On having kids…

San Clemente Family Photography-5717The other night our neighbor, who is an older man with no children of his own (by choice), gave the boys ice cream. As we sat together on our shared front yard he mentioned having not heard the boys all day, alluding to the fact that most days the chaos and ruckus that is our everyday filters it’s way over like the smoke from a BBQ.

The ice cream dripped down their cones and in true childhood fashion made for sticky hands and a rim of chocolate around their mouths. Our neighbor glanced over at his long-time girlfriend and said something along the lines of, “Now see, no need to remind me why I opted not to have children”. We made a few jokes about releasing the boys in his newly carpeted house and eventually we parted ways; they, presumably, to enjoy a quiet and peaceful evening and, us, to clean the chocolate off our kids’ faces, fight them on brushing their teeth, and remind them for the umpteenth time that it’s not nice to say that they “hate” us or that we’re “not their friends”.

I know life as a parent only from the mother’s perspective. And having children, for me, was a very innate desire. I spent my childhood training for motherhood; taking my cabbage patches to pretend school, filling out forms I’d take from the drawers of my dad’s office, and loving and cuddling any baby that came within a ten foot radius of me.

That night, I glanced over at Willy – who was struggling to get pajamas on one of the boys – and asked him if he’d rather have had it another way. His answer was true and sincere, he said, “I think I would have been perfectly okay if you didn’t want to have kids. But at the same time, I wouldn’t trade any of this for the world”.

It would be hard to argue that parenthood is where it’s at to a neighbor who realistically sees (and, errr, hears) you struggle nearly every day. I suppose it’s hard, in general, to make the argument for having kids to someone who clearly never wanted kids. And while the days are generally a struggle, all I can say is that the hard days, filled with relentless whining and tantrums, are all but forgotten in the second it takes for them to tell me that they love me.

I think any mother would agree; sticky hands, chocolate crusted mouths, booger filled noses n’ all.

Childhood Unplugged

the stork & the beanstalk _ childhood unpluggedI’m moderating the feed over on Childhood Unplugged this week, sharing images of motherhood. Feel free to join in by hashtagging your images with #cu_motherhood. Also want to take a moment to give love to all the women out there – both the ones that are mothers and those that long to be. There is so much surrounding conception and pregnancy and birth and life that is out of our control and while it is important to celebrate those that have children here on Earth, it’s also nice to acknowledge those who’s children live in dreams or heaven or in another form all together. I imagine this last weekend was difficult for many and I hate for their pain to be buried, or unheard.

Thoughts on having a third | Perspective

Souther California Photographer-281 Souther California Photographer-285If you’ve been a long-ish reader of my blog, it’s no news to you that I’d like to have another child. I wrote about it here. It has nothing to do with how I view my ability to handle having three kids because I know better than anyone else that most days consist of varying levels of stress and self-sacrifice and that our home, the place we rest our heads most nights, is wickedly unforgiving. Just ask the dust balls on the stairs. There is no rational rhyme or reason to my madness, just the simple fact that I feel called to mother another child.
Willy looks at me from across the kitchen table perplexed as to why I’m not in a padded room; chaos surrounding us… toys everywhere, dishes piled up, a four-going-on-five-year-old who still requires to be spoon fed from time to time should you want anything to actually make it’s way into his stomach, and a two-going-on-stubborn-year-old that will slap you if he doesn’t get his way. Willy can’t help but question why I would want to add to our current situation when our current situation sometimes feels abusive (parental abuse should be a thing), overwhelming, and trying. We’re like underpaid, unappreciated workers.
I nod my head in agreeance each time because I can’t argue with things I agree with. But the pull to have another remains strong, regardless. And it wasn’t until recently that I was able to hit the nail on the head.
My sister sent me this blog post, which sums it up perfectly.
The author writes, “The first time a kind stranger peeked at my newborn baby and gushed, “Oh honey, treasure every second!” I almost burst into tears. Not because I was so touched, but because I was so tired. We were standing at the entrance to the mall–me, my baby, and my Shamu-sized postpartum belly–all three of us staring at this sweet lady with her abounding supply of freedom. I wanted to say, “I’ll try!  I’ll try to treasure every second, and you try to treasure every second of the eight hours of uninterrupted sleep you’re going to get tonight. And treasure every second you’re going to roam this mall in total freedom, buying clothes that will fit your skinny waist, and shirts that aren’t breastfeeding accessible. And while you’re at it, treasure all the discretionary time you’ll have in the next decade while I watch Dora, and take temperatures, and settle fights, and pretend to be a human jungle gym, and birth more babies, and clean puke off my clothes.”’

I can recall feeling the same way. Being told to treasure every second was my first experience of mom guilt. When I’d here those words, “treasure every second”, I’d feel this impending feeling of doom — I was not only expected to wake every two hours to feed my newborn, but I was also expected to enjoy it. Hell, forget enjoying it, we’re told to treasure it. Can you imagine being dead asleep following a sleep derived night before only to awoken by that ever-so-subtle newborn whine that not-so-slowly grows into an all out adult scream and think to yourself, “lucky me, it’s that time to nurse that baby again“. Those people that insist on such ridiculous notions clearly have had a better nights sleep. They’re clearly speaking from hindsight. They clearly have something all new parents in their delirious, over-worked, under-appreciated state have; they have perspective.
The author of the aforementioned post went on to have three children, all girls, and had to this to say following the birth of the third: “This time, if a kindly stranger tells me to treasure every second, I think I will burst into tears.  Not because of my lost figure or freedom, but because I so ardently understand that the seconds truly are numbered. They are grains of sand slipping through the hourglass, never to be returned. That’s the funny thing about motherhood. You start off with so little on your plate, and it feels like you’re absolutely drowning. And yet the more you add, the more joyful it becomes. Because somewhere in between adding more babies, and more diapers, and more laundry, you also add more perspective. You realize there are worse things than a long night, and challenges really do pass, and tiny toes don’t stay tiny forever. You know cribs turn into beds, and strollers turn into bikes, and the chubby cheeks making fish faces today will be wearing your makeup tomorrow.”
And so when Willy looks at me from across the table I remind him it won’t be like this forever and hell, when it’s not like this, we’ll miss it. Parts of it anyway.

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March On

ashley-30VeniceWhen I became a mother, I felt this annoyance with all those women before me who fought so hard for women’s rights. And by “women’s rights,” I mean this notion that women can “do it all.”  I mean of course we CAN do it all. In my opinion, we are more equipped than men to “do it all.” We are biologically hardwired to multitask because motherhood is, essentially, multitasking.
But, as a mom, I quickly realized that the implication is not simply that we CAN do it all, but that we MUST. And “all” now encompasses taking care of the household and working a good job and sustaining wonderful friends and being a good sister/daughter/whatever. I don’t think the feminists intended to make us all stressed out. They wanted us to have equal rights. They wanted things to be fair. They wanted to be inspiring. Unfortunately, I think many of us have taken their “you can do anything” mantra and turned it into a “you should do everything” mandate.
When I had my boys, I hated the fact that I had to leave home and return to work. It felt very unnatural to leave my child. Everyone says to follow your instinct as a new mom and my new mom instinct was barking like a little annoying yippie chihuahua for me to stay home.
What I do for work has changed some over the last few years and when someone asks me what I do, I kinda stumble over the answer. Consistently, I say, I’m a registered nurse. Passionately, I say, I’m a photographer. And, because I wanted to, I opened an Etsy shop. Sometimes I wonder if doing all three inhibits me from doing any one with any sort of excellence. I never give it much thought though because all three make me happy and I have come to the conclusion, over much time spent mulling it all over, that all three work symbiotically. I have, however, witnessed the struggles of those around me; moms who feel less adequate because they’ve chosen to leave their careers to mother children, moms who never had the opportunity to pursue a career because they stayed home with kids from the beginning, and moms who do a little of both but don’t feel like winners at either one.
Point being, I think we all question what we do and if we’re doing it right. I think women are notoriously hard on themselves and tend to compare themselves to one another and set unrealistic expectations; expectations that can lead to us feeling really crummy about ourselves.
I came across this article on The Huffington Post that kind of touches on women who seem to give more energy to what they’re not doing instead of to what they are. I suppose it’s the whole glass half-full versus glass half-empty phenomena. Or the notion of wanting what you have as opposed to having what you want. In general, I think we’re all more inclined to self-scrutiny and I think Elizabeth Gilbert’s article is a great reminder to lighten up a little. In today’s day n’ age, it feels like we’re doing more than ever – in all facets of life (home, work, motherhood, etc), and yet we’re seemingly more self-critical. It’s backwards.
The last bit of the article has a ‘screw it’ like mantra and has really stuck with me:
“Move to the wrong city. Lose your temper in front of the boss, quit training for that marathon, wolf down a truckload of cupcakes the day after you start your diet. Blow it all catastrophically, in fact, and then start over with good cheer. This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted — by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds. So just march on. Future generations will thank you — trust me — for showing the way, for beating brave new footpaths out of wonky old mistakes. Fall flat on your face if you must, but please, for the sake of us all, do not stop. Map your own life.”
The reality is that there is no right or wrong. Sometimes I think I need to stop analyzing what I’m doing with my life and – so long as it’s working for me – keep on keepin’ on. What I’m doing right now is fulfilling. There is always more out there, always. But, to me, the point of life isn’t to cram it full of accomplishments; it’s to find accomplishment in the simplicities of the everyday.
Photo by Tish Carlson

