“I don’t think I can parent today.” Guilty as charged.

Father_and_son_surf_lesson_in_Morro_Bay,_CA.jpgI was sending silly Snapchat videos back and forth with one of my best friends yesterday, like we usually do; and he, in jest, said that he was so tired after his day of work that he didn’t know if he could parent anymore today. He was on his way to pick up his daughter up from preschool and he was hoping that she wasn’t going to be too hyper when she got home because he was just plain tired. SO should we as parents feel guilty about…well…about being tired?

IMG_0284Daniel decided that he didn’t want to play baseball this year. He has usually been a three athlete kid but he decided that he wanted to concentrate on two sports instead of three. We respected his decision and have been patiently waiting for Football season to start. As the baseball season has been in full swing, I have noticed all of my Facebook friends talking about how tired they are from working all day and then flying down the road to get kids and drag them to this practice or that next game. So why do I feel guilty about being happy of his decision not to play baseball? We as parents are conditioned to believe that we have to do everything for our children and be happy about it…or we are bad parents. You feel as if there is something wrong with you if you really just don’t want to watch another episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
Yesterday, Daniel was following me around reading his new video game magazine and
all he wanted to do was tell me about a contest that they were advertising in the magazine. We had just walked in the door and between changing clothes to head to the gym and talking to my wife, I had yet to even take a breathe to relax. I lost my cool and told him to ‘please stop talking about video games for 5 seconds’. To a 12 year old, who was excited to talk to his dad about something that he is passionate about, it crushed him. I immediately felt the guilt and my face flushed red and I could feel myself welling up with tears. His unhappiness is the last thing in the world that I would want…and I know that I am not the only parent who just wants 5 seconds to chill. I want to tell you that you are not alone. Well moms and dads, here are some things to NOT feel guilty for but it may be a topic that you need to address.

Guilty as Charged:

  1. Yelling – I’ve done it. You’ve done it. According to Devra Renner, co-author of the book Mommy Guilt, says that yelling is the one thing that that was the #1 thing that all of the 1,300 women that she interviewed for her book revealed to be the thing that caused them to feel the most guilty. Some parents have elevated levels of communication. That’s just how they roll. Some kids know that when Momma starts talking with her teeth together and her voice is low….its time to leave Momma alone. The decibel of your communication is something that accidently comes out. We lose our temper. Sometimes, we as parents, get frustrated and loose our cool. We yell out of frustration. But when that is all our child knows…then there is our problem. If you always yell at your kids, then you need to take a step back and evaluate your manner of communication.
  2. Work – Someone in the family has to work. Money doesn’t grow on trees. I’ve had conversations with many of my friends and they always express to me that they feel like they are losing out on pivotal moments of their child’s life because they are working so much. What can you do when your trying to balance being a spouse, parent and a demanding 40+ hour-a-week job? First off…don’t let it get you down. Realize that your kids love you and after they are grown, they will realize how hard you worked for them. Take advantage of the precious time that you have with them. Know that work is important but your family needs to be a priority as well. Take time to support your son at his Karate tournament, your kid at their dance recital, or to watch your little girl at her first softball game. Take time to play with them. You don’t have to dedicate hours to playing with them or buying expensive toys or going to expensive water parks every day. Memories are made right in your living room playing pretend or by kissing your child on the forehead after reading them a bedtime story. Basically, just create a work schedule that is flexible enough for your family to realize that they are just as important to you.
  3. Taking a Break – Sometimes you just need a break. I don’t mean a Kit-Kat Bar (even though I need one of those right now), but what I mean is that sometimes you just want to walk away from the crying babies and the chaos of our lives. You of course feel guilty about it because you love your family BUT it is important to take some time to recharge. Whether it is something as simple as a bubble bath while your husband takes the kids to the park, a couple of afternoons a week at the gym, or a night at Hooters with your buddies to get some chicken wings and a beer. Some people need that recharge and you shouldn’t feel like you’re not making the right decisions. Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean that you give up being a person. You need to care about your own mental well being as well. Your spouse should respect that and not think the worst of you when you want to have some ‘you’ time (and no I’m not talking to my friend’s ex-wife…or am I).
  4. Play – I touched on spending time and playing with your kids earlier and I just wanted to touch on it once more. I know that in today’s crazy life, actually taking the time and slowing down long enough to play Legos with your son or to have another tea party with your daughter. Before you feel guilty about seeing your son or daughter playing by themselves or them complaining about being bored; I want you to remember that YOUR CHILD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ENTERTAINED EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY! BUT you should dedicate some time to your child, even if its for only an hour. Some parents are the ones that will get down in the floor and give horse back rides or will pretend to be Princesses with their daughters for hours…but some are not. You should not feel guilty about that. Find something that you and your child both enjoy, so you can build a long lasting memory with your child.
  5. Acceptance – I’m not in your house but I’m assuming that you are a good parent. So you need to accept that fact. You are a good parent! Being a perfect wife, husband or parent is impossible. What we can do is realize that the photo-shopped, Susie home-maker, super-mother is a fallacy. Realize that we will fall short of scaling the mountain of tasks that it takes to reach perfection. Besides being tired from our normal lives, the last thing that we need to be is riddled with anxiety and guilt-ridden by some cookie cutter expectation. If your child goes to school wearing two different colored socks…its not the end of the world. Remember to try and be a positive role model for your children by handling the things that life pushes our way with a happy, good-humored demeanor.

