Good morning, Mamma! Happy Friday! Time to maybe plan a weekend surprise for your kids? These are memories that really stick because there is so much emotional power in a happy surprise.
My husband is the spontaneous one in our marriage. It is such a gift. I’m getting better at it, but still. The kids joke that if I hadn’t married my wonderful, mostly stoic, Swede, their lives would be safe, productive and highly nutritious.
I laugh. I have to, because there is so much truth in that caricature.
I have learned from my husband the gift of the unexpected.
Our kids, ten years later, still talk about the time that Daddy asked what they wanted to do that day and, when they responded with, “drive to *next state over*!”, he said yes. They drove eight hours round trip that day, road trip extraordinaire. I was on a business trip somewhere and they got such joy out of calling me and telling me where they were. They still talk about that day and, when they do, they still laugh about it. Total cost of that lifelong memory: Gas, and two stops at a Dairy Queen for road food.
Easier surprises are things like mom suggesting we build a fort in the living room and then telling the kids they can sleep there tonight. Yes, they’ll probably be up at midnight asking you to take them to bed, that doesn’t matter, it’s the adventure of it, the break from routine.
Waking them up with fresh hot pancakes tomorrow, that’s a nice surprise. It’d set a fun tone for the weekend too.
The biggest surprise we ever pulled off was when we told our kids we were going camping, and when we got them in the car, pulled out the passports and told them we were travelling to a foreign country instead. I LOVED that moment! That kind of adventure clearly takes planning and resources, but you’d be surprised at what you can pull off with Groupon Travel and airbnb.com.
We spend so much of our lives planned and prepped down to the minute, I get it, we have to, or we’d die. But, every once in a while, let your guard down and let in the unexpected.
It’s about joy.
Go have some of that this weekend.
Saturday, Saturday! Good morning, Mommy!! What are you going to do to #buildmemories today?
Make breakfast with the kids? Let them put the blueberries in little cups and cover them with whipped cream.! Let them spread the peanut butter on the toast (and lick their fingers because it inevitably gets everywhere, it’s a cardinal rule of peanut butter spreading)! Let them pick the flavor of the pancakes! Cooking and eating together feeds both body and soul.
Will you get outside together? Hanging (and napping) in a hammock? Splashing at the beach (and sandcastles, definitely sand castles)? Going for a hike with a picnic tucked into your backpack? Or maybe you’ll just set up the sprinkler at home and let the kids run through it while you snap pictures that you’ll laugh at forever?
Or is today a cultural day? Biking to the local bandstand to hear music? Spending a couple hours at a local museum (children’s, science or art, they’re all wonderful). Is there a festival going on near you celebrating another ethnicity or culture?
County fair! You could find a county fair! Corn dogs and cows and kiddie rides. Awesome.
Is today a weeding the garden day? A mud pie day? A plant-a-little-tree-for-each-kid-and-let-them-take-care-of-it day? Dirt is awesome.
Or break out that video feature on your iPhone and make a video. You can have the kids come up with the story, help them find costumes and then film it for them. My kids once constructed an entire play like this, took all day, involved neighbors and friends. It was awesome. (Do not, however, let them add blue food coloring to the whipped cream pie that will end the show. That stuff stains the skin for DAYS.)
This is your life, Mamma. These are the days that build your relationship with those precious kids of yours. And that husband you’d like to continue to enjoy a great relationship with for pretty much forever.
Go. Do. Live it and love it and take pictures.
Good morning, Mamma. Saturday… yum. Make some memories today, please? Yes the laundry and the groceries, I get it. But don’t forget to make memories too.
At a dinner party a couple months ago, I asked one of the men across the table what he “did”. “I make memories for my kids”, he replied, without missing a beat. Everyone around us sort of paused and was trying to process a surprising answer to a most basic dinner party question when he continued, smiling, “Or do you mean what I do to get the money to make memories with my kids?”
It was such a change in perspective for me.
And a lesson made all the more poignant by the fact that our oldest has told us that when he moves back to school this fall, he won’t be coming back. Oh, he’ll come back for birthdays and Christmas and the occasional Sunday dinner, he will call and email and he still loves us very much, but this is it, he’s moving out.
Can you imagine my grief? This is it. All the stuff I missed as a working mom, and all the stuff I made it to, that careful balance of enough for work and enough for my family, adding up the hours and events and dinners at home… our math, for the most part, is done.
Keep that in mind as you plan your day. This season, this mess and sleep loss and helping on with very small shoes, it ends.
When it does, make sure that you have a wealth of memories to go back and visit. A treasure trove.
Good morning, Mamma!!! Happy Saturday! Go DO something, Mamma! Share some experiences with your family. Memories are built from shared experiences. Go build some memories!
Train ride, bike ride, little red wagon.
Ice cream store, toy store, book store!
Bake cookies, bake bread, make smoothies and eat them outside on the stoop.
Write a story together, tell a story, make a video.
Brush their hair, put braids in, take pictures.
Candyland, Pictionary, Poker.
Go to a national park, go to the city pool, go to Disneyland!
Google up a festival and check it out. Or a museum. Or a beautiful old church.
If you must do the laundry, let them help you sort the clothes and throw them in the wash matchine. Yes, it will take longer.
If you have to get groceries, let them push their own little cart along with you. Yes, it will take longer and you will end up buying a bag of marshmallows you didn’t intend to come home with.
If you have to clean, give them a dust cloth too.
You see, Mamma, there is only so much time. Relationships, whether friendship, marriage or parent/child, relationships are built on shared experiences.
Go build your relationships today, Mamma. Right now.
Hey, Mamma. Happy Saturday. I dropped my little girl off to take her SATs this morning. Dropped her off, didn’t walk in because husband and I want to send the message that, as we told her, we trust her and she’s got this. About two and a half seconds after she walked away, I started crying.
See, I love being a mom. In spite of the fact that I was often so tired I fell asleep WHILE reading Goodnight Moon out loud, I love being a mom. (They’d pat my cheek gently and say, “Mamma! Mamma, we’re not done yet!”) In spite of all the dirty dishes, and laundry, and muddy floors and mystery holes in the sheetrock (where I’d stand and think, “Golf club? Baseball bat? Elbow?”) I love being a mom.
Being a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done. Better than the big checks. Better than the big awards. Better than the I-feel-so-damn-smart-and-competent presentations to big groups of people. Better than anything.
Looking at their eyes, sparkling with wonder and joy, or sparkling with tears of sadness or frustration. Getting those hugs, especially the ones that just about knock you over after you get back from a business trip. Smelling their hair, that sweaty individual, I’d-know-you-with-my-eyes-closed unique smell that pulls at the deepest core of my heart.
I love being a mom.
It’s Saturday, Mamma. Go build some memories. It goes so fast.
Good morning! Happy Tuesday, Mamma. Have you read the book, “Spark”? A friend gave it to me a week or so ago, and I’m obsessed. It’s about exercise and your brain.
Five pages in, I wanted to go get on my treadmill. By the end of the first chapter, I had encouraged my husband to write out his fitness goals. Halfway through the second chapter, I’m ordering this booksfor half a dozen mommy friends. And my passion for my own exercise has ramped up from “I guess I’d better go…” to “YES! I can’t wait to get moving!!!”
Get this book.
I knew that exercise improved focus, mood and retention of information. I just didn’t know exactly how powerful the effect was!
If you want motivation to get your own self up and off the sofa, if you want to understand why you should, or if you want to know why exercise is so crucial to your children’s’ success and happiness (no, I’m not overstating this), get this book.
Enjoy your day, Mommy. Get moving! For your brain, your mood, your body, your life.
Home sweet home. And Saturday, darling Saturday. I got to see plenty of stressed-out mommies at LaGuardia this week. How about you? How was your week? Anybody else out there stuck in Terminal C for 23 hours? No? But I bet you had your own stuff this week, didn’t you?
Look, this life we lead (I don’t need to tell you) is hard. We have to be disciplined as a drill sergeant, dexterous as Houdini and as organized as the White House Chief of Staff. It’s go, go, go all week, every week, baby. They count on us. It’s our job.
But, Mamma, we are not a robot. And our lives are not lived solely for the purpose of being productive and organized. Life is easier when we are productive and organized, I’ll grant you. But that’s not why we’re here.
Take a minute today, take the whole day if you can, and revel in the joy of being a mom. Do something fun. Remember fun? Let go of whatever Shoulds are weighing you down, and enjoy motherhood.
Play, darling, please play. Enjoy those children whose health and safety and manners you spend so much time guarding and nurturing. They are wonderful. Look at those smiles!
Is that allowed? Can mom have fun? Aren’t I just supposed to set up the playdate and then watch on the sidelines to be sure they’re all safe? Provide rides and snacks and Band-Aids as needed?
No, thank God, we are allowed to get down on the floor and play with the blocks. Or the Legos. Or the play dough. We are allowed to play Frisbee (which my children love that I do, even though I’m the worst) and soccer and baseball. We are even allowed to climb trees (it’s gorgeous up there, magical, you should try it!). Dance in the kitchen! I have a treasured picture, snapped by my husband, of me and my then two-year-old son dancing to “Say a Little Prayer for You” in our kitchen; I still remember that night. The best.
Please, set you to-do list and your dignity aside today, and play.
Life is short and, as they say, this is not a dress rehearsal. We get one life to lead, just one.
Commit to joy today, please? Commit to play! And I will too.