Come on, Mamas

My sister is working on this project. This project to help us mamas celebrate ourselves. She is trying to put together this slide show with pictures of mamas with a quote saying what they've learned about themselves over the past year. As women. As mamas. As guardians of tiny – or not-so-tiny – humans. To lift us up, during the one time each year that we allow ourselves to do that.

Here's the problem: we're not worthy. We don't think we're worthy. What do I mean? 

My people – my people who are my go-to people, the ones who I call sobbing because I'm sad, or I'm frustrated, or I dyed my hair bright freaking red – are silent over this request. And, when I press them, they say "I just don't know what to say. I don't have any good photos of myself." What I hear is "I'm not enough. As a mama, I am never enough." 

I know this because my own photo isn't done. Because I feel like I'm not doing a good job. I am never doing a good enough job with these tiny humans who have been entrusted to my care. I am failing them. Every. Single. Day.

But if you asked me to do this for any of my people, I would be able to give at least five reasons why they are a great mama. Five things have learned from them over these last twelve months about being a mama. So, anonymously, I say these things to them, my favorite people in the world. They know who they are.

  • One of you learned that sometimes doing the right thing by your kid means that you move to a better school district, you make the best of what turned out to be not what you thought, and you try to move again really quickly before your kid notices just what kind of place you ended up moving to. 
  • One of you learned that sometimes life can change in an instant, and you end up feeling so grateful that it ended up being okay after all. But you hug your kids and especially your husband a little tighter every day, just in case.
  • One of you learned that you can do really hard things. Like be a "tough mudder" and put on a brave face when hard things happen – like losing your family pet or your kid breaking a bone. Because when you tell them it will be okay, your tiny humans believe you. And that is amazing.
  • One of you learned that the third baby is not "one more." It is a LOT more. It is EXPONENTIALLY more. Even so, you are now a "party of five." And it is perfect.
  • One of you learned that being a stay-at-home mom is harder than you thought, and kind of lonely. And you miss your extended family, especially your own mom. But you are rocking it anyway. 
  • One of you learned that you're going to join this crazy ride that we call motherhood, and I know you're going to be a natural at it. 
  • One of you learned that sometimes you have to stop making sacrifices for other people and do what is right for you. Because at the end of the day, if the mama isn't happy then the tiny humans aren't happy. They know. They always know. 

But still….I don't know what I will say on my own photo. But I imagine it will be something like this.

"This year, I learned to breathe more. To yell less. And to wake up tomorrow and try again. And again. And again. It never gets easier, but I am learning to go easier on myself and on my tiny humans." 

So, if I asked you to participate in this project, and you didn't think you could – please reconsider. And if I didn't ask you, please leave a comment and tell me you want to join our little project.

Because if you care enough to think you aren't enough, I am willing to bet that you most certainly are. Xo.

 


 

In honor of Mother's Day and this project, I am going to do my first giveaway. The ROPES Maine was kind enough to send me a couple of their bracelets to help promote the blog. Obviously, I was over the moon.

One, because this is my first giveaway. Two, because bracelets from The ROPES are on my very short list of absolute favorite things. I have many, and my wrist feels naked without at least one. And three, because any time I can talk about Maine and the awesome things Mainers do and what a cool state we live in, I want to do that.

Here's how this first giveaway is going to work. If you submit a photo (via email to alwaysperfectlyimperfectblog@gmail.com or on the Facebook page) for the Mother's Day project, you are entered. If you leave a comment below (you don't have to be a mama to comment!), you are entered. (Up to two entries per person – one for a photo, one for a comment.) The giveaway ends Monday at 9 pm EST, and I will send the winner the green and gold bracelet show on the far right.

If you don't want to take a chance that you're going to win a ROPES bracelet here, or you want one in time for Mother's Day, there are some great local shops selling these. My favorite is spaces kennebunkport. They have a phenomenal website, too, in case you aren't local. 


UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!

A sincere thank you to everyone who participated in the Mother's Day video project. The final product is located here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC7Vr_5ge6k&feature=youtu.be

Also, congratulations to Layne Woodward, our ROPES bracelet winner! Xo.

