Be flexible. As we are learning from the current ever-changing news cycle, things change rapidly. Make a schedule — and set goals, because kids need to know what to expect — but be willing to hold it loosely, and adapt to what your kids are communicating. If they're having a blast building Legos, don't move things along to get to "requirements." Don't be so hell-bent on a particular goal that you miss the bigger lesson your kids are learning about kindness and care for others.
As I think about parenting, I want adventure to be part of that as well. My favorite memories with my kids are the ones where we are throwing caution to the wind and doing something wild, out of the ordinary, or totally unplugged. In order to make adventure happen more often, these are the promises I'm making to my kids this year:
This got me thinking — I wonder if there's a power pose equivalent for moms? Sure, we're good at talking ourselves up to other moms. We're good at pretending we have everything together and know all the answers. But have an honest conversation with almost any mama, and she'll readily confess that it's mostly smoke and mirrors.
Before we moved to East Boston, it felt like a distant land, far across the water from the rest of Boston. Now, after having lived here for almost a decade, I cannot imagine a better place to live — or raise kids. One stop away from downtown Boston on the MBTA Blue Line or a short water-taxi ride away, it's an easy location for an adventure and offers a myriad of options to parents of young children!
My children are pros at wasting things. One of their favorite nap-time activities is to take sheets of printer paper and cut them into minuscule pieces that I find for days. They don't color on them — they just cut them up, and then throw them away. When school starts, they bring home reams of paper, covered in "art" that will be treasured for approximately five seconds and then cut into tiny pieces. The same is true for toys. They are joyously acquired, and then quickly forgotten about. Water is left running, lights are left on. Don't even get me started on the food I throw out every evening. You get the picture.
Two years ago, when a persistent cough and mild chest pressure turned out to be a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma tumor the size of a dollar bill compressing my husband’s airway, we joined that club. My husband was 31 and I was 32. Our children were 4, 3, and less than 1. Welcome to the cancer club.
When all else fails, we come back to my standby — laughter. Kids are just funny. And at the end of the day, I laugh way more as a mom than I ever did before having kids. (Sometimes that's so I don't cry.) But most of the time it's because the greatest unexpected gift of motherhood is how much I really like my little people.
Oh, and the one traditional gift that never gets old for Mom? Breakfast in bed. Better yet, you can delay the breakfast part, and just let her stay in bed, asleep, under the covers, for as long as she wants. If you really want to be an overachiever, you could try sleeping through the night (so she can too). That will win you bragging rights and possibly even favorite child status for a week or two. Throw a couple eggs and some toast that you haven't licked on top and you're set for a month.
As my oldest son has demonstrated trustworthiness, we are building the skills he needs to gain further independence. He no longer has to hold my hand to cross streets, because I know he'll stay close and not run recklessly. Now when we come to an intersection, I ask him, ‘Are we safe to cross?’ He gets to make the decision — but I have to sign off before we move forward. Before I trust him to do it independently, I am teaching him the skills he needs to do it safely.
"Because, friends, our daughters are watching, and we get the privilege of being their first model of what it looks like to be strong, beautiful, capable women. Women who like themselves, speak kindly to themselves and others, and don't stagnate but actively pursue growth."
This year, for the first time, some students are starting to have 'just boys' or 'just girls' parties. To be honest, there are some things that were appealing about that, especially with a son who wanted a football party. There's nothing wrong with that choice, and it's very possible we'll make a different one next year. But we chose to keep it co-ed this year, and here are some of the reasons I'm glad we did.