Looking Forward to Having Both Kids Home All Summer

Many parents, my own included, look forward to sending their kids back to school as soon as summer vacation starts. Actually, I liked sending myself back to school, too. But I know my mom, and many other parents, look forward to having some child-free time again, look forward to some degree of freedom knowing their kids are being taught and watched for a number of hours five days a week.

I don’t doubt that that will be me one day, especially when both kids are in school.

But, right now, this summer, I look forward to having both of my babies home with me.

It’s my son’s last summer before he really starts school. He’ll be turning 5 and heading for Kindergarten. He’s recently finished preschool, so I’m kind of used to having him away for a few hours. But the Kindergarten days are longer than the preschool days, and I just don’t know what my daughter and I will do without him for that long. Eventually, we’ll figure it out, but I’ll still countdown to pick up time. As it is, I was usually the first one to pick up my son from preschool. I don’t like not having him at home.

Life is louder, busier, and more chaotic with both kids home. I step on more toys. I have more kids whining at me and making demands. I have more disciplining that needs to get done. I have to split my attention between two kids who cling to me and pull in different directions half the day. It’s not always easy having both kids home and sometimes I wish my son had school that day.

But I really do love having them both with me. I like knowing they’re safe and happy and I’m right here to take care of their needs. They only have to wait for each other, but they love playing together most of the time, so sometimes they don’t mind having to take turns.

I look forward to having them both home all summer. I don’t look forward to having to send my son away for most of the day five days a week starting in August. I know I’m going to long to have him home just as much as I like having him and his non-stop word flow at school. For now, I’m just going to enjoy it.

Keeping Busy

When I was very young, my mom read somewhere that, over the summer, kids lose most of what they learned over the past year. My dad’s solution: have us do workbooks all summer. There quickly came a time where I didn’t remember not doing workbooks in the summer. I looked forward to taking a trip to the local teacher resources store as soon as school let out.

My kids will have their grandparents to blame.

As my son is about to start Kindergarten, this will be his very first summer spent the same way I remember spending my summers.

My mom drew up reward charts for us and taped them, one below the next, to a wall. Every weekday we were to do our assigned number of workbook pages, do a half hour of reading, practice piano, clean out rooms, and whatever other tasks she chose for us. My brother and I would compete to see who finished first, and often did the next day’s pages the night before so we had less to do the next morning.

We were raised to work first, then play, so, even though our mom didn’t demand it, we still spent each morning doing everything we had to do we could spend the rest of the day playing.

Almost as soon as our son graduated from preschool, we headed for the local learning store. My husband and I were like kids in a candy store while our actual kids loved the toys that were out for them to play with.

Laden with workbooks, phonics teaching tools, construction paper, stickers, paints, crayons, and a cute robot set, we exited, simultaneously wondering if we had over done it or were still unprepared for the long summer days.

Coloring is our son’s nemesis. It’s been that way since I say him down with paper and crayons when he was a little more than a year old. He flipped out when he had to touch paint shortly before he turned two. He made faces when he had to touch chalk. Teaching him to take his time with coloring is going to be fun this summer.

But, when it comes to STEM, this kid lights up. Science experiments, robots, magnets… His favorite activity is sink or float, where he explores weight, mass, and gravity. He’s also been doing simple addition and subtraction for almost a year. His dad couldn’t be more excited about what he gets to teach our son this summer.

The summer will fly by. We’ll keep busy. There’s learning to do and learning to maintain. There will be exciting trips to the city, the beach, the library, and parks. There will be painting and building and hopefully no permanent stains (right, husband?).

But I hope it doesn’t move to fast. I hope to have time to just breathe in my babies, to enjoy having them in my clutches. Ahem. I mean, at home with me. I’m terrified of sending him to school, but am also eager for him to learn and, hopefully, love learning as much as I do.

I’m going to love having both my babies at home with me all summer. Just 13 short weeks.

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Two Peas in a Pod

My siblings and I were three peas in a pod, at least until I got older and wanted my own time away from them. That was closer to my pre-teen years.

My kids are two peas in a pod. They’re a couple of months short of being three years apart, but that doesn’t stop them from having a ton of fun together. They like yelling at each other. They like getting frustrated with each other. They like fighting over toys. But, most of all, they like playing with each other. They also really like tattling on each other.

