Posts Tagged ‘ Mother’s Day ’

How I Almost Missed My Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Phil always takes Fia to school while I do the pickup. He walks her to the classroom, thus passing the board postings with sign up sheets and information about all that is going on. I find her on the playground and don’t walk past the boards. Which is why I got a call from Phil at 9:05 this morning wondering why I didn’t bring her to school.

“Are you aware there is some Mother’s Day tea thing you’re supposed to do with Fia this morning?”

“Um, no,” I said as I looked down at myself, still in my pajamas, while Emmett ran around in his diaper, snot pouring out of his nose. Leave it to me to mess up my own holiday.

“Well there is a 9:30 slot. I signed you up. You have to come right now. Bring Emmett with you and I will take him home until you get back.”

It figures it’s a day that Em has a cold and can’t go to preschool. I hate inconveniencing Phil. He writes from home so it feels like a slippery slope when I have to ask him for a favor. But in this case, he volunteered. Still, I was stressed about his potential annoyance of this event cutting into his workday.

I threw Emmett and myself together in exactly 243 seconds and bolted out the door.

I cursed traffic and myself for not checking the board. I thought, Maybe Phil should just quickly do it since he’s there already. Then I can do Father’s Day or something….I mean, will she really know the difference or care?

I got there at 9:34, handed off Emmett to Phil, (who luckily didn’t seem at all resentful), and ran in.

There was Fia in her pretty red dress and striped tights waiting for me. I was the last mom to arrive. She beamed and took my hand.

“Come Mama, first we do a work project together.”

(This being Montessori, I’m always curious about what they do during the day.)

Fia sat down at her table where her “cracker work” is. Now this is something she does every single day. Usually it’s her first task. It’s a tough one. You put 4 saltine crackers on the grid, then eat them. It’s only for the very brilliant. This little morning ritual cracks us up.

Every day, “Fia what work did you do?”

“The cracker work!” she says through giggles.

“Of course you did,” we reply in unison.

However, today the teacher and I agree that maybe we can find something slightly more interesting (albeit probably not nearly as challenging) for us to do together.   Fia picked a project where she had to match picture cards of baby animals with their mama’s. Appropriate since we are honoring Mother’s Day.

First up: An elephant. Whose baby is called a….. Baby elephant? (My guess). Nope, a calf.

Next: A horse, whose baby is called a…. Pony? (My guess). Nope, a foal. And mama is a horse? Nope, a mare. Dad’s a stallion. Oh right. 

Perhaps I should have stuck to watching her eat Saltines. I did manage to get the Kangaroo and Joey combo correct so all my schooling wasn’t for naught.

After we completed the work Fia again took my hand and brought me outside to a table. There, she served me cold tea with banana bread and fruit.

It’s amazing how small things like this can be so damn touching when you become a parent. I noticed her confidence in taking my hand and guiding me; her pride in telling her friends, “here’s my mom!” and her love, which is fully encompassing.

I am so happy I didn’t miss this little event. It’s a simple reminder that despite the daily schlepping grind, the diaper changing and snot wiping (at least for Emmett), the battling of traffic–and battles in general– it is a privilege be carry the title “Mom.”

When we were finished eating she gave me a card, neatly wrapped with a paper flower and bookmark she had made. In it there were sentences she had finished. “I like my mom because (fill in blank).” Her last line said, “My Mom is special because…she really really really loves me.” 

She will just never know how much…until she becomes a mom herself.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. We are the luckiest club in the world.


Find fun, crafty projects your daughter can bond over,  here.

Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Cupcake Carnations
Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Cupcake Carnations
Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Cupcake Carnations

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An Unfortunate Mother’s Day Truth

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt,” Joe is currently writing a parenting humor book. He lives in New Jersey and can be found on Facebook or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

As a child growing up in a house with two parents who barely spoke a word to one another, much less showed affection, there was always a part of me that dreaded holidays. Because they included an outing, whether it was a dinner, a show, or even a simple 15-minute car ride to grandma’s house. And an outing meant almost assuredly that I’d be without one of my parents. They “stayed together for the kids,” but we were still left scratching our heads when Mother’s Day arrived and we went our separate ways to two different gatherings.

