To My Superheroes


My toddler picks up a bag, swings the handles into the crook of his arm and closes the door as he walks out of the room. The door muffles his voice, but I can still hear him shout, "Bye, goin' to work!"

This short routine scene sends me down the rabbit hole. Is this normal? It this what he will remember of his childhood, his mama always leaving for work? Or will he recall the dedication and commitment I had for my family and career?

Will he recognize my full attention given in the brief evening hours? I know I will always remember my fixed position across the kitchen counter from him. I chop dinner ingredients as he talks and pinches out pieces of play doh from the yellow plastic pots. Now and again the music playing interrupts us for spurts of kitchen dance moves as the sun threatens to end the day. Sinking deeper into our lawn and summoning bedtime.

Will he look back on the weekends when my everything revolved around him? Quality over quantity. Will he recall homemade meals or the mass quantities of Thai takeout because I was too exhausted to cook? Will he have fond memories? Or memories of getting barely-there energy leftovers after an already long work day? My prayers is that his childhood hindsight will wrap him in warm fuzzies and not memories of his mama leaving for work.

My toddler stomps back into the room, bag swinging, returning from pretend work. The big goofy smile plastered across his face guides my thoughts to switch. I blink and remind myself that I am no worse for wear raised in a home of a working mama. Am I? No!

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My mom had a thriving career throughout my entire childhood (and still does). I never felt abandoned or that I received less, actually I received more. Regardless of the hours spent building her career, I always felt to be the number one priority. My mom working didn't make her a worse mother, but a better one. She learned to make the most of her time away from work, excellent time management. 

The entirety of my childhood I never wore a store-bought Halloween costume. Each October my mom sewed a costume of handmade art. Every birthday celebrated with elaborate-themed birthday parties, I cannot pick a favorite. Our family spent various weeks throughout the year on vacations. We had home cooked meals. We celebrated every single holiday throughout the calendar year — even groundhogs day. Every February 2nd we would wake up to mini bundt cakes with paper cut outs of a groundhog sticking out. I digress, but my mom was and is a superhero. She did it all without an inkling of tiredness and no space for regrets.

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On days pained with judgement for being a working mama or when I receive messages for playdates (I can't, I'm working) — I remind myself of my mom. And all the other inspiring career mamas I know. There is nothing easy about this path, but it is so very worth it.

Today is Mother's Day — for all mamas. But you career mamas, take an extra moment to soak in all the pampering today. Being a mama is tough, really tough. Being a working mama brings an additional set of hurdles to jump over, including scheduling nightmares and extreme exhaustion. We endure more than anyone knows or can imagine every single day — wearing a stack of hats — managing expectations and tasks from ourselves, family, friends and our careers. It is a balancing act to say the least, but we make it work. If there is a will, there is a way. To my mom and all other working mamas on Mother's Day, I love and admire your strength and grace. You all are my superheroes!

I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you're thinking, 'This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.' And then you keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible. —Tina Fey

Sunday Seven: Five


Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate
on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. —Oprah Winfrey

ONE
This past week I woke up while the house was still quiet (like usual), but noticed that the sun was starting to rise. What a special treat to see the sun and get ready for work to the music of songbirds. Grateful for early sunrises and birds tweeting!


TWO
Life gets busy and in our house we like to celebrate the big and little — So we observed this guy's two year and eight month birthday with cupcakes!

THREE
As a mama, it is my duty to have snacks on hand. Am I right? I like whole, real snacks — not the who-knows-what-laden packaged snacks and bars. Valor loves a good bar...enter the world of homemade bars! In the past I've made different granola bars but they need mixed, melted, toasted, baked, cooled — then you cut them and they crumble into five billion crumbs — not good. Then I discovered the best soft granola bars. Easy enough for your toddler to help make, win-win.

Author: Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:
2 cup rolled oats
2 cup pretzels, crushed down to 1 heaping cup
1/2 cup peanut halves
1 cup peanut butter (more as needed)
1/2 cup honey (more as needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
1. Toss the oats, crushed pretzels, and peanut halves together in a bowl.
2. Stir the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla together in a separate bowl until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients into the other bowl. Stir until combined.
3. Press the bar mixtures into a 9x9 inch pan lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes. Pull out of the pan and cut into bars. Store bars individually wrapped in the freezer for quick grab-and-go snacks.

FOUR
Look at Valor's eyes for daddy, insert all the heart eyes. I am so thankful for the time they get together each day.
Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.

FIVE
Saturday felt like the perfect day. It started out at the local Touch-A-Truck event where Valor got to climb up in a fire truck, police car, ambulance, garbage truck, street sweeper, a moving truck and more – He even got to honk the horns! When Nick got home from work we spent the evening in our backyard around our new fire pit making veggie dogs and s'mores. I hope this summer is filled with many more Saturdays like this one.

SIX
I had the honor of my writing to be published on Scary Mommy! Read the article here.

SEVEN
Mark this down as one of the things I want to remember about his childhood. One of the sweetest and cutest things in the morning is Valor's crazy bedhead illuminated in the morning light.

Sunday Seven: Four

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness, doubled by wonder.
—G.K. Chesterton

ONE
Friday morning I got up when the house was still quiet, Nick and Valor still sleeping. I had words pushing through my consciousness and they begged to be written. I wrapped up in my favorite hoodie, tucked my feet in a pair of warm slippers, brewed coffee and escaped to my office and I wrote. Words always are circling in my head but the speed of life there are so many times they're lost without the time to jot them down. I'm so thankful for a husband who encourages my writing and allows me the time, when there is time to be had.

Why do mothers write?
Maybe they're drawn to poetry writing
because of it's semblance
to giving birth—
the seed
the silence
the attachment
the nurturing
the wait
then,
setting it all free.*

Oh, and if you want to see what words I birthed on Friday, you can read it here: Indescribable Motherhood.

TWO
New book I'm reading — Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline by Catherine McNeil. For those of you who think I blast through books, I don't. I have about six I am reading at the same time. I start, switch, then go back. Maybe not the best way to read books, but that is just the stage of life I'm in now.


THREE
A favorite meal in our home are spring rolls. We recently discovered a spring roll bowl recipe that we've made twice in the last few weeks. So delish!

FOUR
A friend so kindly gave us her son's train table since he has outgrown it. We surprised Valor with it Saturday evening – he was crazy excited! We then took Valor shopping for a few more train toys for his new table. It's been non-stop train playing at our house (Nick and I even got to drink hot mugs of coffee in another room while he played. Is this real life?!).

FIVE
I'm feeling grateful for a rainy weekend. We stayed in most of the weekend, cozied up in our pjs. We snuggled, ate popcorn and watched (half) a movie as a family. Also, our lawn is now a vivid green that looks so lush!

SIX
The simple things in life often bring the biggest smiles. Valor discovered bubble wrap this past week. We spent quite a bit of time laughing and dancing around on the clear plastic bubbles. Yes, simple pleasures are best.

SEVEN
With all the rain, Valor and I (meaning me, while he followed behind undoing my work) took out all his playroom toys and reorganized it all! This was a major, multi-hour feat. I filled baskets with baby/younger toys and put them away on high shelves. These toys were a major culprit of the disaster condition of the playroom — they were enticing to dump in the middle of the rug, yet really weren't being played with. So here's to hoping out of sight, out of mind!

*From "On Poeming" Announcing the Thaw (Finishing Line Press 2014)