Tag Archives: mother

Confessions In A Communal Mirror

I put my makeup on at work today in front of the mirror

Standing in a public bathroom in unflattering lighting.

Annoyed looks from the younger women.

Sympathetic looks from the older.
I want to tell the youths that I’ve been up since five thirty.

This morning I checked my emails for fires, then roused two children and corralled them to school. That I had to issue 20+ reminders to my ADHD son to keep him on task, because his meds hadn’t kicked in yet. And that I had to remind myself to be intentional about paying equal attention to his brother so he wouldn’t feel ignored. That I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
That I had a 7:30 parent teacher conference with a team of devoted educators. And that afterwards I finished my grocery shopping, on my phone, while sitting in the parking lot.
That on my commute this morning I called the vet, the pediatrician, the pharmacy, and an electrician, because there’s a light in my basement that is always on and won’t turn off. I ate my breakfast at red lights and finished caffeinating in a parking deck, and  I will likely eat my dinner standing at the kitchen counter.

I want to tell them to be careful of the partners they choose, and life has no assurances so be smart when you pick your path. I want to tell them that even if their world burns down one day, they have the power to rise and to create something new.

I want to tell them that I’m proud of myself, and of my kids, and of our messy beautiful busy life. I know that if they knew these things, they’d be proud of me too.

But instead I just smile and nod at those whose I eye I catch while applying my make-up in the mirror.

~Leona

The Muscles We Don’t See

When I look at mothers, I value the muscles you can’t see…

If we are fortunate, we have friends or family members that tell us how strong we are. I have someone in my life that champions me. And, I appreciate that. But those on the outside looking in only get a glimpse. Because until you are a mom, you are not able to comprehend what it takes to survive.

Moms have the endurance of long-distance runners. Every day is a marathon. It feels like a sprint but it is a marathon. As soon as she is out of bed – actually, before that…as soon as she is awake – she is going. There is so much to do and life demands a consistent pace if there is to be any hope of getting even a portion of it completed. If this marathoner appears to be breaking stride or shortening the distance, don’t be fooled. This woman is always moving swiftly – thinking, planning, preparing, and plotting the entire time.

Mothers are incredible jugglers. You have not seen someone multi-task until you’ve seen her handle a day. Yes, we all know what studies say about multi-tasking but she proves them wrong and takes it to a new level. Making dinner, while correcting homework, starting the laundry, answering a teacher’s email, signing a permission slip and answering the phone, all while asking the kids about their day and while still wearing her work clothes. And, dinner makes it to the table on time, and the kids feel none of the effects of this whirlwind because her focus is seemingly only on them. Now that is impressive, and it is only one hour of her day. That juggle is nonstop and requires incredible muscle.

Mothers are tremendous containment specialists. When there is no one at home to confide in, to share the burden of decision making, advocating and disciplining, she needs to contain that frustration, struggle and self-doubt and put it aside as best she can.  Mom has grit. There is not enough time or energy to let that doubt and fear creep in. But it is there. It is always there. So, she shoves it down or back or into a box and moves ahead with her head high, knowing (or at least hoping that) she is doing the best she can.

No one sees all of this. And, yet, it takes a more strength than most can imagine. Not even the mom’s closest confidant truly sees the triumphs and tears, the disappointments and the dance parties, the hard days and harder nights. But in all of those moments, the real muscles are formed and refined and flexed. Mom doesn’t worry about who sees. She isn’t looking for sympathy. She doesn’t have time for that. She might need a little understanding and a little grace, or just a knowing smile from a fellow mom. She might not know where the strength she needs comes from. But it is there. Quietly growing and building, depleting and then building again.

It is those muscles, the ones no one sees, that help moms push through, carry on and strive for more.

 