Looking back, I get it. Neither of them wanted to be apart from their children permanently, but holidays (and vacations) were sort of a reprieve from the day-to-day awkwardness. For them, and truthfully, for my sister and me.

But I resented it as a kid. I knew my parents didn’t have the kind of relationship most did, so I would sit restrainedly glum at the dinner table, feeling like we were a broken family. Frankly, because we were. And even as a child, I would try to give mom gifts as a way of distracting her from the failing marriage we all silently knew was eating at her. I just never felt like it was enough. So I told myself I’d eventually show her my appreciation for all she’d done for me.

As a teenager, not much changed. However, I began to establish more of an understanding about my parents’ marriage, and particularly, the sacrifices they were both making for the sake of seeing their children grow. Once I comprehended that, I was able to make peace with it. But that didn’t change the fact that every Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or anniversary I’d look at other married couples giving each other flowers and singing each other’s praises, and I’d be angry that my own parents weren’t showing the same kind of gratitude for each other.

As a young adult, the separation wasn’t as outwardly apparent. I’d gotten married, moved in with my wife, and by that time, my parents had officially divorced. We still got together for Mother’s Day, of course. But because we no longer lived together, I enjoyed that time with her even more. We took her to dinner, gave her gifts we thought were meaningful, but I still didn’t feel like it was enough. I told myself I’d eventually show her my appreciation for all she’d done for me.

Then, I became a parent myself. And my life was turned upside down. I was fortunate enough to watch my wife blossom into the mother I always knew she’d be. But it wasn’t all play dates and bedtime stories. It was hard. Sometimes, it felt nearly impossible to keep our cool as we navigated the treacherous, uncertain road of raising a child, then later, a second child. I began to develop a deep, thorough understanding of how having children can test the strength of not only your character, but your marriage. I looked back on my childhood and imagined how difficult it must have been to deal with a faltering marriage while also trying to manage a career and, oh yeah, two growing children. Despite the realization, I told myself yet again that I’d eventually show her my appreciation for all she’d done for me.

A couple of short years later, a week before my oldest son’s third birthday, mom suddenly passed away. She was 59. I was blindsided, irrevocably damaged. And if it isn’t obvious, I never did tell her how much I appreciated her. Maybe I grazed past it once or twice in a greeting card. But the thoughts I tucked into a dark corner of my brain, the raw kind of emotion that you’d normally hear bellowed in a Janis Joplin song? She sadly never got to hear that.

This weekend, I will celebrate my third Mother’s Day since her passing. Naturally, I’ve been receiving an enormous amount of marketing communications (spam) from major retailers urging me to “Make mom happy!” and “Save 25% just in time for Mother’s Day!” And trust me, nothing would please me more than to do exactly those things. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve simply got to suffer through this. And unfortunately, my wife does, too. I’m trying, but my instinct is to reject that this Sunday is even happening, to remain restrainedly glum at the dinner table while others clink glasses around me. Because even more than I regret my own lack of verbal appreciation, I regret that my children won’t get to know their grandmother like I did. Put simply, I can’t stand Mother’s Day because it reminds me of what could’ve been. For the sake of my wife, though, I have no plans to crawl into a corner and cover my ears.

So, do yourself a favor this Sunday and skip the vague platitudes we typically scribble into an overpriced card and opt instead to be real…so very real that it makes you uncomfortable even. I can guarantee it will feel better than holding it inside until you’re giving a eulogy.

Thanks for reading, and a genuine, uncomfortably long hug to all you moms out there making life worth living for your children. Especially to my wife, whose natural abilities make me look like a rookie on a daily basis.

Cheers, ladies.

Tell Mom she’s the best this Mother’s Day with this Most Valuable Mommy coloring card!

Mother's Day Twig Necklace
Mother's Day Twig Necklace
Mother's Day Twig Necklace

* Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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“Ramshackle Glam”: A Great Book, a Great Guide, a Great Gift–All in One

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I met Jordan Reid on a TV shoot about moms, called MomTales. This is how we bonded:

Me: You know, when I’m not with my kids, I miss them terribly and I just want to be with them. Then as soon as I’m with them, I want them back in preschool.

Jordan [nodding]: There are only so many hours in the day you can spend playing Triceratops Versus T-Rex. At some point, you really just need a good trashy magazine and a margarita.

From there, we never stopped talking, except when the director told us to pay attention to the shoot.

This is a woman who runs a million miles and hours with a smile on her face, high heels (though she disputes that in her new book), and a wit about her that makes you instantly relax and laugh.

She has a 2-year-old boy, 2 dogs, a husband, and a full-time career as a style blogger on her site, Ramshackle Glam. Which means she also does TV appearances, goes to conferences, meets with advertisers, and somehow manages to post numerous times a day. With pictures. I’m lucky to get 2 posts out a week. Now she just came out with a book, also titled Ramshackle Glam. Where she gets the time to juggle all this is beyond me. Oh, and did I mention she’s pregnant with her second child?

People like her both inspire me and give me a much-needed dose of mom energy. But what I really like about Jordan (and her book) is that she keeps it real. She’s so relatable; she’s the kind of mom friend you picture having a glass of wine with and talking about how you may have accidentally-on-purpose thrown a remote at your husband last night because he forgot to tape The Bachelorette. Or how all your hair — no, but seriously: all of it — fell out six months after you gave birth. (Except for the hair on your legs; that’s holding on just fine, and you know that for a fact because you cannot for the life of you remember to shave it.) [This is a true excerpt from her book, fyi.]

I tore through it in just 3 nights. Then passed it on to a friend who is expecting her first child. It’s a super fun, entertaining read that also gets to the core of why motherhood can be so damn hard, heartbreaking, heartwrenching, and heartwarming at the same time.

Mother’s Day is around the corner. Know anyone expecting? Or a new mom? This is the gift to get them.

Here is my interview with Jordan about her book:

What inspired you to write a book?

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember — since I was about four years old — but after I had my son in 2011 I realized that I had a lot to say about motherhood, and especially about the judgment that can so often color a new parent’s experience. Before I had my son, I would not have called myself a “maternal person” at all (and honestly, I still don’t know that I would; I mean, I adore my son, but I’m not one of those people who’s just awesome and natural and amazing around kids), and I was very, very nervous going into motherhood.

I was frightened that having a baby would take away some fundamental part of me, that I wouldn’t be able to recognize myself anymore once I was a Mom. But what I discovered is that having a baby changes a lot, but it doesn’t change everything. You can still do all those things — from wearing the clothing that makes you feel good to connecting with your partner to having a house that feels like a home instead of a Baby Zoo — all that you used to do “before”…but you just might have to be a little more creative, that’s all.

How would you sum up your book? Is it for expecting parents, new parents, old parents?

The advice in the book is tailored towards new moms, but really, the fashion, beauty, home decor, and entertaining tips are only a small part of the book. What Ramshackle Glam really is, is a memoir of motherhood, and I think that the stories about marital struggles, guilt over your parenting choices, and the challenges of making friends as a mom are things that every parent — young and old — can relate to.

What has been the hardest part of motherhood for you?  

For me, the hardest part of motherhood has been figuring out how to live in the moment, and to not worry too much about “how fast it goes.” I can’t tell you how much that stressed me out, hearing from everyone on the street, “Oh, it goes so quickly, they’ll be grown and gone before you know it!” But over time I’ve discovered that while of course you miss every stage when it passes…the stage that you’re in right this very moment is almost always the most fun and exciting of all.

What about pregnancy? Have the challenges changed from your first to second pregnancy? 

