It’s the holiday season, a time of year when we flood social media with our best stories and photos while searching online for ideas to make the little touches around our home that much more memorable. We most often see people in heartwarming moments, because that is what we choose to share. But as we know, life is not only a collection of harmonious celebrations. Behind lovely family photos are often stories of angst. With each Pinterest success there are many hidden disasters.
Today, rather than dazzle you with my greatness, I am choosing to share some of my best holiday fails. My history with yuletide missteps extends back to my childhood when I sang “these eggshells are stale” at the top of my lungs at Mass because that was what I thought was being sung instead of “in excelsis deo.” Since then I have taken my share of festive stumbles, some figuratively (exploding cornbread) and some literally (down the steps with a cup of coffee and presents in hand). For the sake of brevity, I will share just a few. (more…)
Science can explain everything in a mom’s life. All that nerdy mumbo jumbo is not just about the universe, or the evolution of mankind. Sure, it’s somewhat nice that we are able to send shuttles in space, produce electricity and retrace the origins of mankind. But the true use of science is for moms, to make sense of their day. And here are a few examples where you use science without even knowing it. (more…)
At the beginning of 2014, World Moms Blog asked me to define the coming year in one word. I replied: TRINITY.
No, I didn’t think I was a goddess – although feel free to disagree. . . in 2014, I was going to be three different mothers.
I have three kids, and for the first time, each of them was in a different developmental stage. I wasn’t sure whether this was good news or sit-tight-and-ride-the-wave news. But I felt ready, I was going to tackle that motherhood business with optimism and cheers.
Since having children, my husband and I have developed our own household lingo. Maybe we just got punchy after too many sleepless nights, but we started using code words. Also, as can happen from time spent living intimately with a group, our family has developed a repertoire of inside jokes that we reference often but would mean nothing to outsiders.
Today I share with you a few of my favorites from the past 10 years. (more…)
How many of you are experiencing a golden period in your lives with little or no stress? Who is feeling satisfied with their national education and health systems? Well, I hope you are more fortunate than we are in Greece where we have unemployment rates in some demographics of up to 40%! The education system is going from bad to worse and forget going to the state run hospital and expecting satisfactory health care.
Due to all this nationwide negativity and disappointment, I decided to take a humorous look at some Greek customs and habits which have caused smiles and even hilarity over the years. Hey, most of us who live in Greece are in serious need of laughter therapy! So, let me share with you some little gems that I’ve experienced over the last 2 decades and hope some will bring a smile to your face!
I have driven all over Europe and have seen many odd things but I have to take my hat off to a large proportion of Greek drivers. These people seem to have an amazing ability to multitask. I was astounded when I first arrived here to see whole families mounted on little motorbikes, something like the Dalton brothers all in a row! Apart from being stunned at a bunch of road safety regulations which were being broken, I was amazed at how such a small vehicle could be powerful enough to transport a whole clan from point A to B. Thank heavens that such sights have become rare in towns and cities over the past few years since enforcement of safety regulations has become much stricter! I only see such things from time to time in villages and on islands where the traffic police tend to be more tolerant and turn a blind eye. Going back to the point I made about multitasking, imagine that to pull off such an acrobatic feat you need to combine an incredible sense of balance, total concentration on the road and on rainy days the ability to steer holding an umbrella!
I’m British and nobody would dare do such a thing in the UK unless they were an acrobat in a circus!
Another thing which I found a little difficult to get used to is the reduced personal space that most N. Europeans are used to. There is definitely a tendency to be within touching distance of the person you are chatting to. Most Greeks are a passionate bunch, full of the Mediterranean joy of life. When engaging in conversation, even with perfect strangers, there’s a lot of back slapping and arm waving to punctuate every sentence.
I was once almost hugged into a coma by a charming taxi driver who was a total stranger.
The reason why? He asked me what my favourite Greek food was and when I replied (in Greek) that I loved spinach pie made by my mother-in-law, he went into a passionate frenzy! He thought that a foreigner speaking Greek was really quaint, but it seems that using the words “mama” and “pie” in the same sentence triggers a deeply rooted Greek male reaction! So be warned, if you should ever travel to lovely Greece, stay at least three paces back from men if you are intending on broaching the subject of mothers and their skills…
I should also warn you about one specific hand gesture which you should avoid at all costs should you ever engage in conversation with a Greek. Let me share a very humiliating story with you.
