Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

The Mom-Heart Connection

Caryn: So a couple weeks back, I became That Mom. You know, the one who gets screamed at by another mom because she did something horrible and irresponsible and caused a huge commotion? That one. That was me. I’m still reeling from what transpired. Here’s the story:

Our dog hates other dogs—or most other dogs. And our dog escaped the back yard by slipping past my son who was closing the gate and she ran down the driveway. My son caught her, but she ended up seeing another dog across the street and slipped out of her collar and went after the other dog. A dog that was being walked by a nice couple and their two preschoolers tucked into a jogging stroller.

We discovered this all happening when the entire neighborhood erupted into screams. So, my husband and I busted out of the house (yes, we were inside while the kids played outside) and dashed across the street. Rafi tried to grab our bitch by her scruff and I somehow remembered learning once that to break up a dog fight, you grab a dog by its two back legs and pull. I did that and it worked.

My husband took our dog back to the house while the other mom screamed at me: “Why would you have your dog out without a leash?” “Why would you let it be out there with the kids?” All these sorts of things flying my way.

I stood there and kept saying “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” And tried explaining that the dog escaped, etc. But she didn’t care. It was terrifying. Her kids were scared. Her dog was potentially hurt (she wasn’t thank God. My dog apparently just likes really rough play). And I got why she was screaming at me. I would’ve been screaming at her had the tables been turned.

After she finished screaming, I did something weird: I hugged her. It was either that or ask her if we could pray and I thought hugging was the least weird. She hugged back and I could feel her heart racing against my chest. I’m sure she could feel mine too.

It turned into an actual sweet moment shared between two moms. It was like—at least from my perspective–our hearts beat together, almost understood each other.

Maybe that’s too dramatic, but after the hug and after my husband went out to help find their dog (who had run away, of course), and after we paid for them to take their dog to the vet to make sure he was okay (totally fine, just shaken) and after I wrote a big apology note and sent flowers, we’ve now had a couple of nice email exchanges.

We’re not friends now or anything, but I like what’s transpired—we both related to each other as mothers—understanding each others’ mom hearts and we’ve come to a place of peace out of chaos.

Anyway, it sort of gave me hope for the future of the world—if we put moms in charge and all try to solve problems from our mom hearts. Maybe some day we’ll find it, the Mom-Heart Connection? The lovers, the dreamers, and me…. So to speak. Whatcha think? Ever had this weird connection?

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Livin’ La Vida…Amiga

Caryn: So a couple nights ago I did one of my favorite late-night things—running to the grocery store for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Lame, I realize, on the “favorite thing” scale, but since becoming a mom, this tiny escape totally recharges me and I love it. Mostly because I get to be in a store alone and because I think music is best heard loud, at night while alone in a car. Something I first realized at 16—like 10 minutes after getting my license.

But anyway, on the way back from my little outing, I had Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” cranked—and I mean cranked! Windows down, me singing, me dancing, me smiling….

Carla, you know why this song makes me smile. Not only is it one of the darned happiest, poppiest, shakiest songs ever, and not only did I have a married-woman crush on this gay man, but it brings back memories of one of my favorite times of life: the years spent editing magazines and laughing with you (I’m talking to Carla, here) and Lori and Dana and Cheryl and Ron and Mickey and a zillion more great people.

Specifically, the Ricky Martin memory is not of shaking it in those hallways (though it wouldn’t have been beyond us) but of the “Little Ricky” (a xeroxed paper cutout of the man) perched on my office bookshelf. Something that made me laugh then (and now) but also something that in a weird way symbolized these office friendships for me.

Alrighty. Here’s the point of this: What struck me about my happiness upon hearing this song was that the last time I heard it randomly—probably a couple years ago—I felt really SAD. I was in this weird, dark, lonely mommy place where I missed everything about my “old” life so much and felt like I none of the same great connections or friendships in my “new” life.

I wasn’t—as we say in Christian-ese—living in community.

And it sucked—not having regular people to laugh with, gripe with, connect with, be myself with. It was a really hard time of life. So hard, I couldn’t listen to a song that brought back what were once happy memories.

