Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Queen Of My Castle....Where's My Crown?

Welcome to my queendom!

Funny how when I type that word it is underlined in the obnoxious red line from spell check! Does it not recognize it as a valid word? If a kingdom is a real word, why can't a qeendom be? Am I not the queen of my castle?

I like to think I am.

I like to think that I have every inch of my castle, every subject in my rule, every thing that lives, breaths, or just is withing my walls, under control. Sheesh....what fairy tale am I living in?

Well, I don't think we are too far off from having queendoms.

Dictionary.com lists this as one of the many definitions of kingdom - "anything conceived as constituting a realm or sphere of independent action or control: the kingdom of thought. " Change that word, apply the same definition, and there you have it....we have queendoms.

If you think about it, as moms, we create the primary "sphere" from which our children view the world. We have control over what we let into our castles. We can censor the media we let it, we can make the "laws" that govern the actions within our realms, we can even (at least until t hey are tween-agers") dictate the style of dress we will allow within our reigns. We can monitor, shape, and to some extent rule our queendoms. Ahhh.....the power!


Along with this great power comes an even greater responsibility. Just as a good king should, as queen, we must have limitless loyalty to those we are responsible for. We need to make sure that our queendoms are healthy places for them to view the world from. We need to give them love, respect, protection, grace, mercy and opportunity so that not only they, but our queendoms can prosper.

Every morning, I get up and place my crown upon my head. I wear it with great honor. It is not a crown made of gold and gem stones, but a crown of responsibility and love, adorned by the three most precious jewels ever created!

Friday, February 20, 2009

CSI Mommy - Caution, Suspicion,Intuition

I'm not saying I don't trust my kids. I'm not saying that they have given me any reason to be suspicious or overly cautious about their motives, actions and words. I'm not even saying that I need to monitor them or look for a reason to not trust them.

What I am saying, is that as a mom, I have what you might call a 6th sense when it comes to my kids. I'm sure all you other moms can relate to this.

It is the sense of just knowing that something isn't right. It is that knowledge that when the house gets too quiet, it's time to do some investigating - mothers of smaller children can really relate to this. It's the feeling that when your son or daughter is pleading their side of an argument with their sibling, that there is more to the story. It's just knowing that when your daughter comes home from school and saying her day was OK, that her day wasn't. It is our intuition.

I don't know if intuition is encoded into everyone's being or perceptions. I have taken psychology in my studies and still don't really know the answer to that. What I do know, is that for me, my intuition has been an instinctual thing. From the moment by first daughter was born, I had an overwhelming knowing that I understood and knew her better than anyone could. That allowed me to "read" when something wasn't right. In fact, it still allows me to know when something isn't right with any of my daughters. Maybe it came from subconscious learning from watching my mom. Maybe it's ingrained in my DNA. Who knows?

Suspicion and caution are a part of intuition. If my gut (intuition) is telling me that something is out of whack, then I have a duty to cautiously investigate my suspicion. It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it.

Hmmm...do you think maybe CSI Mommy could be the next in the TV series? I bet the stories that the readers of this post have could support several season's worth of story lines!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Do As I Say, Not As I Do..." Role Model Mama

Do as I say, not as I do!

How many times have you heard that? Maybe your parents said it. Maybe your teachers said it. Maybe your pastors, doctors, or role models said it. Was that ever an effective method to keep you from making bad choices?

Here's another question: How many times have you said that to your children?

I think by the time we are adults, we consciously realize that actions speak louder that words. We may hear a verbal message, but if the action contradicts the words, then the lasting impression is the one we saw, not the one we heard. If our family physician tells us to quit smoking, but wreaks of cigarette smoke, how seriously do we take the message? If our boss at work verbalizes empowerment and unity in the workplace, but does nothing to facilitate it, do we believe that she/he is willing to help us succeed in the company? If we claim to be loving and gentle spirited people, but yell, scream or flip the bird to someone who cuts us off on the freeway, what impression are we leaving?

I realized what I was modeling to my children one day while driving in the car. The person in front of my made a not-so-smart maneuver in their vehicle that could have caused a hazardous situation for us. My kids heard my gasp, and immediately, one of my girls exclaimed "Come on people!" the words I use when I am frustrated with another driver. (Boy, I'm glad I use those words and not some others!) She responded in that way because I respond in that way. Even though I try to teach them patience and kindness, she learned to react with frustration.

