Tag Archive | funny

I Am an Uncool Parent

I’m not sure when I became the uncool parent. There had to be a specific moment where I lost my touch; although, I’m at a loss to know exactly when that was. Once upon a time, my kids thought I was the hippest chick on the planet. Everything I did made them laugh. Everything I said was funny. They wanted to hang out with me 24/7 and couldn’t imagine ever growing up and leaving me. I swear, I’m not making this up. They told me that themselves.

Let’s flash forward a few years. My children no longer want to be seen with me in public. If I go to the mall with my two youngest daughters these days (twenty and thirteen-years-old respectively), they walk two paces behind me pretending not to know me…unless of course there’s something they want. Then suddenly they run toward me in slow motion, as if in a bad movie montage, hands outreached toward me as they reach for my wallet. Typically, that is the moment when they tell me they love me. But five minutes later, they’re back to trailing behind like they’ve never even met me.

 

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Me and my 3 daughters. I’m the incredibly lame one, 2nd from the left.

Now, there are times where I say something incredibly witty and charming, something that most people would find humorous and potentially life-altering. Something an adult would slap me on the back for and say, “You’re so funny. I think I peed a little!” But instead of realizing my potential as a possible stand-up comic, able to humor the masses and cause people to piddle themselves, my children will turn to me and say, with a deadpanned expression, “You’re not funny. Don’t do that.”

It’s a no-win situation.

I’d like to think it’s because they’re not cool and out of touch with the rest of mankind. But I’m fairly certain it’s because I’m not Angelina Jolie or Sarah Jessica Parker, instead stuck with a boring woman who wears nothing but sweat pants every day, doing nothing but typing on a laptop all day. I’m not glamorous or exciting.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am

…..Nah

But I digress.

At some point, I lost the title of “cool mom”. Apparently, I walk too loud. I talk too much. And I say certain words wrong. (In my defense, I grew up thinking there was an R in the middle of the word “wash”.) But I don’t even have to say anything anymore. Even a sideways glance from me can be a potential deal breaker when we’re in public, with one of the girls mumbling under her breath, “Stop embarrassing us.”

 

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Birthday dinner for the one on the right. I believe after this photo was taken, one of them threatened to flush my phone if I took one more picture.

I wonder if Madonna’s kids are embarrassed by her past antics? Do you think Jennifer Garner’s children roll their eyes every time they see her on one of those credit card commercials? I’d bet money that Tina Fey’s kids will eventually be mortified whenever they accidentally come across one of her old SNL skits. I’m thinking (and hoping) that I’m not alone in this personal hell. I have to assume that all parents go through this eventually.

I remember the good old days when all I had to do was talk like a duck and cross my eyes, and my daughters would nearly pee themselves from laughter. And those moments where I was able to spread peanut butter evenly without ripping the slice of bread or fixing a broken zipper? I never felt more accomplished than when my children looked up at me, mouth wide in awe, utterly impressed at my obvious superhuman abilities. But the stakes have now been raised to an impossible level. Nothing I do is impressive or funny. I could shoot lightning out of my fingers to start a fire or fart a rainbow, and my daughters would shrug and go back to staring at their phones, completely indifferent to my personal achievements.

 

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I wanted to take professional mother/daughter photos a few years ago. They were incredibly embarrassed, but I still managed to get them to smile for the camera.

It’s my own fault, really. I was lulled into a false sense of security over the years, my children constantly showing me affection, saying cute little things like, “You funny mama” or “You the best mama ever.” Turns out, children are fickle things, only seeing their parents as amusing playthings until they’re old enough to see through our lame façade. Truth is, in their eyes, I’ve turned into old gum that’s lost it flavor, spit out and stuck to someone’s shoe.

Okay…maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the picture.

And no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get the cool-factor back. It doesn’t matter how many books I publish, who I know, or what I’ve done. I doubt there’s anything I could do to impress my offspring these days. My husband and I often joke that even if I manage to pull off the dream of all dreams and write something that ends up on the big screen and am invited to the red-carpet premiere, I’d still manage to barely find myself a blip on their radar of “cool”. Unless, of course, I somehow managed to get them photos with their Hollywood faves…someone like Andy Samburg, Charlie Hunnam, or Gal Gadot. Then, my status as greatest-mom-ever would rise to its highest ranking in years…at least until the next day when I say something amusing while strolling down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They would ultimately roll their eyes and fall-in behind me, two paces back, and pretend as if they don’t know me. And even then, if I remind them I was the one responsible for them meeting Andy, Charlie, and Gal, they’d reply with, “Well, that was yesterday. This is now.”

