parenting teens

Parenting Like a Boss {and by boss I mean a teacher}

First off, if you think a synonym for the word boss in the title is supervisor we have some work ahead of us.  Seriously.  One of chaserohr’s Instagram names did not refer to his skills as an overseer of men….

A bubble of mine that is highly shimmery (again, if we are clueless here, please refer to my past post on ADD here) is how we are parenting our adolescents and teens (and the littles, too). It worries me y’all.  A lot.

Parenting may be the one thing in our lives (talking about my generation, and I am in my early 40s) that has really been a bit of a snag for us.  Try as we might, we can’t seem to read and to research our way out of it.  And perhaps therein lies the problem…. I think on many levels we have made parenting about US when it is actually only about THEM.  Right?

We want a simple, easy, accessible answer to a very complex and nuanced situation.  I am amazed at the number of parenting guide books that not only exist, but are actually read.  I have read many, but mostly because, as a teacher, I had to keep up with the lingo like helicopter parenting or using love and logic.  I’d love to write a book on parenting adolescents and teens so I won’t damage any future aspirations of  mine too much…

So here is what i am thinking….as a parent I am always going back to experiences in my classroom as a guide with my own kids.  Teaching demanded simple, effective strategies to essentially parent, on some level, 60 ish kids every year.  The more and more I think about it, there seems to be a really strong correlation between teaching and parenting….or at the very least I think we can use teaching as a blueprint for parenting.   Sure, teachers write books about kids – lots of them.  They even write books about parenting kids.   But from what I have found, we do not rely on the expertise of our educators enough ::  amazing people who are in the trenches everyday with our adolescents and teens are the ones who are brilliantly skilled and insightful.  If we could model parenting on teaching……hmmmm….I ike where this is going..

I’m curious….If you could “anonymously” ask a teacher ANYTHING about kids (your kids, your kids’ friends…), what would it be?  I know what I have been asked in fifteen years….and I promise you I have been asked just about everything.

I am excited to hear from you….you can leave a comment below or send an email to  Hopefully this interaction can generate some great insight for all of us!




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Screw Perfection :: Choose Practice (Part II)

A few weeks ago I wrote the first of what I hope are many posts about the toll perfectionism, or the illusion of perfection, takes on young girls, young women and, well, old women like me. (Yes, our boys too….). It is the culmination of so many factors in our world, and it is the root cause of so much unhappiness and discontent. I’m on an anti-perfect, just be real crusade! (Read Part I here)

We celebrated Easter Sunday at a Catholic Church near my family’s beach house. The Mass at St. Mildred’s by the Sea has become stuff of legends… 35 minutes flat for Easter. No doubt there are some corners cut… I must say when I go, I have low expectations. I am there to celebrate Mass because it is something very important to our family, and we are committed to our faith regardless of where in the world we may be. Among the favorite spots, for Eric and I, is the cathedral in Las Vegas. I am confidant when I say that the service and message moves me to tears 9 times out of 10. St. Mildred, not so much. It’s more about the speedy pace.

Sunday was different. Not in length of time – officially I believe we clocked in 36 minutes start to finish (Chase is the official time-keeper). It was different in what I heard….maybe it was something I needed to hear. In fact, I know I needed to hear it. Funny how God works…

My heart has been more than a little hardened lately towards the attitudes and actions of individuals within the Church. I find the intolerance and self-importance of leaders in my Diocese to be disappointing to say the least. I’ll leave it at that. So I needed to hear tolerance. I needed to hear LOVE.

Good ‘ole St. Mildred’s turned out to be the voice of God for me, to me, yesterday. During a fairly routine Easter message, I heard something remarkable. I heard that “we” do not share God’s loving Grace by telling. We do not live the word of God through our mouths. We do not even begin to be a living testament to God by preaching or evangelizing or condemning or judging….In fact, to do this is not only arrogant, it is wrong.

Our judgement of others is wrong. The thought that what we believe is somehow better than others’ beliefs is arrogant. My Mass does not trump your church service. I am not entitled to judgement.