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338A7856-77As parents, especially as first time parents, we want to do everything right. We’re impressionable. We read books and blogs and take advice from everyone around us to heart. And then, at some point, a metamorphosis occurs and we realize that all along we had something more valuable than research or advice; we have instinct.
Sure, I backed my decision to try for a home birth with research I valued. But, as many of you know, for every research article there is supporting home birth, there’s another one to tear it to shreds. So really, it was never a decision based solely on research, but instead on my instinct that a home birth was right for me. It’s where I felt comfortable.
This post is not about home birth. It’s about instinct over research.
When my in-laws were in town, I listened as my father-in-law explained that there is a direct correlation between eating ice cream and drowning. When looking at the statistic, one is led to believe that if they eat ice cream, the chances they may drown in a pool of water are higher. In actuality, the two are related only through the fact they are both prevalent during summer. The statistic does not, however, even mention summer, which is the key ingredient, wouldn’t you say?
Nothing is as valuable as your instinct. I’ve never gotten lost from trusting my gut. Parenting has taught me that time and time again. I no longer rely on research, I rely on myself.
How about you? Were you influenced heavily by research / advice as a new mom? Do you value your instinct?

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The beauty of hindsight

338A7416-37338A7362-27Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t write posts about topics I don’t have the answers to. It sounds foolish admitting such, because who am I to think I know anything at all? Chances are I’m no different than you; I have opinions and experiences, but not always answers.
Do you ever feel like motherhood is best viewed in hindsight? Sometimes the day to day feels like nothing short of a struggle, with a rare glimpse of beauty or moment of peace. And I wonder how it is that I actually love this motherhood gig as much as I do. Because it doesn’t really make sense to always feel like you’re about to drown, yet love the near-death repetitive experience.
That’s when it dawned on me that things don’t always go great in the moment (or smooth, or easy… insert the adjective of your choice), but looking back on whatever the moment was, even if it’s a mere hour later (especially after the kids are in bed — who’s with me?), is a whole different experience. I can’t comprehend it and I won’t even attempt to explain it.
I suppose it’s because the good always outweighs the bad even if the bad outnumbers the good. You can go on a road trip with your obnoxious whiny kids who spill their juice all over the carpet of the floor, make you stop for feedings and changings, and whine more-or-less much of the way, but chances are that in a week’s time you’re not going to remember anything other than watching the sunset behind the vastness of the ocean with your family, all together. Even looking back on photos of a vacation or even just any old day that I remember to be draining and hard makes me chuckle; Like the suffering I go through literally becomes humorous. Only in motherhood.
This thought – of enjoying motherhood in hindsight – has popped in my head several times as of late. Most recently, for example, while I watched Janet feed her beautiful babies in Utah. It made me sentimental to watch them latch on and the way their tiny little hands held on to the side of her body. And yet the look on her face of exhaustion and frustration and the yearning for just a moment of time to herself brought me back to reality. I didn’t always enjoy that time either. But in looking back on it, in hindsight, I don’t remember the exhaustion, frustration, or the lack of time to myself; I remember my boys latching, looking into my eyes, and caressing the side of my body with their smooth tiny fingers. Motherhood makes you forget the bad and dwell on the good.
So I guess the million dollar question is how do you enjoy it when  you’re in the thick of it? That’s the answer I don’t know. But what I do know is that looking back on it all is really beautiful.

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The Ma Books

…When I became a mother, I felt much of the same connection to a bigger whole. All mothers know the same agonies and achievements, the same triumphs and tears. No matter where we are from, we are bonded by our role in raising children…
You can read my full post over on The Ma Books, along with some awesome images from photographer Ken Heyman.

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What kind of mom are you?

There’s loads of different ways to mother a child but I like to break it down to two categories: those who prevent the mess or those who clean it up later. A while ago, my dad suggested I read a story called “Spilled Milk”. I’m not sure where the story came from; leave it to my dad to hand me a neon yellow sheet of paper that has a story about spilled milk on one side and suggestions for password security on the other.
In any case, the story was about a boy who lost his grip on a bottle of milk he was trying to remove from the refrigerator. In true childlike fashion, the milk ended up on the floor. Rather than scold her son, the mother turned the spilled milk into a lesson by stating that when a mess is made, it must eventually be cleaned up. She then gave her son different options for cleaning it up, suggesting a

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sponge, towel, or mop. The boy chose the sponge and they cleaned up the mess together. When the mess was cleaned, she brought her son outside and allowed him to practice carrying the milk without spilling it. The lesson of the story being that we must not be afraid to make mistakes, that with each mistake comes an opportunity for a valuable lesson.

Sure, it’s all kind of cheesy and if you could read, verbatim, the language used you’d have cheese seeping out your ears (I know, it’s a lovely visual). But as I was busy the other morning wanting to ream Van’s neck for throwing ice all over the floor, I thought of this story.
And when he insisted on drinking from a water bottle in my car only to have half of it spill all over himself, I thought of it again.
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And when I needed to use the boys’ clean bath towel to soak up all the water they were spilling out of their bath, I thought of it again.
And when Hooper took my perfectly folded laundry and insisted on helping by picking it up and throwing it in his brother’s room (where it actually did need to go), I thought of it yet again.
And when Hooper started copying me in the yard by cleaning up Sarah’s turds (I had a bag over my hand, he did not), I thought of it again.
I can’t say that each and every one of these scenarios turned into a thoughtful lesson that ended with them practicing cleaning up dog shit, for example, but a lot of them did end with a shoulder shrug, a “thank you for helping”, or a good hand scrubbin’.
That’s because I’ve accepted that I can’t win them all. In fact, I don’t even want to win them all. I love the idea of a child being a child. I love watching my boys explore their world. I see their admiration for me every time they mimic my behavior.
So sometimes spilled milk is okay. Just so long as it’s not spilled breast milk, right?!
What kind of mom are you? Do you embrace messes or try your hardest to prevent them?

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A cut above his right eye, evidence of a new walker.
Over-sized birthday card for the newly one year old.
A shirt that’s much too small for an ever-growing boy.
Weights, in preparation for back surgery.
Sarah scratching her neck, a reminder to order flea medicine.
And shoes on the little one’s feet, because he adamantly insists.
What’s a snapshot of your life look like today?

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The Double Edge Sword

Motherhood: Making the double edge sword sharper than ever before. Motherhood is funny in that way, isn’t it? I feel like I’ve encountered scenario after scenario since becoming a mom where the conclusion is the same: I can’t win.
Take Breastfeeding, for example. I dedicated myself to a year and I bitched and moaned the majority of the 365 days and you know what happened on Van’s first birthday? I felt guilty for wanting to quit. All along I’ve anxiously awaited my freedom only to be on freedom’s doorstep with a trickle of tears running down my cheeks, mourning the loss of my baby and our bond. I feel far from the celebratory state I imagined I would be in and then that makes me sad too.
Oh you little weaning monster, you really are an emotional jerk, aren’t you? (side note: thank you for all the sweet comments on yesterday’s post. Your words mean more than you’ll ever know)
The other day at work we were using leeches on a patient’s wound. The purpose being that leeches suck blood and increase blood flow. I know, gross, but bear with me while I share my epiphany. One of the leeches wasn’t sucking and the shift prior decided to tape the leech to the wound. The pharmacist laughed when I told him this because he said taping the leech wouldn’t make it suck. I said, “sounds like breastfeeding”.
Toward the end of Hooper and I’s breastfeeding relationship, I wanted to tape him to my breast. He was growing less and less interested and it was becoming such a chore to feed him. Nowadays I want to tape him to his chair to eat, but that’s besides the point. My milk supply diminished because Hooper weaned himself, not because my body failed to produce. And that was my epiphany. I blamed my body for a long time, you see, when in actuality Hooper was getting exactly what he needed and wanted.
I had a moment of clarity today and decided I’m going to stop beating myself up over wanting to wean. It sucks that I have to make the conscious decision to throw myself a bone and pat myself on the back. I hate that it doesn’t come naturally; that I need a moment of clarity in order to feel proud instead of guilty. I’m making a commitment not to feel guilty because commitments don’t come naturally and neither does not feeling guilty. It’s that double edge sword thing. I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. But the truth is, I’m ready to quit.
Throwing myself a my-ta-tas-are-my-own-again party doesn’t have the same appeal as it did a few months ago. Nevertheless, I completed my goal of a year of breastfeeding (and then some) and I have a cranky waddler pulling at my clothing to congratulate me. But, as is with all things, this too shall pass. I feel back to my normal self today, just a few days afterI wrote yesterday’s dark and depressed post. Thank goodness.

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This photo is not my favorite, but it’s so reminiscent of life right now: Hooper standing, with his blanket, in his pull ups, surveying his brother’s every move… making sure he’s okay with whatever toy he’s playing with. Toys strewn about. A container of sunscreen on the floor, serving as evidence of the triple digit heat. A sofa cushion leaning up against the window, air drying after Hooper pissed on it (luckily we had an extra one in the garage). Van always on his 4-wheeler. And a lonely shoe, halfway down the hallway, endlessly searching for it’s partner.
What does a snapshot of your life look like today?
Side note: Many congrats to Ash for winning the Little Flourishes giveaway and to Noelle C. for winning the LookNook giveaway!

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Then & Now

I’d say it’s amazing how fast a year goes, but that’s so cliche. Instead, I will say that with my first-born, every day felt like a marathon. I felt like that newborn phase was going to last for the rest of my life. When I had my second,  my perspective was much better. I knew it’d be a hard year and then it’d get easier.
Before I had kids, I couldn’t think more than a week ahead. I lived life day by day and rarely planned for anything and had a hard time committing to something unless it was going to happen the next day.
The days are long but the years are short, or so they say.
One year ago today I was sitting in the very same room as I type right now, in a birthing tub. This picture is obviously poor quality but it tells a story. The beginning of the story, anyway. A paper bag with a plastic bag in case I got nauseous (I didn’t), the sliver of the elbow of my midwife watching over me just barely making it in the right part of the frame, the birthing supplies in a trash bag on top of the pin ball machine that sat there un-used and taunting me for weeks (I was two weeks late), and Willy looking halfway helpful and halfway helpless.
I say it only tells the beginning of the story because we don’t have photos of the EMT’s who eventually came and had to transfer me butt-booty-naked in an ambulance to the hospital. We had our birthing plan all mapped out and, ultimately, we had to go with plan B.
Life doesn’t always go the way you plan it, does it?
And within ten minutes of being at the hospital, with one nurse pumping up and down on my stomach as if my heart were in my abdomen and I was in full cardiac arrest (clarification: I was not in cardiac arrest) and with some doc I had never met pulling and twisting, Van was born. All nine and half pounds of him.
On the days I work, I pump in a lactation room on the postpartum unit. I watched the other day as a newborn was wheeled past me and as I sat down to pump milk for Van, I thought how crazy it is that that little glow worm will be crawling and communicating and socializing in, what feels like, a blink of an eye.
Right now, Van is napping. I breastfed him while he held on to his blanket, his latest obsession, and laid him down in his crib. He quickly rolled over, hugging his blanket to his chest and sticking his little bum high up into the air.
One year. Three hundred and sixty five days. Fifty two weeks.
The days are long but the years are short; It’s true.
You can read Van’s entire birth story here

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Eye On the Prize

I couldn’t wait for Hooper to crawl. We’d do little exercises to help him gain strength and put things in front of him to try to build his desire. Crawling is nothing but something to brag about for a first time mom. You have all the time in the world to dote on them and follow them around to make sure they aren’t getting into something they shouldn’t be. Go figure why first borns are typically the overachievers and pleasers.
With Van, I gave thanks for everyday he stayed put on his bottom. When he started to show desire, I’d put him on his back and hand him a toy. Crawling, for a second time mom, is a nuisance.
Here’s a recap of the past few days in the life of Van:
-He broke our full length mirror and cut his finger in the process. I bought a new one the same day (because, hello, a full length mirror can be life altering) and he almost broke it again the next day. The definition of an idiot, by the way, is someone who does the same thing more than once but expects a different outcome. And with that said, my chin has dropped down to my chest.
-He put a pebble of dog food in his mouth that I had to fish out and then he threw a fit about it (And let me just say, I’m glad Sarah isn’t old and crotchety yet because she’s gotten an excessive amount of abuse from this newly mobile creature).
-He got a hold of a glass jar of food and mimicked his brother who “accidentally” dropped one on the floor. Glass everywhere, again.
-He pulled the potted plant down on the floor and then tried to eat the dirt that spilled everywhere. This happened while I was washing the dishes, during which time I had relocated him four times away from the plants only to discover he was, in fact, more determined than me because somewhere between washing, drying, and putting away he used his new found super-speed to get there faster than me. Reminds me of this oldie but goodie post of when Hooper started getting into shit.
-He discovered the trashcan in the bathroom has a flip top and that he likes it and everything inside it.
I knew crawling would mean more work for me, hence my dedication to prolonging it. Boy does my back hurt. On the flip side, it is awfully cute to watch him scoot around. He’s adopted his own scoot, where his right leg stays tucked in (like in the butterfly position – see pic above) and he pushes with his left leg. He’s able to entertain himself for longer and he’s also napping longer now that he’s exerting more energy. Oh ya, and he’s pretty happy with himself too. So, as is with everything in motherhood, there’s good with the bad.

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Mama's Corner

Wearing: A vintage dress, these sandals, Dooney & Burke vintage purse.
Searching for acceptence. My postpartum body is foreign to me and I struggle on a daily basis to accept it for what it is. I remember Melissa saying it felt like someone put her body back together using an Ikea manual and I couldn’t agree with this analogy more.
Counting down the days. I know, from past experience, that I’ll miss it when I’m done but today I cannot wait to be done breastfeeding. I miss the freedom.
Listening to Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, while daydreaming about a roadtrip to Palm Springs in the relatively near future with this girl.
Waiting to win the lotto so I can buy this dress.
Smitten with this photography project. It’s the highlight of every Tuesday. Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

