I love, love post-it notes. There is something very satisfactory about the swwlippp that it makes when you flick it off the stack, purposely and furiously scribble your Zorro-like mark, and THWackkk, slap it into place. I get a vision of flashbacks to the 1800s when being a postmaster meant wielding an almighty rubber stamp; determining the delivery of court orders and love notes. It makes me feel like I am getting things done and neither foe nor foul weather may stand in the way of a mom on a mission !!! [Can you hear the thrum of a theme song…. starts with acoustic guitars and builds into …..the Eye of the TIGEEERRRRR]
Back on planet earth: post it notes keep me and the family organized. They lay out the menu for the day. Sometimes I dream up what to make for school lunch but by the time I wake up in the morning, it’s drifted out of my head and absconded to the same planet that all my lost socks reside. So, these notes capture moments of brilliance before they run off. Since, I am a practical person of consistency, many of my actions repeat themselves over and over again hence…… the board of recycled post-it notes was born. Why do it over when I already have one from last week?
They are reminders of what I need to set out tomorrow, what the kids need from me, making sure everyone has everything they need for once we leave the house — there is no going back to get anything coz momma has to be at work.
The recycled post-it note board has become somewhat of a family legend. When the extended family comes over, they take turns showing this museum piece to people who haven’t seen it yet. I supposed it doesn’t help that the glasses are stored behind that very door. “Hahah…what is that?…it’s HERs? Oh, now it makes sense. But hahah, still funny.”
Of all the post it notes, the ones I treasure most are the ones crafted by my husband because for all the things that I do to serve the family, it is his adoration that takes my breath away.
My first name is : Oh yeah...
My last name is : Mom
When the kids were in kindergarten and pre-school, they were required to tell me 3 things about their day as soon as they got in the car and buckled up. “Tell me a story.” Then, they got a piece of gum. Yes, I am a bad mom, gum is likely not a good thing. But then, we didn’t wear seatbelts when we were children - so there! Alright, back to the 3 items of conversation. I made it easy ... “was there outdoor recess?, who did you sit with for lunch?, etc.” That gave me ammunition to ask more questions as they divulged.
“Tell me a story. Everyone’s got a story”
Let’s fast forward to today.
“How was school?”
Italics [Moms, In case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s a silly question. It’s close ended and stunts conversation]
“Tell me something funny that happened.”
Italics [Usually, I can see my kids thinking hard and seeing scenes of the day in their heads]
“Oh Yeah! Mom!......”
Italics [...and the story follows suit]
In my field of work, there are many introverts (as am I) and to an extent, extroverts can annoy us when they wish to “process out loud”. Thinking is a cerebral occupation and as as such, we introverts believe that it should remain in the cortex! Now, imagine a family of introverts where sharing is not a preferred activity, how much harder we must work to solicit meaningful conversation as opposed to what we perceive to be space filling chatter. Oh, but what a treasure you have when able to extract both meaning and purpose from everyday conversations for Listening is Love.
My mom does not live close to me and it is rare that we get to spend a lot of time together. We are very close and do talk to each other regular. We spend a good 30 minutes each week chatting. Recently, I managed to squeeze into an already hectic schedule, an entire week with her. She’s in her 70s and when she’s on a mission, she can maintain a walking speed that is faster than mine. She slows down to let me “catch up”. The best times of the week were spent sitting in my childhood bedroom with her telling me stories.
When I was 12, I consciously decided that I needed someone to talk to and clearly remember coming home and saying, “Mom, I want you to know all my friend so I’m going to describe each one of them to you.” What I really wanted to do was tell her about my day but as I started to talk, I realized that it was not possible to tell her about my experience if I didn’t first provide a description of the context, cast and crew. I believe that our children want to talk to us about their feelings, life, and loves.
It made me ponder over the nature of the relationship with my own daughter and what the future holds. What am I doing today to build on that relationship?
Every Sunday during the lunch after church, we have a family meeting to go over the week’s events. Not sure how it started, but it has carried on for a few years now. All stakeholders must be present, and we insist that there is quorum before we make major schedule changes. CEO (husband) and CFO (me!) have omnipotent veto rights. First order of events is to go through the calendar for the week. Next, we pair up the logistics for how to support each those events - meals, wheels, transportation of everything from sporting equipment to musical instruments, homework schedule, etc. Lastly, it’s around the table for any comments or concerns. Then, we proceed with a hearty round of fart jokes and the meeting ends when someone laughs so hard that one to two beads of rice accidentally shoots out of their mouths. Really, I’m not making it up.
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.