It’s ok if this doesn’t move you the way it did me. It is a pretty simple, perhaps obvious, idea.

There’s more here, at least to me. It is about shifting my view of EVERYTHING.

I walked into the Mass at St. Mildred’s expecting …… a less than perfect Mass, a less than perfect homily, a less than perfect Easter message. What I heard was the Perfect message from the only Perfect source.

Uh oh.

How often am I unaware of my expectation of perfection on some level for the events, the situations, the people around me? How often am I opening my mouth to say this is right or this is wrong because I expect some form of perfection? Am I allowing for practice in the world around me?  Without even realizing it, how much of my experience and interaction is shaped by this notion of the perfect anything….?  And when I can change that, when I can stop looking for perfect, not just within myself but in the world all around me, what then?   How much happiness and contentment and REALNESS is then possible?

Perfection no doubt IS one of the ugliest, most vulgar and destructive words in our language.



What Happens When I Do Give a Sh%t About My Husband’s Brain Tumor

Here is my disclaimer to this posting….NO PITY.  I will have none of that shit.  No feeling sorry or worried, either.  I am doing what I think we don’t do enough of and that is being REAL.  So hang on….it’s ugly.  Oh, and there is some cussing (no apologies there). It does end on a happy note….

I’ve written before about my husband’s strategy to keep me out of the emotional abyss by keeping the MRI appointments secret until the absolute moment when he finally cracks under my pressure.  I got him on April 1st this go around – 16 days before the appointment.  Yikes!  He should have held out a bit longer  … wimp. I may have to back off the scare tactics.

Anxiety is a bitch, and she has taken up shop in my head.  Some days she seems to be raising venture capital and franchising.   I do my best to keep her in line, but as the date appraoches, all bets are off.  Actually, I held my own pretty well until this week.  Maybe a bit more wine consumption.  House looks like a pit.  A few (hundred) unreturned calls/emails.  But all in all a pretty successful stretch.  Yoga is my lifeline and girls lunches are my reprieve. I’ve cried ALOT in yoga lately – no worries. All good. I’ve teared up in conversations. Understandable. I’ve learned to cut myself major slack.

When I stop and reflect on what is going on in my brain, I realize I am slowly allowing the anxiety in….

I made Monday the day to wave the white flag and surrender to the reality of what I am feeling. I have been waving that surrender flag like a boss this week, by the way.

Here is how today went – again, just being REAL. And trust me, there is not an atom of my being that feels badly or embarrassed by any of this. I deserve to fall completely apart and throw a ginormous pity party. And because I can and do, I will be able to wake up and tackle the world on Thursday (no matter what the MRI shows tomorrow)

The universe knew what I needed and gave a cloudy, rainy day to Charlotte. Thank you!!!! One of my best friends sent me text early (like 6am early) hoping for a day of PJs and trashy TV…you know me so well! (I was already armed with chocolate, homemade goodies and wine from other besties…So blessed.). Yoga was miserably hot and humid and hard and BLISSFUL. I thought about nothing for an hour except staying alive. Well, that and the fact that my sweat ran up my nose and made me feel like I was in a swimming pool snorting water. Oh and I had a happy new Lulu tank …. That was good.

I was determined NOT to have this goodness last.

Quick shower and I crawled under the covers in bed. Hey, if Alicia Florrick can do it……

I knew I had to leave for carpool at 2:40….. It was already 10:15am. Shoot. Running out of time. 2 hours into having taken to my bed (isn’t that an awesome phrase by the way? “I must take to my bed.” Love it) I check my phone to be sure Eric hasn’t dropped dead. Oh yes, that’s where my mind goes. He had checked in…to remind me that the wipers needed to be changed on my car and I said I would do that today. Did I? And you believed me? Sorry honey, not going to happen. Too busy.

The only thing that propelled me from my bedchamber was hunger. I did in fact clean up the kitchen and start to attack my closet….. Start is key. Finished hasn’t happened. Uh oh. Sigh. Oh well. Off to the couch. I was exhausted.

I had about a hour and a half, and I decided a good idea would be to turn on Apple TV and listen to every possible song that would make me cry. One. After. Another. It took about an hour for me to grow sick of myself. That was one hell of an hour, though. Ugly, ugly crying. How beautiful, really. The permission to fall apart and revel in it is an indulgence to be sure.

Ok. 30 minutes left to let the puffiness and redness dissipate….let’s google something. Peeps. (Favorite Easter candy….stale of course.). I had enough of my pity party – it was very successful – and all good things must end. I had been meaning to check out the funny things people do with Easter Peeps (who knows…)

Hot yoga peeps!


Peeps at the beach


Chemistry peeps (LOVE)


The creme de la creme….


I ended my day in laughter (and wine).

I am ready for tomorrow.

Pretty much....

Blogging strategery :: 10 easy tips for writing the best blog EVER (and how to not give a sh&t about a brain tumor)

First, strategery is not a word. Neither is irregardless.

Secondly, there are no 10 magical tips for the best blog EVER. There is no best blog EVER. There is only your blog. And if you don’t think you are rocking that shit then you have a problem….

Oh, yes, there are not 5 effortless steps to happiness, or thin thighs, or perfect children, either.

There are, however, title templates that seem to be working. It’s a marketing trend in the blog/article world – the essential, top, easy, magical, life-altering, salvation-inducing top tips for anything. Really? We have to stop being so EASY, y’all.

(a little gem from Facebook this morning…)

Considering how much people fascinate me, blogging itself has become a very unexpected source of inspiration and insight. If you have a blog then you know you can learn ALOT about what people want to read, what they do not want to read, as well as a million other little things. Here is what I have found out about YOU dear readers…. (And you thought you were just spying on MY life – ba ha ha ha)

Facebook and Twitter are the best marketing tools available.

Hey, I am right there with you. It is sad that on many days, Facebook is as far as I get in term of world news. (I follow CNN…it counts). Did you know I can see that you clicked from Facebook? And that I can see which posts you read and how often? Nope, you didn’t have to sign in or sign up….the Internet knows EVERYTHING…..and now I know a lot more….. Scary? It should be. I mean, keep reading my stuff because I am safe and witty and inspiring….but just know you are part of a big info-gathering, statistic and marketing machine.

While we are on the subject, Facebook is a nightmare for innocent, sweet bloggers like myself who just want to make the world a better place. It would be awesome if you would click a like or share button from time to time. It’s a complicated game to play, so thanks in advance.

People give a shit about brain tumors but not spirituality.

Most most popular post to date….”Why I No Longer Give a Sh*t About My Husband’s Brain Tumor”

My least popular post by far to date…”Finding My Spirituality {in spite of my religion}”

Finding joy and happiness seem to resonate (which is great because I have a lot to say on the subject) as does the ever popular topic of raising kids. Again – lots to say so I should be able to stay in business…

Big Lesson – steer clear of religion (if you are looking for increased traffic). I’ll still write about it – spirituality at least – because it means something to me. Most of you won’t read it.

Here is my challenge to you :: don’t just go for the blogposts that have the snappy titles or a subject matter that interests you on some level. Click on the stuff you don’t know about, read the posts that have no connection to your life, challenge your beliefs by reading about others. Not everyday, not every time. But once in awhile read about yoga even if you think it is a crock of shit……

People search for weird stuff on Google

A picture speaks a thousand words….This is my favorite search EVER!!!



Your loyal readership is making me RICH

I’m a sellout, I’ll admit it.  How could I possibly turn down a way to make some money while doing something that I love to do….. So yes, those tiny ads on my blog pay me money.  Lots and lots of money.  Keep clicking – I am soooooo close to retiring.

Actually, I am becoming rich.  Every single time I write something and you read it (whether you come to me from Facebook or Twitter, search Google or only read about brain cancer) I become rich.  I have met people (even if it is only virtually) that have touched my soul with their stories and inspiration.  I’m just like you – looking for hope and love and inspiration in a world that seems bat shit crazy.  Thank you for reaching out to me,  Thank you for reading about my life’s journey.

I can’t promise I won’t try to hook more of you with catchy titles and strategic subject matter….but I can promise I will continue to write about what speaks to my soul.  I hope you follow along and invite others to join us.

Thanks for the ride this far – it’s been WILD!!





I Love a Good Gimmick – Yoga Isn’t One of Them (Part I)

So here it goes…. a post on yoga. I have held back and held my tongue (shocking, I know) for many reasons. It’s really funny how people react when I tell them that yoga has been an integral part of living happily with Eric’s brain tumor. I will say for the most part I get eyeball rolls (some subtle, many not). Sometimes there is a connection to a class or two they have taken before, usually on vacation on the beach somewhere. And every now and then my remarks are met with a full on body glow…..ahhhh, a fellow yogi.

Ok, so before you click out of here and on to the next post from Facebook, let me tell you what this post is NOT. This is NOT a proclamation that everyone needs to practice yoga. This is NOT a promise that yoga cures anything. This is NOT a pitch for a vegan, incense-burning lifestyle. (That incense crap makes me choke! It reminds me of the fraternity houses in college when incense was the secondary haze trying to cover up other smells. Plus I love cheeseburgers…..)

This is just my story.

Packing on the Pounds

I’m small. Not skinny, but small. In fact my dear husband tells me I am the fattest little person he knows. This is one of our running jokes…how can I eat like a 200 pound linebacker? How can I be small and still have cellulite? Ooooooh, maybe I have cellulite because I eat like a man…… I love when Eric and I go out to eat, and he orders the salmon salad and I get the ribeye. The poor waiter never put the plates in front of the right person….. love the reaction and the fumbling. Awesome. I credit this love of terrible food to my dad – worst eater I have ever known. Rock on!

Anyway, Who cares!? Seriously, who gives a shit? I don’t. I love cheeseburgers and everyone has cellulite. Get over it. I have. I’m not going to say it is because of yoga but….. What if it IS? That right there is enough for me. I let go of my unfounded, ridiculous, stupid body issues. WIN.

Sorry – back to the real storyline.

When tragedy strikes in the South, casseroles and desserts are the answer. It is the greatest blessing in the world. First off, everything comes fully loaded – butter, sugar, whole milk. It is grandma’s recipe, and it is to die for. It is a cultural tradition that should be replicated everywhere. Food (good food) is the outpouring of time and effort and love to SHOW how much people care. That pound cake says “I care about you and your family so very much and my thoughts and prayers are with you.” Gosh, we are so darn lucky. How could I let even a crumb go to waste? I didn’t. Out of respect. And it was starting to really show….

I have never been one to exercise en masse. I dabbled a bit in the step aerobics phase and even gave Zumba a shot. Truth is, I like to be alone in my workouts. I spend so much of my life talking and interacting with people (especially when I was teaching – Lordy, was never alone); I need to spend time with me. I didn’t realize this is what I needed until now (self-realization – WIN number 2 for yoga). Exercise has always been my escape from being an extrovert.

So I ran. A lot. Back in the day it was blissful. Headphones and Walkman and I was off. I could think and daydream and breathe and sweat… I have vey sweet memories of running when I was pregnant with my first baby girl. I didn’t know the baby was a girl at the time… but I think I did. We talked during those runs. A lot. We talked about who I was, what we would be, and how in love I was with her. We got to know each other. I cried while I ran out of sheer joy… I had finally found the only person in the world I ever wanted to run with.

I tried to go back to my old standby, but it just wasn’t working for me. Things were different. I was different. Running wasn’t my liberation anymore. The brain tumor changed everything, and I needed a change. The dividing line I talk about in my life even cut down to the place where I took care of myself. (Oooooh, I need to take care of myself….yoga WIN 3… and I haven’t even started the real story yet!)

Y2 Yoga – $39 – One Month Unlimited

Right up the street I kept seeing signs for a new yoga studio that opened up. I passed that sign day in and day out (I grocery shop daily – soooo inefficient), and I felt a pull. What was this place? Who was there? What IS yoga? My sum total experience with yoga was on the Wii Fit…. Plus it was so CHEAP!

I called up my dear friend down the street, and we made a date to give it a shot. I know it was dark so we must have decided upon a 7:00 pm class. You know, a little stretching, a little meditation…at the very least maybe I will sleep a bit better. Plus for $39 it was a no brainer. I had a Target yoga mat (you know, from doing the Wii), a pair of leggings and a tank top and a water bottle. I had NO idea what I was in for…..

Stay tuned…it only gets better from here!

The New Car Phenomenon

OK, before I get to this post I have to tell you about an AWESOME encounter I had yesterday at Dean and Deluca.  Eric and I were meeting up for lunch, and as he was finishing his order, I was browsing the drinks.  I am not meticulous in many areas of my life, but choosing a drink I find especially difficult.  Tea?  Water?  Bubbles?  Soda?  Calories?  Weirdly overwhelming.  As I am considering my choices, I feel someone approach me and put her hands on my shoulders.  She says in my ear, with a huge smile on her face, “Every time I see you I just want to say “Fuck it!!!!””  YES!!!  We laughed and hugged like two school girls sharing a secret connection. YES!  Let’s just say “Fuck it!” when we see each other!  Fuck it!  I’m still smiling….

When I have a connection with someone like this, about my writing, I am humbled first off.  YOU read MY post?  And you remember what I said?  And it meant something….geesh.  THAT is nothing short of amazing.  But what I am also starting to witness is how much we crave commonality with each other.  It seems as though we are dying to know we are not alone in our thoughts and feelings.

Searching for common threads in seems to be bubbling up to the surface in so many aspects of my interactions lately.  Sure, I have long had the “cute shoes”, “love your purse”, “awesome earrings” bonding but this is transcending that by far.  I am feeling more connected, more REAL than I ever have.  I even have my sister posting cuss words on Facebook about breast cancer… It’s a beautiful thing.

Eric and I talk A LOT about the new car phenomenon, especially as it relates to the fucking brain tumor.  We get a Volvo SUV – everyone drives a Volvo SUV.  Start a blog?  Everyone has blog.  Diagnosed with a brain tumor?  Everyone has {or knows someone who has} a brain tumor.  Volvo SUVs don’t scare me and I am totally up for the blog competition, but the sheer number of brain tumors certainly has made my knees weak from time to time.  I have relentlessly pushed our doctors to explain WHY there is a proliferation of brain tumors in south Charlotte.  Every four months they once again, patiently (ish), reassure me that the incidences of brain tumors has not risen, but rather our ability to detect the tumors has become more advanced.  Humph….  I’ll ask again in another five days.

I actually think the new car phenomenon is what we are all looking for on some level.  A connection, maybe validation, to reassure us we are not to floating around alone.  We aren’t.  There’s your validation.  Other people have brain tumors.  Other people struggle to raise their children or believe in God or forgive their spouse.  You name it, it happens.  I get all kinds of worked up every time I go to the Ob/GYN.  Why?  Mine is not the first hoo-hoo she will be seeing…..geesh I am not even the first one that HOUR.  But yet it feels so…lonely.  But we aren’t TALKING about it, are we?

I find myself going back to what I wrote earlier this week and that is finding ways to be REAL.  Sometimes it is hard, right?  We wear so many masks for so many different reasons.  Many are self-imposed (like the perfection mask) but others come from the world around us.  It is hard.  I am lucky to be swirling around lately with a lot of people who are ready for changes in their lives, their children’s lives and in the world around us all.  The world seems to be looking for something….joy, happiness, peace.  I am honored to be one small voice, one small story, in a big movement to realign our perspectives.  I don’t think it takes a brain tumor….but I do believe it takes voices.


Screw Perfection :: Choose Practice

I am starting to believe that “perfect” may be the ugliest, most vulgar, and destructive word in our language.

In life there is not a perfect anything {Chase, my 12-year-old son, would argue for the perfect game in baseball….ok, fine. You got me there}. But other than something completely dependent upon statistics, perfection simply does not exist. Why then, dear friends, do we insist upon striving for something that isn’t real?


Teaching at an all girls schools in Memphis, TN in the mid 1990s was the best professional, and in many ways personal, experience in my life. Never before had I had the pleasure of being surrounded by so many girls and women. It was beautifully female 24/7…..I was drinking the Kool-Aid of single gender education and boy was I hooked. These girls and young women were spectacular. They came to school to learn and to achieve and to grow and to lead and to succeed. The standards were high. The girls rose higher. This is how to raise our daughters.

Years upon years in middle school classrooms have given me an awareness into not just beautiful adolescents, but our larger world. They are little mirrors of the million things that are right and the million things that are wrong in the world around them. We don’t watch them closely enough. We are far too quick to dismiss them because of their age, or their immaturity, or their hormones….. But they are, and they live, truth.

Perfection in our girls rears its ugly head and wreaks havoc far too often in their young lives. Perfect grades. Perfect shoes. Perfect binder organization. Perfect hair. Perfect color coded notes. Perfect skin. Perfect attendance. Perfect life. A young woman in the choke-hold of perfection is one of the most heart wrenching tug of wars you will ever see. There is a battle deep, deep down in her soul that consumes her every thought.  And it isn’t just our teenagers is it, friends?  I see it everywhere around me in my own peers. Perfect family, perfect home, perfect marriage, perfect life….  This ideal world we design in our minds stops us from being REAL.  And if we can’t be REAL I suspect we can’t find the elusive HAPPINESS we all desire.

I cannot help but notice how many articles, books, posts are written around the theme of finding happiness.  (Trust me the irony of that statement is not lost one me).  I have declared over and over again that the brain tumor has been my gateway to finding my happiness, my true joy.  I have thought and thought a lot about why that is and I can only come to one conclusion…..I just don’t give a shit about most things anymore.

I no longer want the perfect house, the perfect children, the perfect body… I understand that all of it is a farce.  Fake.  NOT REAL.  I just want to be real.  I want things around me to feel real.  REAL lets me know I am alive.  REAL inspires me.  Real can’t be faked and it sure as hell is not perfect.

I would love to replace how we perceive the attainment of our goals (and the goals we set for our children) to shift thinking away from perfection and towards the idea of practice.  My fellow yogis out there are smiling a little because we know, don’t we?  Hold on though, this is not just a “yoga thing”.  It is simply a lesson that can be cultivated from the practice of yoga.  Yoga is never, will never and does not never strive to be perfect.  There is no end game.  No finish line or perfect time or promotion or raise.  It is simply a practice. (ok, not so simple but I won’t get on my yoga soapbox in THIS post)

How awesome if our children practiced skills needed to be life-long learners?  How spectacular if we practiced being the best parents we can be?  What if we practiced being a good wife or friend or community member?  What if we used our strengths and practiced the art of creating a new business venture? Do you feel it?  The relief of practicing.  Maybe you could practice writing a blog (no don’t, I don’t need the competition).

Think about how freeing it is to say I practice having a great life.  No perfection, just practice.  Fall down?  Keep practicing.  Mess up?  Keep practicing.  Fail?  Keep practicing.  And what if you knew everyone around you was just….practicing.  Whoa.  Mind-blowing.  Life-altering.

The unattainable is everywhere we look.  And our girls….oh our poor girls…. not only do they see the unattainable perfection, they now live in a world where they have to also show their perfect selves.  Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook…..(oh wait…Facebook is where we as adults try to show our perfect lives….)  What if we changed their conversation in their heads.  No more perfect anything.  Just a life in practice.