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MinivanMom last won the day on October 18 2013

MinivanMom had the most liked content!


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  1. It is standard in some jurisdictions to write a clause into custodial agreements that the other parent has the first right to babysit the kids. My parents had a clause like that, and my bio father tried to use it to prevent us from visiting friends or spending the night at friends' houses; he insisted that anytime we weren't with our mom, we were required to be with him. That isn't the intention of those clauses, but just throwing that out there as a possibility. Holiday custodial arrangements can be particularly contentious. My parents called the police on each other a lot and in hindsight 75% of those police calls/visits occurred over the Christmas/New Years holidays. Emotions are so high, and often each parent is certain that the other parent is cheating them out of holiday time with the kids. I know you want to support this kid, but I would be wary of hosting him overnight during the holidays. That puts you right in the middle of the parents' custodial dispute. Save the overnights for a regular non-holiday weekend. Hopefully things will calm down once a custodial agreement is finalized. In the meantime, I would expect emotions to run high, and the parents to act pretty selfishly. Fred is lucky to have a good friend and a calm place to go. I had a wonderful family who was my refuge (as long as my bio father didn't know I was there), and they did so much by just quietly letting me be in their home.
  2. Get a hotel room. I can't imagine what your mother is thinking, but sometimes people don't think clearly when they are grieving. Get a hotel room, give aunt some space when she needs it, and definitely go to the funeral on your own while your husband watches the kids. I might also reassure your aunt that you are very happy that she's staying with your parents and has support. I just wouldn't want her to feel guilty about displacing you and your family.
  3. I've seen the situation play out this way, especially with couples who take on very traditional roles within their marriage. One of my husband's coworkers was going out-to-lunch with friends, attending his weekly Bible study, and generally doing whatever while his wife sat by the side of his dying mother. And this guy adored his mother. Nobody could understand it. But he just viewed caregiving as women's work, so he thought it was his wife's job. At the office Christmas party after his mother passed away, I was sitting with him at dinner. And he started telling me that he didn't know how to work a washing machine. Apparently his mother did his laundry for him during the 8 years he was in college and grad school (even driving several hrs to his college to do it for him). Then he got married and his wife took over the job. He was 60 years old and had never done a load of laundry, washed a dish, swept a floor, or made his own toast. That sure gave me a bit more insight into why he felt fine letting his wife do all the caregiving for his mother.
  4. No experience from the parent side, but my husband experienced this situation from the student side. He was a 4.0 student and valedictorian with very, very involved parents who were always present and made sure that he never wobbled. He went to a good university out-of-state and really struggled the first two semesters. Just to be clear, he wasn't partying or blowing off classes (dh doesn't drink). He was just struggling with time management and seeking out academic help, etc. And he was afraid to tell his parents anything, because he had seen them flip their lid over his older sister struggling in college. So by the time they saw his grades at the end of the year, his gpa had dipped below 3.0. And, of course, they flipped and told him he was a disappointment and that they had wasted their money on him (even though dh had paid his own freshman tuition). So they forced him to transfer to the local university and live at home. (I guess he could have defied them, but he was raised to obey his parents.) What had been a warm relationship quickly deteriorated. Dh moved out after a year and never took another penny from them. He paid his own tuition, got A's going forward, graduated from the local university, and then went to grad school. But the underlying issue of his parents (particularly his dad) trying to control him meant that their relationship continued to deteriorate and is still not good today. So I'm going to be strongly on the side that says, "Let your son stay in college, learn to manage his own studies, and learn to persevere." Your husband is on the wrong track if he thinks he's going to improve the situation by bringing a 21-yr-old home to micromanage his college studies. It sounds like your son is trying to work through the issues and figure them out. Let him struggle and learn.
  5. I also think a good divorce attorney would be able to refer her to a good tax attorney. She likely needs professional help to deal with any potential issues involving taxes and penalties. What a terrible situation.
  6. Get a good lawyer. Secure the kids' passports immediately. He's done a terrible thing, but at the end of the day, it's only money. Thank goodness he didn't try to take the kids as well.
  7. Some kids get better and some don't. I have one kid who had good skills in practice, but struggled with the quick action of games. It all came together by age 10. I'm glad we let him continue to choose team sports even when it was painful to watch those early games from the sidelines. He's a teen now and continues to play. He isn't the star or mvp, but he's a decent player and loves the game. I have another kid who struggled in practice, struggled in games, and had no interest in practicing or even playing around with a ball on his own. I would cringe from the sidelines. Yet every season, he would say that he wanted to play. We finally decided that it just wasn't fair to his teammates. So we helped him choose some activities that were more his speed (cub scouts and rec swimming), and he was very, very happy. He really just wanted a group of boys who were his buddies, but he needed our guidance to find the right group. So I think it's a judgement call as far as where your kid falls on that spectrum. But team sports are not for all kids. Games with balls (or pucks) are not for all kids. You can learn teamwork in many different settings, and you can get exercise in many different ways. So you could stick it out or you could explore other options, but you probably won't go wrong as long as you're listening to your son. He's pretty young so if he says he wants to play, then it all may come together for him down the line.
  8. To the original subject, I experienced serious burnout around the time I had my 5th child. I had 5 children aged 8 and younger, no extended family, and was in the middle of handling a messy estate in another state. Every waking hour was taken up with child care, homeschooling, and estate work. Mostly I would get the kids to bed by 7 pm, work on the estate until 1 or 2 in the morning, and then get up at 6 am with the newborn to start it all again. It wasn't about losing myself. I simply had more than any person could reasonably manage. My husband stepped in beautifully and that made a huge difference, but we just didn't have the money to pay for any extra help (child care, house-cleaning, etc). It was stressful. But I finished up the estate, the baby started sleeping through the night, and everyone got a little bit older. It was a hard season, but my own self was still there at the other end. Thankfully I had a strong marriage, a helpful husband, and kids who were healthy and neuro-typical. If the situation had been different then something would have needed to give. It only lasted 2 years, but even that was about 2 years too long. Our eldest is now in public high school, and that has been great for our family. She went because we have a good high school and she wanted to go, but it lightened a load that I didn't even realize I was carrying. I feel so happy with where she is and happy with homeschooling the younger kids.
  9. I feel stressed seeing the long lists of things you all are doing "for yourselves". (Yes, I put that in scare quotes!) I don't want to get a gym membership or join a bunch of clubs or go on girlfriend vacations. I don't want a part-time job or more volunteer work or extended time away from my kids. Omigosh, am I supposed to be doing all those other things too?! I don't want more responsibility and more commitments sucking up my hours. I want more downtime! I will settle for alone time with a book after lunch everyday, working out a few evenings a week while dh handles bedtime, and a weekly date night with my husband. I would also like a full-time cleaning service. We finally got an accountant for taxes and a lawn-service for our yard, and that has been magical. But a cleaning service would help a lot. But other people's idea of "balance" sounds like a longer to-do list to me, and there just aren't that many hours in a day!
  10. Ours is Dec 22- Jan 2 (12 days). They also get 5 days for Thanksgiving, 10 days for spring break, and lots of non-Christian holidays. But we also have lots of random days off and half-days as well (usually at the end of each quarter and when interim report cards are issued). I always think that if we didn't take off random days (often in the middle of the week!), then we could have a longer Christmas holiday. I would love to have 2 or even 3 full weeks every year.
  11. I agree that these situations have a massive impact on all the kids still living at home - including teens. Those teens still need their parents. And nobody - nobody - should be expected to put their own family and minor children on hold indefinitely, because the older generation demands that their needs be front and center for years or decades. Its not the rosy picture people paint of caring for grandma for a few months while you learn to serve others and set a good example for your own children. Serious long-term care can be tough, traumatizing stuff for kids - including teens. But don't underestimate the special hell that parents of young children go through when they are sandwiched. My kids were 6, 4, 2, and a newborn of just a few weeks when I was told by a relative that I had to leave my husband and children to move to another state to provide long-term care for a parent who abandoned me as a child. My answer was no. Just plain no. I would do what I could from afar, but I was not leaving my family. At the time, we were looking at potentially decades of care, but they died just 6 months later. And I was left as the executor of one of the messiest estates ever. It took two full years of sleepless nights and trips out of state to get it all unraveled and legally taken care of. I still get emotional when I think of how much I missed and the impact it had on my very small children. This! Some of us have parents who selfishly rotated in and out of multiple relationships. My mother & her siblings had 6 kids to care for 2 parents (who lived frugally and saved well despite neither of them graduating from high school). But many of us face a situation of having 1-2 adult kids to care for as many as 4 divorced & remarried parents before we even consider our spouse's parents. And because of divorce & remarriage & poor financial decisions, there is no money. None. Parental divorce is just one of those gifts that keeps on giving.
  12. My husband recently read Educated for a book club he's in, and he raved about it. He's been trying to get me to read it, but I haven't found time. Anyway, our discussions about the book led me to start digging around on the BYU admissions page out of curiosity. It turns out that BYU does not accept homeschool diplomas. I know that's something we usually rail about here on the homeschool boards, but I wonder if that was helpful to the young lady in the book. A neglected unschooled or nonschooled teen is going to have trouble producing a homeschool diploma. Their best bet is a university that doesn't even accept homeschool diplomas and relies completely on test scores.
  13. I applied to only two colleges: my local state univ and an out-of-state private school. They were both safeties based on my stats and awarded merit aid without requiring fafsa info (which my mother refused to provide). I also took my ASVAB and spent some time talking with my army recruiter, because I needed a back-up plan and community college is a difficult alternative if you are a homeless teen. In hindsight, I'm kind of amazed that it didn't occur to me to talk to my hs counselor or to anyone at my relatively helpful church. I didn't know that hs counselors were supposed to be helping with college (inner city school where counselors were just trying to get kids graduated), and I would have been embarrassed for anyone at my middle-class church to know the details of the situation. I didn't want to expose my mom. I was accepted to both schools and offered a merit scholarship to the out-of-state private. I saw it for the first time when I arrived with bags in hand to move into the dorms. The scholarships covered my tuition and fees, and I worked to cover my living expenses. I know I started fall of freshman year with some savings, and I initially took a job washing dishes in the dorm cafeteria because it was the only thing that worked around my class schedule. I turned 18 during the fall of freshman year, and I immediately applied for two credit cards. It's much easier to buy your own plane tickets with a credit card. I wasn't even thinking about establishing credit at the time, but it worked well. I'm not sure how possible this would be today. Theoretically, a bright kid with good test scores could still go the scholarship route, but so many schools require the FAFSA now for merit scholarships. And living expenses have skyrocketed. I can't imagine many kids could afford their living expenses by washing dishes part-time. But I think it has become much easier for homeless kids to be declared independent, and it's easier to access information about the emancipation process and how to work through the financial aid appeal process (thank you, internet). I knew a girl in a similar situation to mine who was able to get herself declared independent by the courts during her senior year of hs. She had a friend whose father was a police officer, and he helped her navigate the local courts to make it happen. She also had a very involved school counselor who helped her with all the financial aid aspects, and she was able to attend Pepperdine with full financial aid when she was still a 17-yr-old freshman. Ideally, all kids in these types of situations would have those kinds of supports. If the scores aren't there for scholarships, the military or working through community college are both backup options. But it can be done.
  14. The best Christmas gift my dh ever gave me was telling his family that we were dropping out of the gift exchange (after years and years of drama). The second best gift was choosing a profession where he can't take time off over the holidays. I love my husband. I only do the things that bring me joy! That means staying home, listening to Christmas music, and baking cookies. No shopping or travel or drama. Every year is quiet and peaceful.
  15. This is a good way of summing it up. But I've always liked the ending. Outwardly, she appears to be making similar choices to her mother. She moves to a rural, isolated place as an outsider. She marries a local. She discovers that every community has their faults and challenges. But she is treating people differently. She is consciously making a choice to build healthier relationships. And she's taken that childhood pain and channeled it into a life helping others. In that sense, it's really a beautiful ending.
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