Category Archives: Other moms

Kimchi and company

My phone is dead so here is a picture of someone else’s kimchi.

So I’ve been on the fence about most of the meet-up gatherings I have attended. To clarify, meetup.com is a website where folks can create groups and gatherings (meet-ups) around any kind of topic, interest, motivation you can imagine. Not surprisingly, there are lots of moms meet ups, because, let’s face it: it can be lonely without a good network of friends who also are home with their kids, and it can be hard to find friends in a new place. More here on my saga in that regard. I’ve gone to a couple of local mom group meet ups and found them tolerable, even mildly enjoyable, but in the end, they’re an inorganic and forced way of finding people to spend time with. But finally I think I have come across a group where I feel comfortable and can do genuinely interesting things with other moms.

The group is about a half-hour away, but in a neighborhood on our target for our move next summer. And the group has a definite bias toward attachment parenting style, so the cloth diapers and breastfeeding and baby sleeping in my bed are all things no one there is at all surprised by. (You can’t really commisserate about the challenge of getting a good sleep with your little one under your arm with folks whose answer will be “so sleep train!” or about nursing a wiggly almost-9-month-old to folks who think you’re odd to be still nursing at all.)

The first gathering that fell on a day I could join was today – a get-together to attempt making kimchi. Five moms attended, along with about nine little ones. A couple of women had already chopped and brined overnight a significant quantity of napa cabbage. Together, we chopped shallots, green onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots. And in big mixing bowls we each combined ingredients for a total of about (i’m guessing here) 3 gallons of kimchi, divided into jars of various sizes for us to divide up and take home. Those who contributed more supplies took home more, but even those of us (me) who came with only green onions and some apples and peanut butter for snacks got a couple of jars. I can’t wait to try it – it smelled insanely good in preparation.

While we worked together the kids played, and it was easy to step away from a task to nurse or play. Most of us had a baby in a carrier for all or some of the morning. Del played on the floor and later fell asleep in the mei tai on my back. Conversation was comfortable. I felt like these were moms I would want to see again.

In fact, we all felt that way. And made plans to meet every two weeks for some kind of productive cooking project – baking bread, canning fall produce, making some bulk meals to take home and freeze. Or, as my friend Kristi put it: better living through hippies. Hear! Hear!


Maybe you want to read something else?

Part of the delight of the annual blogathon is coming across other blogs by writers you really enjoy. I know I will like a blog when I find both the content and the writer’s unique voice suit my taste – that is as indivually governed as choosing friends, so just because I like it doesn’t mean you will. But, it never hurts to introduce your friends to your other friends, so readers, here are a couple of writers I’m enjoying these days.

Aubergine

Doña of Aubergine

Ok, I admit I just like saying “aubergine”. And I like reading the warm, relaxed and writerly musings of Doña Bumgarner. Her “About Me” says a lot: “Doña Bumgarner is a freelance writer, artist, photographer and mama who lives on the central coast of California with her family. This blog is where she writes about her journey into new mamahood at the age of 38 and learning how to weave her old self with the new one. She has been a maker of stuff since her first watercolor class at age 8. She believes there is good energy in things made from scratch and that the smell of baby heads and freshly-made bread are possibly the best things in the world.”

A few posts I’ve recently enjoyed include how to spring clean your life (can be applied to any season, so don’t wait!), and her post on things she said she’d never do as a parent, which has a particular resonance in light of the Ann’s recent post about Elmo, and my new committment to being completely honest about parenthood in this blog. Doña is also a writer and artist, and her posts on writing are really inspiring and practical. I look forward to following for a long time to come.

Mamahhh

Jennifer Derryberry Mann is a mom and yoga instructor who focuses her practice on helping expectant and new moms ease into the postures of motherhood. Her description of Mamahhh is inviting: “a meditation on self-care for the wondrous, winding journey through the labyrinth of motherhood. The blog has a simple yet profound purpose: It’s a daily reminder to {breathe, mama}. Through the amazing moments and the awkward ones, and in times both sublime and stressful, there’s nothing quite like a sweet deep breath to bring you into the marrow of the present moment.”

