Last week, Mommy Friend Brenda suggested we take our kids for a picnic at New Pond Farm after preschool. Our sons are out at 11:45 am on Wednesdays and Daughter was happy to tag along. The temperature was pushing 60 degrees and while the rolling hills of grass were a murky shade of brown rather than green, the sun was shining brightly and the sky a sapphire blue.
We visited the cows, sheep and chickens then ran down to the pond for a picnic on the bench. Brenda’s son skirted the geese poo dotting the ground, Daughter stretched herself across the little bridge and watched the river flow its spring rush, while Son gathered pine branches to bring home. As for Brenda and I, well, we hashed out the usual mommy list of madness: daily schedules, summer planning, sleep woes, and the other bits of minutia from our long days at home. Our commiseration of the day: The early evening hours make for a long period of isolation while Husband works late and we manage dinner and bedtime routines when kids and mom are at their crankiest.
The truth is, mommies need play dates as much as our kids. We need to commiserate, compare notes, and come up with ideas to help each other out. My network of mommies is my “office” for the mommy job. Playgroups are the water cooler.
This is the subject of the story I wrote for the new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms. When Editor Wendy Walker was looking for submissions, I thought back to those difficult days when I was first home with Son transitioning from career to mommyhood.
As I wrote in the book:
That January, a year after Charlie was born, I faced five days a week at home for the first time. Snow piled up in our yard as I did load after load of laundry. One morning I stood at the kitchen sink, weeping over the prospect of another daily routine of diaper changing, housecleaning, and quiet. Absent was the hustle and bustle of my office routine, the challenge of managing a team, and the rewards of launching a product. Charlie blessed me with his giggles and grins but he didn’t say,” Hey, Mom, thanks for the clean diaper. Thanks for giving me some tummy time!”
I go on to tell how I eventually met other moms and got as comfortable discussing nursing habits and sleep schedules as product strategy and marketing plans.
The book is officially published this week but I received my ten copies a few weeks ago. When I opened a copy, I was excited to read all the funny, challenging and inspirational stories by other power moms. Wendy Walker talks about writing her first novel in the back of her minivan, Liz Lange writes about raising her children while building a maternity clothing business, and Jodi Picoult talks about her struggle to write while raising three kids.
What’s a Power Mom?
I can’t say I would walk around introducing myself as a power mom to anyone. But the term is growing on me. There’s something in it that implies mastery, purposeful activity and accomplishment. When I was growing up, the term du jour was super mom. And that always seemed to imply awe or the destiny to fail at such an unrealistic label.
Power Mom, on the other hand, sums up the ferocity of our daily schedules – balancing multiple roles as parent, household executive, activity organizer, chef, diplomat, volunteer and friend – all in a hyper connected world (it’s amazing how many mommy friends I find on Facebook at 9 pm!). It says to me, the mommy job is a serious one and I’m (somehow) succeeding at it.
So, if you have a sec, check out the new book. Give it to a mommy friend to keep for a little light reading to remind her that she’s not alone. We’re all figuring out this mommy thing together. And we need each other’s stories to help validate our own.