If you can't make it better you can laugh at it. ~Erma Bombeck


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Damama's Use It or Lose It Advice on: Things Inquiring Minds Want To Know - Part II: Helping Enablers

In a follow-up to her previous question, Brandi said...

Alright, now I have another question. This one comes from Jon as well as me. What do you do if that person who doesn't manage her money well is your mother-in-law and other people (outside the family) are bailing her out? She of course still comes to each of her children (5) and their spouses for help. We help do her laundry, but we no longer give her any money.

ANSWER: You have no control whatsoever over the choices other people make. The best you can do is to try to talk to them and enlist their help in helping your MIL. I'd set up a meeting with those you know are enabling her poor life choices to make sure you are all on the same page. I'm betting that the story they are getting from her involves something along the lines of "my kids have abandoned me after all I did to raise them and clothe them and put a roof over their heads..." waaaa waaa waaaaaaaa.

Be aware that you will most likely run into at least a few who have codependency issues. For them, helping your MIL is a form of self-medication that will not be easily relinquished. Depending on how well you know them and what your relationship is, you might suggest that they look into their own reasons for not wanting your MIL to get better. A great resource for them might be a book called Codependent No More which I've read and have given to several others. It is amazing what can happen in one's life when one starts recognizing the self-destructiveness of being an enabler. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'give until it hurts'.

Now I have just one question for you: Why are you still doing her laundry? Does she not know how? Is she allergic to detergent? Fabric softener? Ironing boards? Ask yourself this: If she was my 20-something daughter would I still be doing her laundry for her? If the answer shocks you, you know what your next step needs to be: either you read the book and stop doing your MIL's laundry or you just stop doing your MIL's laundry. Natural consequences will eventually kick in and she WILL figure out how to get clean. Or not. Either way it has to be HER decision to either grow up or wither up. I'm betting that she'll choose growing up. (If it's a question of access to a place to do the laundry it would be alright for you to offer to let her come use your machines at your convenience. Just don't do it for her.)

Please note that ALL of this assumes that your MIL does not have serious physical handicap, mental health or intelligence issues that need to be addressed by an appropriate healthcare professional. If so, getting her help now will make your future life easier because her behavior will only continue to worsen without treatment.

All that being said, there is one thing that I know will not change in her life. You love that woman. You may not always like her behavior, but you love her or you wouldn't care. You'd just walk away and let somebody else figure it all out. Some day, when she's healthier, she will be grateful that you loved her enough to do what was best for her when she couldn't do it for herself.

Kudos, my friend. And best of luck on this very difficult journey.

Peace, Blessings, and Peace knowing that love alone is not always enough.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

National Guard Youth Challenge - Round 2

Sorry I haven't been around as much as I'd planned when this year started. I've spent the last couple of weeks scrambling to get MG ready to go back into the NGYC Program. We took her to West Texas on Saturday.

Strange how I was so anxious for her to be gone and now that she's not here I spent a good deal of my day thinking about her and wondering if she's OK.

That's what we moms do, isn't it. This moving them toward the edge of the nest is challenging.

Right now I'm tired physically, mentally, and emotionally. But at the same time I'm amazing exhilarated with the thought of the steps I can take to improve myself while she is off improving herself. The next 6 months should be interesting. I'm glad I have y'all along for the ride.

Hugs and TTFN for now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Damama's Use it or Lose it Advice on: Things Inquiring Minds Want to Know

In my last post I asked you guys to come up with some questions for me. As usual, you never let me down! So, without further ado:

Brandi asks...

How do you get a fifty-something person who has managed money poorly her whole life and always depended on others to bail her out to manage her money better?

ANSWER: Quit bailing her out. Period. She will whine, moan, complain, and possibly threaten ugliness. She will say she's starving. Or freezing. Or.... Have responses and alternate resources such as addresses of shelters, food pantries, and charity assistance programs ready. And stand firm.

Next, offer to help her set up a budget. If she refuses then let her go on her own but do not, under any circumstance, buy into her poor, poor, pitiful me routine. Give love, not money. Give encouragement, not money. Give her Dave Ramsey's phone number, BUT DO NOT GIVE HER MONEY.

She is a grown-up woman. It's time she suffered the grown-up consequences for her childish behavior.

J.B. said...

Damama my question is what is the question? Life is good, I am blessed and sleepy. Sweet dreams all.

