I was going to write an essay about my mother, pinned to this greeting card and flower company holiday, Mother’s Day. It was going to be effusive but witty; long but concise. It would be featured on some popular website and be shared many times. It would explain how my mother, who birthed and raised six kids, gave us her unconditional love and devotion, yet somehow could never be accurately characterized as a Tiger Mom or a helicopter parent. How I grew up to look nothing like her on the outside but so much like her on the inside. How her parenting model is one to which I will always aspire and how, despite being so actively involved in my kids’ lives, the only parenting advice she ever gave me was, “Every child is different.”
And how the ultimate measure of her parenting success may not be the success of her six children measured in predictable ways, but that, as adults, we all want to live near her. And how each of us talks to her virtually every day – some of us multiple times – not because we think we have to, but because we want to.
But… when I sat down to write this essay a few times over the past few days before or after work, my youngest child would have none of it. “Read to me mommy.” And, “Can I have some milk?” And then one of the older ones. “I need new sandals. My old ones are too small.” And, “Should we give away some of the old stuff to make room?” And of course the ice skating – the freestyle session and the tots class. So the essay did not get written before Mother’s Day morning like I wanted because I poured the milk and I read ‘The Little Red Lighthouse” and got new sandals and filled up the charity bags and shivered in the rink while I waved to my kid skating by. And decided not to worry about it too much. That is how my mom would want it.
At my wedding in 2001
On my birthday last week, I was at Brain, Child Magazine’s Brain, Mother blog discussing two other birthdays – the day my twins were born and the day they came home. I talk about the scars my twins’ NICU stay has left on me, but not on them. It’s a piece I thought about writing for many years, but had not collected my thoughts. The essay is here.
The twins on their actual ninth birthday
A new study by Working Mother Media about breadwinning moms reveals that more breadwinning moms who chose their roles are pleased with the way chores are divided at home. As Kelly Wallace writes on cnn.com:
The survey found that 89% of the moms who were happy to be breadwinners were satisfied with how much their spouse or partner took care of the children, versus 58% for the “reluctant” breadwinners. Meanwhile, 75% of “pleased” breadwinning moms were satisfied with how chores were divided at home, versus 48% of the group who would prefer not to be the primary earner.
I spoke with Kelly about my own experience for the piece. I am not a reluctant breadwinning mom; it was a choice we made. Lots of elements went into it, including my own earning power and our natural temperaments, but, at bottom, these were roles we chose. I told Kelly that I thought another aspect of making it work was the lack of measuring — I don’t count each task my husband does at home and consider whether he is pulling his weight. Similarly, he didn’t resent me for not taking more lucrative jobs. Kelly includes a short quote from me at the end of the piece, and one from my youngest daughter Charlotte, who knows no other situation than her mom working and her dad cooking, cleaning and changing her diaper way more than her mom does.
Lauren Apfel and I both have twins — and a few singletons to boot — and we like lists as much as the next blogger. We agree twins offer unique gifts, as others have pointed out, but we also think they come with certain things we would rather give back. We were recently at the Huffington Post listing twelve such gifts. Click here for the article.
Having twins is tough — whether you have only the twins or those twins have siblings. But if you do have singleton(s) also, how does birth order matter? Lauren Apfel, of omnimom.net, and I were recently on Brain, Child Magazine’s blog comparing our stories. She had her twins as numbers three and four; I had mine as numbers one and two. We found there are some big pros and cons to both.
You can see our essays here.
Baking biscotti makes me feel like a better mother.
In December 2005, when the twins and my legal career were about a year old and I was struggling to figure out how to be a mother and a lawyer at the same time, a friend, a paralegal at my firm, gave me a recipe for biscotti. Continue reading