Learning to embrace my story has been a challenge for me. Especially after our decision for me to stay home with our kids, my sense of identity drastically shifted. I no longer had an identifying profession but I also felt that I was living a very uninspiring, mundane life. Nothing I did was out of the ordinary, so how could my story help others? After three years of staying home, of moving to the suburbs, of living in the “norm,” I’m learning that my story does matter – that it can encourage others, even though it’s not fancy or romantic.
Last month, I had the opportunity to submit an essay to a collection of stories about motherhood. It was a good challenge for me – I had to think about stories in my life that could connect to women and mothers from all walks. I was drawn to this project, not just to share my story, but to support an amazing vision of helping mothers in Kenya.
The Mom Quilt, compiled by Paula Rollo, Becky Mansfield, and Jodi Durr, is a collection of these stories, stitching together the journey of motherhood. Besides sharing stories, I love that Paula, Becky, and Jodi have decided to donate 100% of the proceeds to Mercy House Kenya. (Sound familiar? It’s the same organization that benefits from Fair Trade Friday!) Mercy House’s mission is to support mothers who otherwise would consider terminating their pregnancies by offering health care, education, and support during the pregnancy and after.
Right now, water is trucked to the Mercy House property from miles away. The proceeds from the Mom Quilt will go to building a well right on the property. The goal is to raise $40,000 for this project. And when we hit that goal? Well, there are many other projects to benefit Mercy House!
You can sign up to receive updates about the project here:
This $10 book will be in e-format only for the time being. Because 100% of the proceeds can go straight to Mercy House (as opposed to the 40% of a traditional book), the e-book option is the most beneficial to the people who need it the most: The moms at Mercy House.
I thought I’d share a small excerpt of my essay here:
The other day, my nearly-three-year-old, Bea and I got into it. It was hot, we missed our window to cool off with a post-nap swim, and my husband, Frank wasn’t due to arrive home for at least another 45 minutes. I don’t remember what sparked the power struggle, but it was difficult to tell who was three and who was thirty-three…. Realizing that time-out would just frustrate me more, I told Bea I was going upstairs to read and that she had to stay downstairs. Our house has cut-outs on the upper level, so I was able to hear Bea reading in the living room while I was in my bedroom. I have never heard Hop on Pop “read” with such vehemence!
Three years in, and I’m slowly learning what seasoned moms told me from the start: Motherhood is messy.
Before I had Bea and quit my job to stay home with her, I was a second-grade teacher. My classroom was a tightly run operation to the point that we had to have serious discussions about flexibility when I scheduled a substitute. I assumed that when I had my baby, finding a schedule and filling our days with meaningful activities would be a breeze. After all, one child couldn’t possibly be more difficult than twenty-six!
And then I had Bea and I got my first lessons in the messiness of motherhood. She was a relatively easy baby and I had no problems achieving my ideals of breastfeeding and baby wearing, though sleep seemed elusive. I even mastered the one-handed read-while-nursing hold on a book so I continued keeping up with my book clubs. What I didn’t realize was all the other stuff that surrounds newborns. The inability to get motivated was the biggest. I’d semi-clean, semi-cook, semi-do all the things I assumed would be easily taken care of because I’d have so much time. If I could handle all this with a full-time job, surely I’d have time to do it all and more when I was just staying home all day.
I entered the world of motherhood in the midst of the “embrace your mess” messages. Articles and blogs encouraged moms to let their houses get dusty, to not worry about Pinterest-level activities, and to invite friends over in the midst of the chaos. In many ways, I needed this message. I needed to remember that it’s ok to have company, even if I didn’t get around to vacuuming. That our friends liked us for us and not the state of the dishes in our sink. I needed to remember that it’s ok to buy play-dough from the store rather than making my own – no matter how easy it is.
Mine is one of sixty stories of motherhood. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of this book, follow the link here: