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2ManyOpenTabs

The hectic life as a mom, wife, daughter, + writer equates a continuous and simultaneous running of all cylinders.

Rejoice! Those Target trips just got easier…

As a mom of three, I’m on a continual quest to simplify my life, making a concerted effort to make each day easier than the one before it. And with three kids ages 7 years old and under, that isn’t necessarily an easy feat. This undertaking includes constantly seeking out— and researching— products that can actually deliver, which unfortunately eliminates 95% of most products, rendering them completely useless (Pee Pee Teepees, anyone?) However, when you do happen to stumble upon a product that combines both functionality and practicality, it is definitely cause for celebration. And when this occurs, my initial impressions can typically be split into two distinct reactions, and often in this order: 1. THANK GOD someone thought to make this! What a lifesaver! And 2. Why didn’t I think of that?!? 

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The latter was precisely the response I had when stumbling upon Co-founder Lindsey Fleischhauer’s Totes Babies Car Seat Carrier. Genius! Pure and absolute genius that naturally was manifested out of true necessity from a mom, herself. After all, that is how the old saying goes, right? Necessity is the mother of invention? And, well, this mama was right on! The Totes Babies carrier is a lightweight 4-armed sling that straddles the width of the cart, essentially creating the perfect cradle for your car seat to fit into. Not only does this alleviate the unsafe practice of placing your teetering, bulky and ooh-so-heavy car seat precariously into the front part of the cart (which pediatricians have warned against doing for years), it also doesn’t take up the entire circumference of your cart, allowing for the actual use of the cart itself. And the best part is that it’s certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Brilliant, right?!? When you’re done, simply roll it up and stow in your car for the next trip! It takes up almost no room at all and can fit nearly every type of cart imaginable. So shop on, parents!

It’s truly one of the best inventions in baby products as of late

I love to patronize other small businesses, and it’s especially satisfying when buying a product that’s created by another mom who just gets it. Motherhood already has its host of daily struggles that are just part and parcel with the job itself… Why not simplify things by helping to alleviate at least one of them? And, on top of it all, it’s not a giant corporation, nor a company that also makes spare tires and ballpoint pens… Totes Babies is a company founded on the premise that shopping with your child (although unpleasant as it can be sometimes), is a necessary evil, so why not reinvent the wheel and figure out a way to make it slightly less painful (like not waking your child up while trying to fit them into the cart). 

So, to all moms out there who experience the struggle of how to safely and effectively complete their necessary Target shopping while allowing their children to also sleep, look no further. It’s truly one of the best inventions in baby products as of late, and I couldn’t be happier to shout it from the rooftops. The only downside? You’ll be kicking yourself for you’re not having invented it sooner :). 

*As a promo to my readers, you can enter code: ‘FRIENDS10′ for 10% off PLUS Free Shipping! They’ll keep the code active until Dec. 4th! 😊 Happy shopping!

To learn more about Totes Babies, or to follow them on social: www.totesbabies.com/ FB: totesbabies.com/ Twitter & Instagram: @totesbabies. 

A Space To Call Her Own

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To say I’d planned my hypothetical girl nursery in advance would be a most grave understatement; I’ve had a dedicated Pinterest board to the like for the past 8 years now— even well before the conception of my firstborn. I’d conjured up images of dainty yellow wall hangings and blush pink mobiles, the perfect one-of-a-kind antiques and delicious-as-icing lacy throw pillows. Endless bows would fill her baskets and my penchant for delicate florals would provide a subtle theme throughout. A bit serene with a splash of rustic-meets-whimsical is the best way to describe the design I’d daydreamed in my head.

” It needed a facelift and a little love, and I knew I could provide it with both. “

Needless to say, I’d put those pink plans on hold for a while and had the fun opportunity of designing two little dudes’ rooms within that time span. Yet, upon learning our last little one happened to go against the curve and sport an extra ‘X’ chromosome, I’d once again, returned to the drawing board, hormones raging and with a fun fury of nesting instincts, to design the perfect nursery for our little miss. 

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I’ve always loved finding the diamond-in-the-rough perfect heirloom piece that possesses just the right amount of ornamentation, yet with a modern flair. To me, there’s something so dreamy about antiques, like that of a storybook; they conjure up imaginary tales of times gone by. The wood grain details uneven grooves and beautiful weathering which exudes a charm simply not found with a new piece of furniture. 

