Survey says moms will get pampered this Mother’s Day

The countdown to Mother’s Day 2011 has begun! We now have less than a week to go, and according to some recent reports, we moms can look forward to an extra spending – er – extra-special day.

A National Retail Federation survey completed in late April predicts that Americans are poised to spend more on Mother’s Day this year than they have in recent years. The chart included with the article shows a very short timeline, but it does have 2011 spending returning to roughly 2007-2008 levels.

And that, mamas, means spending is expected to top $16 billion. That’s a lot of flowers and greeting cards.

Then again, BizReport has an article up about how online shoppers are expected to spend 10 percent more than other retail shoppers. The article notes one-third of shoppers “intend to spend $219.40 on their moms, 10% more than last year.”

Then there’s this: “A new survey from the Mom Complex, the marketing-to-mothers division of the Martin Agency, reports that 30% of moms say they typically get honored for no more than 5 to 10 minutes on Mother’s Day. In fact, 40% feel their husband and children come first on Mother’s Day, and 12% feel they don’t even make the list.”

How’s that for a mixed message?

Personally, the best Mother’s Day gifts I’ve gotten didn’t cost a dime. My first Mother’s Day, my 7-month-old surprised me by sleeping for a full six uninterrupted hours. The next year, she gave me a near-perfect circle she had cut out of construction paper, all by herself. I carried it around with me for weeks and showed it to all my coworkers. It still fills me with pride whenever I look at it.

And last year, my daughter sang this song, to the tune of “O Christmas Tree”: On Mother’s Day, on Mother’s Day/ O how I love you mom/ On Mother’s Day, on Mother’s Day/ O how I love you mom/ You give me joy and happiness/ I give you love, a hug and kiss/ On Mother’s Day, on Mother’s Day/ O how I love you mom.

What’s been your favorite Mother’s Day gift, either given or received?

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The Girls Way is up and running in Missoula

Girls Way The paper has a cute story about the new Girls Way center in Missoula today. The center is a nonprofit that provides fun and fitness to girls ages 10-18.

Business reporter Jenna Cederberg was there for for the first class – a rock ‘n roll ballet class.

For more information call 830-3018

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LUNAFEST to include ‘Mother of Many,’ a movie about midwives

When the annual LUNAFEST comes to Missoula this year, it will, as it always does, bring a slate of short films “by, for and about women.” And among these films, as usual, is one of particular interest to moms and anyone interested in the birthing industry, specifically midwives: “Mother of Many.”

The festival begins in mid-March and will hold its showings at the Wilma Theatre. The first film will start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.

Tickets cost $10 ($5 for students); buy them by calling 543-6691, and do so with the knowledge that ticket proceeds will help fund the YWCA‘s GUTS! (Girls Using Their Strengths) leadership program for girls ages 11 to 18, as well as the national Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Here’s the full list of films, provided by the Missoula YWCA:

  • “The Translator,”directed by Sonya Di Rienzo (Toronto, Canada). A foreign film translator finds her story on a subway line.
  • “Getting a Grip,”directed by Rosa Maria Ruvalcaba and Sarah Jun (San Fernando, Calif., and New York, NY). Meet Fannie Barnes, who became the first female cable car operator in January 1998–at age 52.
  • “Touch,” directed by Jen McGowan (Venica, Calif.). Two women make an unusual connection while waiting for a train.
  • “Tightly Knit,” directed by Jenni Nelson (Palo Alto, Calif.). A new generation of yarn bombers and social knitters discover that the ties that bind are sometimes made of wool.
  • “Top Spin,” directed by Sara Newans and Mina T. Son (New York, NY, and Los Angeles, Calif.). With hard work and family sacrifice, a young table tennis champion works toward becoming one of the top players in the world.
  • “Thembi’s Diary,” directed by Jisoo Kim (Valencia, Calif.). Nineteen year old Thembi records an auto diary of her struggle living with AIDS.
  • “Mother of Many,” directed by Emma Lazen (Bristol, UK). The most dangerous journey sometimes needs a helping hand – a midwife.
  • “Irene,” directed by Lindsay Goodall (Glasgow, UK). Ninety-two-year-old Irene suffers from Alzheimer’s, but struggles to keep her independence.
  • “Miracle Lady,” directed by Moran Somer and Michal Abulafia (Jerusalem, Israel). A tale of two old women who spend their days waiting.
  • “Love on the Line,” directed by G. Melissa Graziano (Los Angeles, Calif.). Follow the dots and dashes when star-crossed lovers curbed their raging hormones via the quickest form of communication available: the telegraph.

