IMG_0108Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be “that other mom?” You know the one.

The one who’s different from you.

Maybe she works,works from home, is a SAHM, home-schools, public schools or private schools her kids.  Maybe she’s organic right down to her shoes and makes her own laundry soap.  Maybe she’s got tattoos or purple hair. Maybe she is younger, or older than you were when you started the whole mothering thing. Maybe she’s an immigrant and English is her second language. Maybe, she’s Muslim, or Jewish or Christian. Maybe she struggles with a chronic illness, child with special needs-or has a different marital/family situation than you do.

I’ll be honest- I’ve done more than wondered what it would be like. I’ve made assumptions and judgments about what it must be like and  how and why she’s different from me.

I mean- my way of mothering is obviously the right way. That’s why I do it this way. Duh. So of course I judge. In order for my way to be right- her’s has to be wrong. Over time, I’ve let those judgments and assumptions build up into walls. Walls that keep “other” moms out of my life.

Over the past few years, God has been doing something interesting with those walls. He’s been tearing them down. Brick by judgmental brick. For the most part it hasn’t been in miraculous Jericho-like ways. There haven’t been horns or 3 day marches. Just- meetings. Accidental meetings where I take the time to get to know some “other” mom.

What I’ve discovered is this: a lot of my assumptions and judgments have been 100% wrong.

I think, I’m learning to love- the other. Here is [one of the ways] the Bible defines love…..

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Cor 13:4-7 NIV

I’ve been doing the opposite. My judgmental walls have been built on assumptions of impatience, unkind thoughts, envy (the grass is greener- over there…) pride- my way is the right way, dishonoring other mother’s unique callings and personalities, seeking to prove I’m right, anger over being judged by others and keeping a record of the “kinds” of others who’ve judged me, delighting when others fail- because it makes me feel like I’m succeeding, not really caring about the truth as much as assuming I already know it,  defending myself instead of protecting others, doubting instead of trusting, giving up that I can connect with others if they are different or if it’s hard, instead of persevering.

What started out as an accident- has become a passion. Those “accidental” meetings have become friendships- friendships that have changed both my me and my mind. For the better. I’m making fewer assumptions and asking more questions. Now that I’ve gotten to know some “other” moms, I know how much I’ve missed out on by keeping them out of my life. I’ve also learned that we never know if, when or how our circumstances will change. Being surrounded by women of all kinds and backgrounds- gives us a collective wisdom to depend on when they do. 

Settling for judgmental walls isn’t good enough anymore. I want to love more. I want to love better.

I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like- if women (and mothers) grew to know and respect each other instead of judging and assuming? What if we learned to love the other?

I think that instead of being threatened  by our differences and spending so much time defending ourselves- we’d be better- if we mothered together.

Even when we disagree-we need each other.

 As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 

I’m not naive. I know that differences can cause conflict. Have you ever seen the ironworking process? When iron sharpens iron- sparks fly- however-the results are worth the risk and the work.

They are worth the risk in relationships, too.

My questions for you- do you catch yourself judging others? Do you make assumptions based on moments you experience from the outside- as a grocery store voyeur- or mall maligner? I have.  Or,  do you take the time to try and get to know that “other” mom?

I’m ready to tear down the rest of my walls. I want to engage with and learn from: YOU. The other mother.

Who ever you are. Similar to me, or different.  I’ve had a taste… I want more. I need more.

So- I’m ready to walk some miles- in the shoes of others- when I can, so I can get to know by a bit of experience what your life is really like- next to you when I can’t walk in your shoe-by listening, to you who live there-  instead of judging.

It’s gonna be a grand adventure.

It already has been;) Besides- it involves shoes! Who doesn’t love shoes???? :)

I have a feeling that if we stopped all the judging, competing and assuming– the whole Mommy Wars thing? Would be over.

Which: I’m ready for. How bout you? Looking forward to sharing more of the journey:) Stay Tuned.


Engage- to connect with commitment

I remember the the heat of a summer’s day sun radiating from the primer black paint of my boyfriends 1961 Ford Galaxie as I hopped up on the hood to prepare for the “surprise” he had for me. Even parked under the tree in front of his parent’s house- that car was h-o-t. I briefly wondered whether you could get third degree burns from the hood of a parked car.

