Gut Punch


It takes a lot for me to feel safe somewhere, to let my guard down and really just hang loose. Like when you come home from a long day of work, take your bra off and slip into your favorite long-sleeve track t-shirt from high school (so what if it has holes in it?!) and your husband’s oversize hand-me-down sweats. Even better is when you feel so comfortable with someone, that they can come over for a glass of wine and you don’t scramble to put the bra back on, or even contemplate changing back into those skinny jeans you wore all day at work.

So when I’ve nestled in, gotten comfortable, really let myself BE MYSELF somewhere, and then it’s….taken away…it feels like the wind is knocked out of me. Like I’ve been punched in the gut, and I am left wondering, ‘how will I survive this?’ Not to get overly melodramatic (is it my seasonal affective disorder talking?), but it feels like mini-deaths when something changes or goes away. I grieve. I find it hard to put into words. I mope about and scramble to try and fill a void that is my community-hungry heart.

This summer my beloved massage therapist Courtney Putnam took a sabbatical. And when she announced her blissful 3 months off, I knew…the writing was on the wall so to speak, that she’d be gone from the realm of massage therapy. While she has re-invented her practice to encompass many more awesome things (like healing retreats! and art sessions! and growth-coaching!), I am sad that I will no longer be able to afford regularly scheduled massage visits with her. I’ve been going to her since 2007, when I googled ‘body memory’ and found a blog post that spoke to my cell memory from a car accident. And then she happened to be in Seattle. And happened to be a few years older and had gone to my same elementary school, and was a Sagittarius. It felt like the stars had aligned. And now, I’m having to shift my perspective, to reinvent the way in which I want to have healing done, and it is exciting, but also a little bit intimidating. So in the meantime I’m dabbling in psychotherapy with a psychologist through my insurance, and working on some Groupons for massage, and delving into my new found love of bikram yoga.

And if that change wasn’t hard enough, today I learned rather abruptly, that my absolute favorite parenting community Offbeat Families, is being shut down. The site I wrote into a few times, that has featured my baby’s picture, that has propelled me forward into understanding different parenting topics. Gone. Like that. Sure they give a nice little summary, and it wasn’t good for business, but…as I said on my personal Facebook page:

I guess…I guess I just sorta feel blindsided. Like with the new branding, and everything felt really good, and I know that we readers aren’t entitled to the behind-the-scenes, but it sorta feels like being in a relationship that feels really comfy and good and then BAM one night of fighting they peace out and are gone for good (except they’ve left all their clothes behind, that still smell like them, and you randomly come across that picture of you two on the mantle, etc). I think I wouldn’t feel so freaking sad if I had seen it coming. Like a farewell Montage last week as we’re prepping to close the doors. Or a final blast of birthing posts to get us through the next week. I mean, Mondays are hard enough…

In the grand scheme of things, these are small losses. I will find other websites. I will make other friends, and expand my circle of healing goodness (as well as head back to Courtney for some extra special sessions when I get the cash), and life will go on. But god, in the moment it sucks…when I’m feeling vulnerable and the little losses seem to be adding up to one great big identity and life shift. And, sometimes I don’t want identity shifts. It feels exhausting trying to be all the me’s already.

How do you deal with the “small losses,” of everyday life? The coffee shop that changes their name, or the pizza joint that goes out of business? Or the bus route that gets re-routed or the jeans you wake up to find don’t fit anymore? Or what about when your favorite show ends for the season (or for good) or you put a good book down knowing the author has died and no more books will ever be published? What do you do then? How do you cope?

Offbeat Lovin’!

I can’t believe it ya’ll, I’ve been on Offbeat Families TWICE in one week! I love their community, because it really feels like I’m able to learn about other people’s lives and get support in my own!


So, you want to start with seeing Potamus having a lovely conversation with his Uncle Tio, check out: Reader photo time: future world leaders, ninjas and hair stylists.

And, remember that King Midas post I wrote awhile back, about the struggle with weaning? Well, a version of it hit the Offbeat site today entitled: I knew breastfeeding might be hard, but didn’t know weaning would feel impossible, so if you care to get in on the weaning discussion, head on over there and check it out!

Much love to you fellow bloggies!



Baby Sleep?

While this article isn’t written by me, it does feature my photo with Potamus!  I read all the major books on baby sleep — here is what I learned Which, is why I love Offbeat feels like I am really a part of the parenting community. Go read the funny article..stat!

I’m Beautiful

Yesterday I read an amazing powerful post over on Offbeat Mama, entitled “I’ve started telling my daughters I’m beautiful.” What struck me about this article was how strikingly beautiful the words were on the page and how they fit perfectly with the subject matter of the post. Not every author can have that magically difficult combination. The words are so powerful that I want to quote them,but have difficulty chopping the writing down into those bite size pieces to try and hand out. Much like beauty itself, this piece needs to be taken in one sweeping gaze, so I’m going to quote it all, here, and then respond:

I’ve started telling my girls that I think I’m beautiful. It’s been so easy to tell them how beautiful THEY are, because it’s obvious. They are the thing beauty is made of. They are the reason we started worshipping beauty. They sparkle and dance. When they’re sleeping, they turn into soft cloud babies, little perfect tufts of white on the moonlight.

There are a lot of people like me. Women who know things. Women who have seen things. Women with diseases in their livers. There are a lot of women with scars on their arms and words that carry themselves like sparrows. There are women who were too big for this town, who had their backs bent carrying things like religion and a history that originated somewhere in the crook of a branch that extended over a stream. A place where a patch of the sky was visible through the leaves, where a little girl let her bare leg dangle too far down.

There are a lot of people like me, because we’re all the same. We’re all blood and electricity. We’re lonely under the gaze of god. We’re all wet with dew and swallowing hard against DO THIS, CONSUME, SHUT UP and BE AFRAID to die.

All of you women with lines on your brow, with cracks between your fingers… it’s been a long winter. All of you, you are beautiful and so am I.

The thing is, my children are perfect. I am the grown up, so I’m supposed to show them everything about life. When they wake up in the morning, though, I stare at them and they’re new. They teach me everything. They are babies and they teach me what it means to be a person. It’s easy to see that they’re beautiful.

I am slow and I am tired. I am round and sagging. I am harried. I am sexless. I am getting older.

I am beautiful. How can this be? How can any of this be true?

I don’t want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that’s what women do. That’s what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don’t know what to make of ourselves.

“Look at me, girls!” I say to them. “Look at how beautiful I am. I feel really beautiful, today.”

I see it behind their eyes, the calculating and impression. I see it behind their shining brown eyes, how glad they are that I believe I am beautiful. They love me. To them, I am love and guidance and warm, soft blankets and early mornings. They have never doubted how wonderful I am. They have never doubted my beauty. How confusing it must have been for them to see me furrowing my brow in the mirror and sucking in my stomach and sighing.

How confusing it must have been to have me say to them, “You think I am beautiful, but you are wrong. You are small and you love me, so you’re not smart enough to know how unattractive I am. I know I am ugly because I see myself with mean eyes. You are my child and I love you, but I will not allow myself to be pretty, for you. No matter how shining you are when you watch me brushing my hair and pulling my dress over my head. No matter how much you want to be just like me, I can’t be beautiful for you and I don’t know why.”

It’s working, a little bit. I’ve even stopped hating myself, a little bit.

I’ll be what they see. They see me through eyes of love. I’d do anything for them, even this.

I am beautiful.

by Amanda at

I am struck by this whole piece for many different reasons. I mostly think of my mom, who wanders through my memories without makeup and with a quiet confidence that I sometimes think, now, bordered on obliviousness to looks. She was gorgeous, tiny, dark hair, and olive skin that didn’t need foundation or blush or blemish covers. While thin and much smaller than me, she was never a dieter or someone who was concerned about weight. And her confidence passed on to me. I guess there was concern when I was a child that I was growing too fast and was too thin, but for all the stress and subtle messaging I received about other areas of life, being self-conscious about my looks was never one of them. While I never thought of myself as “beautiful,” I certainly did not think I was ugly. And even now, with stretch marks and extra poundage, I still do not see myself as ugly.

And yet, recently, I was surprised to see, when I took a cell-phone picture, how much like MamaE I seemed, which made me take a step back and evaluate my own relationship to familial beauty. The family I grew up with looks nothing like me, with their dark hair and olive skin. And the mother I do look like has been ravaged by meth and alcohol and Joe Camel. How can I see myself as beautiful, when my face is turning into hers?

I was perplexed by my emotion in relation to Potamus as I read this, as it is geared towards mothers of girl-children. But it makes me think about his view of women, and what he will see as he looks at me and then looks around at women he encounters. If he ends up in a relationship with a woman, what will his expectation of her be in relationship to beauty and body? And I think of Boof and his relationship to me, how it has been influenced by his own mother, and sisters. And how my own relationship to myself has been influenced by those women, too, and for all the love I have for them, I have also noticed a sense of comparison and bonding over body image or dieting that I did not have before they entered into my life.

I am still beautiful, even if I struggle sometimes.

The Mom Stays in the Picture















The internet is blowing up with the story (originally found on Huffington Post) about how moms aren’t found in their children’s pictures, for whatever reason (self-esteem, they’re the ones taking the picture, etc.), so there’s this campaign to get mamas into pictures.

I saw the original article and thought it was interesting, but passed it by, since I find myself often mugging for a shot with Potamus. But then when I saw the article featured on Offbeat Mama, I knew I had to comment:

“Maybe I am just a narcissistic cow, but I freaking LOVE being in pictures with my baby. And I shamelessly ask people to take photos of us, even when it annoys them (because I also shamelessly ask them to re-take it if its blurry).”

AND write a little post, showing the evidence from many of our self-portrait shots.

I wonder…where are YOU in the pictures? Do you tend to be in more shots than your child’s other parent? In our family, Boof is less predominate, preferring to mostly stay behind the scenes. If you aren’t in pictures, why not?