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Archive for August, 2009

Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.

-Bill Cosby


1. Leave the disposable nursing breast pad in my lululemon yoga top after nursing my baby in the morning, and then teach a 90 minute hot yoga class without realizing it’s there (they do work, and retain all fluid–LOL!!).

2. Email my in-laws back while distracted because my children are talking to me, telling them that I’m glad they had a good journey and arrived safely–in response to an email they wrote to me saying that their flight was delayed, they got stuck in the airport overnight, and their luggage was sent to Prague instead of Greece.

3. Give my first child all types of foods at once—whole organic foods and junk food–including my ex-husbands favorite, Jax (a cousin of the Cheeto), assuming she would choose the “best” foods for her. The result: a ten-year-old who had not eaten a fruit or vegetable since she was 12 months old–when she refused to eat earth’s best anymore, and whose two food groups consisted of 1. all foods white and 2. chicken nuggets.

4. Assume that a doula would “get in the way” of my husband and my birth experience. With Phoenix, child number three, when my doula snuck to the bathroom for thirty seconds and my husband began massaging my back, I was quoted as saying “What are you DOING, Jenna?!” Then, as I looked back and noticed that my husband had taken over: “Oh, you’re not Jenna!! I want Jenna, not you!!”

5. Eat nutrasweet or any fake sweetener or fake food of any kind.

6. Leave my computer on with tons of unsaved files open when our cleaning help is cleaning…only to return a computer screen which is completely black.

7. Leave the baby-gate open at the bottom of the stairs by accident and feel a surge of adrenaline while making my children dinner—and a strong intuition to sprint to the top of the stairs, where I find my proud and out-of-breath 14-month-old son, who has just climbed Mt. Pink House (safely, thank the universe).

8. Get married at age 25.

9. Make fun of mini vans and people who drive them.

10. Gossip in any way, shape, or form.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

Robert Fulghum

“It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.”

- Joyce Maynard

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”
Albert Einstein
“A mother’s love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, and it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking.”

Helen Steiner Rice

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.”?

Dorothy Canfield Fisher?

“The mother-child relationship is paradoxical. It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, to become fully independent.”

Erich Fromm ?

“I want Papaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!” Phoenix screeched at bedtime that night.

He was turning two in seven days and I had been nursing him to sleep since I gave birth to him on Martin Luther King’s birthday in 2007.

You would think that I’d feel some relief at having some “time off” from this nightly routine. That I’d feel happy that Philippe could now join in on the fun, and I could put Sagey, age four at the time, down after not being able to do so for some time.

You’d think I’d be happy.

But I wasn’t. I felt sad, hurt, rejected. Yes, I’ll say it, as embarrassing as it sounds, I felt rejected by my almost two-year-old.

“But this means I’ve done my job—well,” I assured myself. “This means Phoenix is doing his ‘work’ of individuating, becoming his own person—moving away—from me.”

But it still felt bad.

All the years of training I’d had in Clinical Psychology, all the reading I’d done about “healthy” development in children—down the drain.

Bottom line: I felt sad and hurt.

But in that moment of feeling “left out” and rejected, I felt a deep connection with all of you Super-moms around the world.

We’ve all been through it, and if you haven’t, Sister, you will eventually.

I felt a kinship with every Mom who’s ever felt both proud of their child and sad concurrently–felt torn by the ambivalence of wanting your child to be strong and independent and also wanting them to “still” need you.

I knew what I needed to do.

I got on my mat and did a few sun salutations as Sagey, age four at the time, watched me momentarily and then joined in.

“I’m glad that we are doing yoga together now, Mommy,” Sagey informed me. “I’m glad you are putting me down tonight instead of Papa. I’m glad we’re having ‘Mommy/Sagey’ time.”

I smiled as I gazed at Sage in her downward dog. My feelings of “rejection” and “sadness” had been quickly replaced with joy, love, and gratitude.

Just like that the Universe had delivered me a miracle, and this Super-mom was back on track.

“A mother understands what a child does not say.”
Jewish Proverb?

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Super-Mom Betsy Parsons:

I expected motherhood to change me.  How could it not?  Everything was new.  But what I didn’t expect was that motherhood would strip me bare – drop me to rock bottom – force me to face that I had lost myself – demand that I pick up the shattered bits of me and piece myself back together.  It was all at once brutal and gratifying.  I am grateful for all of it.  I have learned who I am and how great my support system is.  I learned how absolutely wonderful my husband is, what a fantastic dad he is, and what a loving and supportive family surround us.  It’s not just me who is a super mom.  It’s my husband, my mom and dad, and my mother and father-in-law who make up this super family.  Each one of us plays an important role. Life is a tremendous gift, and we were all starkly reminded of that during the first six weeks of my daughter’s life. We almost lost her.  The first six weeks of her life were spent in the NICU.  She was a full term baby but a very sick one.  After she came home, every milestone was carefully watched.   She thrived.  And I almost missed it because I was worried about what could be wrong.  It was 9 months later when I started to splinter apart.  She was walking and I was cracking – emotions needed to be expressed.  I needed to feel again.  Not surprising, but I hadn’t been taking care of myself.  I was just trying to make it through a minute, then an hour, and a full day.  I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I wasn’t sleeping well.  I was sleepwalking.  I rationalized that all of this was well within a first-time mom response (ha!).   Eventually, I was diagnosed with PTSD and got help.  I began to piece myself back together.  It took another full year for me to hear the stirrings of my voice.  It’s been over two years, and just recently I realized that I am whole again.  I experienced such joy in finding myself.    I had really missed me!  But losing myself and finding an improved version had taken hold – makes me so grateful for the journey.  It has allowed me freedom to be myself, to slow down and enjoy the moments of motherhood, to rely on my family to play significant roles raising my daughter, to trust, and to embrace the unexpected.  It’s often what I need most!  I’m so thankful for my super family – including my husband who is embracing his role as stay-at-home dad!  Collectively, we’re a super team with a super daughter.