These kids feed off of each other. One of them will initiate and the other will follow along. They don’t always get along, but it’s usually whoever is loudest and most vocal gets their way. They’re always calling for the other to join them and get sad when their other half is unavailable. My daughter loves being near her brother. My son loves having someone to lord over and take care of. Seriously, he’s always thinking of her and almost always wants to share, even when I ask him not to.

When my son started preschool, my daughter had such a hard time adjusting that she spent about two months wanting to do nothing but lie on the floor and wait until I said it was time to pick him up. She would be interested in whatever activity I offered for a few minutes, and then she was back to lying on the floor and waiting. She’s so used to him that it’s sometimes tough on her to be without him.

My son doesn’t get much time without his sister. He loves whatever time he gets away from her, but he also loves having a ready-made playmate. Whenever I’m too busy to play, he knows he can always count on his sister. He just has to call her name and mention some fun toys and she goes running. I think he loves being a big brother.

My siblings and I had a point where I grew apart from them. I know there’s a chance of that happening with my babies. But my younger siblings never really grew apart from each other, and they’re about three years apart, so I’m hoping they’ll always be there for each other, they’ll always want to be around each other, and they’ll always be able to count on each other.

My two peas in a pod. I hope they never leave their pod. Though I do hope they both leave home one day.

It’s Not Just Children Who Stare

Whether you have kids or have found yourself around them, you know the stare. They can’t seem to help themselves as they stare intently at a stranger. Sometimes it’s unblinking without the hint of a smile. Sometimes there are a few blinks and a partly open mouth. And, no matter what you do, they won’t turn away, won’t smile, won’t say a word. They just stare.

My kids don’t do this often, but it’s still a bizarre experience.

But it’s not just kids who have mastered this stare. Or perhaps adults have simply remembered how to do the stare. That’s right. Adults. People older than my kids and people older than me.

Maybe it’s because we live in the city. Maybe it’s because I look more like a big sister pushing around her two much younger siblings. Maybe it’s because some people think I must have been a teen mom. I don’t know why, but I think adults doing the stare are much creepier than kids doing it.

My son’s preschool is close by, so I walk my kids over when the weather permits. Considering we live in Los Angeles where a car is almost as essential as breathing, we don’t actually encounter too many people. There are the occasional joggers and frequent dog walkers, but that’s about it. I don’t mind them; they’re too busy to notice me.

But sometimes there will be an older man or woman or couple walking by. If they’re not alone, they’re busy chatting to each other until we come close to crossing paths. Then they go silent and the stare starts.

I used to watch them out of the corner of my eye. They would stare until they passed me by. It didn’t take long for me to just keep my eyes forward and my feet moving. It’s the city; I’m not going to make eye contact or flash a smile. You never know when it might trigger someone, as strange as that might sound. Though there is a more than good chance they’ll just ignore it and continue that stare.

It’s not just kids who stare, but I’ll take one of them over a staring adult any day. It’s not cute.

And, no, I’m not going to give a pretty smile and wave like adults do to my kids when they stare.

What I Could Have Used After My Miscarriage

For 26 years I lived a very happy, very stable life. I excelled at everything I wanted to, and even did well at the things I didn’t care about. I had, and still have, wonderful friendships. I never had a bad romantic relationship or devastating breakup. Other than the early losses of grandparents and gains of little siblings who stole my mommy’s attention, I was blessed with a very emotionally stable life.

Until I was 26. When I lost my first pregnancy. When the women around me had successfully gotten pregnant and given birth or were happily expecting. My husband and I were devastated and crushed by our loss.

Emotionally, I shut down, while my husband turned to research. I didn’t reach out to anyone, but everyone knew. I heard the statistics one too many times, was told it was a good sign I could get pregnant at all, heard stories of other women who had miscarried, and was told “I’m here if you need anything.”

I dealt with it by shutting down. It probably wasn’t the smartest move, but it was what I needed. My husband is a research scientist and depends on facts. Together, we existed in a place of cold facts and logic. But it was a good thing, because we were able to conceive again right away. The product is currently snoring next to me as I type this.

While my husband was just what I needed at the time, it shrank our world down to two. Not a bad thing, but two people hurting over the same loss drastically narrows the field of vision.

