The Stir Café Mom: My daughter and I were interviewed for an AllState series about firsts, and I shared our experience buying our first home and my thoughts on letting go of the life I thought that I should have so that I could fall in love with the life that I do have.
ELLE Magazine: For the most part, they're bone-tired of the pervasive myth that new parenthood represents a restorative time with a delightful newborn. But it's more than merely annoying: This portrayal of new parenthood creates an escape hatch on doing anything to meaningfully support new parents in America.
One afternoon when I was doing research on gender and income inequality, I came across the name Cara Lemieux, digital media strategist for The Shriver Report–“a nonpartisan initiative that raises awareness, ignites conversations and inspires impact around the deﬁning issues and fundamental changes facing modern women and their families.”
SheKnows: I am very close to turning 35. I can see it, just over there on the horizon, a little less than a month away. You know, that age when you go from seemingly fabulously fertile to barren, overnight. Biological clock aside, 35 is one of those milestone ages when you find yourself doing some sort of life assessment.
Cara Lemieux, managing editor of the ShriverReport, wishes someone would make dinner every night so that she can give her daughter a bath without stressing about dinner and the mess that needs to be cleaned up after.“When you are a single parent, all work is linear, so there is no dividing and conquering the management of the house,” discloses Lemieux.
SheKnows: Single moms are no more the picture that is painted of them in the media, than today's wives are a reflection of what was depicted of them in the 1950s. But changing that external image, in my opinion, starts by changing the internal dialogue.
Huffington Post: When I got pregnant, I knew very early on that my child was going to be raised in a single-mother household. As most of you may know, statistics show that children raised by single mothers (rich or poor, educated or not) typically have lower grades and are at higher risk of becoming pregnant at an early age, doing drugs and all of the other things we don't want our children doing.
ABC News: As a single parent to a toddler, there are times when I have found myself steering clear of certain activities for either emotional or logistical reasons, or both. And I must admit that a recent weekend trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., almost fell into that category, until I remembered that Disney World is one of the most child-friendly places on earth, and navigating it would not be much different than navigating my everyday life.
Lifetime Moms: I’m a single mom to a very inquisitive 3 ½ year old little girl, who has been asking questions about family dynamics since she was 18-months-old. If I told you that this didn’t bother me, I would be lying.
Lifetime Moms: If I was an alien landing on planet earth for the first time, I might be inclined to think that the only people who have the potential to have a great career and kids - are men and married women and single women without children.
Lifetime Moms: It’s hard to believe that Dove released their Campaign for Real Beauty ten years ago, breaking barriers by showcasing for the first time that I can recall, women whose bodies looked like...well...real women.
Lifetime Moms: Dear Ellie,You are probably too young to really grasp the fact that Valentine’s Day is upon us…but don’t fret, you have years of commercialized love ahead of you, and I am well aware of the fact that, when it comes to love – I am your one and only for right now. And I couldn’t be more honored.
Lifetime Moms: Just about this time two years ago I found out that a child was hanging out in my uterus – without an explicit invitation to do so. In a matter of minutes, I went from single and social, to single and pregnant. When I took the pregnancy test and saw that plus sign, the first thing I did was call my sister.
Lifetime Moms: The other day, I was about to head into a meeting and I got an email from the mother of a little girl that Ellie met at the local library. The subject read: VIDEO FOR MOMMY. I downloaded the clip and watched it as I was walking into the conference room and it was 45 seconds of Ellie, taking her hat off, and putting it on the head of her little friend.
Lifetime Moms: For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I felt compelled to take a look at my old online dating profile, maybe it was all of the commercialized love that was in the air courtesy of our friend cupid. In any case, I’d updated it right before I got pregnant, and to say things have changed would be a great understatement.
Lifetime Moms: That’s it. I have to get something off my chest (no pun intended).I have a conspiracy theory and it has to do with breast-feeding. And nearly every mom I have spoken to agrees with me on some level or another – so I think its’ time to share.
Lifetime Moms: A dear friend of mine always has great advice for me, and one of his favorite doses is, “Babe, sometimes you just need to put the crazy on the shelf, even if it’s only for a little while. Just give the crazy a rest.”
Lifetime Moms: Yea...I know I am not supposed to say something like that. It's really not politically correct. And I know it implies a ton of stereotypes that women have tried to break away from since long before I was born. But I am going to let you in on a little secret. I hear women - modern day, successful women - say this all of the time.
