The rush, hustle, bustle.... violin, ballet, basketball, swimming, library books.....something always gets left behind and no one realizes until we get to the destination, 10 mins later for soccer practice with no shin guards. Great! There has to be a better way. Well, there is, a long time ago when the kids were in grade school, my mantra was "If it is not in the basket, it doesn't make it into the car." We used to set large laundry baskets by the door and the kids would put the things that they needed for the next day into the baskets. Everything from backpacks to lunchboxes and extra boots or snow pants. I did not permit a haphazard dumping of random items into the baskets. They had to me only and excatly what they needed.
Today, 10 years later, the kids have inherited a system of organization and they pack their own stuff. They make sure that everything makes it into the car on their own. Next year, when the kids start to drive themselves to school, I am not there to fetch or retrieve any forgotten items. So, moms, start organizing early because that is what they will need to fend for themselves when you let go inch by inch and make them independent. At a Christian moms conference many years ago, one speaker said that we have 18 years to teach kids what they need to know before they leave home. When you think about, 18 years goes by... in a flash.
They have some nice baskets by Sterlite
I actually have about 6-10 of these Sterlite baskets stacked for laundry and to facilitate loading of stuff into the car. More about laundry sorting in an upcoming & yet to be written blog.
I just got my first pair of Lululemon tights and I feel… so deliciously decedent. They tuck and trim without surgery. So I leave the house with the tights on, paired with a long sweater that covers my behind.
It’s my day off so I’m doing the suburban mom thing… wear my Lulus… go to Barre class… sip Starbucks.... pick up the kids after school. This is the conversation that transpired when we got home:
My daughter (MD): Mom, you cannot leave the house dressed like that.
Dr. Mom (Dr. M): What? This?
MD: How would you like it if I left the house in that?
Dr. M: Well, can I wear a long shirt…like this?
Dr. M: But why?
MD: Well, let’s put it this way, it would be disrespectful to me if you went out there with me, dressed like that. Just like it would be disrespectful for me to wear that and go out with you.
Dr. M: [baffled… mouth open]. Wait, who’s the mom around here?
I seriously cannot believe that the conversation just happened. Maybe, just maybe, I can sneak them out of the house and change when I get to…[mental head slap]…have to remind myself that I am not 13 anymore, I don’t have to sneak anything. Either I have raised a very respectable teenager or have hereby lost any semblance of control. The big question is, “What now do I do with the $100 Lulus? Anybody want to buy a pair of tights?”
Vacations. I love vacations. Did you know that there are studies that demonstrate how the mind categorizes work vs. fun. If I go to an exotic place...say, Hawaii and "I have to go there for work", it instantly becomes less fun than if I paid actual money to go to Hawaii and take my family there. So, to maximize fun, do not accept a paid vacation! All that is gold is not as it seems. Yet, would I turn down a trip to Hawaii? Likely not.
Vacation with my children is the funnest sort of mental break. My teens and I have a great relationship and what I enjoy most is teaching them new things about the world beyond their normal bubble. When we go to a city, I hand the children the subway map, point out the destination and tell them to take me there. The same with airports and street maps. They are getting very good at navigating. I also try to teach them street smarts and situational awareness. Cautionary tales of sorts from pick pockets to carelessly lost luggage, and even once, there was an incident where we took time to gawk to officials escorting someone in handcuffs.
We have already established that I travel a lot for a living and I want to share that with my children. 10 things we learned on our last cruise....
1. how to snorkel
2. to respect the coral
3. swim with fishes
4. always wear your seatbelt.
5. pack only what we can carry
6. never forget to tip
7. always report to mom on time
8. watch out for each other and never go down dark lonely corridors
9. wash your hands
10. call an uber when everyone is hungry, cranky and ready to rip that street map apart
I recently volunteered to give a devotional to a group of high school girls and I started off the devo with “How many of you are asked on a daily basis….what do you plan to do after you graduate?” A good number of the young ladies raised their hands. Many did not have a solid answer for what they wanted to do in college or after school or for the rest of their lives. Some wished adults would not ask them that question. If we stop to think about it, it is an exceedingly intimidating question. Many adults still do not know what they want to do “when they grow up”. Many of us had a direction that they started out with and after many twists, change, and challenges that life throws you, the path is completely different from that which was in my 16 year old brain, so very many moons ago.
If even 50% of us moms are of the stay-at-home variety, why then is it necessary to go to college? As you read this, I am sure you are mentally screaming at me and at my ivory tower snobbery. But wait, please stay the hate mail…. it is merely a rhetorical question. I think that every person capable of learning should engage in as much education as they are able to gain. Why? Very simply the - we exist to serve & teach the next generation, to build God’s kingdom with a the best possible minds. There is one caveat… that education must serve God’s purpose. For example, let’s examine Rebel Mom who has homeschooled all 6 of her children I would believe that her college education has served her well in enhancing learning in her children.
When I first read Proverbs Ch 31 on The Wife of Noble Character, I always thought that it was an impossible standard. The woman in the story did everything from feeding her family, to planting a vineyard and clothing them in purple. Ugh….I’m allergic to purple. But as I grow older, I realize that many of you moms are as accomplished as this proverbial woman.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.” If this is so (and why should be doubt the Bible?), then what do we teach our daughters? Aristotle was of the opinion that the purpose of education is to make citizens, virtuous. Teaching & learning are about a disciplined inquiry into some aspect of reality. Too often, as women, we rely on our emotions and perhaps, the practice of disciplined inquiry is a good thing as we apply purpose and structure in our homes.
An actual image of my dissertation at work. On a 4 hour ride to a family wedding in 2014, there was enough time to read, write and eat some chicken nuggets.
The real deal about what it’s like to be a working mom. I often hear the following phrase, “I don’t know how you manage it all.“ The reality is, I don’t even know. Deep down inside, I’m wondering the same thing about them. I have two kids, a wonderful husband, a normal suburban life. I’ve always been achievement oriented and simply love to tackle things that sometimes make other peoples eyes glaze over… in boredom. I’m a researcher and my view on the technical stuff is that nothing is difficult, merely complex.
Flat Stanley at the Changing of the Guards.