Dear Matt Lauer and Today Show staff,
Against my better judgment, I watched part of your segment this morning on the so-called “No Rescue” parenting trend. I was frustrated with it for a number of reasons.
First of all, I don’t know who came up with the title “No Rescue” for this style of parenting, but it seems totally extreme and inappropriate. From what I gathered, these are parents who allow their children to experience the natural consequences of say, leaving your homework in your locker or your soccer cleats at home. “No Rescue” implies that if their child were about to get hit by a car these parents would cheerfully stand by, knowing that little Suzie would get a great life lesson out of their time in the hospital. “Next time honey, I guess you won’t be riding your bike in the middle of the road! What’s that? You’re in pain? Well, get your own morphine! No rescuing from me!” Parents like this would rightfully be getting a call from DFS. As far as I could tell, this is not the tactic that supposed “no rescue” parents are taking.
Secondly, while you may not have coined the term “no rescue” yourselves, you did choose to put the tagline that ran something along the lines of “these are parents who allow their children to fend for themselves.” This description again conjures up an image of parents throwing their children to the wolves, setting them out in the woods or on the street to, as you say, “fend for themselves.” Which also does not seem to be the case for this type of parenting style.
There are probably as many ways to parent as there are people. You would have us believe that we are all divided into a handful of categories, from Tiger Mom to Helicopter Parent, and in doing so create a manufactured controversy about which is the best way to raise our children. It is hard enough to parent, to not question your choices and decisions, without the Today Show and other media outlets trying to force us to choose, to pit us against our friends and neighbors, to rain down judgment on us for choosing this or that way to raise our kids.
For example, you describe a Tiger Mom as one who is strict and sets high standards. Well, my husband and I definitely are strict, and yes, we do set high standards for our kids. But I have actually read Amy Chua’s book, and while I found a lot of her parenting style did resonate with me, much of it did not. So I wouldn’t say I’m entirely a “Tiger Mom”. A “snowplow parent” apparently wants to get all the obstacles out of their child’s way, so they have no difficulties. I would say there’s a little bit of that in every parent who loves their child. We all know what Helicopter parents are like, and again, I think that there’s a little bit of that in all of us, as we worry about the world we send our kids out into every day. And then of course now the “no rescue” parent, who, gasp, might not rush over to school with their kids’ forgotten flute or horror, not drop dinner making to run over to the school to get a forgotten math assignment. This is really a thing? Why is this a thing? Why is this a thing worth talking about??? Who there is deciding that we need to have an entire segment on parenting to create yet another way for us to feel bad about ourselves and criticize ourselves and, in turn, criticize and judge those around us?
It’s like the media wants everyone to be pitted against one another. I guess “Everyone in this town gets along really well!” isn’t a very compelling news story, but “Wow, all these people are SO DIFFERENT in the way they parent!” is? When did “live and let live” go by the wayside?
Now, I’m not saying that everything is entirely relative when it comes to parenting. I do believe there are certain pretty black and white issues that are right and wrong when it comes to how you raise your kids. (Starving, beating, ignoring, abusing…yeah, all bad.) But most of those “black and whites” are at the far ends of the parenting spectrum, and everything else is pretty gray in the middle there. At the end of the day, the majority of parents love their kids. And they do what they do out of love for their kids. And we are all just trying our best to get through the day without hurting anyone and losing our ever-loving minds. All of which is hard enough without some morning talk-show segment that emphasizes our differences and makes people feel like “YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!”
I’m pretty sure most of us feel like that all the time anyway. So why don’t you do a piece on something more positive and encouraging and people-bringing-together instead of continuing to drive us all apart?
Tiger-Snowplow-No Rescue Mom,
It is time for small boys to go to bed. And none too soon for this one, who loves bedtime. We’re at a movie, out doing something fun and “I just want to go to BED” gets moaned with slumping shoulders. I imagine him as a teen, sleeping til noon on a Sunday morning, the specter of who he will someday be lurking just behind him.
We head for his room, where he grabs all 5 of his special stuffed friends, his arms just barely encircling them. Climb into the cozy flannel sheets I put on a bit too early-“Was your bed nice and warm last night? I put on your flannel sheets.” “Yes, but maybe a little TOO warm…” says the sweaty sleeper. Always sweaty, hair damp and tousled, arms flung wide and head at an impossibly cockeyed angle. Fall is arriving in fits and starts as usual.
