Posts from May 2015

What’s In a Name?

May 26, 2015
by vicki, family, motherhood

What's in a name? #joyofmom


What’s In a Name?

I’ve always been a mom. I’m not talking about the feeling in my heart (which always pointed in the mom direction), but how my children address me. “Hi, Mom. Do you want help with dinner, Mom? Let’s run to pilates, Mom” This can be followed by, “Oh, Mom! Why Mom? Let’s chat Mom.”

But I hear there is a cultural shift rumbling these days. Moms are no longer just Moms.

It’s actually hip to be a Mama! Maybe it was Hollywood that started it because all the hot stars call each other “mama” and I don’t think kids even need to be involved here. There’s J.Lo calling everyone “mama.” Suddenly, everyone is doing it. The other day at a store, I got my change and the young woman behind the counter said, “Here you go, mama!”

Then the other day, I read that kids are actually part of this cultural shift because there is a “mama movement” underway. It seems that those who ask to be called “mama” are the new moms and consider themselves the most empowered ones. Mamas, it seems, are considered a driving force and an unstoppable one who better not be crossed.

Maybe it has to do with age. I loved the days when my children were little and called me “Mommy.” Who doesn’t melt when a toddler makes his way to his favorite person on earth and screams, “Mommy!.” As children age, we used to be just plain mom or even “Mother!” if the child wasn’t getting his or her way. I’ve heard a few “Mother! Everyone else is doing it!” Of course, I could easily respond that everyone else did not have me as a mom, mommy, mother!

I’ve been traveling a lot these days and it’s interesting that I hear all ages from wee ones to teens calling out for their “Mama!” The new phenomenon was cemented by an essay called “The Rise of ‘Mama'”—about the increasing cultural use of the term “mama” by Elissa Strauss — and I agree with her premise. The word mama is here because there are shifting views of motherhood now.

Just like that Mama Bear, moms protect, nourish, guide, repair and provide for their children, her family and her community. Mamas are in the driver’s seat guiding futures. Mamas are the rock and the force. Mess with her cubs, and there is going to be trouble!

Some are even calling it a mama lifestyle movement. One article pointed out that there are mom jeans, which mean something not-so-coveted, while mama jeans sound like something most of us would wear with pride.

So, what’s in a name? Personally, I don’t care if it’s mom, mother or mama! The name isn’t so much what matters as are the feelings that earned that title. And, it’s just a gift to be called any one of them. The very best gift.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Martin Photography

Weekly Roundup

May 22, 2015
links i love

Head on over to Joy of Mom for the best of what the internet has to offer in our Weekly Roundup! #joyofmom


Joy of Mom’s Weekly Roundup

~ This is the coolest speaker I’ve ever seen!

~ Your birdies will feel so special!

~ How fun are these finger puppets?

~ The sweetest little nightlight for any princess or fairy

~ They’ll enjoy chewing it as much as you’ll enjoy wearing it!

~ Your baby will have the sweetest of dreams <3

~ Very much teacher of the year!

~ These organic sodas are super delish (and make great mixers, too)!

~ Didn’t I see this on Thomas?

~ Super soft and kissable lips!

The First Crush

May 20, 2015
by vicki, family



The First Crush

It’s spring when a young junior high school girl’s fancy turns to ….her first crush.

There is nothing more startling than when your child come comes home and announces that he or she has REALLY noticed a member of the opposite sex. Hang on, moms, I guarantee this is going to be a bumpy ride. I have a friend whose daughter Madison, 13, claims she is in LOVE with a boy in history class. Yes, the girl is using the l-word and her father is turning 13 shades of purple each time she says it. But she says it. She can’t stop talking about this boy.

His name is Aidan and he’s 13 with short-shaved hair and braces. He has already been deemed “way too cute.” He has also borrowed our heroine Madison’s pencil. Here’s the thing….he never gave it back. “That means he like-likes me,” Madison told Mom in the car on the way home from school. “Does it mean he like-likes me, Mom?? What does it mean?” Ut uh…

As a mother, there are moments as delicate as your grandmother’s white lace. They usually occur in the car on the way to soccer practice with 10,000 other things happening at the same moment. Mom usually doesn’t have time to dwell. She must hit the ground running…even when there is no time to think or ask or ponder. The topic was this crush. My friend didn’t want to discourage what were very natural feelings as her tween daughter continued to take shaky steps towards adulthood. At the same time, she didn’t really know this boy. Was this a good thing…or trouble?

“Mom, I’m sure he’s going to ask me out,” Madison boasted and her mom gulped. Mom wanted to approach crush-land in slow motion; daughter wanted to get moving. “How do you know he’s going to (cough) ask you anywhere?” her mom responded. “He gave me a thumbs up sign when he saw me on my way to the bathroom today,” Madison cooed. For a minute, the mom had to stop worrying and smile. Yes, this is what passed for seventh grade “like liking” someone these days. He celebrated her getting a hall pass?

It’s fun to smile about this, but moms know that moments like these are going to lead to discussions and decision. “She’s not dating until she’s 16. Her father and I won’t allow it. Should I tell her the facts of life?” the mom asked me, and there were no easy answers.

I reminded my friend that crushes are a natural part of growing up. Monitoring is a mother’s right and responsibility. And, as always, it was another time to get on that high wire and walk the line between encouraging growth, but in a slow and steady way.

