Tag Archives: moms

Have Kids, Will…Make a Fort (No Boys Allowed)

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Having a space of my own became an urgent priority a few years ago.  As the only female in my household for the past 20 years, I’ve desperately yearned for a place to call my own.  Our sweet little, old farmhouse only has one bathroom upstairs that we ALL share (go ahead, ladies, gasp!).  So while I’ve semi-patiently tolerated all sorts of bathroom issues that come with five males peeing all over the one toilet that I, too, have to use, I hit a breaking point when I was trying to work/write from home.  Having a home-based business has many upsides, but too many distractions for this lady to function well.

Much too long after man-caves became a “thing,” women have now been allowed the same accommodation… a little escape from the shared household spaces.  It never did seem fair that the fun, casual drinking spaces were reserved for the guys–a space that didn’t need to be cleaned very well or used to entertain guests other than more guys who also sought refuge from those damned feminized rooms within the home.  I like drinking and relaxing as much as the next guy (or gal) but I needed a space that didn’t require me to look around and think, “Oh, so-and-so didn’t put his laundry away.  I’ll just do that before I get to this article.”  Or, “Gosh, those dirty dishes in the sink are going to stink if I don’t load the dishwasher before I work on this floor plan.  Better take care of that.”

Obviously, if we’re only working with one upstairs bath we also don’t have a spare room to use as an office.  Eventually, I was able to wrestle this space above my garage into my own private fort.  Or, as one of the boys calls it, my tree house.  We painted the whole thing glossy white to maximize the light that comes through the fabulous round window that a client couldn’t use.  Then, I found these great light fixtures from Cedar and Moss, a lighting company in Oregon.  They’re way cool and great quality!

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Even though the furniture is all upcycled, repurposed, and second-hand, it came together nicely to provide a very comfy mom-cave work space that I absolutely love.  And it has a bathroom!

 

 

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Have Kids, Will…Nurse My Ego

Having boys has opened my eyes to a special kind of flattery:  the kind that only a Mommy can get from her little boy.   In his eyes you’re a princess…beautiful, nice smelling, kind, and infallible.  He wants to snuggle, hold your hand, and marry you because you’re the most wonderful woman in his world.  Your heart absolutely melts when he looks into your eyes and tells you how beautiful you are.  And you are.  I’ve no doubt about that.

But then, he gets bigger.  Older.  Wiser.  Maybe a little cynical.  Suddenly you’re being picked apart like last week’s garbage.  Your breath stinks (somehow that coffee breath previously went unnoticed), you’re mean and unfair, your butt is big, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

My big nose and big teeth were recently subjects of scrutiny and raillery.  The boys were being very funny, cracking each other up as I stood there, a witness to my fall from familial eminence.  And this was on the heels of having my youngest draw a picture of me on the back of a restaurant menu…as a green witch.

Despite the slight bruising to my ego, I do find a sense of relief when my kids hit this point.  There’s a lot of pressure involved in being the most awesome person in the world.  When your children finally realize you are, in fact, a flawed human being and not the smartest person in the world, you’re off the hook.  I’m totally comfortable admitting to my mistakes and physical shortcomings because I have nothing to prove except that this ugly witch loves them unconditionally.

Have Kids, Will… Be Grateful

 To say that motherhood changes everything is to make a blanket statement that smothers all the sparkle, magic, and heart-bursting emotion that motherhood brings.  It also skirts around the frustration, sleep deprivation, and agonizing self-doubt that mothers experience.  The statement is essentially true, but so incredibly vague that it doesn’t come close to touching the all-consuming changes that do take place when we become mothers.

In the fabulous book, Glitter and Glue, Kelly Corrigan writes, “Raising people is not some lark.  It’s serious work with serious repercussions.”  Can you feel the gravity of that statement?  There are serious repercussions if we screw this up. On the other hand, there are serious perks to providing our children with the love, support, and compassion that, frankly, is their birthright.  

Anne Morrow Lindbergh once wrote, “I am most anxious to give my own children enough love and understanding so that they won’t grow up with an aching void in them…”  What both of these ladies emphasize is so important.  It’s our duty as parents to make sure our kids become the best versions of themselves when they are adults–kind, ethical, responsible, loving, socially conscious people.  What an enormous task that is!

So, this Mothers’ Day, I want to express my sincerest gratitude for all the women out there who work tirelessly and with awareness of the task at hand.  I consider myself to be in great company as I parent alongside some of the most  incredible moms in the world.  Ladies, you rock!

Have Kids, Will…Get Dressed and Wear Makeup (Usually)

 

 

Motherhood changes us.  For better or for worse, we become physically different versions of ourselves when we become mothers.  We quickly come to realize that babies do not care if we are showered, dressed, or made up with cosmetics.  In fact, they probably like us better when we’re snuggled in with them, smelling earthy and feeling soft.  That’s all fine and good for a little while, but then we need to make our way out of our domestic cocoons and into the world of functioning adults.  We have to work, shop, keep appointments, and–oh yeah–socialize.  In most cases, the women I know make this transition pretty well and put themselves together a bit to go out in public.  Nothing fancy–just a little mascara and clothing that doesn’t include flannel pants with a drawstring waist.  It’s not necessarily easy, but we can make it happen. I absolutely do not pass judgement on women who go out in sweats and bare faces because I know how difficult it can be to put together an outfit with a screaming child (or children) clinging to you, overflowing the toilet, vomiting on the dog, or whatever.  Normally, though, I’m not one for sweats.

So it came as a surprise to me when, recently, I saw an acquaintance at our local coffee shop.  She was chatting with a female companion when I stopped to say hello.  She introduced me to her friend, telling this gal that I have four kids–boys, at that.  Fine.  That’s normal information to offer.  I do have four boys.  This coffee companion, without blinking an eye or cracking a smile, looked me up and down, and said, “Well, you’re put together for having four children.”    At this point, a series of thoughts ran through my mind, including:

  1. Why did that have to be such a back-handed comment?
  2. I’m not that put together…I think there’s a coffee stain on the front of my shirt.
  3. She probably doesn’t have kids, and thinks of dogs as babies.
  4. Did I brush my teeth this morning?
  5. What a bitch.

Pushing aside my discomfort, I tried to lighten the mood by responding, “Yeah, I’m usually schlepping around town in my pj’s, but decided to put some real clothes on this morning.”

Again with the stony face, this woman replies, “Well, that’s what I would expect!”

Now, let me ask you…why is that?  Why do people automatically assume that because women have children (or, at least, more than two children) we’re supposed to be perpetually disheveled slobs?  I will freely admit to wallowing in my slovenly condition when I had newborn nursing infants, and going out in public looking like I hadn’t slept in months–because I hadn’t.  But, really, when does it stop?  My youngest is now seven years old.  What would make that woman think that I am unable to pull myself together enough to meet some friends for coffee?  It was a school day, for God’s sake!

I suggest we all start doling out compliments that don’t include the word “for”.  As in, “You look really nice today…for a wrinkled, old lady.”  Or,  “You look really good…for someone with four (five, six , twenty) kids.”  Instead, let’s all find something nice to say about someone and offer a sincere compliment, or even a simple “Congratulations, that’s great.” Of course, there’s also the option of “accidentally” spilling your iced mocha latte into the jerky woman’s lap and offering, “Oops.  You look really good, too, for someone who just wet her pants in the coffee shop.”

 

 

 

 

Have Kids, Will…Run!

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This is a picture of me in 2012, finishing my first half-marathon.  I had started  running regularly the previous year and completed a couple of 10Ks before attempting this race.  When I first started running I absolutely hated it, but couldn’t deny how great I felt afterward.  Suddenly, it seemed, I was hooked!  I mean that in kind of a weird way–like, I get antsy and itchy feeling if I don’t run at least three days a week.

For me, the trick to running is to carve that time out  of the day and to do it without my kids.  I know there are plenty of people out there who run with their children, or run alongside them while they ride bikes or scooters or something.  I’ve tried that.  My kids are cut from an all-or-nothing cloth, which means if I’m not giving them my undivided attention when we’re out together, all hell breaks loose.  Plus, when I go for a run I like to keep going and develop my pace without stopping to look at pine cones and dog poop along the way.

Running has become a cathartic activity for me, whether I’m going three miles or thirteen.  And even though I’m not willing to share that particular time with my children, it does make me a kinder, more patient mother when I return.  Those miles help me to pound out frustrations, think through problems, or simply meditate.  Yes, you can meditate while running!  The solitude lets me turn inward without interruption, while also improving my health (see, aren’t mothers always multitasking?).

I just finished my third half-marathon last weekend and have signed up for two more.  It really is addictive!  Sometimes I run with friends who are also mothers and we talk about our children, husbands, and life.  It gives us a chance to log in some slow, easy miles together while we catch up on each other’s lives–more multitasking!  When I get home I feel recharged, and my kids enjoy seeing what kind of goodies I’ve brought back from the races.  We won’t get awarded any medals for being moms, and that’s okay, but it is a lot of fun to show our kids that moms can win medals.