After much searching, I’d sourced the perfect dresser as the first piece chosen for the nursery, knowing it would act as the focal point for the room’s overall feel. It’s a gorgeous Edwardian piece dating back to the early 1900’s. A matching mirror complete with the sweetest subtle bow detailing, completes the look. But don’t get me wrong— the piece needed some work— yet, I didn’t let the thick black shiny lacquer deter me; I was able to look past the harsh exterior and knew that a beautiful blush pink would provide the subtle backdrop to allow the piece to come to life once again. It needed a facelift and a little love, and I knew I could provide it with both. The precious gold bow hardware from Crate and Kids was the ideal addition to the newly transformed piece.  

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Next up on the roster was what to do with the walls. Anyone who knows me, knows my love affair with grey— and all shades of it. I loved the way Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter looks in the rest of our house, so I knew it would be the ideal neutral canvas for a dreamy baby’s room. However, I wanted to add a rustic element that would be a calming and serene fixture on one of the walls. I looked into wallpaper, but couldn’t find the right print. I thought of a mural, but couldn’t decide on a design. That’s when I quickly remembered Stikwood! I’d seen their products showcased on Facebook and follow their beautiful Instagram page, so I knew it would act as the perfect accent that I was searching for. It adds the simplicity and ease of peel n’ stick adhesive, with the natural and sustainable practices that come from reclaimed wood. It’s truly the perfect blend of innovative design and natural beauty that I wanted for the room. After speaking with their design expects, I decided on a chair rail design on the one wall that the crib would sit up against. I opted for the weathered grey (go figure!) and love every square inch of its irregular, rustic design. The planks give way to their own natural mural of sorts and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I can’t wait to use their products in other areas of the house as they’ve newly expanded to sliding barn doors and exposed wood shelving— (hmm, I see a kitchen project in my near future!) Check out their inspiring design ideas on Instagram, Facebook, or visit them online at www.stikwood.com. 

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I wanted to feature a few wall hangings over the wood chair railing that would breathe in a definitively feminine flair. I loved the idea of the subtle juxtaposition of pairing raw materials with beautiful lacy accents. So I choose to use several old ceiling rosettes of varying sizes, shapes, and designs and hung them in a variegated ‘scattered’ pattern across the wall. It was the perfect blend of old-meets-new, that I was looking for as an eye-catching element.

When we moved the boys into a shared room, I’d gone through both of their book shelves, divesting ourselves of those that we either no longer read, weren’t a big hit, or those that they’d simply outgrown and were now too old for. I’d moved over the latter pile and put them aside for baby sister’s collection, for which I’d continued to also add to over the course of the last several months (hello, Vera The Mouse and Angelina Ballerina!). However, now was the hard part of deciding on a unique way to display said books. It’s funny to me how we can get so accustomed to seeing our home, yet we’re hard-pressed to actually see the surroundings. Do you know what I mean? Sure, we’re familiar with our decor and belongings, but considering we’re in our homes day in-and- day-out, it’s often without an objective or discerning eye.

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This is precisely what happened one day while walking down our main hallway a couple of months ago. I’m not sure what on the wall actually caught my eye, but it drew me in to a set of coveted antique and intricately hand-carved wood frames that I’d purchased at a flea market years prior at Angle Island. I loved them immediately upon spotting them, knowing that wherever they ended up, they’d be perfect. Well, as a wall accent was where they’d been for the last several years, but once I looked at them again, I saw them in a whole new light, reimagining their perfect potential. I went to my local hardware store and purchased a few sets of ‘L’ brackets, wood glue, wood cut to specific specifications, and screws. From there, I started creating a ‘box’ at the back of the frames that would act as a ‘shelf’. Essentially, I’d created two bookshelf frames that tied in perfectly with her room’s blush color scheme. Don’t you just love when you realize the perfect design was right in front of you the entire time? 🙂

I’m a big believer in things happening for a specific reason, despite the fact that we rarely are aware of the reasoning at the time. Several months ago, I happened to be reading my emails, when I came across an article about an artist that created the most incredible paintings from your baby’s ultrasound image. I’d never seen anything like that before and could only imagine how special that would be to have such a commemorative piece of artwork from that celebratory time.

