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First off I want to say that I believe that moms of young kids (birth to the beginning of kindergarten) have the most difficult job in the world. They are at the mercy of their children when it comes to sleep, exercise, eating and taking a shower. Their job is 24-7 with rarely a bathroom break, let alone vacation.

As I look back, those were the most difficult, the most tiring, the most stressful parenting years so far.

So, as you read what follows, please keep what is stated above, in mind.

When generations before me, were moms of young children, and we had one of those days, we would debrief with another mom, our hubbies, or our own moms. That debriefing was, and is, an important survival tactic when our children are young. We need to talk it out, seek solutions and maybe even simply gripe about our really bad, horrible, no good day, so as to purge it from within ourselves. That is a good thing.

The moms of today have another means of debriefing from the difficulties of child rearing … social media, and, specifically, FaceBook.

The exception of a bad day (or week, or ever phase) can lead us to seek the easiest methods of getting the tension, the frustration and the heartache out of our systems, and FaceBook can be that quick and easy method of purging.

Unfortunately, what is easy to forget, when we are posting our frustrations with our kids (or husbands, or other family members, or bosses) is that what we post today, is forever in print.

Let me repeat that:

what we post today, is forever in print.

Imagine your now cranky toddler, one day a grown teen/adult searching your name on the web … what words will they see, written by mom (or dad) about them? What message will they receive? What legacy are you leaving them?

Please know, I KNOW how difficult parenting can be, especially in those years of vomit, toilet training, items being flushed down the toilet, sleepless nights, bad attitudes, and embarrassing things repeated back to just the wrong person at just the wrong time. But, moms (dads), do we want our temporary frustrations to draw a word picture of how we feel about our kids to be interpreted by our child when they are adolescent? teen? young adult Psychology student (now that is pressure)?

You’ve got the most difficult job in the world, but I know you don’t want the temporary frustrations of today to shadow the beautiful relationships with your kids in years to come … that’s the prize for the struggles of today 😉

May those of you, who are struggling in the trenches today, have someone you can call, text, email or private message, to unpack the frustrations you feel. And may you know that it really doesn’t last forever!

 

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The guest post for today came from a story that I read on Facebook. The story touched my heart, encouraged me and reminded me of how sweet, and how rare stories of integrity are in the media of today.

This is the story of a race, where the one who wins does so because another was willing to give up their rightful place, for the success of the one who was coming up short (hum, this might even have a parallel to the redemption of humanity through the Savior … oh, how I love a story where the theme is redemption! But, I digress 😉 ).

IVAN+12_redimensionarMeet, Ivan Fernandex Anaya, a Spanish runner, who might just be the best athlete to encourage your children to follow. I will not give his story away, just click on his name and enjoy a real, authentic feel-good story.

This is also a story of the power of social media over traditional media. Traditional media has done little to share this good news story, and we need to remember, as discerning individuals, that the traditional media has it’s own goals, it’s own worldview, it’s own agenda. Thankfully, through social media, we, the people, have the opportunity to share the stories that we believe need to be shared. I think this is a good reminder that not all that is new is bad.

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It is said that parenting has been made more difficult with the rapid advancements in technology and the effects of social media on our children. Certainly that can be the case.

For those of us who are parents of teens, it is nearly impossible to keep up with what is new, what is hip, what our kids are in to.

There is nothing more eye opening for me, as a parent, of how much more quickly the world is changing now, compared to when I was a kid, than explaining to my three kids (ages thirteen, fifteen and twenty):

  • ‘dial up’ … that was the norm only about ten years ago.
  • life without laptops and cell phones … hubby had his first of each about the year our fifteen year old was born (according to Reuters, May 2012, nearly one quarter of American homes have ditched landlines for cell phones)
  • life without i Pods or MP3 players … none of which existed until after our fifteen year old was born (over 300 million i Pods sold)
  • Google was an infant when our thirteen year old was born … it was launched just a month before his birth (it receives almost 1 billion views each month)
  • life without YouTube … it did not appear until 2005 (it’s most watched video, “Charlie Bit My Finger” received almost 500 million views alone)
  • Facebook has only been around since 2006 … my children were seven, nine and fourteen when it became available to all with an email address (now about 955 million users)

The world certainly has changed, and it is not stopping. We have a choice, as parents, we can either bury our graying heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t affect us OR we can do our best to understand the world which our children are immersed in.

For me, it was an easy choice, because if I turn my back on the language of my children today, how will we communicate tomorrow? My children have grown up with talk of gigabytes, tweeting and social media. It is, in all practicality, their first language. And if I have hope of continuing in communication, I feel it is easier for me to climb the learning curve, and learn enough that I can walk them through this technological road.

I have not only three children, but also two ‘friends’ on Facebook (one is not yet thirteen, and, since it is the Facebook policy that you need to be thirteen to have an account, he is still waiting). It is here that I can be familiar with who their friends are, how they are conversing, and the ups and downs of their circles. This is not information that I am ‘sneaking’ as my kids know that I am interested in their lives, and in the lives of their friends (many of whom are also my ‘friends’). They do tell me not to ‘like’ every picture they post, because that’s “just creepy,” so I am learning how to navigate this new world from them too!

I am not saying I always agree with all that is new, or the intrusions that technology creates in our lives. I most certainly see foundational flaws to social media as a main use of communication in our world. I see the need for a Miss. Manners in the form of a Wii character, to watch over and instruct the users of the world wide web. I have struggled through terminology that is new (most of which are acronyms) and foreign to my ears. I sometimes wonder if in the future the acronyms we now use in texting will become the words of Webster’s Dictionary. Or that Webster’s will be replaced by Urban Dictionary. I have also found sites visited by my kids that, in the words of my grandmother, make my eyeballs curl.

But, each setback is also an opportunity to teach and to learn, and for me and my kids, we are doing it together, bumps and bruises alike.

For those of us of a more archaic age, the video below might put a smile on your faces, like it did my kids and I:

In our house, it has happened that all five of us are home, even in the same room, having a conversation by texting. It may sound rather ridiculous, but hubby and I figure it is good for a laugh, and helps us maintain uniqueness as a family. We have even been talking about having a dinner where we all communicate via text through the entire meal. We are all about memory making, and hey, the family that texts together, stays together 😉 !

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