Tag Archives: mother’s day

“If your mom was a super hero, what would her super power be?”

This year our bloggers wanted to know what their children’s responses would be to “If your mom was a super hero, what would her super power be?” Here are some of the responses:

Crystal

So, asking your kid “if I was a super hero, what would my super powers be?” opens up a dialogue I think every parent should have with their kid(s). My 9 year old son’s answers were both, by turns, eyebrow raising, laughter-inducing, and tear-jerking when I realized how impressed he is by the simple things I do every day. I think we both came away from our chat with an even bigger appreciation for each other.

Also, as a note, should people think this was easy, it took my kid 3 days to bother thinking about the question, and then the threat being unable to continue his video game should he not throw me a bone. So no, he isn’t quite as perfect as these answers are going to make him sound.

My super powers were:

1) Super strength-because when he comes home every day he lauches himself at me and I can still catch him with one arm.

2) Super human computer abilites-because I “know how to do everything on a laptop”

3) The ability to fix ANYTHING- I put a memory card in his smart watch and was sewing something at the time.

And my favourite:

4) The ability to stare down a villain until they tell the truth. Oh God that one made me laugh. Pretty self explanatory that one.

Laura

My daughter says: “Teleportation, because she’s never late.”

My son says: “The super power of infinite hugs.”

Holly

My four year old said that my super power would be, “Moana”. I don’t even know what that means… Lol!

Roxy

3 1/2 year-old Kayla says, “Elsa. You need to be Elsa!!! Elsa got powers. Blue powers that froze Anna’s heart.”

Brande

“My moms super power is knowing what I’ve done, from the things I don’t say.”

Autumn

My 9 year-old son Jesse says “To give people lots more health and to have more health for you too. To give health whenever you touch somebody.” My 6 yr old Savannah says ” To stick on the wall and lazer eyes and other thing too..let me fink…electrocute hands and one more thing o.k…o.k…ummm Speedy.” lololol I am sure going to be busy as a super hero!! I better go get some sleep! hahahaa

Happy Mother’s Day

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! OR IS IT?

For most people Mother’s Day is a happy time to celebrate their mother.  The woman of many titles: mommy, mum, mother, friend. It’s a day to honour the woman who brought you into this world and raised you. It’s one day a year that’s set aside to show appreciation for the woman who willingly makes sacrifices for their family. It’s a day for mothers to relax and be spoiled by the people who love them the most. Children make cute cards and homemade crafts at school. Adult children form new traditions with their own family, while still paying homage to their beloved mother. There’s luncheons or dinners at restaurants with special gifts and sometimes even some delicious cake.

What if her love isn’t unconditional?

mothers-day-1365701_1920

But what if your mother isn’t the warm and fuzzy type? What if her love isn’t unconditional? What if you’ve tried your whole life to gain her acceptance and approval?  What if she hasn’t been there for you when you’ve needed her the most?  What happens when you are banished from her queendom any time you disagree with her? What if she gets angry because you don’t do things the way she does them? What if you can no longer tolerate or accept her hurtful comments and  negative behaviour? What if she isn’t like the mothers described in those sugary, flowery Hallmark cards? What if you can no longer bring yourself to try to please someone who refuses to be happy? What if the whole thing leaves you stressed out and overwhelmed? What happens when you can’t be a dancing monkey anymore? How long do you keep trying before you eventually give up?

For years I made a huge deal out of Mother’s Day because I truly love my mother and I wanted to make her happy. I would spend weeks shopping to find the perfect gift for her. I would plan a menu filled with her favourites. I would clean my house spotless and spend hours prepping and cooking food. I always bought an expensive, fancy cake to serve for dessert. I would spend the entire day focused on indulging and spoiling my mother and her husband. I would wait on her, seeing to her every need before she even expressed it.  When they eventually left I stayed up late, cleaning. My wonderful husband always helped me with the cleanup, but the whole thing left me feeling drained. After years of this routine, I started to feel resentful. Why did I think it was my job to provide the perfect day for my mother while essentially forfeiting my own Mother’s Day celebration? Why was I hardwired to believe that I was to always put my mother’s feelings and happiness ahead of my own?

I don’t need a card or a gift to validate their love for me.

Picking out an appropriate card for my mother is no easy task. Most cards are filled with positive sentiments about mom always being there for her children. The saccharine poetry is almost sickeningly sweet. I’m sure it’s because most mothers willingly make sacrifices for their family and deserve the accolades bestowed upon them. Most mothers would march through the gates of hell to protect them from anything bad. Most mothers give unconditional love to their children, even into their eventual adulthood. I am a mother and I can honestly say that there is nothing in this world that could ever come between me and my children. Even when we disagree or they’ve done something that upsets me, I know that we will work things out. I have raised my children to believe that they are fabulous, unique individuals who should chase their dreams and live their lives to the fullest. I have never made unreasonable demands of their time. I don’t expect them to check in with me everyday and give an in-depth accounting of the way they spend their time. I encourage them to pursue their interests and explore everything that life has to offer. I don’t expect them to shower me with lavish gifts or make a big production out of Mother’s Day. I don’t even expect them to buy me a card. I don’t need a card or a gift to validate their love for me. I simply try to enjoy every minute we get to spend together.

marilyn familyFrom left to right: my son Mark Anthony James, me, my amazing husband and best friend Mike, and my beautiful daughter Candice Lee.

I cherish the times we spend on the phone, laughing and catching up. I know that their time is valuable and they are busy adults trying to get through this thing called life. I know without a doubt that they love me and they know that I would lay down my life for them. I don’t expect them to compete with one another to impress me. I never want them to feel obligated to roll out the red carpet and make a big production for any reason. I am secure in knowing that I did the best job I could as a mother by listening to them and making myself available to them. I am content in knowing that our relationship is based on mutual respect, acceptance, and kindness. I never want them to feel bad about themselves by expecting them to live up to some pre-conceived notion of what I think they should be or do with their life. I want them to feel free to pursue everything their heart desires. I want them to know that as long as I am alive I will always be a listening ear and that they can unburden themselves without fear of consequence. I will never judge them harshly or view them with black-and-white thinking. I accept our differences and enjoy being included in their adventures. I am open to seeing things through their eyes and trying new things. I never want to impose my opinions or ways of doing things onto them. I never want them to question my love, affection and admiration for them. I will never pigeon-hole them by inflicting my ideas on them. I will never ask them to give up their identity to be what I would like them to be. I will never burden them with expectations of conformity or tradition. I respect their right to live their life however they see fit. I don’t want them to exist to merely be extensions of me. I want them to thrive in their own individuality and be confident enough to try new things. I never want them to define their lives by my standards or ideas. I just want them to be happy!

I will not be part of an imaginary competition between me and my siblings in a bid to win my mother’s love and acceptance.

So, this year I have decided to celebrate Mother’s Day on my own terms. I won’t be buying cards that don’t honestly reflect a very damaged and unhealthy relationship that has permeated my whole life. I won’t dismiss my own accomplishments and put my own needs at the bottom of the list any longer. I refuse to continue to engage in self-deprecating actions in the hopes that this year will be different. I will not be part of an imaginary competition between me and my siblings in a bid to win my mother’s love and acceptance. Instead, I will continue to commit myself to positive healthy relationships with people who also value the concepts of individualism and respect. I will continue to dedicate my life to being a better person and helping others. I will work even harder to be the best mother I can be to my children. I will willingly help my children and grandchildren in every way that I can to make their journey through life a little easier. I will be a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear without harsh judgments and unreasonable demands.

mother-1314927

Friday Find – Friday, May 22nd 2015

Mother’s Day Video

mother'sda

Today’s Friday Find is a beautiful video about what kids really think about their Moms. Laugh. Cry. Watch, here.

Getting to Know You: Mother’s Day Edition

This month we’ve got a Mother’s Day Edition of our Getting to Know you series. We’ve also get to introduce you to our new Blogger Laura, and Misette from our Board of Directors. Welcome!

Laura

Mother’s Day is spent honouring Moms…aside from a special day, what do you do to honour your mom year-round?

I try to honour my mom year-round by spending quality time with her and bringing her small, thoughtful gifts ‘just because’.

Dance-Like-Nobodys-Watching-at-the-AirportWould you share a funny story about your kids……or about your mom?

Funny stories come to mind involving her dancing like nobody was watching….like in the aisles of grocery stores when I was an easily-embarrassed teenager.

What gift of knowledge on motherhood would you give to women?  This question is not just for those that are mothers either.

There are few more influential positions to hold in this world than that of ‘mom’; remember how much impact your words and actions have on who your children are, and who they will become.

We all know you can’t pick your family…but if you could pick anyone in the world to be your Mom (and I’ll take the pressure off right now, it can’t be your own Mom) who would it be?  And if you could share why?

I honestly can’t think of any one person I could answer this question with because I am lucky to have many other great women who are fantastic moms in my life.

Mom-ism’s – we all got them, those certain words, gestures, little sayings, that when we hear, or find ourselves saying and doing – we are reminded of our moms – can you share your Mom-ism?

You’ll never know if you don’t try! 

Misette

Mother’s Day is spent honouring Moms…aside from a special day, what do you do to honour your mom year-round?

Visit my mother at the cemetery with family and friends.

What gift of knowledge on motherhood would you give to women?  This question is not just for those that are mothers either.

It would be patience and forgiveness.

We all know you can’t pick your family……but if you could pick anyone in the world to be your Mom (and I’ll take the pressure off right now, it can’t be your own Mom) who would it be?  And if you could share why?

Any one of my mother’s sisters because they are matriarchs.

Donna

Mother’s Day is spent honouring Moms…aside from a special day, what do you do to honour your mom year-round?

Laugh, the humour may be a bit offbeat, but I think I got the ability to laugh at myself and situations from my Mom. We still share that deep belly, tear-producing laughter that has your cheeks hurting when we get together.

Would you share a funny story about your kids…or about your mom?

Hard to pick just one story…which tells you a lot about my child-rearing skills, or lack thereof! There is one infamously funny morning that stands out, that I am sure 18 some odd years later Emilee (my youngest) will let me share in this space.

Ground work:

Car Rule #436 – Arlee rides in the front seat on EVEN days. Emilee rides in the front seat on ODD days. Admittedly, my desperate solution to the age old problem of having two children that constantly fought over the front seat status of riding shot-gun!

Kids fighting in the back of a car That is, until one fateful morning – let’s say June 1st – already running late for school, we three left the house in a flurry of activity, and proceeded to the car – where Arlee promptly sat herself down in the front seat. Stating at 9 years old, that this even, odd solution isn’t working for her – as when a month ends in 31st the new month begins on the 1st – Emilee unfairly get two days in a row of riding in the prestigious position of shot-gun. Well, she had me, apparently I hadn’t thought this rule through thoroughly enough.

However, Emilee, 7 at the time – let’s just say she took issue with her sister sitting in the front seat…on June 1st! Clearly her turn.

So at the top of her lungs,  – while others in the neighbourhood were also rushing into their cars – Emilee (and although small in stature, Emilee had, and still has, a great set of lungs) Yells, “Arlee get out of my seat” (and in reference to our Car Rule #436, which only means anything to the three of us), continues yelling “I am ODD, and I ALWAYS have been ODD!”

So, I had one smug daughter sitting in the front seat, and one clearly self-proclaimed ODD daughter. Think Donna – you have to get these girls to school and yourself to work within the next twenty minutes.

Car Rule #437……NO ONE sits in the front seats until they get their own car.

What gift of knowledge on motherhood would you give to women?  This question is not just for those that are mothers either.

My Mom never claims to be perfect, and would apologize to me if she made mistakes – I never claim to be perfect, and have a few apologies to my kids under my own belt, so I hope this gives my daughters the freedom to make mistakes, learn from them and move on – knowing I love and support them.

If I can share one thing – it would be don’t be hard on yourself, your mom or your children, it is okay to be imperfect.

And, that whole Even/Odd front seat car ride strategy, yeah that doesn’t work, 🙂 don’t do it!

Motherhood

Mother’s Day has got me thinking about being a mother and the meaning of motherhood. What it means to me to be a mother. What it means to me.

