Long before blogging was a thing, I was “blogging” with pen and paper.
I remember receiving my first diary as a gift when I was six years old. It was
light blue with a Holly Hobby-esque girl on the front complete with a Little House on the Prairie bonnet. It
had a lock and key, which made me feel safe in telling it all my darkest
secrets, which included everything from my parents’ fighting and eventual
divorce, to my undying devotion to Ricky Schroeder and Punky Brewster.
I still keep dairies today; only I call them journals now (more grown
up, don’t you think?). And, of course I blog. My blogs are public, but my
journals are just for me. I am compelled, however, to share a snippet from a recent
addition to my kids’ journals, which involves their answers to a list of 21
questions I posed.
I asked them these questions one at a time in private so that their answers
were true and not skewed by the other. The questions involved their perceptions
of me, but I went a step further to ask them the same question about themselves
when it applied to see how self-aware they are at the ripe ages of seven and
ten. Their answers were funny and insightful, and I’d like to share only a few of
something Mommy always says to you?
a.L: Don’t put your feet on the couch!
b.M: Walk your dog!
Mommy happy? (Then ask them “What makes you
happy?”—ask them their own answer to each question where it works to do so.)
a.L (his answer for himself): Oatmeal cream pies and homework passes.
b.M (her answer for herself): When we spend time together.
a.L: When her kids get hurt.
b.M: When I lie.
Mommy make you laugh?
Mommy like as a child?
6.How old is
7.How tall is
8.What is Mommy’s
favorite thing to do?
Mommy do when you’re not around?
b.M: She writes.
becomes famous, what will it be for?
a.L: Helping and caring, or World’s Best Mom.
b.M: Loving and caring and being a good mommy.
Mommy really good at?
a.L: Taking pictures.
Mommy not very good at?
a.L: Sleeping. (So true!)
b.M: I don’t know. That’s hard. (That’s
my girl! Ha!)
Mommy do for her job?
Mommy’s favorite food?
you proud of Mommy?
a.L: You persevere on weekdays.
b.M: When she accomplishes something.
were a cartoon character, who would she be?
17.What do you
and Mommy do together?
18.How are you
and Mommy the same?
19.How are you
and Mommy different?
20.How do you
know Mommy loves you?
Mommy’s favorite place to go?
This was a great experiment in perceptions. It turns out I am much
harder on myself as a parent than my children are on me, as evidenced in
question #10. Both kids gave virtually the same answer to that question even
though they were asked in seclusion. As a mother you always wonder if the difficult
things you do for your children come across as love. It was validating to know
Also, I found out my children know me very, very well. They are
observant like little New York Times reporters. In particular, my son’s answer
to #15 blew me away. For a ten-year-old to say that he’s proud of his mother
because “you persevere on weekdays” is just… profound.
I think most moms—no matter their profession, their responsibilities at
work and at home or their personal stresses—persevere on weekdays. We just do
what we can day in and day out to make the best decisions for our families and
give them the best of ourselves while not losing who we are as individuals.
We persevere. We sacrifice. We balance it all like an elephant on a big
red ball at the circus. I’m not sure most dads would be able to recognize and articulate
that so accurately.
So here’s to you all you moms who persevere on weekdays! Ask your
children these 21 questions and revel in their answers. Then come back and
share some if you like!