A Modern Vampire Mom

After 10 years and almost 2,700 posts later I’m still blogging. Below is my very first Vampire Maman post.

I haven’t become a viral parenting blog influencer. I don’t even think the term “influencer” was out there in 2012. Not being your typical “mommy blogger” I don’t wax and wane on the perks of self care, finding the right yoga pants, or how my children are the cutest.

My youngest was in Middle School when this all started. Looking back I see that Middle School and High School are when parenting gets real. If you look hard enough you’ll find the kids are still precious and cute. If you talk to them you find that they’re a joy. They still need you to help them navigate school, friendships, and fear of the future. Impending adulthood terrifies both parents and teens.

Over the years I hope I’ve been able to get my main message TALK TO YOUR KIDS out there. My second would be to prepare your children for adulthood. One day we all grow up and we all have to fly away out of the nest. Overprotecting a child from the harsh realities of the world is only going to put them in harms way.

So how did I do? My son has now has a Masters degree in Environmental Science and has started a business with friends. We’ll see how it does. I’m super proud of them. My daughter was just excepted into graduate school at USC. They both have good relationships with friends and family. They’re both funny. They talk to their parents. They’re a joy.

I wasn’t just taking care of children. Like many parents these days I was also taking care of the elders of my family. I started writing about Eleora and Tellias, the two ancient Vampires who look as if they are college students, but act like they’re in their late 80’s. They have memory issues, and judgement issues. They need extra help. It is both rewarding and heart breaking.

Other features have come up over the years. Short Story Sunday (Tangled Tales) now features over 200 stories – both mine and guest stories. Burning Questions was a popular series I might have to bring back.

One of the most popular features has been Vlad’s Vampire Diary. Oh my goodness the amount of mail I get about Vlad’s “hotness.” It warms my heart. I also get the same amount about my brother Max.

I’ve brought in all four of my brothers, my friend Austin Durant the Vampire Hunter, and of course Nigel, everyone’s favorite ghost. Werewolves, Zombies, Demons, and other unusual folk have also graced these blog posts.

We’ve talked about love, music, being different, things that happen in the news, school shootings, death, grief, humor, cats, dogs, long hikes, rock concerts, and everything else under the moon.

Many of my favorite posts have been my December/Christmas posts. Christmas and the paranormal go hand in hand. Believe it or not Vampires love holidays, Christmas trees, and the wonders of the bright stars in the night sky.

Most of all I want to talk about parenting. By that I mean deliberate parenting. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Listen listen listen. Don’t judge. Don’t expect them to be like you. Want them to be better than you. They can and will be better than you if you let them. I’m not a Tiger Mom. I’m a mom who hugs, love, listens, and is aware of what is going on in my child’s life.

I’m not perfect but my kids awesome. But hey, you don’t want perfect kids. Perfection is over rated and boring as hell. What you want is kids who are confident, aware, learn from their mistakes, ask questions, and see the big world around them.

Thank you to all of you who’ve been hanging out with me for the past ten years. I love you all from the deep dark depth of my Vampire heart. To all of you who are new I am glad you’re here.

As I go into the next decade I will adjust to my empty nest life, just as Vlad continues to adjust to the modern world.

I’m glad that I have been able to inspire those with and without children navigate the weirdness and not so weird times in the world in which we live.

Wear a mask. Stay safe. Be kind. Check in on those who be alone or need extra help. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Teach your children that they are valued.

My kids are successful because I raised them so that they would not be like me. I don’t mean in the good ways, but in the ways that haven’t been so good.

I won’t go into the painful details.

As parents we need to look at ourselves. Yes, of course, we need to celebrate what we’ve done right in our lives, especially what we did right before we had our children. We also need to look back at our failures and learn from our failures.

It doesn’t mean that a former wild child should keep their children under lock and key.

It means that we should teach our children that they are valued.

It means that we should encourage the painfully shy child to speak up.

It means that we should give our children a sense of fashion.

It means that we should teach our children to be confident and not become bully bait.

It means we should teach our children the meaning of self respect.

It means we should teach our children about reputation and how hard it is to get a good reputation back once it is lost.

It means we should teach our children to think beyond themselves.

It means to teach them to think of the future.

It means to teach them to be creative.

It means to teach them to have empathy.

It means to teach them to listen.

It means to teach them to stand up for themselves and their opinions. It means to teach them to value themselves. Yes, teach them that they are important and have value.

It doesn’t matter if your children are young or adults – the lessons still stand.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who are alone, or might need extra help.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Poop

Yesterday my 21 year old daughter shoveled up an entire big brown grocery bag full of dog poop. I didn’t have to ask. She offered.

Our dog is huge. Our yard is fairly large with a lot of oak and citrus trees, no lawn, and some raised beds for a garden. It is a fairly wild undeveloped space that backs up to even a wilder undeveloped space. Between the garden and the compost bin way out back the dog crapped everywhere.

The point of this story is to say how proud I am of my child, and to be snarky, on my biggest snark subject of 2020. It isn’t political shit (pun intended.) It isn’t about shitty people who won’t wear masks and social distance. It isn’t even about toilet paper. It is about shitty people who raise shitty kids then expect to have the right to shit all over everyone else.

Yes, I’m talking about the school admission scandals.

Entitled, and frankly stupid idiot kids like the fashion/beauty influencer Olivia Jade, were getting spots in universities (private and public) because their parents cheated they system. The parents took fake sports photos, bribed coaches, paid people to take tests for their brats, and assorted other lies and pay-offs.

This is nothing new. A lot of famous people, including well known public officials have been known to have cheated their way through school admissions and straight through to graduation.

Cheating is not cool. It is a crappy thing to do. It might help the cheater but it hurts everyone, including hard working kids, and I specifically mean middle class kids who work their asses off to get into good schools. I’m talking about the kids who don’t get into the schools and programs they deserve to be in because a cheater took their place.

My daughter got into a top university on her own. She did the research. She filled out the applications. She took the tests. She wrote the essays. Her school was not involved in the recent admission scandals. If she goes to a university that was involved in a scandal for graduate school I’m going to have a shirt made that says, “My child is going to _______ and I didn’t have to go to prison for it.”

I guess the real point to my snark today is that an entitled brat like Olivia Jade, or so many more like her, would never volunteer to pick up poop so her mom wouldn’t step in it every time she went out to her garden. And after that we talked about fellowships, school, the environment, making a difference in the world, favorite movies, and dogs.

The point of this isn’t to be negative about the children of the rich and famous. Many successful, hard working, smart, and compassionate, young people have rich and famous parents. But the point is that their parents actually parented. Their parents gave them the skills and values so they wouldn’t even consider cheating to be ok in any universe.

In this world nobody is entitled to anything. Add that to your list of parenting things to do. Your child is not entitled to anything.

But, all young people are entitled to the opportunity to try, and to dream, and to take a chance. It is their opportunity, not something the parents should do for them.

Sooooooo that is the shit for today. The poop is scooped.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t cheat. Check in on those who might be sick, old, alone, fragile, or just need extra help. And as always, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Special Kind of Magic – Parenting in the Pandemic – Empty Nest Version

When I started writing this blog in 2012 one of my kids was in high school, and the other was in middle school. This was more or less a middle school parenting blog. Then the rest of my family crept into it. The old folks, my brothers, and even my parents. Then friends started to slip in through the cracks. No matter what parenting was always at the core of it all.

On of my kids finished up graduate school at the beginning of the pandemic. Now in the middle of the pandemic my daughter sent in her graduate school applications today. I read some of the letters of recommendation from several esteemed professors and people in her field. I was blown over.

This is the child I took to Black Veil Brides concerts. This is the girl who shocked the horrible middle school PE Bitch teacher with her stylish outfits that DID NOT break the dress code rules. This is the kid who struggled with algebra and ended up taking a series of upper division statistics and economics classes at a top university and getting almost all A’s. Yes, this is the kid who never got below a B in college. This is the kid who inspired me to write about glitter, glue slugs, and Emo music, and growing pains.

These are the kids had tough conversations with about school shootings, and death, and losing, and caring, and unconditional love, and failure, and reputation, and about being an asshole.

My daughter hasn’t been in a classroom since last March. She’ll graduate and never meet most of her upper division professors or classmates in person. She has asked for and received letters of recommendation from professors, and a boss she has never met in person. She has impressed others with her presentations and discussion points but never in person.

