Tara Kennedy-Kline Tara Kennedy-Kline
Listen in to this week's Stop Raising Einstein Radio show with guest Gina author of "Shut up About Your Perfect Kid!" www.blogtalkradio.net

Tara Kennedy-Kline's Blogs

Tara Kennedy-Kline
There was a time in my life when I believed there was just too much to bear.

I had created a closet full of skeletons and hid them away. I spent every day in panic and depression with regular anxiety attacks. And then, because of a necessary credit check, the closet door was about to be opened and it was all going to coming spilling into the world.

I called at least 4 psychologists in my area but all of them were too busy. I recall speaking to a homeopathic counselor as a last resort. Her suggestion was to get a tanning club membership; she said the sunlight would cheer me up. That actually did work for a period, but my dog eventually got tired of me following him around to sit in his sunny spots.

Another Doctor thought it would be more effective to medicate me rather than listen to me. His plan was lithium…”Don’t they make batteries out of that stuff?! No thanks! I’ll pass!”

I remember the turning point for me as if it was yesterday. I was getting dressed (so it must have been late afternoon) I had spent the first part of the day obsessing over the debt I owed and how I wasn’t earning enough to pay it off, how I was sure my husband would leave me when he found out, how I had alienated most of my friends because I had become a complaining ego maniac. All the thoughts and beliefs that kept me stuck in my hole of sadness played like a broken record, repeating and screaming in my head.

I was standing in my closet crying. I don’t know exactly why, I suppose it was the overwhelm of my life and the fear of what was to come. “I can’t do this anymore!” I yelled out loud as if someone could hear me other than the walls. ” Please help me…I don’t know what else to do!”

I just stood in my little space staring at the things on my dresser and then I noticed a bracelet sitting there. It looked like one of the woven friendship bracelets I had made in school, but it had 4 lettered beads in it. WWJD. It wasn’t very pretty really, so I didn’t wear it except for the day it was given to me at a fundraiser by some old grungy Harley guy who came up to my booth and handed it to me. Now that I think about it…he was pretty happy!

As I stared at the bracelet, I tried to remember what the letters stood for. Wacky, Wild, Jesus Dude…I knew that was wrong, but it made me laugh anyway.

W…where, what…was…would: “What Would Jesus Do!?”

I let the words land for a minute as I thought about what was really going on in my life. My problems seemed mighty small in that moment.

Given what I had heard of the stories…what would he do?

“Bare the Burden and Make it Right.” The words blasted in my head as if someone were yelling into a megaphone. I had never heard that before…but the statement was so definite and powerful it made me cry…HARD!

I cried for a long time and when I stopped, my whole body felt as though I had been through a washing machine. I felt lighter and breathed deeper. And I felt like I had a purpose.

I didn’t tell anyone else about what happened that day…but from that event on, every time I felt panicked or a negative thought came to mind, I would clear it by thinking “Bare the burden and make it right”. This became my first affirmation.

After that day, I began to notice that instead of obsessing over problems, I was focused on creating the solution to them. My story went from devastation and depression to determination and diligence.

Doors began to open for me and more importantly, I got my friends and my life back.
I would notice and create hundreds of affirmations in the years to follow, but one will always be my challis, my trident. If something lands in my path that seems insurmountable…I look at it dead on and say “I can bare this burden and make it right.”
Tara Kennedy-Kline
It’s one of those Mondays…about an hour into the new work week and already I have had to reschedule a meeting, cancel an order, find a new trucking company, I’ve lost my temper (twice), and spilled my coffee…

As mop off my desk on the verge of tears, I decide that this day is shot and my only option is to go back to bed, sleep off my funk, and hopefully wake up on the “right side” when I start over.

I begin to daydream of burying myself under the covers when I hear my 10 year old son having a meltdown in the other room, so I go to investigate.

Of course, what I find is the typical end of summer scene for moms of siblings all over the planet…my oldest has been teasing his little brother with everything from the TV remote to the kitten, his breakfast and apparently, underwear! I walk in to the chaos with the grace of an angry bull and send each of them to their own corners where I can interrogate them separately in order to ascertain the “truth” of what happened.

Max (the oldest) is of course completely innocent based on the mere fact that he is older and was doing whatever he thought was best for his younger brother…and I should appreciate his desire to “help me” while I was having a bad morning.

Alex (My aspie) is totally out of control, but completely logical as he throws the remote in the direction of Max’s head while telling his brother “it makes me angry when you change the channel and touch my food!”

