JUMP TO RESOURCES DEALING WITH SYSTEMIC RACISM

I thought I would make better use of this space to share the things that we have learned as a family to get through this pandemic time.  I intentionally called it Pandemic Survival.  I know that there are those who will like to say “Don’t just survive, Thrive!!!” but I have to be brutally honest, that bar is too high for me.  Maybe for you too.  Going through this feels much like when we first had a newborn baby.  What you have to do to take care of a newborn is so above and beyond anything else you’ve EVER done, that I thought:  Man, someone just needs to tell you at the end of the never-ending day: “You kept that tiny human being alive for ONE MORE DAY.  Good Job! You get a standing ovation!!

And so the pandemic is a lot like that.  If you kept your family safe and alive for ONE MORE DAY – You get a standing ovation! GOOD JOB!!!   Just to help with that journey, I’m going to post whatever has been helpful to us below.  We’re no experts.  Like you we’re just surviving.   If what helps us, helps you, that’s fantastic! If it doesn’t, feel free to ignore it. Take only what is helpful! No pressure, no guilt, no need to agree with me.  Every family is different.  Every home is different.  And also, if you have it together enough to even read this blog – GOOD JOB!!

OK – CHECK BACK to this space, I will put the newest tips at the top, here:

  1. EVERYONE HELPS.  We went from a model of “Mommy Does Everything” to “Everyone Does Their Part.”  With everyone at home creating dirty dishes and crumbs and trash, it REALLY helps.  I’m less angry! I’m gonna call that a “win.”
  2. SKIPPING.  I can’t say enough how good it feels to go somewhere, somewhere totally deserted, and skip.  Like you did when you were a kid.  It makes us laugh.  We try to do it once in a while.  I have no idea why it works.
  3. GRATITUDE.  Just finding one dumb thing to be thankful for each day really helps. Anything.  Literally, any dumb thing. Even the fact that socks keep my feet warm at night.  We share these things at the end of the day together, before bed. It helps.
  4. THIS WILL BE OVER ONE DAY.  No one agrees on when. In fact, it will boggle your mind all the debate on when.  Regardless, JUST the thought that ONE day this will end, helps me to get through each day.  We’ve already moved on from so many other virus driven diseases, and one day we will move on from this one.  That one ray of hope really helps to get me through each difficult day.  (And I know, there are super-Debby downers out there who say this will never end, but looking and history and science and math and providence — I’m 99.99% sure they are wrong)

MORE RESOURCES

MORE RESOURCES

This is an amazing time! If you are like me, and you are trying to figure out how to cope with the pandemic and simultaneously wrestle with the systemic racism in your own state, city, community and heart, YES – it’s a lot.  Hang in there.  IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT!   Just really quick, I wanted to share some resources. I’ll start with a couple ones that I used when Kalia was little, because they are tested by time, and I think they are great for the 3 and under set!

EVERYWHERE BABIES By Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee.  I love this book because not only does it show a wide range of diversity, it shows multi-racial families, which was really important to me.

ABC LOOK AT ME By Roberta Grobel Intrater.  I loved this because not only is your kiddo looking intently at faces of other ethnicities, but they are also learning a large vocabulary of emotion words!

I’ll add more books the next time I get a chance to! HANG IN THERE!

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Just for fun, here is a look at my life WAYYY before the pandemic, WAYYY before I had a young child and not a toddler, way before any of these things.  It’s kind of fun, if nothing else, for the sake of nostalgia:

  • This is a space for “mom stuff.”  Because I am also a mom.  And I know how challenging and exciting and all-consuming that can be!  So I wanted a space to put my “mom discoveries” in case they can help you as well! (Full disclosure: I don’t sell anything.  I’m just putting here things that have truly been helpful to me, usually things that I just happened to stumble across, and sometimes things that I went out looking for because I needed to solve a particular problem, but the bottom line is that I don’t receive any remuneration from any of these recommendations or anything like that. OH! EXCEPT FOR MY BOOKS!!! Yes, I do highly recommend my books because I wrote them and I believe in them and I think they are good and useful.  And this IS a writer’s blog so I think that was probably obvious, but just in case. . . OK, disclosure over.)

Anyhow! These discoveries are in no particular order, by the way.  I’m just adding them as they come to mind.  And I will put the most recent on the top.   That might make the numbering kind of weird, but it will save you the time of scrolling down later on!  

