A stay-at-home wife dishes: Why I choose not to work – The Week

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Reposted from The Week, this article discussed the trailing wife who chooses not to work.  I appreciated her upbeat attitude.  -K

 

A stay-at-home wife dishes: Why I choose not to work – The Week.

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Where are you from?

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I thought I had it bad because people always want to know where I’m from.  I must have “NOT FROM HERE” on my forehead that only they can see.  Anyway, when I say “Oregon,” most times folks will nod knowingly and say something like, “They are really liberal out there.  You must be a vegetarian” or mention that my clothes are different.  A couple of men when I started my new job as an Environmental Scientist with the State of Kansas said they hoped I wasn’t treehugger. Wait, don’t we work for the Bureau of Environmental Field Services? Once, someone said to me “you know we don’t say ‘Hey, what’s up’ because that was said in the ’90s.”  This was a professor at the local university.   Oh, sorry, I forgot those of us from Portland are still living the dream of the ’90s.

But my friend Deb reminded me about this great YouTube video.  And I that I should shut my trap because I’m not dealing with racist stereotypes.

Which reminds me, has anyone seen the movie The Guard with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle? They tackle racism and stereotypes in an interesting way too.

Anyway watch the video and let me know what you think about racist stereotypes.

Helping Your Child Adjust to the Move

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I remember when my family relocated from Montana to Oregon in 1989 for my dad’s job. I was very excited at first to make a lot of friends; I thought it would happen the first day of school.  But when that didn’t happen, I was very sad and scared for a long while.  I’m not an outgoing person, so to ask for help was a huge effort; some people blatantly refused to help me which obliterated all the confidence I had mustered. Finally, people starting saying hello, and it got a lot better. But my feelings of incompetence and being odd lasted until the end of the year.

Suggestions

  • Try to find things your children enjoyed doing before you moved: It will show them that the new place and the old place have things in common.  Sports, music or art lessons come to mind, but other things like going to the library or their favorite restaurant also would help. Simultaneously, try to find a way that their life has improved with the move.  My parents rewarded us kids with our own bedrooms in the new house.
  • Your child will be having a lot of things thrown at them for the very first time ever in their lives: it might be the first time they ever hear a language accent or dialect, see another race, or see a tattoo or piercing. It might be the first time they have a locker with a combination lock (not as easy as one with a key), wait in line for food in a cafeteria or ride a school bus.  All of these were firsts for me when we moved when I was kid.  I was an utter wreck trying to figure it all out. Encourage your child to ask questions about new experiences and look for opportunities to educate while in the safety and comfort of your presence.
  • If possible, let your [young] child call or text you during the day for reassurance.  My parents wouldn’t allow that and it would have helped.
  • The way school is organized may be different and your child might be advanced or behind other children at the school. Try to find ways to accommodate these educational differences. Find extracurricular activities that foster learning so that your child can “catch up” if behind. Perhaps a private school, tutor or lessons are necessary if your child is advanced; you don’t want them to lose competency due to the school’s inadequacies.   Ensure your child does not become bored because that could result in behavior problems such as truancy or aggression.
  • Reward your child with their successes as they acclimate to their new town and be comforting and supportive as their grieve the loss of their friends and familiar surroundings. It won’t be long before they have new friends, but in the interim nurture them and their interests.
  • Try to find a balance between your teen’s need to explore and be independent, and your responsibility to keep them safe.  I had a co-worker who was from a rural part of the US allowing her tween son hang out with an adult man, who by the co-worker’s description sounded like a pedophile.  She wasn’t going interfere, however, because her son didn’t have any other friends and the adult man was teaching her son “art” in his home. Don’t let wanting your child to make friends override other indicators of danger.  Predators will prey on your child’s loneliness and vulnerability.  There are plenty of fish in the sea for your child to find children their age with similar interests.
  • If your child has special needs, you may not find the schools as supportive of the individualized education plan (IEP) to which you are accustomed.  Be prepared to advocate for your child and find a support group immediately.  They will have local resources that will be invaluable.  According to my friends, within in the same Kansas county, schools differ among the support an IEP receives. One parent told me that her school district didn’t acknowledge autism as a special need. Find a school that embraces your child’s traits and gifts. Know your rights.

What tips or advice do you have for parents who have just relocated with children?  Let me know in the comments below!

Lovely children's free photo

Photo credit: http://www.mi9.com/lovely-children-s-free-photo_82392.html

On the Trail with Pets

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Taking your pets along when you relocate has both its benefits and challenges.

In the long run, it ameliorates initial feelings of isolation, alienation, and chaos when you bring along your animals. They help alleviate stress with their companionship and silly behaviors.  Sometimes their routines help you establish your routines, which helps bring order and ward off feeling despondent.

There are also added stressors that can contribute to feelings of being alone and overwhelmed when relocating with pets. Maybe your new home isn’t conducive to every pet having a window perch of their own.  Maybe your new home doesn’t have a yard. Sometimes finding new food brands that your pets will eat is challenging:  I couldn’t find the brands they used to eat and the ones immediately available were not preferred (aka cats refused to eat).  Always finding a new vet is stressful.

For me, the traveling itself was stressful because my husband would yell at me when the animals yowled or complained in the car.  Upon arriving in our new city, my white and brown kitty became seriously ill and would howl at night disrupting our sleep.  This caused fighting in the morning between me and my husband, who would then leave to go to his work and I would be alone after being yelled at.  Coupled with trying to find a veterinarian that I trusted (I went to three!), I was worried that my little furry friend was dying because she had stopped eating and urinating. Fortunately, we found a competent vet who knew how to treat her well.  After the surgery, my little kitty was so much better and surprisingly my husband softened towards her as well since he could see that she’d been in pain previously and not trying to be obnoxious.  Now that she’s well, I’m so glad she’s here since the new city is still foreign to me; she also provides companionship to the other cat for which I’m grateful.

Lessons Learned

  • If possible, try to keep one or two alternate brands of food that you know your pet will eat, so if your pet suddenly won’t eat or you can’t find their favorite dish in your new town, you have alternate choices already vetted.
  • Find out upon arrival if your new local municipality or county has special pet ordinances.  For instance, Multnomah County in Oregon had specific pet laws, such as mandatory rabies shots and registration of current rabies inoculation.
  • Try to identify before your pet is sick a vet that you like, who is also convenient and affordable.  This will save a ton of anxiety down the road if or when you need emergency pet care.
  • Letting your pet adjust to your new home, and maybe yard, can also help you adjust.  Following simple routines can help establish order and harmony for you and your pet. We maintained an “exercise time” whereby I would dangle a feather toy to allow the cats to run after it. It helped us bond during a stressful time, they got to run around and burn off extra steam, and I felt like I was being a good pet parent when the rest of my life was in shambles.

What have your learned from relocating with pets?  Leave your comments below!