Tag Archives: parents

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

Loser Gets Mom

30 Mar

The following is an actual conversation that recently took place in my car.  Names have NOT been changed to protect the guilty:

Me to Son:

So if you want, you can take soccer on Saturday mornings while your sister is at dance class.  I can take one of you and Dad can take the other.


I want Dad to take me!


I want Dad to take me!

Continue reading

Hitting the Books: Homework 101

6 Sep

To my great delight, my Kindergartner has homework this year!  So far, he has embraced the novelty of doing the teacher-assigned worksheets and projects during the evening, but I expect one of these days to hear him say, “Not now, Mommy. I want to play!”

When that inevitable reaction comes, I want to respond in a way that further motivates him and doesn’t, say, beat him down at the notion that, depending on his educational path and pursuits, he might just have homework for the next 20 years!

I found this piece from professional organizer and mother-of-four Mandi Ehman very helpful.  Check out these tips to keep your kids on task and on target this academic year.

1. Set up a homework area.

Have a dedicated space for homework time so that your kids can focus on their homework without being distracted by clutter or chaos.  For older kids and teens, this might be a corner of their bedroom with a desk and computer.  For younger kids, it may just be the kitchen table or a corner of the counter.

2. Gather all the supplies they might need.

Fill a basket with extra lined paper and pencils as well as a ruler and any other supplies they need on a regular basis, or use a drawer in your kitchen or coffee table to hold their supplies.  The key is that they won’t be able to use looking for supplies as an excuse to procrastinate!

3. Set up a daily routine for homework.

Kids like routines (even the routines they don’t like), and having a routine in place that includes an afternoon snack, a time to rest and then tackling homework is a great way to set the expectation for homework time so that there’s less arguing and whining.

4. Use natural consequences.

Rather than having to fight with your kids each day to get their homework completed, try using natural consequences to motivate them to do it quickly and without argument.  For example, they may miss out on playing with the other kids in the neighborhood or watching TV with the family if their homework isn’t done first.  It may take a few times to see that you’ll really follow through with the consequence, but it really puts it in their hands to get it done.

5. Use a daily planner.

Give older elementary students a daily planner where they can keep track of homework assignments and projects.  Show them how to use the planner for the homework that is due each night as well as long-term projects that they should be thinking about ahead of time.  Or help them enter these projects into your Cozi family calendar so you’re aware of them as well!

As parents, we still need to be involved with younger kids to make sure their homework is done on time and well, but giving them more responsibility over completing it will create good habits now that will help throughout their time in high school and college.

For more tips, check out Mandi’s website at http://life.yourway.net/about/.

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.

Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA

14 Apr

Come to any of the Arlington YMCA branches on Saturday, April 16 from 10 am to 1 pm for Healthy Kids Day!  It’s a day for parents to share the gift of good health with their children – have fun with games, activities, demonstrations, and more.  You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA to attend – it’s open to the public and it’s FREE!

In Arlington, the YMCA has 3 locations:

Central – 2200 S. Davis Street

Cooper – 7120 S. Cooper Street

North – 100 Skyline Drive

For more information, visit their website by clicking here.

Pinwheels for Prevention – National Prevent Child Abuse Month

6 Apr

April is National Prevent Child Abuse month.  Prevent Child Abuse America has launched a campaign called Pinwheels for Prevention to promote awareness about child abuse prevention.  The pinwheel represents their efforts to change the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.

You can help by proudly displaying a pinwheel in your yard!  The kids love them!

For more information about the campaign, click here:  www.pinwheelsforprevention.org.

The Kindness Chain

6 Dec

Anyone read my blog about our Thankful Turkey?  I made a turkey out of styrofoam balls and yarn – Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!  Each day the kids told me something they were thankful for, we’d write it down on a foam “feather,” and stick it in our turkey.

Well, the kids LOVED it.  They didn’t want it to end when Thanksgiving was over.  And I have to admit, I didn’t want them to think that gratitude is only important once a year.

But…I was ready to bid adieu to the turkey.  So I was trying to come up with a way to continue that same theme, with a Christmas variation.

After much internet (and brain) searching, I finally came across the perfect thing here – what I’ve dubbed a “Kindness Chain.”  It’s just a simple paper chain, made of links of paper circled and and stapled around each other.  Every time someone in our house does something kind, we write it down on a strip of paper and add another “link” to our chain.  (I have to admit I’m worried that our 3-year-old daughter won’t have much to contribute.  She’s already told me many times that she’s on the “naughty” list.  And proud of it.)

We’ve gotten started with a few very simple – but cute – “links”:

1) My son told me he loved me.

2) I gave my daughter my last pretzel.

3) My son held my hand to keep it warm.

4) My daughter brought my son a toy that she thought he might like to play with. (Ha – she was kind in spite of herself!)

They’re small things, but that’s how ideas get planted in kids’ heads.  You try it over and over, and eventually, it sticks – at least, you hope it does!

My goal is that by the time Christmas rolls around, we’ll have a huge, long chain wrapping around our tree.  I think we can do it, as long as I don’t REMOVE chains for bad behavior!

Here’s hoping the holiday spirit moves all of us to show a little extra kindness to others.

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