Miscarriage is painfully common, but I had no idea it was until my own. No one really knew what they could do for me other than offer their own stories of struggles and hope. I can’t speak for any other woman who has experienced a miscarriage, but I know what I could have used:

A distraction.

I didn’t want people giving me statistics. I didn’t want to hear someone else’s story. I didn’t want to hear encouragement or sympathy. I didn’t want people telling me they were there for me. I didn’t want to be told to grieve or mourn, as though I needed the permission.

I could have used something to distract me from losing my child. Sure, I could have asked my husband to take me to dinner or a movie or a night out on the town. But putting that on him wouldn’t have been fair, not when he was hurting, too.

It would have been nice to watch a stupid comedy, go out for ice cream, or walk around a museum with a friend, talking about life, love, and books (because I can’t get my fill of books). Anything to get my mind off of my loss.

Perhaps people assumed they had nothing to offer, no real comfort they could give. Perhaps they felt uncomfortable because it’s not okay to talk about miscarriage. Perhaps they thought it was a private family matter they ought to stay out of.

Maybe they were waiting for me to say something, ask for something. Maybe I could have. But I was too emotionally devastated. I was too far down with my hurt. I was incapable of reaching out.

Too much of what I read about to cope with miscarriage centered on just feeling the pain. On letting the loss wash over you, of letting yourself feel the crushing grief. But I’m not the kind of person to wallow in my pain. I process grief in my own way. I don’t try to reason it out. I acknowledge it happened and it hurts, but, if I wallow, I end up drowning.

I could have used a distraction. I could have used something to take my mind off of my loss, something to remind me life is still going on and it can still be happy and fun. Something to remind me there’s still a future.

Yes, losing a child is painful and private and personal. But we women also make it known we are daughters, sisters, wives, nieces, mothers, and more. We are social creatures. If we’re able to reach out and tell others how to help us as new moms and find out tribes, then we can also break the silence around miscarriage and let people know how they can help and support us through a devastating loss.

I know what I could have used when I miscarried. What could you have used?

Parenting with Psychology: Therapeutic Alliance and Ruptures

In psychodynamic therapy, the therapeutic alliance is what allows the psychologist and client get the therapeutic work done.

What is the therapeutic alliance?

Another term for it is working alliance and yet another is rapport. It’s the relationship the therapist and client have formed that enables the client to accept what the therapist has to offer and be able to enact change in their life. When it has been established, the client knows the therapist is there for them and trusts them. An alliance has been established where the goal is to help get the client to wherever they want to be in order to live their best possible life.

What does that have to do with motherhood and kids?

It may seem a little weird, but the therapeutic alliance is what makes parenting easy for me.

When I was working with children with autism, the first thing we had to establish was rapport. The child had to see us as someone they wanted to work with, much like a client in a therapist’s office must see the therapist as someone they want to work with, and establish an alliance. With kids, we did this by just playing with them at first. We issued very few demands, and only those we knew they could accomplish with success. Gradually, our demands became harder and more frequent, once the relationship was established.

As a mom, I have an alliance with my kids. Even though they’re my kids, I don’t feel entitled to their obedience. After all, they’re completely new to this world, but are their own persons. I need to teach them, but they need to be able to trust me first (see Parenting with Psychology: Erik Eriskon’s Stages of Development for more information). They need to know I’m going to be there for them.

My kids are more than willing to do as I say because they know I’m the bearer of fun. I spend a lot of time playing with them. I teach them through play and give demands during play. They know that if they want me to keep playing with them, they should listen.

I’m here to guide my kids to their best possible lives. They trust I have their best interests at heart. They don’t always like what I do and say, but they know that if they want fun mom they had better listen. We have a working alliance. We’re in this together.

What about ruptures?

Ruptures are when there is a break in the therapeutic alliance. Something has happened and the client has become upset and wonders if they can trust the therapist. There is distrust and dissatisfaction.

This happens in parenthood, too. As parents, we make mistakes, but our kids expect us to be perfect. Sometimes we say something, but mean something else. Sometimes we agree to something, and go back on our word. Sometimes we yell and punish for seemingly no reason. Sometimes we’re tired and nowhere near our best. It happens. We’re human. But, to our kids, it’s painful. They don’t know what they’ve done wrong. They don’t know if they can trust us in that moment, and later on.

