Saturday, May 7, 2016

Motherhood - Otherwise Known as the Most Difficult Thing I've Even Attempted

Raising babies to be healthy, happy people  is the most difficult thing I've ever attempted to do - and that's on a good day. 

If there is anything else going on (and usually, it's always something), motherhood can push me right up against my edge, wondering if this is the time I might break. 

The past few months for Marie (and me) have been difficult. After years of motoring her for scoliosis, we have decided it was time for her to get a brace. 

After waiting in the tiny waiting area, an elderly gentleman (and I use that term very loosely) introduced himself and asked Marie to step on the scale. When she stepped off the scale, he chuckled to himself and asked her, "Hm. Do you like to eat?"

Marie looked at me with a mix of shock and confusion. He looked at me, and repeated the question, but this time more like an answer. "She likes to eat."  

I was in disbelief that he would address her weight in such a way. I was already off my game because I was so nervous about this appointment, so I gather whatever wits I have left and say, "Yes, she does like to eat."

He then briefly left the room, and Marie frantically asked, "Is he calling me fat?!"

Desperately trying to protect her, I told her, "Of course not!"

He then scoffed about how she was determined to not let this brace get in the way of her personal style.

I didn't think it could get any worse, but then he looked up from the X-Ray and asked me,  “Do you know what the number of her curve?”

“Uh, yes, I think so. But isn’t it on the x-ray?” I have 0 technical training in reading an X-ray, but I was able to find the number with an arrow pointing to the obvious curve in her back.

“Oh, yep.  There it is,” he said matter of factly.

Any shred of faith that I had in this guy was totally lost.

I wanted to bolt out of there, but felt trapped by the code of etiquette.

We got to the car, and I blurted out, “He was an asshole.  You know, someone once said something about my weight when I was a little older than you, and it really hurt my feelings.  But it wasn’t for me to take in.  Don’t take it in.”

She looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Just say you what you want say.  You know you want to say the MF word.”

Lost in a moment of truth and solidarity I hugged her close.  “You are right.  He was an mother f*ucking asshole.”

Ugh.  I was already feeling like failure.

 Maybe I should have gotten her those orthotics when she was a toddler and then we wouldn’t be in the mess now. 

And then I felt like I failed again because I just sat there in disbelief at ALL of the professional incompetnecies I witnessed in a 10 minute period instead of storming out. (Although she did witness me taking quick action of calling the office to cancel our brace, found a new place, and let our referring doctor know what happened).

I worry that because I didn’t call him out, she will think it is OK to have someone comment on her body.  I worry that I didn’t get angry enough in that office.  I worry that I got too angry after we left.   

This is just one scenario – never mind all the second-guessing I do about managing her anxiety.  And the reaching out to moms I don’t really know to try and make play dates – that’s so awkward that I actually feel like a tap-dancing monkey.  Maybe not exactly because the monkey might not have the self-awareness to analyze every bumbling conversation.

This is gig is hard.  So hard.  Some mornings I wake up with achy shoulders because I was literally clenching my body all night.  I try to approach uncomfortable motherhood situations like I approach a pose that I can’t stand in yoga (revolved moon, perhaps, or inverted triangle): deep breaths and an understanding that I am going to meet this pose in the body that I have today, which may or may not be different than last time.

But that focus is hard to sustain, especially when there is another child that needs me or laundry has to get done or I have to work and write.  It’s in those moments where my ego sneaks in and leads me to believe I have to work harder at controlling all of the variables.  It’s that constant struggle of “I am enough” and “You pretty much suck at this job.”

In the spirit of Mother’s Day and really embracing my self-care practice, I am going to lean towards “I am enough.”  Yes, I wish I could have been Beyonce in that doctor’s office and been all “boy bye.”   But it’s where I was at that moment.

We are all enough.

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot motherhood post
This was taken at a family party.
There were a lot of people there so it was kind of rare to have a photo of just the two of us.
I wish every day looked that sparkly and put together.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writing, Motherhood, and Community

When I first shared my desire to write a book on Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast Magic Lessons, I was just so excited to talk with her and become unstuck that I didn’t anticipate all of the ways that my life would change.

I think there is something that happens when a person reveals her truth and becomes honest about her purpose that the Universe arranges for things to happen.

Being able to connect with other people that are also pursuing their dreams (many of them also balancing motherhood) has been one of these changes.

Monica Sholar was one of those people.  I actually met her before writing my book, but we never got a chance to really talk.  One day, I received an email asking me if I wanted to be interviewed for her book titled Please Pardon My Dust: I’m Under Construction. This inspirational book shares not only the lessons learned about success, but the messy, unpredictable road each of the twenty-five women interviewed had to travel in order to arrive there.     

I am completely honored to be included among strong, accomplished women. Me - a stay-at-home mom who left her teaching career to raise her babies who had zero idea of what she was doing, let alone what her next career move was going to be.  Sometimes it just seems so unreal.

Hearing from Monica and others that telling my story has helped them is one of the best things about sharing my struggles in such a public forum.  But here’s the thing – when I hear that, I get inspired!  I am lifted up because someone is fighting the same fight.  I am not alone.

I think I spent the majority of my 38 years feeling alone.

Even though I feel a connection with these women I have met, we don't often get to meet face to face. 

But this weekend, I get to see some of them in person.

Monica has partnered up with All Things Detroit for the official book launch of Please Pardon My Dust:I’m Under Construction. It will be on Sunday, April 3rd from 12-6 at Eastern Market Shed 3.  Tickets are $5 at the door or you can by them here

monica sholar please pardon my dust erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot

Before the book launch, I am going to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak at Renaissance Unity Church!  I am super excited to hear her talk about creative living and Big Magic in a room full of people who are wanting to work their way out of fear towards their passion!

elizabeth gilbert big magic mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings

I hope to see some familiar faces at these events!  It’s going to be a great Sunday!

If you are going to go, feel free to tweet or message me!