Helicopter Parenting: How to Land Your Aircraft for Good

Helicopter Parenting: How to Land Your Aircraft for Good

It's so hard to stay out of it, but I'm trying
It’s so hard to stay out of it, but I’m trying

“Helicopter parenting.  Don’t be a helicopter parent.”  Through the years, I’ve heard the phrase and the disdain that comes with it as other parents judge your completely “everything-must-be-perfect-for-my-baby” style of parenting.  But I didn’t quite know what it really entailed until recently.

I was at a playdate with three good friends of mine, each of us with three children.  While the other moms hung out in the kitchen with their infants, chatting and snacking on the delicious veggie and dip spread, I sat downstairs in the playroom in the finished basement.  I went down because my toddler was down there with the “big kids” (he had just turned 3, and the next youngest child down there was 5), so I needed to make sure whatever he got into was safe, that there weren’t chokey toys he was getting curious about, that he wasn’t climbing on things, etc.  But since I was down there anyway, I couldn’t help but to observe my 8yo tell another kid to “shut up” [“We don’t say ‘shut up,'” I said.  “Please tell him you’re sorry.”] and hear a friend’s son say “I’m going to punch you in the face” [at which point I gave the look but didn’t say anything.]  Next came the movie the kids put on TV, complete with an occasional swear word that the boys repeated, giggling.  I was disciplining during a playdate, trying to predict what would happen next and wondering how I could control it.  I was getting stressed out down there while my friends were upstairs having a playdate of their own.

That’s when I realized I had become a dreaded helicopter parent.  Maybe not in its traditional sense — i.e. I don’t meddle in school stuff much — but I was there, watching my kids’ every move, and trying to make sure it was all ok and everyone was happy and kind and all that good stuff that kids often are deep down but not constantly displaying on the surface.  I was zooming around and descending promptly any time I though my brilliant intervention could improve the flow of the playdate.  I was annoying myself and annoying the kids.

I do believe that “times have changed,” and parents today probably should be a bit more watchful than when we were kids and our parents would send us out to play all day and expect us to show up back home at sundown.  But there I was, at a friend’s house, where everyone and everything was ok . . . and I was meddling.

I decided it had to stop.  If you find yourself in the same situation, here are

5 strategies to help you stop helicopter parenting and land your aircraft for good.

Think back.

Try to remember a time in your own childhood when you had to deal with another kid not being nice to you, for example, saying “Shut up.”  What did you do?  How did you handle it?  Did it even faze you at all, or did you just carry on, playing with the other kids instead?  If you can remember how you got out of an uncomfortable kid interaction, you may realize the power of your own children to get out of it on their own as well.    I once threw a sneaker at my sister’s head.  I was mad, but she got hurt.  And while someone eventually told on me, seeing my sister cry was enough to make me realize I had done something wrong and to make sure I never did it again.  As the mother of three boys, there are a lot of kid battles in my house.  I’ve tried to take a step back instead of constantly running to the scene to try to save the day.  When I hear the boys arguing, I call from the other room, “Work it out, guys.”  Then I hold my breath and listen.  It’s not always pretty, and I often still end up helping resolve (or send them to their rooms to cool down).  I’m trying.  Hopefully soon they’ll get used to me telling them to work it out on their own, and hopefully that means I can start to breathe again after saying it.

Think forward.

OK, one kid just threw a rock at another.  What’s going to happen next?  Will he apologize?  Will he throw another?  Will the “victim” strike back?  Will other kids get involved?  Will someone cry?  Will someone tattle?  If you can read the situation (easiest if you know the kids involved) to get a sense for which way you think it will go, you can keep your actions in check and respond appropriately.  [Note:  I’m pretty sure I’d have trouble staying out of the situation if someone really threw a rock, but I thought it would be a good example.]  If it’s going to escalate, step in, but be fair to all and not just there to protect your own child.  He may have been the one who threw the rock in the first place.

Scan for danger.

Is anyone in real danger?  Can someone be physically hurt?  Sticks and stones can break bones, and while words can also cause emotional damage, they may require less of an immediate helicopter response.  If there is any risk of danger, get those propellers spinning fast and swoop down to help fix the situation.  There may be grey areas — like a projectile sneaker flung — somewhat gently — at a sibling’s head, but you’ll know when real danger is there.  Trust your instinct.

Is this a rerun episode?

Have you seen this situation before?  The exact same situation, the exact same kids?  Is there a toxic combination of personalities that repeatedly derails into an unhappy playdate?  If yes, you may not need an immediate intervention, but rather a chat with your children outside of the situation.  Talk to them later about how they feel in those situations, whether they have fun with those kids, whether they were comfortable with how everyone treated each other.  If they’re not, you can proactively change your plans for the future to avoid those tough playdates.

Plan your own playdate.

Remember your friends upstairs having fun?  You should be there with them.  Build a relationship with your kids so they know they can come get you if something does go wrong.  Trust the system, and trust your kids, so they can have fun being kids and you can have fun being the parent.  Of course, the ability to do this varies based on the kids’ ages and personalities, but you can try it when you think it’s right, and hopefully everyone will be happier in the end.

I’m hereby trying to stop being a helicopter parent so I can land my aircraft for good.

But is hovercraft parenting allowed, in case grounding the helicopter is too hard?  😉

 

#mobtruths #parenting #raisingboys #helicopterparents

 

 

Snow Day Survival: 10 (non-destructive) Indoor Activities

Snow Day Survival: 10 (non-destructive) Indoor Activities

A snow day in mid-March?  If you’re anywhere in the Northeast US right now, then YES!

Some snow days are indoors
Sometimes you need to stay indoors

Some snow days are perfect for going outside to make snowmen, go sledding, catch snowflakes on your tongue.  But if you’re having the kind of snow day with brutal wind and poor visibility keeping you and the kids indoors — in my case, three high energy boys who like to jump from one activity to the next quickly and leave a tornado of destruction in their path — here are 10 simple (non-destructive but some hands-on) activity ideas to pass the time.

Your key to Snow Day Survival:

  1. I Spy.  I whip out this game any time I need to get my kids to focus on something.  Super-easy, since all you need is to make up clues on the spot based on things you see in the room.
  2. Scavenger Hunt around the house.  If you’re feeling super-creative, write rhyming clues and riddles to help the kids get navigate from one place to the next.  If you’re feeling sneaky, have them hunt for things like the crumpled pajamas or random sock they left on the floor, and tell them there’s treasure in the hamper.
  3. Taste Test.  This is a fun one I had forgotten about until a friend shared a picture of her kids doing it last week.  Blindfold the kids, and have them try all sorts of foods.  The child who gets the most correct wins.  Easy samples I’ve used include garlic salt, sugar, salt, cinnamon, applesauce, ketchup, yogurt, and honey.
  4. Progressive Story.  Start a story with your children, and then pass the paper/pencil around from one child to the next, with each one adding the next part of the story.  If they’re too young to write, do it out loud.
  5. Kitchen Sink.  My kids all love this, and I loved it as a child, too.  Pull up a chair to the kitchen sink (surrounded with towels on the counter and floor if your kids are anything like my boys!), and let the kids play with soap bubbles, plastic cups, the fun water spray thingy, etc.
  6. T.V.  Yes, I said it.  Let the kids watch TV.  A movie, even . . .
  7. Dance Party. Turn down the lights and turn up the music.  Dance, dance, dance!
  8. Silly Bath.  If the kids’ hands have unshriveled from playing in the sink, let them do a silly bath — squirt some extra bubbles in it, or even food coloring, and let them just play.
  9. Bake or Cook.  Cookies, if you have the ingredients.  Or pasta, if you don’t!
  10. Kitchen Potions:  If you don’t feel like really cooking or baking, let the kids do an “experiment” with kitchen stuff.  I give mine a pot, some water, and little cups filled with all different “ingredients” like cinnamon, paprika, flour, salt, etc..  Let them pour each into the pot in whatever order or amount they choose, and see what kind of concoction they come up with!

Now, if you’ve tried all of those things, you’ve likely made it to approximately 9:00 a.m. . . . and, in my house, I will have sent the kids to time out at least twice and broken up at least eleven wrestling matches.

It’s up to you to fill the rest of the day!  🙂

#mobtruths #snowday #raisingboys #momlife #parenting

Playing with soap and water and cups at the kitchen sink
Playing with soap and water and cups at the kitchen sink
pot, water, ingredients, potion!
pot, water, ingredients, potion!
My Mother’s Love

My Mother’s Love

mom
My Mother’s Love

A dear friend of mine recently lost his mom to the cruel disease, dementia.  In his memorial speech, he stated some powerful, emotional words, sharing what he has learned about love in the past few years.  To be the best (father, husband, friend . . .) he could be, he should “love others as my mother loved me.”

