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Monday, December 31, 2012

A letter to Moms

Note - read the following in a whisper voice
Dear Moms,
Please stop yelling at your kids and husband.  As soon as you start raising your voice, the message you want to get across gets lost in the noise.  All you are doing is showing that you are not in control of yourself.  How would you feel if someone you respected overheard you while you were ranting and raving at the ones you love the most?  How would you feel if someone else were treating your kids or spouse that way?  I know you get frustrated and irritated and angry but you don't have to show it by yelling.  You are capable of adjusting the volume of your voice based on circumstances.  Try doing it with your family.  It takes self-control but isn't your family worth it?  The alternative is they will either tune you out, lose their respect for you, resent you or fear you.  None are good options.  Use your soft voice (unless it's an emergency)
Thank you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reflections on 2012

Reflecting on 2012, I never would have guessed the things that happened in the lives of my children.  It was a year full of happy beginnings and sad endings.  A year of growth and challenges.  A year where I was constantly reminded of how blessed I am as a mother to have such wonderful children.

During 2012, three new babies were born to three of my children's families.  (ok, one was born on Dec. 30, 2011 but I count her too).  Two little baby girls and one baby boy.  Two were born strong and healthy but one we knew was going to be born with congenital defects, the extent of those defects was unknown but the prognosis wasn't positive.  This beautiful baby girl was born premature, lived two hours and died in her father's arms.  Although she lived such a short life, she is loved and remembered.  She reminds us about the fragility of life and how precious it is.  She reminds us not to take each other for granted but to appreciate every day together.

Two new families were created this year when two of my daughters married their handsome young men.  One of those wasn't a surprise as M and R had been dating steadily for over a year.  It was a joyous occasion to see them finally kneel at the altar and become man and wife.  My other daughter's courtship and marriage were more of a surprise.  Daughter L didn't think she was ever going to get married until one early February day when she met M.  There was an instant connection and a whirlwind romance that culminated in their beautiful wedding in August.  I never would have imagined that seven of my eight children would be married by the end of 2012.

So, that leaves one child at home, daughter K.  Nope!  2012 was the year that she went away to college for the first time.  My baby has grown up!  But I'm happy to report that she maintained her strong A GPA while enjoying a social life and I learned how to use Skype this year to keep in touch with her.  I miss her.

With my newfound time, I discovered the world of blogging.  It's been almost one year since I started Momcoach and I have had such positive feedback from it.  Thank you.  I try to write every day but I'll admit that it's sometimes hard to come up with a topic.  I welcome any ideas for suitable topics you might have.

With 2012 at an end, I'm not sure whether to be excited or scared about 2013.  Who knows what the new year will bring.  I guess it doesn't matter - 2013 is coming, ready or not.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The last two days of the year!

There are still a few days left before the new year starts.  What are you going to do with them?  Well, tomorrow is Sunday so it would be a great idea to end the old year by going to church and showing your gratitude for the blessings you received during the year.  Being thankful helps keep our troubles and problems in perspective.

Then comes Monday.  Have you thought about spending the day doing some heavy-duty clutter purging?  If we're getting rid of an old year, why not get rid of some old stuff too!  Invite your children to do the same.  Take the stuff you no longer need to the nearest Goodwill or Deseret Industries and get a tax deduction while you're at it.  (Ask for a receipt!)  Your discarded stuff might be just the thing someone is looking for.  Don't keep it around thinking you might need it someday.  If you haven't been using it already, chances are good that you're not going to miss it in the future .  Give yourself the gift of more space!  Let it go.

Let's make the most of the next two days so we will be ready for a great new year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mothers ARE important!

This morning I had a heated discussion with someone about the importance of mothers in the home.  The person I was talking with has the opinion that while having a mother in the home is a good thing, it's even more important for her to be able to have a career and contribute to the family income.  He feels that just about anyone can raise a child.

Well, that's one of my hot buttons.  Raising children isn't of secondary importance.  It is THE most important thing a mother can do for the future generation.  It is a full time job.  Her dedication (or lack thereof) will determine how well adjusted her children are as adults.  She is the one who teaches them what is right and what is wrong.  She reinforces standards and values for her children to see and live.  She instills in them a love of learning.  She provides a warm and loving environment for them to thrive in.  Her influence is far reaching.

To say that anyone has the same feelings and dedication to your children is just not true.  There are wonderful child care providers but there are also ones who do a mediocre to poor job.  Why leave it to chance if you don't have to? 

Being a mother is often a thankless job but that doesn't lessen its importance.  Those mothers who truly devote their time and effort to the righteous rearing of their children will reap the rewards of their effort someday and no professional award will compare with what she has accomplished.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Christmas

Someone needs a nap!  :)
I don't know about you, but as soon as Christmas is over, I'm ready to put things away and get back to normal. This usually elicits a cry of protest from the kids so I try to compromise.  The tree can stay up and still light up the room with all the twinkly lights (until New Years) but the gifts need to be put away and all the wrappings need to be gathered up and put in the trash.  The leftover cookies and goodies need to be eaten or packed up and frozen for eating later.  I'm tired of sweets (at least for a few days!)  I don't want to see any more elves on shelves. I think they're creepy anyway!  :)

Most of all, it's time to get back to the routines of living.  Kids need their usual bedtimes and mealtimes.  Too much partying and celebrating can be stressful on everyone!  Kids often show their stress by being hyper or cranky so go easy on them for a few days.  Returning back to familiar routines will help.

One thing that we don't have to pack away until next year though is the feeling of love and gratitude for family and friends and the desire to help one another and be kind.  Let's keep those up all year long.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

If you're reading this on Christmas day, it's time to shut down the computer and go have a Merry Christmas with your family and friends!

I wish you all a wonderful day full of laughter and love!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the day before Christmas...

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house
All the creatures were stressed out, yes, even the mouse.

With Mom in the kitchen and Dad in the shop
They're determined to finish even if it means they will drop.

And kids, oh how crabby, are bouncing off walls
In anticipation of the presents you bought at the malls.

Ok, so I'm not a poet  :)  The big day is almost here and it's time to stop shopping, stop frantic holiday baking and settle down to relax with your family.  No matter what didn't get finished or how things didn't turn out as envisioned, you can give your children a wonderful, memorable day by just being happy with what you have and showing appreciation for the blessings that your family received this year.  You kids will probably forget the gifts but will always remember the laughter and the love.

Don't stay up too late now wrapping presents!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The most valuable gifts

With all the time spent looking for just the right Christmas presents for your children, it might be good to remember that the most valuable gifts you can give your children aren't things at all. 

The gift of a calm and peaceful mother.  This one is one of the hardest and yet one of the most appreciated.  Your children will behave better and your home will be a place of joy and happiness.

The gift of listening.  When your kids are talking to you, do you really listen to them or are you distracted with something else?  It's so easy to let your mind wander but what they have to say is important to them and therefore, should be important to you.

The gift of security.  A tough one.  While there is little security in the world today, your children need to feel secure in their home with their parents. 

The gift of time.  The argument says that quality is as good as quantity when it comes to time.  Not so.  Your children need you for the routine, mundane things in their life as well as the scheduled, special times.

The gift of patience.  Your children aren't little adults.  They will make mistakes.  They will annoy you.  They will have accidents.  This is all part of growing up.  Be patient with them.

The gift of unconditional love.  No matter what they do or say, your children need to know that they are loved and that you will always be there for them.  Always.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Stocking Stuffers

A few days ago I read an article in Yahoo News about inexpensive stocking stuffers under (gasp!) $20.00!  I don't know about you, but any present over $10.00 qualifies as a real gift and goes under the tree.  Filling stockings for the kids with trinkets that add up to $50.00 or more is not my idea of wise use of spending, even at Christmastime.

What is your family's tradition concerning Christmas stockings? In my family we usually give everyone an apple, an orange, some candy (Lindor balls are my favorite!), granola bars or trail mix, some packets of hot chocolate mix, a individual sugary cereal box or two, maybe some socks and a little (and I do mean little) surprise of some sort. Guess what the kids have for breakfast on Christmas morning?  :)

Christmas stockings are more the prelude to opening presents, not the main event.  So, why spend lots of money on filler that will most likely be hurriedly tossed aside in the hurry to open the big stuff?

A good place to find inexpensive stocking stuffers is the dollar store.  Except for the fresh fruit I mentioned above (and the Lindor balls), everything else can probably be bought for under $10.00 per stocking...and that's being very generous!  Use your imagination and creativity!  Make it an adventure to see what fun stuff you can come up with!  Just one word of early in the day to avoid the crowds  :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's Coooking? Wednesday - Cranberry Chicken Roll Ups

I love leftovers.  Maybe that's because I get another meal without all the work!  I'm lazy that way  :)  My husband, however, isn't fond of leftovers so I have to be creative when serving him something twice in a row.  Today I achieved it!  He didn't know he was eating chicken from last night's meal.  Yay!

Cranberry Chicken Roll Ups
Leftover chicken (or turkey) breast, shredded *
Flour tortillas or wraps
Cranberry sauce, whole berry would be my preference but I only had jellied
Cream cheese
Lettuce, broken into small pieces
Tomato, sliced thin

For each wrap assemble as follows -

Spread cream cheese over 1/2 of the tortilla.  Spread cranberry sauce over other half.

Arrange shredded chicken over top.

Sprinkle lettuce over chicken and top with tomato slices.

Roll up firmly.  Looks like slugs  :)

Slice and eat!

  *To shred chicken or turkey - Put chicken pieces in a pot and bring to a boil.  Boil until chicken is so tender it shreds when pulled apart with a fork.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter Weather Reminder

As I'm writing this, the wind is blowing strongly and the rain is pounding down.  It might even snow tomorrow and there's a chance of a power outage.  I know, this is not a weather blog  :)  but it reminds me of important things.

Does your car have emergency survival supplies?  If your car were to become disabled, do you have what it takes to wait it out until help arrives?  It's amazing how quickly a car can get cold and how hungry you can get when you realize that you are stuck somewhere and have to wait.

So, before you need it...
Find a plastic container, backpack or duffel and put in it -
Quick energy snacks for every family member (like trail mix, granola bars, pop tarts)
Individual bottles of water
Heavy weight gloves
Winter scarves or hats for everyone
Extra socks
Diapers, wipes and formula for baby 
Put the backpack or container in the back of your car.

Now don't you feel better?

Oh, and I'm assuming that you have a cell phone and basic car equipment (like car jack, spare tire, wrenches, jumper cables and that kind of stuff)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Helping kids deal with tragedy

Our world is a scary place.  The shootings in the Connecticut elementary school serves as a stark reminder of how vulnerable we and our children are.  It's always a tragedy when someone dies at the hand of another but random gunning down of innocent children is beyond comprehension.

Even though it's difficult for us to understand, our focus needs to be on our children, helping them cope, reassuring them and teaching them.  Here are some ideas to help you...

1. Limit the amount of time you watch news coverage of tragedy in front of your children.  They don't need to see or know all the horrific details. 
2. Along with #1, limit the amount of discussion you do with other adults when the children are within listening distance.
3. Children mirror their parents.  If you want to lessen their anxiety, be calm and in control of yourself.
4. Be truthful and honest with them.  Remember to be age-appropriate when discussing things with them.
5. Keep your routines as normal as possible during times of stress.  Everyone needs that sense of normalcy when the world around them is going crazy.
6. Your children will probably need extra love and reassurance while they are coping with the effects of a tragedy.  Give them the time they need to deal with it.
7. Turn to God to give you strength.  He is the ultimate source of peace and comfort.

We have little control over things that happen in the world but we do have control of how we respond to them and how we help our children cope.  We can't live in fear of the unknown but must continue living and loving our families to the best of our abilities.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Low cost Christmas activities

Some would have you believe that to have the perfect Christmas, you have to spend tons of money on elaborate gifts, decorations and activities.  It doesn't have to be that way.  Christmas doesn't have to be a budget breaker.  It's possible to enjoy many varied activities during the holiday season without spending a lot of money.  In fact, there are probably more inexpensive options to choose from than any other time of year.  Here are a few ideas...
Chuck set up this Nativity scene.  :)  Can you find the pterodactyl and Noah?

1. Set up a Christmas themed jigsaw puzzle to work on during the month.
2. Invite friends over for hot chocolate and cookies.
3. Go caroling.
4. Drive around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights and decorations.
5. See if your community is having a Messiah Sing-Along.  Great fun!
6. Rent Christmas movies and watch a different one every evening.
7. Make Christmas cards for far away family
8. Get a friend to trade taking family pictures.
9.  Depending on location, drive up the mountain for a snow day.
10. Act out the Nativity.
11. Read aloud a Christmas book during the month.  My kids loved "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"  Others I remember are O'Henry's "The gift of the Magi", "The Bird's Christmas Carol"(an older tear-jerker) , Dickens "A Christmas Carol", Grisham's "Skipping Christmas"
12. Make gingerbread houses.
13. Have a family campout in the living room with only the twinkly Christmas tree lights on.
14. Put jingle bells on sneakers.
15. Get everyone silly Christmas socks.
16. Listen to Christmas music as much as possible.  Pull up Pandora or Grooveshark on your computer, play CD's or tune into an all Christmas music radio station.
17. Take cookies to neighbors
18. Help a family in need.
19. Make homemade decorations with the kids.  Construction paper chains, popcorn garlands, paper snowflakes, wreaths from evergreens and pine cones, etc.  Use your imagination or use Pinterest.  :)
20. Trade babysitting with another mom so you can both do holiday shopping without little distractions.
21. Always read the story of the birth of Christ found in Luke 2 on Christmas Eve.

How's that for a start?  There are so many more ideas but I am running out of time today.  You're welcome to add to the list!  What are your favorite low cost things to do at Christmastime?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
This sounds like more work than it is.  Do you really think I would post a difficult recipe?  As with most of my recipes, you can vary the amounts depending on whether you want more (or less) broccoli or chicken.  This is a good main dish on a cold winter night when you are in a hurry to eat!

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 can Campbells Condensed Cream of Chicken soup.  I use the Healthy Recipe version
3/4 c. milk. I use skim milk
2 c. fresh or frozen broccoli florets, rinsed.  Break them into bite sized pieces if they're really big.
1/2 lb. eggs noodles or fettuccine or some other flat noodle
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

In large pot, cook noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Add the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking. 

While noodles are cooking, cook the chicken in large frying pan over medium high heat until it starts to turn lightly brown on the outside.  Add the soup, milk and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.  Stir until hot.

When noodles and broccoli are done, drain off water and return to pot.
Add the chicken mixture to the noodles.  Stir gently to combine.
Serve with the extra Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Add a green salad and maybe some rolls or toasted bread and you're done.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dates with your kids!

I am stealing this idea from my daughter.  :)  You know how important it is for you to have a date night with your husband, right?  Well, my daughter and her husband also have regular date nights with their kids!  Usually on a weeknight, they each take either their son or daughter out for an hour or so and just have fun with them.  That might mean an ice cream cone at the ice cream parlor or a walk in the mall or a special library trip.   These aren't elaborate or expensive outings but by doing them regularly, they guarantee needed one on one time with their children.

My daughter has found that her son shares more of the things going on in his life with her while they are on a "date" than at home.  No distractions, no interruptions, just undivided attention for an hour each week.  And my granddaughter loves her daddy and feels so special when she has him to herself.  What a great bonding time!

Wish I'd done it when my kids were at home!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Yearning for home

I grew up surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and various other family members.  Everyone from both sides of the family lived within about 40 miles from each other.  I guess I took it for granted, having big family gatherings and knowing that I was part of a large family group.  I always thought I'd grow up, get married and live close to my family.  It didn't happen.

I went away to school where I met my future husband and where we lived depended on where he got a job.  Going back home was reduced to hurried holiday visits where I felt more like a guest than family.   I spent many a year feeling sorry for myself during holidays, when I heard about family reunions that I couldn't attend, when I missed milestones, when someone was sick or when a loved one died.

But...this is not a pity post.  For many women, part of growing up is learning how to enjoy where you live, wherever it may be.  If you have a husband and children, your home is with them first.  You have a responsibility to make that home a place of love and peace.  You have a responsibility to make the best of your circumstances.  It won't help to complain to your husband or make him feel bad for the choice that was made.  What the husband and kids need is a supportive wife and mother who isn't sitting around feeling sorry for herself and making everyone miserable because she isn't where she wants to be.

Maybe we should be thankful that we don't live when pioneers left their families for a new land and never saw them again.  At least we have the technology that allows us to be part of far-away family even from hundreds of miles away.  Little consolation sometimes, I know, but it's better than nothing.

Also, did you ever think that maybe you live where you live because there are things for you to learn that you couldn't learn elsewhere and experiences for you to have?  Sometimes we just don't know what opportunities are waiting for us when we step out of our comfort zone, have courage, and take a chance on something new.

Do I still miss my family?  Of course I do, especially this time of year.  But that's ok...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter Warmth

Unless you live in the Sunbelt, it's probably pretty cold where you are right now.  Where I am the temperatures have been in the 40's during the day and the 30's at night.  That means dressing appropriately for the weather.  And that means dressing your little ones appropriately too.

It never ceases to amaze me when I go to the store or somewhere outside and I see a baby in a stroller who has bare hands and a bare head.  Hey Moms!  If you need a coat, your baby needs one too.  If your hands are cold, hers are colder (she puts her fingers in her mouth).  And her head is bald.  Don't you think she could use a hat?

Then there are the moms who go to the opposite extreme.  Baby is bundled up with five or six blankets and the poor little thing is obviously uncomfortable.  No wonder Baby is crying.  I would be too!

When it comes to dressing your babies and toddlers, use common sense and use your own comfort as a gauge for what Baby should wear.  If you don't have mittens for her, use a pair of her socks.  They have snug elastic on top and stay on pretty well.  And all bald babies need hats, says the mom who had eight bald babies!  :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Home improvement...Aarrgghh!

No where is the difference between men and women more apparent than when the two of them are  working together on a project.  How do I know this?  My husband and I are doing remodeling work on our home.  I am going crazy!  How can two relatively normal people think so differently?!  However, to give him some credit, I probably drive him crazy too  :)

Here are some examples of what I mean.  I like to sew.  I decide on a project, make a list of the materials I need, check to see what I already have in my supplies, go to the fabric store and buy the materials, go home, set up my work area and proceed to make the whatever.  Then I clean everything up and put things away.  This usually takes less than a day from start to finish.  The end.

My husband is far more meticulous.  Projects need to be planned just right.  The materials need to be exactly what he envisions.  The old adage "Measure twice, cut once" is taken to new levels.  When I go with him to the home improvement store, I feel like a little kid being forced to go clothes shopping with her mother.  All my childlike tendencies, like sighing, pacing, shifting from side to side, checking the time and whining all rush to the surface.  Poor husband.

This project WILL get finished!
So, I've been working on being patient.  It isn't easy.  I thought I was a patient person but I guess I'm not there yet  :)  I keep reminding myself that his way of doing things might not be my way but the projects will get completed and will turn out fine and we'll enjoy the end results.  But in the meantime...sigh.

Maybe next time I go to the fabric store, I'll bring him along with me  :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All weddings are unique but...

Every story has a moral and this one is no exception.  Several years ago on this day, I married my college sweetheart.  Like every newly engaged couple, we planned our wedding down to the last detail.   We would get married right after the Thanksgiving break so our families could join us (they  both lived out of state) and it wouldn't interfere with the semester finals.  Then during Christmas break, we would have an Open House to celebrate with family and friends.  We thought we had it all figured out.

All went well as we approached Thanksgiving.  Our families arrived from California and Arizona (in a huge snowstorm!) and we moved the last of our belongings from our dorms to our new apartment.  Everything was going according to plan.  Until...two days before the wedding, my husband-to-be woke up feeling sick.  He was feverish and covered with a bright red rash.  A trip to the local emergency room confirmed that he had measles.  He wasn't going anywhere for several days.  So much for our plans!

Our families had to return to their homes.  My husband-to-be was miserably sick and we didn't know what was going to happen.  So, we waited.  About a week later, he decided he was well enough so we decided that we would get married the next morning.  Luckily, we had all the paperwork completed and licenses and all that stuff. That was one extremely small wedding!  It consisted of my sister and her husband, the officiator, an unknown witness, my husband and me in the beautiful Salt Lake Temple. 

Even though our wedding didn't go as planned (it wasn't even on the DAY we planned), we're still together after all these years. 

Moral of the story...
1.  Get your kids vaccinated!
2.  Sometimes the best plans don't go as expected but you'll have quite the story to tell your children someday  :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Banana Bread

With a bunch of bananas that were clearly past their prime, I had no choice but to make banana bread today.  :)  This is a family favorite!  Quick, easy and inexpensive.  What more can you ask?!
Moist and delicious!  Banana Bread

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas
1/2 c. oil
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In blender container, combine the bananas, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.
In mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add banana mixture to dry ingredients and mix until no longer lumpy.  Pour into one 4 1/2 X 8 inch loaf pan (or two smaller pans).  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool.  Eat.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An antidote to holiday stress

After spending several days talking about the stresses of the holidays, I will switch gears and write about one sure-fire way to bring genuine happiness to you and your children.  I'm talking about kindness...looking for ways to do something nice for someone else.  When we stop thinking so much about ourselves, our wants, our needs, our worries and think instead of what we can do for someone else, our burdens are lightened and we feel the peace and joy that we are searching for during the holiday season.