Ruptures happen, but they can be repaired. With my kids, all it takes is letting them know they did nothing wrong. I need to admit I was wrong. My son is very quick to point out when I am wrong. He’s also quick to point out when he is wrong. I don’t want them to see me as superhuman. I want them to know I can and will let them down, but I still love them and will work my hardest to take care of them. When I’m wrong, I tell them. I explain it to them. If I upset them, I give them hugs and kisses and do my best to make it up to them. I admit my faults and let them know I still think they’re wonderful.

Of course, I know my kids will also let me down when they’re older. They will, after all, be teenagers one day. But I hope we’ve managed to cultivate trust and respect so they’ll be able to take steps to repairing our relationship.

 

I’m not the kind of mom who demands my kids listen to be simply because I’m their mother. I can’t help but see them as individuals with their own ideas and life goals. I’m here to guide, teach, and protect them, but their choices have to be their own. The best I can do is establish a trusting, respectful relationship where we can work together and have the opportunity to fix anything that goes wrong in our relationship.

Sometimes I Want to be Mean. On Purpose.

Living in the city, especially Los Angeles, can be nice. There are a ton of things to do, and I had been wanting to live closer so it would be easier to take the kids to educational and cultural places. The interesting part of LA is that it’s a large, sprawling city with an incredible number of areas and neighborhoods that are still a half hour drive from downtown. Where we live, it feels sort of like an urban suburb, if that makes any sense.

But the city is a bit more…fast paced than the suburbs, especially in comparison to the suburb I was raised in and the one we moved to the city from. And that’s putting it nicely.

There are a lot of people. And a lot of cars. And a lot of people in a lot of cars trying to get somewhere in a hurry. It might just be a leisurely shopping trip to the mall, but it’s always in a hurry. Road rage is definitely a thing here. Tailgating and cutting people off and taking the rules of the road and twisting them so they’re customized are the norm.

I hate driving in the city.

I hate walking in the city about as much.

I’ve always loved going for walks. I love taking my kids for walks. I love being able to walk my son to preschool.

But we walk through a residential area with lots of apartment buildings that have lots of cars. Cars that just go because their drivers are in a hurry. Cars that break hard when they’re surprised to see a pedestrian. Cars that double park ’cause they can, and then a car behind them veers into your lane to get around, completely ignoring the fact that you have right of way.

But back to pedestrians because that’s my focus here.

I’m a pedestrian pushing a stroller with two kids. More than that, I’m a cautious, courteous pedestrian. I always look for cars and relinquish my right of way when it’s obvious they either didn’t see me or were in too much of a hurry to even think a living soul would be walking around in a residential area in a city.

Sometimes I have to wait because the car is completely blocking the sidewalk and there’s traffic. Seriously, couldn’t they back up or maybe have checked for pedestrians?

The hazards of walking in a city?

Perhaps.

But it doesn’t stop me from wanting to be mean on purpose sometimes.

When I know a car is coming up (and the driver sees me) or has just come to a sudden halt to let me pass, I usually hurry by because I know they’re in a hurry and city dwellers are not always nice. But they’re being nice by letting me pass, so I hurry as best I can so they can be on their hurried way as quickly as possible.

But sometimes I want to be mean. I want to slow way down and stroll across the driveway. I want to glare at the driver who had to stop suddenly. I seriously just want to take my time. At a leisurely stroll that’s a whole lot slower than my usual pace.

It’s tempting, especially for the fifth time during a 12 minute walk.

I remember I have kids, though. I remember I’m their role model. If I want them to be kind, courteous, and thoughtful, then I have to be, too. I can’t just be mean on purpose. But I can teach them kindness as both a pedestrian and a driver by reminding myself to be kind and always offer a smile and wave in thanks. And hope they pick up on these little things like I learned from my parents.

But sometimes I still want to be mean. On purpose.

It’s Because I Love You That I Clean

I think it’s common knowledge that moms often feel guilty they’re not spending every waking moment caring for their kids. Many even pass on cleaning because it takes time away from the kids. My own mom has said she wishes she had spent more time playing with us instead of cleaning.

Clean or play with the kids?

Well, one solution is getting the kids to help or baby wearing. But what if they not amenable to that? Well, I guess cleaning can wait.

