Tag Archives: Raising Kids

College: Is it really necessary?

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Some friends and I were talking a few days ago and we happened to get on the topic of college. That conversation was probably one of my favorites since I love talking about and understanding the impact that our choices have on our lives and on society as a whole.

So, one of my friends said that he and his wife feel that having a college education is very much needed to get to where you want to be in this life. A few of my friends were torn in what they truly believed or had no real opinion about it one way or another. The majority of my friends felt like most of their parents expected them to go to college and obtain a degree and, as such, they knew they would require this of their own offspring as well. I was joined by only one other friend who felt that while a college degree is great to pursue it is not absolutely necessary for lifelong success.

I’m of the belief that when the Lord has called you to a particular thing He will open the doors – that you will need opened – to get you to where He’s called you to go. God can, will and has already given you certain gifts that will help you on your journey of life. One of my dearest friends, who barely finished high school and is one of the smartest people I know, has a very evident gift of knowledge. A gift of knowledge, for those who don’t know, is having a mind that is able to figure out, quickly learn or just plain know things that most people only know if they’re “formally” taught those things. This is the way that the gift has manifested itself in my friend however, I am sure it can manifest itself in other ways as God wills. All in all, this IS a real gift that can make a person look – and sound – college educated without actually being so.

I understand that it is the goal of colleges and recruiters to enroll as many students as possible. That is their mission and their job and I’m not mad at them for taking their jobs seriously and holding their position in high regards. I’m appreciative to these institutions for being here for the many people who can, will, have been called and do desire to attend college. What frustrates me is that we, as parents, are not truly in prayer for our children and for our children’s futures. What grieves my heart is that we are not consulting God – in everything that we do – in how we are raising, what we are speaking and how we are guiding our children. Since my belief is that not everyone is supposed to go to college, it makes no sense for those individuals to go and put themselves in the position to incur student loans and other debts for an education that they will either never fully use or walk down a path that they’ve not been called to in the first place.

No wonder why so many college students change their majors on average 3 times before settling on one. We are sending our children into the world and expecting them, at 18 years old, to have a well thought out, surefire plan so that we can feel good about sending them out to begin and fulfill that plan. We are not setting our children up for success but rather for failure. If we will be real, we can all see how this is sending a message to our kids that conformity is better than being distinct. This message says, “Don’t have your own dreams, goals or vision, just do what everyone else is doing and be what everyone else is being and everything will be fine. Oh yeah, and God doesn’t need to know about this but you can bring Him along for the ride!” Are we serious?!?

I said all of this to say that it is up to us to understand how we are gifted, know what we have been called to do and to be obedient and walk in that calling and our own individual purpose. I know of so many people who believe if you do not hold a college degree, that you are uneducated and/or unintelligent and thus not on their level. This could not be further from the truth. I also know of those who believe so deeply in being college educated that if, for some reason, they are not able to attend college their identity and self-worth suffers. I was one of those people but thank God for grace!

As you can see, this is one of those topics that I could talk about for hours. It intrigues me, indeed. But enough of my thoughts on the subject, I’d love to get a real dialogue going. Go ahead, chime in and let me know your perspective.

Will All The Real Fathers Please Stand Up?

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What do you say to a child who has gotten their hopes up time and time again only to be let down? What do you feel, as a mother, when you know that hurt is an inevitable part of life and you see your baby hurting in ways that a child never should know? How do you explain that dad is not coming to get them, once again, because he had something “more important” come up?

20130505-lifeclass-fatherless-sons-quotes-1-600x411This is my reality.

This is what I stay up at night wondering about.

This is my children’s reality.

This is what I witnessed, for the umpteenth time, over this past weekend.

This is a true story that has no happy ending.

We waited for over an hour and he did not show up. No call. No email. No text. Nothing. Six o’clock came and went. Seven o’clock came and went. Finally, at 7:11pm, to be exact, the phone rings. It’s him. My oldest daughter answers the phone. We are still waiting in the vehicle at the exchange spot for him to come. He asks what the kids are doing, to which my daughter responds, “We are still waiting for you.” A moment of silence before he asks who are you all with… “Mom.” I guess he feels ashamed or does not even care because he just says, “Okay. I will call you all tomorrow morning.”  fathershurt

No apologies.

No acknowledgement of fault.

No reassurance that he still cares for them.

No nothing.

