Good morning, Mamma. Happy Thursday! Stay connected to your kids day. Your day to look at the week so far and assess your family ties. Your day to decide what’s good and what needs to change and to plan the weekend.
I recently had an opportunity to ask my daughter what she remembered. Of all the hours and days and years I spent parenting that child, what were her favorite memories?
She was glad to be close to her siblings. I staunchly refused to referee in their little disputes when they were growing up. “He hit me!” “You two are going to be together for the rest of your lives. It is up to you whether that relationship is going to be a good one or a bad one. Now go downstairs and work out a compromise and then come up here and tell Daddy and I what you worked out.” When they were little, and arguing over a toy, we never bothered to find out who had “started it”. We immediately took the toy away and put it in the top of a closet. They got all their toys back on Sunday. Some weeks, that closet got crowded.
She loved the times we spent outdoors. Camping, kayaking, simply hiking through a local park. This is so easy to put together, and some of her very favorite memories came from these times together outdoors. She loved climbing trees and canoeing and hiking to have outdoor lunch on the top of 3,000 ft high mountain. A baby mountain, yes, but a challenge for a kid, and one of her favorite memories.
She loved our girly shopping days. It didn’t matter if our shop was at TJ Maxx, Nordstrom or a consignment store, what she loved was being together, just the two of us, and putting outfits together that let her feel classy, fashionable, womanly. We talked a lot as she was growing up about “what your style says about you and how it will impact people’s expectations of you”. She was grateful for those lessons.
She loved when Daddy would get up on a Saturday and make from scratch waffles with strawberry compote. She loved it when I decorated her locker the morning I had to leave for a business trip on her birthday (showed up at her school at 6:45 to do it, flight left at 8:10, that was a close one). She loved it when we would make buttered popcorn, sprinkle it with frozen Junior Mints and snuggle up in front of a movie. She loved it when we skipped the Super Bowl party and went skiing at a local resort. We had the hills all to ourselves and the night was gorgeous.
Make some memories this weekend, Mamma. Give them something to take to college with them someday. You’re both going to need it.
Good morning, dear. How are you? I have seven days left with my daughter before she leaves for college. It has been the outside of my ability to keep myself together these last two weeks.
It’s been two weeks of retrospective. Two weeks of well-how-did-I-do? Two weeks of just trying to sit with the reality that my day-in and day-out parenting of this child is coming to an end to be replaced by something else – still parenting, but from a distance and on an as-needed basis. And the regret, no avoiding that.
This weekend, while daughter was on a special sea-kayaking trip with little brother and dad (he can’t even talk about her leaving), I went to a beautiful park with two of my nephews. There’s a creek there with a beautiful natural pool. They splashed while I sat on the edge and thought.
Sharing my little rock ledge was a young mom with her husband and her two little ones, ages four and six. Both kiddos would go careening out into the water, splashing and stomping and then come back to mom. Out into the world, back to mom. Out and back. And yes, I know, I pray, my daughter will come back. And I know it will be a little different when she does.
It was all I could do not to grab this woman by the shoulders and weep, “Pay attention! Love this! Enjoy this! It won’t last forever!” When one of her kiddos accidentally came back to me instead of his mom (getting me a little wet in the process) she hurried to apologize. I assured her that I didn’t mind in the least and it gave us an opening to talk.
I told her about my daughter getting ready for her independence. We talked about the constant pull back to home from our jobs. She and I had both left jobs that required us to be away from home too much and neither of us had the tiniest bit of regret for that decision. We both found jobs that allowed for a better balance, more flexibility. We talked about the fact that, while we occasionally hated our jobs, occasionally even despised the work that took us from our kids, we were grateful for that work too. Grateful to keep a toe in the outside world, grateful to be a financial full-partner in the marriage, grateful to always be hungry for time with our kids.
“It’s great to talk to someone that gets it,” She said.
I get it.
Love your life, Mamma. Love the imperfect wonderful mess of it.
Because you only get to live this bit for a little while.
When your kiddo is ready to move on, when you are the one sitting on your sofa with their moving boxes all around you, wondering if you did a good job, thinking about how much you’ll miss kiddo’s smile, I hope you have very few regrets, tens of thousands of lovely memories, and a rock solid relationship with kiddo, ready to grow to the next place.
Good morning, Mommy. Go play! I’m beggin’ you, Mamma. It’s Saturday, have some fun, laugh, make memories!
At dinner last night (on a rooftop restaurant downtown, tailor made for memory making) our kids talked about when I would put on Dionne Warwick’s “I Say a Little Prayer For You” and we would dance in the kitchen. “I loved that,” said my daughter. “I remember that!” said our son, who is now 6’1″, “that was fun!”. (And, thought Mamma, it was free, and we didn’t have to drive anywhere to do it, and I DO pray for you.)
I think back to the times I used music in our lives – what a powerful tool in Mamma’s arsenal of happy-family-making. Music changes emotions. In the morning to start the day right; in the evening to elevate everyone’s energy; I even used music (Rascal Flatt’s “Life Is A Highway”) to let them know it was time to leave for school, so much better than running through the house screaming, “IT’S TIME TO GO”.
So. Today. Memories. Someday, when you are out to dinner with your alarmingly adult children, what do you want them to think back and remember about growing up with you?
Today, no iPad. Today, no games on phones. Today, no TV.
Today, music. Free concert in the park, a pots and pans band with wooden spoons, dancing in the kitchen to a great old song?
Today, outdoors. Park, pool, zoo?
Today, move. Go for a hike at a state park, walk around that lake near you, build sandcastles at the beach.
You are making the memories. You are building their childhood. You are re-enforcing the bonds that make family close. You don’t get close just because you share blood, you know, you need to have shared experiences.
Life is short, and they are young for the briefest time imaginable; go play.
Good morning. Did you (like me) work too much this week? I get that sometimes it’s unavoidable. My children ate take-out food every single day this week. I really get it.
But we cannot let work take the primary position in our lives for too long. They pay, and we pay when that happens. Over time, it does not, in my opinion, make for the best sort of life. I want to work and be great at what I do, yes, but I also want to be a MOMMY, a baking, hugging, reading stories, THERE in their lives, Mommy.
Our actions are where our values become apparent.
My actions last week were all company, all work. I did wrench one afternoon away from my intense product launch to see my daughter in what could have been her last race of her high school career (she won! on to state!) but I confess I was emailing in the stands when she wasn’t running. I forgot to eat lunch that day and had dinner in my car, but by God, I saw my daughter run and hugged her after her race and it was awesome.
Still. My week was off balance big-time in favor of my work life and I need to make it up to my family (and my poor neglected body) this weekend.
How about you, dear? You are not a robot. What yummy memories will you build this weekend? What meals? What walks? What stories?
Life flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot.
Ah, Friday, Friday. I love you, Friday. LOVE. How are you, Mamma? Ready for the weekend? Got your carpools, birthday parties and baseball games all planned out? Yep, me too.
In all the busybusybusy, please find one hour to just sit and be, yes? At least one hour. NO phone – the phone is off, gone, out of sight for this entire hour. No TV, no movie, no computer. One hour where you sit with your kids, let them lean on you, crawl all over you, talk to you. One hour, with no thought of laundry or bills or in-laws, deal?
And that husband, if you are lucky enough to have one, him too. Find some time, in all the rushing and the family obligations and the cheering for the kids at the track meet, find some time to look him in the eye, smile and tell him that you love him. If you can snuggle up tonight, after the kids are in bed, with a beer or a glass of wine and tell him why you respect him, better yet.
Busy is awesome. Full lives are great. But without a moment of quiet, busy gets to be frantic. And a couple that works well together is awesome, team power parents! But without that moment of love, marriage, romance, the flame could die out, and you don’t want that. You are husband and wife, not high functioning room-mates, right?
So, this weekend, some busy, some quiet, some romance, deal?
Have fun. Be blessed.
So today, we play! Right, girl? PLAYDAY!!! Good morning, Mamma. Happy Saturday!
I have a massive project going right now with an important deadline in about three weeks. I could work every minute of every day for these next three weeks to polish and prepare for this mile mark, but I’m not going to.
Because, while I do love my work, I’m not just a worker. And, while I take pride in being excellent in what I do for my company, I’m more than my career. So much more.
I’m a mom. And a wife. And an athlete, friend, and daughter.
Work gets most of my waking hours. I check email and study technical papers before my kids wake up in the morning. I’m physically away from home and at work anywhere from seven to eleven hours a day – when I’m in town – and I have a home office that gets another hour or two of my life at the end of the day. Work gets plenty of my energy, yet it never seems enough. I have to fight the urge to do just one more thing. I fight to set it aside and really be with my family.
I love my work, I do. But it cannot have my Saturday.
This is my day to reconnect. I put tremendous effort into staying in touch with my kids during the week, but today, Saturday, is the day we get large chunks of just hanging around together. Unstructured, sweat pants and pajamas, together for hours Saturday. How can I describe the piled-on-the-sofa-reading or the laying-on-a-blanket-in-the-front-yard that is Saturday?
This day is solid gold.
And yes, the laundry and the lawn and the groceries, I get it. But manage it while they sleep, or hire it out if you can, yes? Martha Stewart is not going to come inspect your house; it’s okay if it looks like you live there.
Go play, Mamma. You work plenty hard, do not give away your precious weekend.
Companies are soulless – they are profit-driven (as they should be) and they will accept every hour that you are willing to give them. You need to draw the line. You need to make your family a priority.
You will work for the rest of your life; your kids you have for a very precious, very little while, and then they fly.
Today, go play, alright? For me. For your munchkins. For your own heart and body and memory banks, go play!
Good morning, Mommy! Happy Thursday. How are you going to grow closer to your kids this weekend? Now’s the time to look at the calendar and make some plans.
My husband’s work schedule has been the worst this week. Fourteen hour days. He got home last night at 9:30 PM. I let the kids stay up till 11:00 because they needed that time with him, and he needed time with them. We had a hot, sit-down breakfast this morning, Needtobreathe playing on the little, blue Bean speaker.
Not an easy week to be a family, but I’ll make it work. We do that, don’t we? We make it work.
It occurred to me this morning (as I was running down my to-do list of meetings, spreadsheets, dishes and laundry and driving) …in every successful family, somebody somewhere was willing to work really, really hard.
You power through the sleep-deprived days after sleep-deprived nights. You meet your deadlines at work, while dealing with diaper-rash-worry and daycare-fretting. You make it to Muffins With Mom, even though it means that you have to ask to come into work late that morning.
You make time to walk around the lake with them, because they love it, even though you could easily crash on the sofa with a glass of wine. You read out loud to them at bedtime, even though you’re so tired you nod off while reading. (Don’t worry, the kids will wake you up so you can finish the book.) You go to the baseball game, even though you have to show up in a skirt and heels, straight from work.
You forgo the fancy face-cream so she can get a new dress for the school dance. You give away your tickets to the concert because kiddo had a shitty day at school and needs you to create a loving, you-are-important-to-me, safe space at home tonight where he can work through his feelings (never easy for a boy). You stay at a difficult job because The Insurance and The Mortgage and The Tuition.
And, every once in a while, you get a luminous moment, a snuggle-and-hug-before-bed, a laugh-at-a-butterfly-landed-on-my-hand, a thanks-mom-what-would-I-do-without-you… and it’s all worthwhile.
Yes, your life is crazy. Yes, it’s hard. Working motherhood, in my opinion, is much like what Churchill said about Democracy: It’s the worst form of government there is, except for all the others.
Why-ever we work, whether because we want to, or because we have to, we have to be intentional about our time with our kids. We have to fight for it. I don’t know about you, but when I am with my kids, at home or at one of their events, I try hard to BE THERE. I know our time is limited, so I try to make the most of what we have.
Now then. About this weekend. Whatcha got planned there, Mamma? What moments do you want to have with them? What memories? What connection?
Plan it. Live it. Make it happen, girl.
Saturday! Play Day! Happy Play Day, Mommy. Play day, play dough, go play, go, go.
Feeling a little Seuss this morning, apparently. Actually, I am super excited because my family is taking a Do Nothing day today. These days are awesome, they are the best! And it’s been far too long.
The kids are missing Robotics, basketball practice, a party with friends and a study session. Husband and I are missing a party and a church thing. I will do laundry, but only until they wake up. After that, I’m all theirs. No work, no distraction, no phone. No. Phone.
We do this about twice a year. We block a day off on the calendar, say no to everyone and then do something spontaneous. I don’t know what we’re going to do, we decide at breakfast.
We throw our ideas into an old party decorations bucket, after breakfast we’ll lay them out on the table for consideration and voting, unused ideas stay in the bucket to be considered next time.
We’ve been to a glass-blowing demonstration, to a beach, to the city. We’ve walked in the woods, canoed across a lake, stayed home and read quietly by a fire. We’ve played the Game of Things, Cranium and Candyland. We’ve had ice cream and pancakes and sushi. I never know what these days are going to bring, but I know that my family will grow closer today.
Family, in my opinion, is a group of people whom you love, and with whom you have a vault of shared experiences. I tell my kids, “Family are the people you are connected to. Sometimes we are connected by blood, sometimes we are connected by love.”
Strengthen your connections today, Mamma. Just living under the same roof is not enough. It’s just not. I’m sure you, like me, see examples of this every day. So today, or next weekend, or next month, turn off the phone, shut out the outside world and just be you, whatever your “you” looks like.
Family doesn’t happen as much as family is built.
You are the architect, you are the builder, you are the wood.
To give you an idea of how much these days mean to my kids: I found out just yesterday afternoon that today is my basketball-mad teenage son’s team’s last practice. He loves that team. LOVES. He lives for basketball. “Oh no! Tomorrow is your last practice!” I said, in the car on the way home, sincerely distressed that he’d be missing that time. “No,” he replied with a loving smile, “Today was MY last practice. Tomorrow is family time.”
Go, do, Mamma. Make something beautiful.