I lie down next to him, snuggling being one of his top activities, dad and I having tied in the “World’s Best Snuggler” category (although I daresay he is the best). I put my arm around his fuzzy back-he loves his feeties, sweaty or not-he is lying at a funny angle because his flu shot arm hurts and he doesn’t want to lie on it. The flu shot brought tears and an Oreo Coolatta from Dunkins, since I am a sucker for this one. He hugs Boonga, the favorite stuffed friend, extra tight and says “I wish Boonga was real”, reminding me of the Velveteen Rabbit. Boonga is still the most important friend, the one who sits on the stairs waiting for him to come home. He’s as real as a stuffed animal can get. I let him hug Boonga for his portrait this year, which got a raised eyebrow from Dad, but I know that it won’t be long before he is getting dusty on the dresser, Toy Story playing out for real in just a few short years.
I lie there with him and smell his “boy” smell…one of my favorite quotes is from “Incendiary” by Chris Cleave, where the protagonist describes the smell of her boy as a “cross between angel and tiger.” I have never smelled either but can’t imagine a more perfect description of how my boy smells. The last of his Old Spice shower gel (used for the benefit of “the girls”) still lingering on his head. He flings his arm across my back and his tiny fingers feel like when they were a baby, grabbing on to the lifeline of Mom. We talk about his day, and when I ask him what the best part of his day was he says “Seeing you when I came out of school” and it does not feel like the world’s most obvious pick-up line. He smiles sleepily at me and leans over for a kiss.
I watch him as sleep takes over, as his eyes stop popping open to see if I’m still watching him, as his breathing slows and his arm gets heavy and slides off me. I see this boy, who knows the whole Bastille album, and always has his nose in a book. Who is afraid to ride his bike but not to sing “Hard Knock Life” for Annie auditions. With his skinny, knobby legs and tiny teeth that refuse to loosen even a little bit. His skipping around on the soccer field and sometimes powerful shot on goal (when he feels so inclined). The way he loves his sisters and how they look out for him. Someday there won’t be any room for me on this little bed, when he fills the hollow made by his teenage dad, sprawling out across a too-small twin bed. So I get in all the snuggles that I can, with this boy and his eyelashes like spiders’ legs, my own little angel/tiger.
This afternoon I read a great blog from Glennon Melton at Momastery about pointers for cheering on your kids at their sporting events. It was particularly timely because I had been extremely frustrated with myself the day before after watching my 7 year old son playing soccer. I was so aggravated with how competitive I was, as a parent on the sideline, watching these little kids playing soccer. I constantly try, at all my kids events, to keep my shouting of advice/instructions to a minimum or even non-existent but I have a terrible time biting my tongue and sometimes keep an annoying running commentary with whomever I happen to be sitting next to (that I know.) You can read the Momastery post here. A discussion on my over-developed competitive spirit is a topic for another post.
And yet…there was one thing about the blog that nagged at me, and continued to bother me for the rest of the day, and it’s something I’ve mused over before. Here’s a quote from her post:
“Let’s teach them that the victory is in SHOWING UP AND TAKING A RISK, not in the outcome.”
And while I certainly believe that to be true, especially when you’re talking kids 5, 6 years old and younger, I worry about the possible ramifications of taking the “If you had fun you won!” attitude to the extreme, the idea that you should get a gold star just for showing up, regardless of the outcome.
Now, Glennon is all about love. And it is beautiful, and I love her. I read her blog regularly and am so encouraged by her words. By her outlook on life, by her radical way of looking at the world. I often read stuff she writes to my kids in order to be yet another example to them of the kind of people I want them to grow up to be.
And then…there’s Amy Chua. The “Tiger Mom.” A kind of antithesis to Glennon’s love revolution. The one who admitted to giving her daughter a birthday card back that she had made her because she’d done a lousy job on it. It’s been a few years since her book came out, raising a real ruckus, but suffice it to say that the Melton and Chua households likely do not resemble one another in the slightest. (Beyond the obvious reasons of course.)
I read “Tiger Mom”. I actually liked it a lot. And while I thought some of her parenting strategies were over the top, as a whole I thought she made some excellent points. And I agreed with her that there is a culture in America where we are so worried about our kids’ self-esteem that we lavish them with praise for the smallest things, making that praise and any sort of hard work necessary to accomplish great things almost meaningless.
