Thursday, February 25, 2010

Leap of Faith

It takes a leap of faith when you get the phone call and your child says:
"Mom, I'm quitting my job...."
"Mom, I've QUIT my job...."
"Mom, I'm making a move to another company.... it's smaller, more entrepreneurial...."
"Mom, I'm starting my own business..."
"Mom, I've got an idea for a business, so I'm quitting my current job to work on it...."

I'm suggesting that, as the recipient of said calls, you have to have faith in your kid and that hopefully you've helped lay a foundation where they make good, sound decisions... that they're not chucking caution to the wind, that they've thought this through, that they've still got health insurance, COBRA, something! That they've figured out how they're going to pay their rent? Eat? AND that they've ideally NOT quit their job, until you've had a good vetting conversation....

These Gen Y kids are adults, they're making decisions on their own every day... that's what we want, right?! They're becoming more and more independent. Arguably, they are independent! At least if you ask them, they are. Again, that's the goal, right?

Here's a suggestion: IF you suspect that you may have a kid that's thinking in any of the above directions; rather than wait: don't close your eyes, cross your fingers, pray,... whatever,... that this will all go away or that they'll "come to their senses" and keep their job, especially in this economy... don't do it! Don't wait, have a conversation. Bring it up. Get them to talk about it, think out loud with you!... they just may surprise you. They actually may have thought their decision through and they just may have a plan!

This is my thinking, our thinking: they're young, no mortgage to pay, no mouths to feed (other than their own)...when else is a good time? When will they take a chance / a risk, and try something new, especially if it's their own idea?

OK, I have to admit, this took some time to get to this point, "risk-adverse-mother-that-I-am". I know to some, it sounds good, and to some of you, you're probably thinking, "has she lost her mind????" "I would never behave like this as a parent!" "Take control! Tell your kid they can't quit!" And some of you Gen Yers reading this may be thinking: "I WISH I could quit and start a business!" "I have loans to pay from school" "my parents would kill me!" "There's no way!"

First of all, good luck to you parents who try to "take control." Let me know how that goes. Second, though I'm incredibly risk adverse, especially when it comes to my family, if there's a good, well thought out plan (more than a germ of an idea) and you sense your child's conviction, I mean, what the heck? You've picked them up when they've fallen before, who says you won't pick them up again. This time the pick up may have conditions or a timeline or may come a little later... but let's be real...

The process itself of researching, budgeting, figuring out how to start your own business or going with a start's all a very steep learning curve, but incredibly worthwhile! If they get "hungry" enough, either you'll hear from them (or perhaps, see them) or it will force them to move in a different direction or make a different decision or decide to put together Plan B (maybe graduate school?) or network a little more or market a little differently or switch up their selling technique... but is any of this a real negative? Really?

Have a little faith!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Broken Hearts

Broken hearts. Tough. Seems like a good topic since we're surrounded by hearts this time of year.
I'm not talking about your heart, I'm talking about your kid's heart, and you may or may not know that it's been broken. We all go through it, it's part of that "life experience" thing, but just like so many other aspects of being a parent ... you wish your kid didn't have to go through the pain.

Well they do.

Now the questions that arise as a parent (assuming you know) are:
What do you say?
What kind of advice can you give?
Do they WANT your advice?
Is this a time to share one of your broken heart stories?
Do you jump in the car and "drive to the rescue?"
Does there need to be an intervention?
Is that person you, to be doing the intervening? A roommate? A good buddy?

Well there are several different scenarios I've heard about: from jumping on a plane and "flying to the rescue!" not doing anything but listening,... to calling a good buddy and asking if they'd check in on the broken hearted,... to ignoring the situation and pretending it's not happening to your kid (now that's a good parent)...

I think as their Mom (or Dad) you need to gage your own child...listen for those various flags or a girlfriend shared with me, "I was super concerned about the spiral downward, he sounded so bummed out, I couldn't just sit back and watch and wait, I had to get a visual, I didn't want him to do anything drastic!" FYI: She and Dad went to the big city, got a visual, helped their son move (now that's a whole new entry, living together!) did some major cheerleading, told their tales, suggested strategies that their son might use to keep moving forward, suggested activities to get involved with after work, exercising, etc. And now it's all good.

As for other scenarios, it may be more of a bruised ego than an actual broken heart, but I must confess, sometimes it's really hard to tell the difference at the time.

I know some of you are thinking to yourself, butt out, tell your kid "you're sorry it didn't work out" and that's it. Move on! Maybe so.

What do you think?

My poor kids have heard my tales of whoa. I'm not sure that's a good or bad thing, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time?!? Why let my kids think that I have no idea how they may or may not be feeling, right? Emapthy's a good thing.

The other thing you may be thinking, is tell your kid "to get back on the horse," (sorry) "to get back out there..."
"no groveling!"
"no begging to be taken back!"
"this too shall pass"
This is always a fave....NOT!
"there are other fish in the sea!" those! :)

In my experience, broken hearts mend and you learn from them! Hopefully.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sick without your mother

A phone call or a text, "Mom, I'm not feeling well. My throat is killing me, my stomach aches like crazy...I got hit in the head and I feel nauseous..." Does this resonate? It's flu season and even if it wasn't, it doesn't matter. Unfortunately, this is life! But, here in lies the challenge as a parent: They're at college or living on their own somewhere and you aren't there to evaluate the situation yourself.

So you drill them with questions: Do you have a fever? What hurts? Do you have a rash? Could it be something you ate? What are your symptoms? ...

If need be, you've convinced them to go to their school's clinic, their doctor, or the Emergency Room. Well, once there, things can get "interesting":

They've told you that's where they are, but guess what? There's no cell service in a hospital, you know that they headed there or were actually there, but after that, it's the great abyss. You might not hear anything for hours! As one girlfriend said to me, "I of course, was going to every dark corner in my mind, imagining the worst." All you want is to know how your kid is? What's the prognosis? Diagnosis? And the next steps?

They're also considered adults, 18 and over, so it's difficult to get any information. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that I've learned along the way. Of course nothing is fool proof and I'm sure you have some thoughts and ideas too.

* Get the name and phone number of their roommate, so if you need information about your kid, they are a good place to start.
* Suggest to your sick child that they A) tell someone they're going to the ER B) Ideally have someone take them and stay with them, at least until they're all squared away.
* Be sure to get the name of the hospital, clinic or doctor they're going to. (When you're in a different city, you have no idea where or who). Just in case you need to start sleuthing.
* If you're not getting any information, no communication with your kid, try calling the roommate or good friend that you HOPE went with them. Text them if all else fails.
* You don't have a phone number or email for a friend or roommate, but you have a first and last name: go to Facebook, go to "friends", go to "find friends," you can refine your search and add the college or state they're from and see if you can deduce which one of the names that matches is your child's friend. If you think you've got a match, then send them a message. Kids read their FB page, so they'll see it. Of course, all of this is if you don't have any contact info.
* Try calling the hospital, get connected to the ER, with luck you'll get a person on the phone that's a Mom. Pull the Mom-card. Tell them you're the Mom of someone who's there, you've heard nothing for 4 hours! You're concerned and would like to know that they're still alive. OK a tad dramatic, but you get the gist. You just may be pulling the Mom-card with a! She just may tell you something, gather information and call you back! It's worth a try.

If you want to be proactive: When your kid is filling out forms for college, there will be a place where they can give parents permission to receive grades, be informed about emergency-like situations... encourage your child to check the box "yes." That helps. Also, when visiting your kid and you're introduced to friends and roommates, write down names, phone numbers and/or emails. You never know when you might need them. (That contact information can come in handy for birthdays too, if you want to surprise your child with a cake or something and you need the help of their roomie.) Arm your kid with information. If they're allergic to any medications, be sure they have that information, otherwise they rely on you and in an emergency that's not the best. Besides, if you're like me, who can keep track of who and what allergies, especially if they're not written down???

Being sick without your Mom can be lousy and as a Mom, having your kid sick away from you arguably can be lousier!
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