When I Was a Hostess Before I Had Kids

This morning I prepped our guest bedroom for my parents.  They're coming to visit for the weekend.  When overnight guests visited before we had kids, I used to add thoughtful touches to the room like setting a welcome note on the pillows or assembling a small gift bag of my visitor's favorite candies. 

Once, in a moment of hospitable ambition, I made a placard for our door that read Welcome to Hotel Kramer, even though the "hotel" was merely a bed in our upstairs dormer apartment.

Now my guests get clean towels, and I feel pretty good about that.

Life is noisier and messier and more chaotic these days.  On the positive side, a visitor's entrance into our house will always be more colorful than it ever was before children.

I think our guests, especially grandparents, feel pretty good about that.

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The Perks of Bartering

During the spring semester, I picked up a little girl and drove her to dance class along with my daughter every Monday.  She only lives a few minutes away, making it easy for me, and it saved the mother the hassle of interrupting her baby's nap and driving there herself.
On the last day of dance when I dropped off our little friend, the mom greeted me at the front door, child on her hip, with a small envelope.  "Just a little something," she said.
I opened the note in the car.
Let me tell you, she had me at "Dear Robin."  A one-hour massage for driving her daughter each week to dance class?  What a wonderful -- what a downright glorious -- form of repayment for my time! 

Late last night after our collective seven children were tucked into bed, I drove to her house and let this former massage therapist unleash her magic as her deft fingers worked out kinks in my neck and back that I didn't even know I had.

I may or may not have slurred into the face cradle, "I would drive your daughter anywhere."

Turns out, we all have abilities that will bless others, whether it's as simple as offering a ride or as luxurious as offering a massage.  With enough creativity, we can even barter our talents.  I once did promotional writing for my friend's music business, and in turn, I received a photo shoot from his wife, a professional photographer.  Win-win.

If you're a parent, perhaps one of the most obvious services to barter is something that we're already accustomed to providing on a constant basis: childcare.  Offer to watch your friend's children while she runs errands or has a date night, and then swap. 

I don't do this nearly enough, even though I'm well aware of the surprisingly favorable math that can transpire when you temporarily add more kids into the mix at your house but end up with less hands-on work because the kids are entertaining themselves.  (It's a miracle of addition, I tell you.)

After scoring big with last night's massage, I've brainstormed other potential services to barter: house cleaning, home repairs, computer services, tutoring, cooking, grass mowing, yard work, hauling items if you have a truck, or hair styling.  If you have a surplus of goods -- outgrown clothes or toys, vegetables from your garden, coupons for products that you don't use (but your friends do) -- see if you can swap those, as well.

Be creative and inventory the services or products that you can offer, and then round up your friends to see if they're game.

I assure you: there are benefits of bartering.  Especially if you happen to be friends with a massage therapist.


Humor, hope, and encouragement for moms: Then I Became a Mother.  Available in both paperback and Kindle editions!

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The First Taste of Summer

For the past several days, our computer has been down with some mysterious problem that couldn't be fixed with my default method of technical troubleshooting which involves turning a computer off and then turning it back on.  My phone provided my only other method of Internet connection, but I saved your eyes (and my reputation as an upholder of decent grammar) when I drew the line and refused to blog from it.

Seriously, I have Wreck-It Ralph hands even when I text short messages, so I can surmise that a 300-word blog post generated from my phone would end up looking like it was composed by a falcon that swooped down and clacked at the keyboard with its talons.

All that being said, I hope that you had a refreshing and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, my dear readers.  We had bold ambitions to make the weekend an official first taste of summer, and it didn't disappoint. 

We took the plunge at the local pool, an afternoon that re-acclimated me to several truths: one, my children have precious little patience for sunscreen application; two, I have remarkably low tolerance for cold water; and three, my children are now old enough (especially the older two) that I no longer need to operate under constant hyper-vigilant surveillance when they're swimming. 

This last observation is new territory for me.  In years past, I was accustomed to leaving the pool exhausted, not from sun or heat or exercise, but from the continual exertion of keen powers of observation that never would let those three bedraggled, sopping little heads out of my line of vision.  Now that the older girls are competent swimmers, I'm daring to hope that a "relaxing" trip to the pool might be just that.

We also skipped town and visited a nearby amusement park, which pretty much amounted to a perfect day.  The weather was glorious, the girls were ecstatic, and I had my first true taste of summer: funnel cake. 

