Category Archives: parenting

It’s called Tough Love for a reason–it’s not easy: Saying NO to being a maid.

So, I found something…..My 8 year old son, Gino, had been drawing and left several papers laying on the floor with miscellaneous pictures and writings….and then there was this.

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Ugh. I’m not gonna lie, it made me feel bad. But sometimes teaching our kids right from wrong hurts us as much as it does them. You see,  I knew why he wrote those words. He and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch in terms of him preferring that I….how shall I put this…..BE HIS MAID? Yes, yes, I believe that pretty much sums it up in three simple words. He’d like me to be his maid. I, on the other hand, would like him to do things for himself (within reason, of course.).

He’d prefer to scream my name in such a way that I come running from the other end of the house, prepared to find him covered in blood or in some other horrific predicament….only to find that he would like the channel changed on the TV, but the remote is on the end table, not within his reach.  He will yell to me in the kitchen, telling me that he needs a drink, rather than walking to the kitchen to get it. And the list goes on and on….YEAH. I KNOW. IT’S RIDICULOUS, ISN’T IT? It’s embarrassing and completely outrageous. And this little man and his demands have been shut down, by his big mean mom.

And the power struggle begins.

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** This is where I feel the need to say that the LAST thing I want is to get anyone all riled up about what is appropriate or not appropriate in terms of parenting or disciplining children. I have my own beliefs and stand firmly in them. What works for me and my family may not necessarily work for yours, and vice versa. Rather than judge, I’m hoping we can all just agree that each of us need to find something that works for our own families, so that we can send some good, respectful, hardworking kids out into the world. Are you with me on that?

Let me first say that every parent has their own parenting style. I’m not saying mine is better than yours (in fact I’m fairly sure you may think mine is crazy lol). But I do have 3 older children who have survived childhood with me as their mother, and have turned out pretty damn good, if I say so myself. And with 8 years in on my fourth child, with a pretty good track record from the older three — it’s highly unlikely that I will be changing my ways LOL.

Here’s the thing….the world we live in is geared toward teaching our children to expect instant gratification; and that has the potential to derail our kids when they get out into the real world. If we don’t teach our children that they can’t and shouldn’t expect instant gratification, we are all, as a nation, in one big heap of trouble. Same goes for accountability, taking responsibility for their actions, even if it means losing privileges, and facing consequences. Tough love, people. Learn it, and live it.  And don’t even get me started on showing respect…..it’s frightening, the lack of respect I’ve witnessed on many occasions, and I’m sure you all have as well.

I’m not one to put up with a lot of crap. I’m just not. Don’t get me wrong—-I’m as loving of a mother as you’re going to find. I would move mountains for my children, go the extra mile, go to the ends of the earth to give them what they need. But I have no time for back-talking, disrespect, and these shenanigans that Gino is pulling right now.

That is the reason for the words “Get It Yourself” on the paper….he’s been hearing those words a good bit from me lately. And he hasn’t always liked it. Sometimes he realizes that yeah, he is being pretty ridiculous, and just kind of laughs and does whatever for himself. Win.

BUT other times he’s upset that I’m not giving him his own way, or he just gives me a look, as in “oooooh you are a mean, mean mother….”, sometimes he does the poor, poor Gino routine, he’s tired, or his leg hurts, blah blah blah and tries to make me feel sorry for him. And sometimes, during these little episodes that we have, I would rather just give in and get him the stupid remote, because it’s easier….but the entire lesson would be lost then, right?

I’ve been a parent for 26 years, a daycare provider for almost 17 years, I’m educated, and I’ve read lots of parenting books in my time. Let me just say this:

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Oh for crying out loud, relax people. I’m joking.  I’m not going to beat my child with the book. Maybe just a love tap. Just enough to get his attention, okay? Yes, yes, like I said, I’ve read the books. I know all about getting down on eye level with the child and speaking in a soft and calm voice, and yes, it even works….sometimes. Other times, not so much.

I know that this may not be a popular opinion I’m about to share but I have to be honest, as an “older and more mature student” when in college, as I listened to lectures from professors about children and read the fancy books, etc….I often wondered if they’ve ever really met a child. Like, a real child, in the real world. I read stories and heard tales of children that respond just as the textbooks say they will, simply by doing that “child whispering”, but I’ve never personally witnessed it or met them. I’m pretty sure they live in the same zip code as the unicorns, leprechauns and maybe Bigfoot. I keep my eyes open for them though, always on the lookout for those elusive creatures…..

Listen, I want my kids to be happy, just like everyone else. I wish I could give them every single thing they wanted without turning them into spoiled human beings, but it’s just not possible. I truly worry about the shift in the way a lot of our children are thinking and are being raised. Am I the only one that sees a large number of children (and adults) with an overly large sense of entitlement?

I refuse to sit back and let my kids take that false impression out into the world with them, because it is setting them up for failure. (Hello? Do we really need to give every child a ribbon for participation in an activity? Shouldn’t verbal praise for their effort, and learning to have a sense of personal pride in their effort be enough? Are we sending a message that everyone should receive a prize ALL the time, regardless of the outcome of a project or activity? Does anyone besides me worry that our children won’t be emotionally prepared to handle college professors and supervisors in the workplace who don’t coddle them as they have been used to? If they don’t get a promotion or get chosen to participate on a key project at work, will they be equipped to deal with that?…)

By learning the skills to adjust to less than ideal circumstances, finding coping strategies to deal with disappointment or adversity….these are the things that will help our kids succeed…without those skills, they will have much trouble being happy in life.

Too often I see parents allowing their children to call the shots because it’s easier than dealing with the consequences of telling the child “no”, enforcing boundaries, or following through on a disciplinary action that needs to be put in place. Sometimes we have to risk upsetting our kids, in order to teach them that life isn’t always going to go their way. They cannot always be handed everything they want without working for it, earning it, or winning it fair and square. That’s the reality of life that they need to know.

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Now, to get back to that pesky paper I found that said “Do It Yourself”…when I first saw it, I imagined Gino writing that as an outlet of his frustration with me, the mean, horrible mother, that makes him “do it himself” rather than being his maid. And even though I wouldn’t change the way I’m parenting him, because I know the lesson will stick and he will become responsible, independent and accountable– I did feel bad, that he was upset with me. No parent likes that. I let that doubt creep in…am I too hard on him? Do I expect too much? Does he understand that I love him even when I’m enforcing these lessons? Tough love is hard.

But then I noticed something. I had been focusing on the words, not paying attention to the picture he had drawn…..that simple little picture, that changes the entire “feel” of those three words. It was a smiley face, people, a smiley face. I wasn’t being depicted as an ugly monster, spewing fire from my mouth as I spit out the words “DO IT YOURSELF!!”. It was a simple smiley face. And then I knew.

Yeah, we are going to be just fine. Tough love IS hard, but it can be done right. 🙂

I can’t end this without saying that we have ALL experienced times when we thought we had just committed the ultimate parenting fail. If you’ve ever done something and were beating yourself up about it, you HAVE to go to Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page and check out this Post by Jen Hatmaker, where she encouraged her followers to share their most hilarious mom meltdown fail. Be warned that you will laugh until you cry. Or pee your pants. Either way, it’s a must read, and you will go away feeling not so alone in the crazy journey of raising these children up right. Enjoy!

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<<<<<Believe it! It’s true! They love us ALL the time 🙂

Cheers and smiley faces,

Jill ❤

Confessions of a Clutter-aholic: I’m Giving Up Junk Instead Of Junk Food For Lent

Hi. My name is Jill, and I’m a Clutter-aholic.

If you know me, or have read through the earlier postings on this blog, you are aware that over the past year my family and I have downsized from a very large and spacious home to a small/average sized home that also contains a functioning business within it. Our living and storage space is probably a quarter of what it was a year ago. It has been challenging, to say the least. I’m not sure anything could have adequately prepared me for this…my head is still spinning from all of the moving, rearranging, throwing away, selling, purging, and burning that we have already done….and my anxiety peaks every time I look at the mountains of boxes, bags, laundry baskets, etc. that still need sorted through and organized. It’s honestly more overwhelming than I can explain…

If I were an organized, Martha Stewart type neat freak, I’m sure I’d feel like I had the courage and skills to tackle it…but then again, if I were that type of personality, I wouldn’t be quite in the predicament I am right now, would I?  I wouldn’t have collected all of the junk and crap. I would have thrown away items of no use, donated clothing we no longer needed or used, shredded old documents and papers. Prior to the move I would’ve had things organized, boxed, and labeled properly. That’s the person I WANT to be. That I aspire to become.

