When I began writing Blind Mom in the Burbs, I was a stay at home mom to a 2.5 year old and 6 month old. Through sharing my story I have been able to reach countless readers all over the world. Last year Blind Mom in the Burbs made appearances in the local news, radio and podcasts interviews, and was even profiled in Good House Keeping. Just this week, in perfect timing for Mother’s Day I was one of many blind moms featured in Parenting Magazine. Since that initial blog post just over 7 years ago, I can’t call myself just a stay at home mom anymore. When asked the common question of, “What do you do?” I find myself replying, “Well… what don’t I do?”
I’m a marathon runner,, writer, motivational speaker, teacher, an advocate and leader in the blindness community, mentor, wife, sister, aunt, daughter, but most importantly, I am an engaged mom of a 7 and 9 year old, who lives actively and loves proactively. I am who I am because of the strong, resourceful, creative, courageous, caring woman my sister and brother and I call Ma, and my super supportive hot firefighter hubby who is currently in the middle of a 72 hour shift.
I’d love to create an emotionally moving Mother’s Day blog post, but my creative juices have dried up after cleaning up vomit, taking care of a sick kid, cooking smiley face pancakes, doing laundry, making sure my house is perfectly perfect in case a potential buyer stops by to take a look, and spending way too much time on emails on a day that I was hoping to do absolutely nothing.
Instead, I’m going to share a Mother’s Day blog piece I wrote for the National Federation of the blind a few years ago. Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, aunts, dad’s and every single other person playing a part in our village as we work to bring up kind and compassionate human beings.
“I’m Not Just a “Blind” mom. I’m a (insert adjective here) Mom”
I was asked to write a piece about parenting for the National Federation of the Blind Blog. Below is what I wrote which was publish on Mother’s Day. What kind of mom would you describe yourself, or your own mom as?
There are many different kinds of moms out there. The crunchy mom who makes her own almond milk, the crafty mom who makes every birthday party decoration or teacher gift from scratch, the soccer mom, the yogi mom, the play group mom, the PTA mom, the new mom, the empty nest mom, the ___(fill in the blink)___ mom. Me, I may be seen in my neighborhood or at my daughter’s school as the blind mom, but I’m so much more than just that.
I am no expert, but having been a mom for over six years now, I can safely say I feel comfortable writing about motherhood. In the words of Malcolm Gladwell, “Practice isn’t something you do when you’re good at something, practice is something you do to get good at something.” I use this quote on my six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son all the time when they complain about not wanting to practice reading, tying their shoes, riding their bikes, or the words to a song.
The same thing can be said about parenting. Being a parent is tough. Popping out a baby doesn’t make any mom an expert. There is no manual that pops out along with that baby. Social workers have no right telling a new mom that she’s unfit to take care of her baby because she may be having trouble getting her newborn to latch on. Half of the new moms out there have difficulty nursing. Motherhood is beautiful and scary for all moms whether blind or sighted.
When I first became a mom, I struggled like many new moms with postpartum depression. I felt isolated and alone. My husband worked long hours. He was sometimes gone for seventy-two hour shifts at the fire house. I had no family in town to help me. I had a baby that cried all the time, threw up all the time, and went from living in a condo in the city to a house in the suburbs. A few months before my daughter’s first birthday, I’d had enough of feeling sorry for myself. The self-pitying, self-loathing, frumpy, sad stay at home mom had to go. That wasn’t the Terri my husband fell in love with, and that wasn’t the person I wanted my daughter knowing. In order to change, I had to get up, get out, and get active.
I got up out of my smelly clothes, found a mommy meet-up group, started my own neighborhood mommy group, got back involved in the National Federation of the Blind, and I found the more I did, the happier I became.
Human beings are social beings. We weren’t meant to be isolated in stucco dwellings, gated away from the rest of the world only to communicate through the internet. Our mothers before us raised their children as a village, so we new mothers must make our own villages today. Whether that village is a mommy group, a church, aunts and grandmothers, or our Federation family, we must support one another so that not only our children stay healthy and happy, but that we as moms are also healthy and happy.
That sad, lonely, mom version of me is long gone. Today, I am a happy, healthy, outdoorsy, creative, innovative, assertive, nurturing, organized, engaging, silly, sassy, stylish, stay at home mom living the life I want.