A Note to My Fellow Moms

Favorite Orchard Pic

Today is the day that mothers are celebrated. Today is Mother’s Day. Today, we are brunched, and gifted, and hugged, and loved. We are mimosa’ed like crazy, wined and dined, and thanked for all that we do.  It’s a good day!

Today, I would like to send a note to the moms that I know.  My mom, my sisters, my in-laws, my family, my friends.

You are STRONG. You are the backbone of your families no matter how they come to be. If you are there for the joy and there for the tears, there for the fevers and fears, you are the strength that keeps the family moving forward.

You are allowed to FAIL. The truth is that you can only fail if you are trying. We all want to be the best moms that we can be. We try a million different things to figure out our kids and help them grow and thrive and succeed. But, we screw up sometimes too. That’s ok! That’s proof that we are figuring things out as we go. If we were perfect, our kids wouldn’t learn how to make mistakes and grow from them. We need to be imperfect in front of our kids to truly succeed as moms.

You are allowed to FEEL. We all want to be in control all the time, but we are human. We are allowed to be angry. We are allowed to cry. We are allowed  to be scared. We are allowed to snuggle our kids and act silly. Emotion in context is strength, because it shows that we can deal with the good, bad, and ugly of parenting and life and feel it.  If our kids see our healthy use of emotion, they can learn how to deal with their own. It’s all part of the process.

You are NEVER ALONE. We all have a network of other moms, trying to navigate the terrifying and wonderful waters of raising a child to be kind, caring, and strong. Know your network and learn how to ask for help.

Know always that you are AMAZING AND LOVED.  It’s not easy being a mom. Being a parent – mother or father – is the hardest job in the world. But if you stay strong, keep trying and show your kids how you feel, you will always be loved. That is the greatest reward of motherhood. Our legacy is our children, and if we focus on our little ones, they will love us “to the moon and back” irregardless of our imperfections.

Have an Amazing and Happy Mother’s Day. If you are reading this, you’ve become part of my network, and I thank you for keeping me plugging along.

Now, time to go convince a 7-year old and 2-year old that playing the keyboard outside of the 9-year old’s bedroom door while he is sleeping is probably not the best thing… I am FEELING ANNOYED AND HAPPY.

What I’ve learned about marriage…so far

Wedding day

It is 5am in Los Angeles, and I’ve just woken up after an incredibly emotional evening with my family. Today is my brother’s wedding day, and I’m alone and missing my husband and kiddos so much because we just couldn’t pull off bringing everyone today. The trick about weddings is they bring out the best and worst in many people.

We’ve all heard the bridezilla stories and laughed, or the parent / parent-in-law from hell disasters. But there is so much more emotion than that. Weddings bring out the memories of our own wedding successes and failures. It brings home the “happily-ever after” fantasies that all girls grow up with but then learn quickly are truly fantasy and that’s probably better.  Beyond that, it brings out the fears and hopes for the newlyweds, both those that you truly know are meant to be, but every once in awhile, also those that worry you just a bit more than usual.

The truth about marriage is it’s hard and it’s beautiful and it’s exhausting and it’s worth it if you find the one that is willing to walk the path with you. It also constantly evolves as two lives evolve, so it never really stays the same. The foundation must be strong, to get through the shaky times, but how you work through challenges in Year 1 may be different in Year 5 which is likely going to be different in Year 25.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned so far in my 12 years of marriage, and I know that I will continue to learn and grow with my hubby as our lives continue to grow and change around us in the years to come.

  1. Love your spouse for who they are, not who they could be – Know your spouse’s fundamental self and love that. We all know that there are quirks that we won’t like. They will not change nor go away, nor should you want that if you truly love them. I tend to be serious, loud, passionate but protective of my privacy, and my husband is the class clown who shares EVERYTHING. It drives me nuts. But we are who we are, and have been, since we met 18 years ago. It’s that difference in him that pushes me out of my boundaries and makes me better, as I hope he gets pushed by me sometimes.
  2. Change together, not apart – As a couple you will continue to change and adapt to each other’s styles as you learn to truly respect each other’s style. You both come to the marriage with hang ups and expectations that aren’t realistic. If you learn to work together to get through those hiccups, you’ll be good. If you instead wait for the other person to change, without adapting to his or her style too, then you end up in something one-sided.
  3. Laugh often and for no reason – Laughing is cathartic. It gets you through the good and the bad, but it also helps you find the good in any situation. If you can’t laugh with your spouse, not only about the good things, but also for the times when one or both of you act like stupid assholes – WHICH WILL HAPPEN OFTEN – then you won’t learn to look beyond the stupid mistakes.
  4. Marriage = Teamwork  – The trick with marriage is it brings to minds to a problem so you aren’t alone.  You become a team, and a true team tackles life’s situations with the approach that two minds really are better than one. If one person dictates the rules and solutions, and one simply listens, then something may be broken. Spouses aren’t structured as boss vs. employees because you quit bad bosses. Spouses aren’t parent vs. child, although you each may feel that way once in awhile when someone acts dumb. Marriage is two adults bring different perspectives to a life that becomes better because of the differences and the willingness to work together.
  5. Know your bench – Every couple has a bench. It’s the people that travel half way across the country to be there to support you on your wedding day, and the people who are local and get to watch the couple you will grow to be. Neither group is more or less important. Family is family, regardless of their connection. You’ll need your bench, often, and they will be there for you no matter what. Remember that as you work through the hard times, and be open to the beauty that new members bring, particularly as you bring two families together.

So today, I celebrate marriage and the newlyweds. I celebrate my brother and his soon-to-be wife. And I feel blessed that I’ve had 12 years to start to learn what marriage is about and look forward to what’s to come for everyone.