Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s and Grandma’s out there. Any skill I have at being a mother comes directly from the amazing example that has been set for me by my Mom, Grandma and Mother-In-Law. I also rely heavily on my “Mom Village,” the group of women who I have met over my 12 years (gasp!) of being a Mom.
I met these first group of women when #1 was only 6 weeks old. To say I was struggling was an understatement. At 28 years old – my husband and I were the first in our group of friends and family to have a kid. My mom stayed with me the first week when my son was born. Then my mother-in-law helped out. My husband stayed home for a bit – but he had to go back to work. I remember so clearly the first day Jerald went back to work. I was paralyzed with fear, loneliness and a bit of postpartum depression. I held my little baby and cried. I didn’t know how to fill the day – meeting both of our needs.
At 6 weeks old #1 was old enough to start a new Mom’s class. There I met the first members of my “Mom Village.” We all had 6 week old babies who were our first babies – and none of us knew what to do! We relied on each other and the amazing instructor for support, encouragement, tips and lots of laughs. After each class we would hang around and go out for lunch. I was finally brave enough to stay out of the house with my baby for longer than 2 hours. If he needed a new diaper and changed him and if he was hungry I breastfeed at the table. These women gave me permission to be out in the world taking care of my baby and still living my life! We also started meeting regularly on thursdays at each other’s houses for more support and playtime. Through each new parenting or kid phase we had each other. Some of these women are still in my life – we all texted each other to wish each other another Happy Mother’s Day. The picture is from our “graduation” at 12 weeks from our first class. We took many more wonderful classes together through the years.
As my baby got older and I added two more boys to my family – I still added to my “Mom Village.” I gathered these Mom’s from pre-school classes, from the gym, from our Temple, and from their elementary school. I am also lucky to be able to add to my “Mom Village” friends from growing up, college, and law school who have had children and have stayed a strong presence in my life. My “Mom Village” is also made up of my three amazing sister-in-laws, my mother and my mother-in-law. All of these amazing women enrich my life and make me feel that I can tackle each new parenting step.
I wish all of them a very Happy Mother’s Day – I couldn’t do it without you all and I wouldn’t want to!!!
I read two interesting articles today from friends Facebook feeds that got me thinking about my reasons for starting this new blog.
The first article, Modern moms looking for perfection in all the wrong places, is about how modern mom’s are looking for inspiration in the wrong places. That many of us get fixated by pinterest, celebrities and other media and put unrealistic pressures on ourselves to make everything perfect. I don’t agree with the whole article. Myself and many of my friends still feel that it is ok to put our kids in front of the tv with take-out when we need to. But the end take-away I can totally get behind.
Try your best; if cake-making is your forte, then sure — make the extravagant cake, take a photo and post it on Pinterest. But if it’s not, that’s OK, too.
Make sure your child’s life is fun and meaningful, instead of pretty and picturesque. Their memories will all have that perfect light you try so hard to achieve. No kid grows up feeling neglected because her mom couldn’t repurpose her school T-shirt into couture.
The second article, What Normal Looks Like, how clean or not clean our homes and cars are. It is funny and true/not true. I do like the sentiment that we are all in the same boat together. No judgment. Create a community of support around you. We all need our village.
So, there you have it. Either your house is really, really clean and you should stop apologizing, or at the very least you can stop your shame and host playdates for once. We’re all in the same boat. I won’t look in your dining room if you don’t look in mine.
So where does that leave me on this blog. After reading this articles I really questioned myself. Why was I writing this blog. Am I trying to present a perfect child, party, dish – life? I really don’t think that is what I am trying to do. When I find a healthy recipe that my kids gobble up, or when I figure out a new/faster way to organize my families laundry I don’t think that I should try to make others jealous. All I think is that I want to share my discovery with friends and family. I never want to make anyone feel anything but interested, curious and intrigued. So I will keep going…
Feeling connected to your spouse is a problem whether you have been together for one year or 65 years. Six years into my marriage we had a three year old boy and a 6 month old boy. We were tired, stressed, frustrated, not communicating or connecting. And we didn’t even realize it! One night a good friend came over for dinner. We thought we were being fine and normal. She called later to see if we were having problems. She could see we weren’t connected. Shortly after we started our Love Letter Notebook. Here is how it works…
Love Letter Notebook
Pick any blank notebook. Decide which person is going to start first and how often. We decided to do once a week in the beginning and to give the book to the other person on Friday night after the kids were sleeping. We would read it together and discuss. We wrote three paragraphs.
Paragraph 1 – Where we are right now.. Just to update on what is going on with our lives, how we are feeling. “Right now we are getting ready to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. I can’t believe it has been ten years! I am excited to go out by ourselves.”
Paragraph 2 – I love you because….pick anything. Just mean it! And describe it. “I love you because you helped me out so much this week with the boys back at school. I know you are busy at work – but I appreciate how much you helped me.”
Paragraph 3 – Question… ask anything you want. It could be something series or frivolous. “Should we have another baby? What is your favorite movie? What do you want to eat for dinner this week.”
This really worked for us. We were taking time for each other. We took time for ourselves to put our feelings on paper about how we were doing at that moment. We expressed love and appreciation for each other. We then started a conversation. We were pretty sporadic with it at times, but whenever we need to go back – we always has the notebook.