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Dear Jo: The Woman in the Window

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March 9, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Last night you and Paul bundled up the kids and headed to the mall for some window-shopping and exercise. After a bit, Lyla was hungry and Emerson was antsy, so you decided to let him run around the play area, while you nursed the baby. You sat in the corner of the play area trying to discreetly nurse, balancing a blanket, while trying to get Lyla situated. Finally in place, you looked up and saw directly across from you was an Ann Taylor. You looked at the perfectly coiffed outfits hanging in the window display and suddenly you became very conscious of your scuffed shoes, ill-fitting jeans and greasy ponytail. Looking at the clothing draped over the faceless mannequins, you began to miss something—you…or the you I thought you should be.

Dear Jo: The Woman in the Window
Do you remember the first time you saw “The Secret of My Success”? How since the moment you saw that movie, you dreamed of growing up and moving to the city? You didn’t know what you wanted to do once you got there. All you knew is that you wanted to be one of those women who wore tennis shoes on the subway and heels in the office. The dream sort of morphed as you grew, careers changed and you realized you preferred TOMS to heels, but the one thing remained the same: you wanted to have that all-important, passion-filled career that caused you to walk quickly and with purpose along the city sidewalks. It would be something you could pour yourself into. Something that would cause you to dress stylishly and look important. Something that could make you feel smart and successful.

You looked away from the store window to see Emerson gleefully running around the play area, chasing his newfound friends. As Lyla unlatched and requested to nurse from the other breast, you wondered if you could carry a breast pump on the subway. And you wondered if you would ever really want to anyway. After all, how could you long for that window life? Could you really balance career and kids and breastfeeding and laundry and banana tantrums? Your mind went back and forth, trying to equate a perfect balance. Somehow you would be that best-selling writer of the Great American Novel, teaching writing classes and molding the great writers of the future, while still being available for your children and their every need. But as you looked at that window display, you realized that no scale could ever perfectly balance that equation.

So, right now, the novel waits and the typewriter clicks out everyday observations from the life stage of Kids. Because now you have diapers to change, spit up to wipe away and issues of Parents magazine instead of Poets & Writers waiting to be read. I just wonder where that window person will be when Kid Stage ends. Because at some point the diapers will have disappeared and the high-maintenance early years will have passed. Right? I just hope I recognize that person when I come back to find her.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


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Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©poplasen –}

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