Burned bridges

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Well, the time has finally come and home is no longer a dreaded place. The subject of many of the rants on this blog has now burned a bridge and there is no chance of home turning into a place of total turmoil again (well, there is a large caviat to that I guess. More on that later.) It’s tough to go all the way back in time and cover all the ground that could be covered to properly put this whole thing into perspective, but that would be a lot of work and I am not sure you all care that much to have a complete picture. If you have been around the blog for a while, you can probably put things together with just the few posts mentioned here today.

I have tried to help those who couldn’t help themselves. I have been trying for many years and it finally came to a head this last weekend. The trouble with this is again that it is self-inflicted and someone thinks, yet again, they are the vicitim. Really, it is by choice and being unwilling to take any advice. Unfortunately, it’s the five grandchildren that will suffer the most.

When my step-son and his five kids were allowed to move in back in November there was hope that maybe there would be some changes in their lives that would lead to a postive outcome (and it might still but seeing that at this point is hard to imagine). Things that have been discussed here previously (see above as well as the following) was about wasted food, not parenting the grandchildren, and the outright disregard for sanity in parenting.

It finally all came to a head last Saturday.

The night before (Friday) by son had been up a large ortion of the night with the youngest grandchild because she was sick. As requested, he let us know he needed more sleep (he requested an hour) and we agreed to take over childcare duties so he could get some sleep. That request was abused and turned into four hours.

As a result, the five grandchildren were left in our care and we did everything we could to keep them occupied, busy, loved, dressed, fed, and entertained. We kept them from going in to wake their dad, even though he totally went beyond the time requested and agreed upon. At one point in the morning, the second oldest (age 6) got a little too rambunctious with the middle child (age 4) and repeated hit him “accidentally.” The 6-year old had been warned repeatedly and was asked at one point to stay on his bunk bed as a time out until he was released. Again, there was unusual noise and I checked on the commotion…the 6-year old was on the floor wrestling the 4-year old, having him pinned below him and him crying. I took one step into the room, delived a single swat to the backside of the 6-year old with my hand, which sent him crying back to his bunk.

He and I chatted about the incident not five minutes later and he admitted that he disobeyed, that he was playing too rough with his sibling, and that he hadn’t “accidentally” hit his sibling either. He went to far as to admit that he deserved the swat. He was back to playing and didn’t cause any other issues the rest of the day.

UNTIL. Until, he skipped into the room while his dad was making dinner and blurted out, “Grandpa hit me.”

I was there. He’s six, so his recollection of the events and why he got the swat weren’t entirely accurate. My son then proceeded to say, “Stop hitting my kids.”

Long story short, the discussion after that point corrected the events as told by the 6-year old, involved a threat of calling the police if I continued to discipline the children in a way that he didn’t agree with, and an ultimatum that said they’d move out if I (well, we, because my wife has spanked them too) didn’t bend to his parenting style, which includes the lack of discipline.

Mind you, he has virtually no place to go except one friend’s house which is not ideal for any of them.

So, I recommended finding a new place to stay since I was not going to do what he wanted me to do.

My wife and I had already had the discussion that this would likely come up again. There was a blow up about it a week prior where he basically packed up the kids with no coats, no socks, no shoes, and no food, and left the house for about 12 hours. We were clear when he left the first time that nothing on our part would change since we love the grandchildren and we are constanly having to step in to pick up the slack. We had the agonizing discussion that the threat of law enforcement would eventually be used and how we would respond to it…the conclusion was that we would ask that they move out, knowing full well that that wouldn’t be the best thing for the grandkids considering the turmoil they have endured over the last several years. But, we also knew he would refuse to leave them behind with us.

At this point, they haven’t returned. As far as we are concerned, he has burned his bridges with us. We, his mom and I, have been there and picked up the pieces enough. We love our grandkids, but for him we are done. If it really comes down to it, we will take the grandkids back to live in our house but he will not be welcome.

A tough decision, but we see no other way around it. We aren’t going have someone (even our son) threaten us and force us into living and “grandparenting” into a style we believe is wrong.

Home is more peaceful these days. It sucks considering what our grandkids are going through.

But, we couldn’t be held hostage in our own home either.

Totally obvious

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I got to thinking (I know, kinda dangerous). The other day I totally went off the other day about bad parenting and what I thought was bad parenting, because I watch it happen every day right before my eyes. I have been reading some posts on another blog that basically takes info from polls and puts them into an article summarizing the thoughts of others. So, why not try that here?