Hmm, both have valid arguments, where to start?

Violence gets the attention first so I ask Max to leave because he is the catalyst at the moment.

In typical family situations, once the irritant has been removed, the chaos usually resolves itself…but if you’ve ever spent time with an Aspergian, you know that “typical” is not all that common and de-escalation can take a Really. Long. Time… Too often when our children get out of control, our first reaction is to scold them or chastise them for their bad behavior but for kids like Alex, that reprimand is just one more reminder of their difficulty to “be normal” which typically results in an even bigger, angrier reaction.

Too often when our children get out of control, our first reaction is to scold them or chastise them for their bad behavior but for kids like Alex, that reprimand is just one more reminder of their difficulty to “be normal” which typically results in an even bigger, angrier reaction.

Thankfully our family has been through some amazing trainings and have learned some useful techniques along the way; one of them being this really cool process called “errorless compliance”. The process involves praising him for doing what we ask, even if the request is as simple as asking him to put his head on the floor as he is actively lying down, or asking him to punch as hard as he can while he is actively hitting the couch.

By changing his focus and letting him realize success, we help him to understand that when he is calm and he is following directions, he is in control and things more easily flow in the direction he would be happy with.

We use this process when Alex is so escalated that we can’t even get him to see straight, not to mention listen to us, and we need to help him relax so we can communicate.
I know it sounds a bit silly…but when a child like Alex is completely overwhelmed and at the height of frustration, the most calming thing we can do for him is to inundate him with success.

Once Alex and I had worked through his frustration, I came back to my office and noticed my desk was still covered with cold coffee. With a fresh perspective, I finished mopping my desk. I then sat down and in the spirit of “errorless compliance” I made a new to-do list for my day.

1. Break up Kid fight
2. Spend 20 minutes with Alex
3. Clean desk
4. Make to-do list for the day
5. Spend 20 minutes with Max
6. Make coffee
7. Write blog…

WOW! 5 things checked off my list already! This is going to be an amazingly successful day! And I didn’t even have to go back to bed…

So the lesson my kids taught me today is this: The next time you are feeling stressed, frustrated, defeated or just plain sucky…give yourself a well deserved do over. Make a new to-do list, and on the first five tasks, be sure failure is NOT an option.
Tara Kennedy-Kline
At the shock and amazement of my teen aged neighbor, I admitted it: “I did NOT own a pair of heels until I was 17 years old”. When I told her this tale of woe, all she could muster was a horrified, WHY?!

I’ll tell you why! Because MY PARENTS WOULDN’T BUY THEM FOR ME!!!!

Heels were, in my parent’s opinion, for grown women and “dancers”. And I was neither. Therefore, since I didn’t have an income or means to get to the store by myself…I was kind of relegated to my parent’s final word on my wardrobe.

I’m sure if she were alive today there would have been some additions to Mom’s list of "things decent children do not wear", things like Short Shorts with the word “Juicy” written across the bottom, g-strings, see through blouses and push up bras, jeans with holes ripped in them BEFORE you buy them (particularly if the hole allows the entire butt cheek to hang out) and pants that fall down around the ankles…

It wouldn’t have even been an issue of us seeing things in the store and Mom giving in, you know why? Because Mom had the wallet and the car and the AUTHORITY to say no!

But before you start picturing Ma Walton here, understand that my mom was no pilgrim. She was a trendy, chic, sexy, fashion conscious woman who just happened to understand the difference between adults and children, even as it related to clothing.

But the best part is, our parent’s rules and views influenced our opinions and desires as kids too…imagine that! When I was a young girl hanging out at the mall or the pool, if one of the other girls would walk in with torn off jean shorts that showed her buttcheeks, the first thing the rest of us would think was “awwww, that poor girl needs a nice new pair of shorts”. If a classmate walked up to us with a push up bra on (in our day it would have been “stuffed”) we would have pretended to sneeze and ask for a tissue and then tell her to get over herself and be natural.

I don’t understand what has happened to our world. Where have all the adults gone? We need to find them…and when we do, they could start a movement that would be so incredibly powerful that it would wipe these pedophile fashionistas and lude, crude clothing lines for kids right off the planet! They could call this concept “authority” and any adult could use it!

All we would have to do is say “I don’t approve of that item and I am not willing to spend money on it.” And that would have to be the end of it. Because chances are, a 7 year old isn’t going to go out and get a job to pay for that push up bra…and if she tried to get a job, an adult would have to hire her.

So here's my campaign: I’ll step up…I’ll lead the quest for Adult Authority! My promise to you is this: When I see a parent at the store with their crying preschoolers who is begging for a corsette, or whining tweenager who is having a tantrum over "juicy" daisy dukes, I’ll be the whisper in your ear that says "you can beat this! You are the ADULT...don't give in." I'll even give you a tissue and a pat on the back.

If we use our power of authority for the good of our children, we can all sleep well knowing that justice has been served and one more little girl has been saved from the evils of the uberwedgie and the burdon of an underwire and our boys can finally say NO to butt crack!
Tara Kennedy-Kline
I was NOT a very "tiny" pregnant woman...I'm talking rest the plate on your belly to eat (standing up) kind of big. People had a lot of fun with it, except for my husband who thought it was ridiculous, and I rather enjoyed that time myself. It was truly a ton of fun having the attention and service of everyone who crossed your path. People would literally go out of their way to help me while I was growing my kids INSIDE my body; and I guess you could say that was where the delusion of "The Village" of parents began for me.
Chris and I looked very young for our age back then ( I swear, once you have kids, you begin to age in dog years) So when we would take our babies out in public, many times we would get the "angry eyes" stares, the all too common "tisk, tisk, tisk" as we pushed our baby stroller through the mall. Occasionally we would even hear groups of people (mostly women) express their inappropriate judgments out loud for all to hear. "Babies having babies! That's the problem with the world today! And OUR taxes are paying for it!" Keep in mind...I was 28! Certainly no baby!
What made it even harder for me was the obvious lack of support due to my assumed age. Heaven forbid I would leave my baby cry for 2 minutes while I looked for a place to sit down and feed him while pushing a stroller, searching a diaper bag for a blanket and juggling the bags of stuff I had bought. And don't even THINK about asking someone for help! One woman literally told me "You should have realized how hard this would be before you got knocked up!"
And that's where I began to realize, The Village doesn't exist anymore.
Still, my dream of support and a "sisterhood of mothers' wouldn't die completely, yet. It continued throughout my boy’s toddler and preschool years. I would join mom's clubs only to find that "play date" would have been more appropriately titled "bitch session" and trips to the playground were more like WWF competitions where everyone was picking on each other and fighting for control over the sandbox...and I'm not talking about the kids!
I guess I had an unrealistic vision of what this was all supposed to look like...I believed that things were like they used to be when I was little. If my mom had to use the restroom, or change a siblings diaper, or wash sand out of someone's eyes...the other mothers were right there to lend a hand. They would just step in and take over...it was seamless and it was acceptable...and it worked! So when did everyone become so against it?
Once my boys reached school age, I thought things would have to get better, right? If nothing else, there's always school spirit and a sense of community within a school district. At least that's how it was on TV and in the movies...so I just felt it THAT is where I would find my Village.
So I joined the PTA! That's where the REAL motherhood congregates...in my dreams we would plan dances and book sales, we would have Sunday brunches where we would plan field trips and count box tops. We would offer each other unconditional support and advice and it would be everything I dreamed of through those lonely pre-school years. Yeah.....no. Enough said.
That was the last straw...My dreams were officially dashed. I decided then and there that someone had nuked any villages that existed when I was a kid and there was no chance of rebuilding because the foundation was destroyed. So I holed myself up in my own little world and became "cordial mom". You know who I am. I'm the one who will do what you need me to do if it makes things better for the kids, I spend the whole time interacting with the kids...and then I go home.
It's not that I'm being rude; I just don't have time for anything else. I don't have time for girl chat at the playground because I'm too busy driving to stuff since no one car pools anymore. I don't have time to stay and help clean up after the assembly because I have to be home for my kindergartener to get off the bus because there are no block parents anymore. I won't be coming to your moms club meetings because I'm too tired of chasing my kids around making sure they don't do anything "wrong" and I have better things to do than judge the parenting of every other mom who's not there.
But more importantly, I'm really busy with reconstruction right now...
I've decided to rebuild The Village. I've taken a stand for the sisterhood...
So if your kid falls off his chair, and your hands are full...I'll help him up, sister.
If your baby drops his bottle and your on the phone and don't notice...oops! I'll get that for you sister.
If you need someone to sit by the pool and watch your child while you go change another one's blow-out diaper...take your time! I'm not going anywhere sister!
I'm here to offer a hand when you're struggling, suggestions without judgment when you ask and support when you need it. 'Cuz that's how sisters roll in My "Village".
Displaying 31 to 34 of 34