It seems so simple and obvious, right?  A mother’s love is undying.  It’s powerful enough to hold up through unimaginable exhaustion, tantrums, back-talk, harsh words, throw-up, fevers, school plays, daycare drop-offs, snuggles, shared books, dinner time, silly times, calm times . . . all of time.  It is so profound that I can’t appropriately capture it in words.  For each of us, our own mom (Mom, Mommy, Mother, Mum) has always known just how to comfort us, to encourage us, to discipline us, to support us.  And while the mother-child bond is certainly a unique and special one, there’s no reason we shouldn’t spread love like that to others as well.

I started wondering whether I do this.  I remember the time in grad school when I held the barf bag on a turbulent flight while my friend repeatedly threw up in it.  I remember thinking, “Wow, I will make a good mom someday if I was able to stomach that!”  But am I?  Am I showing love to my children in the same perfectly attentive and tender way my mom loves me?

I’ve been reflecting on this a bit.  To love others like my mom loves me, I need to remember 5 Ps that she masterfully demonstrates.  See if they resonate with you, too.

5Ps of My Mother’s Love

Patience: 

I never stopped talking as a child.  And yet I remember one and only one time when my mom asked me to please be quiet.   She has the patience of a  . . . well, I don’t know what.  But it took a LOT to get her to raise her hand next to her forehead and say, through gritted teeth, “I have had it up to HERE with you.”  But even that is telling.  She’s only 5 feet tall, so “up to here” wasn’t so bad . . .

I don’t seem to exhibit the same patience with my children.  Granted, they are three high energy boys, almost 100% rascal, while my mom “only” dealt with my angelic sister and me as children.  I yell more than I planned to and more than I want to, but sometimes it’s the only way to get my kids to listen.  I’m working on it . . . and it would help if they’d put their shoes on the first, or even the fifth, time I asked them, instead of the twenty-third time.

Presence: 

There has never been a time in my life when I needed my mom and she wasn’t there for me.  Whether it was sleepless nights because of bad dreams in the ‘80s, or one month ago when I had the flu and just needed her to visit, she is here.  I think I’m checking the box here . . . with friends, co-workers, and most importantly, with family.  I have some late nights and travel for work, but I try to be 100% with my kids when I’m with them.  I know I can do better, though.  Put the phone down.  Close the laptop.  Let the laundry or dishes pile up.  (Yes, that’s going to be my excuse for a messy house from now on)  Focus .  Focus on those little faces and look them in the eye so they know I will always be there when they need me.

Proud: 

My mom is my biggest fan.  I think I could do just about anything and she’d feel proud of me.  And she has an unparalleled ability to make others feel special and proud, too.  Each of my children knows what they mean to her.  Each of her students feels her support.  I know I’m proud beyond words of my kids, but I want to make sure they know it and they feel special, too.  That means I should stop occasionally responding in a snarky tone when they ask me something over and over.  No matter how exhausted I am, I need to give them the spotlight and let them know how special they are and what they mean to me.  The world.  The universe . . .  I don’t remember my mom ever having used snarky tone with me.  Maybe it’s selective memory.  Or maybe she’s just that great.

Punchy: 

Laugh!  At yourself, at a show, at a joke, at a memory, at something you see, at a funny thought.  Laugh, and let it roll right out of you.  My mom has a hilarious and indescribable chuckle that builds into a raucous, joyous, hilarious crescendo as it rolls.  It’s awesome.  You can’t hear it and not laugh yourself.  We laugh a lot in my house, but I need to remember to keep it light with my kids.  After a long, stressful day, when I know I have hours left of stuff to do even after the kids go to bed, sometimes I forget to keep it punchy.  But when I do, it’s fun for all.  More of that is in order.

Precious: 

Moments are precious.  People are precious.  Our time together is precious.  As much as I hate that word, it’s true.  Precious moments go flying by each day, and you don’t get them back.  So, notice them.  Live in them and breathe in them.  Take a minute to recognize that your son wants to hold your hand, because someday he’ll be old enough to not want that.  When he wakes up in the night, comfort him.  Let him snuggle in your bed.  Read one more story.  Have an extra dessert (or two!).  Live in the moment and tuck in your heart how truly precious connections between people are.

