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Stepping Off My Soapbox…

 I have a lot to be grateful for…. I don’t see the blessings of my extended family until their upon me. I complain a lot and threaten that one day I’ll disown them. Here’s what I learned tonight….*wait, I need to step off my soap box…..* there. That’s better. 

I’m thankful for my mom- she’s crazy, I try not to be like her but as I get older I know I am like her. I want to be involved in my kids’ lives and I want people to like me and I just want to fit in. Nuff said….

I’m thankful for my first born son- he’s taught me so much about acceptance, love, and tolerance. He’s one of my best friends. We have so much in common it’s mind boggling. We are a mother/son success story. One that I’ll tell someday. 

I’m thankful for my only daughter- she’s taught me that having a teenage daughter doesn’t have to be hard all the time. While we are still trying to figure out how to become friends and keep the mom card in tact; she is a constant reminder that I can break the cycle….she is pure….I will treasure that while it lasts. 

I’m thankful for my little sister!!! She is 7 years younger and she’s so incredible!! She’s free-spirited, beautiful, can tell the best stories, and has a compassion for helping people; that is beautiful. She’s incredible. 

I’m thankful for my youngest Aunt- he love has been a humbling experience. No story in this to ever come….

I’m thankful for my cousin Zac- 5 months sober off a very addictive drug and seeking the wisdom and security of the lord. I looked at him tonight and saw a light in his eyes I haven’t seen in years. He is so handsome and I hope he goes on to fulfill all his hopes and dreams. 

I’m thankful for my Grandma- she helped raise me. She has some cooky thoughts and ideas (I blame her for mine) but she’s 77 so she’s entitled. (I, on the other hand… I’m just self entitled). She makes me laugh. Tonight I had to accept that she is indeed sicker than I want to admit. Denial is a safe place to hide out. BUT….she did look better than last year and she even said so herself. I can’t write anything else without crying so I’m moving on….
 

I’m thankful for my step-son- I’m thankful that he chose to hang out with us and his dad today. 

Last but certainly NOT LEAST I am so incredibly thankful for my husband. We’ve had our fair share of “this is the end!” Over the last 7 years. But we’ve made it this far!!! He had NO idea he was marrying someone who was slightly (*slightly make it sound better) unadjusted by a form of mental illness that’s just debilitating enough to be a problem. I feel lucky he’s chosen to hang out and be by my side. I feel lucky that he’s recognizing when I’ve had to much. Medication adjustments and trialing new ones are the worst. I have to hand it to him for sticking it out. He’s not perfect but I’m pretty sure he’s the perfect one for me. 🙏

*I’m thankful for my friends….I’m
Hoping my transparency weeds out the ones not willing to see me through life’s challenges. I’m 100% in or 100% out. I’m thankful for non-high maintenance friends. We can pick up right where we left off without feeling weird or guilty. Sometimes I fall off the planet due to my head. It’s noticeable when your friends just text you a “hello” or an encouraging word. I try not to be that high maintenance friend who’s needy. Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me and convinces me that every look, tone of voice, or interaction with someone I care about is more that what it is. The analytical portion of my brain is exhausting. BRAVO…., if you’ve kept up or are wanting to. Relationships are what drive me; my Family, friends and work. I love you all; Even in the moments I crawl into a hole for up to as much as a week at a time. Which is pretty much just my bed those days after Work. I’m going to work on this….

~B

  

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My Son Gets a Learning Lesson on $400 worth of “Debt”…

My 16 year old son got a job over the summer at a local restaurant chain. He started collecting quite a bit of money in his tip outs at the end of each week. I told him that he should start letting his checks go into the bank and spend only his tip money. He reluctantly agreed; but soon realized the tip money was more than enough. He also decided that since he got a job he wanted to upgrade his phone which would cost $45 a month for the phone and insurance. I told him that as long as he was certain he could pay the $45 I didn’t care. (I pay for the service).

About 4 weeks ago I got onto his online banking account and realized there was WAY more debits than there should be since he has cash to spend. I totaled it up and he had spent about $400 in unauthorized (by me)debits. I spoke to him and we talked about how easy it is to whip out a card when you don’t have cash. Then I broke the news…I said to him, “$400 adds up fast over a few months when it’s $5 here and $5-$10 there huh? He was shocked that he spent so much that he was completely unaware of. I told him the right thing to do was to pay it back. He immediately started freaking out! “I don’t have $400!” My response was, “if this was a credit card you’d have to pay it back. And since you spent money on your card that wasn’t supposed to be used then you need to pay it back.” He protested that it was his money. I agreed, however the agreement was that he would only spend his cash. He was really upset with me but agreed he’d pay it back in installments. I told him the longer he took to pay it off the more interest it collects. He replied, “I have to pay interest on my own money!” I told him it was the responsible thing to do. I told him this was a great opportunity to learn how “debt” works. A high risk credit owner usually has an annual interest rate of around 22%. That’s about $88 a year in interest on $400. We sat down and I explained that if he divided $88 over 12 months that equals a monthly interest charge of about $7.35 per month. (I didn’t bother trying to explain that monthly interest rate amount decreases as the balance goes down). I’ll get into that another time.

I told my son stories upon stories of how I constantly over drafted my checking account in my 20’s. No one taught me how to be smart with money. I got my first credit card at 21. I had 3….all maxed out and I was in about $5,000 worth of debt until tax time rolled around and I paid it off and started over. (I was a single mom and I got a lot of money back). I never learned until I got married to a financially savvy guy at 28. He taught me everything I know about investments and, savings, and NOT using a credit card to get what you want. I explained to my son a “need vs a want.” It sank in and he totally started to see the picture I was painting! He went to the bank later that week and paid off all but $170 of the $400. He told me a few days ago That he’s been setting 70% of his tip money aside to pay back his “debt”. I was SHOCKED, he was PAYING ATTENTION!

Next week he plans to pay off the rest (including the interest). I told him…”At least your paying yourself back and not a credit card company right?” His response? “Thank God!!!”

I had him put his debit card in a safe place outside of his wallet so the temptation to pull it out was no longer there. In just 4 short weeks he’s been so amazing at saving money to pay his phone bill due on the 3rd of December and pay back the rest of his debt.

This has opened the door to us talking quite a bit about finances, what college expenses will possibly entail, future household bills etc, interest on cars, homes etc. we’ve talked about debt vs equity. I told him that if I didn’t teach him about wise spending and saving habits he’d have to learn the hard way like I did. Not to say it still can’t happen, but at least he can never come to me and say “why didn’t you tell me about this major part of life!”

Daunting debt

So this Happened Today…..

My daughter (14): “Mom we HAVE to go Black Friday shopping this year! Last year I went with _____ and it was sooooo fun! 

Me: “Sweetheart, I don’t need anything bad enough to stand in line for hours….”

Daughter: “But it’s FUN! AND……….(wait for it…) it’s on a FRIDAY!

Me: *baffled and laughing* “Seriously!!!??? It’s on a Friday!!! SHUT UP!!!” *dying laughing now*

Daughter: *laughing and embarrassed* *I can’t believe that just happened”

Me: “Yeah….me neither…..”😏

“Life Hacks” Mom-Style….

You’re welcome! No one ever shared this information with me, so simple yet…..

I, for the first time, was teaching my daughter how to separate her darks from her lights when doing laundry. She tends to build up a lot of laundry since she is a 13-year-old girl! When she realized that I was going to sit next to the washing machine, and help her differentiate what was light and what was dark, she informed me that she knew how to do her own laundry. I told her she had enough laundry that she was going to have to do two loads anyway so she needed to learn how to separate her lights from her darks. She reluctantly let me help her, asking periodically if something was light or dark.

When we finished, I told her that it wasn’t that I was trying to tell her what to do….it was just that I was trying to help her realize that clothes are getting more expensive, they aren’t made as well as they used to be, and if you can save something from being ruined because you worked hard to buy it then you should. I think she realized I just wanted to help her and she thanked me.

I told her to look at it this way, look at it as though I’m giving her “Life Hacks”. Not really trying to tell you what to do, just trying to make your life a little easier in the long run for when you get older and move out. “Life Hacks, not “my way or the highway!” Well at least until curfew is an issue anyway….. But that’s another story for when she’s a little older.

Daughters….so much to learn…God bless them…

I have a new parenting note I’d like to share. I, for the first time, was teaching my daughter how to separate her darks from her lights when doing laundry. She tends to build up a lot of laundry since she is a 13-year-old girl! When she realized that I was going to sit next to the washing machine, and help her differentiate what was light and what was dark, she informed me that she knew how to do her own laundry. I told her she had enough laundry that she was going to have to do two loads anyway so she needed to learn how to separate her lights from her darks. She reluctantly let me help her, asking periodically if something was light or dark.

When we finished, I told her that it wasn’t that I was trying to tell her what to do….it was just that I was trying to help her realize that clothes are getting more expensive, they aren’t made as well as they used to be, and if you can save something from being ruined because you worked hard to buy it then you should. I think she realized I just wanted to help her and she thanked me.

I told her to look at it this way, look at it as though I’m giving her “Life Hacks”. Not really trying to tell you what to do, just trying to make your life a little easier in the long run for when you get older and move out. “Life Hacks, not “my way or the highway!” Well at least until curfew is an issue anyway….. But that’s another story for when she’s a little older.

Love,

B~

raising-teenager-ecard

Seize Every Opportunity……

Tonight my son, Taylor, was telling me about one of the new friends he’s made at school. My son is a freshman and has never really hung out with a group of “guys” until just recently. Anyway, he was telling me how humbly this young man and his father live due to his father not making a lot of money. This young man had to grow up fast because his mother abandoned him and his father. They are Hispanic, and it sounds like the father works a crazy amount of hours 6 days a week to provide for his son. Taylor was telling me that they had some deep conversations a few nights ago. One of them caught my ear. He said his friend LOVES to cook, and would make a whole chicken and cornbread every night if he could.

I found this to be an EXCELLENT opportunity to teach my son about human conectivity….seeing a need and helping if possible. I got on Facebook, placed a wanted ad for a free or small fee rotisserie for this young man and his father. In about 10 minutes we got a response from a lady that had one she was willing to donate. Taylor was FLOORED that I cared enough to help his friend. But I know what it’s like to be that kid. I grew up very poor with a single mom who worked whatever hours she could get. It was hard.

I am NOT writing this post to get kudos for doing a good deed. I am writing it because I am hoping to inspire other parents to teach their children about kindness. We are living in a world that’s so “all about me” anymore and it’s sad. We should be helping one another where we can. I use EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY I can get to teach my kids a lesson in something. Every conversation can lead to a moment of opportunity to TEACH.

This conversation turned into me telling Taylor how many times I used to overdraft my checking account when I was a young adult because no one ever taught me what a budget was. This turned into giving him examples of several ways banks work.

I feel fortunate that I am so incredibly close with my children. When I talk, they listen. It’s important to build this foundation of trust from an early age.

I am also learning how to give them a LOT more freedom than I ever thought I would be giving them at their ages. They have earned these privileges. But that’s exactly what they are PRIVILEGES; because as fast as they earn them, if they mess up, they can be taken away. Lack of consistency in your discipline will cause your child to question whether you will stick to what you say. Let your YES be YES and your NO mean NO….PERIOD. DO NOT GIVE IN! Let them cry, throw fits, whatever, but do not give in because the second you do, they just learned that they can manipulate you to get what they want if their persistent long enough.

Every single moment is a learning opportunity; it’s your job to spot them and work the conversation into that opportunity without making it sound like a lecture. I’m a total softie when it comes to my kids when they are doing well, but I am a total hard-ass when they are screwing up. It’s a fine balance. It’s not easy and sometimes I stop to question if I am doing it right. But I know that I am doing the best I know how. My goal is to teach my kids all the lessons that I didn’t learn as growing up. Isn’t that the point? To break the cycle of dysfunction and help our children achieve their lives dreams?

So commit….if you are a mom or a dad it is your DUTY to commit to your child everyday. I know I am not perfect but I do give a lot of good advice I’m told. If you have a parenting question that you would like to ask please feel free to email me at nailtechconfessionals@gmail.com. Your question might be something someone else if wondering as well. We are a community, let’s help one another! If I don’t know the answer to your question, I will simply tell you. I won’t make you THINK I know what I’m talking about. I will write more on this later but I am really tired and gonna head to bed.

Loves,

~B