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First World Problems

I randomly get weirded out by the small first world problems I realize I’m having.  Most often, it happens while shopping for a card.  I start thinking of this standing in the card aisle and my mind just travels further and further down the rabbit hole.  #firstworldproblems

I am spending between $3-$5 usually.  Did you hear that?!  I am spending on average $4 for pre-printed paper with a pre-printed message that people are going to throw away.  Why?!  Why I am I doing this?! Four dollars adds up!  I’ve got some numbers for you.  Yes, I did go through an entire calendar year and figure out about how many cards I send out.  This includes my family members’ birthdays, Christmas Cards, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and the one wedding I’m usually invited to yearly. It also includes of the end year thank you cards for teachers and two random events because I’m always invited to something I’m not expecting that requires a card.  This is not including the pack of Christmas cards I normally get for work, my son’s pack of Valentines day cards, or the cards for my son’s pen pal.  I got about 27 cards per year but I promise you that it is way higher than that.  This is just the bare minimum.  I know that there are 99 cent cards, but I normally take a lot of time picking out the perfect card for that person, and they are usually $3-$5 for me.  So I spend about $108 bare minimum on cards a year.  I spend money on cards, majority of those people are going to toss right after I leave.

Because this hit me one day standing in Target, I started making a hand written cards made out of wrapping paper on the things that I could.  Then I was like…I spend a bunch on wrapping paper! And bows! And tape.  Don’t get me wrong I love the surprise element of gifts, but as I said, rabbit hole.  I’m totally that person that has a board on Pinterest for “gift wrapping ideas.”  But then I started thinking, hmmm, maybe I could wrap them in newspaper, except I rarely buy newspapers, so I would have to go out and get one and that defeats the purpose.  Then I thought, I could wrap it in a shirt or something they are also getting and use the crafting ribbon we already have to make it pretty.  But I’ve noticed that many times I don’t even have something else to wrap it in.  And then I’m like, why am I giving them this plastic cartoon animal that is cheaply made and costs me $20 for something that should be $10 max anyway?  And why do we even need packaging? Because it gets scratched up? Oh boo hoo.  Just put it in bins like an outdoor food market.

And I have determined that being first world has made us greedy.  These things we don’t even think about that would be outlandish in second or third world countries.  Sure we have to get up and go to work.  And I get that you have a hard time getting up, but a clock on wheels that makes you chase it?  Really?  Okay, that one is pretty cool lol.  But it’s the concept of it all, I think you get my drift.  Why do we buy four chairs at our dining room tables when we only have two people in the house?  You have to buy the chairs separately.  For company.  Everything is for company.  Company we never have anymore except a couple times a year because we are too busy being segregated in our homes binging on Netflix.  We keep extra furniture “in case company comes over.”  Why do we have 1,000 dishes, silverware, and Tupperware bowls?  “In case I can’t wash it before we need it.” …Wouldn’t you then wash it, when you need it?

Why are we buying bumper pads and putting them in our child’s crib?  Sure they match, sure they are pretty.  But it’s even been said that bumper pads can be the cause of SIDS sometimes.  Yet there they are in the crib, with the baby.  Why are we buying baby monitors?  People lived without them for a long time.  I hear the “well when I’m elsewhere” reasoning.  Sure, but I’m positive that if your child is awake, they can lay there for a bit.  Unless they are at the climbing out of their crib age.  I can understand that.  And for God’s sake why are they video monitored too?  Walk in there and peak in on them.  Wipe warmers? Warm them up with your hands.  You really don’t need much anything you have for your baby besides bottles (questionable because of breastfeeding), some clothes, a car seat.  They are even sending home boxes for kids to sleep in at the hospital now.  Everything other than that is just to look pretty or for convenience.  It’s weird.

And stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond is a haven for first world problems.  Would you like a stainless steel cake cutter?  No prob, we have you covered.  A personal holder for your avocado? We’ve got you!  Mirrors that make pores look like craters and your skin look like you need Botox?  Matching toothbrush and soap containers? Doormats? Decorative pillows?  Lounge chairs for you to sit next to your pool that are different than the lawn chairs on your patio?  Perfect we have everything you need.  Guess what? We can personalize it.

I could go on all day.  But I won’t, I think you get the point.  I absolutely have and do all of these things.  Except the bumper pads, for real, cut that out.  I just get kind of randomly freaked out about first world problems.  And cards.  If you get a card from me, know I truly care about you.  Also know that I questioned giving you anything at all and almost bought you food.  I guess that’s just the lavish life we live (hair flip).  It’s just the norm for us.  What’s the biggest “first world problem” you have?

Now excuse me, I have to go pick out my outfit for tomorrow and tweeze my eyebrows.

Uncategorized

9 Sure Fire Ways to be “That” Manager

 

I will never forget when my son was getting tubes put in his ears.  I can’t even remember why, but I hated his ENT.  I just remember telling his resident that the ENT’s bed side manner was terrible.  I will never forget what he said, because I have come to realize it was completely true.  “Sometimes, learning what you shouldn’t do is more important than learning what you should.”  Boy was he ever right.

I have worked under a slew of managers, as we all have.  I have worked under two in particular that were really terrible.  I’ve broken down why the employees had such issues with them.

 

1. Talking down to employees

Your employees are an asset to your company.  They are the cogs and gears keeping the machine running.  If one isn’t quite working well, the entire machine starts to break down.  The biggest and fastest way to have technical difficulties with your machine is treating it badly.

“I don’t understand what is so hard about…”

“We just went over this…”

“Why isn’t this done…”

Words are so important.  How you say things can make or break you.  Because the more you talk down to your employees, the more they group together and talk about it.  I was once told “we are done gossiping.”  It wasn’t about gossiping.  It was about feeling unappreciated and everyone else in the store feeling the same way.  Trying to figure out what to do about it isn’t gossiping when you are trying to decide how to handle it.  Think about how hard it is to say something that may be negative, to anyone.  May cause conflict.  Many people just avoid the conflict completely and keep it inside.  If it has gotten to the point that multiple people are coming to you talking about an issue centered around you, you are the problem.  Most of the time people suffer in silence.  If it has gotten to the point where people are finally saying something about it, everyone is thinking it.  There is a problem.

Change your statements.  Ask what and how questions.  Not “what are you doing?” questions.  Not “how do you not understand?” questions.  The best way is to ask “how can I help?”  “What can I do to help you?”  “What will help get this finished on time?”  Asking to them explain further. “I’m sorry.  I’m not understanding what you are getting stuck on.  Can you explain?”

Probably the biggest thing is not what you say, but how you say it.  Inflection is the biggest issue in any conversation.  Inflection in the tone of voice.  Negative connotations.  Record your voice as you say things and listen back if you have to.  You don’t like when anyone makes you feel small.  The big boss comes in and makes light of your hard work.  You wouldn’t like it.  Don’t do it to someone else.

 

2. Assuming

Assuming is always an issue.  Assuming that you know what took place when you were’t there.  A big project isn’t done? “All you had to do was move everything to the other side.”  “That doesn’t take three hours.”  Now he/she is offended.  What you didn’t know was that the hardware all had to be changed out or that there was an incident with a customer/client that had to be handled in between working on everything.

Assuming puts people on the defensive.  You are being offensive when you assume and they immediately feel like they have to defend themselves.  That already is getting things off on the wrong foot.  When people feel they have to defend themselves they get angry.  Instead ask.  Asking is pivotal in business.  You always want to ask when you don’t understand something.  You don’t understand why that project isn’t done?  “This is taking a bit more time than I thought it would.  Did something go wrong?  How can I help?”  Every time you ask how you can help, you are saying you are on the same side and shows them they have nothing to be defensive about.  You are saying you are on the same team and that you are willing to help to meet a mutual goal.

