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Category: Motherhood

I need more time.

I need more time.

It is a rare moment when I am able to see all three of my kids together in one place. Interacting. Laughing. Being siblings. Enjoying each other. I stood back and watched them as they teased, laughed and were just being who they are. My mind raced back to the early days when I never thought the day would come when all three of them would be able to not only get along but enjoy being with each other by their own choice. I used to worry that the age difference between the boys and my daughter would keep her from being a part of the sibling gang of fun. (She can certainly hold her own with her brothers!) I thought the boys who spent the first half of their lives fighting would never get along and now they are best friends.

I watched through eyes that were suddenly blurry with tears I refused to shed. I am not ready for my oldest to be preparing for college.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast.  Please slow down.

As  I sat waiting for Brandon’s x-rays to be finished after his car wreck, I was scrolling through old pictures on my phone. They dated back several years. It felt like just a few months. I laughed at a picture taken in an unguarded moment of my boys laughing together at what I can only assume is something better left unknown to me. My heart warmed to see a picture of all of us at the Texas State Fair with Gabby proudly perched on top of Brandon’s shoulders grinning from ear to ear. I choked up at a picture of  Z trying to teach Gabby the keyboard. I laughed at a picture of Gabby and Brandon lying on the couch playing video games. I smiled at this year’s first day of school pictures.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

I’ve come across so many toys, pictures, artwork and memories as I attempt the massive project of completely decluttering the house. (It’s a 10 year plan.) I’ve found massive amounts of Hot Wheels. I never thought the day would come when I wouldn’t be dodging Hot Wheels littering my floor trying not to slip and fall by stepping on one. Now they lie in a toy box or in a drawer unused, dusty, and forgotten. The boys have moved onward and upward to images and dreams of real sports cars and desires for their own car to drive. I clutched one to my chest and felt a longing for the days when I’d heard the boyish sounds of vrrooooom vrooooom CRASH! coming from the other room. Now the stakes are higher and when there is a wreck it is real and people can get hurt.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

I packed away dolls and Barbies and Dora and Blue’s Clues and wondered exactly when all of those stopped being the most popular toys in Gab’s collection and favorite shows to watch. I wanted to know exactly. Why didn’t it happen in a moment worthy of a memory stamp in my  mind so I could hold onto it? I’m sure it was gradual but it seems like it happened overnight. Those things have been replaced with shows for tweens, music that is mainstream and drama that is supposed to be a part of my past not her future. When did the baby dolls get replaced with electronics? When did rocking her to sleep get replaced with her curling up in her bed with a book even adults enjoy?

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

Our house echos with laughter when we are together. If we are all home, you better believe it is loud. We laugh. We scream across the house at each other. We play. We chase. We tease. We support. We spent a lot of our time laughing- with each other and sometimes in fun at each other- but we are always having fun. When tensions are high for one reason or another, we hug it out or laugh it out. I can always, always count on my kids to make me laugh. Through the hard times. Through the scary times. Through the good times. Through the awkward times. I sometimes forget not every family laughs with and at each other as much as we do. And,  yes, there are times when the way we interact with each other may seem strange to others but it works for us. We thrive in it! Every single burst of laughter we share together fills our home with memories that will echo forever. I so want the laughter to stay just as it is. Not one voice left out or moved on.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

I always promised I wouldn’t be the mom who can’t let go. Well, I now amend that to mean I promise I won’t be the mom who won’t let her children grow and move on. I can promise you now I will never let go. I will just let them become the young people they are destined to become. The thing is? It is happening too quickly for this mom. I’m so proud of them. I know they are good people and will be amazing out on their own when the times comes. I just wish there was more time here at home with all 5 of us before things change.

Please slow down time. Let it last longer. I’m not ready for them to grow up so fast. Please slow down.

 

Moms of teens don’t blog. Oh wait! Yes, we do! So why are we so under represented everywhere?

Moms of teens don’t blog. Oh wait! Yes, we do! So why are we so under represented everywhere?

I have a ten year old. By definition now, she is considered a tween. In addition to her I also have two teenage boys. A senior in high school and a sophomore in high school. Teenagers. Teens. Those who are not babies and not yet adult people. They are those who still live at home.

So where are the websites, resources, and “expert blog sites” for me? Does parenting end at 8 or 9? I proposed this question to someone who was touting their new blog farm as “The Go To Site For Parents of babies, toddlers and beyond!”  But I am guessing “and beyond” means up to 8. (Surprisingly, I got no response when I asked about their huge missing demographic of teens.)

In 2005 I spoke on the first mommyblogger panel at BlogHer. My kids were 10, 8 and 3. Today’s dream demographic for blogs and marketers! There are websites, blogs, magazines etc all dedicated to those ages. But guess what happened. Go on. Guess.

