DON'T MISS OUT!

Dear Mothers, Love Sarah


Dear Mothers of Newborns, and Babies and Maybe Even Toddlers-

When I look back at my 26 years of parenting I have a few regrets.  Not regrets that keep me up at night, but things I would do differently if I could do it all over again.  I wrote a post about it here and I have more to say so here we go.

Please stop putting pressure on yourself to "get back to normal" as soon as possible.  Don't try to keep up with the crazy pressure today (more than I ever had) to be in shape and thin and exercising and fitting into all your clothes.  For God's sake alive, avoid Instagram with all those moms with a photo of a baby in and then a baby out like 1 week later and they look like they never had one.  Ridiculous and highly suspicious.  (I never ever lost my baby weight when I was nursing and sometimes I actually gained the weight right back because I craved carbs.  I never felt like exercising when I was pregnant or nursing.)   It's okay to put that on the back burner and it's no stinkin' contest, that contest comes at a cost and is pretty darn shallow.   One day you will look back and think who the hell cares, look how cute I was with that cutest ever baby who now has hairy legs and a deep voice and is never home.

Don't, if you can avoid it at all costs, even if it means a major lifestyle change, put pressure on yourself to get back to work when your heart is telling you something else.  Everyone who looks like they can handle it easily and it's not a big deal is lying or pretending, or has major major help behind the scenes.  Spread it out-life is about seasons and phases and life if you are lucky is long.  

Please don't put pressure on yourself to attend events, any events, or classes, or groups, ever, if you are not comfortable attending without your baby, or with your baby because you are nursing, or if it will throw off your very hard work to establish any semblance of a schedule that makes you sane, or will tire you out to much.  Or just because you don't want to.  There will be so many easier years.  So many.

And finally, give yourself a great big break.  You grew a human person inside you and now you have to keep that human person alive and he or she is completely dependent on you for staying alive around the clock.  That is a TON of work.  And responsibility.   
When old people like me say "Oh just enjoy it" don't get mad at us.  We are smarter than you and know better.  What we are saying is stop being stressed out by keeping up with the crazy pace of today's world or by silly things that mean nothing in the end.  Nothing!  Stop trying to do so much and stop thinking you have to do this and that and having a million places to be and and a million things to do.  STOP and adjust and shuffle your life around to make space for this wonderful thing called motherhood.  Stop and make space so you can enjoy it!

Love,
Sarah

Blueberry or Raspberry Lemon Muffins


These muffins are easy and delicious.  If you don't have lemon extract, use vanilla, and if you don't have half-and-half cream use milk.  I almost always put all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients into my mixer at once to make it easier, but add fruit last and just mix gently. They will still be delicious!


2 cups flour

1 cup sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries, whatever you'd prefer
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Combine the eggs, cream, oil and lemon extract: stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fold in berries, carefully!
Spoon into paper lined muffin cups.
Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes.
Yields 18 muffins.

Joy


Have you ever made a list of the things that bring you joy?  That make you feel good?  Or the things you want right now to happen in your life?

I recently did this and came up with a list of about twelve things, everything from very difficult things that will take time and help from others to work through, and little things that will take discipline, and other things that just take me carving out time.  

Hobbies, weaknesses, struggles, health issues, habits.  What you want to accomplish, and how you want to show up in life.  What is important to you?  Priorities for the day, the month or the year, or life.

And example of something that really compromises my day-to-day joy is my hip and wrist pain.  Today I am calling a physical therapist.  The alternative is to go through my life without having full mobility or living with pain.   I know this sounds so obvious but have you ever found some of the most easiest things to change are the ones we procrastinate the most?  Maybe it's that we get used to living a certain way or that other things flood in, and sometimes those things make us drown in day-to-day management of them instead of solutions.

Another example is that I really manage my household work better because it makes me feel calmer to have a system and schedule in place for both cleaning inside and maintenance and yard work outside.  I'm experimenting with something now to see if it works.  

I want to read more, and be on my phone less.   

I love baking and gardening and reading-how can I fit more of this into my life?

There are also big changes that bring me so much anxiety, financially and emotionally-a lot of those things are constantly changing and so those things will take time.  Meanwhile, what can I do now to feel some sense of control?

It is all a worthy exercise and really only took about thirty minutes of contemplation to do.

My job now is to break each of those "wants" down into little steps so I can make progress.  I am keeping it in my bedside table so I can remind myself of the direction I want to move in.

Empathy And Motherhood






I am guilty. I am guilty of never imagining what it would be like to send my sons on an errand, and to be nervous about the hate they could encounter walking out the door, down a street and into a store. I’m guilty of never thinking what it would be like to constantly remind my teenage sons what to do if they get pulled over when driving-I expect fairness and safe encounters with those in power. I am guilty of never imagining what it feels like to be a mother whose child comes home crying because of cruel comments made about the color of their skin, or being treated differently in a classroom because of something as trivial as that.


I am guilty of being naive enough to think that the problem is small and rare instead of large and constant. My own privileged children have educated me on my naivety as they are more tuned in than I am and I am humble enough to listen and to not just hear them but to take the time to empathize-which means to stop and FEEL. Feel that weight on my shoulders that NO mother should ever experience - that weight of fear that every black mother must feel when raising her children.
That weight should not exist. Not today. Or ever. God knows raising kids today is difficult enough.
It starts at home. With talking and listening and learning and teaching.
Empathy is the key to kindness I believe-teaching the ability and skill to really imagine walking in another’s shoes no matter what the issue is-and taking that into the journey of life, along with a very strong set of values for right and wrong-for justice and consequences for our failure to abide.
At the base of those values is respect for others.
We mothers can change the world starting in our own homes. What power we are given as women! To change the world. Let’s use it. For the sake of all mothers everywhere, it is our duty.
I am guilty of being naive enough to think that the problem is small and rare instead of large and constant. My own privileged children have educated me on my naivety as they are more tuned in than I am and I am humble enough to listen and to not just hear them but to take the time to empathize-which means to stop and FEEL. Feel that weight on my shoulders that NO mother should ever experience - that weight of fear that every black mother must feel when raising her children.
That weight should not exist. Not today. Or ever. God knows raising kids today is difficult enough.
It starts at home. With talking and listening and learning and teaching.
Empathy is the key to kindness I believe-teaching the ability and skill to really imagine walking in another’s shoes no matter what the issue is-and taking that into the journey of life, along with a very strong set of values for right and wrong-for justice and consequences for our failure to abide.
At the base of those values is respect for others.
We mothers can change the world starting in our own homes. What power we are given as women! To change the world. Let’s use it. For the sake of all mothers everywhere, it is our duty.