Exhausted Time – The End of Maternity Leave

Last night I got him to laugh for the first time. Tomorrow he turns 3 months old and starts daycare. Our life as we’ve known it together changes and I’m feeling all of this – the bad and the good – straight to my core. Wishing for more time and longing for a return of myself as something other than a rocking and feeding machine.

Also, feeling so angry that families have to do this all on our own in this country. We’re raising the fucking future and we’re doing it alone. I’m privileged and lucky to have had this but now I’m told I’ve “exhausted my time”. Exhausted is right. I’m tired and fragile and somehow on Wednesday I will divide myself in two – the work me and the mom me. Is there enough me to go around?

I need this. He needs this. We need this. It doesn’t stop the heartbreak, the worry, the longing. How do I stop time today? How do I soak up enough squishy baby-ness to give me the strength to turn around and walk out a door without him in my arms? How do I enjoy a day to myself without running into the door I just left and scooping him up against my heart?

Excuse me if I burst into tears today. Excuse me if I drift away in my mind to a life that would give me more time with my baby and still allow me freedom to be something other than a mother all day. How can I have life both ways?

Each day will get better. We’ll settle into a new routine. A few months from now I can tell another mother approaching the end of her leave that it will be okay, the baby is thriving and learning, and I found a better me for everyone. Right now that life is foggy.

I’ll sit here soaking up the baby-ness and wiping tears today. Fog lifts. It will be okay and it’s all right if it’s not right now.


Old People at a Rap Show

The old man and I are going to a rap show tonight. And before you say I’m too old for that kind of thing I will let you know that the people performing in the rap show are all older than me (thanks Wikipedia). Barely…some only by days so they are my age. And if they can drink whiskey and perform at said rap show then I can enjoy it…And then go immediately home and fall into bed.

Lately I’ve been feeling old. Like past the point of being cool and might as well settle into my life as I know it and ride it out…old. Un-inspired. Unmotivated. Un-everything. Too afraid to make drastic changes but bored to tears by tiny ones. So I sit. Getting older. Odd pains in my body and forgetting crap all the time.4A530387-10EB-4A18-86EE-3A3260D3534E

But when my Google calendar reminds me and I battle the aches and pains in my joints and I drag myself out into the world for a rap show or a live podcast taping or a writing class or an art show then I see all these amazing people. Amazing women. Amazing men. Who are constantly reinventing themselves and never settling for the status quo and are changing tiny parts of the world all by themselves. And through some brilliant fate they are all my age. Not old at all. Definitely not destined to sit on the sidelines and get older.

So what is it then? Old is not a number. If all these people don’t feel old and dusty then the actual numerals that make up the years they have been earthside isn’t a definition of old. Old is a mentality. It’s a giving up. It’s deciding that I’m done striving and I’m done learning and I’m settled.

And all this un-inspired, un-motivated, un-everything I am feeling? It’s really just unsettled. And my personal philosophy is that when people are unsettled its time for change. Those drastic changes I am afraid of. Not the tiny boring ones (but a tattoo or purple hair might not be out of the question).

I’ll leave it here because I don’t have any more answers. I don’t know what change is ahead of me. I don’t know where I want to take this but its comforting to not feel old and dusty and stuck.

And because it’s the day before Thanksgiving I will send a shout-out to my husband who I am always immensely thankful for and who gets super terrified when I talk like this but always supports the changes I make in my life. Don’t worry, hun, I don’t think I’m quitting my job to drink whiskey and rap. I’m not good at either of those things.

Also, much gratitude to the rappers…artists…podcasters…writers I’ve found who motivate me to reinvent and get un-stuck in my oldness.



The Joy of Yes

We woke up on that Sunday morning and it became clear early on that “No” wasn’t going to work for either of us that day.

It started simply. I said, “Yes”, to her request to wear her My Little Pony pajamas that day.

I said, “Yes”, to the second TV show.

I said, “Yes”, to wearing her princess dress and ALL the accessories to run our errands (over the My Little Pony Pajamas, of course). image1

I never set an intention to say yes all day but we were on a roll. I didn’t realize just how much joy this yes day would bring to both of us and perfect strangers as well.

Maybe I’m now blinded to the magic of seeing children living out their heart’s desires through their clothing choices. I’m regularly treated to princesses and super heroes in my own home. I didn’t expect that most people we passed would at minimum smile or even stop to tell “Her Majesty” how much they adored her crown or dress. But smile they did and stop they did and I could see the pride in Elodie’s confident posture as she strolled through the farmer’s market in full royal attire with matching princess bear in her arms. The musician playing for the shoppers welcomed the “Farmer’s Market Princess” to the dance. Our farmer friend who supplies our family with meat each month told me that she absolutely made his day. And the smiles on the faces of those we passed showed that we were bringing a little joy to their hearts.

