Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Top Four Worst Things About Having Kids in Middle School #2 Self Esteem

Kids self esteem takes a beating in middle school, maybe worse than anywhere else in life. Middle school is when cliques form, puberty starts (for most), and kids are coming into their bodies.

Let's start with cliques. Kids are forming groups based on, who knows these days? When I was in school it was pretty much looks. All the cute girls and guys were popular. These days, I think it's the loud obnoxious ones. The ones who make you pay attention. When my oldest daughter started middle school, there were two HUGE cliques and then everyone else. The friendships she had wavered that year, you know how fickle middle school girls can be.

Now my youngest is in sixth grade, and I've already seen her friends choose sides, leave people out, gossip. It starts all over.

Luckily, the oldest girl has found her way, being a friend to everyone, and having her core of good friends. My youngest daughter has also naturally adopted the "friend to all" attitude, and I think that will help them both in the long run.

Then there's puberty. Nothing damages a girl's (and probably a boy's) self esteem more than a huge zit right in the middle of their nose. Lucky for my kids, I have naturally oily skin (being Italian and all) and keep a vast array of skin cleansers in the house, clearisil, nutragena, proactive (although I have no idea how to spell these things obviously). Unfortunately, I see so many kids with bad skin, nice kids, and you wonder, why don't the parents help them out with this? Zits (well most, there are those big mothers that pop up every once in a while that just have a mind of their own) can be helped with good hygiene.

Then there's weight. My daughter, at 105 pounds complains. She's not fat. At all. My younger daughter on a daily basis asks me if she's chubby. I try and stress to my daughters that they are not fat, that they do not have to worry about it yet. If they eat right and stay fit, they'll never have to worry about it. I try and eat right and exercise to set a good example. I don't buy sweets, only on occasion, I don't by sugary cereals, pop, or candy regularly. I buy them ice cream about once a month, chocolate milk about once every two months. Being overweight can completely damage a kids self esteem, and I don't want my kids to go through what I went through. (and not having these sugary sweets can also cut down on the acne)

As a parent, I do my best to help my girls feel good about themselves, teach them how to take care of themselves and how to be a good friend. The rest is up to them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Top Four Worst Things About Having Kids in Middle School #3 Exposure to Drugs

This isn't so much a problem with me, my kids are not using, nor do I think they ever would (yes, it's possible, but I know my kids).

BUT, I know many parents do have this problem. When my oldest daughter was in sixth grade, a fellow sixth grader was expelled for having marijuana in their locker. My daughter is constantly hearing about kids attending pot parties on Friday nights. The sad thing is, many of these kids who supply the pot, are getting it from their parents, and sharing it with your kids.

Last year, there was some kind of sting operation in which another student got expelled and seventeen others got in big trouble.

And of course, the kids doing the drugs are also the kids doing "other" things.

My children attend a good school too. It's not like they go to a school filled with trouble kids and drugs and alcohol. You're going to find these problems in EVERY school.

Hopefully, most kids know to "just say no".

Monday, September 28, 2009

Top Four Worst Things About Having Kids in Middle School #4 Homework

Both my girls are in middle school now. One in eighth grade, one in sixth. And while my kids are good kids, when they reach grade six, they are exposed to so much more than they were in elementary school.

I am just happy to have open communication with them. I think that is imperative when kids reach this age.

Of course, my # 4 isn't anything deep or serious. It's homework. More, my inability to help with homework at this level. My oldest daughter is in algebra, highly capable. Um, let's see, I haven't taken algebra since 1982, and I certainly wasn't in any highly capable math class. So, she's on her own. Luckily she's around to help daughter #2 with her homework.

Then there's Spanish, Social Studies, Science, and all sorts of other classes I was never good at.

Thank god for Language Arts (that's what they call English these days). That I can help with and not feel like a complete dunderhead.

So, there it is. #4, Homework, the other three are way worse.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Free For All: How much is friendship worth?

