Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Sorry...That's Not What I Meant

Well, it looks like I've done it again. I've made a mistake; screwed up. It wasn't just any silly mistake, it was one that hurt someone's feelings. I mean, if I'm going to do something wrong I might as well go big, right?

It's not the first time I've made this kind of mistake, I've done this before. I'm a pro! I say the wrong thing, give the wrong look, type the wrong email, send the wrong text. You can see the pattern. It's mostly mistakes I make with my mouth; my words in one form or another. I don't mean to, it just happens. I think I'm doing the right thing, but it comes out all wrong.

I've done this with with strangers, friends, co-workers, family - you name them, I've probably wronged them. Let me give you a small example of how long this has been going on, and just how I do it. One time when I was little (about 6 or 7 years old), I called up my best friend who lived down the street and told her I didn't want to be friends anymore. I went on to let her know that this meant she didn't have to call me anymore, unless there was some kind of emergency like a fire or something (because I'm not completely heartless). Apparently, this hurt her feelings because then next thing you know her mom called my mom and I learned that was the wrong thing to say. I didn't mean to hurt her feelings. I think she had called because she wanted to play, but I really wanted to spend the time with my family, and I guess I didn't know how to articulate that.

I've gotten better over the years, but sometimes this stuff just sneaks out. I really mean one thing, but it comes out all wrong. I've done it to my kids too. What I want to say is really great and profound, but when it actually leaves my lips....not so good.

If there is one thing I have learned from all of my mistakes and faux pas is how to say I'm sorry. I've gotten really good at that. Like I said, I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, and I want them to know how badly I feel for doing so. I can't say that I really like saying I'm sorry, but I have no problem admitting that I am wrong. In fact, I want to make it right and strive to do so. I even apologize to my kids. I mention this because some parents feel that is a 'no-no', but I feel it is a necessity. It is good for them to see you as human, otherwise how will they learn to take responsibility for something when they are wrong?

I also think that by recognizing my mistakes I once again realize that I should probably take a step down off my high horse and practice a little humility. It's good to be reminded that we're the same as everyone else, no better or no worse. Even God humbled himself to come to earth as a Man to save us, and I can't ask for a better example than that.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Burn, baby, Burn

I decided it was finally OK to take down all the lists and calendars we have used over the years to keep our household an 'equal opportunity' home.  I am sure many have no idea what I am talking about right now, but there are a few folks in the blended family world who are saying, "Ah, yes. The lists."

The funny thing is, I didn't even realize that other people did this. And what 'this' is, is keep your family organized and fair by using lists, schedules and calendars.  Over the holidays I discovered a mom who quickly went to the schedule system to keep her family at peace after she and her husband were married.  It took me quite a bit longer.

It wasn't until after my kids got into a huge argument about chores did the light bulb go off and I decided there would be no choosing of your chores, or where you sat in the car, or who got to get in the shower first, there would need to be a fair rotation.  So I made calendars. Seriously. There was a calendar for bathroom chore rotations, there was a calendar for kitchen clean up rotation.  We had a rotation for who got up first and into the shower first, who ate breakfast first and who showered second. There was a rotation for who sat in the front seat, and who sat in the back seat, and who had to sit on the hump.  Rotation, rotation, rotation. Calendars, calendars, calendars.

And now...they are all gone. I wish I could say I burned them, but I really just put them in the recycling.

The fact is, the calendars and rotations helped to keep us sane.  It took the argument of fairness out of the situation because they knew that chore or seat or whatever would come back around their way.  They were lifesavers.  For kitchen chores, they rotated daily, but for things like the shower and the car, they were on weekly rotations.  I am really not sure how I kept them all straight, but by the grace of God I did. 

If there was one thing none of my children can blame me for, it is being unfair. In a blended family, everyone is looking at how much they have vs. the other, and is there any favoritism by the parents.  I think there is already a feeling of unequalness in a blended family, whether it is because your bio clan outnumbers the step clan, or there are two boys and one girl. Whatever it is, the fact remains that you have entered into a family where trust is still being built and established, and it is easy to feel like things are unfair.

Well, I stand before you to tell you that I have been fair; I have yelled at each of my children equally....and loved them each equally as well!   I know life isn't fair, but sometimes we have to even the playing field a bit until we all realize we're on the same team.