I Believe You

Aug 28, 2020

From age 7 to 13, I lived with a daily dose of duty to rituals that I believed would secure my safety in this weird world.  For instance, I had to count to 8 every time I turned a faucet on and off and if I messed up just a little bit, then I’d have to repeat that set again in multiples of 8, sometimes getting up to 64 and even 160.  This happened with more than faucets.  Cracks in my floor boards, stairs, doors, rolling my ankles, all of it.  I believed in my bones that if I didn’t perform these things in perfect multiples of 8 that I would die in my sleep.  Like, die croak dead … in my sleep … at age 7.

And, yes, I know I am describing clinical obsessive compulsive disorder and, yes, I was officially diagnosed with it decades later.  The point of this post is not about mental illness, although I do hope to always and forever reduce the stigma around trauma, mental health, and getting professional help.

The point of this...

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Let the Tiger

Jul 29, 2020

My 8 year old is obsessed with at-home spa face masks right now.  She even saves up her hard-earned money to spend on them.  By hard-earned, I mean it.  We have a deal in our household where there are daily self-care tasks and daily “team” tasks for which you do not get paid (because, ahem, real life).  But, once you complete those tasks, you can do extra paid tasks around the house that usually take up my time and, thus, cost me money.   I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, to be honest.  But apparently COVID has yielded a new turn in boredom-related activities.  Maybe this has happened because in an effort to survive, I put exactly zero limits on screen time last March.  I’m not suggesting this experiment will work for you, and I’m not advocating for it.  But, maybe it’s like having your cigarette-curious kid go smoke an entire pack in a closet (disclaimer: don’t do that).  This is to...

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The Big W

Jun 30, 2020

I sold my body to the lowest bidder at some point in my life.  And when that exchange ran out and I needed more currency, I started selling off other bits of myself.  My needs.  My wants.  My opinions.  My nutrients.  My time.  My heart.  I thought I could do this without losing myself.  I thought it wouldn’t hurt me.  In fact, I thought it was what I had to do to be a good girl, a good wife, a good mother.  What I didn’t know was that I was erasing my worth with each sale.  

I just turned 40 this past Sunday, a milestone birthday that begged me to take a good hard look on the metaphorical wrinkles in my soul’s aging process.  I’ve heard this before, but I now see that it is true:  Around and after age 40, you just stop giving an eff about The Good Girl.  It becomes rather obvious that all she has done for us...

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Visible Us

May 29, 2020

Since COVID-19 upended our daily life and much of what we considered to be normal, I have to admit that there has been one interesting silver lining:  The burden of modern mothering has become very, very visible.  Prior to this, coverage of the topic of the emotional labor endured by mothers has been left for the occasional op-ed piece or self-help book.  It has also certainly been fodder for bloggers and vloggers, who have found the only way to get some attention on the subject is to place it in the realm of humor.  That is to say, it hasn’t been taken seriously.  And let’s be real.  That is because, up until now, it has been a women’s issue.  That means that it is something that ought to be just endured, not solved or supported.  It is something that should be handled better and anyone who is a “good” mother will rise to the occasion.  It is something that can be done right and, well, if you are suffering,...

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Fail

Apr 28, 2020

Something other than germs snuck in the side door of my house during this pandemic.  I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, but it is slippery.  Like you, I have been a disaster at trying to work from home.  Like you, I have been resisting taking good care of my health.  Like you, I now know that all teachers ought to be paid 24 million dollars a year.  Like you, I have been overstimulated every day with cooking and constant mom mom mom mom mom mom mom moms.  Like you, I now hate most pants.  Like you, I've had to hold hands with loved ones as they brace for massive collapses of health, business, and security.  Like you, I have been finding weirdly amazing moments of bonding with my daughters.  Like you, I’ve joyfully played board games and laughed over ridiculously endearing behavior.  And like you, I’ve found those lovely moments only after crying silently in a closet and thinking that I...

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In Flux

Mar 28, 2020

Listen.  I thought at first that a quarantine couldn’t be worse than postpartum hell after a c-section during the summer with older children home.  And to be honest - and probably a bit disappointingly so - I do not struggle with being at home without lots of human contact. But, still, this experience is way more jostling than I could have expected and in ways I can’t yet find words to describe.  

And I’m grateful that we are all doing what we need to do to keep our communities safe.  It is the right thing to do. Period. I am also a believer in helping each other stay informed with all that is falling apart and needs our help, but also staying buoyed with all the things that we are doing right.  We can do this. Together, we can do this one day at a time.

Outside of all that stuff, I will confess that I am experiencing some incredible turmoil for which I can’t find a name.  Is it overwhelm and overstimulation? Yes,...

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So Now What

Mar 16, 2020

As the daughter of a 74 year old recent cancer survivor; as the twin sister to someone with type 1 diabetes; as a woman with two autoimmune diseases, I thank each of you for choosing to be impeccable with your self-care and with care for our community right now.  For real, thank you.

This isn’t easy.  We are all freaking out, for good reason.  The internet is a terrifying place right now.  And none of us are able to grapple with how in the world we will get through the next __________ (insert: no one knows) amount of time with children home and the world in utter chaos.

Repeat:  This isn’t easy.

I am trying to find my homeostasis in all this.  I am trying to be ok with the flurry of emails I am getting from therapists and 12-step recovery meetings and doctors and teachers and colleagues, all of them saying, hey, I don’t know when we will meet again in person, but until then, let’s hop online and try our best from there. ...

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The Bigger Picture

Feb 26, 2020

Every once in a while I get tempted to fall into some weird fitness trap that is 100% focused on me becoming a superhero in a bikini or something insane like that.  This is especially true right now as my sweet babe edges close to 9 months old and her distance from my body grows by the day.  The more autonomy I get, the more I want to “get my body back.”  Whatever that means.  But, I feel it… even though I have the spent the last 8 years here at MommaStrong being entirely against that in every way.  And if I feel it, I know you do too. 

How could we not?  It’s everywhere around us.  Autonomy = living your best life = being super fit.  And up until recently being super fit has definitely lived inside the “thin and buff” container.  Fortunately, now, with the rise of research from initiatives like Health at Every Size, we know that the qualifications for a woman who is healthy have nothing to...

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FEBRUARY, Do Over.

Jan 29, 2020

The only reason I am able to get this blog written right now is because my 7 month old is taking a nap and my 8 year old is painting while watching an incredibly irritating show on Netflix.  The 8 year old is home sick - the type of sick that means she can’t go to school, but she is well enough to do crafts.  Which also means that my long list of work/life survival tasks will be all be 0.00000001% completed by end of day. 

In any case, I am going to try to get this done before the baby wakes up, so this means I will keep it short.  That’s rather easy because the message for today is:  JANUARY, YOU STINK.  Or, JANUARY, WHY OH WHY?  Or, JANUARY, JUST KIDDING.  I don’t know about you, but this is not a new phenomenon.  In fact, I believe this happens every year.  I get all excited to start fresh and begin again and then BLAMMO.  January comes roaring in like a train being operated by a maniacal conductor...

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Why Are You Here?

Dec 30, 2019

 

I’m laying in a twin sized bed in my dad’s house, with an actually sleeping baby sacked out on my chest.  This sweet babe used to sleep through the night and then four months came around and, predictably, that magical skill fell apart and devolved into 45 minute wakings and a need for 24/7 nipple in the mouth.  This is especially exciting to experience when traveling for the holidays, with three kids and very little reserves left for life.  But, alas, this is how it goes when we decide to be engaged humans who happen to also be mothers.

In any case, the obvious moral of the short story above is that I’m tired.  But I’m still showing up and I’m not freaking out and I’m somehow just taking it in stride.  This is new for me.  There’s a resilient, easy going part of me that I’ve never known before.  Maybe it’s age or surviving enough ups/downs in life or surrender ... or maybe it’s that...

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