When I first arrived in Greece over two decades ago, most correspondence was still done using snail mail. After my first week here, I visited the post office in Ioannina to buy stamps and waited patiently in the huge queue. When it finally got to my turn, I politely asked in English for 5 stamps. The woman behind the counter just looked at me blankly so I tried again. This time she started talking loudly but it was all just Greek to me then and I didn’t have a clue what she was saying. She seemed to be really agitated, though. At this point everyone in the crowded post office stopped their private conversations and pinned me with their eyes. I gulped, went bright red and made one final embarrassed effort. This time I tried to help her by using a hand gesture. As I said the word five, I put up my right hand with my palm facing outwards. I repeated several times that I wanted five stamps, whilst waving my outstretched palm in front of her. There were gasps from all around the post office and the office employee went crazy!
A young girl who was standing a few places behind me came up and told me in English that I had just told the woman to go to the devil!
This hand gesture is very rude and apparently if you put your hand up it should be with the palm facing yourself. Well, nobody had warned me about that!
I’ve had many funny and embarrassing experiences in Greece and seen things which you wouldn’t ever see in the UK. I have learnt that before I travel abroad it’s imperative to learn about the do’s and don’ts of the culture and people I will be visiting BEFORE I get there.
Have you ever said or done anything in another country which has caused you to cringe with embarrassment in retrospect? What about things you have seen which would never happen in your own country?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ann Marie Wraight of Greece. Photo credit to the author.
I often say that I think moms have super powers. I genuinely, truly believe it. They might not be as flashy as climbing up walls – although figuratively, I do that on a daily basis – or flying from roof tops and landing on our feet with our hair perfectly combed. But still, superpowers they are!
Like being invisible: when you are trying to make your kids do something and they ignore you because they cannot see or hear you. Ha! How cool is that? Or being able to step in a basement so messy that not even a pet wants to risk a paw, and tidying it up with a few magic words – like “Are you kidding me?”, “Unbelievable!” – and a wave of our magic wand. If these are not super powers, then I don’t know what qualifies!
My favorite mom super power is our ability to predict the future. Try to beat that, Superman!!
For example, I can guarantee, with 100% accuracy that the following is going to happen to you today:
- You will be late: everywhere you plan to go, you will be five to ten minutes late. No point getting up ten minutes earlier. I have tried that. Does not work. Just accept it.
- There will be a messy room in your house tonight. If you are like me, it will be every room!
- You will be searching for your keys, phone, glasses, probably three or four times today.
- All the items listed in point 3 are in your handbag. Go look. See, I told you!
- I know you like to think of yourself as a very organized mom. This is why days ago, you have planned what you will cook tonight. But the bad news is, you are missing 30% of the ingredients. And let’s face it, no matter how creative you are, chicken curry without chicken just isn’t the same.
- Your kid(s) will disagree with you. For sure. If you are lucky, it will be about one little thing. If you are having a normal day, it will be about everything!
- With regards to point 6, don’t sweat it too much, because it’s only going to get worse…
- If, by any miracle, the kids don’t argue with you, you will be taking them to the doctor because, surely, they must be brewing something.
- When 8 PM strikes, you will feel an uncontrollable urge to put everybody in bed so you can have some quiet time – generic word for doing Facebook, drinking wine, or collapsing in front of the TV.
- Once the craziness has settled and the kids are asleep, you will want to go in their bedroom and wake them up to tell them you love them, because they look so sweet, and you are missing them.
None of these so-called “real” super heroes below can beat our gift. Batman kinda flies, but who doesn’t? Ben 10 can change into various creatures. Pfff, why is that even useful? As for the red guy, I can’t remember who he is. But he couldn’t get away with dressing like that unless he was a super hero.
What about you? What are the predictable moments in your day-to-day family life?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Nadege Nicoll. She was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. Nadege also writes a daily blog for moms who need to smile at everyday life. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her website www.nadegenicoll.com.
Photo credit to the author.