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Now, I don’t know about you, but each time we were given ultrasound images, it felt like it brought me a little closer to my little one, gaining a glimpse at the person growing inside of me. Being that she was so small when most of them were taken, it’s an incredible piece of technology to actually acquire images of them from inside. It still eludes me as to how this is actually possible, but thankfully it is, and now I’d just discovered someone who takes it one step further, and puts a beautiful breath of life into the still image onto canvas. 

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I knew mediately I had to contact her. Laura Steerman, of Quaint Baby Art, was literally as sweet to chat with as her designs are to look at. She’s incredibly talented with a true passion and expert eye for translating into art, the wonderment a parent feels when looking at their baby’s beloved ultrasound. I sent her several photos from which to choose, and I just loved the one she’d selected to paint. It shows our little baby girl, feet up in the air, and one hand gesturing what looks like a ‘hello!’. It makes me smile every time I see it— and I couldn’t be happier having it hang right above her crib for all to see when they enter the nursery. It’s a true keepsake; a treasured piece of personal art that’s reminiscent of such a special time in a parent’s life. You can check her out on FacebookInstagram, or on her website at www.QuaintBabyArt.com. 

I’d searched high and low at so many of my favorite shops in the Bay Area, but couldn’t quite find the right mobile that I had envisioned in my mind. I wanted it to be simple and delicate, yet unique with a modern aesthetic. A lofty goal I realize for a little ole’ mobile, but I knew it had to exist and was determined to continue looking for it until I found it. And for some reason or another, I find mobiles to be a really important component of a nursery —I still have both of the boys’ from their nurseries, safely tucked away in my box of keepsakes.  Hudson had a sweet hand-knitted Owl within a circular tree with varying strands of mushrooms by Blabla- it’s beyond cute! I can still remember the day my husband and I found it. This was well before owls were all the rage, and so finding anything with them on it— especially for a nursery— was no easy feat! With Hawk, I went in a completely different direction and opted for a cute rustic metal airplanes mobile from Restoration Hardware baby that I still adore to this day. 

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As I was certain it would, my steadfast dedication to finding the mobile I’d had musings of in my head for so many weeks, finally paid off, and lo and behold, during one of my many sleepless nights throughout this pregnancy when I’d been combing Etsy, I stumbled upon the perfect design for her room. A darling little shop located in Belarus (I admittingly had to do some googling for a quick geography lesson), which has the sweetest whimsical tale to boot, brought my design to fruition and had crafted exactly what I’d envisioned in my head. I’d reached out to Mary, the shop owner, and was delighted that she’d allow me to personalize the colors of the mobile to pick up those accent colors I’d so carefully selected for her room. Blush pink, goldish/mustard, and pure snow-white were the perfect pairing on an already perfect mobile. She was also kind enough to extend a promo code for all my followers who are interested in purchasing from her sweet little shop! Enter: KARSSON10 for 10% off at her Etsy shop. 

At night, I’ll often spend a few minutes in her room, just moving things about and looking around at all the beautiful fixtures that have come together so seemlessly. The joy it brings me envisioning her playing in there in the months and years to come, is indescribable. It’s a strange calm before the storm; a foreshadowing of laughter and cries, diaper changes and middle of the night feedings. It’s a room that’ll see it all, and one of which I am so proud to have hand-selected every element. I love the organic way in which everything seemed to naturally complement one another. The rustic feel of the wood acted as a beautiful backdrop for the delicate mobile that hangs in front of it. The whimsical wall rosettes accented the beloved Edwardian dresser as if to nod off in collective acceptance. The delicate florals add the quintessential feminine finish providing the figurative bow on top of the already beautiful package. ~

Nursery2*Nursery photos taken by ever-talented, Cristen Wright of Cristen Wright Photography. You can view a sampling of her incredible photos on her Facebook page, or contact her via email at: cristenwrightphotography@gmail.com. 

There are two kinds of people in this world when it comes to balloons…

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As a parent, it’s only natural to seek out the identifying behaviors of each of our children, comparing them from one sibling to the next in an effort to discover the individual patterns and diversities among them. Listen in on any Mommy and Me class anywhere in the country, and you’ll find parents reminiscing about how ‘Johnny slept through the night at 8 weeks, but Matthew still is having trouble making it through the night at a year and a half’. Or how ‘Katherine wouldn’t ever take a pacifier, yet Rachel won’t go anywhere without one.’ The art of comparing your children is a very normal way of recognizing their own innate personalities, which start very early on in life.

