5.12.2014

ON THE DAY WE HONOR THE MOMS


mother's day mother's day mother's day.

this is what i think: when it comes to making cookies, you have two options. you can either decide what you want, and then try like hell to make it happen using whatever ingredients you got in your cupboards, square peg/round hole style; or, you can walk into your kitchen knowing what's there, and make the best damn thing out of what you got. if you're all out of chocolate, you aren't going to make a very good chocolate chip cookie. but you can make one hell of an amazing snickerdoodle.

motherhood, womanhood, life, is like that, i think. we're all these kitchen cupboards stocked with who knows what, all kinds of things. every ingredient is valuable. some of us can whip up the best chocolate chip cookies without even blinking. some of us are out of chocolate chips, so we wait around a while, until the grocery store opens, or until a neighbor lends us some, and then our chocolate chip cookies are ready. they're just as sweet, they just take a little longer to bake up (and you're extra hungry by the time they're done). some of us look in the cupboards and make spaghetti. 

myself, i chose to wait for the chocolate chips. not because chocolate chip cookies are the best cookie on the planet, and not because a crappy chocolate chip cookie is any better than a really great peanut butter cookie (you know what, a crappy chocolate chip cookie satisfies no one), but because, while my cupboards are full of a lot of other great ingredients for a lot of other great food, i'm just not as interested in it. i tried making snickerdoodles, they came out flat. i'm not very adept at spaghetti sauce. peanut butter cookies are fine, but they don't hit the spot for me. but i can make one hell of a damn fine chocolate chip cookie, once i have all my pieces in place. and i'm willing to wait till the store opens. and what does that mean in the long run? probably nothing, really.

i am so fulfilled by motherhood. every day with huck is a dream come true. we have the most fun. being a mom has been my most favorite thing. not because that's how i was told to feel. not because being a mom is better than being an attorney or an artist or a really great crossword puzzle solver or whatever. and not because i'm biologically wired that way. i'm not biologically wired that way. i have to twist my own arms to make babies, many chemicals are involved. but i am so fulfilled by motherhood and feel so honored and lucky to get to do it. i suspect it's for the same reason i like marshmallows and have stocky ankles: because i came out that way, for whatever reason. 

i still don't really like mother's day. i don't like the sanctimonious tone it can sometimes take, i don't like to propagate the idea that every woman should feel most fulfilled by the same thing, like we can all be threaded through such a narrow definition, and i don't like smug self sacrifice, in any arena. but i do love my baby. i love my days with him. i love my faulty hormones, and i love the cockeyed optimism of my ovaries. my ovaries keep on chugging, even when my uterus is like, dude. i love my college education and i love my feminist rants i go on that make people roll their eyes and i love how well read i am and i love when i can remember every song lyric ever written after listening to it once. i love my stupid mouth that often gets me into trouble. there should be a holiday for snickerdoodles. and spaghetti lovers. i mean, mother's day is beautiful. i am grateful for the reminder once a year to celebrate my own mother, who is the fiercest woman on the planet earth. she is the epitome of hard work, and love, and positive attitude, and the classiest broad i've ever had the pleasure of knowing. my mother is a force. but actually being a mom is such a small sliver of "motherhood," and "motherhood" is an even smaller sliver of what it means to be a woman. 

on this mother's day i want to celebrate the women who are waiting for the store to open. i want to celebrate the women who saw the chocolate chips, but knew that what they really wanted was banana bread, and baked that instead. i want to celebrate the women who are really good at eating other women's chocolate chip cookies, even if they never baked a batch of their own. is this analogy getting too ridiculous? 

there is more to being a mother than chocolate chips. 
and there is more to being a woman than chocolate chip cookies.

now that you're all done rolling your eyes at me, here is how we celebrated fallopian tube output day.


we finally made it to the spotted pig! brandon left work early friday afternoon to try our luck with us for a freaking hamburger. only 20 minute wait this time! (the last time we stopped by there was a two-and-a-half hour wait, is this not nuts.)

