Posted by Ilana Angel
I am not a “Tiger Mom”. In fact, in reading the list of things tiger specialist and author Amy Chua says make her one, there is nothing tiger mom-ish about me. I am proudly a Jewish mother in many of the ways Jewish mothers are stereotyped with, but I am also a dictator mom. I discovered that this week when I was having a heated discussion with my teenager and in the span of five minutes said, “Because I said so” a dozen times. Oh dear.
We have been arguing about homework and it is stressful. I am a very hands on and hovering mother. I make no excuses for it, nor do I think it is a bad thing. I have a wonderful human being for a child and since I raised him on my own. I take credit for his being a responsible, kind, caring, smart, generous, funny, and sincere mensch. I love him and am proud of who he is and how he conducts himself. I am truly baffled by our arguing.
I don’t understand how it is that we are on such different pages when it comes to his homework. I won’t get into the details because I want to respect him and our relationship, so you will need to trust me when I tell you I am right on this one and he is wrong. Period. The fighting got me thinking about what kind of mother I am. I know a lot of mothers and I am more unlike them than like them, so what does that say about me?
My kid is number one in my house. There is nothing I would not do to make this kid’s life happy, healthy and whole. I am not perfect, but I am dedicated to him and very clear about how blessed I am to be his mother. I don’t take him for granted and don’t put anyone or anything ahead of him on my list of priorities. That is how I am as a mother. I get sad when I screw up with my kid because it feels like I’ve wasted time with him.
He will leave to college in a year and so I want his time with me to be great, not full of fighting and nagging. I clean his room for him because he will have his whole adult life to do that. I do his laundry, prepare his meals, and it is my pleasure. I will leave the nagging to his wife, but I imagine there won’t be too much of that because while I do these things for him, he has been taught to do them on his own and is good at it.
I am Jewish and so of course guilt is a tool I use when mothering, but there is a difference between trying to guilt your kid into something and shaming them into something and I don’t shame. Things my seventeen-year-old son deals with are nothing like what I dealt with when I was his age. In retrospect, my life was easy compared to his. I remember thinking life was hard and my parents were out of touch, but it is nothing like now.
Kids today are dealing with issues on a much larger scale than my generation ever did. My generation smoked pot and dropped acid while kids now can buy heroin at school. My generation worried about getting pregnant if they had sex, kids now have more sexually transmitted diseases than I can even list. I had an hour of homework every night and our kids have hours and hours of homework every single day. It is much different.
I don’t remember what my life was life before I had a baby, but I remember everything about my life as a mother from the second I found out I was pregnant and fainted, to the first time I felt him kick, to the second he was born, to the time he asked me to marry him, to his first day of school, to his Bar Mitzvah, to his first time taking the car on his own, and every single second in between. I love him completely and he knows it.
One would think that my home would be a democracy, but no. I am a dictator and what I say goes. My child thinks I am ridiculous, my Englishman thinks I am bossy, my mother laughs that I have become her. I want my son to be the best he can be and for me being the best means happiness. I don’t care what career path he chooses, as long as he is happy with it. I don’t care who he marries, as long as he is happy, and she is Jewish.
I use to have a swear jar in my home as I am known to cuss. A lot. I once wed my kid $100 in one week so that jar went away. Cussing is part of my vocabulary and so we deal wit it. We have a new jar however and a buck is going in every time I say, “Because I said so.” I don’t want to be a dictator; I just want homework to be done without fighting. I want to gently release my son to fly away, not have him fly the coop.
Being a mom is rewarding beyond compare, but it is also really, really hard. There is no right or wrong way; whatever you do to make your kids happy is the right way. If my son looks back at his childhood and remembers it as happy, then I have done my job. If one day his response to his own children is “Because I said so”, then I have done my job well. All I can do is pray I’m doing okay, try to stop being a dictator, and keep the faith.
6.18.13 at 8:55 am | This is going to be a fun night and I hope you. . .
6.17.13 at 7:49 am | He writes the songs that make the whole world. . .
6.15.13 at 6:32 pm | I was reminded of my father's spirit through the. . .
6.12.13 at 6:36 pm | I have shortened my list of requirements to just. . .
