This was on my mind ...

Runnin' and Workin'09

Lots going on today with my new project. Hope to get the green light to tell you about it soon. May have to fly to LA tomorrow to handle some business unexpectedly. Tell you what, that got a cool reception at Casa Toler. Don’t know what else to do. It is so funny, if I were a guy I wouldn’t feel guilty at all.

Got to work.
Got to make money.
Got to go.

Still feel like crap.

But anyway, to my crew member working the rules in my book. 1. I’m glad it’s helping. 2. The wrong feeling doesn’t go away right away. The overriding rule in the book is work your emotions like a job. That’s a long term thing. But the thing is the longer you work it the easier it gets. Just like anything else. Good for you!

Ya’ll take it light and easy. I can’t for a while so you will have to hold down the cool and calm front for me.
If you’re a praying person send one up for me. Trying to step up and out!!

The First Fight

Got a question from someone who asked me how to deal with difficult in-laws. She said they are nice to her in front of her husband but when they are alone with her they try to pick fights and then tell her husband that she said things she didn’t say.

If I ever write a second My Mother’s Rules this would be the first rule in it The First Fight is Always with Yourself.

You can’t change other people – only your response to them. So you have to ask yourself: What are these people trying to do? Start an argument? Cause friction between you and your hubby? Figure out what it is and concentrate on putting up a road block between the outcome they seek and the behavior they engage in (since you can’t change their behavior outright). You can adjust it though but only by adjusting yourself.

Here’s what I’d do:

1. Always agree with anything negative they say about me if I can:

Them: “That’s a terrible dress you have on.”
Me: “Really? Fashion is not my thing. Thanks for the heads up.”

or

Them: “You shouldn’t let your kids to X It will . . . ”
Me: “No kiddin’? I never thought about it that way. Let me talk it over with hubby.”

Them: “You are always …” or “you never. . . ”
Me: Is that right? You know it’s never my intention to hurt your feelings. If I did My Bad.”

Them: “You should stop . . . ”
Me: “You know I’ve thought about that but I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the best thing for me right now so I’m going to stick with it. I appreciate your input, though. Who knows I may come around to your way of thinking one day. God’s not finished with any of us yet.”

Get the idea? If people can’t get a rise out of you they stop. Takes time but they’ll figure it out.

You don’t have to change but you don’t have to defend yourself and you most certainly don’t have to fight with them. But in order to pull this off you do have to fight with yourself. You must fight the urge to respond in kind. You have to fight the urge to get angry or let them bother you. You smile. You tell yourself it doesn’t matter and eventually it won’t. You get good enough at it you will even get amused. My mother said this not too long ago and I think it’s brilliant. When asked of someone’s insult hurt her feeling she said:

“I wear my knowledge of other people like a suit of armor. They cannot hurt me with words”

With respect to starting mess with the hubby how I would handle that is very much a function of who my hubby is. Some different approaches.

1. Anticipate the trouble without starting trouble: For instance when they are about to come over say IN AN AMUSED FASHION: ‘You know I love your family but they’re working me. I promise not to say anything negative today and if I fail I’ll let you know what I said. Full honesty. Trying to get along with them.”

That way if they tell I lie on you he will be more likely to see it as such. And you have to be truthful. if they pulled you into something let him now immediately: “Babe I tried but I did say . . . ‘ This one takes a little time to work.

2. Don’t complain about them to him but ask for his help. “You know I am really trying to get along with your family. Your mom often says X or Y: what do I do to get her to like me/cut it out?” Now listen I’m not saying you have to do what they say but let him know you are trying and are willing to make small meaning adjustments for the sake of harmony. That makes you a bigger person.

3. And don’t forget the Anit-insult edict in my book. It takes you through – in detail – how to deal with people who are negative.

Stay cool. Stay above it. Stay amused. Get your head right before they come. Globalize your Pain Quotient. (You are, after all, not a mother of three starving children in the drought ravaged Sudan) Tolerate the little people well. Can’t let them run your day.

That’s my ten cents worth on that.

On a personal note:

1. Got stood up fro a 6:00 am tennis date. That made me a little warm. Not one of the three other women showed. I am going to assume I got it wrong right now. That’s the best way to take my mood back. I’ll email and find out. Till then, I’m good.

2. “This is not a restaurant!” said that to 14 three times yesterday. He’s always hungary but never willing to eat what I have. I have my own culinary failures so well in sight I have become too accommodating with the meal choice thing. New day. New program. If it’s edible. Eat it. If you just don’t like it. Fix yourself something else. Too lazy? Stay hungry.