The truth is:  I didn’t care. Because, I loved him. And… I more than kind of suspected what the “surprise” was. We’d been talking about taking the next step in our relationship for a while… and well… maybe we’d even gone shopping a few times and “happened” to look at some pretty rings….

Just about the time I couldn’t stand it any longer… (the anticipation, not the butt- burn.) he pulled a 9″ tall precious moments teddy bear from behind his back. Not what I was expecting.

But- before disappointment could set in, he told me to turn over the little heart shaped “tag” that was around the bears neck.

Taped to it was a tiny ruby and diamond heart ring.

He got down on one knee. Tears filled my eyes.

I said (more…)

Apparently, Hilary Rosen said something and the world of politics and mothering once again collided and exploded. I think. At least- my inbox makes it look like it did. I even got an email from the GOP telling me to buy a coffee mug and show support for SAHM’s. (Which I may have bought if it weren’t ugly and were a fundraiser to actually support mothers instead of a political party. Be cause I pretty much hate politics, but love moms. I’d rather buy something from HERE– which really does support all kinds of moms…Side note? I want to make a t-shirt to wear all 2012 that says: love PEOPLE not POLITICS- but I digress.)

I don’t know Hilary Rosen, and I don’t trust the media to get any quote in context or correct. However, it looks like Hilary said something like….”She’s never worked a day in her life.” in regards to Ann Romney. Because she’s been a SAHM. Granted, Hilary’s point was that because Ann Romney is a SAHM- she has no clue what “real moms” experience. She’s out of touch. Rich. It was about understanding…or something.


That’s both an “ouch” of personal offense-and an “ouch” of my political/PR sensibilities.  (Doesn’t someone coach these people?) #waytoalienateawholepeoplegroup

I gotta be honest… the whole topic infuriates me.

I thought about my options:

  • I could write a long post to explain the economic impact and value of SAHM’s. But, that would  be defending my choice- which is a little too close to justifying -which always looks suspiciously insecure to me.
  • I could write a heart wrenching post expounding the struggles unending hours and lack of pay that is involved in being a SAHM. But that just seems like playing for sympathy and I don’t “do” martyrdom.
  • I could write a post that extrapolates the altruism and honor of raising children and the salvaging of the dying art of making home and it’s impact on culture….But that would be playing on emotions at best- guilt tripping and manipulative at it’s worst..

They would also be an adventure in missing the point, in addition to the problem.

What infuriates me isn’t the opinion that SAHM’s don’t work…’s that we’re still- missing the point.

The problem isn’t a lack of understanding- that  would be easy. It could be cleared up with explanations or experiences. If it were- a lack of understanding…the “Mommy Wars” would have ended before the first round was fired. Women are all about explaining ourselves, our motives and our emotions. The information is there….online, in books, magazines and discussed IRL over coffee (or booze) and chocolate (or cheesecake)…SAHMS telling how hard being at home is- and WOTHM’s (Work outside the him moms) commiserate about the struggles of working outside the home. If it were that simple we’d have an epic dessert party/ gripe session, hug cry and get about the real business of being together.. to complain about men. (STEREOTYPE/ SARCASM WARNING.)

Nope- I think it’s a bigger problem. It’s a lack of respect.


Which means it’s about Aretha- not Hilary. (See? I told you. My titles only appear to be random- in the way that “objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear” kind of.)

Why respect? because I’ve spent 23+ years as a mothering insider… and I’ve heard and watched countless women throw around words (and ideas) like these:

“She’s lucky.” ( unfairly blessed or spoiled)

“She’s selfish.” (focused on her own ambitions or materialistic)

Words that split the community of mother’s, and in so doing, halve the support that is the life-blood of mothering.

Words that are also sometimes: true. (Come on girls- let’s face it…some of us are lazy, spoiled princesses and some are selfish- corporate ladder climbing witches… we must be- cause I see it on TV all the time.)

Also- words that are mostly:  false. At least- I think they are, because most of the SAHM’s I’ve met, sacrifice in order to be home and fulfill their calling. And, most of the working moms I’ve met sacrifice to make ends meet and fulfill their calling….weird how that works…

I wonder what would happen if we stopped all the mommy-mudslinging- and started respecting each other?

