Tag Archives: kids

Miss Congeniality’s Sister: Sandra Bullied

When Ms. Bullock’s forgotten sister gets bullied in school, more hurtful gossip’s sure to be on the horizon than usual. Bringing up sister.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I have two daughters and one of them gets cyber bullied and bullied in school, while her sister is Miss Popular. This makes the picked on one feel even worse. How do help her? — Torn Dad

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Dear Torn Dad,

I’m sorry to hear about your family’s pain and your daughters’ (both of them) situation. While it’s pretty easy to see how difficult your bullied daughter must have it, it may be less obvious what your more popular daughter is feeling around her sister’s situation at their school. Some of her feelings might surprise you — they may have common ground in shame while experiencing/expressing it very differently. Aside from informing and involving school officials (and why not any other support groups your family may be involved with, such as your church or cyber bullying organizations), holding regularly scheduled supportive and strategic family meetings towards encourage your daughters (and by extension, your family) to work as a team (solidarity, identifying and less loneliness for both) to soothe if not conquer the abusiveness, and build up self-esteem. From A-Z in the process, enable the sisters’ truthful sharing by embracing both seemingly positive and negative emotions offered. Shedding light on them is the most important part, not that someone may have what may on the surface appear to be “inappropriate” feelings (i.e., shame or embarrassment of either the situation or her sibling). If they weren’t close before, sharing this experience may help them forge a bond that could long outlive your family unit.

Some previous GWBW posts (search “bully” at our site for others):

Bull Dozing Billy

Bully Schoolyard, Parents Want Discipline

(building character) Dodgeball, In or Out of Bounds?

Basic cyber bullying TIPS:

• Delete messages from offenders without reading them

• Don’t try to seek revenge or cyber bully back, or someone else

Awareness of why teens bully:

• It gives them attention

• They think everyone cyberbullies

Stay aware of your kids’ friends on- and offline. Talk openly and regularly about their online activities, and restrict computer time to homework and approved sites and (email) lists.

No Bully Zone,

BadWitch

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Your Witches are in a period of time when family issues are omnipresent for us each. Send some love and light to GoodWitch and her fam today especially. Thank you.

Image: Chris Whitehead, Getty Images

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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A Degree in No Meaning 101. Son Most Likely to Be College Dropout

When the going gets tough…this son wants to stop going…to college. Is a college degree worthwhile in today’s job market? Is a degree from Harvard as valuable as one from Online Masters Degree or your local community college? How much effort should be spent on higher education?   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Our son wants to drop out of college. He’s a senior but since most of his junior year, this former high school straight-A student has been barely passing his courses. He feels getting a degree in this market is meaningless as there are no jobs. What do you think? Pre-qualifier

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Dear Pre-qualifier,

All things equal, this is what I believe: to go further in life, finish what you start. While I’m fully aware that there may be many reasons to dropout and that  college is not for everyone, this doesn’t seem to have been your son’s case as he qualified with a strong GPA, kept his grades up for his previous three university years, and only now seems to have decided he’s done and is throwing in the towel (attitudinally if not literally, yet). Investigate to make sure something else (that wasn’t his choice) hasn’t happened to him that triggered such a behavioral change — something that may require your (or professionals’) help — like an illness or abusive incident. Barring such external situations, your Pre-qualifer needs to slow down to step up and look at his real motives against the long road before him that is his future.

Yes the job market is down and college loans are expensive to pay back, but both are achievable with his diligence and tenacity. He’s so close now, why handicap himself needlessly (an undergrad degree (BA/BS) is a minimal requirement for most jobs today)? I picked up a great life character assessment tool inadvertently from a long-ago writing workshop: Character isn’t what he says, but what he does. Your son has barely made his appearance in Act 1.

Stay in school,

BadWitch

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Dear Pre-qualifier,

Your best bet is to help your son move beyond apathy. Basing your future on a pessimistic outlook is betting on failure. And why play the game without a winning hand of cards?

Your son is so close to the finish line. maybe he’s not a star ‘A’ student anymore, but if he’s still passing it’s worth completing the journey. The future available to a college graduate has more possibilities than one without. No matter what the economic future is in this country, it is better to be more prepared for greatness rather than less.