Now I know that is a small example of how my kids learn from my actions. They learn many of their own behaviors and actions from what they see me do. Through my actions, I teach them acceptable behavior, relationship skills, healthy living, study habits, basic living skills and even overall life attitude.

Now I could lecture them all day long on anyone of these things. But I guarantee, that if I am talking the talk and not walking the walk, my words will fall on deaf ears. If I speak of patience and kindness, then I need to act and react with mercy and grace. If I speak of the importance of education, then I need to make sure my kids see me learning. If I speak of the importance of healthy living, then I need to do my best to stay healthy in mind body and spirit. If I encourage them to spread their wings and fly, I need to stretch my own. If I'm not not living it, they are not listening to it.

So, I gladly accept my role model hat. I know that sometimes it will be sitting crooked or backwards on my head. It may even fall off from time to time. But if I do my best to keep it on and wear it proudly, my kids will ultimately learn the lessons I am trying to teach them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Is There a Doctor In The House?

Stuffy noses, sore throats, ear aches and tummy aches. Skinned knees, pinched fingers, and splinters. Sunburns, rashes, mosquito bites, and bee stings. Broken arms, broken friendships, and broken hearts that need mending.

Whether it is physical or emotional, often time our kids are in need of Dr. Mom.

As moms, we know our kids. We know their health, we know their pain tolerance, we know their attitudes, and we know their emotions. Because of the intimate nature of the relationship we have with our children, we can sense their needs better, I would say, than anyone else.

I can look at one of my daughters and know that in the next half an hour she will be in the throws of a migraine. Her demeanor, posture, and energy level that I know so well change just enough to signal to me that the headache is about to hit. I can tell by a certain glassy look in another daughter’s eyes that she probably has a case of strep throat. Still the third, I can see in the color of her cheeks and the change in her attitude that she will soon be suffering from a sinus headache. I can hear in each one of their voices when something is not right with a teacher, a best friend, or a boyfriend. I know my children.

I take my children to the doctor for regular check-ups and when they are sick. I firmly believe in the healthcare system and the benefits of seeing the doctor regularly. I believe in responsible vaccination, responsible use of antibiotics, and a proactive approach to staying healthy. God bless the amazing and wonderful doctors that we have available to us in this country. But, as wonderful as the system and these doctors are, they do not have the bond and knowledge of my child that I do. And, they do not have the remedy for every ailment.

Sometimes, the best doctor is Dr. Mom. We have that special remedy that can heal the things that the medicine the doctor prescribes can’t. We know the secrets passed down to us by our moms - the secrets that heal, make whole and comfort our little ones. We now how to prescribe the mom hugs, mom kisses, and mom comfort that help our children get better. We know the right things to say to distract from the pain, ease the fear, and mend the emotions.

Dr. Medicine, thank you for all you do to heal our children’s bodies. But only Dr. Mom has the special cure to heal their hearts.

Moms, be proud to wear your doctors hat (or coat) today. You are the only person in the world who has earned the PhD of your children.

*Image courtesy of google/ pro.corbis.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mediator Mommy

How often do you have to intervene in the arguments between your offspring?

I have done a lot of that over the years.

My children are getting older. I have loved watching them grow, watching them flourish, watching them gain intelligence, confidence and independence. I even love that as they have grown, so have their vocabularies. What I don't love is that along with those vocabularies comes the need for me to mediate the flow of the exchanges between them.

We have a good sized house. There is lots of room for everyone. Everyone even has their own room and own sinks in the bathroom. Our kitchen is large enough to prepare food for a small army, our family room couch can seat 8 comfortably (there are only 5 in our family), and we have enough seating capability to have 20 people sit down to a meal in our home.

With all this room, why do my kids always seem to be in the same place at the same time? And why, when they end up in the same place at the same time, do they end up in an argument?

I know that this is part of the growing process. I went through the same thing with my sisters. I know it is way to learn conflict resolution, persuasive communication, and important relationship skills. But still, as the parent, it is daunting.

When they were little, I was much more involved in helping them work through their disagreements (or in just flat out resolving them) than I do now. When they were small, they relied on my mediation and communication to learn how to interact with with one another as well as with others. As they got a bit older, they were able to navigate the arguments and conflicts a little more independently. They still relied on mom the be the ultimate judge - let's face it, our perception of fair is a little more spot on than an 8 year old's. But now that they are in their adolescence, my role really has become much more that of a true mediator. I step in when conflict can't be resolved between them. I step in when I can clearly see that one is getting the raw end of the deal. I step in when one is clearly asserting power over the other. I do my best to help them step back and see each others view point and come to a fair agreement. For the most part, they settle their own disputes. They usually come to a somewhat agreeable resolution, and rarely to I have to be the "judge" anymore.

