Playing the Peacemaker

“There might be another way to say that,” I suggest to my child who has just bluntly announced an opinion about another child in a semi-public setting.

“It’s no big deal. It’s only one evening,” I tell my spouse when our son want to invite ten loud young adults over to hang out before they return to school when we had planned to watch a movie.

“I think we’ll have to agree to disagree,” I say to a relative with very different political leanings.

More and more, Continue reading “Playing the Peacemaker”

Invisible Girl

invisible girl againAs women we all play many roles. There are the respectable roles – parent, adult-in-the-room, community member, good neighbor, sibling, maybe even elected official, role model, local celebrity; but then there are the roles we dream of playing – famous novelist, perfect mother, instant millionaire, skinny-girl-who-can-eat-anything.

In my teens, the role I most wanted to play was beautiful girl.

I’d never admit it publicly amongst my geeky, feminist friends, but what I wanted most was to be the kind of girl whose looks stopped traffic. My aspirations didn’t come to much as I was trapped inside the body of a pudgy, Continue reading “Invisible Girl”

How Writing Can Make Your Life Happier (even if you aren’t a writer)

Last night I spent some time with a moms’ group through Wellspan. These were moms of babies and toddlers. I’ve been out of that scene for quite some time. The little cherubs swirled around us, while a few moms nursed and I talked to them about what writing can do for them as moms. I’ve had the chance to speak to this group in the past about raising healthy eaters, affording to eat organically, and keeping a green household. When their leader approached me to talk about writing, I was intrigued.

I’ve talked to lots of groups about writing, but this wasn’t a group of writers. This was a group of busy moms who were in the trenches of parenthood. They didn’t have time to brush their hair, let alone write a cohesive sentence.

I thought about my own years when my children were small. Some of that time I was working, sometimes not, and we moved twice. But I was always writing.

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In fact, I would say that writing is what got me through. My husband traveled a lot when my kids were little. Many times when I was overwhelmed with an overly-active, overly-creative preschooler, an independent-yet-demanding toddler, and a fussy baby, I turned to my journal to vent my anger and exhaustion and feelings of absolute and complete inadequacy.

In calmer moments, I wrote in journals to my children—telling them of my dreams for them, my observations of their emerging personalities, and funny anecdotes of their days. I’m not sure at what point in their lives I will give them these journals—because do we ever stop mothering?

When we moved to our current house, I struggled to find the kind of friends who had sustained me in our previous town, women I desperately missed. I turned to my laptop. I wrote a story about leaving because what I wanted more than anything was to leave. Escaping into that story during naptimes or early before anyone else was up, kept me sane in many, many ways.

When conflict arose between my beloved and I, it was rarely possible to address it in the moment, as the moment was full of three little people who needed me to push my anger aside and care for them. By the time everyone was put to bed, many times I only wanted sleep of my own, so I swallowed my anger or frustration with Nick and by the next day too much time had passed. Why bring it up again? I let it go, but it didn’t go away. Continue reading “How Writing Can Make Your Life Happier (even if you aren’t a writer)”