Park Moms


I stood on the outskirts of two different playgrounds today watching my children. I sat and listened to their voices bounce around as they chased each other and created imaginative games, peeking their freckled noses out from the highest places.

We spend a ton of hours at the playground. We always have because parks are free, there are limited rules and they provide a near-perfect environment for energy release and all sorts of growth. I’ve sat on grass, benches, pavement or turf. I’ve often played “tag” or chased my boys. Or I’ve stood on the edges, shivering, perhaps chatting with other moms, nannies and grandparents. Recently, when a fellow mother of boys’ mom friend of mine and I ran into each other at a new park, she said, “we used to go bar hopping, now we go park hopping.” Yes. We save a lot of money and our livers nowadays.

Some of our kids used to need help, a boost or a mama’s hand going down the slide or crossing the monkey bars. Not anymore. Now, they need the open space to run, yell, climb, jump, tag and play. They still need to show off their mad climbing or monkey bar skills, “MAAAAAHM! Watch me!” Occasionally, if other kids are not around, my boys will ask me to play “dog monster” where I run around bark-growling and attempt to catch them. It has gotten harder and harder for me to win the game.

There are so many different seasons of motherhood. I have always tried my hardest to cherish each and every fleeting one. This has been one of the greatest teachers of having a chronic illness: be present, be grateful, enjoy this time. Today. Right now. This doesn’t mean I don’t have moments or hours or days I wish away. I’ve truly wanted to embrace and experience all of the chaotic, innnocent, simple, and breath-robbing moments. I don’t want to have big motherhood regrets.

I had so many meaningful playground conversations today. I talked with other mothers who stood or sat with me. I listened as mothers spoke of both the loneliness and the beauty of motherhood, the many ways kids grow up, and how they need moms in different ways. I had the opportunity to share my own stories of trying to take a relaxing bath or needing a bit of space in my closet or crying in the parking lot, shower, or kitchen.

As our children exhausted themselves, we, the mothers, filled each other back up. We needed to hear each other’s honest stories. We needed to hear each other’s laughs. And feel the collective mother sighs. The moments not glorified on social media. The moments of real unfiltered life. We needed to look compassionately and sympathetically into the eyes of another woman doing her best as a mom. We needed to see our reflection. We can be so hard on ourselves until we hear our own honest stories being told by another mother.

Our kids need us.

And we need each other.

Because it’s true. It takes a constantly growing village.

I’m grateful for the diverse community of mothers surrounding me, whether it be a stranger that talks with me for twenty minutes about her thirty year old son as she shares her motherhood journey or the familiar face of a friend that regularly sits on the outskirts of the playground, just like me.

Women need other women. Like us. And different from us too.

And sometimes, on playgrounds or in kitchens or in grocery stores or online, moms need to be mothered from time to time. By other moms who just get it. All of it.

My Write-In Vote


I’ve been writing in my head all week long. I thought I would actually put the words down about this once to hopefully get some of it out of my system. I have people that I love dearly that have voted on both sides of this election. Personally, I could not vote for Trump or Clinton. I understand why some people may say that to write-in a woman who you know is not running for president seems like a cop-out, but I am the only one who lives with my conscience and constant thoughts, feelings and emotions twenty four hours a day.

I chose to write-in a woman that I trusted and that has enormous loads of integrity. I typed in the name of a woman I believed in, knowing she would not win the presidency. I voted for local state representatives and senate. Then, I left the polls after a kind man made my day by asking if it was my first time to vote. Nope. I left without the looming feeling of having made the wrong decision with the minimal knowledge I have.

I understand some of the bigger issues and reasons why people I love voted for Trump, despite the ugly sides he flaunted throughout the election. But, I couldn’t vote for him. For numerous personal reasons. I have a hard time looking at him without getting disgusted. I have a disability, really several. I am sure Trump would make fun of someone like me, someone with a disease that makes them different. Someone with an ileostomy. I am also a woman. In my life, I have had men whistle, touch me without permission or stare at me like I am a piece of meat or an object for their consumption. It’s sickening and demoralizing. It’s one of the worst feelings. The fact that a man running for president would not only think, but say and act on such vile thoughts about women disgusts me and infuriates me to a blood-boiling, heart racing level. I also love deeply my many friends who are gay, Muslim, Mexican, immigrants, etc. I love the strangers I have met that could be classified into one of these groups. I hurt for them knowing the pain Trump has caused, and may continue to cause. It’s absolutely mind-baffling in this day and age that Trump would promote fear, hate and a messed-up, racist, and exclusive America.

I understand why people, especially women, voted for Clinton. But I also couldn’t vote for her. She has extremely, ridiculously large amounts of experience. If the two president elects were doctors, I would go to her a million times over Trump. Or if they were painters, plumbers, or any other profession where you seek out a person with book smarts, street smarts and an overall understanding of the profession, she would be my choice. I have a hard time getting over the original Clinton presidency. I have a difficult time with the fact that Hillary Clinton stayed with Bill Clinton. Why would a strong woman not leave a man that disgraced and dishonored her and had public affairs with other women? In my mind, if a woman can fake a marriage, what else is she capable of faking? I can’t get over that, despite her experience. I know some may think that’s judgemental and none of my business. But it becomes a bit of my business when I have to choose who I can trust or who I can vote for for president.*

Also, I realize that each candidate is only human, far from perfect. I am thankful we have people who are willing to put themselves out there, and take all the risks and negativity that accompany running for public office. I’m not Pollyanna. I realize that the media and politics, in general, tend to be corrupt and full of cover-ups, misinformation, lies and tons of money.

