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Contrary to one popular commercial, not every kiss begins with Kay. For some of us, every kiss begins with KFC or literally ANY meal we didn’t have to cook ourselves. If you’re lucky enough to be married to a low maintenance woman, then this post is for you so that you don’t waste your time at the jewelry store this Mother’s Day. You can skip the open hearts collection and give the low maintenance mom in your life something she ACTUALLY wants.

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1. Sleep – All a tired mom wants is to sleep in. That means not waking up to the sound of children fighting, a little finger poking her or the bright closet light jarring her awake like a search light looking for an escaped convict.

If she wants to take a nap, then give the lady what she wants. Heck, if she decides she doesn’t want to leave the comfort of her bed all day, move Heaven and Earth to make that happen. The last time she REALLY slept well was probably the night her first child was conceived and that’s too freaking long ago.

2. A Meal She Didn’t Cook – Unless you absolutely suck in the kitchen, cook her a meal. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast or a four course meal. All us low maintenance moms care about is that we didn’t have to slave away making a meal for once and if the kids hate it, someone else can take the fall. If you can’t/don’t want to cook, you can pick up her favorite take out or take her to the low maintenance dinning establishment of her choice.

But seriously, think again if you want to surprise her with breakfast in bed, because #1 (see above) we’d rather you just let us sleep and #2 we really don’t want to clean the sheets of crumbs later. If you really want to melt our hearts, have a full pot of coffee brewed for whenever we do decide to drag ourselves out of bed.

3. Give Her A Day Off – That means no childcare responsibilities whatsoever. But it’s Mother’s Day you say? EXACTLY. She works her tail off EVERY OTHER DAY of the year.

This should be the one day that it’s all on you; from making sure they brush their teeth in the morning all the way to tucking them in at night, no exceptions just because you think she does something better. Take them to the park, the zoo, the movies whatever you gotta do. Just give her one day all to herself.

4. Tell Her You Appreciate Her – You don’t need to buy a Hallmark card, though you can if you want, but all she really wants is to hear that you get that it sucks to have her job sometimes. It’s freaking exhausting, thankless work that NEVER ends.

Sometimes the only thing that gets her through the day is the thought that maybe, just maybe, her family appreciates all the work she does even though she might not hear it said out loud for days, weeks, or even months.

5. Tell Her She’s Beautiful – Yeah I know she only rocks three different hairstyles – the ponytail, down or the messy bun and has a collection of well-worn yoga pants and T-Shirts, but she still needs to hear how beautiful she is.

In her pre-children years, she might have put on makeup and perhaps a dress every now and again, but these days her priorities are different. Who really needs to wear eyeliner or worry about manicured nails when there’s a good chance you’re going to be scrubbing your hands surgeon-style of human feces or vomit at some point during the day?

6. Make Her Buy Something For Herself – There’s a good chance her bra drawer still contains nursing bras from her first baby or she hasn’t had a good haircut in more months than she can recall. Whenever a need comes up, she’s quick to fill it EXCEPT if it’s hers.

She needs some prodding. Even if she hates shopping like I do, throw some cash in her hands and tell her not to leave the mall without something she needs or wants. This saves you from buying her something she really doesn’t need and no she doesn’t need lingerie. That’s a gift for you and that’s probably how she got these kids to begin with.

So there you have it husbands and baby daddies of the world. Forget the expensive gifts or fancy dinners (though we sure could go for some Olive Garden) and give the low-maintenance mom in your life the things she really wants from you. We got your back on Father’s Day.

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.

Mommy & Sydney

The Girl Without A Voice

I was the girl in elementary school who had to be evaluated by a speech therapist. There was nothing wrong with my speech except for the fact that I didn’t know if anyone cared to hear it. Even through high school I wasn’t one to speak up and share in class because I really didn’t think I had anything to say. So how did a shy girl become a blogger who puts some pretty intimate information about myself out there for the world to read (not that I really believe the whole world is reading)? At some point on this motherhood journey I started to wonder if maybe there was another mom who could benefit from my been there, done that experiences.

New Mom And Terrified

I remember clearly the days after having my first child and how truly terrified I was of the moment we’d leave the protection of the hospital and it’d just be me and my husband taking care of her. I remember expectantly asking when the nurse was going to come in and show me how to change her diaper. Fast forward several months and I started meeting other new moms at the store or the mall who would come up to me with that same fear in their eyes. I got questions about my baby’s feedings and sleeping and I remember thinking, hell I’m no expert, but if sharing my experience helps them in some way then so be it.

From Discount Diva To The No Drama Mama

For those that have been following my posts for a while you know that I used to talk about frugal living and saving money. Then as I was preparing to have my third child I knew that what I wanted to do was talk about broader parenting issues. It just so happens that Hudson Valley Parent put my blog posts on the New Moms page of their newly designed website and it feels like it’s where it was meant to be. New moms are the most vulnerable to critique by other parents. Now that I’m on my third baby, I’ve learned to let negative comments roll off my back. I know that those I  love and respect will always answer my questions with concern and not critique.

Discerning Concern Vs. Critique

When Hannah was three months old it was November. I was changing her and my sister-in-law noticed that I didn’t have a onesie on her. “You know,” she said, “babies have a hard time keeping their body temperature up, so you might want to keep a onesie on her.” I was embarrassed and ashamed of my parental screw up. But the thing is I knew it came from a place of love and concern. How do I know it was concern and not just a critique? Simple, she had been by my side holding my hand and rubbing my back through 12 hours of labor. She was invested in my child’s well-being.

Labor Photo 1

What’s The Level Of Investment?

So the next time someone’s advice makes you feel bad or question your parenting abilities, just ask yourself if that person is REALLY invested in the outcome. If the answer is no, just take it with a grain of salt and remember that there are almost no absolutes in parenting. There is no right or wrong way, only the choices you make based on what you feel is right.

Parenting Truth

Can I talk specifically to the new moms for just a second? The only parenting truth that I know is that your child trusts you completely. As long as you are doing everything in your power to be worthy of that trust, then you’ll be just fine. The more time goes by, the more you’ll know that and the less vulnerable you’ll feel. You’ll be able to tell when to listen and when to just trust your instincts.

Happy Mother’s Day

Moms can be such a wonderful resource for each other when our advice comes from a place of love and concern. We may have nothing except motherhood in common, but that’s more than enough. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom in heaven and all the women out there who’ve helped me become the Mom I am today!

On Mother’s Day I had the opportunity to speak to scores of mothers; I delivered a message of hope, resilience and determination. Motherhood has to be the most difficult job I have ever worked. The job is so awesome, so arduous and yet you can’t give up, you can’t throw in the towel and you cannot fail. The task is too important to give anything less than your very best. There is no one book to read, no one philosophy to follow, no magic ingredients to throw in, stir up and produce one well adjusted, successful fabulous kid.

Good parenting begins by being intentional. I do not believe that the production of an awesome child happens by accident. Start today by committing to the task. Look at parenting your children with the same determination you give your job when the boss puts a project in your lap, they expect nothing but the best, and give you a deadline. And then what usually happens? You meet the expectations and most times supersede them.

Change your perspective on parenting and you’ll change a life in the process.

When I was a younger, I was a “latch-key” kid. Both my parents worked full-time and worked extremely hard at raising me and my three brothers. I remember that it was especially hard for my mom to find time for herself just to relax. That’s why if I knew about our current “Spring Makeover” contest when I was a little girl, I would have definitely encourage my mom to enter. With today’s fast paced life style, who wouldn’t want  a fun day at the spa? Hudson Valley women need a break from reality- which could be working full-time at home or away (sometimes both) and everything in between. Tell us why you want a makeover and I promise we will listen.

Mothers are special people—not angels, or saints, but special people.  A prophet asks, “Can a mother forget her infant?”  And the next sentence in scripture clearly implies that she could.  Why did the prophet even bring up the question? He wanted to illustrate the love of God.  So he pointed to the highest form of human love that he knew—the love of a mother for her baby—and then said, God’s love is even greater than that.  Most of us can understand that illustration, whether we believe it or not.  My guess is that, as a group, mothers are the world’s most unselfish people.  They may not want to be, but they have to be.  For nine months, a mother shares her body with another person.  Then, with pain, she brings that other person into the world.  The pain, I am told, is soon forgotten.  But the problems have only begun.  That mother now has on her hands a totally dependent, totally selfish little creature.

In the early years of life that little creature will have many needs, and will always demand immediate gratification.  More often than not, it will be the mother who will meet those needs.  For the sake of her own sanity, a mother must learn to subordinate her needs to the needs of her baby.

Some mothers never learn that lesson.  They go through the years resenting and resisting the demands that are made upon them.  That’s sad, both for them and their babies.  Not all mothers are unselfish.  No mother is unselfish all of the time, and should not be.  But taken as a group, mothers must surely be the world’s most unselfish people.  The prophet could think of no better way to illustrate the love of God than to compare it with the love of a mother.

So we have set aside this day to honor two people.  They are not saints.  They are not angels.  They are people, but they are very special people.  We are indebted to them.  We are grateful for them.  These two special people are your mother and mine.

Remember my dearly loved mom, Mary, whom I miss so very much, in your prayers.

Fr. Ray A. Pavlick, Chaplain, Castle Point Veteran’s Hospital, shown with his mother Mary a few years ago on the porch of the home they shared here in the Hudson Valley.  Fr. Ray has been an ordained priest for over thirty-five years, for the last twenty years his diocese has lent his services to the U.S. Military as a Chaplain.

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