Tag Archives: mommy

Why I Nurse in Church (Without a Cover)

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I’ve been working on this essay, off & on, for several weeks. I’m pretty proud of it, although I’m still tweaking it. I think that, despite needing further detail edits, my voice is pretty strong here. I’m satisfied enough to post it.

I realize that someone my read this who could choose to be offended by it, either the subject or my attitude regarding it. However, I feel strongly that breastfeeding in church is a pertinent issue affecting moms today, and that it is relevant to my personal life, to the breastfeeding world at large, and to the strangely oversensitive Christian church & culture, in general. I won’t apologize for these personal beliefs.

So if breastfeeding offends you and you have nothing nice to say about it, please disregard this post and seek your mental nourishment elsewhere.

I’m sad that I even have to say that. :-(

For those who will, enjoy my recent essay. :-)

Read the rest of this entry

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Sometimes, a kind smile is all we need…& wet wipes.

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Thank you, to the kind, older woman who took pity on the frantic, overwhelmed, not-entirely-sane mommy kneeling on the floor in a Target bathroom in front of her poop-covered preschooler while wearing her other baby yesterday afternoon.

You heard the panic in my voice, you knew how close I was to losing all my common sense, & then you realized how you could help me. You provided me with four wet wipes from your purse to clean the poop off of my potty-learning preschooler who had an accident during our shopping trip.

I don’t know how I appeared to you in that moment, but I know that, to me, you appeared to be an angel. My thank you was the most sincere, heart-felt, relieved group of words I’d spoken all day. You absolutely saved me in that moment, & you saved my poor daughter, too.

You heard the crushing tones I used while speaking to & around my little girl. You knew I was speaking from a place of fear & humiliation, not of love & understanding. And you helped me.

I wish I knew who you were, so I could thank you properly. But since I don’t, I will simply remember, forever, the simple kindness you showed me & the much-needed aid you provided. (I also will not forget to keep wet wipes in my purse again.)

Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for taking a moment to bring me back to my senses & providing me a moment to ground myself & regroup. And thanks for helping me to remember that my daughter deserves more than a frantic, frustrated mother who cannot control her own tongue in an overwhelming moment. I apologized profusely to her & listened to her tell me how upset it made her. I am shamed by my initial reaction, & I thank God that you were there.

What may seem like the simplest, easiest gesture to you was, in fact, an eye-opening moment for me that I won’t forget.

Thank you.

We all need help at some time or other. Have you ever had a complete stranger help you in a moment of weakness or need? Do you remember a time when you assisted someone unexpectedly? I’d love to hear about it! The kindness of strangers is a beautiful reminder of how much good there still is in humankind.

Ode to My Daughter

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Here’s a little ditty that I wrote for my eldest daughter this year. She is my miracle child, & she amazes me. Sometimes, when I watch her, words just seem to flow through my mind, like a song. They echo & resonate. They’re not much, as far as words go, but the emotion they express fills me each time they sail through my brain again. I love being a mom.

My eldest hunting for Easter eggs.

My eldest hunting for Easter eggs.


Ode to My Daughter

I love to watch you dance & run,
I love to hear you sing.
I love to listen to your jokes
& push you on the swing.

I love to make tomato soup
& eat some cheese with you.
I love to snuggle on the couch.
Your smile lights up the room.

I love to look into your eyes
that look so much like mine.
I love that you are sweet & smart.
I love that you are kind.

I love to cuddle you close to me.
I love when you are wild.
I love that you were given to me.
I love that you’re my child.

– Started 2/14/2013

Do you write poetry? Add your link in the comments & share your inspiration!

Children need to be liked

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“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

That’s what my dad told me when I was in my early teens, & it still rings in my ears to this day.

I don’t remember why he said it or how the conversation came about. What I took away from it is that my dad didn’t think I was a good person. When I’m feeling insecure as an adult, which is more often than I like to admit, his voice & those words still echo in my head. They make me question my value, my worth.

If my own dad couldn’t like me, why would anyone?

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

Especially as I’ve gotten older & had children of my own, I think I can understand what he was saying. He didn’t like choices I was making. He didn’t like attitudes I displayed. He didn’t like how I treated others at times.

But what he told me is that he didn’t like me.

So obviously, there is something wrong with me. I am defective in some way.

He never told me why he didn’t like me very much. If he’d tried, I’m not sure it would have mattered. The fact is that, according to him, anything likeable about me was negated by the rest of me.

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

Those were his exact words. I still remember his exact words. They’ve defined a part of me that I’m not sure will ever change.

Most of us take our parents love for granted. Most of us assume that they like us, too.

Can you imagine if your parent(s) didn’t like you? What kind of hit to your self-esteem do you suppose that would be? Would you wonder how in the world they could love you if they couldn’t even like you? Would it make you doubt their love? Would it make you wonder if anyone ever truly liked you if your own parent didn’t? How important would it be to you, then, whether or not other people liked you? What would you do to get someone to like you?

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

As parents, we are the creators & protectors of our children, from their physical bodies to their emotional development, even down to influencing their personalities. We help them define who they are and how they see themselves.

We wield so much power.

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

Even though I now think he really meant that he didn’t like certain things I was doing or saying, a part of me can never say for certain that my dad actually liked me. Since he died seven years ago, I can’t ask him either.

I try to consider how he treated me to give myself some perspective. That’s a tough one, since he crossed over to the dark side (in other words, physical & verbal abuse) on several occasions. It’s hard to not believe that he wouldn’t have beaten me if he’d liked me.

What did I do to make my dad not like me?

I’ve answered that question in a hundred different ways over the years. None of that made me feel any better, nor did it “cure” my battered self-esteem.