Bedtime_story_-_Madeline


I’m not a registered family therapist. I’m not even a perfect parent. What I do is I know a couple of things. I know that you don’t need to feed into the guilt mongers. Don’t worrymcdonalds happy meal about the judgement of the pretentious parenting police who judge you when you get to baseball practice five minutes too late with a kid whose shirt is untucked and hair is unbrushed, all while he’s taking his last bite of his McDonald’s Happy Meal cheeseburger that you picked up on your way to take kid number 3 to dance practice. We’re busy. It’s life. Just remember that it’s not about the quantity of the items that your child has or how many times that they have been to Carowinds. What matters most is the quality of the hours that you spend with your child. That is what makes the difference when they grow up and look back on their lives.


Images 

Feature Image: Father and son Surf lesson image by and accredited to “Mike” Michael L. Baird, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9176643

Reading a Bedtime story to my Daughter image by and attributed to Ludwig Bemelmans, Ldorfman – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18437032

Boy with McDonalds Happy Meal image attributed to uploader. Own work. Fair use.

A Beard makes things Better

I went to a different church yesterday and ran into someone whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time. He had grown out his beard since the last time that I had seen him and I noticed just how different that he looked. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it changed his appearance so but it did. He looked like he could chop down a tree now…instead of staple 10 sheets of paper together with one click. So it got me thinking about myself and I thought that I would put together (Since I love making lists and Top Tens) some examples how “A Beard makes things Better” and a couple that we could have do without seeing.


Even if you’re Kathy Bates on the set of FX’s hit show American Horror Story, a beard can make things better. A well kept beard can be a beautiful thing on the right person. Tell me what you think…if you don’t agree.


Better
bradley cooper shaven face

Whether Bradley Cooper is rocking stubble or a full on beard…he is definitely better with some facial hair.


Better

zach galifianakis no beard

gq zach over

Funny man Zach Galifianakis needs to make sure that he doesn’t shave off his beard anymore. Zach with beard is a no go!


Shave it! 

christian bale facial hair

christian-bale-batman-dark-knight

christian-bale-300

Despite Christian Bale being one of the rare celebrities that have the distinction of having the MC1R gene (which causes his beard to be red but maintains a different hair color on his scalp); Bale does not look better bald faced or bearded. He looks great with a 5 o’clock shadow. So rock that stubble Batman. I mean Bale. 🙂


Better

idris alba

'100 Streets' film premiere - Arrivals

From The Wire to BBC’s Luther, the British actor, producer, singer, rapper, and DJ keeps himself well groomed at all times. But Idris Elba needs to keep his beard in whatever venue he finds himself.


Shave it!

BradPitt

Since his love scene with Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt has been a sex symbol. But not even a sex symbol can pull of that beard/gruffy goatee combo or that child-molester-esque mustache. Brad….rock your five o’clock shadow, stubble or nothing at all.


Better

150518_2867020_nick_offerman_s_gumption_might_make_you_move

We all love Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation as much as we love Nick Offerman himself. What we don’t love is Offerman as a baby faced, clean shaven man among men. When we fondly think of Offerman, it usually entails eating a large piece of steak, drinking a good scotch or making something with nothing but hand tools and your own true grit. What we don’t image is him doing this…without a beard.


Better

will smith no beard

Will_Smith_by_Gage_Skidmore

With just the addition of a thin mustache and goatee, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself can transform himself into a more attractive man. Will Smith; keep that facial hair my friend.


SO….what have we learned here kids? Some men look great with a beard and some do not. You might be one of those that doesn’t but its definitely worth the time to grow it out. 🙂

John_Muir_Cane


Kathy Bates Candid Photo by and accredited to Philippe Benard. mskathybatescom/port/candid

Kathy Bates in American Horror Story: Freak Show Image by and accredited to Michele K. Short/FX.

