Look Mom… I’m published!

loveySo, today my name is in print- in an anthology called Listen to Your Mother, edited my Ann Imig. A story I wrote “All You Need Is Lovey” is in a real live book.  I feel like a proud mom.  Here’s how this came to be…

Three years ago, I saw an audition on Facebook for a show called “Listen To Your Mother.” It’s a nationwide phenomenon started by Ann Imig, spanning 39 cities now, where writers share personal stories about motherhood.  With all the nerves of my pre-acting days, plus leaky postpartum boobs and hormones, I signed up for an audition.  I wrote two pieces for that day.  One was a dark deep expose of my experience with postpartum depression, and one was just for fun- about the day I ran around town like a maniac looking for my son’s lovey.  I nursed my baby, took a shower (!) and ran downtown for the audition.  The feeling of reading my story was cathartic, I was sure that the world wanted to hear about my depth, my journey.  Then, just for fun, I left them a copy of other essay as well.  I said lightly, “I wrote this one, too- cause I couldn’t decide.”

After the audition, I was a wreck.  I went between “Why did I even try to do this?  I LEFT acting for a reason!” and “I bet they hated me!  I’m not good enough,” blah blah blah.   Until a little voice message made me remember what I loved about acting- Being picked!  With baited breath, I called Pam back.    I saw it all ahead of me- the tears, the catharsis, letting loose my triumphant story of healing.  And then Pam said one more little sentence.  “Um- so, would you mind doing the funny one?”

My heart stopped.  Now, for the longest time, I’ve resisted my own dharma.  In Acting School, I wanted to be Lady Macbeth, but got cast as the jester.  I wanted to be the romantic lead, but got thrown in as the funny sidekick.  And here it was again.  A little wind out of my sails, but still thrilled, I said I would be honored to read.  The funny one.

The first rehearsal, I listened to the amazing stories (two others from my show are also published in this anthology). The depth, the heart-wrenching stories- the amazing things these people (and their mothers) had lived through broke me open.  I cried so hard, I was glad there wasn’t an audience yet.   We went through about three boxes of Kleenex in two hours.  I felt deeply honored to be among these writers.

The days leading up to the show, a tummy bug ripped through my house like a twister through Kansas.  There was a lot of laundry, and a lot of people lying around. But I was fine. I was sure I would be untouched because I had a show- and the show must go on!  I washed my hands diligently, and felt fine… until I didn’t.  Twenty-four hours before the big night, I was praying to the porcelain gods for mercy.  I purged every meal I’d even thought about.  And I cried- lying on the bathroom floor, thinking of the absurdity- how much this show meant to me, how much we try to do as mothers, and how we are still at the mercy of life, our children, and tummy bugs.

By morning, I was wobbly, but no longer needing to lie on the bathroom floor.  I looked at my husband and said feebly, “the show must go on…”

In some ways it was a blessing.  It lowered the bar.  Instead of worrying about how good I was going to be, I was now praying not to puke. Just read the story, and don’t puke- that would be success. As I sat and listened to these brave writers, many of which had never been on stage, my spirit lifted.  I knew I would be fine.  I felt the audience go on a ride with each speaker, like an emotional amusement park of life experiences.  And as I stood up to share my piece, I also realized something… this audience needed to laugh.

And I did what I have done my whole life- I made them laugh. But through the laughter, I realized my story, one of a mother’s dedication to her son’s happiness, rang true through the audience.  There was a resonance, and it continued afterwards. All night, people shared with me their stories of Loveys- deeply loved (and sometimes lost) over their lifetime.  I heard the cherished names:  “Moo-moo, Pink, Bed Ted, and Tigey”

When Ann Imig emailed me a year ago and asked if I would consider having “All You Need Is Lovey” in her anthology, I was thrilled. And last week, the advance copy arrived- and I began to read all the stories- and again was touched by the beauty, the heartache, the immense humor.  All I can say is I am so glad to be in there.

Who knew a Lovey could mean so much?

This morning I feel grateful to all mothers- to the heroic acts of love, the losses suffered, the laughter, and the deep inspiring grit.  I’m grateful to Ann Imig- for this movement, for the book, and for the opportunity to share our stories. Without deadlines, many mothers (including me) wouldn’t find time to write, amidst the butt-wiping, lunch-making, and tummy bugs.  These small moments at my computer remind me that I’m not only a mother, but  a writer. When we share our stories, it makes it all a little more doable,  Thank you for giving motherhood a voice.

For a video reading of All You Need is Lovey (post all night tummy flu), go here:

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Yo Mama’s Getting Hitched…

LOGOS_JustMarried.jpgMoving into 2015, I’ve got a big announcement to make.  I’m getting married!  Well, my business is getting married.  Let me back up…

I opened the first incarnation of my business back in 2004 in the back garage of Rocki Graham’s house in Venice Beach.   Having taught my classes in other studios for years, I quickly saw the beauty of a dedicated space for mamas-  cheerios, car seats and tears were welcome. Mamas came early to nurse, stumbled in late, stayed after to chat, and everyone thrived. In 2006, I opened my first commercial space in Santa Monica,  on a $2000 loan from my mom- and Yo Mama Yoga was born.  Six years ago when my new husband and I returned to Boulder (my home town), I opened Yo Mama in Boulder- 6 months before my first child was born.

It has been an incredible journey, we’ve served thousands of families, I’ve seen hundreds of babies born, I’ve had two babies of my own.  And after Izzi was born, I felt the call to create a partnership.  After exploring some different options, the amazing ladies of the mama ‘hood Allie, Linda and Amanda reached out to me for a lunch.  We clicked right away, and I remember telling my husband that night “I think I met my business partners today.”  I’m happy to say today that I was right!

The two businesses began ‘dating,’ each of us bringing our strengths to the other, and spending some time in each location.  I began to teach yoga and Inspired birth in Denver, and they began to bring their unique and powerful approach to breastfeeding to Boulder.  The dating escalated, and now we are getting married!

So starting in the new year, Yo Mama Yoga will be nestled happily in the mama ‘hood!  So- the yoga programs will still be Yo Mama, and much of the business (including our location for now) will look the same, but we will be called the mama ‘hood Boulder.  What this means for you all- you will be able to use your classes and memberships at both the mama ‘hood Denver and our location.  And very exciting- later this year we will have a brand new location, with a lot of expanded offerings!  All our teachers and practitioners are coming along for the ride- and you may see some new faces as well.  I will be an owner- but happily have 3 wonderful partners.  I know you will be as inspired by them as I am.

So keep on the look out, and if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them.  Welcome to the mama ‘hood!

 

All You Need Is Lovey

Orange ShirtA story of a boy, a shirt, and a mom on a mission.

What I’ve found most absurd about motherhood are the things I will do to keep my children happy.

“We can’t find orange shirt.” These five simple words sent me into a panic when I received this text message from my son’s daycare.

I texted back: “I’m on it, bringing back up.” I dashed out of work, as quickly as one can dash eight months pregnant, into the volcanic July heat. Speeding towards my sister’s house halfway to Denver, I looked at the clock. I had 45 minutes. Only 45 minutes until that special time of day, that mothers all over the world both treasure and dread. Naptime. Without orange shirt, there would be no napping.

“Orange Shirt” is my three-year-old son’s lovey. A lovey, (binkie, wubbie, num num) is a transitional object, transitioning the child from their mother’s love to self soothing skills. Our ancient monkey reflexes make us fall asleep easier if we hold onto something (i.e. a mother, Iphone, tree branch, or an orange shirt.)

My nephew’s lovey was known as ‘stinky ducky’ because he sucked on it until it reeked like bleach, mold, and cat pee put together. I’m still stunned that he held it so close to his face without vomiting. After my husband met stinky ducky, he was over loveys. He hadn’t used a lovey, and he determined our children (not even born yet) would not need loveys. I failed to tell him about my own history with loveys–my good dream pillow that I loved from age three–now a shred in a box in my mother’s garage, and my soft down pillow from college, called “softest softest” that is still in our bed today.

There is no stopping those who want a lovey. At four months old, my son attached himself to my orange maternity tank top that said “expecting baby” on it. And it was lovey at first sight. He called it “dootch” when he couldn’t say shirt, and now it was called ” Orange Shirt.”