3. Jullian I was a little worried when she was throwing up s’mores in camp but by the time I got to the therapist R I was laughing so loud my husband said “what the hell are you reading?” Good recommendation.

Stay cool.

Getting a New Number

I am getting a new number because my kids have my old one and they keep dialing it up.

This is a homework thing. (You know, I didn’t mind school so much the first time I went through it but these second and thrid visits I’m making with sons V and VI are about to send me straight to the loony bin.)

My children know me well enough to work me. I have these three personality traits which they understand and use to their advantage: 1) I am big on school and life learning. 2) I am impatient – in the extreme. . . . 3) and I can’t stand a lot of silly stuff.

Youngest son does the following: He hides the educational ball. To hear him tell it, he NEVER has any homework. Or whatever homework he did have he finished in school. And last but not least, any and all work, no matter its amount or nature, is due NEXT TUESDAY.

His excuses, notwithstanding, the boy isn’t failing because he has no 4th amendment rights. He is subject to search and seizure the minute he walks in the door. I do everything short of make him drop the book bag, put his hands on the wall and spread ’em. I search his stuff. I search him. I am on line with his teachers. I know what his assignments are before he does.

The problem is once I get the info I want to kick educational behind. He just wants to shut me up. So here’s the brilliant move on his part. He gets started and then comes to me with: “I don’t understand” “What does that mean?” ” I didn’t see that” or “Well what are you supposed to do?”

I get him started. He then says things like; “Now what?” “I thought I was done?” or “Well what else is there?”

Next thing you know I’m saying “Can’t you see that . . . ” Then I do a problem and say “Do the next one like that.” He stares blankly into space. He writes down something dumb. I say “Didn’t I just show you. . . ?” “Look this is what you need to do . . ”
Next thing you know, I’m angry and he’s walking away with his homework all done. He has neither lifted a finger nor activated a single brain cell.

My older son has my number as well but he uses a different phone line. He comes to me with his work. Tells me how overwhelmed he is and how important it is for him to do well. He says things like “I don’t know where to get started with this” I give him an idea. He says “That’s good.” Then writes it down. Afterwards he says: “What do you think we should do next?” (you do see the importance of the pronoun he used don’t you?) I say “OOOOHHHH you know what would be cool. . . ” Do I need to tell you how this story ends?

Here’s the lesson. I KNOW better than to do this but my children read my emotional state and use it against me. Emotions, I am telling you, they are the key.

But that’s okay. I’m done now. I’m getting them a tutor (I tried having my husband take over but I began to feared for the boys’ safety.) I am going to pay somebody to do what I can’t. I am cheap but I know what money is for. I don’t get my nails done. I perm my own hair. I buy most of my clothes at Target. (and I’m not pleading poor. How dumb would that be? You know what I do for a living.)

I may not be a good teacher but I know where my money is supposed to go.

So like I said, they got my number but I’m shutting that switchboard down.

If this is a war of attrition. I plan to be the last man standing.

And the Winner is . . .

And the Winner is . . .

ME.

What did I win, you might ask. Well, I’d tell you if I knew. Though I’m not sure exactly what I’ve won I know who gave me the award.

Apparently there is a committee of 13 year old boys somewhere that pass out parental titles. And the reason I know I’ve gotten one is because I always have a house full of them. Even when they are all supposed to be somewhere else, they end up here – in quantity – and I’m not at all sure why.

That’s why I’ve decided that I have been awarded something. I’m not sure which one I’ve gotten but I do have some ideas:

1. The Mother Most Likely to Order Pizza
– You see I have this thing about feeding my kids at regular intervals. And I can’t feed mine without feeding everybody in the house who is under 18. I have this innate communal mother gene. Anybody in the house under 18 is my child while they are here. – So whenever meal time arrives I am getting food elsewhere (it’s one thing to give your own family food poisoning but it’s just embarrassing to take down the entire 8th grade) And you know how 13 year old boys like to eat. Little hoover vacuums – these people – And I don’t know about yours but mine don’t have an ounce of body fat anywhere. (pisses me off).

2. Mother Who Got Suckered into Buying the Most Game Systems.
– I think that one speaks for itself. And by the way you would not believe the funk generated by a room full of 13 year old boys huddling around a video game for a couple of hours with the door closed. Sometimes I throw them out and make them play ball just to air out the room.

3. Mother Least Likely to Go Crazy When Something Gets Broken.
– My 13 year old is very social. He has whole packs of friends. Several of them are very physical. They have a run and shoot offense. Skate boards bicycles, foot balls. You name it. They fly around here like a swarm of bees. I don’t object too much for a couple of reasons: A. I like that they don’t just sit around and play video games. B. He is the last of six sons. Lots off stuff has gotten broken over the years. You either learn to go with the flow or lose your mind. I decided to go with the former.

4. The Mother Most Likely To Engage In an Adolescent Conversation Without Judgment
I talk to them like I was thirteen. If they were engaged in some low level nonsense I ask about it like I am interested. I laugh. I say things like “You didn’t really say that did you? That’s cold. I bet he never bothers you again.”
My son won’t tell me anything but if your are non judgmental with other people’s kids they give up all kinds of information. Of course, if they are doing something really bad (a) they don’t tell me and (b) I’d get all in it. But they tell me what they are thinking and the basics of what they are doing. That’s good intelligence. The CIA would be proud.

– Anyway, it appears that I’ve gotten the award for something. And like I said, you don’t get a statue for it, all you get is a house full of kids.

I have four here now even though the plan was as of 5:00 pm yesterday was that my son was going to sleep over at someone else’s house. Next thing you know its 7:30 pm and I am getting a call saying ‘can you pick me up from the mall and yea can Chris come.’ I say okay. When I get there I find my son, Chris and yet another kid I didn’t know about. What am I gonna do leave that last kid there? So I brought them all home. By the time I woke up this morning my husband says another showed up after I went to bed.

But as my husband says: It’s better to have them here where we can keep and eye on them –

Mess, funk and broken lamps notwithstanding.

Up Early

Hello all,

I got up early this morning (5:30) so I could meet my girlfriend for tennis. It was a bit windy (that is today’s excuse for not hitting well) but my serve was better than normal. That was cool. My friend is better than I am but she is very patient and supportive. Her name is Toni – so you know I have got to love that!

In addition the the live performances I am starting a new phase of my career. Can’t discuss it yet. There is still an opportunity for me to be laughed out of the room on this one but I like to reach – and don’t mind falling much. (ooooh that’s a lie – I mind a lot – but not enough to keep me from doing it again. . . and again . . .)

I have my regular tennis lesson at 1:00 pm today. I hope the wind dies down before then. Thanks for your responses to yesterday’s blog. It’s hard putting the genie back in the bottle. But what are you going to do just watch it and shake your head?

Where is Jan?

Peace.

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My Mother's Rules" is a humorous, easy to follow self-help guide to managing your emotional life.

My Mother's Rules" is a humorous, easy to follow self-help guide to managing your emotional life.

Using lessons learned on the bench along with humorous anecdotes from her own 30 year marriage, Judge Lynn Toler wrote "Making Marriage Work" as a logical and simple guide to bringing back the practicality lost in relationships over the years.

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Runnin' and Workin'09

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Lots going on today with my new project. Hope to get the green light to tell you about it soon. May have to fly to LA tomorrow to handle some business unexpectedly. Tell you what, that got a cool reception at Casa Toler. Don’t know what else to do. It is so funny, if I […]

The First Fight

Posted by on Jun 15, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Got a question from someone who asked me how to deal with difficult in-laws. She said they are nice to her in front of her husband but when they are alone with her they try to pick fights and then tell her husband that she said things she didn’t say. If I ever write a […]

Getting a New Number

Posted by on Feb 5, 2009 in The Blog | No Comments

I am getting a new number because my kids have my old one and they keep dialing it up. This is a homework thing. (You know, I didn’t mind school so much the first time I went through it but these second and thrid visits I’m making with sons V and VI are about to […]

And the Winner is . . .

Posted by on Jan 31, 2009 in The Blog | No Comments

And the Winner is . . . ME. What did I win, you might ask. Well, I’d tell you if I knew. Though I’m not sure exactly what I’ve won I know who gave me the award. Apparently there is a committee of 13 year old boys somewhere that pass out parental titles. And the […]

Up Early

Posted by on Jan 8, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Hello all, I got up early this morning (5:30) so I could meet my girlfriend for tennis. It was a bit windy (that is today’s excuse for not hitting well) but my serve was better than normal. That was cool. My friend is better than I am but she is very patient and supportive. Her […]