There is no way to describe my mom’s love, but I know it and I feel it in my heart.  If I can stick to these 5Ps, I can love others as she loves me, and that’s what I hope to do.  Do you plan to, too?

 

#mobtruths #motherslove #parenting

 

 

 

 

Good night, Butt Cheek: 10 unexpected & giggle-worthy uses of the term

Good night, Butt Cheek: 10 unexpected & giggle-worthy uses of the term

butt cheek
Butt cheek, butt cheek

I was a language major in college, and my friends know I’m pretty nerdy about grammar.  Now I’m a mom to three boys, well aware that so many things in parenting are enlightening . . . including the amazing and prominent role “butt cheek” has in the English vocabulary.  Well, at least in my house full of boys.  So many parts of speech.  So many emotions.  Such positive and negative underlying tonality.  And while my Mommy voice says, “Boys, that’s inappropriate,” the real me laughs inside every time I hear it.

Here is a list — a sort of dictionary, in fact — of how this term is used in songs and everyday speech, as a noun, adjective and even a verb.  I hope you find it helpful in your own house of boys.

  1. Butt cheek butt cheek penis butt cheek (Often sung by the youngest, at bath time or any time he’s nude . . . which is often)
  2. You’re so butt cheek.  (Note, this is derogatory.  You don’t want your brother to say this to you.)
  3. That’s so butt cheek!  (Not to be confused with #2 above.  This is positive in nature and means “cool.”)
  4. I can’t right now.  I’m butt cheeking.  (?????)
  5. Good night, Butt Cheek.  (Endearing)
  6. Go butt cheek, go butt cheek!  (A rally cry, supportive and fun)
  7. Awwww, butt cheek.  (Similar to “dang it.”)
  8. My butt cheek is better than yours . . . (To the tune of the milk shake song)
  9. Happy Butt Cheek to you (Another simple song)
  10. Secret Agent Butt Cheek (A common dress-up character in my house)

Do you have any to add to the list?  Please share!

#mobtruths #raisingboys #raisingsons #boymom #parenting

The order of the world world, according to my boys

The order of the world world, according to my boys

Zombies are popular these days.  I’m pretty sure I never knew anything about them when I was a kid.  But, according to my boys, they inhabited this Earth even before dinosaurs.  I have so much to learn.  🙂

Zombies, dinosaurs and more
Zombies and all

#mobtruths #boymom #parenting #evolution #raisingboys

A day at the mall playscape

A day at the mall playscape

playing at the mall, where people are people
people are people

It was a rainy day with nothing to do (how often does that happen, right?).  My kids were going stir crazy, so I brought them to the mall to play in one of those play areas (which, admittedly, skeeve me out a bit when I think of all the picked noses and germs in there).  I always douse my kids in hand sanitizer after, but try to focus on their fun while we’re in there.  People are people — lots of kids play there.

On this particular day, there were two other parents from two other families watching their sons in the play area as well.  Since “boys will be boys,” we watched our high-energy monkeys leap off fixtures that seemed a little too high to jump off of, screech a bit louder than we would have liked, balance on the very edge of climbing toys, slide down plastic cars, and bounce around to get wherever they wanted to go.  We exchanged knowing glances and nods and an occasional laugh, as well as the triumphant sigh of relief when the kids jumped but didn’t fall.

Within just a few minutes, the boys shifted from playing family by family to interacting with each other, ultimately creating a hide and seek game to keep them busy in this enclosed little haven in the middle of the mall.  They were having pure fun.  With an occasional picked nose.

Did I mention that I’m a white suburban chic?  Or that one of the other parents was a dad with the most beautiful, blackest of black skin?  And that the other was a mother, with olive skin and a hijab framing her face and bright smile?  No, I didn’t.  It doesn’t matter to me.  It certainly didn’t matter to the kids that day either.  We were all just people, united in play, together for the joy and cringe-worthy moments of watching the kids let their energy out.  There’s no pithy moral here.  Just a reminder — or evidence, perhaps — that people are people.  And all should be treated equally as such.

