communication

Who’s the BOSS? Well, its not me.

Me and the Hot Man were having a discussion about our daughters. And what kind of relationships they will have with the people they will marry one day. (Because yeah, that’s what lame parents do. Sit around and discuss their children all day.) I said,

“The most important factor will be our example. Our children can see what kind of a marriage we have. They can see how we communicate with each other, that this is a partnership of equals. I don’t boss you around. And you don’t boss me around. We share leadership in this relationship.”

Sigh. Isn’t that beautiful? And I meant it. And I believed every word of it. And I wanted to pat both of us on the back and hi-five our awesomeness because we are just such the coolest couple on the planet. Bonus points in heaven!

The Hot Man said, “Excuse me? What did you say? What rubbish! Ha! You boss me around all the time. You’re always telling me what to do.”

I was sure he was joking. But he wasn’t smiling. He looked incredulous. Disbelieving. And he certainly wasn’t doing any hi-fiving of our marital awesomeness either.

I said, “Darling, what do you mean? I never tell you what to do. In fact, most of the time, you do the exact opposite of what I wish you would do. We negotiate and discuss everything. I’m not bossy.”

The Hot Man called our two teenagers into the room. “Son, your mother just said that she and I share leadership equally in this family. She said she never tells me what to do. Is that true?”

Big Son laughed. Incredulously. Disbelievingly. Hysterically. “That’s a joke right? She’s kidding, right?”

I didn’t think anything was funny.

Big Son said, “Mum, you’re always telling Dad what to do. Even my friends notice. When they come over they say Far out man, your mum is like the BOSS. She like, rulez your Dad.” Whoa!’

The Hot Man then asked Big Daughter. “What do you think? Does your mother tell me what to do?”

I glared. The kind of glare that says think very carefully about your answer because your happiness in my house depends on it. Big Daughter answered hesitantly. “Umm, yeah. She kind of does. Not all of the time. But pretty much most of the time. Sorry mum, but it’s true.”

The Hot Man was triumphant. “See!? Even your children know it. You wear the pants in this family. Just be honest about it and face the facts.” He shook his head. “And there you are, trying to tell us that we’re so equal and share leadership…ha.”

I said. “Whatever. Those kids don’t know anything about anything.” I told them to go away. Immediately. Go scrub a floor. Wash a dish. Climb a tree. (And we’re never having any of their stupid friends over at our house anymore either. So there. So there.)

And then I said to the Hot Man. “I never tell you what to do. Ever. You have to stop talking such rubbish, do you hear me? And you need to tell your children that I never tell you what to do, do you hear me?”

And he smiled and said. “Yes Lani. There you go again. Telling me what to do.”

I give up.  According to these people who live in the same house as me, I’m a bossy, controlling, woman who always tells her husband what to do. Shoot me now. No bonus points for me in heaven.

But maybe, just maybe – that’s why this is such a HAPPY, SUCCESSFUL marriage. Because (supposedly) I tell everybody what to do.


You are happy, aren’t you honey? I can’t hear you? Speak up now!

Who’s the boss in your house? Do you think you share leadership? Maybe you’re living in fantasy land. Try asking your kids what they think. Go on, I dare you.

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"Sell me Your Bed"

Big Son: “Hi Bella, can I have a hug?”
4yr old Bella: “No.”
Big Son: “Pleease?”
Bella: “Give me fifty cents and I hug you.”
Big Son ( aghast): “What!?”

I am somewhat troubled by my 4yr old’s willingness to exchange affection for cash…BUT I am impressed with her entrepeneurial spirit. It got me thinking about a similar little girl that I knew, a long time ago. My little sister Scrooge McDuck. Her understanding of money and how it works, is legendary in our family. As a child she was a miser with her allowance which meant that she still had cash long after ours was gone. At the gentle age of eight, she was happy to lend us money though. With interest. And penalty fees. (Who in hell understands financial stuff like ‘interest’ when they’re eight?!)

Once my littlest sister Erin Brokovich wanted to borrow money to buy lolisaiga. Scrooge gladly lent her two dollars. Then when Brokovich failed to make her payments,(Hello, she was only five so can you blame her for being a slack debt repayer?)  the interest began to accrue. Scrooge offered Brokovich a ‘way out’.

“Sell me your bed for five dollars. That way you can clear your debt and have money left over.”

What a wonderful proposition that seemed to silly clueless Brokovich. “Okay!” And off she went to buy herself some more lollies.That night, as she was about to get in to bed, Scrooge stopped her. “What are you doing? You can’t sleep there, that’s MY bed now. I own it remember?”

“Where am I supposed to sleep?” Brokovich wailed pitifully.

“On the floor. OR you could pay me rent for the bed. I’ll let you sleep on it but you have to pay me when you get your next allowance.”

This carried on for several weeks until the inevitable occurred. The rent piled up, the interest added on and soon, there was no way in heck that Brokovich could ever hope to pay Scrooge back. Not unless she robbed the bank. Or sold a kidney on the black market. At age five, the child had spent more than she earned. So she started sleeping on the floor.

Which is where my mother found her one night. “What on earth are you doing sleeping on the floor?”

“I can’t sleep on the bed because it belongs to Scrooge and I can’t afford the rent.”

My parents had to explain some important details to both sisters. Like, hello WE own this bed and neither of you should be selling or buying it! Or ransoming the other for it. And how it bordered on exploitative, cruel and rather illegal to be a Biblical (greedy) moneylender to one’s little sister. Especially when she was only five…

Yes,my Bella’s offer of hugs for cash reminded me of my little sisters. Which may not be a bad thing. Because the miser Scrooge grew up to be a chemical engineer who travels the world doing chemical engineering stuff. And who still has way more money than the rest of us. Brokovich, the previously exploited sister grew up to become a high-profile lawyer who helps rid the financial world of crime. (And money-lender exploiters probably.)

Yes, either way, I have high hopes for the 4yr old Bella Beast. Her future looks bright.

The Skankiest Ho’ outside of Ho’Ville.

Little Daughter was looking at some old photo albums when she came across some pics of me going to Prom. With one boy. And then another pic of me going to Homecoming. With a different boy. And then another pic of me going to another Prom. With another boy. She turned confused eyes on me and asked, “But mum, where’s Dad?”

“He’s not in the picture. I didn’t know him then.”
More confusion. “So who are these boys?”
“Umm, other boys that I used to go out with. Other friends.”
A look of horror. “You mean Dad wasn’t your only boyfriend?! You loved OTHER boys!?” She sounded as shocked as if someone had just told her that Santa ate reindeer for breakfast. As if I had just confessed to being the biggest skankiest ho’ outside of Ho-Ville.

I had to explain that yes, mums and dads could have other past boyfriends and girlfriends and then still fall in love and get married to each other. Which prompted more aghast questions, “You mean, Dad had some other girlfriends TOO?!” Oh did he ever... (And just like that the Hot Man joined Santa at the roast reindeer buffet. Boogied his skanky ho self over to join me in Ho’Ville.)

So me and Little Daughter had to chat a bit more about how her dad is the most amazingest man in the world and I love him the bestest, mostest in the whole universe….and none of those other boys could ever hope to compare. (Especially not that jerk in 6th grade who just toyed with my emotions, made me think that he liked me and then told everybody that my legs looked like a chicken’s. I should totally write a story with him in it – and then have him die a miserable, slow death. Attack by rabid chickens. Ha.)

Sorry, I was digressing. Back to my original discussion, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ve probably figured out that I’m very up-front with my children. I don’t lie to them about what I’ve done and when I did it. But I’m also very open with them about what I regret and what I’ve learned from my past. My honesty with my children has raised some eyebrows with other parents but it’s what works for us.

What about you – how much do you tell YOUR children? If you’re trying to teach them the importance of living by certain principles which include  – no alcohol, drugs or cigarettes – then how much do you tell them about your past drinking and everything else? If you’re raising a family on a strong Christian foundation which includes guidelines like – no dating until they’re 16 and no sex before marriage – then how open are you when they want to know what you got up to and how old you were when you got up to it?!  …Those have been some of our challenges in the honesty arena – what are yours?

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