Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6

Today is my mom's birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

and a short essay that I wrote (about being a working [outside the home] mom and a bereaved mom) is posted over at Coffee + Crumbs. I'm kind of nervous about it!

Speaking of things to be nervous about, I'm heading out of town this weekend and leaving my baybee Coco overnight for the first time in 20 months. She will be FINE, but I'm still nervous about her potential feelings of abandonment (and, alternatively, her potential lack of concern).

(But I am kind of looking forward to David being the Default Parent for a full weekend.)

(Sort of related: This morning I joked to Zuzu that I was Daddy's boss and she looked at me, dead serious, and said, "That is a LIE.")

I'm also slightly nervous about flying (My anxieties in order of greatest to least: Terrorists, Turbulence, Airport delays, Having to pee on the plane).

And then there's the fact that I'm tired of my wardrobe and have nothing cute to wear.

Fingers crossed it all works out. And here's hoping my mom has a happy birthday and nobody says super mean stuff about my essay.


  1. Here's my fear order from greatest to least: Turbulence, Turbulence, Turbulence. I don't like the rocking, tipping, dipping. The plane feels really fragile to me in the sky. Once we're descending towards the earth (even twenty minutes out from landing) I feel completely fine, even though logic should tell me that's the most dangerous point of all. To me it just signals that I've survived the anxious part of the trip and now it's time to have fun. It's bizarre how the mind works. I don't have sweaty palms when I drive every day, although I know that's far more dangerous than flying in a plane. I might try some sort of magic sleeping elixir for the next flight - that's harder to do when you don't have an adult to poke you awake when you land!

    Smooth travels. I didn't realize your mom and I almost share a birthday - a fellow Aries. Happy Birthday to her!

    Have a great trip. You always look cute, so your clothes are only not-cute to you because you look at them every day.

  2. Absolutely love your post on Coffee + Crumbs. I have similar guilt that I wish I didn't have but can't seem to shake. Thanks for putting my feelings into words.

  3. I love your piece on Coffee and Crumbs, though I'm so sorry you've experienced so much judgment and the conflicting emotions that are inevitable after losing a child. I often wonder how losing Matthew might affect my future career decisions. I don't yet know the answer to this, but I thank you for being so open about your experiences.

  4. Your most favorite husband. Bwahaha! Sorry, I loved that.

    As I've said before, and said I'd say again, I think I should've been a working outside the home mom, and really admire the career you've created and the balance of time it gives you.

    I recently read something, somewhere, probably on a blog, and I'm sorry I'm not sure where - I read so many. But it was advice given to a young woman, to make sure she held on to her identity, in whatever way worked for her, as she went into parenthood. Not to get lost in her children, trying to live through them or for them, more with them... something to that effect. And while I don't think my brain would've really accepted that when I was becoming a mother, I still wish someone had said it to me. I might have recognized some of the flaws in my decisions earlier.

    The trauma in my life was different than losing a child, but it's still what drove many of my parenting decisions, at the root of it a terror of being separated from them, an inability to trust anyone else to protect them from the monsters of my childhood. Even knowing that didn't stop me from making those decisions, and it's only now, with two teenagers, that I'm seeing how I need to change things for them, so that they can skip out the door to their own lives with a healthy foundation beneath them. And seeing how I'm now able to do things differently for my four year old.

    And I don't say this to imply women who do choose to stay home are in any way damaging their children, just saying that I personally probably should've tried to handle it differently. Even just a little differently. And that I think what's important is that we give ourselves permission to take the steps we need to take in order to present our best selves to our children. Maybe not 24/7, we're all human, we make mistakes, but I wish I'd seen earlier in life the value of investing in myself as well as investing in my kids. Investing in ourselves IS, frequently, an investment in our children. For some moms that may very well be staying at home and focusing more directly on her kids, for some it may mean having a career, or running marathons, or whatever gives them back the pieces of ourselves we give away as mothers.

    And to heck with that woman at the post office. Where does she even get off asking you such personal questions?! Coco may miss you, but she misses you while she's having a great time, and misses you because she's so certain of your love for her.

    1. This is fascinating to me, Sarah, because when I was pregnant with Eliza, I worried (in a way that seems obnoxious to me now) that my identity would get submerged in motherhood and I would become profoundly uninteresting. (This may have had something to do with getting pregnant at the very end of a grad school career in a corner of academia that emphasized measurable academic achievement and was/is not particularly kid-friendly or family-friendly.) Then Eliza died and I felt like I was such a freaking idiot for worrying about my identity as a mom, because instead my whole identity was subsumed by grief.

      I think my job offered me something to do besides be so terribly sad; or rather, something to do IN ADDITION to being so terribly sad, and I needed that desperately. I needed to feel like I still had something to offer, like my brain hadn't been broken with my heart.

      I wonder if it would have been different if I hadn't landed this job before I had Zuzu--I can't imagine being motivated to seek out full time employment when she was a baby. But the job I had already had been exactly the occupation I needed in the darkest of times, and so going back to it felt like the right decision even though work wasn't the priority it once would have been. My guilt about going back to work was huge; but I never seriously considered NOT going back.

      I love the thought of framing it as investing in ourselves. I'm definitely a happier, better mom because I have a career that makes me feel valued for skills that I wouldn't need or use if I stayed at home. I also put YEARS of blood, sweat, and tears (mostly tears) into earning a graduate degree. I want to use it! Time away from our kids in any sense is a sacrifice, but like all sacrifices, it should bring meaningful rewards.

      And yes, I think Coco and I miss each other, but it's really important to me that I am not my children's sole source of comfort and love and happiness any more than they are mine. The most important one, yes! But not the only one. So yeah, the lady at the post office can suck it. :)