I’m pretty certain that both of the president elects are millionaires or billionaires. I cannot relate to them. They most likely would scoff at the Costco dinner I might throw together for them if they came over, especially if I burned it. How awful would it be if one of them sat in our wobbly broken chair and if the dog jumped on their lap during dinner. Or what if one of the boys hit them with a ball or dart? Would secret service lose it? I typically am not inspired by many millionaires or billionaires, unless I have no clue that they are wealthy. Instead, I look up to teachers, doctors, nurses, single moms, social workers, construction workers, nuns, monks, mechanics, police officers, fire fighters, EMT workers and so many other professions that bust their tired asses to serve, protect and care for fellow humans. I did not go into the field of Child Life to make crazy amounts of money. I jumped into the hospital setting to help others going through crappy times. If helping others meant cleaning toys or vomit or blowing bubbles or playing Uno or hugging a parent or comforting a crying baby or encouraging a coworker, I would do it. These things made me feel valued, like a million bucks. Never my paycheck.

This brings me to my most important point. My kids learn how to love from those they’re immediately surrounded by. Not rock stars or politicians. My husband and I. Our families. Their teachers, even the grocery store cashier, people at church, neighbors, and friends. My boys naturally love innocently, unconditionally and beautifully. They love people of every skin color, heterosexuals and gay people, Hindu people and atheist people and they sure as hell love their mama who has disabilities.

I do not worry or fear for my children learning hate, exclusion, racism or intolerance from Trump. I fear they will learn hate or intolerance from classmates, teachers or others who directly influence their day to day lives. It’s our job as parents, teachers, people in the grocery store or traffic jams to teach love, patience, kindness, and acceptance of others, no matter what they look like. I am much more qualified that Trump or Clinton to teach my children how to treat others. I believe you are too.

So let’s love each other in the valleys and trenches and up in the treehouses and on the playgrounds. Don’t forget the offices, classrooms, hospitals, court rooms, mountains, desserts, beaches, classrooms and most importantly, our homes. Every day. Nonstop. All the time. No matter who the president is.

And here’s a funny video, just because.

Loan-A-Uterus Program


My husband asked me, “What’s wrong?” He could tell that it was more than just a routine case of the pre-coffee morning grouchies. It was something beyond my control. He caught me in the midst of a hormonal roller coaster. I was on a series of upside down loops. Feeling out of control. About everything. And the laundry everywhere was taunting me, taking over, well, every room I entered. I didn’t know where to even begin. So, naturally, I called the paper shredding company to find out if I could drop off a garbage bag full of papers to shred. Sure, the guy told me, for $60. He seemed nice enough, but my goodness, would they be hand-cutting each paper with kids scissors? In his defense, he could have told me he would pick it up for free and bring me a Starbucks drink of my choice. And, undoubtedly, I would have found something wrong with his generous offer.

Sometimes, I just want to loan my uterus to my husband for a month. Or two. I know it seems like a complicated process. Insurance probably wouldn’t cover it, but I think he would benefit from a first-hand, personal experience with the craziness that takes over your thoughts, your body, and your emotions when your uterus gets the spotlight and a microphone and starts speaking on behalf of the whole rest of your body. So, I answered my husband,

“I’m grouchy and my freakin’ uterus is shedding.”

He, like most men, didn’t want in on any of the details. I think he felt a little remorseful for even asking. Please stop. Don’t talk about a tampon. It’s scowling, cover-his-ears kind of awkwardness. Retreat. Retreat. And don’t call his underwear “panties” either. Or they will quickly get all in a wad. Because he doesn’t wear “panties.” They. Are. Underwear. So, you’re saying, boxer panties, right?

I know I’m being irrational, short-fused and utterly annoyed by people’s existence. Why would they do that? Be alive. Or say that? “Hi.” Or look that way? Cute. Just stop talking. And don’t look at me. I don’t think that it would help much during this time to have daughters, but having three young boys asking what a tampon is and trying to constantly barge in the bathroom can really make matters worse. “I need some privacy. Please.” They just don’t understand. Can I just borrow a grown woman for about a week out of each month? Until I hit menopause. I think it would really help to have someone hang out in my closet with me that understands and can say, “I know. Oh, uteruses. They’re so hysterical sometimes.”

I don’t really love roller coasters at amusement parks anymore. Heck, I nearly lost it on a Ferris wheel a few weeks ago. I think the oxygen disappeared as we neared the top. I start to get motion sickness just looking at them. My stomach drops and I feel like I need to cross my legs, I’m going to pee my pants. But, man oh man. These hormonal roller coasters? I will take a barf bag and an extra set of pants over these any day. It’s just too many emotions trying to get in on the action. Settle down. None of them are even listening to me. Did they learn this behavior from my kids? Why would they listen to me? It’s only my body. Sometimes. However, it’s under the influence of a moody female dictator. The uterus. I know. I know. I should be happy and grateful that I have one. And I am, especially the weeks out of the month when she’s not trying so hard to get my attention. Everyone’s attention.  I’ll be happier when she drops the mic. Sits down.

If I could just put a little more time and energy into the loan-a-uterus program. Work out a few logistics. My husband surely would be the first to volunteer to be a guinea pig.  Then other men would be lining up, out the door. I’m sure of it. The female under the direction of the uterus can be pretty persuasive. And a little intimidating too. I can just hear premenstrual women right now saying, “you’re going to sign up for that loan-a-uterus program, right, Hon?”

The answer is “Yep…” Silent thought bubble saying, “Anything to get out of the house.” Maybe they can even have a few beers before the procedure. It may help during the part where the doctors talk to them about the difference between tampons and pads.

Loan-A-Uterus. A woman can dream.