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I am their mother. This is my job.

standard March 1, 2017 1 response

When my children were little, the urge to guide them, protect them, shield them from the world was something I felt deeply in my bones. Even as I watched them struggle to learn new things, I found it hard to stand back, to not rush in to make it easier for them. I remember knowing, deep in my gut, that they needed to struggle, needed to feel the rush that comes from hard won success, needed it to grow and learn, but, nevertheless, struggling with it.

I’m their mother. Their guardian. Their protector. Their teacher.

It hurt to not fix, smooth, facilitate.

Logic almost always won out and I held myself back from intervening (unless they were in danger, because come on, mother, not monster). I even coached various family members who had a tendency to jump in with help before it was really needed, held them back gently so that the kids could claim their victories.

And then, as they grew, the challenges got bigger.

Instead of learning to scale a chair, they had to face the first day of Kindergarten.

Instead of figuring out how to tie a shoe, they had to learn to navigate the friendship seas.

Instead of puzzles featuring puppies and ponies, there were schedules, homework, relationships.

And, in parallel, the urge in me to fix, smooth, facilitate has gotten stronger and stronger.

I don’t remember the first time I tried to get on a chair, but I remember trying to understand how I fit in with the other kids at school.

I don’t remember struggling to tie my shoe, but I remember the pain of losing friends.

And every day that my kids come home, hurt because of some slight, or upset because they don’t quite writing essays online understand the murky interpersonal waters of the pre-teen pool, a piece of me shrivels up a little.

I want to fix it. I want to make the pain just go away. I want to find the magic words that will make it all better.

And then tonight, as I was doing some much needed laundry, I remembered, that’s not my job.

My job is to give them the tools and resources they need to succeed, whatever that will look like for them.

My job is to encourage them to be their truest selves and gently guide when guidance is requested.

My job is to send them off with hugs and love so that they know that, however far they roam and whatever they do or face when they get there, they do so knowing that they are unconditionally loved and supported.

My job is to offer a safe place to land, a warm set of arms to hold them when the world is proving inhospitable, a soft kiss on their brow creased with angst.

And then, my job is to send them back out to keep on trying.

Because my job isn’t to fix them, to fix their path, it’s to be their support, their safety net as they become who they’re meant to be.

I am their mother. My job is to have faith in them and in everything they have learned and continue to learn from me, from their father, from the rest of our family, and to believe that they will be OK, even if their path isn’t the easy one I would have chosen for them.

And damn if it isn’t the hardest job in the world.

toddler walking away

Finding My Mom Style

standard August 29, 2011 2 responses

I’ve mentioned it before, fashion and I are not friends. I’ve always wanted to be cute and classy, but when I walk into a store I’m like a deer in headlights and I never know what to get.

If you look in my closet you will find 15 variations of the same outfit. If it worked once in one color, no reason it can’t work again!

Knowing this and knowing that I had to shine at my speaking session at BlogHer, I put myself into the trusty hands of the Moms Fashion File team. If anyone could help me, it was definitely going to be them.

And help me they did.

First of all, they set my mind at ease about my own sense of style. Part of the magical transformation involved two full outfits generously donated by Ann Taylor LOFT. One of the skirts picked out for me by Nicole was the skirt I had just bought the week before and was actually wearing when I walked in to be made over. Score one for me!

Jessica Before

Then they showed me what was wrong with my style…. Uh… that would be the rest.

OK, I jest. All it seems I’m actually missing is the accessories. Cute jackets, fun necklaces, bracelets, belts, nice purse… the works! Allison from Petit Elefant coached me on putting it all together! Score a million for MFF!

Jessica After

Oh, right, you noticed that there’s more to it than just the clothes and accessories?

I begged the stylists from Detour Salon (there thanks to Plum District) to come home with me so they could make me look fabulous every day, but they said they couldn’t move to Nor Cal. I would have begged Tia Dantzler to also come home with me so she could do my make-up all the time, but I could get over the fact that she’s done Barak Obama’s make-up twice to get the words out. Instead I just tried to take mental notes about what she was doing and preened when she said that I had a “good eyeshadow base.” (Whatever that means…) I also drank in all her Johnson’s Baby make-up tips.

When I left, a mere two hours after arriving in the Moms Fashion File Secret Style Suite, I felt like a more confident version of myself. Having a ton of people stop me in the hall to gush about how great I looked didn’t hurt either. (Rumor has it that people were saying I looked like Jackie O. Greatest compliment ever!)

As the day went on though, I found that I was missing who I really was – the curly haired, slightly less put together version of the polished result of 2 hours of styling. Some friends whispered to me that they liked my usual look better too. (One person posted to her FB wall that she’d met three Jessica Rosenbergs at BlogHer. I had to break it to her that she met me three times… oy.)

The hair has come down, the nail polish is long gone, but I’m taking from the whole experience two simple facts. I’m not as style-less as I thought I was. And it doesn’t take a whole lot to take my usual look to the next level.

Mornings now involve a tiny bit more attention to my accessories. I change up my jewelry and pick my shoes more carefully. And when I leave the house I feel a bit more confident.

Because clearly I needed help with that.

Strutting the catwalk.

Thank you to Moms Fashion File for allowing me to partake in such an amazing event. Thank you to the fashion partners – Namaste Handbags, Scotch Naturals, LOFT, Kiyonna, Dr. Scholl’s Shoes, BALI intimates, Lands End, Payless Shoes, Stella Dot and the Sponsors: Plum District, Ciao Bella Gelato, Johnson’s, Stokke, Trop 50, Windows Phone – for making it possible! I’m loving all the gifts I took home and I’m using them all with pride!

All photos by Bella Diva Photo. For more from the event click here.

Out of State Again

standard June 21, 2011 6 responses

I knew my summer was going to include a lot of travel again. I’ve known this for month. It was actually supposed to be worse, with a conference and a Life Coaching seminar each month.

By postponing the coach training until 2012 I’ve pared things down pretty radically, but the travel still looms.

Looms pretty close if you take into account the fact that I leave for North Carolina really early tomorrow morning.

Oh yes. Tomorrow.

I’ve done the laundry. I’ve thought about grocery shopping. I’ve even lined up five days worth of playdates, childcare, and other entertainment.

And I’m still nervous about leaving.

Last year I left at least four times, skipping away to the other side of the country, without thinking twice about it. This year, after the unrest of the last few months, this departure feels momentous and fraught with worry.

I know they’re going to be fine.

I know I have countless friends just standing by, waiting to jump in and help at the mere hint of a request.

I even know I have friends standing by, waiting to jump in whether or not there’s a hint of a request.

And yet it feels so momentous, to take myself out of the equation for five days. I’ve been M’s rock and the family’s glue for two months. I’ve been there at every turn, to watch and step in, to manage everyone’s emotions, needs, hopes, feelings and everything in between.

It’s a good thing for me. I need to go. Need to get back into the groove of work. Network with bloggers and brands. Speak about something that means a lot to me. Remember what it’s like to be Jessica Rosenberg, Professional Blogger, not just Jessica Rosenberg, aka Wife, Mommy, Caregiver.

It’s a good thing for M and the kids. They need me to go. So they can remember that they know how to survive without me.

Our lives haven’t stopped. They’ve just changed course. It’s taken me two months to see that what I thought was a radical transformation, is really just going to be a shift.

I’m no longer scared to lose myself in this change. This trip (and the others planned for later in the summer) are just proof of my determination to make that be true.

These guys are going to be just fine. Now I need to take care of me.

Becoming a Mom: A Bump Month Tale

standard May 9, 2011 1 response

Do you remember a time when any decision you ever made only affected you? What to have for dinner? What to do next weekend? Where to go on vacation? Even what to buy at the store?

I can remember if I close my eyes really, really hard.

It’s a fleeting memory at best. Something hazy, like a dream that I might be remembering. Then again, it could just be someone else’s life that I once heard about.

Even before I got pregnant with C I was already thinking of myself as more than just an individual whose actions only impacted herself. I watched what I ate to make sure I built up my folic acid reserves and on the day I learned that licorice could be bad for fertility I walked away from that favorite treat without a glance back.

It made me feel like a mom to already be making those decisions.

But nothing compared to the day that I got the results of C’s Nuchal Translucency test.

I’d walked into that ultrasound room confident that everything would be peachy. That the test was nothing more than a routine screening that would show that my baby was as perfect as I knew her to be.

And then it wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t conclusive either way.

So they did some blood work to try to see if they could decipher more.

And that came back to say that there was a 1/160 chance that my baby had Down Syndrome.

I went home that day and had the hardest conversation I ever had with my husband. The whole “What if the Amnio shows that the baby does have Down Syndrome? What do we do then?” debate.

You’d think that it’s a conversation that we would have had before getting pregnant. But, what can I say, we were cocky. We never thought our baby wouldn’t be “perfect.” I also assumed my husband would be 100% on the same page as me.

My baby, our baby… would be who he or she was. We’d love her or him as is. No questions asked.

I was thinking like a mom already. This baby in my womb was part of me already. In my mind, simply by getting pregnant I had pledged myself over to caring for her and loving her at no matter what cost to me.

M was more rational. He figured we had a set amount of resources – financial and emotional – and we could opt to give them all to one special needs child, or we could opt to save them for a larger family.

I think it was the first time we’d ever been at odds over anything. It floored me. And we never did agree on the issue. Instead we tacitly decided to wait until we had to make a decision.

We tried to do the Amnio a week early, but my uterus contracted when the needle went in and they had to pull it out again. When they tried again they couldn’t get enough fluid.

I went back a week later, two days before Thanksgiving, for a third attempt. I don’t remember much about the pain of the injection. I do remember driving all the way to Lake Tahoe that Wednesday, phone in hand, waiting for the call from the lab.

As the clock ticked slowly past 5pm and I realized we wouldn’t get the call before Monday I cried.

I wanted so badly be able to relax and just love the baby in my belly. I wanted to let myself be excited about her arrival. I wanted to go to work and yell on every rooftop that I was pregnant and proud of it. 

That weekend, on Thanksgiving morning, I “popped.” We both realized it when M tried to hug me.

“This baby is already coming between us!” I quipped, instantly regretting my choice of words. At that moment I didn’t know, if it came down to it, if I’d be able to chose between my baby’s life and my husband’s desires.

Lucky for me, I never had to discover what I would have decided.

The genetic counselor called me at 7:30 that Monday morning. Knowing just how hard that wait must have been, she’d come in to work early to spare us any more wait. The baby was healthy. A healthy baby girl.

I put away the jacket I’d been hiding my bump under and dressed in maternity clothes that day. Then I went to work and shared my news with all my coworkers. M went to work and told his.

It’s still Bump Month! 8 bloggers and I have teamed up to spend a whole month talking about moms and babies. We’re going to share stories and wonderful companies who help us make it all look easy and fun. Stay tuned for more trips down memory lane to my long past pregnancies and infancies! Be sure to enter the killer giveaway! Read the other Bump Bloggers stories about when they first felt like a mom here.