I wrote a letter to my big girl because shit has gotten so much more more difficult than I anticipated and I was increasingly losing my mind. More and more often I have felt like our interactions escalate quickly and my behavior devolves just as quickly. I find myself answering her snotty, argumentative retorts with my own sharp remarks or with consequences that don't make sense. It was ugly and we were both losing sight of the people that we really want to be.
Check out the letter on Portland City Moms Blog.
I wrote a letter to A when she was three and it is a manifesto that I have tried very hard to live by and, call me naive, but I didn't realize how hard it would be to continue living by each one of the promises I made in that letter. They seemed straight forward and reasonable. I'm still working hard at it, but now I'll also remember my new plan.
So, I confessed to being a fraud. Probably not all that I do is fraudulent, but it feels like much of my time is spent messing up, running around, and scrambling to cover all of my commitments. On the surface, I look like I totally have my shit together and that I am just killing it every day. I'm not. It's painful to admit because the truth is, I like the have it all together image. I like people thinking that I am a mama rock star. I wrote a bit about it for Portland Mom's Blog. Check it out. But don't judge me too harshly. Please.
A is convinced that we love her sister more than we love her. Not in the "she got to choose the story! It's not fair" kind of way, but the "deep sadness, sulk quietly in your room and cry to yourself because you are not properly loved" kind of way. It feels really fucking heavy.
This sadness and deep sense of inequity drives her anxiety. She becomes obsessed with controlling all the interactions. Trying desperately to read every word we say and every move we make. She has an unspoken, elaborate and mystifying rating scale for hugs, snuggles and smiles.
These days, the raising of little girl days, I think a lot about body image. My own body image, A's image at 8 and Little E's body image at 4. Body image. It feels like a big fucking deal. The ideas and thoughts that they are forming right now may define how their teenage years go and those teenage years will have a lot of impact on the rest of their lives. See, big fucking deal. In fact it feels so heavy to me that at times I'm overwhelmed and feel like it's just too much. Why bother when the pervasive media message seems so much louder than my own chant of "You are perfect and strong and healthy." But I do bother because I think my voice matters to them. Right?! They totally care what I say. At least for another couple of years. Then they will discover the truth: I have no idea what I'm doing. But, about this topic, I am right. They are perfect. I wrote about it for Portland City Mom's Blog.
I wrote about hurting all the damn time, and about what that means when you have littles always watching you, but also about how it's not killing me and that's kind of lucky in the uncertain business of life. You can check it out at Portland Mom's Blog
Every once in a while we catch a break right? We get lucky and stumble into something that makes life better. Here's what has made my life and the lives of my girls better for the last 4 years: Echo Theater Company (formerly Do Jump). I went looking for a "monkey bar camp" for A when she was 5, and I found Do Jump. It was not an easy time for our family the first time that we walked through their doors and it took about 3.5 seconds for me to realize that we had found A's people. They wrapped her up in a blanket of fun and safety (I know right?! Both together), and she has been a different little girl ever since. I wrote a little bit about how fucking awesome it is to find the right thing for your kiddo. Check it out over at Portland City Mom's Blog.
There's more to this post, but it's curse free and it's on Portland Mom's Blog. Check it out! It's super interesting and I'm sure you'll love it.
The amount of mental energy I have put into analyzing and discussing shoes at length with my tribe as of late is staggering and embarrassing and stupid. Kind of. My big girl will only wear Vans. When not wearing slip on Vans, her life falls into disarray. What is this need about? We have discussed sensory issues and we have discussed preferences vs. needs and we have discussed that needing the right shoe is a first world problem. Or is it? We have discussed how immediately replacing her falling apart Vans rather than waiting for the replacement to come via the warranty department is encouraging and supporting this ridiculous demand for the right shoe. Or is it really looking at her and acknowledging that for some reason she is overstimulated by the wrong shoe and it is fucking with her? Our shoes should not fuck with us. They should provide a comfortable and protective layer for our feet that keeps shit from poking our tender little tootsies.
So last time I wrote about A being anxious. When I finished that post, I was anxious too, but also ready to take action. Ready to find her a therapist that understood her, ready to come up with new strategies for taking care of our sweet big girl, ready to fix everything. And then . . . September! Because E goes to a co-op preschool, I have duties to fulfill there and because I am a "hand raiser" I have a lot of duties to fulfill at A's school and because I suck at saying no, there are other things that I do. And then Daniel traveled for work (which almost never happens) and then I had to stand in front of a bunch of people at back to school night and talk for about 1 minute, maybe more, but not much . And then and then and then. Bah!!! The truth is, I love all of this volunteering. I love all this juggling of schedules and time. But it's gotten away from me and I think I'm failing a little bit at the most important part, which is the parenting.
I'm Molly. I'm all in for parenting. I'm all in for good food. All in for big and small outdoor adventures. And really only partly in for homemaking. I want a Martha Stewart home and meal, but the truth is, we mamas just can't do it all. Not really. This shit is tricky!
This is a collection of musings and missives about parenting like you mean it. I mean really mean it. About how you can pull off a really mostly decent meal, keep your house kinda clean, do some of your laundry, and also even remember to usually feed your pets. But mostly about how being a mama is hard and we can totally rock it, but maybe that dream of perfection has got to give a little.