10 Things Moms Say vs. What Kids Hear

Sometimes I think I speak a different language than my daughter.

I swear I am saying one thing to her, but she clearly hears something completely different.

Some days I feel I would have better luck talking to a wall. Also, it doesn’t talk back. An added bonus.

It is frustrating, maddening, and sometimes all that’s left to do is throw our hands up in the air and take a vow of silence!

Here’s a (small) list of things Moms say to their children and how our seemingly straightforward words seem to get lost in translation.

  1. I need to make a phone call.” This translates as it’s time to be as loud as possible. Or, an opportunity to do something they know they shouldn’t be doing. It can also translate as the perfect time to tell you something of utmost importance. Any way to interrupt or end the call is attempted once the phone has been dialed.
  2. “It feels so nice to finally sit down.” This translates to Mom is comfortable, so now they must need something. Drink? Snack? Toy? Whatever it is, you never stood a chance of putting your feet up.
  3. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” This translates to, “this is the best idea ever!” Whenever this statement is made, children hear it as a challenge rather than a warning. Use with discretion.
  4. “Listen to me!” What did you say? The word listen doesn’t translate well. In fact it can often translate to mean the opposite. This typically results in undesirable behavior to be repeated. Over, and over, and over again.
  5. “Time for bed.” This translates as an opportunity to stall as long as possible. They see this as the perfect time to: pick out pajamas for twenty minutes, brush teeth for a ridiculous amount of time, ask pointless questions, look for a toy they haven’t used in months, negotiate the number of books to be read, and adamantly inform you they are not in fact tired.
  6. “We are late!” This translates to, “I have to go potty one more time.” They need to tie their own shoes, put on their own jacket, and do up the zipper even if this means they scream bloody murder because they can’t quite do it yet. Oh, and they need to grab one more thing that is vital to our outing. What that thing is? Who f’ing knows!
  7. “Don’t use that word.” This translates as an open invitation to use said word. Repeatedly. And, it’s the funniest thing in the universe.
  8. “Supper is ready.” This translates as time to start playing something new. It’s also time to remind you they aren’t hungry. Even though ten minutes earlier they were complaining about how they were starving. And, it’s also time to go potty.
  9. “Mom is going to get ready for the day.” This doesn’t translate well. What they hear is you will be preoccupied with something other than them. They will need you for everything now. Things they are perfectly capable of doing? You must do them. Or else they will ask you one million questions while you put on your makeup.
  10. “I love you.” This one translates across the board. These three words seem to be fool proof. This statement also helps Moms survive the countless other times our children don’t hear what we are saying. Set this as your default.

So, maybe we don’t have to take a vow of silence.

But, wouldn’t it be wonderful if what we said to our children were heard? No translation needed?

That’s likely wishful thinking.

Now back to that wall…what was I saying?

I’ll Disconnect to Reconnect. But, Don’t Make me Sleep in a Tent

I have a confession.

I have never been camping.

Well, this was true until last week.

My biggest concern about camping centers around one little word.

Tent.

The idea of sleeping on the ground sends shivers down my spine.

Sleep on the same ground as bugs? Creepy, crawly, who knows what may scurry up my leg or face kind of bugs?

I don’t think so.

I know what you’re thinking. Suck it up Princess. But, I will not.

Tents are out.

However, when my lovely husband suggested renting a trailer for a few days, I soon realized I could easily get on board with this type of camping. Some may even say it could be considered ‘glamping.’

Now this. This is a term I like.

And, no tents involved.

I was sold.

Little did I know upon embarking on our wilderness adventure (okay that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get my drift) I would come face to face with another fear. A fear I wasn’t even aware of having.

When we arrived at our destination, we entered an unknown zone.

I’m not even talking about camping.

I’m talking about something we rarely experience.

We had entered a “No Service” zone.

No Internet. No Email. No Facebook. No Twitter. No outside connection.

At first, I was unsure how to feel about this predicament.

How would I stay in contact with the outside world?

How would I know what was going on?

Would I miss something crucial while completely disconnected?

It was in this moment, asking myself these questions, I realized I depend on my device much more than I thought I did.

And this, I didn’t like.

Was I becoming someone who couldn’t survive a few days without a device attached to my hand?

I needed to prove to myself this was not the case.

I needed to prove to myself I was not that person.

In doing so, I learned some valuable lessons about the importance of disconnecting in order to reconnect.