6.7.13 at 7:20 am | Getting your groove back is exhausting.
6.2.13 at 10:48 pm | My son has all the qualities I value in a man.
6.12.13 at 6:36 pm | I have shortened my list of requirements to just. . . (520)
6.17.13 at 7:49 am | He writes the songs that make the whole world. . . (267)
6.18.13 at 8:55 am | This is going to be a fun night and I hope you. . . (246)
February 26, 2013 | 8:49 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Do you ever take stock of your life? I don’t really look at my life in terms of an arc of time, but I am aware of how fortunate I am and the blessing I have been given. I am also aware of my struggles and how certain aspects of my life are difficult. It is that awareness that leads me to gratitude for the good, and courage to face the challenges. Life is both simple and complicated. It is so easy to get in a rut and feel sorry for yourself. It begs the question, am I worrying so much my life it is passing me by?
Love gives me strength. The love of my family, my child, my boyfriend, my friends, and myself, sustains me when I am feeling weak. I am lucky to have love and joy in my life, but lately I find myself thinking about my fear more than my joy. It’s not fear of something specific, just fear of making mistakes I guess. I am struggling with decisions about my career, how I parent my child, how I stay connected to my family when they are far away, and how to accept that I have found love and don’t need to test it.
I have been wondering if I am so busy getting through life, that I have forgotten to live life. Someone I have known for over 20 years died today. She was in her seventies and had been sick so I knew her life was coming to an end, but I am still in shock at her passing. I had not seen her in many years, but we spoke regularly, and at every crossroad in my life she was there to guide me. I suppose my fear today is in knowing that I will need to talk to her again and she is gone. It is a very sad day.
I have been thinking about my son and if I am being the best mother I can be to him. He is my only child and I have raised him alone so I am overprotective and a bit of a hoverer. I know I need to start letting him go, but I am so fearful of his going off to college that I want to hang onto him every second that he is in my home. I am excited for him to start his adult life and I am thrilled he will go college and follow his dreams, but I don’t know how I will breathe when he is not under my roof and in my sight.
I have been thinking about my family and if it is time for me to go home. Not for a visit, but to live. I lost my father and want to be with my mother more. I miss my sisters so much that it hurts. I miss my brother and feel like I am missing out on watching his kids grow up. They never knew my dad and I feel an obligation to tell them stories so his memory is kept alive. I left for an extended vacation to Los Angeles 22 years ago and told my parents I would come home soon, but I am still here.
I have been thinking about my boyfriend and wondering if love can be real if there is no definition. We are in love and that is all. That is everything. We are not getting married, moving in together, or having a baby. We are simply two grown ups who enjoy being together. We share a remarkable friendship grounded in love and have built a life together. Even though we have only been dating a year, there is a history being built. There are ups and down of course, but luckily the view is good from both locations.
Maybe the lesson here is not to worry about where we are in life, but rather to enjoy the view. When you are on top you can look down and admire where you have been, and from the bottom you can look up and dream about what you will see on your way to the top. My friend once told me if I spent all my time worrying about finding happiness, I would be too busy to know I found it. My friend was wise and lovely. She gave me light in the darkness, and reminded me that I was worthy of happiness and love.
While the circumstances of our meeting were unfortunate, I will be forever grateful that this remarkable woman came into my life. I suppose it is human nature to evaluate your life when someone you know dies. I feel sad and inspired, angry and happy, grateful and resentful. I am blessed to have loved and her and lucky that I was able to tell her how much. In our darkest times can come truly wonderful gifts and she was a gift to me. I will forever keep her in my prayers and do my best to honor her teachings.
I want to be able to live my life and watch it at the same time. I want to live it in a way that leaves me exhausted from joy, not stress. I want to watch it so that I will always remember all the happiness and blessings that have been given to me. I want my son to look back at his childhood and smile at the journey we took together. I want my boyfriend to know that he is a dream come true. I want my family to know that even though I am here, I see them in my dreams and love them from deep in my heart.
Raising my son is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had and taught me what love is. Being in a relationship with a man who makes me better is exciting and intimidating. Being away from my family is painful and lonely. Working everyday is exhausting and challenging. Creeping up on 50 is interesting and weird. Sharing my life with all of you is scary and important. I would not change a thing because when all the pieces are put together they create a life worth living and the ability to always keep the faith.
February 21, 2013 | 7:53 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
A friend of mine shared this video on Facebook and I have watched it a dozen times, just this morning. I had no idea who Shane was, but in watching this video I have done a little research and discovered that Shane Koyczan is remarkable. Watch this video. It is important, it is beautiful, and it matters. Everyone should see it, share it, understand it, and learn from it.
To Shane, I fell in love with you this morning.
I am a fan, and I am keeping the faith.
February 19, 2013 | 3:54 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have seen a few videos by DJ Lubel and I think he is very funny. His videos make me laugh, but also make me cringe. He is talented and when I was sent his latest video this afternoon, I knew I had to share it. It is a fun take on what it is like for men to date the women of Los Angeles. I wish I could say it was a spoof, but I think it might actually have been filmed live with real people not actors. LA is rough and not just for the men! This city has her own dating rules and they are near impossible to understand.
A woman in LA who is in her 40’s has a better chance of getting hit by lightening than she does in meeting a good man. Why? Because we are swimming in the same dating pool as models and actresses who are young enough to be our daughters and think anal is an acceptable form of sex. God bless the regular men of LA who are looking to get laid, God Bless the women who will do them if only they were given a shot, and damn the young bitches who are ruining it for everyone!
Enjoy the video and keep the faith!
February 19, 2013 | 11:51 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I had a lovely Valentine’s Day. The Englishman and I spent the evening with the kids and had a wonderful dinner. I got the most wonderful cards, flowers, chocolate, and gifts. I love Valentine’s Day and to share it with the people I love was very special. I know it is full of commercial gimmicks and there is an element of forcing love, but I don’t care. I love the day and like to celebrate it. This year I even celebrated it twice.
On the weekend the Englishman and I celebrated on our own. I have really fabulous Twitter followers and asked them what they thought would be a good gift for our first Valentine’s Day together. I decided on a couples massage and at their suggestion, opted to have it at the house rather than a spa. I have never done a house call for massage and was nervous about what to expect and what the Englishman would think.
I had the Englishman wait in the bedroom while the ladies set up in the living room. They moved the furniture, set up tables, lit candles, put on music, scattered rose petals, poured us a drink, and it was fabulous. The massage was perfect and the entire experience was wonderful. The massage therapists were funny, kind, talented, and professional. The best part was that when it was done, we didn’t need to go anywhere.
It was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I got to share it with my love. I wouldn’t have thought to do it on my own and I thank all my friends on Twitter who made the suggestion. I got a lot of good ideas and now have a list of special things that I look forward to sharing with my Englishman. He is a remarkable man and I am blessed to have him as not only my boyfriend, but my best friend. I am a very lucky girl.
One of the best things about my Englishman is how he is as a father. He is very close with his daughters and I admire him and the role he plays in their lives. I have been raising my son on my own and even when I was in relationships, I was with men who had no experience being a parent, so even though I had a partner, I was still on my own. With this relationship I get the benefits of a seasoned professional to help me.
Raising a baby is a piece of cake compared to raising a teenager. I have a very close relationship with my son, but as he gets older and prepares to start his adult life, rather than let him spread his wings, I am holding on tighter. I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that he is 17 years old and next year he will be on his own, away at school. That denial is causing some friction and it makes me stressed and sad.
The Englishman is teaching me to give my son a little more rope and in giving him more freedom, I am actually freeing myself. I am learning that in taking care of myself, I am allowing my baby to grow up and take care of himself. It has been hard and I struggle with it on a daily basis, but I am trying and can see the benefits of this new strategy. Loving this man makes me better, makes me happy, and has changed who I am as a mother.
The Englishman and are both divorced and while he has daughters and me a son, our parenting is as different as it is the same. We are both hands on parents with open communication with the kids, but he is much calmer than I am. I am learning how to be calm and while there have been epic failures, I am trying so my son appreciates the effort. In the end both my son and I love and trust this man, which has been my dream.