All this to say, it feels so good to be back. To have found and remade connections. To be able to smile at my old life because the new one is smile-worthy now too.

I totally thank God fro this. He heard my “I need friends” lonely prayers and answered them in big, crazy God ways: through Facebook, through new flesh-and-blood friends, and through the Mommy Revolution, baby! I no longer feel like a fish out of water—but realize I’m swimming among some awesome other fish.

Carla: Little Ricky makes me laugh out loud! Those were such golden days–a bunch of girls and a couple of willing-to-put-up-with-a-bunch-of-girls guys.

What’s ironic is that, for me, those were also intensely lonely years. I remember feeling like I had no connections with people, even people I truly loved and enjoyed–that would be Caryn, Kim, Lori, Marci, etc. Now I know that I was at the beginning of a journey that would take me through some incredibly difficult seasons of figuring out who I am and–as dumb as it sounds–finding myself.

But at the time, of course, I didn’t know that. I was still trying so hard to be perfect, to make sure everyone liked me. I had no idea who I was so I had no idea how to connect with anyone. You (Caryn) and I have talked about this, how sad it is that the friendship we had could have been even deeper if we had just known how to let down our guard and be ourselves.

But like you, I am in such a better place now. It took all kinds prayer and work and struggle and pain and therapy to get to this place, but it was so worth it. I finally have the kinds of friendships I always prayed for–the ones where we are honest and vulnerable and no one pretends to be anything other than who she is. It is seriously so much more life-giving than trying to act like we have our crap together. We might never fully revolutionize motherhood, but I think that the women who are gathering here–and hopefully in Minneapolis in October!–are finding that they aren’t the only ones to feel lonely or disconnected, that they aren’t the only ones who struggle to develop meaningful friendships, and that there are women out there who will value them for who they are, failures and uncertainties and flaws included.

Caryn: Speaking of old and new friends–and Carla mentioned “October”: We’re totally hoping you can join me and Carla in a couple of cool events we’ve got coming up: 1. a FREE webinar (details to be announced soon) and 2. a Mommy Revolution Mom Hall Meeting (and probably food and drinkie thing) at the Christianty21 Conference in Mpls, MN, in October. How cool would it be to see each other for reals?

Revolutionary Reads: “Rest”

**Freebie Alert!**

A month of so ago, author Keri Wyatt Kent asked Carla and I if we’d be interested in reviewing her newest book, Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity
Since Keri’s a friend of the blog and a Revolutionary Mom herself, we said sure. While we’ve never tackled this sort of thing here before, we thought we’d give it a go. Besides, she offered to thrown in a free book to one lucky commenter (see, Obama hasn’t even been president one whole day yet–and already your fortunes could be changing!).

So, here’s our go at this. It’s not so much a “review” (though we did like the book!) as it is a quickie Q&A. Consider it how the Mommy Revolution does books (at least this time around!):

Caryn: The day your book arrived was one of the craziest I’ve had in a while–though it wasn’t entirely atypical. Just a busy day trying to wrangle the kids, rushing here and there, trying to meet some last-minute writing deadlines, all on about 5 hours of INTERRUPTED sleep. I remember looking at the cover (at a stoplight–because I intercepted your book from the UPS guy on my way out the driveway), hearing two of my three kids snap at each other in the backseat, and seeing the words “rest” and “simplicity.” In that moment those ideas seemed like more of a joke than a reality–or at least something that was not attainable in this stage of life. What do you say to other moms who might think these concepts are just out of reach?

Carla: I love Caryn’s question and it echoes mine. Keri, I LOVE the ideas behind your book and I so want rest and peace and calm and balance. But it does feel so out of reach. Even finding the peace to read about how to find peace feels out of reach. So what are some “in the middle of the chaos” secrets you can share with moms who might not have or know how to make the time to get time to themselves?
 
Keri: I guess I would answer those this way. Living a life of Sabbath Simplicity doesn’t mean that you are always resting. There will be times when you are busy or even overwhelmed. God told us to work hard for six days, and then rest for one. So that means we fully engage in the work we are called to do–whether refereeing squabbles, doing laundry, running errands, doing our jobs (such as writing those articles). But we set aside one day to rest from all of that.