Except sometimes it can’t. At least, for me.

I don’t sacrifice my time with my kids just so I can clean. I don’t spend more than an hour cleaning a day. Not everything gets clean every day, but everything gets clean each week.

Sometimes my kids help. Sometimes they entertain themselves. Sometimes they just whine and ask when I’ll be done.

It used to make me sad, and remember my mom’s words.

But then I started thinking about it differently. Was I cleaning for my own satisfaction or to keep them healthy? It’s definitely the latter.

I clean the kitchen so I have a clean, mostly sanitary place to prepare food for them, food that’s properly cleaned and cooked and won’t make them sick. I ensure the counter is clean so they have a clean space to sit when we bake.

I clean the floors so outside dirt, grime, and nasty germs don’t make their way around our home, just waiting to infect my darlings. I also feel a little better when my daughter picks a crumb from the floor and shoves it in her mouth before I can say no.

I clean the bathrooms so they have a clean place to go poopy and wash their hands, so they don’t have to try to get clean where mold would get them sick.

I wash the towels, sheets, and clothes so they have clean things to use and wear, so they can be wrapped in pleasant smells.

I tidy their toys so they can better find what they’re looking for and so they have space to play and fight over toys.

I clean because I love my kids. I want to keep them safe and healthy in their own home. I won’t sacrifice whole days just so I can clean, but I will also not jeopardize their health.

So, kids, when you’re older and reading this and wondering why mommy was always cleaning, it’s because I love you.

Becoming the Put Together Stay-At-Home Mom

Stay at home moms get a bad rap. The laundry is never done. We live in leggings. Dinner gets slapped together because the kids won’t stop screaming. The house is a war zone. Annoying children’s songs invade our sleep for an hour before the baby starts screaming and that’s why we look like death warmed over.

It isn’t pretty. I don’t blame childless women not wanting to have kids. I don’t blame blame the moms who say they would rather work.

Then along comes THE mom. The mom we aspire to, the mom we envy. The mom in clean clothes with shiny hair. The mom with fresh baked cookies and angels instead of children. The mom with the pretty house ready for visitors. The mom who has empty laundry baskets and neat and tidy dresser drawers and closets.

It’s impossible! Alien invasion!

No. She isn’t an alien or just the nanny. She’s possible.

Sure, if you never sleep.

No, really. Okay, maybe my home isn’t magazine-worthy, but I’m that put-together mom. All it took was desire, dedication, and a helpful husband. That last one is key. Without my husband’s help, my job would be much harder.

Going into motherhood, I was friends with some established moms. They were my grad school classmates. They were slightly disorganized and prioritized family, but they were dedicated and put-together. I didn’t know about the stay-at-home-mom-in-leggings stereotype. So I had an image of a put-together mom who was more or less on top of everything. It became my image of motherhood and, if my friends could do it, so could I. Desire.

Those early days are hard. Trying to navigate caring for a baby while not getting sleep is hard. I knew I just needed to be patient. In time, this squirmy baby would grow up, be able to self-entertain, want to be helpful, and would sleep through the night. I just had to keep pushing through, establish routines, and keep my goal in sight. Dedication.

My husband doesn’t expect a spotless home. He knows I have my hands full and he’s willing to lend his hands. He’ll take charge of the kids so I get a moment to breathe. He wakes with the kids so I can catch up on my sleep. He does the dishes every day and helps pick up. Most of all, he’s understanding when I can’t do everything and doesn’t expect me to be able to do everything. He recognizes the value of what I do as a stay at home mom and supports me.

I’m able to be a put-together mom every day because I have the support I need and the drive. Yet, I don’t drive myself crazy trying to be anything close to the so-called perfect mom (just the perfect mommy to my little darlings).

Get Dressed

I dress every single darn day. In clean clothes. I wear skirts and dresses and neat but comfortable shirts. It might seem like a lot of work, but I literally have one pair of leggings and zero sweat clothes. Because of what I choose to buy and keep in my drawers, I have no choice. It’s either dress neatly or run around in my undies. What helps is having a husband who will get up with the kids and feed them breakfast so I can get dressed, though, with what I have, it doesn’t take long to dress. And as a helpful bonus, I don’t wear make up. I don’t like the way it feels and it always makes me break out no matter what kind or brand it is. Besides, my daughter with just scratch it off with her claws. I mean nails. Though, when it comes to young children, what’s the difference?

Brushing Hair

I have long hair. Down just past my waist. Yes, I know I have two kids under 5. No, I don’t put it up. My kids get annoyed when I put my hair up, so it hangs loose. Sure, it gets pulled, but I like long hair, and it’s a good way to teach my kids to not pull on hair and to keep their hair brushed. My hair may be long, but it doesn’t take me long to brush it (for once it’s a hooray for the super shiny, super straight Asian hair) and I do it right after getting dressed and whenever I go out.

Taking Care of Chores

I’ll admit figuring out this one took a bit of time. Like 4 years. And it’s a perpetual work in progress. With kids literally hanging on to me for dear life and only letting daddy wear them, it took me all day just to cook. But once my youngest developed some independence, it was easier to implement a cleaning schedule. My home doesn’t get tidy all at once, but everything gets cleaned once a week or biweekly. Cleaning a relatively not that dirty home is easier and faster than letting it build up and doing it all at once. Only laundry takes more than the hour I allot. My kids help or they play by themselves, with the expectation that I play with them when I’m done. Sometimes I do it after they’ve gone to bed and my husband is doing the dishes. We clean up toys when we’re done playing with them and everything has a home. It’s helpful to have a helping husband and a schedule with room to breathe (ie, my kids are not drowning in outside activities).

The Laundry

Most moms hate laundry. I love laundry. There’s something very satisfying about folding clean clothes and filling up the drawers that makes me yearn for laundry day. I love doing laundry so much that sometimes I’ll glance around and just decide to wash something. It gets tossed in the machine and runs by itself while I drop my son off at preschool. Folding laundry with one kid on hand is easier than with two. But my laundry day is the day my son has off from school. It’s an established routine, though, and the kids have learned I play while the clothes are washing and drying and sometimes I give them hangers while I put the clothes away, so they don’t mind the time it takes me to fold. The key here, though, is being smart with my time, playing with the kids as much as possible, and establishing the routine in the first place. Loving laundry hasn’t hurt me, either. I just overdo it.

I’m a Baker

I love to bake. I’m even documenting my adventures in ratio baking. I bake an average of once a week. I bake with my kids. They sit on the counter and eat chocolate. They love baking days. Sometimes my son will ask if we can make something. I also think the mixer has a hypnotic effect. But they’ll do almost anything for chocolate. At nine in the morning, which is usually a no-no.

The Little Angels

My kids are almost 2 and almost 5. You’d think they’re holy terrors. But they’re not. Sure, my oldest will sometimes whine, but we always make sure we have toys and snacks when we’re out. I’ve been a firm, but loving disciplinarian who explains everything to my kids, so they’ve learned to listen when I demand it. They’re not allowed to bring devices when we go out so we’re able to teach them how to behave, how to comport themselves, how to ask properly for what they want, and how to entertain themselves without wrecking havoc. They’re also actually very well -behaved kids completely on their own. They’re wary of others, so they stay close to me. They like to be praised and rewarded, so they listen. They know we respect them, so will take their concerns seriously. Honestly, I just got lucky with my babies.

I’m not that perfect, polished mom, but neither do I aspire to be her. I just want to be put-together, to look nice, to have kids who also happen to be relatively well-behaved, and to have a presentable home. But I won’t kill myself to do it or sacrifice my family to get everything done. I’ve spent the better part of 5 years to get here and I’m proud of where I am.

There were a lot of days, weeks, months, and years where I was little more than a functioning zombie. My home was in tatters and I prayed my oldest wouldn’t start eating off the floor because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d even swept. I wore clean clothes, but didn’t match most of the time. I didn’t leave home very often without my husband and dinners out meant I focused more on not dropping my food on a child’s head instead of what, exactly, I was eating.

I’m not the so-called perfect mom, but I am put-together. It just took me almost 5 years to get here. As with everything, things take time, and desire.

Motherhood is Magical: Redefining The Lily Cafe

Lately, I’ve been struggling with my motherhood posts. I’ve gotten caught in wanting to both fit in with other mom bloggers even though motherhood is only one focus of The Lily Cafe and with trying to talk about the kind of mom I am, which sometimes is at odds with what other mom bloggers write about.

