Creating Balance Let's Talk

Overcome Mom Guilt by Connecting with Your Kids

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

The guilt weighs on me sometimes…

I’m a good mom and I love my kids, but the economy has created a situation where I am the primary breadwinner. My husband does much of the homework help, all of the cooking, and the laundry. Oh, I try to do laundry, but the first load is often enough forgotten in the washing machine that Dave actually prefers it if I don’t help.

Dinner time used to be when I bonded with my mom. I would sit on a stool at the counter and watch her cook. The kids do that with Dave, not me. To be sure, it’s better for all of us. The food he prepares is delicious and nutritious. When I cook, we would most likely be ordering pizza after whatever I was preparing was rendered inedible with my talent.

But I still want my kids to know I care, that I am there for them, and that I want to know everything that has happened with their days – even when I’m worried about picking up a new contract or making a client happy. I’m lucky that I work from home, so I’m here, and that’s half  the battle. At least they are no longer playing tug of war for my attention with my atrocious corporate boss.

Lately, we’ve been bonding a different way – a way that soothes my guilt and helps my kids understand how much I love them. We’ve been watching our family videos. We were pretty consumed with videotaping the kids, our family, and family events when the kids were younger, and we’ve had a blast going back in time to when the kids were babies and letting them see what life was like before they could remember.

It’s a fun way to connect and the kids get to see how much I’ve been involved in their lives, so that if I can’t take the time to work on spelling words, they understand.

Let's Talk Teens and Tweens

Empowering Kids to Say No To Peer Pressure

by Shadra Bruce

We all want our children to be strong enough to say no. We encourage individuality, especially in our teens, as they are discovering who they are. Unfortunately, our teens are caught between the lessons we have taught them and the incredible desire to fit in with the popular crowd. How are we, as parents, supposed to compete with an entire school filled with peers ready to pressure our teens? It starts with developing (and it’s never too late to start) an open and honest relationship with your teen.

There are telltale signs that can help you determine if your teen is having issues with peer pressure. For example, if your teen is suddenly making excuses to stay home from school, feigning illness or even asking to be homeschooled, and there’s no sign of real illness, it’s worth having a conversation. Not wanting to go to school can be one of the main signs that teens are experiencing peer pressure. Other signs can include withdrawing from anything social, as well as depression or anger.

Peer pressure can lead to an increase in risky behaviors such as use of drugs and alcohol or participation in sexual activities. And even though most of us think about peer pressure as a teen thing that starts in high school, your kids may be bombarded with pressure to try things as early as elementary school and definitely in middle school or junior high.

What’s a parent to do?

The most effective barrier against peer pressure is your ongoing involvement, attention, and reassurance in your child’s life.

Peer pressure most often effects teens that have a low self esteem or no support system at home. Teens with high self esteem who are confident in themselves and their decisions are much less susceptible to the powers of peer pressure.

You may never be able to convince your child that being popular isn’t worth the trouble, but you can help your kids believe that they are perfect just the way they are. If they are accepted at home, regardless of the way they look, dress, or think, then it’s easier for them to be proud of who they are in the face of harsh judgment and pressure from peers.

The thing is, you can’t just tell your kids that it’s ok to say no. In order for kids to feel empowered (and have the chance to practice that power), you have to actually give your children the power to say no and express opinions at home. That’s what empowers them to be able to say no and be a leader at school and with peers.

Having regular meals around the dinner table with your family and being actively involved in your children’s lives gives them the perfect opportunity to open up about their lives at school and it gives you the chance to assist them with anything that might be causing problems. Your kids (particularly your teens and tweens) might tell you (in words or behavior) that you are the most annoying parent ever, but they really do appreciate the love and support you are giving them. By showing you care, you are encouraging them to make good decisions now and for the rest of their lives.


Roses from the Divine Mother

Getting Real With Lisa Van De Graaff

Last week, I received darshan from Amma. Amma is a living Hindu saint, an incarnation of the Divine Mother. She delivers her blessing with an embrace, a hug unlike any hug I’ve ever experienced.

While I don’t consider myself to be a devotee or follower of Amma, I am absolutely certain that her message of unconditional love and compassion is an authentic expression of her purpose in this life. I also have a deep respect for her humanitarian work, and I am inspired by her to do all that I can to leave my small corner of the world in better condition and more beautiful than I found it.

As I was waiting to receive darshan, I meditated and set an intention for the hug. I knew she would give me what I needed, regardless of my desires, because she is the ultimate mother. I couldn’t help myself though, and I made a wish. I wished for her guidance in being a good mother.

As I approached her, on my knees and offering flowers, she pulled me to her breast and chanted in my ear. She held me tight, and I felt her all around me, inside of me – I could feel her in my heart. I felt stripped down to my core, the absolute truth of me, and I cried. She let me go with a shower of rose petals, and I was enveloped by the sweet, loving, scent of roses.

I sat for several minutes after Amma’s embrace – I was a jumble of emotions, confused, crying, and trembling. Then I felt it. I felt that kernel of myself, my truth. I felt that deep inside I am a nurturer. I felt my capacity for empathy. I felt a blissful moment of absolute certainty that not only am I on the right path for my life with my choice to become a mother, but that I have all I need to help my child find her own inner truth.

And several days later, I can still smell the roses.

Crafts with Kids

Fridge Magnets Make Frugal but Meaningful Fathers Day Gift

by Shadra Bruce

There is something so meaningful about receiving a gift made with love by a child. With Father’s Day coming, it’s a great time to think about helping your child make a homemade gift dad can keep forever. These are the treasures that often outlast most store-bought trinkets. One of the easiest crafts you can make with your children is a refrigerator magnet –  a perfect gift with a ready-made display location.

Picture frame magnets are the most popular magnets, and your child’s ability to be creative is pretty unlimited. Gather some photos, magnets, and craft supplies – seashells, popsicle sticks, macaroni, felt scraps, or anything else you have around.

You’ll also need a glue gun and a piece of cardboard or cardstock; everything else on the magnet is up to your imagination! Glue the picture to the center of the cardboard that you’ve cut to about three inches (square or circle or your own shape). This is where the creativity happens! On your piece of cardboard around the picture, you can glue macaroni or dried flowers, nuts and bolts, fishing lures or buttons – anything you can think of – to decorate the “frame” of the picture. Glue the magnet to the back of the cardboard frame and you’re ready to wrap!

You can also make picture frame magnets using Popsicle sticks, foam cut-outs or clay. Another handy magnet craft you can make with your kids is to use a clothespin to make a clip to hold items on your fridge or on a metal office desk. Using wooden clothespins, glue the magnet on the back. The front can be decorated by gluing items to it or using a marker or calligraphy pen to write the person’s name on it. It’s an inexpensive and useful gift for anyone, and your kids will have so much fun making them.

Education Let's Talk

When Your Child’s Grades Drop

By Shadra Bruce

When your child’s grades suddenly swing from passing to “How did this happen?!” there may be cause for concern.  However, jumping to the conclusion that he or she was goofing around instead of paying attention or not putting in enough effort isn’t fair without first considering that there are other reasons grades might drop.

With five children, we have seen our share of report cards. In our family, we try to avoid labeling grades as “good” or “bad,” and we don’t discipline our kids for getting low  grades. Discipline is what you do when your 3-year old is throwing food at the table. Discipline implies punishment to correct behavior. Most of the time, though, low grades have very little to do with behavior.

Grades are only one indicator about how a child is doing in school, so when grades suddenly drop, we try to discover the problem and address it appropriately. When our oldest son’s grades started slipping because of ADHD, we used medication, a 504 plan, and extra homework help. Our daughter’s falling math grade was due to rushing through the work to avoid having homework. We made her bring the math book home every night and spend time going over the work. She always found the mistakes she made rushing through and finally realized it took less time to do it right the first time. Our 11-year old son’s problems occurred out of boredom because he already knew how to do the work they were doing and needed more challenging work.

If your child has been consistently getting passing grades and things change suddenly, it’s important to examine what might have been happening in his or her life. Poor grades are a sign that more frequent communication is needed, both with the child and with the teacher.  The more the teacher and parent can be in touch and in agreement over the child’s needs; the better it will be for the child. Good kids can get bad grades—sometimes it is simply a bad teacher, a difficult class, too many extracurricular activities – or the stress the child is under because of the major changes occurring in his or her life.

A drop in grades could indicate a need for glasses or that your child is being bullied and can’t concentrate at school because of the experience. It’s important to talk to your child, your child’s teacher, and even the school counselor to determine how to help.


In Honor of Mom . . .

We learn first about love from our moms. They protect us and care for us and allow us to stretch their bodies out of shape and make it so their bladders never quite work the same – and they do all that before we’re even born. Then, once we arrive, moms provide the security and safety to get us through those first months when we can’t fend for ourselves. It is through the love of our mothers that we first experience the world.

Obviously, we think moms are pretty important, and we go about trying to put a little Mother’s Day into every day. On this special day, though, we invited all of our contributors to share a little something about their moms – the women who helped make them the great moms they are today.

From Lisa Van De Graaff…

My mother makes everything, really every thing, special. She made clothes for me as a child and matching clothes for my dolls, she taught me to garden and cook and draw and dance by doing it with me side-by-side, and she created memorable celebrations for each of our individual and family achievements. On rainy days, we cooked Snickerdoodles together, on sunny days we had picnics, and every day was filled with her infectious laughter. She was and continues to be a shining example of a person’s capacity for unconditional love of family and dear friends. Somewhere in my 20s, our relationship shifted to a deep and knowing friendship, and now that I am a mother, we are best friends. I treasure my mother. I remember my grandmother telling me that when she held my mother in her arms for the first time, she looked at my mother’s translucent skin and could see and feel that she was a pearl – a rare and natural gem that would bring joy and beauty to the world. Grandma was absolutely right.

From Wanda Morrissey…

I’ve started and deleted this, I don’t know how many times. I can’t seem to find the right words to say how special my mom is to me. My mom was always there for my siblings and I, no matter what. She would go to bat for us when she felt we had been wronged, she would listen when we needed a sympathetic ear, she always had a hug and kiss ready for us and she made sure we never wanted for anything. She felt our hurts, rejoiced in our accomplishments and cheered us on when we needed it. My mom is the most loving, caring, thoughtful person I know. She’s always willing to lend a hand and help in any way she can. Now there’s 2000 kilometres of Canadian highway separating my mom and I and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I lived closer to my mom. I miss you, Mom. I hope that I can be as good a mom as you are.  I love you, Mom.

From Jennifer Poole…

I come from a family of strong, independent Irish women. My grandma is still going strong at 100 1/2 years old.  My mom raised two girls on her own from the time I was 5 until I was 15. She taught my sister and I how to be independent and responsible. She juggled work, home, and family to help ensure we grew up to become the confident women we are today. My sister and I learned by example how to hold our heads high and know that we can accomplish anything we want! You hear so much about troubled kids coming from single parent homes and we were far from perfect but we were good kids who became caring and dedicated adults thanks to our mom.

From Kathy Winn…

Plain and simple, my mom is the most important woman in my life. Even as an adult with a career, family and children of my own, I look to her for guidance, support and friendship. We’ve laughed together and cried together. She’s dropped everything to help me when I needed her, never stopping to ask any questions. She is generous and strong. She will give her all until there is nothing left. As an RN in an emergency room for decades, she works hard and is admired by her peers (and can run circles around those striving to be her peers). And watching her as a grandma to my boys is one of the greatest blessings in my life. In all my life, I never doubt that she will be there for me. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

From Danica Sorber…

My mother is important to me because, not only did she survive an incredibly abusive relationship during my childhood, she raised three children on her own despite the struggles of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. She is a woman with strength beyond human bounds, and a love for her family that cannot be measured in human words. She has given up everything to be a mother, and is still the most generous and kind woman I know. I love my mom—she is woman who helped make me into the woman I am today…a woman who will teach her own daughters the true beauty in strength, perseverance, and love.

From Veronica Ibarra…

My mother is a pillar of strength and practicality. Growing up she would always answer my questions about anything and everything. She was always someone to whom I could turn no matter how nervous or anxious I was about what I needed to talk about. She would always listen to everything I had to say. Sometimes she smiled, sometimes she frowned, but always she listened.  The only times she told me what to do were always in relation to chores and school responsibilities, but when it came to my life, my choices, she rarely offered advice. She would provide me with options and information as it related to whatever issue I had at the time then she would look at me in earnest and ask me what I planned to do. I won’t say that it didn’t matter what I decided, but she always supported me. If something didn’t work out then she encouraged me to figure out what I could and move on. Life continues, no matter what. She demonstrates this every day. Some of the things she has endured, like the death of my father leaving her to raise three kids would be testament enough, but she has been through so much more. To tell her story would amaze anyone, yet she wouldn’t see it that way. But for all her strength in the face of adversity and determination to raise her children to be competent, capable individuals, she is also fun and adventurous. She loves art projects, and still sends me care packages full of stickers and activities for my kids and me. She puts confetti in cards, and sticks out her tongue while blowing out if she thinks someone is being pig-headed or boring.  She taught me many things, and teaches me still.

From Shadra & Tiana …

We have written about our mom, Linda Lund, several times. She remains one of the biggest inspirations in our lives and in the way we mother our own children. Mom passed away in 2006, but her legacy lives on in us and in our daughters. We know that we would not be the moms we are today without her.

Health Let's Talk

From One Mother to Another, Happy Mother’s Day!

Getting Real With Amalia Starr

Just hearing the words, Mother’s Day, sends tears streaming down my face and forces me to sit down. It makes me reflect on the past, where I have come from to where I am today.

My first son, Matt, was born forty years ago. He was adorable, sweet, and easy to parent. Then two and half years later my second son, Brandon was born and my life began to fall apart. Yes, he has autism, epilepsy, and severe learning disorders. The road has been more than bumpy, it has needed paving many times over and major construction work often. It has been a very long and extremely difficult journey. I don’t want to pretend that getting to where we are today did not take tons of hard work from both Brandon and myself. But what made it work was patience, acceptance, and most of all, love, unconditional love. Yes, I know you have heard this before, but it is so true.

Brandon has given me a second chance in life, an opportunity to become a much kinder, caring and loving person. He has given me the strength to discard or change old negative behaviors.  He has taught me the true meaning of life by forgetting anything negative, and to focus on what is important – the here and now, today, not yesterday, not tomorrow. He simplifies life and focuses on what is at hand. He does not have many friends and is not able to express himself very well and is very naive. He has great difficulty in making his bed and opening cans are nearly impossible. He will never be able to drive a car so walking and buses are what he relies on to get him to where he is going. He is a simple man at age thirty-eight, and yet even when the professionals told us he would never be able to live alone we did not listen.

Brandon is a very determined man and when he wants something, he gets it. What a fabulous trait to have. There has not been much that he has wanted over the years, but living alone was not up for discussion, because he had to live by himself due to all the negative treatments he had received from his peers over all the years while growing up.

Yes, as parents we are fearful and extremely worried about our autistic children and what will happen to them as adults, and rightly so. But sometimes we are asked to dig deep, very deep, and to trust and be courageous, more courageous than anyone thought possible. There were many times I would ask myself if I had made a big mistake by allowing my son to be on his own. But over time, I saw Brandon grow and develop from experiencing everyday life. That was encouraging enough to allow my son to continue his dream of independence.

Next week, Brandon will be celebrating fourteen years of independence. His life is far from perfect and never will be. Almost everyday there are challenges for him to work through. My goal is to keep Brandon living independently long after I am gone. I will work with him until the day I leave the planet. He is my inspiration. He gave me my calling. Today, I am an autism motivational speaker, independent living coach, and author. We have a very rich and deep connection, even when no words are spoken. As far as for my oldest son Matt, this is the year to rekindle the beautiful relationship we once had.  It is true the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It is time Matt gets more attention from me.  The beautiful part of all this is that it is never too late.

Moms, I know you too work very hard so please do something special for yourself today. You know what they say, “If mom is happy so is the rest of the family.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Doing it Alone Health Let's Talk

Marathon Mama – Mom Power in Action

Getting Real With Sara Haley

This last weekend, I did something amazing.

I ran a marathon.

26.2 miles of running. 26.2 miles of quiet time. 26.2 miles to figure out exactly why I was actually running this marathon.

Running a marathon was something I never would have imagined doing years ago. No way. Not in a million years would I ever do that–even the thought of running around the block sounded completely and utterly exhausting. But on New Year’s of 2009, I made a resolution I would never forget: to run a 10K in 2009, a half-marathon in 2010, and a full marathon in 2011.

I did it. All three races, and then some.

Sunday I ran the Lincoln Marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska. During my divorce, it has been hard to find the time to properly train. Training for a marathon is like a part-time job. No joke. Getting the mileage in, avoiding injury, keeping the endurance going to be able to run for hours on end. It’s not easy. But that wasn’t why I was doing it.

You see, my divorce has been very difficult, very messy and very stressful. Running has been my saving grace in getting through the days. I was able to get a membership to a local gym, which provided me with daycare for my daughter while I busted out the miles on the treadmill during the winter to keep my endurance. I also threw in some strength training, some stair climbing, spinning classes and religiously attended two yoga classes a week with the “boot camp yoga” instructor. My local gym knows me by name. Yeah, they kinda have to when you’re there every day! (And the bonus is I am down to my goal weight and then some, having shed some stubborn pounds I had been fighting since childbirth!)

The persistence paid off. Although I wasn’t considered “properly” trained and ready because of my time limitations and child-restrictions, I was still determined to run it. Standing at the starting line at 7 in the morning with ten thousand other participants on a windy, cloudy day, I started to second guess myself, wondering what the heck I got myself into. But the starting gun went off, the group started migrating towards the start line, and I realized there was no turning back.

I did well. I did some splits with my music, running to one song, walking to the next, and kept up with the 4:55 pacer for quite some time. Stayed on top of fluids and food, chomping on a Power Bar around mile 8 and saving my next one for mile 16. The crowd was amazing, and cheered everyone on.  What a rush! Come mile 13, I was still doing great. The turn-off for the half-marathoners was coming up, and I knew it was now or never. Sure, I could have turned off at 13.1 and finished with the halfers, and would have actually had a PR (Perfect Race) beating my previous half-marathon time. But I ran forward, knowing I had to do exactly what I did the last 13 miles all over again to the finish line.

About mile 14, I began to think about exactly how crazy I was to do this. At mile 16, I slowed down to enjoy my second Power Bar. Somewhere between mile 18 and 19, my left knee started to give out. It hurt. Not too bad, but enough to make me stop running. I started to power walk it, as I knew knee injuries are never a good thing and didn’t want to push it too hard. Around mile 22, I wanted to cry. I wasn’t sure why–from the pain, the exhaustion, from the amazing realization of exactly what I was doing that day. My power walk slowly became a fast limp come mile 24. The Sag Wagon (the car that drives near the end of the race to pick up injured individuals or those who want out) was following closely behind me. The pacers for 5:30 passed me. But I was okay with that. I refused to let the Sag Wagon pick me up–I didn’t come all this way, prepare all these years and train all those months to drop out and take a ride on the Sag Wagon two miles before the finish line. I limped my way to the finish line. 26.2 miles behind me.

I got my medal, a rose, and a wave of amazing accomplishment. I did it. 5:47:10. That’s no amazing time goal by any means, but I wasn’t going for time: I just wanted to finish.

Before my run, I wanted to try and make it to the prayer service beforehand, but ended up missing it because I stood in line for a good 20 minutes waiting to use the bathroom. But even then, I stood in silence with all the nervous, anxious people around me and thought about exactly why I was doing this. What was my reason for running a marathon? What was my reason for investing the time and energy into running 26.2 miles? Was it insanity?!

I knew exactly why I was doing it. I was doing it for my daughter.

In reality, I’m just a boring, stay-at-home, work-at-home single mommy. My days are filled with tantrums, tears, meals, laundry, bills and coloring books. I spend my evenings cuddling with my daughter, reading to her, and playing Barbies with her. I keep thinking to myself that I’m nothing extraordinary. But then I realize, no, I am. I’m a mom. I’m my daughter’s superhero, no matter how much I screw up, no matter what sacrifices I make for her, no matter what I do right or wrong. I will always be her hero.  I’m a single mom. I’m making it paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have any luxuries in my life, but I am blessed to have a roof over my head, my daughter in my arms every day, and my health. She’s three, so at this point in time, she doesn’t quite understand the magnitude of what I did the other day. But as she gets older, hopefully this will be an inspiration to her. That no matter who you are or what your personal situation is, you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.

This Mother’s Day, remember no matter how old your children, you will always be their number one hero. Whether you’re single or married, have one kid or two, you are–and always will be–a true superhero in their eyes!

Frugal Living Let's Talk Travel

Cheap Weekend Escapes

by Shadra Bruce

When your budget is shot, your kids are bored, and you just need an escape, it’s time to think outside of the box! Here are some fun ideas for a getaway that won’t break the bank.

Spring is here, and lots of people are dreaming of hitting the road. Everyone likes to get out of town for a weekend now and then, if for no other reason than to enjoy room service and an indoor heated pool with no beds to make the next day. With fuel costs becoming the most expensive part of travel, why not book a room at a local hotel?

Whether you and your family do nothing but laze by the pool for the weekend or literally become tourists in your own town, this is a fun and inexpensive option for a weekend getaway. Bonus: no getting lost or having to ask for directions to get where you want to go.

If even the thought of a hotel bill is more than you want to contemplate, arrange a weekend house swap with a friend or family member in a nearby town. They’re probably just as eager as you to get away for a weekend. A little planning on your part and they’ll feel like it’s a hotel, too: put out fresh towels, put fresh sheets on the beds and leave a gift basket of fresh fruit in the entryway.

Have a vacation at home! Wake up and leave the beds unmade and the dishes in the sink. Cancel all the weekend chores, order out for pizza, rent a movie, and make some popcorn.

OK, so this is not the same as gallivanting off to Paris for the weekend, but it beats hearing “I’m bored” one more time, and the change of pace can lead to a change of attitude!

Let's Talk Toddlers

The Call of a Child – Selective Hearing in Action

Getting Real With Veronica Ibarra

One of the many skills we develop as mothers is the extraordinary ability to hear our children call for us, and know by the sound that they are in need. This acutely sensitive ability to attune to our children is not necessarily limited to mothers, but often times fathers aren’t as attuned because they attune to other things, like the myriad of sounds made by the car. I suspect that many fathers also over rely on a mother’s ability to attune to their children, trusting that if something were really wrong then he would be alerted.

This hypothesis was unintentionally tested recently as my son began calling me from somewhere within our house. At first I wasn’t sure if he was calling me as “mommy” is his catch all for when he wants something, which includes addressing his father who was also in the house at the time. His first call had that note of hey-pay-attention, which he usually does use to address his father.

The second call for mommy came with a hitch in the cry, that I-am-not-happy transitioning into I-don’t-like-this. I got up from writing to go investigate, figuring I’d find him fussing at one of the cats or an uncooperative toy. I poked my head in every open room—he is only 2 after all, and has yet to master the opening of doors. I poked my head into my husband’s open office to see him typing away at his computer, but no sign of our son.

I heard the cry for mommy again, muffled, but now with that hint of rising panic, the one that begins my reciprocal panic. I urgently start opening doors to the rooms that were closed, and still no 2 year old. Meanwhile, daddy is typing away. I start calling for my son, who starts the repeated mommy call, which I am able to follow and trace him to the closet in his sister’s room. With much relief he latches on to me with a death grip of gratitude for rescuing him from the stuffed animals and nightlight he had managed to close in with him.

I poke back into my husband’s office to point out that our son was essentially trapped in the closet in the room next to him, and asked why he hadn’t helped. I got the deer-in-headlights look. Apparently, daddy thought our son was farther away and talking to me. And my calling for our son when I couldn’t find him? Oh, I wasn’t paying attention.

I roll my eyes, and carry our son back out to the library where he can play with the train set while I write at my desk. Of course, I’m muttering about my husband’s deafness, and grumbling about what a great help he is, so it takes me a few minutes before I can think rationally again. But as the mommy-panic-and-frustration haze begins to clear I remember a film I watched in a long ago psychology class talking about this very issue.

In the film there was a scene with a couple sitting on the couch watching TV. There’s a faint baby cry and the woman asks if the man heard.  He says no, and she goes to check. Within seconds she comes back to report that the baby stirred, but fell back asleep. They go back to watching TV then a faint metallic rattling sounds and the man turns to the woman asking if she heard it, which of course she did not. He goes to check and comes back to report that the furnace was acting up, but is now fine.

To be fair, my husband can start the car and within moments can tell you if the car is running as it should. I surely can’t tell the difference between the subtle sound changes in the engine, so why do I get frustrated that he can’t tell the subtle sound differences of our son’s cry?  Intellectually, I understand that he and I attune to different things. I even understand the psychology behind it, but as a mother…well, I don’t understand.