This fascinating and instinctual tendency is somewhat akin to that of our primal intrigue with watching television shows based on wild animals in their natural habitat. I often imagine the hushed narration from British Broadcaster, David Attenborough in the background, as he surveys the distinct behaviors of the children: ‘watch as Tommy stealthily moves about, frustrated at the inability to find all the balls in the yard, meanwhile Lucy appears perfectly content with just the one ball, keeping it close at bay.’

Since my children were young, I’ve found it captivating to watch them play alongside one another. Both boys who evolved from the same subset of genetic makeup, raised in the same household with precisely the exact same individuals as influencers, yet, despite the individual situation or scenario, each child will inevitability respond dramatically different. Hudson carefully evaluates situations prior to enacting his tactical approach, and would rather appear somehow apprehensive or standoffish as opposed to impulsive and without a definitive plan. Hawkins, on the other hand, is always eager to jump right in, acts first and thinks later, and often is seen as the risk-taker and thrill-seeker. 

There are truly two kinds of people in this world; those that pop balloons and the others that couldn’t stand the thought of it.

During a relatively routine afternoon of playing in the yard, my boys asked that I blow up balloons for them to play with. After handing them their balloons, I was especially blown away (no pun, intended) by how they choose to engage the balloons in play. Hudson immediately started drawing faces on each one, morphing them into diverse characters given their happy or menacing smiles. Hawkins, on the other hand, and with much dismay from his brother, decided to test their general durability, or lack thereof, seeing what objects and with what amount of force, would invariably result in the balloon popping. This first-hand glimpse into the kaleidoscope of human behaviors truly had me intrigued, leading to my conclusion that there are truly two kinds of people in this world; those that pop balloons and the others that couldn’t stand the thought of it. 

This otherwise mundane exercise seemed to represent a larger, more pervasive notion in anthropology showcasing individual’s desire to effect change, despite the unpleasantries of doing so. Hudson cringed at the idea of hearing the POP! sound and therefore didn’t choose to participate, whereas Hawkins looked beyond it to get to answering the internal question he set forth to answer: what does it take to pop the balloon? 

I know that as my children mature and learn more about the world around them, so too, will their ability to discern cause and effect and challenge their boundaries. My hope is that they both continue to challenge those notions, helping to be at the forefront of their own path to learning, with perhaps a few less deflated balloons in the process. 

Caps for Sale

Whether new or seasoned, all moms can agree on one thing; motherhood requires that you wear many hats, simultaneously. And while the majority of us are used to the demanding pressures of juggling multiple projects or carrying a caseload of clients concurrently in our professional lives, the multi-tasking that motherhood requires is an entirely different beast.

I too had the severely naive notion that due to my competence in keeping several plates spinning in the air at one time, somehow prepared me for — and dare I even say — overqualified me for, the task of raising children. Yikes! That, quite possibly, could be one of my more grave miscalculations thus far in life.  There’s no easing into this transition either. Nope, no CLIFF-NOTES for this bad boy. We’re sucked into (no pun, intended) the dizzying world of multi-tasking from the moment we meet our little buddies of joy, when breastfeeding becomes the first order of importance and doing so comes with a laundry list of how to’s; hold the baby’s head like this, lean into them that way, offer them the breast from this angle, make sure they’re latching on from this way…

The list just grows from then on out. Think about it, when was the last time you actually went to the bathroom alone and weren’t asked to get something or do something or find something or make someone else stop doing something? Probably before you had kids, right? It’s almost as if the moment you enter into a possible scenario that glimmers with the hope of 30 seconds of alone time and the fleeting possibility of actually accomplishing one simple task of your own, your toddler decides he must have his shoes on that minute. I mean, the act of peeing while putting on a toddler’s shoes actually requires a lot of talent! So much so, that it’s occurred to me to add it to my list of skill sets on my LinkedIn profile.

Or let’s take the mere undertaking of leaving the house. We don’t actually just leave the house. We prepare to leave the house by grabbing tissues for one kid’s runny nose, by reminding another child to grab his book bag (including, but not limited to, his library book which needs to returned to school for library day), by making sure everyone has on matching shoes, has gone to the bathroom, and that your dog hasn’t also now gotten into the car given the fact that someone has left the door wide open. And then somehow, by an absolute miracle, we collectively make it out of said house. It’s really a good thing that we’re designed to function relatively well doing 12 things at one time, or things would get really messy. And in honor of all the moms who play so many roles, I’ve compiled a short list of those jobs or traits we also embody while being a mom (watch our hats grow taller and taller).