Oh, funnel cake, I could write a Haiku about you.  Here goes:

Funnel cake so sweet.
Deep fried dough on paper plate,
Powdered sugar bliss.

Yes, I'll ring a bell to that little gem.  Wishing you a day full of bliss, powder-sugared or otherwise.

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The Official "Getting It Done" Week

This is it.  This week officially has been dubbed the Getting It Done Week.  You might be wondering what "it" is that needs to "get done."  Don't let the brevity of the word "it" fool you.  That simple pronoun represents an unwieldy list of miscellaneous tasks and errands that I'm determined to beat into submission. 

I'm sure you have a list of things that you want to get done, too.  Even if every single item is different from the tasks written on my list, my guess is our lists are still surprisingly similar. 

Mine is full: printing pictures of the girls' birthdays to mail out in thank you notes, filling out next year's pre-school registration, hanging hooks in the girls' rooms, sorting through end-of-the-school year crafts and projects, making returns at stores around town, putting a new battery in the clock that stopped, cleaning the winter dirt off the windows, corralling items for this summer's garage sale, and gathering supplies for the house projects I want to complete.

You know the drill.

Earlier this week, in fact, my delightful blogging friend Ami from Bunker's Down referenced one of my posts from March when I finally sewed a stuffed monkey's arm back on after ridiculous procrastination.  She's declared her own Monkey Arm Day, which is so fabulous that I should probably take her lead and just call this my Monkey Arm Week.

There's such simple pleasure in crossing items off the list and beating back the chaos, even though I know that new items always are added and the chaos always returns.  It's okay.  For now I'm making progress, and progress is especially important given that I expect productivity to screech to a halt when summer vacation begins.

What about you?  Do you have a list?  Let's get those monkey arms off our back today!

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Uncapped Sharpie Marker

Title: Uncapped Sharpie Marker

Subtitle: Although I've never negotiated a hostage situation, I imagine that the process would be similar to finding a child with an uncapped Sharpie. No sudden movements. A slow and steady speaking rate. Phrases like, "Hand it over to me and nobody gets hurt."

Recovering from the Birthday Season

Our family of five celebrates four birthdays in the span of twenty-eight days.  Three of those birthdays occur within just eleven days, like some rapid-fire observance of aging where I keep announcing, "Let them eat cake!" and the children rejoice.

I never thought that I'd need a recovery period after a birthday season.  It's not like it's physically draining, like a lengthy hockey season where bodies get worn down from being slammed into the boards and teeth are knocked out by ricocheting pucks, mind you, but I'll admit that it feels good to close the celebratory window and resume normal life.

This past wave of birthdays moved my children one rung higher on the ladder, as birthdays do.  The girls are now nine, six, and four.

What surprised me is not that I have a daughter who is nine (a factor that lands me squarely in the "mother of an emerging tween" category, which is a topic for another post), but rather that my youngest is four.

FOUR years old.

All shreds of babyhood are gone.  In its place, is more freedom (for me) and comprehension (for her) and ease of daily life tasks (for all of us).  These are wonderful strides, but sometimes a mom needs to grieve a little over the stage that has passed and never will return.

I should tell you that the night before her fourth birthday, Kerrington repeatedly bounced out of bed and harassed her sister who was trying to sleep.  I should share that I patiently climbed the stairs three separate times and calmly said, "Lights out.  Simmer down."  I should admit that on the fourth time, I wasn't so patient.

My voice struck that frightening low yet loud pitch that parents on the brink can readily conjure, and the words spilled out through clenched teeth: "I don't want to see you until tomorrow. In. Bed. NOW!"

And it was a true sentiment.  I wanted that little kid to go to sleep, not repeatedly pop up like an overzealous whack-a-mole, and I didn't want to see her until tomorrow...

... which was her birthday.

Oh, man.  My last act as a mother of a three-year-old was to yell at her.

That wouldn't do.

When I slipped back into her bedroom she already was asleep.  I claimed the spot beside her in bed, stretched out, and examined her face.  She still instinctively draws her thumb to her mouth when she's tired.  I brushed her bangs off her forehead.  I whispered that the moon -- her moon, as she likes to call it -- was glowing brightly.

Her eyes momentarily flickered, and in a manner that showed a remarkable lack of surprise to find me lying beside her just inches from her face, she smiled and murmured, "Hi mama," before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep again.

I'll savor that final moment of her three-year-oldness.

I had been wrong, and I hadn't even known it.  I had wanted to see her before we reached tomorrow. 


Find the Source. Clean It Up.