There are one-thousand reasons to say no each day, many of them necessary for safety, but given the freedom to say yes, I found myself experiencing a different kind of joy: less anxiety, less fighting, less stress and a lot more fun.



On school supplies and hate

Mommy Shorts Nelson Mandela quote

Credit: Mommy Shorts


I remember back to school time while I was growing up. It was magical. All the new things for the new year. Crayons, backpacks, shoes and clothes. For kids with not much “new” in their lives throughout the year, my siblings and I loved the free reign to shop. There was some heartache in this time too. We couldn’t get the coolest clothes or the best sneakers. Five Star notebooks were out of the question and we only got character branded backpacks the one year that our dad took us school shopping.

At some point in high school I realized the heartache that my mom felt at back to school time. She worked so hard but back to school time was definitely the wrong time for a single, hourly wage earning, mother of three children. All summer long she had found childcare for us, fed us meals that were free when we were in school and paid for activities so we weren’t too bored. And right on the cusp of relief from that financial burden, she had to come up with the money to get all that new for us. She was aware enough to know that we wanted something special. We wanted the cool things that our friends had. We were aware enough to not ask too hard for things that we couldn’t have.

Becoming a parent really opened my eyes to what my mom did to make ends meet. Kids are expensive, you guys. There isn’t enough help out there for all the things. So I vowed that I would help. I have enough to help and I should. This year school supply shopping time rolled around and I was busy and Jack and I were balancing a new budget so I decided to skip it. Not this year but definitely next year.

Then the tragedy in Charlottesville happened. On top of what I was already feeling about the bombing of the mosque in Bloomington, MN. So many feelings. I looked at the pictures of the white men outwardly showing their hate in Charlottesville streets and thought about what could make that hate grow in their hearts. How did I come to truly want to love and help everyone (I’m by no means perfect but that is my intent) and they just have hate?

This is speculation. I am not a psychologist or sociologist but in all the tragedies over the years that have made my heart ache I come back to one principle. I keep returning to the fact that somewhere along the line these people didn’t feel loved. They didn’t feel part of a community. They were lost and they turned in on themselves and projected hate.

There are a lot of different ways to help when you feel helpless. So many organization are fighting hate and they could use support. If one child doesn’t feel alone or inadequate or not part of the community. If they have what it takes to learn in school. If they see people loving and helping. Then maybe they won’t turn to hate. School supplies are not going to save the world themselves. But they will mean everything to some child who is truly born to learn and born to love.

So we found the time and the money and we went school supply shopping. Elodie is only three and she can’t and, really shouldn’t, understand the bigger picture but she understands giving. She understands that not everyone has what she has. She picked out every item on the school supply list. Complete with at Disney Princess backpack. And when I said that some little girl will love all of this, she reminded me that maybe it could be a little boy. My heart swelled right there because even when I am not perfect and I am not right (why couldn’t a little boy love the Disney Princess backpack?) she is teaching me. We are raising the change and teaching love.


This gives me hope.




You’ll Always Have a Place in my Heart


Ten years ago yesterday the 35W bridge in Minnesota collapsed. Ten years ago I frantically tried to get through busy cell phone lines to reach my fiancé and his brother who would have crossed the bridge to go to their MBA classes at the Carlson School of Management. Ten days later I would marry my fiancé in a beautiful ceremony with a really fun party afterward. Three years later we would be divorced.

Yesterday as the media covered the ten year anniversary of the bridge collapse I felt a lot of emotions as I remembered that it is coming up on the ten year anniversary of my first marriage. With all that on my heart I heard exactly the right thing from a 1 minute segment of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast titled “My Daughter’s Ex-boyfriend’s Mother Found the Right Words to Say”. The message was, “Sometimes, it’s hard to put into words the exact nature of a loving relationship. ‘You’ll always have a place in my heart’ says it all.”

Despite where we ended there was love and there was happiness. There were so many memories made. Mistakes were made big and small. The divorce was inevitable for many reasons. And right for so many more. I have grown and I have learned. I am happy and in the right place and I hope that he is too. I’ve struggled for a long time to put into words how I want to convey that time in my life and those people I shared it with. My ex, his family, our friends. People that I think of from time to time but don’t have contact with anymore.

“You’ll always have a place in my heart” does say it all.

So I’m throwing this out to the universe of the interwebs. I don’t know who it will reach or where it will go. If it reaches the right people, just know that you do have a place in my heart and you always will. I wish you happiness, health and peace.



Summer, Summer, Summer Time


Tomorrow is August 1st but if you asked me I would swear up and down its June 1st. Where did summer go?!

