Category Archives: personal

“Being a Mom is Great” Moved to SoapboxMom.com!!

It’s official!

The Being a Mom is Great blog will now be called simply, SOAPBOX MOM!

Soapbox Mom Avatar

So, BMG Mom (aka bimmgee) is now soapbox mom or “SoapB” or Soapbox or soap!

Please join me over there now at soapboxmom.com.

And, when you find it, please let me know you did by leaving a comment.  As always, I appreciate your support!

😉

Also, if you’ve been so kind as to include me on your blogroll, please add me back as Soapbox Mom (and if I’ve lost your site, just let me know and I’ll be sure to add it right back onto my blogroll)!

Thanks!!

See you on the soapbox!!

1 Comment

Filed under Children, Entertainment, family, Fun, games, life, parenting, personal, Thoughts

Yes, We Can!

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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For various reasons, I have stayed far, far away from politics on this blog. I used to be so deeply enmeshed in politics that it’s sometimes a struggle not to say something about the topic. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to stay far, far away. Until now.

This post may shock people who know me, but when I heard the first lady of California share an Eleanor Roosevelt quote about taking risks (actually, she said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”) I decided this post would be my risk for the day.

Whether you’re a Republican, Independent, or Democrat, I just ask for a few moments of your time (you have to watch it all the way to the end) to watch this video. In all my life, I’ve never seen a candidate (not just the video, more accurately the whole package) that moves me the way this guy does. I can’t help but think that he could do great things for our country.

Ask your kids who they support and who the other kids in their school think should be president. You might be surprised by the answer. Most kids I know (regardless of the party affiliation of their parents) enthusiastically say, “Obama!” Think about that. The little ones who, in many cases, have a closer connection to what’s real, to what matters in life (because they’re free from all the facades and spin and BS) have a passionate affinity for this man.

It seems to me that he’s just the kind of change this country needs.

Let’s not wait for the world to change anymore.

“We are the change we’ve been waiting for.”

— Barack Obama

4 Comments

Filed under Barack Obama, Children, personal, politics, Thoughts

Two Simple Words

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Do you want people to wish you a Happy Birthday (when they know it’s your birthday)?

Simba - Happy Birthday

I do. Is that childish? Unreasonable? Silly?

My left brain, logical, rational mind says, “Of course it is. Grow up!” But then, my emotional half of the brain says, “No! I mean, what the heck, we go nuts — crazy, out of control, over the top — on kids’ birthday parties and we don’t even wish each other good wishes on the anniversaries of our births? What’s that about?!”

Time article about $38K kids birthday parties

There’s a real imbalance there. I mean I’ve been known to throw my share of fun parties for kids. So, I’m not knocking the parties. I’m just saying that I think parents could help each other out a little bit if they would just show some thoughtfulness and kindness toward each other, even when (or maybe especially when) they know that the person to whom they’re extending the greeting is over 30. Maybe we make those middle ages feel older by letting go of the joy and celebration that surround the birthday parties of childhood.

Here’s what started this little train of thought.

In past years, with more than a handful of people, I’ve experienced something like this:

I send an email telling someone that I can’t meet to discuss some volunteering obligation (for the kids) because it’s my birthday. In response, I get nothin’.

No, “Well, I hope you have a good day.”

No, “Happy birthday, girlfriend!”

No, “Oh, no problem, I wouldn’t want to meet that day, either.”

Grumpy Old Women

Not even those two little words, Happy Birthday.

Sure, I’ve sometimes been told that I have too much of a Pollyanna attitude toward life, (what some consider to be an annoyingly positive, silly and cheerful disposition). But I don’t think wishing people who are over 30 or 40 a Happy Birthday is immature or offensive.

Hmmm. On second thought…

Maybe that’s not it at all…

Is it that some people don’t want to even think about their birthday when they’re over 40? So they don’t want to touch the topic at all? Are they afraid of somebody grumbling back at them? What? Enlighten me, please. Gosh, if that’s the case, then…well…I feel sad for them. Who says we have to stop enjoying life at a certain age? Why? Where’s the logic in that? That can’t be healthy. Who knows where that might lead…

1993 Warner Image - MPTV.net - imdb - Grumpy Old Men

Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Notice that I’m not saying anything at all about materialistic goods. I’m not saying that I want my friends and family to purchase the latest must-have handbag or some blingy piece of jewelry. That’s not at all what I’m talking about. It’s about kindness and consideration. Thoughtfulness and sincerity that’s simple and instinctive.

For example, when I went into a store (on my birthday) with my son to select little trinkets to include in his favor bags for his birthday party, he saw something that he thought I would like for my birthday, so he said, “Mom, you should get that…for your birthday. C’mon, it’s your birthday!” A very nice woman overheard him and turned to me and said, “It’s your birthday? Well, Happy Birthday! Yes, you should get that for yourself!” My son and I both smiled and thanked her and as we walked away, he said, “Wow. That was so nice!”

