Tag Archives: motherhood

How I Grew A Human Published on Mamalode Today For The Nourish Theme Sponsored By ONE Girls & Women

How I Grew A Human Published on Mamalode Today For The Nourish Theme Sponsored By ONE Girls & Women
Photo by Bob Packert

Photo by Bob Packert

These days I’m walking around with a tightness in my chest. The feeling that something is missing that stays with me all the time. A very slight deep underlying melancholy, and I hope every mother gets a chance to feel this way at some point.  It sounds cruel, I know, to wish this on others, but my post on Mamalode today explains why I do.

On my trip to Ethiopia this past summer to report on newborn health with the International Reporting Project, and through the work I do with the local non-profit Edesia that nourishes children around the world, the theme of #Nourish struck a chord with me. Especially at this moment in time when my own baby was going off to school as a teenager for the first time. I realized that as mothers this is truly our ultimate goal, to see our children grow up to be healthy and happy and productive. At the same time this is the most difficult part of motherhood. The letting go.

I can not grow a garden, though lord knows I’ve tried, and each of my houseplants clings tenaciously to life each day, but somehow, someway it seems, I grew a human. And I am amazed.

nourish copy

Source: Mamalode

I am honored and  thrilled to be published on Mamalode today as part of the #nourish theme sponsored by the ONE Women & Girls campaign. My travels to Ethiopia mentioned in the post were with The International Reporting Project #EthiopiaNewborns New Media Fellowship this past June.

How The Kids See Me

How The Kids See Me

Portrait of me by my daughter “yelling about the messy playroom”

This is re-posted from a year ago. It’s one of my favorites.

I think of myself as a pretty laid back mom, and by nature I’m not a yeller, so years back when my oldest daughter returned from art class with a portrait of  me looking like a screaming maniac, I was sure there must have been a mistake.  She took the class with three friends, and there was some confusion over whose portrait was whose.  Three were of serene smiling mothers, and then there was this.  One of the other moms actually was a yeller, so I knowingly looked around the group and told them I though there was a mix up.    My daughter cleared the air by confirming that it was in fact her portrait of me yelling about the messy playroom.  Of course as I slunk away I told her I loved it, and commended her on her originality.  I sincerely meant both compliments, but a part of me caught the first glimpse of how she saw me through her child’s lens, and I had to laugh.  Sure I am a laid back person, and I swear am not a yeller, but many a mom has caught herself losing her cool at her kids about something, and then thinking “who is this raving lunatic the kids are turning me into? This is so not me!”  This portrait just may be my favorite piece of artwork that hangs in our home; it forces me to laugh at myself every time I see it.

I was harder hit a year later when in the same week my daughter brought home a family crest where I was represented by a mop and pail, and my son brought home a cute Mother’s Day card where he finished the sentence “My mother loves to…..” with “wash the dishes“.

 

As disheartening as these depictions of me were I knew that they were completely honest, innocent assessments.  I thought back to how I viewed my own mother as a kid, and from what I remember,  I was only vaguely aware of her as a woman outside of her role as my mom. The first time I recall feeling deep pride and admiration for her accomplishments was when we were writing the text for our wedding invitations, and I realized that as a Ph.D. her proper title was “Dr.” not “Mom”. I guess it took me a while, and still it wasn’t until after I had my own children that I could truly appreciate her in full.   I can’t expect my kids to see me other than through the paradigm of their childish inner world.  Most kids by nature are egocentric creatures.   Most of the time my kids perceptions of me serve as moments of humility, but they can just as easily put me on a pedestal like no one else can.   I have to laugh at the truth in their observations, because no commentary is as candid as a child’s.  This recent portrait of me by my youngest son is a new favorite.  Here he managed to capture the essence of me in the morning with perfection. Certainly this is how I feel before that first cup of coffee.  The funny ones are my favorites, but every now and then a piece of art comes home that just melts my mommy heart into a puddle, and that is the power of kids art.

 

 

(I had to throw in this one where I am listed as 6′ tall and 100 pounds)

The Butterfly Effect: My Guest Post on ONE.org!

The Butterfly Effect: My Guest Post on ONE.org!

I am so excited, and honored to be posted as a Guest Blogger on ONE.org!    Click here to READ MY POST ON ONE.ORG.

The butterfly effect: The story of two humanitarian stay-at-home moms

 (‘we’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for your voice.’   Click HERE to become a member of ONE.org, and add your voice.)

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

ONE.org is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers. Backed by a movement of more than 2.5 million ONE members, ONE achieves change through advocacy. We hold world leaders to account for the commitments they’ve made to fight extreme poverty, and we campaign for better development policies, more effective aid and trade reform. We also support greater democracy, accountability and transparency to ensure policies to beat poverty are implemented effectively. ONE is not a grant-making organization and we do not solicit funding from the general public. As we have always said, at ONE, ‘we’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for your voice.’   Click HERE to become a member of ONE.org, and add your voice.

What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up?!

What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up?!