Of course, sometimes life has a way of working itself out. The other day, young Madison came home heartbroken. It seems that her crush borrowed a marker from a girl named Holly and wrote “her” name on his arm. “They’re seriously going out now,” Madison cried, but she wasn’t too upset when her mom suggested a quick shopping trip and dinner to feel better. (Her Dad was also thrilled. A die-hard Bears fan, he had found out that the crush liked THE GREEN BAY PACKERS!)

As for Mom, she got a pause here and really think about her daughter’s future and all the rites of passage they were about to embark on.

Of course, Madison would have another crush, but her mom would decide now how to handle it so mom and daughter wouldn’t end up…crushed.

Photo courtesy of Gina Shuppert with Piper+Claire

The Next Big Step

May 11, 2015
family, motherhood

The Next Big Step! #joyofmom

The Next Big Step

One of my mom friends called me the other day with true sorrow in her voice. “It’s that time of year,” she moaned and I knew this wasn’t about spring cleaning because we both love going through our closets and pantries. Organic or homemade window cleaner is in our veins.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “I just realized that there are only four weeks of school left, which means Wyatt will be leaving elementary school. He’s almost in junior high, Vicki! Where did the time go?” she said in a wistful tone.

I knew it was one of those happy-sad mom moments. As mothers, we’re thrilled to see our children achieve and get to the next level. We’re right by their sides helping, supporting, lifting and loving as we nudge them towards their bright and happy futures. There is just something about the bigger passages — a graduation, the next level of school, a big birthday (12 to 13 signally the teen years) or an acceptance into college that creates a little stir within us because of the passage of time.

Yes, your precious child is now in (gasp) junior high or (gulp) high school or (big sigh) college! You daughter just got her period; your little boy has facial hair. How is it that the time is moving along so quickly? The truth is that time does move fast. There’s something on the Internet these days telling moms that you only have 936 weekends before your child grows up. I think the key is to remember that time is moving quickly, and to truly savor the moments. What did you do last weekend to make it count? What will you do next weekend? Instead of feeling sad that there are only a few weeks left of this school year, vow to do something special to mark those days.

Instead of feeling wistful that your baby is now in high school plan to do something in the next week where she will say someday, “Remember when I was in high school and we took that car trip?” I heard an amazing story of a mother whose daughter was striving hard to get into Yale University. Finally, the big day arrived when Yale emailed their answer (yes, it’s done via the Internet these days). Instead of running to the computer to find out the next BIG step, mom and daughter decided to take one hour and go out to lunch. It wasn’t a fancy lunch, but they sat, talked, laughed, teared up and then took a little walk around a local park. It was almost as if time was suspended as they just enjoyed that time together when the future was still a big question mark. Then they were ready. They drove home. As they walked through that familiar front door, they hugged and the daughter raced over to the computer. Yes, she was accepted.
That was ten years ago, and now she’s a Yale graduate who still talks about that big day when her mom took her out to lunch.

Time passes, but what’s remembered of that time is up to you.

Photo courtesy of Gina Shuppert with Piper+Claire

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2015
by vicki, motherhood

Happy mother's day! #joyofmom

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you’re a brand new mama, perhaps this is your first official Mother’s Day…or maybe you’ve experienced 18 of these holidays and your babies have left the nest. No matter what age our children are, they will always be our babies. And every Mother’s Day (actually every day) is a precious gift, a privilege and honor, and a reminder of how blessed we are to be called “mom”. As I’m writing this, I’m feeling overcome with emotions about “firsts” so I’m just gonna flow with it.

From the very first moment I knew you were coming into my life, I was breathless. My life would forever be different. Indescribably better. And would forever more be “we”.
The first time I saw you, my heart burst open.
The first time you opened your eyes I saw a new world.
The first time you cried, I knew the true depths of my own pain.
The first time you got on that yellow school bus I learned of the strange mix of fear, dread, worry, hope and excitement – that would never leave me.
Then the bus pulled away. My heart pulled away too, and I cried. Big time.
The first time you had a crush, something within me melted.
The first time you had to deal with a boy or girl who broke your heart, mine was shattered.
I was devastated for you. And wanted payback. (Of course, I just wiped your tears.)
The first prom made me a proud, nervous wreck that could barely breathe until that front door opened.
The first drive to college was almost my un-doing, but I never left you know.
The first time you said, “Mom, I want to be a mom like you,” I silently wept.
My child, you were not my first love, but you are my forever love.

This brings me to what it means to celebrate Mother’s Day. Honestly, I believe that it shouldn’t just be one day. Mother’s Day is every single day, but perhaps the card companies have it wrong. Maybe we should be giving our beautiful children cards and pancakes in bed today. There is no greater gift, honor or privilege than to be a mother. When we feel as if there is nothing left to give because we’re human and exhausted, is when we always give more. Moms never sit it out. We stand up, get up and re-up day after day to do the job. And do it the best we can. In every imaginable way.

How do we know if we’ve done a good job? I quoted Dar Williams in my new book who wrote, “You’ll fly away, but take my hand until that day. So when they ask how far love goes, When my job’s done you’ll be the one who knows.”
My heart and hands are full today…and always when I’m with or think of my children.
So here’s to all the mamas who are warriors on the home front.
Here’s to our beautiful children.
Here’s to our mothers who led the way for us, so we could lead the way for our babies.
No one will ever know the depths of a mother’s love.

xo, Vicki
Photo courtesy of Colibri Photo

I had to add the caption of the beautiful mama and photographer, Valerie Baillargeon, pictured her with her two sons. Caption reads: “Where I belong.” It’s simply a perfect caption.

Thank You Mom!

May 10, 2015
by vicki, motherhood


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