For the past week, I've been waging a battle of sorts against the leaves that have blown into my garage.  I'd sweep the leaves into the driveway, close the garage door, and then resent how the wind, eddy-like, would capture the leaves and deposit them right back into my garage. 

Clearly, my cleaning methods were just perpetuating the mess and moving it to a new location, so I made it my mission to actually dispose of the leaves instead of scattering them with idealistic hopes that they wouldn't return.

Funny how a problem stops being a problem when you get to the source.  Funny, too, how one battle with pesky leaves reminded me that this isn't just a lesson about leaves.

When I look at other problems in my life, it's evident that topical treatments often aren't enough.  God doesn't just want me to sweep the junk out of my life only to let it blow right back in. 

I look over my garage floor, now orderly and clean, and realize that it only got that way because the problem was dealt with, not brushed aside.

This morning, I thought of those leaves as I prayed.  Lord, get to the root.  Find the source of those messy areas in my life.  Clean me up.

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Nobody Ever Said This Was Easy

I was yelled at last week.  Not just a singular shout.  No, I was on the receiving end of a draining, largely inarticulate, and extended chew-out session that criticized my fairness, questioned my judgment, and insulted my culinary skills.  (Apparently, I don't make good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.)

It was launched by my three-year-old.  The reason?  I had the audacity (the lunacy!) to announce that we were going home for lunch when I picked her up from pre-school.  She wanted McDonalds.

After nine years on the job, I'm deep enough into motherhood to avoid blowing this episode out of proportion and descending into the futile thinking that I've irrevocably failed as a mother, or that my children will never grow up to be productive, sensible, and thoughtful members of society who won't kick the back of a driver's seat and scream when they're tired and disgruntled.  I've endured tantrums before, and I'll witness more in the future.

But that's not to say that the experience didn't take something out of me. We moms are hardwired to want our households to run smoothly.  I want my children to grasp and appreciate my logic when I'm making wise decisions about their nutrition and sleep and behaviors to help them, not ruin their lives forever.

But here's the rub: a three-year-old is not hardwired to grasp and appreciate logic.  A three-year-old is hardwired to believe that her mother is ruining her life forever by not taking her to McDonalds.

Whether they're toddlers or teenagers, we're going to ruffle our children's feathers.  We're going to make decisions that they'll hate -- no, you can't have a smartphone; no, you can't go to that party; no, you can't eat however many cookies you'd like -- because we love them.  We love our kids enough to take the brunt of their frustration and displeasure because we know it's more important to give our children what they need, not what they want, even when they can't see the distinction between the two.

It's not easy, but nobody ever said motherhood would be easy.  Glorious and exhausting and rewarding and challenging -- yes, those descriptions are all apt.  But easy?  Not so much.

After taking care of sick children for the bulk of last week, I finally succumbed to a nasty illness yesterday and remained bedridden, unable to stand without crumpling to the ground with dizziness and nausea.  This morning, Mother's Day, my daughters poked their heads into my room to deliver the special gifts they had painstakingly crafted: a pipe cleaner necklace with felt cut-out beads, a painted canvas, and a picture frame made out of popsicle sticks.

I see the love behind these gifts, despite the rough edges and crude craftsmanship.  I see how they poured out their time and energy to bless me.  Their gifts are precious to me.

One day, our children will look back over their childhoods and they'll discern the deep love behind our gifts, too -- those gifts of consistent love as we parent out of principle, not merely out of convenience.


Enjoy humor, hope, and encouragement for moms: Then I Became a Mother.  Available in Kindle and paperback editions.


The End of the Semester

Friends, I've submitted my final grades for the semester.  Nearly a decade ago when I began teaching at the university, I naively believed that a semester would be finished the moment I pressed send and my final grades magically made their way onto each student's transcript. 

I'm wiser now.  Once grades are submitted, I know that there are still hurdles ahead -- a few emails from students that require careful scrutiny, rhetorical sensitivity, and (most often) sticking to my guns; final meetings with colleagues; and an extensive shuffling of paperwork to file and archive my records.

Even so, the act of submitting grades brings closure, and I can feel lightness seeping its way into the depths of my soul.  And when your soul is lighter, clearly, it's time to celebrate, dust off your Microsoft Paint skills, and create an artistic representation of yourself. 

See?  This semester's been an uphill climb, but I've scaled the mountain.

Just like last year,  I'll preemptively address the FAQ's.

Q:  Your drawing skills are unparalleled, but that mountain doesn't look very steep.  Can you comment more on the difficulty of your assent?
A:  Don't be fooled by the lush green grass.  I encountered many lovely moments along the way, but trust me, this semester's journey was an aggressive incline.

Q:  I'm still doubtful.  It looks like you're easily strolling across rolling terrain.
A:  Hold on a second.  I'm making a revision.

Q:  What just happened?
A:  I added treacherous rocks, a barbed wire fence, a rabid dog, and mutant bees.  They represent a multitude of professional perils and challenges.

Q:  So, you're suggesting that reaching the end of a semester is similar to surviving The Hunger Games?
A:  Well, now that you mention it.

Q:  (Raised eyebrow)
A:  For accuracy's sake, I should add that more people make it out alive.

Q:  What is the dog eating?  A crinkled piece of paper?
A:  Actually, he's foaming at the mouth, but if you'd like to imagine him eating an essay, that's open to interpretation.

Q:  You haven't been getting much sleep lately, have you?
A:  Not so much.  I'm running on empty right now.

Q:  We'll keep it brief with one final question, then.  Last spring you concluded your semester with a drawing of you in a boxing ring emerging as the victor.  Can we expect this to become an annual blog post?
A:  An artist must practice her trade, so don't fear, my days with Paint aren't numbered.

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Days Like This In Pennsylvania, In Istanbul, and In Between.

I'm home for just a few minutes after returning from the doctor's office with my youngest who's contracted pink eye when my husband calls. 

I've been waiting to hear from him.  I know that he's going to say he's almost home, that he's ready to receive the parenting baton so I can slip away for a few hours to grade the heaping piles of student projects and portfolios that are standing between me and the official end of the semester.

Instead, he tells me that he's just received a phone call from a former student who's an engineer living in Turkey.  The engineer's friends (a visiting professor, his wife, and their two daughters) would be landing at the JFK airport after traveling twenty grueling hours from Istanbul, and -- here's the kicker -- their escort's car had broken down en route.  Nobody would be there to pick them up.

It was precisely at this point in the conversation when I had two thoughts: 1) this situation has nothing to do with us, and 2) my husband's next words will be that he's making the nine hour round-trip journey to New York to get them from the airport.

Both thoughts were right.  Yes, this situation had nothing to do with us, and yes, Joel was leaving right after he could swap the car for the van and fill up the tank with gas.

The rest of the afternoon and evening hazed by in a manner you'd expect when you're home with a cranky, sick child who fights with every ounce of her 36-pound frame to prevent those antibiotic eye drops -- those drops that you picked up at the pharmacy with children who didn't want to leave their house to pile into the car and then didn't want leave the car to enter the store -- from trickling into her gunky, matted-shut eye.

I survive until the girls' bedtime, shower, and return to the computer to grade for hours, stopping just momentarily when my husband calls to say that he should be home by three in the morning.

At half past midnight, I call it quits.  Shortly after one, I'm woken by my middle daughter, another nighttime victim of the stomach bug, as she heaves in the bathroom.  She's just a few feet shy of the toilet, yet still far enough away to spray the hallway carpeting.

I scrub the floor and start laundry.  I return to bed.  I get up an hour later when she gets sick and misses the toilet again. 

When he finally returns home, pulls off his shirt, and sinks into bed, my husband wearily conveys that he got the family safely to their apartment.  I slur something in return about pink eye and vomit. 

Moments later our youngest wakes up, disoriented and upset, in need of a drink and complaining that her ear hurts.  I stumble into the door frame while trying to make it back to my bed in the dark.

When my head hits the pillow for the final time, my thoughts turn to the Turkish woman who had just ridden in our van.  I don't know her name.

She had traveled for hours, been stranded in a foreign airport, and figured out what to feed and how to entertain her two young children as they waited for a stranger to pick them up and drop them off at their new apartment, sight unseen, where they'd be living for six months in a new country.

She has lived quite a day, too.

In my last moment of wakefulness before sleep finally shuts down the day, I think about how, against all odds and however tenuous, this unknown woman and I shared some connection.  We are two women from across the globe, two mothers who had endured long days, two strangers whose lives randomly have been intertwined in the briefest, oddest of ways.

And, as I'm heartened by this awareness that we're more related to others than we think -- that we're all experiencing this unpredictable and inconvenient and very human life together -- I finally yield to sleep.

