Years ago when I pictured the kind of Mama I would be, I imagined myself trendy and hip, wearing clothes I'd designed and carrying an angel-faced wee bairne or two in one hand and a low-fat iced mocha in the other. It would be as though I'd transitioned seamlessly from hip grad student to trendy designer to multi-tasking wife, pausing only briefly once or twice to give birth, then picking right back up and sprinting off with kids in tow. Man, I'm glad I didn't bet money on that one.
Don't misunderstand me-- I totally enjoy Mamahood, but to say it's been a roller coaster ride is a serious understatement. When my first child was diagnosed with severe food allergies, that roller coaster began to feel more like a centrifuge than a carnival ride as I was tossed into the sea of other Mamas who were also learning to read labels, RAST results, and food allergy cookbooks. So much for that mocha...
It has been almost three years since my son was diagnosed, and I am just now feeling like I have time for normal Mama stuff. The first three Food Allergy Years were spent on high alert as I learned to navigate through the world while keeping my children safe—which, come to find out, has more to do with reading the labels of shampoo bottles and finger paint than you’d ever imagine. It felt like I had more moments of panic than I did moments of normalcy, until I joined KFA (Kids With Food Allergies, Inc.), a national nonprofit food allergy organization for which I am now a dedicated volunteer, avid supporter, frequent donor and eternal cheerleader. At KFA I learned how to cook and bake, substitute ingredients, ask smart questions, keep a food diary, and generally embrace the life of an allergy mama. Then, a very strange thing started to happen: I began to think about things other than food allergies.
I started to feel as though I had gained enough food allergy management skills that I could pause ever so briefly to do some crafting, design a dress, shop for makeup, or read a novel…okay, a page in a novel, but you get my drift. At the request of some awesome Mama friends—the kind of friends who will gladly forgo the PB& J because they enjoy spending time with you in your home—I began hosting an occasional Mama’s sewing night, teaching some sewing basics. These Mama’s Sewing Nights rekindled the creative fire inside of me, and I started to recall how fulfilling it was to create things simply because my soul wanted to. Remember that scene in National Treasure, when they open the door to discover bling beyond their wildest dreams? Yeah, it felt like that.
I’ve been reading blogs for years now, and had always planned to start one of my own. My original goal was to go the, “Look-at-My-Beautiful-Family”-blog route, but then I began some projects that I thought I might journal blog-style. I was a bit concerned about taking on too much--especially with my Inner Mocha Mama starting to rock so hard--but then I considered blogging about the things that inspire me, excite me, impress me, and matter to me. Why? Because Mama says, that’s why.