I taught in Baltimore City for 3 years. It was hard as hell. One of the hardest things I had to overcome was the mentality of some of my students that they deserved some sort of prize simply for showing up at school. Never mind actually doing any work or being respectful. When report cards came out and kids were unhappy with their grades the outcry was ridiculous. They could not see the correlation between the fact that they hadn’t done one damn iota of classwork or homework with the failing grade on their report cards. Or I’d assign a project, have a handful of kids complete it…the quality of the finished product may have varied, but you could tell that they’d at least made an effort, yet there was always one kid, who would scribble something on a piece of paper just before the bell rang, tear it out of their notebook and hand it to me and still expect a good grade for it simply because they had turned it in. When it came time for the state tests, we had to provide all kinds of incentives to simply get kids to show up to take the tests, because many saw testing time as a free vacation. We’d have pizza parties and the class with the highest attendance would get a dance party or you name it. Just to get the kids to come. to. school. Something they should’ve been doing anyway. Never mind actually trying hard or doing a good job on the test. Just show up and put your butt in the chair and get a prize! (And yet we were told “have high expectations of your students!” Can you say “mixed messages”???)
Earlier in this soccer season I was watching my son’s team get creamed like 15-1. They could not have cared less. They were laughing and skipping and having a right good time out there. Meanwhile, mom here was fuming. I got up and went and called my sister because it was so frustrating to watch for me. (No, I am not proud of my attitude. I’m just being honest here.) Afterward I was thinking out loud to my husband, wondering when kids start to care about losing (clearly its not the 4, 5, and 6 year old range!), when they actually notice the score and that they’re not doing so hot. I wondered why we say “You did a great job!” when they really did not do anything right at all. Are we lying to them? Trying to not be mean? Do we baby them too much? (Amy Chua would certainly say yes to that one, I believe.)
Because here’s the thing…I kind of want my kids to not like to lose. I want them to want to win. NOT at the expense of their wonderful little selves…I don’t want them thinking “We lost because I suck. I suck I suck I suck. I am worthless and I suck.” I don’t want them to desire success at the expense of others either. But I want them to think “Shoot. Losing sucks. What can I do better? HOW can I improve? How can WE work together better next time?” I feel the same way about grades. I want them to know that a D or F, or shoot, even a C, is NOT acceptable. (I realize, for some kids, their hardest work gets a C and that’s great for them but for my kids, that’s just not the case.) I want them to learn from their mistakes and do better the next time.
Because honestly…I don’t want my OB/GYN to have been passed along through school just because he showed up. I don’t want my kids’ teachers to have just gotten accolades and attaboys without the effort and excellent results it took along the way. I don’t want the accountant handling my money (ha, this is totally hypothetical!) to just feel so darn GOOD about himself but not be a professional, competent, hard-working person. I don’t want the guy in charge of the nukes to be someone who won just because he had fun. My kids (and myself, and I’d guess a lot of us) don’t naturally want to work hard. They want to take Easy Street. And if they’re getting all kinds of rewards for mediocrity or even total garbage, what is there to motivate them to do better??
So here’s my two cents and my conclusion: It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be a harsh “Tiger Mom”-ish push for excellence that (may) sucks all the joy out of something. It doesn’t have to be all rainbow stickers and happy faces and “everything is awesome!” either. I think we need (HELLO…like everything in life) a balance. A little Tiger and a little…um, what? Panda? Something cute and cuddly and lovey-dovey?? We need to push our kids to do their best, to strive for excellence (in ANYthing, not just sports or school. In their friendships, in their relationships, in how they treat others, in how they care for themselves and their bodies, to be the best people they can possibly be.
BUT…we also need them to have grace for when they (and others) screw it all up. To not let how they perform become their identity. To see the things they are good at and celebrate them but to also not get caught up in the things they are not good at and beat themselves up for those things.
To see opportunity for growth in failure. But maybe not a trophy.
So I have to write this now while it is fresh in my mind. It will lose its shine by tomorrow morning I’m certain.
Julia just got home from her first “dance” of sorts…it was a fun evening put together by a bunch of the 5th grade parents. Rented out the Optimist Hall, got a DJ…pizza, snacks, sodas, extra large Pixy Stix. Glow bracelets. Spinning disco lights and sparkles. Loud crazy pop music. The works. To celebrate leaving elementary school and heading off to middle school in the fall.
