Appreciating Mommy

WAHM on the Run: My New Approach to Ending Arguments and Getting Older Kids to Be More Responsible

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If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Moms (or Dads) of teens (and other kids that
try their patience) need a place they can retreat to, at a moment’s notice, to get away from them. To think before flying too far off the handle. To de-escalate a situation, eliminate whining
and cut the exchange of words short, with the promise of discussion at a calmer time. To be alone in order to come up with really good consequences for certain behavior rather than
“grounding them from everything for life” in the heat of the moment. In other words, when the kids are too old to “go to their rooms” for a time out, you need to go to yours. Or take a walk
outside. Just get away… only, sometimes that’s not so fun to go to …

Appreciating Mommy

The Circle of Pride and Embarrassment

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While I generally have an “I don’t worry about what people think about me” attitude, it’s funny that when you have kids, you do care about how they “show” in public, in part because you feel like their actions are a reflection of your parenting skills. You wince when they’re young and throw tantrums in Target, pick their nose while walking down the aisle during a wedding ceremony or point a finger at a stranger in a parade and yell out something brutally honest (“That man is HUGE!!”). And you rejoice when they remember to say “Thank you” to Grandma, sing a song perfectly at a recital or run to greet you in front of school with a big hug. I hope I never forget the time when Emmie and I were sitting in a bookstore coffee shop– I was looking through a stack of cookbooks and she was engrossed in one of her Rick Riordan novels, when all of a sudden she looked at me and my books and said, “I am so glad I have a Mom that cooks, and plans out all of our meals, because a lot of people don’t do that very much anymore.” Yes, I about fell off my chair at that sign of appreciation, and yes, the elderly couple walking past our table right at that moment almost dropped their lattes in astonishment, then offered some words of praise to both Emmie and me. It was a proud moment and I think it made that elderly couple happy, too…

Appreciating Mommy

Another Dream Retreat for Parents?

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Just the other day, when Emmie was balking at cleaning her bedroom, I reminded her how lucky she
is that she has her own room, a space she can call her own. We talked about how not all kids have their own rooms, and how parents definitely don’t (unless maybe if they have a home office with
LOCKING doors…I wish, I wish…). The average parent usually has to share everything, with either their spouse or the rest of the family– their bed, their bedroom, living spaces…even a
“master bathroom” can have kids marching in and out at all hours of the night. And when they get to work, well, the average parent who works outside the home still doesn’t have their own
room/office. And of those that do, only a small number have one with a door. That shuts and …

Appreciating Mommy

Two Simple Words That Mean So Much

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Isn’t it great when kids show appreciation? Like the girl in my Scout troop who always gives me cocoa at Christmas and writes a thank you note.  Or the boy in Emmie’s class who gave me a hug when I showed up to volunteer one day.  Or Emmie, yesterday afternoon  — I had promised to take her to get a new gymnastics leotard, and even though she had to clean her room and pay for half, she said, “Thanks, Mom!” as we walked to the car, new leotard in hand. 
“Thank you for being appreciative,” I said. 

When teens show appreciation, …

Appreciating Mommy

Is Mother’s “Day” An Insult?

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How was your Mother’s Day? Did you do something nice for your mom, another mom, or, if you’re a mom, did you receive something nice? Mine was fine– my husband cooked me dinner and my 10-year-old presented me with a card she’d made at school. They both picked out and purchased a nice gift for me, too. (My teenager said nothing and did nothing, but truly, I wasn’t surprised, or hurt– if she had done anything nice for me, it would have seemed contrived and fake, considering that most of her words to me, for months, have been whiny, angry or disgusted.) But I’ve been thinking about the holiday more, and I think I’m on the side of the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, who went to her grave penniless, having spent all her money trying to abolish the holiday she’d started. Only I’d get rid of it for different reasons.