When he was two, we cut it in half. The “expecting baby” half was “home orange shirt” and the other half was “traveling orange shirt.” When traveling orange shirt had been left at my sister’s the night before, home orange shirt, in a rare moment, left the house, and went to daycare with my son, where they had (carelessly I might add) lost it. We had gone from two orange shirts to none in less than 24 hours. A missed nap would not be good, but if we didn’t have an orange shirt by nightfall, I shuddered to think what would happen.

I arrived at my sisters at thirty minutes before naptime. She said she had left orange shirt in the barbeque grill outside her house, before her early morning plane flight. . I confidently lifted the lid, and saw only black wire racks and old coals. I felt like I was in a reality show, designed to make pregnant women freak out like hyenas on camera.

I checked every window and door that a pregnant woman could safely reach. I looked under every rock, plant, rug, welcome mat, all the likely places for a hide-a-key. Even though I knew they were on a plane, I called my sister and mom. Don’t you know this is an emergency? I screamed to their cheerful outgoing messages.

Luckily, there was still Bob. My stepdad Bob was the one you call when your computer isn’t working, or you’re locked out of your house, or your hemorrhoids have gotten so bad that you can no longer drive (which was me a month after this story). I called Bob’s home and cell, but he had forwarded his two phones to each other, rendering them both useless. I looked again for hidden cameras.

Naptime was approaching faster than a whore on roller skates.

I called my sister’s neighbor, Kathryn. I called her eight times and finally got through. I tried not to cry, but you know when you’ve been trying to call everyone else in the world and they are all abandoning you like your dad did when you were three, and every guy you dated till you met your husband, and you finally reach someone who is alive and has an ear, and you’re eight months pregnant and it’s 108 degrees outside and you’re in a desperate hunt for a half an orange tank top that will probably save your child’s life?

I cried. A lot. To this day this woman probably thinks I’m a total lunatic. Calmly, she talked me through how to find the key to my sister’s house. Inside, in a plastic baggie next to the door, forgotten in a rush and looking like trash waiting to be taken outside, was the slightly less-preferred version of my son’s lovey. I grabbed it and got back in the car.

I drove to my son’s school, and burst through the gate like Mercury. My son had skipped nap entirely, but strangely seemed fine, playing outside in the sandbox, confused to see his mommy’s red tear streaked face. Then his teacher said, “I think we know where the other one is.”

She explained the morning’s adventures, while my mind raced. How could they let him take Orange shirt to a park? Would you take the Mona Lisa to a day at the beach? I suppressed my rage and disbelief through a pursed-lip grimace. I thought of reporting them to social services, but I couldn’t waste the time. Orange shirt was out there… somewhere.

Now I really was on reality TV. I waddled out of the gate, and heaved my sweaty mass of pregnant self into the car.

I pulled up to the nearby park, as a homeless man was walking away with a small red wagon full of stuff. For one crazed moment, I imagined he had definitely stolen my son’s lovey. Why wouldn’t he? It’s very soft.

Trying to remain calm, I rolled down the window and said, “Excuse me?” I wasn’t going to be this close, and fail. “Excuse me, sir. Did you happen to see half of an orange tank top?” I was trying to be cool, but my red eyes, and shaky voice betrayed me. He stared at me blankly for a moment, and then said “yeah, I think it’s in the gazebo.”

Cue chariots of fire theme music. I ran across the park, my big belly bouncing. Looking like an old pair of underwear, abandoned on the cement, was Orange Shirt. I held it to my face, inhaling that sweet stinky-lovey smell–familiar and warm.

I felt for a moment, what my son must feel when he holds Orange Shirt. Like it was all going to be okay. Like this crazy shred of fabric, worn by me with my son in my belly, and loved by him every night, was a soft fabric umbilical cord of love between us, connected once again, never to be broken.

Someday I’m sure he will lose something I cannot retrieve for him, his innocence, his first heartbreak. But that crazy July day, I had caught his fall. I saved his Lovey, that symbol of my love, to take with him out into the world. The world might eventually fail him, but not his mother.

The Top Ten Ways Becoming A Mom has Changed My Life

BEFORE:  trouble1

AFTER:  davidschlatterphotography-4464

Here they are, the top ten ways becoming a mom has changed my life:

1.  My boobs are longer.

I’m embarrassed that it’s first on the list, but this one is the most striking. Before my children came along, I had tiny little barely-A-cup gymnast breasts. After my first, the boob fairy granted me a Double D Deluxe set which shocked everyone, including myself. But the boob fairy’s gifts are not forever.  As I now come to the end of nursing my second, we are settling in at a soft and gently elongated B cup. Kind of like water balloons that have been filled and emptied a hundred times.

