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I've been buying my Kleenex at Costco so I can keep rewatching Pandora's new Mother's Day ad, which is one of the most real and heartwarming commercials I've seen in a long time.
Pandora (which filmed the ad in Denmark, hence the women are all Scandinavian) chose real moms and their kids to demonstrate the "unique connection" between them and to remind women of our own special singularity in general. I think this could be done just as successfully with fathers, but hey, it's Mother's Day and some of us would like jewelry.
The kids are blindfolded and feel their way down a line of moms, trying to pick out their own. They explore hands, faces, hair, clothes and characteristics we can't even begin put our fingers on. When they sense they've found their moms, they take off their blindfolds. Warm, tear-drenched hugs ensue. All of the kids have correctly chosen (at least, I hope they have—this is advertising after all). But I don't have a hard time believing this could happen, do you?
Aren't there days when you feel non-existent to your kids? With my tween, it sometimes feels as if I'm speaking into a canyon. At times, she'll offer a one-word grunt of recognition that could just as easily apply to the person standing behind us at the supermarket checkout. Her glazed eyes offer no clues. It can make you question your sanity. You wonder if they hear you, if they see you, if they even know you're in the room. It feels thankless, because you've worked hard to parent this child, and you've just become an annoying part of daily life that she has to endure.
And yet, a week later my tween can recite phrases from the "conversation," as if I'd held her rapt attention. Especially if it's to trap me: "But remember when you said ...?" So she was listening, I think, amazed by this special skill.
Some days (granted, they are few and far between), all she wants is a hug and a good cry over something that happened at school. With tweens, life is a grab-bag of emotions, but there are always those rare moments when you just know that it is you, and only you, that they want.
Our kids know us better than they let on. When I showed the ad to my daughter, she closed her eyes, felt my face and said she could tell it was me by my "huge forehead." And I closed my eyes and felt the top of her head—I'd always recognize those tangles that I'd battled for more than a decade.
"Aw!" we said to each other.
But it's true. Our kids know our scent, our style, the texture of our hair. They know our face, our hands and our smile. And I think there is something indefinable that comes through when we touch someone we love. A warmth, perhaps, or a vibration.
The Pandora ad pulls all of these heartstrings in the most wonderful way. It validates those feelings of uniqueness and indefinability. We wrestle with our human connections every day. Are they real? Are they healthy? Are they earnest? We can't ever say for sure.
But the next time your child snaps at you or implies that you are unfit to take up space on this planet—and they will—you can remind yourself that they will always know and love you in a way no one else can.
I don't mean to excuse the behavior, I mean to keep the big picture in mind. If we don't do that, we'll never experience the full joy of the extraordinary bond between mother and child.