Tag Archives: Mothers In Law

Have some fun today, mothers-in-law!

Women, ages 50 and beyond (aka “mothers-in-law age), get so much unsolicited advice about maintaining health and happiness. It’s all about weight control, wrinkle prevention, healthy eating, exercising and pursuing hobbies. All of that is well and good. But honestly, the to-do list can be overwhelming, depressing and time-consuming. Instead of promoting good health, the list can create stress.

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Argh.

Sometimes, we just need to have an impromptu good time — as in Yippee! The more good times we have, the younger, happier and healthier we feel. By embracing new experiences, we become better women and more interesting, independent mothers-in-law . Surprisingly, many good times can happen on the cheap or better yet, for free.

So, erase that specter of to-dos from your mind — and replace it with one simple question, “Are you having any fun today?” My answer recently was, “No! I am not having fun today!”  Working, grocery shopping, walking the dog, running errands, weekend gardening – all culminating with “Madame Secretary” on Sunday night TV — is not enough happiness for me. I need to mix it up!

Therefore, I decided to Google the phrase, “cheap and fun things to do,” nearby. Site after site welcomed me to a world of diversions and day trips! I settled on the Montreal Jazz Festival, better known as the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. http://www.montrealjazzfest.com/default-en.aspx

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A jazz-filled weekend!

Montreal is only a five-hour drive from our home. My husband and I immediately packed our bags and took off on an adventure. We enjoyed a weekend of non-stop music – in a gorgeous, international city. And, it was free — no admission fee.

Fantastic entertainment!
Fantastic entertainment!

Not having fun today? Go find some! We can’t expect our spouses, significant others, daughters, daughters-in-law, sons, sons-in-law or grandchildren to be responsible for making us happy. But here’s what we can do. Cherish family above all else — and still cultivate new friendships, experiences and interests!

What about a trip to the Montreal Jazz Festival next summer? It’s happening from June 29 – July 8, 2017.

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Or why not consider a spirit-lifting activity in your local community this weekend? Let the good times roll! And have some fun today!

 

It’s July 4! Be a Patriot!

 

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It’s been a picture perfect 4th of July — a day filled with family, friends, barbecues and fireworks.  As I was preparing my traditional 7-layer salad, I started thinking.  Is there so much Independence Day hype that we overlook the historical significance?

Oops!  I’m definitely a guilty mother-in-law here!  I quickly looked up the well-known quote from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” You’d think I’d know those 13 words by heart, but I still had to look up the exact phrase.

On a historical day like Independence Day, maybe each of us should break from the hoopla and reflect on those important words — for they declare inclusion for all people.  Historically, mothers-in-law have experienced exclusion. We’ve been the subject of unkind jokes and unfair criticism. Stereotypes.

As women, in general, we’ve all experienced inequities. Maybe we’ve earned lower pay compared to a male counterpart doing the same job.  Maybe we’ve been the victims of sexual harassment.  Maybe we’re expected to do the womanly thing, like preparing all the food for the family 4th of July picnic! The point is we know how it feels to be treated less than — or to be pigeonholed.

It doesn’t take a Susan B. Anthony, Maya Angelou or Amelia Earhart, as wonderful as they were, to make a real difference.  We are all called to be better people, to be better mothers-in-law — to be patriots in our own unique ways.  Now, go munch another hot dog — and have a wonderful 4th of July!

 

Yes, A Woman Created Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is June 19, and the hype is underway!  Ads are popping up on traditional and social media, encouraging everyone to find the perfect gift for your perfect Father!  I just received an email prompt to purchase a dad’s holiday in Croatia for my husband.  Whatever happened to crazy ties and comfy socks?

There are so many reminders and suggestions about Father’s Day gifts and gadgets.  Who could possibly forget that Father’s Day is approaching?

But time out!  Let’s consider the impact a mother-in-law had on creating Father’s Day.  The national holiday exists thanks to Sonora Smart Dodd, a passionate daughter, wife, mother — and eventually yes, a mother-in-law.  In addition, she was a student, artist, author, businesswoman and social advocate.

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Photo courtesy of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sonora Smart Dodd created Father’s Day.

Dodd was 16 and grief-stricken when her mother, Ellen, died in childbirth.  Dodd overcame her tragic loss and focused her energies on her family — on helping her father and five younger brothers, including a newborn.  At that time in history, many fathers faced with similar circumstances had sent their youngest children away to live with relatives.  Instead, William Smart kept his family intact. Dodd’s love and respect for her dad became the rock-solid foundation for establishing Father’s Day.

Her inspiration blossomed in July 1909, when her minister delivered an impassioned Mother’s Day sermon, more than a year after the first Mother’s Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908.  Dodd decided to advocate for a similar holiday honoring her father and all fathers.  By that time, she was a 27-year-old wife with an infant son.  Despite her youth, Dodd had a seasoned perspective on her father and his challenges as a single parent. She relentlessly championed her Father’s Day effort for more than a year, hoping it would be celebrated on her father’s June 5 birthday.  Finally, local clergy agreed to deliver the first Father’s Day sermon on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.

Could Dodd have predicted, so early on, that she would spend much of her lifetime spearheading a Father’s Day movement? Controversy and political maneuvering related to Dodd’s efforts and Father’s Day continued for more than half a century.  A movement in the 1920’s and 30’s even proposed scrapping both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in favor of a Parents Day.  Who could have guessed that Dodd would have to wait until 1972 when President Nixon officially established Father’s Day as a permanent national holiday to be celebrated each third Sunday of June?

Dodd died in 1978, at age 96, knowing she had accomplished her lifetime goal of honoring fathers.  Sonora Smart Dodd was quite the woman.  She was also a mother-in-law, like many of us.  She passed on a powerful message about the persistence and resilience of love — a much more enduring gift than socks, neckties and trendy technology on Father’s Day!