Tidbits of Motherhood

In this moment, can you ignore the fact my mouth was open (my mouth was always open) and that my hair looks like it was cut underneath a lopsided bowel and concentrate on all that is fantastic about this photo? Like the carpet. In particular the color. Burnt orange carpet? Yes, please. Wall to wall sliding glass windows? Yes, sir, I’d like some of those too. And that beautiful potted plant… What I wouldn’t do to pour some water on you. I won’t even mention the plaid tweed sofa cuz that would be too much.
The point of the photo is the baby in my arms. I always had a baby in my arms. Babies always facinated me. Becoming a mother was an easy transition and felt very natural. That’s not to say I haven’t learned things I didn’t anticapate learning, because I’ve learned a ton and none of it was anticipated. When I was a child pretending to care for a child, I knew nothing of what it actually entailed. Now I know a lot. Reality has a way of slapping the nasty truth in your face. So today I’m starting a little segment sharing tidbits I’ve learned as a mom. I’m encouraging everyone to share tidbits you too have learned as a mother in the comments below. If you are not a mother, feel free to share tidbits you’ve learned in watching others take on the role of motherhood. At the end of this little segment, I will compile your responses into a separate post: Tidbits of Motherhood: What You Had To Say. Here we go…
The five minutes of shut eye I get while lying on the table to have my eyebrows tweezed is my new version of a nap. I wish I were being sarcastic.
When I’m running errands by myself, I insist on turning the music up very loud. It matters not what’s playing, just that it’s load. The radio has blessed me with “My Sharona” twice and each time, I glanced upward to the mom gods and whispered “thank you”.
As much as I hate my role as the boss of the family, there is no two ways around it, I am the boss. Ho hum.
I no longer have my own car. This is not to say we don’t have two cars. We live in southern California. We practically have to have two cars. But, because of our members and their special munchkin seats, we are constantly swapping vehicles. I adjust the rear view mirror every time I get in the car and it never feels quite right.
We’ve adopted and named our own kind of parenting. It’s called humor parenting. And it works by conjuring up ridiculous ways to assign motherly and fatherly tasks. Like if Hoop has a shitty diaper, we both put our hands up, side by side, and simultaneously ask for a high five. Whoever he high-fives first has to change his shit.
When Willy has to wait in the car while I finish getting ready, I no longer make excuses. I’m a mom. And therefore I’m entitled to try on as many different outfits on my new mom figure as I want.
Your turn.

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I’m Not the Boss

This post is old. If it had hair, it’d be gray. It’s been sitting in my draft folder while I fumbled around with the idea of posting it or keeping it for myself. I don’t care to air out Willy and I’s dirty laundry. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the feelings presented have more to do with motherhood than anything else. In any case, Willy and I have moved on from where we were when I wrote this. I’m sure many of you can relate and that is why I have decided to share this post with you. Here we go…
Both of my parents owned their own business. Because of this, I knew from a young age that I never wanted my own business. That’s because I never want to be boss. I like the idea of clocking in and clocking out and leaving work both figuratively and literally.
What I didn’t realize when I became a mom is that I also became a boss. Becoming a mom is by far my greatest accomplishment. I rarely talk about the downsides of motherhood because truth be told, there aren’t many.
Except that I have become the boss.
I loathe that role.
And it happened by default. I realized it following this conversation the other morning:
Me: “Maybe you could set an alarm to wake up before 10am to help me out on Saturday and Sunday mornings”.
Willy: “Why didn’t you wake me up?”
I’ll save you the details of the hissy fit that followed and say that I answered with, “Because I’m not your boss”. Somehow it’s become my duty as a mom to manage our lives. That’s the role of a boss after all, right?
And by boss I mean I’m the nagger, the organizer, and the sleep deprived over-worked worker. I’m the one that goes to bed at night still thinking about my business.
And by business I mean my household. I run over things that need to be done the next day and how to do them most efficiently. I multi-task, because you know, I’m a mother.
I love my role as mom. I hate my role as boss. Yet it’s my role as mom that gave birth to my role as boss.
I’m sure I’m not the first mom to feel this way. My gut tells me this is all too common. So I turn to ya’ll. I want to hear your thoughts. And advice.


A Penny for Your Thoughts…










I love to blog. Partly because I love to write. Partly because I love to photograph. Partly because I love the idea of documenting Hooper and Van’s lives from the beginning. And partly because I love the community and support it brings. It’s because of the latter that I share what I’m about to share with you. I’m encouraging as much conversation and comments with this post as possible, for the sake of a dear friend. This friend has allowed me to share a personal struggle of hers: to join the journey of motherhood, or not.
For me, the decision to have children was very innate. I carried dolls around with me through my entire childhood and enjoyed playing house more than anything else. I never imagined my life without children. But I think it’s unfair to assume that everyone who enters motherhood does so without question if it was the right path for them. Anyway, here is what my friend had to say. Please comment below with your personal journey, advice, or opinion.
You asked why I’m afraid to have kids. Um, hello, why would I NOT be afraid to have kids? First of all, there’s Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and a number of other potential catastrophes to consider. Plus, would the world even be nice for my kid in a decade or so? Pollution, global warming, wars, financial collapse… need I go on? Even aside from those global issues, there are issues with me (I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true). There’s the fact that I’m pretty impatient. And I don’t have the best stress-tolerance. And I like to be selfish with my time. And I have a tendency to be resentful when I can’t be selfish with my time. And I’m a control freak who feels lost without organization. I’m pretty sure children make life pretty disorganized. 
What if my kid is an asshole? All kids these days seem like ungrateful heathens with ADHD. And they’re sexting like mad! What about the time I want to spend with my husband? You know, sharing a bottle of wine, having spontaneous sex, trying new recipes, visiting fancy restaurants, going to middle-of-the-week baseball games. I’m possessive of that time with him. And I’m possessive of my time with wine. And beer. What if I hate my post-baby body? What if looking in the mirror makes me cry? What if sex never feels the same again? 