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How many children can one woman have?

Arkansas mother Michelle Duggar is going on child No. 19. My reaction? It’s hard enough keeping up with just one. I’m in awe of parents who manage life with two kids. I can’t even wrap my mind around 19.

In search of some way to put that number in context, I started an Internet research journey that unearthed these gems:

– The youngest mother on record is a Peruvian girl who gave birth to a boy at the age of 5.

– The oldest mother on record gave birth to twin boys at age 66.

– The most babies born to one mother is unofficially reported as 69. Got that? Sixty-nine children. This one Russian woman was apparently preganant 27 times – and had 16 sets of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.

Suddenly, being pregnant with a 19th baby at age 42 seems like a piece of cake.

– Missoula Mom


Stuff of note in print and online

First, I couldn’t help but notice some interesting similarities between this letter to the editor in today’s Missoulian and the story of the Bozeman mom who got arrested for letting her kids go to the mall without adult supervision.

In the letter, Robert Sunset decries the sort of changes he’s seen in Missoula that led someone to call the authorities on him for letting his kids (an 8-year-old and his brother, whose age is not provided) walk to the duck pond alone. Sunset told me over the phone that he was watching the kids the entire time from his front porch.

It’s true that roving gangs of unsupervised kids used to be a common sight back in the day – and in many places, especially more rural areas, they still are. Are we erring too much on the side of caution these days?

In other news, the ever-growing Mamalode Web site has a profile up on yours truly. If you haven’t checked out the site yet, be ready to be impressed. It’s got a place to network, a place to note events (not just for kids, either, but for moms and dads as well) and a place to share stories. Oh, and it’s got a link to the entire first issue of the Mamalode magazine for those who haven’t been able to get their hands on a hard copy.

– Missoula Mom

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How to get your kid to eat vegetables

For some reason, moms and food are inextricably linked. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that mothers are the first food source for their babies, or that women are primarily the ones who prepare and serve meals in many cultures. Or is it just that we remember our moms as the only people on the planet who care if we have just … one … more … bite … of … peas?

While I think children are born with a palate all their own, there’s no doubt in my mind that moms also have a lot of influence over their dietary choices. So while I’m lucky that Willow likes vegetables – in fact, she’ll pick carrots for a snack any day – I have to credit much of this to the fact that she’s grown up surrounded by small gardens. The child wouldn’t touch a pea until we let her roam my aunt’s garden in Frenchtown, where she could snap them right off the vine.

Our own little backyard garden is now in its second year, and Willow loves to “help” me weed. She’s taken a great interest in the different plants, and at this point, anything that comes out of that garden – be it radishes, beans or tons of zucchini – she’s guaranteed to at least try.

And I’ll just bet it’s the same with all the kids whose parents are starting or maintaining their own gardens. Fortunately, we have a helpful new resource in the form of 1,000 New Gardens Missoula. 4 & 20 blackbirds has more on the story here.

I also noted the news today that Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s mother, Helen Tester, has died at the age of 89. Tester, in addition to being one of Montana’s two delegates in the Senate, runs an organic farm up north, in Big Sandy. And so it only seems appropriate to share my sincere condolences to this family of Montana farmers.

Finally, I want to highlight the sweet Missoulian story about 103-year-old Elizabeth Olson, Missoula’s “grandma to all,” in which it’s apparent this sweet lady has a real sweet tooth. Tonight, after my family gleans whatever’s ripe from the garden and builds our dinner around it, we’ll be making peanut butter cookies in her honor.

