You know how there are little things that come up in the course of your parenting week that irritate/horrify/amuse and just beg for a little parental intervention? (Or is that just me?) EnterThe Mom Minute*, a somewhat weekly feature at our house where I get to teach/prod/embarrass/amuse our crew with whatever small issue that's on my mind.
Here's the lowdown:
1. You could do this anytime--at Sunday dinner, before bed on a Thursday, or just whenever the urge strikes--but we usually do ours during our family gathering time on Mondays. Somewhere between going over our schedules for the week and having some dessert, I clear my throat and commence The Mom Minute (theme song optional).
2. Use a light touch with your captive audience. Aim for a tone that's equal parts charming and cajoling, something like a blend of the kitschy irreverence of SNL's Weekend Update with the instructive admonishment of a Martha Stewart tutorial. Or something like that.
3. Stick with one topic at a time and keep it short and direct and kind of campy. Here are some of our past topics over the years (some more recent than others):
- Why are there hardly any underpants in the laundry this week?
- Toilet Flushing Etiquette for Dummies
- Shaking hands with adults 101
- Where have all the spoons gone?
- A quick guide to cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen
- Extremely loud and incredibly close: The consequences of burping at the table
- What's the brush next to the toilet for and what does it have to do with you anyway?
- Your sibling mission, should you choose to accept it: Project B.O.D. (Benefit Of the Doubt)
- A refresher course in thank you notes
- Though we haven't done this ourselves, I have a friend who did a hilarious yet very educational barf training video several years ago for her kids. See? The possibilities are endless!
The beauty of the Mom Minute is that it helps me delay my nagging and immediate (read: disproportionately irritated and embittered) reaction and address these little things later, which saves a lot of grief on all sides. I have time to prioritize what I want to talk about and to turn it into something more lighthearted and palatable (rather than coming across like Charlie Brown's teacher wahwahwaaaahwah). It's also universally delivered with no names mentioned so no one feels targeted even if it's one certain person who ALWAYS FORGETS TO FLUSH. And, on the off chance that anyone feels particularly burdened or afflicted by the Mom Minute...it's only a minute.
There you go. You probably already do something like this, though, because isn't that how the world gets civilized, really? One Mom Minute at a time?