school?” conversations or “should we let Cindy go to that concert?” or “who’s taking Billy to practice?” questions to answer. There are no little ones interrupting your conversation. You’re no longer talking in code with your partner so the kids can’t figure out what you’re saying when in reality they already have.

That chapter is over. In fact, the whole book has been read…a thousand and one times.

Now it’s time to move on to another chapter…start another book in your relationship. The book that just involves two main characters. Hopefully it’s not a book filled with dinners in silence and no conversation because the kids are gone. Who wants to be “that” couple?

Not me. I feel so sad when I see couples just sitting an entire meal without talking to one another. Is that what there is to look forward to once the kids are gone?

We all know kids take up a lot of time and most of the conversation at home. That’s why it’s important to just have couple time every now and again. Some people laugh at me when I say my husband and I have “date night”. It may sound silly to have a date with someone you are married to and live with. But, sometimes you need to make an effort and make a “date” to make that happen. Sometimes that means finding a babysitter or shipping the kids off to grandma’s house for the night so you can just be a couple. You don’t have to spend the meal cutting up food or playing rock, paper, scissors. You can enjoy your meal while it’s hot, have a couple of glasses of wine, and actually talk without being interrupted. You can have time together now so that you don’t become “that” couple later.

Carving out that alone time isn’t easy. With crazy work hours, multiple jobs, and toting the kids around to every activity from A-Z, life is hectic. Life is crazy.

What’s even crazier is spending a lifetime together only to end up as “that” couple. After “x” amount of years married you might not have a lot to say to your spouse, but I really hope I’m never sitting in silence during a dinner. I hope that I’m never riding in the car and find that I don’t have one thing to talk about that doesn’t involve the kids. If that’s the case, I know we’re becoming “that” couple. That’s an ending I certainly don’t want to read.