Jack and I just laid in bed the other night scrolling through our calendar looking for the next weekend where we don’t have anything scheduled. Hint: the leaves will be changing colors.

I’m not sure when life decided to go the speed of light but I sure wish that it would slow down. I still need to find time to savor some of summer for myself.

I wrote a little about that here: http://twincities.citymomsblog.com/its-your-summer-too/

Take some time for yourself!



Scary Campfire Story – Parenting a Preschooler Version


Camping with your family is a rite of passage for a lot of Minnesotans. I grew up spending a few summer weekends in rickety old tents with the smell of bonfire smoke permanently infused in my hair. We wanted this same experience for Elodie. Well, maybe not a few summer weekends, but at least one at a different state park each summer. We started this tradition last summer in “luxury” by renting a rustic cabin at Lake Itasca State Park. It went smoothly.

This summer we decided to get brave and roll out the tent that has been sitting in our garage for 10 years. We joined three other families with three-year olds and went down to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in southern Minnesota for two nights of actual camping. I think it’s been 18 years since I slept in a tent.

This was as disconnected as you could get. We had no cell phone service in the park. No ipads, no movies. We threw footballs, took walks, put on dance shows at the amphitheater and painted rocks and covered them with glitter for entertainment. It was perfect. We were making those idyllic childhood memories.group.JPGNothing with three-year olds is easy but we were feeling pretty proud of the girls by the time evening rolled around on Saturday night. They were tired, dirty, hot and hadn’t eaten anything healthy but they were good. There had been a few pouty lips or stomping off to melt into a puddle of sass in the weeds (ew…woodticks) but no meltdowns. I was feeling pretty darn proud of our parenting skills. We got this.

We never got around to telling scary campfire stories but I will now share the one that will be my go-to for years to come, broken down into the elements of all good scary stories:

Foreshadowing: Elodie put herself to bed around 10:00. With temps in the 90s the parents were feeling pretty drained. We complained that it was too hot to drink and too hot for a bonfire – definitely too hot for sleeping but we trudged into our tents and tried our best. When we got into the tent, E whined and rolled around but was shushed back to sleep.

A minor scare: I dozed and awoke to the sound of our campsite getting ravaged by something. For a moment the snuffling and growling near our tent door made me afraid it was a bear. However, we’d seen a raccoon earlier in the night and we knew that our little friend was back. Jack raced out of the tent when we realized that the devious critter had figured out how to get into the cooler and stolen some of our leftover corn on the cob.

The beast awakens: Unfortunately we woke Elodie up while shooing away the thief. It wasn’t the kind of wake up where she is curious what is going on and wants to party. It was the wake up of a tiny, hot and over-tired monster with whining, crying, back arching and eventually screaming.

Running for your life: Remember – we are in a tent. In a very quiet campground. We were officially the people keeping every single other person in the camp awake and there was no escape.

So, we do what all good parents do and we start by offering food and water.

Then we move to bribery – marshmallows for breakfast, horse rides somewhere (no joke – I offered horse rides, heck, I would have purchased her a freaking pony if she had stopped screaming).

Then we tried empathy when we heard that we had awoken a baby across the campground. “Be brave for baby Emma…….”

You guys, I even tried covering her mouth with my hand. (I’ll accept the parent of the year award now).

Then we moved into the car for more of the same but at least we had air conditioning and something that could muffle the screams. While screaming she started to complain that her ear hurt. Now, I knew in my gut that she was just over-tired. She’d shown no symptoms of an ear infection. But a small part of me was worried. She didn’t have any reason to know that an ear ache would get her extra attention or sympathy. She’d never done anything like this before and ear infections come on suddenly and very often at the most inopportune moments.

So we backed the car out of the campground and drove until our cell phones got service to look for an ER. We’re in the middle of nowhere so the ER is an hour away and we start driving country roads with plenty of critters running across to keep us awake and alert.

Elodie finally settled down. Hoping to avoid an expensive ER visit I kept asking about her ear. Did it really hurt? Could we see a doctor in the morning? This resulted in turning back to the campsite once and then back toward the ER again.

Safe at last: Finally, her eyes shut. Jack and I debated the ER again and decided that we would drive until we found a place to buy Tylenol and if she didn’t cry again we would just go back to the tent and tell her the doctor gave her medicine. Luckily an open Kwik Trip was our oasis in the desert of desperately tired parents. With that precious red liquid in our hands we went back to the tent and got 4 hours of sleep until a family of crows woke us. The monster had transformed into a pretty little princess with tons of charm and no sign at-all that she’d been awake screaming most of the night.

Like all good scary stories, the characters did not learn any lessons. With bags under our tired eyes we all agreed we would absolutely do this again next summer because it was so much fun.sparkler© 2017 Terrae Weatherman all rights reserved