Look at all that Green Grass: The Motherhood Trap

Little Girl Lying On The Grass In Pink Sunglasses, Fashion Style

Naturally, as mothers, we compare and contrast ourselves to other moms. Every day, as we go about our lives, we are consciously and subconsciously assessing the way we live in comparison to others. It’s subtle and unintended most of the time and its effects depend on where we’re at in that moment…

Taking it all in…

We are observers, not by choice, by the simple act of being around others. We watch. We take it all in. And then we process it. This processing happens somewhere between emptying the dishwasher, buckling your kid’s seatbelt and cleaning shit from one of its many locations. Sometimes the process results in a sense of confirmation or even a connection to another mom. And other times the process stirs up insecurities, envy, judgement.

We watch how other moms deal with their kids’ behaviour. We note the food they feed them and how they relate to their husbands. We observe their level of success in the workforce or their choice not to have a career. We watch as other moms balance what’s on their plate and then we assess how we’re doing, in contrast.

In some ways, comparison can be a positive thing.  It can keep us on our toes and in the loop, opening our eyes to new ideas and approaches. But in other ways comparison can be the killer of a mom’s confidence.

Some of us are hard on ourselves. Some of us are hard on each other. Some of us are both.  While some of us are neither. And wouldn’t it be great if we were all neither? I think it’s possible to work toward this, with a few slip ups here and there, because nobody’s perfect.

I think it’s possible to be neither (most of the time) because, at the end of our long, hectic days, we all know how it feels to be a mom.  Could this be the glue that bonds us together?

The kids are in on it…

We aren’t the only ones making assessments. Our kids are comparing us to other moms, too. The problem is: they’re wearing rose-coloured glasses. Couple that with a good dose of imagination and they’re convinced that other kids are living it up, utopian style!

They think Suzy’s mom is so hip and happening simply because she’s younger. And Tommy’s mom never shouts! And Ringo’s mom lets him watch whatever he wants on TV. While Roxy’s mom makes the best ham sandwiches. Way better than the ones you make…

Yes, we moms need to have a thick skin.

The men are in on it, too…

Even the other grownups in our lives, the men, can add to our insecurities! They throw a wrench in our ability to unite as moms. And it happens in an unsubtle flash; a quick comment on how laid back Bob’s wife, after you’ve just been “a nag.” Or admiring words of adoration at how organized Bertha and Tony’s house is while you’re sitting there up to your eyeballs in partner-less socks.

They may point out what great shape Carl’s wife is in, when you’ve just polished off the last of the chocolate ice cream. Or what about how stylish Jerry’s wife is? Meanwhile, you’re sitting there in a pair of ratty-ass yoga pants, trying to recall the last time you wore “real” clothes. Or what about how careful Claire is with money. Isn’t she just so frugal? And let’s not forget the Phantom Wife, you know the one. She’s always up for sex. Anytime. Anywhere.

Look at all of that green grass!

Sometimes we lash out…

Yes, after comments like these we moms might feel compelled to point out the dog shit there, in that green grass. It depends on the moment, really. In our times of self-doubt, we offer up an unappealing truth or an unnoticed flaw, something that is clearly not visible to our family members due to their tinted glasses.

“Carl’s wife is slim, yes, but… I hardly ever see her eating. It’s concerning, really.”

“Bertha’s house is like a museum not a home…”

“And as for Jerry’s stylish wife, well… must be nice to have a disposable income like that!”

“As for frugal Claire. Ya, she’s a barrel of fun. Isn’t she?”

“That Phantom Wife? She’s a faker! Total lying faker. OR he is. Something isn’t right there…”

It’s weak of us. But we do it. We stoop and we spout drivel because we feel the need to defend our worth and because our insecurities are getting the better of us.

Other moms understand this position because they’ve been there too. It happens to them in the same way.

Other moms get it…

They know that there’s no such thing as perfectly green grass, a perfect wife or a perfect mother. They know the demands and the weight that come with the role.  They know, simply, how it feels to be a mom and to be compared to other moms. Even if their way of parenting is different from yours, they can relate to how hard you try and how good your intentions are.

Try as they might, dads don’t get it and neither do the kids. They may have moments of appreciation but they cannot and will not ever know how it feels to be a mother.

