TO CELEBRATE MOTHER'S Day we've rounded up our favorite posts all about motherhood from the past couple of years. Find recipes mom will love, reports on modern motherhood, reflections on mothering and listen to our guests talk about the many ways of being a mother.
FROM THE RADIO:
FROM OUR BLOGGERS:
MY MOTHER WAS a stewardess during the days when nobody thought of using any other word to describe the stylish, attractive young ladies who wore stilettos, served cocktails and smiled winningly at equally-stylish passengers. A country girl from Montana, my mother had graduated high school and begun teacher’s college, only to be wooed away by a representative from Northwest Orient Airlines who, quite literally, promised her the world.
In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, until age 30 and an impending marriage to my dad placed her into forced retirement as per company policy, my mother put her sexy, high-heeled self in the aisles of every modern aircraft of that era. She flew businessmen to Tokyo, well-to-do families to Hawaii and scores of soldiers and airmen to Alaska. During a time of civil unrest and global misunderstanding, she toured the far reaches of our planet and returned time and time again to her enviable apartment on the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle, wiser to the world.
Lookin' fly: Erin's mom (left) with a fellow "stew"
While she was through flying by the time my brother, sister and I arrived, mom did have particular goals in mind for her offspring’s introduction to travel as a whole. With a passport full of stamps and a well-worn Samsonite, my mother had experienced travel from both a passenger and personnel perspective. She made sure we understood our responsibility as members of the globetrotting public.
Be responsible for thyself. From packing our own clothes to carrying our own spending money, my parents allowed us the freedom, and subsequent consequences, of our choices. Each of us had our own suitcase, packed and unpacked it ourselves, and knew what lay within. Dad taught us the navigation with map and compass, but it was mom who taught subtle nuances of communicating effectively with people. Confidence came through experience, and I am truly thankful for that.
Be presentable, always. Coming from a time when flying was considered akin to fine dining, mom made us dress up to board an aircraft, and to a certain extent, I still participate in this exercise. Customer service is better, I feel better about myself (and my family), and my professional image is just a whole lot finer when I’m not slouching through a terminal in sweats and flip flops.
Be respectful to all you meet. Ranging from hotel front desk staff to the lady cleaning the restroom at a train station, respect is paramount for travel success. Travel is a privilege, mom believed, and we better show our appreciation for those people who make it enjoyable. One of my earliest memories is my mother chatting with the porter aboard an Amtrak train bound for Missoula, Montana, and his “Thank you ma’am, for taking the time to talk to me, most people are in such a hurry.”
Go anywhere you want. If a small-town young lady can see the world, why not me? Why not any of us?
Celebrate Alaskan moms this weekend and visit AKontheGO.com for a complete list of Fun Friday events and happenings around the state.
LAST MONTH, NEWS about teens becoming mothers made headlines - the number of teen pregnancies in the United States dropped to a record low for the US. According to a CDC report, teen birth rates for 15 to 17 year olds fell 12% from 2009 to 2010; birth rates for 18 and 19 year olds dropped 9 %, though rates in the US are still significantly higher than in other industrialized countries.
In Alaska, teen birth rates have been on the decline since the early 1990's, dropping by 42% for younger moms, and 24% for older moms over a 15 year period. Older teens have almost four times as many children as younger teens, and Alaska Native teens have children at about 2.5 times the rate of non-Natives.
For many of those younger teens who become pregnant, finishing high school is the biggest challenge. In Anchorage, some of them attend Crossroads - a high school just for pregnant and parenting teens. Some of them are also enrolled in Kids Corps Early Head Start program. The program has an in-home program that offers child development information, developmental screening - and just general support to those young moms.
KTD contributor Jessica Cochran spoke to the woman who does those home visits -- Tundra Paulson.
Links from this story: Alaska Teen Pregnancy Fact Sheet
THE EXPERIENCE OF fatherhood has opened my eyes to the breadth and intricacies that is motherhood. As a father I have seen the transformation of my partner from a human who lived life within specific parameters in to a selfless human who cares for others. With this experience I have also gained more insight into my own mother and why she is the way she is.
The biology of a mother and child is a true force of nature! The intensity in the eyes of my partner when she saw our boys for the first time was strong and unwavering. Yes these humans had been a part of her for nine-month terms but for me this connection was difficult to corral and what it all meant. In those first brief moments I began to learn about the intense connection of mother and child. Experiencing this biological connection from the beginning of time outside of the womb to now has been experience like no other in my life. This is one of the strongest bonds in our species!
Since I have known her, my partner has always been dedicated to ideas, goals and the projects in her life. Motherhood has created an intense dedication that is truly something new. Being ready and willing to meet our children’s needs from early evenings that turned into late nights that lead to early mornings are not beyond her mother powers. Immediately she displayed this dedication. There have been many moments and days where I do not know where she finds the energy to be upbeat, positive, providing what our boys need.