MOM DISCOVERY #1: PODCASTS

I subscribe to a newspaper, and several magazines come in the mail, but I never have time to read more than the occasional front page article — maybe.  BUT, I can listen to a podcast while doing other things! And keep my brain from turning into mush! This is wonderful!  Germaine to parenting is this one: NPR’s LIFE KIT: SCREEN TIME. NPR has a podcast called “Life Kit” with a series on parenting, and this particular group of podcasts is all about screen time, AND I found that it gave me some good food for thought.  And it know that it is a topic on a LOT of parents’ minds.  There was also this episode of Hidden Brain that I found fascinating: Hidden Brain, Bringing Up Baby. The first half talks about the hidden meaning of baby babble (I know!) and the second part talks about how we approach parenting.  AND you get to listen to babies babble! (Although a warning, you also get to listen to them throw tantrums.  Guess the scales had to be balanced.)

MOM DISCOVERY #2: Helene the Illustrator.  

She is just wonderful and she always makes me laugh.  Her little cartoons are all about Mom Life.  If you are on Instagram, I recommend following her. I don’t know her, never met her, not even sure how I stumbled across her feed! Just FYI, she does use some adult language, maybe because she’s from Britain and they aren’t as uptight about moms using strong language over there.  She usually makes me laugh, and sometimes cry.

DOES THE WORLD NEED ANOTHER MOMMY BLOG?

(This post is from back when this site was destined to be a “mommy blog.”)

Does the world need another “Mommy Blog”?  Yeah. Probably not. There are already a ton of Mommy Blogs out there.   I have struggled with whether to start this project at all.  But then I saw someone on Health Unlocked ask the question: “Is there a Mommy Blog I can follow?”   And I thought, good grief! Don’t start looking there, you’ll go crazy.  You will just feel pressure to cut sandwiches into cute little shapes, to buy gadgets you probably don’t need and will feel guilty about not using, and to make hand-made decorations for every holiday.   At least, that was what I went through as a new mom.   The internet seemed be full of Perfect Moms.  Moms who do crazy things like sewing and cooking meals from scratch.  Things I will probably never do (although I like to think about doing them.)  So, then, I decided maybe I can do this thing.  Maybe I can put up a blog.  Hopefully, it will set the bar really low.  As in, “Hey, if I can survive this mom thing — you can too!”

And so, I will begin on this journey.  I live in the Los Angeles area, and I know that we have a reputation for being superficial. Or at least thought of as living on the surface of life, overly concerned with appearances and social symbols.  I want to debunk that.  I want to write something that reflects my every day lived reality with all of its mistakes, imperfections, bloopers and failures (and maybe an unexpected victory here and there).  Something you would not expect from a mom from LA.  Something about which I could say to the mom from Health Unlocked “Yes, you can read this blog, and you will still feel okay about yourself! You might actually feel pretty good about yourself.  At least you can think ‘well, hey at least I have it more together than her.’”  And maybe you might even laugh a little.

IMG_1358After all, most days, I have to think surprizingly hard to figure out ‘when was the last time I took a shower?,’  I often run out of time to put makeup on, even though I really prefer NOT to go out in the world with my naked face.  Dinner is usually bags of frozen (but healthy!) food dumped into the crockpot.  I haven’t baked something cute – or even not cute – in living memory.  My nails are chipped more often than they’re polished.  I pull on yoga pants because I haven’t had a chance to shave my legs.  Again.   I have been trying to lose the same 10 pounds for at LEAST two years. There is usually some item in my house, if not two or three or four, that is covered in a layer of sticky crumbs. I daily have the realization that something is covered in dust.  Like, seriously COVERED in dust.  This is reality.  I have come to accept it.

To be sure, life is full of things that are not as I wished they were.  Boxes not unpacked, IMG_7080dishes still not washed, laundry I left in the washer until it wrinkled.  Permanently.  But, with all this craziness and things that are only half done, or undone, or will never be done, I do love being a mom.  It was an unexpected twist in my life that has changed me more than anything else. I hope that reflecting on it with you will inspire the embracing of sticky crumbs, extra pounds, dusty corners, average lunches, burnt dinners, and all the imperfections of life.  Sometimes, we need to celebrate our failures and not just our successes.   Welcome to Confessions of an L.A. Mom.  Follow along if you would like to learn how to be The Imperfect Mom.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man [or woman] who is actually in the arena…  — Theodore Roosevelt.

This is the little person who officially makes me a mom: IMG_6583