Family and Motherhood

BECOMING A MOMPRENEUR

I have been procrastinating writing this for a couple weeks now. That’s a long time to avoid doing something for me, given that I feel an anxious itch every time I know there’s something I’m supposed to do and am consciously avoiding. I am of the “get-it-done-ASAP-and-cross-it-off-the-list” ilk; the crossing out motion gives me an inordinate amount of satisfaction. Perhaps I’m avoiding this because I feel like the theme is cliché. Or perhaps because I know that these truths of mine are not admirable or cheer-worthy. But I don’t think these are my truths alone. Hi everyone, I’m Marlo. I’m a mompreneur. While spellcheck doesn’t recognize ‘mompreneur’ as a word from the English language, I am confident that 99 percent of people reading this will have seen the word before or can in...

DIMMING YOUR LIGHT, DIMS YOUR SUCCESS

As my story goes, I never wanted to be married with children. I wanted the big career. I wanted to explore the world. I wanted success; although as a child I had no idea how to measure that aside from money. In our home, finances were discussed often and passionately. I remember being around 10 years old and sitting on the stairs listening to my parents worry about money. I remember clearly how this became my worry too.  My father would say, repeatedly, go to school, get a good job and depend on no one. I took these words to heart. I was terrified of money. My education was all that mattered. I was in enriched programs, an A-student and I achieved without much effort. I knew by 14 I wanted to be an accountant, how exciting?  Academics for me were always the easy part of the equation, roman...

MY MOTHER’S DEATH: ONE OF THE MOST TRANSCENDENT MOMENTS OF MY LIFE

My mother died on August 24, 2000. The day of her passing was one of the most transcendent moments of my life. That morning, she told my sister and me: “I want to go to the international food market in Santa Monica.” That was like Disneyland for her; she’d leave with baskets full of food, fruit and goodies for everyone. So we took her there. My mother in her fragile little body, still filled with a zest for life, bought salamis and cheese, olives, halvah, Viennese and Greek chocolates and nuts, and by the end, we had bags and bags of food to haul home. It was surreal, taking her out into the world after all the time she had spent in the hospital and then at home with congestive heart failure. We wanted to say to the checkout clerk: “You don’t seem to understand what is happening here. This...

HEAVEN GAINED A NEW ANGEL

She passed away on a summer Sunday afternoon. Shades drawn and family near. She waited with each shallow breath to say goodbye. Goodbye to all nine of her now grown children. Goodbye to all 29 of now grown grandchildren. She waited for the “I love you’s” and the “We’re going to be okay’s” She waited, and waited, as they drove and flew from miles and miles away. Because that was her… Even in her final act.. She wanted us all to be together. She always wanted us all together. Together and well fed. I wish I would have said more, but I don’t think you ever know how to really say goodbye. So I hope someone whispered in her ear that her homemade frosting will never be forgotten. That Christmas Eve was nothing short of magical, with tinsel de...

I DON’T HAVE CUSTODY OF MY CHILDREN AND WHAT THAT MEANS

Due to a mental illness that left me confused and debilitated for over two years, I made the difficult but ultimately selfless decision to not have custody of my children. What does that mean? For the longest time I did not know. Who am I if I am not first and foremost their mother?   Their father is their primary caregiver, their legal and physical guardian their number one, their go-to guy. And this can be and was a crushing arrangement. But it was necessary.   This means I no longer get bath time or the nightly bedtime story. This means I don’t get to pick out what they will wear for the day, or be the first one to hear what new things they have to say. I wasn’t there to witness the first time my daughter went potty “like a big girl,” or to see my son learn about Christ at chu...

THIS IS WHAT WE’RE WORKING WITH

I’m trying to get better at observing the world around me. Picking up tidbits of conversation, looking for details I may have missed before, and generally being mindful of my surroundings–these are just a few of the things on my list. I’m finding this to be a vital part of understanding the people and places I encounter every day. A couple nights ago, my daughter and I accidentally joined the local Take Back the Night march. We’d been at a rehearsal dinner downtown and, when we left, wandered through the Take Back the Night event and met a few family members. We explored the tables a bit while my daughter and her cousin marched around with a sign saying “Take Back the World” and the planet earth painted on it and chanted “No more littering!” ...