ANSWER: The question is do you thank God or some higher power every day for your good life and blessings? I bet you do, but if I'm wrong please go do so now. ;o)

Daria said...

I [see] that you use Blogger, but where did you get your template? I love it!

ANSWER: Thank you! If you'll look in the upper left-hand corner of my blog you'll see a little bug there that says The Cutest Blog On The Block. Warning, though. Don't go there unless you have time to shop around a while. They have SO MANY cute blogs and so much neat stuff that you will get lost in there for a while. LOL! Good luck and come back and tell me what you find so I can come see your new look!

Erin said...

I want to know what your favorite thing about being a mom is!

ANSWER: Wow! Hit me with a though one, why don'tcha! Seriously, that question has so many different answers. If you don't mind, this one deserves a blog post all on its own. Come back in a couple of days or watch Twitter for a notice that it's up.

... and thanks for making me really examine this thought.

Tanya said...

I need to know why the 8 yr old girl is so rude, argumentative, lies through her teeth & back answers a million times each day? Is it too drive her mother totally crazy?

ANSWER: This is a two-parter...

Short form - YES, it is to drive you crazy so that when she grows up and leaves home you won't miss her so much. Just kidding. Sort of.

Long form - Those of us who grew up under horrific circumstances tend to get just a weeeeee bit control-freakish. Then, when we are blessed (and I do use that term cautiously) with strong-willed, independent, self-confident children who happen to be a great deal like us, we tend to go a little nuts. Not that the child is perfect by any means, but... Dang this thing of having to be the grownup ALL the time! ;O)

Try something for me -- an experiment in self control, if you will. For the next week back off a little. Give her viable choices (meaning include things that she might actually choose herself) and then honor her decision. (For example, you might not wear those colors together, but you aren't putting the stuff on your back!) Make sure she knows what the rules and expectations are. And what the consequences are. Give choices when appropriate. Give time guidelines, not time requirements for compliance. Try to take the emotion out of your dealings with her UNLESS they are POSITIVE emotions. Mete out punishment in a matter-of-fact manner. Redirect her when necessary the same way -- just as you might with a non-compliant patient. Allow natural consequences to take their course without you having to always be the bringer. (If she goes out dressed like that her friends will probably make fun of her causing her to rethink future wardrobe choices. Why scream at her to get change clothes? It only makes her want to do it less. Her friends' opinions, though... GOLDEN! Win-win for Mom!)

Most of all.. MOST MOST MOST OF ALL... Praise her. Praise her for getting up after you only having to call her twice instead of the usual X number of times. Praise her for closing the door behind her. Praise her for remembering to flush the toilet (something like "My friend complains that her daughter never flushes the toilet. I'm so glad you are so good at remembering!). OK, so that one's out there, but you get the idea. FIND OR MANUFACTURE REASONS TO PRAISE HER. She needs to know how good that feels. Once she gets some and knows she can get more she will crave it!

Next, jump over to my advice to another Frustrated Mama and try out some of the tips I gave her. And then, for a good laugh and some more ideas go check out the story about my very stubborn friend and her trashy kid. (Be sure to read all the comments, too. They're a hoot!) Mix and match until you find what works sanely for you. And then stick to it!

None of this is going to make her a perfect child. None of it is going to make you a perfect mother. But SOME of it will give you a little peace and make life a bit easier for all concerned.

Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes!


OK, that's it for today's questions. And by the way, I'm going to post these over on my advice column at DeKalb Ramblings, too. I have a feeling that y'all aren't the only ones who have some of these questions. Might as well share. Only difference is that if you don't want me to I won't use your real name or blog link. Just let me know.

Peace, Blessings, and Good questions, y'all!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ask Damama

Todays edition of my life's insanity has left me asking many questions. Having no answer for the perplexing questions in my mind, I thought I'd give you a chance to ask me questions to test myself and see if I have truly lost my everlovinfreakin mind or if I can actually still answer SOMEBODY'S LIFE QUERIES...

So go ahead. Ask away. ANYTHING. I'll even start you off with the answer to a recently emailed question:

KK in KC asks: Why do you have a squirrel in your header? Is it to show that you are a squirrelly old broad?

Dear KK: ROFL! Yes, honey, that's a big part of it, but it's more in honor of Hunker D. If you'll go read A Squirrel's Tale it will explain a lot. Be warned, though, the little bugger's pretty long-winded.


OK, now the rest of you - Whatcha wanna know? How to get your kids to brush their teeth? How to get your fake houseplants clean? Just ask. I may not know the real answer but I bet I can make ya laugh...

Peace, Blessings, and Dear Abby eat your heart out!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lest I forget...some more.

We took some really neat pictures with my nephew and his family, but when I look at this one all I see is the big blue blob in the middle. I'm posting it here to solidify in my mind why I HAVE to lose weight.

Damama T, Cameron, Tyler

I did pretty well today. Until tonight. Hubby went to bed at 9:30 and I intended to just get a post up and then join him. Then I got sidetracked, and bogged down, and couldn't think of anything to post. And I drained the last of the water from my glass. And I went to the kitchen to refill it. And I saw the caramel corn my friend made me for Christmas. I don't really like the fact that it had peanuts in it, but... Just one bite of the popcorn part.... And another. And... Well, I might as well finish it off so it won't be here nagging me tomorrow. And now I'm sitting here feeling like a total failure. Why didn't I just throw it away?

Thank God for new mercies every morning. I will start again in the A.M. And I will do better.

One day at a time, right?

Peace, Blessings, and God grant me the serenity.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

She may be skinny, but...

Found this at my favorite little resale hole in the wall. Love it so much I had to share.

Have a great week, y'all. I'm starting my full-on journey toward being that skinny bitch in the morning. All good wishes and positive prayers gratefully accepted.

Peace, Blessings, and Healthy eats to us all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Blessing of the Odd Socks

I have this thing about odd socks. I'm so sure that eventually the mate will show up that I've spent the last 30 years holding onto every lonely only that came out of the dryer. Once every couple of months I dump them all out and try to match them up. The result is discouraging to say the least.

Last Tuesday I FINALLY got fed up with it. I determined to once and for all go through the sock basket, match up everything I could, and get rid of the rest. The laundry was done and the house was relatively clean so I knew that there shouldn't be any stragglers hiding in the dark recesses under MG's bed. After three hours of the kind of frustration that only comes from putting a puzzle together just to find out there are pieces missing I'd finally managed to match what was matchable. The rest I dumped in a repurposed dry cleaning bag and posted it on Freecycle.

Mandi's son, Zachary, is disabled. Last Tuesday Mandi was reading Zach a book in which there were sock puppets. When her little guy's eyes lit up and he said he wanted to make some sock puppets like those in the book Mandy immediately emailed her church group asking for odd socks.

Wednesday morning one of Mandi's church lady friends phoned her to say that she'd just seen a bag of odd socks offered on Freecycle. She gave Mandi my email address.

Sitting at Subway enjoying a rare good day with MG, my phone beeped notifying me I'd received a new email (yes, in addition to twittering my life away I'm an email freak). When I read the email I immediately called Mandi and scheduled a meeting at 4:00 for her to come pick up the bag. In less than 24 hours the socks were on their way to a new and more purposeful life.

Coincidence? I don't think so. I think it's yet another in a long line of Godincidences that have blessed my life. And it is yet another reminder that God truly does have it all covered.

Peace, Blessings, and Lambchop Love to all!

Friday, January 1, 2010


The last decade brought changes of unimaginable magnitude into my life. We adopted MG. Twig went to prison, Bug married Lady N, Lady T moved out of the country - twice. ... and those are just a few of the major changes that happened.

This year is starting off with more bangs - but good stuff is on the horizon this time. MG is going back into the National Guard Youth Challenge Program later this month. In February Twig will be released to the halfway house and then home by the end of June. And I plan on losing more than 100 lbs. Yep, that's right. 1.0.0.

It's going to be another challenging year. How it'll turn out is anybody's guess, but I invite you to stick around. There'll be daily updates (yes, I said daily) full of rants and raves, laughter and tears. At the very least, it should be an interesting ride.

I just have one favor to ask. PLEASE leave comments. I need your support. I'm a junkie, you know. If I can't get my fix here I'll just revert to my old addiction and go eat something. (yes, that's blackmail. heh heh heh).

So for now, I'm outta here. It's been a long day of dismantling Hubby's annual Christmas Extravaganza. I'm going to be early.

Peace, Blessings, and Y'all come back now, y'hear!!


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