On my first pump and dump (and crying in a public bathroom)

I was holding back tears in the airport restroom so, yeah, I suppose I looked as if I needed a friend.

The lady at the sink next to me smiled. “That’s liquid gold,” she said, nodding to the still-warm bottles of milk I had just pumped. “Don’t lose it!”

I tried to smile back as I tipped the bottles and watched the milk swirl down the drain. She looked aghast—and I felt like I was going to throw up. It was the first time I had to pump and dump in my almost three years of breastfeeding my two kids, and it felt awful.

I hadn’t been drinking in the airport (though on second thought, maybe I should have been.) I explained to the woman next to me that I’m traveling for work, and I decided not to save the milk I pump.

Deciding to pump and dump brought an avalanche of mommy guilt. Then I decided to forgive myself. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Today I say no to mommy guilt

The internet is filled with blog posts just dripping with mommy guilt. These posts are about how a mom lost her temper, yelled or lost her patience or cried or otherwise acted imperfectly, then tearfully apologized to her kids. These posts are about moms trying to forgive themselves.

This is not one of those posts.

Today I say no to mommy guilt Read more

Raising two kids: It gets easier

Last weekend was full—in the best way.

On Friday night, a high schooler who lives across the street babysat the girls while Eric and I went to the opera. We dressed up, met up with friends, had a fancy schmancy drink and enjoyed the Portland Opera’s The Magic Flute. We hadn’t been to the opera—something I truly love—since last Valentine’s Day.

Portland Opera The Magic Flute - Ten Thousand Hour MamaOn Saturday we met up with a friend and his kids for a round of disc golf and swimming in the river at Milo McIver Park. Then we went to my brother’s house, where we played corn hole and let Peeper plant cucumber and lettuce seedlings. To round out the day, friends and their baby came to our house for dinner.

Parenting gets easier riverFinally, on Mother’s Day, we drove up Mt. Hood for a hike along the Salmon River.

Parenting gets easier family hikeOn the drive back home, I reflected on the packed and truly fulfilling weekend. It struck me that we never could have pulled off all those activities—some planned, some impromptu—just a few months ago.  Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: What I Want for Mother’s Day

This guest post is by Janica Larson, an encouraging and supportive blogger studying to become an integrative life coach. She shares healthy lifestyle hacks at Simply Living with Janica. In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


What do I want for Mother’s Day?

That is a question that my husband asks every single year, but I never know what to say. The things I want these days aren’t really fun gifts.

What I want for Mother's DayI need a haircut, my blender is getting really old, and there is a new line of workout gear I’ve been eyeing up, but haven’t pulled the $29 trigger. I guess what I really want is a vacation (then I need to find a sitter or plan a vaca around kids activities) and so then it really isn’t a vacation for me, but another task on my to-do list. Maybe someone to come in and clean the house would be awesome!?

Fun, right? I have a list of all of these things that I want, but they are just things. They aren’t really a show of real, deep appreciation of what I do as a mom or thoughtful and romantic gestures to show how much my family needs me. Isn’t that the point of Mother’s Day? Show Mom how much you care! (Also, when did Mother’s day become another “holiday” for buying stuff?)

I definitely don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I know he just grabbed that card at the gas station on his way home from work. And asking me, “What’s for dinner or did you want to go out?” isn’t my idea of thinking about what would be nice for me.

I don’t want a gift for Mother’s Day this year.  Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: Celebrating All of Me

This guest post by Ali Wilkinson, the hilarious and thoughtful mama behind Run Knit Love, is part of a series called Happy Mother’s Day to Me. (If you don’t already follow her blog or Facebook page, you’re missing out!) In this series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mothers they are—and like Ali, they are celebrating all they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


 

Celebrating all of meI’m about to tell you a terrible story about myself. I know that may seem contradictory, since this is supposed to be a celebration of motherhood, but bear with me.

On Sunday night, a duck flew onto our neighbor’s roof. It felt surreal, like an omen. I mean you see ducks fly, but have you ever seen one on a roof? We debated getting a ladder to help her down, but then she casually, awkwardly flew down to our yard and started waddling around, looking pointlessly for her crew or for a lake—neither of which were within a mile of our yard.

Our neighbors across the street have an almost-two-year-old. He was playing out front with his mom, and I ran over to invite them to see the strange sight.

We admired the duck for a while, and then followed from a distance as she hopped down onto the street and began to walk away, as if it were totally natural. Taking the duck’s cue, we went our separate ways.

