Posts Tagged: Parenting

From Catastrophe to Connection

Guest post by Karen Pearson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days ago, my16-year-old daughter emerged from our finished basement with an incredible 18” x 24” acrylic-on-canvas portrait she’d been working on. I was so impressed with what she’d accomplished and made sure to let her know. I was less impressed three days later when I went downstairs to throw a load of laundry in, and saw huge lines and blobs of acrylic paint all over the red microfiber couch.

I’d say that I was so angry I literally saw red, but in reality what I saw was various shades of white and black ALL OVER the red furniture. Of course, I did what any enraged mom would do…I texted her.  I managed to keep it Vulcan-like and matter-of-fact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a quick “cleaning acrylic paint off microfiber” Google search, I headed to the basement armed with a few rags and some rubbing alcohol. My daughter came down to check out the damage, apologetically explaining how she had already tried to get the paint out.  “That’s okay, we can work on this together”, I said, while tossing her a rag.  She suggested that while we gently dabbed away, we may as well watch TV, and turned on one of her favourite shows, “Best Ink”. In case you’ve never watched it, it’s a reality competition series that follows a group of tattoo artists through various challenges. They have their work critiqued by celebrity tattoo artist judges, with the hopes of being the contestant with the “Best Ink” and winning a pile of money.

My daughter knows I’m not a huge fan of full body tattoos (“But what if you have a job interview? Or you’re going to a wedding?”). What happened during the next 44 minutes was amazing. It opened up discussions on talent, creativity, individualism, sexism, beauty, judgment, “reality” shows and competition. We talked about the different personalities on the show and how there’s always one person made out to be the one that everyone is supposed to hate.  We talked about expression and style and how great it is when people discover their passion and work hard at their art. I learned about Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer, which was the answer to my job interview and wedding concerns.

My daughter knows she’ll have to wait until she’s old enough to get tattoos since I’m not going to be signing any consent forms, but for those 44 minutes we really bonded over something that’s important to her and it was a beautiful thing.  Today, she suggested we start watching Best Ink together on a regular basis and I’m all for it. Miraculously, we got all that paint out, but even if we hadn’t, I’d still be grateful for the opportunity it gave me to connect with my daughter and get into her teenage world for a bit.

Have you had an unexpected bonding moment with your child? Turned a bad situation into an awesome one?

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

Good mother.

My Mom is one of those Moms.

I got out of bed the other morning at the sound of my 4-year-old trotting down the hallway. When I turned the corner to find her, I nearly bumped into my Mom. She had stayed overnight to help me with the girls while my husband had to work a late night.

This is what my Mom does. She helps me.

I went to get my daughter her cereal. “I think I hear Lauren. I’ll go get her,” Mom says as she walks towards my two-year-old’s room.

When they come out to greet us, Lauren is clinging to my Mom like a baby monkey. She’s tired and sleepy-eyed and not ready to take on the day yet. She wants a snuggle with the woman she has bonded so closely with already.

And why wouldn’t she? Grandma is always here when I need her. Grandma’s always there for the girls, too.

I smile at them and think about all the times Mom’s been there for me.

Running her fingers through my hair when I was home sick with a cold. Writing simple notes and hiding them in my lunch bag for school. Attending every single performance of every single dance recital I was in. (Not just one showing per year – but all 4 shows that were all. the. exact. same.) Telling me I looked nice before I left for school. Smiling like the best thing had ever happened to her, just because I walked into a restaurant to greet her for dinner. Reminding me over and over again that I’m a good mother. Showing up at my house in her pajamas for a pj day with my daughters. Helping me with the children whenever I need them. No matter what.

“Why don’t you go get ready and I’ll feed the girls?” she asks.

I snap out of my daydream and go about my morning. I am happy knowing I don’t have to rush. I won’t start the day feeling tense.

We’re a long way away from my awkward, irritable teen years. When my eyes rolled almost daily at the thought of something – anything – she had done.

Now I know. I know the value of her love. Her patience. Her caring. I can understand why she felt the way she did. I know why she would smile at me like I was the best little human that ever existed to her.

I carry on with my day, relaxed and at ease.

And I am grateful. I am so, so grateful.

 

About the Author:

Heather Dixon is a copywriter at Mabel’s Labels, a smoothie aficionado, a runner, a wife and a Mom to two – soon to be three! – highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her).

My Plugged-In Family

I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology in our home.

It started with Nintendo Wii. The big sell was that we’d be active, play together and have fun belting out tunes with Rock Band.  It was the gateway to Play Station 2, then X-Box, then Netflix and binge watching, not to mention computers, cell phones and iPods! AHHHH! Our kids tease my husband and I about being on our laptops in the same room playing Scrabble (sometimes with each other).  Sometimes it hits me how disconnected from each other this technology is making us and I try to figure out how to get us all to step back.

But, it’s not all bad. Here are some of the positive things:

1)      Texting – A lot of our texts to our teens look the same “I’m here!” “Leaving in 5 minutes!” “Dinner!” (We live in a tall skinny house, so it reduces the yelling and stair climbing). But there are the “Love you” and “Just thinking about you” texts too. The more diplomatic check-ins like “Hey, how’s your day going?” instead of asking “Um, where are you?” It leads to the inevitable autocorrect fails, like when I texted “Good luck, homey!” to my daughter instead of “honey” when wishing her luck on her Geography exam. Or when I texted the shopping list to my husband asking him to get “geese” instead of “cheese”. These texts usually result in at least a smile (and sometimes revised dinner plans).

2)      Facebook – I was a late Facebook adopter. What would I even write? Do I really want to post photos? Turns out that it really does help me connect with family and friends I don’t get to see all the time. I send messages to my niece to get her perspective on things that pertain to my daughters since she’s a few years older. I request a Scrabble game with another niece and use the chat window to laugh about how crazy our board looks as we play diagonally on only half of it. I resist the urge to “stalk” my kids on Facebook but every now and then we talk about privacy, boundaries and over-sharing.

3)      Twitter – When I first started on Twitter, I mostly followed parenting experts and found it a great way to reach out to them directly for advice. My tweets quickly evolved into finding the humour in typical day-to-day parenting situations rather than being frustrated or upset. My whole frame of mind changed and I took things less seriously. I embraced the chaos!

4)      Blogs – There is so much information out there and communities full of like-minded people to get involved with and learn from. It can be comforting to realize you’re not alone when dealing with parenting issues.  They spark thought and conversation and as often as some posts end up in heated debates, they also provide a place for compassion and understanding as we all navigate this parenting thing together.

But still, I really do need to find a way to balance the screens. Do you have any tips on managing all the technology?  What are your pros and cons of being plugged-in?

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

 

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