It’s a rhythm of life. But what does that look like? It looks different in different seasons of life. I encourage people to build their Sabbath practice slowly, one step at a time. I imagine that as you were in your car, you were off to run errands, with your little ones in tow. You sometimes have to do that. But what if you decided that on Sundays, you won’t run errands? Sabbath is about freedom, and you can set yourself (and the kids) free from that stressful experience on that day. Choosing not to do things like housework or errands one day a week will set that day apart. And it’s hard to explain, but that experience will provide a peace that you can hold on to that during the stressful times.

You mentioned sleep, which is huge. For some of us, the first step on a Sabbath Simplicity journey is to get enough sleep one night a week. You can endure a lot if you know that one night a week, you’ll get enough sleep.

Caryn: Cool. Thanks for stopping by, Keri! So what do the rest of you Revolutionaries think? Do you like what she has to say about rest and sleep and “Sabbath Simplicity”? If so, she says a lot more in her book, Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity. You can buy it at bookstores or at Amazon. OR you can try to win it by leaving us a comment!

Maybe tell us what how rest or sleep or simplicity or Sabbath observance has revolutionized your life. Or tell us how you think it COULD revolutionize your life. Or tell us a revolutionary way to find rest or to get sleep or live simpler or observe the Sabbath… You get what my own tired, tired brain is saying here.

Carla and I haven’t decided how we’ll pick the winner, but we’re certain it will become obvious. So we’ll tell you how we decided, after we decide. Comment away!

Is Motherhood a Calling?

Carla: We had a great conversation on Midday Connection and it raised some important questions in the comments on the blog. One issue came up in Dave’s set of comments on this post–and we know it will come up again and again and again so we are going to dig into it a lot deeper. And I want to be clear about something. We are not picking on Dave–he is voicing an opinion that we hear a lot and we appreciate his participation in the Revolution conversation. This post isn’t about Dave. It’s about an ideology that we just don’t buy. It’s this whole idea of motherhood as a calling. 

As you can probably guess, we wouldn’t call it that. Not because motherhood isn’t wonderful in many, many ways and not because we don’t believe God led us toward the lives we are living. We firmly believe that motherhood matters–a lot, that it is honorable and godly and worthy of respect and praise.  No, we wouldn’t use that word because we think it’s problematic. Here’s why:

1) It’s not biblical. Seriously, name one Bible verse that says motherhood is a calling. There aren’t any. There are, however, huge chunks of the Bible that tell us what we are called to as Christians–one could even say that’s kind of the point of the whole thing. 

  •  Deut. 10:11-13 is a longer version of something called the Shema (found in Deut. 6:5) which the nation of Israel held as its central calling. “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
  • Micah 6:8 says something similar: “He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
  • Jesus talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, caring for the needy. He doesn’t give an exemption for those of us with young children. Jesus includes women in his call to go into the world and make disciples. He never says a thing about calling women toward something else. He doesn’t give women what Dave calls a “proper focus,” he gives all people who follow him the same call–take up your cross.
  • Paul’s letters go into great detail about what the Christian life looks like and he rarely mentions parenting, much less motherhood. In fact, Paul is pretty clear–as was Jesus–that family life can often get in the way of following God. When parents are spoken of at all, it is in regard to their relationship to their children and the importance of honor and respect in that relationship. Paul spends most of his writing time teaching Christians to care for each other, to work together, to overcome their differences and find unity in their faith. He doesn’t single parents out as having a calling that is somehow more godly than others. In fact, he says the opposite–the body has many parts and all are needed. 

In general, parenthood in the Bible is a means to some other end. There are only a handful of specific examples of women being somehow chosen to have children: Sarah, who gave birth only after decades of praying for a child; Hannah who prayed and prayed for a  baby only to offer that child, Samuel, back to God when he was a toddler; Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist; and Mary, who was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. But those stories are not about how those women were called into motherhood for its own sake. Each of those stories is the launching point for the next part of God’s story. These are not stories about motherhood, but about faithful women who were mothers. They weren’t called to motherhood but to faith. The Bible shows us how to live as God’s people–and that impacts our parenting. But the Bible doesn’t say much about how we are to think about parenthood.

2) People keep using that word. We don’t think it means what they think it means. One of the best sermons I ever heard was about this idea of calling. The pastor talked about how blithely Christians use that word when in truth the Bible uses it very rarely. So there’s a difference between the actual sense of calling as it’s used in the Bible and the way most people use the word. Caryn and I both feel like we have followed God’s lead in the lives we have. But I have never felt called to motherhood. I feel called to be a good mother. I feel called to love my children like crazy, to teach them, to care for them, to protect them, to send them into the world as thoughtful, compassionate people who love God. But that is my calling as a Christian–to love the Lord with all my heart and soul and strength, to love my neighbor (which in this case means my children) as myself, and to teach this to my children. The call of Christ compels me to be a loving, caring parent. It doesn’t compel me to be a parent.

3) It boarders on idolatry. Dave made a statement that troubles me to no end. It is just the kind of statement that sends a deeper message to mothers: Dave mentions that a woman’s proper focus is the family. I’m not sure where he gets that. Well, I know where he gets it, but I don’t know what biblical basis he has for that statement. As I said, the gospel doesn’t include specifics about parenting. Jesus didn’t exempt mothers from participating in God’s work in the world. And Jesus wasn’t just talking to the men when he told his followers to feed and clothe and visit the poor and imprisoned. The idea that my three children are more important than other people goes against everything the Bible teaches. It makes an idol of my family. So I can’t justify having tunnel vision about my parenting. I can’t call myself a Christian and then live a life that centers only on a small, select group of people–no matter how much I love those people. And I can’t fathom God giving me gifts and passions and dreams with the intention that I limit the use of those to the lives of three people. There is a huge, hurting world out there and mothers–with our heightened compassion, our deepened sense of justice, our ever-growing longing for a better world–are uniquely qualified to get out there and work toward bringing about the kingdom of God. I could go on and on about mothers who have changed the world, but we’ll save that for another post.

4) It’s a dangerous, damaging way to think about motherhood. If we hold motherhood up as a divine calling, we imply that it is something a woman is chosen for, that she is selected by God to do. So what about those women who long to be “chosen” for motherhood and aren’t? What message does it send to childless women when we tell them that God only chooses some women for this special calling? I’ll tell you what that message is: it’s that they are the problem, that they are unworthy of the call. I know that’s what they hear because my friends who have battled infertility or who are single and long for families tell me that’s what they hear.We can encourage and support  and value motherhood without turning it into something that creates pain in the lives of our sisters.

5) It ignores dads. I find it ironic that the same people who hold up motherhood as a calling rarely talk about fatherhood as a calling. If anyone has a link to a book, an article, an anything that discusses fatherhood as a calling, please link to it in the comments because I would love to be wrong about this. Ironically, it also seems to me that the people who believe motherhood is a calling often hold to a view of the man as the spiritual head of the family as well. In that case, why isn’t the dad the one staying home with the kids? If he’s the head, why is he the one leaving for 40 hours a week? The absence of a father in a child’s life creates a whole host of issues that are far more damaging to a child than having a mother who has a job.

6) Add all of those together and you have faulty theology. Dave is the father of 11 children and I imagine he and his wife are wonderful parents. But the problem with what Dave is saying is something that sits at the core of the Revolution: Every family is different, every mom is different. So when someone suggests that what they have and experience is the best way–and the only real Christian way–to parent or think about the family, they take away the possibility that God might have a different path for other families.

Those of us who feel perfectly content (or not so much content as done) with the one or three or six children have don’t believe we are somehow being selfish or not following God’s leading. It’s possible that we have made those decisions with heartfelt prayer and felt God’s clear leading. Dave and his wonderful, extraordinary wife have chosen a life that is simply not for everyone. They have been blessed with a big, happy family and that’s clearly where they have felt God leading them. But other families are led down different paths. And thank God. Because the world needs Christian people in every vocation, in every walk of life. We need men and women who focus on the world around them and not only on their own homes. That’s the divine calling–to go into the world and make disciples of all nations.

Caryn: Preach it, Sister!

I’m so glad you started this topic. Because yesterday—in a comment back to Dave (and I wasn’t bashing you, buddy. I really appreciate your sense of humor. My toes do feel better!)—I called motherhood a “calling.”

But ever since I wrote that, I’ve wondered if I really believe it to be true. And I think I’m with you, Carla–for the reasons you write. You know the Shema and all (Props to Fuller Theological Seminary in beautiful Pasadena, Calif. They taught you good!).

I do feel called to raise my particular kids. I know God gave me the amazing little creatures to raise—and am eternally grateful (and exhausted) for it. But I have never felt lead to motherhood in a divine sort of way. (For what it’s worth, I do feel lead—divinely so—with the Mommy Revolution. This is nothing if not a God-thing, people. You don’t even know….)

However, I believe some women do feel called to motherhood. I’m thinking right now of a woman I know who without a doubt knew she was meant to be a mother and felt lead to adopt. Can I say this isn’t a divine calling? I don’t think so.  

But it all comes back to this: Whether or not we have kids, whether or not we are “gifted” in the 1950ish sense of motherhood, whether or not we use birth control, whether or not we would cry or celebrate upon learning we were pregnant, a woman’s “proper focus” is on God, not family. I think you’re right, Carla, that a focus on the family (ahem) is idolatrous. I say, Focus on Jesus. (You can start humming “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” for better effect. Love that song!)

Even Dave says God should be our number one. And that means, we look to him (God, not Dave) and to how he made us and to how he wants us to love and raise our kids and how we wants us to use our gifts and our lives. And, as Carla wrote, how he wants us to make disciples of all nations. 

Sounds like that’s what Dave and his big wonderful family are doing.  And that’s what we should too. I’m just glad we can make disciples without literally making them. If you catch my drift…

The Mom-Center of the Universe

Other half-a-portrait

Other half-a-portrait

Big Blue Caryn
Half-a-Portrait

Caryn: I’m loving the feedback we’re getting on the Manifesto. And some people have raised some points that I can’t shake. One is the whole tension between not thinking we moms are the center of the universe and the reality that our kids need us to be—and that often we do want to be—of theirs.

Case-in-point: Before Christmas break this year, I stood in the hallway admiring the family portraits the preschoolers had done. While there, I overheard one of the teachers telling another mom that it’s normal for the mom (or primary caregiver) to be huge in the family portrait as she (or he) is usually foremost in the child’s brain.

So, what does competitive Caryn do upon hearing this—especially since my daughter worships her father and spends easily as much time with him as she does with me (because we both work from home and relentlessly try to integrate parenting with everything as much as is crazily possible)? I race over to my daughter’s picture to study everyone’s size.

And much to my endless delight, there I was: a HUGE, smiling, blue-bodied, purple-haired wonder, holding our pet bunny, no less. In the picture, I am easily twice the size of everyone else.

I love it. I hung it on my office wall because it makes me so happy. I’m looking at it right now and smiling.  But I’m not sure it makes me happy for the right reasons. I’m not happy to be forefront because it means I’m the main shaper and modeler of values and beliefs, but because it was more like a “reward” for being an at-home, hands-on mom. For all the late nights, for all the snuggles when I had so much else to do, for all the folding and washing and feeding. For the writing while she sits on my lap and runs a measuring tape across the screen (yes, it’s happening right now). For loving them all so much it’s made me crazy.

So does this make me a hyporcrite: That I don’t believe we should think mothers or motherhood are the centers (can there be more than one center?) of the universe, every now and again I like being the center of my kids’.

Carla: I always say that when a mom walks into the room where her children are, it’s like the sun and moon have come out at the same time. At this moment I am writing with a preschooler snuggled up to my left elbow and she wants nothing more than to be near me. Well, she also wants me to throw her blue rubber snake through the “basketball hoop” she’s made with her hands, but mostly she just wants my attention. She loves her dad, she loves her brother and sister, but I am her Queen. I am the center of her universe. And that’s how it should be.