As I walked back up the path to our yard, my head filled with thoughts of wise and lonely ducks, the top of my left foot came sharply up on the underside of a rock overhanging the path. The pain was bright and harsh, and my foot immediately began to swell and discolor.

It’s Tuesday now, two days later, and because of a few things—namely, my three children—I haven’t had time to get it X-rayed yet. But it still looks like I have another foot growing off of it, and an angry purple C snaking around my toe.

So all this is to say, my foot hurts. Especially when I put pressure on it.

Cut to this morning’s school drop-off. Because of the three kids thing, we have (cue ominous music) a minivan. Normally my two younger kids sit in the front row and my oldest is alone in the back in a booster seat, but we temporarily have another car seat in the back row, giving my oldest two a chance to sit together. However, due to this being a (cue music again) minivan, it involves a great deal of contortion and pressure on my foot in order to strap my daughter in back there.

My daughter asked if she could sit in that seat this morning, and I said, being all let’s foster independence, “I’d rather you didn’t, because it hurts my foot right now to strap you in back there.” When I came to the car to strap her in, she had chosen to sit in the back row anyway.

I smarted, I fumed, but I basically held it together, and worked through the pain to strap her in.

I then spent the entire drive to her school unsuccessfully trying to give my new insurance information to our doctor’s office so I could schedule an appointment to get my foot looked at. This was not super successful given that I was trying to give them my vision insurance. The day was starting off (forgive me) on the wrong foot.  Read more

Maternity leave vs meternity leave

By now you’ve read the infamous article about Meghann Foye’s “meternity leave,” or at least the outraged responses populating social media. Her jealousy over “co-workers clocking out for maternity leave” inspired the ire of parents who have taken family leave—and who bristle at the idea they simply checked out to drink mimosas on a weekday, reflect on their life path and admire a sweetly cooing infant. 

(Riiiiiiiight. I want that kind of maternity leave, too.)

A dear friend, who is a high school English teacher, was one of these angry mothers. But she was surprised when that anger turned into something completely different. These are her words. 


Maternity Leave Meternity Leave runningI read an article today about Meghann Foye’s desire for a “meternity leave” and I almost lost my shit. And by almost, I mean that I was near tears and had to call a friend. I said the dreaded words out loud—that I was losing control today. I was slipping closer to the void, getting closer to that dark, murky water where I wonder why I ever thought it was a good idea to have a child at all.

The first half of the title alone was enough to push me to the brink of exasperation: “I want all the perks of maternity leave…” What perks? Had I missed the perks?

Meghann describes a desire to reflect on her life, and to have time to grieve her losses—her “meternity leave”. The irony was so laughable I almost cried.

Yes, Meghann, I would like those things, too. Like you, I would like some quiet space and time, preferably weeks, to just sit around and wonder aloud to myself how the hell I got here. I would like time to grieve—truly GRIEVE my losses. You know, put on Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You,” imbibe in some fruit-flavored wine and cookie dough ice cream in cheerleading shorts, turn off all the lights, and lay on the floor and bawl-my-eyes-out GRIEVE until I feel better. I would like to grieve a list of the following things:

  • my empty bank account and my payment plan with the hospital after my daughter’s stay in the NICU
  • my previously unstained couch, carpet, seats of my car, and undergarments
  • the stretch marks on my breasts from having my milk come in so quickly after the birth of my daughter
  • the fact that life-affirming sex with my husband has been hard to come by since my daughter was conceived
  • my inability to find a fucking shirt that fits

I could go on. You get the point. That is, you do if you’re a mother, but Meghann is not. She does. not. get. this. Meghann, there is no time to grieve losses on maternity leave. There is only time to rack them up. Read more

Becoming a good enough mother

Sometimes striving to be the best mama just ends in tears. Sometimes it's ok to just be a good enough mother. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I had it all planned out.

Peeper and I went to the Dollar Store for a special mama-daughter adventure. We got, among other things, an absurd number of heart balloons.

We made it home without any of the balloons floating away or causing a traffic accident. On the drive, I had told Peeper about how we’d take a picture with Kiwi and the balloons, and she could watch Daniel Tiger afterwards. (Yes, a blatant bribe. I stand by that tactic.)

So I set up the sisters with the balloons, turned on my camera and got ready to photograph some serious cuteness.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

Valentine's Day balloons sisters - Ten Thousand Hour Mama
“No that’s MY balloon!”

Peeper resisted. She flopped on her back. She cried. She squirmed away.

Peeper’s fit frightened her little sister, so Kiwi began to cry, too.

I gave up. I nearly cried. I did not feel like a good mother or even a good enough mother. Read more