Tag Archives: moms

Quotes about Moms

9 Apr

For the life of me I can’t remember where I got these great quotes about mothers!  As soon as I recall the source I’ll let you know.  If you’re a mom, or have a mom, or have ever met a mom, you’ll love these!  My personal faves are the hilarious #10, 15, and 59, while number 20 made me choke back tears…

  1. There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one ~ Jill Churchill
  2. Mothers are all slightly insane. ~ J.D. Salinger
  3. My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. ~ George Washington
  4. Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
  5. The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~ Honoré de Balzac
  6. There was never a great man who had not a great mother. ~ Olive Schreiner
  7. In the man whose childhood has known caresses, there is always a fiber of memory that can be touched to gentle issues. ~ George Eliot
  8. Mothers have as powerful an influence over the welfare of future generations as all other earthly causes combined. ~ John S C Abbott
  9. There is no influence so powerful as that of the mother. ~ Sarah Josepha Hale Continue reading

Valuing Ourselves – and Others

30 Aug

Jen’s latest FEAT—which centers on self-acceptance—got my wheels spinning back to a thought I’ve had many times over my nearly 16-year career as a mom: Other moms can make you feel like crap.

Like the high-school queen bee whose popularity rises in proportion to how bad she makes other girls feel, certain moms relish nothing more than a) pointing out the talents/innate genius/physical gifts of their own offspring and b) snarking about other moms and their children.

These chicks are smart in how they undercut their erstwhile rivals, rarely engaging in any kind of face-to-face confrontation. Rather, snide side comments to a third party are their forte. This has the two-fold effect of putting the first mom down and intimidating the listener.

Back when I lived in Little Rock and my teen daughter with autism was a toddler, another mom I knew (a friend, I might have said at the time) constantly regaled me with her own daughter’s brilliance, particularly when it came to her staggering vocabulary. This stung all the worse as on that score my daughter (to this day largely nonverbal) was showing a notable lack of progress in that area. All the while, Uber-Mom kept discussing another friend’s child, about whom she had “concerns.” It got so bad that I began a pattern of cancelling play-dates at the last minute, too anxious to cope, too gutless to explain why.

While I’m definitely not blame-free on the score of expressing opinions about another child or mother, I pray I don’t ever do it as a way of inflating myself. I am the first to admit my failings as a mom—and I’ll readily share them with whoever’s listening. But do take a page from my book and steer clear of mothers with a not-so-hidden agenda of tearing someone else down to feel better about themselves.

We’re all better when we don’t.

MASK Syndrome: Signs and Symptoms

7 Jun

Around Mother’s Day, I came across the piece via a Facebook friend’s post.  Boy, did the arrow hit its mark!  But, you know, I think this may apply to most any mom, not just those of us with children on the Autism Spectrum.  What I took from the writings of Lisa Barrett Mann, Kansas-based therapist and author, is confirmation that I’m doing two things right:  I have respite care (which gives me time alone or time alone with my husband for a couple of hours each week) and a great support system of friends, Paige’s teachers and more.

Does any of this ring true to you?

Have you noticed any of these symptoms recently:

• Irritability?
• Hyper-vigilance?
• Repetitive speech?
• Avoidance of social interaction?
• Disregard for personal appearance and social niceties?

I’m not talking about your child with Asperger’s or autism.  I’m talking about you.  And me.  And a common occurrence I’m calling MASK (Mothers of Autism Spectrum Kids) Syndrome.  It occurs when a mom spends so much of her waking life focusing on her child’s special needs and fighting for his interests that, somewhere along the way, she starts to lose touch with the person she used to be.  How ironic it is that, in fighting autism, many of us start to become a little more autistic ourselves.

Irritability.  Are you suffering from lack of sleep?  Worried about your child’s future?  Worried about your family’s finances?  Ever find yourself snapping at your kids for interrupting you, then feeling guilty afterwards for discouraging this social interaction?

Hyper-vigilance.  Do you scan each room you enter for things that might set off a meltdown in your child, such as unusual smells or loud noises?  Do you find yourself doing so even when he isn’t with you?  For that matter, after avoiding those things for so long, do you find that they now irritate you, too?

Avoidance of social interaction.  Do you choose the self-serve lane at the supermarket and the ATM at the bank because doing things by yourself is just easier?  Do you keep meaning to pick up the phone and call a friend, but find yourself too busy or distracted?

Disregard for personal appearance and social niceties.  Have the cute hairdos and perky outfits been replaced by ponytails and sweats?  Do you ever find yourself so rushed and distracted that it’s just annoying when a cashier or neighbor tries to make chitchat with you about the weather?

If you answered “yes” to several of these questions, you too may be suffering from MASK Syndrome.

Interventions for MASK Syndrome

While there’s no known cure for MASK Syndrome, there ARE interventions that can lessen the symptoms and help moms to live happier, more satisfying lives.  And by implementing these interventions, you’ll be setting a great example for your kids by giving priority to social interaction and other activities you need to maintain your health and well-being.

In his new book Staying in the Game: Providing Social Opportunities for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities, psychologist Jim Loomis emphasizes that children on the spectrum need lots of social interaction built into their daily lives – a variety of social opportunities where they can successfully practice and generalize their interpersonal skills.  I submit that moms need at least as much social interaction – to maintain our social skills and our mental health.  Let’s take Jim’s itinerary for kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and translate it into something that makes sense for moms with MASK.

Lunch bunch 3-4 times per week.  Most of us live hectic lives, and working through lunch can easily become habit.  Make a commitment to yourself that at least three days a week, you’re going to operate as a social human being.  Go over to the food court with your coworkers, or brown bag it and catch up on the gossip in the lunchroom.  If you’re at home with little ones and you share the lunch table with preschoolers, that may count as social time for them – but not for you.  You need interaction with folks who are interested in topics beyond Blues Clues and Thomas the Train.  So after the dishwasher is loaded, put everybody down to nap or stick in a DVD for 20 minutes, and pick up the phone and call your best friend or sister, and give yourself a dose a grownup time.  (Just don’t spend the 20 minutes talking about the kids!)

One play date every other week.  The great thing about play dates for moms is that you don’t have to referee them – you just have to find time for them!  Sit down with your calendar, get on the phone, and schedule time to spend with friends, at least every couple of weeks.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.  Go together for manicures or a trip to Target, followed by lattés, while Dad watches the kids.  But make sure you schedule in play dates with Dad occasionally, too.  If you can’t find a sitter, trade off watching the kids with another couple who has a child on the spectrum – most, I’ve found, are happy to make such a deal.

Membership in two clubs or organizations.  If you don’t already belong to a group for parents of kids with ASDs, you’re missing out on great social and emotional support.  But also remember that you had interests before you became a harried mom.  Whether it’s decorating or reading murder mysteries, we all need some sort of pleasant diversion, and friendly folks to share it with.  If you’re able to join a local support group and club, great!  But if not, there is a plethora of online discussion groups about just about any interest you can imagine.  A quick search on groups.yahoo.com is often all you need to get started.

If you feel guilty about the idea of trying to plan time and activities apart from your kids, don’t!  How can we teach our kids that socialization is important, healthy, and worthwhile, if we hardly ever take time for it ourselves?  So get pick up the phone and plan time for some fun with a friend.  If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your child.

P.S. While MASK Syndrome to date has been found to be most prevalent among Moms, many dads are susceptible to similar syndromes.  So, Dads, don’t feel left out, but take heed.

Lisa Barrett Mann, M.S.Ed., has a private practice in Overland Park, KS, focusing on social skills training and cognitive-behavioral interventions for children and teens with ASDs (www.AspergersInterventions.com).  She is also the mother of a 13-year-old with AS and the author of More Than Little Professors: Children with Asperger Syndrome: In Their Own Words.

Mothers Helping Mothers – UPDATE!

10 May

Despite the fact that I was so late in organizing this project, I’m pleased to say that we ended up with a great haul for SaveHaven!  My kids and I delivered the donations on Friday.  We filled up two huge carts with clothes, toiletries, candy, toys, books, and more!  My kids also picked out some special Mother’s Day balloons for the ladies there.

My deepest thanks go out to everyone who contributed.  We’ll definitely be doing this again next year – even bigger and better!


Calling all Moms!!

This Mother’s Day, I want to rally all you ladies to help me with a special project.  I’m going to collect donations for SafeHaven of Tarrant County, the women’s shelter.

I’ll spare you the long version of why I want to do this – in a nutshell, I feel lucky with the life I have and I want to help other moms.  The thought of being in a shelter with my kids is devastating, and being stuck there on Mother’s Day would most likely rule out any chance for celebration.  But with the help of donations (from caring people like us!), the shelter can give some small, special treats to the moms who are staying there.

Items on their Mother’s Day wish list include flip-flops, colorful socks, chapstick or lip balm, makeup, nail files, gum or candy, and body wash or lotion.

Their immediate needs also include women’s clothes and pajamas (can be used), kids’ toys (can be used), baby bottles, sippy cups, formula, and diapers.

I’ll deliver the items to the shelter next Friday, May 6.  Please contact me at jen@morethanmothers.com and I’ll be happy to pick up any items you’d like to donate.

Thank you to everyone who can help me with this!  Together, we can spread our good fortune and brighten the Mother’s Day of other moms who are facing a personal crisis.

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