Making The Cheerleading Squad As A Mom

By Kate Kole

You know those things that just come naturally to some people? Like running or baking or hitting a tennis ball over a net? Well, cheerleading was not that thing for me. As an awkward 13-year-old navigating middle school, I really hoped it might be my undiscovered talent. And, after a week spent learning the routines, I discovered that linking movement and words and flexibility was not (and would not be) my hidden skill. Still, I went to tryouts and gave it my all. Clumsily flopping my arms and legs in the air, following the movement of the girls around me, and yelling to “Go! Fight! Win!”

On a cold spring morning, I stood alongside my aspiring peers, anxiously awaiting a glimpse of the roster for the upcoming year. To the surprise of no one, my name was not on the list. I suppose I felt the familiar kind of disappointment that comes with failure of any type. And maybe a little embarrassment too, because I had enough self awareness to know what my high kicks looked like. But more than that, I felt relief. I could put the pompoms down forever knowing that cheering wasn’t in my wheelhouse.

Continue reading

Be Away From Me

By a 3OT Guest Writer

“Be away from me” my almost-three-year-old boy shouts at me, for likely the seventh time this week. To compliment his bold declaration, he throws one small arm out straight in front him and swings it from side to side, as if indicating the exact amount of space he needs in order for me to “be away”.

Though he is good with language for his age, he obviously lacks a command of the English language, which sometimes win us some great little phrases. When he doesn’t want to snuggle before bed at night, I am told to “be off his body”. Typically my husband and I giggle about these mistakes in wording. We try to document them because we know that one day he won’t make mistakes like these. Or he will…. But it won’t be funny so much as a reason for a concerning parent teacher conference.

Continue reading

Letting Us Be Us

By Kate Kole

As I’m sitting on the living room rug with my son building blocks, my mind starts running through its regular list of questions. Have we read enough books today? Does he get the socialization he needs? How many servings of fruit has he had? Vegetables? Dairy? What am I missing that I don’t even know I’m missing?

It’s not unlike the list I work through when I’m racing through the checklist of my own life. Am I setting a good example for him? Should I be working out of the house? Do I bring enough to our family? Am I doing it as well as she (mom on Instagram, mom at the grocery story, mom at the park, mom I’ve never met, and mom who is my best friend) is doing it?

Continue reading

Just Wait

By Kate Kole

Last month, I passed another mom at the park. “Just wait” she muttered, shaking her head, as she trailed the three kids in front of her. With my son toddling alongside me, I smiled and thought back to the day before. A man at the mall, noticing my growing belly remarked,“you’re about to have your hands full”. I nodded as we shuffled along. 

For every cautionary tale of what’s just ahead is another of the opposite kind: The moms saying how they’d give everything to go back to the season I’m in right now. The ones who would trade graduation caps for diaper bags in a second and eagerly remind me of what’s slipping through my fingers as we speak. 

Continue reading

Lean With It, Rock With It

By Kate Kole

“Unfortunately, you failed the glucose screening. We’ll need you to come in as soon as possible for the 3-hour test.”

So, here I sit, one blood draw down and an orange sugary drink guzzled, waiting for step two. (And also wondering why I couldn’t have just had a couple doughnuts and a glass of chocolate milk, but I digress).

I cried when I hung up the phone. I wasn’t even entirely sure why. Partially because I didn’t want to deal with more needles and fasting, but it was more than that. I felt like I’d done something wrong. Was it the scoop of ice cream I’d had the night before my appointment? Should I have eaten something that morning? Was I eating too much? Too little? The wrong things?

Continue reading

The December I Stopped Making New Years Resolutions

By De Elizabeth

The end of the year feels like it’s supposed to be momentous. The parties, the glitter, the fancy dresses. The countdowns, the champagne toasts, the resolutions to try harder, be better, do more, next year. The reflections, the highlight reels, the top 10s. The overwhelming urge to look back, collect your thoughts, and go on to vastly improve.

In reality, the shift from December 31 to January 1 comes without fireworks. It’s soft, it’s quiet, it’s the rustling of a page turning in the dark. There’s no explosion, no flashing lights, no disco ball. There’s you on December 31. There’s you on January 1. And it’s the same you all along.

Continue reading

Chasing The Crape Myrtle Tree

By Jillian Stacia

On my phone, I keep a list of things that I love – things that make me feel like me. It starts with coffee and ends with deep breaths of forest air.

It may seem dumb, this list. Or maybe a little narcissistic. And it’s slightly sad to have to remind myself that I prefer sunflowers to roses, or that naps during sporting events are my favorite way to unwind on the weekends.

But I find myself looking at this list more and more, constantly adding, editing, tweaking.

I’ll catch myself staring down at the numbers, memorizing the content, reading them like a mantra: the sound of rain, library books, reading on the beach. Continue reading

22 Days Left In The Decade. This Is What I’ll Do.

By Kate Kole

We’ve officially crossed into the territory of the countdown to the end of the year. Only this time around, it feels like there’s added significance. Because we’re not just closing out one round of 365 days and moving into the next, we have a whole 10 years to reflect on and finish strong before setting new goals to achieve.

I simultaneously feel a surge of motivation and a dose of anxiousness each time I see an inspirational Instagram post reminding me of the number of days we have left in 2019. How will you make them count? It asks. I stare at the screen, momentarily frozen as I try to come up with an answer that seems monumental enough to match the transition from one decade to another.

My 18-month-old saves me from the spin cycle of my mind by beginning to climb on the furniture. I toss my phone on the coffee table and wrangle him from the couch cushions, from there moving to play our favorite game of ‘empty all the kitchen cupboards’.

Continue reading

I Love Being a Mom, And

By De Elizabeth

There’s a special kind of nagging, annoying, feeling of guilt that is unique to motherhood. So much that there’s even a term for it; aptly, it’s called “Mom Guilt.”

For me, and so many others, it sneaks up a thousand times a day: if I take 30 seconds to answer an email instead of playing with my daughter, if I spend 25 minutes getting ready rather than 20, if I arrange a rare night out and leave her with anyone who isn’t me. Mom Guilt is always there to remind me I didn’t come up with a fun Pinterest’y craft that week, or that she’s eaten mac-n-cheese three times for dinner instead of whatever colorful nonsense I see on those toddler meal Instagrams. And Mom Guilt loves to have a party whenever I find myself missing my pre-mom life, or wanting to indulge parts of myself that isn’t wrapped up in the identity of being a mom.

Continue reading

What Do You See?

By Kate Kole

I’ve always loved those images that can be viewed two different ways, like the young girl or old woman. Once you’ve seen one, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the other. And then, just as quickly, the opposite is made clear and it’s hard to go back to your original perception. It seems inconceivable that the two could coexist. And yet somehow, they do.

Life feels like that sometimes.

6 years ago was my wedding rehearsal. I can remember everything about that day in better detail than I can remember what I was doing this Tuesday afternoon.

Continue reading