Bradley Cooper No Beard image by and accredited to lifeandstylemag.com

Bradley Cooper War Dogs premiere image by and accredited to Getty Images

Zach Galifianakis hard hat image courtesy of Reddit

Zach Galifianakis GQ cover courtesy of GQ magazine

Christian Bale facial hair image courtesy of Wireimag

Christian Bale image courtesy of Pinterest

Christian Bale Batman image courtesy of Warner Bros

Idris Elba Image courtesy of coolmenshair.com

Idris Elba bearded image courtesy of Bossip.com

Brad Pitt Full Beard with extended goatee image courtesy of BeardStyle

Brad Pitt Smiling image by and accredited to DoD News Features – 141015-D-FW736-069, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37669012

Brad Pitt at Palm Springs International Film Festival image by and accredited to Maggie from Palm Springs, United States – Brad Pitt, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4562686

Nick Offerman Images accredited to Source, Fair usage

Will Smith Image accredited to Source, Fair usage

Will Smith at 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International image by and accredited to Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50368808

“I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink”

via Daily Prompt: Knackered

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The Beatles 1968 self titled album houses a song that has resounded in my mind all day long. “I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink/I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink”. I slept very poorly last night….and I know who/what to blame.

Anthony Burgess, author of one of my favorite books “A Clockwork Orange” said to “Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore and you sleep alone.” As I feel a light punch at my arm, I have heard my wife through gritted teeth IMG_0331say “Chris, roll over! You’re snoring was so loud it woke me up again. You’ve gotta do something about this!” So…why do we snore? My English Bulldog even snores because she has a short nasal passage. Even though I find it quite adorable, it gets annoying right in the middle of my 80th viewing of Roadhouse. So why does something that happens to almost all of us, end up being something that could not only be potentially dangerous to your health but could quite literally kill you added to the fact that it is completely annoying to the 59% of questioned adults who say that their spouses snore. With most of the tested subjects snoring at an estimated 38 decibels, why wouldn’t we as the listeners complain about hearing something that is as loud as your kitchen’s refrigerator? Well the answer to how we stop snoring is convoluted. The answer of ‘why’ can be easily answered.

Snoring is essentially the sound that is produced when your upper airway structure vibrates during inhalation and exhalation. Any membrane that is in the pathOsa_cycle
of this airway (including your tongue, soft palate, uvula, tonsils and throat wall can vibrate during this act. While we are asleep, the muscles throughout our body relax. Your throat and tongue are muscles, therefore your airway also relaxes and causes the space that the air has to travel to become tighter and this tightened air space combined with the vibrations cause the lion’s roar that our pets, family members, spouses or room mates hear every night during our time of slumber.

Snoring is not a sickness.  Its not a disease. Its a symptom. Just as a cough is a symptom of the common cold, snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is however a disorder. The restful slumber of a person with sleep apnea is riddled 8TzKqRrXcwith the loud roar of snoring as well as the labored breathing that usually is also riddled with pauses or gasps during the person’s slumber. This obstructed pause results from a COMPLETE obstruction of the airway and sometimes even causes a decrease in our body’s oxygen level. Just like our reaction to someone pinching our noses in the middle of the night, we sleep apnea sufferers terminate this obstruction by waking up. This constant waking and restless slumber leads to fragmented, less restful sleep. Sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of attention span and poor concentration levels.

Snoring_Man_LACMA_M.2000.122.7

And if you didn’t catch it earlier, I inferred that I have sleep apnea. I have snored since I don’t know when and I have tortured friends, parents, family, a roommate, my wife, and my child with thunderous snores for as long as I can remember. As I mentioned earlier, obstructive sleep apnea can cause a loss of oxygen in the body but it can also cause increased hypertension and over time can cause extreme damage to your heart and vascular system. I, for one, want to live as long as possible so that I can see my son grow and live out my ‘happily ever after’. The other consequence of the fragmented sleep that I spoke of earlier is daytime sleepiness and poor concentration levels. These symptoms 8cAEdBxMican sometimes take effect while driving. Now I don’t know if you realize this or not but sleeping and driving is not advised to be done at the same time. Ever. Ever. Ever. By anyone. Falling asleep while driving is a risk factor that I met in an all too familiar way. Sleep apnea almost caused God to claim my forgiven soul a little earlier than I figured that he would. While driving home one night, a symptom of sleep apnea crept up on me like a pouncing tiger. I fell asleep while driving. I flipped my truck multiple times and ended up with a totaled truck and multiple points on my insurance.