HIGHLY FUNCTIONING HYPER-VIGILANCE. This ain’t your run-of-the-mill, average watchful eye. That’s amateur hour. This is a highly honed skill by which all moms perfect as our children grow. I can spot a choking hazard disguised as a 2mm bead in the corner of a room faster than most people can say ‘no’. Again, adding to LinkedIn.

HERDER OF SHEEP. This requires neither explanation nor further description. Let’s gooooooo!

ANNOUNCER. Except for the fact that no one is listening, and therefore you find the need to repeat yourself way too many times than you’d like to admit. Are you listening to me?

REFEREE. Akin to that of any major league professional sports ref minus the whole respect thing and the end verdict doesn’t actually matter because they haven’t stopped bickering long enough to hear you. This may only apply to mom’s of multiple children, however, somehow I think that kids are so adept at creating quarrels, that even an only child might figure out a way. Stop pulling your brother’s eyelids!

TEACHER. It’s not enough that children have exceptional teachers ready and willing to educate our children 5 days a week, but we too must remember how to figure out the square root of 965. Awesome.

LIFE-COACH. Gone are the days of children just figuring certain things out on their own. No, we as parents must instill in them, the knowledge of how everything in life works and operates. Trial by fire died in the 80’s, guys. This Q and A session, by the way, is typically initiated at bedtime just as my exhausted finger is poised over the light switch.

COOK. Short-order, line-chef, sous chef, gourmet and pastry chef all-in-one. And some days it’s just broccoli and grilled cheese.

It’s a lot of hats, some of which on certain days, I’d very much like to sell off and delegate to someone else. However, at the end of the (long) day, knowing that you are their absolute world and that without us, theirs simply wouldn’t be as happy, is enough to make it all worthwhile. And while the task of being everything for someone else can be daunting and exhausting, it’s because of this deep love and support we that exhibit, that signifies our unwavering support. We are their safe place, their rock, and we wear it all. We’re Moms.

The Fall of Anew

Fall is readily approaching, biding adieu to the long, hot-filled Summer days that already seem like but a distant dream. I can tell by the crisp, dry air that conceals the slight lingering of cool as it draws across your face like that of a hot pepper masking its intensity, an aftertaste catching you by surprise. The leaves, while still attached, have started to curl, showcasing their breathtakingly vibrant colors that light up in sun’s warm glow. Fall is almost here. The acorns have fallen, adorning the sidewalks with their fanciful magic — a parting gift to nature’s last hurrah.  The branches dance in an ever-present sway, a rhythmic rocking that lulls daylight to a close, ushering in the admittance of an early evening moon.

There’s something enchanting about the change of seasons akin to that of a magician who tricks the senses. It’s a change in what we’ve come to know, and the unspoken wonderment of what’s yet to come. The opportunity for anew; the mind and body raptured in a sweater crocheted of excitement. Our taste buds change as we look to appease our craving for the satisfying; the warm and indulgent. The intoxicating smell of a warmly lit fireplace lingers in my noise as it puffs out its sweet pillows of hickory incense into the air. I long for the cozy nights spent reading to my kids as I envelop them in an oversized blanket. We look to the metaphors to describe our state of mind as we forge into unchartered territory with a clean slate. Our desire for restored order and routine comes back into view, like that of an old friend passing through town.

Fall has always been, and will remain to be, my most coveted time of year. My body undergoes a change that fails to be translated into words, an indescribable feeling that buzzes throughout like the injection of caffeine. So with this, I move past to the dog days of Summer and welcome back a new season into view— and one which is welcomed with open arms.

A Guttural Instinct

I met my husband while on a girls trip to San Francisco alongside two of my best girlfriends. At the time, the three of us all lived in Chicago and two things topped our list of prerequisites: warm weather and good wine, making SF and wine country the perfect destination. After a dizzying and life-altering encounter, my now-husband and I became inseparable and our love grew almost immediately. After about eight months of dating long-distance which included routine trips back and forth to visit one another, the time came to make the move. While short on resources but so full of love, together we combined our paltry eclectic assortment of belongings, along with our newly acquired pup. What we lacked in size, we made up for by being starry-eyed in love in our shoe-box, albeit, charming and quaint Victorian apartment. And as meager as things were and as tight as our budget was, we would forever dream of one day, owning our own home in the Bay Area.

Fast forward nine years, 2 kids, and several jobs later, we’re finally living out our ultimate goal of homeownership, and yet I can’t help but feel like the bubble will presumably burst at any minute. Around any corner now, the inescapable harsh realities of life will come crashing down and expose the realism that so often unfolds. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself a pessimist, but rather more a realist with the expectation that both good and bad things occur all the time. Rainbows form and so do rain clouds. Butterflies flutter and bees sting. But why is it that I’m always waiting for the ubiquitous other shoe to fall?

Maybe my thoughts of impending doom like that of a seedy character lurking around a dark corner, is a way of lightly peppering the good in a tactic of self-preservation. This innate mindset might be a way to decrease the likelihood of feeling bamboozled when things go south. It must be engrained in me from somewhere, although its distinct coordinates and precise whereabouts are still unclear. Perhaps it points to the alphabet soup of ill after-effects of being a child of a divorced family, or as a result of the unfortunate, and yet all- too common reality of being a woman in a male-dominated world. What I do know, however, is that the inability to fully live in the moment and enjoy the truly happy times in life, doesn’t seem to be relegated to just myself. The notion that once you’ve met your current quota of happiness and things start to feel too good to be true, there you are again, at that dark intersection you know all-too well.

I’m sure this is one of the many limitless reasonings for why therapists are part and parcel to our somewhat functioning society and why they’ll forever find abundant job security. Life seems to throw us a lot of curve balls when we’re least expecting them, and so perhaps instinctively, my thoughts of upcoming ominous circumstances are my way of creating a buffer to lessen the impact. Either way, life is good—for now, anyway. And in this current moment, I’m housing happiness.

I’m a fraud

I pretend I’m the perfect parent, that I have all my ducks in a row, but I’m so far from it. I project that I have it all together, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I present myself as having everything in order —all of the time—but I’m sorely misrepresenting things. Afterall, I’m a real parent, with real flaws and very common shortcomings with an even bigger dream of keeping it all afloat. But what remains a mystery, is why we feel the need to pretend that everything is simultaneously achievable when we all know damn well that it isn’t. It’s impossible to keep all the plates spinning when those said plates include overseeing our children’s well-being, a career, a household, friendships, our children’s social calendars and rare, but necessary interspersing of some personal care from time to time. It’s simply not feasible to be on top of it all at all times because unless I’ve missed the big announcement, being in more than one place at one time, still isn’t physically possible (although, I’m sure a Mom will invent how to make this happen sometime soon).

What I wish is for all moms to let go of the notion that this is what we should strive to be; something unattainable. Can we learn to rid ourselves of the guilt associated with not feeling worthy unless all our responsibilities are satisfied before we lay our head down at night? Don’t get me wrong, it feels great to check things off the ubiquitous ‘to-do list’ and have a satisfying day of abundant accomplishments, but we shouldn’t define our self-worth by our ability to do so. Giving the dog a bath while on a conference call with dinner in the oven and laundry in the dryer isn’t what makes us ‘good’ parents. In fact, I’d like to argue the opposite, in which doing less is actually much more. So often at night when I read my kids their bedtime books, I’m not focused on the words or their reactions to them, rather, I’m running down my endless mental checklist of things that I still need to do or emails that I need to write or people who need to be called back or lunches that can’t make themselves or dishes I should clean or the impending articles that need to be written. I’m simply.not. present. And the enemy of multi-tasking and its assumed forefront position it’s taken on our lives, is to blame. The only way I see this changing is if us, as a society, to change our perception on what it truly means to be a succeeding parent.

I don’t expect this shift in societal views to happen overnight, if at ever, but that doesn’t mean a positive shift can’t occur within our own individual lives. Let’s start by being real; with ourselves; our friends; our partners. Let’s stop pretending to uphold these impervious lives that don’t really exist. Parenthood is hard. Really hard. So maybe if we can come from a place of honesty, life would feel a lot less of a hurdle and much more of an achievable goal. Perhaps I’ll put that on my list of to-do’s.

Grow, but stay this way forever.

