What’s the biggest gift your mother gave you? Is it your strong independent streak? Your insane sense of humor? Or was it post-soccer-practice Taco Tuesday that she somehow pulled together every week?
With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, we’re thinking a lot about the beautiful gifts that mothers give—and about how we can pass along similar gifts to the children in our lives. (It’s no surprise that 89 percent of moms say they’re happy to be turning into their own mother when it comes to parenting—our moms are incredible!)
Maria Shriver lost her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, more than three years ago—but that doesn’t mean the incredible gifts her mom gave her have faded in any way. In fact, Maria has made a short (and holy-wow, seriously emotional—get out the tissue box!) film celebrating the gifts her mother, founder of the Special Olympics, left her with.
Beyond being super moving—it WILL make you want to call your mom!—Maria’s film, “The Gift My Mother Gave Me,” is available to watch and share with other parents right on Facebook. And one of the most touching things about it is that, thanks to the people over at P & G, each time you share the film with a Facebook friend, they’ll donate a dollar to the Special Olympics—up to $50,000 that will help to promote the basic tenants of acceptance, encouragement, and community—three things I think almost any mom hopes to instill in their children.
Have you seen the video? Did you go through two tissues like I did? What’s the biggest gift your mother gave you? Tell us in the comments!
If you’re still trying to figure out what to give Mom this Sunday, consider a floral arrangement that does more than brighten up the room. This FTD Bright Bounty Bouquet is not only beautiful but powerful as well — just like the mothers in your life! The colorful arrangement includes 13 stems of pink and yellow daisies and yellow tulips, perfect for a lovely spring day. The bouquet was named the Editors’ Choice by Parents magazine editors, and proceeds from every purchase will help fund a $10,000 donation to CARE headed by our parent company, Meredith Corporation.
CARE International is a global relief organization that fights human poverty. In 2012, the organization worked in 87 countries to support nearly 1,000 different poverty-related projects.
Each Bright Bounty Bouquet purchased will help CARE’s mission to fight poverty. It’s a simple way to give back and a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Zipping through your work to-do list so you can get home at a reasonable hour is even more important when you become a mom—after all, you’ve got that cute little moon face waiting to see you! It can be challenging to juggle your home life and your family life as a new mom. For an upcoming story in American Baby, we want to know how you balance it all (or try to!), so we can help make your life a bit easier. Please take two minutes to answer this survey. Your answers will help us with a stress-easing article in an upcoming issue. Thanks, Mama!
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
First conceived by Julia Ward Howe (the composer of the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) in 1870, advocated by Anna Jarvis in 1908, and officially established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Mother’s Day has become a proud American tradition that is now observed in more than 70 countries worldwide. A 2010 study by VIP Communications found that Mother’s Day has the highest phone call traffic of the year, exceeding Valentine’s Day and New Year’s. Another 2010 study, by the Society of American Florists, found that more than one quarter of all floral purchases in the U.S. each year are for Mother’s Day. Everyone knows everything there is to know about Mother’s Day, and writing about it is a little like writing about love or money or religion: What more can anyone say about it that hasn’t been said? Well, for the first time in the century since it became a national holiday, I think it’s time for a fundamental change to the Mother’s Day ritual. Drum roll, please…
From this Mother’s Day forward, I propose that the first Thursday of every month be declared Monthly Mother’s Day. And the third Wednesday of every month shall henceforth be declared Monthly Father’s Day. Every household with a mom gives her special treatment on the first Thursday of the every month, and every household with a dad gives him special treatment on the third Wednesday of every month. Each of these new monthly “‘holidays” gives us 12 additional opportunities to celebrate parenthood with our kids, and 12 times the number of traditions, memories, and family moments.
Why am I not making my new holidays on Sundays? Because weekends are for big traditions, and these are small observances that don’t require a whole day; they can fit into school nights, early bedtimes, and daily routines. These are family traditions that should take little time and no money – they don’t have to involve dinner out, gifts, flowers, or even candy — but they do require a fair amount of thought, something special that isn’t done the other days of the month. One month, give mom the night off after dinner so she can read, take a bath, or watch her favorite show. The next month, cook her favorite dinner. Create a handmade card or hand-painted picture frame for another month. Ditto for dads on their special monthly Wednesdays. Best of all, you still get to celebrate the “real” Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. While we’re at it, why not establish a monthly Kids’ Day, too? Like the second Tuesday of every month. On these days, parents can prepare kids’ favorite meal or dessert, have Scrabble night, or plan a Wii table tennis tournament.
Life is short. The years go by fast. You can never have too many reasons to celebrate each other. And thinking about ways to honor moms, dads, and kids is good for the soul, and good for the whole family. May 12, 2013 may be the “real” Mother’s Day, but the one after that will be coming up soon, so start planning. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
Dr. Harley A. Rotbartis Professor andVice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recentNo Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York TimesMotherlodeblog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).
It may be cold and dreary outside now, but springy Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Since it’s never too soon to start making your wish-list (and dropping hints), we want to know what really makes the day special for you.
Moms, this is your chance to weigh-in (Dads, take note)! Vote in our poll below, and check out the final results in our May issue.
Yesterday we brought you flu advice for kids, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, we’re focusing on what pregnant women need to know, thanks to the March of Dimes. This post was written by Siobhan Dolan, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Dolan is the author of the upcomingHealthy Mom, Healthy Baby: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide, to be published on January 29 by HarperOne.
Flu is back in the headlines again. Epidemics, Emergencies, Shortages ……… the publicity can scare folks, especially pregnant women. Flu is taking its toll in 2013 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting widespread illness reported in 47 states and 20 pediatric deaths.
The concerns for pregnant women are real: Flu increases their risk for respiratory complications, preterm labor and delivery, and ICU admission. Newborns are also at an increased risk of severe illness and even death from the flu.
But the message for pregnant women is really clear: Prevention with a flu shot and early treatment of women with influenza-like illness is the best course of action. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), March of Dimes, and CDC all endorse this message, so women should not feel uncertain.
The March of Dimes web site has practical information for women here.
The Immunization for Women website from ACOG reinforces the message:
“All women who will be pregnant during influenza (flu) season (October through May) should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine. The live attenuated influenza vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women. The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as postpartum and breast feeding women and can be given during any trimester. Immunizing pregnant and postpartum women against seasonal influenza can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child following delivery. The seasonal flu vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the past 45 years.”
Women are listening, with 47 percent of pregnant women surveyed by CDC in early 2012 reporting getting their flu shot, up from less than 30 percent four years ago.
So go get your flu shot. And tell your pregnant sister-in-law or co-worker to get hers, too. Let’s help keep pregnant women and newborns out of the headlines by spreading the word.
Last week’s tragedy left so many of us drowning in sorrow and feeling helpless to do much about it. What on earth could we do to make things better, when confronted with such an overwhelmingly sad event? It’s not like Hurricane Sandy, when you could pitch in to help a neighbor clean out their home, or donate toward helping those who lost so much rebuild. There’s nothing we can do to help the families affected in Sandy Hook get back what was lost.
And that’s when I read about Ann Curry’s brilliant plan—to accomplish acts of kindness in honor of those who died. Many people are doing 26 kindnesses, for the children and teachers who died at the school. Others are including Nancy Lanza, the mother of the shooter who also lost her life. I’m choosing 28, in part because there can’t be enough kindness in the world, and in part because I believe strongly that Adam was a victim of his own, untreated mental illness.
I’m hoping to accomplish all of my 28 in the next week, before the new year…and I’m drawing inspiration from the Twitter feed #26ActsofKindness. So far, I’ve managed four:
1. Sent an extra gift and a heartfelt note to my daughters’ teachers (we already went in on group gifts for them with the rest of the class).
2. Donated to Toys for Tots in honor of the students of Sandy Hook.
3. Hosting a friend’s daughters over for the afternoon, after her regular babysitter fell through.
4. Left a Starbucks gift card and a note on a random car in our school’s teacher parking lot.
(Actually, I could kind of count #5, which was—against my better judgement—caving and getting an Elf on the Shelf for my daughters, who have been begging for one all week. Because basically, this week, I’d probably get them a pony if they asked.)
Imagine if we all committed to doing just a few acts of kindness this week…maybe it would become a habit. Let me know if you’re on board—and share your ideas for sharing the love.
To celebrate the release of children’s folk singer Elizabeth Mitchell’s new album, Blue Clouds, we have an exclusive look at the record’s first single, ”Froggy Went a Courtin.’ ”
The music on Blue Cloudsis a mix of original compositions as well as covers of everything from traditional folk music to David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. All performances are by Mitchell and You Are My Flower, her extended family band that includes her husband, Daniel Littleton, and their 11-year-old daughter, Storey. Featuring artwork by award-winning illustrator Remy Charlip’s book, “Arm in Arm,” this recordis just as beautiful to the eyes as it is to the ears.
Listen to ”Froggy Went a Courtin’ ” below, and make sure to check out Blue Clouds, just released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.