But I have two other children in the house, one of whom has just returned home from a sleepover with the girls who are becoming the center of her universe. They are good girls and I am grateful that she has friends I trust because their presence and influence in her life are increasingly important to her. She is in the process of creating her own universe, and while I’m in it and still have a lot of say so about who else is in it I am slowly moving out of the center. And that is how it should be, too.

Manifestos are not good places for subtlety, but our statement that we are not the center of the universe might be more true than we want it to be. When our children are young, their lives do center on the adults who care for them. But as Keri said in the manifesto comments, our job is to work ourselves out of a job. As good as it feels to be the sun and the moon in someone’s life, as good as it feels to be needed, do any of us really want to have 30-year-old children who still bring us their laundry and can’t make a decision without us? Sometimes I miss the little girl my daughter used to be, the one who gazed at me with pure affection when I poured cereal into her bowl each morning. But I love the big girl who sits in her place, the one who starts talking about her friends and the day ahead the moment she wakes up. I don’t want my 12-year-old to gaze at me. I want her to gaze outward as we slowly launch her out of our orbit and into the one she will create for herself.

So yes, for a short time in our children’s lives, we are the center of the universe. But it’s not good for them–or for us–for things to stay that way.

Caryn: Well articulated, oh-you-who-have-older-kids-than-I. Which is not to say I haven’t already seen and even enjoyed this slow drift away from center in my kids’ lives.  It’s first steps look like smiles and waves to friends when the bus comes in the morning or when I drop off at preschool. And that is–as you say–as it should be. It is to be celebrated, even.

Of course, today I’m a tad under the weather (okay, really pukey with some sort of bug, if you must know) and am typing this in bed. And my oldest just came into see if I needed another Coke or some tea. So, I’m enjoying being his center for a bit longer too. Sweet, dear boy.

The Revolutionary Manifesto

For the three of you who read our pre-Christmas post I will be repeating myself here, but for the rest of you who apparently found celebrating with family, eagerly anticipating the birth of Christ to be more important than The Mommy Revolution, this’ll be some fun news.

This Tuesday (Jan. 13), Carla and I will be on Moody Radio’s Midday Connection at noon (CST). The Revolution has made it to Moody, people. This is big. You need to listen. You need to call in. And then you’ll need to report back to us.

But anyway, we thought in honor of our big, national Revolutionary radio debut, we really ought to officially publish the core values that the Mommy Revolution holds near and dear.

Up until this point, we’ve sort of alluded to them, but never really outlined them. Well, we outlined them many months ago at La Spiaza coffee shop in Wheaton, Illinois, while simultaneously irritating patrons because we kept switching tables as ones with better access to outlets became available. But, we’ve never made them public.

So, without further ado, here they are. What the Mommy Revolution is all about and what we believe—at least about motherhood. We want to know what you believe, too–about what it means to be a mom, about what you wish could be different, about your visions of motherhood. So please throw in some of your revolutionary ideas as well.

We believe that:

  • Both mothers and children should thrive in the parent/child relationship.
  • A women doesn’t stop having dreams when she starts raising children.
  • Women need emotional support from other women.
  • Mothers can do anything we want to, but we don’t have to do everything well.
  • There is something good to be found even in the most difficult parenting stages.
  • Motherhood is not as all-important as we think it is. We are one of the many factors that shape our children. We need to be the best moms we can be while recognizing that we are not the centers of the universe.
  • Parenting is collaborative, not competitive. None of us can—or should—do it alone.
  • Life is not all about you, but it’s not all about your kids, either.
  • Only mothers get to define what our motherhood looks like.
  • Motherhood changes who we are, but it doesn’t define who we are.
  • There is more than one way to parent well.
  • Motherhood is just part of a whole and integrated life.
  • A good mom provides food, shelter, clothing, love, support, encouragement, and all the honesty, wisdom, and kindness she can. Everything else—rides the to mall, attendance at soccer games, participation in endless rounds of Pretty Pretty Princess—is gravy.

