I was working a full-time job when my kids began losing their minds.

If they indeed ever had one. One of the best pieces of advice ever given to me was from my favorite pediatrician, Alexander Injac, MD, who was a hunk of a man and at every well baby checkup for my now-ten-year-old Jon Alex would ask how my writing was coming along. Dr. Injac (pronounced EN-yahts) told me that kids are dumb, and it’s up to us to teach them the way to being smart, productive people.

By the time I was married and pregnant with my toddler Ehren, I was working the position of a lifetime in Big Oil, the bed-and-breakfast of Texas writers, but found myself working in a corporate department with a 16-hour workday culture. There was this one guy who started his workday at 4:30 a.m. everyday, leaving for the day at 4:30 p.m. My director showed up around 5:30, my manager around 6:30. One day, I showed up at 4:30 and Four-Thirty guy, on his way to the break room for a bottled water, stuck his head into my office, perfectly ecstatic.

Hey, there! 

With a look and tone that said: Finally, girl, you understand a proper work ethic, you lazy lima bean.

Watcha doin’ here at this hour?

His face fell three stories when I told him I had an OB appointment at noon, so I was there getting in my full eight hours before leaving for the day around 11:30 a.m. 

That’s the type of environment I was working in when my kids started losing their minds. They were home by themselves, doing as they pleased, and nothing was getting done, including feeding our puppy, until I’d walk in the door at 7:30 p.m. after a 12-hour day that still wasn’t good enough as far as my dickhead director was concerned.

I would call my mother, crying. The kids are this and they aren’t that and why won’t they just do the right thing when I’m not around, and my mother would laugh at me for about 20 straight minutes.

Kids never do the right thing until you teach them to do the right thing. And they don’t exactly learn overnight.

See, that was my disconnect. I’m a good person, I expect my kids to be. Overnight. I supply the house, they should clean the kitchen of the house. I buy games and phones and movie passes, they should clean their rooms every once in a while. I keep the lights on and the food in the fridge, so I’m confused about the eye-rolling when all I’m asking is for them to clean up behind themselves.

I tell them the same thing over and over and over, but I suspect they won’t really hear what I’m saying until they are responsible for their own households. My maternal grandmother used to say you are never a true grownup until you pay your first electric bill.

It is in that spirit that I think I’ll sit back and let you guys manage your own yeah write households for awhile as I spin stories on grid opening day of love, loss, family and the heartaches and joy of writing for a living. 

I’ve supplied your helpful links, and please remember how your grid submission should be an audition-length piece of around 500 words instead of Mr Holland’s Opus. If you’re on the challenge grid, you’ve committed to visiting and reading every blog on the grid and returning to vote for your five faves. Can’t commit to that? The hangout grid was created just for you. No self-promotional posts allowed and please tell us an actual story with a beginning, middle and end. Don’t make me call my mom crying about you, wondering how come you won’t listen to me. 

Looking for the super cool button badges?

Click the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. No, wait, not that high, a little lower. Up and to the right of the row of three social media icons. That plus sign. Click it and the hidden widget will appear. Grab the codes and add them to the HTML view of the post you’re planning to add to this week’s grid.

Prize week on the grid

This week’s challenge grid is sponsored by Skinner House Books, which is graciously donating two copies of the book The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World by Holly Hughes and six-time Pushcart Prize winner Brenda Miller. One copy will be awarded to Flood’s lurker’s favorite, the other to Ben Jackson’s of Dad of the Decade lurker’s favorite, who is guest-lurking this week. Thanks, Ben, for spreading the word about yeah write and for facilitating the book donation.

Ben is also donating international shipping costs should the lurkers’ favorites live outside of the U.S., so this prize is open to everyone on the challenge grid. Thanks, Ben, for opening your wallet just for us.

Winning five judges’ prizes in five consecutive weeks will earn you a complete blog makeover from yeah write, so if you’ve won either editor’s choice, lurker’s fave or the popular vote in the past week weeks, start tracking your next few wins and get ready for design awesomeness coming your way.

One random winner will be chosen for an ad square in the sidebar of yeah write #61. If you don’t have a 125×125 banner ad for your blog, small business or pet project, I’ll be glad to whip one up for you.

Helpful links

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The yeah write #60 hangout grid is over there. The yeah write #60 challenge grid is open right here. Dirty socks in the hamper, y’all.

[warning_alert] The yeah write #60 challenge grid has now closed at 50 blogs. Please consider adding your submission to the hangout grid? Thanks! [/warning_alert]