Q of the Week: What is/was your relationship with your mom like?

Fynn’s dinner plan, which didn’t actually get made in the end, he opted for soup. Can you guess what it is?*Mother’s Day is over, I hope yours was a good one?  The highlight of mine was my boys making me both breakfast and dinner, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  A brief nap in the sun in the backyard was also delightful!

I know the day can be fraught with many things, if you’ve lost your own mom or a child, or long for kids, or whatever your burden may be, I hope there was joy in it somewhere.  In thinking about all that I got to wondering what your relationship with your own mom is, or what did it used to be?  I know it’s likely to run the gamut, and changes over time, but I’m really curious.  Best friends and first person you call?  Brief contact?  None at all? 

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Community, resentment, and connecting the dots

Stumbling across The BadAssMama Chronicles site yesterday got me thinking. In particular, this post about resenting changes hit home, and I started connecting the dots between some things that have been swirling around in my head lately.  Community, and how it works (or not) in today’s society.  Resentment and frustration (mine particularly) and what’s been causing it.  More things that came to me in the shower this morning, and I hope come back before I’m done writing.  I’m not the only one who thinks best in the shower, am I? 
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because parenting is about breaking AND building

the usual level of chaos in my boys’ room …The banner image above came from this lovely shot of my boys’ room the other day, as they were documenting the destruction of a large block tower.  Destroying it by shooting it down with a bow and arrow, or course.  They build, they destroy.  They build, they destroy.  It’s a pretty endless cycle, and one that drives my let’s-do-something-and- finish-it mentality right up the wall.  I don’t like mess and clutter, I never have.  Well, not since I had my own place anyway, don’t ask my mom about the state of my room when I was in my teens as you might get a different story!  It never looked like this though, I can guarantee that. 
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The Dishrack Wars

Yes, they’re clean in my book, despite the need for some steel wool …

Dish washing is a chore in our house which technically falls to whoever didn’t make dinner, but in reality it’s usually whoever doesn’t put the kids to bed.  I make dinner, he puts the kids to bed, and at least half the time I wash the pile while he tackles the kids and wrestles them into bed.  Somehow over the years though it’s evolved into a wee competition.  Not the washing part (he does it more thoroughly, no question, but I get it done faster) but the stacking part. 

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I hate the mirror ...

Douglas with his first design… and I’m not talking about the one hanging over my bathroom sink, though I don’t often love what I see there either.  I’m referring to that thing that happens when your mood, no matter what it is, is reflected by your kids.  It’s like taking a bad mood and amping it up x10, because that’s what seems to happen.  It’s not just a reflection, it’s an explosion! I get frustrated and speak sharply, or yell, and they start fighting with each other, whining, and talking back.  And then there’s the real wince when I hear my own tone, that harsh and nasty tone, coming right out of my son’s mouth.  I hate it when that happens!
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What's your biggest priority on a daily basis?

I read a SteadyMom post a couple weeks ago and the simple point was that her goal for each day was peace.  Simply peace.  It was more important than accomplishing lots of things, or making fancy meals, she wanted the motive behind the day’s choices to be a desire for peace.

To be honest, I first sniffed at it a bit because I thought about all the reasons why that’s not possible. 

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Q of the Week : How often do you have dinner with friends?

The kids distracted by a movie during dessert …

At the beginning of our trip, the boys and I were invited over to an old friend’s house for dinner.  By old I mean we’ve all known each other since we were kids, and the stories are simply endless.  Between us we have 5 kids, and they all get along well so the adults actually had time to talk without interruption!  Reflecting on the trip, I realized that it’s been rather a long time since we’ve had people over, other than for a party. 

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Two Bookends and a Middle (by Bridget S.)

I have three kids, or as I often refer to them, two bookends and a middle.  It’s fascinating to me how similar and yet unique they each are.  All three of them were born on Thursdays and all three were induced.  My first and last, although of different genders, were each born after only three hours of intense labor.  My second child took twelve long hours to emerge.
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What Did He Say? (guest post by Bridget S.)

Image courtesy of Marco Gomes via Flickr.I have a friend with a thirteen year old son who has recently taken to letting her know that, in his opinion, she is an ass.  Nice, right?  He’s actually used even stronger language than that, and when she tells me about it I cringe, but not for the reasons you might think.  No, I have been through the teen years with a son myself, and I cringe because I know this is only the beginning.
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Life Lessons (guest post by Bridget Straub)

Image courtesy of Digital Sextant via Fliickr.Here’s a dilemma that came up with my eleven year old daughter.  She came home from school yesterday ten dollars richer, thanks to another classmate who insisted she take this money for no apparent reason.  Naturally, I told her she had to give it back and naturally, she did not want to.  “That money comes with a huge danger sign attached to it,” I told her. She disagreed and insisted she couldn’t give it back, and that it would be rude to do so.  She said she had told the girl at the time the money was offered, that it was too much, but the girl wanted her to have it.  “She’s trying to buy your friendship and it’s not okay,”  I said.  Round and round we went.
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I don't love you because ...

I don’t love you because …

… you still reach for my hand every time we walk out of the gate

… you held my hair back every time i puked, and never lost your patience

… you tell me i can do anything i set my mind to, and believe it with all your heart

… you buy me amazingly perfect gifts, over and over again

… you never stop prying apart my armor, making sure my heart is still beating inside

… you taught me the meaning of fierce

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Recognizing Yourself

I had that eerie experience yet again last night, where you recognize some aspect of yourself in a book or movie, and walk away shaking your head, perhaps shivering a bit.  The culprit this time was Natalie Portman’s character in the movie Black Swan.  A disturbing and powerful movie, well played, and still haunting me a bit.  No I don’t look like Natalie, nor am I a dancer, but her struggles with perfection and letting go?  Oh boy do I get that.  I get it like a second skin.  I live it every day, I struggle with it, and while I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, I totally get the ending.  Makes complete sense to me in a twisted way. 
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Q of the Week : How has your sex drive survived (or not) after kids?

Photo Courtesy of Peneli via Flickr. Thanks to a longtime reader/friend for this one!  I’ve had it in the forums for ages, but it never got much attention.  How about it ladies …

How has your sex drive survived (or not) after kids?  After your last few weeks of questions about not sleeping, trying to do too much, etc, I wonder how our relationship with our spouse figures in.  Does it fall in somewhere after you drag yourself to bed, drag yourself up in the morning, travel across town again and again for school, play dates, classes, parks, groceries, laundry, etc?  Is it still a priority?  Do you still feel that spark, and if you do, do you have the energy to respond to it?  Is it even possible to feel sexy at least some of the time?  Or has all that been put on hold until some mythical time when we get to feel like real women again?

Thanks for the question, what say you all?

When the Tables Start to Turn (by Darah)

For years I had been so focused on mothering my own kids—reading, observing, conversing with peers, and essentially learning all that I can about all this monstrous job entails—that it never occurred to me that I could put those same skills to good use to help me better understand my own mother.  As a mother, I am constantly striving to improve my abilities to communicate with and relate to each one of my kids and the respective stages {crises} they are going through.  Having survived so many intense experiences myself in so few years, {which will all be presented in my not-yet published memoir,} admittedly, I realize that I have become hardened to the sensitivities of others. 
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Of Rotten Kids and other things ...

That’s Grandma Figgy on the left, likely taken just after some sassy comment left her lips … It’s been a scattered week, but aren’t they all?  Recovering from my run was surprisingly less painful than expected, but I took it really easy anyhow.  No big outings, just puttering around the house and giving the boys a lighter-than-usual workload. 

I’ve been warily eyeing that monster called depression, who I expected to come bounding around the corner the minute the marathon was over, but so far we haven’t met in close quarters.  I saw him in the distance once.  This is good, though it makes me a bit afraid that I’m going to get blindsided.  One day at a time.  Chocolate helps, and I’ve been making steady inroads into the stashes hidden around the house :).


I had one major sad note this week though, and that was to find that one of my original Rotten Kids passed away on Monday. 

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Q of the Week : How does your family communicate?

The Talking StickI grew up in a family that ate together, prayed together, and often worked together, so almost all our communication was in person.  It happened in the car, around the dinner table, or at the kitchen counter.  I honestly don’t remember my mom ever raising her voice either.  The subjects were rarely heavy, and hardly ever confrontational.  Unpleasant or difficult conversations were rare … they just didn’t happen.  Once I was a teenager, I would very occasionally get a note left on my desk that explained how my mom felt about some of my choices, referring of course to the things she didn’t like.  So there was a lot of conversation, and basic communication, but rarely on an emotional level.

My house is NOT like this.

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