FULL QUESTION: My teenager's a slob and it's driving me crazy – their messy room, leaving dirty dishes all around the house, and the bathroom looking like a disaster area! And now they're home for the summer. Help!


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


Moms everywhere know exactly what you're talking about! And although people told me not to worry, this phase will pass, that didn't make it any better while I was in the midst of it. (I wish I had understood why teenagers have messy rooms and what I could have done to manage it better.)The good news was I was able to set expectations (and help maintain them) for the common areas of the house, but dealing with their rooms was very different. Especially with my eldest daughter since nothing would work – not bribes, not threats, not rationale conversation. I tried all the tips and "tricks" without success, and eventually decided to stop nagging her because all it did was get me upset while she seemed perfectly content with the mess.

At that point, I realized my primary concern was that I'd ultimately need an exterminator and/or plumber (for those of you that have lived through this, you understand), so I'd periodically go in and selectively clean that which would create problems for the rest of us. The rest I left alone. Hey, if she wanted to wear smelly clothing or have a bathroom that should be declared a national emergency zone, so be it.

My younger daughter, in comparison, was so much better. And since she's more social and likes to have friends over, that has been the best thing to keep her room habitable by humans, as she'd never have them come into a pigsty.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I do not have children, but there was a time I did have stepdaughters, and not knowing what else to do, I decided to treat them like I would new employees. I knew employees basically wanted to please management, so I figured kids wanted to please their parents. I created a "Rules of the House" document (small, basic, easy things) and presented most of them as things to do versus things not to do, and looked at the rules as an opportunity for them to achieve and succeed, not as a set of restrictions. I always found it more effective with employees, and then the girls (and even their father), to reinforce positive behavior rather than punish bad behavior. It can be as simple as a "thank you," complimenting them on their efforts, or maybe even reward a job well done. It seemed to work, and along the way, improved communications and helped us set priorities.

FULL QUESTION: What do you think about hugging? And how do you handle hugging in the age of COVID?


red head assets.rebelmouse.io

Being a warm and fuzzy person, I’ve always been a hugger, but even before the pandemic, I was aware that some people liked hugs more than others, so would “regulate” my hugs accordingly. For example, neither of my children have inherited my hugging “gene”, although sometimes they don’t get a vote, instead getting a big ole’ mom hug. But I digress (as usual).

My biggest adjustment in terms of “COVID” hugging, especially now that things have become a little “easier” (I’ve been vaccinated and had a booster), is that I simply ask people what their preference is. For some, a hug is welcome (and the human touch wanted), while others are good with a fist or elbow bump, while others prefer to keep their distance entirely. Which, to be honest, is usually people that wouldn’t have wanted a hug even before COVID, so not a big deal.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Anyone who knows me knows I am a non-hugger. Always have been. I am also that person who is always curious, so found there is science behind why people are or are not huggers. And, although I fully appreciate that hugs provide a wealth of health benefits (I was fascinated by this study), that still does not change that I find hugging can be selfish (the hugger often is the one needing a hug).

COVID, and especially the fact the omicron variant is so contagious, provides a legitimate excuse for me not to hug. However, I will make exceptions for close friends that I know need the hug – as long as I also know that they, like me, are fully vaccinated and still mask-up outside the home.

FULL QUESTION: New Year … New Resolutions? What’s the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made? The worst?

The year was only a few minutes old when Red’s youngest daughter asked what her New Year resolution was going to be. But before Red had a chance to respond, Sawyer said one of hers was to build on last year’s goals at the gym since her “before” (January 2021) and “after” (December 2021) photos had given her the motivation to keep working at it.

Red then realized that sometimes the best resolution might not be something new, but a continued commitment to something you’re already doing. Although, in her case, her best and worst New Year resolutions hadn’t changed from when she answered the question last year (nor had Black’s attitude toward resolutions) …


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I'm glad you didn't ask how many New Year's resolutions I've kept! I'm going to address the worse resolution first. It's the one where I promised myself that I was going to keep on top of emails because at any given time I can have tens of thousands (yes, that's the number) of emails in my inbox! They've all been read; I just haven't figured out what to do with them. I guess figuring that out should have been the resolution. On the other hand, the best resolution was to listen to my kids more. I have a bad habit of finishing their sentences or interrupting their thoughts with thoughts of my own. Granted, I'm far from perfect at it, but I'm getting better. And making a conscious effort to let them complete their thoughts before I talk has really improved our conversations, for both them and me.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Easy question … because I do not make New Year's resolutions. I see goals and resolutions as ongoing efforts that start when you identify an objective – not because it is January 1 st. Some may be small and achieved fairly quickly, while others may take a lifetime. The key is finding a way to remember them and realizing you may hit roadblocks, detours, and/or delays … but there are many roads that will take you to the same destination.

FULL QUESTION: I get so confused by all the different Nobel Prizes, so what exactly is Nobel Prize Day?


red head assets.rebelmouse.io

As a former straight-A student and lover of history, I’m almost afraid to admit this, but I only recently learned that the award ceremony for Nobel Prizes occurs every year on December 10, even though the winners for the six different categories are announced in October (list of this year’s winners). And except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which to me is the “biggie”, I couldn’t have named any of the other categories (Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Physiology or Medicine, and Economics). Or the fact those five are presented in Sweden while, for some reason, the Peace Prize is awarded in Norway.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I find it funny that Red did not try to use the fact she loves Tudor history, and Alfred Nobel, who established the Nobel Prize, was Swedish as her “excuse” for not knowing more about the prize. Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, left a controversial last will and testament that used the bulk of his wealth to establish the Nobel Prizes. (It is ironic that money earned by developing and manufacturing explosives and munitions would fund a “peace” prize.) Talk about a way to get remembered. But, so is being honored with a Nobel Prize.