Tag Archives: parenthood

Motherhood and Creativity With a Side of Jeff Foxworthy

A recent Parenting Magazine article explored moms’ self perceptions in a number of categories.  On the topic of creativity, a majority of moms said they wouldn’t describe themselves as particularly innovative or creative.  Excuse me?  In my opinion, creativity is a pre-requisite for motherhood.  Heck the act of becoming a mother is fundamentally indicative of our ability to create, and great minds would argue that life is art and art is life.

This brings me to Jeff Foxworthy.  What connection could creativity possibly have to comedian Jeff Foxworth?  When I began thinking of all the ways moms are creative even when they don’t necessarily see themselves in that light, my thoughts inexplicably came together in the form of Foxworthy’s infamous “You might be a redneck” jokes.  These one-liners of 90’s fame hit home with a large segment of the population because the reality is that we all know deep down that we’re a little bit country but don’t really want to wave that freak flag in public.  Foxworthy did his best to “out” everyone for their redneck tendencies.  Similarly, I think most women are extremely creative but just need someone to give them the one-liners they need to recognize it!

I aim to please, folks.

Ahem.

If you’ve ever put together a last-minute Halloween costume using only a few discarded paper towel rolls, some sweat bands you found in your husband’s 80’s memorabilia box labeled “don’t touch this,” the fishnet pantyhose you bought but have been too afraid to wear, and some pipe cleaners…you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever dragged yourself out of bed 20 minutes early to carve your finicky eater’s lunch sandwich into the shape of Mickey Mouse  and cut up vegetables into “trees” and “swords” instead of plain old broccoli and carrots in an attempt to get him to actually put food in his mouth… you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever drug out every blanket from the hall closet and used hair clips and trash bag ties to build a massive fort in order to entertain your child on a rainy Saturday afternoon… you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever pulled off a delicious dinner in under 30 minutes with no advance planning and with only ground turkey, frozen vegetables and chicken broth because you haven’t been to the grocery store in over a week….you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever “MacGyvered” a broken shoe with a stapler and some gum or fashioned a bib out of a panty liner, a bobby pin and a hair elastic, you just might be a REALLY creative mom! Continue reading Motherhood and Creativity With a Side of Jeff Foxworthy

The Road to Uncool is Paved With Good Parenting

Australian drama, "Mortified," starring Marny Kennedy as Taylor Fry, an 11-year-old constantly embarrassed by her unpredictable family...a good example of the "Uncool Parenting Road" metaphor.

I could fill many pages with the profound truths of the parenting experience.  The second I held my newborn daughter in my arms on August 23, 2004, I felt both empowered and daunted by the task at hand.  Most of us would agree that we are not adequately prepared for the role of PARENT and we sometimes question our decisions along the way.  The first lesson the new parent learns is that few issues are of the clear-cut, black or white variety and raising a child is not as easy as expected.  However, children are precious gifts from God and we pour into them our love, time, resources and occasionally a little wisdom.  In turn, they love us unconditionally and embrace us as both Superman and Mother Teresa.

And then they turn on us.  Regardless of the relationship we have with our children, at some point they will become utterly and wholly embarrassed by us and we will begin a dreaded free-fall from our esteemed perch.  We will be relegated to a category of “uncool” which will encompass our words, appearance, music choices, wardrobe, the way we walk, the way we breathe….you get the picture.

When I was a teenager, my mother’s crimes against humanity involved her use of odd or slightly “off” words for common items or acts.  For example, instead of “throw up” she would use the not-so-easy-on-the-ears term “urp.”  There was nothing that made me red in the face more than hearing this word roll off her tongue in all its onomatopoeia glory.  As I write this, I’m struck by the question of why my mother would ever need to refer to the act of regurgitation in front of others outside our family but c’est la vie.

I also remember the devastation of seeing her in a bright yellow blazer which taunted me with its humiliating, well, yellowness.  I remember getting reprimanded by my father for criticizing my mother’s clothing choices (although I secretly think he hated that blazer as much as I did).  I, however, thought I was advancing her fashion aptitude by picking her apart each morning.

Of course, I blame my temporary rudeness on a not-yet-developed frontal lobe.  I wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood and have long since pardoned my mom and dad for offenses that existed largely in my own insecure head.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I can only imagine the ridicule I will face in the years to come.  And, trust me, I already feel like I live with a 15 year old so I’ve given up hope that we will be spared tumultuous teenage years.

In fact, Bailey is developing a critical eye which seems to be largely focused on me.  About a year ago, Bailey told me she didn’t like one of my outfits as it made me look too much like a boy.  While I scoffed at the idea of a 6 year old telling me what not to wear, I’ll admit I’ve never worn it since. Continue reading The Road to Uncool is Paved With Good Parenting

Rules for Dating My Daughter

While my wife was pregnant with our little girl last summer, I spent a lot of time thinking about certain things I wanted for her in life and continue to do so today, now that she’s almost five months old. And as the father of any little girl will tell you, one of the things a dad thinks about from the very earliest days of his daughter’s precious existence is who will some day replace him as the number one male in her life. While it would suit me just fine if  my daughter was single all of her life (sort of “the Mother Teresa” approach) I realize it’s more likely than not that a young man will come along and want to date her Last summer, with these things in mind, I composed the following 15 rules (technically they’re more like principles) that any young man would be wise to heed if he wishes to pursue courtship and romantic involvement with my daughter.

1. You must read this blog in it’s entirety. Not only is it full of wisdom, but what better way to a young woman’s heart than through the mind of her father?

2. Your automobile must be brand new and equipped with the latest safety features. Driver, passenger, side, and curtain airbags must come standard on your car. Dynamic traction control is a plus, as are roll bars, reinforced steel door pillars, anti-lock breaks, and crumple zones. When you come to pick her up for your first date, please bring a copy of either the Car and Driver or Motor Trends safety report for your trusty rubber-footed steed. I will read it while we sit and wait on my daughter to finish getting ready. If I have questions, I will ask you. Do not speak until you are spoken to.

3. My daughter is always to be returned in better condition than when you picked her up. I call this the return policy. Violate it and I will charge you a steep re-stocking fee.

Continue reading Rules for Dating My Daughter

How to Teach Your Children About Marriage…Without Saying A Word

New parents, and new marriage teachers.

Have you ever seen a child imitate a behavior they just observed?  Or catch them trying something out they saw happen in their home, on TV or when they were in a public location?  These small snapshots of a day in the life of a developing child can make anyone smile.  However, they also give us first hand examples of just how impressionable young minds are.

Depending upon what professional you speak with, these imitation behaviors might be attributed to “Learning Theory,” or in some situations, “Script Theory.”  Other family scientists call it “modeling” or attribute a child’s actions to something called “Symbolic Interaction.”  But regardless of what this phenomenon is called, it’s real.  It happens every day in the life of a parent and child.  And, it’s way more powerful than you might sometimes think.

I wish I had a positive impact video to show you along side this particular clip.  However, I think it does a pretty good job and getting the message across of my post today:

Continue reading How to Teach Your Children About Marriage…Without Saying A Word

The Walls of My Home Have Become My Refrigerator Door

Earlier this week I wrote a post about a whiteboard on my refrigerator. I was surprised to realize that what used to be covered in childhood art created in elementary school or in spontaneous ways at home was no longer there. “The art studio (refrigerator)” is being used for its purpose now, and that’s about it.  I remember just last year sorting through all of Rylee’s school paper piles; we pulled out the neatly stacked and tied piles representing each year…she kept the selections she loved the best, and the rest got recycled.  Rylee is 19 and my eldest is 23.

I realized, however, that with the emerging of the refrigerator door and sides of the appliance (they’re nearly clean now) came the decorating of the walls in my home and made me think of a tall wine cooler.  Both my girls are artists. Rachel studies art in college and Rylee is studying to enter an artistic vocation.  There are samples of their work all over my home.  Here, let me take you on a tour:

This is an image by Rachel I see when I wake up in the morning. It is on my west bedroom wall. The morning light plays with the sketched lines influencing the image to range from dreamy to wistful.

Continue reading The Walls of My Home Have Become My Refrigerator Door