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May 9

You can’t blame your parents forever

Posted on Monday, May 9, 2011 in Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Parenting, Relationships, Self image

As I was enjoying The Kid’s Mother’s Day breakfast-in-bed he whipped up for me — well, more like lunch-in-bed considering how late he gets up — I suddenly thought how tough the day was going to be for Mia; her mom had passed away last summer, and this was the first Mother’s Day she wouldn’t have her mom around.

So I called Sara and we talked Mia into going on a late afternoon hike with us. She was appreciative, but unusually — and understandably — somber. In every other sentence she was beating herself up for all the things she wished she’d done differently with her mom.

After a few minutes, I stopped her. “Mia, you can’t undo what’s been done. I’m sure your mom knew you loved her. Give yourself a break.”  

“Maybe,” she said, her voice trailing off. “But, I was so angry at her for so long.”

And who hasn’t felt that about his or her parents?

I don’t know about you, but just about every one I know has some sort of a complicated relationship with his or her mom or dad or both. Having parents isn’t for babies! And no matter how much we spent on flowers or brunch — or, in Dad’s case, ties and barbecue utensils; go figure! — on their “day,” we still often wrestle with the ways in which they “failed” us.

Which makes me really nervous because I would hate to think that The Kid will be feeling that way about me 10 or 20 years down the road.  I feel like Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) in the movie “Apollo 13”: “Failure is not an option!

Yeah, right!!!

We parents “fail” all the time because we’re human, and thus make mistakes, and we have to make the tough decisions, ones our kids often don’t like. Sorry, but …

And since you know your kids are going to blame you no matter what you do, just do the right thing and stop obsessing about parenting!

It’s easy to blame our parents for keeping us back or somehow messing up our lives. But, shouldn’t there be a statute of limitations on that? Like, once you hit 30 — give of take — you can’t blame your parents for every failure in your life? You have to own up to the fact that you’ve created your own messes now; the past is over.

OK; some parents really are toxic. So those who grew up with severe cases of childhood dysfunction, like abuse of any kind or alcoholism/addictions, get a buy — but only for so long. At some point, you have to come to a place of forgiveness and compassion and move on.

Most of us have been hurt one way or the other, to varying degrees, whether physically, emotionally or psychologically — or if you had really horrific parents, all three. It may not be easy to get past that, but shouldn’t we try — and keep trying until we can? And at some point, having an a awareness of how our childhood has affected our choices as an adult is important — can’t change what you don’t even know.

We can’t change other people or the past; all we can do is change is how we let it affect us.

Best advice I ever got.

And owning your own bad behavior goes for exes, too; you can’t point your finger at the ex and say it’s all his or her fault if things went bad. Because, would you give him or her all the credit if things were going great? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

If you spent Mother’s Day just sending the obligatory card or phone call because you don’t get along with your mom, please — do some soul searching today and find compassion and forgiveness. You don’t want to be like Mia — regretting that you didn’t make peace with her while you still could.

  • In what ways did your childhood effect your relationships?
  • Do you still blame your parent(s) for your behavior today?
  • If not, how did you work past it?
  • Do you worry about what your kid(s) might blame you for? Do you have idea what it might be?

Photo © Nathalie P – Fotolia.com

May 2

How to reject someone after a first date

Posted on Monday, May 2, 2011 in dating, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Relationships

Back when I was actively dating, I had a date with a guy who looked good “on paper” (on the Internet in reality, but whatever) — attractive, intelligent if somewhat self-absorbed description of himself, interesting profession and passions.

When we met at an oyster bar in San Francisco, he was even more attractive than his online picture (and even more self-absorbed; why did this not surprise me?) As we got into a lively discussion of who and what we were about, he mentioned he’s an avid golfer. My heart sank just a tad. “Bummer,” I thought to myself.  

Why? Just because I have no interest in golf whatsoever? What would his golf passion mean in the grand scheme of things?

I felt a little like Lori Gottlieb, who describes in “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” how she rejected a guy because his name was Sheldon.

Really? A name?!!??

Really? Golf??!!

Thank goodness dating coach Evan Marc Katz set Lori straight. I didn’t have a chance — Mr. Golfer never called me for Date. No.2.

Could he have sensed that I was too picky? Hmmm ….

I don’t think I am, but I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll lose interest in someone for something seemingly inconsequential while on a first date. A name? Not likely. A passion for golf? Well …

I generally give people the benefit of the doubt — if there’s some connection and spark. I’d at least go on a second date. Because you never know.

How many of us have gone to our high school reunion and discovered that the gal or the guy you rejected for being too short, too tall or too geeky turned out to be a smart, successful hottie?

But it seems all of us have zero tolerance for something:

Mia won’t date a Republican.

Sara won’t date anyone who doesn’t drink; she loves going wine tasting.

I won’t even consider a smoker.

But reject someone for something like a name? Or a hobby? Or the way she laughs? Can you really get a sense of someone on just one date?

Confession time …

  • Have you ever rejected someone for something random?
  • Ever regret it?
  • Have you been rejected by someone for something random?
  • Do you have  a zero tolerance for certain things when it comes to dating?