Image compliments of Changhua Coast Conservation Action (flickr.com)

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What I Would Have Told Myself When I Became a Mother

I wish that I could step back in time to those early moments of motherhood when normal seemed so far off, to those days when I feared that the crying would never stop, or that the baby would never wake up to eat, or that the baby would never stop waking up to eat.  I'd gently place my hands on my own tense shoulders and whisper into my ear, "Robin, everything will turn out just fine."

As a new mother, that's all that I had needed to hear.  Whether new or not, that's what most every mother needs to hear.

This post is my way of cheering you on.  It's my way of celebrating everything that we mothers do -- both seen and unseen.  It's a reminder that we're all going to make it.  So, dear moms, take heart, and take these words to heart.  They're what I would have told myself when I became a mother.

1) It Gets Easier

Admitting that the transition into motherhood -- or the transition into mothering more children -- can feel overwhelming doesn't reveal weakness or indicate that you're unfit to mother.  It doesn't imply a lack of faith.  And it certainly doesn't suggest that you don't love your child.

Rarely do new mothers allow themselves the grace to be new.  Our normal lives are suspended, yet we don't permit ourselves to be real and raw and messy. As a new mother, I longed to be swaddled as well -- to have the loose ends tightened, to settle and soothe my uneasy reflexes, to admit, without shame, that I didn't automatically have the new role figured out.

No new mother feels as if she does.  It takes time.  You'll find your footing.

2) Learn As You Go

Having a new baby is like having an alarm set on full volume without knowing when it will sound next.  During my first week home from the hospital, I took copious amounts of pictures, wrote semi-coherent thank you notes, and hovered a great deal.  Waiting on my daughter's every call, I operated under the perpetual sensation of always needing to go somewhere fifteen minutes from now, a feeling that allows too little time to actually be productive but just enough time to feel inefficient and out of sorts.

How do you navigate a day when you've never encountered its likeness before?

As much as we long to prepare for the upcoming stages in our children's lives, warding off the discomfort of the unknown in advance, we ultimately learn to mother by mothering.  Even if we take parenting classes, even if we interview friends with children older than ours, we'll still need to learn certain lessons on our own through experience.

3) Say Goodbye to Personal Space 

Personal space -- or any sense of entitlement to it -- is an illusion for those with young children.  Children don't adhere to spatial boundaries.  They reach out and touch your face while you're talking with them.  They twirl their sticky fingers through your hair.  They open doors to occupied bathrooms.  They weasel their way onto your lap when you're paying bills or working at the computer.  They sidle up beside you as you're removing scalding dishes from the oven.  They're compelled to be close while you're sorting laundry, wriggling their little selves nearer in a way that undoes all the folding that you've just done.

Yet, one day my girls won't immediately run in our direction when my husband and I enter a room.  They won't climb onto our laps when we sit down, wheedle their way between us when we hug, or fall asleep with their thumb absentmindedly slung in their mouths as they rest their heads on our shoulders.  My clothes no longer will be marked by stains from little fingers, and sticky hands will no longer make their way into my own.

And when we exit this stage, I'll miss it acutely.

One day our children will need their distance.  For now, at least, we say goodbye to personal space.

4) Remember Your Former Self

I've never yet met a woman who wasn't a better mother for remembering who she was before she became a mother.

Motherhood is an all-encompassing life alteration, a deeply-seated shift in priorities, an invitation to live with your heart outside of your body.  Decisions, both large and small, are weighed from the lens of what is best for someone else rather than what is most convenient for you.  As it should be.

Yet, it's wise for a mother to remember that she was a woman before she was a mother.  Create time to care for your needs, sustain a complete thought, and stay acquainted with your dreams and desires.  And when you're in the midst of changing diapers, fastening car seat buckles, and laying yards of Thomas the Tank Engine tracks along your living room floor, remind yourself that you're made even better by the presence of your children, not diminished by them.

We're living the lives that we're meant to be living right now.  Our children aren't holding us back.  They're helping us become who we're meant to be.

5) Redefine Accomplishment

What if we moms could see all that we're doing -- all the creating and training and coaching and supporting and loving -- rather than dwelling on all that we're not?  What if we could realize that we only need to fill our daily twenty-four hours with what we're called to do, not what we impose upon ourselves?

What if we gave ourselves grace and redefined accomplishment? 

This starts by accepting that a productive day with children will look quite different from a productive day before having children.  Accomplishments in motherhood come in many forms, and rarely are they tidy and obvious.  Redefine accomplishment. You'll discover that you're accomplishing an impressive amount.

