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Mom's resolution to speak up for herself resonates with kids

I’m not losing weight.

I'm not going to promise to stop procrastinating, either.

I'm not joining a gym for the umpteenth time only to never step foot in there after January.

I'm tired of contributing to the statistical failures of the obligatory new year's resolutions.

This year, I want it to count. And, this year, I want the kids to make the changes with me.

What is my grandiose 2014 goal, so taxing I feel compelled to publicly commit to changing?

I want to start speaking up when I know I should. I want to respectfully state my mind, share what I really feel or stand my ground when I think I'm right.

There is a fine line here, and it's placed on a slippery slope. I'm not talking about being a right fighter with a family member. And I'm not talking about stirring the pot in a social setting.

I'm talking about letting someone know that they hurt your feelings or challenging a store manager when you didn't get what you were promised.

For many years, I didn't want to cause a scene or start an argument. Embarrassingly, I admit I never wanted to come off as "not a nice person."

For the longest time, I just felt there wasn't very much worth the effort or the fight. If I was right, things usually went in my favor. And if not, were the repercussions really going to be worth the result I sought?

Over time, we get complacent. We tend to become numb, and we just go through the motions. And I started to see this in my kids.

I would often encourage them to do something to rectify the situation. And their response was usually something I would say: "It's not worth it."

Ugh. Really? I passed this lackluster way of self-sacrificial living on to my kids? I've always told them what they needed to do. I've lectured them for hours. Surely they've heard me, right?

Don't get me wrong. Balance is required in these situations. You need to know when to walk away and when to stand up.

A few days ago, I went to pick up an online purchase at a store after receiving notification. The kids and I arrive right at closing time. The woman tells me, "I'm sorry, we can't help you."

Disappointed, we change our plans for the next morning and decide to return at 9 a.m. As I walk away, I feel the kids pelting me with their eyes. They want me to do something.

I returned to the store and asked the manager, "Do I really need to come back tomorrow when your associate is still back there? Is she really the only one in this entire store that can walk over to a shelf and give me my item?"

Five minutes later, we had our item and we were on our way.

The general consensus was a simple "That felt good!"

The next day, my 15-year-old, Kourtnie, went shopping with my grandmother to buy an OtterBox on sale, but when she arrived, she discovered only one box remained and it was priced at $79.99, not the advertised price of $39.99. She decided to buy it anyway, but the cashier told her the total was $106.98 and she refused to pay.

After complaining to a manager and learning about a price match policy, she got the OtterBox for $49.99, a price the manager found on Amazon.

She immediately called me and says "Mom, I got the more expensive OtterBox for fifty bucks!" Shocked, I asked how, and she responded matter-of-factly, "Because I'm your kid!"

I hung up the phone and I heard a phrase my parents embedded in my brain: "Do as I say, not as I do."

I've been saying it, but I haven't been doing it. Is it really that simple? People will read this and think I'm apparently oblivious. Meh, perhaps. But, sometimes, we all lose track of the simplicity in this parenting gig.

My next resolution is just to do as I say. Easier said than done, but the talking hasn't done much for me over the years.

Heather Tempesta is single mother of three who lives in Brandon.

Mom's resolution to speak up for herself resonates with kids 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 5:39pm]
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