Daily Living

Our Twelve Year Old On Tour and What Life Lessons He Learned From the Bass Player and Drummer (Part II of Touring With Thorazine)

Jo-Ann's son on tour IIII knew my son Ryan had formed a bond with our bass player and drummer before we left for the road. We see the band more than we see our biological families. Our band, Thorazine, always lived as a family and it is natural that the second time around we would fall into family roles again.

It started the first day we picked the band up from the airport in Los Angeles. Ryan does not always use his best table manners, although we have worked with him on this for years. Drummer Dallas and I both mentioned to Ryan about how he is going to choke since he eats so fast. He needs to slow down.

Of course, he is twelve, and has been oppositional since birth. Despite all this, we didn’t give up. Then bassist Hoover and my husband joined in. I think Hoover said it best, “One day, Ryan, you are going to want to impress a girl and you are not going to be able to eat like a caveman in front of her and keep her attention.” [Read More…]

The Awful Task of Finding a Summer Camp…Now

summer camp IIWhen I first began writing for “Mothering in the Middle,” I compared the number and types of camps available for our kids today, versus what we had when we were children. This summer, I added a piece about all the school and camp forms needed to get through the year. But, here I am again: looking for a summer camp, for next year.

Just when I thought I conquered this task, my wife decided that it was time for my eldest, my son, to go to (far) away camp. His sister also decided that he wasn’t going to camp unless she was going to camp. (The truth is that since her camp experience has been limited to a handful of overnights and two nights at a school camp, I’m not convinced she’s ready for three or four weeks of this.)

So, here’s the upshot: unless you’re frantically researching for camp now, you may be left in the bitter cold of a long, hot summer with your children bleating about how lonely they are and that there’s nothing to do. The Summer Doldrums turn into daily shuttle runs to every single camp you can imagine for one week at a time after another. So, it’s worth it, searching for a summer camp in the middle of winter. [Read More…]

A Life After 40….5…..?

Carmel Harrington Fall 2015I’ve been writing full time for almost five years, starting just after I turned forty. It’s a funny age isn’t it? On one hand we are told, over and over that life is just beginning, on the other, that it’s all downhill from here.

I, being a glass half full kind of gal, chose to believe the former.

Making the decision to change careers was a terrifying one. I was a Sales and Marketing Manager, with a company car, expense account and decent salary. To become a writer meant giving all that up, because there is no fixed salary for this profession. Many authors never earn a minimum wage, never mind a decent living. And taking aside that not insurmountable obstacle, every time I thought about sharing something I’d written, I’d become paralysed with fear.

It was one thing to kick stories around in my head, another to show the world those very words that up until then I’d kept hidden. who I wanted to be, who I really was. [Read More…]

(Seasonal) Grieving and Grateful in November

thanksgiving cornThe November Dilemma

November has always seemed to me to be like a crossroad month. It is both fall and winter in its weather. But essentially November for most of us means a time for thanks as we gear up for the upcoming holidays and a time for grieving as we officially let go of Autumn’s beauty and move into the more stark landscape.

November begins on the first with an acknowledgment of a religious holiday, All Souls Day, or as the nuns used to say, the cleansing of that horrible day prior, Halloween. But what is it about November that leaves us lingering, in the beginning of the month, lost and fragile? What is it about November that leaves us feeling delicate and brittle? How can we make sense in this preparation month, of our crazy, busy “to do” lists? But more importantly, why can’t we enjoy it for what it is; a kind, gentle introduction to the mayhem to come. [Read More…]

10 Coping Tips For Grieving Parents

COPEEach of us grieves the loss of a child, or any other significant loss, in our own way. And each of us has our own way of coping with our grief. Some bereaved parents may benefit from seeing a therapist, attending a support group, talking to friends or being with family. Still others may simply need time alone to come to grips with their emotions. There really is no right or wrong way to grieve.

The following is a list of suggestions that may help grieving parents in their journey. But remember, everyone’s journey is unique. And each part of the journey can be different. So even if something doesn’t work for you now, it may help you during another leg of your journey.

Give yourself permission

As you travel your grief journey, you will encounter many things that you did not expect to encounter since your world was turned upside down. Give yourself permission to experience the feelings, emotions and thoughts that emerge as you figure out how to live with and in spite of your loss. [Read More…]

Sometimes I Feel Like Dunking my Kids’ Heads in Water (A Religious Ritual)

baptismI was born and raised Catholic. That is: Baptism-Communion-Confirmation.

With two Catholic parents, there was no other option for me when I entered the world. Like a brand on my arm, I respond to people with this information when asked me about my religion. I am not, however, Catholic.

When I came out in my late teens/early twenties, again in my mid-twenties and lastly in my early thirties, I had so much trouble trying to rectify who I was with “my birth religion.” Science only furthered my estrangement …and my disillusionment. At one point in my life, I believed it impossible for a truly intelligent person to believe in God or any organized religion, at all.

How was this not obvious to anyone with an I.Q. over 90? [Read More…]

By |November 8th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Fatherhood, Gay Fathers|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Every School Day is “Pajama Day”

Stansell JammiesDon’t you love it when your kids get excited about something? I know I do! One thing my eight-year-old daughter is most tickled about is “Pajama Day” at school. At the end of the trimester, their 2nd grade teacher lets them wear PJs and bring a pillow, blanket and favorite toy to be comfy for the class reading marathon. This novelty of wearing sleepwear to school is oh-SO cool to her and her classmates.

Well, then there’s me. I have my own opinion about going to school in jammies.

I SWORE I’d never be “that” mom who would show up to drop off her kid looking like she just rolled out of bed. (Excuse me, I’m way more professional than that.) I have a reputation to uphold. I spent 14 years in television news and am now a well-known speaker and coach. I’ve been a personal assistant to high-ranking leadership in the Idaho Senate, plus I served two terms as “Mrs. Canyon County America.” I could never be seen looking frumpy, with no makeup on and hair all amess. Have some dignity, please! [Read More…]

What’s a Touring Punk-Rocker Midlife-Mother To Do? (Part I of II – Touring with Thorazine)

Jo-Ann in CATouring with your twelve-year-old and with your punk band sure turns heads.

Everywhere we went, people stared and then thought, who gave them a kid? Driving across the country with my on-the-spectrum, ADHD-boy (Ryan) was a joy. The road was a novel place and every time he looked up things were different. He was joyful all the way across the USA. He didn’t sleep a wink and more times than not, he was staring out the window just taking it all in.

Ryan was so excited as we arrived in Los Angeles. The band would join us there and was thrilled to be somewhere for more than one night. He and I swam in the pool that afternoon and by evening were joking that we were poolside in LA. It was grand. The next day, a friend picked Ryan up. She is someone he knows well and her daughter is a few years younger.

Although (in California) they start school in August, Ryan was able to play Mindcraft with her and swim in the pool at their apartment. When we got to the show, the promoter said it would be fine if he showed up and it was the only show  he was allowed to watch. (Of course, Ryan did not change after swimming and showed up to our punk show in his bathing suit.) [Read More…]

Six Tips for Helping Stepparents Deal With Jealousy

green-eyed monsterWithin families and stepfamilies that have experienced separation and divorce, horror stories are often shared and retold (to people within the family circle and outside of it) about who did what to whom; of alleged wickedness and “evil” behaviour; and of “monsters” real and imagined.

Whatever the situation (or the story), there is one monster in particular that often rears its ugly head causing tension and havoc in families and stepfamilies alike – that “green-eyed monster,” also known as jealousy.

Jealousy is typically an emotion rooted in a fear. Fear that something belonging to you will be taken away or of a loss in status of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection. Within stepfamilies, jealousies typically originate as a protective reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship and the anticipated loss of something that is important to the person in question. It typically co-exists alongside thoughts and feelings of envy (the desire to have something that is possessed by another), hurt, hostility, insecurity, fear, concern and anxiety. It is expressed through a myriad of different behaviours (as opposed to a single behaviour) and it doesn’t always look pretty. [Read More…]

By |October 24th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Stepparents|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

When Kids Sabotage Themselves

Sabotage[sabuh-tahzh, sab-uhtahzh] /ˈsæb əˌtɑʒ, ˌsæb əˈtɑʒ/

noun: 1. any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute. 2. any undermining of a cause. verb (used with object), sabotaged, sabotaging. 3. to injure or attack by sabotage.

Have you ever been so close to a goal with your child only to be disappointed?

What about finding that new toy or electronic completely broken hours or days later? A privilege at home or school taken away?

You may be finding yourself thinking – is this a joke? Why does everything seem to result in FAILURE?! [Read More…]

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