Random Happiness: Let’s Bring Mother’s Day Back!

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Bring it back?! Where did it go?

Where did it go indeed. I was pondering what might be a suitable approach to wishing our readers a Happy Mother’s Day, when I stumbled on an article written by the New York Post (click here for original article). It was an interesting read on the intentions vs reality, private vs public interpretation, and what can happen when we try to correct our best laid plans. Surely lessons a mother would teach.

What do I know about the origins of Mother’s Day?  When I sat and thought about it, I had some gross assumptions about how this day became part of the formal holiday line up. In my socially jaded opinion, I figured it was the idea of a bored socialite who essentially wanted their 15mn of “fame” so that they could be congratulated by other mothers for getting their annual 15mn of “fame”, even if it was just by family members. I was just sure it had something to do with obligating anyone who has or had a mother, grandmother, or aunt who stepped in as a mother to go buy flowers and candy while professing gratitude.

I was incredibly happy to be wrong.

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The truth is, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Jarvis in honor of her mother. Her mother had spent a good part of her life “…setting up Mother’s Work Clubs across America, which originally served as a place where women were taught how to look after their children, but later served to bind communities together in a post-Civil War world. Jarvis Senior also organized a Mother’s Friendship Day post-war, to try and repair relationships between soldiers and wives on both sides of the war (News.com.au).”

Long after the Civil War has ended, it is amazing to me how relevant it is to bring mothers together and have them impart their wisdom to society. I feel that we are still fighting in wars both literally and socially. We could use a mother’s touch right now. With lack of nurturing wisdom and guidance it is hard to know where to begin to mend relationships back together again. In a digital age much of our indigenous wisdom that has been passed down through storytelling and demonstration as either been lost or so mutated I think we make ache for that maternal healing balm.

I feel that this fundamental spirit of the holiday gets lost in the need to produce a Hallmark sentiment, a perfectly cultivated floral symbol, or some decadent confection (which is laden in calories by the way). I immediately identified with Anna Jarvis when she saw the result of her good intention used as an exploitation of the human experience.

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This Mother’s Day wouldn’t it be fun to focus on the motive behind the holiday. Sure, buy your cards n such, but what if we don’t make that the grand gesture. Let’s just think of that as the trim on the real gift. What if the real gift is acknowledging the sacrifices our mother’s have made for us? If we do not understand those sacrifices, ask about them. You will be richer for it. What if the real gift is celebrating the time our mothers took to teach us, to love us in their own expression, and encourage us to cultivate what is best in us.

Spend time, love, and gratitude above all else today. Bring the reason for Mother’s Day back. Time is the most valuable thing we can give because it is the one thing we can never get back. You can’t purchase it from a local vendor and hand it over in an over embellished box. You can, however, present it in the form of you. Just show up.

Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day

~Shannon

Random Happiness: Samsung, Saving Relationships One Search At A Time

fatherhood_custom-9074686ba9d8f478e4ad3f58b9adf3aafe44561d-s6-c30Dear technological Gods, save me from commercials…

Except that once in a while, some Ad agent either takes a fantastic shower or has a great trip to the bathroom producing an ad that simultaneously makes me laugh and gives me hope. Thank you Samsung.

I didn’t realize how big I was smiling at this ad until my cheeks hurt after 60sec. So sweet and cute watching a new dad struggle with swaddling. I loved the independence it showed when dad didn’t require mom to come to his rescue…just You Tube. He’s got this! This nod to father independence comes complete with a fart joke that even a mother can appreciate.

Click on image to link to YouTube

Click on image to link to YouTube

How awesome is it that father’s no longer have to feel lost? One of their greatest obsessions, technology, has brought all of the answers they need to their finger tips and made them ridiculously accessible. The best part, I know dads are using it. There is a new love_and_trust__father_tosses_his_confident_daughter_into_to_air_accompanied_by_screams_of_delight-300x300wave of parenting crashing up on our shore and it’s awesome.

Thank you to all of you wonderful and progressive dads out there sharing the work load in this changing society. Thank you for helping to redefine what it means to be a dad, a father. Thank you for being part of the domestic support system. Most of all, Thank You for setting a wonderful example for our sons.

I am overwhelmed by the participation in parenting these days by men. In fact, I have noticed they are rolling up their sleeves, donning a smile, and getting in the game while their children are still infants. I see them strolling, marsupial packing, feeding, and generally loving their babies. We haven’t reached the point in our evolution where we are expecting you to carry 100-1000 little wee ones like the male seahorse, but as mothers we do appreciate all of the co-parenting that seems to be going on.

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Happy Father’s Day this weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all of the single parents who are waving both flags. Enjoy the weekend like a BOSS!!!

Random Happiness: How big is your Brave? Honestly.

My 11yr old has been relentless about wanting me to blog about this song. Most of the time I would find a way of politely getting out of indulging tweenager music. However, in this case, I believe she is on to something.

Often times as we drive down the road my girls are begging me to please turn down the music (bit of irony). This is one of the few songs which we all agree needs to be cranked the heck up!!! It is almost a shame it can’t be added to to  our genetic code. My daughters are big supporters of the anti-bullying programs available to the youth in our community. I believe the lyrics hold the anti-virus to the epidemic.

If we could all just start learning to speak up for ourselves when we are young, loving ourselves, and believing in our own self-worth it seems there would be fewer victims. Bullies, who choose to grow into abusers, would have fewer targets. In fact, maybe we would find ourselves with fewer bullies too. I love how profound these words are:

“You can be the outcast or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love…Or you can start speaking up…”

This is really the truth of the matter isn’t it? How much do we keep to ourselves out of fear that we won’t be loved if we are already starting out in deficit? Bullies can lash out in pain because of the lack of love that they have been exposed to. Their victims will shrink from assertiveness for the same reasons. Or… everyone can start speaking up.

Being a victim in any context is a choice. Being a bully in any context is a choice. Being a victim is not relegated to just Domestic Abuse. We can be social, political, and religious victims as well. We can be victims in our family of origin. Being a victim is a state of mind. This is why self-love is so important. Being brave in the face of our fear of rejection is probably the greatest challenge and show of self-esteem. It takes tremendous courage to be honest about what we think and feel in the face of exclusion. We should enthusiastically support those who rise to the occasion.

facebook_-1246134626In doing so we challenge bullies and abusers to find an alternative to dealing with their insecurities. We ask them to face their life experience in a way that doesn’t bring harm or hurt to others. But most of all, we show them that it is not okay to control others with fear.

It is never too late to start being brave. Every moment is a new moment. You don’t have to wait for tomorrow:

“Maybe there is a way out of the cage where you live…

Maybe one of these days you can let the light in…”

One of the hardest parts about learning to stand up for one’s self is knowing “how”. How is just being honest about what you think and how you feel. “When”, is another component. There never seems to be a good time to start a new diet, a new exercise program, or new routine of any kind. Yet, how many times do we catch ourselves saying, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” or  ” I am so glad that I finally did this” after we start seeing results? The beautiful thing about loving yourself is every day is filled with opportunities all day long. Start as soon as possible. Just:

“…Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out…”

This is dedicated to you Kait, my Brave girl!