About

I love, love, love being a mother and all that it entails. I love it so much that it oozes out the tips of my fingers and the ends of my hair. Aside from marrying my wonderful husband, I have experienced no greater joy in life than becoming a mommy to my baby girl in 2009 and my baby boy in 2012. But I am coming to realize that there is danger in defining ourselves primarily through and by our children. Do I really want motherhood to encapsulate all that I am? Does that mean that I have lost part of myself? What about that person I used to be before I was a mother? I truly have found myself in motherhood, but I am also losing myself in it, and this blog is my attempt to find myself again.

11 thoughts on “About

  1. Fantastic posts, though I would like to read more!

    We (kidville) just launched our blog for parents, blog.kidville.com.

    Would you be interested in being a contributor? We have some fantastic writers and I think your “Voice” would really resonate within our community!

    Thanks in advance,
    Peter@Voices

  2. Hi! I was very inspired about your recent discussion about “leaning in.” I saw it on CNN.com. I am a professional, 43 years old, have been married for 20 years and have no kids (by choice…and for a MILLION reasons.) I am very encouraged by what you say – on many levels; I love your approah to “womanhood” and to “motherhood” and to “feminism.” My husband is French. I often thought that, if we lived in France, we would, of course, have kids. Everyone in France does (married or not.) But this country (USA) scares me to death: if you have kids -> ‘good luck, you’re on your own.’ France is so much friendlier to families, and to women who “achieve in the workplace.” Let me know if you’d like to correspond.

    • Hi Amy,

      It’s so interesting to hear what you wrote about France, because I have been very taken with the book Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, which talks about how the French seem to do a lot right when it comes to parenting. One thing that especially jumped out at me was their government sponsored high quality day care, which enables mothers peace of mind when returning to work outside the home. I don’t see that ever happening in the United States right now, but maybe one day?…

      Thanks for your comment!
      Jenny

    • Are you kidding? France is generally unfriendly to kids, no one there has a “large” family – they would stare at you if you had more than one or two kids. US is more kid-friendly.

  3. I appreciate your heart in all this. I think my wife feels (maybe I should say felt, since our daughters are 25 and almost 21) the same about motherhood. We especially enjoyed the opportunity to teach our children at home, which is perhaps a bit easier in Virginia then in Pa, but regardless… One book that I might suggest for you to read sometime, after looking at that tiny photo of your bookshelf, is “Whole Language, Whole Learners: Creating a Literature-Centered Classroom,” by Laura Robb. Maybe you’ve already read it. It was required reading in part of my Masters in TESOL. I enjoyed the concepts, and wished I’d seen it earlier and shared it with my wife. She had a blast teaching our girls anyway, but I think it would have helped her along with some neat ideas… God bless you as you continue to be a mommy – not one of us would be here with one!
    Duff

  4. I love your article about your take on the whole Lean In conversation. At age 52, I’m a little older than you. I also left the workforce when I had my two daughters, in my early 30s. My husband and I felt strongly that I should be a SAHM for at least the first 5 years of our kids’ lives. Fortunately we could afford to do that. But you know what — I never went back. I have a degree in Broadcast Communications. I’ve been a journalist, a corporate communications person, and a technical writer/technical trainer. I live in Silicon Valley (although I grew up in NJ). All those years at home when my kids were little, I knew that some day I’d “figure out what to do next.” You know that old saying — when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

    Anyway, after both of my kids were in school full time, the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley caught me and I created a very successful internet retail business based on some personal experience. At first it was just an experiment — a hobby. I funded it entirely myself on a shoestring; I had no investors to be beholden to. I used one of the pre-fab ecommerce platforms, which wasn’t very expensive. I learned how to be an online merchant by educating myself — and some trial and error. As the years passed, my business became a viable way to help support my family. I am STILL home. I work totally from home. Now, our oldest daughter is in college and our youngest is almost done with high school.

    And by the way, my husband now works from home, too. After years working for other people in Silicon Valley, he launched his own successful consulting business. He is happy as a clam.

    When I look back on my kids’ early years. I feel so fortunate that I was there for them. To take them to playdates. To get to know their friends and their friends’ families. To get involved in their lives. To really know them. Yes, sometimes it drove me insane and for sure I needed a few “mommy spa weekends”. But I think it was worth it, because my daughters are intelligent, stable, nice young women. I think I have set an excellent example for them — that being a SAHM doesn’t mean ending your career. It just means that you need to think outside the box and re-invent yourself when you have the time to work more hours.

    So don’t worry about leaving the workforce at this very special point in your life. If you are a driven, intelligent, educated woman, you will “figure out what to do next.” My advice is: try to create something that is yours alone. Start some sort of business. It doesn’t have to involve a complicated business plan, venture capital, or a board of directors. It can just be you. And you can follow your passion to the bank if you do it right. Not sure what that might be? Don’t worry about it. It will come to you when the time is right. Put the thought on the back burner and let it simmer.

    Reading all of this “Lean In” stuff, I realized that I guess I do “have it all.” I did it totally by accident. I just followed my intuition. I may not be the CEO of a major corporation, but I created something that is very successful and I’ve been a good role model to my daughters. All because my family was my favorite, too!

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It is truly inspirational. I like what you said about figuring out what to do next. I’ll certainly give that some thought.

      Warmly,
      Jennifer

  5. It is strange, even to myself, that I am going to make my first post ever on ANY blog, a reply to a conversation that occurred over a year ago. However, at the same time it is also an illustration as to the timelessness and universality of certain emotional/psychological life stages women experience.

    In essence this is a response to Jenny’s blog posts but also very much to Sue. Possibly just more of a thank you to both of you. For putting your thoughts out there. For questioning. For validating some of my own doubts as well as managing some tangible encouragement for the future. Right words. Right time. I will probably need to re-read them periodically.

    So now I’m going to put my own thoughts out into the ether. Force myself to put thought and emotion into words. The act of doing is often just as important as any end result.

    I have been feeling particularly lost lately. Or at least the Who and What I am and how I define Myself has become significantly blurred around the edges.

    I am a stay at home mother by choice, of 2 boys currently ages 3.5 and almost 5. I am in my early-mid 30s, highly educated in my field, a Canadian with an MFA in Metals from a highly regarded American Fine Art and Craft institution.

    Upon finishing school I was very active and motivated as my career began to progress rapidly. I got married, (to a very patient and supportive man) and a year later we decided to begin a family and that I would put my work on hold to stay home with our children. This was not an easy decision but was what would work for us and intended family. Those first years only happen once.

    I still managed to produce a little work but when I became pregnant with our second quickly, possibly a little faster than we had anticipated, (this is not a complaint) any professional connections began to dwindle and fade out. Mostly because I was unable to maintain an active role and continue to produce any work. Metalsmithing and child wrangling do not go hand in hand so well. “Put down the torch” were not words I wanted to have to say, so the tools were packed away and stored. I found it very difficult but couldn’t see another way.

    Now my life is my boys, which is simultaneously wonderful and devastating, it is all encompassing. I love being a mother but not all the time. Which is painful to admit. I do of course, unquestionably, love my children all the time. Even if they do drive me a little bit crazy. I often wonder if I was the best choice for them on a full-time basis.

    The problem for me, as a woman and individual separate from “mother” is that I am lost in the microcosm of family life. I used to define myself in part, through and by the work I created, a physical manifestation and extension of myself to some degree. It was a gateway to a macrocosm. I miss terribly the inteligent discourse and critique I would be involved in and yet now I am so far out and away from it I don’t think I could keep up anymore. My brain feels like mush.
    In fact, in terms of my trade, I’m also out of shape. I had trained my hands, mind and body for years to produce and now I have lost stamina. It will take time to rebuild muscle memory.

    The problem ultimately is that I have no idea what I want out of my life/currently non-existent career. I know I want to be a strong role model for my boys. I want them to see and experience art in their everyday lives through me. I want them to see me as more than just their mom but as an intelligent accomplished woman. I just have no idea how to mentally or physically achieve it. Especially while balancing Family needs.

    There is a practical side as well. I need to start working because we need more than one income. I also want and need to feel I am contributing financially and to have some of my “own” money, (to buy my husband’s birthday presents! It’s hard to surprise him!)

    I severely need to change this feeling of Groundhog Day – that day to day repetition that I feel is slowly smothering my inner fire.

    I need to figure out how to be a good Mother AND a good Me.
    To balance out this loss of identity.
    To feel fulfilled and challenged under my own steam and through my own motivations.
    And possibly to use monotany against itself, as fuel and fodder, as concept for new work?

    I really don’t know right now.

    • Georgia,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your struggle balancing your love of your family with your desire to pursue goals of your own. It is so comforting to know that we are not alone as we go about the very rewarding but emotionally taxing work of raising our children. For me personally, as much as I continue always to put my children first, I have come to realize that I am a happier mother now that I am engaged in work outside the home. I say this, knowing that if I were ever blessed to have another child, that I would most likely put my vocational life on hold once again. It’s not easy. But I appreciate greatly your comment and I wish you all the best as you decide for yourself the best combination that will work for you. I love your idea of as you say “using monotony against itself, as fuel and fodder, as concept for new work.” I think that is a wonderful idea. It sounds like you would benefit greatly from creating once again. You may even find that your experience of motherhood will allow you to access a creative side of yourself that you didn’t even know you had. All the best to you!

      Warmly,
      Jenny

  6. Just read your post about the “Lean In” lady. I feel like I could have written it! (although not as well) I remember when I first heard the term and the talk around the book and the idea I said “Why isn’t it ok to choose to lean into motherhood?” I adore being with my kids right now, I am so very lucky to be in the position to (temporarily) be home right now, and I adore it. I am not saying everyone should feel that way, but I do feel like the choice to be happily at home (for those lucky enough to have it) should not be seen as “leaning out” – we need to lean in to whatever our choices are in life, and cheer each other on! Thank you for your wonderful post! Made me feel great!

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