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.
- Joyce Maynard
Helen Steiner Rice
Dorothy Canfield Fisher?
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.
“Every day is a great day, some days are better than others” my uncle said to me last week. Becoming a mother was one of those exceptionally “great” days. Iris’s first night I could hardly sleep. My body buzzed with adrenaline. This joy carried me through the first few weeks. I was surprised at my resilience, running on no sleep and little food. I was like the energizer bunny; I just kept going and going, fueled by love for my sweet, soft, cuddly newborn.
Fast-forward 7 months and although the novelty of having a newborn has slightly dulled (we are very much into a routine at this point), I still find myself continuously amazed. So, here we are on a Sunday night in January. Iris has been sleeping since 7pm. At around 10:00, I hear her stirring and crying. When I enter her room I hear gurgling, sniffling and coughing. It occurs to me that Iris might have her first cold (her father has had a cold for a week at this point and it seemed inevitable that she caught it). I nurse her and rock her but she is still upset, which is rare (she is normally a very happy baby). So, I decide to bring her downstairs. We snuggle on the couch and I rock her back and forth on my knees for an hour or so. When I bring her back to bed, she falls right to sleep, yes!
The next morning, as I wipe dried snot from her face (chisel it off more like). I have a feeling the next few days will be challenging, especially since I am sick as well! Monday night did not disappoint. At 3:00 in the morning I found myself in the rocking chair (for the fifth time that night), rocking, nursing, soothing, rocking, nursing, soothing, repeat, my eyes half open with a pounding headache. I thought to myself “this is what makes mothers so special”. Because even with no sleep, feeling like I’d been trampled by elephants, I still had the capacity to care for and nurture Iris. In my rocking chair meditation, I could appreciate that mothers are very special people (fathers are too but this is about mom), because as soon as you become a mother (however that may be), there is a transcendence that takes place. The person who immerges is the best version of you. You are a person with boundless energy, exploding love, you are “mommy” and everyone knows there is no substitute for “mommy”.