Truthfully, I’m really fulfilled by pets. Can’t I just get some dogs? All they need is a walk and some food, which is totally manageable. Kids can talk, which makes their potential for annoyance way higher. Kids have tantrums! My kids are going to want to eat Kraft mac-and-cheese and hot dogs. I’m not down with that. A son could grow up to be like many lazy men I’ve dated who are perpetually broke and dependent on their parents for money, well into their thirties, when their hair has started receding. A daughter could grow up dressing like a ho at 12 and calling me a bitch on a regular basis. Ew, and I’m going to have to help with homework. Once I finished school, I swore I’d never do homework again. I have nightmares of being back in school and having a report due. Seriously. Nightmares. 

What about gene pools? I have some crazy relatives. And I’m a little crazy myself, evidently. I don’t really like other people’s children. I’m not that social, and you have to be with kids so they have activities and friends and whatever. Ugh, I hate that word — “activities.” I would totally fall behind with my DVR. We all know how much I love TV. It would probably take me a freaking year to read a book. Forget having time to write or do yoga or catch up on celebrity gossip. And forget about having time with friends. Goodbye pedicures and weekend hikes and martini-fueled girl time. 

Don’t kids cost a lot of money? They break a bone, they need braces, they want to sign up for soccer, they want to go to an ivy league college (my children are going to be brilliant, even if they are assholes). I prefer my life to be without financial concerns and pressures. I like knowing that I could lose my job and it would be just me who is affected. I’m not responsible for, you know, OTHER LIVES. Plus, financial stress means marital stress. I would definitely fight with my husband more if we had kids. How could I not? There is way more at stake. And he’d be in support of Kraft mac-and-cheese and hot dogs. I can see that being a huge argument.

I don’t do well without sufficient sleep. Period.

And, lastly, there are so many non-kid-friendly adventures to be had. Adventures in the wilderness. Adventures in countries where English isn’t spoken and food is of mysterious origin. Adventures that cost money, money that others would place in college funds.

The crux of it is that the pros of having a kid seem very vague to me. Yes, it sounds amazing to create a life with someone you love, but what if my worst fears as expressed in the previous paragraphs become realities? Then is it really that amazing? Maybe having a kid would help me get out of myself, let go a little bit, experience love in a whole new way, create a stronger sense of family. These things all seem very abstract though. I’m not good with abstract. 

Am I alone with all these worries? Do I need to up my dose of anti-anxiety meds? Help!

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Moments in Motherhood.

The other day I was watching Hooper play with my mom. He was running in circles and giggling. I asked my mom, “What was I like at this age?”. Of course she had a general answer that summed up my personality for much of childhood, but the rest of her answer is what resonated. She said, “Honestly, I don’t remember. I know you look at him now and think you’ll never forget these moments, but you do”. I felt my heart sink into my abdominal cavity. Then I felt a strong urge to grab a video camera and begin recording, only to never stop and have the final result be one long video of my little love’s life. And then I realized that wasn’t practical for many reasons. Then reality set in. Being a mother is about appreciating moments in time, being part of moments in time, and laughing, loving, and cherishing all that is precious in those moments. Because the moments pass. And new moments take their place. And time keeps moving onward.
I look at Hooper’s little face today and try my best to fool myself into believing that I will never forget those cheeks, that grin, or the sound of that giggle. But, alas, the cheeks will change, the grin will grow, and the giggle will deepen and surely life will still be beautiful.

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