Back at the Ranch
We all see celebrity moms on the covers of magazines looking like a million and one bucks. Their hair is styled in a way that appears like it wasn’t styled at all. They always look well-rested and they’re usually dressed in white (yeah, because that’s a practical color to wear when you have kids).
Twisting the knife even more, these women are always photographed in their perfectly ordered living rooms, so-chic nurseries and pristine kitchens. The epitome of serenity and just what parenting is all about, right?
But what I’d fork money over to see is the “meanwhile, back at the ranch,” moment. When the photographer with her backlights and soft-focus lenses are long gone, and the hair and make-up team, with their magical products, have called it a day. Ditto for the stylist and the nanny who kept the kids corralled between takes.
What would be happening at the ranch now? The same stuff we have going on in our little ranches: the youngins are about to blow a gasket because they don’t want to get ready for bed, Cheerios litter the kitchen floor so crossing the room is like traveling through a mine field, and now things are starting to smell like a barn with junior kicking back in a ripe diaper.
Now take a look at that perfectly coiffed celeb. My bet is that she looks like the rest of us: a blue-plate special of death warmed over with a side of “I haven’t gotten a good night’s rest since Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were hitched.”
But hey, who can blame anyone for wanting beautiful pictures of themselves with their kids? It would just take the edge off if we could see the “before and after” shots. I don’t know about you, but those magazine images of what motherhood should look and feel like are seared into my mind. When I hold myself up against those standards, I nearly always end up feeling like I’m falling flat.
After my first child was born it was like the user manual for my life went through a shredder. The intense responsibilities of being a new parent were so overwhelming and started to weigh me down. I knew if I didn’t come up with some strategies to manage the day-to-day challenges, I wasn’t going to feel good about myself or be the best parent I could be.
Enter Back at the Ranch. This blog will provide the little nuggets that I’ve gathered since I first started riding that bucking bronco known as motherhood. It will help you stay on your A-game without feeling like you need to be living up to a picture-perfect ideal of what motherhood should be. While this won’t be the spot to learn how to keep your home immaculate, it will be a place to pick up some ideas on how to keep the monsoon of toys at bay.
Topics in the coming months include:
• Essentials to help with the transition home after you’ve delivered your baby
• How to keep the stress levels low on playdates
• Strategies to help your child adjust to a new sibling
• Great birthday party gift ideas that are personal, quick to nab, and easy on your
• Ways to create some quality time with your partner (half-passed out on the couch after a long day doesn’t count, ladies!)
It’s a true pleasure to join the talented team of Mommybites Boston and I look forward to both sharing my experiences and learning from all of you.
Welcome to the Ranch!
Jean Stehle (pronounced ‘steel’) is a mother of two young children. A former teacher, she tutors elementary through high school students and just wrote her first novel for children. She lives in Waltham where, when she’s not doing laundry, folding laundry, or putting laundry away, she’s wondering why she ever thought she was tired before she had kids. More at: www.facebook.com/jeanstehle.writer and @JeanStehle
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