Oh, and happy mother’s day…again?
Share

Happy U.S.A. amurrrrrkaaaa mother’s day everyone! Yes, “againnnnnnnnn” as my 3 year old told me this morning. Was it really so painful for her to say happy mother’s day again? (lip quiver).

Here’s what I learned this past year of being a mom:

1. Self doubt is my bestie.
2. Nothing is a big deal…until it’s a big deal.
3. Take things easy and they will be easy. (not sure about this one)

So many changes from last year. It’s really amazing what a year will teach you. Here’s my list from last year:

1. Self doubt is my bestie.
2. Nothing is a big deal…until it’s a big deal.
3. Take things easy and they will be easy. (not sure about this one)

Okay, never mind. I’m just gonna bring it back to basics. As basic as it gets. Food and cuddles. Cuddles and food. That’s all. No one judges mama lionesses for it, right?

Share

What I Don’t Want to See on Instastories
Share

Recently I took a step back from social media and tried a digital detox. Wait, what do you mean, you didn’t notice? (Of course you didn’t. Because you’re busy with your lives. Except for that one kind e-mail asking if my account had been hacked.)

What led me to such a (perhaps) “overdramatic” step?

Instastories.

There, I said it. At first I delighted in them. I loved their easy impermanence. And that, unlike Snapchat, I could make it look like I had captured a magical moment—because you can recapture over and over until you’re happen with your “instant” capture. But with a little perspective I feel they turn us into 5 month olds. AT BEST.

Let me explain … I believe social media is like a baby seeing a tsunami of flashcards. There are a bunch of different pictures of animals and each one is so, SO colorful and we gurgle and squeal when we see some (the duck wearing Chanel who can juggle, in particular) but we frown at the elephant because the elephant is so … normal and unrehearsed. I feel like Instastories—much like Pinterest—puts us into a state of denial/fantasy where we believe a Chanel-wearing, juggling duck is normal. But she’s not.

And it’s a time thing. A time suck. We could have all learned a few new skills by now instead of brainwashing ourselves with social media. Like Mandarin. I could have been fluent in Mandarin by now. Okay, maybe not fluent, but able to order a Starbucks and tell the barista about my day if I had only laid off the ‘swiping and double tap addiction’ as it’s clinically referred to.

So, it’s not like I want Instastories eradicated from planet Earth, here’s what I realized I find Too Much-Too Fake on my feed. Instead of FOMO I have TMTF.

1. Other people’s meals/kids all day. Does that sound bad? I mean I do, but not all day long. It’s meant to be a mini-story and often it’s just raw footage. That’s not gripping enough to suck up my time or distract me from reading something real, like a book (I just started 40 Languages of Love, FYI). Sure it depends on who you’re following but still I had to make that point because you also don’t want to be out of the loop. I mean, what else would we complain about if we weren’t following these insta famous peeps.

2. I don’t need the weather forecast. “Windy” is useless and adds absolutely nothing to my day. Please don’t post it. I can see from your hair blowing in the wind. But in reality, it’s totally useless information for me to know. The same can be said of the “Brrrrr” posts with your boots in snow.

3. I don’t need to see your feet walking with the comment, “Gymming today.” Why do you—and I—feel the need to share this? I’ll tell you and please say it with me. Valiiiiii valiiii validation!!! High five. I am totally guilty of this one, but to be honest, it’s my way to say that working out is the only thing keeping me sane these days.

4. Stop taking pictures of your feet and toes at the pool. Just stop. Do you want people in Sweden who are still freezing their ass off to hate you? Because they do. I checked with Sweden and it snowed on May 9th. It’s no longer funny.

5. If one more person on turns the camera around and says, “Hi guys…. (insert whatever they’re working on:) today I opened a Bic pen all by myself! Stay tuned big things coming… it’s exciting.” Is it truly exciting???

6. Stop filming yourself in the mirror getting your hair done. All it does is remind me to color my roots and stop coloring them in with my mascara.

7. I’m impressed with those who claim they are going against the grain and try to come across as real. I really am with you on this. But please stop doing that open wide-eyed look. It’s forced. It’s funny… but also forced! I doubt you managed to capture your sleeping baby in the back of the car AND your entire face with that expression in ONE take. Keep it real by being real?

8. Anyone who travels always shows the silver lining of it all. With extended love letters to, “Newwwww YorrrrrrKKKKK.” Yes, we get it. And I love how you never mention the latest tropical cyclone to destroy whole islands. “Magicaaaallllll” and “happpyyy vibes” is instead what I’m forced to read.

9. Who started this whole, “vibes” trend? Happy vibes, weekend vibes. Where do I find some? I’m kinda in the middle of “sleeplessness vibes,” “vomit vibes,” and “who pooped? vibes.” Same same, but different.

10. Can we see a whole lot less of the jargon? “Those cheeks” “This” “But first, coffee”—when did our vocabulary dumb down to a handful of clichés? I’m not sure but I want to try and stop.

So I challenge you. Let’s launch #tuesdaystantrums. A revolution, if you will. I want see Instatories that manage to capture one real raw moment. Not stories and posts that make me suspect someone’s husband had to kiss someone’s cheek 19 times before the lighting was deemed good enough. Not the ones that make me feel like anyone over 20 isn’t good enough to be seen in public.

Let’s gurgle and squeal over a few real, normal, unrehearsed elephants instead of the juggling ducks.

Ni hao ma, mamas—peace out.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on what I WANT to see (and try and post more of) on Instastories. And send me what you really really really want to see from my side.

Share

10 Things I’ve Forgotten Somewhere Along the Way…
Share

Somewhere along the way I forgot my pet peeves and must-haves. And how I prefer my coffee. Somewhere along the way I completely disregarded what I wanted, needed, and wished for. Somewhere along the way these tiny puzzle pieces filled my heart, yeah just like an Oliver Jeffers book, and filled my time too. My time was no longer my time. And in the blink of an eye every morning and afternoon and night revolved around potty training and play dates, teething and tantrums, cuddles and cozy time at home.

I have forgotten a few more things:

1. Where I put my barely lukewarm coffee
2. Whose birthday I missed
3. The address of my first beloved apartment in NYC
4. How much I hated cashews and raisins and loved macadamia nuts and dried mango
5. That notes can be taken somewhere other than on the back of my hand or fluorescent Post-Its
6. Why biting my cuticles is an awful habit
7. That my heels always need moisturizer
8. That I sleep better when I don’t have my phone in my hand
9. That I used to wear long earrings
10. How I used to wash my hair daily
11. That I love 90’s hip-hop and reggaton. All the time.

So many things I’ve forgotten along the way and can’t keep track of in this crazy whirl of mommyhood. But in another way I’ve gone over the rainbow and where I am now is that mind-blowing world of mama magic. So yeah, some of the things I’ve forgotten no longer need to be on my list.

Share

Tarsha’s Rare Magical Boys
Share

I’m not sure why talking with strangers is easier than talking with close friends or relatives but it just is.

I’m a crier but I wasn’t sure if my regular “Every Mama has a Hiccup” interview would work over Skype—would we bond 10,000 miles from each other? I note Tarsha’s big green cat-like eyes like an actress on Hollywood making a come back. She’s wide eyed as in concerned, alert, and protective. I know we are going to bond. We both have boys.

We connected because we share this search for magic in our mommyhood journeys. My hiccup was my firstborn’s experiences with hip dysplasia. Tarsha’s came with her baby’s albinism. This is where Tarsha starts shifting the phone up and down so at times I’m zoomed in on her eyebrows. That’s when I really felt like I was getting a close-up on her currency as a mama (because we all have a currency—our one thing that defines us): Tarsha is an educator and advocate for children.

“I didn’t realize which path I was meant to be on until Stephen was born. It was a complete shock.” As with real-life hiccups, there was no forewarning or time to prepare.

“He was diagnosed within ten minutes of birth because he was born with white hair. There’s an eye test.” It confirmed the news. Albinism is so rare. It’s a congenital disorder where the skin, hair, and eyes lack or partially lack pigment. Neither side of the family seemed to have it. Various visual disorders can result and the risk of sunburn and skin cancer is greatly heightened. A nurse rattled off to Tarsha the consequences: “He will not drive a car, might not read. May need a special setting at school. Extra help. Can’t take outside….”

That’s where it started. “We went into survival mode.” I knew what she was talking about. Suddenly all background noise disappears. Forever. Or, until you can deal with it.

Tarsha is honest in saying what so few mamas confess, “I was sad for him and for us.” They had envisioned a life of numerous trips to Long Island and days spent at Disney World. “What do you mean we can’t take him to the beach?” Tarsha asked. “The biggest thing for me was the not-driving thing. That alters your life. Your life is a different life.”

Tarsha soon expected another baby. Then she lost her dad suddenly when she was 4 months pregnant.

“I found out we were expecting another boy 10 days after my father passed away.”

When she gave birth to Joseph, they discovered that he, too, has albinism.

In albinism there’s a specific gene that’s missing. Tarsha explains they could have done that test but there was no point. “As soon as they told me it was a boy I knew that he would have it. He did and we knew it. But suddenly Stephen had a buddy for life—they both had someone who would understand.”

They moved back to Boston. Tarsha became a stay at home mom after being an assistant principal in a NYC public school. “I was so envious of SAHMs until I was one. Those were my darkest days because I had attached my identity to being an educator. That was my purpose. Doing good at a school. Now I was sitting in a kitchen on a rolly chair watching an 8×10 TV screen. I had PTSD.”

With the loss of her dad, the move, and two young boys to care for both with a rare condition where you’re warned not to take them outside in the sun, it’s no wonder that Tarsha had PTSD. “I loved my toddler and baby, but I’d find myself crying and felt guilty. It is what it is.”

Her biggest lesson in all of this is to ‘be kind to yourself.’ Not only in terms of taking vitamins and eating clean, but also with time. “Sometimes we need the time to figure out what all of this means.” Hard things need the most time.

”My darkest days were my most important days. I had hours where I had to sit and figure it out, and feel the pain and anger, and then let it go.”

Feeling those things you’re afraid to say out loud sounds like a horrific thing.

“We don’t give ourselves time or space to be still and feel it. And figure out how to use it. It’s a hidden gift. There’s magic in it. But there’s no time to find the magic.” The key to most things is really the timing of everything.

Now Stephen and Joseph are 9 and 7. Both have a sensory processing disorder, which is common in albinism. SPD can look like something on the autism spectrum. Kids experiencing it can be advanced intellectually, but their senses are out of whack. With her boys, this is due to their vision. So one boy needs to touch everything, put it in a pile, as his way of experiencing the world—through touch. Meanwhile, for the other boy, the world is painful to touch, he wants nothing on his feet.

They are each other’s triggers, and polar opposites and in a way one can lean on the other.

“It was tough.” Tarsha breathes deep. Breathing in deeply is just as dramatic from 10,000 miles away. She pauses. “There’s so much in life that we don’t know.”

She couldn’t let her boys see that she was sad. She decided her job is to help them figure out where to turn. To advocate for them. And to show the world the magic they bring.

Ever since the boys could understand, Tarsha’s talked to them about albinism. “We speak about it like it’s going to the grocery store.” They reduce it to statistics: 1 in 19,000 and 1 in 18,000. Autism is 1 in every 65. It is rare, but it was meant to be. “It’s all ‘magic’ because what am I doing with this. Special souls. Not typical children. Once I stopped seeing them as typical I realized how their gifts strengthen their character and help others.”

Tarsha has this to say to parents going through anything tough: “When you’re in a tough spot you need to stay there for a while otherwise it’s never going to go away. You gotta sit there with it.” Things come to us for a reason. We all know that. We can’t change. Our elements alter. And we choose. There will come a time for you to decide if it’s going to change you and how—either to change you for the better or for the worse. To see the light or stay sitting in the dark.

Tarsha’s currency is how she learns, advocates, and teaches. “That is where I find respect and peace and happiness. Trying to strategize how to make the most out of that connection. And yes, everything happens for a reason. As annoying as that cliché is, it really does and you can choose to ignore it or listen and learn.”

I want to help moms on this journey through their hiccup so they can figure out who they are, who they want to be, and what motivates and matters to them.

By the time Tarsha’s boys turn 16, we can hope that cars will be driving themselves so at least that one dire prophecy from that nurse fails to affect them.

“They’re getting there,” Tarsha smiles.

“It is through our ‘hiccups’ and the work we do while walking through the pain that we are able to appreciate and see things in a new light. That’s the magic.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

Share

10 Ways to Multitask while Listening to my Podcast
Share

After tons of retakes and interrupted laughter and mini catfights and more than a few tears… it’s finally out. Backstreet’s back? “Ummm, not really,” as Kaya would say as we’ve only just started so maybe we should just get it all started before saying we are back?

What am I talking about?

My podcast with Sassy Mama Dubai.

It’s called The Sassy Mama Podcast- Finding the Magic in Mommyhood and you can find the first episode on itunes!

Because we’re all a bit new to this I’ve included a list of amazing multi-tasking fun you can be doing at the same time as listening to our podcast. Multi-tasking is our friend. Some of the following are best done with earbuds, others without (I’ll leave it to you to tell me which is which in the comments):

1. Brushing your teeth
2. Dare I say peeing
3. Getting dressed
4. Getting undressed
5. Driving
6. Waiting for your next appointment who is notoriously late
7. Feeding your baby
8. Taking the trash out
9. Listening to your hubby’s day
10. Sex

And definitely check out Kaya’s piece here: www.sassymamadubai.com/podcast-motherhood-launch-parenting-stories-radio

So, as she said: We’re (hopefully) about to make your school run a million times better. Subscribe now and join us every week for a bit of a laugh and a few serious moments too. We’re on a journey that we’d love you to be a part of.
Click here to subscribe on iTunes.
Click here to listen on Soundcloud. Or hit play below:

Share