Articles

Do I go three months without posting articles I have written for other websites? Why, yes. Yes, I do.

For your reading pleasure:

It’s Time to Dress Like a Woman,” Mamalode, February 2017.

This Black History Month, Let’s Discuss the Pay Gap for Women of Color,” Parent.Co, February 2017.

16 Acts of Self-Care that can Help Change the World,” Parent.Co, February 2017.

What is the Value of an Education to a Stay at Home Mom?” Parent.Co, February 2017.

The Best Way to ‘Go Green?’ Go outside,” Parent.Co, February 2017.

Why I’m Raising My Sons to be Feminists,” Parent.Co, January 2017.

Paid Family Leave Would Actually Make Businesses Stronger,” Parent.Co, January 2017.

6 Resolutions We Hope Our Elected Officials Make This Year,” January 2017.

Is Part-Time Employment the Ideal Situation for Working Parents?” Parent.Co, January 2017.

A Lack of Paid Sick Leave in the U.S. Is a Public Health Concern,” Parent.Co, January 2017.

You Spend a Ton of Money on Child Care, So Why Are Caregivers so Poorly Paid?” Parent.Co, January 2017.

If You’ve been to One Family Holiday Party, You’ve been to them All.”

The Crock-Pot and the Promise of Having it all,” Parent.Co, December 2016.

7 Books that Teach Young Children about Racial and Social Justice,” Parent.Co, December 2016.

What I tell My Kids about Working Moms,”Parent.Co, December 2016.

Pumping at Work: Rights, Tips, and Tricks,” Parent.Co, December 2016.

How Much is a Stay-at-Home Mom Really Worth?,” Parent.Co, November 2016.

Paternity Leave is Essential to Building Healthy Families,” Parent.Co, November 2016.

Find your voice

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My husband told me if I wanted to become a writer, I needed to set aside time every day to write and develop my voice. At least that’s what his favorite sports blogger had suggested.

I don’t do that. And I don’t particularly want to do it tonight. Instead, I want to go back upstairs, lounge on my couch, watch TV and knit a hat that I will finish just in time for next winter.

I don’t want to find my voice. I want to rest my voice, to go the next hour without saying a single word to anyone. I don’t want to say,

“Pull up your pants.”
“No, you can’t pee on the floor.”
“Just try the spinach.”
“Should we count them? 1, 2, 3, 4…”
“Once upon a time…”

I just want a bit of silence. Or rather, the mind-numbing noise that comes out of a cable network dramedy that can drown out any of the voices bouncing around my head for an hour.

Those are the voices I want to ignore. The ones saying things like,

“You really should have done more today.”
“Why aren’t you folding the laundry?”
“Should you really be eating that ice cream? Don’t you know sugar is bad for you?”
“Why did you let the kids have so much sugar today?”
“And watch so much TV?”
“Why aren’t you writing? You can’t just say, ‘I want to become a writer’ without actually writing.”

You become a mother the moment you hear your child’s voice. Truthfully, probably before that – the moment you hear a heart beating and see it flashing on a screen, or the moment you think to yourself, “This is real.” But that first loud complaint, their protest against the light, and the cold, and the freedom is what transforms us.

The subsequent ones are not as darling. The ones that wake you in the middle of the night, the ones that come after hours of trying to figure out anything that could possibly be causing them discomfort, the ones that demand a different meal for dinner – those have lost their charm. They leave you bedraggled, thinking please just five minutes peace.

In the years since my children were born, I have watched them find their voices to both my delight and dismay. Their demands for food and comfort are much louder and specific than a newborn’s cry, but less heartbreakingly urgent. They tell me I am the worstest mama in the world. They tell me I am the bestest mama in the world. They ask me unanswerable questions, or at least questions that would require a PhD in astrophysics to answer. They mispronounce words and I don’t dare to correct them, because how long will they say,

“Mama, I’m tiwed and want to go to fweep.”

And in those years, I have had to find my own voice as well. I’ve had to break out of my shell and introduce myself to mothers at playgrounds. I’ve had to speak up when a doctor dismisses my concerns. I’ve had to advocate, cheer, console, and correct every day for the past four years.

I write so I don’t forget what these years are like. I write in case maybe, possibly someone out there feels the same way I do. I write to exist in a world where stay-at-home mothers often fade into the background. I write because I have changed so much since becoming a mother that sometimes I feel like I no longer know who I am.

And so I write to find my voice.

 

The Melt


The world is melting. 

I can hear it outside my window. First, a few drops dripped down optimistically. Now there is a steady deluge pouring through my gutters. It sounds as if it were raining, but I know it is only my roof. Soon, the snow covered hill my small town is built on will flow freely, flooding the valley below. 

I hear the crows calling a little more clearly today. They give me hope that their gentler cousins will soon return to our yard. I long to see my children again covered in grass stains, storming through the fields. I want them to smell the first yellow dandelion that struggled out of the frozen ground, smiling with her bright face as if to say, “I persisted.”

It has been a long and cold winter in my corner of the country. “Record Cold Temperatures” and “Unprecedented Snowfall” have been the headlines for so many days that I no longer bother with the forecast. Cold. Snowy. I know. 

This winter has given us as many days in single temperatures than not. And on the many days when the cold air has stubbornly stayed in the negatives, I struggle to find anything positive. Cozy cups of cocoa have started to burn my threat, and wool blankets scratch my skin. Candles dance as if to mock me, reminding me of a time when light came from the sky. 

I hear the world melting, and I long to stretch my bones again. But I remind myself it is only February, and spring is yet a long ways off. It will snow, again and again. And I will start to believe that the time of joy-filled change will never return. 

But there is movement now. The earth has begun to shove off its command that all must be cold, white, and silent. I see the cracks across the lake, and I know. 

Springtime is coming.