Best Friends & Orange Soda (Gratitude – Day 16)

First thing's first – this is a judgement-free zone. So don't, you know, judge me.

Okay. Now. K and I have been looking forward to the new Twilight movie since the last one came out a year ago. It has been a long time. Strangely, our husbands do not share our enthusiasm or want to rush out to see it on opening weekend. Weird. 

I think we actually saw the last one – I know I did, anyway – alone. But that isn't fun and it feels kind of sad. So this time, we picked a movie theater halfway between our houses, enlisted our husbands to watch the tiny humans and saw it together. On opening day. With a bunch of other 30 and 40 something ladies and a handful of teenagers playing hooky. Best movie date ever.

And as if watching my favorite movie series with my best friend wasn't enough, she even went to get the snacks. When she returned to our seats, she was carrying a giant orange soda and a box of  Sno Caps – best movie theater snacks ever. Best friend ever.

So today I am grateful for my best friend and that she knows my favorite movie theater snacks. That is one of the only things about aging that I enjoy – as I get older, she gets older and our friendship gets older. And it seems more and more important to hold onto my people, especially the ones who knew me before I was a wife and a mama. 

I hope sometime in the next year or so (here we go New Year's Resolutions!) to take more time out from being a wife and mama to connect with my people as people. As the people we were and are separate from our tiny humans. It is important. Taking a break is important. 

Can New Moms & Old Moms Be Friends?

There is this scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where the title characters are debating whether men and women can ever really be friends. It is a recurring theme throughout the film, which I am sure you know. (If you don't know, I'm not sure how we know each other because I believe in and quote this movie like other people do the Bible.) And because I often relate my real life to my favorite movies, I had a play date the other day that made me think of a similar conundrum with a twist:

Can new moms and old moms ever really be friends? 

"New" and "old" are of course in reference not to age but amount of time entrenched in motherhood. I'd say the cutoff for newbies is one year, but it is open for debate. It also factors in how many children you have, so maybe new moms are new moms until they welcome another small human into their world. Because all of us "old" moms know how much more things seem to change upon arrival of the second one – not just double, as one might imagine, but exponentially.

What brought me to this conundrum was a playdate with a friend who I hadn't seen since my baby shower when I was expecting T. It's been a loooong time. She is now a new mom to a 16ish month old boy, expecting a little girl this summer. We were always friendly, attended each other's weddings, etc. and seemed to have a good rapport. So when she mentioned getting together, I thought "sure, why not?"

In retrospect, there were so many "why nots." The most obvious being that she is still a "new mom" and I am an "old mom." She still travels with snacks for her kid. She hasn't succumbed to allowing the television to babysit her child yet. Her kid doesn't kick, or hit, or bite other kids – yet. See the pattern here? "Still, yet." Because all of us old moms would wager a guess that these are things – like many others – that will change in the coming months with the arrival of baby number 2.

So when A decide to act like her bedroom was a steel cage match and the prize was her toys, rather than that she was having a new friend over to play, I think my old friend/new mom was more than a little shell-shocked and horrified. Add to that an infinite chorus of T screaming "Moooooommmmm, can I play Angry Birds on your iPad? Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee?" and we had a recipe for the worst play date EVER. Whereas my "old mom" friends wouldn't bat an eyelash, because they know what I know – we've all been there at one stage or another, with one kid or another.

I have to give my old friend/new mom credit, she toughed it out for longer than I would have as a new mom to T. She was gracious about A being vicious, ill-tempered and mean. She even offered up the obligatory "we should do this again sometime" on her way out the door.

But my husband (who is benefited/cursed by having a home office and got an earful of our ill-fated playdate) summed it up best when he emerged from his office after the wailing had finally abated and said, "so, you'll never see her again." To which I replied, "of course I will. In about six months or a year, when she's an old mom."

Until then, to my old friend/new mom – thank you for trying to be gracious and putting on a brave face. I forgive you for whatever you told your husband about my children when you recapped the event. And I look forward to hanging out again sometime in several months – I bet we'll be able to laugh about this then.

PS The inspiration for this post came partially from K, for when I told her about our ill-fated play date, I believe her response was something along the lines of "Oh L, you know better than to hang out with new moms." And yes, I do.