The case for putting my wife before my children

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It’s usually 8:30 PM when I give the first warning shot to my two teenage daughters.

At 9 PM, I say, “It’s time for you two to head upstairs.” I repeat this nearly every night.

And nearly every night they argue. “But why do we have to go to bed at 9?” they lament. “We’re not children anymore.”

“You don’t have to go to bed, but you can’t stay down here in the living room past 9. That’s our time. We haven’t seen each other all day, and most of the day we’ve been focused on you and work. We need our time, too.”

They roll their eyes and huff at us.

The other night, I went as far as to sing the Semisonic song “Closing Time” until they threw pillows at me. I kept repeating, “Closing time, you don’t have to go home but you can’t … stay … here!”

They didn’t laugh. At all. We, however, thought it was hilarious.

To be honest, we’ve had this rule for as long as I can remember. We’ve been parents for nearly 15 years now, and there has never been a time where our children were allowed to dominate ALL of our time in the course of the day. They dominate a lot of it, mind you, but not all of it. We love our children and we consider our role in their life to be a huge investment. We committed a long time ago to be there for them and to always be hands-on and involved in their lives.

But, there’s still us. There’s still our relationship. There’s still the health of our marriage to consider and pay attention to.

We have some big reasons why this is so important to us. Here are a few …

A healthy marriage is the cornerstone of the home.

The cornerstone of your family is not your children. They are a part of the foundation and make up a major part of the structure, but they’re not the main thing that holds this whole beautiful mess together. That’s you — you and your wife, you and your husband, you and your partner. It’s your responsibility to lead your family, and your home. Your children are looking to the two of you for direction and example (more on this in a minute).

Before them, it was us.

Before they existed it was the two of us. We fell in love, skipped class to be together, stayed up too late talking on the phone (that was tied to the wall by a cord), and eventually committed to forever with one another. We were the beginning. We kicked this whole party off. Then these beautiful children came along. And we’re sure thankful they did because they fill our life with so much joy. But, our union is sacred. Our union is holy. With all of our power we must protect that sacredness.

After them, it will be us.

Nothing lasts forever. Our darlings are going to grow up and move out of our nest at some point. I don’t know about you, but there’s no room for a 30-year-old kid in my basement. After they’re out in the world, living on their own, raising their own family, being the human beings they were meant to be, it will be just the two of us once again. And we want us to be healthy, strong, and still as committed as we were when we first began this journey. In order to make sure the future us is protected, we must put us first today. This is not easy. We’ll get to that in a second…

We need to set a future example.

As I mentioned earlier, your children and mine are looking to us for life-cues, direction, and example. As children, they’re watching our every move to determine how they should live their lives. We often say, “We are raising adults, not children.” I don’t know about you, but I want my children to grow up with a healthy view of relationships — dating, engaged, or married. I want the health of my marriage to give them a healthy view of what marriage is, and what it should be. That’s why I put my wife first, and them second. Close second, but still second.

At the end of the day, this is a tension you must manage. Your children do need you, and they are important. After your spouse, they come next. Not friendships, not careers, not hobbies. Them. And you must take care of them. But take care of your marriage first and foremost. If that crumbles, the confidence that your children have now will begin to erode. When they see you loving their mother, or their father, they will love them too. But most importantly, they will have a confidence in themselves, and a confidence in the world around them.

Our schedule is busy all the time. I mean all … the … time! It seems to never stop. We are on with our children all the time. That’s why we guard 9 PM on each night. That’s why we intentionally schedule date night a couple times a month. It must be a value. It must be consistent. Mike Berry via babble.

We must come first.

xxxx,

Janice

Why you could be a victim of digital kidnapping

As a parent, it is your priority to look out for and protect your children. It’s a natural instinct. What if I told you that in some ways you are putting them in more danger than you can imagine?Have you ever heard of digital kidnapping? Prepare to have your world turned upside down.

Social media platforms are easily accessible nowadays. Almost everyone has an online profile. It’s a place to share your inner thoughts, opinions, personal and even intimate moments — a new engagement, new home, new pet, a new vacation, and especially a new baby.

New mothers love sharing pictures of their children online, but some vow to post minimal or no pictures of their children. I’m not a mother myself, but understand the need or desire to share every moment of your precious baby with your friends and family. Their height, their weight, their likes or dislikes. Your child is your biggest accomplishment and you should be proud that child is all your own — but are they?

