I’m driving my daughters to school through a windswept city. The storm last night was long and loud and its effects are everywhere, from turned over bins to broken branches. The traffic is moving slowly.
On the radio, a presenter reads a list of bleak news headlines. Britain, with its large Muslim population, is still parsing the consequences of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in France. Ahead of May’s general election, the main UK political parties are making economic promises. Two climbers have scaled a 3,000ft mountain in America without aids.
The girls yawn – tired from a night of listening to roaring gales – and ask for pop music.
“I’m trying to listen,” I say. “I’m trying to figure out what to write about today.” “What do you mean?” asks Grace, who recently turned 13.
“I have to write an article for World Moms Blog. What do you think I should write about?”
“I think you should tell them that I’m 13,” says Grace.
From the back seat Betty, who is 5, says: “I think you should write – ‘Dear World Cup – ‘ “
“Not World Cup, you idiot!” interposes Grace, who at 13 takes offence often, now. “Don’t call her an idiot,” I tell her, and steer around a large chunk of tree on the road.
To Betty I explain:
“It’s not the World Cup, darling. It’s a website for World Mums to write about their lives.”
“Oh, okay,” says Betty. “Then you should write: ‘Dear World Mums – ‘”
“It’s not a letter!” splutters Grace, who by now a really rather indignant 13-year-old.
“Go on Betty,” I say.
Betty clears her throat and gives Grace a glare, then says, “I think you should write – ‘Dear World Mums, in all of your countries, the world is not just about your countries.’”
Grace opens her mouth to protest again. I shush her.
“- it’s also about lots of planets,” Betty continues. “For example, there’s Kewpicker – “
My eyes meet Grace’s. She mouths: “Jupiter.” “ – and there’s the Moon. And – there are all the stars,” Betty ends with a flourish.
“I see,” I say. “And what do you think is out there among all those planets?”
“Well, there’s aliens, and lots of dark, and lots of rocks,” answers Betty, ticking the answers off on her fingers. “And you have to be very careful not to take your space hat off, cos then you won’t be able to breathe.”
Grace sits up, interested now.
“I used to want to be an astronaut. But then I saw that film, Gravity, and thought – no way!”
“Really? Why?” “Because it was so scary! I realised how dangerous and difficult it is!”
“Yes,” I nod. “But she – the astronaut – still succeeded, didn’t she? How did that bit make you feel?”
“Well….” Grace scrunches up her face and considers. “It was cool that she was a woman. And I suppose it made me feel like it’s worth trying really hard. And that sometimes you have to see past how frightening and difficult things can be, and just keep going.”
There’s a moment’s silence in the car. I look at Grace and smile at her and she smiles back at me, and sits back in her chair, pleased with the thought. I can see her turning it over while we drive in silence for a few moments.
Then, from Betty: “Pleeeeeeeese can we have some songs now, Mummy?”
I turn the dial and a current favourite bursts out of the speakers, all horns and funky guitars and a silly, strutting lyrics. Immediately the girls both start singing along.
When it’s finished, Betty asks: “Do you think there’s music in space?”
What profound moments have come from your fun conversations with your kids?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophie Walker of the United Kingdom.
Moms are probably the busiest people on earth – from household chores, taking care of the kids, to our work, and juggling our other roles as wives, daughters and more. It’s no wonder many of us find that 24 hours a day is barely enough time.
But if we are to seriously think about it, is it really true that we don’t have enough time? Or are there, perhaps, changes we can make that will help us save time, create calmness in our lives and to even squeeze in some me-time every day?
One of the areas I’m working on this year is putting in place systems for my home and my work so that I can be more efficient and effective. Here are some things I am doing that I find are helping me to better manage my time and be more productive.
1. Plan in advance
Planning is probably one of the most basic rules of time management, but to be honest, I’ve never been disciplined enough. So this year, I’m making this a priority. This means to plan my days, weeks and even months in advance. Planning gives me clarity and helps me stay focused. (more…)
I grew up in a close-knit family of five in the seventies and eighties to such popular shows that reflected our lives like The Brady Bunch, Who’s the Boss and Different Strokes. Long gone were the days of Leave it to Beaver and mothers wearing aprons around the house all day greeting their working husband each evening with a freshly cooked meal and a smile. The seventies and eighties meant more liberation for women and the family structure changed right along with it.
My mother was always my biggest advocate picking me up off the ground when I fell, wiping the tears off my checks when I’d been dumped by a boy and loving and supporting me to follow my dreams. She also taught me to stand up for what was right and wrong and to always be humble, not proud. I followed her teachings and once I left for college our friendship and love grew into maturity.
Everything was wonderful for the next 12 years until the moment when everything changed. I became a mother.
At the time, I had no idea that anything would ever change between us. I thought our bond would grow stronger once I was a mother too. But I was wrong. Instead, our relationship has become filled with tension, confusion and stress. It took me a long time to realize and understand that our relationship had permanently changed and even longer to understand the reason why. (more…)
It’s hard being female.
I think that’s holds true wherever you might find yourself in the world, but perhaps it is especially true here in Japan, where women have to deal with a well-established patriarchy as well as facing pressure from the older women in their lives to stay home, stay quiet, stay under control.
Perhaps it is ironic and surprising to some, to find that in this corner of East Asia, where women are still not allowed into Sumo rings for fear of “contaminating” sacred ground, there is a day set aside to celebrate the girls.
On March 3rd, families rich and poor, pause to pray for the health and happiness of their female children. In Japanese, this day is called Hina Matsuri, which literally translates as “Princess Festival.” Most English sources refer to it as “Girls Day” or “Doll Festival.”
When a female child is born, during her first year the family will purchase an elaborate set of dolls representing the traditional imperial court. No expense is spared, as it is believed the dolls will take her place in the event of natural disaster and will help protect her from sickness. Many families take pride in procuring a seven-level set, complete with the Empress and Emperor in many-layered kimono, the Empress’s attendants, musicians, and various objects found in the royal court. For others, space is a factor, but not to worry! Three tier sets and one tier sets are also popular. (more…)
A daughter takes the imprint of what it means to be a woman from her mother. William Ross Wallace’s poem “What Rules the World” has the famous line,
“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,” which extols motherhood as a paramount force in molding the character of a child.
A child will travel through a series of developmental stages. Many world traditions acknowledge the seven-year cycle in human development. In the Jesuit tradition a child is said to have reached the age of reason by age seven.
The first cycle is from birth to seven years of age. The beginning stage sets the foundation for the remainder of your child’s life. The early years influence the health and well-being of a child and will have an impact on them throughout their lifetime. (more…)