I came in about 10 minutes before the whole shindig was supposed to end. Me and a bunch of other parents there, leaning against the wall watching their kids be kids. I couldn’t find Julia for the longest time. She blended in with all the other long brown haired girls bobbing up and down in the front by the DJ. So I just watched.
Watched these kids…kids on the brink of being young adults, but still kids a little bit still. Running around, laughing, chasing, dancing, twirling. Eating. Downing plastic straws full of flavored sugar. Talking in close huddled groups. Running back and forth between the dance floor and the bathroom.
I had to force myself not to burst into tears.
I just looked at these kids and saw all the potential there, all the FUTURE in them. They are like exploding supernovas of possibility. All the hopes and dreams and maybes and not yets. The wishes and fears. The drama and the glory and the brains and the beauty and the things yet to come just bursting at the seams.
In a few years they will be more divided…there will be jocks and nerds and goths and punks and friends and enemies and frenemies….they will indulge in worse things than flavored sugar…they will love and hate and make up and forgive and most of them will graduate from high school with a totally different group of friends than they had tonight. They will have boyfriends and girlfriends and all of them will make good choices and bad choices and have things they regret and things they are proud of.
I know I should be terrified of middle school. And I am! Especially with a preteen girl. Cutting and eating disorders and Facebook hate and backstabbing and I hate you Mom and periods and sex and drinking drugs boys stress pimples cursing breaking free and becoming her own self.
But I am also so, SO excited for her. To see who she becomes. Because even though I know and fear the bad stuff, there is still so much GOOD stuff ahead. So much to learn. So much fun to be had. Memories to be made. Relationships to form. A person, a woman to become.
I’m so glad God’s given me the chance to be a part of this ride. (Ask me a year or two from now if I still feel the same way! Ha! :))
I popped open my email yesterday and clicked on the new work schedule for next week. I was very disappointed to see that another weekend has me working 5 hours both Saturday and Sunday.
This was frustrating for a couple of reasons. First, I had specifically asked to not be scheduled for both weekend days on this particular weekend. It’s opening weekend for the Orioles, and my husband will be working, probably all day, on both of those days. Which means finding childcare for my 3 kids for 2 days. While I do have my in-laws right down the street who are more than willing to hang out with my kids…it isn’t my intention to make them my permanent babysitters. They have a life of their own and things they want to do and I don’t think its fair to assume I can dump them at their house any time I need a sitter. I’m sure they will be happy to watch them on one of those days, but I will need to try to find somewhere for them to go on the other. This is a headache that I will have to sort out. Which is why I’d asked for it not to happen.
The other reason why this made me upset was because working on both weekend days really screws up family time. Normally, Bill is off, and he hangs out with the kids, which is great, but I’d like to hang out too. With him, with all of us together. Working 5 hours smack in the middle of both Saturday and Sunday really kills the weekend. I was tearing up thinking about how I was going to spend another weekend away from my family. I like the people I work with but if I had to choose…well, you know who I’m going to choose I hope.
Someone starts fussing with a sibling. Someone is doing something annoying. Whining. Not listening.
And I think “2 days away from all this nonsense where someone else has to deal with it. I’LL TAKE IT.”
All within the same 15 minute span of time I go from being sad about being away from my kids to thinking being away from my kids (and getting paid to do it!) is a bargain.
And that, my friends, is the roller-coaster ride that is being a parent.
One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that life is a lot less black and white than many people would have you believe. I know that 15 years ago I was way more sure what was “right” and “wrong” than I am today. I don’t think it’s because I’ve strayed away from truth…I think its just life and living it that have opened my eyes to the fact that there are way more shades of gray in there than you may notice from afar. When you really look deep into a particular issue, pay very close attention to the individuals involved, you can’t help but see that what may have seemed crisp and clean and black and white from a distance is really a kind of mess of shades of gray. And I don’t mean the Fifty kind:)
While this is disconcerting enough as an adult, it makes parenting really tricky. I don’t want to confuse my kids with my own uncertainty and vagueness about particular topics. I don’t want my issues, my questions, to become their issues and questions. (They’ll have more than enough of their own without taking on mine!) But I don’t want them to grow up to be blind to the gray, to be legalistic and dogmatic–towards themselves or others.
This is especially tricky as I have a child about to enter middle school. I haven’t had the “talk” with her yet…mostly because I’m trying to prolong her innocence about grown-up things as long as possible. But it has to be soon-I don’t want her entering middle school completely naive about sex and associated topics, I don’t want her hearing stuff just from other kids, or being taken advantage of in her ignorance. I hope that as we enter this new phase of her life we can have thought-provoking, good conversations–not just about sex but any of the sticky topics that are bound to come up as she becomes more aware of the world around her. I want her to feel like she can talk to her dad and I and get honest answers, not a brush-off or put off til another time that never materializes.
My problem is…how do I address things with her when I’m not always sure of my own answers to things? How do I set boundaries and help her set boundaries for herself without making her inflexible and rigid and unable to forgive herself when she inevitably trips up? How do I teach her grace without being overly permissive and morally ambiguous?
Let’s jump right into a very sticky topic–abortion. I want to tell her that if she ends up pregnant as a teen, her father and I would hope she would carry the baby and either give it up for adoption or raise it as her own (with our help, of course). BUT. I also want her to know that if she chose abortion…that we wouldn’t shut her out. We wouldn’t abandon her. We would disagree with her decision but love her anyway and we believe that God would love her anyway. How to convey this without sounding wishy washy??
What about say, drinking. Or illegal drugs? Obviously we will teach her that she should stay away from drugs, and that she shouldn’t drink until she’s of age. BUT. I don’t want her to be afraid to call us if she finds herself drunk and in need of a ride. Or if she’s tried pot or whatever I want her to be able to tell us without fear of us flying off the handle.
Any of these things…I want her to know where we stand, what our opinions are (which, I must say sometimes I’m even confused about what those opinions may be…) but I also don’t want her to be afraid of retribution, of somehow losing our love because she did what everyone does–makes a wrong choice sometimes. I don’t want her (or any of my kids) to think they’re “ruined” or beyond hope because they chose a path or made a decision that might not be what we had wanted for them.
I know in the past, people hoped that by “putting the fear of God” into their kids they would get them to behave. Anyone with half a brain knows that doesn’t really work. And how is cutting off your kid, “disowning” them, pretending they don’t exist showing them love? Think about some of the things people were fired up about in years past–“I’ll never speak to you again if you marry that black guy!”–how ridiculous they sound now! And is it worth losing that relationship with your child because they chose differently than you would have?? Would you really stop loving your child if they became an atheist or a Christian or came out to you as gay or had premarital sex or became a Democrat or a Republican…
Maryland’s former governor wrote this crazy editorial in the paper recently warning parents about sending their kids off to the liberal hotbeds known as “college”, lamenting the thought that those kids might come back with ideas in their heads that were different from their parents. Is that really so bad? Is it really cause for alarm that your kid might grow up to think differently from you?
I guess its easier to say yes to those things. I guess this is just one more way in which viewing the world as black and white makes life a lot less complicated. But I’ve lost that vision. I’ve lost my “black and white glasses” somewhere along this road. All I see is gray, gray, and more gray. Sure, some of it is closer to black. Some of it is pretty white. But there’s a hell of a lot more that is gray and blurry and scratchy in the middle, like a pixellated photo of someone. Honestly it is a lot more interesting when you see life that way, but it does make things like parenting a bit more of a minefield. How to raise a moral kid who isn’t judgmental. How to raise a kid who is full of grace for himself and others, and yet not morally ambiguous.
I guess I just have to take it one issue at a time right? And trust that the foundation I’ve laid for my kids will help them to make their own good choices. Choices with love at the heart of them–not just for others but for themselves too. Love and kindness and grace and mercy. And to be able to forgive and move on and grow when they don’t.
I spent most of the last 12 years as a stay at home mom. I feel very lucky to have had that opportunity. But the life of a stay at home mom is a topic for another post. Today I want to talk about the working mom…and yes, duh I know moms who stay home work. Didn’t I just say I stayed home for 12 years???
When Xavier started preschool a few years ago, I picked up a job in the athletic ticket office at UW. It was easy, flexible, and not entirely necessary. I didn’t really need to work, but I certainly didn’t need to be home all the time either. Bill had been the ticket manager at one point…I knew most of the people in there, so it was kind of a nice, easy fit. When I could work, I did, when I couldn’t–I didn’t. But it was really good to get out of the house and use the “non-mom” part of my brain. It was far from strenuous, but it was a good fit for my life and our needs at the time.