I also wonder if maybe the mudslinging is really a male- oppressive society’s conspiracy to keep us mud-wrestling and out of their hair… (or hairless-ness as the case may be.)

Maybe we’d be better, if we mothered together….It’s worth a shot.

I choose Aretha.

I choose RESPECT.

Respect for a working mom’s sacrifices made to make ends meet and or fulfill her unique calling and passion in life.

Respect for a SAHM’s made sacrifices to stay home, make ends meet and fulfill her unique calling and passion in life.

Working moms fulfill their mission by leaving the home to work- SAHM’s fulfill theirs by staying home. Same mission- different methods.

Now- let’s get back to coffee chocolate and man bashing, please?…..(Except not.)

When the high schooler missed his bus, I thought:  “I have it under control.” That was the last time I thought that, today.

I asked the college boy to drive him to school before he left for his 8:30 class.  When High Schooler then, couldn’t find his house-key, I gave him mine. Thinking:  “He’ll be home before me, anyway.” I jumped in the shower, dressed and considered snorting a packet of Starbucks Via, before work.  I refrained, just incase I had to pass a drug test.

The youngest was less than cooperative, this morning. Of course. Between coaxing him to eat and a last-minute lunch change to bringing lunch  (ugh.)  and trying to get my hair dry, I must have lost track of time. I grabbed my keys  had Noah zip his coat in the car and tried to catch the bus.  I thoroughly impressed Noah by knocking over all 4 garbage cans at once as I pulled out of the driveway. (FYI you don’t save time by not clearing the rear window. Picking up garbage: wastes time. )

We didn’t make it.

“I don’t have time for this.” I thought. I decided to save time by not heading home for my purse or phone before taking him to school.  All was fine until I got home and (after picking up the garbage from the street while skating on ice in heels) remembered I’d given my high school son my house key. Epic fail. Locked out.  Garage door opener is acting weird and the keypad won’t work unless it’s above freezing.

It was not above freezing.

I felt defeated.  The wind I’d had in my sails (or maybe it was the coffee I’d sucked down in a rush) whooooshed out in a huff, as tears welled up in my eyes. (Bad mixed metaphor I’m too tired to fix- sorry:P) I was not finished getting ready and the dogs needed to go out before I left for the day.

I didn’t have my purse,  my cell phone or my house key.  My husband is out-of-state.

I could:

1) Break in

2) Break down

To be honest, breaking down was sounding pretty good. As a SAHM, part of me has always been afraid, that even if I absolutely had to work… I couldn’t cut it.  Here I was failing, on Day 2.

“Get a grip. Don’t panic! You can do this!” I told myself, really hoping the neighbors didn’t hear. (Unless they had a key. Which, they don’t.)   I walked around back, to check the patio door. To see if it was locked.  Just in case.

It wasn’t. Typically, I’d have been furious that the house was left un-locked.  Today, I was thankful.

I pushed past the barking like crazy dogs, and finished getting ready.  The clock kept ticking.

9:07 “I should make it if I leave now.”  I thought.

Then, remembered the dogs would need to go out before I left. “Ugh.”

I stood there, tapping my foot like the pee-pee nazi and the beagle refused to go.

Tick toc. 9:08 Getting late!

Explaining that I was late on my second day of work because: “I was waiting for my beagle to pee.” Just didn’t sound professional.  I brought her in and decided I’d have to risk the mess.

9:27 I pulled into work. Made it. Score!


By 9:45 I met todays task: Organize the Reliable Delivery Dungeon. I mean, the uniform closet. By light of a single, flickering florescent bulb, (good thing I don’t have epilepsy, that strobe effect could have been bad.)

I sorted, took inventory of and hung up a bazillion uniform shirts, jackets, coats and hats. (On nice plastic hangers as Holly, my boss of the moment, made clear the expectation: “No wire hangers!” ) Not in the mood for a beating..(movie reference, sorry)  I complied. ;)

In other words: I counted and put away laundry, all morning.