My daughter, my firstborn, just celebrated her 30th birthday. Thirty years? Thirty YEARS! Wow, how can that be? One minute I was 15 and now I’m almost 50. One minute I was a 5 year old kid and now I’m a grandmother! What? That can’t be true, I’ve only just begun! Sometimes it feels like I’ve just completed a 30 year tour with the military. That’s not to minimize the importance and sacrifices of the military in any way; it’s just that sometimes I feel like I’ve just crawled out of the trenches after 30 years to find myself broken and beat up. I have the scars of raising children on my own. My heart has been broken, and my body is battered from years of working really hard. But, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. The life experience I gained from raising two human beings is incomparable to anything else I’ve done.
Motherhood taught me way more than any career I’ve ever worked at. Being a mother taught me to be patient, kind and loving. I learned how to negotiate issues into a peaceful resolve. I learned to multi-task before it became a catchphrase for employers to overwork their employees. I learned to prioritize my time to achieve optimal results. I learned how to be flexible and change my plans without getting too upset. I was amazed to watch these little people with their own unique personalities learn about the world around them. They showed me how to take delight in the simple things in life. I quickly realized the greatest gift I could give my children was my time. As much as they loved presents and being surprised, our best times were spent at the beach or watching movies together. We share an unbreakable bond because I invested the time needed to help them realize their potential and encouraged them to do magical things with their lives. I hope that I have given them the right tools to deal with life when it gets complicated. I hope I have shown them how to weather the inevitable storms that come their way. I hope they remember their childhood fondly and forgive me for mistakes I’ve made along the way. I hope one day they will look back at all the events I took them to and realize that I tried to expose them to many different cultures in order to expand their minds.

My heart goes out to all the people who don’t have their mother with them anymore. My favourite aunt died in March. I spent the last few weeks of her life at her bedside. She was like a mother to me, and the loss I feel is deep. She was my confidante, I could tell her anything and she always listened with understanding and compassion. She never judged me or ever said a harsh word. Instead, she would listen intently to what I said, never interrupting, always focusing on what I was trying to tell her. Only after I was completely finished would she offer her opinion and advice. She never came down on me or made me feel bad about myself. We would talk it through and I would leave with a hug and a feeling of peace in my heart. She was the type of person who made you feel better about yourself and gave you hope for the future. I wish I could call her and talk about how great this weather is. I wish she was here to enjoy the warmth and sunshine.

I am so thankful that I have two wonderful adult kids who call me on a regular basis. I’m thankful that I gave as much time to my kids as I did when they were younger. They are still an integral part of my life. This weekend I have been invited to a brunch by my son-in-law. It feels wonderful to be appreciated for the things I do. My grandbabies give my life new meaning and my house comes to life when it is filled with their laughter and innocence.mother-daughter-dancing-voice-of-finland-background I am able to release my inner child when my grandbabies come over for a visit. We go upstairs and put a CD on and dance and sing along to the music. They are especially fond of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks music. We dress up in costumes, get out our tambourines and rock out together. I hope I leave them with fond memories of our time spent together.

Lastly, I’d like to wish my own mother a very Happy Mother’s Day. We have always had a complicated relationship and we don’t always agree on everything, but she is still my mother and I only want her to be happy in life. I hope she realizes before it’s too late that it’s okay that we disagree on many things. It’s taken me a long time and years of therapy to realize that it’s okay that we are different from each other. It doesn’t make me a bad person because we have different beliefs. It doesn’t mean I love her any less. It just means that we are all unique individuals and should accept each other. I will always be thankful for the time and energy she put into raising us. I will always cherish my memories of the good times spent together. I will forever be grateful that my mother kept a clean house, and took great pride in our appearance. I’m thankful that she taught me how to read at an early age and always had music playing in the house. I’m happy she taught me how to cook and clean and be independent. I’m glad she was a good grandmother to my children and has always been generous with them. Things might not be perfect, but they are okay. Life is beautiful!

Moments in Time – Part 2

This post is part of our series throughout the month of May on motherhood. This story is the second part to “Moments in Time – Part 1,” reflections from Elisabeth on the death of her grandson, Coby. As mentioned in Part 1, we post this story in honour of all the mothers who have experienced the tragedy of loosing a child.

We wish you comfort and peace this Mother’s Day.

pregnancy loss

Life fifteen months later.