Recently, I thought back to my own adolescence, remembering how embarrassing my mother was on a daily basis. Was I judging her too harshly? Was she actually cool, and was I just too hypercritical to see it? But then I look at old photos of us and remember how she tried to dress me like a fifty-year-old woman and forced me to tuck my shirts into my underwear. And let’s not forget the time she forced me to dress like a pumpkin when I was thirteen-years-old for a Halloween party. I’ll never forget the horror of cute boys talking to every girl there…except me. Or the multiple times she dressed me as Uncle Sam to sing patriotic tunes to the elderly at retirement centers…and I realize I was justified at my embarrassment.

 

Embarassing 4th

You thought I was kidding…

But I’m much cooler, right? Right? Am I delusional?

Probably.

The only satisfaction I gain from all of this is that one day, my children’s own children will repay the favor. One day, they’ll be flying high, thinking they’re the best parent in the world, their child worshipping the ground they walk on. The next, their teenager will stare at their handheld holo-phone and mutter, “You’re not funny. Don’t do that.”

A girl can dream.

*Disclaimer: This post was written tongue-in-cheek. My kids are great…the ungrateful brats.

 

 

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Hurry Up and Wait

All right folks. We’re approximately three months away from the release of my debut novel, “Haunting”. The first round of edits will be arriving soon, my stress level has started to rise and my sense of reality has taken a back seat to the possibilities of publication. All in all, I’m in the same situation as every other debut author.

See that empty spot? That's where "Haunting" by BJ Sheldon will go on library shelves.

See that empty spot? That’s where “Haunting” by BJ Sheldon will go on library shelves.

Now that the initial shock and excitement has worn off, the real work begins. Already working on the sequel, there never seems to be enough days in the week to get it all done. My husband and daughters as well as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and my website have all been seriously neglected in lieu of going to a “real” job by day and writing by night.  Only God knows how I’m going to find time to do the essential things in life, like eat and sleep, when my lovely editor, Jennifer, starts sending the edits in the next week or two. I may need to invest in some serious under-eye-dark-circle creams and strong coffee to get me through the next few months. It’s times like this where I wish magic was real…where is Hermione’s time turner when I need it?!

I can’t really spend a straight 24 hours hunched over my laptop. While it’s a lovely concept to be able to sit and write all day long, it’s not realistic. So, time management is now rearing its ugly head and is forcing me to rethink my daily schedule in order to fit in more writing time and prepare for the forthcoming edits…reprioritize, if you will. The problem is this…everything demands my attention and wants to be first on my list. My children, my husband, the gym, laundry…you get the picture. But in the end, that’s what life is…finding time to do everything you need to do in a 24-hour day.

Being an Army wife, I am very familiar with the phrase, “Hurry up and wait.” Anyone who has ever been in, or married to, the military knows how true this can be. The same can be said for the process of publishing.

1) Receive offer of publication – Check

2) Accept offer of publication – Check

3) Wait – Check

4) Wait some more – Check

5) Work on the sequel while waiting for edits – Check

6) Continue to wait for edits and dream about what the final cover art will be – Check

For a person who has had a lifelong struggle with patience, the entire publishing process has proved to be pure torture, to say the least. But as I say quite often, this too shall pass. In a few short months, my edits will be complete, my cover reveal will be promoted, and my book signings will be planned. As each days comes to an end, I have to remind myself that I am another day closer to the end goal. People will download my book onto their eReaders or will be flipping through the pages of a bound copy of “Haunting”…and they will be reading the words that I lovingly and painstakingly put to paper night after night with nothing but a pad of paper and a used laptop. The characters created through my ridiculous imagination will come to life every time someone decides to read my story. And therein lies the reason I began to write again after all those years…to make people smile, cry and inspire each of them to search their own imaginations.

This is the face of 40.

This is the face of 40.

This year, I turn 41. Yes…41. Call me a late bloomer if you want, but here’s the point I wanted to make.  I’ve waited my entire life for this opportunity. I’ve essentially waited nearly 23 years to see my dream of becoming a published author come to fruition. Go take a look at yourself in the mirror.  How old are you? What are your dreams?  What’s holding you back?  Why are you waiting?  The time for excuses has passed, and now it’s time to take an honest look at where you want to go and who you want to be.  If a woman entering into “middle-aged” territory can finally realize her dream, why can’t you?

So hurry up and get started…just be prepared to wait.