 

3. Not Understanding Life Outside of Work

This is a big one.  Things happen.  I have train tracks right near my house.  I was driving over an hour to one of my jobs.  In order to get on the freeway, I had to take the road that the train tracks go through, or take another route that would put me off about 20-25 minutes.  There are no reports on the news for traffic due to trains.  There is no way to know until you are sitting there.  I got written up for being late.  I called 45 minutes ahead of time to let my manager know I was going to be late due to the train.  “You should have left earlier.”  Really?!  I should leave an extra half hour early when I already leave 15 minutes early and normally sit in the parking lot waiting on you because you are running a few minutes late.

I was told “this is getting ridiculous” when I called to say I was taking my son to the hospital for an asthma attack a week later.  Sure it may seem like excuses, but if you don’t give your employees the benefit of the doubt, then you again, are putting them on the defensive.  If it becomes excessive, then that is talk that needs to happen.  But not unless it has happened.  Otherwise, you should be understanding.

Train causing them to run late?  “Okay, see you when you get here.  Thanks for calling to let us know.”  Someone in the hospital? “I’m so sorry I hope they feel better.  Let us know if you need more time off.”  A surprise dinner? “That’s awesome!  See if you can find someone to cover your shift.  If not let me know and I can see what I can do.”

Scheduling/time off is the biggest issue when it comes to not understanding others’ lives outside of work.  It is normally not that difficult to figure out how to make everyone happy.  Deadline?  If they can find someone else to do it, it’s fine.  Maybe they can work at home. Don’t tell them “you have a whole store to run and their problems aren’t yours.”  Because they are.  Each employee is a part of your machine.  They need to be taken care of and feel they are cared about.  Otherwise, your turn-over rate is going to be sky high and you will be costing the company thousands because you have to train someone new every month or so.

4. Not Understanding employees are individuals not a group

Don’t see your employees as a group.  Don’t see them as this is my group that helps me do A, B, C, and D.  Understand they are individuals.  Doing so will help your business.  If you don’t you will just have anyone do a job.  Instead of learning Alex and Carrie’s strengths and weaknesses, you have Alex working the budget and Carrie tasking.  If you knew your team as individuals, you would know that Carrie is good at numbers, and Alex likes being busy.  Putting them in the opposite positions means it gets done slower, or not as well as it could have been done.

If an associate comes to you about personal issues that mean that scheduling may be difficult, don’t blow them off.  Take care of them.  Work around it.  They will appreciate it that much more.

The one time I would say it is okay to think of the group as a whole is when hiring.  When I was hired to work in a bridal store, one of the managers, Kaila, said she thinks about how people will work within the group she already has.  This is unbelievably smart.  So often people are hiring ONLY for their qualifications or because they are down on staffing and just need to get a body in the store.  Thinking about how the new individual’s personality will work within the existing group will make your group better and stronger. Personalities will gel.

 

5. Favoritism

Ah.  Favoritism.  America’s favorite pastime.  You are going to have your favorites.  There’s no doubt about it.  It WILL happen.  The issue comes when you act on that favoritism.  You go out to eat with an associate that is under you.  You go out to the bar with them.  You give them all the best jobs.  You give them extra hours.

Some will say this makes the others work harder.  Most of the time people give up.  Because why would they try harder when everything is going to be given to your favorite anyway.  Using favorites is never a good idea to motivate people.  It creates a negative work environment.  For everyone.  Once the negativity starts it is hard to stop.  You give people a reason to come together collectively on something negative and they will.  They will feed off each other’s stories about that favoritism and just making people more angry.

Human kind are generally want to feel included.  They like to feel involved.  When they feel left out of anything in any way, it starts the negative work environment.  People thrive in a place that’s positive.  Where they feel cared about equally with the person next to them.  Where they love coming.  Favoritism gets in the way of that.  In order to keep favoritism at a minimum, I implement my own conduct code.  I do not add any employees on social media unless they are in a leadership position.  I also will not text any employees casually.  I try to keep texting to a minimum period.  I was told that “though it’s frustrating sometimes that I won’t text employees, it’s also really refreshing.”  I think that says a lot.

 

6. Not Being Accountable

In retail, all I heard about was “accountability.”  There are so many pages written about it.  In just about every work place that I’ve been in there was something talking about accountability.  I heard it leave the mouths of so many of my managers.  It’s clearly something that is important in the business world.  And I completely agree.  But my issue is the word is constantly thrown around without understanding the full meaning of it.

Accountability doesn’t mean that your employees take responsibility for their actions, it means you do as well.  Owning up to what someone doesn’t like. Be it your boss not liking something you implemented, or an employee that has sit down to talk to you about something that they don’t like.

If your higher up doesn’t like the visuals of the store.  Don’t blame it on your visual merchandiser when they are following your direction.  Apologize, ask/figure out how you can fix it, and ask what they are expecting.  This works for an employee too.  Your employee wants to know how come they are “employee of the month” but have the least amount of hours.  “I’m sorry, I overlooked it.  I have enough in payroll to give you 8 extra hours next week.  Will that work?”

You seem more like you know what you are doing when you don’t pass the buck and take…that’s right ACCOUNTABILITY.  I owned up to making a mistake to a manager, and that manager told me “don’t throw yourself under the bus, just say you will fix it.”  I don’t agree with this in the least.  I don’t believe that taking accountability for what I did is throwing myself under the bus.  I would rather step up and admit that I made a mistake, which happens, than someone else be called out for my actions.

Not only is taking accountability with your words important, but taking accountability with your actions.  What does that mean?

Once in a meeting with my general store manager, she was talking about taking accountability for how my actions are perceived, while rolling her eyes every time I spoke.  Which leads to my next thing.

 

7. Not Leading by Example

There are rules at every work place.  Don’t expect your employees to follow them if you don’t.  Make yourself aware of the dress code.  Follow the dress code.  Follow the code of conduct.  Because you are always being watched.  When they see you are wearing gray pants when an all black is the dress code, they are going to assume that it is okay to wear gray.  One person decides to follow your lead and then it snowballs into everyone wearing gray.

If you cut corners, they will cut corners.  Lead by example.  You should not be doing anything your boss wouldn’t want to see.  Imagine they surprise you and pop up without notice and they walk into a sea full of employees in gray.

This also means making sure that everyone not following the rules is talked to.  Every time you see it.  Because if people feel like someone is constantly getting away with something they can’t do, it starts that negative workplace I keep talking about.  That’s what starts the questions of favoritism.

Again your actions are important with this as well.  No, rolling your eyes isn’t against any rules.  But you know and understand that is something that is considered rude.  If you don’t want your employees rolling their eyes at you or customers/clients, then lead by example.  This way when you speak to them about it, they can’t say “well you do it.”

 

8.  Not Showing Appreciation

In order to help maintain your machine, keep it oiled.  Make sure it knows it is important.  In the real world it is as simple as “please, and thank yous.”  Staying late?  Buy some $5 pizzas.  It is the simplest thing that doesn’t take place in that many companies.

“I think it’s stupid to thank people for doing their job” one of my mangers said.  I thank people if I could have done it myself and asked them to do it for me.  “Will you run this to the back so I can finish typing up this email please?  Thank you.”  If it isn’t something that they necessarily had to do, if it is not their job, I thank them.
To be so against something that makes someone feel less like they are being told to do something and more like they are a part of the decision, is silly.  It is the smallest thing.  But it is so important.

Hold in store/office contest.  Ask how they are feeling about the new rule implemented.  Make sure there is an employee of the month.  These things don’t take much time at all, but can make your team know that you care about them other than just being an employee.  Speaking of that..

 

9. Not caring about your employees as people

What do you mean?  I remember the complete difference in joining a store that cared about their employees as people and the one that didn’t.  No one is talking to each other, other than work stuff at one.  The other, felt like family.  You knew which employees were trying to get pregnant, who was having trouble with relationships, who spent time at the park earlier that day.

When you don’t do this, work lags.  It really does.  I have had this happen at a couple work places.  You are so business focused that’s all you talk about.  You clearly don’t care about me.  I’m just someone filling a spot.  I am just a body in a store/building.  And though some people would say that doesn’t matter, you are more likely to stay in job where you feel connected to the people.

