There we sat. Feeling like frauds. How on earth did we get to this place? Sitting in a hospital room, waiting to be sent out into the world with a tiny baby that we couldn’t even get into the car seat without help.
Something must be wrong with the universe.
Somehow we slipped under the radar and were granted a tiny little charge. Someone who would make me grow to question everything I thought I ever knew about people, love and my place in the world.
With a little luck (and a lot of cursing), we got the car seat into the car and managed to make our way home. Both of us terrified of the little bundle in the backseat.
Once home, we all squished together on the couch, and I couldn’t help feeling that even though I finally had my own little family, I had never felt so alone.
My mom was several states away. And I lost my dad to cancer just the year before. My aunt and Gram were back in North Dakota (go Sioux!), and my in-laws tucked away up north.
My brain raced at the idea of raising a family on my own. I had nightmares about how I was going to fail at motherhood because I had no help. To add to my new mama stress, we had just moved to the area, and I had yet to make any solid friendships.
But just as with everything else I have found challenging in life, I somehow survived. And so did our little girl. I think one of the main reasons for this is the telephone.
I spent hours on the phone each week talking with my grandma and asking for her stoic Norwegian advice (if you know an old school Norwegian, you know what I’m talking about). But my lilac-loving gram somehow made the world a safe, warm place. I relied on her advice. From fevers to splinters to ill-fitting shoes, she was always there for me.
Until she wasn’t.
In the winter of 2011, I lost Gram. Along with missing our holiday phone conversations as she attempted to walk me through lefse making from 1,200 miles away, I miss her parenting advice because it wasn’t just any old advice. It was clean, efficient and nurturing (for me and my kids).
She had a Grammy-specific style of parenting that successfully married “do exactly what I say” with “a house filled with love.”
In her absence, I began to seek out motherly advice and stories from anyone who was willing to share. My aunt was a great source of inspiration. As a mom of four, she was a wealth of support. To this day, her birthday party advice has been shared countless times over the years: The age of the child directly correlates to the number of children invited. That is parenting gold, people!
The rest of my conversations happened with my clients – moms of varying age and with varying numbers of children. Their stories always pulled me in. They, too, had priceless pointers and hilarious stories of poop art on the walls and sharpie art on the arms. Hearing their experiences had me vigorously nodding my head and repeating excitedly “me, too!”
What I discovered is while we all are different, we experience many of the same things. And we all have something to offer other moms… all of us… new moms, veteran moms, aunts, friends, and siblings.
There are so many stories to be shared.
Thousands of parenting tips. (nay, millions!)
And an equal number of tears of laughter waiting to be spilled.
And this is when the idea hit me to write a book that desperately needs to be written; a book where moms from across the country share their stories of motherhood – the good, the bad, and the hilarious.
Because good parenting isn’t all trial and error. We all have lessons we’ve learned and stories to share.
We need to crowdsource motherhood.
I’ll be spending the spring of 2015 gathering stories and creating my book. I want to hear from you because I know you’ve got something to share! I’m looking for stories about struggles you overcame, advice you’ve received, advice you now give, and/or humorous stories (check your FB updates! That’s where we share some of the most hilarious moments).
Sometimes seemingly simple advice is life changing. Several years ago I was complaining about how my daughter refused to wear pants. The wise woman I was chatting told me not to fight my daughter’s desire to wear frilly skirts because one day she would permanently shed them in favor of jeans. I’m glad I listened because that day did arrive. And now have a few extra years of beautiful, twirly frilly skirt memories to fill my heart rather than countless “wear jeans today” arguments.
Use this link to tell me more. You don’t have to go into great detail; I’ll connect with you if what you share has a place in my book.
As a little sparkly bonus for those wanting to spread the love, I’ll be including family photos in the book, which means you might receive a complimentary photo session with me. ;)
Much love to you beautiful women. All of you. The ones who feel like they’ve got motherhood nailed, the ones who feel like every day is a crapshoot, and especially those who feel like you’re drowning. You are not alone. We are all in this together.
P.S. Here’s one of my all-time favorite photos of my gram and bop. Notice they’re the misbehaved ones in the photo? My Bop has his finger in my aunt’s ear, and my gram is giving us bunny ears. Oh, and lest you miss it, her sweatshirt reads: “Runs with scissors.” LOL! It was one of her favorites.
Seeing this photo makes me miss her so much. And it also puts a HUGE smile on my face. I adore her… even long after she’s gone.