Mother's Day might be the most wonderful day of the year here at WomensForum. So we're especially excited that our contributor and Fashion blogger Courtney Hawkins (a.k.a. The Simple Glamazon) - shared some thoughts about the holiday with us.
It can’t be easy to be a mother. It’s a thankless job that so many choose, volunteer, or are thrown into doing. Some even choose to be a mother to an entire tribe of children who will destroy her home and worry her until her hair is thin. Can you imagine applying for a job you know is going to be a continuous uphill battle?
Although this job will never have a definitive retirement date, the many rewards are so great that the line to apply will always have a waitlist. Each Mother’s we take time to think about why we love and appreciate our mothers so much - or least we should.
I personally think about who I was as a child and teenager, and want to give her a high-five for putting up with the madness! The three of us; my brothers and I, drove her absolutely crazy with the practical jokes (on her of course), bickering back and forth, and the ‘teenage years’. I don’t think I can narrow the madness down enough to fully convey that period, so I will generalize and say the ‘Teenage Years’.
When I think about what Mother’s Day means to me, I can't help but to identify all the times when I knew she did the best she could. There were nights when great meals were made from few things in the refrigerator and last minute school projects pulled together to receive an A+.
As an adult, I know I don’t tell her often enough how much I love and appreciate what she created. She ignited a fire in me that has been burning bright. I am a strong-willed, creative, quick witted, resourceful, jokester kind if a woman, and it started with her. I am eternally grateful to her for the woman I have become.
This Mother’s Day, why not think about why you love your mother or the person who is a mother figure in your life? And then more importantly, tell them! Look them in the eye and tell them about a time when they made a small impact on you that had a huge impact in your life. I'll bet you a cup of coffee that this will be the best Mother’s Day gift your mom will ever receive.
Every parent has those moments when their kid acts up and does something that's so naughty and yet so clever that it's hard to really get mad. Test your poker face abilities with these real stories from actual parents (shared on Reddit) about their kid's smartest shenanigans. Here are some of our favorites...
"When my son was in pre-school (age 4) he was very good at putting things together. The classroom he was in had a marble game that the kids loved to play, but was very hard to put together before you could play. Most kids would spend the entire play time putting it together. My son could do it in about two minutes. His teacher told us during the parents night that she caught him putting it together for kids in exchange for their cookies, etc at snack time. Not a bad little hustle."
We've all heard about the benefits of the family that cooks and shares a sit-down dinner together. The reality is, it's so easy to let hectic work, school schedules and well, other priorities, get in the way. We're all guilty of it. But do you know that a sit-down mealtime where families are sharing ideas and food has been shown to protect against risk factors in kids like obesity, drug and alcohol abuse? That it also promotes increased academic performance in kids and more openness with the family?
This act of sharing a meal has become so overlooked in a fast-paced on-the-go society where it seems like we have no time for it, and Licensed Professional Counselor Jennifer Palermo of Southwest Psychotherapy Associates says it's time to start making mealtimes the priority again.
"Sometimes we put off eating in order to do these other things, but in the end, it's eating that we need more than being able to play football or play the piano, or do math. Because if we don't nurture our bodies and keep ourselves healthy, none of that really matters," says the Houston-based counselor.
"There's going to be pushback, but there's always the great line that I'm your parent and my role is to keep you safe, and one of the ways I'm keeping you safe is teaching you how to feed yourself and provide for yourself," - Jennifer Palermo
If you can, start this thinking early. Teach your kids that the fundamental needs like sleeping and eating should be the priority. If you're a little late to the game or think your family needs an intervention, it's going to be a little harder but it's definitely possible.
"There's going to be pushback, but there's always the great line that I'm your parent and my role is to keep you safe, and one of the ways I'm keeping you safe is teaching you how to feed yourself and provide for yourself," says Palermo.
So how do you get started?
You first want to emphasize that preparing meals and clean-up is a family effort. As Palermo says, "It's not mom's work, it's not the nanny's work, it's not just the cleaning lady's work."
Start by making preparing a meal a team effort and giving them choices for various roles they can play. Giving pre-teens and teens some choice will make them feel like they have a real role in the production. Next, choose something that they would actually want to eat and something they can make again and again in the future, like this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese.
Grocery shopping, preparing the meal, and eating the creation is all a great time to bond with your kids. It is undeniably important to create an open and communicative environment where they feel they can talk about anything.
"You want [it] to be a way to share ideas and share yourself," says Palermo.
That doesn't mean asking, “How was your day?” and expecting your child to just talk, talk, talk.
"That doesn’t really feel good for the kid," Palermo explains. "They want to be part of a conversation, and oftentimes it gives them the opportunity to hear from the parents in ways that are not 'clean up your room,' 'don’t forget your homework,' and 'did you feed the dog.'"
Stumped about where to start?
Palermo recommends making dinner time fun with games like Table Talk cards where both parents and kids can answer 'What If' questions or what they would do in a certain scenario. This encourages conversations about feelings and ideas instead of falling back on talking about schedules or to-dos.
The great thing about making the kitchen and dinner table 'safe spaces' where the kids feel seen and heard, is that they will start to look forward to mealtimes. It gives them a place to share things that they care about, but also things that are hard or that are scaring them. It's a way that teens can exert their growing independence, but also continue to connect with mom and the rest of the family over a satisfying meal.
Heading off to a new and exciting destination pretty much always sounds good to us, but the beginning of spring seems to inspire our desire to head to warmer climates for a little fun in the sun, relaxation, and adventure. Perhaps even as adults, we still want to go on Spring Break!
So naturally, our thoughts turn to vacation research and planning. While there are plenty of places in the United States and abroad that offer all of the above, we're particularly drawn to southern California. World class beaches with plenty to do for both kids and adults? We're booking our tickets already.
Cultural and educational activities are important, even - or perhaps especially - when you're on vacation. So a day or two at the museum might be called for, especially when you're in a place that has plenty of world class museums to choose from.
And that's really easy in San Diego thanks to Balboa Park - a massive green space in the middle of the city that's 40% larger than NYC's Central Park. With seventeen museums all located in the same park plus some excellent restaurants and a pretty remarkable sculpture garden, checking out Balboa Park might be worth tearing yourself away from the beaches (we promise).
The exhibits at the museums in the park run the gamut from the natural wonders of the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum to ones that showcase man-made creativity like the San Diego Museum of Art and the WorldBeat Center.
There's really something that will make everyone happy, from space nerds to audiophiles to history buffs. Plus the park itself has outdoor entertainment, the San Diego Zoo, and plenty of room for run around - perfect if you have rambunctious kids who need a lot of hands-on excitement.
What's a vacation without a few souvenirs? Some of the best shopping in California can be found at Seaport Village, a massive waterfront shopping and dining complex located right on San Diego Bay. But this isn't your standard mall - there are dozens of unique shops with merchandise that you can't find anywhere else in the world, including a Kite Shop, a Magic Shop, and a shop filled with magnets and only magnets - and so much more.
And Seaport Village is far from the only shopping option. Do you enjoy a little touristy kitschiness? So do we, and for unabashed fans of that kind of thing, San Diego has Old Town Market, which is a historic marketplace in the heart of Old Town San Diego with live entertainment, shops selling locally made and themed merchandise, and much more.
You really can't take a trip to southern California without visiting the beach and dipping your toes in the Pacific Ocean. And you might want to try your hand at surfing or other water sports while you're there. Or perhaps taking a stroll along the boardwalk and enjoying an ocean-side snack is more your thing. No matter what you're looking for, the San Diego area has some excellent options that include Mission Beach (which features Belmont Beach Park and the amazing Giant Dipper Roller Coaster), La Jolla Beach Cove, South Mission Beach, the dog-friendly Dog Beach, and Silver Strand State Beach. Really, the hardest part might be choosing which beach you want to hit first.
A family hike along a gorgeous coastline makes for some great photographs - and some great memories to go with them! This 2000 acre state park consists of a plateau that ends in dramatic cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Beach, along with a lagoon and eight miles of hiking trails filled with local flora and fauna, including the local sea birds. Adrenaline junkies can go paragliding or rock-climbing, but there are also some one mile hikes that are easily doable for pretty much everyone.
And during the whale migrations you can even see whales from the Torrey Pines cliffs! It might be one of the most Instagrammable places in San Diego - and in such a stunning city, that's really saying something.
There's so much to do in San Diego that you won't be satisfied with just one trip, and you certainly won't be bored. In fact, you might want to go back every year for another Southern California experience.
Learning about family history is essential if you plan to know anything about your past. By teaching children about family history, those lessons can be passed down for generations to come. It can also help you understand different cultures and generations with knowledge that can be applied to your own life.