The marrow of my present moment: I am wearing a skirt and nursing bra because my beautiful boy spit up on me as I held him; he’s now cooing happily on the floor, locked in a contest between his left hand and his right over which will carry the teething ring to his mouth; the fan hums in the window and my fingers click away at my keyboard. It’s a good moment. *breathe*

I have particularly enjoyed Jennifer’s persuasive invitations to practice self-care as part of sane parenting. It’s a series of posts which are almost self-care in and of themselves, but I’m sure Jennifer would agree that the best self-cre (no matter how much you enjoy writing) takes place away from screens. Her web design is also beautiful, and she includes Karen Mazen Miller in her list of favorite blogs. *loves*

Speaking of moments: while I finished this post, my baby rolled from back to tummy for the first time. He learned tummy to back a few days ago. What a day!


It’s not all or nothing: Our adventures in Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygeine, or plain old pooping in the toilet.

Anna writes Murphybaby, one of my frequently visited blogs. As part of the Blogathon we are both doing, we were encouraged to do a Guest Post Swap, and I was really glad Anna agreed to swap with me. She lives on the West Coast, in Canada, on an island! She also has curly hair and is not afraid to write about poop.

It started ages ago, really. I read an article about elimination communication and thought ‘who has time for that? it sounds terrible’.

But the seed was planted, then. I began to take notice of blog posts and articles about going diaper-free, and to think about the logic. I found myself talking about the concept at mommy group. But still, it wasn’t for me, no way. I’m busy, I don’t have time for this stuff. I’m already using cloth diapers, I’m on the hippie parenting train about as much as I can be.

But a couple of weeks ago, I met a mom at mommy group whose daughter was wearing no diaper. She wore cute, tiny little panties and doesn’t even wear a diaper to bed. At six months old. My mind was blown, and the competitive part of myself was activated. If she can do it, I can, too. Continue reading


*whispers* Elmo!

From contributing writer Ann Croft,  one of the coolest moms I know.

 

I am ashamed to admit it, but I have let my 13 month-old watch television.  And not just once – more like once a week.

I am ashamed, not because I grew up without television, but, because I am one of those obnoxious people who will state with disgust, “Oh – I don’t watch T.V.”   And here I am, letting – no not letting – encouraging my baby to watch Elmo.

I’ve got a million excuses.  And they all begin with the fact that I’m exhausted.

The kicker is that my kid, my brilliant, creative, funny kid, LOVES Elmo.  The first time I put in an Elmo DVD (that my pusher-husband brought home from the library – yes, let’s blame him!) she stopped what she was doing, plopped down on the rug, and said, “Hi!” to the T.V.  She was hooked.

She laughs uproariously when Elmo laughs.  Which is ALL the time, by the way.  And she bops along to his silly songs.  I’m pretty sure she thinks Elmo is a very talented cat as she calls to him the same way she calls our housecats.

While she watches, she will often turn her head to check in with me almost as if she is making sure that I am soaking it all in with her.  Her eyes seem to say, “Got that, mommy, got that?  Mr. Noodle thinks a banana is a telephone!  Oh Mr. Noodle!”

And it gets better.  I let her stand directly beneath the television, holding on to the table with her neck bent almost 90 degrees staring up at the screen.  Yes, I have moved her away for fear that she’ll strain her eyes or pull the whole thing down on herself.  But it’s as if she just can’t get close enough to Elmo.  She always ends up back in that position.

Get this girl a hard hat!

So.  Not only is my child’s brain being turned to mush by the evil producers of Sesame Street, she is going to need a neck brace and glasses by the time she gets to kindergarten.

But let me tell you.  As guilty as I feel.  As much as I try to keep this my dirty little secret.  As much as I say, “Just this once because I am soooo tired.  But after this, never again,” I have to admit it, much like my 13 month-old, I’m hooked on Elmo.

 

Do dah doo doo Do dah doo doo Elmo’s World. . . .♬♫


Five great overlooked movie moms

As part of the Blogathon I’m participatig in, I have the option to take part in a few “theme days” throughout the month. I adapting today’s theme suggestion from “Five movies that influence your blogging” to “Five great overlooked movie moms” – partly in honor of Mother’s Day coming up and partly because it fits Woah Baby better . This list is totally off the cuff – I’ve put no serious thought into it so I might be missing some great mothers. Chime in with your favorite movie mothers!

1) Beatrix Kiddo – the heroine of Kill Bill, she is seeking revenge against the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad responsible for trying to murder her on her wedding day. In one of the best moments of the Kill Bill movies, you learn through a series of flashbacks that Beatrix was pregnant when they tried to kill her, and she is actually avenging the death of her baby daughter. THEN *spoiler alert* Beatrix finds out when she finally gets to Bill, that her baby is not dead! After all her avenging is complete, she takes her daughter home. That’s some great mom work there.

2) Marge Gunderson – the seven-months pregnant police officer in Fargo. I just know anyone who says “So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand it,” is going to be a really good mom.

3) Elaine Miller – William’s mom in Almost Famous, and my second Francis McDormand nomination, Elaine struggles to support her son’s independence while still protecting him. When she calls the rock star William is travelling with, she tells him: “This is not some apron-wearing mother you’re speaking with – I know all about your valhalla of decadence and I shouldn’t have let him go. He’s not ready for your world of compromised values and diminished brain cells that you throw away like confetti. Am I speaking to you clearly? If you break his spirit, harm him in any way, keep him from his chosen profession which is law – something you may not value, but I do – you will meet the voice on the other end of this telephone and it will not be pretty. Do we understand each other?” Rock star Russell tells William, “Your mom kinda freaked me out.” William replies, “She means well.”

4) Sheryl Hoover – Olive’s mom in Little Miss Sunshine. That woman’s family was a full plate of crazy potatoes with loony cheese and mild dysfunction for dessert. But gosh-darnit when her little girl needs to get to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant, Sheryl drags the whole lot of them into the broken down van and gets them there. And she’s right there with Olive when the audience and judges are  trying to stop the trainwreck that is Olive’s dance routine.

5) Mrs. Parker – can’t place her? How about a hint: a neighbors crazed dogs charge in and eat this woman’s holiday turkey, her youngest son will only eat food if she teases him into acting like a little piggy, and most famously, her dimwit husband puts his prize stripper leg lamp right in her living room window where everyone can see it. Yep, Ralph’s mom in A Christmas Story. But she doesn’t let Ralph get into trouble for beating up the town bully, she gamely eats duck at the Chinese restauraunt when Christmas dinner is ruined, and she breaks the hideous lamp on “accident”. Under that frizzy hair, Mrs. Parker had some wits, and definitely an extra reserve of patience.

Who are your favorite movie moms?


It takes a village, part two

Women in construction. image from ecobuildingtrends.com

Villages are not built overnight.

My attempts to rapidly fabricate a village in our new town have been a kind of tragicomedy which you can possibly only appreciate when you’ve felt the happy desperation that is being a stay at home mom. (Happy because instead of working somewhere you’re home taking care of this infinitely adorable little person/desperate because some days you just HAVE to talk to someone else or go somewhere before you collapse in an angry, weeping heap.)

I started with a few google searches: moms’ groups in gaithersburg, new moms montgomery county, etc. Found a few leads but nothing much was coming up. A children’s consignment shop about an hour from here was having a baby sign language class, and that inspired me to search for baby sign language in my area. I found something – classes taught nearby! Awesome. But no… the last time a class was held was in 2009. Further digging revealed this teacher lives an hour away and only does private classes now. Continue reading


It takes a village, part one

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Now that I am a mother, I agree with it more than ever, and am grateful for the varied and wonderful village of friends and acquaintances who love my son. But the last few weeks have lead me to believe that it also takes a village to raise a mother.

image by Erin at laughpaintcreate.com

Leaving my DC neighborhood for a suburban Maryland apartment near my husband’s work a few weeks ago has been … hard. To gain proximity to Zach’s job (and an end to his hour-plus commute), and an apartment both larger and cheaper than our DC place, and a less-expensive existence for our now single-income family, I lost several important things: familiar neighborhood, easy travel (DC is very walkable and has great public transit) and most importantly, easy access to my village. A Village doesn’t come easy – it’s curated over time as we meet many different people over years of interacting around shared interests, activities and values. We drift away from people you don’t connect with. And with others, we resonate; there is harmony of thought, similar sense of humor, sympathy and support. They become your village. Continue reading