I adore reading mom blogs. I’ve found honesty, funny stories, encouragement, and a plethora of ideas. But the more and longer I read them, the more I feel out of place. After trying to fit in last year, I decided to focus on my mom truths and write about how I raise my kids, even if it differs from what many other moms do because maybe there’s another mom or dad out there who does things the same way I do. And I’ve found them, and it’s made me feel less alone.

But I’ve been struggling lately. I somehow went from talking about my particular style of motherhood to getting so caught up in it that I feel like I’m just earnestly writing with no real goal. Am I simply telling my story? Am I trying to tell other moms there are many ways of doing things? Am I, goodness forbid, trying to get moms to do things my way? I’ve lost sight of what I’m doing.

So, I’m changing things. I’ve taken a hard look at who I am as a person because that informs how I parent. My values are the ones I’m handing down to my kids, so they guide me. I trust my instincts and my background in psychology to help steer me. I don’t have all the answers, but I have a lot of handy tools and knowledge.

At my core, I’m a dreamer. I believe in magic. When I was a kid, I had a doll I loved so much that I used to wish on a star that she would come to life. Of course, she never did. But, even today, my heart still hopes. As an adult, I see the magic life has to offer. It’s subtle, but beautiful, and it’s something I want to pass down. I want my kids to enjoy life and see how magical it is. It’s not always easy, but there’s something beautiful about a new sunrise.

Motherhood is magical. I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t hard sometimes. But I can’t help but see how magical it is. Having kids is a great excuse to return to childhood, to recapture the dreams I once had, the joy I once experienced, the imagination that still drives me into the pages of a fantasy book. Being able to remember my childhood and the sheer fun I had makes me yearn to give the same to my kids. I want them to have fun, to explore, to get messy and creative, and develop a larger than life imagination. I want them to believe in magic, too.

That’s the kind of mom I am. I can’t write about the hard days, the tough times, the days when my kids only seem to tantrum and melt down. I can’t because I can hardly remember them. I know I discipline them in the moment, I know I have sturdy boundaries. I know what I’m doing when they misbehave. But, at the end of the day, I only remember the funny things they said and did, the giggles and bright smiles, the excitement of doing something they don’t get to do everyday, the unmatched joy on their faces as they eat a piece of chocolate.

I’m sure I can relate to just about any mom. I’m sure I’m tired and just want a break. I’m sure there are days when I just want to cry because it was that bad. I’m sure there are times when I question myself as a mom. But I just can’t remember. So, if you stumble across this blog looking for this, you’re probably not going to find it.

I’m not seeking to fit in or not fit in with other mom bloggers. I’m going to make my own place and sit happy. I’m not going to give advice, how to guides, and write about all the baby gear you do and don’t need. I’m not going to try to sell you anything but books. This is where I’m going to write about who I am as a person and mother and how that informs how I parent. I’m going to write about how I do it, how I find motherhood to be mostly a breeze, and how glorious I find parenthood to be. I don’t aim to be the mom who talks about how wonderful motherhood is in opposition to all the moms who keep it real, because this is real to me. I can’t do the nitty and gritty because I just don’t choose to see and focus on it. Besides, do you really need another mom to keep it real, to tell it how it is? I also don’t want to be that mom that people point to and say she’s sugar coating motherhood. If I talk about how wonderful motherhood is and nothing else, it’s because that’s really how motherhood is for me. I can’t say it enough: I just don’t focus on the hard parts. My brain doesn’t seem to let me.

To me, motherhood is magical. I hope you embark on this magical journey with me, but I won’t take it personally if you decide to depart the Cafe. Here’s to many wonderful adventures on this journey called parenthood!

Deep in the forest, you might hear playful music and tinkling laughter. If you follow it, you might stumble on a place crafted from intricately twisted branches, glossy emerald leaves, and soft petals donated by majestic blossoms. Boughs heavy with Spring gracefully arch far overhead, permitting golden sunshine to dapple the patrons below. Mothers smile as children laugh and play. Bards tell their tales of love and woe. Nymphs and dwarves and humans curl up on soft moss, buried in enchanting tales. Here, the spring water is always cold and the sweets are, well, sweet.

Welcome to The Lily Cafe.