Browsing Tag

parenthood

Guest Posts, No Bullshit Motherhood

The Loneliness of Modern Motherhood

December 2, 2016
loneliness

By Liz Vartanian

“Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself” ~ Rupi Kaur

Truth be told, I always wanted to be the stay at home wife. I imagined my days to be filled with learning and adventures of a different kind. Learning how to make pasta, perfect the art of fermented foods, dive deeper into yoga, and maybe have a baby or two. In my late 20’s/early 30’s, I thought it would be grand to build our garden to grow more of our own food, then learn the art of canning and make my own baby food. In my mind, I could do all of this and more.

Now, years later, I look at the dreams of a childless woman and wonder how I thought I would get to “do it all”. To have the clean home, cook all the most nutritious meals (and have my child eat them!), to keep an amazing garden, spend my days socializing with all my mama friends while our babes play, to have time for my yoga practice or any other cup filling practice I may desire. All these things have one thing in common though, they all require time. Clean houses, raising babies, gardening, cooking, yoga, socializing, or cup filling all require some time from the 24 hours we get each day. Each require daily payments of our time. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, No Bullshit Motherhood, parenting

Attachment Parenting

November 10, 2016

*An amazing picture Jesse drew of his family, putting them in two pairs.

By Kendra Lubalin

Sadie is wrapped around my leg, her surprisingly strong thighs and arms tightly squeezing her body to mine, attached.  She says “I don’t know why I ever stopped nursing!  If I hadn’t I could still suck on your boobs every day!”  She is six years old, but her face is pressed to my calf so tightly, her yearning voice so authentically in pain, that I can’t laugh.

She wants to be so close that she doesn’t know how to get there.  It’s an impossible amount of closeness to achieve.  She wants my membranes to be permeable so she can swim inside me, she wants to pass though me like a ghost, but solid and warm – blood mixing with blood, breath with breath, heartbeat with heartbeat.  If she could crawl back inside the womb I’m still not sure she could satiate the desire she has to own me, to make me hers.  She whispers to me that she will put a window into my stomach, so she can live in there and still see her friends.

Straddling my lap she grabs my face in her hands and goes eye to eye, foreheads touching.

“You are mine.  Only mine.” Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, No Bullshit Motherhood, parenting

The Lesson Leaving Taught. (No Bullshit Motherhood Series.)

October 8, 2016

Note from Founder Jen Pastiloff: This is part of my new series called No Bullshit Motherhood. Raw, real, 100% bullshit free. If you have something to submit click the submissions tab at the top. You can follow us online at @NoBullshitMotherhood on Instagram and @NoBSMotherhood on Twitter. Search #NoBullshitMotherhood online for more.

By Chris J. Rice

My ten-year-old son stood beside his father in the front yard of my now empty house. My son had a scowl on his face. Looked away from my packed car, down at the ground.

Dark-eyed boy with a skeptical furrowed brow.

“Come here,” I said. Called him over to my driver-side window.

He stuck his head in for a kiss, and I whispered in his ear: “You’re going to miss me. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have a dream. Never forget that.”

He nodded as if he understood. “Bye,” he said, then turned around and ran back to stand with his father.

I put my Datsun in reverse and took off. Moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school. And I didn’t take my child along. I left him with his dad for the duration. I told them both it would only be a few years, though I knew it would be more.

I sensed it would be forever.

A formal acceptance letter came in the mail and I made a decision. Put my books in the post, my paint box in the trunk of my yellow Datsun B210, and drove headlong into whatever came next. Sold most of my stuff in a big yard sale: the vintage clothes I thought I’d never wear again, the leather couch and chair I’d bought dirt cheap off a moving neighbor.

I didn’t have much left after the divorce.

I said it. My ex said it too. I love you. But he didn’t mean it. And for the longest time I didn’t get that. Just picked up the slack. Made things happen. That’s how it was. Okay. Just okay. He would get angry. Couldn’t seem to manage. Fury popped up like every other emotion. Yelling. Disparaging—things like that.

I missed my son like mad. We talked by phone regularly. I flew back on holidays. He came to visit on spring break, and for a few weeks every summer.

Seven years passed. Continue Reading…

Fatherhood, Guest Posts, parenting

A Note On My Recent Behavior

July 20, 2015
beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Joseph Medler

Parenthood first goes about revealing your innumerable flaws and shortcomings.

