Don’t ask. Just help.

don't ask just helpWhen Kiwi was a few months old, a friend texted me.

“I’m coming over. Be there in 15.”

I was a little surprised—we’d met a month or two earlier in moms’ group, and our babies were mere weeks apart, so we didn’t know each other terribly well. I didn’t really know what to expect.

When she arrived, I welcomed her into my home, trying not to think of the dog hair tumbleweeds and last night’s dinner-coated dishes still on the counter.

“I’m here to guerrilla help,” she said, stepping inside. “You never take me up on my offers to help. But here I am.”

She set down her baby, who was sleeping in her car seat, and asked if I’d rather she do a load of laundry or scrub my shower.

Seriously.

She ended up bouncing Kiwi, who woke up from a two-minute nap and refused to go back to sleep. But that was a bigger help than battling shower scum to a harried, exhausted, desperate mother who spent nearly every minute of the day trying to get a baby to sleep.

My friend did something special that day. She rescued me from one more attempt to bounce my baby to sleep—the time that may have pushed me over the edge. She let me know I wasn’t alone. She showed up when even I didn’t know I needed her. She lived what should be the international mother’s motto: Don’t ask. Just help.  Read more

A portrait of working moms

I am honored to be a part of A Well Crafted Party‘s series about working moms! Writer Jenni Bost’s story about me is up on her site—check it out!

Catherine Ryan Gregory portrait of working moms
Beautiful photos by the inimitable Mary Boyden from Momma Bear Magazine

As I told Jenni, I want my girls to see me working—for the ups and the downs.

“I want them to witness the excitement, passion, even frustration it sparks in me,” I told Jenni. “Because no relationship is perfect, including the one with your work. Seeing that I can be angry or aggravated by work but push through it and stick with it is a great example of how life works.”

I also want my girls to grow into the independence and creativity I had when both my parents worked when I was a kid.

“When I grew up, both my parents worked. Having a lot of free time on our own made me and my siblings invent fun for ourselves. We spent hours imagining ourselves as fairies or orphans or alligator wrestlers. We dedicated weeks to turning our play room into a haunted house. We made up songs and ran around outside and skinned our knees and broke windows (though not too often, thankfully),” I told Jenni. 

“I want my girls to have a similar childhood – one that’s not micromanaged by me.”

Are you a working mom or dad? How do YOU make it work? If your parents worked, how did that color your childhood?

Filling my bucket: A kids-free beach weekend

In the depths of winter, when every day as a mom of two felt too hard to endure, I had this kids-free fantasy: I’d check into a hotel, I’d lie down in the king size bed, and there would be no one there to touch me. I would take a shower and eat a meal someone else cooked. Maybe I’d watch some TV. But mainly I’d be away.

The fantasy always felt cruel because it seemed utterly unattainable. I had a toddler who cried whenever I picked up my baby. I had a baby who was often in pain from reflux, who hardly slept, and who wouldn’t take a bottle. Even though we had the means to pay for a hotel for a night, I couldn’t go.

I felt trapped.

I remembered this fantasy a few weeks ago when—wait for it—I spent an entire kids-free weekend at the beach with friends.

I remembered the pain, the desperation, the dark hopelessness of those teary days. But the memory didn’t sting like a fresh cut; rather, it was an ache of a more distant pain. And the salt water of the Oregon coast helped heal me.Girlfriends kids-free beach weekend minivan Read more

Blogging IRL

Over the weekend, a new acquaintance asked me why I blog.

I was a bit surprised by the question, but after I collected myself, I think I rambled off an answer that may or may not have been coherent.

I blog because I am a writer and I love to write. I blog because I want to collect the everyday stories that form a portrait of motherhood. I blog because I don’t want to forget the fleeting, sweet, frustrating, precious moments that fill our days. I blog because I need to vent about the moments I desperately want to forget.

And I blog because on the internet—a place more often populated by trolls and bitter forum-members—I have found a community that makes me feel heard, understood and supported. 

Last week, I got to meet some of these witty, creative, driven, passionate folks in real life.  Read more

Life > Blog

Balancing life with two kidsLong time no see, Blog.

I’ve been taking a break from blogging since Kiwi was born. Well, duh, you might think. I do, after all, have an eight-week-old and toddler to take care of, plus a husband to occasionally talk with, plus a full-time job writing. (Cleaning and cooking have completely fallen by the wayside, too. Our house is a constant disaster.)

My hiatus is perhaps to be expected, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

I like this blog. I enjoy writing it, sharing it, connecting with other people and building a community of other bloggers and readers. It doesn’t bring in a cent and probably isn’t advancing my career in any way, but it has become something that’s important to me.

As moms, it’s easy to let go of the things we enjoy—but that don’t tangibly contribute— especially in the hazy first months of a baby’s life. But we shouldn’t.

Even though this blog centers around my family, it’s for me. I am a writer, and writers write. Sure, right now I’m writing and editing full-time, but this is fulfilling in a different way. I get to say what’s in my heart (or in my sleep-deprived mind, at least).

At some point, I’ll come back from my break from blogging and regain some of the balance that’s missing. In the meantime, I haven’t completely forgotten about my tiny corner of the internet. I’ll be back.