One of my favorite things to do on a slow day is to play “fun fact” over the headset.  Each person working states fun facts about themselves.  You learn so much about that person and sometimes really interesting stories.  I genuinely love and care about the people at my job.  I want to know what is going on in your life.  I want to know how many kids you have and which one is driving you up the wall.  I often know my employees best friends’ names, even though I have never met them.  There is a way to do this without it getting in the way of work.  Just short little conversations.  As long as you know when, and how to break away from that conversation, your team will still be productive.  And more upbeat as a result

 

Some of these things cause the others.  Often, when one of these is an issue, there’s another that is too.  If your employees are in a negative work environment, they aren’t going to enjoy coming to work.  If your employees are looking to see which manager they are working with, they are dreading one of you.  A team that works well together keeps the machine running fluidly.  This will make the company more money.  Think about it.  If there is someone you don’t like then you try to avoid them.  Avoiding means you aren’t going near a certain area.  If you aren’t working together how are you going to make a profit?  Strive for a team that only checks to see when they are working, not who they are working with.  That team is the best.  Just ask mine.  We have our days but we are a work family, not a job that pays the bills.

My Sensational Son SPD stories, Uncategorized

To My Sensitive boy

To my sweet sensitive boy:

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I always want the best for you. I always want you to be who you are. I don’t want the world to change you.

The sensitivity in your soul is not emasculate. It means you have a big heart. It means you feel things for people. It means you understand when you have wronged someone and hurt them feel bad.  Don’t let the world make you think differently.

We went to a teacher conference of sorts for you recently. They said they would “work on when it’s appropriate for you to be upset.” That it would help with the sensitivity.

I don’t see your sensitivity as a problem sweetheart. Rather, a gift. I have the sweetest most amazing boy wrapped in that five year old body. And that sensitivity is a big reason why.

I think that is appropriate for you to be upset, when you feel upset. There shouldn’t be standards set on what you are feeling. It’s working through those emotions that help.

But this is coming from your “over sensitive” mama. My whole life I have been told that I’m over, or too sensitive. And I have learned to love me, for me. It has taken a long time. People were constantly telling me that what I felt was wrong just because they didn’t see things the same way.

I have owned that now. If someone can’t figure out how to see something from another person’s perspective, then why would I want to socialize with them in the first place?

I had to relearn that love for myself. I don’t want that for you.  I want you to have it all along.

You are sensitive. And that is okay. It does not make you any less than anyone else. You just see things differently. Because of that you may love harder, hurt easier, and truly become disgusted with those that don’t understand. It’s even okay if you don’t react in the way you want to. I cannot tell you how many times I have cried in an argument or when talking about something heavy because I get overwhelmed.  I felt weak because of it.  It is not weakness, love.  It is strength.

What’s important for us sensitive souls is to do two things really. Stick up for yourself. People will take advantage of you. Or they will at least try. It has taken me a long time and I’m still working on this myself. You will become resentful of not only that person, but yourself. It will eat you up inside. So say no, it’s okay. Tell someone it’s not okay to talk to you the way they are. You don’t have to feel guilty about it saying and doing what is best for you. The second thing…and this is so so important…do not make excuses for people because you understand them. Just because you can understand why a person did what they did, or said what they said, does not excuse their behavior. You can forgive them. But forgive them for your own peace of mind and move on. If they can’t acknowledge what they did, don’t give them an easy out.

Don’t let the world harden you. Surround yourself with people that brings that big heart to the forefront. Let no one tell you, how to be you. Only you can do that. And most importantly, make no apologies for who you are.

Love,
Your mama

Late Night Rantings From A (Sort of) Insomniac, Uncategorized

Just keep swimming

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When you are in it, you don’t really realize how bad it really is.  I find this true for almost anything.  Personally I can tell you this is true for bad jobs, friendships, and relationships.  I’m sure there are plenty more things that apply.  I’m not sure what that is, what makes you not realize it.  Maybe it is your brain’s way of protecting you.  It’s been proven to do this when someone experiences a tragic event and the person will completely block it out.  Maybe it’s tricking us into believing “it’s not that bad” until we can get to a place where we can move on and fix whatever is happening.

