I am the mom to 3 minis, ages 5 and under. Yup. Wow. I feel like I spent 3 years straight
being pregnant. People used to joke that I was Bonnie from Family Guy. Always
pregnant. The great part about it is that they are some pretty decent kids when they
aren’t driving me bananas with all the screaming and crying. They are all super smart
and ridiculously adorable. Being a mom has taught me all kinds of stuff that I didn’t
know I didn’t know until it became a necessity for me to figure it out. The stuff you learn
while wearing the mom hat changes you for life. That quote from Eleanor Roosevelt is
so true: "A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in
hot water." Being a mom showed me how much pain I can tolerate, mentally and
physically; how well I can function on 3 hours of sleep, how many days I can go without
showering, and most importantly: how to stand up for myself so that I can stand up for
my minis. I’m outwardly tough now. I was always strong but now I can be hard and
calculating without an ounce of regret. I also will do it with a smile.
At the end of 2017, the hubby and I reached the 10 year milestone in our marriage. 15
years as a couple and 10 years married is a big accomplishment. So much so that he
wanted to have a big celebration. (The process of organizing an event like that requires
its own detailed reaction. If I keep blogging that will come up really soon.) I’ve been
married only once, to the same man for the last 10 years. There are lots of things that
people don’t tell you about marriage but it basically boils down to this: You have to
work to make it work. Nothing about being married has been easy. But a great deal of it
is extremely rewarding. We work well together and we do so because we put effort into
each other. We put effort into each other because we love each other. We learned how
to love each other from the Bible. The people we are now did not exist 10 years ago.
They were developed and that development took work. We had to have people
mediate. We had to trim the fat around our relationship, meaning we had to let go of
some toxic people. We had to and still do go to counseling. Not necessarily because
something is wrong, but as a way to prevent crazy stuff from turning into marital cancer.
We also are constantly adapting. Turning into new and better versions of ourselves each
day. The great thing about that is that we can keep growing and evolving this way for
many more decades, as long as we keep putting in the work.
I was a school teacher for 8 years. Oh the stories I could tell! I will sum up by saying just
a few things: There is no amount of convincing anyone could do to get me back in a
classroom. There are lots of people who parent well and there are lots of other people
who don’t. Just because you have the credentials to be in charge of stuff doesn’t mean
that you should be in charge. Bad bosses will ruin their employees just like a rotten
apple spoils the bunch. Also underpaying people, stifling creativity, and discouraging
feedback are not conducive to healthy work environments. That’s all I have to say about
that right now.
Many people have friends that they’ve know for a really long time, possibly people that
they grew up with. Yeah, I don’t. I had one friend that made it to adulthood and then
she stopped being what I would consider a true friend and that relationship ended. I
made some friends during middle school that I still keep in touch with. I have some
friends that I made in my adult life that I keep in touch with. I do not have any friends
that I need to talk to everyday. I consider people friends that check on me. They don’t
have to do it everyday… but they check on me. Not my kids, not my husband, not the
house, not anything else…ME. They care about other stuff but they definitely ask how
I’m doing and check on me before digging into the day to day dramas. People who are
my friends say prayers for me and they let me know if I’m not doing a good job taking
care of me. I spend lots of time taking care of and checking on other people, it provides
balance when I have people who check on me. My Grannie says all the time that your
circle of friends changes as your life changes. That has definitely been true for me.
American Citizen/Closet Activist
In the next few years I am more than likely going to become more active in my
community as a way to safe guard my family from things that I see as issues. There are
so many… Primarily, I plan to focus on education, nutrition, fine arts and racial equality. I
have some very strong views on all of that stuff. What I will say right now is that those
views are MY views. As with lots of things that have happened since marriage, people
tend to think that because my husband is more vocal and articulate about his views,
that he has “made me” believe or act in a certain way. So not true. I think and act in
ways that I deem appropriate. He has influence over ideas that I have, just as I have
influence over ideas that he may have. Things like that tend to happen when you share a
life together. That being said, I can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do just
like he can’t make me do anything that I don’t want to do. The issues I am focusing on
are going to make us look pretty weird as a family but I have learned that there is very
little about “normal” that appeals to me.