Now before you go judging me and refusing to ever get in a car while I am driving, let me freak you out by saying that there is no real cure for sleep apnea. There is no cure-all pill for the 22 million of us that suffer from sleep apnea. And the possibility of someone snoring and/or developing sleep apnea only increases when we as a populous add in our weight gain, consumption of large quantities of alcohol, allergies, drug use, use of muscle relaxants or sedatives, and most importantly smoking; but there is supposed to be hope. Now by hope I am referencing the gamut of simple, noninvasive items that open the nasal passages to that truly invasive surgical procedure. I have tried Breathe Right Strips and I still snored like a freight train. These strips work by gently lifting the nasal passage from the outside. But alas these strips did not help me. I’ve even heard home remedies of sewing tennis balls to the back of your night shirt to keep you from laying on your back because unless you know this from personal experience you snore A LOT worse on your back. This is caused by your neck being at a different position; thusly causing your throat to have an even worse obstruction.

Now of course, there are easy solutions: lose excess weight, don’t smoke, don’t drink lots of alcohol, take allergy medicine to prevent having complications from allergies; but as before, these are merely bandaids to help fix a gushing wound. They do not repair the problem. There is always the other solution…me going under a surgeons knife and having some of the vibrating tissue removed from the back of my throat but that seems a bit too drastic for me, especially since the success rate is usually only a 50% reduction in snoring.

This_is_used_to_treat_certain_types_of_sleep_apnea._(7355393770)
For me, help with my snoring problem came in the hands of a Sleep Apnea Breathing

sleep-study

My sleep study gear…

Machine. I had spent many years, waking my wife up from her beauty sleep to know that something had to happen. I also was having complications with being sleepy during the day and I did not want to have another one of those falling asleep behind the wheel episodes. I had the appropriate breathing test done at a sleep clinic and found out that I stopped breathing an extremely dangerous amount of times during the night and my oxygen level at night was dangerously low.

After trudging through years of not being able to breath and torturing those around me, (sorry about that everyone) I finally can breath easily and others around me can sleep soundly through the night.

If you can call wearing a constricting and uncomfortable Darth Vader-esque mask that forces air down your throat ‘breathing easily’.

JOYCEone_Nasal


Images: 

Featured Image – “Sleeping Man” Felix Trutat painting uploaded by Yelkrokoyade – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35035960

Apnea Cycle image by and attributed to Timt775 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5094422

Japanese Snoring Man drawing by Teisai Hokuba (Japan, 1771-1884) – Image: http://collections.lacma.org/sites/default/files/remote_image/piction/ma-31795085-O3.jpg

Sleep Apnea Display image by and attributed to John Ramspott from Oxford, GA, USA – Uploaded by High Contrast, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27650452

JOYCEone Nasal CPAP mask image by and attributed to Pfrieda – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32855398

 

“…and remove all doubt”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool

than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

-Abraham Lincoln

640px-this_reminds_me_of_my_vulcan_side_giving_me_good_advice_8423468699

My uncle (my dad’s brother) held a lot of influence during the formative years of my life. His daughter (my only cousin on that side of the family) were only 11 months apart and grew up more like siblings than cousins due to the fact that we were both only children.

Due to us being that close; a close friend group formed and would always meet up at my aunt and uncle’s house. I remember when in high school, we were all trying to sew our wild oats; my uncle sat me and one of our friends down and plowed some words of wisdom into our rebellious minds.

He wanted to urge us to remember that ‘our name’ is important. Not meaning that our 381px-advice_to_a_young_artist_by_honore_daumier_c1865-68name is significant based on who we were named after but the weight that our name carries. He continued on to tell us that he is not saying that we should care what people think to the extent that we don’t live our own lives, but that we should live our lives knowing that our actions affect those who are attached to our name. The fact that if I, as his nephew, and mine and my cousin’s friend went out and did something terrible that it would not only negatively affect our name but look bad on everyone around us. It sounded so selfish when he first said it but the more that I thought about it, tears welled up in my eyes. The realization that my ignorance and ‘tomfoolery’ had a blowback effect on everyone around me.

miedo-ajenoI wouldn’t know if my old friend remembers it, because we don’t talk anymore. Heck, I don’t even know if he remembers sitting us down on the couch that afternoon but I remember the emotions that I felt and the tears that fell on that throw pillow in their den. That knowledge has resonated in my psyche; and it has already been passed on to many of my students, friends, acquaintances, and most importantly my son.

 


Images:

Featured image – Good advice image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA – “This reminds me of my Vulcan side giving me good advice”, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24473423

Advice image by and accredited to Honoré Daumier – National Gallery of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11497763

Crying image by and accredited to RayNata – Mis documentos, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5270246