Hilarious mothering moment, in my opinion

By Lisa Sugarman

So there’s this viral video going around on social media. Maybe you’ve seen it. My friend Susan actually stopped me in the supermarket last week to tell me about how hysterically she laughed when she watched it for the first time. So of course, I was intrigued.

If you’ve seen it, it’s unforgettable. If you haven’t, you should. Because at the very least, you’ll have a good laugh—the kind that comes straight from the diaphragm.

And while it will resonate more with parents like Sue and me who just sent our first kids off to college, it’s something anyone who’s ever grown up and gone away to school will relate to and appreciate. That’s because it’s just good, clean, humiliate-your-kid-now-that-he’s-in-college kind of humor. And who wouldn’t love that?

Now I don’t want to be a spoiler because I really do want you to see the video for yourself, so let me just tease you a little and give you the gist of what the video is all about. Then you can decide for yourself if it’s worth the four minutes and fifty-two seconds you’ll need to watch it.

It was recorded by this woman—a regular ordinary mom—named Ann Pinto McCarney, who, in an incredibly ballsy move, posted the video to her son’s Facebook page. And considering that as of today, her video had well over one million views, I think it’s safe to assume that she either made, or irreparably broke, her son’s college career. Probably too soon to tell.How-to-Make-Your-Viral-Video-Go-Viral

In a nutshell, she recorded a message to her son, now a freshman at Gettysburg College, flagrantly calling him out for only calling her once since he left for school a month earlier. But the way she reams him is simply brilliant. Her ultra-passive aggressiveness elevates the video to cult status. She blends the perfect mix of sarcasm and sincerity to create a totally epic public shaming.

Without giving too much away, McCarney admits to being a white-hot mess when her son Liam left for college. Something I can most definitely relate to after having just dropped Riley off at school only a month ago. But when Liam went radio silent, calling only once and giving one-word replies to all her texts, it pretty much threw her over the edge emotionally.

As a result, she resorted to the only kind of leverage any parent really has when we have to fire retaliation rounds at our kids—we publically embarrass them. (Not necessarily in grossly humiliating ways like McCarney chose to do, but in quieter, more subtle ways like singing or dancing in front of large groups of their friends.) Because, quite frankly, the ability to mortify our kids is all most of us have in terms of an arsenal and every once in a while we’ve gotta pull out the big guns. And we do that because, in most cases, it gets our point across. It gives our kids a sudden and jarring smack in the head without getting an actual, physical smack to the head.nalgzbajivnlgkrkxisb

Now I’m not going to pretend that I’m unaffected by my daughter being away at school. That I don’t sleep with the ringer on now just on the off chance that she butt-dials me at 1:00 AM and I can hear her voice. Because I do. That my heart doesn’t legitimately skip a few life-sustaining beats whenever her name pops up on my Caller ID. Or that I don’t squeak out an audible sigh when I hear the ping of a new text come in and I see that it’s from her. I do all of those things, including a few others that I’m reluctant to admit to the world at this moment in time. I’m absolutely pathetic, I admit that fully. So I totally get where McCarney was coming from when she flipped a nutty after almost a month of not hearing from him.

See, the truth is, letting our kids go is an amazingly bittersweet experience. We want them to go off and do great things with their life but we’re not fully ready to cut the umbilical cord quite yet. We need to be thrown a tiny, partially chewed-up bone every once in a while just for peace of mind. We need to make sure that A) they haven’t forgotten about us and B) they haven’t forgotten about us. There’s no C.o-CELL-PHONE-facebook

So at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to judge whether or not I ever would’ve been that bold to post that kind of message on my own kid’s Facebook page. Part of me thinks it’s absolutely brilliant, while another part of me thinks that the mortification factor was just too high. Either way, it was enormously entertaining and definitely worth watching. Then you can judge for yourself if it’s a line you’d ever cross. (Don’t worry, though, Ri, I’m staying firmly on this side of that line. I swear.)

Watch the video here: beingamom.life/remember-me-im-your-mommy-mom-calls-out-college-son-for-not-calling-home-with-hysterical-video/

Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores.

We Never Outgrow Our Parents

By Lisa Sugarman

Fall. It’s a time of year that always churns up a mixed bag of emotions for me. But probably not for the reasons you’d expect, like shorter days or school starting or the disappearance of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandys.

For me, the end of summer represents something altogether different.

I mean, for all intents and purposes, I should be excited for the return of fall. And I am, on most levels, with its crisp days and skinny jeans and cozy sweaters. It’s the start of cooler running weather, football season, fall foliage and pie. Lots of pie. So who could possibly be sad about any of that?

For me, though, as much as autumn means all of those wonderful things, it also represents something very different in my little world. For me, it marks the time of year when my sweet little snowbird mother packs up her bags and makes her way back down to Florida for the rest of the year. It’s when our three-month-long playdate comes to an abrupt end. And lemme tell you, it doesn’t matter how old I am or how hectic my life might be, I still feel that twang of sadness when those suitcases come out of the closet and she starts packing up her bags.deltamagazine_packed_suitcase

See, that’s the thing, many of us, as we grow older, forge a different type of relationship with our parents—one that’s based on mutual respect, appreciation, and the ability to freely bitch and moan without judgment. (That last one is critical.)

We nurture and grow this beautiful, grown-up bond with our moms and dads as we become adults and parents ourselves—a totally different kind of connection than we had with them as kids. That’s because, as kids, all our parents represented to us was a giant pain in our ass. And us in theirs. As grownups, though, all of our awkward, self-centered kid feelings transform into admiration and respect once we truly understand what it’s like to live an adult life. It’s very cool, when you think about it.1505051253587%20Fantastic%20Quotes%20about%20Mother-Daughter%20Relationship

To a lot of us, myself included, our parents (or in my case, my mom) become everything from a consigliore and our biggest cheerleader to a therapist and a companion. And since the relationship we have with them is so unique to any other relationship we have in our life, no one else can swoop in and take their place in the off season.

That’s why it’s so hard for me to watch my mom leave every season. Because when she goes, there’s a bit of an empty space in my heart until the spring when she comes back—a gap that FaceTime and texting helps to fill, but doesn’t plug up entirely.

Now this is not to say that I’m emotionally incapacitated once my mom leaves. Because I’m not. It’s not like I’m throwing tantrums on the kitchen floor. (Can you imagine?) I just feel her absence very acutely when she’s not around. And I know that there are a lot of us out there who are in the same situation with their snowbird parents or parents who live far enough away to need planes, trains, or automobiles to see each other.snowbird-license-plate

Sure, I’m busy, I work, I have a house to take care of and kids to annoy; a husband and friends and a pretty full life; yet, even though I’m fully capable of juggling all those things, I still love it when she’s around.

And while our relationship with our parents is constantly evolving as we grow up—a lot like the relationship we have with our kids does as they age and mature—it’s still a reassuring feeling having them nearby to support us, even if we don’t rely on them in the same ways.

I mean, I know how important my grandmother was to my mother after my father died—that extra set of eyes and hands meant everything. Just having someone who understands what you’re thinking or feeling without having to explain yourself infuses you just enough to keep you going when you start to stall. Just that pile of neatly folded laundry on the edge of the bed that you didn’t expect is such a gift. Just a hug from someone you know loves you fully and completely.

So while we may not need them to tuck us in anymore at night (that would only be creepy at this point) or cut the crust off our bread (also a little creepy), just having them around is a comfort.

My point here is ultimately simple; there’s no one like our parents. No one we can trust in the same way or look to for guidance in the same way or feel love from in the same way. And in my case, there’s absolutely no one who can fold a perfectly ironed-looking dress shirt as well without actually using an iron. It’s uncanny, almost like she’s Criss Angel.

Hurry back, mom.

Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores.

Don’t miss my next event…

Interested in getting published? Then don’t miss my next event, Ask the Experts: Book Writing and Publishing on Thursday, October 8th at 6:00pm at the JCC of the North Shore, 4 Community Road, Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Come listen as local writers, columnists, authors, literary agents, and publishing consultants share tips to getting published.

Just click on the copy of the flyer below for more information on the event.

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There’s real power in admitting when we’re wrong

By Lisa Sugarman

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized something incredibly important. Something that I’ve learned is a super-critical life skill for all of us, but especially key for our survival as parents. It’s actually one of the few tools in our emotional toolbox that have the capacity to convert a potentially nasty exchange with our kids (or anyone, for that matter) into a healthy, maybe even productive, conversation.

It’s taken awhile, but I’ve realized the value of knowing when to admit that I was wrong. And lemme tell you, it’s one powerful little nugget of knowledge. Because once we harness thetix ability to self-reflect enough to know and accept and, most importantly, admit when we’ve screwed up, everything changes.

Now I say this because, as a mom of two girls (one in high school and one who’s a freshman in college), I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how my interactions with them have evolved over the years.

Like how, when they were young, we really didn’t argue because they were just cute little squirts and any issue we ever had was more or less a little-squirt-sized issue that was easy to resolve. Stuff like not riding on the dog or why watching Jaws when they were four was a terrible idea. But then, as they got older, their issues grew accordingly. And so, at times, did our clashes.

I’ve learned, though, through incredible trial and error, that nothing defuses an argument faster than admitting when you’re wrong. Especially when you’re a parent. The unfortunate thing is that that knowledge doesn’t always come easy to us parents. And that’s because parents have egos.

See, I think most people, parents in particular, are just inherently stubborn when it comes to owning their actions. I know I can be, even in spite of the fact that I try very hard not to be that way.

Now this isn’t to say that everyone’s like that, but I’ve been around long enough now to get a good sense that it’s definitely the majority of us who struggle with it. And I think that’s because, sometimes, we start off in one direction, lobbying one point, maybe realizing along the way that our point was feeble to begin with, but have too much momentum going to pull back. I do it constantly.

But I can only imagine how many arguments could’ve been avoided, or, at the very least, shortened, if I hadn’t dug in my heels just on principle alone. (Don’t get me wrong, obviously, as a mom, I’m almost always right, but even I screw up occasionally. Shocking as that may seem.)images

Actually, what a lot of us don’t realize early enough in life is that it’s incredibly humbling, no, liberating actually, to own it when we screw up. Mainly where our kids are concerned.

Because admitting we’re fallible as parents has a powerful and important impact on kids. It proves that people—even people they trust the most—can make mistakes. I mean, how can we raise our children to believe that there’s no shame in admitting when they’re wrong if we, the parents, can’t do the same? We can’t. And we shouldn’t.

Look, I have plenty of examples of times when I held the line too long only because I wasn’t ready to back down or just because I was the The Mom. (I use that one a lot.) But the times I retreated before any real shots were fired, the fighting almost always stopped. It’s uncanny, really. But a little humility goes a long way.

See, for most of us, admitting we’re wrong, especially to our kids, feels unnatural. That’s because, as the Moms and Dads or grownups, we typecast ourselves as the ones who have to be strong and confident all the time. The ones who model all the good behavior.

Then there’s the whole pride thing, which, to be honest, can be one of the toughest hurdles to clear in learning to admit we’re wrong. Because it shows weakness and fallibility. It creates a vulnerability. But it also proves we’re human. That’s the key. That’s what our kids need to see. And the ironic thing is that it shows our kids way more of our strength and character when we own our actions and apologize for our mistakes.Admitting-wrong-is-an-act-of-the-strong_-1

Now my girls are probably reading this and thinking, Mom, seriously, what the hell are you talking about? You hardly ever admit when you’re wrong. And to that I say, First of all, yes I do, but it just so happens that the percentage of my actually being wrong is extremely low. And second, I only said I’ve realized that owning my mistakes is incredibly valuable. I haven’t actually fully deployed the concept in my day-to-day life. But I’m working on it. Baby steps.

Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores.