Woman@Heart: Essays on Life, Love, Laughter & Tear
Women are an unstoppable force, united by sticky note to-do lists, soccer schedules, and occasional spa pedicures. We share laughter and sorrows, taking comfort in each other’s strengths and commonality of experiences. Woman@Heart is a celebration of that sisterhood.
Originally published as columns in thirty regional magazines, these heartfelt, whimsical essays are mirrors every woman peers into and frequently recognizes herself. Each piece shares the unpredictable, meaningful – and often comical – adventures of one gal’s journey as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend.
In these slices of life, you’ll find a sisterly common ground; a witty safe place to laugh at our circumstantial camaraderie and be inspired by the female spirit.
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Momisms: A Mother’s Words of Advice
My sons will never be mothers. They’ll never know firsthand the joys of morning sickness, labor, and delivery. Hopefully, one day they will become parents, but the closest they’ll get is to be a dad. And in my world, fatherhood is light years away from motherhood.
Sure, dads teach their children neat stuff like how to hit a ball off a tee, draw to an inside straight, or burp out the National Anthem. But it’s mom who imparts the meaningful wisdom, the stuff that changes lives. Moms do more than teach you how to sew on a button or make a hard-boiled egg. Our advice is a mixture of the practical (check for TP before you sit down), the emotional (laugh some every day) and the spiritual (what goes around, comes around).
I didn’t embrace this role as the family sage. It just came with the territory; this mammoth task of offering insight, common sense, and real-world perspective to my sons. To share the knowledge I’ve garnered over the past few decades. This is a lifelong project and I realize that a lot of what I have to say isn’t original, new, or high-tech. With my advice and $3.75 they could get a grande mocha at the mall. In fact, some of my most useful nuggets of enlightenment are borrowed, recycled, or stolen directly from my mom, Florence.
Nevertheless, as the days unfold, I continue to reveal my own brand of “momisms” to Shawn, Jake and Seth, when I think they’re listening—however, frequently they’re not. That’s usually when I’ll hear my mom’s voice coming from my mouth. “Never give up. Don’t waste anything. This, too, will pass. You get less wrinkles if you smile.”
I think I’ve come up with a few of my own gems—words my sons will sagely repeat in years to come, as they become adults, get married, and parent my grandchildren. Here are some of my favorites, offered in no particular order; strategies that help me keep priorities straight in the midst of chaos, confusion, and what we commonly call daily life. Borrow, rewrite or purloin what you wish:
Put things back where you found them.
Spend less than you make.
Don’t be in a rush to grow up.
Don’t be in a rush for your children to grow up.
Listen more than you talk.
Take time for those you love.
Each day is a new chance to discover your life.
Things work out.
Don’t be afraid to say: I love you. Thank you, and I’m sorry.
Pray, pray, and then pray some more.
A new pair of shoes fixes just about anything.
Stay in the moment.
Take out the trash, even if it isn’t your turn.
You’ll get another chance.
Put the seat down.
Hug someone every day. When you are hugged, hug back.
Put on a pot of tea.
Use a tissue.
Walk the dog.
It’s okay to be bored.
Don’t put the empty box back on the shelf.
Pack an extra pair of underwear.
Let the other guy go first.
Take care of your friends.
Count to ten. Count to ten again.
My hope is that what I’ve learned and tried to pass on to my children will enhance their lives in ways that successful careers and money can’t. But that’s probably wishful thinking. Let’s be real: none of us takes Mom’s word for it. I didn’t. I had to find things out in my own way. I still do. No shortcuts for Claire. And inevitably, when life presents me with another chance to learn a lesson (check the gas tank before you get on the freeway), I nod my head and think: Yeah, Mom told me that. She knew.
My trio of fellas is wandering down their own “I-gotta-learn-it-myself” path. They’re figuring out the stuff I tried to tell them. In the years to come, when they become dads, I hope they’ll see the value of what I’ve shared. The greatest compliment to me would be to see that same head nod. A recognition of that ah-ha moment when it all comes together. And they’ll think: Yep, Mom really did know what she was talking about.
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