And I can tell you it happens with depression.  I have had really terrible depression before, and by comparison, nothing else is bad.  So my thoughts are always “I’m not depressed, I just hate (insert something about jobs, coworkers, friends, family).”  I am not depressed because it’s not as bad as that one time.  But I am depressed.

I can’t give you an exact reason why I am because there are a lot of things.  Things I can’t change and things I can.  I feel like pieces of me just break off and I glue them back in place and hold it together hoping things will get better.

I over think things.  I think about them until I break it apart and examine it at every angle.  Until I grind it down into teeny tiny grains of sand.  While it helps me better understand things and I honestly believe it makes me a better person in general, there are definitely it’s down sides.  I know that because I over think about the possible outcomes and weighing the probability of it going the way I want to, I am less likely to push myself into something new.  I am less likely to say what I need to say to someone in order to make myself feel better, because I am overly concerned with how they will take it.  It makes me have a big heart and connect with people easily.  But it also makes it easy for people to manipulate and step all over me.

I haven’t been able to breathe.  I’m suffocating.  My days off work don’t feel like days off.  It feels like a count down until I go back in.  I can’t sleep.  I don’t eat properly.  Nothing makes me excited and everything does at the same time.  I’m overly passionate about the wrong things and nothing outside of this box I’m in gets me excited.  I’m on auto-pilot, just going through the motions.

Being a single mom, my free time basically goes to my son.  Or it should.  I feel so guilty when I don’t want to do anything and can’t motivate myself to do something with him.  I feel like a bad parent.

Because everything is a chore when you are depressed.  Putting clothes on, doing your hair, driving, even moving sometimes.

Still have your attention? Does this remind you of anyone you know?

Well, tell them I said, JUST KEEP SWIMMING.  I know it’s from Finding Nemo but it has literally been the quote of my life.  If you keep swimming it will get better.

People tend to think that those with depression are easy to spot.  Here’s a hint, it’s not just the emo kid in the corner of that movie that one time, dressed in black rebelling against his family.  It is not just owned by teens, those affected by traumatic events and postpardum moms.  Yes all of them are affected but it’s not that easy.  Often, people have high functioning depression.  It’s the corporate lawyer that everyone says is top notch at her job.  It’s the construction worker, the college kid, the manager, the person in between jobs.  It’s moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, kids, aunts, uncles.  It is your best friend and your priest.  It takes many forms and can occur in anyone.  It’s your friend that cracks jokes and is the life of the party as much as it is “that weird kid” you know.  It’s the lady that is always baking treats for her neighbors and the one that screams at you for stepping on their grass.  It’s everywhere.

Today, I feel pretty happy.  Not like happy happy.  But half way.  And that sounds sad, but it’s something.  I was productive, spent time with my family doing all kinds of things, reached out to four people, two of them I haven’t talked to in a long time.  Today I am doing good.  And the revelation that I’m not “just having a hard time right now” but that I am indeed depressed, means that I can take the step toward feeling better.  Going to the doctors.  Talking about it.  Doing something about it.

I think that blogging unlocks my brain from the prison it’s in.  I kept a diary up until high school and it helped so much.  Now you are my diary.  I just have an audience (besides my mom and my brother sneaking a peak).  I just have to be brave enough to talk about the tough stuff too, for my well being, without thinking about how everyone else will take it.  And I’m sure it will benefit others knowing that someone really does understand.

Depression sometimes feels like drowning.  You are tense and panicking, can’t breathe.  Wondering if you will ever break the surface.  Wondering if anyone notices you are in the state you are in.

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See those white bits.  That’s the light breaking through.  Just keep swimming.  You will get there.

Hugs and Kisses

 

My Sensational Son SPD stories

My son hates everything I love

My son, the very thing I live for, absolutely hates nearly everything I love.

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Art fairs, street fairs, state fairs…pretty much any fairs.  Movie theaters and malls.  Anything loud or crowded and he’s out.

I live and thrive around people.  I love some of the small, silly interactions you have with strangers.  I love crowds.  I just love people watching and seeing how events can bring people together.  I just like people, period.

My son screams at children that look at him.  Or hides when anyone he doesn’t know comes near him.  He tends to like adults and tolerates kids he knows.  But he hates being around a lot of people regardless of age.

I love exploring.  I love the invigoration of a new place.  I love experiencing new things. I like spontaneity.

My son hates leaving the house most of the time.  And the only time he tolerates it is when he is given plenty of warning.  New places are the worst.

I love when I am warm and toasty and snuggled up under the covers.

My son says his skin is itchy when he gets warm.

I love going out to eat.  I love someone else cooking food I can’t make.  I love trying new food from all different cultures.

My son does not like restaurants, especially if there are a lot of people or it’s too loud.  He gets the same thing everywhere we go.  Pizza, chicken nuggets, fries.  One of those.

I LOVED spirit days at school.  I was so excited for him to experience them and do fun and silly stuff.

My son is not down with the silliness.  He is not okay with doing anything other than the regular routine.

But also…

My son loves video games.  He loves Mario Bros and Minecraft the most.  It is one of his only true interests.

I can’t stand talking about video games constantly.  I will play them from time to time but day in and day out? No thank you.

My son likes being cold because he is a constant hotbox.

Being cold seems to physically hurt me. If it is 80 degrees outside and there is the slightest breeze, it’s cold and I’m putting a sweater on.

My son likes playing cars at home.  He likes playing in the yard with his toys.

I can’t stand being in the house all the time and I’m not particularly good at playing with cars.  And if I’m going to be outside I would rather be at a park than in the yard.

My son likes the consistency of knowing the foods he is going to eat that day.  Pre-approved by him.

I hate making his lunch for that reason, I feel like I’m feeding a hamster eating the same boring thing everyday.

And…

My son gets nervous in new situations and gets extreme anxiety about them.

I cried the first time I had to put gas in the car by myself even though I knew what to do. Even though I had run in to pay for gas all the time.  I get anxiety when doing new things.

My son is perfectly fine with noise, as long as he is the one making it.  A lot of the time, things are too loud for his comfort.

I can’t stand certain sounds, unless I am the one making them.

My son tenses up when people touch him, especially on his shoulders.

I tense up when people touch my upper back, or if they are too close to my face.

My son doesn’t like looking people in the eye.

I don’t like looking people in the eye when they are feeling intense emotion, especially if it is anger or frustration.

This is sensory processing disorder.  It is such a small taste.  Sound like complaining?  No, it’s not.  It’s just easier to explain to others.  We each make exceptions and do what we can to make each other happy.  My son is amazing and so unbelievably sweet.  He does things he can’t stand because he knows I want to.  As do I for him.  I believe what he says when he is uncomfortable with something.  I may push him a bit but I let him be who he is.  In so many ways I see myself in him.  These sensory issues he has, I struggled with them as a kid.  Even now I still have some problems.  Just on a much smaller scale than it is for him.  I know it is difficult for parents of special needs kids for different reasons.  This is just a piece of our difficulty.  And Sensory kiddos can have all kinds of extreme issues from food aversion to issues with textures of clothing.

I can admit that our likes and dislikes don’t always blend.  But we know how to work with each other.  This also is why it’s important to make sure that each of you have your own time to do the things you love.  We as parents put so much on the back burner. We feel like bad parents if we want to do something we love, that our kids don’t.  I’m here to tell you it’s okay.  You do not have to become your kids.  You just have to love them.  It is okay to live a separate identity from them.  And while I am writing this for others, this is a reminder to myself too.  It’s okay to be you and live a life you love.

My son is like land.  He is rigid, with roots down deep holding him firm.  Inconsistencies cause the land to wither, break apart, have to start anew.  I am like water.  Easily flowing from one experience to the next.  Crashing into new things with excitement.  But we both soften around the edges.  The water slows when it reaches the shore made from sands that have loosened its grip.  The land and water marinate in a spot that works.  We marinate.  And it works.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.