It does this in such a nonstop barrage of situations that reveal your inadequacy that you question not only your abilities, but the universe and its judgment to leave such a precious and wonderful gift in such incapable hands. But you fumble through and with repetition you learn that what feels massive is just a blip and when things that arise that could be massive are dealt with you start to trust that you in fact are the right person and the hospital didn’t make a mistake letting this baby come home with you.

You are broken down to your foundation and rebuilt brick by brick. It is a necessary and critical process as it allows you to discard the many silly things you treated with reverence before you knew and it leaves you with something approximating wisdom. When I held my first born for the first time I became aware of my own mortality. No one told me about this.

About sleepless nights and the many changes to lifestyle, sure, but this existential crisis was not something for which I was on the lookout. I thought about death passively and actively. It was a farmer’s toothpick getting chewed on, soft and tattered until it was soaked and malleable and worn through, splintering and finally turning to pulp to be discarded.

I am empowered by my inevitable death. What felt like a crisis, that I was not going to be able to foster him and his brother completely through a life, has turned into an awakening. It hurts to be sure that I won’t get to see how their stories end. I won’t be there to ensure as happy an ending possible and infact will rely on them to provide this for me. But between now and then it is my privilege and obligation to do everything I can to stack whatever odds I can in their favor. From this angle I’ve become a man that is determined to have as little difference between my public and private face as possible.

I do this for me, yes, but I also do it for them. My little guys need to see that they are able to be wholly themselves even when the world smirks at them. The world can seem a hellof a giant thing and when it takes note of you with scorn it can be scary. But you can’t be afraid.

You can’t allow the world to so color your opinion of yourself that you decide it’s best to hide behind whatever facades you decide upon which draw the least amount of attention. In fact, once you know fully who you are you can smirk right back at the world as you are equal to it. Primarily because ‘fuck it’. You are.

No matter what the world thinks of you it can’t change that unless you empower it. You, me and everyone we know are great. All of us. It may not play out on a stage large enough for the world to see and it may not ever make life easy, but it’s true. Our greatness is innate and the only way we can fail it is to not attempt to practice it and to share it. Do this and the world and its judgments will not only get quiet, they will disappear.

Continue Reading…

Binders, Guest Posts, motherhood, parenting

Snowstorms, Goodbye to Parenthood and Real Time.

March 12, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser.

Earlier this week, like practically the entire East coast, we awaited the much-hyped soon-to-be storm of the century. By Tuesday morning, we understood much of the snowpocalypse-fearing East Coast received meager amounts, especially against promise of a centennial storm. It made me think about how we aren’t, as a society, geared up for real-time discoveries any longer. We’ve been lulled into the belief that we can and should know pretty much everything ahead of time, thank you every weather app on the planet that renders even the once-worldview-rocking Weather Channel quaint. We egg each other on while water and kale disappears from supermarket shelves. While waiting, we take photos of every empty shelf and flake of snow on our fully charged smart phones.

This mindset is sets the perfect stage for bingewatchers and spoiler alerts, given the fact that we have the chance to watch any show of great or little significance at any time at any pace. Like the kale craze, we can so instantly know locate fingers on the pulse of things and this ability shapes our shared perspective.

This past summer and early fall I fell down the rabbit hole of Weeds years after its fifteen minutes touching cultural zeitgeist. The way I got there was Orange is the New Black, which I tried to like—and failed. Made so anxious from the prison that I couldn’t appreciate the humor or tolerate the drama, I was instead propelled to the book and to Jenji Kohan—thus, Weeds. Once in Little Boxes’ suburbia, I got hooked. I couldn’t quit Mary Louise Parker’s endless flirtation with disaster.

Partway in, I asked a friend who’d watched the entire series whether I was making a mistake. “It’s really good, then it’s really bad and then somewhere in there she kind of steps up and you’re glad you hung in for that shift,” my friend explained. “There’s redemption, eventually.”

The deadline beyond which I could truly spoiler you has long past. My friend’s assessment was correct, although the ending never really mattered. Weeds was more about the ride than the outcome or the meaning—no takeaway message promised and none delivered. Perhaps that’s why for all that time I spent unable to stop watching Weeds’ eight seasons, and unable to stop thinking about Weeds during those weeks I watched—and watched—I haven’t given it more brain space since. Does that render it a negligible binge-watch?

In the midst of my personal Weeds’ obsession, the ballyhooed release of the Gilmore Girls’ oeuvre appeared on Netflix and my sixteen year-old-son, already a huge fan of Lauren Graham’s Sarah Braverman on Parenthood, dove in. No question that Gilmore Girls falls within the Venn diagram of his absolute sweet spot—he loves romanticized dramas about families and relationships and smart, fast dialogue. He reveres Friday Night Lights. His hall-of-fame perennial favorite is The West Wing. Thus, Gilmore Girls surmounted to a predetermined home run.

As it should have been—Gilmore Girls is one of those series that belongs in that realm reserved for cultural icons. How many young women would cite it as their adolescent go-to show? How many mothers and daughters were glued together to GG when their own adhesive to one another experienced the challenges of actual mother-daughter wear and tear? How many of us first hearted Melissa McCarthy in Stars Hollow? Even the Kim Gordon makes a stealth appearance for a little wow/cool factor cameo idea began there. Aaron Sorkin may have provided the initial incarnation of lightning speed dialogue on television. Amy Sherman-Palladino for sure gave him a run for his money, way before Shonda Rhimes took up the female fast talking television mantle.

The jumble of programs with cultural import and ones to watch-because-you-can-and-don’t-stop makes me curious about how cultural junk food, “mid-reputable” TV and stellar series meld into our cultural DNA going forward. For all its frothiness, what stuck from Weeds was the ‘O’ Mary Louise Parker makes around a straw. That masterful sip informed how loveable Lauren Graham, as both Lorelai Gilmore and Sarah Braverman seemed wielding straws.

In real time, my sixteen-year-old son and I got into the habit of curl up on Thursday nights to savor Parenthood’s final season. It finished its run last night—and we are sad. We’ve been sad all season long, because we didn’t want to say goodbye to the Braverman clan, and knew we would have to do so. It’s rare that a program can uphold this much sentimental tenderness and final season ribbon tying. Parenthood could because the characters’ complexities are so well established. Even the broadcast promise of family drama trifecta: wedding, birth, and death managed not to feel like stunts or to disappoint. The takeaway message stayed true to mission: families are bittersweet entourages; when things are hard, sometimes love holds you as you need and when things are happy you hurt at the notion they’d ever get sad again—and you’d lose the joy.

To watch together is new for us. Up until now, we each took in Parenthood on our own schedules and timetables. My son watched week-by-week; I tended to bank a few weeks and then bundle-view numerous installments over a few days. Although we discussed the show, he politely avoided letting spoilers slip. We were very twenty-first century about the whole thing.

For this extended swan song, though, we went old school. Although I’m the only one in a teary puddle by the end of each episode (he misted up by the finale’s end at least), we bonded over each development and mourned our goodbyes to characters we both adore. As anyone who’s ever raised teenagers knows, peaceful time bonding that you can count on is in itself a winning entity, reason enough to love the ritual.

Some might call Parenthood cultural junk food. Whatever—for us, it’s more like emotional-slash-relational superfood. The Braverman clan has afforded us opportunities to discuss families and romantic relationships, autism, aging, and career passions, adolescence and young adulthood comfortably and naturally. Conversations about emotions don’t come easily with him, so this was a pretty rare opportunity. Add to this the fact that the Braverman family, through ups and downs, yelling and screeching, comes through for its members in such strong ways. I really don’t care if that’s idealized; I want to endorse a message as simple as that’s something to strive for—for us. Far from the groovy Bay area, we have our own ups and downs, some big enough, some smaller, but at heart, equally knotted and tangled and well intentioned.

That real time viewership prompts gems like actual, rich conversation with your sixteen year-old-son is why I hope the phenomenon is here to stay, even in the age of abundant binge-ability. Like the purported snowstorm we dodged; for all the anticipation, ultimately, it’s refreshing to take it as it comes and watch the flakes cascade. Storm of the century or not, you can still eat your kale.

 

Sarah’s work has appeared in the NYT, Washington Post, Brain Child, Full Grown People, Dame and The Manifest-Station recently. She lives in Western Massachusetts, where the snow flies, and flies.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now. Space is limited.This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the new season of spring. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now. Space is limited.This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the new season of spring. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015. It is LIFE CHANGING!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015. It is LIFE CHANGING!

Join Jen and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

Join Jen and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

Binders, Guest Posts, Marriage

Another Seven Years.

March 1, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88
By Megan Birch-McMichael.

After almost a decade together, our shared language is both oral and visual. A wink means, did you see what our kid did? A sigh, what’s wrong now? A gentle nudge with a big toe on a calf in the middle of the night, please stop snoring already. Our words have meanings that only we understand, our promises to love each other through sickness and in health made with knowing smiles at the altar after having lived through a premarital spring, summer and fall of ailments that would precede another four seasons of tests and uncertainty.

Starting as a pre-med in college, though I wouldn’t see it through, I learned a language of medicine and science, names for various bodily systems and afflictions, words to describe how one is feeling. The language of love, our words that we speak to one another, has the staccato rhythm of a heartbeat, an electrical impulse sent to the tiny metal disk that rests underneath the surface of his skin, shocking his essential pump into a steady beat when it threatens to stop completely. The disk that was implanted two years ago when just after his 32st birthday, and right before my 31st, the fear of widowhood rose with bile in the back of my throat as I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone.

“Pick me up now.”

Thump.

“My heart stopped.”

Thump.

“I have to see the doctor immediately.”

Thump.

“I love you.”

Thump, thump.

The first time he collapsed, in our fourth year together, he 29 and I 28, we were at a diner with my mother and my brother two days after Thanksgiving. I did not yet have a ring on my finger symbolizing our marriage yet to come (that would come two weeks later on the National Mall in the freezing cold moonlight), and when he laid his head on my brother’s shoulder as we sat at the breakfast table, we laughed it off for a moment.

Continue Reading…

anti-bullying, Fatherhood, Guest Posts, Men, parenting

What Happens When a Guy Gets Bullied For Years? The Dadvocate.

February 5, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88

By Andy Malinski.

Oftentimes, men intimidate me.

I’ve spent a lot of time very uncomfortable around men. A group of women makes me feel much more at ease than a group of men. Why? The surface answer is that I’m not the typical guy. Although I enjoy a baseball or hockey game, I’m not a big sports fan and don’t follow any teams of any sport; I much prefer music and theater (and even when it comes to music, I’ll take Beethoven any day over any rap artist). I’ve taught my wife terms like valance and duvet and Mirepoix.

The deeper answer is that I’ve experienced some intense bullying in my 35 years and so my hope, through The Dadvocate, is to reach out to men and help establish healthy ways to express emotion and bond with wife and baby. Fearful about having a boy who might, someday, have to endure what I did in grade school, our midwife asked me, “Why wouldn’t the world want another you?” That’s a big motivator, right there, to do all I can for him, for my family, and to try and reach out to others with what I have experienced and learned from over my years.

Bullying started for me around 1st grade.  At that point it was the “fatso” name-calling on the playground.  When I was in 4th grade, I was out riding my bike one afternoon enjoying a beautiful New Hampshire afternoon when a group of bullies from school approached me.  They destroyed my bike, throwing pieces of it into the woods as I stood there, helpless, not knowing what to do.  Once they left, laughing, and were out of sight, I picked up all I could and made my way home, holding back my tears as long as I could, carrying a wheel and a seat, scared more about having to tell my parents that my bike was broken than I had been bullied.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Continue Reading…

death, Grief, Guest Posts, healing

Seasons of (Beautiful) Change. Reflecting on The Death of My Daughter.

October 28, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black

By Becky A. Benson.

When the last remaining breezes of the tepid summer air turn unabashedly crisp and begin to fill with the recognizable scent of colorful leaves bidding their trees adieux we know that Autumn is on its way. These things, and so many others during this season bring a great sense of nostalgia to my heart and mind. The warm pleasures of draping yourself in layers of sweaters and scarves and of taking in the aroma of baked apples and pumpkin-everything blankets us in comfort. A literal season of change is underway.

In the Fall I wax nostalgic more than any other time of year. October is the month in which my youngest daughter, Miss Elliott was born. She too brought many changes into our lives. Our beautiful, blessed being, she was a teacher. My greatest teacher. She taught us what it meant to love unconditionally. She taught us what it meant to persevere. She taught us that a life, no matter how short or how small, was valuable, important and beautiful. She also taught us how to say goodbye. Continue Reading…