Mother’s Day Dilemma

 

I wrote the following post last year and, while I still believe there are two approaches to Mother’s Day, this weekend I am firmly in column B. I am going for a pedicure at a spa where I can order a glass of wine while my feet are scrubbed and polished.

Because.

I’m the mum and I say so.

This tree (which blossomed basically overnight) is what greeted me when I walked out the front door. I took it as a sign that mother nature herself was giving me flowers—and I’m taking them.

Happy Mother’s Day

mothers day2015

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

There are two schools of thought regarding Mother’s Day:

  • I am spending every second of this day with my children.
  • I wouldn’t go near my kids today if you paid me!

A) It’s Mother’s Day. That’s me! I’m a mother. And I want to celebrate motherhood by being with my kids– playing games with them, talking to them, going out to eat with them, and hugging them. A lot. After all, my children are the reason I get to celebrate this day in the first place.

B) This is my day. I am going to soak in a bubble bath, pick up the book I’ve been meaning to read for two months, drink a glass of wine on the porch, and relax. After all, it’s a day meant for me so someone else can take care of the kids and house today.

For some, this is a simple decision. For others, we bounce between the two options.

Notice the “we”? Because I’m one of those moms who want a little from column A and a bit from column B.

I want to be around my kids. I want to play cards or Candy Land with them. I want to play win at Wii. I want to look at old photos and see how much they’ve grown. I want my annual handmade crayon cards with hearts and flowers and smiley faces all over them.

I also want to be a little spoiled. I’d love to get a massage or a pedicure. Some sushi and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio would be wonderful, too. Sitting outside, alone, listening to the birds chirp and just relaxing, is a beautiful way to spend the day.

Here’s what I did. I dipped my little toe into column B by having my husband take care of the crappy things like cleaning toilets, making lunches, sweeping crumbs, and wiping noses. All this while I slept in late, read a good book, sipped some Sam Adams Summer Ale, and took a long shower during which I actually shaved my legs and used that incredible strawberry sorbet scrub that’s been staring at me from my bathroom counter since December.

And then I embraced a bit of column A. I hugged and kissed my kids. I told them stories they’d heard before about when they were little. I teared up quite a bit. I felt my heart grow like the Grinch’s when I opened the cards they drew for me. I played games with them and read to them and spent some time outside enjoying the day with them.

That was a good mix for me. A very happy Mother’s Day.

 

Where are you? Firmly in column A? Column B? Somewhere in the AB area? What did you do for Mother’s Day?

 

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Why?

 

I’m usually careful how I phrase things with my children but, when they do something ridiculous, I do something equally ridiculous: I ask them why.ThoughtBubble

“Why would you kick a huge rock?!” (Excuse me if I don’t get you an ice pack for your stubbed toe.) 

They never have a good answer. They say “I don’t know”.

Why do I keep asking?

The other day, hanging out with my son on the swings, I heard a mom call to her child in an I-am-not-happy voice. She said:

“Why did you come to the playground when I told you not to?” Then, get this, she corrected herself and said, “Never mind. The only good answer to that is ‘I’m sorry’ so just get your things and let’s go.”

And good golly, the girl got her stuff and they left. It was magical. I chased super mom down in the parking lot and tackled her with a big bear hug. (Daydreams can be awesome. And weird.)

I’ve caught myself asking my husband and parents this. It’s not really a question. Yet it’s not rhetorical because, at the time, I’m expecting some sort of explanation. Why do I continue to ask why?

 

Why (2)

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Philosophy, Families, and Kindness

 

Last week, while reading a history book with my son, we saw a sidebar about Confucius stating that he advocated family loyalty and kindness.

This confused my son. He asked about unkindness within families.

I debated what to say.ThoughtBubble

I don’t put rose-colored glasses on my children. The world is not pink.

However, there is only so much information they need. When one of my boys asks me something, there is a split second where my mind quickly determines how to answer by factoring in his chronological age, his emotional age, and his sensitivity. I go from there.

So, with my 8-yr-old, I simply said, “Some families treat each other badly. They are…not very nice to each other.”

To which he cried and said, “Like if you don’t get a birthday card from your parents? Because that would be awful. Cards are a wish for good things and, I don’t know, it means ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m thinking of you’.”

I stared.

He continued, “So ‘unkind’ like if your father never wrote you a card?”

Yes. Just like that.

Can I bottle this innocent beauty? Just for a few more years…

 

Handwritten Notes

A typical note for my kids.

If, for my son, not ever receiving a handwritten note is what it means for family to be cruel,
I’m not going to correct him. Not right now.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

The Places You’ll Go

 

I just returned from vacation during which I witnessed a lot of ugliness.

With all the talk about compassion saturating the blogosphere, I’m still wondering what world my children will live in. I don’t know if anything has changed. ThoughtBubble

I hope much has changed. I hope people who are compassionate have discovered they are not alone. I hope people who are not compassionate read something that helps them act with more kindness.

When I think of compassion, I think of all living things. Of all parts of the world. Of my friends and family.

And, yes, especially my own children.

Although my thoughts reach across the globe, I live here. With my children. While they are no more or less deserving of compassion than others, they are closer to me in all ways. (Also, I am a mother. Our lot can be a wildly protective one.)

As we celebrate Read Across America today, I look at my children’s copies of Oh, the Places You’ll Go. This book describes the world as wonderful and confusing and beautiful and scary. This is all true. But if there is more compassion, I will worry less about what places my children will go.

 

The Places You'll Go

Dr. Seuss Day

 

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Defining Compassion vs. Compassion in Action

 

I am inspired by all the bloggers who posted in support of compassion. It was fascinating to see the different ideas, anecdotes, and topics people wrote about. ThoughtBubble

My #1000speak post, about an experience I had a year ago, reminded me how many times I’ve brought my children to homeless shelters, safehouses, schools, and libraries to donate clothing, toiletries, and books. What, if anything, had they learned from this?

I decided to ask them what compassion meant.

Neither one of them could answer me. They shifted in their seats and looked at the wall and floor with their I-don’t-know-the-answer faces.

Gah! Really? “Think about it.”

My 10-yr-old said, “Uh…love?”

My 8-yr-old said, “Friendship. I think it’s how you feel about a friend.”

Hmm.

I asked them for an example of something compassionate.

My 10-yr-old said, “Helping someone with a math problem if they can’t do it.”

My 8-yr-old answered, “Giving someone a stuffed animal if they’re sick so they feel better.”

They started sharing ideas: donating to homeless shelters, hugging someone if they’re sad, bringing an animal to the vet if it’s hurt…

Both my kids struggled to define the word compassion, but they know how to be compassionate people.

 

Rainbow

You don’t need to be able to define compassion to be compassionate.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Mother of the Year Award Goes To…

 

I’ve been tagged by Irene Waters to tell some secrets. I don’t gossip so these will be about me. And since I’ve already written a things-you-don’t-know-about-me post last year, I’m going to make this a confessions post. Because people love to read confessions. They do.

So, as mother of the year, I’ll start with the fact that I have never baked cookies with my children. In fact, I have never baked anything with them. My poor little boys. I’ve never let them roll dough with that neat wooden rolling thingy with the handles on the side or squish dough with their hands. Do I think they’ll make a mess? Is my OCD acting up imagining flour on the floor and egg yolks on the counter? Um. Maybe. The point is, I’ve never baked anything that wasn’t from an Easy-Bake Oven.

Since we’re on food and kitchens and stoves and stuff, I’ll let you all know another secret that helped me win this prestigious award: I don’t cook meals for my children. My children do eat and I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen but I’m usually cleaning, not cooking. It would be more accurate to say that I prepare meals. You know, washing fruit, cutting fruit, opening jars of peanut butter, containers of yogurt, and boxes of graham crackers, making sandwiches, microwaving, that sort of thing. I have no excuse. Well, I have lots of excuses but I won’t bore you with them. You’re welcome. I will say that I cooked more for my cat (he loved salmon and rice the best) than I have for my kids.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Let’s scoot out of the kitchen and head over to the living room where my family loves playing games—board games, cards, dice, whatever. After a game, I trick my kids into counting my points claiming it’s a “teaching moment”. In reality, at six and eight years old, my kids counted faster (and more accurately) than I did. Sometimes I won, though, so there’s that.

Speaking of winning… Actually this has nothing to do with winning. It’s about sharing. I have sharing issues. I like books. I love books. My books. My precious… And I read a lot of MG and YA novels so, sometimes, my children ask to *gulp* borrow my books. I don’t let my children read my books. My younger son could read a book three times and it would look like we just bought it so I’m a little more likely to let him borrow. My older son will take a beautiful copy of Harry Potter and return it with torn pages, the spine broken in seven places, and goodness-knows-what (I don’t want to know) smeared on the front cover. The back cover may or may not still be there. If it’s a special book, one that belonged to my grandmother or that I wrote a message in for them as babies, I make them lend the book from the library—the exact one that is already right here in my hot little hands.

Moving on to the last, but certainly not least, secret that I believe put me over the top. I can’t stand the sound of my children laughing. After a day of bickering, complaining, whining, and arguing, I’m done. Also, my boys are fond of making random noises for some reason. Just…noises. All. Day. Long. Around four in the afternoon, I’m ready for some giant, fluffy earmuffs. Then it is dinner and bedtime. At this point, giggles, guffaws, and laughter simply sound like more noise. And for some reason, kids feel the need to laugh loudly. Just more noise to add to the echoes of all the other noise bouncing around my skull and making me want to run screaming (very quietly) from the house.

And those are five reasons I won this award. That I gave to myself. Now. I will mention five other people here who will, if you’re lucky, spill some secrets of their own. But, whether they do or not, you should check them out. Because they’re awesome.

To the five marvelous bloggy people I am tagging: time to tell some secrets. Or not. I am giving you a compliment, not the flu.

 

Georgia Bell

Author of Unbound, the first book in her YA trilogy All Good Things. Amazing flasher (writer of amazing flash fiction—because flashing might be chilly in Canada). Wine-drinker. Scotch-drinker. Chocolate-eater. Doppelgänger with a damn good sense of humor. Or is it humour?

Robin Flanigan

Author, blogger, award-winning freelance writer. Yoga-loving inspiration. (I know you cringed at my aforementioned eating habits but do remember I’m with you on the meditation, yoga, balance, mindfulness. I am but a young grasshopper. Old-ish grasshopper.)

Amy Good

Author of Rooted. Creator of Friday Phrases (microfiction on Twitter), Story Bandit (writing dares), co-creator of Rewriting MarySue, how-does-she-do-it-all beauteous red-haired remarkable woman.

Sherri Matthews

Blogger, memoirist, poet, photographer, robin-inspired lover-of-life and one of the loveliest ladies you eva shall meet. Truly.

Loni Townsend

Author of Thanmir War and newly-released fantasy This World Bites, the first book in her Cera Chronicles series.
Funny, witty, wonderful gal. Loni is made of awesome. That is all.

 

Mommy Math

 

Mommy math goes something like this:
(Stick with me. Word problems are wicked fun.)

Question 1: Five appointments need to be made. There is one person making these appointments and one week in which to do it. How many hours are spent trying to find a pen, some scrap paper, and the phone? ThoughtBubble

Did you get it? Awesome. Here’s another one. This time it’s a multiple choice:

Question 2: There are seven days in one week. Three weeks have gone by. How many days is that? (Oh, you’re good.) Fifteen more appointments need to be made, including the five that were not made three weeks ago. Where is the person who was supposed to make these appointments?

A) Helping someone else find his shoes
B) Blowing someone else’s nose
C) Answering work emails
D) Rocking in a corner
E) All of the above

When answering a multiple choice question, it is a fallacy that, should you not know the answer, choose C. What you should do, in a case like this especially, is back away slowly. You never know when someone might spring from a corner.

 

I’m a wee bit overwhelmed at the moment.
And not very good at math.

Sarah Brentyn Parenting Posts

© Peter Le Pard

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.