“It has been fifteen months since Coby’s funeral. To say that it has been difficult doesn’t really paint the picture. As a family we have gone through the traditional processes of grief, numbness, anger, sadness, and many, many tears. What I have learned though is that more often than not this kind of loss is treated very differently than other deaths. In fact, through this process I learned a new term – Marginalized Loss. It is a term that refers to the fact that, as a society, we do not give the same relevance to this type of loss as compared to another type of death. I think this sometimes makes it even more difficult as people have expected us to just get over it.

As a mother, this has been the most painful experience I have endured. We do so much as parents to protect our children from harm; our instincts are to do what we can to make the pain go away when we see our children hurt. I remember very clearly that first night when we learned Coby had died, thinking to myself I can’t make this better, I can’t make this go away. It was a hard realization. So for the past fifteen months, I have watched Kirstin and Jason travel this terrible journey. They have traveled it with incredible grace and dignity, and have been very present in their grief as they mourned the loss of their first child. It has allowed me to be present in my own grief, and it has given me peace as I have watched them move through it, to know that in the end they will be okay.

As we traveled through the firsts, they were as difficult as we expected. One of the most difficult firsts was Mother’s Day. It felt like a giant hole. Kirstin had gone through the right of passage, had given birth, but there was no baby to celebrate her first Mother’s Day with, and yet she was still a mother. The first Father’s Day was no better.

Kirstin said it very well,

“You expect the firsts to be hard, but what is harder is the unexpected moments that catch you by surprise.”

Like the moment when I was at the hairdressers, and the woman next to me was talking about her pregnant daughter who was due any day. It took everything in me not to burst into tears and run out of there or to stand up and say to her, “You don’t know everything will be okay, because if might not be, so you shouldn’t be so excited.”

There are many strange moments that happen, such as, when someone asks me how many grandchildren I have. I have learned to say, “One living.” I still find it difficult when I see toddlers the age that Coby would be and I find myself wondering what he would be like. I find myself sometimes looking at Kirstin and Jason, and thinking about what life should have been like for them now. I still have moments that take me by surprise: A commercial, seeing a tender moment between a mother and a child, or a random memory that can catch my breath and instantly bring me back to the reality of our loss.

Kirstin is now pregnant again.

It has taken great courage for them to take this risk again. It has been interesting to note people’s reactions when they learn of this pregnancy. Many people have wished them well, and said how brave they think they are, and that their prayers are with them. However, from some there has been this reaction of, “Oh good, now that you are pregnant, it will be all better and you can put it behind you.” It is in these moments that it expresses clearly the term Marginalized Loss. If Coby had lived to be 6 months, 1 year, 20 years, would we dare to think another child would somehow replace him? Is it somehow supposed to make it easier that he is not with us because there is the possibility of another child? It is because of this lack of understanding of what it is to go through this kind of loss that Kirstin and Jason, and consequently I as well, have become outspoken? In this last 15 months I have heard many similar stories of loss, and what has been the most striking thing to me is that it didn’t matter how long ago it had happened, in telling their story, the depth of loss could still be seen. What has also struck me is how much we don’t speak about it and the overall lack of understanding there is about what this means for a family.

Again, I find myself taking cues from Kirstin. As I have struggled through my own fear and anxiety over this pregnancy, I have learned through watching her that although she constantly struggles with her own anxiety and fear, she has also allowed herself to have hope. She lives comfortably in a kind of duality of difficult emotions along with hope and anticipation. I have learned through this time that Kirstin has grown into a wise young woman. I have often been awestruck over these last fifteen months by her grace, her wisdom, and her ability to move through the challenges and hurdles of her journey. She has become a great advocate for breaking the silence and being vocal about pregnancy loss, and baby loss, and what it means to families. I feel very fortunate that, as Kirstin includes me in her journey of this subsequent pregnancy, she inadvertently forces me to deal with my own emotions, to be present in the moments, and live in the same duality of anxiety and hope.

Losing Coby has forever changed our family and forever changed how I feel about pregnancy. I am no longer innocent. I know the harsh realities that can come with pregnancy. We no longer live in blissful ignorance that pregnancy always has a happy outcome. We will always miss Coby, he was only with us for a moment but his impact has been everlasting.”- Elisabeth Zimmermann, ED YWCA Niagara Region

“Smallest, Wingless”- Craig Cardiff

Photo Credit: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep