Mom Jeans


I think I just might be a stress ball.

I know you’re probably tired of hearing about my sleep patterns but I woke up at 3 this morning worried… about everything. The whole thing started when I got a notice about my student loans that are going to be due as soon I finish my grad degree. I’m getting my master’s in education and soon I’m going to have to do my student teaching. That means I’m going to have to work for free for a semester while I pay for daycare for Penelope. It’s not really the money that has got me stressed out (even though that will be expensive) it’s the separation that has got me all wound up.

I have the luxury of staying home with her right now and I feel like I’m wasting this precious time by counting down the minutes to bedtime. I’m struggling with finding the balance at home. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I add a job to the mix.

Then I start to think about Bridget and how she will be in sixth grade soon and before I know it she won’t want anything to do with me.

In The Sun and The Moon I shared my story about how my mom died when I was in the third grade and as a kid I was never mad at her for what she did. I never felt sorry for myself or felt like I deserved any special attention. In fact I felt like such a weirdo when people tried to give it to me. As a kid you just deal with things without really thinking about it and carry on. It wasn’t until I held Bridget for the first time that I felt how significant that loss was.

The dead of winter is always hard for me, I always kid around and say that I’m like a flower, I wilt in the winter and bloom in the summer. One particular winter two years ago I went into a tailspin. I couldn’t figure out why I was so sad. Then in the middle of the night I broke down and cried harder than I have ever cried in my life. Brent just held me while I writhed and sobbed.

After I calmed down Brent and I were talking and it struck me that Bridget was in the exact same grade that I was in when my mother took her life. From a mother’s perspective that was hardly enough time to spend with your child. I couldn’t imagine Bridget ever having to go through what I did and it made me sad for the little girl who lost her mom twenty years earlier. I was mourning that little girl’s loss.

It wasn’t until I talked to my Dad later that week that I realized that I had my meltdown on the 20th anniversary of her death. I didn’t even know the actual date of her death until then. It was secretly ingrained in me, that bond between mother and daughter unbroken after so many years.

I have now officially been a mother longer than my mom was. Now, more than ever, I understand that my mom didn’t leave me because she didn’t love me. She left because she didn’t feel like she was good enough. What she didn’t know was that no mom feels like they’re good enough. We’ll always strive to be the best that we can be. But we won’t be perfect and we’ll always fall short of the ideal we have set in our head. That’s something we have to learn to accept and there will be many nights when we’ll stay up in the night worrying about it.

No wonder there is such a thing as “mom jeans”. I don’t think we can blame this phenomenon on the denim. I think it’s a side effect of the psychological stress of the mommy guilt that comes with motherhood.

We pass it down from generation to generation like the Sisterhood of the Mommy Pants. Only they’re never flattering and they fit absolutely no one. But we keep on wearing them to cover up  our stretch mark etched mommy pooches like a badge of honor.

That is, until we loose enough baby weight to wear a designer pair.

The Sun and The Moon


I debated on whether or not I should write about this subject, but then I got into the car to take Bridget to school and Fleetwood Mac started playing on the radio… on a pop station mind you. So, I took it as a sign that today is the perfect day to share this.

You see, when I was a little kid I was pretty dramatic. I secretly wished that I could break an arm or suddenly fall ill so that everyone would feel sorry for me and shower me with attention. Unfortunately for me, I was as healthy as could be and as sturdy as an ox. I’ve only broken one bone and it was while giving birth to my first-born child, an indication of the pain that comes with motherhood. It was my tailbone and you can’t wear a cast on that, so I just had to let it mend with time.

My mother was extremely artistic, she had many talents but her favorite talent was music. My childhood is littered with memories of listening to her sing Fleetwood Mac covers. I found the strumming of her acoustic guitar to be so comforting that many times it lulled me to sleep. As I would drift off I would look at her and think that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was my sun and my moon.

Then one night when I was in the third grade, I woke up to a funny feeling. Something wasn’t right. As I lay in bed the white dots of blurry vision swirled and blinked around me. I just kept staring at the dots until suddenly they came together and I realized that I wasn’t alone. Someone was floating over my bed and looking down on me. It was a woman who was familiar but I didn’t know who she was. She just kept looking at me with a smile on her face that was meant to sooth me, but it didn’t. Once I gathered the courage I bolted from my bed and into my parent’s room. I went to my mother’s side of the bed, as I always did, to tell her I was scared but she wasn’t there. She was in the garage with the car running, she looked like she was sleeping but she wasn’t, she was dead. She had killed herself.

To this day I don’t know if the vision I saw was from the carbon monoxide that was creeping into the house or if it was really what I thought it was, a figure of a woman. If I hadn’t woken up when I did there is a possibility that the rest of my family would have passed with her. But we didn’t.

When I finally went back to school everyone felt sorry for me. Even the meanest teacher in 3rd grade was nice to me. Through that I grew to hate pity. I did all that I could to keep from giving anyone a reason to pity me. Throughout time I built up a wall in an attempt to keep my vulnerability at bay. By doing so I thought I was being strong but I wasn’t being strong, I was hiding. I hid the part of me that was just like my mother, the sun and the moon.  There were times that she beamed bright like the sun and other times when she cast a blue lonely glow like the moon.

I only wanted to be the sun, but despite my efforts the moon would find its way into my life. I’ve come to realize that you can’t have one without the other. There will be times that get you down so hard that you think it is impossible to find your way back to the light. During those times you just have to remember that dawn always breaks no matter how long you’ve been lost in the night.

Despite not wanting to be like my mom I’ve discovered that our lives are very similar. We both went back to school to pursue English degrees after having kids. My mother was on the cusp of graduating and was offered a position to teach at the college she attended while she got her master’s degree. But she didn’t make it. She let the darkness swallow her whole.

I’ve gone through the darkness and I’ve finally made it through to another day. The sunshine is bright and the day is full of hope and I’m left feeling sad for my mother who never got to see that.

The lesson I’ve learned is that there is something empowering about finding strength in your vulnerability.

Pretending like you aren’t depressed doesn’t solve the problem. If you are like me you are overweight because it is a reflection of all of the things in your life that are weighing you down on the inside.

It might be fear, anxiety, self-doubt… it doesn’t matter. If you are going to truly have a transformation it has to come from the inside out.

I’ve begun to tear down the wall that I’ve hidden behind for so many years. By doing so I feel scraped open and raw but at the same time I can feel promise peeking over the horizon.