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

I’ve spent most of my life since that day trying to fix myself. I’ve done things I’m ashamed of in order to “earn” someone liking me. I’ve changed my personality, altered my physical appearance, participated in risky behavior, all to earn that elusive “like” of which I’m so undeserving.

It affects almost every relationship I’ve had since, even my marriage. I doubt almost every person’s claim of love. I analyze every compliment. I worry any time someone is “busy” & can’t spend time with me. I question whether people really want me or just want something from me. I accept every criticism in complete & utter humiliation as just more proof of how worthless I am.

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

It became the defining statement of my life.

“I love you, but I don’t like you very much.”

I’m now a mother. I look at my children. I’m filled with the most ferocious, overwhelming love that often threatens to swallow me whole. I would do anything, ANYTHING, to preserve their physical safety, their emotional health, their mental development, their sensitive spirits, their very souls.

And I like them. A lot.

I like their inquisitive minds. I like their questions. I like that they call for Mommy when they’re scared or hungry or lonely or bored. I like their intelligence. I like their smiles. I like their view of the world. I like that they don’t fear me (or much of anything else, for that matter). I like to be there for them, to calm them down when they’re overwhelmed, to share in their simple triumphs, to watch as understanding dawns across their beautiful faces.

I like them. I like who they are. I like who they will become. I like how I feel when I’m with them. I like that they came from me. I like that I see the future in them.

I like them, & so I tell them.

“I love you, and I really like you, too.”

It’s the only way I know how to quiet my father’s voice. Whenever I sense its presence, I pull whichever child is nearby and handy into a big hug and whisper those words. The words I wish I’d heard instead.

“I love you, and I really like you, too.”

I say it often. No one ever sees us. No one ever hears it but my girls. Sometimes, they don’t even hear it except in their dreams. But I’m imprinting it on their souls.

To me, they’re the most miraculous part of life. They are a wonder. No matter where they go, what they do, who they become, they will always amaze me. I will always love them, & I will always like them, too.

“I love you, and I really like you, too.”

If I don’t like something they’re doing, then I have to look at myself & figure out what I’ve been teaching them.

If we don’t like our children, who learn from & mimic us, then really, isn’t it possible that we just don’t like ourselves? And is that really their fault? And are we really so unlikable? Really?

“I love you, and I really like you, too.”

Our children take our love for granted. I want my children to take my like for granted, too.

Because ultimately, while we all want to be loved, don’t we all really want to be liked, too?

I like my girls. I bet you like your children, too.

You should tell them.

To the New First-Time Mommies

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Dear New Mommy,

Today I’ve been thinking back to when my eldest child was newborn & all the helpful (& less-than-helpful) advice people would give me.

Quite frankly, I’ve forgotten most of it, which is probably just as well.

But there’s one thing I remember…& I remember it crystal clearly.

One day at some gathering of people from our church, a lady I knew (& still know) commented on what she considered to be my over-protectiveness of my newborn child. She laughed at me and told me that I was cute & funny (read “silly”) & would “get over it” with my second child. I was as taken aback by her callous comment as I was embarrassed for being “That Mom.”

Was I really so over-protective? Was it wrong for me to want my first & only child in my sight & presence as much as possible? Was the risk of a simple cold really worth demanding people wash their hands before holding my precious baby? Was the seizing of my heart whenever I saw her in a potentially dangerous situation (from my “over-protective” perspective) something that I should have better control over? Was I being silly?

As a new mom, you may have already been told something similar. If you haven’t yet, you will. It’s practically a rite-of-passage, I think. And it doesn’t always come from the cold, condescending acquaintance. I have friends who’ve heard it from their close friends, their in-laws, other family members, even their own mothers.

It’s as if being a new mommy to this incredible creature means you’re suddenly open to being condescended to & having every natural, protective instinct questioned or ridiculed.

I just wanted to tell you that, no, it doesn’t.

I just wanted to encourage you to keep listening to your instincts. You’re doing a good job.

Right now you’re starting a journey that, from what I can tell, has no end. The worry & concern & wanting your baby with you & need to protect. I’m a few years into it now, & it hasn’t gotten any easier.

In fact, it’s gotten harder! Because now that little baby who only went where I took her, who only went with whomever I gave her, has suddenly got her own agenda. SHE’S the one ready to take the world onto her skinny little shoulders without a second thought to the heart attack she’s giving her mother.

I’ve since added Baby #2 to the mix, & yes, that lady from my church was right…to some degree. But in some other ways she was wrong.

I’m still quite focused on my baby’s safety, but my natural instinct is tempered by my increased experience.

And that’s kinda how it works, you know?

With everything.

It’s so easy for mothers to condescend to those they see as “less than” them. But you’re not “less than.” You’re just new. And that’s beautiful & exciting &, quite simply, the bees knees!

Yes, if you end up with more children, it will probably be a little easier with each one. You’ll probably panic less. You’ll probably relinquish more control. At least in some areas.

But this new little one you’ve got? Well, honestly? She’s your test drive. She’s your “starter pack.” She’s the one with whom you earn your wings.

You’re learning as much, if not more, from her as she’s learning from you. Things that will make parenting the next precious baby just a tad easier. (Breastfeeding is a classic example of this in my life.)

And because of that, it’s quite possible you’ll always love her a little “differently” than the others. Not more. Just different. Because she’s your first.

Maybe it won’t ring true for you, but I know it’s true for me anyway.

So feel free to ignore all those other mommies out there who might scoff at your “over-protectiveness.”

They’re probably not really rooting for you, but there are plenty of other mommies who are. Surround yourself with those.

Keep your head up, & keep listening to your instincts. You’re doing just fine.