Why Can’t We Be Friends (Or at Least Pretend)

A while back CityMama wrote about mom judging. (I can’t find the post. We might want to think about a way to search the archive now that we are so prolific). I remembering writing some comment that was like “I don’t believe this is really a thing” (which is judgy and invalidating in and of itself—I can see that now). I was trying to make the point that my group of mom (and a few dad) friends are very welcoming and supportive even though we are all pretty different. I thought mom judging didn’t really exist because I hadn’t really experienced it.

Until this spring when I was judged online and in a public place by strangers. In each instance I didn’t know the mom and I think that detail paved the path for acceptable judgment.

The first offense happened online. I saw a family member post a water bead Pinterest craft. Since Calvin spend two days in the hospital to the tune of $12,000 I have been on a bit of a crusade against water beads.

This is what I wrote:
“I usually don’t put cautions on blast, but Cal spent 2 days in the hospital last month after eating these water beads. They really aren’t safe for kids. They look like food and since they absorb water they grow and grow if ingested. Although technically ‘non-toxic” they can cause obstructions that can require surgery. If you want a tactile bead try edible tapioca pearls instead. PSA over.”

Then a person I didn’t know replied:
“It is all about knowing your kid. If you have a kids that is still in the phase of eating everything then you are right this isn’t a good choice. You have to know your kid and make a choice from that information.”

She called my kid getting extremely ill “my choice.” Twice. I would never say this to a friend. Or to someone’s face. And that should be the rule of thumb. I fumed about this for days. I even wrote a reply all about being less condescending, and about how sharing information is the only way we can learn to be good mothers, but I never sent it because ultimately I don’t know this person and getting into online fights is a bad move for me. But it still makes me made because I felt called out and judged by a stranger who was able to throw their shade for the exact reason I felt forced to hold my tongue: we don’t know each other.

A few weeks later we were swimming at the pool. Both kids were in the water and I was keeping an eye on Ellis who can be on his own with a swimmy and Calivn who can’t. It was a zero entry pool and Cal stumbled in 18 inches of water. His face went under water and while I took the two steps over to him a nearer mom picked him up out of the water. He was startled, but not drowning. I was grateful for the village working the way it should in a public space. My kid trip in water, you picked him up. Thank you. I would have done the same. What I never would have done was return to my pod of mom friends and start talking about the other mom while pointing. I was stunned. Again a stranger did what you would never do to a friend. Talk about them and point at them. I felt embarrassed and judged. It really felt like an indictment on my mothering.

So here is my plea. It is time to start treating all moms like we are friends. If you wouldn’t say whatever you are tempted to say to your friends face, then don’t say it. A revision of the golden rule that we need if this broader village is going to function in friendship instead of hostile judgment.

Double the Joy

I wrote this post in the first month of our blog (18 months ago!), but I didn’t post it. This was the one I didn’t feel comfortable sharing until we were more synced up. It didn’t feel right to shout about how great two was while you were going through so much City Mama. Now that you are about to join the “more than one club” I will share. Two is the best! Get ready.

Through my whole second pregnancy I was a little terrified of adding a brother to our bunch.

Until our second was born we were a family of first-borns. Since both my husband and I are the oldest children in our families I always felt a little superior about that. How would a youngest child work in our family? I worried that our second wouldn’t get the same kind of attention we gave our first. And he doesn’t. He still doesn’t have a nap routine, he has to grab his sleep when he can on the go because we have a life to keep now, but instead of the intensely focused quantity of time Ellis got, Calvin gets much more quality parenting. I actually think he may have the better end of the deal.

An acquaintance with two children once told us that two was “double the work, but not double the joy.” That idea really haunted me. Fortunately we have found the opposite to be true.

Having two children is a little more work, but it isn’t double because you already know so much. With our first we basically problem solved, fretted and figured it out for the whole first year. There was joy for sure, but there was an overwhelming learning curve that overshadowed our adjustment to parenting. Fortunately all that knowledge conveyed to our second child.

Two is WAY more joy. Probably because we can relax and enjoy it more this time.

I’m not saying it is “easy” the second time. I haven’t slept for longer than 90 minutes in the past 4 months, but the difference this time is that I know how relatively brief this period of time will be so I am not struggling against it the way we did with Ellis. This time I know that Calvin will eventually sleep happily on his own through the night.* I am not going to spend two years worrying about making that happen.

We won’t be pushing our luck with a third, but I am so glad that we got to put some of our knowledge and skill to work again with another child. I don’t think of Ellis as the dress rehearsal exactly, but I know our performance improved in the second act.


*We all sleep soundly through the night now.


Down the Rabbit Hole

I made a wonderful discovery recently and jumped in. A new blog. Well, new to me. It is really four years old so I had plenty to wade through, which is all I have been doing for the last few days.

This is it:


Go read it immediately.

It is like if the Bloggess had a baby with Young House Love 100 years ago. This lady is on a quest for Victorian furniture as her husband rehabs their 1880s home. I love in ways that I never loved YHL. Although I was drawn to Victorian furniture once upon a time I am no longer lusting for that so I don’t think I will find myself unconsciously copying her, which I appreciate.  YHL started to infect my own style in ways that didn’t always feel genuine or authentic.

This woman is hilarious and she owns her furniture crazy.

I found her while furiously pinning kitchens on pinterest. She proclaimed:

“It is strange that a total kitchen remodel is one of the most expensive projects you can do in your house… And after you spend all of that money, what you have is a kitchen that looks JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER kitchen. I mean, maybe you project your specialness onto your cabinet doors and countertop… But I am not sure that I can limit my self-expression to knob-choice.”

That really resonated with me.

For her that means converting a piano into an island (City mama you have to see it!) and hanging giant mirrors instead of cabinets, and although that won’t be our route, I love her commitment.

I can’t remember the last time I fell so hard for something on the internet. I am virtually smitten for sure.

For the past year and half there has been a Young House Love shaped hole in my heart. (I am really digging the new YHL podcast!). We have tried in some ways to fill it with this blog. And blogging is a wonderful experience, but I still want to spy on someone else rather than just divulging my own adventure sometimes. This is the perfect fix.