2.  My love is stronger.

The greatest surprise for me has been the pure sweet love that has come through my heart. Before my kids, if a bear had attacked someone I loved, I would have gone to get help, or maybe used bear spray. Now, if a bear attacked one of my children, I would be sitting over a dead bear with blood on my hands before I actually realized what happened. This love is a whole new level. It’s physical, visceral, and undeniable. And truly unconditional.

3.  There are a lot less pictures of my cats.

catsOkay, this one is a little sad. It’s not just the pictures (which there used to be MANY- cute xmas cards with Sandy and Booda, pictures of Sandy lounging around, pictures of Booda looking neurotic for no reason), it’s the rank. My cats have fallen so far down the totem pole, they’re not even on it anymore. These feral beasts that still call our house their home used to be the vessel of all my displaced maternal love. Now they make me crazy. They are on Prozac (literally) which is helpful. But at least once a week my husband will say “hey, did you know so-and-so is looking for a cat?”

 

4.  My house is messier.

Okay, this one might not actually be true. My house used to be a wreck in a certain, creative, costumes all over the place, dishes in the sink, ‘I’ve-watched-an-entire-season-of-Alias-this-weekend-because-I- can’ kind of way. Now my house is a tornado of toys, legos, sponge bob, stuffies, train tracks, diapers, socks (I think my son goes through 4 pairs of socks a day) and other people’s underwear. I think the main difference is before when my house was a wreck, I’d usually avoid having anyone over until I got it mostly cleaned up. If I did that now, I’d have no friends. I’m amazed at my tolerance for mess while nannies, friends, and family members come over and join blissfully in my chaos.

5.  I have a whole new concept of time.

When I think back on my ‘pre-baby’ life, I can’t believe I ever thought I was busy.  What was I so busy with?  Now, the idea of wasted time (a movie that I don’t like, or a bad massage) is an abomination.   I can write a blog post in 20 minutes or less, shower in two minutes, and eat a full meal in under 5 minutes (probably not the best thing for my digestion, but necessary sometimes). A wise person said, ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person.’ Or just give it to a mom.

6.  I get to play with LEGOS!  (again)

IMG_1737This one might be my favorite. My son calls me a ‘master builder’ as we work for hours on a space station that covers six different moon plates (won by me in an intense Ebay showdown-probably with another mom).  It has seven spaceships, sleeping areas, a rocket launching pad, a mobile space lab, and a hanging planet earth hanging from the curtain rod near the lego table. Sometimes I think… “this is why I became a mom.” To do the things that brought me so much joy as a kid and call it “parenting.”

 

 

 

7.  I love my husband way more.

There is something about seeing a tiny human being with a mix of facial features matching myself and a man I love that is beyond words. When my almost two year old daughter wrinkles her eyebrows in that same earnest way that my husband does. Or when I tossle the curls of my five year old son, and smell his sweet little boy smell of sunshine, sleepiness and peanut butter and think of a picture of my husband at the same age, my heart just opens. Not to mention that he’s seen me inside and out, both physically and emotionally over the last five years. I’m pretty sure no one knows me or loves me like he does.

8.  I have a lot more anger. And I express it.

Even as I love more, I also get a whole lot more pissed. I’ve screamed “HONEEY!!!” across the house in a way that was not the least bit tender or endearing. And towards my beloved children, I’ve heard such phrases leave my mouth as “I’m going to swat your behind!” Or “Do you want me to call your father!” Or when I have the wherewithal “mommy needs a time out.” I’ve hit the wall- more than ever before, and at least once physically. I’ve felt the deep soul rage that can only come from that special blend of sleep deprivation, constant body molestation and total lack of self care for months on end.

9.  I’m less self- centered and more present.

So even though I’m less in love with my cats, I’m more in love with and love taking care of a lot of other people. I delight in cooking a beautiful meal for others (something that used to offend my feminist hide). I feel a sense of calm strength staying up all night with a sick kiddo on my chest. And I love making my son laugh in the bathtub more than making an entire audience laugh at Improv Olympic in Los Angeles.

10.  I love who I am becoming every day.

I think most moms would agree with me when I say I’ve had two different lives. One from the day I was born until May 12, 2009 at 2:02am, and one from that moment on.  When I felt my son’s warm slippery body on my chest, after working for days to get him out, and my heart sang as I looked into his perfect, wet, open eyes, I knew life would never be the same.   Since that day, I’ve let go of perfectionism, and welcomed the philosophy of “good ’nuff.”  I’ve let go of thinking I can do it all myself, and opened up to my place in the grand village of life.  I’ve stopped trying to ‘look like I have it all together’ and learned how to live more fully in my skin.  And I have my children to thank for this.  Even if I would like to get a little more sleep.

Thoughts from Raining Woman…

IMG_8535

Okay, so I was born in a flood.  A big’ol banks rising, 1975 Browning Montana Indian Reservation Flood.  And even though I was a little white girl, daughter of the fresh-out-of-medical-school doctor who had come to work there, I was given an Indian name… Su Take (pronounced Sue Talkie):  which means Raining Woman.

Flash forward 38 years, as I sit in this beautiful town that I’ve grown up in, and watch the 500 year flood pouring over our town, all over facebook, and the news, again and again, in disbelief at the raw power and devastation that mother nature brought over the last week.

It reminds me of the speed of which small children can annihilate a playroom, and how much longer it takes to clean it up.  And this will take a while, for sure to clean up.

What I’ve watched over the last few days, in addition to the actual posts and pictures, and shocking video-  is my mind.  How in certain moments, I, too am washed away into the drama, hurtling down a mountainside, a river of doubt, fear and panic welling up in my body like the banks of the creek overflowing.

My yoga teacher this week spoke of how our minds and bodies do not know the difference between seeing something, remembering something, and experiencing it first hand.  I thought of this as I sat glued to my Iphone with horror, tracking story after story of dear friends in panic. I found myself shaking, listening to alerts, unable to calm myself or be a calm mother to my children.   I sat terrified watching the images one by one, and the suggestions flying in.  I filled my bathtub with water, charged my cell phone, and looked at our pantry to see how long we could last.  I sat up at 11:30 on Thursday night as my phone told me a 30 foot wall of cars and debris was hurtling towards Boulder.

And I thought I was going to lose my mind.

And then I would look up at my dry house, in my cohousing community in Lafayette, at the gentle rain outside my window.  I would find my breath, go practice yoga, or serve my community… and feel calm, like the sun shining out from the heavy clouds today.

I remember going to Gurmukh Khalsa’s yoga class the day after 9/11, back in Los Angeles in 2001.  I was expecting some tea, maybe a plate full of cookies, and a gentle yoga class with lots of crying and warm hugs.  Instead, I could feel Gurmukh’s power when I walked in the room.  She urged us each to go out and serve, and to keep our own consciousness ‘up’ for those who really needed it.  She suggested we turn off the TV, and protect our psyche from the parts of the tragedy that were not ours.

“If you’re here today, then I imagine you didn’t lose anyone yesterday. The people that were most deeply impacted by this tragedy, need you to keep your own consciousness up.”  And she urged us to each go out and teach the Sa Ta Na Ma prayer to as many people as we could, for emotional balance of the whole planet.

I remember sitting there stunned.  Everyone I knew was glued to their TV, watching the towers fall over and over again.  Gurmukh was giving us a mission, instead of a hug.  But I knew in my heart it was right.

During these times of intense loss, intense tragedy-  we can do a whole lot more for everyone if we Keep Up.    Your neighbor might need a sandbag near his window, someone might need a ride, your neighbor across the street might need carrots because they can’t get to a grocery store.  New babies need a place to sleep, some clothes. Stay present.  Stay up.  Serve.

And if you can not, just keep your consciousness up, be discerning with the images you take in, and know that your brain doesn’t know whether you are watching that creek rise or swimming in it. Look at pictures of your sweet babies, as you also look at pictures of washed out roads.  Look at your honeymoon album after you look at the images from Greeley.  Protect your mental health, and come back to yourself.

Sa Ta Na Ma.  I am truth.   Chant it.  Find your center.  Teach it to others.