My Mom whom always takes splendid, transcendentalist moments out of her day to absorb the beauty of her surroundings and to basque in the glory that is nature, always thought it important to instruct my sister and I to do the same growing up. In fact, we still have a running joke dating back to childhood when she would tell us to ‘Look at the sun!’ and then immediately follow that up with, ‘but don’t look at it!’ Meaning, take in the beauty, but don’t stare directly at it for fear you’ll burn your eyes. It never ceases to amaze me just how powerful a distant memory can be, imparting a lasting imprint on our lives. For me, the essence of this memory woefully sums up my feeling of parenthood.

“…the guttural instinct like that of a wave precipitating its former…”

I washed and worried for that little umbilical cord to finally fall off to showcase my son’s perfectly adorable belly-button.  I waited intently for him to master the skill set of lifting his head on his own. I couldn’t wait until sitting was a viable possibility. I eagerly awaited with much excitement, at the prospect of being able to finally introduce solids. When will he learn to walk?  Will he soon be running? I anxiously anticipated actually engaging my little human in real conversation. Is he ready for school yet? When will he be able to write his name? Read? You get the picture…

But what happens immediately following those thoughts is the guttural instinct like that of a wave precipitating its former; to immediately rescind and counteract the wishful propulsion. These milestones serve to signify his growing and maturing; his body transforming from baby to toddler and beyond, and I find myself most anxious about whether I’m truly ready to move with the same momentum. Am I ready to see the chubby infant days full of cuddles nearing to an end, as I witness with such bittersweetness, his growing confidence?

It’s an excruciating juxtaposition wanting them to become the best version of themselves, which includes celebrating newfound capabilities, while mourning the loss of their baby selves— and their inevitable need for mom. And this especially holds true with my second —and last— knowing full-well how quickly these first few years fly by. I won’t ever again experience these early celebratory milestones and so souring past them with such fervor becomes the double-edge sword.

So why then do I do it? Why do I perpetually wish for the next milestone to be reached? For the greater accomplishment to be conquered, or for the bigger milestone to be undertaken? Part of me thinks it’s due in large because once they exhibit a certain capability, I internally put my mind at ease regarding their ability to do so. I stamp the ubiquitous ‘check mark’ off my never-ending mental list of things they need to learn to do. In addition, I am well aware of societal pressure that’s bestowed upon parents. On a daily basis, I’m inundated with no less that 25 articles telling me where my child should be at this exact, finite moment in his development. And, of course, there’s always that parent at the park who swears her little gifted one has already master fractions at 2.5…’Um, your’s hasn’t?’ It’s everywhere and it makes it incredibly challenging to live in the moment, contented with where you child is at that moment in time. Not looking to the next, not worried about what’s coming, just being.

This notion to grow, but stay little, to conquer, yet still need me, will always plague me as a mom— to some degree. And I’m fairly certain I’ll never figure out that magical equation for how to accomplish this perfectly, however, for now, I’ll shift my focus to celebrating the milestones as they come, while relishing in the day-to-day life every day.

Epic Proportions.

You know what’s kind of amazing and slightly magical about parenthood? We have the power to make our children believe that even their smallest acts are something of epic proportions. Take yesterday when my son enthusiastically showed me no less than 900 times how well he was able to hop on either leg. ‘Amazing!’, ‘incredible!’ ‘so good, dude!’ I proclaimed over and over again along with a litany of other enthusiastic adjectives to showcase my happiness in seeing him relish in his own gratification of this skill set.

“We retain the power to help them —brick by brick— build their self-esteem”

Now, I know what you’re thinking… tell me again what the hudson on bikebig deal is about jumping on one leg? To which I’d reply, ‘absolutely nothing!’ But what I’ve learned as a parent, is that we retain the colossal, ever-important power to help them —brick by brick— build their self-esteem, solely based on how we react to the things that make them feel good. We can single-handedly instill in them, the message that what they have to say or do is worthwhile, and that their accomplishments are truly something to celebrate. And why wouldn’t I want to make him feel overjoyed at the fact that he can count to 50 or put on his own underwear or give me the lengthy discriptions for why each magnatile spaceship differs from one another?

It’s all important stuff if they think it is. It all matters if it matters to them. So even on those days when I can’t bare to watch yet another lap around the playground while he rides confidently on his bike, lap after lap after lap, what I need to keep in mind is that while it might be exhausting to give attention to all those things our children display, every time I do, I’m helping him stand a little taller and create a happier world in which he lives.

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