So, let’s start with what I posted the other day as the basis. Respond in the comments and let me (and others) know what you think.

What two things make it totally obvious that a parent has no idea what they are doing or is just simply a bad parent?

New episodes

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So, there is a new joke around here and for the living situation at the moment. It’s funny, frustrating, and incredibly sad at the same time. Every day there is a new episode of “Bad Parenting” in our house.

A son and his five kids (9, 6, 4, 2 & 1) are living with us and every day proves to be a new disaster, a new example of what you shouldn’t do as a parent. Each day sees the other two adults in the house shaking and scratching their heads on decisions and choices being made (or, really, not being made). We have seen and heard a lot of things in the last couple months.

So, the day gets wrapped up with the joke “On today’s episode…”

Maybe I could pitch this whole thing as a sit-com and make lots of money selling the rights…

Anyway, here is an example of what takes place during the different episodes of “Bad Parenting”:

  • Never set an alarm to wake up before your children so other people have to parent them and get them ready in the morning, including getting the two oldest off to school.
  • Give your three oldest children ice cream, disappear to the bathroom for 20 minutes, and then immediately tell them its time for bed – followed by yelling at them to be quiet and stay in bed.
  • Give all the children water bottles at bed time and then screaming at them to stay in bed and to stop getting up to go to the bathroom.
  • Yell at the 1-year old to go to sleep in the middle of the night but not check/change her diaper.
  • Leave all the children in the car so the 9-year old has to babysit while getting groceries.
  • Tell your 9-year old to watch all his siblings in their bedroom while you run to the store for breakfast (we were home, btw).
  • At meal time, nearly always give larger portions than appropriate for the age.
  • From the one above, when given appropriate size (rarely) not requiring the child to eat their food, then 20 minutes after the meal they say they are hungry and give them a snack.
  • Throw away all uneaten food served and never eat leftovers.
  • Keep a dog in the backyard and then never play with it, feed it (without reminders), water it (without reminders), or clean it’s pen.
  • Rarely engage with your children while you spend 80% of the day on your phone.
  • Have little to no income on a regular basis, but buy toys for them after making money and only two weeks after Christmas.
  • Rarely make real food, feed just prepackaged everything.
  • Give the messiest Lunchable possible (pizza) to the kids (all of them but the littlest) and then yell at them when you have to clean up their mess.
  • Disappear to the bathroom or vehicle in the driveway, leaving children unsupervised, for 15-35 minutes at a time…about every 35-40 minutes…
  • Claim smoking weed is the only way to cope with ADHD and do it at least 7 times a day.
  • Scream and yell at increasing volume, while repeating self 4-8 times, instead of actually disciplining the children.
  • Put one child down for a nap and disappear to leave other children unsupervised for 45 minutes.
  • Tell your youngest children to “clean up” after themselves without modeling it.
  • Tell your youngest children to brush their teeth without help.
  • Tell your children to go get in the vehicle without first making sure they have socks, shoes, and a coat on.

See? Wouldn’t this make for a great sit-com?

Reasonable, rational, and responsible adults can clearly see none of the above is a great way to live. Yet, no advice is ever asked for, ignored when given/suggested, and at nearly every turn the aid that is given help is taken advantage of and unappreciated.

Sad right?

Literally just making it up as he goes and hasn’t a clue what the hell he is doing. Does he love his children? I don’t doubt that he does. Unfortunately, there has been discussion about the fact that it would be easier to parent the grandchildren if the parent wasn’t in the picture. Fitness to be a parent is seriously questioned.

Between a rock-and-a-hard-place? Yep.

reSOLUTION time

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In this new year of 2023, I hereby resolve to be liked by less people.

My resolution is a solution to some of the issues I have going on in my life. I am almost sure of it.

If I am liked less by people, then they will not want to spend time with me and will not want to be around me and will cause less drama and trouble in my life.

I am not here to please everyone. I am not here to be liked by everyone. I am not here to seek everyone’s approval.

I could use a cleansing of my circle. It doesn’t need to be this big.

I mean, there are people in my circle that I just can’t get along with. They rub me wrong with virtually everything they do. They irritate me to no end with every decision or indecision. They burn me when I am helping and they burn me when I am not helping.

Who needs this kinda crap?

Now, how do I tell some members of my family about my solution?

Guess it’s time to get out the big “I don’t care” stick.