This is something we can and should teach our children.  We can encourage them to look for ways they can be kind or look for things they can do to help their siblings or their parents.  Maybe every evening at dinner, you can go around the table and ask everyone to tell one kind thing they did that day.  Although some of the most rewarding service is anonymous, children need positive reinforcement to help them get started.   You might even reward them with a treat (maybe a small candy cane) or a gold star on a chart to give them incentive.

 Everywhere you look, there are opportunities to show kindness, especially in this crazy, fast-paced world we live in.  Whether at home, at work or out about town, there are ways to brighten someone's day.  We're not even talking about something big, elaborate or time-consuming.  A small gesture can have a great impact.  Not only will you make someone happier, you'll have good warm fuzzy feelings too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Stress - Part 6 - Too much to do!

Everybody loves Christmastime.  There are parties to attend, lights to see, decorations to put up, cookies to bake, gifts to make, presents to wrap, family and friends to visit, activities to participate in, plays, movies  and musical productions to watch, caroling in the neighborhood, and of course, snuggling around a warm fire, sipping hot chocolate, watching the lights of the Christmas tree and listening to beautiful Christmas music.  Sounds idyllic, doesn't it?

So, how are you going to accomplish all this?   If you're like most moms, you're not unless you are planning on stressing yourself out and everyone around you.  But that's ok.  You don't have to do everything.  Just because there's a smorgasbord of delightful activities to choose from, doesn't mean you have to participate in them all.

Here's an idea.  Tonight for Family Night, gather everyone together and ask them what is their favorite part of the holiday season.  Write down their answers and then have everyone rank them in order of importance.  Depending on other obligations, choose the top 4 or 5 (or whatever number) and focus on them.  You might be surprised.  You might think that the homemade knitted sweaters that you've been making everyone for the last ten years are the highlight of the family's Christmas and then find out that they didn't even make the top ten list.  So, why do it?  Use your time, energy and money for things that make everyone happy and (hopefully) reduce some of the stress you put yourself through.  You might even find that the favorites change from year to year.  That's normal.  Kids grow up every year.

If you put your focus on a few well planned activities and experiences, you might find yourself actually enjoying the holiday.    Now go relax with that cup of hot chocolate...  :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A case of misplaced priorities

This incident gave me a lot to think about.  What do you think?

Two school age children (a boy and a girl) wanted to do something to make their mother happy.  She had been under a lot of stress lately and the children noticed her sadness.  They decided to surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  While she was gone on an errand, they picked an armful of wildflowers and arranged them in their mother's favorite heirloom vase that had belonged to their grandmother.  When their mother came home, they went into the kitchen, picked up the heavy vase and proceeded to take it to their mother in the living room.  Unfortunately, the vase was both heavy and slippery and it slipped from the little girl's hands and shattered all over the floor.  What would you do if you were the mom?  What did the mom do?

The mom gave in to her first instinct and berated the children harshly for destroying something that was very valuable to her.  She demanded that they pay her for the damage to her vase to teach them that if you break something, you have to pay for it.  The children were heartbroken as they gathered all their saved money to give to their irate mother. 

Let's talk about this story.   Did the kids do something malicious?  Did they intentionally break the vase?   Were they roughhousing, causing the vase to be knocked over and broken?  The answer of course is no.  What happened was a complete, unfortunate accident.  They love their mother and were trying to please her.  They didn't mean to break anything.

Sure, the heirloom vase is broken beyond repair but what is more important, a broken vase or a broken spirit?  A vase is an has no feelings.  It may represent a dearly departed loved one but it isn't that person.  A child is of far more infinite worth.  Their spirits are young and tender.  Surely a mother can realize the difference.  In the above story, a mother's opportunity to grow closer to her children was lost in the emotion of misplaced priorities.

We are the parents here.  We should be the mature ones.  Hopefully we will treat our children with love and understanding and build them up rather than tear them down.