It is a difficult thing to watch them hone their interpersonal skills. Words fly, feelings are hurt, and lessons are learned - for them as well as for me. But, there is also a great reward as they learn to solve conflicts, become independent, and stand up for themselves in a fair and empathetic way.

"Mom....mom...she's, not..."
"But mommmmmm...."

Watch out, here comes mediator mommy!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Did Someone Call For A Taxi?

OK....if you have any kids, you can relate to this.

Get 'em up and moving in the morning, into the car, and at their schools by 9 a.m. Leave the school to get the grocery shopping, birthday party present shopping, pet care shopping (their pets of course) done, only to be interrupted by a call from one of your little ones at school, telling you she forgot her lunch. So, you turn the car around, head back home to get the lunch, take it up to the school, and then get back to your errands. You finally get home, unpack all of the things that you bought (for the little one's benefit of course) and leave again in 10 minutes to pick them up from their schools.

The race is on....

Pick up one at one school, then the other at another, drop one off at the orthodontist, get the next to soccer practice, turn around to get the one at the orthodontist. Then back to soccer practice where you get a 15 minute brake while she is finishing. You get her in the car plus three friends she's promised you would drop of at home. Drive, drive, drive and drop, drop, drop till all the kidletts that are not of your brood are in their respective homes. Get home in just enough time to make and eat dinner before it's time for the evening shift.

Off you go again, taking one to teacher conference night, one to youth group, and them both to a last minute trip to the craft store to pick up the supplies for the project that is due tomorrow that they somehow managed to forget about........

We are the in house taxi service. For the most part, we and our cars are at their beckoned call. And, or the most part, we have to oblige. (Believe me. It's in the job description, I checked.)

It is our job to make sure our children are where they need to be at any given time, whether that place be literal or figurative. We have a duty to make sure they arrive and return safely from where ever their destination may be. For the majority of the first 18 years of their lives we are in the driver's seat. If we are not in the driver's seat, we are in the passenger seat reading them the map while they figure out how to safely navigate the way to their destinations.

This taxi driver hat can be tiring to wear. It is sometimes repetitive and frustrating. It takes time, patience and perseverance. But, no hat I wear is an unimportant one. I wear it with pride, knowing that I am a steward of my children.

"Taxi....Taxi....." my duty calls....

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Party Hat

Holidays, parties, family events, baptisms…..you name we plan them.

This month is big one for parties in our home. It seems like every weekend, we are celebrating for someone, something or some holiday. And, when it comes to the special days in my home, who coordinates? Why of course…the one wearing many hats.

This is not to say that Mr. Mom of Many Hats doesn’t help - he does and I am eternally grateful. But, the bulk of the coordinating the social calendars, navigating the emotional waters of the party recipient, deciding and preparing the menu, shopping for gifts, etc. is done by me.

Whether it is done out of need, love or obligation, I do it willingly.

Party planning is a necessary part of being a mom. Think about it. We plan parties or celebrations from day one of our momhood. We celebrate little milestones such as a first smile or rolling over. We document this in elaborate baby books - a form of celebration. We move on and up in the world of celebration coordination. We plan birthday parties, classroom parties, Christmas parties, and Easter egg hunts. We plan baptism, confirmations, and other religious celebrations. We plan graduations, weddings, receptions and baby showers. Plan, plan, plan, it never stops.

But even though if we add up all of the parties we have planned in our lives we could trump the Inaugural ball, we probably have no regrets over doing it. It is an extension of our love for our families, friends, and loved ones.

Our party hats are one of the beautiful and appreciated hats that we wear.

What "parties" do you plan?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mom of Many Hats

As you all know, I call myself the AZ mom of many Hats. So I thought it appropriate, that during the month of February, to focus on the many hats I wear.

I’m sure most of you can relate to the need to wear many hats each day. Some of you can relate to needing to wear many hats at one time. Whether you are a Mom of many hats, a dad of many hats or a just person of many hats, I hope you find something you can relate to t his month.

Enjoy the posts, check back often, and feel free to comment about the posts you read. If you have a few hats to throw into the ring, I’d love to hear about them!

P.S. I know the pic does not represent EVERY hat I wear.....If I were to picture them all, I would look like the Imelda Marcos of headwear!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tongue Tied Tuesday

I've heard of my feet being "dog tired", but cow tired?