Samantha

A Single Mom’s Birth Plan

 I went from married with a baby on the way to single Mom at 6 months pregnant and my entire “birth plan” or “vision” of what child birth would look like went out the window.
I scoured the internet reading birth stories…. I found a total of zero from a single mom. None. It was not a great start to envisioning a NEW Birth Plan.
My OBGYN was amazing and helped me to start over. We kept it simple- Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom.
I went into child birth for the first time armed with knowledge gathered like a true millennial, from YouTube videos. And of course, my OBGYN. But I opted to skip the birth classes and took a breastfeeding class, a car seat safety course and a hospital tour instead. All of which I attended alone, surrounded by couples. I sat and fought back tears while they went through the spousal support PowerPoint slides, but I left the class holding my head high.
It was the first activity I had done alone and I walked to my car knowing that I HAD this. I had to.
I am an over thinker and I knew if I took a class I would obsess and worry and go into child birth with a rigid plan and I realized that was unrealistic. I decided “go with the flow” was my mantra for this and I decided to stick to it.
I trusted my doctor and I trusted my hospital. And I am very, very glad I did.
I had to schedule an induction and I opted for the epidural. My mom was my support person and my dad and my little sister visited me while I was being induced I wasn’t alone the entire time aside from getting my epidural. My momma doesn’t do needles. That wasn’t great, but the contractions were so intense I just focused on breathing and not moving.
My daughters heart rate kept dropping and finally it dropped and they couldn’t get it to come back up. It was looking like an emergency C section and while my plan was loosey goosey an EMERGENCY C Section definitely wasn’t part of it.
My OBGYN gave me a shot at pushing but said I only had a few minutes before they will wheel me to the OR. I gave it everything in me and she was here in less than 15 minutes. The cord had been wrapped around her neck but she was perfect and screaming her head off.
I half realized something was wrong my doctor was yelling at nurses and barking orders. I wasn’t paying attention though, and was just craning my neck so I could see my perfect girl. It felt like an eternity, but they brought her over to me finally and I got to hold her. She was everything.
I suddenly heard my doctor telling them they had to take her from me, that I was losing too much blood.
They took her from me and my mom got to hold her.
Everything was just going so so fast. I was aware nurses were hurrying around the room and saw my doctor who is normally the calmest and kindest woman barking orders out like a drill sergeant. That was when it hit me, okay this is serious. I need her to fix me, I have to hold my Perfect Girl again. I realized then that I was hemorrhaging. I remembered the NEW birth plan that my doctor and I had made together – Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom. I needed her to follow through on our plan.
JUST as I started to really get scared she got everything under control.
I was okay.
They gave me back my Perfect Girl.
She is 5 months old now and I still cannot tell this story without crying. Her birth was traumatic, for me and for her but I wouldn’t change a single thing. As a Single Mom creating a birth plan was nothing like what you read about or see in the movies. But it is part of our story and I love it.
Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom. The very best Single Mom Birth Plan.
Single Mom Boutique Boss
-Allyson

You Are More, You Are A Rockstar

You are more, you ARE a rockstar!

Over Memorial Day weekend I did something I think a lot of people in my life didn’t think I could do.

I traveled across the country by myself. I had a working vacation.

My vacation running a music stage for three days at a festival in Napa Valley.

I made sure the musicians got what they needed, got on and off the stage, all communication came through me. I knew one person. I had no car. It was a huge adventure.

The last trip I took my daughter was two and a half and was with my ex husband it was our five year anniversary trip to Jamaica. It was three months after we had started talking about splitting up.

Needless to say not a great trip.

After that my trips have been limited to family vacations. Work trips where there are always colleagues along. But nothing like this.

I think sometimes when you become a Mom people forget you are more than just a Mom.

It’s easy to assume because your life has changed maybe there are certain things you can’t handle.

People forget when you made the decision to leave you had to handle a whole lot.

That even now you handle a whole lot.

People sometimes assume because you don’t wear everything out on your sleeve, running around with rockstars is not something a Mom could do.

Some would say should do.

My biggest cheerleader was the one who got me the job. He has known me since I was in college. He has seen my ups and downs. He knows I’m not easily fazed. Also, as he put it since I work with children regularly and am a Mom this would be in my wheelhouse.

My point in all of this… you are more than the greatest job on the world. In fact because of that job let’s just be honest, you can handle a WHOLE lot.

Even a DJ’s assistant getting crabby because a band who had been going nonstop didn’t autograph a poster.

Or your daughter kicking you out of the bathroom mid hair dry.

Either or.

You a superstars.

Let’s call it- you’re rockstars!

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

Can You Get That For Me?

Can you get that for me?…

I was all set to write about my California adventures but something more important has happened.

My daughter is now taller than me.

I’m gonna need a moment.

Now granted I’m 5ft 2in so I am a small person, but she’s eleven.

Eleven (!)

I already feel like our lives go a million seconds a minute now this.

She of course is elated.

Me….

My heart is breaking.

She already doesn’t need me to tuck her in.

She will ask me if I’m going to leave when I go in her room after work to say hi.

Is this going to make her need me less?

I already have not the stage where things I do embarrass her. Although by virtue of who I am that feels like a challenge.

Also I am pretty sure the people in the car next to us at the stoplight DO enjoy my singing along loudly to Jump Around.

Even if she doesn’t.

I realize we are hitting those years and I am scared. I feel like I haven’t done enough. I’m not ready.