Motherhood has brought a fierce protection to our offspring that I did not know was possible. Early on in our first son’s life some interactions we had led to her new moniker: Momma Bear. At the time I saw this fierceness of protection as a negative but now I see it as part of the biology of motherhood and find it as an endearing quality. I still refer to her as Momma Bear daily and it now feels more positive than in those first days of my ignorance.
Momma Bear with her cubs at the beach
Seeing the bonds between my partner and our children has provided me with more patience and understanding to my relationship with my own mother. I now know that moments that I might have been annoyed or frustrated with my mother with her check-ins and constant concern are the powers of this bond that she began to establish with me when I was born. This perspective has made me a more appreciative as her son of 36 years, experiencing her patience and selfless dedication to my life and wellbeing.
Mothers are truly amazing. This is not the first time I have stated this in my life. With another year of experience and with another child in our family my experience and observation of the power of motherhood is beyond the confines of words. Thank you to every mother for all that you are to the world and more importantly your children! I am thankful to you mom and Momma Bear for being such dedicated and inspiring mothers.
Happy Mother’s day to you, every day.
PARENTING IS OFTEN described as one of life’s most rewarding jobs. It’s also a huge stress inducer, especially when parents work outside the home and have juggle the competing demands of job and family. Parents are increasingly looking for coping methods and solutions to make it all work.
KTD contributor Paula Dobbyn spoke to three mothers who rely on meditation and yoga to try find balance.
M IS FOR the many meals she made me.
O is for her outstanding cooking.
Mmmm is for the sound I made when I ate her delicious meals...
Yes. Mother's day is almost here and mom definitely deserves a treat. So moms, turn this recipe over to the dads and kids and go have a me-time moment.
This week in honor of my own wonderful-cook mom and moms everywhere I whipped up one of my most favorite tasty treats - and I do mean whipped. This not-too-sweet strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream makes a wonderful dessert or can even be served for breakfast or brunch this coming Sunday.
For the shortcakes:
Preheat the oven to 415
(makes about 8 cakes)
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small (approximately 1/2") pieces and smash them into the dry ingredients with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or mix it in a food processor until the butter and flour mixture is grainy in appearance. Slowly add the buttermilk, stirring as you add. When you have the paste consistency, put the mixture into a greased muffin tin (about 1/4 cup dough for each muffin cup). Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown.
While the cakes are cooking, you can whip the cream.
Place the cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and, either with a whisk (great forearm workout!) or an electric mixer, whip it thoroughly. If you are using an electric mixer, I highly recommend that you use a splatter shield or throw a towel over the mixer and bowl. Whipping cream with a mixer is a faster but much messier option than doing it by hand. Whip the cream until it makes soft peaks. This means that when you lift up with the whisk or mixer, the whipped cream will cling and stand up just a bit. Avoid overmixing as it will make a consistency that is more like butter and leave a greasy feel in your mouth. When the cream is mixed, slowly add the sugar bit by bit, mixing it gently in.
When the cakes are done and cooling (at least 10 minutes to cool) and the cream is whipped. Wash and slice the strawberries. You will need about a cup of sliced berries. Set the berries, cakes and cream aside and clean the kitchen. I can speak from experience when I say that moms love home-made treats, but they can enjoy them even more when they don't have to clean up after the treat-makers.
When the kitchen is spotless and the dishes are all washed and put away, serve Mom a warm shortcake with a heap of strawberries and a generous dollop of cream. Have one for yourself, too. Mom will be happiest sharing it with you. Enjoy!
Our Mother’s Day special explores how motherhood has evolved since the Greek and Roman times. We’ll be looking at moms through the ages as well as discussing modern trends in motherhood today. It’s a fascinating discussion on family structure, societal expectations and the importance of moms.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy to discuss moms throughout time is guest Dr. Shari L. Thurer, author of Myths of Motherhood: How Culture Reinvents the Good Mother (Penguin, 1995), and The End of Gender: A Psychological Autopsy (Routledge, 2005). Dr. Thurer joined us from the WBUR studios in Boston.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
- Teen Mom/High School Student - In Anchorage, some teen moms attend Crossroads - a high school just for pregnant and parenting teens. Some of them are also enrolled in Kids Corps Early Head Start program. The program has an in-home program, one that offers child development information, developmental screening and general support to these young moms. KTD contributor Jessica Cochran spoke to the woman who does those home visits, Tundra Paulson.
- Zen & the Art of Motherhood - We've all heard that practicing yoga and meditation can have profound effects on our bodies and minds; KTD contributor Paula Dobbyn explores the effects they also can have on practicing motherhood.
