Mom Appreciation

When was the first time you appreciated your parent or primary caregiver?

I adored my mother as a child. I thought she was the most beautiful, perfect person there was.

I resisted her as a teenager. I looked to her for guidance, but fought for my independence and space to make my own way.

I moved away from her (figuratively and literally) slowly over time — after I finished school, moved away and eventually got married.

Then I had my son. When I had him home for a few days I had an ‘aha’ moment. So this is what it takes to be a parent. This is work. This is hard. Wow, my mom must have really loved me. She made parenting look easy. She always had a confidence in her parenting skills and I never doubted her ability to do the job. In reflection, I am in awe of her and what she accomplished. Now it was my turn, which got me thinking will I be as good a mom to my boys as she was to me? It’s motivated me to try my best to live up to the bar she set everyday since.

As a mom, I think about my boys and how they view me. Am I adored by them? If I am, they hide it well. 🙂 Are they resisting me? A little, for sure. Are they starting to move away? Thankfully no. But one thing I know — they love me, and I, with every ounce of my being, love them.

Thank you, Mom, for everything, and Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the other moms out there.

I will be taking some time off to enjoy time with family and friends and will be back in June.

 

 

Love, Mom

How will you celebrate Mom today?

In the past, I just wanted alone time. Peace and quiet — what a luxury.

There were years I wanted flowers or a spa trip — don’t get me wrong, I love these treats, but I love hand-written cards, gifts, hugs and kisses more.

I love being a mom. I love being silly and seeing my kids delight and giggle. I love watching them as they grow into young men. I love watching my husband with my boys. I love that they love me and I love them back. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, and the most rewarding. I’m exhausted, and content, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How do you experience being a parent? How do you celebrate being a mom (or celebrating your mom)?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever

What is the best Mother’s Day present you received? What is the best Mother’s Day gift you ever gave?

Growing up, I recall giving my mother various gifts throughout the years: artwork, small inexpensive trinkets, and as I got older flowers. There never really seemed an appropriate gift, and it never really occurred to me ask my mom what she might like (nor did she offer up what she might like from us). The best gift I ever gave was done collectively with my sisters help. We worked together to decorate my mom’s chair at the table with beads, a crown and banner that read “Best Mom Ever” — we were very proud of our work, and our mom was very surprised that we choose to honor her in this way. I’ve reflected on that over the years and don’t think we ever topped that Mother’s Day no matter what gifts we bought her. The sentiment was from the heart, it was simple, pure and full of love.

As a mother, there’s nothing I want or need anyone to buy for me. A hug, kiss, letter or drawing are great; extra time to sleep and breakfast in bed–a treat; offering to clean the house–a thrill. Any sentiment from the heart–be it simple, pure and full of love–not sure I could ask for anything more.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? When have you felt most loved? When have you made your Mom feel most loved?

Happy Mother’s Day.

Mother Bear

My boys wanted to see the Disney Nature film Bears that is playing in theaters now. The movie follows a mother bear and her two cubs during their first year of life. There is a scene where the mother and her cubs meet other bears in a field. It is the first time the cubs have ever seen other bears. The narrator focuses in on the male cub, Scout, and how he may be trying to determine who his adult role model should be in the field. The narrator continues by covering the various male types there–the dominant bear, the strongest bear, most persistent, disinterested, etc. The narrator doesn’t answer who Scout selects, but leaves it with the viewer to try to determine.

Throughout the movie, the bears incur many struggles–trying to get food, fighting off other animals and sometimes fighting off other bears. It is a difficult journey they make. The mother bear is a mix of what I think most of us, as mothers would want to be. She’s tough when needed, protective, loving and determined to teach her children not only how to survive but to thrive. She is a role model for us all, and as it turns out, she was the role model Scout had been looking for in the field earlier in the movie. As the narrator explains, he didn’t have to look far for his role model because his mother had been right by his side all along.

As a mother, many of us desire to be that same role model for our child. It can sometimes seem difficult or challenging, but knowing how important our job of being a mom is, we keep at it determined to do the best job we can.

Who was your role model growing up? How are you being a role model for your child?

To all the moms out there–Happy Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day

How will you celebrate Mother’s Day today? With flowers? A card? Or a nice meal out?

On Mother’s Day I’ll look forward to sleeping in, having breakfast in bed, and seeing my children smile as they hand me their handmade gifts. While eating my breakfast, once my children have left the room to continue with their play, I’ll think about how grateful I am to have the opportunity to raise them. I’ll think about what I’m most proud of teaching them so far, and wisdom I still want to impart. I’ll think about the journey I am on, and  all the support I have from my husband, other moms—old and new, family and friends. I’ll think about the energy I need to be the mom that I want to be, and remind myself to continue to seek ways to get the recharge I need. I’ll think about my children’s smiling faces and the joy they bring me every day. I’ll think about how quickly they are growing and allow myself a moment to think I’ll still have many more Mother’s Days like this, when I know these will be very limited.  Even though my boys are seven and five, I’m still amazed I gave birth to these wonderful creatures and that I’m a mom, their mom.

Mother’s Day may have started to honor mothers everywhere, but I see it as a day for me to rest and reflect on how blessed I am. No one has to honor me, the honor of being their mother is all mine.

Happy Mother’s Day.

You Don’t Love Me

My son and I did some growing this past week. He did something I didn’t approve of and I could only get him to stop by threatening to take away a privilege if he didn’t. He got very upset, which caught me a little off-guard. It didn’t begin as a contentious conversation: I had spoken calmly and explained why we were having the conversation, what had happened, what needed to change going forward and why. He looked at with tears brimming at the edges of his eyes and said, “Mom, I feel like when you correct me you are saying you don’t love me.” Whoa, I thought, I did not see that coming. I could understand him getting upset that he might lose his toys or, getting upset that we were having a tense discussion but  thinking I didn’t love him? What was that about?

I took a deep breath.  I was suddenly reminded of something that had happened when I was eight years old. I had done something wrong and my punishment was to be spanked (spanking was commonplace when I was growing up) by my father. I recall getting called into my parents’ bedroom after my mom had debriefed my father on the situation. I reluctantly walked into their room and my dad was sitting in a chair by the side table. He looked like he was exhausted from work and disappointed that he now had to deal with an unruly child instead of getting to relax. I was normally a very timid child but something came over me that day and I told my father I hated him before he could even saying a word or lay a hand on me. He was shocked. “Why would you say that?” he asked to which I replied, “I know you enjoy spanking us.” Honestly, I’m not sure I even believed what I was saying, but since it was my parents’ choice to spank my sisters and I, I figured they must get some joy out of it. My father took me on his lap and said, “I don’t take any joy at all in spanking you. Do you know why your Mother and I do this?” I shook my head. He went on to explain, “We do this because we are trying to teach you a lesson. You broke a rule today, right?” I nodded my head. “And you know that if you do that it’s not acceptable, right?” I nodded my head again. “Well, your Mother and I have to do something about it, otherwise, what’s to stop you from doing it again?” This made the light bulb go on for me.  It was the first time I really understood why spankings in our house took place. It was a seminal conversation between my father and I and it changed our relationship going forward. I still ended up getting a spanking, but it was only a light tap on the behind. Honestly, that was the last time I can remember my dad spanking me. Maybe it’s simply my retroactive interpretation, but I think he knew the importance of making sure I understood what was expected of me and what would happen if I didn’t meet those expectations, it was clear we needed to communicate about what was happening and why.

Coming out of my reverie, I took another breath and told my son, “Honey, one of my jobs is to teach you things. I do this because I do care. I love you and I want you to be the best person you can be. If I didn’t care, I would let you do whatever you want whenever you wanted.” He got a big grin on his face similar to the look I must have had when the light bulb came on for me with my father. “Mom,” he said, “I love you.” “I love you too,” I said.

In the end I felt lucky to have had the opportunity for my son and I to better understand each other.

Happy Mother’s Day!