GONE BABY GONE

The triggers are everywhere, Reminding me of how life is unfair. The children’s section of a bookstore, which I have to walk through, The cute characters and titles making me blue. A pregnant woman, I glare at her, Immediately embarrassed of my own hate, Jealousy and longing is my miserable fate. The clothing store with the children’s section, all of the clothes so sweet, Reminding me of the few items I keep in a drawer, a baby never will they meet. Mother’s Day, the worst day of all days, Reminding me of my failed womb, The many embryos implanted that went from hope to an eternal tomb. A baby’s smile warms and breaks my heart at the same time, Reminding me of the child that will never be mine. Children’s laughter can make me cry, Tears in my eyes as the strollers stroll by. That mom group...

JUNE SUPERWOMAN: SIMI BOTIC, HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH

I met Simi on the first truly warm summer day at Fox in the Snow Café in German Village. At this point in time, spring semester was over, and I was living in Cleveland for the summer, but that didn’t stop me from doing this Superwoman interview in person. I felt like I had to; I heard her speak at The Wonder Jam, and everything she said felt so right to me. So right, in fact, that I messaged her via Instagram after her talk to let her know just how important what she said was. An out of character move, but a move all the same. I don’t often find myself nervous for interviews. I love storytelling, and perhaps the best part of my job is the ability to tap into other people’s individual stories, but as I watched a black storm cloud whip wind through the cobblestoned streets of the village, I ...

DEAR DUCHESS: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE

Dear Duchess, Like most of the world, I saw you standing in front of the hospital cradling your precious newborn son, looking ravishing in your tailor-made red dress, showing just the hint of a postpartum tummy hours after giving birth. As the mother of a newborn myself, I was amazed. Where were you hiding those enormous pads and mesh panties we all exit the hospital wearing after giving birth? I marveled at your seven hour postpartum super-humanness, not a hair out of place and stilettos to boot! I can’t pretend to know your secrets, but I would suppose your exercise regimen, hair stylist and the team of midwives working toward best outcomes of a natural birth had a lot to do with it. I cannot imagine the pressure you felt as you stepped out of that hospital into a sea of flashing paparaz...

ADVICE FROM THE SECRET PSYCHIATRIST: POST NATAL DEPRESSION

Dear The Secret Psychiatrist, are these feelings of disconnectedness, exhaustion, and sadness normal after giving birth?   Advice Most women are worried about being a perfect mother after having a child and it can be a stressful time. It is very common to feel tearful, worried, or sad after giving birth. This is called baby blues. Baby Blues is experienced in the first week of having a new born, and usually resolves in about 2 weeks. If these feelings last longer or up to a year after having a baby, then it is likely you are suffering from post natal depression. Facts 1 in 10 woman can experience post natal depression. Partners can also suffer, with 1 in 25 men suffering also. Causes You could be more likely to experience post natal depression if you have experienced post natal blues,...

PENT-UP CREATIVITY

My fingers glide across the keyboard making a slight melody of words. This is the only music that I ever learned how to make. The strumming of letters and the painting of words dance around me, like they just escaped. The freedom, the airy flowing freedom makes them so much lighter that they can float and fly and I feel completely ashamed as the monster that managed their captivity. Knowing they are locked up, I just kept saying I would get to them tomorrow; or the next day or the next month. Time has always been our enemy. I spent my morning balancing a spreadsheet, then made lunch for my kids, cleaned the kitchen, attempted laundry, picked up another kid from school then started dinner. My creativity would get buried inside the mundane, everyday life tasks. It is the list of things I hav...

WHEN MY LIFE CHANGED

It was a typical evening, so typical that I don’t even remember the day of the week. I was watching a documentary on the History channel with my parents in my mom’s office/family T.V. room. I remember the landline rang and my mom let the answering machine pick-up. His voice was familiar. He had been my mom’s doctor since her twenties. He said the result of her test came back, to please come into the office to discuss. He also asked for my dad to come with her. It seemed like an odd request, since my parents rarely attended doctor’s appointments without the other. When he hung-up, an odd and anxious silence fell over the room. We sat for a while, not listening to the TV, not talking, just thinking. I remember one line from the documentary that played shortly after the doctor’s message. “It ...

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