I Hear Ya, Sister

  • What Comes First, the Chicken or the Nest Egg? Raising kids in an expensive city can be insane

    One of the topics that stuck out most for April and me, when discussing this week’s column, was “wanting to raise a big family in a city but feeling like it’s unaffordable.” So, I wanted to GO THERE this week because nobody likes to talk about money and neither do I.

    And yet, money is an absolute deal-breaker (or -maker) for many looking to start a family, especially in urban areas where the cost of living is through the roof.

    Six months before I found myself pregnant with my first child, I had a boyfriend — a different boyfriend than the one who got me pregnant, mind you — and when “having babies” came up in conversation one day, he told me that he wouldn’t even THINK about having a baby until he had a minimum of a million dollars in the bank.

    This sounds insane, perhaps, but in Los Angeles, this is not unlike many young professionals who want to have a shitload of money before they: 1. Settle down and 2. Make babies. Perhaps this is why I am 20 years younger than most of my kids’ friend’s parents. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that at all. Regardless, most parents, nowadays, want to fulfill certain requirements before having babies.

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  • On Raising Strong, Brave Girls What does brave look like?

    First of all, just writing that title made me go “AHJHJKJgajgdajsgdjhagdhja” because we all want this for our daughters, don’t we? We all want our daughters to grow up brave and empowered, able to stick up for themselves in an unpressured environment that, frankly, does not exist. And that’s really the root of all of this, isn’t it? The world is a rollercoaster. How do we help our girls ride without puking? Is there an antidote? An emotional Dramamine we can prescribe to keep them from feeling sick as they go up and down and upside down and backwards?

    Sadly, there is not. There is no book to read or advice to take or equation to solve that will empower our children to be mighty in society’s eyes. All children are born to two parents and their names are Nature and Nurture. We have absolutely no control of Nature and therefore very little control of our children and/or the kind of people they turn out to be, which is horrifying—and also a relief. And yet surely we have SOME control over their future bravery and personal strength—and that is what I was hoping we could discuss today

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  • Happy, Independence Rebecca Woolf is starting the mom conversation. Who's in?

    Hey, everyone, and welcome to "I Hear Ya, Sister," a weekly column about ... hearing and sisters (kind of). First, an introduction. It’s very nice to meet you all. My name is Rebecca. I’m a 33-year-old writer and mother of four (including one set of twins) living in Los Angeles. I post daily musings/essays/rants on my personal blog, Girl’s Gone Child, where I have been documenting my life and times as a parent since I first became one in 2005. AND! I am pleased to announce that beginning this week, I’ll be reporting for duty here on Mom.me every Thursday in what I hope will become a really special and awesome space to share and discuss life as a human woman/mother.

    RELATED: Making Mom Friends

    The original idea behind this “column” was to be something other than advice (because I have none) and more of a conversation … as in, “Oh hey there! This mothering thing is weird and nuanced and impossible to pin down or label so let’s just talk about ALL the things and support each other, yeah?”

    The parenting community is AWESOME but it’s also a little pushy in the advice department. There is always a new list or hashtag or article or book or New York Magazine cover story trying to push us down and pit us against each other and it’s totally lame and rude. In the words from that classic film "Network," “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

    I never believed in "The Mommy Wars" and I still don’t ...

    Except I’m not really that mad, actually. I think we owe it to ourselves and each other and (wo)mankind to work together and support each other and hold hands and play light as a feather/stiff as a board and braid each other’s hair and draw on each other’s Converse and make each other soup and talk to each other honestly about childbirth and breastfeeding, curfews and screen time, religion and childcare, sex, lack of sex, insert subject here.

    I’m talking about SUPPORT, of course. Support as NECESSITY; not just for one kind of mother but for all kinds of mothers — be you crunchy or attachment or free-range or none of the above. Be you a bio parent or caretaker, nanny or aunt, friend, supporter of mothers, fathers, people existing on this planet and making it a better, more peaceful place. My goal for this space is to attract a community that is PRO LIFE CHOICE CONVERSATION. Because we are desperate for that, aren’t we? Hell, I sure am.

    I never believed in "The Mommy Wars" and I still don’t, but I do believe that controversy sells magazines and the best way to bring in a large audience is to be unkind and angry. Meanness sells and in an industry as massive as the parenting industry, we are easy targets. (Been on Facebook lately?)

    I had an epiphany at a blogging convention recently and it went something like this: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN EXPERT in this field. We all have so much to teach each other and who is not to say that the woman in the audience listening to the woman on the stage doesn’t have ideas that are JUST as important, eye-opening, noteworthy? Nobody will ever be the authority on anything parenting because we are all SUCH different cases in this study, you know?

    We are so much better off listening to all of the stories and building our own adventures from there.

    Like many of you, I celebrated Independence Day last weekend. I watched the fireworks at my parents’ house in San Diego with my four children and when they asked “What is today, again?” I told them about America’s birthday. “We were born, as a nation, the moment we become independent as UNITED states.”

    I hope we can come together as a community, agree to disagree, listen to each other and speak from experience in a way that is sisterly.

    Which is kind of a metaphor to be used in every situation. FREEDOM is about listening to ourselves and respecting the VARIOUS STATES of others.

    Independence isn’t about isolation. It’s about having the freedom to think for ourselves. It’s about surrounding ourselves with different territories and respecting those who do, as well — EVEN when they think and feel differently.

    Anyway, we just celebrated Independence Day, here in America, and I wanted to take this time to honor all of those of you who flex your independence as thinkers and feelers and instinctual creatures. This is a space where I hope we can come together as a community, agree to disagree, listen to each other and speak from experience in a way that is sisterly. This is a place I hope to unite our different states of motherhood, because while the Internet has certainly created a community of mothers that completely rules (I would have been lost without this space over the years), it has also capitalized on an unnecessary amount of controversy and link bait.

    Let’s do something cool and real and honest, shall we? Something with the sole purpose of speaking and listening, sharing and supporting and HEARING each other — as mothers, as women, as sisters.

    RELATED: Pregnancy Advice Throughout History

    That said, I am calling on YOU to comment on what you would like to talk about next week — from college to breast-feeding to sex on an airplane. (Have you ever? I mean, I can’t even pee in an airplane bathroom so I’m, like, wtf? I have so many questions.)

    Whatever topic resonates most in the comments will be the go-to convo for next week and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby.

    My hope is that my rambles will lead to your genius and together we can offer different parenting perspectives to better us all.

    Xo, sisters.

    Bec

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