Two simple words.

What a difference. Physically, I felt lighter and stood taller. My thoughts turned to more positive, happy places. I felt grateful for that stranger’s kindness and those two words.

Now I make a point of keeping track of people’s birthdays and wishing them well on their day (unless, of course, they make it clear that they’d rather not be reminded). To each his own. Right?

Well, whenever it’s your birthday, this one’s for you:


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Images from Google Images. Oh, and by the way, it’s not my birthday.

9 Comments

Filed under family, personal, Thoughts

This Milestone Fills Me with Gratitude

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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On January 22, 2008, this blog registered 10,001 visitors. Wow!

Last fall, I started this blog (when I transferred my original blog and its old posts from Blogspot over to WordPress). Since then, I’ve met so many cool, interesting, bright and supportive bloggers and have discovered a world (in which I’m quite comfortable) of fascinating, entertaining and insightful blogs.

Hmm…are bloggers supposed to do something special or symbolic when they notice this 10K mark? Well, I’m blissfully unaware of any sort of unwritten rule or code of conduct, so, instead, I’m just going to express my gratitude for all things weblog related.

Thanks for reading;

thanks for commenting;

thanks for writing and sharing;

thanks for your support and words of encouragement;

thanks for making me laugh and (occasionally) bringing tears to my eyes.

Thanks for taking the time to look at pictures and videos I sometimes feel compelled to share.

You all know who you are and I just want to say

thanks for just being you.

20 Comments

Filed under personal, Thoughts

When You Have a Bad Day…

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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My blogger friend over at Missives from Suburbia recently wrote a terrific post about how feelings originate from either fear or love. She presented a challenge to her readers to watch how we talk to and treat our loved ones and then make rational choices instead of impulsive ones. I took that to mean that I should consciously choose love over fear, kindness over harshness.

So today, the starting point for this challenge, I started my day in a fine way, with a smile on my face, newspaper in front of me, coffee in hand. Then the kids start acting…well…a little revved. Goofy, silly, loud, talking too much about farts and butts, you know, being just a bit overly wild. I chose to ignore it all (well, except when I reminded them of our rule of no potty talk at the table), but as for the other stuff, I just kept telling myself, “Give ’em a little bit of slack today. They’re so happy…they’ll be on their way to school soon enough…” (as I felt the beginning pangs of a headache).

Stressed Woman

I quietly slipped into my room to get dressed, pulled on one of my favorite sweaters, and got ready for the day, urging myself to believe that there are no bad days, only bad moments. Each moment we make a choice (or many choices), and I was determined to choose to keep moving forward, to keep things in perspective and most of all to just be aware of how my state of mind affected my choices.

Then I noticed a hole in my favorite sweater. When did that get there? Rats. Take that off, put on some other shirt. Whatever. Keep going. It’s just an article of clothing. As my day continued, it just kept getting worse and worse (I won’t bore you with all the details, let’s just say it involved PMS). It reminded me of that picture book I recently reviewed on my radio show, called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. You know, where everything seems to be going wrong and the bad moments continue throughout the day.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By dinnertime, I was really cranky and couldn’t muster a smile for anything. So I tell the kids to just give me some space. “I just want to check a few things online and then I’ll start making dinner,” I explain. So, I’m at the computer when I hear the first few notes of a song from the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks. I look over to my right and see my son holding a tablespoon like a microphone while he lipsyncs the words (he recently discovered how to do it and is pretty excited to fake sing to all kinds of music in a hammy, performing kind of way). It’s pretty darn cute.

Anyway, so I glance over and notice he’s there, but I keep typing away on my keyboard. Then I glance again and notice that he has no intention of moving. Oh, no. He’s standing there as if it’s the stage in the Kodak Theatre and I’m his audience of thousands. He’s still looking right at me.

I know, sometimes it takes me a while, but I finally realized that this wasn’t just a quick snippet of a song, rather he was trying to pull me out of my funk. So I stop typing and get into the moment…this precious moment that somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I recognize I really need right about now.

I turn toward him and see his eyes looking at me in a way only your own child can. I can’t help but smile. He’s lipsyncing to the song Bad Day but instead of Daniel Powter singing Bad Day, it’s the one from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Alvin’s version of the song, Bad Day

It’s working. My cranky-wall cracks ever so slightly and I start to smile, but just a little grin.

Then, at just the right moment, right at this big crescendo, my daughter slides into view (on her knees, doing a sweeping slide that finishes with her left arm swinging up into the air for dramatic effect). She, too, holds a tablespoon mic in her right hand, and joins my son in the lipsyncing extravaganza. Our dog feels the good vibes (or something) and trots over happily, wanting to share in this jubilant affair.