somehow it's become a tradition for us to celebrate mother's day in small bursts all weekend long. so rather than getting the dishes done for me while i laze around for 24 hours, i dictate all our activities all weekend long like a tyrant. which i'm really good at. i did the dishes AND the laundry yesterday. but brandon did take out the garbage. 


on saturday i dragged my boys into brooklyn for the flea market. on our way there the skies opened and we got our first good summer thunder storm. one of my favorite things about life on the east coast are these intense displays of lightning and thunder we get during the summers. i'll take the swampy air if it means a big show of rumbling every now and then. we got completely drenched, it was magical. 


i like to make my husband come to the brooklyn flea market with me. i also like it when i bump into friends randomly! latonya + belle are two of the most talented women in my personal arsenal of talented women that i'm i lucky enough to call my friends. 

my finds from the day:


from the same vendor who sold us our nautical flag, which was kind of sweet for me. plus two donuts from dough. bam!

then i took my boys downtown to try a new bagel shop i've had my eye on. 


holding onto my boy's collection of rocks while he pets a puppy, while i try to decide what he's most likely to eat and whether i should take a risk on the ricotta, apple, and honey bagel from black seed bagelsthis is mom life. i like it. 


egg salad on sesame seed. thumbs up, black seed. 


and here is "bad guy man" waiting on a slice of pizza (not in the mood for bagels, turns out). over the weekend huck declared himself the sidekick to my evil villain. i don't know, but that seems pretty right on to me. 

so, happy mother's day and junk. 
hey did you know that only 2% of couples are actually, incurably "infertile?"
doesn't that bode well for all of us?
hang in there, mamas. 
the store will open. and your cookies will be amazing.

a whole bunch of older mother's day thoughts from this blog nonsense:
here, here, here, and here. poor you. ;)

67 comments :

  1. I really love this. Thanks for all the cookies and stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is so eloquent and beautiful and spot on. Thank you for your honesty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I, for one, love this rant + anology. Yesterday was my first official Mother's Day- last year I spent the entire day throwing up thanks to pregnancy hormones, but before that, I spent many mother's days sad that I wasn't a momma. Yesterday was no doubt wonderful, but there were small slivers of the day that almost felt guilty because I know how it feels to be wanting a little one so badly and not have one, nor be celebrated for it. Being a woman should be celebrated whether you eat the chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, or even tiramisiou

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy mothers day to us all! Including mothers to be and women who yearn to be a mama. ♥

    ReplyDelete
  5. Absolute best Mother's Day post I've read this year. Thank you for the amazing words :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This post makes me excited to bake my chocolate chip cookies one day...and a little less anxious for that day to come. Thank you, thank you. Lots of love xo

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the metaphor, I love the post, I love your words. Here, here, here to waiting for my very own chocolate chips. And to the women who so cool-y can say, good for you, wait if you must.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Maybe chocolate chip cookies..maybe banana bread...only time will tell. :) Until then, I appreciate your stories and optimism and your sweet Huck. That boy makes me want to bake all of the cookies!

    ReplyDelete
  9. i love this and i love your words. you get it. thanks for getting it - and for saying it out loud for the rest of us.



    ReplyDelete
  10. I get that Mother's Day can be hard for women who long to be mothers, but are not. Fallopian tube output? While you tried to cover all your bases in that rambling piece, you missed one: motherhood by adoption. Which I highly recommend and encourage you to consider, since you long to be a mother again. If you want to talk about it feel free to message me. I've read your deeply felt longing for biological mothering for a few years now and after this Mother's Day post, I can't hold back any longer. Maybe you'll birth another and maybe you won't but in the meantime you can get on with it, and adopt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know you (or Natalie for that matter) but telling someone to "get on with it, and adopt" is a lot easier said than done. I have no idea if you have any experience adopting-- I don't but have seen friends go that route--and adopting is NOT an "easy" "obvious" solution to infertility and I think it's incredibly rude to suggest so. First of all, some couples have no desire to adopt. Just like some couples have no desire to have biological children. Who are we to judge what choice is right for someone else? Second, adoption has MANY of its own challenges and heartache involved. You can't just walk into an adoption agency, sign a few papers and walk out with a child. Some couples wait years, enduring the emotional ups and downs of several almost-but-not-quite adoptions. Adoption can take an emotional (and financial) toll equal to the struggles of others who choose to try IUI/IVF/surrogacy/etc. Adoption is a wonderful option and one I strongly support, but I feel it's pretty terrible to tell someone who struggles with infertility to "just adopt" as if they are too stupid to figure out that that is clearly the best option for them. You have no idea what options she and Brandon may have already considered.

      Delete
    2. I guess I hit a nerve with you, Stella, over my comment about adoption.

      Natalie has been sharing her very private feelings and yearnings for a long time, and she has comments open on her blog, so yes, I offered my opinion. And yes, I have experience in both infertility and adoption and I understand that neither is 'easy'. She can take my suggestion or leave it but it's a valid route to parenthood that does not preclude giving birth again either! Of course it's not easy but I know MANY people who have adopted, and more than once, so for what's it's worth I do always hope that people who are longing to be parents will consider other ways than 'Fallopian tube output'.

      Delete
    3. Jeannie, it just happens very often that people who don't know what they are talking about are suggesting to infertile women/couples "just adopt". (I don't mean you, just in general.) That's why infertile women are totally in the right to call those people out on their thoughtless suggestion. It's just plain rude to give someone unwanted advice who probably has thought a million times more about all their options as the advice giver. Just don't do it. It's not like Natalie will be "Huh. Adoption. Never thought about that one. Thanks for suggesting it, Jeannie!"

      While adoption absolutely is a wonderful way to found or grow your family, it it is no cure for infertility. Those are two very different ways that both have their own difficulties, pains and also rewards.

      (Sorry if something sounds off, english is not my mother tongue.)

      Delete
    4. THAN the advice giver, sorry

      Delete
    5. Well said Stella. Sadly, some do not appreciate the value of 'tone', nor the appropriateness of their suggestions.

      Delete
    6. Well said Stella. Sadly, some do not appreciate the value of 'tone', nor the appropriateness of their suggestions.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. Sorry girls, and Natalie. I meant no harm with my adoption suggestion. I know your infertility struggles, and I know adoption. I don't suggest, "just adopt!" as a magical thing that cures the longings of infertility, nor are adopted children in any way 'second best' to biological kids and if that's how people regard it, then obviously they should not adopt. I should have known better than to open a very complicated matter with a few short sentences. And while I AM sorry that so many of you regarded my suggestion as rude, it sort of kills me inside when I see people struggle with infertility and long for parenthood when I and many, many families I know have found joy in parenting through adoption. I did not mean to sound flip about it. Thanks and goodbye.

      Delete
    9. I don't want to sound unfeeling, but can we all stop being so sensitive about other people offering well meaning advice from the only perspective they know--theirs. Jeannie's comment was obviously not meant to be offensive, so let's not take offense where none is intended. She has had good experience with adoption and wanted to share that with someone who is having a hard time. You may not realize it, but oversensitivity can hurt others just as much as insensitivity. Have you considered that censoring Jeannie and labeling her as rude is just as hurtful as anything she might have said!?

      I have a sister-in-law struggling with infertility who has suffered a miscarriage. I am pregnant for the first time at the age of 32. I have watched all of my friends raise their children and have been happy for all of them, while I waited for my turn to come. It was hard, but I just kept hoping I would someday have the opportunity to be a mother. The day I found out the gender of the baby I was called by my mother-in-law, who told me that my sister-in-law had made a special request that I not send her the news OR post the results of the ultrasound on facebook. Although I have endless sympathy for her struggle, it was very hurtful be asked to keep my joy to myself because someone else isn't receiving those blessings at the moment. I understand personally that infertility is a very difficult thing to go through, but can we PLEASE find a way to deal with this pain, while still being happy for others AND to understand that even though certain words may sting or hurt us, they are offered with the best of intention? It is important when comforting someone in their situation to be sensative to their feelings, but it is also important when we are the ones going through something difficult to give other people a little leeway, as it is sometimes hard to know what to say and what not to say.

      Delete
  11. I love this for so many reasons and thank you for writing it. Your analogy is strangely perfect and just how I feel about my own inability to bake the worlds most adorable chocolate chip cookies right now...IVF here we come! You are my favorite writer Miss Natalie!

    ReplyDelete
  12. As a girl whose waiting to bake her chocolate chip cookies, I love this post. Thanks for keeping it real.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This was so good I just want to eat it! (just going with the food analogy...)

    Thanks for the post, Natalie.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't think this post could be any better. You said it perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yesterday my husband and I were selected to give the talks in sacrament meeting and I got up there and said that I was the wrong choice for a mother's day talk (I'm not even a mom!). I then continued to give a talk about infertility, miscarriage, being single your whole life, etc. and how every woman, from ages nine to ninety, is still capable of being a mother. You would not believe the response I got after the meeting was over. Everyone wanted to share with me about how "their sister was infertile" or "their best friend's husband died before they could have kids" or "my sister-in-law never got married, but she's the best mother I know."
    So that talk was partially for you, Natalie. And partially for my sister-in-law who is in the middle of ivf, and partially for myself. Also, we should totally make #mothersdayforall a thing next year.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love great analogies like these :)
    Also loving Huck's watermelon helmet...would love one in adult size haha

    ReplyDelete
  18. thank you. this analogy is kind of brilliant. i was working yesterday (retail) and somewhat boycotted wishing anyone mothers day. after my own struggle with infertility and families near me losing children suddenly, i'm more in favor of private celebrations.

    and how about an aunt/uncle day?!

    ReplyDelete
  19. As a woman who saw the chocolate chips but knew I wanted banana bread, I thank for seeing and validating the banana bread! The analogy was brilliant, and so was the sentiment. We ladies need to take care of each other and you are certainly doing your part by posting amazingly poignant thoughts like these. Well done! *clapping wildly*

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is beautifully said. And I totally agree that those who want to be mother's or do mothering in all sorts of other ways with all sorts of other people and beings should be celebrated as well, because mothering comes in lots of shapes and sizes. But I also still like the idea of Mother's Day. I think the thing about it to me is parenting, especially when you stay at home, is a job that can be incredibly satisfying but also incredibly difficult. There is no pay. There are no promotions. Sometimes there isn't even much acknowledgment to all you do. In a perfect world you would be acknowledged often and know not only that you are doing important work but that you are doing it well and others notice. Or in a perfect world you wouldn't even care about other people noticing. ;) But it's not perfect, and it is nice to be recognized. It's nice for ANYONE. Which is why companies give out awards and have star worker of the month and things. So it would be great if Mother's Day wasn't a set day and could just come up here and there in your life, but sometimes it takes making a conscious effort to stop and celebrate.

    And with that, Russians also celebrate Women's Day (or maybe just celebrate??) which I also love the idea of. I mean, all women are amazing and deserve to be celebrated as well! Let's just make this an every week thing or so I'm thinkin'.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Why don't you use capital letters ever? A good blog post gets lost when it is so hard to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we live in a world where if you don't want to use capital letters you really don't have to. isnt that just a tad beautiful.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I understand that Natalie doesn't have to use capital letters or proper punctuation. As a reader, I'm saying I don't one bit find it a tad beautiful. It's hard to read, to comprehend, to navigate when the proper rules of grammar are not followed. I would think a person with a book to eventually sell would want her readers from the blog to carry over to that, and that means making the blog actually readable. I honestly didn't understand the point she was trying to make here, probably because I mostly skimmed it as it's hard on my eyes. And fans trying to sound like Natalie when they defend her don't make it any easier to read.

      Delete
    3. As an English professor I've spent years teaching students "proper rules of grammar," and they are undoubtedly important. I, too, prefer traditional uses of capital letters. But meaning should not be a slave to style, and I think finding meaning beyond how large a letter is is a good exercise for any reader. It's just like typefaces -- lovely fonts are lovely, but surely any of us can take the time to seek the good beyond the appearance.

