Ten years. One hundred and twenty months. Five hundred and twenty weeks. Three thousand, six hundred and fifty days. Eighty seven thousand, six hundred hours. Five million and two hundred fifty-six thousand minutes. (Did I do that math right? Blame distance learning.)
To be less poetic about it: I’ve officially been a mom — and a parenting writer/blogger — for ten full years.
My first-born just turned TEN. I’m happy and weepy and all the things us moms feel when double-digit birthdays blindside us. Happy Birthday to you, my little big girl. I love you more than I could ever aptly express anywhere and am so very inspired by the person you are and are growing to be. You know this. Your genuinely-good heart is incomparable. And your super-long mermaid hair is unabashedly fabulous.
Every year, I reminisce and smile about your very first birthday party and the compounded, exhilarating chaos (involving Hugh Jackman) on that day. I remember your little face in the cake-hat, your little body toddling around our yard, all our family (including your four grandparents and two great-grandmas!) celebrating you at our home. I then laugh about how, after you [we] blew out your candle, we shattered the secrecy of my then-pregnancy and announced to our family how another baby would be busting into our lives that coming spring (that baby pictured as little sister above, lol).
Back then, I was a nervous wreck to soon have two babies under the age of two, but I knew all good things were ahead — fulfilling family life and a newly-pivoted career with fresh goals to attempt and conquer. And then ten years passed. Fast.
A decade later, I can’t help but also wish a happy birthday to the cheeky persona here titled ‘TheFABMom.’
Because: I am now at a crossroads. Just like 10 years ago (when I was pivoting from entertainment news to parenting). In a new phase of life. Looking around for what might be next. For a while now.
Blame COVID-19. Blame current [tyrannical] California government. Blame social media. Blame a world community who seems to have lost its collective mind and soul. Has age slowed me down and made me intolerant for things that didn’t used to phase me… or have I just now woken up? Or did my slump authentically begin back when my world crashed at the end of 2017? Hmm.
I. Am. STALLED.
One of my cousin’s wives recently told me I am “pregnant.” [I’M NOT PREGNANT. STAY WITH ME.]
We were sitting at a cute restaurant [outside] eating lunch with our kids under one of those big white easy-up tents [like a third-world country, thanks to continued CA shutdowns] and the flies were swarming around our food [because the tent was in a parking lot per government orders]. We’d just had a deep conversation about the dangerous and terrifying war budding in Armenia (where her immediate family still lives), Coronavirus and fear, depressing school situations and basically how humanity no longer feels… well… human. Between our kids asking if they could order more Sprite and my little one sticking her [dirty] fingers onto the plate of the homemade Bavarian pretzel to catch-and-lick the coarse salts that had fallen off, we’d both wept a bit about how everything unsettling is happening all at one time and it just feels like it’s too much.
My cousin then talked a lot about her childhood in Armenia during the fall of the Soviet Union — how her family collected government-provided bread from the market every day (two English-muffin sized biscuits per person), how her dad quit his job as a professor to grow random produce to sell (to keep her family alive), how now living here in the United States does not diminish her whole heart being in Armenia while a humanitarian tragedy is happening there right now. [Azerbaijan, aided by Turkey, started attacking peaceful civilians/land in the area of Artsakh on September 27 and now it’s escalated into war. If you know Armenian/Turkish history, this recent act is equivalent to modern-day Nazis launching attack on Israel to ‘finish the job,’ as many say.] “I never thought the dark days of my childhood would return to me like this, with what’s happening here and there,” she said at our table. It broke my heart.
This deep convo then led to us commiserate about how our *only goals* each day are to now make sure our children stay safe, remain healthy and learn as much as they possibly can via stupid Zoom classrooms we’re all trapped into doing these days. No more fun extras, no more to-do items that are now too hard to pull off on any given day. We’re depleted. Both of us. In different ways and in the same ways.
The fact that both of us feel so very hollow should be alarming to anyone and everyone — because we’re two of the most toughest, most resilient mamas around. (Because if we’re struggling like this, I fear what others are feeling.)
She then asked me if I was working anymore, I replied: “Nope. I’m empty. I feel like I’ve said everything I’ve wanted to say [with TheFABMom — via hundreds of TV segments, print articles, online content and a published book]. I don’t have anything left.” To which she responded with: “Jill. You’re pregnant right now.” (Certainly explains my exhaustion, lol.)
“Let yourself rest,” she continued. “Whatever is next will reveal itself when it is ready.” She paused and then stared me down, sternly, “I feel like something big is going to come out of you…” (Insert that wide-eyed surprised emoji here.) I laughed and then instantly felt nauseous when I realized how dead-serious her expression was.
Something…. BIG? I’m really not up for any kind of birth/delivery right now.
Here I’ve been thinking my desolation, depression and lack of interest for forging ahead with ‘TheFABMom’ — as it was happily active before 2020 crashed — was equivalent to being barren. But maybe I’m expecting something new. Pregnant. With what? Don’t know. (Serves me right after being such a big-mouth about how moms should leave baby’s gender a surprise until delivery day… ha.)
And now we’re here: My first-born’s 10th birthday seems to be igniting a potential, secondary pivot in life and work. I started this blog when she was born, perhaps I should consider wrapping it up with a big and sparkly hot pink bow here at the double-digit mark — as a baby shower gift to myself towards whatever ‘big next thing’ I’m told I’m expecting.
So while I’m waiting to find out what’s next, maybe I’ll just eat ice cream and chips and claim pregnancy-brain until this baby arrives. Or: Maybe I will just REST.