Archive for: December 2010

Topic: A break for the holidays.

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

So far I’ve been having the most wonderful holiday.

And normally I’d want to share it all with you.


My amazing daughter has been working hard all week long (while sick), and I’m now in Florida spending  time with Matthew’s family (and I think I’m getting sick).  So it seemed like a good week to blow off take a break from writing our weekly blog.

Hope you understand…and we’ll see you again next week (which is technically next year!)

I’m sick.  I got Mom sick.  I just realized that I ordered the wrong season of True Blood from Netflix.

I’m going back to bed.

Merry Christmas.

(PS: Mom was worried about skipping a post this week but I told her to take another shot of Nyquil and get over it.)

(PPS: She told me to take a shot of whiskey.  Motherly advice at it’s finest.)

I love so many things about December.

Not just because of the holidays, or the fact that I have a birthday in the month…but mostly because:

  • It’s the end of the year and I can clean out my files to get myself ready for the next year (how lame am I?).
  • I can finally wear boots with EVERYTHING and it works.
  • It’s when I start cooking big pots of soups, stews and chili’s again, which can feed me (and 6-7 others) for about 4 days with no complaints.
  • I can walk down any street and see sparkly lights Everywhere.
  • I get to put all of my stupid old nicknacks away and put out a totally new bunch of stupid nicknacks (called decorations in December) all around the house.
  • I get to drink buckets of that incredible creamy yellow drink – Egg Nog.
  • I get to drink lots of Rum…in my Egg Nog (OK, I drink it the other 11 months as well, but not in creamy yellow drinks).
  • I can eat a handful of sugar cookies decorated in colored icing and covered with sprinkles and silver coated chocolate balls…and it doesn’t count as carbs (for the whole damn month).
  • I finally get to use up that damn red & gold wrapping paper I got in bulk at Cosco 3 years ago (which I buy again every 3 years).
  • I get to buy way too much crap for my kids and I don’t feel like I’m spoiling them.
  • I get to go to a great movie on my birthday, because there are always great movies out for the holidays (but my mom told me they were actually releasing great movies just for my birthday).
  • I get to see my kids get all giddy and silly (still) with all the Xmas traditions we’ve been doing for years (while creating new ones as we go).
  • I get to dote on my family all month long.


  • I get to kiss my man at the very minute the month turns into a brand new year.

The way it feels.  I like the early nightfall and the Christmas lights downtown.  I like picking out gifts for the people I love.  I like the cookies and chili and logs of cheese.  I like sitting with my family and laughing my ass off.

I like it when the snow falls.

Except it’s NOT FREAKING SNOWING THIS YEAR.  We had a light dusting last Friday, but NOTHING ELSE.

And if it’s not snowing, then I have a hard time getting in the Holiday Spirit.

There’s also another reason: I recently started working in RETAIL, and let me tell you, nothing sucks the Holiday Spirit out of you faster than getting yelled at for things you have no control over.

So, between the ridiculous warm, snowless weather, and long hours at a customer service desk, this December has been a little bit… lacking.

But it DID snow a little bit on Friday.  And suddenly, I was excited.

I wanted it to be Christmas morning.

I wanted to wear new pajamas and sit on the floor in front of my mom’s fire place drinking hot cocoa and smelling french toast in the oven.

(Oh, Mom: I’m gonna need some new pajamas, the fire place on, hot cocoa and french toast next week.)

(Fair warning.)

The snow made me all anxious and jittery and feel like a little kid again.

So I took my tiny little fake tree out of it’s cardboard tube and covered it with tiny little ornaments.

I got excited to wrap the presents and put them next to the tiny little tree.  (<— I still haven’t done this.  My drive to procrastinate eclipses my excitement when busy work is involved.)

I wanted a god damn candy cane.

And that’s?  What I love about December.

Topic: Should parents give their older children advice?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I believe the best rule of thumb for this is…“Give advice only when asked!”

Which holds true for anyone, but ESPECIALLY your older kids.

