Stories about travel, life, writing and parenting my college-age children (who think they don't need any more parenting). Oh! And the occasional amazing photograph (I like to play pro photographer on vacations.)
I’ve never thought of myself as particularly old-fashioned. (In fact, as I’ve confessed in previous posts, in my own mind I’m still a hip twenty-something.) However, I’ve recently become aware that maybe I am old-fashioned in certain areas. And now I’m wondering what to do concerning one area in particular:
What should I have my son’s teenage friends call me?
This issue abruptly arose when a group of his friends stopped by one Friday afternoon, as they often do. I sat at the kitchen table chatting with a few of them for a while. After they left me, my husband who had been listening to the conversation commented, did you notice that Nice Girl called you “Holly” while everyone else called you “Mrs. Bowne”?
I hadn’t. At least not consciously. When I thought back on the conversation though, I suppose it had registered dimly at the time, but I’d disregarded it in the flurry of our chatter.
Nice Girl was one friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She lives near two dear friends of mine, also moms of teens, who she’s accustomed to referring to by first name. In fact, one friend is so adamant about this that she actually refuses to respond if the teens attempt calling her “Mrs.”
Now I suppose I could correct the young lady. But the problem is, I’m a bit conflicted about this whole issue myself.
During my own childhood, this question never arose. All the parents of my friends were referred to as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” To this day, even though I’m 49 years old, if I were to run into the parents of a childhood friend, I would probably STILL call them “Mr.” and “Mrs.” (Although logically this seems silly now.)
Even when my own kids were preschool and elementary age, this wasn’t an issue. Whether it was perpetuated by classroom teachers, “All right class, can we thank Mrs. Bowne for her help today?”or simply because it was the way my generation had been raised, parents were unequivocally “Mr.” and Mrs.”
I know it’s supposed to be a sign of respect for your elders to refer to them as “Mr.” and “Mrs.” but before I had kids I recall thinking that it was ridiculous to force people to be called “Mr.” or “Mrs.” if they didn’t like it. Wasn’t it being disrespectful to address people in this formal way if it wasn’t their preference? Shouldn’t teaching our kids respect for adults be based on instilling courtesy and good behavior rather than using titles? Or do the titles matter?
One other thing I’ll toss into the mix, Nice Girl is a graduating high school senior--nearly 18 years old. An adult. In fact, now that I think about it, whenever I meet any of Ashleigh’s college friends, I introduce myself by my first name because they’re all 18 years old and up.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have kids address you as “Mr. / Ms. / Mrs.” or by first name? And if it’s “Mr. / Ms. / Mrs.” at what point do you make the switch?
My hubby went out a couple of months ago and switched our entire family from regular “old-fashioned” cell phones to iPhones. Initially, I was dismayed. First of all, I did not have time to learn how to use an entirely new phone. Second, I saw no reason to complicate my life by carrying around a phone with which I could access the Internet, read e-mails, etc.
Added stress and confusion, I thought. Who needs it?
Well, fast forward a few months and can I just say this phone is the COOLEST! Total nerd that I am, I’ve read the entire manual. I didn’t allow myself to add any “apps” to the phone until I’d finished. My son, however, is the App King. He’s got loads of them! One app he particularly enjoys is called ROFL (Rolling On Floor Laughing). He recently had me laughing over a ROFL list titled: Truths for Mature Humans. He was reading them out loud to me as I was preparing dinner and I found many of them SO true, I finally insisted he send me the list. I won’t put all 32 items on here, but I figured I’d share what I considered ten of the most profound “truths”:
1. There is a great need for a sarcasm font. 2. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? 3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger. 4. Was learning cursive really necessary? 5. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. 6. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. 7. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again. 8. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I honestly believe I did not make any changes to. 9. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste. 10. I would rather carry 10 overloaded bags in each hand than take two trips to bring my groceries in.
Awww, what the hey! Let’s make it 11 truths…
11. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey--but I bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from three feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!
I poked at the baked chicken and broccoli on my dinner plate and sighed. “I’m not really hungry.”
“Why not?” Josh forked in another mouthful, chewing industriously.
“Uh…I think I ate too much earlier,” I mumbled.
He arched a brow. “Moooom? Were you stress eating again?”
I arched a brow right back at him and getting up from the dinner table, walked over to his homework spot to point out the towering pile of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers.
“Yeah, well…” At least he had the grace to look sheepish.
My son and I were both under a lot of pressure last week. He had high school finals to contend with, and I had a writing project with a tight deadline. Unfortunately, even after years of careful parenting, I’ve managed to pass my terrible stress-eating habit onto my boy. We both chowed down on junk food with abandon.
The thing is, I know it’s not healthy. I think every stress eater knows it’s not healthy. So why do we do it? Why does our body crave stuff that’s not good for us whenever we’re under pressure?
I “Googled” the topic and discovered one reason may be because under stress, our body produces extra cortisol, a.k.a. “the stress hormone.” And cortisol causes cravings for sweet and salty food, a.k.a. “junk food.” In the olden days, cortisol served a purpose, helping people bulk up on food to sustain them through times of scarcity. However, here in the suburban Midwest, where food is rarely scarce, we simply bulk up. Period.
Another reason we may stress eat is simply nervous energy. Some people bite their nails or grind their teeth. And some people eschew the unopened bag of baked tortilla chips and instead munch on Cheetos, or endless strands of Twizzlers, or uh…stuff like that, maybe.
Then I Googled, “healthy ways to deal with stress,” and found a bunch of common sense advice from experts. After contemplating it all, I thought, Really? And came up with my own, more practical advice (at least I think it’s more practical):
EXPERT TIP #1: EXERCISE.
My advice: FUGGEDABOUT IT.
I actually enjoy exercising, but now isn’t the time! (Okay, maybe squeeze in a few daily stretches to stay loose.)
EXPERT TIP #2: AVOID CAFFEINE AND SUGAR; EAT HEALTHY, BALANCED MEALS.
My advice: NOT. HAPPENING!
My daughter’s away at college and my boy is 17 years old. They both know a healthy diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and high-grain breads. I’ve done my job. So if I choose to eat three Snickers Bars for dinner one night, what’s the big deal? The key is, don’t force yourself to eat the healthy food on top of it. And voilá! Weight gain successfully avoided! But DO load up on vitamins! This helps counteract the effect of all the unhealthy eating. And as far as caffeine, I say drink up! This counteracts the sugar crash you’re sure to experience from ingesting all the junk food and keeps you going well into the wee hours.
EXPERT TIP #3: RELAX: GET PLENTY OF SLEEP, TAKE LONG BATHS WITH SCENTED CANDLES, GET A MASSAGE, CALL A FRIEND, OR CURL UP WITH A GOOD BOOK.
My advice: SERIOUSLY. NOT HAPPENING!
C’mon! One of the big reasons we’re stressed is because we don’t have enough time to do what needs to be done. So how are we supposed to fit in all this great stress-relieving stuff?! You can do all those things when the crisis is over. Think of them as rewards for a stressful situation well handled.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical expert, I’m only playing one on this blog. This advice is purely for entertainment purposes and any similarity to real advice is a bizarre coincidence.