So, let’s stop imagining that other moms think they’re perfect because they don’t. Instead let’s not try to connect with them as members of this motherhood club that we’re all in.

Let’s DO THIS!

Yes, we’ll always be observers but instead of giving into our insecurities or judgments, let’s try to relate to each other by what we have in common. Let’s give ourselves and each other a break, say a few Stuart Smalley-inspired self-affirmations and rise above it all. Because you are good enough. You’re also smart enough and, dog- on-it, a lot of people like you. Especially the important ones who, despite the rose coloured glasses, wouldn’t trade you for the world!


In the Meantime


Ebbs and flows. This is the perspective that I try to apply to my own life and especially to the relationships that are important to me. What I mean by this is being open to the flow that happens naturally, trying not to panic when the tide is out. It means accepting its natural rhythm- one that isn’t always comfortable, one that doesn’t always fulfil or feed, one that sometimes takes more than it gives.

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My Tahiti: The Martini

imageOver the past 7 days I’ve spent, roughly, 57 minutes in Tahiti.  (To learn more about what WTH I’m talking about click here: 7 Minutes in Tahiti -a story of survival.) With hubby away, it was my trips there that saved my sanity. Time in Tahiti renewed my patience long enough for me to comfort, care for and serve my little people, who were, apparently, participating in a competition for who could be: The Biggest Diva.

You see it’s been one of those weeks at our house. You know the ones, where sickness makes its way from one family member to the next leaving a trail of destruction and a frazzled mom in its wake.  I was the first to get it and by the end of the week it had made its way through all of us, minus Zed who’s been feeling left out of our club.

Now the end of the week has arrived and everyone is on the mend. We have survived! And as I sigh the sigh of a survivor, I know that this martini that I am about to sip is not only going to be tasty but it will also be well deserved.

This is how you make a My Tahiti…


My Tahiti Martini  


1.5 oz vodka

¼ oz Balsamic vinegar

5 strawberries

1 tsp. sugar


  1. In a small blender combine the sugar and strawberries. This creates a puree. Add a touch of water if you need to for a smoother blend.
  2. In a metal shaker, add the vodka, balsamic vinegar and the puree.
  3. Shake, shake, shake and strain this beauty into your martini glass of choice.
  4. Garnish with a strawberry and kick back with your feet up.  Toast to sanity and, of course, to those precious moments spent in Tahiti.

A New Year’s Toast to Family, Friendship and Change


2013 was a big year for our family.  We packed up our life and moved to Canada from the UK!  Through the tears and the newly acquired greys, we’ve managed to survive the journey thus far and are settling into our new home as the winter snow welcomes us in abundance.

Moving our family was, by far, the most nerve-wracking decision that we’ve made but… change is good.  

To ring in the New Year, I have written a little rhyming reflection on the year gone by….

2013– a paradoxical run
A year of great changes, wonder and fun
But also of sorrow and bidding farewell
To our family and friends whose lives we knew well

From England to Canada our family did go
A most difficult choice we’d contemplated so
And after John’s 40th– a 1970’s do
We shared our last laughs and bid all adieu

From taxi to airplane our tired eyes cried
Just like those typical Manchester skies
And with a glass of white wine and a deep cleansing breath
A new chapter began – we’d soon write the rest

I’d hoped that the sun might welcome us home
But we landed in clouds, with a thud and a groan
Mom, Jim and Dad-out stretched arms they all stood
Had come to collect us and all of our goods

We set off on our journey, back to my hometown
To connect and to chat about what would go down
Gram was no longer there, she’d passed away
And her memory lingered, surely to stay

The times they were changing so many things new
A new home, a new town to navigate through
The keys to our house were soon in our hands
And so was our future and all of our plans

On Ava’s  birthday we moved to our new place
Trepidation and worry all over her face
Would there be children – new friends to meet?
Would it be fun to live on our new street?