My friend Allison gave me an incredible opportunity last year. She invited me, along with a group of friends, to contribute to her blog www.amomknowsbest.com.   As a successful newscaster Allison Alexander came with legions of followers. She was tolerant, and helpful with my steep technological learning curve.  For a mom who had been out of the work force for over a decade, it was a perfect way to catch up on new  advances in technology, and social media, and to hone latent writing skills.  I am still learning, and technology seems to be evolving as quickly as I can begin to grasp each new tool.  It occurred to me that it is not entirely unlike Motherhood, I’m just now catching on that as a mother your identity has to shift every few years.  You are not just a mother, you are a mother of a newborn, or a mother of toddlers, a mother of school kids, a mother of teenagers…and so on and so on!   The technology keeps changing just as I learn it!  I can see that I’ll need to evolve with the kids various stages.   Maybe I’ll be prepared by the time I hit the High school, college and empty nest stages……(o.k, bringing that up puts me in a full fledged panic, but I digress).    I’ve been eagerly anticipating my current stage of motherhood, finally getting all my kids in school for a full day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love m children from the depths of my heart, but come on ladies, if you have small kids at home, you are flat out lying if you tell me you haven’t fantasized about this moment too.  So now I have time to ponder the yawning question of    “What do I want to be when I grow up!?!   I know, as a married mother of four in her mid-forties, I kind of am grown up.  I also know that I am not the only one out there with an inner 21 year old, who looks around baffled some days thinking  ”and who thought it was a good idea to give all of this responsibility to me exactly?!”.  Despite that delusional youthful inner being, I do seem to find myself with all evidence pointing to truly, and actually being an adult!  I suppose the lines that have taken up permanent residence on my face are Nature’s gentle reminder of such.

So here I am, a mature woman, almost thirteen years out of the work force, with finally some time to start thinking about what I’d like to be, along with wife and mother.   I allowed myself to savor the first half of the year, and see what it really felt like to have time to myself again.  I found the need to relearn time management in the paradigm of my new schedule, so that I could efficiently balance time for myself with accomplishing the day’s practical tasks.    Entering the second half of the school year, I now feel it is time to start figuring out what I am able do for a job.  There are a few parameters.   Namely the aforementioned kids who need shuttling around in the afternoons, and said husband with primary career of varied schedule. Whatever it is I do, has to take place between the hours of 8:30am and 2:00pm.   That pretty much rules out my previous work in Film Production and renders my Masters degree in Ethnographic filmmaking as obsolete. (a documentary on the anthropology of childrearing in the suburbs, I’m sure would fascinate the masses) So of course I’ve been reading a lot of Oprah and More magazine lately, and taking those quizzes to “find my passion”.    (Off the bat, I’d just say, my husband, eating and drinking, travel, reading, skiing, movies…..)But I don’t think that’s what they mean.  These magazines are full of women who turn their passion into fulfilling moneymaking careers!  They are so inspirational, and yet that whatever it is going to be for me thing seems just beyond my cognitive grasp.  Some of the tips the articles I’ve read advise things like; Figure out what you love to do.  Think of something you loved to do as a kid.  Look around your house and write down the things that point to a certain passion, such as books, art,travel, or antique collection. Once you figure out what you would love to be doing, research ways to make money on it.  My Google search for “how to make money shopping” turned up at least seven legitimate ideas for how to do so.  Other tactics include writing lists of the things you are good at, the things you would do if you were sure not to fail, and all the things that make you happy.   Now cross reference your lists to formulate a plan.  The things I tore out of magazines (this is a great method for formulating your decorating style as well) were all articles on socialpreneurs (I use this to describe  socially conscious entrepreneurs, not social media entrepreneurs who also claim that title)  such as Lauren Lauren and her FEED bags, Tom’s shoes, and Alex & Ani Charity by Design bracelets.  My role models were real life moms who have found careers where they are making a difference globally, such as Navyn Salem and her Edesia factory that provides global nutritional solutions.  I realized whatever it is I end up doing; I would like it to have a positive impact, not just a financial reward.  I decided for my first step, to create this blog to explore my passions for travel, food, family, and global issues in one place.  This is clearly a process, and work in progress, and as a Mom, I have a feeling that just when I get this part all figured out….it will be just in time for another Maternal identity shift!

 

 

Birth of a Mother at 45

Birth of a Mother at 45

What struck me most about turning 45, was that my mother at 45 years old gave birth to me.  I was only her second child, her first child, my brother, was born when she was 43.  That was in the 60′s when most women did not have babies that late in life, but she had been a career woman, and gotten her Ph.D. too, so was used to doing thing most women didn’t do.   She died from breast cancer when I was seven months pregnant with my own first child, and after becoming a mother myself, I had never needed her more.

The last words my mother spoke to me were “I will always hold your hand”. I held her tiny, cold, and puffy hand through that last night of her life in the hospital. In the morning I watched her chest rise and fall, as she slowly took her very last breath. I truly expected to feel her presence then, as she had promised, but felt nothing. I looked for her everywhere for weeks, for months, but she was gone. The stark finality of death confounded me.

When my first child was born three months later, I half expected to look into her eyes and see my mother’s soul. It was clear however, that my daughter was a unique individual from the very start. I had to come to terms with the fact that my longing was just a wishful notion. The magical thinking that follows death of a loved one.
I did find her,  eventually, but not where I would have expected. A year and a half later, on a wintery night, my baby woke me with her cries. With a fierce mothers need to warm and comfort her, I brought her into bed with us. I hushed her, and soothed her, and held her hand as we both finally drifted off to sleep. My epiphany came somewhere in that half sleep state. The hand that I was holding was suddenly so familiar, tiny, cold, and puffy in mine. I had held this hand before.
I was flooded with the exaltation of a reunion with a long lost love, wakened now by the realization that a baton had been passed. My mother was there, where she had been all along. That intense mother love, that profound need to soothe my baby’s cries,resonated within, and I found her deep inside me. I was the mother now. She had shown me the way. I understood that the incredible depth of what I felt for my daughter, was how my own mother had always felt for me, and she was there.

Honestly, for the first time I reflected on the gestation, birthing, nursing, and holding, all of the draining things mothers give to their new child with love. All that she gave of herself was what brought me here, to my own motherhood. Now, whenever the small hand of one of my own children slips into mine, I hear her words, “I will always hold your hand, ” and she is there with me.

 

 

This post was modified and reposted from “I Will Always Hold Your Hand” on www.amomknowsbest.com