The Maternal Arms Race

 Even the most well mannered and confident mother can get a bit wobbly at times.  No matter how put-together, the modern mother can occasionally have doubts.  Her children are well behaved,  good students and they participate in after school activities.  Yet there she stands, one sunny afternoon, blindsided by a group of mothers engaged in some sort of maternal arms race determined to out-do each other with the myriad of extracurricular, athletic, artistic and pseudo-academic pursuits in which their under-10 children are participating.  Couched as laments such as, "I don't know how I'm going to get my children to all their activities this weekend,"  or "I just wish the school could teach math at Avery's level, then I wouldn't have to be dragging her to Russian Math twice a week..."  these comments are intended to expose the brilliance of one's children and the many sacrifices of their fabulous and selfless mother.   By the time we encountered a friend after a recent episode, she was shell-shocked and, even worse, doubting her own excellent parenting philosophy.  Ridiculous.  We know.  She knows.  You know too, dear reader.  Yet, everyone has been there.  One wonders did those other mothers come away from the encounter feeling better about themselves?  Was such bravado comforting to anyone in that collective? 

We happened across a blog recently called breed 'em and weep.  It is written by a single mother in Western Massachusetts who is struggling.   She is struggling to find the meaning in her separation,  struggling to raise her children, struggling to keep her house and pay her bills.  This piece the road more taken, puts a lot of things in perspective.

Friday Frivolity - Leaving Home

Oh the trials and travails of separation.  As this clever you tube video  illustrates, it does get easier.   Happy Weekend! 

Thanks to our friend Sarah for sharing this!

Who Needs Sleep?

While we would prefer not to enter into the co-sleeping debate, or into any  other kind of debate with people who elect to never really get a good night's sleep for about 18 years, we thought the below worth sharing.  Thank you to our friend Rich for posting this.  In this way we also discovered a funny (if not mannerly) dad blog called HowToBeADad.  It is a beguiling mix of profanity, diagrams and dad geek.  Happy Monday.

                                                                                                     Photo from HowToBeADad

If Not Now When?

Was probably the question the well mannered audience members were asking themselves last Tuesday in Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.   According to the WSJ's story here, a cell phone in the front row of the theater began ringing (playing?) the Marimba during Mahler's Nineth.   After many minutes, the conductor reportedly stopped the piece, turned and asked that the phone be turned off.  Yet the phone (believed to be an alarm) continued.  After many minutes of total silence in the hall broken only by jeers from other attendees and repeated requests from the conductor, the offender finally silenced the phone.  The Philharmonic began at the top.  

Perhaps the patron was elderly, hard of hearing and did not realize his alarm was going off.  Had he set himself a reminder to go to the Philharmonic?  Possibly, he is a large supporter of the Symphony and has a great deal of clout and that is why ushers never approached to "help" him or escort him and his phone out of the hall.  

As a friend mentioned earlier this week, it does seem these days, that more and more people behave (although we do not know if this particular offense was intentional) as though the rules do not apply to them.  Whether these are rules of common courtesy or  rules of law, many people behave as if those rules are for others.  Have you noticed this?  What do you think?

Could this be why the Chinese are throwing eggs at Apple stores and Apple cancelled the launch of the iphone4S in China?

Enjoy the long weekend.

Image from PSD

Friday Lunch Box Revolution

 Happy New Year.  We hope you holidays were joyous and you are happily settling back into your routine.  One aspect of this modern mother's routine that causes her more angst than it should is school lunch.   This is because she wishes to send her minions off each day with  a healthy/balanced/nutritious mid-day meal.  She is hampered in this pursuit by time, the spacial confines of lunch boxes and her own lack of creativity at 7:20 a.m.  Or so she thought.   Then her friend Jane sent her the PRI link The Art of Making Lunch Boxes in Japan.

 She now realizes she has been looking at lunch all wrong.  This is not a problem but an opportunity.  Like scrapbooking with food.  Really, what on earth is keeping her from constructing a 6 colored lunch that looks like Hello Kitty or a Piano?  Nothing but her own inertia.  This revelation lead her to YouTube where she discovered this video How to Make Bento Lunch Boxes.

 So now she knows. And her wooly winter hat goes off to these creative and dedicated lunch packers. 

Should her octopus shaped mini sausages not turn out or her bunny ear apple fall to pieces before it reaches school she has also come across the following sites which might prove helpful in the pursuit of lunch. 

My Meal Box

Lunch in a Box - Bento Resources

School Family Lunches - Healthy Kid Lunches

Family Fun - back to School Lunches

LapTop Lunches

Parenting - Lunches

If you want to read more about the ancient and trendy (everyone in Brooklyn is doing it) art of Bento follow this New York Times link.  Happy Lunching!

Photos from The kitchn, Women's Day and My Meal Box.

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