Help your son see the possibilities he may be giving up. It’s time to realize that the future starts now. If you want all the opportunities, you have o take the one’s available to you in the now. Cause really that’s all any of us have—now.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

 

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

 

 

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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First Time Job, Earner’s New Costs

We all had one: a first time job. What we all don’t have is the exact same views on money, responsibilities and how those things go together. Figuring out the “new allowance.” — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My mother reads your blog so I’m hoping she’s reading this. I’m 16 and just got my first job, and she’s already making me pay for gas and my cell phone now! Does that seem right to you? I’m ok paying for my car insurance so I drive more responsibly, but she makes me pay to get to work and come home. That seems seems backwards to me. Shouldn’t she want me to want to go to work and make money to begin with? — First Time Worker

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Dear First Time Worker,

That you share your mother’s interests enough to know to come here and try to “sway” her is…ehem, your work skills showing. I do, however, appreciate your understanding about the cause-affect relationship of your paying for your car insurance. This shows you do understand how things work.

Now take those mad skillz to the next level, and have a meeting with your parents to figure out what items you should be paying for by discussing to understand each other’s priorities. They will include: cost-to-use, time and money, prioritizing values, and your safety. Maybe it is valuable to them to pay for all things school related. Maybe only you can afford that $350 bat to keep playing, etc… I’m going to keep this one very short because I believe just having this little pow wow will open your parents and your own eyes as to how the other actually sees the world…and mmoney and responsibilities.

Time spent together is time well spent,

BadWitch

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Dear First Time Worker,

Congratulations on your first job!

So now that we’re done with niceties, let me give you the down and dirty truth of life as an adult. Life costs money. Gas, car insurance, car payment, tolls—all cost money. The roof over your head costs whether in mortgage, rent or upkeep. Clothes, toiletries and toilet paper all cost and we’ve not even discussed lights, heat, water and garbage.

Your mother has been covering these costs. Now that you have a job she is asking for your help. She’s not even asking for you to cover living expenses, just the gas you need to go where you want to go and the cell phone you need to set up those play dates. In other words, she’s having you cover the cost of your play and travel to and from work. Really, not a lot in the grand scheme of the many hundreds of dollars needed to survive.

Of course, one hopes that these costs do not take the entirety of your weekly check. Now is the time to start the lifelong habit of saving some of your income for a rainy day (or Cabo Spring Break).

You have the opportunity now to create new lifelong habits that will serve you in the years to come. Yes, life comes with bills to pay—and we also have to pay our fair share—but it also comes with compounding interest. Read (or listen to) David Bach’s Automatic Millionaire. Don’t bemoan paying for the life you live. That’s life. Be grateful for the opportunity to have money coming in that helps your mother and helps you live the life you enjoy. These days, not everyone is as lucky.

New responsibility will often chafe, but it will not choke if approached with level head and grateful heart. Realize that your mom’s burden is heavier than you have bothered to note, but now you have the opportunity to help, where it is appropriate.

Blessings on a bright future,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Job Offer Relocate or Reject & Stay?

When partners can’t agree on one’s job offer that affects both, the job at hand is to choose the best compromise.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My wife has a (lateral) job offer from her firm that necessitates our relocating across the country. We know no one in that state, its job prospects for me are on par with most any other state, we could buy a lot of house there by selling ours here, and we have one preschool child. Here’s the kicker, I want her to pull the trigger more than she seems to want to. She seems satisfied with her work but I think they’re trying to save her job with this offer. I fear she will stay and then get laid off and we need both salaries. We’ve talked and talked but just can’t come to agreement. Suggestions?  Worried Hubby

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Dear Worried Hubby,

Since you say you’ve both talked it through so much, let’s not debate the merits of your wife taking this job as you’d like. Let’s have you two honestly explore your individual fears around both her scenarios: accepting and rejecting the offer.

It sounds simple but I like a good pro/con-type list for such quandries, and especially if I’m in one with someone else. Writing it out will help you two see your own and each other’s underlying fears more clearly and completely, and that allows you both to connect the dots to your actual line items of financial impact, realistic stability of her company/current job,  your age(s) to starting over elsewhere, the tax benefits between your current versus a more inexpensive home, and so much more. I am suggesting this list be developed and written as objectively as possible, and using different color pens will help you see each other’s points all the clearer.

Your primary challenge is not to be right, but to untangle the emotions from this situation, to make the best decision for your family together you know how.

More teamwork, less worry,

BadWitch

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Dear Worried Hubby,

There is more to moving than the bottom line. I get what your concerns are, and they are valid. However, I think you may be overlooking your wife’s concerns.