The whole performance is enough to make me stand up at the end, with a huge grin on my face and a really warm feeling inside, wrap my arms around both of my kids and just revel in this amazing moment. The kids are absolutely beaming. They know what works for me, how to make me smile, what can bring a smile to my face (as long as I choose to let it in).

How can all that translate to you? Well, I could say, “You should buy the Alvin & the Chipmunks tune, have your kids learn the words to Bad Day and sing for you.” But that seems like asking a lot and wouldn’t necessarily translate.

No, I just offer you this: when you’re having a really lousy day (like Alexander’s or like mine or whatever kind of day is your kind of bad day), dig way down to get to that place where you can throw off the mask that we often hide behind as adults and then look at your kids. You know, really look at your kids. If they’re not singing, then try to imagine them singing. Or pick up a picture of them when they’re asleep or when they’re being their most adorable.* It will melt you and get you back to a place where you can more easily choose love, compassion and kindness. The place where your heart wants to be. It’s a glorious place. Really. And it’s the key to getting past those bad days moments.

More4Kids photo

Love’s hard to beat.

It’s moments like those that make being a mom really, really great.

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Images from Amazon and Google Images (including the one from here).

*This reference is to a post from another one of my blogger friend’s blogs, The Busy Dad Blog within which he shows a great picture of his son, affectionately referred to as Fury, at one of his most adorable moments. See what I mean? Makes you melt…and hopefully will do so even more when it’s your own.

9 Comments

Filed under Children, family, life, parenting, personal, Thoughts

Is This Sport?

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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My daughter has been playing basketball half her life. She plays well and has a good time doing it. She opted not to play travel ball so she could just have fun playing it without the intensity and competitiveness of travel teams.

Recently, however, we experienced something that may have changed her approach and overall state of mind with respect to the sport. The crux of the problem? A parent.

In this particular game, she was playing really well. In fact, I was amazed by a few of her shots. It looked like she was being moved by some greater force or something. I mean, she floated down the court and, in one case, hit a shot from the three point line, using only her right arm, flinging it in with nothin’ but net.

Nothin’ But Net

It was beautiful.

She was having so much fun.

Until a dad from the other team apparently decided that the three high school girls coaching his daughter’s team weren’t doing their jobs coaching his daughter. He stepped in and took over, intimidating the girls and getting his face right in all of their faces. I couldn’t hear what he said to them, but my daughter’s teammates overheard him say to his daughter, “You see that #23? Whatever you do, don’t let her take a shot!”

He barked his orders and sent out his attack dog.

We’re talking fifth and sixth grade girls, here, people.

I was keeping the clock for the game, which meant I was sitting next to a dad from the other team, who was keeping the stats and the score in the official game book. He and I had been engaging in friendly chatter for the duration of the game. When Attack Dad turned his daughter into Attack Girl even scorekeeper dad noticed. He said, “Wow, she’s being pretty nasty.” He told me about how he believes that a lot of parents try to live through their kids and work out whatever they were unable to accomplish in their own childhoods. Sure, I’ve heard that and believe it. But, geesh!

At one point, when the girl had excessively elbowed my daughter (and had the bruises and cuts to show for it afterward), she asked Attack Girl, “What are you doing?” Attack Girl responded harshly, “It’s called playing a sport.”

Well, that’s not the way I’ve been taught to play sports. Or the way my kids have been taught to play sports. Certainly not girls’ basketball, anyway. And certainly not in elementary school.

After four fouls called on his daughter, my daughter went to the drinking fountain, shaken, crying and battered. Scorekeeper dad nudged me and said softly, “Er, I think your daughter’s crying.” Sure enough, he’d pushed her to the point of tears. She walked over to me. I hugged her and could feel her shaking. She showed me her cuts and said, “Mom, I’ve never played with someone so mean.”

The coaches took my daughter out for the rest of the game.

I didn’t know how to handle this situation. Attack Dad stands at about 6’3″ and fiercely glares at people. I don’t think it’s my imagination. During that game he looked fierce. Should I have gone over to the guy and said something? If so, what? Would that have really solved anything? The coaches were apologizing, the referees were apologizing, even scorekeeper dad apologized. He told me that his dad coached his basketball team when he was a boy and that, in his opinion, that girl was way over the top. There were definitely moments when it was all I could do to hold myself back from running out there and getting between them.

It was just awful.

I know I’m a bit of a lightweight and hate conflict, but I’m also a sports lover and appreciate the pleasure one can get from playing a good competitive game. But this? This incident was not sport.

I looked over at the guy and scowled in my own kind of glaring way, but then I remembered the hockey player’s dad who killed a guy. So, I decided to walk away. It’s what my daughter wanted to do, too. She said, “Mom, I just want to leave. Please.” So I wrapped my arm around her, held her close and walked out the door.

She really hasn’t played the same way since that game. I can’t help but wonder if she subconsciously fears more attacks, so she’s pulling back a bit on her level of play. Better to fit in than to be attacked (?!). I hope not. I hope the Attack Family did not win by intimidation. But, on the other hand, maybe my daughter has a point when she says we should start thinking about tennis.

Tennis Court Clip

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Images from Google Images and El Conquistador.

25 Comments

Filed under Children, family, girls' basketball, parenting, personal, sports

The Pause

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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As I approached my fortieth birthday, I kept hearing really negative words of advice like, “Be prepared. It’s all downhill from then on.” Well, I don’t agree that my life has gone downhill, but I have to admit that, after turning forty, little things started…changing. Even my cheery disposition took a hit. What you are about to read may turnoff many of my readers, but freedom of speech is one of the things I love about our country. It’s here…if you want to read it, great!…if not, then please wait for my next post (or read some of the older ones (?)).

I’ve heard many of my elders say that there are some things we just have to experience for ourselves or some things that just shouldn’t be discussed. Hmm…well why not? I’d rather have full information. I’d rather hear about the good, the bad and the ugly. For example, there are some not so pretty things about being a mom that I had never heard before having kids but was glad to eventually learn. Like just how difficult it is to handle newborn babies and that parents of newborns often get very little sleep (sometimes, as in our case, for over a year).

And my favorite little tidbit that came as a surprise: if you breast feed your kids, your breasts will be bigger during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding than they were before you were pregnant. But when you stop breastfeeding? They shrink. I mean, they end up smaller than they were pre-pregnancy. Did you know that? Okay, maybe I’m the only dope that didn’t know that, but I was surprised. Had I known, I would’ve told my husband, “Enjoy these babies now, because when I stop nursing, they’ll be much smaller.” But I didn’t know. Not a huge deal, but I would’ve liked to have known. That’s all.

Now I’m learning about something called perimenopause — that’s the time before menopause. Many books have been written about this topic, but I’ve only recently been given one that helped me understand what I’m going through right now.

Woman having hotflashes…

I guess it makes sense that a woman’s body needs to go through a process (in which hormones go a little crazy) in adolescence to prepare her body for childbirth. The whole childbirth process wreaks havoc on a woman’s system. I’ll never forget how stunned my hubby looked when he witnessed our first child’s birth. During the cesarean section operation, he saw the doctors temporarily remove my insides, take our beautiful baby girl from my uterus, hand her off, then carefully replace my internal organs. And that was after eighteen hours of labor. Hard for him to witness, even harder for my body to endure. My recovery period was about six weeks long. My body had to readjust, go back to functioning without baby in utero. Big changes. Oh, it also switched from focusing on nourishing and growing a baby to becoming a milk factory. Yep. There was a whole lot going on.

So…

To prepare for the active years of childbirth, a woman’s body sort of gears up in adolescence and our girls become moody, emotional, a little more unpredictable and more womanly. What about when the body is preparing to shutdown? It makes sense that that requires some time, too. Our bodies are putting on the brakes, sort of. Slowing down the system until it can finally report, “Okay, chief. The childbirth factory has officially ceased operations.” Sure, now that I really think about it, it makes sense. How could I expect it to just stop overnight? “That’s it. No more periods. You’re done.”

No, not like that at all. Instead, we go through yet another hormonal time (which is tough not only for our loved ones having to deal with us, but also for us). It’s a transition period. We sometimes become moody, more emotional and more unpredictable. For example, I recently volunteered to help in my daughter’s school and found myself overcome with frustration when the kids just wouldn’t quiet down. I understand now what it’s like for substitute teachers. Kids push the limits with anyone who’s not their regular homeroom teacher. Anyway, I raised my voice a little and said they needed to quiet down and not start playing the strategy games they were about to play. Not a big deal, maybe, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it (and it happened several weeks ago). I’ve helped out in classrooms for about a decade or so and I’ve never done that. I’m usually the one who smiles and maybe rings a little bell or something or waits until they stop talking before proceeding. But this time…I don’t know…I just said, “Do NOT begin until you are ALL seated.” It just wasn’t me. You know what I mean? I was thinking, “Did I just say that out loud?” I felt guilty and embarrassed and wanted to run out of there. When I got home, I thought, “Maybe I just can’t handle the older kids. Maybe I shouldn’t do things like that anymore.” Then I started to read that book my friend gave me.

It’s called, The Pause by Lonnie Barbach.

The Pause by Lonnie Barbach

I encourage every 30 something woman to read it.

That’s as much as I’ll say right now, but I’ll give you more details when I finish the book.

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Filed under books, personal, Thoughts