Archive | April, 2013

5 Secrets of an Introverted Mother

introverted mother

photo credit: moriza via photopin cc

I almost flunked 4th grade.  I was in an independent study program and I couldn’t focus enough to get my work done. The students ranged from 4th to 7th grade in my class, and we sat in one large open room. It was noisy at best but most often a overwhelming onslaught to my introverted self.

Fortunately, my teacher was observant and creative. She suggested giving me credit for “daydreaming,” which we agreed would mean drawing and free writing. I could do those tasks outside of the classroom at the library, in the quiet study room that was normally reserved for older students, or in our building’s back patio while other classes were in session and it was quiet.

I didn’t know the term “introverted” back then, and likely my teacher didn’t either. Still, she recognized I needed quiet alone time to function and perform the tasks expected of me. She offered space for that and got me back on track. She also sewed the seeds the self-care practices I have been depending on ever since.

I have been thinking of the quiet of that back patio daydreaming time often recently.  My little one is starting to talk in earnest, which means that she is now talking ALL THE TIME.…

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8 Tips For Surviving Short-Term Solo Parenting

surviving solo parenting

photo credit: 4nitsirk via photopin cc

My partner has a tradition of taking his son on a spring break trip from long before I arrived in their lives. Each year they go someplace adventurous and inappropriate for a small child, so Bean and I stay home. When Bean was 3 months old they went to a remote village up the Amazon river in Peru. Last year they went to Madagascar. This year they extended the trip a couple of extra days and climbed Mount Roraima in Venezuela.

Each year that week alone surprises me in some way.  The first year I was just surprised that we both survived. The second year I was surprised at my own confidence as a parent – how far I had come in a year! This year my surprise was how all-consuming the task of parenting a toddler on my own really was.

Solo parenting is not single parenting. When I’m solo parenting, I’m individually keeping up a life (and household) that usually contains four people, three of whom are grown. We have a good-sized house with a good-sized yard.  We have a social life, pets, responsibilities. Most importantly, we have two involved parents who trade off in-home and out-of-home responsibilities.…

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Zen of Instagram

The Zen of Instagram

Last week, while scrolling through Facebook’s news feed on my iPhone while my toddler was momentarily occupied with something, I followed a link to an article on Relevant Magazine titled “Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life.” The article is about the idea that everyone’s life is prettier on the internet, which both makes us individually feel bad and makes the building of true community – based on real lives, real voices and shared experiences – difficult or impossible to build. The author calls the internet a “partial truth.” This line, in particular, has stuck with me: “…we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness.”

It is true.

I’m well aware of how easy it is to fall into comparison mode on the internet. It is hard, as a blogger, to look at other blogs with large engaged communities and not feel like a lame beginner (while overlooking the hard work and time that blogger put in to get there).  It is hard as a writer to see polished essays go viral (without remembering how many rounds of edits and rewrites that essay probably took to polish). …

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