My husband and I were recently driving in our car when we heard a commercial for Mother’s Day and we both wondered at the same time, “When is mother’s day?!”
“It’s in May,” my husband said with 90% certainty.
“Is it May yet?” I responded with no certainty.
Thankfully, Rick is really the one who has to figure it out. Mother’s Day comes before Father’s Day so we mothers always know that when we get to sleep in on a Sunday morning and then are forced by small children to eat cold, dry toast in bed — Father’s day is on the horizon!
I think it’s kind of great there is a day to celebrate mothers and fathers. I mean, we get thrown into this job with no training and no real understanding of what it’s going to do to our lives. We end up exhausted. Overwhelmed. Smitten. Filled with joy. Frustrated. Did I mention really ridiculously tired?
So we deserve a day to to sit back and think, I have no idea what I’m doing but these kids seem to be turning out okay so let’s celebrate me! Of course, my children always complain that there is no kid’s day and I have to point out the obvious… every day is kid’s day. Every day children.
My favorite Mother’s day moment was at Compo Beach in Westport, Connecticut. I had four kids at the time (the adorable and energetic Cash would make his debut a few years later). I gathered my children together and got this glamour shot…
And this photo actually hangs on my wall.
Yup, it really does.
Because it’s what Mother’s day and every day is all about.
Messy, crazy, imperfect and filled with love.
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Whenever one of my daughters (ages 11, 9 and 5), wants to cut their hair, I only let them cut a few inches at a time. Of course I would make an exception if one of them wanted to donate to an organization like Locks of Love but in general, I like them to take it slow. Really slow.
Because cutting hair (and especially cutting too much hair at one time) can be a highly traumatizing event. I know. Because I have had some epic haircut emotional breakdowns.
Like in elementary school, I looked like this…
But then I decided I wanted to look more like Dorothy Hamill.
So I cut a hundred million inches off and ended up like this…
It wasn’t a great style for me. First, because I had pin straight hair so it didn’t stay feathered and secondly, because the haircut didn’t improve my skating at all. There were a lot of tears. Like gasping for air tears.
After letting my hair grow back a bit, I had a new plan. There was a girl at my school who had the most amazing feathered hair. I knew if my hair could look like hers, my life would be perfection.
(By the way, I found this girl on Facebook a few year back and told her she was my 5th grade hair goddess idol and she was like – who are you again? So I obviously had a huge impact on her life.)
Back to my feathering plan. I had the straightest of hair and desperately wanted to look like this…
Obviously, the solution was a PERM.
(FYI: a perm is never the solution.)
But it did make my hair finally feather. I guess.
Did you have trouble figuring out which photo was Farrah Fawcett and which one was me?! And I really stuck with this style for awhile…
Wow. It’s hard for me to even look at that picture without wincing.
After going through some very awkward hair choices in my middle school years, you would think I would have laid low in the whole hair department from then on.
But no, I decided it was a good idea to get an asymmetrical haircut. This is when it’s long on one side and short on the other and sort of diagonal in the back.
Yup. I really did it.
I remember going to school with my new haircut and heard a boy say to his friends, “Did she do that to her hair on purpose?!”
But I wasn’t apologizing to anyone for my new, super cool hair. Did Madonna apologize for her cutting edge boldness? (Yes, I’m now Madonna in this scenario.) But I did have regrets.
By the end of high school and college, I had pretty much decided to keep my hair long to avoid severe emotional turmoil and have never cut it super super short again.
By the way, that’s my dad on the right who obviously knows how to rock the curls (no perm needed).
So due to all my hair trauma over many years, I’m incredibly cautious when letting my daughters cut their hair.
Yes, hair grows back.
But it takes a very very very long time.
Anyone who’s had to grow out big 90’s bangs knows that.
This post is part of a blog hop. Find out what else “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time” by visiting these other fabulous blogs.
My 11 year old has a theory about motherhood.
“Whatever you’re mom is like, you become the opposite,” she declared. She’s a girl who likes a declaration. Especially at bedtime when she should stop declaring and start sleeping.
“Really?” I said. “Always the opposite?”
“Yup. Like your mom is messy. You are really neat. So I’ll be messy when I’m an adult and then you can come and clean my house.”
“I’m really looking forward to that,” I said.
After I finally got the girl who loves declarations to actually close her eyes, I thought about my mother. My daughter was right. My mom is a bit messy – prone to not noticing silly things like coffee stains on counters and cabinet doors that get left open all night long.
And when I was growing up, she used to have this plastic bag dryer sitting on her counter. She probably still has it. It looks like this:
Except my mom had like 25 bags hanging off this thing and it looked crazy. The idea is eco-friendly. You wash out your plastic bags. And then dry them on these sticks.
But I was mostly focused on the idea that it looked insane sitting on our countertop, with all those plastic bags hanging off it. And I had my high school friends over. I begged, “Mom, could you please put that thing away before kids hear about it at school?!”
Anyway, fast forward many years and the other night my 9 year daughter was trying to find a plastic bag for part of her lunch.
“All these plastic bags have been used before. I want a new one,” she said.
“Those bags are fine. I cleaned them out. More or less. They might have a few potato chips crumbs but what’s the difference if you’re putting potato chips back in them?”
My daughter looked at me like I had gone mad.
“I really need a new bag.”
“Plastic isn’t good for the earth my dear,” I said. Which she knows. Because when I forget my reusable bags at the grocery store, I refuse the plastic ones and literally put all my groceries back in the cart with no bags like some kind of animal that doesn’t understand civilized society.
“I really want a new plastic bag,” my daughter pressed.
“Oh fine. Here’s a new one for your chips. But you’re reusing that one tomorrow!!”
But of course she can’t hear me because she’s already entranced in another Musical.ly on her iTouch. This Musical.ly must involve chips.
And that’s when I actually thought to myself, “I could really use one of those countertop bag dryer things my mom had.”
Yup. It came full circle.
Of course, I won’t ever get one. I don’t need something practical junking up my clean countertops.
But I realized that as my teenage self was rolling my eyes at my mother’s crazy countertop bag dryer thingy, I was actually learning about the environment. And the little things each of us can do to help protect a world we really depend on. And it apparently rubbed off on me.
Because there I was so many years later, reusing plastic sandwich bags, while my own daughter looked at me in disbelief.
So maybe we do end up like our moms. Or maybe we don’t.
Or maybe we end up somewhere in between – a creative combination of their passions, their flaws, their quirks and their awesomeness.
Some children are joiners. Throw any activity at them and they jump in gleefully. I don’t give birth to those kinds of kids. My children tend to hold back a bit. Or a lot.
Like when one of my daughters was in first grade, she agreed to try soccer. Except maybe I should have questioned her a bit on the phrase “try soccer.” Because I paid for an entire season of soccer and her cleat never touched the field. She did eat a lot goldfish from the sidelines though.
This kind of scenario has happened many times over the years with various children.
And once again, I am faced with a child who wants no part of any organized activity.
To read more, please click on over to Alpha Mom. You won’t regret it. Promise.
When you are single, it’s pretty easy to put your needs first.
You think, hey, I want to take a trip to Paris. Do I have enough money? Well, I have a credit card. And hostels are fun, right? Do I have a few days with nothing to do? Yup, I do.
But then you get married and have kids and well, nothing is so simple. A trip. A cross country move. A bucket list. You don’t do anything so quickly anymore.
You’re constantly balancing various needs. What do your kids need? What does your spouse need? What do you need?
We sacrifice for our kids. Oh my gosh do we sacrifice. And they repay us with compliments like this… Last night, my 5 year old said to me, “Were you alive when Abraham Lincoln was president?”
Uh no. I am old. But not quite that old.
But we can’t sacrifice everything.
Because then we are just puddles of patheticness (yes, of course that’s a word) and one day, as our college bound kids wave goodbye, we’ll come crawling after them, “Wait! I used to be fun. I used to book trips to Paris!”
So it’s important to figure out what we want. Not when our kids are in college. What do we want now. Which is how I ended up in Clearwater, Florida a few weeks back.
My husband and I were trying to decide what to do with the kids over vacation and he utters, “Well, seeing a Phillies spring training game is on my bucket list.”
A boring baseball game is on your bucket list?!
I mean, a chance of a lifetime spring training game is on your bucket list?!
We needed to make this happen.
So we did.
We drove four hours to Clearwater, Florida and my husband thought the whole thing was pretty magical.
The reality is – the chaos of our lives can consume us. To the point where somebody asks, what are your hobbies? And you honestly can’t remember anymore. Umm… I think I liked roller blading in 2004. Or they ask, what do you see yourself doing in five years? Well, I’ll definitely still be doing laundry.
But we deserve more. As parents, we need to love our families fiercely and ourselves just as much. We need to ask ourselves, what do we want from this life that is just too short?
We have to pay attention to what’s important to us. Where we want to be in this world. What do we truly want to do that we haven’t bothered to even pursue.
It could be a hobby. Or a career change. Or a vacation. Or a class. Or a move. Or a friendship.
Or maybe just a drive to a baseball field during spring training.
Whatever brings us joy. We owe it to ourselves to find it.