Thursday, September 4, 2014

Texting Late Night

It has come to my attention that one of our household rules is not as main-stream as I originally assumed.  It has been such a part of us, like eating vegetables and getting exercise, that it never crossed my mind to do differently.  It has been the same rule since they got their very first handheld device as toddlers:  When it is time for bed, we all plug-in our personal devices / phones / ipods downstairs and that is where they are supposed to stay until morning. 

As it turns out, my son has quite a few friends.  He is texting with countless people, many of whom I've yet to be introduced.  I don't tend to be a helicopter parent and I am genuinely happy that he is expanding his social horizons.  I have thought it through, and at this point, he's given me no reason to read all his texts (it seems laborious and after a few spot-checks, I've come to discover that middle-schoolers text about the most ridiculous of things), but I do give a very cursory glance at the bill to see who the kids are texting, with what frequency, and when (although it doesn't give the whole picture of  what has occurred while on WiFi).  I am finding that especially girls, text my son at 2am!  YES 2AM!  and often times, he responds!  He is 13.  And his iPhone is supposed to be plugged in downstairs.  All Night.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Making Waves

It is all so exciting and nerve wracking and monumental! For whatever reason, this year feels like such a big one for our family and the kids and me.  My kids are at this middle-school stage where learning to foster independence is as natural as it is important and necessary.  If I ever want them to grow up to be released into the great wild someday, I really need to make sure that I am not accidentally over-nurturing them.  It is time to shift my focus away from just them to what the heck I am going to do.  It is scary and fun and exciting.  

Summer is over.  We had this fantastic southwest camping adventure (we road-tripped for a month out of a Prius, but that is a story for another day).  I feel like a fog has lifted and I am ready to move forward; for the first time in awhile, it isn't panic inducing or filled with dread, it is exciting. I turn 40.  It was right around 40 that my very young parents moved away from the place that they were born and raised.  My sister and I were both old enough to be on our own.  They sold the house, simplified their lives, drove 2117.5 miles, bought a new place with an extra room that we always knew could be ours, and started over.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Down With AT&T


My title might be a little heavy-handed, but hear me out.  I've been with AT&T for my cell service since before I had a rhyming name.  Before kids.  Back when it was Cell One and then Cingular and now AT&T.  Last Monday we changed carriers.  It felt a little like I was making the decision to leave an unhealthy relationship.  There was some guilt and nostalgia but mostly relief.

Our lives have changed.  We are about to embark on a new era with 4 mobile phones all requiring unlimited voice / text and some data.  We all need smart phones.  Before judging us for being spoiling suburbanites, let me clarify our reasoning:

Our kids have a walk to the middle school that is about 3/4 of a mile each way.  I believe that it helps clear their head, build relationships, foster independence, and instill healthy habits to walk everyday.  I only drive them when the windchill is below zero, every once in awhile when we are running a bit late in the morning, or if I need to leave the house at the same time as them.  With that said, I feel more comfortable if my kids have a phone with them for the walk.  It allows them to check in and see if they can go to a friend's house rather than straight home.  It gives them an option if there is an emergency or if they are feeling unsafe/sick. 

When my son graduated 5th grade, we got him a $10 a month non-smart flip phone.  The kid never had it with him.  He would forget or it would be lost in a couch cushion or uncharged. Finally, at the end of 6th grade, my husband and I reassessed the situation.  We decided to buy him his first smart phone and pay the monthly fee under these conditions:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Android Mom


Some of you are going to gasp, feel betrayed, and possibly call me a traitor (others will be agnostic about my decision and some may even support it) but I am prepared and braced for the scrutiny.  Recently, there has been a lot of hard decision making (including piles of research and spreadsheets) resulting in challenging life changes.  We added a Sam's Club membership to our Costco lifestyle. I'm no longer driving my dear Odyssey but a Mazda 5 (mostly a financial decision because our minivan suffered an untimely departure and all we can afford is a mini mini van), and now I gave my beloved iPhone to my daughter and became an Android Mom (my husband says that there is a joke in there somewhere but I don't get it and I am quite sure that I don't want to).

I've had an iPhone for years.  If I were to guess, I would say at least 7.  My sister got one and then I kinda wanted one too and then after I got it, I was totally hooked.  I felt like I had the world at my finger tips.  My own personal Inspector Gadget.  I talked countless friends and family members into getting an iPhone (regretfully sometimes even shaming or scoffing them into it) and we would all laugh and talk about our apps.  Siri was my friend.

You can easily research elsewhere about the concrete differences between the smart phones:  Battery life, megapixels, size, weight.  What I am going to give you is the mom perspective.  A very Non-Technical Review:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

39

Yesterday I turned 39.  I've rarely had an issue with age or growing older.  Most years, I truly feel like it was better and more fulfilling than the last.  24 was a little rough.  I was out of college but still didn't know what direction I was going.  I had youthful dreams that needed to die but they didn't go down without one heck of a fight.  The first couple of times one truly faces reality is rough (and often heartbreaking). I'm not melancholy about 39, but the closing of a decade is certainly a time to re-prioritize.  I've never been the kind of person who is okay with just surviving.  If I find myself in that situation, were I am merely treading water and not actively becoming a better person, a more loving wife, a stronger parent, a greater influence for good, I start to feel trapped and caged and impotent.  

Over these past couple of years, what it means to have a fulfilling life has changed and grown and developed.  For so long, it was just generically "happiness" but I'm realizing that happiness is really just the bi-product of a truly fulfilling life.  Happiness isn't about circumstances, it is a constant choice, a lovely result, but not the core.  I've come to realize that a clean house makes me happy.  That said, it is the hard work and the diligence to become master over consumerism that really makes me happy; the external ramification being a clean house.