Yes, you can have more house, but your salary in this new place is not guaranteed. And the amount of that salary will probably be commensurate with the state, as opposed to what you are making now where you are. Also, you will have no support.  That may not seem like much now, but no one to ask for last minute help. No one to invite over for pizza, beer and communing that you know you can let down all your pretenses with and just hang. Babysitters, schools, friends will all have to be vetted again in the hopes of carving out a niche in a community you can really feel at home in. You are ready to make this leap, but my guess is, your wife may not be as ready to be cut adrift in a strange new place.

Perhaps you two can work out how you are both feeling about your options in a couple of lists. One lists is your pro and con list on moving, another is hers. The next list is ideas for making it work if you stay and she gets laid off. Another may be lists of possible job opportunities and starting salaries in the new state. Get a better sense of all the factors. Do you know % of joblessness in the new state vs. where you are? Do you know whether there are more jobs in your wife’s field or yours? Who will have an easier time finding new work?

Both of you should start applying to jobs—she should look where you are now and you should look in this new place. See who starts to get positive feedback. Maybe she finds work where you are now, doesn’t have to give up her community and you two don’t need to incorporate the chaos of moving into your lives. Or maybe you get some great results from your new job search and spark her interest. Seems like you both need more real world research to know what the best choice is.

I know you are worried and looking for the best possible outcome for your family. Trust that your wife is as well. Now, investigate so you can make decisions based on real world opportunities rather than unrealized fears. It’s the best way to put that worry energy to good use and limit regret.

Mantra: We both want what is best for the family. We will not react from fear, but from knowns. If we act together, we can make it through whatever changes are ahead because we are a family.

Happy researching,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Grief, Loss and Embracing Changes

It’s inevitable that we will all come to lose someone we love dearly, and our world can feel shattered and never the same again. It’s possible that such changes can eventually be positive and self-accepting life affirming ones.      — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I lost my husband a few years ago. I haven’t gotten over it and no one understands my deep, deep grief. I know I’m not the only one who’s lost her husband, but mine did everything for me and now I am completely alone in the world. Even my kids can’t console me. Sometimes I just want to die and get it over with. My doctor already has me on some middle dosage depression meds for years, this isn’t new, but it’s worse than ever.  — Lost Will

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Dear Lost Will,

As you’ve already experienced, depression is a complex and highly individual disorder you should continue to monitor with your doctor. Its causes can be physical, neurological, hormonal. Grief is an interesting animal, and a response to an emotion (usually sadness resulting from loss). Being a response, it isn’t always what it seems, time doesn’t always heal all wounds back to original state, but the good news is that we can change our responses — the grief experience is one more of those life lessons you can choose to learn from or disregard to your own peril.

I feel your pain, am sorry for your loss but encourage you to allow for your own (new and current) life. Being present is not just a goal but the only way towards being fully alive, despite our hurts and fears. But as a close family member of mine experiences her widowhood much the same way you describe, and I encourage her to get back in touch with herself and take joy in her blessed and rich life, I’ve also witnessed how extremely easy it is for you to dismiss these supportive words which probably sound hollow to you, and retreat deeper into the seeming safety of your own mind. I firmly believe we create our own realities, so I will end by holding the space for you to find the will to lean into your family daily and console yourself through engaged action hourly.

Wishing you clarity,

BadWitch

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Dear Lost Will,

The grief of losing someone you love really never goes away, but the sting can fade over time if you allow it. Of course, most times we don’t want the sting to fade, because if the sting fades, they are really gone aren’t they? But keeping the grief alive only keeps the painful separation alive, not the one you have loved and lost.

It has taken me years to get past the cold, hollow feeling of loneliness I felt when I unexpectedly lost a dear friend who was like my big brother. In fact, he was better than my big brothers. He was there. He disapproved of the boys I chose to date. He talked to me into the wee hours of the morning when I wanted to cut all ties with my mother always and forever. He was my rock and he was suddenly gone at 30 years old.

Does the ache go away completely? No, I’m crying as I type this. But I do not let myself dwell there because my life with Dan was so much more than his death. There were years of laughter and silliness, long serious talks and a constant feeling of actually mattering to someone. I know he wanted more for me than I could want for myself. I know he still does. I refuse to sum up our relationship with grief. I choose to stand up straight and make a plan for a better day—each day.

Like everything in life, positive changes will not just happen. You must make them happen. Do you think the man you loved and continue to love wanted you so immersed in grief you could not enjoy the gifts of life he left behind for you? Your children are extensions of his spirit, his love—your time together. Embrace these moments or you will lose them because you have not taken the time to build a bridge to them. If you are so immersed in your grief, who’s helping them make sense of theirs? Do you want them left with the impression that only he mattered? That they are now fully abandoned because you would rather live with one foot in the grave than walk in the world of the living with them?

I know this may all sound a bit harsh, but the truth has its own sting. Wake up! Life is here for you right now and you are here while your husband is gone for a reason. Find out what that reason is. Is it to help your kids grow strong, knowing they are loved and that they matter, so they can have the kind of love-filled relationship you and your husband shared? Is it to help others who live with deep, despairing grief? You are still here. Do you really think your purpose is to sit in depression waiting to die?

Decide to live and make the most of it. Join a grief support group and talk about how much you miss him rather than stewing in it. Learn to meditate, do some breathwork or even learn Reiki—something you can do for yourself to help yourself heal. Your life is still going and there are others who depend on you to keep going. Do you want to mark their lives by grieving for you, their dad and the lost chance of a loving relationship with their mother?

As much as we moms would occasionally like to crawl under the covers, drown in our sorrows and never come up to the light of day again, we haven’t the luxury. We made a choice to bring these souls into the world. It is our job to meet our responsibilities. Not just food and shelter, but love and companionship—a safe harbor.

I feel your pain, but I feel the pain of those who love you now. Don’t let it all slip away because you were too afraid to try again. Take a step into the light every day. It’s time for recovery. It’s time to appreciate the many gifts he left you, not just the fact that he left you.

May your life be filled with peace. May angels safeguard your heart to give it the safe sace to heal and may all the blessings of your world be made more apparent every single day.

Love and blessings,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Anti-social Kid, Worried Parent

Most parents always want what’s best for their kids. Most kids just want their parents to leave them alone…but not too far. Staying INvolved, while Keeping Out!     — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — …What’s (considered) anti-social? My daughter who is in junior high gets good grades, has friends, but is often home alone. She gets asked to activities but says she’s not a belonger. Should I insist she go to at least one social outing a month? …I get her every other week.Worrywart Parent

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Dear Worrywart Parent,

From your description, your daughter doesn’t sound anti-social but well-adjusted and independent. If you are strongly worried, get feedback from her teachers/counselor that this is also their perception. This is cute to me —she sounds like she’s a Solo Sammie in training. Again, you say her grades and psyche aren’t suffering and at her age, those are the biggest indicators of trouble or peace. Ongoing, keep an eye on her progress; teens’ moods and perceptions can be like the wind.

Just a suggestion, you may be more concerned about your scheduled time with her than her own social time spent. Check yourself for any possible competition (including with your ex-), insecurities and legitimate concerns as a parent, and just work not to project them onto your daughter. Check in regularly and work with her other parent so you two are on the same page about your child as much and often as possible. Let your daughter know that you are absolutely fine (but only if this is true) with who and how she is by taking an active interest and asking appropriate (to situation as well as for privacy) questions and making sure you continue to know (and probably vetting is a good idea at this age most especially) her friends. Don’t just assume they’re all like her; participate from the periphery of her social circle.

For pete’s sake, insisting a middle school teen do anything is a sure-fire recipe for non-compliance (rebel or not; jeesh, how long’s it been, Worrywart?). Make a few activity suggestions now and then based on observing her actual interests and inclinations, but if she opts out, leave her be.

Knock first,

BadWitch

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Dear Worrywart Parent,

It sounds like you need to learn more about how your daughter is feeling about her classmates and the people who are inviting her to activities. If she does not feel like she can be herself in order to belong to the group, she may be opting out as an act of self-expression/self-preservation. It could also be that she has some negative feelings associated with these folks and so chooses to remain alone rather than join in.

My friend’s daughter has similar “alone” tendencies. This weekend, even in the middle of a picnic full of kids, she walked up to me to say she didn’t wan to play with any of the kids there. After a couple of questions, “Do you not like the games they’re playing?” “Are you not getting along with someone?” “Did you think someone was being mean to someone else or to you?” “What do you want to do ideally if you could do anything in the world?”

It came out that she was a little tired, not in the mood to be nice and preferred hanging with adults. She is an only child, so she is no stranger to the company of adults. For her adults pay attention to you and expect to take on the responsibilities of erecting boundaries, keeping you safe and making sure everyone plays nice. In short, she just wanted some time off from being a “big girl.”

Find out what makes your daughter happy. Is she into painting, roller derby, bag pipes? I mean, find the activity that makes her want to join in and then find the group that is doing it. Tailor the group around her interests. If you find the group that is interested in the things she likes and doing the things she likes, she’ll probably become more of a “belonger.”

Have faith Mommy. And take some time to meditate (a.k.a. daydream) of your daughter happy with friends. See them playing and talking. Look at her with the magical eyes of all you see she is capable of being. The more you can see her that way, the more you shift the energy and the room for her to be more social.

Have faith,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

Working Parents Guilt. Dancing With the Stars and Beyond

No dancing around it. Our society is still conflicted about the role of the “good mother.”    — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Ok my circle of friends includes men and women and we can’t agree on the Kate Gosselin on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ thing. Should any primary caregiver spend so much time away from their kids?   — Dances With Guilt

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Dear Dances With Guilt,

Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis? Kate was working to support her kids via this show, not simply raising her celebrity or party time. Given that, I am not one who subscribes to the notion that what qualifies primary caregivers is only lots of face time with growing, developing kids. Quality counts. Also among primary caregivers’ responsibilities to children, is ensuring their kids’ circle of trustworthy, accountable adult guides/-ance is as wide as (relatively) possible. I don’t believe mommy (or daddy) at home is the only way to raise healthy, happy kids — now or even during Donna Reed daze.

Parenting is individual, but from the viewpoint of a former child whose mother loved working outside of the home, and then alternated having to stay home for a couple years with previously having a nanny, it’s not about the number of hours spent with kids, but consistency and structure of foundation of the family vision/mission— the kind of consistency I’m talking about, from a kids’ point of view, extends to when the parents are home or out of the house. This builds a true Northstar that kids can understand and rely on. Personally, when I think of “mommy at home” my first image is of mine crying out of frustration (no judgments!, she also baked cookies and played with us quite un-conflicted). The consistency and love in our home and family let me know undoubtedly that I was loved and wanted, but also that my mother was frustrated by her bubble with low to no daily adult stimulation. I Got how happy her work fulfillment made her, and how much easier and happier we were as a family unit when those things were in place. I was 6, the same age the Gosselin sextuplets are, I wasn’t confused (and doubt my brother was, either); kids are smart. Yep. Love, and happiness- and esteem-building are the consistency I’m talking about.

Did you ever watch their 5-season reality show (Jon & Kate Plus 8)? That mama ain’t no angel! But I’d love to get your take after your group debates what impact the actions of their “too-famous-to-get-a-job” dad who left them to have his mid-life crisis, then banned the show (the family’s primary income) from being produced without him, might have on their childhood development.

No guilt needed,

BadWitch

UPDATE: Cosmic unintended timing notes – Congratulations Nicole Scherzinger DWTS winner. R.I.P. Gary Coleman.

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Dear Dances with Guilt,

What?! So we have kids and then we’re suppose to hang up our dancing shoes forever? I think that’s how we end up with Texas Cheerleading Moms who live through their kids to a super-unhealthy degree.

As I heard it, she had a dance studio built in her basement, practiced there and then traveled to tape the show. So, is she not suppose to work on her career because she;s needed at home wiping noses? Isn’t that why God created babysitters? After all, how is she suppose to support said kids if she ends up as a reality TV footnote? “*Was married to a putz. Had 8 kids and a short run reality TV show on TLC.”

As a mother, you do not push out a kid, sign the birth certificate and turn in your juju so you can be a capri-wearing-cropped-bobbed-hairdo-having-lunch-box-stuffing mother and nothing else.  Kate Gosselin spoke up, said she wanted to be on Dancing with the Stars She got her chance and worked hard to make the most of her dream. Now people want to judge her for reaching her dream while having the nerve to have kids? Really, if folks spent more time worrying about doing what is necessary to achieve their own dreams, there’d be a lot less hate and envy in the world.

I, too, am a single mom reaching for her dreams. I work full time and have extra curricular activities that do not include my children. However, I am in constant touch with my kids’ teachers, a member of the PTA, a cupcake baker, play date host and easy-listening my door and my arms are always open kind of mom. I believe showing my children the example of a hard-working, loving mom who knows how to multi-task and go after her dreams is one of the most potent gifts I can give my two girls.

Kate may not be the best dancer, but juggling rehearsals, performance and parenthood, I give her a 10!

More Mojo for All,

GoodWitch

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Image: ABC, Adam Larkey

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.