The sun, it soon came and the summer did too
John set up his office amidst the wild, crazy zoo
With all the kids home for two months until school
He worked- we unpacked and played in the pool

I felt such a calm, peaceful sense of relief
Like the hard part was over, we’d turned a new leaf
My old friends were here and the laughs carried on
It certainly felt like no time had gone

And so it began- months of settling in
BBQs, discoveries and cocktails (chin, chin)
Our water baby, Zed, swam like a dolphin
And we learned why Bell Canada gets sworn about so often

The school year started without much-to-do
The girls have made friends, even little Minoo
We’ve survived the transition up until now
But the snow has arrived and we don’t have a plow…

And here with my laptop, the fire and our laundry
I know that home is the place that’s upon me
It’s the place where I’m from, the land that I love
It’s the country my kids now sing proudly of

But our hearts are in England and always will be
Of course, that’s where we became a family
It’s my husband’s home and was all of ours too
So lucky we were for the people we knew

But the thing about “knew” is this word exists not
For the word is to “know” and to not be distraught
We’ve got visits and travel plans all underway
We’ll see everyone again, when we visit next May

2014 is for business, friendship and more
It’s for learning and growing and to explore
And of course it’s for family and laughter and life
John knew we’d be uprooted with me as his wife

The journey we’re on is our own- it’s our path
We get one chance to live it, to make happiness last
In 2013 we both sprouted some greys
And new wrinkles have joined us, in these recent days

But change is a good thing, though stressful and scary
We’ll ring in this New Year feeling both blessed and merry
May 2014 refresh and renew you
And may health, love and happiness be yours all year through

Happy New Year!

Love from,
Shannon and Co.

Find me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/martinimomblog

A Mother’s Journey from Slobbery to Sobbery

If this was me, I’d be in my element….


But it isn’t me, at all. The truth is: I have a pre-disposition to slobbery. Reason being, when I was a teenager I was actually a slob. My clothes lived all over my room, wherever they landed basically. It was a treacherous sea of clothing and shoes, in there, and visitors entered at their own risk.

After years of pleading, my poor mom finally gave up and asked of me but one request: Keep the door closed!

Now, I’d love to say that this all changed when I went off to university but I’d be lying. My four housemates will attest to the fact that I really didn’t pull my weight. When the chores were divvied up, I was always given the least demanding tasks like sweeping the laundry room floor. While my more responsible peers took on the biggies like cleaning the kitchen and the living room. I think they knew that I was shitty at cleaning and they wanted the job done right.

I’m fairly confident, however, as we’re all still friends, that what I lacked in domestic prowess I made up for in ridiculousness and what house of university friends doesn’t appreciate that? I played a mean leg guitar, my Dr. Evil impression was tops and my Rat Face (which, as it sounds, is an impression of a rat’s face) is still alive and well and has even been passed down to our kin.

It wasn’t until I lived in my own little apartment for one that I gained a bit of house pride, but only a bit. I was hardly there.

Fast forward 18 years… I’m now living in a house of five again, only this time I’m in charge of tidying, cleaning and organizing the entire fucking thing! Talk about a learning curve. I know that by having kids, I signed up for all of this. I think I was a bit naïve, though, as to how much mess they would actually produce and I can’t help but wonder if life would be easier if I was still a slob.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not boasting Show Home status, by any means, but there are times when our house looks pretty damn good- if only for a few precious moments. There are also times when it’s a gigantic mess… And occasionally, amidst that wreckage, I cry…  And |I wonder, is this the slob in me feeling hard done by? I don’t know but I do think that we can all benefit from a good cry every once in a while.

Personally, I find combining oven scrubbing with sobbing, to be very therapeutic.

Allowing myself to cry, doesn’t mean I’m not grateful that I have an oven to cook with, a home to live in and a healthy family to take care of. It just means that sometimes the weight of motherhood just builds up…

Whether we are crying, laughing or sprawled out, zonked, on the couch at the end of the day we, moms, deserve a nice cocktail. And there is no beverage more perfect for a house cleaning, family organizing mom (who used to be a slob) than a Dirty Martini. This is how you make one…

Two Olive Martini Cocktails

The Dirty Martini


2 oz. vodka or gin

1 oz. Vermouth

A generous splash of olive juice

Green olives


1. Fill a metal shaker up with ice. Add the vodka (or gin), Vermouth and olive juice.

2. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.

3. Add olives. Just drop them in (if you’re feeling lazy) or put them on a lovely cocktail stick (if you’re feeling classy).

4. Serve to your house cleaning, family organizing mom friends.

TOAST– to dirty ovens, therapeutic tears and all the laughter in between.