Mom, mommy, mamma, mother… No matter which word you use, when you say it you suddenly become overwhelmed with emotions. When you’re a kid, mom is the safest place in the world; you try to be as close to her as possible. When you’re a teenager, you try to get as far away as you can. But then after being so distant, there suddenly comes a time when your heart is broken, life turns out to be much harder then you imagined and you just wish you were back in mommy’s arms.
After college, I was already dating the man that turned out to be my husband. I remember being so surprised to learn that he calls his mother (now my mother-in-law) every single day. They used to make a really big deal about seeing us every weekend, which wasn’t too difficult for them because we only lived 45 minutes away. All I wanted to do with our weekends was to be alone, just the two of us staring into each other’s eyes mumbling sweet words. We were young and madly in love. At that time it seemed like everyone else was just getting in our way.
My mother-in-law used to say, “Wait until you have children and it will all be different.” And I would say, “sure, sure” as I rolled my eyes while she wasn’t looking. At the time I had already been working with families for years. I thought I’d heard and seen it all before. But the day my son was born, everything changed. Guess what? She was right.
You see, when a child is born, a mother is born with it. I was right; there wasn’t much I hadn’t already seen, but there was so much I was feeling for the first time: strong feelings of love, admiration, confusion, responsibility, fear and guilt. Suddenly all that mattered was making sure he gets the best of everything, being with my little one as much as possible, and making sure he knows that I will always love, support and be there for him.
Being a mother these days is so challenging. We don’t live 45 minutes from our families any more. Life led us to move far away, and so my son and his grandparents get to see each other only a few times a year. As a mother I sometime feel so guilty that my son doesn’t get to have his grandparents in his day-to-day life.
We recently found a way to bridge the thousands of miles that physically separate us. With the Sparkup Magical Book Reader, my son can listen to his grandparents read him his favorite stories as he turns the pages of a real book and follows along with their voice. When I first learned about Sparkup, I figured it was just another one of those apps, and I was hesitant seeing as I don’t like my son staring at screens for too long a period. But then I realized I was way off. Sparkup isn’t an app or a tablet; it’s a little device that clips onto real books–no screens involved at all.
We are so happy to have found it. Now during his play time every afternoon, he sits in front of his bookshelf and chooses which book he’d like to hear. He has books recorded in my voice, as well as grannie’s, gramp’s and daddy’s (which saved us last month when he had to fly out on business), and also a few professional recordings. And when I read my son’s bedtime story, I often clip Sparkup on to the book’s back cover and simultaneously record it. He has lots of books on his Sparkup, and he can choose from his own library (you can use any picture book in the world!). He simply loves it. He gets to choose what to read, while listening to the voices of his favorite people and “sparking up” his imagination through the stories.
I feel so blessed to be a mother at this time – a time in which our children get to experience the best that technology has to offer. Without losing touch with the real, tangible world that we grow up in, Sparkup also allows me to have some time off during which I can get some chores done, without the guilt of putting him in front of the TV or a tablet. On the contrary, instead of becoming a screen-zombie, my son gets to have fun while improving his literacy skills, imagination, and independence as he stays emotionally connected to our beloved family from across the sea.
Being a mother is doing what’s best for your child. To all the mommies out there: On this Mother’s Day, I wish for us all to look at ourselves through our children’s eyes, for them we are the most beautiful, smart and loving person in the world. Remember that and enjoy this feeling. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. But no one does it better than us!
Happy Mother’s day!
About The writer
Rachel O. Shlain is a Parent Educator & Sleep consultant. Her training includes an MA in Early Education and Development, both from the University of Haifa, Israel. Rachel is a certified sleep consultant and has been working with families for over 6 years and with children for over a decade. Rachel recently began consulting with Sparkup – The Magical Book Reader. Her goal is to help parents find sensitive practical ways to improve everyday life with young children.