From Save The Children's
State of the World's Mothers 2011 Report
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE varies greatly by country. Sweden offers a generous 480 days to be shared between parents and distributed however they see fit until the child is eight years old. That kind of support can be appealing for first time parents and it's why, this May, one US citizen and her Swedish husband will be having their baby in Sweden - ranked the number
one four country in which to be a mother by Save the Children's annual Mothers' Index.
Candice Madrid-Dahlqvist spoke with KTD producer Sarah Gonzales from her current home in London about the decision to have - and raise - their child in Sweden.
Correction: In the introduction to this piece we stated that Sweden was ranked as the number one country in which to be a mother by Save the Children. They are ranked number four out of 164 countries.
A new baby is a reason to celebrate but the time after birth can bring with it a wealth of conflicting emotions that sometimes go beyond typical "baby blues". What does everyone need to know about recognizing and treating postpartum mood disorders and supporting those who are suffering?
DID YOU KNOW? These are the signs and symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder (including postpartum depression):
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, you can get help by visiting Postpartum.net, or in Alaska, by calling the Crisis Line at: (907) 563-3200
- One woman's story of Sleepless Days - A few years ago when Susan Kushner Resnick was experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression she wanted to read about another woman who'd been through it and made it out okay - but she couldn't find anything. So after she survived PPD, she wrote a memoir, Sleepless Days: One Woman's Journey Through Postpartum Depression, all about her experience and to let others know that it gets better. She spoke with Sarah Gonzales. (Read an excerpt of her book here.)
- A father's perspective on PPD - The partners of those experiencing postpartum depression will not only support their partners during a very hard time, but they will most likely have to take on more household responsibilities while mom gets better. Steve SueWing's family recently weathered PPD, and we asked him to share with our listeners why dads need support, too. (Steve's new blog - "Capitol Letters: Notes from a Juneau Dad" - starts Thursday here at KidsTheseDays.org!)
- Parents talk about self-care - At a recent “parentTalk” meeting held by thread, parents shared their tips for sneaking some “me” time into the day – even if it’s just in 2 or 3 or 5 minute doses. Jessica Cochran spoke with the guest-presenter and some of the participants to share those tips with our listeners. (Thank you to thread and Wells Fargo for supporting this story from our our Early Childhood Desk.)
For more discussion on this topic, check out a recent episode of Line One: Your Health Connection with Dr. Thad Woodard on the topic of Maternal Mental Health.
MOTHER'S DAY USUALLY signals the “official” beginning of springtime in Alaska. With summer tentatively peeking from below the horizon, our family, like so many others, uses this weekend to engage in an outdoor happy dance of grateful celebration, clearing our brains of winter’s fog so we, a giddy collection of children and grownups, can see the simple reminders of what makes this place we live so beautiful.
Our Mother’s Day outings began in 2008, the day after Oldest AK Kid departed Alaska for Utah and management of Asperger Syndrome that had crippled our entire family. Wandering around the quiet house, restless and confused, AK Dad suggested a drive after watching me make endless circles through the living room. With no particular destination in mind, Dad steered the family truckster south along the Seward Highway in relative silence, bypassing the usual family fun spots, finally choosing a left turn toward Portage Valley.
I remember the sun was rather tentative that day, slipping in and out from behind thin, grayish clouds that mirrored perfectly my feelings of uncertainty. AK Kid, a preschooler at the time, woke from his drivetime nap and said “I wanta get out!”
Sighing, I looked at AK Dad who nodded and pulled over near the Trail of Blue Ice, a serene, 5-mile pathway from the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center at Portage Glacier to Moose Flats. Now a finished, multi-use trail complete with arched bridges, interpretive signs, and excellent access from both Black Bear and Williwaw campgrounds, the Trail of Blue Ice saved me that day.
Gravel crunched under our shoes as we walked, birds twittered and sang from the brushy willows that frame this lovely trail, and the spicy scent of springtime reminded me why people often refer to the earth as “Mother”. Under blue skies and the frozen gaze of Williwaw Glacier, we explored dirt and bugs, watched a lazy duck slip down a stream, and listened to the happy shouts of other families enjoying early-season fun at nearby Black Bear.
All was not right in our world, but it somehow seemed better among the mossy mountain hemlocks and gnarled cottonwood trees that signaled stability even as our personal bubble of existence seemed oh, so tenuous.
Mothers do that, you know. Quietly signaling their presence even when we’re not fully capable of such awareness, they stand as guardians to our broken hearts and addled minds, knowing that this too, shall pass. True nurturing through nature arrives not by constant talking and evaluating and planning, but through silent support and consistency of character that I as a parent often forget until standing myself in the comfort of Mother Earth’s arms, surrounded by trees swaying gently at her quiet breath, my own children gathered close.
Nature takes care of other mothers.
For more information about the Portage Valley and Trail of Blue Ice, visit the Chugach Ranger District website.