I’d bet you a million dollars that if you ask happily married couples in their seventies or eighties to describe the easiest phase of their marriage, that none of them would wax poetic about the time when their kids were in diapers. At least this is what I tell myself on a regular basis as a mom with a toddler and a newborn. Marriage is hard. It’s a commitment to be present with another human every single day for your whole life. It’s not always pretty. It’s much more of a spiritual commitment than the promise of a lifetime of romantic dates. My husband and I have a saying about parenthood that we keep coming back to. It’s a time when we love today, miss yesterday, and look forward to tomorrow. Our two-year old is adorable (sometimes) but we miss the days when we could just go out to lunch, grab a drink after work, or even just leave the house in silence. And we are excited for when our kids are a little more grown up and independent, and don’t require constant attention and supervision. Even a play date for an hour would be a nice change of pace. When kids are screaming and I’m beyond sleep deprived, it’s easy to forget why I married my husband. Luckily, it’s also easy to remember too. Sometimes all it takes is a moment of holding hands on the couch or a quick cuddle. Other times, it might take a proper date or doing something we both love together, like hiking or biking or traveling. And I have moments where I wonder whether it would be easier if I were single. More independence, fewer responsibilities. I’m sometimes […]
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There’s nothing like a school or daycare potluck to bring on a burst of competitive parenting. Personally, I dread the cheerful closing, “Bring a dish to share!” because I instantly start to think about how everyone in the room is going to judge my lack of Martha Stewart skills. I’m useless at baking, and barely have the time to make a grilled cheese for dinner, let alone a layer cake or ginger scone for a party. That starts at 4:30pm. On a school night. When it’s friends only, they know my schedule, my quirks, and still like and appreciate me. And I feel the same way about them. I once had a potluck for a bunch of working moms, and we had seven containers of hummus and one dish of paleo-friendly chocolate truffles. Everyone had a good laugh, and ate a lot of hummus. But when it’s other parents, it can trigger all sorts of insecurities. It’s easy to start comparing my potluck choices to other parents’ potluck choices, which is really just a proxy for comparing life choices and values. Good mothers bake cookies from scratch. How can they expect me to cook something when I’ve just returned from a 3-day business trip? I can’t let anyone know that I make my kids scrambled eggs for dinner three nights a week. Maybe I should take a day off from work so I can bake something spectacular. My family recipes include hot dog casserole and shake and bake chicken – I can’t let anyone know! We all make different choices in life about our careers, our time, our family life, and how we make our kids feel loved and valued. This results in a unique […]
I thought I knew a lot about Having it All and Leaning In. I’m pretty much the poster child for Leaning In. Really, Sheryl Sandberg would be proud. I’ve never been afraid to be ambitious. I’ve managed my career well, shamelessly pursued leadership roles, and systematically rejected every gender stereotype imaginable. I didn’t “lean back” until my water broke, and even then, I took a few minutes to wrap up a call and turn on my out-of-office. I picked an amazing partner who is a true partner in all ways, and is 110% supportive of my career. And then, in the same two-week period, I found out that I was pregnant with my second child, was named a finalist for a prestigious national fellowship opportunity, and learned of some complications with the pregnancy. Oh, and I did I mention this was also the week of the Marathon bombings in Boston (where I live)? Then I kicked off six weeks of weekly travel for work that aligned perfectly with the start of morning sickness and first trimester pregnancy fatigue. Talk about a firestorm of life choices and crossroads and priority setting. In January, when I applied for the fellowship, I knew that it would push my ideal timeline up a little bit, but I didn’t think I’d make it past the first round because it was so competitive. Now I was in the top 2% of nearly 3,000 applicants, and about to participate in an intense interview weekend. If I were to be named a fellow, I would need to leave my job July 1st to pursue The Enliven Project full-time yet still need to raise nearly 2/3 of my salary by the end of the year […]
There are so many things are NOT covered in What to Expect When You Are Expecting, and new parents are left to their own devices to figure out. Like how to go on vacation. Before kids, my husband and I would decide whether we wanted an “adventure” vacation (camping in Alaska, driving the Pacific Coast Highway) or a chill vacation (sunset sails in Cabo, lying on the beach in Aruba). We looked forward to driving around and seeing the sights, trying new restaurants, and enjoying a place we had never visited before. We just returned from a week an a half on the west coast with our 13-month old. Boy, do we need a vacation after that adventure! I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything – he started saying hiyee to people, learned the word “gorilla,” and splashed in the ocean for the first time. But I do wish I had known a few things in advance. Lucky for you, I jotted them down so I can pass along the wisdom to y’all: It’s about breakfast, not dinner. First of all, everyone is in a good mood when they first wake up – even if it’s at an ungodly hour. Second, there is ALWAYS caffeine at breakfast, and most babies like some sort of breakfast food – who doesn’t? And you are kidding yourself if you think you are going to check out the trendy restaurants about town unless your kid likes to sleep through ambient noise in a stroller shoved in a corner near the kitchen. And please note, not every restaurant is baby friendly, so appreciate the ones that are! We went to one place that didn’t have high chairs. Holding your squirmy […]
Note: After giving birth, I learned about the power and ritual in sharing a birth story. Each birth story is the unique and perfect experience of how a child and a parent come together for the first time. Families are created and expanded in so many ways, and this is just my story. You were due on August 18th, and August 18th came and went. I was getting pretty uncomfortable towards the end of the pregnancy, mostly because I was unbearably itchy all over my entire body. Nothing that I tried would relieve the itch – benadryl, lotion, oatmeal baths – nothing. The only thing that seemed to help was ice. Sometimes, I would wake up at 6am and plunge my feet in ice water to get just a moment of relief! Marc and I tried all the tricks in the book to get labor going. We took a 1.5 hour walk around the neighborhood. We played indoor, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. I ate a lot of spicy food – at almost every meal – which was a big deal because I had crazy heartburn! I ate black licorice, pineapple, and anything else I read about on the internet that I thought might start labor. On Monday, August 22, we went to see Leila Forman, our amazing midwife at Mount Auburn, and she decided she would sweep my membranes to see if we could get labor going. She also suggested I take Blue Cohosh, a homeopathic herb that induces labor. I went home that day and had irregular, but not painful, contractions for the rest of the day and through the night. On Tuesday, August 23, I woke up (after a fitful night of sleep) and was […]
Well, first off, let’s be real here. I’m only 9-months into this whole motherhood thing, so these may be lessons I’ll unlearn and relearn a few times. That being said, a few noteworthy insights from my first foray into mommy land.