What Happened To Good Old Fashioned Respect?

You guys, I'm steamed right now! I read an article earlier about a 10 year old boy named Tamarion Bryant. Tamarion lives in North Carolina. He goes to North East Carolina Preparatory School there. His teacher (name not released as far as I can tell) reprimanded him for calling her ma'am. She made him write the word multiple times on a sheet of paper as punishment. In real life. 

Please help me understand...A grown woman was offended by being respected by a young boy so much so that she punished him for doing so? That's how I'm interpreting it. And I'm shaking my head. 

We spend so much time as parents trying to teach our kids to be respectful to others, especially their elders and teachers. We teach them the right words and phrases to use, and coincidentally, in the south, ma'am is a word of respect. So please tell me how it's okay for a GROWN woman to punish a child because she was offended by this?

I mean, I get it - sometimes I'm shocked to hear the word ma'am directed at me - I mean, aren't I too young to be a ma'am? (hahahaha) But in all seriousness, I would NEVER reprimand a child for being respectful. 

To the teacher out there that thought this course of action was okay, perhaps you should reflect on how you want your students to treat others. Perhaps you should consider the feelings of a 10 year old boy who was only doing as he was being taught. To be respectful of his elders. And yes, regardless of how old you actually are, you are his elder. Shame on you for picking a fight with a child. 

You guys, it's hard enough trying to raise our kids to be good, kind, compassionate and respectful. Hearing stories like this makes my blood boil. Kudos to Tamarion's parents for being good role models for him and for teaching him the importance of respecting his elders. You're doing a great job!! And to Tamarion, thanks for being an example for our kids, for being respectful of your elders. I bet you're an awesome little dude!! 


Getting Through Back To School (without yelling)

Ah, back to school. The time of year we all dread and relish at the same time. We’ve had about ten weeks of summer break and while it always seems like a great idea at the beginning, by the time week six or seven roll around, most of us parents have muttered “I can’t wait for school to start” more than once.

It’s a double edged sword, summer break. We begin with the idea that no schedules, sleeping late, camp and family vacations are going to bring us weeks of euphoria. We block out the eventual overtired, cranky, mouthy, unappreciative kids that come with that euphoria. Ten weeks is a long time to be carefree. And it’s a long time to have to juggle schedules and camps and activities to keep our kids entertained (code for keeping them out of trouble).

By the time mid summer rolls around, the mere hint of back to school gets us excited. We walk around the stores and see piles of school supplies calling our name while at the same time we lament that we couldn’t possibly be thinking about back to school already. Until the week when your kids are on your last nerve. You know that week. The one where they repeatedly tell you they’re bored, even though they’re neck deep in activity all day long. The week where they pick fights with their siblings for no reason, I mean, I know that happens every day, but when it’s summer it feels like it’s more often. The week where they argue about bedtime because “MOMMMM...it’s summer!!!” That’s the week I’m talking about, the turning week.

We’re ready for structure again. We want schedules. We want to know our kids are in one place all day long and that we don’t have to worry about picking them up from a half day of soccer camp to schlep them to a half day of dance camp just to keep their day full. We want school. Except we don’t want the stress that comes with it. You see, double edged sword.

Back to school season has become one full of stress for us parents and our kids. We scramble to get summer homework packets finished - because instead of allocating time to do school work every day like we said we would, we’re cramming it into the last few days before school starts! We make lists of supplies, new clothes and shoes and backpacks that need to be procured. We are on multiple group emails and texts between parents about teacher assignments. It’s exhausting!

So how do we make our last few weeks of summer less stressful? How can we enjoy our last lazy days in the sun and at the same time plan and organize for back to school without losing our cool?

First we have to actually be excited about back to school and mean it. Talk to your kids about how great the new school year is going to be. Tell them stories of when you were their age, it makes you more relatable and can help ease some anxiety your kids may be harboring. If you can show them you’ve been there, done that and survived, you’re golden!

Once you’ve generated some positive buzz about back to school and quelled some anxiety, spend some time with your kiddos. Don’t wait until the day before school to go shopping for supplies. I like to take each of my kids separately to do their shopping. We have a date day that consists of shopping for sneakers, some clothes, school supplies, lunch and ice cream.

It gives us the opportunity to have some alone time without siblings to connect and catch up. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

After you’ve shopped for your kids new loot, get them involved! Enlist their help to get their gear organized. It would be terrible to wake up on the first day of school frazzled and unprepared. Have your kids pack their new backpacks, label their folders and find homes for everything. Being prepared and ready to go creates an atmosphere of ease, and can help with the back to school jitters you’re all experiencing.

Finally, celebrate together. The day before school starts, we like to have a family day. We go to the park or do something together to cap off summer and kick off back to school. We have a family dinner, get some dessert and watch a movie. We share our favorite summer stories and set expectations for the upcoming school year. We make it a celebration, a day filled with love, laughter and calm.

Back to school doesn’t have to be a challenge if you choose to make it fun and include your kids in the process. Here’s to a successful back to school time for you and your family!!


Sometimes Mother's Day Just Plain Sucks

There. I said it. 

What more than 50% of us were probably thinking yesterday when we finally were able to tuck our cherubs into bed last night - I'm glad today is over. Surely none of us started out with the expectation that our "special" day would be trying, and yet, for some of us, it was. Including me. 

In no way did I think my Mother's Day would be full of yelling at my six year old - pretty much all day. No way did I think we would cut our lake house weekend short or skip going out to dinner because of the tantrum throwing. I seriously thought I was going to have a nice, peaceful day doing nothing except the things I actually wanted to do. As of noon yesterday, I wanted it to be over. 

Mother's Day - the day all moms are supposed to "take off" - like that's actually a thing. I mean, great, someone else will do the dishes but in real life no one is going to proactively do all the other things we do on a daily basis. I had just come off of a week in California - jet lagged to the extreme coupled by two days of intense allergies. I did not want to do anything for Mother's Day this year. I wanted to stay home, read a book, make breakfast (yes, I had help, but because everyone wanted something different, we needed more than two hands) and choose the chores I was going to do. Laundry, yes. Scrubbing toilets, no. 

Unfortunately that was not to be. Not without arguing among the minions. And my older one was not to blame for the most part. I mean, he did retaliate when provoked, but who wouldn't when there's a over active six year old in your face, poking and prodding your private parts for a reaction while you're trying to do homework? I would drop kick the kid if it were me!

The issue is that the little one doesn't know when to quit. He keeps going because he thinks it's funny and because he wants a reaction. Sometimes he gets a laugh, because, sometimes it's actually funny. Not yesterday. Yesterday it was annoying. 

My day was filled with lovely texts and social media posts from friends and relatives wishing me a happy day while my kid was being a jerk. It was impossible to not check out my news feed a few times to see all of the lovely posts from my friends and the day they were having. Lots of hearts and flowers and "I'm blessed to be your mommy" posts. Lots of thanking their own mothers (I did too - it was my mom's birthday to boot!) for their love and support. No one posted about having a crappy day. Until I did on my Instagram story in the afternoon. The little one had just gotten in trouble by his father and was restricted from playing baseball outside because he could not listen. Because it was so fun, I made a little video of it. 

Last night after watching the hysterical video of Amy Schumer on SNL the night before tell her child his birth story , I decided to get real with the mamas I have on a group text. I simply said "my kid has been an asshole all day" which prompted my girls to chime in with their replies. One offered up that her son was being a jerk too, and another admitted that she was being the asshole! Bonus points for that one. Relief that I was not alone. 

Here's the thing. I love my kids more than life itself. I don't love the idea that we're supposed to have a day off that never actually turns into a day off. I love that we celebrate motherhood, but we should celebrate it everyday, because as it turns out, moms are badass. I love that my kids make me home made cards and profess their undying love for me. I don't love that they bicker and can't listen which truthfully is every day of the year in some capacity. It's the nature of the beast. 

Instead of trying to have a "perfect" (I actually don't really like that word) day, how about we have zero expectations and go with the flow? Be grateful for the day we've been given, challenges and all and grow from them. That's my idea of a good Mother's Day. And if all else fails, there's mimosas. 



A Mothers Gift

It's a funny thing, this club we're in. The motherhood club. I recently spent a few days away from my family, at a conference with close to 700 other mothers. Sure we talked about our work, our goals, and our dreams but mostly, we talked about our kids. Because, mothers. It's what we do.

We fret and we fuss. 

We laugh and we cry.

We yell and we comfort.

We worry and we trust.

We do all of this because we know our children need to find their own identities. We know that while we want to keep them under our wings for as long as humanly possible, we have to allow them to spread theirs. We watch the days go by in a flash and wonder where the years went as they continue to hit milestones. We look in the mirror and critique every line and dimple. We see ourselves as we were ten, twenty years ago, not as middle aged. We wonder what our children see. 

We encourage and we explain.

We work and we play.

We provide and we teach.

We adore and we protect. 

Most of all we love with our whole hearts. We love so big it can physically hurt. We love every single thing about them and we hope they see that. Unconditional. Pure. True. A mothers love is the greatest gift of all. 

Happy Mothers Day.