Both of my young adults would love to live life in person. Wouldn’t we all. Sure we go to the post office, and the grocery store, but not to schools, or museums, or coffee houses with friends. I guess we could sit outside the coffee houses, sometimes, if there is seating and not too many people are there.

My dog misses the days we’d spend outside at the local coffee house. At our usual table I’d write or read. My giant do would stretch out over the walk way and thump her tail at anyone walking by. I’d have water and treats for her. I’d pretend she was as smart and well behaved as she looks.

Now Garrett, who is 24 is living in the Hollywood Hills, housesitting until the middle of next year, working from home, and working on starting his own business with his best buddy Randy. Neither one of them has a girlfriend right now which is weird but a nice break for Randy’s mom and me. We’ve seen a lot of broken hearts with our sons. I’ve found a lot of love letters in the laundry.

Clara and her boyfriend (both 21) will be getting their own place in January. They’re both seniors in college, but will never set foot in an undergraduate classroom as students again. Their roommates are getting weird. Everyone is getting weird. They’ll save money and time. It just makes sense. Yes, if you’d told me this would be what we’re talking about today in 2012 I would have said NO WAY.

I’m serious about parenting but I’m pretty chill too. It isn’t just a Vampire thing. It is a parenting thing. Seriously, you have to be chill. You have to listen. You have to change with the times as a parent. As parents we are leading the way and we can’t do it blindly using rules from the 1970’s.

My kids are stressed. I’m chill on the outside but going nuts inside.

Clara, her boyfriend of four years, and his orange kitten all came up this week. It was a surprise. It was a 450 mile drive. They’ll go back on Thursday and return before Christmas. They just needed a quiet safe place to finish their finals and graduate school applications. Their homes didn’t provide that right now. Maybe two years ago it wouldn’t have been a problem but right now it is. I just want them to be able to finish school without any additional stress.

Yesterday Clara and I went out. I had on a red jacket and a red mask with a cat print on it. She wore a black sweater with a black mask with a cat print on it. That wasn’t planned. We just do that – always dressing almost the same or in the same colors. It has been going on since before middle school. It just happens. It is a special kind of mother/daughter magic.

So yes, I write about Vampires, but it is really all about my kids and everyone else I love.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind. Hug your dogs and cats. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help or those who are alone. And of course, if you get a chance, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Listening is NEVER Useless. Thoughts on parenting, and other 2020 challenges.

I decided to take a day off and garden, and do fall cleaning and organizing.

Sure I’m a Vampire but what do you want me to do? I don’t spend all of my time stalking unsuspecting people and drain them of their blood. I don’t sleep upside down all day with bats. I don’t sit around doing ancient rituals. Who the hell does that? Get off of my back.

Yesterday my husband, daughter, and I took the day off from all news, politics, and pandemic crap and went wine tasting. We are fortunate to live 45 minutes away from one of the most spectacular wine regions in the entire universe. It was a perfect day.

Tomorrow my daughter is going back down to Southern California.

Yesterday was a perfect day. Today I am so stressed out that I feel like my head is going to explode.

Having a so-called empty nest doesn’t get you off the hook for parenting. My kids are so stressed out by the state of the world, school, work, and everything else that it is stressing me out. As a mom I am their sounding board. I am not complaining. I’m just feeling useless because there is nothing I can do but listen. Listening isn’t useless I tell myself because it is true. Listening is NEVER useless. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.

I’m just so damn worried about them. They’re smart. They make good choices. I’m good with that. That said, they are angry. They are discouraged. They are questioning everything.

With the election so close and no good choices for young people (just two old guys most of them don’t really support) they are frankly disgusted. They are loud and clear about their opinions.

Then there are our family dynamics to deal with. Mine are easy.

In my family we talk a lot about everything. We keep in touch. My kids talk to me or text me every single day. They don’t have to. They want to.

Don’t even get me started on those who think “self care” will solve anyone’s problems. Really? Right now autopilot is what is going to save me.

My fucking bank just merged with another bank (it was taken over by another bank) and now that is a huge cluster F. The lines at the bank are horrible. It took me five hours online to get everything half way working.

