For: Macklemore

Happy Belated Mother’s Day!, for any girl out there that has mothered another.  You don’t have to give birth to rightfully consider yourself a mother.  Far from it.

I’m on my 17th year as a mother.  That’s hard to believe.  Particularly when I don’t feel much older than 17 on a daily basis.  This year I received a few gifts — super exciting!  Who doesn’t love gifts?  ikr?

This year I received, in order to tell me how special I am as the primary maternal role in this family, were:

The newest Macklemore CD
A couple of handmade books from my 1st grader
And a Victoria’s Secret gift card

At first glace I thought it strange.  I’m not going to lie.  Hip Hop?  Underwear?  I mean, the books telling me how great I am make sense.  The others, not so much.  My maternal side busting out Thrift Shop (radio edit, of course)?  Grabbing a new pushup next time I’m at the mall?  Is this what today’s mom looks like?

Don’t answer that.

I looked at the gifts and said, “Wow!”  I looked around for the potted plants, or bouquet of flowers, or just a nice brunch like a normal Mother’s Day token of appreciation.  I took a moment to try and read between the lines.  Then I remembered… my family is doling out love to me in the way they know how.  In the way they each want to be loved.  The first grade daughter wants me to spend time with her (she spent time hand making the gift), and she wants me to tell her how important she is to me and the world (as she told me in her books).  I’m thinking the middle school boy loves gifts (since he bought me one) and wants me to listen as he figures out his take on the world (hence the Macklemore CD – great thoughts in there).  The husband bought me the VS card, which is no surprise to any of us and speaks for itself.

See, each of us prefers to be loved in a certain way.  And we tend to love others in that same way, in our way.  The problem is, sometimes the way we love others is not the way they long to be loved.  Sound confusing?

Look up The Five Love Languages.  It’s good stuff, stays with you and is useful forever. I promise.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 1.09.24 PM

People love in their dominant love language.  They don’t necessarily know what ours is, or how to love us that way.  By observing how the members of our family attempt to show love to us, we can learn a lot about how to deal with them and how best to show we care.  It’s a true selfless act, like the act of love always boils down to.  Annoying, I know.  But that’s the way it is.

Our challenge this week:  Find the love language of your kids.  Educate yourself a bit on the practice.  Check out the links above.  It’s a quick study.  Then watch your kids.  Ask questions.  Listen to them and notice how they love you.  More than likely, it’s exactly the way they want to be loved themselves.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 1.13.45 PM

Truth is: I’m not a hip hop kind of gal, but I’m secretly crushing on this guy. Shhh…

For: The K.I.S.S. method

Please forgive, but I was on a brief hiatus while we took a family vacation.  I’m guessing no one really noticed.  Life has a way of fast forwarding weeks without even asking us first, doesn’t it?  One minute I’m consciously working on being more patient and the next I’m just trying to survive from one day to the next.  Grrr, I hate that!  Maybe you can relate.

So, we recently packed all 7 of us into one vehicle and took a road trip.  A true test for your family, if there ever was one.  The strangest thing is that my kids will fight and bicker like the dickens (whatever that means) while at home, but confine them into one tiny vehicle and all of a sudden people step up.  I’m sure it’s a deeply engrained survival method, but whatever.  It works.

We went to Myrtle Beach.

If you know Myrtle Beach, then you know there are puh-lenty of opportunities to spend your money in the area.  Arcades and thrill rides, entertainment shows and amazing putt-putt golf, restaurants galore.  Blow your budget all in the name of “Good Family Memories For the Kids”.  You might know that routine.  We sure do.

As we drove through the main Beach area, the lights and signs lured my kids.  Of course they did.  But we kept on driving.  I had a different idea for the week.  It involved The Ocean.  And that was it.

It was the K.I.S.S. method.  Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Go to Myrtle Beach, and then go to the beach.  Lay around on the sand, throw the football and jump in the waves.  Walk the beach, walk the pier.  Head back for lunch.  Do it all over again.

That’s what we did.  That’s pretty much all we did.  And we came home with great memories from that trip.  Just jumping in the waves and building sand castles.  Driving right on past everything else.

935725_10151557497198901_2035422793_n

Sure we saved money by not spending it on the tourist attractions in the area.  But I think we hit on something else.  You see, when we start looking for things to entertain us, we slowly but surely need to keep upping the ante to stay entertained.  Start with putt-putt, and before you know it you’re bungee jumping and zip lining all in an effort to stay entertained.  Suddenly the magic of the ocean tide is washed away by the fluorescent lights of the ferris wheel.

What?  How is that even okay?  Answer:  it’s not.

It’s amazing how often the K.I.S.S. method can be applied in life.  In relationships, finances, parenting and even vacation strategy.  Keeping it simple also keeps it bearable many times.

Our challenge for this week is to incorporate K.I.S.S. into a needed area of life.  Perhaps it’s how you deal with your kids’ sports or school.  Deal with one thing at a time – don’t put unnecessary future pressure on their shoulders now.  Perhaps it’s an area of your personal life, with stresses that spill into your relationship with your children.  Maybe it’s how you incorporate playing together.  Go back to a simple game of checkers.  A word search.  Keep it simple.

It sounds easy, but when I look around I see people overwhelmed by life.  The fluorescence of details take our focus off of the big picture.  But is it all really as complex as we make it out to be?  Do we really have that much to be frustrated about?  I’m convinced the answer is no.