Thursday, July 26, 2007

OTM vs The Tweenager

What should have taken about fifteen minutes tops turned into a four-hour chore for my twelve year old son...

Late last evening I stepped outside to put some pork chops on the grill when I noticed my husband pulling weeds out of a pile of pea gravel next to our sad little excuse for a garage. I noticed him and then noticed Patrick the Tweenager shooting hoops about three-feet from his working father.

"Hey, you!" I shouted, "Get over there and help your dad get those weeds out of there so we can move the gravel elsewhere."

Patrick the Tweenager stopped dribbling just long enough to toss a smirky grin my way and then flippantly replied, "Helllllo, Mom, I'm working on my lay-ups." Dribble, dribble, dribble.

Oh, no he didn't.

Heads up shout-out to all readers: This One Tough Mother doesn't "do" smirky and/or flippant. Let's just say he was pulling weeds pretty quickly after. But here's the deal, he wouldn't shut-up while doing so. It was "stupid" this and "Stupid Ricky (a/k/a his older brother) never does anything" that, and I heard myself say once, then twice, "Patrick, close your mouth and just do your job."

Sigh. He no understand One Tough Mother-ish.

So he spouted off one more time and I clearly dictated the following: "If you open your mouth one more time to say absolutely anything you will be hauling the gravel out from this spot over to the other side of the garage where your father and I want it--by yourself. One more word and Ricky won't be helping. One more word and you'll guarantee a two to three hour work day for yourself bright and early tomorrow."

He no even try to understand One Tough Mother-ish.

I believe the word, his last word, was "Ooooooo."

And so it went.

"Congratulations, you just succeeded in creating a mountain out of a mole hill and I shall be waking you up at 8:00 am to complete the remainder of this task." He sulked-- Tweenager style--to his room (i.e. slammed the back porch door, muttered incoherently, slammed his bedroom door, muttered incoherently) and I didn't see his sulky face for another nine hours. (Thank you, Jesus!)

Now, here's the moral of the story. The "Ripley's Believe it or Not" wrap-up, if you will. I awoke said Tweenager at 7:45 am the following morning. He got out of bed. Ate a bowl or two of cereal and then went outside and did the remainder of his work.

Sans complaint.
Sans arguing.
Sans snarky adolescence snit of attitude.

And while Patrick the Tween would never admit this aloud, I know it to be true: he knew exactly who he was dealing with--One Tough Mother--and decided it just wasn't worth the effort to go against her.

So too your children as you firmly step up and be the One Tough Mother your children need and your sanity requires.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It Works!

Just had this pop into my email Inbox a few minutes ago:

Julie, I just finished listening to your workshops from this year's Hearts at Home conference the other night. I was about to shave my head as I am the OTM of a 9, 5, 3, and 1 year old. But I calmed down and put on your CDs instead and knew I was alright because I am the Boss!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Who's One Tough Mother?

For the past ten years I've found myself writing to and speaking with tens of thousands of women (many of them moms) and time and time again I'm struck by their tales of feeling out of control and somewhat (!?) ineffective when it comes to dealing with precocious toddlers, headstrong preschoolers, increasingly mouthy grade-schoolers, junior high know-it-alls or hormonally challenged teenagers. Sometimes all five in one family!

(Note: Oh, dear. Let's bow our collective cyber heads and pray reeeaaaaal hard for these mothers. Come to think of it, let's offer two prayers because I know a lot of you offered up this little sincere ditty: "Thank God that's not me.")

These moms live and hash out real life as far away as Debrencen, Hungary; Beijing, China; Stevenage, London; and as close as Brunswick, MO, and Bushnell, IL. I have to tell you, they've all lamented, wailed, gnashed their teeth, and/or otherwise pleaded for a mothering lifeline. And a large percentage have simply wanted me to tell them why they shouldn't just pack up the spawnlings and ship them off to Life Camp; forgot that sorry "day" camp or "summer" camp stuff, these women are desperate!

Here's what I believe, you don't have to (nor were you ever meant to) go through your days, weeks, months, and before you know it, years feeling as though you're anything but confident and in charge as a mom. You don't have to feel your life is worthy of a British Nanny 911 feature film. (As if a single one-hour program could fix all your "issues"!) You don't have to sit around waiting for someone other than you to step up and take the lead.

It's not only possible for you to step up and take charge of your kids, it way past time to do so. That's where this web site and my writing/speaking/resources come in. See, as I've made my way through nearly two decades of my own children's developmental stages--infant, toddler, pre-school, adolescence, early young adulthood--I've figured out what can't be put off, undermined, or denied.

As a result of those twenty-years, I've discovered and become convinced of what is absolutely, positively, without apology necessary. I've become convinced of the "non-negotiables" every mom needs to implement in her life and that of her children.

It is possible to step up and be the mom!
It is possible to have a settled confidence as a mom.
It is possible to hold fast your ground and steadily create a self-assured and healthy authoritative presence in the life of your child.

And I'm going to help you do it! So be sure to regularly check back and chime in with comments, poll casting, and any questions you may have for this One Tough Mother.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tag! I'm it

Rachelle, writer, former editor, and all-round wonderful friend, has requested answers to the following questions. Be sure to click your way over to and check out her answers and great writing as well.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?
This one is easy: in 1993 I typed the opening paragraphs for an intense and dark themed work of fiction. It's unlike anything I've written to date...waaaaay unlike. It will give voice to matters of which we're afraid to speak and doesn't promise or necessarily deliver some neat and tidy wrap up. Evil--true evil, seldom can be boxed and processed as such.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with? Daniel Silva's newest release (July 24th) "The Secret Servant." Man, oh, man, I love this guy's stuff!

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)? An IBM Selectric, circa 1981.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month? 8-12

5. What's your favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned? Well, I confess I still miss my yellow legal pad machines. Computers are all so bland and so, well, non-favorite inducing for me. I guess my current Dell which I've somehow managed to figure out how to autosave and back up my writing in progress.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? I'm more a non-fiction bibliophile but without a doubt years the years between 1932-1949 always capture my attention when picking up a fiction work.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)? I could wax on about this forever so I'll contain myself. The one book would be The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Sigh. How I wanted to have two brothers and a sister to create a home in the woods near a babbling cool brook. How I wanted to purchase milk in a glass bottle and keep it chilled in the aforementioned chilled running water. How I wanted to live in an abandoned box car and decorate it with nearly discovered treasures. I wanted to be Violet...sweet, strong, and loving Violet.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Let the Polling Begin

I thought it would be interesting and hopefully both a bit encouraging & challenging to see how "refreshingly real" moms answer the question posed today on One Tough Mother. Perhaps your answer changes according to the mood you're in or the status of your hormone levels (or lack thereof.) Maybe you'd answer one way for one child and another for the kiddo that just seems to have a gift for pushing every one of your pushover mom buttons.

Whatever the case may be click the one(s) most appropriate to your probable response or actual real mom experience. And while you're here, go ahead and post a comment letting us know how an actual OTM moment went with your child. Give us the good, the bad, and especially the One Tough Mother ugly! *smile* After all, it's all about coming clean with our missteps and pressing forward to become the firm, kind, but in-control "I'm the boss" moms we were meant to be.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

They're Everywhere

This week you could tune in and watch them via The Today Show or Good Morning America--moms (oh, dads were part of the problem too but for the sake of our blogging perspective I'll keep it focused on the XX-chromosome parenting unit) who just don't quite know what to do with their rambunctious and oh-so-headstrong toddlers and preschoolers.

Grown women.
Educated women.
Working and at-home women.

Demographics or location meant nothing as I watched, listened to their lamenting and fairly willed myself to magically appear in their living rooms and kitchens shouting,
"You gotta be One Tough Mother!"

Methinks I shall have adequate material for years and years to come. Then again, if moms everywhere (and dads are welcome also) will only read and implement the SANE and SENSIBLE non-negotiable material I write and speak about in One Tough Mother, maybe it'll only be a few more months or years.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Hey, You! Nice to have you stop in here at my newest blogging endeavor...One Tough Mother. You'll see things are a bit new (i.e. still lots of work to do) but I know you're going to enjoy bookmarking this spot and checking in and out throughout your, well, your days, weeks, months, and years of taking on children and mothering.

You'll find updated news hits informing you of newsworthy One Tough Mother hi's-and-low's dealing with (or not as the case may be) spawnlings across the world. As well as additional thoughts and cheering-on from me, your favorite One Tough Mother.

HTML Madness

Gads! It just took me 45-minutes to figure out how to configure a clickable web link from my home web site to here. (There are perfectly good reasons why some of us are less than capable when it comes to matters of the cyber-net kind.)

Nevertheless, I did it.
I stuck with it.
Googling and surfing my way through reference heaven I remained, as always, tenacious and unwilling to concede defeat. One could consider it a blessing or a curse, I suppose. This unrelenting drive to figure things out. To get things right and to get things done. It's Monday so I'll go with blessing. But come, oh, Thursday, I'll probably be singing a different tune.

Anyone else like me out there reading these words?
Anyone else prone to sinking their teeth into a project, goal, or, well, life?
Any other all-or-nothing types?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Speaking of Cheese Dips

Major crisis here on the home front.

I am a voracious consumer of white Mexican cheese dip. I travel to the local El Rancherito, belly up to the bar (no smart-aleck comments, please), and ask for a shot of the stuff far more times than I should. But here's the deal...I can not duplicate this tasty food item for home consumption for anything!

I've probably spent +$200.00 purchasing varying types of cheese that purport to deliver the delicious goods. But they don't. I've purchased and melted all manner of expensive Mexican cheeses from my groceries cooling shelves. I've tried white American cheese mixed with other stuff. I've looked online and typed in any and all "keyword" searches to can imagine. To no avail. So here it is.....for the love of all that is holy!!!!! Somebody tell me where I can purchase that fine, smooth, tasty white dip that is served in restaurants.

No cheese that melts into a greasy ball.
No cheese that has a funky grainy texture.
No cheese that is orange or off-yellow.

Just give me the stuff like they have at El Rancherito. (And yes, I've asked and they're not sharing their secret.)

Email me immediately and if it cuts the Jules Cheese Mustard, I'll post it for the entire world.

Allow me to introduce myself...again

Hmm...I'm thinking two and a-half years might be a bit long in-between posts. My apologies, really. Although I'm in to the early months of my fourth decade on earth, I still find it difficult to get done everything that needs to get done.

And there's always a Lifetime Movie Network program calling my name. Sigh.

But anyway. I'm back and it's my intention to show up quite routinely. I'm shooting for three or four posts a week, will settle for two, but promise not to go longer than two years. How's that for accountability?

There are chicken nuggets begging to be pulled from an oven right now so I'll wrap it up and be back shortly with far more interesting opines and such.