My Name is NOT Mommy!

A weekend conversation between myself and my seven year old son. A conversation every parent should have with their child.

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Mom! Mama! Mommy! Mother! Ma!

ENOUGH!!!

Darling…my sweet little boy…I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. But all day you’ve been asking me for stuff. Stuff that YOU want. Stuff that YOU like. And I know that for most of it, you need my help to either get it or achieve it. You’re too young to cook, I made breakfast and lunch. You needed permission for a snack after breakfast AND lunch, I served you a reasonable portion. You wanted to watch that movie on cable,  I entered the password. You requested time to go play outside, I granted it. You reminded me about that book, I read you a chapter filled with the fun voice effects you enjoy so much. You asked me to come see that gross video of that dog licking the screen for the twentieth time, I conceded with a smile. But really? You want juice? It’s in the bottom draw. You can get it yourself. No more. Not…for the next…two…hours.

But, mama….

No… Do you remember what my name is?

Elke?

Yes, Elke. My name is Elke. And do you know why I ask?

No.

I ask because THAT is who I am. I am Elke. Not mommy, not mom. When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream of growing up to be “mommy”. That is what YOU call me out of respect. And it’s a job I do willingly because I love you. But it’s NOT who I am. Do you know WHO I am?

Elke?

Yes, and I love my name and I love who I am. But did you notice that all day today was about what YOU liked to do and what made YOU happy? And it makes me happy to make you happy. But it also makes me happy to make ME happy. Do you think it’s fair for me to be happy by doing the many things that make ME happy too?

Yes.

And what things do I love to do? I know you know.

Read and write? Draw and paint?

Yes, you are correct again. Those are all things I love to do. But I need time to do them. What happens to all the stuff I love to do if I’m spending all my time helping you do all the things you love to do?

You can’t do the things you love to do?

Bingo. And do you think that’s fair when there are many things you can do for yourself and there is no need to constantly interrupt me? Is that fair?

No.

Great! So what’s the lesson to be learned with this conversation?

You need time to be you. And I should go do some things by myself?

Oh boy, I knew I raised you right. I love you so very much. And if there is something really important you need from me, you can find me in the home office. You know I never ever lock the door.

I love you too, Mommy…Elke.

Ha! Ha! Very funny.

 

— The Pretty Platform (a.k.a. Elke…. a.k.a. Mom! Mama! Mommy! Mother! Ma!)

Do You Remember Picture Day?

Picture Day!!!

Do you remember that day as a kid or only now as a parent? What is it about this day that gets a person all out of sorts.

I remember the days leading up to picture day as a kid in elementary school. Picking out the right outfit while trying to convince my mother that my opinion on the ideal outfit was better than her opinion on what I should wear for that day. My hair was always another issue. Growing up with a ‘beautician’ had both its benefits and drawbacks. The drawback? She thought she knew best when it came to styling MY hair. Any other day I’d give in to her whims, but this was MY day, MY picture, MY moment to shine. And then there was practicing the smile in the mirror. Teeth or no teeth. Serious and mysterious, or happy and lively.

The day was here and you would walk in to class that morning hoping your choices held up to those of your classmates. Lisa wore a dress too. Good, I wasn’t the only one. Thelma wore dangling earrings, I wish my mom allowed me to wear those. Is Trisha wearing a bit of makeup? Never in a thousand years would that fly in my home.

Now you find yourself in front of the photographer on a cold metal stool propped in from of a humdrum backdrop. A stranger that questions his career choice every time he has to deal with over 100 kids in one morning. A stranger that doesn’t care if you blinked. A stranger that doesn’t care if your collar wasn’t straight, or if you had a hair out-of-place. “Sit up straight, face the lens and smile”. A bright light, you blink and it’s over. “Next!”

Let us not forget the class picture. Row positioning was of great importance. You created an entire outfit around this moment in hopes that it could be displayed front and center. Tall kids second row, the rest of us shuffled between sitting in the front row or having to stand on a bench behind everyone else. Front row, third seat in. Score!

And just like that, the day is over.

Your stress now enters the next phase…WAITING. The weeks go by. Then one day, after everyone has settled in to their seat, the teacher asks you to come up and grab your long-awaited envelope as she calls your name for attendance. A little portion of my spirit dies in that moment. We are given about 30 minutes to mingle and show our classmates our picture. For some it’s a moment to “show-off”. I do not fall in to that category. I hesitantly open my envelope, I glance in and let out a sigh of relief. I’m happy with it. My hair, my outfit, even my smile holds up to my expectations. We all laugh, admire one another and even comfort others.

Fast forward about 35 years. Today was my son’s picture day. Last night I filled out the form highlighting MY choice of backdrop. Blue. I picked out his outfit, nothing dressy and nothing stuffy. A nice tailored grey t-shirt, long pants. He’s been wearing shorts to school so far since technically it’s still summer. This morning, I present him with the chosen outfit and have to go in to some diatribe about the long pants. We compromised with a pair of shorts in his backpack if he wants to change afterwards. He holds still while I gel up his hair just the way HE likes it. And then we take literally 30 seconds to practice his smile and he stresses out about his two missing front teeth. He’s relieved when I tell him that’ll be the best part of this picture.

I have now entered the next phase as a parent….WAITING…. but this time I’m not stressed. Because no matter what, I know I’m going to just love having my son’s 2nd grade school picture. I just hope he showed off his missing front teeth and his one dimple.

I love picture day!

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Back To School – You’ve Been Warned

In the spirit of back to school season, I wanted to quickly send out my sympathy and empathy to all the Moms and Dads out there worldwide that will be receiving the torturous, tedious, and distressing task of… HOMEWORK. (cue the dramatic sound effect). 

This comes in the guise of little Timmy’s homework (insert your child’s name here), quietly nestled in his take-home folder which Timmy so excitedly chose himself during your back-to-school shopping outing together. But don’t be fooled!!! This is actually a long-established custom, proven to test each household adult claiming responsibility over little Timmy (note that I don’t have any kids named Timmy).

It innocently begins with all the handouts that ONLY the parents or guardians are to fill out and sign that first week of school.

  • They are assessing our sense of urgency by how quickly we send them back with Timmy.
  • They are sizing us up by how accurately and detailed we fill out each emergency contact section.
  • They are scrutinizing the short cuts we may take by abbreviating or writing in “same” for each parent or siblings address we need to list out.
  • My husband lovingly describes me as a conspiracy theorist, but I’m sure they have Graphologists on site to analyze our handwriting patterns to psychologically identify us and evaluate our possible personality characteristics.

Continue reading “Back To School – You’ve Been Warned”