#mobtruths #kindness #spreadkindness #parenting #peoplearepeople

M.O.B. Confession: My sons aren’t sporty

M.O.B. Confession: My sons aren’t sporty

no sports
My sons aren’t into sports right now, and that’s ok

I have three sons, and they’re not particularly sporty.  And that’s OK.  There.  I said it.

When I had just two sons, I often heard “Wow, you’re the perfect family of four – a golf foursome!”

And when I had my third son, so many new comments flooded in, like “Wow, a soccer team!” Or, “Three boys?  You must be so busy with sports practices!”

But I don’t have a soccer team.  I have three very silly, high energy, active boys who are more interested in cars and action figures and music and building things than they are in joining a team, going to practice, and trying their best to win a game.

While I’m not sure I have the time or the character to be a “soccer mom,” I do sometimes wish I had a sports practice or game to watch at least one of my sons play in.  Why?  Is it for me?  So I can bond with other sports moms?  So I can feel the rush of cheering for my kids?  It’s a little of that, but even more so the chance to see my boys in a team setting, trying their best, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, but always having the camaraderie that comes with a team, and the sportsmanship and strategic thinking that goes with it.  And to see them feel proud of themselves knowing they’ve given it their all.

Not only do my sons not play sports, but they don’t really watch them, either.  I’d love to start a Sunday football tradition in my house, or follow a specific NHL team or college team.  But so far, when I’ve tried, the kids are more interested in what snacks I’m going to serve than what sport we’re watching.

It doesn’t matter, really.  Though I admit I cringed recently when my son said “I think the Red Sox are playing the Giants this weekend.”  Ouch.  What’s going to happen if he says that at recess? Is it my duty as the Mother of Boys to at least make sure they know a socially acceptable amount of team names for each respective major sport, and that they don’t inter-mingle them?

Probably not.  I think it’s all going to be OK.  As long as my kids don’t feel left out, or like they’re missing out because so many of their friends play sports, then all is well.  They play some sports at recess and at camp, whether they truly know the rules or not.  They are active in non-team activities like karate and swim class and an awesome American Ninja Warrior gym class.  And above all, they’re happy, and that’s all that really matters.

Kids can learn a lot of valuable skills from playing sports, from technical athletic skills to people skills, sportsmanship, and the way they tackle problems.  For now, my kids get those skills elsewhere, through their other activities and other social interactions and through the impromptu wrestling matches that seem to playfully erupt daily in my house full of boys.  If they follow their dreams as of today, one will be a water-park designer when he grows up, one will be a professional drummer, and the littlest guy (age 3) – I’m going to keep him designated as my Chief Snuggler.  They may not be sporty, but they’re mine, and I’m very proud of them.

#mobtruths #raisingboys #raisingsons #boymom #parenting #kidsandsports

 

12 Simple Acts of Kindness

12 Simple Acts of Kindness

kindness projects
12 easy kindness projects

A little kindness goes a long way, I think.  I try to model it whenever I can — not just consciously, but because it’s how I’m wired to act — buying a hot cup of chicken soup for a homeless man, supporting a local family in a time of need, donating to charities, smiling at people in the grocery store . . .  But it doesn’t always seem to rub off on my kids.  Sure, they have their moments when kindness oozes from their bright smiles, but more often than not, I hear them whining in a store to get a toy, or wrestling and punching their way out of sibling conflict at home.  I’ve started doubting that modeling kindness would be enough, so I jumped into action to try to prevent my kids from being “those kids” who only care about their own needs, in hopes of them carrying the importance of kindness into their daily lives now and as adults:

Monthly Kindness Projects.

kindness
12 easy kindness projects for the year

Here is a list of 12 Kindness Projects for you to try throughout the year.  Some are more elaborate than others, some are quite simple as many acts of true kindness — like a smile in a grocery store — can be.    Only a few have made my boys roll their eyes.  They now get excited when I tell them it’s time for our kindness project, especially for the ones where they can see the result.  In 2017, I’m hoping to have them come up with their own ideas for our project list as well.

I hope you try some of these, or that these inspire other ideas for you.   If they do, please share!  I’d love to hear what’s on your list!

  1. Donate to food bank:  Monetary donations are often accepted, but we have typically donated food or cleaning/personal care supplies.  In our town, you can do this through the Food Pantry itself, or often through elementary school food drives.  Any donation is of course helpful and appreciated, but I try to go beyond the ordinary can of beans to have my kids pick out a few foods they enjoy so they feel good about donating them for other families to enjoy, too.
  2. Bring flowers to a neighbor:  Pick a neighbor — any neighbor! — and surprise them with flowers.  A small bouquet from a local florist is nice, but so is a bundle of handpicked wildflowers (or even weeds, if they’re pretty!) will be just as delightful.  Leave them on their doorstep with a smiley face on a note, or ring the doorbell and see their smile as they open the door to this colorful surprise.
  3. Lemonade stand:  My sister and I used to have an occasional lemonade stand as kids, and in all honesty, we kept the money we made (keep in mind we charged only $0.05 per cup back then!).   These days, it seems so many stands have a greater cause.  So when my boys wanted to run their first-ever lemonade stand on a dreadfully hot day this summer, I questioned what they’d do with their money.  We ended up raising money to buy a “cheer” present to a friend battling cancer (and I let each son also keep $2 for their hard work).  Our neighborhood was so supportive of the cause that we raised significantly more money than the $5-$10 I expected, and were able to buy our friend a gift certificate to a nice local restaurant for her to enjoy a night out once chemo was done and she was feeling good and strong.  Whether you raise $1 or $100, having a cause associated with the stand — and one with a concrete benefit at the end (the kids came with me to buy the restaurant gift card and write the note to our friend) — can make a refreshing lemonade a true act of kindness.
  4. Sponsor a family:  Throughout the year, and especially at holiday time, I feel grateful for all we have, but also concerned for families who are struggling.  Through my employer’s relationship with the United Way, I have been able to sponsor families to help provide them first-day-of-school supplies and clothing, as well as fulfilling wishes for the holiday season.  See if your local United Way chapter has such a program — or maybe through a church or local Y.
  5. Write letters:  Remember the absolute joy of receiving a hand-written note in the mail?  I do.  I still love it on the rare occasions when it happens.  Encourage your kids to write letters and mail them to friends or family far away, or to an elderly relative who will be thrilled with your child reaching out. 
  6. Donate toys to a hospital: Each of my kids, at one point or another, for one reason or another, has been in our local children’s hospital.  Each time, they have been thrilled by the act of choosing a toy from the toy basket or toy closet, to cheer them up and wish them well as they were getting ready to go home.  All of those toys are donated.  Since my kids concretely understand the joy these toys bring, we went shopping and each son chose one present to buy and donate to our local children’s hospital.  You can do this any time of year!  Just check any guidelines for size and types of toys on your hospital’s website.
  7. Host a toy drive.  For the past five years, my kisd and I have been donating to Toys for Tots.  We go to the store with the sole purpose of buying a toy not for us, which sometimes is a struggle for these young kids.   I decided to change it up this year and get more kids involved — and therefore more toys to donate and more smiles put on more people’s faces.  We hosted an event I called “Cupcakes and Kindness.”  To participate, each child had to bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots,  After putting their toy in the donation bin, we all decorated cupcakes to take home and enjoy.  It was a little bit of mayhem and a lot of fun, and we donated almost 20 toys!
  8. Offer to do a neighbor’s yard work:  I am lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where neighbors help neighbors.  It’s not uncommon for someone to snow-blow someone else’s sidewalk or rake/blow leaves off of half of their yard.  As my kids get older, I hope they proactively adopt this as one of their acts of kindess.  They love to be outside, so they might as well spend some of their outside time helping a neighbor.
  9. Bring a sweet treat to a neighbor:  Baking brownies?  Make some extra and bring them down the street.  Whether the recipient eats them or not, they will certainly appreciate that you thought of them.
  10. Help someone in need:  I love this one, because it spans such a wide range of options.  Hold the door for someone whose hands are busy carrying many things.  Water plants for someone who is away for the week.  Help a friend move from one home to another.  Help put your baby brother’s shoes on while Mom is packing lunchboxes.  Little acts that can go a long way, simple enough to become routine.
  11. Tell someone what they mean to you:  I tell my kids at least every morning and every night that I love them.  I greet my friends and family with hugs. I write heartfelt thank-you notes and birthday messages.  But how often do I tell someone what they truly mean to me?  Not that often.  I’m guessing you don’t either.  A few years ago, one of my childhood best friends was approaching the end of her three-year battle with cancer.  After she gave me a sense that the end of her life on Earth was nearing, I wrote her a raw, honest note about how much and what exactly she means to me, and I sealed it up and sent it.  She called when she received it, and we talked about it — about us — about the multi-decade friendship we had from childhood through adulthood.  It was, quite possibly, once of the most refreshing, albeit difficult, conversations I’ve ever had with someone.  Try it.  Hopefully not in a grave situation like this one, but on a sunny day, at a picnic, lean over and tell a friend what you love about them.  I bet it will make them smile.
  12. Give Mom and Dad — no, just Mom — a day off:  We haven’t tried this one yet.  But I’m really hoping my husband thinks it’s a great idea and plans it with the kids.  If you try this one, please, please, please let me know how it goes and whether you actually get time to relax your brain and your body.

Good luck spreading kindness!

The new year is a great time to start!

#mobtruths#ShareKindness #SpreadKindness #raisingboys #boymom #parenting #kindness #kindnessprojects

 

Stroller for Sale

Stroller for Sale

Stroller for Sale

Stroller for sale. Maybe someday.
Stroller for sale . . . but not really

The stroller.  A necessity for moms of young kids.  But one that lingers just a few years and then moves on, like the crib and the exersaucer.  A month before my youngest turned 3, I realized I soon may be done with strollers.  “Freedom!” I thought at first.  But I quickly reconsidered.  Aside from the amazing convenience the stroller provides for carrying extra bags or snacks or jackets, I realized that when I walk anywhere without it, I feel naked in a way.  I guess it carries my heart — it defines me as a mom of young boys — and the day I need to get rid of it will be a hard one because I’ll be parting with more than what it seems at face value.

Stroller for sale

a little tattered and torn

from carrying my three sons

after each one was born

 

From newborn to infant

to toddler to boy

this stroller has given me

so much joy

 

Stroller for sale

more like a time machine

Strolling through memories

of the places we’ve seen

 

Cold, early mornings

hot afternoons

Looking at clouds

making up tunes

 

Stroller for sale

Kids getting too big to ride

I still keep them with me

They walk by my side

 

Stroller for sale

No, forget it, it’s mine

It carries my heart

And there’s no price for time.

Easy Holiday Craft (maybe the easiest!)

Easy Holiday Craft (maybe the easiest!)

Have you ever had just 15 minutes you need to pass with your kids, and you desperately need a quick activity to fit into that time? Here’s a quick and easy, yet sparkly and festive, easy holiday craft you can do with even the rowdiest of boys.

Easy Holiday Craft
Easy Holiday Craft

Holiday Hanging Ribbons:

What you need:

  • Sticky bows
  • Curling ribbon
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • (and patience, of course)

What to do:

  • Let each child pick their color bow and whichever color ribbon they want.
  • Cut several pieces of ribbon — your choice whether to have them all the same length or varying lengths.  I usually do a range between 4 and 6 inches.
  • Curl each ribbon.  (I did it for my 3yo, but allowed R and E to try on their own)
  • Attach each ribbon to the sticky underside of the bow.
  • Reinforce with clear tape.
  • Cut one more piece of ribbon and tie to the top of the bow.  Tie it in a loop if you plan to use this as an ornament, or leave it straight if you plan to hang from a door frame.
  • Hang it up and enjoy the festive flair!
Ribbon for easy holiday craft
Cut ribbon
Curled ribbon for easy holiday craft
Curled ribbon
R working on his easy holiday craft
R sticking his ribbons on his bow
Easy holiday craft decoration
The final decorations!

You may be thinking, “Can’t I just go buy one of those fancy bows that has the squiggly riboon already attached to it?”  Yes, you certainly can.  Or, you can fill 15 minutes with your kids doing a quick and easy holiday craft that they can feel proud of and which leaves you basically no mess to clean up.  In my situation, a dose of patience is also needed, as the boys shouted about whose ribbons were curled better, whose were stuck on the bow better, and whatever else they could find to shout about.  But in the end, when we hung up the decorations, they were excited to see their work displayed.  And I was excited to hang it high enough up that they can’t easily rip it down and throw it at each other.

What other quick and easy holiday crafts do you do with your kids?

#mobtruths #holidaycrafts #tistheseason #parenting #boymom #raisingboys #raisingsons