Why Mothers Hold On

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Our family recently moved…twice. And somewhere in between the boxes and whispered curse words, I caught a glimpse of nearly three years of loving sacrifice.

Nursing bras.

My husband had carefully stacked my drawers beside the dresser, and in that moment I felt exposed.

What am I still holding on?

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 7

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“Two boys and one girl is my ideal.”

I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. You don’t see two grown men discussing fertility over dinner very often.

But such was the case last night.

Meanwhile, my husband and I were body-blocking our children from leaping to their death from the open second floor window.

Ah, dinner in Snowmass Village, Colorado.

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The Baby Doll Effect

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You know you are the mother of a toddler when you have your first temper tantrum – that moment when you desperately want your child to do something, and they simply refuse.

Such was the scene in my son’s preschool earlier this week when each child was lovingly gifted a handmade pillow by the crafting ladies of the church. It was a beautiful gesture. Really.

Except my son didn’t want the pale blue pillow placed in his cubby. He wanted the vibrant floral one…with the obnoxious lace ruffle. His kind teachers allowed him to switch. And just when I thought I could let it go, I snapped.

I felt the need to justify his choice to every parent we encountered down the hall.

“Oh, yes, his sister will inherit this one!”

Clearly, something deep was happening. Why couldn’t I support my son’s decision?

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The Career Not Taken

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When you are a parent, first birthdays always have a way of misting the eyes and evoking strong emotions. Just yesterday my little girl was afraid to take a step, and today she is sprinting. Twelve short months and all that remains are the final traces of a precious baby, our last.

I told myself I had it together. I told myself I could do this. But, the truth is, I have regrets.

I didn’t read enough stories.

I didn’t savor the middle-of-the-night embraces.

I didn’t slow down.

And – here on the other side of one – is where I begin to ponder other roads not taken.

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A Hybrid Motherhood

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“They’re only little once.”

My son was almost six-months-old when my grandmother decided to offer me unsolicited career advice. I’d be lying if I said the thought had not crossed my mind. Return to the working world or continue as a stay-at-home mother?

I considered my two graduate degrees, sure, but ever since the wee hours of a July morning back in 2013, life had dramatically changed. I was a mother now. And yet, a longing lingered in me to make a difference, no matter how small, outside of the home.

In the months that followed, I submitted numerous applications and accepted the only job I didn’t actually seek out. Quite simply, I knew it would allow me to be a hybrid mother.

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The Answer to Marriage Is Soccer

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I wanted to be angry. Truly.

After a Saturday full of child laughter (i.e. parent supervision), the last thing I wanted to do was put both kids to bed by myself. The very act ages me exponentially. But my husband wanted to go to a soccer game, and I knew this “favor” would come in handy at a later time of convenience.

Marriage mistake #1: Keeping score.

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The Friendship Paradox

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Thirteen years ago, I graduated from high school, and my confession is this: I only actively communicate with one friend from the first 18 years of my life. 

When I was younger, someone told me that the older you get, the more you will long for the people who knew you when you were young. I couldn’t agree more and, in recent years, have found myself missing those childhood friends.

To where, then, do they disappear?

They go to college.

They invest in romantic relationships.

They pursue professional opportunities.

They have children.

This is the secret held by the other side of adulthood: Friends don’t keep.

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It Rained Upon a New Fedora

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“You’re so hipster.”

If you are a mother who prides herself on being countercultural, this statement stings a little. I proceeded to shoot my husband the look.

“Well, you are wearing a fedora.”

Truth. Earlier that day, I had purchased my very first non-winter – dare I say fashionable – hat. It seemed like the perfect item to hide my exhaustion long enough to survive an evening of carnival fun in my hometown.

Only I didn’t plan for the rain.

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