Tomorrow morning comes. Tomorrow morning goes. No phone call from their dad. Finally, at 3:14pm a text message is received. It reads, What r u doing? To which one of my children respond. The next text, from him, comes a few moments after he receives the text from the children. It reads, I cannot talk to you about adult stuff. Tell your mom to give me a call today or tomorrow. That’s it. He’s gone. No phone call, as he said he would do the day prior. No more texts for the rest of the day or the rest of the weekend.

Now, ihavingkidst’s Tuesday.

No communications received from him at all since Saturday.

How do you live with yourself? is what I begin to wonder.

Many of you already know how it breaks my heart to see my children cry or suffer, in any way, and to know that there is really nothing that I can do to change their reality. Many of you also know how much I truly wish that there was some way for me to erase the past and start again with a clean slate; a blank canvas.

This is not possible.

This is reality.

This is our reality.

I cannot control the actions of my ex-husband but I can control my actions in (and beyond) their presence. I always find myself feeling like there must be something more that I can do to shield my children and guard their hearts from this unnecessary, externally inflicted pain.goodfathers

But what?

Do you know?

Does anyone know?

If someone does, please reveal this long lost secret to me because I cannot begin to fathom how someone who claims to love their children – their seed, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh – can truly be so destructive in their behavior and actions toward those same children. Not to mention how they can destroy what little relationship, and trust, that they may have built.

Where trust once existed, is now a field of distrust.

Where certainty, now only doubt clouds those skies.

It’s mind-Father-to-the-fatherless1blowing to me how some men can father children only to leave them when the marriage or relationship fails. This is not adult behavior and it is not mature behavior, in the least. Why do we have so many men who want to play house but choose to skip out on their responsibilities and are nowhere to be found when the real “storms” come? Who said that it was acceptable for them to leave families shattered, homes fractured and hearts broken?

Enough is enough!

This will no longer be our reality.

Sometimes, I wonder what it will be like when my children become adults. How will they be with their own children and spouses? Will this affect their lives beyond what I can see right now? Lord, I sure hope that it will make them closer to You. I hope that this pain will reveal strengths to them that they did not even know that they had. I hope that through all of this, my children will learn to let their yes be yes and their no be no. When they are grown, successful and living out their purpose on this Earth, for all to see, I pray that they will not shun their biological father. If they do, I pgodslovebookray that he will understand and se
e how all of this time that he is missing contributed to their cold hearts toward him. I pray that at that time he will acknowledge his failures, apologize for his lack of affection and consider this misuse of his time. Above all, I pray that my children will understand and walk in forgiveness – to know it for themselves, to show it to others and to freely and graciously give it to their dad someday.

Humility.

Forgiveness.

This will now be our reality.

Evacuation Training: A Look Into American School Evacuation Plans (or lack thereof)

“Even with all of the school shootings reported, there are still so many left unreported. So many names that we’ll probably never know, so many people we’ll never get a chance to meet, so many lives cut short, so many destinies that will never be fulfilled and so many stories with chapters left unwritten.”

  • Anonymous

On Friday, October 9, 2015, I had the opportunity to attend a training for our school district’s Evacuation Plan and Procedures. It was very eye-opening and very sad, if I can be honest with you. Eye-opening because until that day I had not really thought much about this type of thing. I guess you could say that I, like many others, have been quite immune to living in a “safe” town, where not much really happens. So, when the thought of school shootings was presented to me, it definitely opened my eyes, and mind, to what “could be” someday. No one and no school is immune to a tragedy like a school shooting. A bullet has no name on it, as they say. And still I wonder how many people truly think about this when they send their children off to school (or anywhere for that matter).

Some of the most well-known school shootings, we’ve all heard of, began this revolution of evacuation planning in our nation’s schools however, up until recently many of our school administrators, etc. have not truly done their research to ensure that our children remained safe while in their “care”. I learned that majority of our schools, in America, have this “sitting duck” mentality and approach to school evacuations. In my district however, they are changing protocol and educating the teachers, staff, students and families that if God forbid a school shooting were to occur in our district, that there needs to be multiple options for escaping with our lives. Now, instead of being sitting ducks and hiding under tables or whatnot, our children and educators are being given the choice to run with their students or have the students escape if it is safe, they are implementing an announcement protocol and have even gone so far as to implement rally points and ways that students & teachers, who cannot escape, can still possibly survive this type of tragedy.

Even with all of the planning, it is still up to us, as parents and adults, to ensure that we educate ourselves and our children on the awful and scary things of this world. We trust educators enough to send our children to school to be taught by them and “watched” by them while we work or go to school or whatever, but we need to understand that they are flawed human beings, just like we are, and they don’t have all the answers and can and will make mistakes also, even when we need them to not make those mistakes. I think it’s time for us to take a stand and reach out to our Superintendents and Politicians and join PTAs and do whatever else we must do in order to ensure that ALL of our school districts are preparing for the day that we hope – and pray – never becomes a reality.

I urge you to think about this, to speak with your families – especially your children- about this, and to truly equip yourselves with your own district’s protocol and plans for this particular thing. You may find that everything is A-okay or you may find that things need to be reevaluated and new procedures need to be put in place. Visit your local school, Regional Office of Education or contact your Representatives and let’s start a movement to make our schools safer and our educators and students better prepared for the “what if’s” of this day and age.

I Am Not Superwoman

“The way we spend our time defines who we are.”  – Jonathan Estrin

Guilt is something that all moms may feel but I have a serious question for you. Do you think that the guilt felt is even greater for single moms? I tend to think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes’. Maybe it can be attributed to our society or just because we feel extra pressure to be “on” ALL of the time but I know there have been times when I have wanted, very badly, to take some much needed time for myself and I have felt like I was the most awful mother in the world for feeling this way. Just the thought of wanting my children to leave me alone so that I could have a moment of silence or just to sit and relax without hearing “Mom” being yelled out every 5 seconds appeared to literally be heaven on Earth. However, for some reason, I would never fix my lips to ask for, much less take, that time. I mean, there were (and still are) times when I’d have to talk fast just to be able to pee alone! (TMI? Yeah, maybe it was.)

What do you do to not feel so guilty? And, if you don’t feel that guilt anymore, what have you done to make “mommy time” seem acceptable to you?

timeoutMomI know, for myself, I need just even an hour a day to recharge so that I am not so snappy with my children and/or others. I notice that I am sometimes not able to make that work, especially with children still under the age of 2 in my home, but I really try hard to get the rest that I know I need every night and to get the time, throughout my day, to just sit and relax… BY MYSELF. During my “me time” adventures, many times, I will do something that I enjoy like having lunch with a friend or reading a book or working on my writing projects, both here and elsewhere. However, there are times that I do things that just need to be done like cleaning my house, going grocery shopping (ALONE) or balancing my checkbook. I just try to make sure that I get a chance to have some ME time as often as I need it, without neglecting my children and my responsibilities as a parent, of course but still being true to who I am as a woman.

Surprisingly, I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself anymore. It took me a LONG time to get to this point – it definitely was not all peaches and cream – I most certainly struggled with the thought of being able to take time for myself, away from my kids, and still being seen as being a “good” mother. My struggles were mainly internal and fear-based, stemming from current circumstances and also from how I was raised, but I had to realize that not every woman or mother is the same and what works for one family may not – scratch that, WILL NOT – work for my family and that is OKAY. Honestly, once I got this internalized and deeply rooted inside of me, it allowed me the freedom to finally start taking that time I so craved and deserved but never would ask for or act upon. What I learned is that I need time to replenish my energy, especially with how active my children are and with the busy schedule that we sometimes carry. The fact of the matter is simply this, I cannot be the best mother, friend or woman (period) that I want to be, and that I know I can be, if I do not take some time to do the things that bring me joy and that make me who I am.

So, what are you struggling with today?

As moms and as women, in general, we tend to take on the burdens of this entire world and it usually leaves us drained and unable to be the best us that we can and want to be. I think that it is time for a change and time for us to brush off what society (or other people) try to say to us concerning this subject. The thought for the day is to remember that it is alright to take some time for yourself. Your kids will still be there and they will still love and respect you. Not only this, but it will teach them that everyone needs – and deserves – to have some time for themselves to just relax, do things that they enjoy and to just be free. Don’t let society or the thought of being a bad mommy scare you because those things are not true and do not define who you are, in the least.

Until next time, Word-ies! Have a very, very happy hump day! 🙂

How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps

oas_9781621885054_270I am on this journey of reading different devotionals and books. I had not been able to read as much as I’d like to however, lately, I have had this “extra” time on my hands and decided to fill that time with God and with reading. It has been truly refreshing. Recently, I was sent a new devotional, through my Bible app, and I decided to check it out. It was entitled “How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps”. Yeah, it was a little weird to me too as first but I promise you I am not making this up.

