What I Give as a Mom

I’ve been a mother without the following: a lot of church, Dr. Who, soccer, tweenkies, parenting books, big mondo strollers, private schools, home schools, Disneyland, hamsters and a spotless house. All of those things are FINE and lovely but just not part of my world.

I have given the following to my children: a strong sense of who they are, self-confidence, a social conscience, a strong set of values, a strong set of morals, curiosity, the love of learning, the ability to make friends, the desire to share, laughter, wit, humor, a strong sense of justice, trust, self-respect, courtesy and grace, good manners, music, love, and more love.

Once upon a time my mother was saying something despairing about my siblings and me. My response was, “You know, it could be worse, you could be Monica Lewinsky’s mother.”

Below is my famous bulleted parenting list. I promise sometime today I’ll post some Vampire stuff (for those who come here for Vampire stuff.)

Juliette’s Ultimate Musings on Parenting

I’m an artist to the core of my soul. I’m a curious collector of oddities (both objects, experiences and people). I read. I discover. I write. I design. I act. I live as I wish (well, I pretend I do). And I use the word “I” a lot, or at least I used to.

Then I met a remarkable man who thought I was funny and a bit odd and a lot sexy and smart and ….I liked him a lot too because he was smart and sexy.

And that would have been fine to have stayed that way…

Until we had a child.

I never knew I could love as much as this. Both the man and the child. I never knew we could love as much.

I never knew what an amazing journey parenthood would be.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we need to encourage them to start.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.

And one more thought… talk WITH your children. Not AT them. Let them have opinions. Listen to them. LISTEN. Then guide them and love them for WANTING to talk with their parents. It works. It really does. Yes, your children will talk to you if they don’t think you’re going to judge them. It is that easy. Give it a try.

Have a good Saturday everyone, and yes, I promise, I’ll post Vampire stuff.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Don’t Panic… they grow up but that’s ok

 

Summer is in full force, which means the temperature is in the triple digits, the air is full of smoke from fires and everyone is trying to keep their wits about them. Sounds like Hell. It isn’t. It is Northern California and there is a drought so I expect it to be a long smoky summer.

This isn’t anything new.

What is new is that my 18 year old Garrett is getting ready for college. I don’t even want to say that. It is both exciting and scary. Exciting for him. Scary for me.

We’ve talked a lot, mostly just chatted about college and life outside of here, our house, our community.

Today we were sitting over herbal iced tea and the air conditioner turned up to full blast. Yes, we’re Vampires so you’d think we’d be under the house sleeping, but we don’t stick to traditional schedules. Besides it is summer. We’re just chilling.

I handed him a box.

He opened it carefully then started to laugh when he saw what was inside. It was a beach towel with the worlds “Don’t Panic” on it.

“There’s more in there.” I told him.

He picked up an object wrapped in white tissue paper.

“It’s your own copy.”

“I love you mom,” he said holding is own copy of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.”

I handed him another box. It was a copy of Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook. I know what you’re thinking. Vampires. Why a cookbook? Because sometimes we do make “real food.” We’re pretty creative about it. And the most important reason is that if you go to college and you can cook then it is to your advantage.

Everyone loves to come back to the dorm or apartment after a long day and find out your roomie has a hot bowl of soup waiting for you. A nice aromatic bowl of goodness to take away the stress of hours of studying, the brain numbing organic chemistry and biophysics lectures, the weird classmates and cold feet from walking miles and miles across campus because you have a flat tire on your bike.

Plus, if you can cook everyone else cleans up. Good deal.

Garrett will be sharing a dorm room with his friend Randy (also a Vampire) but they’ll eventually have roommates who are Regular Humans. It is good for them to live with those who are different (but keep the rule to NEVER prey on your roommates.) We talk a bit about that but mostly about a shopping list for Target to get a few much needed dorm room items. Even guys want their room to look good.

The calico cat rubbed against his leg and sang her her little meow song. Garrett picked her up and gave her a kiss on her head. “I’ll miss the cats. I will really miss the cats.”

I knew he would. We talked more about life and school. My words of wisdom were few – just don’t leave love notes and poetry around for others to find. He does that at home. The is especially important about anything that is turned in to a professor.

The rest of the time we just talked and laughed. And listened. Just listened to my sweet boy who had suddenly grown into a man.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vm man of the future

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/an-odd-trio/

Life gives us options (and it’s not just about you)

I received a weird email from someone asking if I’d re-post a blog article called “Seven Reasons not to Have Kids.” OK folks, this IS first and foremost a parenting blog (I’m a little different, but I’m a mom and that is my blogging viewpoint).  It is none of my business whether you want kids or not. I don’t care – I just care that you are happy with your choices and live a well-adjusted responsible life.

But that said, it got me thinking about how rabid and opinionated people can be when it comes to viewing the life choices others make. I’m amazed at how threatened others can be about the life choices of others.

If someone writes a blog about having only one child,  insecure mother’s with multiple kids (I’m talking 6 or more) get rabid and start posting hate mail. I just want to say “This isn’t about you. It is about families with only one child.” I use this as an example because I recently read an article called “What NOT to say to a parent with one child.” I thought it was a very well written article about how rude people can be to parents with only one child or only children –  but oh the mean-spirited comments. What is wrong with people? Like I said “It isn’t about YOU.”

Same goes with large families – don’t go after good mom’s with lots of kids. Big families are fun. Little families are fun. All good parents have fun families. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have (or don’t have) as long as it works for you. Now cats are another matter…but that’s another blog posting.

Then there are the young vs old moms. Give me a f***ing break, it doesn’t matter how old you were when you gave birth. Nobody cares as long as you’re a good parent. Just shut the F up about it. Our kids don’t need to hear it. Of course being a Vampire, most of us ARE MUCH older when we start our families (I was 135). But this all applies to ALL parents not just those of us who are a little different (and don’t get me started on the Werewolf mom’s – they need all the support they can get).

Just like articles about being happy and single. I was happy when I was single and remember people who worried about my state of singleness. Now I’m married and happy. But I have friends who are single and happy and I’m happy for them. Don’t marry some ill suited bore or someone you don’t connect with because society says you have to be married. Screw society. I’m happy for you – so you be happy for you too!

Nobody should ever give in to the pressures of society to be something they ARE NOT.

 

Don’t have kids because your mother-in-law demands a grandchild. Don’t have children because your friends are pressuring you. Don’t have them because you think he’ll stay with you (the worst reason of all). Have children because you want to be a parent (with all the good and bad that involves). If you don’t want them – don’t have them and don’t let anyone pressure you into it.

  • Not everyone wants to have kids or should have kids
  • Not everyone wants to be married.
  • Not everyone wants to be single.
  • Not everyone wants to do what everyone else is doing.

I have the attention span of a gnat (ask my husband and close friends) but I will always try to see differing opinions and know that ALL FAMILIES ARE DIFFERENT.

When my children were small and starting school that was something I told them over and over and over. ALL FAMILIES ARE DIFFERENT.

A family can be people related to each other. It can be a mom and a dad and a child, it can be two moms or two dads, it can be a group of single friends with no children, it can be grandparents living with their children and grandchildren and aunts and uncles. It can be anything you want it to be. Family is a group of people who love each other and care for each other. It can be a group of two or a group of twenty. It’s your family. We’re all different.

Let’s say it again…all together…ALL FAMILIES ARE DIFFERENT. As long as there is love and caring and joy it’s all good and reason to celebrate.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman