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Mama, hold my rock

When he was 8, he asked me to hold his rock. I already had piles of his special rocks on the window sills and overflowing buckets of rocks, sticks, and shells in the garage. On that fall day, my coat pockets were heavy with dirty rocks he and his little sister found. I was pushing a baby in the stroller, leaning against it for support as my vertical c-section wound still hurt. I was exhausted. I didn’t want to hold anything. It was hard enough to hold myself upright. 
But the wonder in his sparkling eyes was too precious to squander. I nodded as he excitedly told me he found the perfect rock for me. It wasn’t the first perfect rock he’d given me, nor would it be the last. This one was shaped like a heart. It was just like the jewelry I kept in a box on my dresser. But it was bigger, fancier, and more expensive than we could afford. But we didn’t have to afford it because he found it for me. Wasn’t I lucky? I nodded and smiled while I searched for a snack for his sister. Sure, I was lu…

Motherhood shouldn’t equal Servitude

I don’t know who decided that motherhood equals servitude, but it’s causing an epidemic of moms feeling horrible for wanting any sort of personal life. Perfection is unattainable and our quest for it is soul sucking.I don’t know a single mom who’s not battling anxiety, depression, OCD or mom guilt. Pregnancy hormones change our brain chemistry, making things more difficult-sometimes permanently. Thank God there are medications, but I digress.I worry about the vulnerability of sharing my experiences. But, I worry more about moms who are feeling lower than they ever felt possible. I’ve been there, years after PPD, sometimes I’m still there.So, your kid threw a tantrum in a public place? So, you lost your shit and yelled? So, you wanna quit this unpaid 24/7/365 job? Girl, sometimes so do I. And when my child hurls insults, I wonder why I even bother.Our job of raising tiny humans is to produce adults who must function in the world. Becoming a doormat to protect them from every rejection…

Where’s the Manual?

“You shouldn’t lose your identity to motherhood. Before you became a mommy, you were a person and that person is still important.” THEY tell you not to lose yourself, but THEY never tell you how to preserve your identity. How in the name of all things holy are we supposed to maintain our pre-parent identity while simultaneously caring for with an all consuming   infant?What about when they’re toddlers? How are we supposed to maintain our identities when we spend our days trying to prevent a mini kamikaze from killing himself. If you’re an at home parent, you’ve likely become the maid too. Never mind the fact that you may have the same degree or higher as your partner, you’ve been relegated to the drudgery of housework. I hate cooking and doing the dishes, but found myself swallowed by the kitchen, a slave to my small humans. If you’re a career parent, you probably find yourself doing the bare minimum both at work and at home. I know I did.What about the school age, latency phase? How …

A Pandemic Letter to my Children

Dear kids,This is my first pandemic too. It’s also my first quarantine. None of this is what you expected or wanted. I couldn’t have foreseen this if I had a crystal ball to guide me. But you know what? We’re going to be adaptable and flexible to get through whatever the pandemic brings. All those lessons in having a “growth mindset” will pay off. But first, there are some things you should know. Parents have no guidebook and are winging it. Yup, that’s right. We’re making thousands of tiny decisions which fluctuate with your moods, my moods, and the moon’s position. Basically, there’s no rules. We’re ensuring you’re fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated. Once the basics are covered, anything goes. If you didn’t know that before, here’s the proof: We are coming unglued! We are melting down in front of your teachers and our colleagues who now live in our home, thanks to Zoom. Work, school, and home life have never before collided like this.
Removing facades—and pants—reveals our true s…

Redefining a Good Time

When Mommy is chronically ill, "now is not a good time," takes on a whole new meaning. When Mommy is in bed most of the day, most days of the week, of the month and of the year, seeing Mommy in bed is normal. 
When Mommy is vomiting and having excruciatingly violent abdominal spasms, "not a good time" is during the actual vomiting or diarrhea episodes. "A good time" to talk to Mommy is the time in between expulsions. Even though Mommy is lying in bed or, more likely, lying on the bathroom floor because she doesn't have the energy to crawl back to bed, that is still "a good time" to talk to Mommy. It's the only time my kids get. They never know when I'll be violently ill again.  So, this is how our life looks:
Mommy vomits.  Mommy collapses on the bathroom floor, sweating and trying to catch her breath.  The kids hear a pause in retching and poke their heads around the corner of the bathroom door.  They say, "Mommy? Are you alright?&q…

Defying Protocol

There are very few things about me which can be defined as “ordinary.” I do not conform to societal, medical or parenting standards dictating how things should look. In fact, I believe there are several ways to accomplish any task and I rarely choose the route followed by the masses. Although I have always been spirited and full of energy, the need to seek creative solutions to daily, mundane issues arose when I got my first autoimmune illness at the age of 22. My need to cope with and get treatment for a chronic illness resulted in a lifetime of finding alternative ways to complete tasks at home, school or work. While there are societal norms and protocols for most everything, I rarely follow the unwritten rules. Instead, I defy protocol in order to create a life for myself and my three beautiful children. How to schedule around doctor's appointments, medical infusions, and operations is just not provided in society's protocol handbook. I refuse to accept there is no place fo…

Being and Becoming

My high school yearbook quote was, "Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming." I aspired to fulfill this quote, but didn't truly understand what it meant until I was much older. For as long as I can remember, I battled anxiety. I was extremely high functioning in public. In private, I had very severe coping mechanisms which included gagging until I vomited bile. I didn't recognize this daily morning ritual as a coping mechanism until I was in my 20’s. Anxiety felt normal to me. If I wasn't anxious about something, I believed bad things would happen to me. I inherently believed I had to suffer in order for life to be good.  It's no surprise that I married a narcissist. The type of the love he poured into me in the beginning was so powerful and intense that I felt worshiped. I needed that kind of love. I needed that help with my anxiety. I needed someone to "save me" (from myself or from life).  Of course, that's the biggest …