Usually when we think of having children and raising them, we typically don’t think of harming them and we definitely don’t entertain the thought of ruiningSeven-deadly-sins them. However, as I was reading through this devotional, I began to understand how we really can (and do) ruin our children and make life harder for them, and ourselves, than we may realize. Obviously, this devotional is Biblically-based and, as such, often refers to passages of scripture or sin that opens the door to a parent or guardian ruining their child.

So, here’s a little history (or cheat sheet) on the 7 deadly sins, which is hard-work-vs-lazinessultimately what is used to show how we can ruin our children. The seven deadly sins can be found in various books of the Holy Bible. Here is the breakdown:

  • Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
    adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
  • Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21).
  • Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness (interest in acquiring money or other material things): “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).wrath
  • Sloth – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: laziness: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
  • Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
  • Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: envyjealousy: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
  • Pride – quality or state of being proud: inordinate self-esteem: haughty or puffed up: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”
    (Proverbs 16:18).

As you can see, many of these sins are not things we would normally greed-quotes-1consider to be that bad (or that big of a deal) but God looks at these traits differently than we do. Sometimes we are operating in these things and we do not even know it. Even when someone tries to point these things out in us, many times, we will accuse that other person of being mean or insensitive or just plain wrong about us. Sometimes that may be true but what if they are right about us? Then what?

We often hear people complaining about society and how the world isn’t like it used to be and our youth are not as respectful, compassionate, thoughtful as they used to be but let me pose this question to you. Do
you understand that many of these complaints stem from the way
someone was raised?

pride-quotes-8God has given us, who are parents in any way, the responsibility to raise our children to become the adults that we want to see them become. Raising a child is more than just providing for them financially and physically but it is guiding them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It is giving them opportunities to make mistakes while they are still under your guidance and care so that you can correct them and help them to understand why something is “this way” and not “that way.” I would encourage any of you that have been given the opportunity to impact the life of a child, in any way, to read this devotional. I truly believe in the saying, “when you KNOW better, you DO better.”

I am PRO child support

Why is it that there are so many different views on child support? There are those who look down on you for enforcing this LEGAL act. Then there are others who applaud you for not letting the non-custodial parent “slide”. No matter how many times I speak with someone about this subject, there is always one extreme or another. There is NEVER anyone who seems to be in the middle or even undecided on this subject, as I guess it should be. I mean, how can you really be in the “middle” about this issue and, even more so, what would that even look like?!?

The reason for this topic is because I was recently in court, with my ex, and I found out that he is working at a new job that he2yrsCS never reported. This job change was actually disclosed to me through others who told me that he was actually working at a new company but since he hadn’t mentioned anything to me, I didn’t really think anything of it or try to make a big deal out of it. Needless to say, I have been getting only $150/month for the 4 children we have together. This was based on his extremely part-time nightclub/bouncer job and NOT his full-time VA hospital job. Because of things like this, this is why I feel the way I do about the courts and about non-custodial parents getting off scot-free.

How can you live with yourself, as a parent (man or woman), knowing you are able and should be contributing more to the care and financial well-being of your children but you choose not to??? That makes no sense to me.

deadbeatMaybe it’s just me, but I feel like when you have a child and the relationship between you and the other parent does not work out, you should still hold the other parent accountable for helping to provide financially for that child. Most of the time, this is the only way the non-custodial parent will still be involved in the life of the child because, from my own experience, most of the time they are not mature enough or available enough to parent the child consistently and be there emotionally and physically as well – so, in my opinion, the financial should be enforced if nothing else is. You did not lay down and make those babies by yourself and you should not have to care for them by yourself.

Now, I totally agree that child support is meant solely for the support of the children. I do not agree with parents who use the child support monies on themselves. I will never understand why some parents take what is rightfully due to their children and use it to pamper themselves with new hairdos, manicures/pedicures, new clothes, new shoes, etc. Why is that money wpid-real_man_quotes__05not going towards getting your child(ren) all of those things and more??? That is also something that I will probably never totally get.

I just feel like single parents sometimes get a bad wrap, especially single mothers who pursue getting child support. Many men feel that all women are doing the same thing and that they are all just misusing the child support monies and only pursuing these payments out of revenge. My grandmother said that there is always a little bit of truth in everything so I suppose there is some truth in how these men feel as well. However, I also know that there are women who work hard to provide for their children and sometimes, there are men in (or out) of the picture who do everything in their power to avoid paying child support. Or, as in my case, they don’t report additional income in an effort to avoid paying even more, in child support, than they want to pay. Either way it goes, it is foolishness and it is a true sign, in my opinion, of a deadbeat parent.