This flood has had an impact on everyone, whether directly in your home, or across your street, or in your mind.  Boulder has the power to heal, as do each of us.  I pray that the rains keep staying away, and that the emotional waters also calm for each of you.  May the longtime sun shine on all of us.

Here is a video showing the Sa Ta Na Ma.  May it bring you peace:

Traveling with Babies and Children, or: Katie’s Ridiculously OCD Packing List

Okay, so by request, I am posting my overly obsessive compulsive packing list.  After a few near disasters (forgetting the binky at a friend’s wedding with our 10 week old, forgetting the car seat on a plane trip, forgetting to pack underwear for myself)  I created this list.  Please modify it as you see fit for your trips.  And please don’t judge my control-freak nature.

Here are a few of our favorite travel tips as well:

1.  When boarding an airplane, have your partner get on first, wipe down the area with clorox wipes, every inch.  Remember, your child will touch everything and then put fingers in their mouths.

2. Offer to buy the people next to you a drink on the airplane.  They may not take you up on it, but they will appreciate the gesture

3.  Prepare your children for whatever style of travel you will be doing.  If they are older tell them stories about the travel leading up to the day.

4. for road-trips, use rest ares.  Let your little ones run around.  Add enough time that you’re not in a rush.   For every four hours of expected drive time, add at least an hour per child over one years old for random ‘stuff’  and two hours per baby.

5.  Remember the boy scouts motto:  BE PREPARED.  And for parents, this is no joke.

6.  Remember also, there are no vacations, only Trips.  Change your expectation from relaxation to adventure.  You are taking this difficult care giving routine on the road.  It may not be easy, and there will be breakdowns.

7.  Enjoy the ride…

KATE’S GRAND PACKING LIST

Before leaving the house:
Empty trash
Turn off wipe warmer
Empty diaper pail
Fill kitty dish and water fountain

Travel Time:

In the Car:

Mobile Mobile:  An amazing contraption that attaches to anything, and sings a super annoying song while bugs move around in a circle. Saved us on a road trip through Montana
Diaper bag
ergo carrier
blanket
Your child’s backpack (with lovey inside, stocked with age appropriate toys)
iPhone apps
toys
lunch and snacks that are not a complete mess (avoid the freeze dried raspberries in a bag. disaster)
books
books on tape
older kiddoes love a DVD player

For Airplane travel:

Clorox Wipes

many of the above items from the road trip list for entertainment (only compact versions), PLUS:
CAR SEAT (hopefully your less new one, since it may get beat up)
stroller to check (snap and go works great for reclining car seat style)
umbreller stroller for older kiddoes- ideally that folds down easily, with a reclining seat for mobile napping
new never before seen toys for each hour of plane ride
something to suck on for take-off and landing, especially if not nursing anymore

Diapering:

Diapers
wet bag
Cloth diapers
extra wipes

In Diaper bag:
Little squares (3):  these are little waterproof cloth squares that help with public restroom dirtiness.
Portable changing pad and Purell
Diaper cream
sunscreen
Wipes in case
spare outfit

If Potting Training:
training pants
three potties
Underwear
treats for potty

Nursing/eating
 
If nursing exclusively:
“Hooter hider”
Burp cloths (3)
lily pads
Mastitis remedy (wishgarden happy ducts)
hand or electic pump
bottles, nipples and caps

If begun solids, in the beginning:
spoon
food grinder
bibs (2)

If eating everything we’re eating:
Bibs (3)

Gear:

For sleeping:
Noise machine
nightlight
monitor (cheapie from target)
extra 9 volt battery for monitor
blankets
sheet for pack and play
Pack N Play
dark blanket and push pins for windows to make darker

For hiking:
Hiking backpack or ergo
Rain gear for all

For Bathing:
Too hot turtle- temperature monitor
rubber duck
inflatable bath
bubble bath/shampoo

For baby-proofing/house:
gate for stairs
stool

Clothing

Clothing for kiddoes:
4 sleep outfits (2 feetie, 2 non-feetie)
4 pairs shorts
5 t-shirts
1 pair jeans
1 pair sweats
Sweatshirt
one party outfit
Sunhat
swimsuit
swim diapers
Warm hats
Hoodie
Shoes (running shoes)
Boots (rubber boots)
Sandals (keanes or crocs-wear in the car to slip on and off)
slippers
warm jacket
windbreaker
rain pants

