Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  I am thankful I have lots to be happy about and here is why:

1. My heart sings each time I see one of my three kids.

2. I have two wonderful sons-in-law, who also make my heart sing.

3. All three kids and kids-in-law live in the same city I do.

4. All five are thoughtful and concerned citizens of Canada and the world.

5.  They have a father/ father-in-law who cares about their well-being.

6. I see them regularly, but we don’t sit in each others’ pockets.

7. They still come to me for advice, even if they don’t take it.

8. All of them are the longest blooming flowers I have ever seen.  Watching them change and grow is like magic before my very eyes.

9.  They keep teaching me about the world.

10.  They keep teaching me about myself, especially how much I can love.

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Advice for young job hunters

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Today’s Globe and Mail has an excellent insert for Gen Y.  You may be interested in discreetly leaving it on the kitchen table for your 20 something young adult or (not so discreetly) forwarding them the links to the online version.

Canada’s Top Employers for Young People lists 90 companies that share a commitment to helping young people transition into the working world.

Yesterday, Victoria Hoffman wrote about job hunting and the need for young people to network. Another useful resource for your young person.

Our kids may not take our advice, but they may absorb something they read.  Good luck to you and to them!  Read More

Actions speak louder than words

Life is a puzzle

Life is a puzzle

My friend Mary has been in despair about her 29 year old son Jeff for some time. He often treats her with contempt.

Jeff has been living in Vancouver for the past five years where he works as a manager for a large department store. He stays with Mary when he returns to Ottawa to visit family and friends.

When she asks him how his day went, he might reply that it is none of her business, or he gives a one word answer. He leaves dishes in the sink after making himself some food and ignores Mary’s request that he clean up after himself.  When Mary planned a pot luck birthday party for his sister, Jeff told Mary she just wanted to get out of work.  (And what’s wrong with that, I might ask!)

Jeff also fails to return his mother’s telephone calls or e-mails.  Mary is always the one to initiate contact and then she waits, hoping she will hear from him.

The most recent of Jeff’s transgressions is that he failed to answer a previously arranged telephone call with Mary. There was no e-mail advising Mary that he wouldn’t be available and no follow-up e-mail apologizing for not answering the call.

Mary decided that it was time to act. She sent him this e-mail: Read More

Matchmaking moms know best!

For a tongue-in-cheek look at how mothers are trying to find mates for their adult children, read the New York Times article by  Risa Doherty.  The self deprecating humour is hilarious!

Of course, I never got involved in matchmaking myself. I was above that sort of thing.  A little question here and a small word of encouragement there, was all I ever did. And no-one paid any attention anyway. I resorted to talking to my friends about when and if my children would find a partner.  Now that two are married, the heat is off the third.  At least, for the moment.

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Remember who you are: advice for daughters and sons

Lisa Moore

Mothers, daughters, trust, and desire.

Laughter, poignancy, insight and life long advice.

It’s all there in a 12 minute talk given by Newfoundland author Lisa Moore on The Walrus‘s web site, a Canadian magazine that provides information and analysis on just about any topic.  Moore is the author of “February”, a novel that won the Canada Reads 2013 contest and her works of fiction have been nominated for the Giller and the Man Booker prizes.

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International Women’s Day: A time to act

International Women's Day 2015 Theme

International Women’s Day 2015 Theme

I am ashamed to admit that I almost forgot that International Women’s Day is March 8 until I received an e-mail from Match, a Canadian organization dedicated to improving the lives of girls and women  around the world.

No parent can afford to forget IWD or the struggles it represents, if we want equality for our girls and boys.

Not so long ago my mother was considered by law incapable of deciding whether a medical operation would be in the best interests of her children. In 1950’s Quebec, where I grew up, the law required the signature of my father, who while a lovely man, was not an involved dad and would have known far less than my mother, a former nurse, about any health concerns his kids might have had. It was not until 1964 that Quebec wives could conduct themselves independently in legal or financial matters without authorization from their husbands.

My mother was married under a regime known as “separate as to property”.  That meant she had control over what she owned. But that was useless for a stay-at-home mom, who owned only the things she brought into the marriage: some silverware, dishes and bed sheets. She was totally dependent upon the good will of my father.

My mother once gave a speech at the local Toastmistress organization on how Quebec legislation discriminated against women.   She came home fiercely angry when the male adjudicator gave her poor marks, which she was convinced were in retaliation to what she said. She raged against her status in the 1950’s before the 1960’s wave of feminism became the rage.

My grandmother’s situation was worse. Read More

All parents are cowards

NY Times

There is a wonderful article in today’s New York Times about the need to let go of your children, whether they’re two or twenty-two.  Michael Christie brings the issue alive by recounting his own experience with letting go, first with his mother and then with his boys, in his article “All Parents are Cowards“.

 

Helicopter parents – not us!

Chittagong, Bangladesh

Chittagong, Bangladesh

We’re not helicopter parents.  Oh no, not us.

When my 27 year old son recently left for Bangladesh to volunteer in an orphanage for three months, my husband and I drove him to the airport.  My husband dropped us off at the departure gate while he parked the car.

My son and I busied ourselves getting the suitcases on a trolley and then sailed into the airport so he could check his baggage.  I clucked around a stand filling out lost suitcase forms for him and when my husband arrived he wanted to know if our son would like him to accompany him to the check-in desk.  My son shrugged his shoulders and indicated that would be fine, thought the better of it, and refused his offer. Read More

Far from the Tree – loving your different child

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The imperfect is our paradise.

Note that in this bitterness delight,

Since the imperfect is so hot in us,

Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

                                       —Wallace Stevens

                                           “The Poems of Our Climate”

All parents have to learn to accept and love their children for who they are and not what they want them to be.

This lesson comes that much sooner and harder for parents of children who are significantly different than they are. In their cases, the apple, or child, falls from the tree.

Andrew Solomon‘s recent book  “Far from the Tree”, describes situations that could cause major disappointment and regret– kids who have schizophrenia, autism, down syndrome, dwarfism, and other disabilities, as well as children of rape, who are prodigies, who are transgender and who commit crimes. Solomon is interested in how these parents come to love their children. Read More

Ten things to tell students about coping with rape culture on campus

Taberet Hall Ottawa UParents can’t afford to stand on the side lines of the discussion about sexual assault on Canadian campuses. And with students home for the holidays, now is an ideal time to address the matter with them.

Whether it’s Dalhousie University dentistry students posting misogynist Facebook messages directed at classmates, two University of Ottawa hockey team members charged with sexually assaulting a woman while on a team trip; or frosh week chants at both St. Mary’s University and the University of British Columbia encouraging the rape of underage girls; one thing is certain–rape culture is flourishing across the country.   Read More