My Mother's Day Craving

Chief Mom on Mothers Day

Sure, Mother's Day presents are great. But in this hectic age of over-scheduling, I crave shared family moments, especially over a festive meal.
Nigella Lawson, the British domestic goddess, reminds us that family gatherings—like meals—without conflict are rare. In a household of four boys, we usually have six Chiefs and no Indians. So the gift I crave for Mother’s Day is to be The Chief. And when I delegate leadership for a task, I wish the others would follow graciously. Practically speaking, what does this look like?

Mom as Chief for the Day
Chief Mom: “For Mother’s Day, let’s have a conversation during meal time! Here’s the plan…”

Limit yourself to three ground rules
Too many pointers become confusing. Consider ours:
1. Everybody says at least three interesting things. “Ernestina, could you please be in charge of checking that everybody gets involved in the discussion? If one person seems left out, ask him what he thinks. Thank you.” (Chief Mom delegates to the conversation dominator.)
2. Dad gets to choose and enforce the table manner we’ll focus on this meal. “Kids, Dad and I are the only ones to correct behaviour during this meal.” (Chief Mom puts Dad in charge of limiting behaviour comparisons and insults.)
3. You may begin to eat when the Lady of the House (yes, I do refer to myself in this way) takes the first bite. Until the Lady of the House excuses you from the table, you remain in your seat. (Some jobs, Mom keeps.)

Some alternatives:
- Try (take two good bites) everything on your plate without complaining.
- Thank Mom for one good thing she’s done in the last month. No exception for teens!

Incentivize (a.k.a. Make It Worth Their While)
Should table manners slip, consequences will keep you from whining remind Turansky and Miller in Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad You and Your Kids. Invent fun consequences for this day. We’re going to try these:
- The child who misbehaves has 5 lipstick kisses on his face when the meal is over.
- The child who helps make dinnertime pleasant may plant a lipstick kiss on Mom’s cheek…and she can’t smear it off for at least one hour!

Take a picture. The kids may forget the meal, but they’ll remember your funny face!

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