Clothes for you:
3 Nursing bras
5 pairs Underwear
Socks:  2 warm, 3 light
3 cute tops
Sleepy outfits:  3 bottoms, 4 t shirts
Party outfit (if going to a party)
jeans
cargo pants
2 pairs shorts
Bathing suit
Sunhat
sunglasses (in purse)
Hoodie
hiking shirt
Running shoes (blue)
Flip flops
sandals
pillow for me

For entertainment

Books for me:  parenting and pleasure reading
Journal
Baby book to add milestones
iPhone and charger
Camera and charger
board games (whonoo, balderdash, apples to apples)

Toiletries

For Me:
hankies(3)
Face lotion
Cleanser
Shampoo
conditioner
Pads and tampons (if your cycle is back)
Deodorant
Hair oil
Hair brush
Barrette
Ponytail holders
Sunscreen
Lotion
Massage cream
Baby oil
Nail file
Clippers

For kiddoes:
hair brush
Thermometer
First aid kit
bandaids
Colic ease and/or Mylicon Drops
Motrin and/or teething tabs
Sting stop
Antimicrobial salve
Kiddo sunscreen
Kiddo bug spray
Aloe vera gel

Please feel free to add, comment and let me know if I’ve forgotten anything (I’m sure I have!)  I love to learn!

Friendship – for new moms

When I was in second grade, making  a new friend was sometimes as simple as giving away my juicebox, or sharing a seat on the bus ride home.  “Wanna be my friend?” my new pal would chime.  “Sure!” I would say back with a smile.  “Hey, I have that same Garfield sticker!”  Friendship begun.  Check.

Now, juggling a business, a two-year-old, a marriage, and the everyday anxieties of a full adult life, making new friends seems anything but simple.

Today I made a friend.  Here are the elements that came together that made it work:

  1. Proximity.  She lives in my neighborhood.   Let’s face it, leaving the house with a small child is kinda like going on a camping trip.  Sometimes the prep outweighs the pleasure.
  2. Invitation.  She approached me (many times) to go for a walk.  The day of: she texted, emailed and called.  I appreciate (and need) a little persistence.
  3. Affinity.  Both she and I, as well as our two-year-olds, liked being together.  That’s huge.

So, we walked.

Nothing heroic.  We walked around the neighborhood lakes, over to my son’s favorite dirt biking hills (we walk on them, not bike on them), threw rocks in the lake, threw rocks at a fence, threw rocks at the dirt, shared snacks, shared some laughs, shared some time.

I can’t say how good it felt to come home after our time together.  Okay, it wasn’t as intimate and focused as a tea from my twenties might have been, but there were definitely shared moments, amidst the lost conversation threads, and watching that neither of our children fell off a dirt embankment.

I have to say a new friend makes me feel like a second grader, in more than one way.  I love the rush of realizing you have something in common!  (Her daughter is named Scotia, and my son is named Phoenix, both after towns that one parent grew up in).  And it felt so good just being seen… and liked for who you are.  There is nothing greater than that.   But mixed in there is the insecurity, ‘how much do I share? what if she thinks I’m weird/ too much/ wearing the wrong shoes?”  Feeling suddenly like the awkward girl in the lunchroom, hoping to find a place to sit.

As I watched our children tentatively hold hands, I felt we were doing the same, sharing a vulnerable moment of motherhood.  Sharing our insecurities, sharing our triumphs (Phoenix used the potty TWICE on our walk, just to make me glow as a mother!), and sharing the complete insanity of this isolated mother existence.  It’s hard to believe we are all doing this wild thing, inside our four walls, and someone just down the street from us, is living the same craziness…

And if we can just leave our homes for a moment, and go for a walk, we have contact.

Friendship.  Sunshine.  Mud.  Rocks.

So, mamas, don’t be afraid to take a risk.  Be seen in your less-than-perfect new mama state.  Don’t wait till you ‘have it all together again’ to go out and make friends.  You are not alone.  Make a phone call, make the effort, wear the wrong shoes, and find a new friend.  There may be a mama right around the corner, just waiting for an invitation.   And I’m pretty sure that ‘having it all together again’ is not really part of being a new mom.

Today, I want to say Thank you to the woman who asked “Wanna be my friend?”

The answer is yes.

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