Mommy Blog? Maybe….

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A few months ago I mentioned to one of my friends that I wanted to start a blog. She replied, “Oh, like a mommy blog”. I wasn’t sure how to respond. My first reaction was to feel a little defensive. Of course my blog would be more than that! I mean, I’m more than just a mom. My blog would be ecclectic. It would be a way for me to communicate my thoughts and feelings on various topics with whomever wanted to listen.

Flash forward a few months and 2 of my 3 posts to date have been mommy-related. I spent some time thinking about the topics that I want to write about in my blog. At the heart of many of these posts was my role as a mother. At this realization it might be easy to neatly tuck my blog into the mommy category. And truthfully that would be perfectly fine.

I still stand by my previous statement; I am more than a mom. I have a career in the field of early childhood, about which I am very passionate. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. However at the moment, my role as a mother is infinitely more important than anything else in my life.

I have realized that in life we go through many seasons. In this season of my life I am raising a young child. This task takes up most of the space in my heart and mind. It only makes sense that my writing would reflect that.

Women go through a tremendous transformation when becoming a mother. The emotions are indescribable. I would try to elaborate but I would never do it justice. Aside from the awe of bringing a tiny person into the world, women are ushered into the greatest sisterhood in existence, motherhood. It is a bond like no other. Of course there are the dreaded “mommy wars” but those mostly stem from each one of us wanting to do the best we can for our little ones. We panic when we feel we might not be doing as well as someone else because we know our precious babies deserve the best. This is part of the complexity of motherhood. However, as difficult as it can be at times, I often feel that my life has actually become simpler. My little family of three (or tripod as we like to call it) is my world. My husband and baby are my priority. There is no question about what comes first in my life. This is not to say that I do not care about other aspects. My family, friends, career, and hobbies just add to blessings in my life.

So yes, much of my writing will delve into my journey through motherhood. Will there be other topics? Of course! My writing is an outlet, so I will be blogging about whatever is in my heart. However, if you would like to give me the title of “Mommy Blogger” I would consider it an honor!

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The Nap Trap

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It happens, sometimes when you least expect it. Many of you have been victims.

The nap trap occurs when the couch starts calling your name. That familiar thought crosses your mind, “I’ll just lay down for a minute”. Right. That is the equivalent of walking into Target saying “I’m just gonna grab some trash bags”. It is just not possible. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either a liar or some sort of alien life form.

I work 4 days a week which means I have one week day home with my one year old daughter. I always have grand plans for this one day. In my mind I have one day to be mom of the year and complete a laundry list of household chores (see what I did there?). On a typical day off I make my daughter a nice breakfast, simultaneously clean the kitchen, and then whisk her off to a play group at our library. When we get home it is time for lunch and as much reading, music, and playtime as we can cram in before her nap. Alright, in the spirit of total honesty there is usually some TV in there too. Again, if someone tells you their toddler never watches TV please refer to previous statement about Target. Sometime around 1pm the little princess starts losing steam and we head upstairs for her nap.

I always plan out every minute of this 2-3 hour window of time. I need to workout, make phone calls, vacuum, begin organizing the spare room, plan dinner, and the list of impossibility just goes on and on. But first, I decide to sit on the couch to check Facebook, just for a minute. This is where things begin to slide downhill. Then the dreaded “I’ll just lay down for a minute”. Next thing I know it’s been almost 2 hours and my little person will be awake soon. So much for my grand plans.
Most times when this happens I spend the rest of the day feeling like a lazy failure. I tend to be very hard on myself about most things (who isn’t?). Without warning an innocent scroll through my facebook newsfeed leads to the dark abyss of inadequacy.

Social media is a beautiful thing. It connects us to family and friends who are far away and even introduces us to new friends through groups and events. But, there is always the temptation to compare ourselves to others. Well I am here to tell you that just about everyone out there has fallen victim to the nap trap or another type of quicksand of distraction whether they broadcast it or not! And you know what? IT’S OKAY. What is the worst that could happen? Dust bunnies in the corner? Laundry spilling out of the basket? Leftovers for dinner? One day when we all look back these are the things that we won’t remember. Or if we do we will laugh at how insignificant they were.

So everyone has my permission to take a nap today. You’re welcome.

It always makes me feel better when I know I’m not alone.

“Happy New Year”

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Happy New Year…

It is a phrase that is said all over our country and other parts of the world at midnight on January 1st. New Year’s Eve is a big night in our culture. Most people are out celebrating or spending time with loved ones. However, if you head to South Philly, you’ll find that many homes are quiet and dark. Philadelphians know that the real celebration happens on New Year’s Day.

The Mummers parade.

The celebration begins bright and early as the first comic club struts down the street, continues through the fancies and string bands, moves into the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the brigades, and finishes on 2nd street. I’ve been asked by many friends from out of town to describe New Years Day in Philadelphia. I struggle to answer every time. How does one sum up 114 years of tradition, family, and city pride?

I can tell you this, when someone in Philadelphia wishes you a Happy New Year, it’s more than a greeting or pleasantry.

Happy New Year is a sincere wish for health and happiness in the coming year between friends. It is said with a hug and kiss instead of a handshake. It is said with excitement and anticipation.

For older generations it is a nod of remembrance to years past. It holds the honor and pride of telling stories of earlier New Year’s celebrations and the duty of keeping the traditions alive.

For younger generations it is a statement of hope, of promise for the future, and the responsibility to propel the New Year celebrations into the future.

For out-of-towners it is an invitation to join in our tradition, to experience our culture, and maybe even march down 2nd street.

For the mummers competing, “Happy New Year” is an expression of friendly competition and the knowledge that no matter what happens all clubs will celebrate their hard work when it is over.

I am not mummer by definition. I do not hold membership with a club nor do I wear a suit on New Year’s Day, but the spirit of this great tradition runs deep in me. My family has marched in the parade since the 1960s. The Mummers are my family. I have attended the parade for most of my life and I can tell you there is no better way to usher in the new year.

So the next time someone from the great city of Philadelphia wishes you a Happy New Year, know that is said with sincerity and years of tradition. A true wish for health and happiness in the coming year.

Letting Go

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We recently celebrated a big day in our household. Our baby girl turned one. I constantly wonder where time has gone. This feisty, silly, loving little girl has changed my life in ways I never imagined. This is why I celebrated two milestones that day.

I also celebrated the anniversary of becoming a mother.

I read somewhere that women are essentially “reborn” when they become a mother. The spiritual and
emotional transformation that takes place when a woman gives birth is indescribable. So, along with my
baby’s special day, I quietly celebrated my anniversary of motherhood.
In honor of this anniversary I have chosen to work on letting go.

I will be letting go of guilt. The working mom guilt that weighs heavy on my heart each morning as I kiss
my baby girl goodbye. I will let go of the guilt of knowing that I will never again be able to devote 100%
of myself to my career (and the guilt of feeling okay with that).

I will be letting go of comparisons. I will stop comparing my journey with those of other mothers. I will
let go of the anxiety and depression that consumed me during pregnancy and I will stop feeling remorse
about choosing to formula feed my baby.

I will be letting go of inadequacy. I will forget about the housework that I cannot seem to conquer. I will
be letting go of those moments when I feel unattractive in this new “mommy body”.

I will let go of panic. The panic I feel when I realize how quickly time is passing. I will let go of the
desperation of wanting to cling to every precious moment because it is simply not possible.

I’m letting go, because I’m busy holding on.

I’m holding on to every kiss, every hug, and every cuddle. I’m savoring smiles, giggles, and baby talk. I’m
relishing in every “mama” that is uttered from her sweet lips.

I will try to replace the guilt on work days with the knowledge that my daughter is well cared for by my
mother. I will focus on the hugs and kisses at the end of the day.

I will try to replace comparisons with support. I will use my pregnancy experience to help other mothers
who may be struggling too. I will remember that my daughter is healthy and happy and all of my
decisions have been out of love.

I will try to replace inadequacy with joy. Instead of focusing on unfinished chores I will focus on what
has been accomplished (Even if it is only reading books and singing “OldMacDonald”). I will try to
celebrate my “mommy shape” and remember that my body housed a PERSON for nine months. That is
more amazing than any weight loss!

Lastly, I am going to enjoy these moments instead of focusing on how quickly they pass. I am going to
love my little girl with every fiber of my being; remembering that motherhood is a privilege and it is an honor to watch her grow.

Will this be possible?Maybe not, but I will make an effort. I encourage all mothers to do the same. Let
go of negativity and hold onto the fact that you are the whole world in the eyes of your little ones; even
when you don’t see it.