Lifetime Moms: As a single mom of a 15-month-old, there are days I would do anything so that Ellie could have a regular father figure in her life, in her home, and in her heart. But as the Rolling Stones said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”
Lifetime Moms: I was chatting with a co-worker and friend while on our way out of the office and we were discussing the idea of resolutions and such.And I said, "Yea, I’d really like to meet a nice guy this year...”and I paused, and I got all choked up, and the mom in me just came spilling out. “…Not for me, because I am pretty happy being single, but I really want Ellie to have that perfect family."
Lifetime Moms: Yes. You read that headline correctly.A couple of years ago, I went out on a date with a guy that I met at a New Year’s Eve party. Over the course of a couple months, there were some nice outfits, a few intellectually stimulating conversations, two dinners, and a few cocktails. Now there is an adorably charming one-year-old little girl, and a 31-year-old VERY single, mildly entertaining, mom.
Lifetime Moms: As a single woman that is also a mom, I have developed two distinct groups of friends – one group is single and without children, and the other is married, with or without kids. But almost all of them have baby on the brain in some way, some of my female friends have even decided to freeze their eggs to buy a little more time and a bit of an insurance policy.
Lifetime Moms: Now that the weather is getting warmer, I am inclined to lighten the density of the food that I prepare. Actually when I take note of how snug my jeans are, perhaps I should have begun doing so months ago – but that is neither here nor there.
Lifetime Moms: Growing up, I lost count with how many times I heard my mom say, “Okay…just you wait…You’ll understand when you are a mother…”
Lifetime Moms: Before I had Ellie, I was VERY social. No, that is not code for anything. I was just always out and about. After work drinks? I was there. Birthday drinks at a bar? You got it. Sunday brunch with friends? Hell yes!
Lifetime Moms: I don’t have a penis. You may or may not have realized that. And because of my lack of a male member Father's Day brings on a ton of mixed emotions from this single mom of an 18-month-old.
The Shriver Report: As a single mom with a blog, and what some have referred to as a bold personality, I am used to being asked a lot of questions that border on brash. Everything from the older woman in the elevator looking at her watch… and then looking at my toddler…and then me, and saying, “My, my, my…isn’t coming home from preschool at 5:30 a mighty long day for such a little girl?” to the well-intentioned yet always insulting, “Why are you still single?!?”
Lifetime Moms: I have been fighting a nasty funk lately. No...I do not have a body odor problem. Thankfully. But I do have a case of the mommy blues. And these blues are compounded by the fact that I feel guilty even admitting this because I have the most amazingly beautiful and loving 18-month-old little girl, a good job and our health.
The Shriver Report: I recently wrapped up lecturing to my first college class, which:A) Sounds really funny to sayB) Is something I have always wanted to do, mainly because I was what you would call – reluctant to enter the “real” world. And since graduating in 2002…I’ve really never stopped trying to find my way back to college.
MariaShriver.com: I woke up this morning wondering: when are we old enough to stop pretending that we either like a certain thing, are a certain way, or that we don’t abhor doing unpleasant things, like…oh, I don’t know, wearing high heels? In my teens and 20s, I felt as if I had to be what everyone else thought I should be. But now that I am comfortably settled into my 30s, I am much less inclined to pretend to be someone I am not – although I still feel like being the true me is a work in progress.
Lifetime Moms: I know you are going to watch this video of my 19-month-old daughter and think, “Awwwww, she is so cute...Wow, she is pretty smart for her age.” And I think the same thing. And then I sigh and get a tight feeling in my chest, because this concerns me, greatly.
Lifetime Moms: I have a philosophy that everyone has a few faults that are very difficult to do away with, because they are basically part of the person’s DNA. Ya know, those little idiosyncrasies that are irritating to some people around you, but aren’t really that offensive.
Lifetime Moms: Seriously. Get away from them. They are mine. M-I-N-E. Perhaps I’ve shared them with my child, perhaps I have shared them with a partner of mine, but the operative word here is share, as in, they are mine and I decide who has access to them.
So, my 20-month-old REALLY likes to balance on the arm of the sofa. She sits her tiny butt on it, and sways from side-to-side while daring me to make her get down. Inevitably, I tell her to “stop”, she tells me “no”, and then I stand up, pick her up and put her back down on the proper part of the couch. That is until last week.
Lifetime Moms: You might be wondering why the hell I took a photo of myself in this state of undress, and in order to answer that question for you, I need to set the scene of my life. I am 32-years-old and single; I have a 21-month-old toddler, who was breech and 9 lbs. 6 oz. at delivery, which means that I had a c-section. Which means that my 6-pack is now a keg.
Lifetime Moms: I have frequently joked that if I was put in a bar with ten men, and 9 of them were amazing guys and one of them was an as*hole – I would immediately go up and order a drink right next to the as*hole.
Lifetime Moms: And by strength in numbers, I don’t mean twenty moms can take on more than one mom could. I am talking about the value of knowing that you are not alone in the completely absurd conversations and interactions that are a part of this lovely thing we call motherhood.
Lifetime Moms: Is it weird that the most played song in all of my iTunes is Peter, Paul and Mary’s, Wedding Song (There is Love)? Actually, I will answer that for you. Yes, it’s strange, because despite what the song’s title suggests, I have not been married. Or even close. At all.
Lifetime Moms: For the first time since my daughter was born (nearly 2 years ago) I have made up my mind to start working out again. The kick in the jiggly ass came from a few things, the first of which was a comment from a friend that I was whining to about the fact that I don’t/can’t run anymore because my daughter hates the jogging stroller and throws her shoes off when I run. His response was, “The don’t put shoes on her when you run.”
Lifetime Moms: The moment I got pregnant, I became obsessed with my child’s milestones. I LOVED the updates that told me when my unborn baby had fingernails, or was able to suck her thumb, or recognize my voice. And at the same time they would give me my own milestones complete with descriptions of what would hurt when, how big certain body parts would get, and how difficult standard daily tasks would become.
Lifetime Moms: I’m an EXTREMELY organized person…at work. I’ve worked as a TV producer for over a decade and on a number of occasions, co-workers have referenced my level of organization – which I credit for saving me more time and headaches than I can quantify. The interesting thing is, very few people in my personal life would ever count this as one of my strengths (especially my sister who constantly revels at how often I lose my keys or forget to buy what I need at the store).
Lifetime Moms: What is love? I know, I know…this question is perhaps a bit to ethereal…a question that I am convinced human beings have been pondering since the beginning of time, but please humor me.
That’s it. I surrender.I fully admit that I, Cara Lemieux, cannot possibly do it all this holiday season. I’m afraid that if I even try, I will lose sight of the joy this time of year is supposed to bring into my heart and my home. I can’t. I just can’t.
have vivid memories of celebrating Christmas as a little kid. I clearly remember that feeling I would have on Christmas morning…waking up a little too early, listening carefully to see if anyone else was awake, tip-toeing out of my room and checking to see if Santa came down the chimney…and when I realized that he actually did, I would run down the hall to wake my sisters, yell-whispering, “YOU GOTTA WAKE UP…SANTA CAME!!! COME ON!!! LET’S GET MOMMY AND DADDY.”
Lifetime Moms: As a parent, I learned early on that changes in routine and transitions to a new routine can create upheaval in a child’s world. And depending on the type of transition, changes can be equally as unnerving for Mom – regardless of how anticipated they are.
Lifetime Moms: My 28-month-old daughter has always been extremely verbal, and quite smart—putting words together before 18 months and speaking in complex sentences by the time she reached the two-year mark. As she has grown, my parenting worries have gone from "I hope and pray she is developmentally on track" to "How the hell am I going to keep up with this kid?" That is, until a month or so ago, when, basically overnight, she went from a clear and articulate toddler to a stuttering two-year-old.
Lifetime Moms: I remember the first time I left my newborn at home so I could run to the grocery store. I felt like the umbilical cord was still attached and was being strained by each step I took toward the door. I'm not sure if that pull was emotional, instinctual or biological, but it was strong.
Q: Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions? A: My job is not the same as it was before I had children…which is sometimes really hard for me to accept. There are two main reasons that I left broadcast news and headed in the direction of digital media.
Lifetime Moms: There is a child care crisis going on in the United States right now. I recently read two thought-provoking pieces about the lack of affordable, quality child care in the United States and the huge impact it is having on tons of women. There was a point in history when feminists created and lobbied for the 1971 Child Development Act, a bill which would have established federally funded day cares with sliding-scale fees. The CDA passed the Senate 63 to 17, but President Nixon vetoed it, an act that was in line with his party.
Lifetime Moms: One of the constants in parenting that applies to every single person with kids, is that at some point, someone who has absolutely no business doing so – will give you a piece of unsolicited advice. This happens quite frequently in New York, and I chalk it up to the fact that parents in New York City are a very exposed bunch.
Lifetime Moms: I recently left my job as a producer at a major network news organization, where I was out of the house and in an office, control room, or in the field for at least 50 hours a week. I accepted a position as the managing editor and digital director for an amazing non-profit project that is tackling issues that are near and dear to my heart.
Lifetime Moms: A few months ago, a friend confided in me that she was beginning the adoption process – as a single woman. We chatted about the process, the paperwork and the costs, and she asked me question after question, trying to get as good a grasp as possible on what it would be like to be a single mother – even though her path to single motherhood would be very different from mine.
Lifetime Moms: I frequently have very entertaining conversations with my 2-year-old, but last week, one caused me to stop in my tracks. We were having the typical, “Get your shoes on…please stop messing around…let’s get going now…I need you to put your shoes on,” conversation and she actually did put her shoes on.
Lifetime Moms: With the continued growth of single parent homes in this country, you might think that the slightly invasive and somewhat tactless question would start to wane…but unfortunately, that is not the case in my experience. I understand the curiosity – but, as a single mother myself, I’m going out on a limb here and saying these five questions are on almost any single moms do not ask list.
Lifetime Moms: I recently read a thought-provoking blog in The New York Times, which discussed different facets of femininity and fertility, and also asked the question, “Can moms stay friends with the child-free?”
Lifetime Moms: I was recently watching my 2-year-old daughter play at the playground, going up and down the slide, running through the sprinklers and riding her tricycle – alone.
Lifetime Moms: Lately, I’ve been saying out loud to anyone that would listen that, “I really want to take a vacation”. I haven’t taken an actual vacation since before my daughter, who is now 2 1/2 was born, making me a single mom.
Lifetime Moms: While there are some that I would like to hear over and over again, there are others that have me wanting to say, “Will you please just shut it?” Let’s start off with the positive ones:
Lifetime Moms: After more than a decade of working in the corporate world, I recently began working from home. And I’ve noticed that some people mistake me working from home as me NOT WORKING AT ALL.
Lifetime Moms: Some may say that as a single mom, I should read MORE parenting books – instead of the zero that I have read. But honestly, when I was pregnant, I felt left out of that party any time I read anything related to parenting – regardless of the approach.
Lifetime Moms: I was out to dinner recently with my toddler and a close friend of mine. We were at one of my favorite neighborhood nooks, where the tables are set close to each other and the entire restaurant is smaller than my parents’ living room.
Lifetime Moms: Ah...single motherhood...it’s a lot like married motherhood, but with the added component of stereotypes layered on top of our family dynamic (yes, I do consider my daughter and I to be a family). And after about 3 ½ years of heading up my non-traditional family - I have heard A LOT of things about single motherhood. A lot.
Lifetime Moms: Ahhhhh...The time-honored tradition of the summertime road trip. Think wind blowing through your hair, think radio blasting, think of that feeling of freedom as you hit the open road and the romantic anticipation of arriving at your destination, excited to stretch your legs, dip your toes in the ocean and take in the fresh air. Wonderful...isn’t it?
Two things happened today that confirmed all of the rumors I heard stating that in parenthood, the days are long and the years are short…and that they do, in fact, grow up.
My nephew turned five today. A fact that may or may not cue a mental “…awwww…” on your end. And for our family it is awwww-worthy for sure…but it’s also more than that.
So here we are…or should I say, here I am…on the precipice of trading in my love affair with New York City in for a life in the Connecticut suburbs (beyond what I would call daily commuting distance to NYC). I love New York City in a way that so many of my fellow New Yorkers do…This city is addictive. It’s the muse of many online opuses, it’s the birthplace of incredible ideas, the fuel for non-stop energy, the canvas for amazing diversity..Read More ›
Do you ever have one of those days that isn’t terrible or tragic…it’s just one where…you want to stop about halfway through and hit – do-over? Please. Say yes. And tell me I am not the only one.Read More ›
It usually happens at bath or bed time…the parental ponderances…you know…the…“Am I screwing her up? Why is she whining AGAIN about NOTHING? Am I a good parent? Is she growing up to be a good person? How do you teach your child to be a good person? What the hell am I even trying to […]Read More ›
I have often said that there are life events that truly change the core of who you are…that rock you so completely that, although your outer shell may look and sound the same, your insides have been changed forver. For me, unanticipated complete and total single motherhood is certainly one of those life events. […]Read More ›
I don’t do death. I mean, few us really do, aside from the most saintly among us, who provide end of life peace and care to those who are moving on. But aside from them, I think the majority of us fall into the “Eh…I’m not so into death” camp, that I am in. That […]Read More ›
I’ve always had a mild fascination with resilience…and perhaps I have even written about it before. When I volunteered in a pediatric oncology ward, I was constantly perplexed by the fact that some families were able to weather the terrible turbulence that they were being confronted with, and others were clearly crumbling. Was it family? […]Read More ›
I’m not sure if you have caught the Proctor & Gamble “Thank You Mom” ad for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, but if you haven’t, and you either have a mother or are a mother, you will probably want to take 2 minutes and watch it (and if you are anything like me, and then watch it again, and again, and again)Read More ›