Why does it matter?
It doesn’t. If what I thought mattered, people would ask my opinion. People rarely ask my
opinion. I used to offer it unsolicited but that didn’t go over well. It also opens you up to hearing
other people’s opinions. Kinda can’t say no when you just forced your thoughts on them. I’m not
sharing my thoughts because I want people to say something back. I’m not sharing because I
think I’m always right or interesting or whatever else. I’m sharing because I realized there is a
story behind every picture. Many times people will look at a picture and think, “Awe they have
such a nice life.” The picture captures that one moment, one millisecond. It doesn’t tell how
those people got to that point or what happened to them afterwards. So this whole thing is my
way of sharing one perspective to give some type of depth to the photo.
So just like any other day I'm alive, I'm learning something. This particular lesson really stood out to me. We are fuckin our kids up from making good decisions in the future. Let me break this down for you.
I'm currently researching the science of decision making. Risk verses reward. Explore verses exploit. Some cool shit a mentor gave me to sharpen the saw with. Book is called "Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions" by Brian Christian. It's my first audio book too. Interesting stuff. Here's something that stood out to me. It discussed an experiment they did with kids. They took a room full of kids and offered them the option of having 1 piece of candy right now, or 2 pieces of candy when the teacher left and came back. Some kids chose 1 piece of candy right now, others chose to have 2 pieces of candy later. That's not the part that's interesting. 2 big things came out of this experiment. They followed the kids who made either decision up until adulthood. The Result. The kids who waited to have the 2 pieces of candy later had an overall "better" life by any scale of "better" that one could measure with. Emotionally, financially, socially, etc. Very interesting correlation. It proved that they had more self control and were willing to invest in things of value. It followed them into adulthood. Very interesting stuff. But not the biggest lesson I pulled from it.
Here's the more valuable lesson I pulled from it. There are a lot of things that are taken into consideration when deciding to delay gratification while putting hope in someone else. How long will the teacher be gone? How sure are you that the teacher will come back? When they come back, will the deal still be valid? Do I even want the candy that's being offered? Here's the fun part. There's a great deal of trust that goes into this decision. And ruining that trust is very easy to do at such an early age. For instance, if your uncle told you he didn't smoke weed and you found his weed(Like I did), it would ruin your trust with him.(Like it did for me). If this continues to happen with other people, your ability to trust any person, especially adults, will go down. So if you show up to school during this experiment, and the adults around you don't live up to your expectations all the time, you are most likely going to take the 1 piece of candy. Why would you chance that? Is that the kid's fault? No. It's the fault of the adults around them. And with the correlation of being more successful supposedly linked self-control, adults are ruining a child's ability to invest in themselves properly on a regular basis. What's being perceived as self-control is actually the ability to be optimistic. We fail children as soon as we get a chance. We are ruining them.
I know what you're thinking, "Well your life didn't turn out so bad so what the fuck you talkin about Ren?" I'll tell you what the fuck I'm talking about reader. In my case, my momma NEVER lied to me about something that she was going to do or try to do. My Great Grandma also NEVER lied to me about something she was going to do. Or at least I've never caught them. They also didn't promise me the world. They told me that I could be anything, not that they would go get it for me. With that said, I had at least one person I could always invest in. They would always come back. They would always give me the 2 pieces of candy if I did what they said. But my question is, what about the people that didn't have that? They fucked up in the game.
What am I saying? Be that for all of the kids around you. You may be the only one that gives them the courage to invest in themselves and have self control. They need to be able to delay gratification in order to manipulate this world to become successful. Having a scarcity mentally doesn't produce wild fruits and vegetables. It produces vegetables in a box. That's my suggestion. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment here. Welcome to the Intelligence Corner.
These are the thoughts of a grown ass man from Houston, TX.