6) Build a Support Network

The hustle of life with kids can snuff out opportunities to gather with friends or have lengthy conversations.  Isolation can break a mother down.  You begin to operate within your own thoughts, convinced that you're the only one who's struggling, the only one who's lost her temper, the only one who seems to be failing.

As uncomfortable as it initially might be, airing out our concerns and admitting our flaws brings freedom -- not only to us, but also to others.  I've never surprised another mother when I've been transparent about my worst moments in parenting.  In fact, my disclosure paves the way for her to open up in return.  Turns out, her kids are fighting, too.  She's also pretended not to hear the baby wake up and has lingered in bed for an extra twenty minutes.  She's wanted to give up and run away, as well.

Nobody is helped when we pretend as if we've always got our act together.  When we receive from and reach out to others outside the walls of our own homes, we're strengthened.  Build a support network.  You'll be a healthier person -- and a better mother -- for it.

7) Avoid Comparison
In motherhood, we often only witness our own messes.  We compare our inner weaknesses -- those ugly parts we know so well -- with other people's external strengths. 

It's inevitable.  There will be days when other mothers have it more together than you.  They'll remember to return library books, send their child to school with a treasure for show and tell, and put a dollar under the pillow in exchange for a lost tooth.  You'll forget.

Other people's children will meet milestones faster than your children will.  Facebook status updates will showcase another family's amazing activities while you're living a boring day with your messy and uncooperative children.  Neighbors and friends might point out that they've done things differently while parenting, and whether intentional or not, those comments might carry the implication that you've done things wrong.

In spite of it all, avoid comparison.  It's a trap.  Without a doubt, you are the best mother for your children.  You're not supposed to be anyone else.

8) Partially Dirty is the New Clean

The reality of life with children isn't captured in the glossy pages of Potter Barn catalogs.  Life with children means that you no longer can perfectly control your environment.  You're in the pool.  You're going to get wet.

When I see hand prints on the wall, I need reminders that it's normal for a house to churn with noise and brim with stuff when young children live there.  That it's understandable to get tired of it.  That it's natural to long for peace and quite.  That it's possible to love your kids while also wanting to take a break from them.

We all know that one day, our houses will be quiet.  One day, our houses will be clean.  This knowledge shouldn't cast guilt on us now, as if it were selfish to wish for a moment's peace or self-seeking to desire an afternoon without little hands undoing all the work that we've just done.  It's not selfish to feel these ways.  It's human.

Knowing that a stage is temporary doesn't make it less crazy.  Hopefully, though, it does give us some stamina when we're weary.  Eventually, our days will open up.

9) Just Love Them

It doesn't matter how a child enters your family -- whether he's adopted or born into it, whether she's a complete surprise or yearned for month after month with dare-I-even hope? pregnancy tests.  They're yours, and you love them.  From the first moment you lay eyes on them, you know you always will.  Without even saying it, you know that you'd die for them.

We love them enough that on many days we do die for them -- unnoticed and miniscule deaths-to-self when we place their needs and interests before our own, when we bite our tongues, when we give them the last bite of chocolate cake that we wanted to eat, when we drag our weary bodies out of our warm beds to comfort them when they're frightened in the middle of the night.

Because this is what mothers do.  We love our kids, even in our imperfection.  Even in their imperfection.  We always will.

All text in this post is excerpted and adapted from Robin Kramer's Then I Became a Mother.  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.  Get your copy today!

"Hilarious and spot on!" (Mosaic of Moms)

"I loved every single chapter. This is by far the best book on motherhood I have ever read." (Chris Carter, The Mom Café)


Dear May, Your Arrival Is More Than Welcome.

After a bitterly cold winter and a dreary entrance into spring, this morning I was heartened to flip the calendar.  Finally, it is May.

I thought that spring would have sprung during the month of April.  While warmth and blue skies occasionally graced us, we finished the month with chilly temperatures, consistent rain, and an unwelcome bout of the stomach bug.  (Keeping consistent with our long-standing family track record, the stomach bug reared it's head at 2:30 in the morning.  My children, apparently, only vomit when concealed in the cloak of darkness.)

But now it is May, and somehow, this signifies the promise of relief.  May marks the end of the semester; by the end of next week, my final grades will be submitted.  While various aspects of work will continue, my life should resume a more humane pace. 

Also, early May marks the season for tulips.  How could I not feel happier when I consider a tulip lifting its delicate head toward the sunshine?  It's outdoor therapy.

Yes, dear May, your arrival this year is more than welcome.  So glad that you're here.

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