Too many thoughts, too little time.

Posts tagged ‘gratification society’

Bad influences

This song came on the radio the other day, when my oldest informed me that he loved that song. I said, I liked it to, and I hoped they were watching the right people and learning the right things. My younger one piped up and said “Yeah mommy, we are. We are learning from Brad that you have to take care of your family. That you have to do a good job in school and get a good job. That you work hard and you can buy the things you want. And you don’t have to yell and scream all the time!” I asked the 8 yr old what he learned and he told me “We learned from daddy, that sometimes you will get fired for making one little mistake so why even bother trying to do a good job. And if you are in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, then you need to leave it and find a girl who will make you happy.” I should say here that their dad was fired from 10 jobs within 2 years. He had at least 4 girlfriends I know about while we still lived together, and in the 5 yrs he’s been gone, he’s lived with 5 different women, but moved 15 times. (At least)

I was mad. I told them, as calmly as I could that first of all, almost nobody gets fired for “one little mistake” and that if you are doing something you need to do your best, if you mess up you need to take responsibility for it and man up and take the consequence, and learn from it. I also told them that a relationship wouldn’t make them happy, if they loved a girl only for how happy she made them, then it was for the wrong reasons. That you can’t count on someone else making you happy, because people aren’t perfect, they will not always make you happy. I told them if they were dating a girl and found that she wasn’t right for them, then they should end the relationship, but, they shouldn’t live with every girl they meet, and if they are married, then it is their responsibility to go to their wife and say “we have a problem, will you help me fix it?” Not just replace the woman and think it was all better.

You know, I can accept most the unfairness of divorce. I can accept he doesn’t pay child support, and I deal with the fact he ignores the court order to provide them with health insurance. I have even come to terms with the fact he abused me, but the court still decided he was ok to have unsupervised visitation. However, I’m really struggling with the fact he is allowed to warp their minds with his bullshit. He is allowed to do these things that have lasting impact and I am allowed to do nothing to stop it. If they boys had a babysitter that taught them this garbage, or a teacher, everyone would support me changing that. But, he’s their dad, so, whatever he says is cool?

This is the same man who tried to take the kids from me based on the fact he THOUGHT the religion we were didn’t allow Christmas and he’s not ok with that, so, I shouldn’t have them. But I have to stand by silently while he tells them they don’t even have to try to do a good job at work? This is the same man who tried to take the kids from me on the basis of I didn’t feed them enough hamburger. Yes, I am serious. Nevermind the fact that for the last FIVE YEARS he has lived with women who already have kids and only a 2 bedroom apartment, or gotten his own one bedroom apartments. For FIVE YEARS our children have not had a bedroom or a bed when they visit their dad. Right now they sleep on an air mattress on the floor. You know who bought the air mattress? ME!

What I really want to tell the kids is the truth. I want to point out how stupid his advice is. He is THIRTY YEARS OLD. Why can he not manage to get his own place? Why can he not provide our kids with beds? He told them he’s buying another truck, so he will have two, one from driving every day and one for off roading. But he can’t buy them a freakin’ bed. Why can’t a 30 yr old keep a job? Why can’t he manage a relationship? I want to point out, that following Brad’s example = good job, money, 2 nice cars, 2 project cars, lots of travel, lots of fun things, a nice, new house, dinner out when you feel like it, museum memberships, good relationship, etc. Ex’s example=Sleeping on women’s couches until  you can convince them to have sex with you, then you are “in a relationship”, cars that leave you stranded all the time, being too broke for McDonalds. A long string of “true love” failed relationships, lots of yelling and fighting, being homeless, lots of run ins with the law, “vacations” that consist of driving an hour to the beach for the day then coming home. Oh, and not taking care of your children, so, you go to court for that as well.

I really hope they are both smart enough to realize Brad’s example is the one to follow.But, I still hate that ex is allowed to be such a bad influence and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I can’t even talk to him, because he truly believes what he says. He believes I have been the source of all his problems for the last 10 yrs. Even though, he’s been gone for 5, and if I’m such a bad person, then how come I’m coming out ahead. I don’t impact his life anymore at all, so, shouldn’t he start crawling out of the hole I supposedly pushed him in? 5 yrs should be enough time for a start.

Really?! That is your concern?

I’m sure most of you have heard about the shooting at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. This story is just horrific. There are many, many reactions to it that I can understand, but, I can not understand, ,at all, some people.

The ones who say “Why was there a 6 yr old and a 3 month old in the theater at midnight?”

Then, somebody gives a valid reason, or at least an understandable one, and the original posters say “I don’t care! What about their little ears? Movies are loud!” Um…movies are the same volume whether they are on at noon or midnight.

Then, there is the barrage of posts about how children don’t belong in theaters because they make noise and ruin the experience.

TWO CHILDREN WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF A MASSACRE ! I really don’t give a crap about your “movie experience” with the crying baby when it could have been SO much worse.

Which is it anyway? Movies are too loud for babies or babies are too loud for movies?

A three month old is pretty portable and will sleep most the time, especially that late.

And, guess what? It is the parent’s job to raise the child, not yours, random stranger who has nothing better to worry about than why a 6 yr old was at the movies “too late”.

I am so sick of this anti-child attitude people seem to have. I have two boys, and they are GOOD boys. We spent 1600 miles in the car last week, PLUS two 5 hour plane rides. They were almost perfect, the whole time. They are 6 and 8. Guess what? I didn’t get to special order them that way. They didn’t reach a point where the switch was flipped and they had instant good manners and social awareness. They didn’t have subliminal messages pumped at them while they were sleeping. I took them out, I took them with me. I expected them to behave, and when they didn’t there were consequences. Maybe we did end up leaving a movie we had just paid $20 to see, but, we didn’t have to do it more than once or twice.

Yes, a kid will cry, and one will kick the back of your seat, and one may spill his drink under your feet at the diner while you and your wife are having a serious conversation. But, that is what kids do. And if the parents ignore it, it is the parents with the problem, not the kids. If the mom doesn’t think twice about her screaming baby during the show, she probably won’t mind texting during it when she’s by herself. If the dad doesn’t stop the kid from kicking, he’s probably the one who reclines his airplane seat into your lap at the start of the 4 hour flight. Children aren’t born with manners, they have to be taught, and you can’t teach them by locking them in their rooms with an xbox and expecting them to know how to behave when you let them out however many years later are acceptable.

I love this, really. Yes, as a matter of fact, I will let my well behaved 6 yr old go to the midnight showing, as a reward for working his little behind off right beside us grown ups all day. And, guess what? That doesn’t freaking mean ANYONE has the right to shoot at him. It doesn’t matter what time my kid is at the movies, it should be a safe place, and if tragedy should strike the appropriate response it “I’m so sorry, my thoughts are with you and your family.”

NOT “your kid shouldn’t have been there anyway.”

Joy Stealers

This post has been started 4 different times today, and it always starts out one way, then turns into a rambling mess that morphs into something else. I think this is finally it!

I mentioned I go to 2 different churches, 2 different denominations. Neither one really observes Lent, but I like the idea. Even if I wasn’t religious at all. I mean, really think about the things we rely on everyday, the things we use as a crutch, as something to get us through the day. Think of all the things that really take time from our days, and from the important things we have to do. I know so many people will sit here and say “No, not me, everything is very important! I don’t waste time! I don’t have a vice…ok, maybe I do, but it isn’t a big one.”

Which isn’t true. Everyone has things. We do so many things out of habit, not because we truly get any enjoyment out of them. In an instant gratification society, good enough right now is better than great later. What if people really tried to change some habits over the next 40 days? How many of our habits are joy stealers rather than actually beneficial to us?

I can think of so many examples…the guy who can’t lose weight because he’s eating the crappy convenience store pastry on his way to work. Why? Is that helping him in some way? Is it making him happier? I knew a woman who played farmville on Facebook for HOURS a day. She actually made up extra profiles for herself, so she could friend herself, so she would  get ahead on Farmville. I suppose if you asked her why, she would tell you she liked it, it was fun, it was a way to decompress. Except, her attitude was the opposite. She would literally stress herself out when it came time to harvest pretend crops and she wasn’t right there at a computer to do it. She wasn’t getting any joy out of this. It was a habit, just something to do. Why?

There are so many people eating empty calories from McDonald’s because it is fast and cheap. That’s it. Not because they actually enjoy the food. I figured it out, I feed the 4 of us (plus a cat and 3 fish) for about $14/day. I could have more, all I need to do is say the word and the grocery budget will be increased, but it isn’t necessary, we eat well on that $14/day. However, the kids and I do go to McDonalds when they are restless and I have too much homework, the play place and free wi-fi can be a life saver. For us all to eat a meal, it’s about $15. And we usually leave hungry anyway. Why do we do this? Nobody is getting any enjoyment out of that food! Why not save that $15 and use it towards a nice dinner out, or buying steak for Aussie to cook up for us on the grill? I don’t know about you, but yes, I get a huge amount of enjoyment out of a bite of perfectly done steak. Biting into my Big Mac has never brought a smile to my face. For Valentine’s Day we went to a nice restaurant. It was expensive, but the atmosphere was lovely, the music was live, and the food was amazing. Why am I letting McDonalds steal my Club Soda joy? I’m throwing money away for now, rather than saving for real enjoyment later.

These are the thoughts I’ve been mulling over in my head today. I have a wedding coming up! I don’t want to be fat! But, I am continuing to be fat because my habits, that aren’t causing me any happiness are being allowed to control me. No, I don’t want to wake up and run a mile. But, I don’t really want that soda either, and I drink it anyway. Not because it is so delicious, or because it is good for me, just because it’s a habit, and when I don’t have it, I crave it. There is no immediate joy from that drink, and there certainly isn’t a long term one either!At least if I went and ran, I would gain enjoyment eventually from how I looked and from how I felt. To be perfectly honest, I absolutely LOVE when Aussie picks me up and carries me or moves me. I get joy from that. I’d like him to be able to do it for a long time, I don’t want to get too big for him to.

Another thing, I like to sleep in. I do enjoy it. But, it comes with a cost. It comes with the fact that certain portions of my day get wasted. Back to the previous paragraph, I am not going to go jog at night, and I don’t want to this summer in the middle of the afternoon when it’s 100 degrees. So, I need to actually get up and do it. Not only that, but that little bit of joy I get from sleeping in is stolen away when I have to rush to get ready for something, or when I miss out on something because I didn’t get everything else done I needed to. I lose that joy when I don’t have enough hours in my day. I lose that joy when I have to be up early for a court appointment, and freak out and sleep poorly all night because I’m watching the clock, worried I will sleep right past the time I need to be awake.

So, for Lent this year, I’m not really giving up something tangible. I am just trying to change a mindset. I don’t want to deprive myself, but I’m tired of being like a 3 yr old taking the bigger nickle rather than the smaller dime because I can’t see past right now, because I only want what looks good right now. Somehow I have convinced myself that taking the smaller dime is deprivation, and it isn’t. So, for lent I am changing some habits, and hopefully giving up some of my sleeping in. I guess you could say, for Lent, I’m attempting to give up some of my joy thieves.

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