Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Catching Up (A Picture Post)

As promised, the last month or so has been hectic, but also fun-filled. Here's a picture wrap up from some of the highlights.

We went to the Discovery Museum in Acton for the first time, and it was great.

Hannah had April vacation, and I took her bowling at Kings in Dedham, which she loved.

We had our annual Yom HaShoah commemoration at Temple Emanuel, and I was honored to carry our congregation's "Survivor Torah" into the memorial event.

I chaperoned Hannah's class field trip to Chinatown...

...while Max and his Room K friends took an imaginary trip to Israel (he's in the fourth row, with the sunglasses and Red Sox hat).

During the first weekend in May we traveled to Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire for Temple Emanuel's annual retreat. We had such a great time this year with so many of our friends also in attendance. Hannah is getting really excited about spending two weeks there this summer! Just before we left, I received a new camera for an early Mother's Day gift! Can you see the difference between these and some of the iPhone photos above?

When we got home I wrote about attending Pivot Boston, but I had to share this great photo of me from the event.

We celebrated Mother's Day and Grandpa John's birthday.

And finally, we spent a fun day in Boston visiting the USS Constitution and pretending to be tourists. I love being able to take advantage of this amazing city so easily.

So what's new with you?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom Enough

The Time Magazine cover. By now, you've all seen it and it's question, "Are You Mom Enough?" What, you didn't request a good dose of judgement and guilt for Mother's Day? Thanks a lot for that one, Time.

Yes, it's just a ploy to sell magazines, and no, I'm not buying. But the question did get me thinking. Being "Mom Enough" can't be defined by adherence to this or that parenting technique. Being a parent is beyond complicated, and if there was one way to do it, the world wouldn't be as interesting as it is. So in honor of Mother's Day, I'm celebrating myself a bit with a list of some of the things I think I'm "Mom Enough" to handle.

I am Mom Enough to look back on the births of my children and be in such total awe that I did that. I am Mom Enough to look around my children's schools, the playground, the shopping mall, and not care how those children came into being, be it through C sections, IVF, adoption, whatever. I am Mom Enough to instead pray that they were all wanted and loved.

I am Mom Enough to admit that I felt like a complete failure for not breast feeding my children for more than a few weeks. I am Mom Enough to know formula feeding preserved my sanity, which let me provide many other benefits to my children.

I am Mom Enough to achingly miss my children while I'm at work every day. I am Mom Enough to be damn good at my job, and tremendously enjoy both my paycheck and all of the benefits of growing who I am as a person for 40 hours a week.

I am Mom Enough to acknowledge that Dad is often better at the "mom" things than I am. I am Mom Enough to not feel threatened by it and welcome his help.

I am Mom Enough to schedule play dates and run around the house straightening up for them. I am Mom Enough to hope no one opens my closets.

I am Mom Enough to be a play mate to my kids. I am Mom Enough to not be their best friend. I am Mom Enough to know I also need time with my own friends.

I am Mom Enough to be exhausted long after the newborn and toddler years, when my body trained itself to wake with worries in the night. I am Mom Enough to put myself first sometimes and sleep late when I can.

I am Mom Enough to agonize over decisions, big and small, that affect my children. I am Mom Enough to acknowledge that in the long run, many of my individual decisions won't matter much.

I am Mom Enough to know that the choices I make aren't right for anyone but me. I am Mom Enough to respect that others are making the choices that are best for their families.

I am Mom Enough to know that I can't do this alone. I am (trying to be) Mom Enough to look past all the media tripe and know that I, like all moms out there, am doing the best that I can.

And that it will all be Enough.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Challenging Myself

I know I owe you all a catch up post on the rest of April and the start of May, but I did promise that things were going to be busy, so you'll have to wait a bit longer. But yesterday was one of those special days, and I want to capture it before the memory fades too much.

I started off the day by being a "guest speaker" at Max's preschool class. Other parents had been coming in to talk about their jobs, and "Vice President, Bank Loan Product Analyst" just wasn't the easiest thing to distill to a bunch of four year olds. I finally came up with the idea of teaching them how to make charts, and since the class often votes on topics, we created a chart together. I brought in some examples of charts I make, we talked about numbers (the biggest one they could think of was 10) and then we did a poll to count everyone's favorite fruits. I brought in stickers and tiny calculators for all the kids, and it was a blast. Max was so happy to have me there, and I think he was proud to show off his mom a bit.

 The day turned to evening and it was time to challenge myself further by attending my first event from Pivot Boston. I've been following Boston Mamas for years, and when Christine posted about the event, I decided to take a leap and just go. I was nervous about what to wear, how to network, and mostly about driving myself to a new part of town. I wasn't feeling very confident when I got out of the car, but I immediately met someone at the parking lot payment kiosk, and the night just unfolded from there.

The space was warm and inviting, filled with women who all seemed to be chatting a bit nervously, like myself. When I found a seat, a pair of sisters immediately complimented me on my dress, and I laughed because I'd been feeling uninspired by my outfit. The speakers began and we heard from Whitney Johnson, the author of the newly released book Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream. It was so encouraging to hear the story of a fellow finance person who felt like she needed a little bit more from life. One of the metaphors she discussed was needing to be both the harbor and the boat that sails into it; the idea of being both the safe place and the instrument of navigation really resonated with me. I can't wait to get started on her book.

After the lecture they announced the winners of the various door prizes, and I was only half listening since I wasn't expecting to win. However, I ended up winning the big prize of the evening: a custom made dress from Carrie Hammer! I hadn't heard of Carrie before, but I am so excited about it. I had a custom made dress for my bat mitzvah, and I loved it so much, so I'm really looking forward to having one as an adult. And already worrying that I'll love it so much that one won't be enough.

Winning the dress gave me the most amazing ice breaker to begin conversations for the rest of the evening. I met dozens of interesting women, and we were encouraged to share our goals and dreams with each other. Whitney's book deals with women giving themselves the goal of just having a dream, no matter what it was. I hadn't really considered it before then, but I will be challenging myself to articulate my dreams more clearly. It was such an inspiring evening, I felt like I was sailing home as I drove through the streets of Boston.

So now I need to find a way to bottle that feeling and sell it, or at least find a way to channel it when I need it again.