Friday, July 8, 2011


I don't really know much about how my Mom dealt with me and my brothers when we were young.  Being a mom myself and knowing how I feel and what I go through...all the ups and downs of a day in the life with young children...only makes me surmise that she went through and felt pretty much the same things as me.  Most of us do, afterall.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...motherhood is so universal!  That's a main reason I enjoy doing this blog so much and connecting with other "Mommy" bloggers, reading their blogs and hearing their stories.  It's fascinating to me.

But, as usual, I digress.  Hey, have you noticed how consistent I am in that regard?  hehe.  I'll have to change my blog name...uh, no.

Back to my Mom and her life with us when we were young.  Unfortunately these days she has dementia and so isn't able to enlighten me about how she dealt with or coped with motherhood.  She's forever making comments when I visit her with my boys that she doesn't know how I do it and I must be so tired, etc.  She doesn't know how I do it?  She is a mom of 2 boys, 1 sweet girl, 1 dog and, at various times, 3 hamsters, 1 mouse, 1 turtle and 1 king snake that was found slithering across our front lawn.  When she and my Dad divorced, she packed up said 2 boys, 1 darling girl and 1 dog (minus the hamsters, the mouse, the turtle and the snake this time) and drove from California to Canada twice!  (a story for another time)  She also had to work full time to support us as my Dad didn't help much, if at all.  It's all relative, but compared to that, I've got it easy. 

There is one thing in particular, though, that I remember my Mom doing (other than the time she walked out of the house, frustrated with us kids because we wouldn't calm down at lunch.  My brother laughing so hard that milk shot out his nose must have been her last straw) and that is having with her at all times something she called "Shut-Me-Ups".  I've adopted this term for my own use as a parent.

Basically a shut-me-up is anything that, when given to your whining, crying, non-stop bickering kids, shuts them up!  Sounds good, am I right?  Kept in your purse, diaper bag, the glove compartment of your car, even your pocket, and pulled out at just the right moment can give almost instant relief not only to that ornery child, but to the weary mom or dad as well.

Now, every kid is different.  You may need to do some experimenting to find what shut-me-up works best for your child.  With my kids, it's a fruit leather, juice, chips, cheesies...all that stuff you try your best to limit.   I pull out the big guns - ie: lollipops - for those extra special occasions like the time I lost my cell phone and had to take them to the cell phone shop with me to get a new one.  Oh, was licorice that was the life safer that day.

But I've got to say, as with most things, shut-me-ups come with a warning.  USE WITH CAUTION.  They are only a temporary solution.  You have to time it right, otherwise they will backfire.  As in the case of my cell phone store adventure, at first the novelty of the mall "car" stroller was enough...then it was the model cell phones...but then it got hairy so I whipped out my shut-me-up of choice.  It worked for a bit until the salesperson got another phone call...(couldn't she see I had kids that were about to explode?)  So the boys got a few more shut-me-ups than I had planned.  And in my nervous energy and wanting not to give up the whole bag of licorice, I had a couple...or three..or - ah, whose counting? 

The real warning is if you do choose candy as your shut-me-up of choice, be prepared for the aftermath...the dreaded sugar high.  And I know I don't need to say anything further on that except this:  You've been warned.

So to my Mom I'll say this:  Thanks, Mom, for giving me such a powerful parenting tool.  You're one smart cookie...(Mental note:  Add cookies to shut-me-up arsenal) 

I guess this should've been a Mother's Day post.  Better late than never, I guess.  Hmmm, the more I type the words "Shut-Me-Ups", the more I think I should trademark them.  But don't worry, you can use them for free...for now.

Love them groovy glasses!
Check out the cigarette...perhaps this is how she coped.


Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I love the pictures of your Mom and kids.

I am a complete abuser of shut-me-ups. I've never heard that term before, but how fitting. Anyhow, ya, my kids are starting to be immune, they go through my stash too fast. Maybe I will try licorice. :)

Sarah said...

I've never heard that term before, but I definitely know how to do it! Kudos to your mom. I love the pictures.