Did you guess they grew up? Bingo. Those kids are now the teens and tween. You see, these adorable babies and toddlers and young grade school kids grow up. And you want want to know what there is out there for the parents of these now older kids.

Not a damn thing. Squat. Nada.

Busymom wrote about it.

Cursingmom wrote about it.

JoanneGlenniaBeth,  Deb, and I sat and talked for hours at BlogHer’11 about how under represented parents of teens are online. How much marketers, magazine blogs and the latest in “blog farms” are missing out by ignoring such a huge demographic. (Trust me when I say I spend a helluva lot more on my tweens and teens than I ever did on the kid toys. WAY more!)

With one post on Busymom’s site commenters (parents of tweens and teens) agreed how sad it is to have such little representation out there.  I am talking about well known, long time bloggers like LizMelisa, Headless Mom, MelissaShannon, Cheryl,  Robyn, Babybloomr…those are just a few moms who piped up in agreement.

A big “argument” about why there are not many sites about teens is because our children no longer want us to write about them.(Your precious little one probably doesn’t you to be writing about them either, but that is a totally different topic.)  I am not talking about writing about their lives like we did when they were children without a voice to tell us to stop. I am talking about resources, advice, support.  When  newborn cries, there are usually only a handful of things that can be wrong. (I know there are exceptions.) With a teenager? Oh for the love of all things moody, hormonal and life changing there could be a million things. But even if it isn’t “What’s wrong?” there are things that we– as parents of teens– would love to have support with.

  • School.
  • Driving.
  • Health.
  • Dating.
  • Parties/gifts.
  • Changing relationships.
  • Jobs.
  • Cars.
  • College.
  • Etc, etc.

Unless you have a support system, you are on your own figuring it out.

I have also heard that marketers are trying to directly hit the teen market rather than go through parents. I call bullshit on that one. Where do they think these teens and tweens are going to get the money? It’s called the bank of Mom and Dad. To try to bypass us is ridiculous. And very, very short sighted. It doesn’t help when a company who is trying to reach out to parents of teens use parents whose children haven’t even hit the double digits as spokespeople. Isn’t that kind of like asking a man to tell  you what labor feels like?

I actually got an email from a PR rep that first mentioned that “even though your kids are still very young….” (tuned out right there) blah blah blah “and I have found there are so few bloggers with teens these days.” The hell? What Internet have you been on. I can give you a list of over 70 and still not have a complete list.

Those little kids on the adorable mommyblogs are going to become tweens and teens. Those adorable little Pampers wearing cherubs will become moody little strangers. Then what?  To quote cursingmama, “The Internet is no place for parents of teens.”

What do you think? Do you want your voice heard? Do you want more resources? Do we storm the gates trying to get the current market to listen or do we do it ourselves?  Just as we had to fight the whole “mommy bloggers aren’t worth our time” situation almost 8 years ago. (Now? They are are holy grail of bloggers. And yes, I am going to say that those who now have tweens and teens did help pave the way to that reality.) Is this our new stand? I’d love to hear from you! Share your blog. Share what you want to see. What do you think about the representation of tweens & teens– or under representation?

If they aren’t able to meet our needs,  do we do it ourselves and pave the way for the Pampers generation to come? Again?

The summer before it all changes…Or how do I officially have a high school senior planning for college?!

The summer before it all changes…Or how do I officially have a high school senior planning for college?!

Ahhh, my sweet, beloved (and neglected) blog readers. You’re still here. I love you to the moon and back for checking in on me here in this tiny, dusty corner of the Interwebs.  Summer break has finally begun. (Why, yes, that IS the Hallelujah Chorus you hear!) I am one of those rare breed of moms who loves summer break with her kids. I adore having them around. Truth be told, they make me laugh so much! We have a good time.

So, I officially have a high school senior, a high school sophomore and a fifth grader.  “So what?” you ask. (First, that is rude. Don’t be rude.) A  s-e-n-i-o-r in HIGH school. High freakin’ school. As in, I am planning for college. For someone I gave birth to. How is that even possible?? First of all, I am too young. Second of all, he is too young. Third of all, COLLEGE? We get to go on college visitations. We get to discuss majors. We talk about the real question of “What do you want to be when  you grow up?” conversations. Wha-huh?

When I started my first online journal I had two kids. I now have three. When I started this baby– Mommy Needs Coffee– I had three kids ages 2, 7 and 9. My babies. Now? I have one talking about college. How did that happen so fast? Trust me, mommybloggers– those of you who think these days of diapers, toddlers, playdates and tiny people will never end– it comes up on you so fast you won’t know what happened. You’ll blink and before you know it, you’ll be planning for college, scheduling SATs, getting driving tests taken and watching those little babies drive off towards their very own lives.