Fast forward to now…we’ve moved to Maryland and our house in Wyoming still hasn’t sold (don’t even get me started on that one…). Life is a little more stressful financially, so me working is more of a have-to thing right now. Which is fine, because its also a want-to thing–now Xavier is in kindergarten and so all the kids are in school and I certainly don’t need to be home all day. But this new situation has gotten me thinking a lot about working moms and the difficult situations they find themselves in.
I must say I’m not really talking about like say, CEO moms. Moms who have well-paying, kind of high-powered professional jobs. I’m sure they have their own challenges. I have absolutely no way to relate to those people. I’m talking about the blue-collar, minimum wage working moms. Moms who have to work long, hard hours to help their families make ends meet. I can’t say I can 100% relate to those moms either but its a lot closer to my situation.
We’ve had already one snow day, 2 delayed openings and 1 early dismissal because of weather. What is a working parent to do on those days??? I already have come to dread getting that phone call, and the threat of snow makes me tense and anxious. Because I have to find somewhere for the kids to go or else call out. Thankfully I have always had people who I could count on to help thus far. But what about if you don’t have those people in your life? How do you deal with that? Same thing with sick days. Thankfully my kids have been healthy so far this year, but there are 3 of them–someone’s bound to get sick. I find myself worrying about what I will do if they get sick and how I will deal with that.
I have very understanding boss. I’m sure that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I called in. But the thing is…I don’t want to call in. That’s money I’m not making. That’s someone who has to pick up the slack for me. How does a parent of a chronically ill child handle this? What do you do? I’m sure if it’s something I worry about, it must be a constant concern for some other parents who are even more dependent on their jobs than I am. Would you get fired if you called in too many times? Of course you would.
It gets to the point where your job almost feels more important in your mind than your kids. Because money is a worry. And your family needs to be taken care of. But you just want your kids to get out of the house and go to school so you can make money so you can take care of your family. It seems like a really vicious circle and I feel like I’m only getting a small taste of what millions of families must go through every day.
But all that aside…I really, really like working. I think part of it is the job–honestly, what better job for a mom than being a server??? Hell, that’s all I’ve done for the last 12 years! And now you’re going to pay me to take someone’s order, feed them, and then clean up after them? I’m like perfect for this! I also think multi-tasking is one of my “gifts”–is that a gift??– and so I feel like my brain is working at its highest level when its busy and I’m running around doing like 5 things at once. (That has got to be some sort of record for pathetic…that my brain is functioning at its highest level as a waitress. Not a brain surgeon or cancer researcher. A waitress. Geesh.)
But I like it for other reasons too…I like it because there I’m not someone’s mom or someone’s wife…I’m just Jen. Just me. I don’t feel like I have to be or do anything other than what I am doing right at that very moment…honestly when its busy I’m not thinking about anyone or anything other than the task at hand. And that is so very good for me. I like working because its just mine. It’s just for me. It’s hard to explain. But I feel some sort of freedom that I haven’t felt in a long time. (Note to those who think women should only stay home and not work–this will make most women crazy.) I like the people, I like the atmosphere. I worked 10 hours today and I was honestly kind of sad to get cut. I feel a weird sense of purpose even if that purpose is only taking orders, serving food, and cleaning up. I think that is probably really sad. But it is really true. And I just feel so good at the end of a day when I’ve been working. Most people would probably just shake their heads at me. Who knows. But who says you can’t find purpose and meaning even in kind of drudgerous (is that a word?? I don’t think so.) jobs?? Why would that be bad that I should feel good about what I’m doing, even if I’m not saving the world doing it?
I just know that getting back to work, even on a small level, after so many years at home is, well, it’s kind of awesome. And stressful. But I get it. I get why some moms don’t want to stay home at all. I get it that it is hard to juggle kids and work. I don’t know if there’ll ever be a way to rectify that entirely. But I’m awfully thankful for this season in my life, for the fact that our financial situation has kind of forced me to get out there and jump back into “work life”. It’s kind of making me want more…but in the meantime I’ve still got those three nutty kids who rely on me, so I’ll keep working to balance things between the two, because they both are highly enriching to my life. And not just financially either.