Friendships are funny things. They invigorate, elate at times, but they can also be difficult and high maintenance.

So my question is, what lengths would you go to to hold onto a friendship?

What if you were always the one making plans, making the moves to maintain it? Would it get tiring? Would you eventually give up?

What if they constantly broke off plans? Or waited until the last minute to see if something better came up?

What about mood swings? Sometimes they treat you great, other times, like crap. Almost as if they had a split personality.

How much would you take?

And if the friendship dissolved for some reason, would you always be there for them if they came back? To what extent?

I personally believe I am a good friend. Yes, I've admitted I'm not really a people person, no I don't like to talk on the phone, I may not come to all your parties, but I love you. I would do anything for you, bring you chicken soup when you're sick, babysit your kids in a pinch, take you to get your car fixed, give you a shoulder to cry on. I've had friendships come and go, and it amazes me how easy it is for people to walk away, whether you've known each other for a few months, or fifteen years.

So tell me, how much would you take, and at what point do you give up?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top Four Worst Jobs I've Ever Had: # 1 Shoe sales

I was desperate for work. I was nineteen and my plans to go back to school had changed. I tried to keep my job in the Safeway deli, but I came in one day and hadn't been included on the schedule. So, I had to find work elsewhere. There was a new mall opening, so I went out and picked up as many applications as I could.

I got a call for The Shoe Pavillion. I started work immediately. The mall wasn't open yet, so the first two weeks we were pricing and stocking shoes, and they trained us how to sell shoes. Pretty much they told us to follow a shopper around endlessly, ask if you could get them anything, and keep following them around. This advice came from the store managers and the owner himself.

So when the store finally opened I did what I was told. One lady asked me if I had to keep following her around. I wanted to say yes, but backed off, as you know, sales nor people really being my forte in the first place.

Then one day, the owners wife came into the store, oh was she a bitch. She said, "I don't think you should be following people around like that." She had this crazy accent, I don't even know where they were from. Maybe somewhere close to Turkey, who knows.

I felt like saying, "I'm just doing what YOUR husband TOLD me to do!!!"

You've got your managers telling you to do one thing, your customers hating it, the boss' wife coming in making demands, and people that try on 500 pairs of shoes and don't buy anything.

After a couple weeks went by, they realized they had too many staff and laid off the lowest man on the totem pole. Me. Needless to say, I was relieved. I will never work in shoes again. Ever.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top Four Worst Jobs I've Ever Had: # 2 Vehicle Licensing

I am not much of a people person, so to work in the public service industry was just a bad idea in the first place.

I sold people their vehicle license tabs. People were forced to come to me and give me their money. And back when I worked there, the newer and nicer the car you had, the more money they cost. We're talking $400-$500 for a little sticker that goes on your license plate. People were not happy to see me.

I'd been yelled at, sworn at, hung up on, and even had someone slam their hand down on my counter (which had to hurt). My boss heard it from all the way at the back at the office and came up front to see what the problem was.

Okay, and here's the kicker, um, licensing your vehicle is a law. And there are certain laws you have to abide by to license and title. And guess what, I can't change the laws to suit your needs.

Um, needless to say, I was happy to leave that place.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top Four Worst Jobs I've Ever Had: # 3 Multi Level Marketing

Yep. I did it. Yep I'm guilty. I was desperate to work from home after my children were born, and there really aren't many opportunities.

First I sold toys, Discovery Toys. Which was good because they were good quality educational toys. I had no problem selling the toys, everyone liked them, but the way you really make the money is to sell the selling of the toys, and get people to host parties. This is what I wasn't good at, high pressure coercion. Trying to talk people into selling toys? Right. I'm just not the pushy sort.

The other one I tried was this natural body product company, who equivocated themselves to Costco for body products. This was bull. People had to sign up for an online membership, and overpay for products they can buy in their home town without shipping costs on top of it. Plus, there was a minimum amount they had to purchase per month. So, you had to sign people up to purchase their products, AND you had to find people to recruit others. It was a sham from the beginning. A nightmare really.

So there it is, #3 worst job, if you can even call it that. Never never do multi level marketing, you'll always end up putting more money into it then you get out of it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Four Worst Jobs I've Ever Had: # 4 Daycare

There are so many things about doing daycare that I loved, and so many that I hated. It is, in my opinion, a noble profession. To take in other peoples children, nurture them, teach them, love them, it takes much patience and hard work. It is the second hardest job out there, right behind parenting.

My daycare was extremely lucrative, well kind of. It made a lot of money, but I also put a lot of money back into it. I hired employees that, in theory I didn't need. In Washington, one person can legally take care of up to six kids, only two being under the age of two. I didn't think a six to one ratio offered very good odds as far as good quality care goes. Plus, kids have their quirks, their tantrums, their other issues, I wanted to be able to take a break when I needed it. So, I hired employees. I paid myself about $1000 a month, and put the rest back into the business.

It's hard work. I only took children under the age of five. I offered an educational program, nutritious meals, and educational toys. You're constantly changing diapers, solving fights, drying tears.

And then there's the parents. They sometimes are harder to deal with than the children. They want special food, special privileges, special rights, but when you're dealing with children, and before I closed, I had ten children in my care, you have to be consistent, you had to be fair. Everyone needed to be treated the same. I had been scolded, undermined, and pissed off in general by some of my daycare parents.

I had some that didn't pay, some that didn't show when they said they would, taking money out of my pocket. I had to deal with restraining orders, and CPS. It could get very stressful.

I closed the daycare for personal reasons, not relating to the business. some of the parents (especially the difficult ones) begged me to reopen or to nanny for them after. It is so hard to find good quality care out there, to find people who genuinely love your children. And I did. I loved every child that walked through my doors (even if they drove me nuts sometimes), and cried and felt a sense of loss when I closed those doors.

When asked to daycare or nanny again, the answer was always, I don't think so. The work is too hard, you get too emotionally involved. And many don't respect the profession.

So, that's my #4 worse job, owning a daycare. Thanks for reading.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry I've been away so long. I hope you're not angry with me. You see, life has been nothing short of chaos as of late, and I've been too busy or too tired to be with you.

I know it's not much of an excuse, but we've had soccer five days a week. It's been cut to three now, so I'll be able to spend more time with you.

Oh, and I've been working on my novel, please don't be jealous. I really care about you, it's just, well, my novel is important to me also, and let's be real here, I can't earn a living blogging. Yes, I know some people do, but for me it's unrealistic.

I would like to spend more time with you though. I miss you. I miss the fun we've had together, the laughs the tears. But, I need a few days. I really needed this time apart to regroup. It wasn't you, it was me.

I'll be back Monday. I promise. And we'll hang out like old times.

Until then,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kreativ Blogger

I want to thank Scotti Cohn for nominating me for Kreativ Blogger Award. This is an honor. It's a way for bloggers to show other bloggers their appreciation and to promote each other.

There are a few rules that go along with getting this award.

1. Place the logo on the blog.
2. Link to the person who nominated the blog for this award.
3. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
4. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
5. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
6. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Here are 7 things you might find interesting about me.

1. I cannot stand to talk on the phone. E-mail, text, Facebook me, but please don't call
2. Rarely a day goes by that I don't wear black.
3. I cannot stop myself from writing when a new idea hits me, no matter what else I'm working on. I have to get at least a little of it down so I don't forget. This is why I have about 15 WIP's started (Works In Progress)
4.I love to sing. I've sung onstage, and not just karaoke.
5.I have a very addictive personality
6. I was on my junior high drill team
7. My fears include, drowning, heights, spiders, and scary clowns.

Here are my nominations for Kreativ Blogger


Check them out.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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