      Delete
  22. Very sweet post. And your little superhero/villain is all kinds of perfect!

    xx Viv at JoieDeViv

    ReplyDelete
  23. "i don't like to propagate the idea that every woman should feel most fulfilled by the same thing"

    thank you for this simple line that holds so much truth and meaning to me. you made me cry today. that sentence made me cry. not in a bad way but in a freeing way.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What a lovely piece. It's so hard to be optimistic when your heart is continually broken, but your words brought some to me today. And that statistic! That also helps! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm not a mom now (but hope to be someday) - and this piece just really spoke to my heart. You have a beautiful way with words.

    ReplyDelete
  26. fallopian tube output day is hands down the best thing i've read in quite some time
    this, as always, was wonderful. the cookie analogy also.

    and that pic of you crossing the street is SO felicity opening credits even if you have a tote and not a leather backpack!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love the Social Science of Demography. Demographers actually explain fertility to be the capacity to have children; as in do you have a uterus, ovaries, ect, and they use the term fecundity to mean the realization of, or insemination. I don't even know why I'm commenting this besides the fact that that I really like the word fecundate.

    ReplyDelete
  28. And oh, I find motherhood to be way better than I thought it would be. It feels like a dream that I didn't even know I had came true.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for this, Natalie! And happy mama's day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I found this to be an interesting post. But, I read the analogy and was a little confused. it seemed like you equated Huck with the snickerdoodle, which, by your analogy is as a 'lesser - than' cookie and you really want a chocolate chip cookie (ie, an as yet, unconceived child)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Really beautifull. Make my eyes full of tears. Thank you Natalie and Happy Mothers Day!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for your words of encouragement! Not to mention I love cookies! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. happy mother's day natalie! and STOCKY ANKLES FO LYFE!

    ReplyDelete
  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Happy Mother's Day from someone who got her chocolate chip cookie from someone else's chocolate chips AND oven. Turns out that chocolate chip cookie is just as delicious and probably better than any cookie I could have made (he's definitely a lot more chocolatey). Thanks for this post. I always love what you have to say about motherhood and being a woman and infertility. Thanks for sharing so vulnerably. And maybe someday, I'll get to bake a cookie in my own oven too. Either way, I'm still going to get myself lots of cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I thought Holbs had a rule about no complicated analogies?! I kid, I kid. I was very reluctant to become a 'mom,' I was so scared of the responsibility and losing my identity and transforming into a creature I didn't recognize. No one could have prepared me for how hard I love being a mama though. Oh I love it hard. So hard it hurts! Please don't let my baby grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I've read this three times now, and it's just really good.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Interesting essay. It was kind of hard to follow. Is your book going to be like this? Also how do you wear garments with that dress?!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I miss nat the fat rat. This natalie makes me sad.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  41. your posts make me think of sipping hot chocolate on a cold winter's day! :) and i love the pictures you've posted, as always!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great post Natalie, nailed! Oh, I love that you don't use capitals too, makes your blog different..... Your writing makes up for it :-) Food for thought xx

    ReplyDelete
  43. this post is so inspiring and makes me so excited to be a mamma some day! Thanks for sharing and Happy belated Mothers Day!

    xo, Jenna
    http://thesuburbanmrs.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  44. possibly my favorite of your essays yet.

    ReplyDelete
  45. So cute pictures!! ♥♥
    xoxo,
    snowprincessbella.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. I adored this post! Thank you for brightening my Tuesday xox

    ReplyDelete
  47. love this natalie. once again, you hit the nail smack dab on the head. c;

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love this. And now I'd really like to eat a chocolate chip cookie.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Best uplifting cookie analogy ever (like there's a depressing cookie analogy somewhere). You can never go wrong with cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Well I loved every piece of that. From the analogy, to running into your buddies, to Huck's rocks, to the bagel. Loved it. Keep it up lady x - www.jemimajaneblog.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I read this and had to go eat a chocolate chip cookie.

    ReplyDelete
  52. This is beautiful. Thank you for writing this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Any chance you could tell me where you got your gray dress in the first pictures?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Any chance you could tell me where you got your gray dress in the first pictures?

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated because mama ain't no fool.