Mom’s Prizes

*note, yes-I know I’ve mentioned these before. But it’s worth mentioning again. Really.


I had a fun conversation yesterday with my hair lady about road trips. She and her hubs just took their two kids on a road trip to Nashville and then some beach on the east coast. (No, I don’t remember it’s name. Some Atlantic ocean beach, like the Dells only with bigger and realer waves. I’m a pacific girl myself. Duh.)

Baby #2 was teething the whole way and Mother (Grandma) demanded a stop every 30 minutes to stretch her legs which actually required them to pull the walker out of the back of the car each time making every stop around 20 minutes. Sounds grand, don’t it?

I like road trips. A lot. It feeds the gypsy in me. You get to see ‘merica, pitch a tent and ponder life under the stars. I swear to gods, there are few places better to eat a steak and drink a glass of wine than under the stars.


This was outside Deadwood, SD. I have no idea how the campsite woke up so tidy when my traveling companion and I finished off the wine’s and the Surly’s; almost burned her boot in the fire (with her foot still in) completely, and lost time. We burned off the hangover with a morning shot of Whiskey in Saloon #10. RIP Wild Bill.

Anyways. Road trips.

When I was little, our road trips were few and far between. We grew up with the Cabin so vacations were there. No complaints on this end, the Cabin was my paradise with the endless supply of beach and swimming and grilling each night. I could’ve done without the bats but what’ev. I survived.

There was a road trip to Seattle for our week stay at Holden Village. As I mentioned in that post, Mama Lynda knows how to road trip. Prizes to keep us engaged; maps to read (does your kid know how to read a map? No? You’ve failed as a parent. Think I’m kidding?)

I was sharing Mom’s prize routine with my hair lady yesterday and she loved it. Said I should “pin it.” I have no idea what that means, okay-I actually kind of do but I’m not going to. The last thing I need to do is get on another social media site, if Pinterest is considered social media. No clue.

I do a version of Mom’s prizes when the bigg guy and I travel together. They come in the form of Snickers bars. It ensures we can still travel together. True story.

Mom’s prizes were the entire reason I’d look forward to a road trip. She did that. Along with other things. She instilled a love for books and reading. I can still remember laying in bed, listening and watching her read Laura Ingalls Wilder books to me. Then Nancy Drew. And when we finished those, I was off to the races reading on my own. It’s kind of ironic that I would get in trouble so often for hiding under my covers with a flashlight trying to finish a book at night.


I learned how to play the piano from Mom. I learned to love animals from mom (when I was four or five, our Chinese Pug got hit by a car in front of our house. I still remember the woman who hit her and my mom, who had Gittle cradled on her lap, sitting on the living room floor crying. Gittle made it through and lived a happy 12 years more. Go Gittle.)

My love of church choirs and the sounds of church organs comes from Mom. When I moved to Milwaukee I met a local organist at a barbell seminar and we hit his recitals here and there. It’s awesome. I learned how to make Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from my mom (she doesn’t like to cook. I do, so I’ve moved on from there and would probably have to read the box now to make Mac’n’cheese but I remember her most important tip: always double the butter. Ya buddy.)

I learned to support your siblings from mom as she’d drag us from activity to activity. I learned never to sass off  to mom when I was hung over and bending over to wash my hair in the kitchen sink. Cuz that slap across the back of my head (well deserved I’d say) made my head ring for the rest of the day. Teaching the daughter a lesson in respect: nailed it!

I learned how to expect to be treated as a wife and a mother from mom. Well, dad played a part in that too I guess. Things mom’s never do or “just wait until your dad gets home:”

Shovel snow. Ever.

Do the dishes. Ever.

Yell at you more than once to get something done.

Carry in groceries.

Mow lawn. Ever. I seriously have never seen my mother mow lawn.

Grill. I seriously have never seen my mother start the Weber (don’t even THINK of bringing up a gas grill to my dad. Ever.)

And the list continues. Now, I was a single mom so I did all that but my kids were helpers. Still are. And up until we moved away, I still tried to make sure my mom didn’t do those things if I had time to run over there and dad was busy. (Note: Dad was always busy.)

When we were in Florida this past March for Matt’s sister’s wedding, it struck me while I watched his mom that it’s been years and years since she’s had a chance to be “the daughter.” That made me sad for her, and all other mothers I care for in the same situation. Being the daughter is easy, well, easier than being the mom. You get to be right about everything and just blame the mom for how she’s wrong and fucked you up because of it. EZPZ.


I believe one of the hardest realizations for an adult daughter or son is to realize that their mother isn’t everything you once thought she was. She comes to you a generation ahead with added baggage; insecurities; past failures that could reach all the back to childhood; hurts and fears; frustrations that have nothing to do with you; a need to belong, to fit in, to be appreciated. If she’s spent the last 40 years being treated as a doormat from her husband and children, even more so.

But for the most part, for the good ones anyways, she’d walk through fire (and probably has in more ways than you know) for you. She tried. And for the majority of us, that must be enough. To expect anything more is dick. Don’t be Dick.

And for those of us who are daughters AND mother’s…well, cut yourself some slack. You’ll fuck up, believe me. You’ll fuck up. Do your best; say sorry, and try. The majority of relationships that fail (barring abuse) do so simply from lack of trying.

So thanks Mom. For your prizes. All of them.

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.

Sophia Loren

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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