Lisa writes: “Is that normal?” was the first, second and probably third question I asked my pediatrician every time I walked into his office. Normal. Young moms are looking for normal but, in truth, we don’t know what it looks like. Enter the internet and Mom bloggers. My kids were born in the 1990s and my access to online information was limited in their early years. Had I been able to consult this tribe of supporters, I would have learned that “normal” looks like a lot of different things and that my kids were fine.
I would have loved to have been part of a global group of young mom bloggers sharing information, trying to make sense of the changes in their lives and bringing humor to the process. I could have used all three, perhaps humor the most.
Mom bloggers would have made me a better mother and here is why:
From Mary Dell:
All summer college freshman and their moms flock to stores for dorm room shopping. Mothers look overwhelmed, aware of the finality of this back-to-school excursion. But is there another reason we moms share a universal look in our eyes? Do we time-travel back 18 years, when we prepared the first tiny rooms for these same children? Once again we are gripped by nesting instincts as we experience 4 1/2 ways nursery and dorm room shopping are alike. Continue reading
One of life’s great pleasures is having our expectations exceeded. And of all the unexpected pleasures life gives us, perhaps none is greater than becoming a parent. For no matter how much we know we will love our children, the actual experience of loving them is almost beyond words. With a heady cocktail of inexperience and overconfidence I thought I knew what parenthood beheld. I thought I had my mind wrapped around parenting and had realistic expectations of what was to come. Of course, I had no idea.
Being a parent is having a front row seat in the theatre of someone else’s life. It is a chance to witness the entire arc of a life from the first breath, to that first awkward day of middle school, to the moment we hit the replay button and our children have children. Continue reading
I’m not big on change. Growing up in Brooklyn, I lived in the same house until I left for college. This was long before it was cool to live in Brooklyn, and I never looked back. When I graduated from college, I spent almost nine years in the same apartment in Manhattan. After I married and we bought our first house in the suburbs, we stayed there twenty years. In spite of the terrible market, we listed our house for sale as my daughter was finishing her senior year of high school. Tired of having the plumber, the electrician, and the landscaper on speed-dial, I dreaded all the things that would start needing replacing. And I didn’t want to go through another winter dealing with my long, steep driveway. (Who knew we were about to have one of the mildest winters on record!) Also, I felt like I no longer needed so many “things.” It was cathartic to throw away and give away so much stuff. The dumpster outside my window was a welcome sight. Continue reading
In England they call it being “broody,” the clock ticking feeling that the one thing in the world you want to hold is your own baby. It strikes women in their twenties and thirties and if not dealt with can bring on a sense of panic. But I am in my fifties, almost in an empty nest, and yet I have been having that familiar tug, that feeling like I want to pick up the babies of perfect strangers and have a little cuddle. When I see a young mother struggling with a whiny toddler and a crying baby, I want to walk over pick the baby up, put her over my shoulder and with that rocking motion we mothers know so well, calm her to sleep.
At first I thought that this was some sort of game that mother nature was playing with my head, making me broody when my childbearing days are over, but then I thought again. Mother nature is not playing with me, it is I who played with mother nature and if I remember my margarine ads correctly, this doesn’t end well.
I had my kids in my thirties, long after she intended me to bear offspring. On my clock I have kids in college and could be a decade away from meeting my grandchildren. On her clock, I should have already purchased the layette, hosted the shower, offered to take the baby for the weekend and just maybe visited on Grandparents Day at nursery school. You see I fooled with the timeline the universe had set out for me, yet someplace deep in my soul, deep in a very basic part of my brain the message didn’t get through.
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A new Rear View Mirror series post.
A colleague forwarded a YouTube video today that shows a baby gurgling with laughter as his father tears a sheet of paper in front of him. Every tear – the sound of it, the sight – sets off peals of happy laughter, unadulterated joy. My response? I cried. Not the sort of “laugh-until-you-cry” moment. Tears of loss and sadness as I remembered my own laughing baby.
I have so few memories of my children laughing like that, or of laughing with them in that way. I went back to work when each of my boys was 12 weeks old. For the first years, I commuted to the city. I had to catch a certain train every day to get home in time for the sitter to catch her bus, and if she missed her bus, it meant strapping two kids into car seats and driving her home, and then coming back to start our evening together. To bathtime and stories. I don’t regret that I have always worked outside the home. I had no choice about this, but I also have no remorse. Continue reading