I feel profoundly lucky to have been raised by the woman I grew up nannying & babysitting for. I am starting a podcast called "Motherhood Schmotherhood" in which I will interview the - now grown - children who I have had the sincere privilege of watching grow up. I am so proud of the people they have become, as a product of their parents' work. How incredibly lucky I am to be able to have witnessed the effect of so many parenting styles and be a part of the fabric of a family. Wild.
Here are some snippets:
I want to start every tribute with "...taught me everything." PERIOD. Mainly, because it is true.
Daria, taught me everything. To be kind to ourselves, even when it's hard. Always when it's hard. To parent as a team. To believe in people, and tell them so. That it's okay to have a massive love affair with coffee, but make sure it's good coffee. That our children's temperament is something we are gifted, not something we determine. That we can shape the folks we raise but we must practice empathy and compassion in direct correlation with boundaries. That being a mother is a large and weighty job. That we must not take it for granted. That it's okay to not love every stage.
Jodi U. taught me to love our family & accept their flaws. To smile big and laugh. To love our children in all their stages. To encourage the inner dork. That gallery walls existed well before Pinterest. That if you practice self care, you will feel like yourself again. To love sand on bare wood, especially if sticky toes brought it inside. To feed your children pizza and chicken fingers. To feed yourself pizza and chicken fingers. To not take life too seriously but to seriously understand that life is to be lived.
Trish taught me to match the energy you identify with as "family" in the family you grow. To love a big family, in all their flaws and all their glory. To spend time with friends and to be a partner in your marriage. To love babies. To love puppies. To love puppies and babies as they lose their baby fat and their innocence. That it's okay to be naughty once in awhile if that keeps you young. To not try and be as young as your children, you are their parent and not their peer. To believe in a power greater than ourselves, God.
Jen taught me to believe in myself. She taught me to buck up & show up. She taught me how to be a role model for our children. She taught me how to prioritize. Jen taught me how to laugh through the tough, how to call uncle when I need to, how to persevere. Jen taught me that laughter is in fact the best medicine, especially when it comes from big cheeked toddlers and is packaged with mischief. Jen taught me to put my running shoes on and blow off steam. Jen taught me to trust people with my babies. Jen taught me hoe to take a 4 minute shower, I am forever grateful.
Jodi S taught me (everything). Jodi taught me to love deeply. To be a rebel. To speak my mind. To be a tinkerer. To seek space with children....big wide open space. Jodi taught me to raise children who have opinions they own, not ones folks want to hear. Jodi taught me that children who are big enough for opinions can still be small enough to snuggle, and vice versa. Jodi taught me to always stay a child and play like a child. To be your child's advocate, always. To insist that your partner be your child's advocate. always. To love your partner, in all their wacky ways. To accept people and allow people into your home graciously. To be kind to ourselves, our family and the BIG (little) people in our lives. And that she's always there to count toes and cuddle babies, just to call.
Erica. Love is love is love is love is love. Erica taught me to love what your believe in and believe in what you love. That your children can be whoever they want to be, so long as you teach them to be comfortable in their own skin. My word, I don't know how to do this one, but I will try. Erica taught me to respect our elders and to celebrate them in our parenting. Erica taught me to love a religion I wasn't born into but I practice in my daily principles. Family. Erica taught me that pastini and chicken broth does a sick(ish) child well. Erica taught me how to paint a fresh face if you don't have time for a shower. That a strong personality in a little person requires additional parenting and is a glorious gift. Erica taught me to love New York, as a New Yorker does. That the arts are for the taking, but give back as well. Make art. Share art. Be a part of.
I'm off to pick up, a bit more calm and very grateful for all the woman who paved the way for me.