Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bullying...Not Just for Kids Anymore.

We hear about it everyday.  Kids are bigger bullies now.  They are meaner and more hurtful and out for blood.  We have got to fix it.  We have to correct it.  We have to stop the bullying.
The very definition of bullying from is as follows:

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Please note that this says "school aged children."

I know that I'm not a professional, but I very much disagree.

Most adults are uncomfortable with the term "adult bullying" because it comes with a feeling of being a child. I can see the logic in that.  I don't want to feel like a child, I don't want to feel weak and I certainly don't want it pointed out to me that I am being bullied.  Do you?
Didn't think so.

No matter what age you are, there will always be a bully somewhere.  As an adult, it's hard to recognize.  No one is stealing your lunch money or beating you up behind the monkey bars.  No, it's much sneakier than that.  Adult bullies tend to be opportunistic.  They attack people that they perceive as a threat.  They choose to target people who excel, who are generally likeable, who are capable and dedicated and successful, but who are also non confrontational.  We used to call this healthy competition.  But, it's escalated to much, much more.
A bully's goal is to intimidate, discredit, and gain control.  They do this via threats, exclusion, verbal abuse, ignoring, sarcasm, interruption and the very worst in my mind...with GOSSIP.  The rumor mill is a dangerous thing.  It destroys people.  It destroys their self worth.  It destroys their confidence. It can ultimately destroy a life.
Adults who are bullied often do nothing about it except keep their heads down and cry in the bathroom.  They feel afraid to tell someone for fear that no one will believe them or tell them that they are overreacting and it's just the dynamic of the group.  They often quit their jobs and end up living a life they didn't want because they almost have to let the bully win.  Sure, there are harassment clauses and human resource departments, but really?  Who wants to go in to their boss and say..."so and so is picking on me and it makes me uncomfortable"?  Not me.
The sad part is that in both situations...bullying is a learned behavior.  Kids learn it from their parents, who learned it from their parents.  These people can communicate, but not effectively.  The saying comes to mind "Great minds discuss ideas, small minds discuss people."  They often feel threatened or are unsure of their own self, since misery loves company, why not create more, right?
Whether in adults or children, it has to stop.  Now.
Well, in doing some research, I've found a list of things that adults can do to combat bullying from various websites:
1.  Consider the Source: Is this person someone who's opinion should really matter to you?   Probably not.
2.  Document.  Pay attention.  write it down.  Dates, times and what was said or done.
3.  Stay calm.  Chances are, if they can't fluster you visibly, they'll stop.  They're looking for a reaction.  Don't give them the satisfaction.
4.  Try not to take it personally.  Understand that the bully is acting out of desperation and lack of self esteem.  Try to feel compassion.  I know it's hard, but try.
5.  Assess yourself.  Are you helping them?  Are you being confrontational?  Are you silently bullying back?
6.  Get Support.  Tell someone.  Anyone.  Get it out in the open.  You'll feel better once you find someone you trust that understands.
7.  Last Resort...Remove yourself from the situation.  Ask to move your desk, to switch positions, to move to another department, or as much as I don't condone it, find a new employer.  If your employer won't support's time to move on.  You have to make healthy choices for you.
8. If none of these work.... offer to take your bully on a vacation to the bayou, the rainforest, the zoo, the continent of Africa and feed them to an alligator, venomous snake, hippopotamus or a lion.  Or just push them off the cruise ship and claim innocence.  That should work.
9.  Last but not least, Realize that YOU are a Child of God.  Go to Him.  Ask Him for patience, for support, for a solution.  He will not leave you comfortless or without aid.  You are His child and He does love you and want you to be happy.

So, there's that.  Now I'm off of my soapbox and going to go eat a cookie because I deserve it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Caroline Theory

When I was a little girl, I loved loved loved Little House on the Prairie.  I loved Laura so much and couldn't wait to grow up and find my Almanzo.  I wanted to be like Laura Ingalls Wilder.
So, I've been watching Little House again and found myself idolizing someone completely different.
Caroline Ingalls is the woman that I wish I could be.  Here's why.

1.  Caroline Ingalls was a good wife.  And I mean a REALLY good wife.  She loved her husband.  She supported him.  She was kind to him.  She took care of him.  She rarely complained about him or about him moving them to the middle of nowhere land.  She was his help meet.  She didn't gripe or moan or fight with him.  At times, she got angry at him, but then she would quickly find a solution and kiss Charles and apologize and say things like "I should know that spending time being angry with you is just time that I've wasted."

