Sometimes motherhood is awesome

If you’ve read this blog often enough, you’ve seen my posts about how hard motherhood can be—like the time one kid trailed poop after her all over the house, or the long length of time breastfeeding was insanely hard, or the roughly 12 months I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row. But sometimes motherhood is awesome.

Take, for instance, the other day. Peeper and I made cookies for absolutely no reason other than the fact that sugar and chocolate chips are delicious. When they were done, the heavenly smell of perfectly browned cookies filled the house.

Shockingly, Kiwi was still asleep—couldn’t she smell the chocolate chip cookies?—so Peeper and I got some more one-on-one time.

I decided to teach her a vital life lesson.

Teaching my kids how to bake and sharing the ritual of cookies and milk—2 ways motherhood is AWESOME! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dunking cookies and bonding

Some life lessons are hard to teach—like that friends aren’t always nice to you, or that there are people in the world who value girls less than boys. This was not one of them.

I poured two cups of milk. I placed two chocolate chip cookies on plates. I sat Peeper down at the table.

And I taught her how to dunk a cookie in milk.

Peeper had never dunked a cookie, but the practice combines two of her favorite things—dessert and milk.

She and I ate our milk-softened cookies, still warm from the oven, and giggled. It felt as if we were sharing a beautiful secret. The feeling of doing something special just for us filled the room like the scent of baking chocolate.

Cookies and milk and motherhood

Kiwi woke up a few minutes later. I still try to limit her sugar as much as I can, so before I got her from the crib I cleaned up the evidence of cookies and milk.

When Kiwi and I rejoined Peeper in the living room, Peeper looked up at me and smiled. She had a smear of chocolate on one cheek. As I smiled back at her I thought, Motherhood is awesome.

The toddler no phase: Kiwi is 21 months

At 21 months, Kiwi has developed an ornery, argumentative streak. I know that 2-year-olds love the word “no,” and apparently Kiwi is entering the toddler no phase a few months before she officially enters her terrible twos.

Of course Kiwi isn’t actually terrible, but the no phase is strong with this one. She says “no” more than any other word by far. I knew this was coming—Peeper started her own no phase immediately after her second birthday—but repetition is slightly ridiculous.

If the terrible twos come early, the toddler "no" phase comes with it. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

My linea nigra is gone: The changing marks of motherhood

Just like I realized one day that I no longer have a baby—holy shit, she is a toddler—I recently realized my linea nigra is gone.

That dark line that snaked from my belly button on down disappeared in an equal but opposite proportion to the growth of my baby. In almost imperceptible ways, Kiwi got bigger day by day. She rolled over. She sat up. She crawled. And now, somehow, she grins and peeks around the kitchen island at me, itching for me to chase her down the hall.

Likewise, my linea nigra faded bit by bit, and I didn’t notice until it was gone. I was busy with other things, I guess—things like, you know, doing my damnedest to keep my new family of four alive. More recently, being a mother of two has felt easier, or at least less heartbreakingly hard. So it makes sense that I only now registered its absence.

Pregnancy // Motherhood // My linea nigra is gone // Pregnant belly // Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Nevertheless, she persisted: A lesson for my daughters

On Tuesday, as Senator Elizabeth Warren was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King in opposition to the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell invoked an obscure rule to silence her. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell later said. Democrats were outraged; Senator Warren continued reading the letter on Facebook live, which has been watched by more than 11.6 million people (and counting).

The phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a feminist rallying cry overnight.

Nevertheless, she persisted: Lessons for my daughters from Elizabeth Warren on grit, persistence and justice. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Observers can’t help but notice that Senator Warren was silenced, but majority leaders allowed democratic senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley—a man—finish it uninterrupted. And although Warren was silenced on the Senate floor, she persisted.

Her persistence—her grit—should be admirable to anyone on either side of the aisle. I sure hope my girls will look to examples like hers as a role model of persevering in the face of opposition, whether it be sexism, oppression or just the everyday difficulties that make us stumble. Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: Mom Resume

This guest post by Laura Starner, who shares her uplifting and triumphant story of surviving cancer at Laura’s Journey of Hope, is part of a series called Happy Mother’s Day to Me. In it, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Chances are, if you’re a mother, you have an impressive—and long—resume, too. Check out all the posts in the series!

Mom Resume Mother's Day

As moms, we usually don’t take time to celebrate ourselves because we don’t really feel like we’ve accomplished anything.  So today I celebrate my accomplishments as a mom and Mimi (Grandma).  I want to encourage others by writing about my resume as a mom/Mimi.

My daughters are 28 and 24 years old. I have three grandchildren ages five and under and a new addition on the way.

Here is my Mom/Mimi Resume. Read more

A mother’s gratitude to the ugliness of boxing

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, updates about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight flooded your feed over the weekend.

Even though my dad was an amateur boxer before he became a college professor (and has the artfully rearranged nose to prove it), I have zero interest in boxing. I may go so far to say it disgusts me. Lovers of boxing have many reasons for defending the sport, and I won’t get into a tit for tat argument about its merits here. Suffice to say I’m not a fan.

I was grateful for one thing amid the hype about zillion-dollar purses and winning streaks, though: The hugely anticipated match made many of us confront the ugliness of domestic abuse and the glorification of violence.

Floyd Mayweather, I learned through links that friends posted on Facebook, is a convicted domestic abuser (pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in order to avoid felony charges). The most chilling article I read included an image of his then-10-year-old son’s description of Merryweather beating his wife—and taking away all the phones in the house so no one could call the police. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would call Mayweather a decent human being—at least with a straight face.

Yet I am not surprised. The man has a garage full of Ferraris thanks to his skill at beating opponents unconscious. What’s more, entire arenas fill to watch—and cheer—as he unleashes his every violent impulse. Is it any wonder he beats women—bashing their heads into car doors or pummeling them while his children watch?

Of course not every boxer is a beast. My dad is just one example, as is Manny Pacquiau, who in his spare time (ha!) is a semi-professional basketball player, singer, actor and member of the Philippine House of Representatives. Proponents will say boxing teaches restraint, skill and determination. But at its core, boxing glorifies and encourages violence.

I thought a lot about what this means for my almost-two-year-old daughter and her sister growing inside me. To start, we will not be contributing to the madness that surrounds matches like the one Mayweather won on Saturday night (even if Eric likes to watch them, and even if we had the spare money to throw down hundreds of dollars to watch it). I want no part in contributing to the payout of a man like Mayweather, even indirectly. That’s the easy step.

I will also read and contribute to conversations about domestic violence and abuse. Stigma and fear envelop victims—and protect perpetrators, which only ensures the violence will continue; outsiders’ silence makes us complicit.

I cannot bear to think of my daughter becoming entangled in an abusive relationship. I am not so naïve to think that any amount of advocacy and education could entirely wipe out the scourge of domestic abuse, but awareness and discussion like that which accompanied Saturday’s match helps.

I will do my best to raise daughters who are advocates for themselves. I will do my best to teach them that no one has the right to belittle, manipulate or harm them in any way.

I will also do my best to instill fairness, kindness and empathy as core values. No one—including girls and women—should abuse their power over another, especially a loved one.

And I will hug my daughter extra-tight. I will welcome our second child into the world with as much love as is possible—and then some, because somehow having a baby exponentially expands your capacity to love. I will raise these children the best I can and work every single day to ensure them a bright future—one without fear of people like Mayweather.

National Domestic Violence 24/7 Hotline

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence