In My House, Testosterone Rules. (A Mother's Day post by Val)
This color text is as pink as it gets in my house. I'm the mother of four boys. That's them in the pic above, doing what they love to do when they're all together, back in town from college and work. They dress up in their too-small childhood jerseys and fleece pants and hurt each other in backyard football games. Inevitably someone comes in limping or gasping in the first 30 min. I'm the one they come to - because I'm cooking mass quantities of food in the kitchen by myself (yea, get out the violin). My reaction to an injury is always the same: first I yell at them, then I take them to the E.R. But what warms my heart is that they still play together like little kids (they're 21-26), and that they even want to play together.
The way to their hearts is through their stomachs so my top priorities are Costco & Cooking. As long as good smells are coming from my kitchen I feel good. When it's 7pm and I haven't figured out what's for dinner, I feel like a failure. When they yell "there's nothing to eat" it's a stab wound in my heart. And I've gotta admit this happens a lot more lately since I've started Valslist...
So this mother's day I want to honor my boys, because they have to share me with our new baby, Valslist, and with all the artists I mother too. I should just change my name to Mamapalooza, cuz that's what I am.
My boys are hilarious when together. Like an SNL skit, the play by play banter is quick-witted, often involving sports stats, rappers' names, and golf metaphors. I rarely know what's going on, so when I play the ignoramous (ie: ask a simple question) they react with glee. My oldest son did improv in college, and has taught the others well. Whenever we're in public they'll fall a few steps behind me and whisper loudly, "is THAT Val of Valslist?!" and when I've talked about work too much they'll react with "mom, your 5 minutes are up" ... At first I was honestly hurt by this. Why don't they care? How could they dismiss this fun thing I'm doing? Then it hit me. Their mom has changed a little bit. She has another interest, another passion. And although they're excited for me and proud of me, they don't want this to take me too far away. I totally get it.
They're all grown up. They don't want me by their side. They don't need constant attention. Of course not. But if they do, they want to know that I'm still there, and not too distracted. I'm the same way with my mom. For my whole entire life, when I call home my mom picks up. It's been a security blanket to me forever. I love the predictability that she's there and has the time to talk. That's what I want to give my kids. It's what they grew up with when I was a stay at home mom. I was available. I still want to be.
But if you've ever been an entrepreneur - or know one - you know that it's a 24/7 job, the work is never done, there's always one more email, one more project, one more pitch letter... It's insane. And it's caused me some real angst at times - when I need to choose work over family. I mother this family. When I'm not around, the front porch lights don't get turned on. The wet towels pile up. The cupboard goes bare. The fridge turns condiment only. Empty wrappers litter. Dog goes hungry. Sleeping-in takes on new meaning. Doors are wide open. Every light is on. Drawers overflow. Microwave bubbles over. Shoes multiply in the front hall. Laundry sits. Shampoo bottles empty. Toothpaste tubes dry up. Sports gear goes fabreze-less. ... And the boys are happy as clams. They see none of it. But when I fix it all, something feels better, warmer, calmer, loved. That's what I do. And that's what I don't want to go away.
So for all working moms everywhere - and we're all working - whether it's your own biz, or the corporate ladder, or toddlers in your house, or the grown kids who've left the nest, or the grown kids who are back - you know how much the little stuff means. It's all they really want. And sometimes it's hard to deliver. Maybe we're tired. Or sad. Or overwhelmed. Or lonely. Or angry. Or sick. Or all the above.
Even when we're that, we think about you kids.
As our kids grow up, they collect girlfriends, boyfriends, in-laws, kids of their own, and we begin to mother all of them too. We can't help it. We mother those we care about. With my music business, I find myself mothering my artists too. When they come to my home for a house concert I feed them, let them stay in our basement guest room, I worry when they're sick and on tour, I pity their late work hours, I listen when it's tough. But I like to know that I'm a stop along their way where someone truly cares about their well being. I can't help myself. These kids are working so hard and need some TLC.
So thanks to my four boys for letting me do what I do.
And whatever that is, one thing is for certain ~
Andrew, Peter, Matt & John will always come first. xo
listen: MOTHER'S DAY PLAYLIST
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