And you will be proud. And sad. And happy. And overwhelmed. And excited. And scared. And it will be one of the most amazing times in your life.

Or? You’ll live in denial. That works, too.

It’s alive! (Or how my blog went down for a week and all I could do was stare at an empty screen and weep when I had that perfect post in mind)

It’s alive! (Or how my blog went down for a week and all I could do was stare at an empty screen and weep when I had that perfect post in mind)

I did not scrap my blog.  I did not die. I did not decide that blogging was so 2003 and go all new social media on you. Nope. I just had a blog sitting there on a broken server and there was nothing I could do about it.  I have SO much going on that I can’t wait to share with you. But, I am WUI. (Writing Under the Influence) Granted, the influence is cold medicine but nevertheless, I try to avoid those posts. Stay tuned while I tell you about:

  • a new blog
  • my writing life updates
  • a big break-through for me
  • in defense of the slacker mom
  • how I glued my fingers together and am still able to type this but can’t feel myself type it
  • and more!

I just wanted to check in and say howdy!  And rejoice that my blog is working again! Now…to update & upgrade her to make her all shiny and new looking.  Got ideas? I’d love to hear them! Also, anyone know any great designers who are just sitting around bored and want to take on a new design? Hook a mutha up!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Gabs with her newly pierced ears
Gabs with her newly pierced ears

Then the day comes when she is old enough to ask to get her ears pierced and you are filled with pride as she is growing up to be such an amazing little lady but your own heart pierces just a little because…wow, she is growing up so fast.

It doesn’t take Oprah to find your authentic self

It doesn’t take Oprah to find your authentic self

Have you ever seen one of those “entertainment shows” (term used rather loosely) that take a self-assured, confident, smart, beautiful woman with inner strength who has life by the….horns and watch these shows put this woman (or women) into a suit/costume that is the exact opposite of who they are?  You know, where it is a great sociological experiment to put the skinny model in a fat suit or the brilliant Harvard MBA  with a high powered career and dress her like a “frumpy housewife” all in the name of “learning how the other half live” for a while?  (I’m looking at you Tyra Banks.  You, too, 20/20.)  Some of these shows- when done to sensationalize how horrible it is to be “the other half”–  make me want to smack the ratings grubbing producer and send them into the Brazilian Rain forest without a survival guide.  Just for the sociological experiment of course.  But that really isn’t the entire point of this.  Sometimes- those rare sometimes– it turns out that it isn’t just poor little pretty Britney crying that “OMG, I am so fat! Make it stop!”  Sometimes they actually do something that surprises not just the women who are doing this experiment but the people around them.

At first, these women are the same.  It doesn’t matter what is on the outside, they are confident and know what is on the inside.  They are fully tapped into their authentic selves.  And?  They are confident nothing and no one can shake that.  But after a day, two days, three days, a month…they begin to react not as the woman inside the “costume” but as the woman the rest of the world sees.

The beautiful, skinny model no longer gets the adoring looks and attention she has always known.  It causes her to react to the way she is treated- to what people assume she is when they don’t look further.  She begins to hold her head down when she is walking, not quite looking anyone in the eye.  She is no longer the first to speak up, if she speaks up at all.  She hears the rude comments and begins to cry and is truly hurt deep down inside.  With her self-esteem at an all time low for her, she feels beaten down and broken.

Or take the brilliant Harvard MBA executive who becomes the old stereo typical stay at home mom who spends her days with her kids or running errands or volunteering somewhere.  She begins to be treated as someone who can barely manage a grocery list.  Her “mom jeans” and sweater sets are frowned upon and she is rarely taken seriously unless she is talking about household affairs, PTA or Johnny’s latest accomplishment- and then rarely is she truly taken seriously.  Surely this frumpy mom couldn’t know anything about the stock market, foreign affairs or politics.  I mean, just look at the way she dresses!  She doesn’t even wear makeup everyday.  She must be “just a mom” and therefore not worthy of the intelligent conversations offered up at business dinners or get-togethers.  She belongs on the playground with the “other mommies” and before you know it, she begins to act less self-assured.  She buys into the lie that maybe she isn’t as smart as she thinks she is.  Maybe it is a man’s world and she does belong just on the playground.  Her authentic self may be able to command a board room and handle multi-million dollar accounts but when she is treated as less than, she begins to feel less than. She begins to believe that she IS less than.

What happened to these women?

I suppose as a society we are quick to judge what we see and what “truth” we have been told.  Take the woman above.  A stay at home mom is the “truth” that is told.  Her dress is not the most fashionable.  She doesn’t look high-powered but perhaps a bit overly tired.  Is that who she really is?  Is that her authentic self?

Well, yes and no.  It is who she feels she is after repeatedly- I mean time and time and time again– being treated in a way that isn’t true to her authentic self.  When it comes to the collision of perceived reality and personal reality, sometimes perceived reality wins even for the woman inside the suit who knows better.  She knows who she really is.  Yet, her heart is broken by the reactions and actions of others based on  the way they perceive her to be because of the “truths” they are either told or choose to believe on their own.  However, her authentic self is not lost.

After a while, that authentic self fights back.  From deep inside the suit, the pain and the reality she has been living– which is not reality at all– become too much for her authentic self to bear and her authentic self begins to emerge and beg to be let out of the suit, out of this experiment.  It hurts too much. You may first see it as a fierce look in her eyes.  It may come from a retort to a comment that went just a bit too far.  Or you may not see her authentic self come out until piece by piece the suit is removed and she has a chance to stretch both her body and her mind, refresh her emotions and feel once again at peace with herself– her real self.

I think that is true of all of us.

At one time or another we step out of our comfort zone and try new things.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s in the trying that matters.  Over a year ago I put on a new suit that I truly wanted.  It fit like a second skin and I was happy.  But bit by bit, piece by piece layers were added to that suit.  Some by me and some by others.  The more that was put onto that suit the heavier it became.  The harder it was to wear and still be my authentic self.  There were times the “real me” would scream so loudly to get out but by then the suit was so think, so heavy and attached so strongly, I couldn’t break free.  In the Spring I knew it cost me too much personally to continue wearing it.  I tried to brutally claw it off to get back to the real me. But let me tell you something.  The process of ripping, tearing and clawing at something that is attached to you like a skin just scars you more.  You have to go through a process to take it off.  Though I was succeeding, I had a long way to go.  I made mistakes.  I hurt myself, my family and some friends.  To those I could offer an olive branch, I did.  Some accepting it and everything was put in the past to move forward.  To others, the olive branch was thrown down and walked away from.  There is and was nothing I could do about other people and how they react and choose to respond.  I was working on getting myself back and didn’t have the energy to argue, fight or try to make my side heard.  It became counterproductive to what I needed to do and who I truly am.

The beginning of summer I learned about finding the authentic me. I spent a week with people I love who love me.  Not only do they support me but they love me in spite of me.  During that week, the suit started to melt away in a beautiful and pain-free way.  I learned that the ones who love me not only accept me as I am but they expect me to be who I truly am.  It was a wonderful time of letting go, healing and getting to know myself again.

But that wasn’t the end.  It just doesn’t happen that easily.

In July my family went through a crisis.  I think all of us at one time or another (at least once) go through something that so thoroughly, completely and irrevocably changes you.  Sometimes it is a wonderful event. Sometimes it is traumatic.  But there is a moment, a time in life that you can exactly pinpoint, where everything changes.  It doesn’t matter if it is something everyone can see or just those close to you or even something only you know happens.  The point is, nothing will ever be the same after that moment.  Ever. Things that seemed so painful lose their sting.  Things that seemed so important become trivial.  Things you thought you would struggle with for a long time to get past are suddenly no longer roadblocks in your mind or heart.  You move on.  You have to.  You are not that person anymore.

I would never wish the events of my summer on anyone.  At all.  But I am forever grateful that I was able to be where I was needed, go through I needed to go through and come out on the other side the person I am now.   Through crisis I mended fences that should never have been put up in the first place and found an amazing friend on the other side. A gift that I wanted, needed and came to accept through a crisis situation.   I grew closer to people I love and have a tighter bond with them that nothing in this world can ever loosen.  I found strength in myself  I honestly didn’t know I had.  I found peace in a way I have never known. I learned lessons about life that will forever be with me and keep me strong when I feel broken.

That suit?  It completely melted away.

I thought I would find “the old me” underneath waiting to emerge.  That didn’t happen.  I found a new version– a better version– of the authentic me that I never knew I had the capacity to become.  I never want to be the “old me” before my suit wearing days.  Ever.  A part of her is still with me but what I found when the real me emerged is so phenomenal and strong and at peace that I gladly put the old me in the past and embrace who I have become.

What about you?  Are you struggling with a “suit” that doesn’t quite fit anymore?  Do you need someone to stand beside you and say, “I believe in YOU and I will be here for you if it hurts to find the real you!”?  Let me know.  I’ll stand in that gap with you.  I’ll hold you hand or your heart and be someone you can know cares.  Or have you recently been through something that has brought you to a point where your own “suit” melted away only to find a wonderful new authentic you?  Share it with us.  Those stories always help us feel connected.  Your story, declaration or simple “I’ll stand by you, too” can make a huge difference to someone who may need to hear it….even if you never even know it.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”