What’s a well-rounded dinner, after all, without dessert?

– Tyler Christensen

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An act of kindness and an anonymous letter

I just got this letter to the editor in my inbox. No last name, no phone number, no e-mail address. It’s signed only “Jessica” from Missoula, so there’s no way I can verify it for publication.

But I want somebody besides me to read it.

She writes, “My son and I went to Albertsons the other day to cash my check, I figured while we were there we’d pick up a few things. When we got to the check out line the man ahead of us had the cashier ring up our groceries along with the couple of things he was buying. I thanked him, but it blew me away that someone who I’ve never seen before in my life could be so generous in such a crazy economy. It’s good to know that I’m not raising my son in a world overcome by violence, and that there are still truely amazing, beautiful, kind hearted people out there.”

Some days I really need these sorts of reminders, too. Thanks, Jessica.

– Tyler Christensen

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Ice cream for breakfast

My son and I were going to go fishing on Mother’s Day. It’s a theme of sorts – the year I moved to Montana, he got me a set of waders, to underscore the fact that by sheer virtue of living here, I was going to be a fly fisher(wo)man.

This year, we took one look at the rivers and decided, pretty much as we have every May, that maybe the best way to catch fish was to go out for sushi. After which, he got me an ice cream cone. Between that and a phone call from his sister, Kate, who lives in Denver, I was about as happy as a mom could be. More to the point, the ice cream treat reminded me of when the kids were little, and their idea of the fanciest possible breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day was ice cream in a pretty little glass dish. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

I love the grown-up dinners and the grown-up conversations we have now on Mother’s Day, but I confess to missing those early-morning everything-bad-for-you-but-oh-so-good breakfasts, the hushed giggling outside the bedroom door, the spills on the steps. And I also catch myself wondering: Why should ice cream for breakfast be limited to Mother’s Day? Wouldn’t the best way for me to honor my children’s most excellent idea, lo those many years ago, be to sneak a predawn dish every now and then, hmmmm? Talk about starting the day with a smile!

Gwen Florio

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How did you spend your Mother’s Day?

I got a fabulous, hubby-made breakfast (French toast, mmm) after sleeping in for one glorious hour. And I needed the extra zzz’s, too, after partying it up at the Mother’s Day Eve Bash the night before.

Did you do something completely new this Mother’s Day? Or do you have a Mother’s Day tradition? Sherry was just telling me that every Mother’s Day, she and her kids used to go for a bike ride down Pattee Canyon, through the University neighborhood and up the Rattlesnake. That was their tradition.

Whatever you did, I’d love to see some photos of you and your little ones – even if they’re grown-up little ones – on your special day. Send ‘em to me at and I’ll post them on the blog.

Tyler Christensen

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A Polson mom shares the story of her unexpected journey

Every day, I am awestruck by the people who share their lives and stories with our newspaper and its readers. This Mother’s Day, Jennifer Groneberg is in my thoughts because of the lovely and remarkably honest story she shared with Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin and photographer Kurt Wilson.

Jennifer is mom to twin boys, Bennett and Avery, and their older brother, Carter. Avery has Down syndrome. And theirs is a story not just of acceptance and adaptation, but of embracing every child for who they are. In this story in Sunday’s Missoulian, Jennifer tells of the grief she felt when Avery was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and of how her other two sons showed her how to move past grieving the Avery she had imagined to cherishing the Avery she received.

“Carter understands Down syndrome because he let Avery teach him what it meant,” she says. “Bennett doesn’t care, because Bennett doesn’t know what it’s like to not have a brother with Down syndrome.”

Now, Jennifer doesn’t know if she would “cure” Avery, even if that were possible. “I love who he is,” she says. “I’d be so scared if you took away the Down syndrome he’d be different.”

You can hear more of Jennifer’s thoughts and see more photographs in our audio slideshow, here.

Happy Mother’s Day, Jennifer. And thank you, for sharing your boys and your story with all moms.

Sherry Devlin

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