2.  She was a good mother.  She tried so hard to teach her girls to be good, strong, industrious, kind and God fearing women. She seemed to never run out of patience with them, even Laura.  She accepted each of them for what they were.  She tried to never speak unkindly to them or be stern with them.  She spent her time with them teaching, laughing, working, playing and living.

3.  Caroline Ingalls loved God.  She was always telling Charles to straighten up and making sure that the girls went to church and read the Bible and tried to be Christlike.  She always said her prayers and read the Bible before bed.  She even went to church when people were rude to her or when her husband fell out of a tree and people judged her.  And even better, she went home and taught her family every day to love God as well.

4.  Caroline Ingalls didn't put up with any crap from anybody.  Ever.  She was one of the few people that could put Mrs. Olsen and her ringleted, snooty, bully of a daughter Nelly in their place.  And quickly.  And kindly.  She stood up for her girls and for her husband and didn't think twice about it.  She protected her family and her way of life...but in the nicest, most kind way possible.

5.  She was as ladylike as they come.  Even when she was plowing fields, building houses, moving her family across the country, fighting fires, birthing animals, putting up with Laura, teaching school, cooking, raising kids, chasing Jack the sheepdog, giving cornbread to Indians, etc....Caroline Ingalls was the picture of being ladylike.  She was never ruffled, never unkind, never without manners and always on her game.  It didn't matter what the situation was, Caroline handled it with all the grace and ease in the world, even if she was falling apart and terrified inside.
And might I add, Caroline was giving, thoughtful, hard working and stalwart.
Now, I understand that Caroline Ingalls the way that I see her is kind of fictional....the story is true, but much has been left to the imagination.  But, don't you think we could all try to get a little more in touch with our inner Caroline?  I know that I certainly could...I could try harder to be supportive and kind and gentle.  Wouldn't our world be a little better if we tried a little harder?
Well, I'm going to test the Caroline Theory....I'm making a commitment to be some of those things listed above and I'll see if I can change my world for the better.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Midnight Rant.

So, I have something to say.
If you're offended...please be aware that you are making the choice to read this and it's your own fault.
Here it is.
If you can't and/or won't take care of your children, stop having them.
If your priorities include you and only you and not the care of your children, don't have them.
If all you do is constantly complain about your children and how hard it is to be a mom, you shouldn't have had children.
If you resent your children because they're getting in the way of your plans, you shouldn't have had them.
If you can't seem to take care of your children because you're too busy spending the money on yourself, you shouldn't have had them.
If you can't seem to nurture them or teach them or love them, please...try.

What I am simply trying to say is that there are people in this world who would love the opportunity to be a parent and it very much offends us that you do all of the above.
Every time you say that you're annoyed with your children, our hearts feel sad.
Every time that your children are hungry or lonely or unloved or neglected, we feel a little bit angry at you.
Every time you say that you resent your children, we resent you.

If you have children, love them and tell them that you love them.  Care for them.  Nurture them.  Enjoy them.  Play with them.  Talk to them.  Teach them. Take them on vacations.  Fingerpaint with them.  Drink koolaid, make cookies, color pictures, watch Disney movies, play catch, sing songs, and LIVE with them..because there are some people in this world that want the very thing that you have and it's practically impossible for them to have what you have.  And we're envious sometimes.  We pretend not to be.  But sometimes, late at night, we cry.  We sob.  We question our purpose.  We feel worthless.  We hug our cats and put costumes on them and try to teach them to talk and pretend that they're children.  We throw away things we've been saving for years for that miracle day when we have a baby.  And we curse you.  We don't understand why you don't love every second of being a mother.  We just don't get it.
We understand that it's not all cupcakes and color books and smiles.  We get that.  What we don't get is when you utterly neglect them, when a tattoo and hair color is more important than new shoes for your child, why you ignore them, resent them, neglect them and then wonder why they are so naughty, why you don't teach them proper nutrition, language, social skills etc and then complain that they're fat and awful and dumb.  Well, as the old saying goes, you've made your bed and now you have to lie in it.  And I shouldn't be expected to feel bad for you because you've made bad choices.

Now, I warned you.  If you're offended, I don't apologize.  I don't have to.  You should apologize.  To your children.
And really, if you don't want them, give them to me, lock, stock and barrel and go away.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How My Cats Changed My Life.

Before you read this and judge me...just look at how darling they are.  Look at their sweet faces.  Then stop calling me a crazy cat lady and read on.
My husband and I will have been married for 12 years in October.  It's always just been the two of us.  We don't have kids and we probably never will.  Please keep in mind this isn't my choice, but it's what we've been dealt, so, we accept the challenge.
Let me start at the beginning...
I've always had a very close relationship with my grandparents on my mother's side.  And from the time I was a little girl, I've always promised them that I would take care of them as long as I could and that I would never let them feel sad and lonely like the people you sometimes see in nursing homes that sit in the hallway and talk to everyone.
So, about 4 years into our marriage, my grandpa passed away.  It was devastating to my family, especially to my sweet Grammy.  I couldn't bear to leave her here alone, so, I quit my job, packed up my belongings, and drove up to live near her on a wing and a prayer.  We eventually found an apartment across the street from her.  It was great! pets allowed.
We found jobs and took care of her as long as we could, until we bought a house and she went to assisted living.
Now, by nature, I am a care taker.  I want everyone to be happy and feel loved and not sad or lonely.
I could only do so much for her at the assisted living home.  Some of it she had to do on her own.
Now, my husband is a self professed cat hater.  As in...he used to shut all the bedroom doors in his basement as a child and chase their cat with a nerf gun. (rude.)
I, on the other hand, have always had a pet...until I got married.
There's a lot to be said for being a wife and a granddaughter/care taker.
But there was something missing.
This void is often filled for most women my age with children.
Obviously not working for me.
So, to surprise husband bought me a rescue cat for Christmas.
Best. Day. Ever.
Then a few months later....we found Lily.  She was a runt and needed a good home.  So, we paid someone $25 and brought her home.
I can't begin to tell you how much I love my kitties.
I know, I sound crazy.
Here are some examples:
*  Mother's Day- my cats don't judge me because I'm not technically a mother.
*  Funerals- When my grandma died, I cried on my kittens for WEEKS.  My husband was a great support, but my cats were always there when he couldn't be.
*  Bad Days- Jack and Lily always need me.  They always love me.  No matter how stupid, fat, ugly, dumb, worthless or useless that I feel.  They're never rude to me.  They never call me names.  They never talk about me behind my back.  They always make me feel like I'm important.
*  Really Bad Days- Sometimes, I struggle.  Sometimes, I feel sad.  Sometimes, its overwhelming.  Sometimes....I don't want to get out of bed.  But...Jack and Lily need fed.  They want me to come play.  They want to tattle on each other.  They need brushed and scratched and kissed and snuggled.  And when I cry...they lick my face and sit on my lap and purr.
* Happy Days- My cats make me laugh every day.  Especially when I find them in the bathtub, or in the cupboard or the dryer or on the counter...they make me laugh and enhance the good days.
*  Days When I'm a Hunting or Fishing Widow- my cats stick right with me when Tim is gone. They check every noise, every light and have to go into rooms before I do to make sure there aren't any rabble rousers in the room I'm walking into.  They sleep in my bed or on my pillow...depending on the cat.
*  Every Day- they're ALWAYS excited to see me.  They always come running to the door when I get home.  They always love me.  Especially when I cook bacon.

These are just a few examples, but I am grateful that Heavenly Father gave me furry babies if I couldn't have real ones.  I love them like children and probably spoil them too much, but I couldn't love any person more.  And honestly? The more people I meet....the more I love my cats.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Forgive me a small venting blog post.
Why is it that we women feel like we have to be friends with everyone?  Why is it that if one person doesn't like us that we feel worthless? What in the heck is wrong with us?
Don't we see that we are of infinite worth, no matter what anyone else thinks?
I don't understand why we as women don't value our talents, our beauty, our worth and our purpose just because one lousy, rude, unkind and definitely not Christian person doesn't value them.
There are dozens of people who think we hung the moon and stars, but just because one person sees the need to be hurtful, we throw what those dozens of people think away?
And I don't think I'm just speaking for myself.  I think that in general, most women pay way too much attention to what others think.  And the crappy part is that those unkind people are the ones we pay the most attention to.  We don't listen to our spouses, our families, our true friends and people that matter.  All we hear are the bad things.
For instance, my husband tells me everyday that I'm beautiful and kind and big hearted and talented and smart and hard working.  Do I listen?  No.
The only words that are constantly replaying in my head are "controlling, bossy, witchy (with a b), teacher's pet and suck up."
Why do I do that?!
(And might I add, don't ever call someone a teacher's pet.  It's more hurtful than you realize.  It makes all the hard work they've ever done worth NOTHING to them.)
Yes, this is very personal.
No, it's not a big deal.
I've decided to stop letting other people affect me,but I can't help but replay their words in my head every time I make a choice.
I think I'll try a new approach.  I've been teaching kids that they are children of God and have infinite worth this year....
Maybe I need to teach myself.
So, if you're reading this, you are a child of God.  He loves you.  He thinks you're great.  He doesn't make mistakes.  And even if no one else sees your worth, He does.
Now, go.
Have a good day.