I have never co-parented my son with his father. We don’t have a relationship, our exchanges are only about our child, and are usually heated. We cannot get to a good place and it is a shame. In the Englishman I have found a partner whose opinion I value and trust. I trust this man with not only my heart, but with my child’s heart. We both love him, and his children, and he is now the go to man in our home.
I call my Englishman on a daily basis to run things by him. If my son wants something from me, he will occasionally call the Englishman to get back up. Additionally, if he asks for something and does not like my answer, he tells me to call the Englishman to make sure he is happy with my answer. It is all rather entertaining. By entertaining of course I mean it is both comforting and annoying. There is a new Sheriff in town.
I am opinionated and independent, but when it comes to my relationship, I like my man to take the lead. We don’t live together, but he is the man of the house and I like that. For the first time in my life as a mother I have real back up and it is fabulous. As a single mother the scariest part of dating is introducing who you date to your children. You never know if it will be a fit, and in the end your children decide.
My son is perfect, 17 years old, has his own car, a busy social life, a heavy workload at school, pressure of college approaching, girls, friendships, self image, and work to worry about. I am a terrific mom and I am proud of the man I have raised, but having a partner is a real blessing. Raising a good man is easier when you are dating a good man. Knowing and loving these two men is an honor and inspires me to keep the faith.
February 18, 2013 | 3:45 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Melissa McCarthy is a beautiful woman. She is cute, funny, talented, charming, and entertaining. She makes me laugh out loud and I would love to sit next to her on a plane. Sidebar: Do you know which celebrity you’d want to sit next to on a plane? My top choice would be Russell Brand.
Back to Melissa, I like her in movies and on television, but I also like her in interviews. She seems like a cool chick and while I am aware she does not have the body of a model, I don’t really pay attention to her size. I don’t think her weight has any impact on how funny she is. She is just funny.
Rex Reed is a film critic who I quite frankly thought had passed away. I remember him from a million years ago and thought he was old and bitter then, so imagine my surprise to learn that not only is he not dead, he is now older and more bitter. It turns out Rex Reed is also a complete douchebag.
In his review of McCarthy’s latest film Identity Thief, he referred to her as “tractor sized” and a “female hippo”. In defending his review, he said something stupid about losing friends to obesity and not using fat as humor while referring to Melissa McCarthy as Melissa Manchester. Such an idiot.
Rex Reed should retire his opinion. He makes no sense and rather than continue to humiliate himself, he should simply go away quietly. That said, I went to see Identity Thief this weekend to support Ms. McCarthy and also because I thought the trailers looked funny. I was totally wrong.
Turns out the trailers are not that funny and this is truly a horrible film. A total waste of time and money. There was nothing funny or even remotely entertaining. It was dark, mean, violent, and just dumb. The acting was horrible, the story was ridiculous, and the evening was wasted.
I am in a movie picking competition with my boyfriend. We take turns picking out movies and keep a running score of who picks the winners and who picks the losers. I was ahead by one, and since I chose this piece of crap, we are now even. I have lost my movie picking bragging rights.
This movie was garbage and while Rex Reed’s comments about Ms. McCarthy are offensive and idiotic, he was right about the movie being bad. This is not a family movie and kids should not go. The movie is crap, Reed is an asshole, and I can’t brag about picking good movies. Damn you Identity Thief!
Important to note that many people in the theater were laughing but we couldn't tell if they thought it was funny, or simply felt uncomfortable enough to cause spontanious laughter. We looked around in amazement because there was nothing funny happening but people laughed. Very strange.
I don’t regret going to see it really because I wanted to support McCarthy’s talent. I am also a huge fan of Jason Bateman, so I gave them a shot. In the end I am glad that I supported her, I do think the movie is crap, I definitely think Reed is a douchelord, and I am very annoyed.
The Englishman and I have different tastes in movies, but we appreciate well made films so we go with an open mind, hoping we have picked a winner not a dud. My Englishman is making fun of my selection and he is funnier than the movie. It is now his pick and he wants payback so I am keeping the faith.
February 14, 2013 | 8:41 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I know Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday that really means nothing and is overrated, but I also know that I love it and it matters to me. I am a romantic and I love everything about love. This Valentine’s Day marks my first with my Englishman. Important to note that the Englishman does not think Valentine’s Day is a big deal. This should be interesting.
When I was a kid I remember we would get cards at school and it was exciting. My son went to a Jewish Day School so he never celebrated Valentine’s Day at school, but I always gave him a card, some candy, and a small gift. He is my Valentine but last night told me he is not that into Valentine’s Day. And so it begins. Is he over it because he is a man?
I know a lot of women who don’t like Valentine’s Day, and to be honest, most of them are single. Even when I was single I loved Valentine’s Day. I would always do something special for me and my son to celebrate love. I would buy him those candy necklaces and he would eat it throughout his dinner and thought it was so cool to have candy with dinner. It was our thing.
I told the Englishman that we did not need to exchange gifts. I then told him we could max out gifts at a certain price. I then told him we could make gifts. I then suggested we just do cards. I was trying to take the pressure off of our first Valentine’s Day because the truth is I feel loved by him everyday. In the end he just thought I was bossy and said to stop.
He thought I was bossy before my suggestions, so no worries there. It got me to thinking about Valentine’s Day and presents. There is pressure of course, but why? Does the gesture of a gift not matter more than the actual gift? Does it matter if you get a piece of jewelry or a crock pot? Do flowers express love more than a new vacuum cleaner?
I was alone for a long time before my Englishman and to be honest with you, having him is the real gift. I love him. He is my everything and I remember what Valentine’s Day is like without a romantic love, and it was lonely. I am not ashamed to say that I would long for the Valentine’s Day when I would be in love and now that it is here, the gift does not matter.
I get cards in the mail for no reason, chocolates at the end of a long day, and surprise flowers all the time, so Valentine’s Day is not about those things anymore. Instead of a day where I long for love, it is now a day where I am grateful for the love I have found. I feel lucky and blessed to have this man in my life and today is a day to marvel at my good fortune.
I still love this day and just because it is a new kind of Valentine’s Day for me, it still matters and I will buy cards and gifts because I love it. Even if I get a spatula or toilet plunger from the Englishman, I will be happy. First off, it is a gift from the man who loves me, and second, it will make for a brilliant blog. There is no losing in the situation. It is all good.
My overall view of love has changed in knowing the Englishman. Things that I valued as important in a relationship have all been chipped away to discover that at the core, love is very simple and does not need to be complicated or difficult. I am a different mother, friend, and woman because of this man and that is a gift you cannot buy, but are blessed to receive.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I wish you health, happiness, and love. If you are in love, embrace your partner and remember what it was like without them. If you are alone but searching for love, believe in love and it will come. If you are alone and not looking for love, enjoy the peace that comes with loving yourself. Love is grand and I am keeping the faith.
February 13, 2013 | 7:15 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
It is the anniversary of my father passing away. It has been many years but I still can’t believe he is gone. I miss him everyday and feel the loss in ways that hurt deep in my heart. He was a great father and while our relationship had ups and downs, he was my hero and always loved and protected me.
I see a lot of my Dad in my son. They have many things in common and share a lot of the same tastes and mannerisms, so it is a blessing that I get to see glimpses of my Dad in my boy. They had a very close relationship when my son was young and it hurts that my Dad was taken away so quickly.
I have many memories of my Dad with my son and I cherish them, as does my baby. I have pictures of my Dad throughout my house and on rare occasions when I am feeling strong, I watch old home movies and listen to his voice. I close my eyes and get wrapped up in his laugh. He was wonderful.
I am going to go to Temple this morning and say a prayer for my Dad, light a candle in his memory, and take my son out for dinner so we can talk about Grandpa Bob and keep his memory alive. I want my son to know all about his Grandpa and tonight will be a lovely moment for us to share. They say time heals all wounds, but I don't think that is true. I miss my Dad more now than ever before. I want him to see my son become a man. I want him to see me in love with a wonderful Englishman. I want him to share in my successes. I want him back. I want my Father here with us.
Rest in Peace Robert Angel. You are loved and missed. Thank you for watching over me and guiding me in the right direction. I think of you daily, speak of you constantly, and see all the very best parts of you in your Grandson. You are my guardian angel and I am keeping the faith.