If anyone out there thinks being a Vampire or something other than what you are will help you please THINK AGAIN. Nobody is exempt from the modern world unless you want to be come crazy living up in the hills or out in the desert “off the grid.” Or you could live in a crypt, but in that case I doubt if you have a bank account. Shadow creeping Vampires who live in crypts and other unsavory places usually have dusty old attorneys who take care of their money, or they have a stash buried somewhere, or they just steal everything they need. Don’t even ask about how Zombies are living right now. Holy shit, this is 2020 and there is still a few months left for the Zombies to poke their rotting heads out of their hidey holes.

But I digress, we need to get back to parenting.

Right now is an extremely difficult time for parents with children of all ages.

My nephew and his wife just had a baby. I haven’t seen him yet. Any other year I would have been right over to San Francisco to meet my new little nephew. No such luck.

Our kids from pre-school to graduate school can’t go to school. Everything is online. Yes, there are a few online classes but that is more of the exception. Many trade schools are closed. Job opportunities are few and far between for our young adult kids who aren’t going to school.

At the same time our adult children are applying for college, jobs, trade schools and other programs. They feel totally screwed by the generations before them. To their credit they are doing better than they know. They’re strong. They’re getting organized. They’re loud. They’re fierce. I hope they will be force to be reckoned with.

My message to parents and to young people is DON’T GIVE UP. That is my message to everyone. Old, young, normal, unusual, weird, creative, uncreative, or whatever you are – DON’T GIVE UP.

I know I must sound like I’m rambling. My work at the museum is all online these days. I’ve been there in person once since March. I’ll go again on Friday and meet with a young person I’m mentoring. How cool is that? Extremely cool. I’ll be giving online tours with a docent friend. We’re over the moon happy about that.

So I’m fine. Teddy frustrated is fine. Our kids are frustrated but fine. My brother Aaron’s kids are frustrated by fine.

I guess the whole purpose here, aside from my gratuitous TMI venting, is to say that we’re all feeling a lot of pressure as parents. Just be there for your kids. Talk to them, but most of all just listen to them. Support your kids. Support their dreams.

SUPPORT THEIR DREAMS. Now is not the time to shoot down dreams or tell they can’t do something. Now is the time to just listen, be it by phone, text, Zoom, in person, or however you’re communicating these days.

I might get to gardening. I’ve spent the entire day in Zoom meetings, checking election results, taking care of banking BS, and being there for my kids. I’ll get out in the garden in an hour or two. My poor dog is feeling totally ignored.

Thanks for dropping by. Wishing you all peace of mind. Stay safe. Stay calm. Stay positive. Wear a mask. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Check in on those who might need extra help, and those who are alone. Don’t allow anger to get the best of you – leave that for the brainless Zombies and nasty Ghouls.

Take care,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Exploring the Wonders

Exploring the Wonders

They grow

And explore

The wonders

Of the universe

If we let them.

Then they explore

The wonders of

their hearts

and imagination.

 

All children should be allowed to explore, beyond the world of their parents. We should be their guides, but give them the freedom to take that extra step to discover something new. If your child learns something new 9 times out of 10 you’ll learn something new.

Listen and learn from your child. You’ll know what they learned in school and what they did after school. You’ll know about their friends. You’ll know about those who aren’t so friendly to them. They keys to talk to them, talk with them and listen to them. Never take a one world answer. Make them talk. They’ll thank you for it later.

The sun is just coming up over horizon and the sky is turning pale gray and whites and blues. It is that strange in-between time for just about most creatures. Werewolves are turning back into their own skin. Vampires are thinking of going to sleep. Regular folks are getting up for work. This is my time to write when all is quiet. Quiet is a rare thing for a mom.

Summer is in full swing and I wonder how my kids will remember their childhood and teen years.  I hope that the memories they take with them are of the times we spent together talking and just being together. I hope the memories will be of ideas and discussions.

I hope those ideas and discussions will never end.

 

  • Talk to your kids
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay safe
  • Don’t be a dick (be nice)
  • Science is real
  • Check on those who are old or at risk. Summer is hot. The pandemic is real. Make sure everyone is OK.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman