Josiah’s Family Meeting

I could write a whole book on how events in my my childhood affect who I am as an adult and the decisions I make as a mom of four. My mother raised three children as a true single mom. There was not a dad around. It was just her. She made all the decisions and her decision was final.

Fast forward to today. I decided to have more of a democracy. Every family member is equal and has a say in all major and minor decisions. We recently took a trip to Maryland over the Christmas holiday. I asked everybody if they wanted to go. If one person had said no then we would have stayed home. We literally had a conversation about putting up Christmas decorations and specifically a tree. I could care less about a tree. They don’t like taking down decorations. We scaled it way back and with a compromise we put a metal tree with lights that’s meant for the yard up in the house. Don’t judge us. It worked. I have the final vote on major things like buying the house we are in now. Everybody went with me to look for houses. My daughter, Melody, wanted one house and even through a mild fit. I told her she could not see what I could see. I was not only buying a house but a neighborhood and a way of life. Living on a cul-de-sac three house from the neighborhood pool proved to be a great choice and worth less square footage.

All of that to say, anybody can call and conduct a family meeting in our house. Josiah had requested to hold one to discuss his new guidelines surrounding waking everybody up in the mornings. Now Josiah is the third child. He is a typical attention seeking, vivacious, charismatic middle child who also likes being punctual. His school bus arrives at 7:40 so he has the alarm set for 6 am.

He had taken on the responsibility of waking everybody up if they were sleeping too late. He’s done a fantastic job at this self appointed duty. He has helped his siblings, especially his sister and younger brother, make it to the bus just before it stopped and opened the doors. He has even saved the day by finding neighbors willing to give them rides when it seemed they would not make it on time. After a year and a half of this daily activity he resigned from the self appointed position because of the stress. He did not provide any notice. It was effective immediately.

After a couple of days he realized how much they had grown to depend on him to get out of the house. He was sympathetic to their plight. During the meeting he said they would each get one free wake up per month. Unfortunately Shawn had already used his. He also told them the unused ones would accumulate from month to month. There was much discussion and shouts of outrage an insult or two and threats of bodily harm. At some point I heard, “objection!” and somebody yelled “order in the court!” It may have been the same person. For some reason the oldest gets unlimited wake up calls because he has a car. That created another uproar among the other two. But it was a good strategic move. Stay on the good side of the person with the car.

In case you’re wondering why the oldest doesn’t take everybody to school on a daily basis, it’s because he has late arrival. He will take them if they have activities in the morning.

I truly feel like I’m helping them find their voices at an early age and most of all realize they are an important part of this family and I value their input and points of view. They might decide there was way too much discussion and not allow their children to have any input. I won’t be offended. Everybody has to walk their own path according to the influences in their lives.

Be well,

Alicia

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Oh my gosh!! If I see another post on Facebook about what a real man will do, I might just scream. Have you seen them? A real man will: change, love you better, not do this or become that. So many women jump on the “what a real man will do” train and give virtual high fives to author of the posts. I question personally whether or not the author’s of the post have ever met a “real man”.

Perhaps I’m hypersensitive because I have three real men in the making in my household. Here is my list of things that will increase the probability of you or your daughter getting a “real man”.

1. Take a spiritual, emotional, physical and mental inventory of yourself. Where are you hurting? What is lacking in your own life? Where does your healing need to occur? What kind of wife, friend or mother of his children will you become?

2. Ask yourself why would you consider being with a man who needs to change? I know everybody has room to change but why would you knowingly enter into a relationship with a man who has a long list of things you think he should change? I can hear you saying, I just want him to stop cheating, drinking, smoking, cursing, hitting me, doing drugs, calling me names, divorce his wife, pray more, dress differently, rub my feet daily, give me money, get or keep a job and start going to church. What’s wrong with that? I can’t say anything is wrong with it on the surface but go back to #1 and ask yourself why are you dating the type of man who doesn’t currently meet your standards and you might find the real change should occur in you. (side note, if you don’t have any standards go back to # 1 and create some when you are done with your inventory)

3. Stop giving ultimatums.Who decided it was a good idea to give ultimatums? Let’s take a quick poll, how many of you stuck to the action you threatened to take if he did not change? How many ultimatums have you given? When are you going to actually leave or stop tolerating the rest of the things that are on your list?

4. Ask yourself, what do I bringing to the table? I mean that literally and figuratively. I have a young male relative who is in his 20’s. A female asked him his name and he asked her if she could fry chicken. I laughed out loud when first heard about that conversation. He refused to give her his name if she couldn’t fry chicken. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and shaking your head but I’m giving him a fist bump because he has requirements and isn’t willing to compromise, give ultimatums or enter a relationship that doesn’t meet his expectations. What are you offering other than your body and the privilege of being in your presence? I am not just taking about material possessions.

5. Are you willing to change? Are you willing to become the person he needs so he will want to come home and love being there? Are you ready to stop complaining, nagging, manipulating and whining? Are you willing to cook, be his friend and not his mother, compliment and encourage him?

6. Be patient. Desperation doesn’t look good on anybody. I know you are ready to find Mr. Right and begin a life with him. He’s looking for you.  Keep doing #1 until he finds you.

My ex and I are doing the very best we can to raise men who will become good husbands. I am sure a woman will come along some day and tell them all the things they need to change. I will be there to tell them, if she can’t accept who you are today she is going to make you miserable tomorrow.

Looking for Mr. Real Man

Decoding women speak

I’m not willing to speak for all women everywhere. I will, however, speak for some women somewhere. Communication is the key to good relationships. We keep hearing this over and over and over again. If communicating was that easy, we would have it down by now. There are books, and videos, seminars and webinars degrees and professions all focused on communicating effectively.

I’m not charging for this. I am providing free advice on decoding how some women speak and what she means when she says some things.

First and foremost, if she asks you to do something she wants it done right now. More than likely she thought it should have been done days ago but she was waiting on you to take the initiative and get it done. But you walked past the overflowing trash can, the pile of clothes, the sink full of dishes and the dirty car among a long list of other things. Since it appears that you can’t see the obvious, she has no choice but to ask you. Highlight this part, she wants you to do it now. Right now! Not later, definitely not tomorrow and if you wait until next week expect to sleep next to flannels. The exceptions to this are if she gives you a specific date, “will you do this tomorrow?”

If asked what you are doing later, this can be interpreted in one of two ways depending on if you are single or married. If you are single, it means she is free and you should ask her out on a date. If you are married, there is probably a honey do list coming next.

I don’t feel the need to address the, “do I look fat” or “does this make me look fat”, the answer is always an immediate no. Not to quick because then she will think you are lying but without too long of a pause cause that makes it seem as though you are contemplating. You never contemplate the fat questions.

If you are having a discussion and she says, “fine”, just know it’s not fine but she’s just tired of talking about it right now. She is putting a pin in it and will bring it back up later. Trust me on that one.

When she says she’s tired and has had a long day, that means I’m not cooking or preparing a meal. You are on your own. If you want to earn some points, have a meal prepared and rub her back. Do not rub her back with any ulterior motives. Just rub her back because you care.

If she says anything that ends in again then you should rethink what you just said. Are we going there again? Are you watching football again? Are we eating there again? Are you wearing that again?

Here is a pop quiz. What does she mean when she says she has nothing to wear?
If you guessed all of her friends or the group you are hanging with have already seen the clothes she is considering, you are correct. It doesn’t matter if she has a closet full of clothes and some with the tags on them. She wants something new. You can get away with wearing the same khakis and white shirt. She cannot wear the same dress over and over again. She just can’t. It’s in the women’s handbook that you don’t know exists.

If you take my advice on one thing, let it be the one about doing what she asks immediately. She will appreciate you for the next 5 hours. You know you need to renew her gratefulness on a regular basis. If you do several things at one time, they all expire at the same time. They do not roll over nor can you use them in succession.

Consider yourself in the know.

All that glitters…

In 1848 the California gold rush was born. For every precious metal or jewel, there is either a man-made or nature made duplicate. In the case of the gold rush, there was fool’s gold. Now, to the amateur and inexperienced people fools gold looked real. But the people who understood the qualities of real gold or who had been deceived by fool’s gold or who simply did their research knew the difference. The difference, once you knew, was unmistakable. Real gold is soft, it doesn’t smell like sulfur, the colors were different and the gold could be cut or bitten into without breaking your teeth whereas fool’s gold is brittle and hard.

In 1995, 147 years after the California gold rush, the online dating rush began. I have heard of some success stories in this arena I have also heard from both men and women the difficulties. The challenge is determining what is foolishness versus what is genuine. I joined a site after a friend told me I need to start dating again. I had a few dates but nothing to brag about. I mostly had a lot of laughs at the foolishness. I eventually let my membership run out. Then six months later a different friend suggested I rejoin. Why do I keep listening to these people? I don’t know but I did.

This time around has been a little better but again, lots of phonies, posers, pretenders, fake people and fool’s gold. If a guy says he is 5’11 I don’t expect to be eye to eye with him if I have on 2 inch heels. (I’m 5’6) You may be thinking, that’s not a big deal, guys tend to round-up to the next whole inch. It is a big deal. If you would fudge on your height, what else are you fudging on? One guy had a picture posted that was 10 years old. The date was on the picture. Come one…really? Other’s say they are single when they are actually married and yet others say they like going out and experiencing new things but when you talk, they rant about the price of a glass of wine at a restaurant.

The premise of this particular site is you fill out a profile about your self, height, age, body type, ethnicity, religion etc. They you write a mini biography about yourself. This is where you sell yourself to who ever is searching or checking you our in their daily list of people. In this mini bio, people list their best qualities and characteristics. I’m guessing this is the stuff their mother’s tell them or maybe something they would have seen in a movie. Some are witty, some are straight forward and some are blah. The real test comes during conversation or on that first date. This is when you determine if you have the real thing or not. Some people can pretend for a while but eventually they show themselves. I have found that after a conversation or two I can smell the sulfur.

Recently one guy looked really good on paper. He was saying the right things but there was something not quite right. He was saying too many of the right things. He was saying things that most guys don’t say after a few years of marriage let alone after a few conversations. Because I had a suspicion, I googled him only to realize a lot of what he said was lies. Gotta love (or hate) the internet.

Nonetheless, I am still on the site and weeding through the foolishness or at least having a hearty laugh with my girlfriends. I am glad that I am just cynical enough not to believe everything I am told but hopeful enough to believe I will find real gold one day or I will write one heck of a book. In the mean time, I will keep an eye out for the fool’s gold.

Dating Advice

* Make sure his or her dream is bigger than your reality.
* Clingy may be cute early on but not so much years later.
* Love is a four letter word that deserves its own category.
* If you are making excuses for their behavior early on, back away slowly then run.
* Take your time to get to know each other.
* Chemistry is a class you take.
* Believe what they say and do.
* Expectations are not a bad thing.
* Show the day to day you early on.