Family and Motherhood

AN OPEN LETTER TO FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Family. The people who were by your side as you grew up. The people who share your DNA or mannerisms or memories. Some you knew your whole life and saw every day. Others came and went throughout your life, each playing a different role. But no matter what, family should be loving and kind and there for you when no one else is. But not all of them are. During the holidays, many of us are reminded of what we don’t have. For some, it’s the parents who were supposed to cook meals for them and fill the Christmas tree with presents. For others, it is supportive family members who were supposed to protect them from the harm that holidays brought. For me, I lack the fond memories of baking cookies with my grandmother. My maternal grandmother was not the type of grandmother you see in Publix commer...

I TRAVEL WITHOUT MY KID

Confession: I am a traveling mom who does not travel with her child. For some reason, this shocks people when they inevitably ask “Are you taking your son with you?” The truth is that I travel 90 percent of the time without my kid. Not because I don’t enjoy time with my son, but because sometimes I need a time-out from life. See, for me, travel is self-care in its best form and a way for me to recharge. I love exploring new places and having new experiences. The feeling is like nothing else. I feel invigorated after exploring and conquering an unknown country on my own. It reminds me of who I was before I became a mother and allows me to revisit the part of me that gets lost sometimes under life’s duties. How can I be enough for my child when sometimes I am not enough for myself? After my ...

GRACI

White paper On the floor Lilac purple streaks Blue ovals Yellow dots and crooked lines Green on white Light blue streaks Flowing from a crayon Held by a little finger Focus of a 4-year-old Attention of a 32-year-old Watching her Creating what she likes What she likes to see Drawing And drawing Lines of colors Everywhere “Mommy look, Pretty.”     Author: Michelle Hout Email: Michellek729@hotmail.com Author Bio: Everyday is so busy and full of clutter. Small moments, like watching my daughter create with crayons, need to be more noticed. She wants me to notice, and then I do. And I love that I am completely impressed by her.

MOTHERLESS SONGBIRDS

My yearbooks as far as first grade are filled with notes from teachers saying they can’t wait to see me on TV when I get older, singing and accepting Grammys. My childhood videos show me lining stuffed animals up as an audience and singing passionately into a karaoke machine for my guests. I’ve always loved to sing, and honestly, don’t remember a time I didn’t. I come from a line of singers. My grandmother is a singer. She’s the deep, rich baritone with a voice that can literally shake a room. My mother is a singer. She’s the crystal clear, high soprano with a voice that sounds like clear blue skies. Then there’s me. I’m the soulful, middle alto with a voice somewhere in-between the two of them. But as I grew older, I realized singing wasn’t the only thing we had in common.t The tale of my...

MY MOTHER’S LOVE: AN INVISIBLE PAIN

Every Mother’s Day, my mom asks if I’ve wished her a Happy Mother’s Day, and every year, I do so begrudgingly. During my last semester of college, I called my best friend’s mom to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. And then she said something I will never forget: “You are so wonderful, Katie! I am so proud of you.” I remember my chest feeling heavy all of a sudden and not being able to see my book through the tears. Here I was wishing someone else’s mom a Happy Mother’s Day, hearing words that should’ve come from my own mother, but never did. At the core of any form of abuse is a desire to control. Having experienced both physical and emotional abuse, the latter is significantly more painful, which is funny because I cannot feel the wounds, but I know they are there. I ignore them because I am...

MEDIOCRE

I leaned out the window of my ‘99 Hyundai Accent. “FREE THE LEASH KIDS!” I yelled. A mom walked along the sidewalk, her toddler with a monkey leash backpack running ahead.  Everyone is an amazing parent before they have kids. I was a great babysitter. I came prepared with crafts and activities. I cleaned up messes before the parents got home. I stuck to schedules enough to keep the parents happy, but bent them enough to delight the kids. I was awesome. “How hard can parenting be?” I thought. “You just have to be firm and calm with the kids.”  When I was pregnant with my first child, I had beautiful plans. He would never sleep with me. He would eat only healthy, homemade food. I would never yell.  Then he was born. “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” they told me. But my baby didn’t sleep. My bab...

THE PERFECT ANSWER

Life from the beginning was far from perfect. I was raised by a single mother, from the tender age of four and a half. My father decided to follow his heart as a man rather than his responsibilities as a husband and father, and consequently left my mother with no choice but to pick up those broken pieces.   I remember feeling absolute anger, sadness, and confusion, and amidst these conflicting feelings, I was trying to find an answer, why. I tried to piece back the broken pieces together, with ‘why’ as the glue.   I was trying to find the perfect answer.  I believe I was subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer for my father not being present. As I was also subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer as to why laughing and smiling are rare occasions for my mother. Without a do...

COFFEE

Ever seen her cry or is she the one to dry your eyes? Is it the way she carries her self-confidence or the way she moves with her dominance! She’s fierce and intense with a sixth sense is that too much suspense? You think of who while I think of her. You think of others but I know it’s my mother. As she sits with her cup of coffee. Coffee as strong as her.   Author: Janet Martinez Email: jm67979@gmail.com Author Bio: My name is Janet Martinez a mother to three boys. I am a full-time parent and decided to go back to college to get my associate’s degree in visual arts. My graduation date is expected to be May of 2019. I love art and anything that it consis such as painting and writing. If I had to choose, writing poetry or writing in general would be my dream job. I ha...

I CAN HAVE IT ALL: THE HARDSHIPS OF WORKING AS A MOM

This month has been tough. There’s been a lot of realizations in both my role as a mom and someone who works. My situation is a little different, mainly being a stay-at-home mom, but I also work as a freelance video editor/marketing manager in the little time I have during naps and when the baby goes to sleep. The beauty of freelancing is that I can make my schedule and take work that I want. The only thing I didn’t realize was how easy it was for me to overbook myself. I felt that I had this whole “being a mom” thing under control, but boy was I wrong, and I had a brutal wake up call. For months I have been doing work here and there, marketing for a local production company and some one-off video editing work. It was pretty good because I could do a lot of this during nap time and even wo...

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Changing your perspective can truly change how you parent. Many parents see their children as difficult, delicate, fragile, limited, needy, or incapable. Clients come to me expressing how strong-willed their children are or how stubborn, determined, or persistent they can be. Well, I say, “Those are some great traits to have as adults.” Wouldn’t you agree? So why not guide them in the right direction, where they can still have those traits and you are still in charge. Your children are not aliens that are impossible to understand. They are just smaller human beings looking for the same things we need as adults.   As adults, we need rules, words of affirmation, discipline, and consistency as much as our children do. These are the things that make us feel in control, safe, loved, and success...

MAKING BABIES FOR SOMEONE ELSE

In 2015,  I experienced infidelity, pregnancy loss, a new job, single motherhood, the financial stress of separation and divorce, and my son reacting to all this upheaval, along with the series of firsts as a single mom: first new apartment, first solo day of school, first solo Halloween, first year of solo Christmas planning, etc . It was, to say the least, a very stressful time.  I had always wanted more children but made a personal decision after my marriage failed this that my son and I along with our new puppy were perfect as a trio.  No missing pieces, but a real family – full stop. That being said, I had a fairly easy pregnancy with him and frankly, loved the sidecar of pregnant life: gender reveals, ultrasounds, bump clothing and the way my body looked, etc. While no one wake...

MOTHERHOOD (AND PRETENDING IT WAS EASY)

It isn’t easy. Sometimes you might not even feel okay. Sometimes the distance to the coffee machine in the morning can seem overwhelming. Not to mention the distance to bedtime. And sometimes it gets lonely, and it isn’t even about adult interaction. It’s that special adult, your rock, whether that’s your partner, best friend or family. And you try to explain this occasionally, tears and exhaustion stinging, but the only ones who (I’ve found) truly understand have been there themselves. The mom tribe. Because even though all the above might be true, so is this. You’re in love, madly and completely, with this tiny human. You cherish every second spent together, even while balancing the wish for a few more hours of snoozing next to each other. Every laugh, every reaction, every time your hug...

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