And by older, I mean any kid that’s on their own in terms of living out of the house, or pretty much setting their own priorities for life.  I don’t mean waiting until the kids are totally financially independent.  Their need for parental advice (especially in their minds) has nothing to do with financial independence.  It has to do with them learning how to depend on themselves to make decisions.

And I’ve always tried to encourage my kids to be independent.  I want them to have all kinds of independence, (financial, emotional, mental) but of course, I also want them to know that I’m there for them…if they need me, or if they want my opinion.

I figure, they’ll ask me if they want to know what I think.

Which doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about what they’re doing, or how they plan to do it…it just means that I try to keep my mouth shut when it comes to telling them what to do, or how to do it.

For me, it’s about participating in a conversation with my kids, without owning it.

It’s about listening and asking questions, without trying to fix it. (OH so much harder than it sounds.)

It’s about waiting for those wonderful few words…”so what do you think mom?” before feeling compelled to tell them what I think…before they ask.

It’s a fine line for many of us parents.

We want to parent (as in the verb – to parent, which for many implies actively telling your kids what to do!).

AND…we want to help.  Because we think we always know what’s best for them.

But we don’t.


And, I’m sure I’ve failed miserably…many a time.

I can only imagine how often Ally and AJ have regretted bringing up a topic because I blurted out some unsolicited piece of advice or direction, and they’ve felt like running out of the house screaming “Mom…Stop talking…I DIDN’T ASK FOR YOUR OPINION!”

But they’re really nice to me, so if they’ve ever felt that way, they’ve never actually done it.


For the last couple of years I think I’ve gotten a lot better at waiting.  And I think it’s because I’ve learned that one of the most amazing feelings in the world is when one of my kids does ask for my advice.


It’s total validation.

It’s like they’re saying “I trust your opinion” mom, or “I’d really like to know what you think” mom.

And when it happens, it warms every ounce of my being.

So even though it doesn’t happen all that often (which I take to mean that they’re working through stuff on their own – and becoming more and more independent!)…

It’s really cool when they want to know what I think.

Being an “older child” here, I guess I would say only if it’s been asked for.  There are times when I want my parent’s advice, times when I don’t want it, and times when they give it and I just ignore it.

My parents are respectful and don’t really give unsolicited advice.  They’re always there for me when I need them, but they stay out of my business otherwise.

And I think it works out pretty well.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, but I can imagine that it’s not easy to keep your mouth shut all of the time.  Hell, I’ve experienced this when I see friends make stupid decisions.  Sometimes you just want (or need) to tell someone how to live, because they’re doing it wrong.  So I have respect for my mom and dad, because I’m sure there have been times that they wished they could have said something, but didn’t.

(Or maybe not.  I’m pretty perfect…)

And I understand that fine line that parents have to balance on.  You don’t want to overstep any boundaries, and want your kid to make their own decisions and mistakes, but you also don’t want them to totally screw up and end up causing some real damage.  And that line gets blurrier and blurrier as kids get older.

Trust me, I don’t envy that responsibility and don’t look forward to it in the (distant) future.

(In fact, I fully intend to just send my kid to Grandma’s house when I get in a sticky situation.)

(I think it’s an excellent plan.)

Personally, I’m pretty self-sufficient, and I have been for awhile.  It helps that I have a partner in crime, and my life is usually pretty monotonous.

(Most days, my biggest decision is whether or not to take a shower.)

I go to my parents for the BIG DECISIONS.  The ones like whether or not I should take a certain job, whether or not I should go to graduate school, or whether or not buying two puppies at the same time is a stupid decision.

(They both gave me the same advice about grad school, but held wildly different opinions about the other two.)

I trust their instincts, respect their opinions, and also know that they won’t disown me if I ignore them and do what I want in the end.

(Dad still loves me even though I totally got two puppies in one day.)

And I’m extremely thankful for that.

PS: The giant exception here would be if I were in serious danger.  If I start doing heroin and then selling my body to support my habit?  Mom and Dad – that’s a time for some unsolicited advice.