I’m not ready for her not to need me.

I’m not ready for her to be taller than me.

Or maybe I am.

Now I have someone who can get stuff off the shelf for me.

So there’s that.

She’s an amazing kid and I knew this day was coming- just maybe not this fast.

For now I’ll take solace in the fact tonight she still wanted a hug at bedtime.

We got this Mommas

Or at least we’re gonna pretend we do.

<3 Caprise

You Got This Mommas

You got this mommas…

Every week late Sunday afternoon I curl up somewhere with a beverage, music, blanket, and my iPad and start to write a post that will appear here.

I always try to find something I hope that will resonate with someone. Maybe help. Make someone laugh. Feel better.

The irony that my maternal instincts kick in, even when dealing with something like a blog post isn’t lost on me.

As I write this – it’s Mother’s Day. I will share with you that while I was never a 100 percent about getting married I always knew I wanted to be a Mom.

I am far from a traditional Mom and my own daughter sometimes compares me to a teenager on occasion, but I have always and will always put her first.

I worry and overthink when it comes to her. I try not to Tiger Mom her too much. I maybe get too much joy out of singing loudly to a song she doesn’t like in our car rides together.

Meals can sometimes be more like snacks.

She definitely gets too much time on her iPad.

I let her have two swear words a day.

My heart hurts when she is at her Dad’s, even though when she’s home we are rarely in the same room.

I love being silly with her. That she is almost taller than me.

Being a Mom is the best thing, deciding to do it alone was one of the hardest decision I ever made. I still worry about it, but I also needed to be a healthy, happy Mom for G. I still have my moments…

I will never be a PTA Mom. I send gift cards and emails to school. I am thankful for her teachers and her grandparents who have helped me to raise such a beautiful, funny, smart and kind spirit.

I don’t look like the other Moms with my tattoos and piercings, but I look like her and when she asks me to I dress up or down – I do. I love that we both like Vans and fun t-shirts.

In all of this ramble this is my point… no one is the perfect Momma. She doesn’t exist. But what you are is a Momma who is doing amazing on her own terms with her whole heart and that’s what it’s all about.

At least I hope so.

You do got this Mommas

<3 Caprise

How Do You Do It All?

I get asked all the time how I do it.  “It” referring to working full time, taking care of a household, and raising four boys each with a different personality. I used to struggle and question my parenting style; for example do I parent like I was raised or do I parent like society says I should parent.

Then not so long ago I had an ephiany. I realized I need to keep doing what I’m doing. When my two younger boys, ages 12 and 14, are at each other’s throats, I try and remain calm and ask them what happened. Most of the time they talk and yell over each other and in the end I’m the one yelling.  That is okay because after some self reflection I tell myself I will try and do better the next time.

The truth is there is a combination of things that go into how I parent, work full time and take care of my household.  First of all, I pray for patience, patience, and more patience. Second, I do my self care routine. My routine consists of putting my kids to bed and watching TV or getting on social media.  I also like to go to the tanner or go for walks with friends. I realized long ago self care is not selfish. I know I cannot be there for my job or my kids if I’m a hot mess. Humor is also a very important piece of my daily routine.  I laugh at myself several times a day. Like when I’m looking for my phone while it is in my hand or when I am shopping and jump when I see my reflection in a mirror and say excuse me thinking it was another person.

I have to remember I am human and I am not perfect.  Mistakes are made daily and that is okay, because I am blessed beyond measure and I get to wake up every day and try again.  If I can tell myself at the end of the day that I put everything I had into being the best that I can be I know my kids will turn out okay.

 

Yours Truly,

Anne Smith- A Working & Single Mother

Motherhood & Anxiety

I  was sitting in my first counseling session with my anxiety at full peak. To be honest, I should have been sitting in this chair months ago.  A pen could have dropped and I would have cried because I was, simply put, at my breaking point. My son was noticing how upset I seemed all the time, how something simple I would once laugh off gripped me at my core, and how our home was not as happy as it was before. The constant guilt of that would eat me alive.

I sobbed at that first appointment, the full hour appointment tears ran down my face. I cried about how I felt I had failed my son, how lonely this stage of life was, and how overwhelming life is when you are a single parent. It was as though once I opened those flood gates, which I’ve worked so hard to keep closed, I could no longer close them. They were stuck open, both in therapy and once I left. This was almost too much to bear, I thought. I cannot go back; this did not help me at all.

As I walked out of the office, I refused to make another appointment. I used the excuse, I’ll call when I have my calendar in front of me. However, as I was walking to my car, I noticed I mentally felt lighter. Almost as though I could take a deep breath and fully let it out without tensing up. My jaw was no longer clenched. A coping mechanism I often would resort to, to help hide my anxiety.

I took a hard look at myself in the mirror. My eyes were red and swollen, my makeup looked like a hot mess but I was smiling, I was relieved of my burdens. See after three more appointments, I’ve learned that a large portion my anxiety is because I have placed those unrealistic expectations on myself. Yes, now society has a standard, or pro-quo, but who the hell cares, right?

I was the root cause of my anxiety because I felt compelled to hold it in, conform to the standards of a husband and wife household, along with not ask for help because I didn’t want to fit the mold of the often misleading single mother label. Instead of taking care of myself and finding my triggers for my anxiety, I would hide, lash out, or cry. I would often times forget to breathe, I would find myself tense all the time, and the cycle would continue, day in and day out.

Today, I fully recognize myself in the mirror and it is all because I took one of the hardest steps of my life, reaching out for help.

 

-Heather

Moms Mess Up Too

Moms mess up too!

I’m writing this blog moments after boiling my youngest son’s pet fish alive. Yes you read right. I, supermom extraordinaire, just accidentally filled my son’s fish tank with hot water and killed his pet fish. His first pet at that.

If this had happened on any other week and any other day I think I’d be taking it in stride. But today is Wednesday, two days after the Leprechaun incident AND an early release day. What is the Leprechaun incident you ask? Welp here goes:

St. Patrick’s day was last Sunday. Leading up to St. Patrick’s day my youngest son (age 6) was convinced that this year he was going to catch a Leprechaun. He asked for my help. And in accordance with my new goal of not being a killjoy I agreed. I spent most of the weekend sort of putting off making a trap until Sunday afternoon came and it could no longer be avoided. My son looked me straight in the eyes and said “Mom, you said you would help me set up a Leprechaun trap and you haven’t done it yet. Let’s GO!” God I love that kid. He, like me has a pretty short tolerance for bullshit and once our threshold has been reached, we cut right through the fat and get to the meat of our needs.

So I took him outside and tied a rope to a log that held up one of the many leftover Amazon boxes living in the garage. We put 4 pennies under the box as bait and proceeded to wait for our Leprechaun to arrive. My son sat by the window and watched the trap for over an hour before it was time for dinner and then bed. The last thing he said to me before rolling over and falling asleep was “Tomorrow, that leprechaun is going to take me to his pot of gold and we will all be rich mom.”

Two questions stayed with me through the night: How the hell did I get this far into the lie and how the hell was I going to get out of it.

Disclaimer: If you are reading this blog post and can’t understand the motivation of this lie follow through, my apologies you are on the wrong blog. On this blog we occasionally lie to our children and sleep just fine doing it.

The next morning around 6:30am, after I returned home from dropping my eldest off at school, I still hadn’t come up with a plan for our leprechaun. I sat in my car for a few minutes trying to come up with something believable. And then it hit me, a note. I took out the notepad I keep in my purse and dug out a pink highlighter and wrote a note on behalf of dear old Mr. Leprechaun.

My son’s room is right above where the trap was set so I had to be down right stealth in my execution of this plan. Crouched down, tip toed and absolutely silent, I moved across the from yard to the trap (I’m pretty sure at least one of my neighbors has surveillance footage of me creeping around my front yard for one reason or another. Reindeer tracks, Easter eggs and now a leprechaun). I removed the pennies, pulled the log, lowered the box and slipped the note in place. BOOM! Mom-excellence.

An hour later my son was pacing at the front door as my daughter (age 11) and I were grabbing bags and sweaters trying to get out of the house and off to school. As soon as I opened to door my son sprang out like he had just heard a gun shot and was racing for gold. Ha! Racing for gold, like a pot of gold. Get it?

Anyhow, he found the note. As he got into the car and buckled his seatbelt he started to read it aloud:

Andrew*

Nice trap. I was able to escape.

Better luck next year.

-Lep

Oh My Gosh!!!! My son screamed. He was so excited. He couldn’t believe that his trap had worked and that the leprechaun had actually been to our house. As we pulled into his school he said that he would be showing the note to all his friends. He just knew they would be as excited as him. DOUBLE BOOM! I felt super proud that my quick thinking put a smile on my baby’s face and my partner (Andrew’s father) gave me mom kudos for saving the day which is always nice. I should tell you though that my daughter who is highly intelligent and intuitive told me all of this was a bad idea right from the get go. Special note: Middle children have amazing insight. Listen to them.

