Family and Motherhood

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WORK-LIFE BALANCE

  There is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only life balance. Seeing these two things as opposing forces is part of the problem. Ever feel like going to work is more of a break than being home? Part of the reason for this is that the working environment is a controlled structure in which most people, if not all, are working toward a common goal. The goal: making the company or organization successful or getting a paycheck. Hopefully, you do not have to ask your co-worker for a report you need three times before it gets to your desk, like you have to ask your children to pick up their shoes. This feeling of structure and control can lead you to being at work longer than you have to, or should be, because it’s easier in many ways. If this is the case, ask yourself, how can ...

UNLIKELY MOTHERHOOD: A MISTAKE, A DECISION, AND A RECONCILIATION

I had no plans to become a mother, so when those blue lines showed up—immediately and unmistakably dark on the pregnancy test—I cried. Not tears of joy. Not even tears of surprise, oh, I already knew. They were tears of deep dread, and a what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do feeling. I broke up with the father the week before, and I was happy to be rid of him after a mediocre two months of trying to will myself into feelings I didn’t have out of loneliness. My first instinct was abortion, but working as a bartender at a failing restaurant wasn’t exactly raking in the bucks. I knew I’d have to ask him to help pay for it. In true Millennial form, I told him I was pregnant via text message. We met up that night to talk about it, and I told him I was leaning toward having an abortion, but hadn’t made...

PROUD MOMMY HAS AN EMPTY NEST

I’m a single over 45-year-old mom, I have raised 2 beautiful daughters, the oldest left home and went away to college at 17 to another state back in 2004, she’s an educated woman, very loving, fun, graceful, a homegirl who has many friends that rely on her opinions, she’s organized, high spirited, and a world traveler, my youngest daughter graduated high school last year in May of 2016 she’s loving, very smart, very nice young woman, caring, happy go lucky, deep thinker, very artistic and I’m still trying to fully figure her out (smile). We have all lived away from my hometown and away from our immediate family together in the same state the past 4 years so that baby girl could have some guidance from her big sister and they could bond while the youngest went to hig...

BITCHES GET OLD

Everyone needs a Mawmaw Lessie. A precious, chubby, short grandma that loves to cook and loves being a grandma. When you visit, you gain three pounds just walking by the kitchen. She hugs you tight when you walk in the door, and you never ever have a doubt of how much you’re loved and treasured when you leave. I had a Mawmaw Lessie for a little while, so I know what I’m talking about. But my other grandmother…. Well. She is the anti-Mawmaw Lessie. When I tell people that my grandmother is a bitch, people are always shocked. She’s a grandmother! How could she possibly be anything but sweet and cute? Short and wrinkled, filled with years of wisdom and advice, surely I must be wrong?! No, I assure you, I am not. People ask, “How can someone that’s a grandmother be a bitch?” ...

HOW A SISTERHOOD HELPED ME FIND MYSELF

Growing up, I was a shy kid. I mainly kept to myself and to my books. Books were my lifeline and my glimpse into different worlds. Through high school, I had the same group of friends in my honors classes and never deviated. However, when I got to college, I thought I should try to get out of my shell. To be honest, freshman year was rough. The transition between home to a city filled with strangers was more than difficult. A month into the first semester, I called my mom and told her that I was going to drop out and move back home. Confusion and dread surrounded all of my thoughts. Luckily, I had a few close friends who let me lean on their shoulder and cry in the stairwell of my dorm (more than once). Sophomore year, I thought everything was going to be different. I thought to myself, “I...

STAY SAFE ON SNOW DAYS

Snow Day. Two words that often mean freedom and fun in the dead of winter, with an agenda that includes building a snowman, sledding on neighborhood hills and playing outside with friends. Nine-year-old Zachary Allen went to a friend’s house to play on a snow day. Zachary and his two friends were sledding in the backyard and walked onto a retention pond near their homes in a Powell neighborhood. Despite previous conversations with his parents about not going near the pond, Zachary’s curiosity got them best of him and he followed the other children onto the ice where it appeared frozen. Tragically, he fell into the frigid water. Zachary was able tread water while he determined the best route out of the water and swim to the side of the pond. He also had the endurance and strength to swim 20...

INVISIBLE MOTHERHOOD

When you are no longer pregnant, the world gets scarier. Grocery stores become your temple to cry in, As strangers walk by with empathy in their eyes unknowingly, why.   Your body will no longer be the center of a miracle, It will become a warzone. A reminder that love was once made here, That society wants to claim it for its own, Adjusting it accordingly. It will never hold this same experience.   When you are no longer pregnant, You will question your God more than you thank Him. You will feel ill prepared for the battle he has just sent you in. Begging for him to take it all back.   When you are no longer pregnant, You change. You will cry for the things that once scared you, Because now this seems scarier.   There will be no more massages, Gentle “we can do this,” ...

MOTHER KNOWS BEST

Seven months ago, I got into a severe car accident that seemed like it should have ended my life, but I walked out with merely a scratch from the glass on my left index finger. I couldn’t believe that it happened, much less that I was barely harmed. I spent six hours in the hospital crying and cracking sadistic jokes to myself in a continuous cycle until I finally got to leave at 2 A.M. That night, I realized just how short and precious life is. I was 21, worked full-time at a job I hated, and lived in a town I had no interest in. My boyfriend lived over 600 miles away and I still hadn’t finished my Bachelor’s degree. If I had died that afternoon, I would have never had the opportunity to really live, achieve my goals, or live my dreams. My boyfriend was coming to visit the next day, ironi...

DISCOVER YOURSELF THROUGH OTHERS

I’m Scottish, German, English, a little bit Irish, and probably a mix of some other things as well.  At some point the side conversation at the gala or event is brought to heritage. Small talk is a universal attempt to connect to strangers. As an American we tend to bring up our heritage, which is both fascinating and identifies a point to connect to others in this melting pot of a country. I’d argue that one shouldn’t just talk about the heritage of one’s past, but discover it instead. I’ve had this heritage conversation with hundreds of people and most of the time they casually mention a Polish grandmother, or how they think they are Irish because some cousin has red hair, or occasionally they pull the cool card of being distantly related to some former president. Most of the stories of ...

GRANDMA’S RULES

It’s 12:00 noon and I’m still here in the kitchen. I estimate I’ve been sitting at this wooden table for about 2 hours. My pencil-thin thighs are stuck to the vinyl, floral cushions that accompany each dinner chair and the whimsical sounds of a Wheel of Fortune re-run echo from the living room into the kitchen, which now feels like a jail cell. I unleash my thighs from their sticky state and scoot my butt to the end of my chair to peer into the living room, careful not to let my grandma see. She’s nose-deep in a crossword puzzle and drinking her third cup of coffee, ensuring her breath to smell of stale coffee beans all day. Past her tiny head patched with random tufts of thin curls, I see my sister. Brightly colored notebooks and crisp loose-leaf paper are neatly arranged on the cream car...

COMING TOGETHER, EVEN IN SMALL WAYS, CAN CONVEY A BIG MESSAGE

Like many Americans feeling a sense of unknown—I’ll just say it, despair—following the election, a group of six moms in Bloomington, Indiana, decided to do more than just talk (ok, cry) to each other. We needed to do something. Our goal was simple: outreach. Why? To say loud and clear that we do not support the instances of swastikas spray-painted on public trails, the sudden rise in occurrences of shouts of racial epithets, and other messages of unwelcome.  We will not let this behavior define our community. We decided to rage against it with messages of welcome, love, and community-building. This sounds lofty, doesn’t it? The truth is, it was that simple. We created a name, Bloomington Moms United, and dove headfirst in to an inaugural initiative. In two weeks, our voices were heard. Our...

DAUGHTER OF TEEN PARENTS

Traditionally, people go to college, get a job, get married and then have kids. My parents practically went down the road less traveled. Well, not practically, they did. My parents were 18 when they found out I was on the way. I’m not too sure what their initial feelings were considering I can’t hear through placenta walls, but I do know they were happy when I was born (I think? I hope? They’ve better been). At the time my dad was only a bagger at a grocery store near my childhood home named Raley’s. He still tells me stories to this day about how he won some intense bagging competition that was held by his work. Obviously no 18 year old, fresh-out-of-high-school guy, who’s making minimum wage, would be anything less than scared and nervous to hear such news. I’m positive it was both...

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