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.




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

Rest in peace Uncle Paul

To say Uncle Paul was all heart is completely accurate—and a bit ironic, considering he received a new heart a year and a half ago. It’s with a heavy heart myself that I say rest in peace, Uncle Paul.

Eric’s sweet, thoughtful, loving uncle passed away last week. He was buried in the Quantico National Cemetery yesterday and today is his memorial. Family flew in from across the country, though the girls and I had to stay home. I hate to miss the celebration of his life and seeing our loved ones, but I am remembering Uncle Paul from afar.

As a celebration of his one-year anniversary of the heart transplant—effectively his one-year birthday—he and Eric’s parents hopped in an RV and took a road trip to the West Coast. Uncle Paul hadn’t met Peeper yet, and Kiwi had just been born.

IMG_2313_3 Read more

I am the coziest place in the world

Baby Kiwi sleeps on MamaKiwi spends a lot of time sleeping on me lately.

Whether it’s in the carrier on a walk, on my chest as I watch a football game or leaning on me for the now-requisite 30 minutes after each feeding, she rests with her face on that magical spot of skin beneath my collarbone and her ear pressed against my heart.

Can I blame her? No. After 40 weeks inside me, it’s no wonder she craves that closeness.

But I am tired. So, so tired.

Last night, for example, as she nursed or slept on me (I’m too far gone to remember which), I stared at a spot on the sheet. I couldn’t tell if it was a bug or just a smidge of something. If you had offered me a million dollars to tell if it was moving, I would have had to guess.

People, sleep deprivation would have reduced me to 50/50 at a chance for a million dollars. Read more

Some days

Some days I wake up and take in Kiwi’s wide-open eyes and marvel at how lucky I am to be her mama. Some days I get Peeper out of bed and ask her, “Is it going to be a good day?” And when she says, “Yes!” I am all-in.

Today is not one of those days.

I feel wrung out. I spent part of last night crying and all of it worrying about Kiwi. It’s probably regular newborn stuff, but I’m anxious that her inability to stay asleep, her grunting noises, even the spit bubbles that collect on her lips, reveal something deeper that is wrong.

Is Baby #2 easier?

I skated by in my second pregnancy without the worries of my first. “I got this,” I figured, and I did. I found the answers to the things I’d forgotten about without spiraling into a bout of anxiety.

I thought I’d ease into new motherhood again in the same way. Imagine my surprise, then, when breastfeeding was still hard. Really, really hard. And when I asked things like “Does her belly look distended to you?” And when I found myself paralyzed over whether to unwrap Kiwi’s swaddle or not.

Motherhood, like anything, is riding the ups and downs that come like a tide—if a tide changed every three minutes. It just so happens that I’m in an ebb, and that means not wanting to get out of bed. It means I don’t want to do today.

Probably in five minutes I’ll see Kiwi smile—a new development that lights up the entire house. I’ll eat some breakfast. Peeper will tell me all about the zoo train she is building and the animals she remembers seeing the last time we visited. Maybe I’ll even drink a cup of tea to counteract the zombie brain of waking I-can’t-remember-how-many-times last night.

Will it be a good day? I’m pretty sure it will be. But for the few moments I steal in bed, typing this on my phone, I’d rather go back to sleep and let the day enjoy itself.