Dreaded place

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Tomorrow I start vacation until after the first of the new year. Only, in will feel very little like a vacation since my duties will be trying to keep the house from being destroyed and small children in line.

There will be screaming from them and their parent – during the whole day, and sometimes even at night.

There will be endless cleaning up after people.

There will be a constant watchful eye on everything that is done because one is never sure if it will lead to disaster.

Truthfully, home is a dreaded place.

I know I could cancel my vacation days and just work and take them at another time next year, but I have told too many people what is coming and now not taking them will cause problems.

So, for the two weeks I will look for opportunities to hide, in the house and by leaving the house.

Self-inflicted

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Anyone else find it really hard to find sympathy within yourself when you watch people cause their own self-inflicted pain? Maybe I am cold-hearted. Maybe I am callous. Maybe I am jaded. Call it whatever you want.

I just find it really hard to watch someone make bad decisions, sometimes directly against/counter to advice they were given, and then suffer the consequeces of the bad decisions. It’s as though they would purposely chop off their own arm just so they can prove they didn’t listen to a word you said.

I just can’t find anywhere inside of myself any sympathy where someone continually subjects themselves (and typically others) to the consequenes of their ignorance/stupidity/willful disregard for wise counsel. It’s as though they would purposely chop off their own arm just so they can prove they didn’t listen to a word you said.

Anyone else have a similar problem?

Should I feel bad about not feeling bad?

Just can’t do it.

Don’t parent

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There is SO MUCH that could be unloaded here as background. If you have been following this blog for a while (or have gone back and read the archive) then you know there is a family member and his children living here at the house now. Tragedy (he is a single dad now), poor choices, crappy circumstances…yeah, the situation for this person and the family is not ideal, to say the least.

However, they are here in the my home (not living in a trailer in the yard like last time). MY home. While this place may have been his home at one time, it isn’t his and it certainly hasn’t been his kids’. For all intents and purposes, they are guests here while he/they (hopefully sooner than later) get back on their feet.

But, there is constantly tension. Aside from some state food assistance, the adult staying here temporarily provides no sort of help. I am supporting eight people. My spouse is ill and physically incapable of doing much of the daily chores inside the home. She is definitely incapable of providing childcare beyond anything longer than about an hour. She wants to be helpful but frankly just isn’t able to the level she would like. So, much over EVERYTHING is left to me.

They (my spouse and her son) were having a discussion yesterday because she noticed he was frustrated (seemingly all the time). He doesn’t want to be here and feels stuck. (Frankly, we don’t really want him to be here but also feel stuck because of the situation.) He has been here for over a month now and we, obviously, have observed and heard a lot.

He doesn’t appear to want to get a full time job because he wants to get is handyman business off the ground (not a great time to get that started!). He doesn’t have a discipline strategy (constant yelling/screaming at them and repeating himself umpteen times) that works for his kids. He doesn’t have any place for the kids to go to daycare so he can work or at least work on finding work. Honestly, his life is the definition of insanity because he is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

In the discussion with my spouse yesterday he said part of the tension in the house is because he doesn’t want us parenting his children (our grandchildren). She tried to get clarification about what that meant to him but he couldn’t really explain what that meant. We are pretty sure he is talking about discipline but he wouldn’t actually say that. We have a different philosophy than he has. But honestly, his philosophy doesn’t work and it plays out every day in our home. We are trying to respect his wishes but he got mad at his mom the other day for suggesting that maybe it was time to spank one of the children. Mind you, this was AFTER he had screamed at the child all morning for blantant disobedience, attitude, disrespect, etc. The yelling is of no consequence to these children because they have heard it all the time and still hear it all the time.

“Don’t parent my children.”

So, what are we to do? They don’t obey, respect, listen, follow directions, behave, etc., when we talke to them.

But, he accepts the parenting of his children when we provide daycare, prepare and feed them meals, bathe them, helpe them with their homework, get dressed in the morning or for bed, get up with them in the middle of the night, change diapers, make bottles, help get their teeth brushed, do all their laudry, make their beds,…you can see how this is going, right?

Where exactly would you like us to “stop parenting”?

Sorry, if you are going to live under our roof for free and use all our stuff, there is gonna be some damn discipline. You don’t get to have exceptions. I don’t care if you’re the adult parent of the kids.

There has to be a better way.

The chaos is terrible. It’s like constantly living in a tornado. The “eye of the storm”? That currently doesn’t exist in this universe.

I actually don’t even look forward to returning home after leaving. I don’t want to be in my own home. The only reason I do is for fear that my spouse is the one having to do everything. I am afraid it might actually be making her worse.

Don’t parent.

We are having to parent our adult child while parenting our grandkids at the same time. It friggin’ sucks…and there is honestly no end in sight…

Don’t parent.

Like hell, I ain’t stopping. There will be peace in my home again. If it causes him and the family to move out, so be it. That’s his choice. There will be peace, one way or another.

Wasted food

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When you were growing up what were the rules at the table for eating your food? Were you required to eat everything given to you (assuming someone else prepped your plate)? Were you required to eat everything you took (you prepped your own plate) or told the adult helping you that you would eat it all? Were you allowed to throw food away because you refused to eat it or because you had too much on your plate?

How would you handle these situations now, if you have children now or if you have grandkids?

It has been a battle over the last month because the parent of our grandchildren has never really had to live on a food budget because they have pretty much gotten assistance since having the first child. Thus, when it comes to meal times there is often wasted food, for a variety of reasons (named above).

They now all live at our house and the parent has one philosophy in how mealtimes should happen and we, of course, have a different philosphy. Their philosophy: wasted food is fine; not going to force them to eat; we can buy more or different food. My/our philosophy: eat what you are given (provided it was an appropriate serving size for age); save uneaten food for another time; rarely, if ever, waste food.

The other night said parent made spaghetti for the kids. In doing so, most of the ingredients for the meal were purchased before making the meal, except for the two pounds of ground beef. That came out of the freezer. (**short backstory on the beef…it is purchased once a year via a quarter of a cow and stored in the freezer – and it has lasted nearly all year, every year for 20+ years**) So, meal is served and the kids eat pretty well since they like this meal. The remainder of the sause is put in the fridge for leftoevers as expected. The next day the sauce is served as leftovers but WAY more than was apporpriate for the age of a couple children was given to them. Thus, there was lots of sauce not eaten. The parent was just going to throw away the remainder of the sause on the plates because they didn’t eat it.

He was stopped before doing so because the amount of waste wasn’t a spoonful or two, it was roughly the equivalent of between 1/2 and 3/4 of a pound of ground beef. He didn’t understand why he should be saving it. He thought because it has been on their plate that it should be tossed. It was explained to him that in most cases if it was a small amount that might be appropriate but because it was so much that it could be saved and fed to them again as leftovers another day.

He didn’t get it.

He was totally fine with wasting roughly $5 worth of beef plus whatever the cost of the other ingredients. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Whatever,” and stored it away for another day.

Am I an asshole for trying to stay on a budget? I am I an asshole for saying he can’t use the beef we are about to purchase for the next year?

Am I making a bigger deal about this than necessary?

What are your thoughts?

Effort less

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I’ll preface the entire post with what I don’t want you to think. No, I haven’t misspelled the title. No, I don’t mean “effortless.” That meaning basically means that while doing something it takes little to no effort to complete said something. That’s not what I am referring to.

I am simply stating that I am going to give less effort.

I am going to effort less.

Think of it as not trying hard or giving fewer f*cks.

Think of it as minimal exertion.

I will do everything effort less from here on out.

At least for the foreseeable future, anyway.

Help those

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Is the old saying, “Help those who can’t help themselves.” I have Googled it and several different versions or iterations come up for it.

I am tired.

Tired of helping those who nearly refuse to listen to reason and help themselves.

Once again, helping someone who has struggled all of their adult life, has a family, and continues to dream “pie in the sky” dreams even though the family would be homeless if not for the help of others.

“Get a full time job.” Good advice. Doesn’t matter what at this point and it really doesn’t matter how much it pays as long as it is brining in money that can be saved for the future and put to good use when the time comes. Instead, it is ignored for the idea that “starting my own business” is the better way to go – regardless of the fact that it has been pointed out time and time again that this goal should be a side gig until it can provide for the family on a full time basis. It has no benefits to start with. It has no healthcare. It is piecemeal at best for an income.

“Go visit Community Action to get some local ai started.” There is time in the day. Sure, the three youngest kids will have to be in tow to do it but it’s getting something started.

“Go visit DSHS. Get that process started.” Excuses about why it’s not possible at the moment.

This family has been living on state aid for years. This family has basically survived the last 7 months on pure charity from others, something to the tune (if roughly added together) would amount to probably about $40,000.

I am tired.

I am tired of helping someone that can’t or won’t help themselves.