Later that day I received a message from Andrew’s teacher that basically said that Andrew had shown the note to his friends and classmates and basically they didn’t believe the authenticity of the note and pretty frankly told him that leprechauns don’t exist. He was devastated and subsequently had a pretty rough day afterwards. Tears and all.

Shhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttt!

When I picked Andrew up from the school bus stop he had dried tears and snot traces all over his face. He looked defeated and heavy. I just wrapped my arms around him and took a moment to just hug him. I wanted to say “I’m sorry I set you up for disappointment” but I didn’t. Instead we took to the Peace Chair in my home office and sat eye to eye sipping juice and eating Hawaiian sweet bread dinner rolls and talked through the day. I explained that there are two types of truths: Kid truth and Adult truth. In kid truth, Santa, the Easter bunny, the tooth-fairy and leprechauns are alive and well. In adult truth, those characters aren’t real and we as parents work very hard to keep kid truth alive. I told him that some parents choose to share adult truth with their kids early and that is why his class mates and friends didn’t believe he had a real leprechaun note.

I must have been getting help from beyond (thanks Daddy) because that explanation flowed out of me and landed perfectly in the mind of my 6 year old. Later that night at dinner, Andrew told his father, big brother and sister (who already knew) about what had happened that day at school. For just a moment in his story he became really sad. I fought back tears. The guilt was killing me and it must have been hard to watch because at some point I raised my head from my plate and noticed both my kids and their father with the same pained look on their faces. I think we all felt burdened by my well intentioned lie.

I spoke to my mother after putting the kids to bed and as always she reassured me that I had done the right thing, better yet the mom thing and that I needed to let the guilt go. Thank God for mothers, right.

So we survived Tuesday and Wednesday started great but here we are now. Mid morning Wednesday and I am preparing another lie. I’ve just killed my son’s fish and because of back to back meetings I don’t have time to run out and get him another fish. My partner has agreed to go to Pets-mart and get a replacement. This whole thing is like a replay of that episode of Martin when Gina killed his momma’s bird Ruby. I now feel that anxiety on a very real level. My partner and I have agreed that if he can’t find a red betta then he will get something in a close shade and we will tell Andrew that the fish changed colors due to spring weather.

At this point I believe you are asking yourself: WHY NOT JUST TELL HIM THE FISH DIED? And that is a good question. But the history of Andrew and death is a long and sensitive story for me and I am not totally ready to blog about it yet. I promise though, when I do, I will remind you of this post so that you make the connection.

Anyhow the point is: I am not winning at momming this week. Meaty is still sitting in the sink. I couldn’t think standing above his tank of scalding hot water. But I feel better now. I feel like I have a plan. And now I need to go flush a fish.

Thanks for reading

-LT

When Mom Is Happy Everyone Is Happy

This post is really geared towards mom, but I suppose it could hit home for just about anyone. I want to talk about the importance of self-care and the feelings of guilt that come along with that care. How often do you do something for yourself…say go to the gym or get your hair or nails done, and then feel guilt for leaving your kids with a sitter, at daycare, or even with their other parent? If your answer to this is never, then please teach me your ways I beg of you!!

I’m currently sipping on a latte with color processing in my hair at my favorite salon, that I drive an hour to get to in Providence. I know you are probably thinking I am nuts, but I haven’t always driven to Providence. I’ve been seeing the same hair stylist for just over five years now and two years ago she headed to Providence to open her own salon so of course I followed her. I’m just trying to keep it real here…finding a stylist that just gets your hair is like finding a good babysitter!

Do I feel guilty for getting my hair done today? You bet your ass I do, but not just for leaving the girls but also for spending the money that I should be saving. I try to save as much as I can these days, going from two incomes to one is definitely an adjustment. Yes, there is child support so I’m one of the “lucky” single moms, but still an adjustment. I thought about cancelling my appointment on more than one occasion, but it had been booked for three months and it was honestly starting to become impossible to brush through my hair. See what I just did there?!? I made an excuse for myself to lessen that ever present guilt.

You must do things for yourself that make you feel good on the inside and on the outside. Maybe you want to hit the bag at the gym, get some eyelash extensions, or God forbid take a damn nap! You are entitled to do these things, enjoy these things while doing them and still be a good mom (or dad). Getting my hair done and going to the gym are things that I refuse to have to give up. They make me feel good about myself and when I feel good about myself I feel like I can take on the world. Let’s face it, sometimes being the parent of small children, you already feel like you are taking on the world. You might as well look good while doing it <3

 

Remember, hugs are always free!

xX Tamara xX