  1. I was free. I was in the middle of nature, with my beautiful family and I literally had no other obligations. Disconnecting from my device brought me back to the days of my own childhood. The days where parents and children were not inundated with technology at all times of the day. It felt wonderful.Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.35.59 AM
  2. I was focused. When we have our devices near, it is easy to become distracted from what is happening right in front of us. Being disconnected gave me no choice. My family was my one and only focus and vice versa. There was absolutely nothing else to interfere with our time as a family. It was refreshing.Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.35.28 AM
  3. I didn’t care about time. It was irrelevant. I LOVED this. We spent three days not checking the time on our phones, we didn’t ask what time it was, and we were in absolutely no hurry. It didn’t matter if it was 9am or 4pm. We had nowhere else to be. It was invigorating.Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.35.35 AM
  4. I was connected. Our days were uninterrupted. We talked, we laughed, we hiked, we beached, we swam, we played, we built sand castles, and we truly soaked up the quality time we were spending together. We spent our time and energy connecting with one another. It was lovely.Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.35.50 AM
  5. I can live without a device. While I know it is unrealistic to disconnect from the world all of the time, periodically doing so does wonders for the soul. I will make a conscious effort to put my device away. I will focus on connecting with the real world, living and loving; and less time behind a screen, swiping and clicking.Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.36.10 AM

Who knew my first camping trip would lead to such revelations.

I am beyond grateful for the time spent with my family.

We embarked on a new adventure together. We found a little paradise close to home. We made memories to last a lifetime.

I learned something about myself that I never would have discovered without entering the “No Service” zone.

I learned that I really do love camping.

I will most definitely enter a “No Service” zone, disconnect, and camp again.

As long as I don’t have to sleep in a tent.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.48.31 AM

To My Husband…Thank You

I have been thinking quite a bit about how lucky I am to be married to my husband. I have also been thinking about whether or not I tell him this enough. I mean, obviously, I tell him I love him.

But, do I make a point to tell him all of the things he does in a day that make me thankful to be married to him?

I often read about how annoying husbands can be, or what they can do to make our lives better. While this is fine (we all need to vent sometimes) it seems rare to read about the amazing things our husbands do.

There doesn’t seem to be enough out in the universe praising the men whom we share our lives with.

So, my goal for today was to sit down and come up with a list of all the little things that make my husband extra special.

I mean aside from the obvious.

He is a hunky firefighter, with a smile that lights up any room. But, I’m talking about the things I often take for granted.

So, even though he will probably hate the fact I’m doing this (sorry Babe, this is what happens when you marry a writer!), I have compiled a list of the reasons why he is awesome:

  1. He watches reality T.V. with me. He may very well hate every minute, but he never complains. And, he listens to me moan and groan about how ridiculous the Real Housewives are.
  2. He does his own laundry. He does our daughter’s laundry. He has been known to do my laundry. Yeah. I told you. He is awesome
  3. He cleans the bathrooms. Not a swipe of the vanity with the hand towel kind of clean. I mean full on, scrub the place from top to bottom kind of clean.
  4. He loves me even when I am PMS’ing. This is huge. I can be a real ‘you know what’ during this time. I am actually surprised he doesn’t pitch a tent in the backyard and stay there for 4-6 days. Instead, he brings me cookies and rubs my back.
  5. He is a great cook. As in he makes his own pasta sauce from scratch kind of cook.
  6. And, he does the dishes. Need I say more?
  7. He picks his shit up from off the floor. Most of the time. But, he does his own laundry. Who am I to complain if it doesn’t always hit the hamper?
  8. He plays Barbie’s with our daughter. And, he has a different voice for every doll.
  9. He can admit when he is wrong. I’m sure he does this because I am so bloody stubborn. Either way, I’ll take it.
  10. He makes me laugh. Cheesy jokes and all.
  11. He sends me random texts throughout the day. Some are appropriate; others are not. I appreciate both.
  12. He (mostly) lets me control the remote. Refer back to #1.
  13. He loves 80’s music. And, he knows all of the words. Every. Word.
  14. He makes a damn good Caesar. This is vital when you are a parent.
  15. He loves his job. As difficult and challenging as it can be, he wouldn’t trade it for the world.
  16. He looks great in a uniform. I know I said this wouldn’t go on the list, but how could it not?
  17. He puts his family first.
  18. He is the best Dad.
  19. He is the best husband.
  20. He is the best, best friend.

Life is short.

Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.

Tell them how much you love them.

Tell them how much you appreciate the things they do.

If you are lucky enough to have snagged one of the good guys, take a minute. Think of all the little (but extremely important) reasons why you love him.

Then, take another minute, and thank him.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 5.11.35 PM

A Hug Is a Hug

I am a hugger.

I have always been a hugger.

I come from a long line of huggers.

For anyone who knows my Mom, she is the hugger of all huggers.

My daughter is a hugger.

Now I am sitting here doubting her affectionate nature.

And, this makes me mad.

I recently came across this article, “I don’t own my child’s body.” While I agree with many points it makes; I am also frustrated and angered by it.

As parents we are bombarded with information. The advice is abundant (helpful or not). Parenting in under a microscope. We continuously doubt our choices and ourselves. We are faced with many opposing sides of what the best and worst parenting practices are.

What did our parents do before the Internet? How did they manage to raise functioning, responsible, respectful, and strong children? I guess they did their best. They trusted their instincts. They did what they thought was best for their children. And there wasn’t a World Wide Web to tell them otherwise.

I completely agree with not forcing my daughter (who is four) to ever hug or touch someone when she does not want to. I don’t ever expect her to do anything that makes her feel uncomfortable.

That being said, I dislike how this article speaks to not encouraging our children to show affection to their grandparents, and to us…their parents. I grew up in an affectionate family. I hug and kiss my parents whenever I see them, and do the same when we say good-bye. Always have. Always will.

The first thing my daughter does when she sees both her Baba’s and her Papa is greet them with a giant bear hug and kiss. She hugs and kisses us regularly throughout the day. When I leave for a long day at school or before an exam, I ask her for one of her super hugs to get me through the day. My husband is a firefighter, and hugs and kisses before a shift are mandatory (though she is the first to run to him). If, God forbid, something were to happen to him, I want her last memory of him to be his strong, loving arms wrapped around her.

Is this wrong?

Am I a bad parent for encouraging a loving and caring home?

Am I supposed to tell her to be careful of people, whom she loves and adores?

I don’t think so.

But, according to this article they might be sexual predators.

Is this what raising children has become?

Not showing their parents and grandparent’s affection?

Showing affection opens her up to becoming a victim?

Here’s what I want my daughter to know.

She can trust me.

She can trust her dad.

She can trust her grandparents.

These are the people who raised me; who raised my husband.

I feel that it is much more important for her to feel safe and loved by us than anyone else in the world. If she feels this safety within her close family circle, she will know she can confide in us.

I want my daughter to know her feelings and body are her own.

I want her to learn to trust her instincts.

I want her to know I will respect her choices.

I will also teach her if she wants to hug or show affection to someone, she can. I will teach her that this does not mean she is asking to be someone’s victim. It is terrifying to me that as she gets older, and continues to show her loving nature, that she is asking for anything in return. Women do not ask to be victims. They are victimized, and a hug should be seen for what it is. A hug.

My husband and I will teach her that she does not need to look for validation from the opposite sex because we will do our very best to instill strong self-worth at home. We will teach her that her body is sacred, and she is never to do anything she doesn’t want. We will teach her that her family loves her and that she can trust us. We will teach her that if she’s scared, hurt, or angry, she has a safe place to fall; in our arms.

So, we will continue to do what we do.

We will love one another.

We will communicate with one another.

We will build trust.

We will spend time with our wonderful family.

And, most importantly, we will hug.

When I Became A Mom

Mom.

I have been thinking about this word a lot lately.

Mostly because I have been thinking about the woman who means the world to me.

My Mom.

I have had many moments to myself this summer (one of the perks of being a mature student) and many moments with my precious daughter. As we spend these blissful (and not so blissful) moments together, I have been reflecting on how my parenting is reflective of my Mom.

One of the most memorable feelings of my childhood is love. There was never any doubt in my mind how much my Mom loved me. As an adult, I continue to feel her love abundantly, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted. I want to soak in every moment I have. I want to savor every moment my daughter has to build a lasting and beautiful relationship with her Baba. A relationship that blossoms regularly. A relationship that is a treasure to watch.

These reflections have led me to thinking about the saying…

“I am turning into my Mother!”

Which is usually associated with negative connotations.

For me, I can only hope that I turn out to be half the mother my mom is.

She is the mother who puts others before herself.

She is the mother who makes her children feel extra special.

She is the mother who is there for every milestone, big and small.

She is the mother who encourages us to be ourselves.

She is the mother who gives us the gift of time.

She is the mother who gives us her unconditional love and constant support.

When I became a Mom, I was overwhelmed by the love I had for my daughter. I am still taken aback by the love I hold in my heart for my precious girl each and every time I stare at her delightfully sweet face. More than ever I have realized…this is love.

This is the purest kind of love.

This is the love that sustains each and every one of us through the dark moments.

This is the love that fills our heart with joy at each milestone.

This is the love we cling to when we feel like we aren’t up to the challenges of parenthood.

This is the love that fills our souls as we watch our children grow into their independent selves.

This love I have for my own daughter is the exact love my Mom has for me. Even though I always felt her love, I never truly understood its depths until I held my daughter for the fist time. When I became a Mom, a new bond strengthened our relationship as Mother and Daughter. A bond as Mothers.

So, for my Mom, I write these words for you…

When I became a Mom, I was given a glimpse of the love you have for me.

When I became a Mom, I realized the joy you felt when you looked into my eyes.

When I became a Mom, I realized the heartbreak of seeing me cry.

When I became a Mom, I realized the silent struggles you must have faced.

When I became a Mom, I realized how much you sacrificed.

When I became a Mom, I realized just how amazing you are.

When I became a Mom, I realized what an incredible and special bond we share.

When I became a Mom, I realized how blessed I am to call you “Mom.”

When I became a Mom, I realized you made me the Mother I am. The person I am.

And, when I think I am turning into my Mom, I will simply smile and embrace each and every moment.

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 11.53.23 AM
Me, my Mama, and Miss A

Self Worth Isn’t Measured In Coins

“Are you Ready for bikini season?”

“Celebrity secrets to a hot body.”

“Get skinny in just one week.”

These are just a few of the sayings women hear on television, in magazines, and on social media. What makes these statements even more heart breaking is hearing them from the mouths of young girls. In this thought provoking commercial from Multi-Grain Cheerios, we are slapped in the face with the reality of how intense the pressure is for girls to look a certain way.

I first saw this commercial while watching television with my husband. He looked at me and said, “That commercial breaks my heart. I don’t want Avrey to ever feel that way.”

My first thought…I wish that for her too. But, sadly, she likely will.

I enjoy social media, and living in the digital age. But, I also fear what this means for my daughter. When I was young, we weren’t bombarded with images at every turn. Now, girls have images burned into their mind with every swipe, click, and scroll. Soon after seeing this commercial, I read an article about the glorification of being skinny on the social media site, Instagram. Girls are partaking in challenges such as the #collarbone challenge, where they show off how many coins they are able to balance on their collarbone. A #bikini bridge celebrates how much their hipbones protrude, and the #thigh gap signifies that you are definitely skinny if your thighs do not touch.

This if real. This is what girls are seeing.

This. Is. Terrifying.

It is terrifying to me as a woman. It is terrifying to me as a mom. Pressure to look a certain way has always been present. But with the vast amount of images available at the touch of a fingertip, the pressure has increased ten fold.

So, what do we do?

I am not exactly sure.

But, I do know this. I will do my best to do the following to help my daughter know her self worth is not measured by a collarbone, protruding hips, and a thigh gap.

I will embrace my own body. This is a tough one. No matter what age, I still feel pressure to look a certain way. I will love myself, even on the days I don’t. I won’t criticize my body, and I will show her that I am confident and strong.

I will celebrate being healthy. We live an active life. We love spending time outdoors. We eat well. But, we also love chips…and chocolate…and popcorn. I will show her that being healthy is most important. I will teach her that being active and eating well is good for fueling her body. But, when we want a cookie, then by golly, we will have that cookie!

I will celebrate her mind. We all like to be told we are beautiful, and of course I will continue to tell her this. But, I will always remember to instill in her the importance of intelligence. I will celebrate the attributes that make her the wonderful person she is…her carefree nature, her empathy, her sense of humor, her brilliance, and her huge and loving heart.

I will talk to her. I have always promised myself that I will do my best to have an open dialogue about anything and everything. I will talk to my daughter about her health, her body, and her feelings. I will do my best to hear her words, and listen with my whole being.

I will love her. At the end of the day this is what we all strive for. To love and to be loved. She will always know she is loved by her mom and dad. As naïve as it may sound, I hope this will be enough. I hope that when she feels the pressure, she will feel our love, and she will know she is good enough. No matter what her shape, or size.

So, as the Cheerios ad states, lets stop Dietainment.

Let’s teach our daughters that there is so much more to life than the shape of their bodies.

Lets teach our daughters that in no way is their worth measured by the amount of coins they can hold on their shoulders.

 

coins