Posts Tagged ‘
mother’s day ’
Monday, May 12th, 2014
In the New York City neighborhood where I live, the streets are busy on the warm spring days just before the first Sunday in May. All stereotypes about rude New Yorkers to the contrary, it is a friendly place and it is common for people to wish one another happy Mother’s Day here. Even complete strangers say it to me, often when my kids are nowhere around.
I like to think I have recovered fairly well from the physical assaults of pregnancy. We are long past the sleepless nights of babyhood in our house and the tricycle is on its way to being a rusty garden ornament. So what is the giveaway? I look down…maybe it is my abs? I like to think not. Perhaps it is something else. My breasts? No, it’s been years since I nursed my babies, although they certainly were perkier before those midnight feelings. Hmmm…perhaps it is something more subtle?
In poker they call it a tell–the little unconscious signs that give you away. When it comes to motherhood I bet I have a thousand tells. Like the dark circles that cropped up below my eyes during the first sleep-deprived flush of new motherhood and never entirely left. Or those little lines that radiate from the outer corner of each eye. They’re called age lines but I know mine are a direct result of sun damage from Saturdays on the soccer field and hours spent squinting by the side of my in-laws’ swimming pool, doing duty as the designated water watcher for my sons and their cousins. Maybe it’s the little grey hairs that I’ve sprouted of late…it is just a coincidence that they came about just as our older son started to text and Snapchat and find his way around both the social and physical world with more freedom? The scruffy nails come from loads (and loads) of laundry–a thousand pairs of pants turned right-side out, pockets emptied.
But it might also be the laugh lines on my cheeks, born of many good times with the kids. Or the soft spots on my cheek, the lucky recipient of literally thousands of goodnight kisses. Or the happiness our boys bring me that radiates however subtle and not just on that rare day when I get breakfast in bed.
I know some women take issue with the rampant tossing about of “Happy Mother’s Day.” It can be a painful holiday, one that is all the more upsetting when a total stranger thinks every passing woman is a parent. So I am careful with my greetings myself, always mindful not to assume. But when another woman–a total stranger–has the sixth sense to read my signals, whatever they may be, I always wish her Happy Mothers Day right back. Anyone who knows how much I relish this little thank you also, I am sure, needs one herself.
Now about those abs…check out this advice about helping get them back in shape post-pregnancy:
What’s your parenting style? Find out here.
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Thursday, May 8th, 2014
There’s a running joke in my family about my siblings giving our mom one of the worst Mother’s Day presents of all time. When my older siblings were both under the age of 3, my well-meaning dad thought it would be great to give my mom gifts my brother and sister had picked out just for her. Good idea in theory, but not so much in practice seeing as the resulting presents were a 200-pack of neon straws and a potato peeler. To this day, my mom still rolls her eyes anytime someone tells this story.
As it turns out, by taking my siblings out of the house for the shopping trip, my dad actually gave my mom the most in-demand Mother’s Day gift in the world: alone time. An informal poll of my mommy friends revealed what they’re craving most is time away from their everyday responsibilities. One friend even confessed, “Sleep and an entire day of no whining would be perfect.” To help give mom the time off she deserves, try one of these creative alternatives to classic Mother’s Day gifts.
Netflix in bed. Breakfast in bed is a classic, lovely way to celebrate mom, but popcorn in bed and free-reign to binge watch a show that doesn’t burst into song every other minute is the modern definition of bliss.
Ditch the bouquet. Take mom to the gardening store and let her pick a few of her favorite spring blooms, then spend the day planting them to create a beautiful garden for her while she’s enjoying some peace and quiet inside.
Dinner for one. Instead of a family dinner, fix mom her favorite meal and vacate the house, letting her enjoy a nice meal without worrying about who’s not eating their veggies or who’s making the biggest mess.
Image: Young girl offering flowers to her mom via Shutterstock.
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Friday, November 1st, 2013
I came across this video a couple of days ago on Upworthy. While the video appears to have been made in honor of Mother’s Day, I think its message is important enough that we should emphasize it more than on one faux holiday on the second Sunday in May. As a web site for mission-driven media with the goal “to make important stuff as viral as a video of some idiot surging on his roof,” I’m going to agree with Upworthy and say that this is meaningful and deserves to go viral.
Moms work really hard and love their children so much, and—as shown in these three minutes—that does not go unnoticed by said children. But Evolution Church, the makers of the video, gave one instruction to a group of moms: Describe yourself as a mother. I was expecting to hear responses like “Well, I tend to be a strict mom” or “I’m definitely a cool mom”—you know, a la Amy Poehler in Mean Girls. But what actually came out of their mouths was something more like this:
“There are definitely days when I have doubts in my abilities.”
“I struggle with….”
“I wish I knew how to…”
“I wish I was better at…”
“I wish I was more….”
Wait. Why were all of those responses about their deficiencies as mothers? Why is the first thing that jumps into these mothers’ heads when asked to describe themselves is what they are NOT good at? (Granted, the video editors could have chosen to take this angle, but these moms were not forced to utter self-criticisms.) And for that matter, why is self-criticism often at the forefront of women’s brains when we describe ourselves, period? As Jessica Simpson mentioned in her blog post the other day, even when the tabloids pointed fingers at her, she was really her own biggest threat.
I think we all need to practice a little more self-love. Of course there is always room for improvement, but why not think of what we can do better after congratulating ourselves for all the things we do right. After all, there must be a reason why the children of these mothers described their mommies with such an outpouring of love. One girl nearly cried as she confessed “[My mom] is like my heart … because she’s that close to me.”
So don’t wait until May to cut yourself a break, Mom. Chances are that for every little mistake you see yourself make, there are at least ten things you did right. Focus on that, and maybe even dial your own mom to say you love her. In fact, I think I’ll do that right now.
Plus: Find out what parenting style suits your lifestyle. Then, browse through these 11 no-fail tantrum tamers.
Image: Baby embracing mother outdoors via Shutterstock
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