With pregnancy, I’d say the hardest thing for me the first time around was just wrapping my mind around what day-to-day life would look like a few months down the road…because I had no idea. I couldn’t fathom how I’d get my stroller up the stairs to my walk-up apartment, let alone how I’d actually, you know, raise a human being. And that’s part of why I wanted to write Ramshackle Glam, to let people who may feel similarly get a peek into what’s-to-come, and to know that yes, it’ll be hard…but it’ll also be okay. The best ever, actually.

With this pregnancy, the hardest thing has been the fact that there’s really no “chilling out and enjoying the experience.” There’s no downtime to rub oils on my skin or meditate on the life we’re bringing into the world or play classical music to my stomach or whatever it is that we did when we were expecting our son — I can’t even remember; it feels like a lifetime ago. So honestly, when this baby arrives it’s going to be a bit of a shock. Fortunately, we’re also a little more prepared this time around, so hopefully that will balance it out.

You are a woman who is all about how to funk up your style, your “glam”…how do you feel in this regard about having a daughter? 

You know, I actually wrote about this the other day because I had a few friends say to me something along the lines of, “you must be so excited to be having a girl!” And what they meant was that I must be excited about the girly stuff that comes with having a daughter…dresses and such. And of course I am excited about those things — I’ve certainly spent my share of time in Baby Gap over the past couple of months buying little cheetah-print outfits — but the truth is that while I certainly am looking forward to all the things that come along with having a daughter…what I’m most excited about doesn’t have anything to do with her gender at all.

She may be into dresses or she may be into board shorts or she may be into things I can’t even imagine, and all of that is just part of what makes having a child so exciting. I know that who I’m raising is not a “little girl,” but a person, and our experience as parent and child will be as individual as she is. The style stuff is fun, of course, but when it comes down to it the most important thing I can do — the only thing I can do, really — is to support my daughter and be there for her whoever she may be and wherever she may go.

How the hell do you have time to do your life? You seem like superwoman. Tell me your secret. 

Ha! Thank you. Does “constant, massive anxiety that propels you into action” count as a secret? That, and the fact that I keep obsessively detailed lists of every single thing in my life in my iPhone — that helps.

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Xanax on Mother’s Day? Maybe…

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

On Friday I was thinking that sitting in a corner taking Xanax might be the perfect Mother’s Day for me. This, after Emmett peed on my leg like I was a fire hydrant (he was naked as I was about to put him in the bath). Then giggled.

The day only got better.

I had to take Wayne to the vet. And Emmett. And Fia.  As I was being told Wayne once again is obese, and no longer my Biggest Loser, Emmett took a pack of crayons and threw them at the cat. Of course this spooked Wayne and fur went flying. Once again, Em laughs. Fia starts screaming “Emmett, don’t do that.” The vet looked at me and said, “Let me get the receptionist to start working on your bill so we can get you out of here quickly.”  Clearly I’m their favorite client. I bribed Fia with a lolipop and Em with his pacifier to just sit the f-ck still.

When we got home I gave Wayne a treat in his bowl. I turned my back for a second. Emmett came running out of the room with the ceramic bowl, threw it across the room where it shattered, then began laughing. He may actually be insane. But insanely happy too. This all happened before 11 a.m.

Do I deserve Xanax? Yes. Maybe 5.

Regardless of how I celebrate my day, I figured posting pictures would help calm me down. And it does. So here goes. I’m taking the rest of the weekend off.

Happy Mother’s Day, Everyone!

Okay, so maybe he looks a little like a barking seal in this picture. After all, we were at the zoo. But I just love how happy he looks. Man, did I get a good one (except that he is WILD)! Pure joy, this boy.

Emmett’s first carousel ride. Clearly he hates it.

Fia on her favorite giraffe!

Both of my babies.

At friend Lazlo’s birthday party

Bubble Time

Alone on the high beam–and giving me a heart attack!

Water play!

 I know I’ve posted this before, but I can’t help but do it again: my beautiful boy!

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