To be honest, standing alone in that dark closet,I felt a few tears well up. Maybe it was  the emotion of the whole morning rush, or maybe, it was *Sharpie fumes.. but I think it was my disappointment.  This was not what I had in mind. Forget the day-dream of what working might be like.  This was a nightmare.  I wondered if this job had been especially created for me because, you know..  I’m a SAHM, maybe all I’m really capable of is laundry…

Which is when, I remembered the world doesn’t revolve around me. (Funny how I usually think it does.) This was my job for the day, and I was going to do my best at it.  I’d asked to be put through the paces as a working mom, and this was it. So,(for the second time today) I got a grip, then, got down to work.

I finished after a couple of hours. And then, enjoyed throwing the empty boxes over the rail to the floor below. (Hey- it was a highlight of the day.  They made a loverly PLOP on the cement!)

I spent the afternoon: filing, compiling and shuffling, super- top -secret -spy -documents. I’d tell you what they were, but would hate to have to kill you, afterward. (Besides, I’m way too tired.) Ok, so I filed paperwork. Hey! My first promotion! Sweet!  So much better than the dungeon.

As a former homeschool mom, my ABC skillz are par. However— the drivers at Reliable Delivery have  Driver-numbers that most things are filed by. I managed to recall the number system (I feared I’d blocked it along with algebra.) and completed that task as well. (I was a filing maniac!  I rocked the cabinet! With the exception of a small paper-cut  and twice losing the same key to the Truck Driver Records Cabinet…(No clue why that’s in caps.. but since it is a  special- locked filing cabinet -I have no idea why- it just seemed fitting.) it was fairly drama-free. Score another task done for me!

Next, I was introduced to a new hot new friend. He is big and burly and built and has more copy/collate/hole punching skillz than I could ever hope to have. His name is: Mr Minolta Copier.   I know he was was hot- because about that time, I started to feel sweat drip down my back. It only took me 2 tries to figure out how to get Mr Minolta to do his copy, sort, hole -punch magic.  (sorry about letters A and B Kathy.. I had to do them twice.. oopsy) Mr Minolta and I then made 3 copies of the next The New York Times #1 Bestseller. It’s an incredible book… I felt like a ancient scribe..recording history for posterity.

Except I didn’t, and it wasn’t. It was: “The Supply Chain Logistics Terms And Glossary.” Quite possibly, the most boring book I’ve ever seen.

62797853-335ae9683fd294db3822fbf82a3bdd9a.4b6b6c3a-fullSee?  This boring.

And so completed my second day as a working mom.

Or did it?  Because it is currently 7:24 and dinner is still in the oven.   I am still trying to capture the experience in words and I only very recently, finished cleaning the shorkie puddle I found in my bedroom. On the carpet.  With my foot. When I got home. (Hmm I sense a theme… or maybe I sense that  someone would have to be crated, if I went to work every day.)

I am: tired. I just realized I didn’t eat all day, nor stop for a bathroom break, and I am so thirsty I am tempted to drink straight from the faucet. Umm better pace myself. Tomorrow, I’ll eat lunch like a human and drink water when I need to.

FYI: I am convinced, that if I had to inventory and organize uniforms alone, in the dark, for 8 hours a day, I would poke my own eyes out with a sharpie to escape. (Just sayin.. Not a job I would choose…)

And thats what happens on Day 2 of a SAHM becoming a working mom….

Wonder what tomorrow will be like?

Tomorrow I will be working in my friend Kathy’s office. Doing data entry. I am trying not to hyper ventilate over the idea of mucking up the computer system and the universe coming to an end. I’m pretty sure it could. Or not.

I guess we’ll see— tomorrow!

side note: I have spoken to my husband for about 13 minutes total, since Monday. He’s been in California, and now Milwaukee. Between my being busy and the time difference and my schedule.. it’s been rough. If I worked like this every week and he continued to travel.. it would be hard to remember each others voices, let alone faces. UGH.

Dear Lord.. I pray that you’d use these moments to help me learn what it’s like for other moms, and to communicate it well…. I really believe we need each other.. together we could make a better world… amen

*sharpie fumes… yes…but no actual accidental (or purposeful) getting high in the uniform closet… sorry but it was just too funny a line not to use it… :P

Be for watching MomSense Magazine– Nov/Dec issue– (Not available online yet- but should be soon)

I’m in it. :)

An authentic look at the emotions that fuel the Mommy Wars.  I’m praying God will use it to make peace not war:)

For those who know me- it’s my dream to be a writer.. this is a step in that direction- I am amazed !