Mission Statement

We are a people who tell stories in one form or another.
After all isn't blogging just another way to gather around and tell those stories?

Motherhood is Painless is about finding the humor in the every day. In finding the happiness in those stories that we tell. What would happen if we *all* learned to laugh at ourselves? Maybe then the dark corners would recede a bit and we would all rejoice at the love we find there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Eyes Wide Open

There comes a point when you cannot possibly shut your eyes any more. When the truth is shining its light so brightly that to ignore it is to ignore something far more fundamental.

Like so many other people in this country, the results of the 2016 election have left me reeling. I didn’t fully understand the depth to which the racism and hatred had sunk the morale of the nation.

I live in a bubble - New York City. Our neighborhood is one of the most racially and culturally diverse in the city, making it probably the most diverse in the country. I can count on one hand the people I talk to regularly that voted with the conservative faction.

So, there it is.
I tried to talk to those people to find out why they made the choices that they did. I couldn’t get through. I listened, and offered alternatives. But even if I could make them listen, it’s too late, the votes have been cast, and peoples views have been exposed. Like flipping a rock in the garden, to reveal the maggots and bugs underneath.

My kids, young as they are, are scared. Scared for their friends. Their school has a student population of mostly immigrant families. Ben is worried about the wall. He wonders whether his friends will have to go back to their countries until the next president can tear that wall down again. Claire is worried for the safety of her Muslim friends, many of whom wear headscarves. And if they don’t yet wear them, have mothers who do.

They haven’t yet begun to worry about their dad, flying around the country for work. They are too young to have experienced terrorism on that scale. But their school experience has included lockdown drills and active shooter drills since they began attending.  

When I heard the news about the election, I cried. I let the disapppointment crush me for a while, as I lay on the bed sobbing about the lost hope I was feeling. I took another few days to properly grieve the hope of President Hillary Clinton. Then I woke up, and I’m going to stay woke for the rest of my day.

Now, I am making phone calls, speaking my mind for the first time in years. Planning and participating. This past weekend our neighborhood put together a bake sale in our local park. We raised $3600 for two local non-profits that support the immigrants that live here.

Bit by bit, we will find our strength again, I have to believe in that. I cannot allow myself to lose hope and I will keep my eyes open and looking towards the future.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Short Takes

  • Husband is traveling again. Like every weekday for the last two weeks, and again next week.
  • The kids and I are muddling along. There are rough patches, ugly behavior from all of us. As a result my migraines are on the rise again. 
  • Also my consumption of crappy food. And snacks before bed. 
  • Yes, I know there is a correlation between the bad eating and the headaches. 
  • There are golden moments too.
  • The kids are super excited about Halloween. Claire is dressing as Hermione Granger, Ben as Kylo Ren. I am going as a Ghostbuster, maybe. Dave, if he is here, is going as Han Solo. 
  • I might just stick with this short format for a while, until I can figure out something longer to write.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Loss for Words

For years, I've told people the same thing "I'm a writer." when they asked what I did. "I have a blog" I'd say, sharing this name with them.

But the fact of the matter is, I haven't written here in months. I've opened up new posts, stared blankly at them and shut them again. I've written an introduction and saved it as a draft a handful of times too, but the last published post was at the end of May. The whole summer, and a hefty chunk of the autumn has passed with nary a word from the likes of me.

The past two years, I went to a fantastic blogging conference, learned a ton, made fantastic friends, and owned my blogging mojo. This year, I'm not going. I'll miss it, but I'm slowly realizing that unless I were making money at this, or any online pursuits, it's not worth the expense to attend.

So what?
Am I a blogger anymore?
When I stare into the void what do I want to stare back at me?

I wish I knew what I was supposed to do next.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Zoo-topia? Zoo-mazing!

Sometimes we get the chance to do something as a family that is memory-making. Sure, we’re supposed to strive for that all the time, but how often is it that we’re just trying to occupy the hours of a weekend, keeping the kids from whining the whole time.

This weekend was one of those special weekends. A while back I signed us up for the Bronx Zoo Family Overnight Safari.

It’s one of my bucket list activities. And it was worth every penny.

We arrived in the late afternoon, as the daily visitors were just leaving. Checked in with the organizers and were given a packet of information and were directed where to pitch our tent. Once we were set up, we could go to the starting point.

It was easy enough to get our tent and sleeping gear ready for the night. The kids spent their time getting to know neighbors (Ben) and leaning against a tree, reading (Claire.) Once the gear was ready, we headed over to the picnic area.

Insert photo of Ben in tent

Opening the envelope, I found four buttons with our names and the animal that represented our team for the duration of the event. We were armadillos! There was also a schedule for the team for the evening, and a passport of sorts.

(I have pictures I want to add, but technological issues are keeping them safe, ON MY PHONE.)

Once the groups finished dinner and broke into their groups, the fun began.
At each location, we had certain tasks to complete on our way to becoming “Zoofari Adventurers”

We went to the reptile house, where the kids’ made terrariums of their favorite habitat. We learned about field research and helped a team of researchers hunt for poachers, while riding the zoo’s tram. We helped a team identify animals with a night vision camera. Claire loved this part, since it involved some of the kids dressing up as their favorite animals. We also attempted to mimic owl cries and hunt for bats in the evening sky.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the portion where we went to a classroom and learned more about identifying animals from the clues they might leave behind. It wasn’t the lesson that was important, but the animals that we got to meet. We met a pair of juvenile penguins! And got to pet a baby American alligator and were introduced to Callisto, the two-toed sloth.

(This is supposed to be a picture of penguins, damn it.)

Once the tour portion of the evening was over, the whole group met up for a snack and a sing-along. Then it was off to bed. The only blip in the evening was the location of our tent, which was directly under one of the bright white street lamps. Which stay on all. The. Damn. Night. Long.

Dave was able to wrap our tent in a tarp to soften the light a little, but we were all so tired, I don’t think it would have mattered either way.

I was awake with the sun, early the next morning. The Bronx Zoo has a healthy population of birds - roosters and peacocks especially - that like to make a huge fuss in the morning. Still, it was nice to lie in my warm sleeping bag and feel the world around me. I love waking up next to my kids like that. Ben was burrowed so deeply that only the barest wisps of his curls peeked out. Claire was so snuggled in she was all but invisible.

Once we were awake, we packed up our gear and headed to breakfast. Afterwards, there were a few more events we had to complete in order to finish our “graduation.”

I’m so glad we had the chance to make these memories with our kids.

Insert picture of t-shrt?

#bxovernight #makememories #familystrong #familyfuntimes

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Back in the habit

I started something, a while ago.
I’d come to our friendly neighborhood indie coffee shop once a week - sit here with my laptop and write. I worked through some stuff, and I was able to put my thoughts about Ben and his ADHD into order here on the page, and ultimately on the blog.

It worked, for a long time.

But then the coffee shop closed down for a while to renovate. I didn’t want to write someplace else, and I am loyal. I loved the cozy atmosphere here. It was usualy quiet, and I could spill my words out and find a quiet place inside. I tried writing at home, but it didn’t work for me.

After months and months, I am back. I’ll have to get used to the space again. It’s different. The cafe expanded, so it sounds different, it feels different.

But I have something else on my side. During the winter, while I wasn’t writing, I was walking. Miles and miles, actually, with two friends. Two women who share this same journey with me. Stay-home moms of older kids. (Our daughters are all the same age, turning nine this year.) Facing the same struggles and questions about ourselves and our place in the world. Figuring out our older kids.

All winter, we’ve been helping each other answer a lot of the same questions that I have been writing about. We’ve held each other up, found solutions and found some peace in this phase of the journey. (I’ve also discovered a capacity for walking five or six miles at a time, developed a serious Michael’s craft store habit and probably could use some new pants. Whoo!)

Today I’m writing, and one of those moms is next to me - finding her voice too. We’ve decided to meet here at the cafe, once a week, and work on our craft.

Of course, it’s not without a hiccup or two. I started writing today about bullying and whatever I wrote is lost to the ether...it didn’t save. I’ve also lost the piece I started about a week ago, about the general bitchiness I feel whenever anyone talks about the Mommy Wars.

But it’s OK, in the end, I’ll be back here again. And again.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Catching Up

Now that the holidays are well and far behind us, I can start to think about other things.

I could tell you so much - but where to begin?

I'm reeling. It's been a long, nutty of a month. Both kids had lice, and I spent days and days, washing things, vacuuming other things and generally being a boss about it. Thanks be to God that we've seen the end of that.

I could tell you about the uptick in Dave's travel schedule. Seriously, I should dedicate some time to that one. He's been home one full week since the holidays. He's never gone the whole five days of a work week.

I'm worried about the long-term toll that having a traveling dad is having on our family. We both hate that he can't be involved as much as he'd like to be. The kids are confused. They become so accustomed to just relying on me, that when he is here, they bypass him for me. It hurts him so much when they walk by him, and head for me. And I hate that I feel like the linchpin holding the family together. I hate that there seem to be an ever evolving set of rules for "Mom's Time and "Mom and Dad time."

I've wanted to talk about it for so long, but when I try, I feel like I'm whining. Give me time to sort it out.

It's Sunday, the kids are playing Minecraft, and I'm taking a moment to stop and breathe.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Back in the swing

Now that we've settled all of that, I needed some space. I needed to get the words I wrote out into the universe.

Ben is still Ben. Some days are great, and some are downright awful. And that will always be there.

Winter has been slow in coming. It's warm and rainy today. A year ago, there was snow, and cold. On the one hand, it doesn't feel like Christmas is a a week away. But, on the other, it's really fantastic to have so many opportunities to play outside.

I wish I had more to say, but I don't. So Happy Holidays everyone.
God bless us every one.