But I’m pretty much as far from that as one can possibly get on the “neat freak spectrum”. I’m not going to say I’m a “hoarder”, because, that is just too scary for me to even think about. I’m not like the hoarders that television shows are made of, at least not yet (you will not find any dead animal carcasses anywhere and you do not need a shovel to be able to find my floor…so that makes me feel like “hoarder” is definitely too strong of a word for me…).

I like to think of it as simply having a gift for acquiring crap and keeping it. Forever. I can’t even explain it. Let me show you…

The last time I cleaned out my bag (or very large purse), I dumped it on the table and this is a portion of the contents that spilled out: 10745109_4678314331874_1024699730_nSee what I mean? Crazy, huh? It’s all perfectly good stuff…but in my bag that I carry around daily? I mean how often does one need a remote control or canning jar lid when you’re out and about? How many times did you ever wish you had thought to throw an outlet cover, baggie of googly eyes or container of garlic powder into your bag before leaving for the mall? And I had been carrying it around for a couple of months, probably.

Now if you take a look at that, and then consider that I have an entire basement full of “stuff” that needs sorted through, you can imagine my apprehension. And my subsequent avoidance of it. I’m the Queen of “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m not proud to hold that title, trust me. I have fantasies about having the most organized home and life on the planet. I want to be able to go to a drawer, cupboard, closet, or box and know exactly what I will find in there.

I know. I NEED HELP.

Today, I walked to the basement. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I looked at the catastrophic heap of clutter and literally said out loud “Oh My God, I have no idea what to do with this mess.” And I turned around and walked up the stairs, closing the door on it like I had done 100 times.

This is where I believe Divine intervention came into play.

I walked directly to the computer, sat down, and on my Facebook newsfeed was a posting from a Facebook page called White House Black Shutters, with a link to their website at http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com, but what caught my eye was THIS picture:40bagsdecrapgraphic-700x700I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing. I mean, I HAD just told God that I had no idea what to do with the mess in the basement. If this wasn’t a sign, I’m not sure what it was. And I’m much too God-fearing to ignore it. So guess what? Tomorrow, Wednesday February 18, is Day 1 of my “40 Bags In 40 Days” challenge. Please click on their link and check out, in detail, how exactly this awesome decluttering challenge works. Anna Marie, the genius behind it all, has been doing this for several years now, and gives tons of great tips for the most successful decluttering outcome. She also gives ideas for organization, offers support, and provides links to other great resources within her website and facebook page.

In a nutshell, this is what I will be doing:  I will go through a portion of the basement, or a box, drawer, or closet upstairs….and declutter — DECRAPIFY — that one spot or space that I assigned myself for the day. If it’s a very busy day, I will still go through even one small box, bag, cupboard or drawer…to get rid of what I can’t or won’t use, and organize the remaining items. Even a small amount of daily decluttering is positive progress and better than nothing. And I am committing to do this throughout Lent, through April 4th. Sundays are a “free” day, in which you can take a break from it.

Do any of YOU have decluttering and decrapifying that needs done? Let’s declutter and decrapify together…I’m not too proud to admit that I could really use a support system. Do you wish you had more order and organization in your life or home? Do you feel overwhelmed or have anxiety about crap that you’ve accumulated and need to get rid of?  Woman walking across landscape of clothesIf so, PLEASE PLEASE join me. I would love to have some company on this journey.  I will keep you updated occasionally by posting some before and after pics with updates, and it would be beyond awesome to see some of YOUR progress and feedback as well. Let’s decrapify together!!

—make sure you “Follow” me on my blog (Click the blue “follow” button” here on the blog site) and “Like”  This Wicked, Wonderful World by Jill Palilla Facebook page to see my updated posts.

I’m well aware that actually getting rid of the stuff and organizing is the first step, and as big of a task as it is, the bigger and harder part of the journey for me will be the maintenance that is required to stay on the straight and narrow. I’m bound and determined to live a life of calmness, organization and simplicity.

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Cheers to a “Less is More” state of mind (and never again finding garlic powder and a remote control in my purse),

Jill ❤

I Am Who I Am

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted the following status on Facebook, as a result of a stretch of bad weather that brought several days with 2 hour delays and/or school closings for our school district:

10994680_10200145928486988_1688217090_nMy intent was a stab at humor, laced with the honest truth that my own kids (and the kids in the daycare) were starting to give me a run for my money (and make me want to pull my hair out, drink coffee in large quantities, eat chocolate for comfort from the chaos, and by the end of the day push me to drinking, lol). For the most part, I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends got that and had a good laugh with me, several commiserating over the fact that their kids were driving them crazy too. The next day someone asked me if I was concerned that a status like that would offend people, or hurt my daycare business. And that started me thinking…WOULD that be offensive to people? As a daycare business owner, am I putting myself at risk by a status such as this? Would it make them speculate that I don’t want their children at daycare or appear rude? After a few minutes of thought, my honest reply was “Well I would hope that it wouldn’t be offensive or hurt my business, because that’s just me being REAL. And if I can’t be real and still be respected and trusted, then I probably am not a good fit as a daycare provider for that person.” Does it make me a bad mom or daycare provider to admit that I’m human, not Mary Poppins? No, it just makes me honest.

Isn’t is exhausting to have to pretend to be something we aren’t? It’s no fun to try to have to keep up a façade that everything in our lives is perfect and lovely and beautiful every single day. I’ve been there and done that, and it just plain stinks, having to play that part and not being able to be yourself…being afraid of what others might think of you. Isn’t it more interesting and so much easier to just be real? Yes, there will always be those that judge you or point their finger at you, trying to make you look small in order to pump up their own ego. So what? Let them, I say.

I would rather share the real stuff, and allow myself and my life to have the transparency that it needs so that others can know who I AM. How else can you have honest connections with others, especially in the world as we know it, where social media is often times the only way we keep connected to friends and family? And go ahead and admit it, I know every one of you reading this has a friend (either on Facebook or actively in your life) who pretends that everything is just GREAT. The marriage is fantastic and the children are perfect angels 100% of the time and they have a garden and grow all of their own vegetables and are completely organic and work out every day and run marathons and have fabulous vacations and every selfie is flawless and they have a dream job and make a million dollars and of course they also volunteer for several charities and are on every committee at their school and church…and so on. You get the picture, don’t you?

Raise your hand if you just want to throat punch them when you see that stuff day in and day out. Go ahead, raise it up high, no one is going to know. And I’m right there with you. 

Check this out. See these yummy turtle chocolate chip cookies? I made these last night. No, not from scratch…they were the cheating kind, that you just break apart and throw in the oven. SO good though, seriously. With pecans and ooey gooey caramel, and I left them underbaked just a tad so they stayed really soft. Perfection. There was a dozen in the package.11004132_10200141090766048_864673559_n I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I was disappointed when Vincent walked in the kitchen and wanted one. I tried to convince him that he wouldn’t like them, but he tried one anyway…and then there were eleven. And by 8am today there were ZERO. Because I ate all eleven of those cookies by myself and they made me happy. How’s that for being real? Eating those cookies was the last thing that I needed to do, particularly since every time I get dressed to go somewhere I’m near tears about how I look and feel about myself right now. It’s been a long winter and this wasn’t my first date with a package of these cookies. I most definitely have a lot of work to do to get my butt back into shape. Literally. But you know what? It was cold outside and I was tired, and I wanted the damn cookies, plain and simple. I washed them down with a couple glasses of milk and then laid on the couch. It happens, friends, in the real world.

And a few days ago I posted a blog about the fact that I had a less than stellar moment as a mom, when I realized that I had pretty much NOTHING to put into my 8 year old’s lunch for school. So I popped a bag of microwave popcorn and threw it in his lunch box along with a half dehydrated apple, a type of granola bar that I knew he didn’t even like, and some almonds. I could’ve cried about it, because I really did feel like a horrible mom– but the feedback I received from that post with comments like “omg this has happened to me too” or “don’t worry, my kid won’t eat sandwiches so I just send snacks” etc. turned into a whole lot of fun reading and made me feel less horrible and more normal.

So here’s to being ourselves, flaws and all, and not being afraid to show that we’re only human.

Although I have to admit I really WOULD love to know how to take one of those flawless selfies that some of these chicks pull off….someone needs to give me the inside scoop on that one…

Cheers to (hopefully) a much more interesting read in my upcoming news feeds, friends….

Jill ❤

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One of those less than stellar mom moments….

Well it’s lunchtime and I can’t help but wonder what Gino thought about his lunch that I packed for him today….

Twenty years. I’ve been packing school lunches for my children for twenty long years. I can best describe this task as…MISERY. If I had known how much I would loathe it, I would’ve chosen to have my four children in the span of four years rather than eighteen years, just to get past the misery of packing these wretched lunches everyday as quickly as possible.

When my first child started school and could take a lunch, it was FUN for me. Going to the grocery store was like a treasure hunt to find the coolest foods and snacks to pack in his cute little lunch box. All the first grade kids (and their newbie moms like me) were so excited. It’s like a right of passage into first grade–you get to go to the cafeteria and sit at the lunch tables as a big kid.  And all the kids check out what the other kids bring in their lunch–an unofficial first grade lunch packer contest to see who brings the coolest stuff.  And you know where that pressure falls, right? Yep, right here onto Mom. Moms are in a secret competition to one up each other and give their kid “best packer” status. And that part of it doesn’t end at first grade….as they get older there’s still that whole–“hey what did YOU bring today?” thing that goes on between the kids at lunch. My firstborn very well may have earned that status of “best packer”. Gino, however, as kid number four….not a snowball’s chance in hell.

I have tried to bribe child number four to buy the school lunch. Begged, pleaded, offered trips to Toys R Us, even. Anything to get out of packing that lunch.  In my own defense, IT’S HARD–I’m totally burnt out as the Packer of the Lunch. Today I think I hit rock bottom. Because I forgot to do a mental inventory of the fridge last night to make sure I had enough “lunch stuff”  (or maybe I just blocked it out). And after standing in front of the kid this morning, reading the lunch menu and giving an Oscar worthy performance as I made the Penne Pasta with Meatsauce sound like the most fabulous and delectable dish on earth, I got the two thumbs down sign and knew I was in big trouble. I literally had NO IDEA what I was going to put in that lunch box because I had already checked out the fridge. When I scanned the contents I had broken out into a nervous sweat and cursed myself for not having thought to stop at the grocery store last night. It was the packing mother’s worst nightmare. No lunchmeat. No string cheese. No yogurt. None of the staples that I’d typically send. Not even a freaking Slim Jim that I could try to mentally justify as a “meat”. The kid won’t eat a peanut butter sandwich to save his life. I actually considered setting the alarm on my phone as a reminder to call Fox’s Pizza at 11am and have them deliver a personal size Stromboli to the elementary school for him (but thought that might be frowned upon….)….

Today when Gino opens his lunch he will get a baggie of microwave popcorn, a rice krispie treat, an apple that I intended to throw out yesterday because it was getting to look just a tad bit shriveled, a handful of grapes that I salvaged as edible, a Nutrigrain bar in a flavor he doesnt like, a few almonds, a bottle of water, and milk money.

I know, I know, I just blew my chance at Mother of the Year. For all of you over achieving, extremely organized and 1000% organic and healthy moms, I’m sorry that you had to read this. The struggle is real. I promise I will have a multi-course, healthy, hot dinner waiting for him when he gets home from school. No need to call the authorities. AND I will restock the fridge….And undoubtedly hide some Slim Jims in the cupboard for future emergencies such as this 🙂

Cheers to tonight’s refrigerator restocking party!

Jill