Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: January 2014 (page 1 of 5)

For Moms of Boys

Dear Mamas of Boys (specifically boys in the 2-5 year-old age range),

We’re on the same team here. You are doing a good job. Thank you – thank you – for the unnoticed efforts of your day today. Please don’t wonder if they’re “worth it”, because they matter. 
Someday your little boy will grow up to be a distinguished young gentlemen and a cute little strawberry blonde (or a bleach blonde) will catch his eye. He will ask for the car on a Saturday night so he can take her to the Homecoming dance. You’ll help him pick out a flower. 
He’ll nervously knock on our front door. After a few pictures and kind reminders, our babies will drive off together. My precious cargo will ride with your precious cargo. We’re in this together, see. 
So when you ask your son to speak nicely to you, he will use the same tone and words with my little girl. When you demand respect because that’s how we treat people, he will grow to treat my daughter the same way. When you honor his tenderness and his thoughtful gestures, he will become thoughtful and tender toward her, because he knows the value. 
You’re doing such a good job. 
I have no doubt that when our kids meet, your little guy will get the ABCs and 123s. He will learn to read and figure out how to match. And if hitting a curve ball isn’t on his resume, that’s okay. 
It matters very little what you teach him to do – I care more about who you’re helping him become. When you show him how to control his anger and express his feelings, I say a prayer of great gratitude because he won’t use his fists on my beloved. As you set an example of honesty, giving the cashier back the right amount of change, I know my little girl runs less of a risk of coming home in tears because “he cheated.” 
Thank you so much for encouraging him to play with the sweet kid who seems kind of lonely instead of the popular kid with all the nice toys. I’m sure that kindness captured the attention of this little girl, because we try to value it at home. We’re trying
You’re doing it, mom. Of course, we parents can’t follow a formula to guarantee a perfect outcome, and your son’s shortcomings aren’t a reflection of your own. None of us on this journey can offer a money-back guarantee. All we have is the hope of our example and many, many prayers. 
But in your sometimes unpraised efforts, you’re showing him the way toward a good life, one in which he will share with others. You are shaping a wonderful young man, one that will bring joy and happiness to a precious little girl (not to mention his own mama). 
Thank you, mama. You’re doing a good job. Your work matters, more than just developing a “contributing member of society”. More than hoping he gets into a good college and finds his dream job and makes a lot of money. 
He’s going to hold the hand of my little girl and his character will matter most. Thank you for making it a priority in your mothering. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write a letter to the mothers of all little girls, specifically ages 5 and just born. 
We’re in this together, 
Michele
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The hard work of a 4-year-old

We had a bit of a rough morning at our house. On top of my general pissy demeanor, there was stomping and fit throwing by the girls at random times. Finally, I decided to be a mom, rather than a housekeeper, and Miss M and I had a heart-to-heart about being a sister. 

I reminded her that I’m a big sister, too. We talked about our favorite parts of being a big sister – helping with babies and getting to tell our little sisters about what they can look forward to when they’re bigger. I shared how I would play with my sister, and when we got bigger, we were cheerleaders together and played basketball together. “And you know what?” I asked her. “Aunt Gigi is my best friend now. I talk to her all the time. It’s so great to have a sister.” 
Then we discussed what we liked least about being the big sister. When I shared that sometimes it’s hard when little sisters don’t understand or act big, tears started spilling out. She nodded her head and bit her lip and cried, “I just wanted her to ask and say please!” 
It was in there, somewhere, all buried beneath her Big Girl work – the pain and frustration of always being the big sister. The demands of being asked to help the others. The its-not-fair’s and what-about-me’s. The desire to be seen and understood above all the expectations. 
And I almost missed it. Because laundry piles reached the ceiling. (No disrespect to the laundry: one of my kids was out of pants. Legit.) The work of the house seemed louder than the work of being a parent. 
My daughter didn’t need a floor she could walk through – she needed a mom she could talk to, and who recognized her need for connection. She needed to be heard, that though she’s capable of the work of being 4 – specifically that of being the big sister – she appreciated the recognition that it’s not always easy. 
Adults want that all the time, so I’m surprised I missed it for my kids. We want someone to realize the simple act of getting dinner on the table and clothes in the correct bedroom sometimes takes a 4-point action plan. We sit with girlfriends, sharing stories of how we juggle kids and activities and work because we need to hear that we’re not rowing our boat alone. Right now I specifically sit at the feet of women whose kids are in school and they no longer spend every day wiping snot from crusty noses because I need to remember that this tunnel is short and there will be a time that we will decrease our disposable paper product usage. 
Sometimes just being a big sister, or a mom, a friend, a daughter, a cousin, an employee, a client, a partner, or a member gets tough. We just need someone to sit on the couch and recognize our efforts, however lopsided, inadequate or perfect. 
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Spraying our fears

In the middle of the night, H boy has repeatedly woke me up to express his fear of whatever seemed to cross his mind. Most recently, something under the bed. He asked me to get “the spray.” 

Some genius mom out there on Pinterest developed monster spray, something to squirt to get the scary things out: 
I’m not the high-performing mom, however, so the first time we encountered the “under the bed” fears I simply rummaged around in the closet until I found something. For instance, hearing aid cleaner. (For reals). 
Our monster spray looks like this:
(Please don’t tell our audiologist that I’ve actually not ever used it for the intended purpose.) 
So, this particular night the boy woke me from my slumber in authentic fear and pleaded for “the spray.” I faithfully fumbled through the closet and sprayed the whatever chemicals under his bed. His face gave way to immediate relief. 
I don’t believe that he actually believes the spray kills off any monsters. (He probably doesn’t know it’s hearing aid cleaner, either. Until he learns to read.) I think he and I are actually operating on the same page in an unspoken manner: it doesn’t matter what’s in the bottle or what it supposedly does. He doesn’t want the bottle as much as he simply wants someone to do something to help. 
He wants to feel acknowledged to the point of me leaving my cozy bed. He wants to feel validated to the end that includes action. Even when we both know the cause of his fear isn’t real, he wants to know that we both believe his feeling of fear to be legitimate. 
I can get behind that. I don’t have to be right, but I need to be heard. As a person who frequently shares all of the thoughts, I don’t need unanimous agreement (though a little bit of agreement is nice), but I’m wanting those magical words – I understand. 
And most of the time, being heard translates into action. It’s not about the dishes in the sink, but about your willingness to do them without being asked. It’s not the activity we engage in but rather the effort we took to get together. 
Though we all know there’s nothing under there, true love rolls out of bed and gives it a squirt to ease the mind – and heart. 
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