We want to create a culture of motherhood in which:

  • Women make decisions that feel right for us and our families.
  • Good fathers are part of the parenting equation. That means they get credit for the work they do and the unique presence they have in the lives of our children. It means we stop believing they can’t parent as well as we can. Being revolutionary moms means making room for revolutionary dads. 
  • Women support each other instead of critique each other.
  • The fact that we have children doesn’t lead to assumptions about who we are or what we do.
  • Our decisions are driven by the emotional and physical well-being of every member of the family–not just the kids and not just the parents.
  • Our children are one of the many gifts we give to the world.
  • It’s okay to miss the way we lived before we had children.
  • Women are encouraged to figure out what we are passionate about and supported by our families and friends as we live out those passions.

Whatcha think? Agree? Disagree? Worried for our very souls? Please discuss.

Revolutionized Medicine

Caryn: No offense to the many great nurses and doctors I’ve visited and known throughout my life, but today—at the Walgreen’s Take Care Clinic—I met my most favorite medical professional ever. “Met” may actually be strong because I don’t think I caught this nurse practitioner’s name, but still, loved her. Loved her. Loved her.

And not just because she called me a “trooper” for being so “chipper” with a throat that looked as bad and “streppy” as mine did. I loved her because when I started to explain why, in fact, it had been “‘uhhh…at least 2 years and 9 months ago” since I’d had my LMP (this little abbrev is to spare our male fans details that could keep them from ever coming back)—and that reason being that I was still nursing my nearly 2-year-old son and things just work that way for me—she said, “You’re a great mom!”

And then she proceeded to tell me that she nursed her kids for 2 or 3 years each and that her family thought she was a “freak” and said, “Don’t you just feel so judged sometimes? I mean, people look at you like you’re a child molester!” 

So I shared with her my fear that my kids were budding addicts or at least bound to have total OCD because they were so hard to wean. She then assured me that her kids were long grown and seemed to be pretty normal.

Okay, so I loved her for that reassurance. But then she did my favorite thing: After the swab revealed indeed I had strep, she started to tell me about the penicillin, about my need for more fluids, and about my need for rest. She started laughing halfway through the word “rest.”

And said my favorite medical thing ever: “Don’t you hate it when people tell you to get more rest? Whatever.” Then we both laughed.

I really don’t know exactly what the point of this rambling is, but I was just SO excited to be in a setting—with a stranger, with an educated medical professional—where I felt totally understood, where someone GOT my life a bit. It was like a glimmer of what life would be like once the revolution reaches the rest of the world. Where people stop giving stock, stupid answers or advice to things we cannot do (or don’t want to do) and start treating us as individuals.

Man, I may have a med school lecture in here somewhere…..

Carla: I love her too! Do you think if I went to see her she could tell me that it’s no wonder I don’t get any exercise what with my schedule and I should stop worrying about it, and that I need to sleep a lot more–preferably in a hotel room by myself?

It does feel so good when we meet other moms who are honest, and who understand the fears that plague us. When they are people to whom we have bestowed “authority” it feels even better. That’s why it’s so frustrating when the parenting “authorities” give us advice that is so out of touch with our actual experiences. The very people we need to pull us through the doubts and fears are the ones creating those doubts and fears.

We have said–at least to each other–that the Mommy Revolution is about wresting conversations about motherhood from the hands of 70-year-old men and putting them back in the hands of real women. We want motherhood to be defined by mothers, for mothers. And we want those definitions to be as varied as the women who create them. 

Oh, and I’m sorry you have strep. There is nothing worse than being a sick mom. Nothing changes, nothing stops. It sucks. I hope you can find a way to get some rest and get better.

Caryn: Thank you for giving my little ditty a point, Carla. I think you nailed why I loved this woman. An authority offering relatable, do-able, real-world wisdom—and offering it with mutual respect and understanding—rocks. And it’s something our mom world lacks. (Oh, I’m SURE she’d say to go ahead and do the hotel-room-rest thingy.)