Look up hashtags like #proudmommy or #momspam ( I mean even I am guilty of using the #proudaunt tag) you will find thousands of happy kids or babies, sharing happy moments with the world. This is where the story get dark, now look up hashtags like #babyrp #childrp or #orphanrp. The ‘rp’ stands for role play. Your child’s picture has been taken by a complete stranger. Your child had a new name, a new life story, and a new mommy or daddy. Your child has been digitally kidnapped.

Before last night I never even heard of the term or trend, until I saw a Facebook article shared by an old university classmate. Her caption was simple, ‘this is why I never post pictures of my child online.’ The article led me to a news story of a young mom named April. In 2012, she gave birth to twins, Sophia and Vivienne. She was a mom that loved to post pictures of her children online. April even joined a special Facebook group where she would upload pictures of her babies, which were often met with adoring comments and support. Then, one day she got a message from a total stranger alerting her that her kids pictures were found on another woman’s page.

The twins were now named Adaya and Kamberlin. These babies had a new mom. Her name was listed as Ashley and she spoke about the love she had for her children and even shared false medical issues the girls were suffering from. April was a victim of a digital kidnapper. The police were not able to do anything as there was ‘no crime’ or actual harm to the children. Despite threats of legal action and reports of a false profile, Ashley kept posting pictures of her ‘children’. Flash forward to 2016, and April was still fighting this digital kidnapper and even appeared on an episode of Dr Phil where she revealed just how far the story escalated.

April and her husband hired a private investigator to investigate Ashley- this fake mom came with a criminal profile and a longstanding “history” of her twins being taken away from her by her mother. Worst of all, there were pictures of her fake daughters all over her house — on her bedstand, on the living room walls, and in the entry way.

While this story is extreme, it speaks volumes to the society we are living in. People share every moment and detail online for temporary hits of pleasure and satisfaction from virtual strangers and distant friends. This trend goes hand in hand with artists having their material stolen and passed off as someone else, or even online fraud and identity theft. People catfish everyday, pretending to be someone else in order to get a date.  Cases like this did not exist 10  to 15 years ago because your personal treasures and moments were kept in a photo album inside a drawer and pulled out only when close friends or family come to visit. Now, nothing is private and nothing is sacred. Our culture has evolved so dramatically that this is the new normal.

The babyrp hashtag has been hidden on Instagram due to reported content that doesn’t meet the website’s ‘conditions,’ but from the few posts that remain, strangers role play the lives of babies and kids, giving them an entirely different life and creepy fantasies. This is truly the dark side of Instagram and, as I said before, the trend is small but growing thanks to our obsession with social media. So, what can you do?

• The obvious, would be to limit the amount of posts with your young kids on social media or use platforms that only temporarily share the pictures like snapchat or Instagram Story.

• Don’t include any identity details in the pictures

• Download an app that helps you watermark pictures, similar to professional photographers.

• Tighten up your privacy settings: you have the option to make your profile private on sites like Instagram

• Review your friends lists and make sure you’re actually willing to share these photos with your online friends and consider e-mail for larges sets of pictures

Digital kidnapping is not illegal and it is hard to control, just be aware of what you post online and make it difficult for people to identify your child as their own. Womenspost Leanne Benn.

xxxxx,

Janice

Attention, Moms: You’re Doing Great

As rewarding as parenting is, it can also be frustrating and full of self-doubt. To help quell the worries that most parents encounter at one point or another, Constance Hall, an Australian mom and blogger, shared some wisdom on her Facebook page on Sunday.

Hall wrote that, a few weeks ago, a friend of hers told her that she was “such a good mum.”

“Feeling like a total fraud,” Hall wrote, “I blurted, ‘I don’t feel like a good mum. The kids are driving me so crazy, I’m losing my temper and falling asleep at night wondering where I’m going got [sic] get the patients [sic] for another day.'”

Her friend’s response, however, floored her.

“Babies cry, it’s how they communicate. Toddlers scream, children whinge, and teenagers complain,” she recalled her friend saying. “But guess what Con? It’s better then [sic] silence.”

“It’s the silent children, the scared toddlers, the teenagers that don’t come home and the parents who aren’t in communication with their children that I worry about,” her friend, who works as a child therapist, continued. “And kids don’t drive you crazy, you were crazy already. That’s why you had them.”

It’s a simple reminder, but one that really hit home for Hall: “And just like that, I felt like a good parent again,” she wrote. “Deep breaths, you’re doing a good job.” Judging by the fact that Hall’s post has already been shared over 118,000 times at the time of writing, it looks like her friend’s message resonated with plenty of other people, too.

“My son and I have been butting heads the last couple of days,” one Facebook user commented. “I did not sleep last night and spent the whole of today wondering what I am doing wrong. This post could not have come at a better time, thanks I really needed this.”

“I needed this, and all the lovely comments from all the other moms feeling like they are doing a craptastic job,” another wrote. “Thank you all from the bottom of my exhausted heart!!”

Hall’s note of reassurance may seem like a small gesture. But as commenters have noted, sometimes you need to be reminded that you’re doing fine and it’ll all be okay — even if it doesn’t always feel like that. Via Refinery29 Kimberly Truong.

xxxxx,

Janice

It’s A Club No One Wants To Join

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It’s true it’s a club no one want to join as I am a daughter who grieved my dad. The enthinkable happen to my mom who became a widow in her mid 30s, I  was 13 years old, my sister was 12, my other sister was 8, my brother was 7 and baby brother was 3 years old. Mom and dad had a dream to have a big family and to leave happily ever after but the universe decided otherwise…. I was reading the article on Facebook COO who is supporting other widows in the wake of her husband Dave Goldberg’s sudden death at age 47; I truly admire the strength of Sheryl Sandberg While Grieving: “It’s a Club No One Wants to Join”.  Sandberg also shared a story of sitting at her daughter’s recent soccer game with another woman who had lost her spouse, and how they didn’t have to utter 10 words before Sandberg felt understood. She told me that she was reliving her loss through mine and I did not even need to tell her how I felt. I’m sharing the article here perhaps it will help someone who’s going through it and know that you are not alone. Read more below:

“There is no doubt that this country is grieving for Sheryl Sandberg and her family. The unexpected nature of the death of her husband, Dave Goldberg, seems hardly comprehendible — no doubt, even more so for Sheryl. At 45 years old, to become a widow is an indescribable shock. I know. I lived it, except I was 35 years old when it happened to me.
There are approximately 29,000 other women under the age of 49 and living in the United States that can claim the same. They make up an exclusive club none of us ever wanted to become part of. We became members anyway and so did our kids.
Unlike Sheryl Sandberg, many of these women had to bear the added insult of overcoming a significant financial burden, suddenly, thrust upon them due to the loss of their partner. The fact is, Social Security death benefits only cover children up to age 18. After that, these kids are “on their own.” Spouses receive nothing in the way of death benefits until they reach the age of 65. It’s a painful reality that needs to be changed. My personal circumstances forced me to work 24/7 while raising my little ones with as much of a “hands-on” approach as possible.

Today, things are a lot different. My life is barely recognizable from what I once knew. My children are much older too and all of them are doing extremely well. In fact, my oldest is heading to medical school this fall.
I am writing this article not to spew out numbers or scream injustice. I am writing it to share my sincerest condolences with a woman I do not know but, in many ways, know quite well. My hope is to help make this time in her life a bit easier with the following wisdom — wisdom from a longtime member of the same club she has now joined:

1. Take your time to grieve as — even if you try to rush it– grief has its own timetable.

2. Take on the task of sharing what Dave would have wanted to share with his and your children. It is important that they know him, even if he can’t be around to share.

3. Establish traditions that keep Dave in your children’s lives throughout their youth. My children and I light a candle for my late husband prior to every dinner.

4. Cocoon as much as possible with your kids for the first year after their father’s passing. They need time alone with you and you with them.

5. Others will assume that you and your kids are feeling the loss exactly like them. Realize, this tendency is innocent and not meant to be hurtful.

6. Take baby steps into your future and realize that you will make mistakes along the way. That is O.K. You have never done this before.

7. Cry when you feel like it. It is healthy.

8. Realize that life is made up of many chapters — some more important than others. Dave was an important chapter in your life but not the end of your story. That may sound insensitive right now but it is true.

9. It is Dave’s love for you and yours for him that will allow you to love again.

10. Finally, honor his life by living yours well and teach your children to do the same.

Sheryl, 29,000 women’s hearts go out to you. The bond we share is one of loss but it is also one of strength, courage, perseverance, and eventual, renewed living. I am certain — given the choice — each one of us would rather not have you walk amongst us, but since you are here, know that you have our spirit and example in which to hang onto throughout the entirety of your journey.
Just as you have spent so much time “Leaning In” for others, we are now here to “Lean In” for you!”

Tip #10 is so true my mom always honor dad’s life by living well and teach us children to do the same. I love you mom.

Article by Laura Wellington Media and Technology Entrepreneur, Blogger via http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7244322

Sheryl I am sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to the many women, daughters and sons around the world who have experienced this loss too.

xoxoxo,

Janice