I wish more people would support those of us who do right by our children and with the child support that we do get and stop treating us as if we are ALL the same. News flash….we are NOT all the same! And that’s my two cents….

Homeschooling: My Thoughts

Why this topic, you ask? Let me give you a little history and maybe then you’ll understand why this topic is now coming up.

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I was almost always a straight ‘A’ student throughout my elementary school years. Every club and every sports opportunity that was presented, I took advantage of it. There is nothing that I hated about school but there are things that I disliked (and that I still dislike) about the public school system. I don’t have any personal experience with being homeschooled as a child. I am a product of the public school system and proud of it. So, you may ask what gave me the desire to do something so outrageous as homeschooling my own children?

Ever since my children were little I’ve known that I wanted to homeschool them. I even went as far as homeschooling my older girls who are now ages 11 and 9 years old and heading to 6th and 4th grades this school year. The only reason I stopped homeschooling was because of going through my divorce and having to work more often, which left me with very little time and energy to even think about continuing to homeschool. On top of that, I couldn’t see how anyone, including me, could realistically homeschool their children while also being the sole provider.

Martin-Luther-King1However, the desire to homeschool never went away. In fact, it has only gotten stronger over the years. Although the thought of working from home “full-time” takes me completely out of my comfort zone, I truly believe that God is giving me the grace to be able to homeschool my children again, and for good this time. I am still struggling with whether or not to continue to send my older girls to school, since they have been doing well in that environment, but we’ll see.

My 9-year old has struggled to stay afloat in the public school environment since she is more of a kinesthetic learner and needs to touch things and move around often in order to truly learn a particular subject and they just don’t allow for that in most schools. Also, she has already experienced her fair share of being bullied so that is another reason for my concern with sending her back to school this year. However, instead of making my children’s decisions for them, I usually talk to them (especially the older ones) and I let them have a voice in how we proceed in most, if not all, situations. This will be no different. If they stay in school it will be because they are prepared to stay and because we feel it is the better choice for them at this time.

Homeschooling, to me, is more than just being able to teach my children of our Christian values. It is being able to have my Children-Quotes-461children learn in ways that really allow them to master a subject and not merely just memorize the correct answers for a test. I don’t care what anyone says, many of us adults can barely remember algebra or even what an adjective is. And when our 3rd graders bring home their homework and expect us to help them with it, we sometimes have to Google what ‘this is’ and what ‘that is’. That’s ludicrous in my opinion! It also shows that we learned things merely to pass various tests and never really mastered MOST of the subjects “taught” to us.

I am by no means saying that there aren’t great teachers in the public school system, because I believe my children and I have been blessed HowToThink_notWhatToThinkto have some of the best teachers this world has to offer. I am just saying that public school does not work for everyone. Likewise, homeschooling is not something that will work for every child or family. I do think we must weigh the pro’s and con’s of these major decisions and truly understand how each could affect our children’s and our family’s lives.

Either way it goes I am prepared to step into the role of a single, homeschooling parent. Although I rarely see or hear about single parents taking on this role, I believe that when God calls us to do something He also equips us with the tools we need to do it, period. With His grace and leading I know that everything will work out fine.

I’m Telling Your Mama!!!

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Do your kids ever make you just want to pull your hair out? This is a very serious question by the way. This week alone my daughter’s school has had to call me, at work, to come to her school to bring her a change of clothes. Why, you say? Well, because she wants to leave out of the house dressed any type of way. Mind you, this is a little girl who is only 8 years old!!!!

I guess I need to start seeing if there is any way that I can go into work a half an hour to an hour later because obviously my sitter is not really checking my children before they leave for school in the morning. I have to be at work an hour before the kids leave out for school so I have a sitter who comes to the house to be there with my kids so I can get to work on time. She is a young college-aged girl and pretty responsible, from what I thought when I interviewed her. My kids love her and so do I but this past week has brought an issue to the surface that I didn’t know that we had. This issue of clothing and dressing appropriately.

Now, before you judge me, please listen to all of the facts. I do not go out buying my kids inappropriate attire. I am fairly modest and I dress my children in modest, yet also trendy ways, as well. However, we all know how kids can be, especially little girls. There have been times when I have thrown new clothes away and had to send one of my daughters back to their room, to change, because I noticed that one of them had decided to cut their pants up or do something else destructive (yet creative in their own minds) to look more “stylish” and to “fit in”. I was no angel when I was younger either but I think this is a different issue totally. Kids today definitely have it much harder than even my generation did when we were kids.

Celebrities – who are supposed to be “role-models” for our children – are talking about things and making it seem as if you have to wear a certain thing or look a certain way to be accepted. The media is presenting images and they are targeting our young girls more now than ever before in history. This whole world is being oversexualized. Our kids minds are being warped and their innocence is being taken away, little by little. I think it is an absolute shame.

If we don’t do something now to change this and teach our daughters that they are beautiful no matter what then we are going to have a bigger problem on our hands in the future. But this is not just something that we should be teaching our daughters because our sons also need to be taught to respect their mothers, sisters and any other women who may come into their lives. After all, we are raising young boys and girls who will become men and women someday. Something to think about…

So, what do you do when you have an issue with your child that you are not sure how to approach? How about your sitter or anyone else who is supposed to be a responsible adult in your child’s life?

Kids and Technology

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The days of kids playing outside or making up games, on their own, to play with their siblings and friends are long gone. It is in this way that I, and many others, believe that our children’s creativity and imaginations are being stifled and, even worse, eliminated altogether.

We now live in a world that craves more and nothing is ever enough. Our 8, 10 and even 15-year old children throw temper-tantrums when we tell them that they are not getting that new video game. Children as young as 5-years old now have cell phones and they talk about other children, their age and older, whose parents have chosen not to buy them one. This is ridiculous!

Don’t get me wrong, technology is the way the world is going in and I am an advocate for our little ones staying knowledgeable and in the fast lane dealing with this. However, I also feel that it needs to be controlled because technology addiction, even among children, is a reality.

I began noticing this new form of “addiction” years ago but never actually experienced it myself until my now 10-year old daughter started to get a bit irritable just being around her siblings. One night, after slaving over a hot stove, I called the kids downstairs for dinner. I prepared their plates, sat them on the table and then stepped out of the kitchen for a moment to answer a call or send a work email, can’t remember which.

When I came back in and proceeded to sit down at the table, I noticed that there was no one at the table and that my children had each gotten their plates and went into the family room and other parts of the house. At this time, each of my children had hand-held video gaming devices, access to 2 laptops, tablets and a cell phone that the older girls each shared. This is when I realized that I had contributed to this because of my desire for my kids to not be “left out” and to be “in the know”. I was contributing to my children barely saying 2 words to each other, let alone myself, and I was not happy about this.

This family was becoming the family I grew up in as a child and it was not at all what I had envisioned for my family to be. I wanted to communicate with my children but I noticed that I had given up control and stop really even trying to have a relationship with my kids. I blamed it on the stress of being a single working mom and not having enough time and all these other things but I purposely allowed my children to become more engaged with gadgets than with having a real conversation with me and their siblings. When I began to own that…I was able to really move forward and make change happen.

The change did not happen overnight, not by a long shot. It happened slowly and sometimes I just wanted to give up and let the gadgets continue to have my children but I kept pushing forward. It probably would have been easier had I had someone in my corner, rooting me on and telling me that the end results would prove to be worth the proverbial “blood, sweat and tears”.

The main changes that I made were not that drastic. I didn’t take away and destroy all of the technology in my home or tell my children that they could not be on these objects. The only thing that really changed was the amount of time we used our gadgets each day. We established a couple of new “traditions” in our household. One was simply that, each night, we now sit down and eat dinner TOGETHER and we do not bring our cell phones, tablets, video games, laptops or any other form of technology to the table. This has helped us to be able to reconnect in numerous ways but, most importantly, has aided in how we communicate with one another and show our love and gratitude through our words.

The other “tradition” is that we take at least one day each week to not do anything more with technology than we need to. Most of the time this is a weekend day because during the week we all “need” technology in some way…whether it is my children who now have to research things online for certain projects and homework assignments or needing to respond to a last minute-urgent work email. There is almost no way to get around using technology during our week so we usually will keep Saturday or Sunday as our “No Technology Day” or severely limit the use of it for a few hours so that we can breathe, volunteer/serve, reconnect with each other and other people in our lives, and even do other things that we don’t get a chance to do when we are immersed in all of our technology.

This may or may not work for you and it may or may not be an issue for your family. If it isn’t, then congratulations for starting out on the right foot. You are among the few families that this has not become a problem for. However, if you or someone you know are struggling with technology addiction or if you would just like to learn more about this “new” mental illness, visit WebMD and HelpGuide.org for additional resources and information.