Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Brain

So many of my sistahs--accomplished women of my age--have complained lately their propensity towards brainlessness. Is it our age? Circumstances? Hormonal imbalances? All I can say is it seems we'd all somehow agreed to share a brain, passing it around before we're really ready to, you know, like when we still could be using it. Mind you, I am privileged to hang with a really talented group of women, so we are all terribly chagrined about this sudden scourge of intelligence.

I regularly sit in my office, rolling my eyes toward the ceiling, trying to capture a word I'm thinking of...begins with a p...p p pppppa. This wouldn't be so bad if I weren't a writer. And when the other thoughts fly in--need dental floss, E's evening performance, sugar-free chocolate?--I take dictation on my little lime green Post-It pad: A life in stickies.

My daughter finds this hysterical--the notes stuck to the coffee pot, the calendar, the mirror. I glare at her and say I didn't used to be this way, before I was a mom. I used to have a life, a fully firing brain and goals. Not anymore. And it's been a bittersweet adjustment.

What I am realizing, however, is that it's all a trade off. I had my daughter at 34, and what I traded in energy from my 20s I (hopefully) made up for in patience and common sense. I am realizing that my calling to do Eve's Daughters, and to raise my own daughter well, necessitated that I lose some of my previous efficiency. It's requiring a transparency, a realness, a humility I didn't use to have. I had lose some of my polish to earn a different kind of glow, if you know what I mean--the kind that comes from recognizing that we're indeed growing older but perhaps deeper and more beautiful, less afraid and rigid. It impacts our work, our relationships and our mothering, but I find I have less to prove these days, and that, in itself, is pretty freeing.

How has your parenting changed as you've aged?

Friday, April 17, 2009


As moms we make sacrifices daily. We do for our kids what we are wired to do, regardless of its common sense. It’s just what we do.

I am sick. I have been all week. I want to believe that it is a cold, I have been told it is an allergy…to a cat…my daughter’s cat…the one we bought to help her over a very traumatic time in her life. Now what?

My sister said it may be time to get rid of the cat…no…we can’t. My daughter needs the cat. I need her to have the cat. So I sacrifice. I head out for treatment, because that is what we moms do. We fix things. As is often the case, we fix us. Because we can control that…because we want our kids to be ok.

I am guessing that it is the same for all moms. But from my perspective as a single mom, we are really sensitive about our kids being okay, because we hear about how messed up they are going to be because they come from single parent homes. I will never forget the time I walked out of church, front row, with my kids and their friends because the pastor was telling the congregation the statistics of how messed up these poor single parented children are going to be when they grow up. My son looked at me and said, “Mom that isn’t going to be us”. Thanks Bubba, but I’m not so sure…you see I have a lot of guilt…our situation isn’t “normal”. Or so I’m told.

We want the best for our kids, and whether we were left or we did the leaving, we struggle to make things right…to make things “normal”. The 2000 Census says that 28% of homes with children under the age of 18 were heading by a single parent, of which 78% percent were headed by a female. So I guess that means that 28% is considered “abnormal” by many. I disagree.

So I sit here with barely a voice, runny nose, congested chest, and sore throat and wonder…how can I tell my body that it is wrong…it’s not an allergy…I’m a mom…we don’t do allergies to our children’s pets. How can I tell the world they are wrong? My “single mom” reaction to my allergy is most likely just how many “normal” moms living with a husband would react. We all make sacrifices…single moms and “normal” moms. It’s what we do…all of us moms.