Modern Motherhood, Redefined: A Reflection

Obviously, it’s been some time since I’ve published here.

Why? Two primary reasons:

  1. Just like most people across the globe, this year has thrown countless curveballs my way, and I’ve struggled to carve out time to steadily do anything for myself, including (and especially) blog.
  2. Amidst the many crises we’re facing right now — including the coronavirus pandemic, an economic downturn, heightened awareness of racial injustice, and impacts of climate change — blogging about “mom stuff” felt so inauthentic.

And that’s when I asked myself: why am I limiting myself from addressing these things on my blog?

Because, I realized, these crises that we as a society are collectively experiencing — they are directly impacting my identity as a modern mother. Not only because my professional life tasks me with programmatically responding to these different events. But also (and more importantly) because these current events are forcing me to seriously consider:

Am I responding to what’s happening in the world in a way that I’m proud to model for my children?

  • Am I modeling the importance of looking beyond myself and considering how my actions impact those around me?
  • Am I actively fighting social injustice and trying to make the world a more equitable and loving place, both for people now and in the future?
  • Am I exercising my rights — and helping to preserve the rights of those around me?
  • Am I demonstrating the importance of civic engagement?
  • Am I showing what it means to be a steward of the earth?
  • Am I prioritizing what means the most to me (my husband; my children; my family; my physical, spiritual, and mental well-being), and do my everyday actions reflect that these are my priorities?
  • Am I comfortable showing vulnerability to my kids — and sharing that it’s okay (even necessary!) to show when I’m not okay (and that I’m actively working to heal myself)?
  • Am I embodying what it means to be a loving member of our greater community, in my thoughts, words, and actions?

I can’t answer all these questions with a confident and resounding “yes!” — every day, I struggle with near debilitating feelings of inadequacy. I’m constantly plagued with the fear that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not outspoken enough, that I’m hesitating to make the appropriate decisions I can make to make the world better for my children and their children.

But I’m trying. And I’m giving myself the grace to “unlock” this blog as another way for me to process this journey. In dialog with other people (other parents and caregivers, maybe?) who are constantly questioning in this day and age, whether or not they’re doing what’s best for society now and for future generations.

So what does this mean? This means that the content in here is going to a cover a broader spectrum.

I will still share anecdotes of pregnancy, parenting children with severe allergies, being a working mom, managing my own household, etc. But I will also start to share some commentary on current events, modern-day trends in light of our many global crises — topics that some people may deem “too political” for a blog initially framed as one on motherhood.

But, if I’m honest, modern motherhood (parenthood) includes addressing these kinds of topics with our children. Well, at least that’s the case for this modern mother.

So that’s why I plan to do. Hopefully you’re willing to figure this all out alongside me — I definitely welcome the company on this journey.

Raising Two Boys: What I Hope to Teach My Sons

A little under two months ago, I gave birth to my second son.

It’s a funny thing because, while I’d always envisioned myself as a mother, I’d never thought that I’d be the mother of two boys. I guess I’d always assumed I’d have at least one daughter (not to say that isn’t an option in the future; I’m just not really thinking about another baby anytime soon).

As a modern-day woman — and one who had grown up in a household with a 2:1 female-to-male ratio —, the thought of raising a daughter always seemed a lot more straightforward. I knew from direct experience the lessons I wanted to impart on her, the gender expectations I wanted to sidestep.

But a son? Let alone two sons?

There is a lot more gray area for me to navigate — and a basic lack of understanding of the modern male experience. Raising boys always seemed like an intimidating task to me.

Thankfully, I have an amazing partner who’s had his own experience navigating harsh expectations of what it means to be a man. And he’s been so integral in helping us prioritize how we want to raise — and, ultimately, define some key lessons that we want to impart on — our boys.

My three guys.

So, here are our main hopes in raising two boys.

Continue reading “Raising Two Boys: What I Hope to Teach My Sons”

The Kid with the Long-Ass Name: Why I Gave My Son My Last Name

While we prepared for our son’s arrival, Reggie and I would have long discussions about potential names, just like every other couple. But we had an added complication: what would his last name be?

You see, I have something to confess: in case my extensive social media presence didn’t tip you off, I never took my husband’s last name after we got married. Admittedly, I had every intention to change my name while we prepared for our wedding; I even wrote my supposed married name on our marriage license. But months passed, and my willingness to complete the paperwork waned… And I ultimately realized that I was putting off the name change because I didn’t want a name change.

MJP-0547
Ms. C & Mr. B on our wedding day (© Michael James Photography 2014)

I realized that the practice of a woman assuming her husband’s surname was unnecessary (people would tell me that the name change was needed for insurance or tax purposes, which is completely untrue) — and, frankly, undesirable. I equated changing my name with changing my identity: I had no desire to become an entirely different person, and marriage wasn’t going to change my passions, my goals, or my priorities. So I decided to drop the “B.” from “Sarina C.B.,” and I continued on as “Sarina C.” For good.

Continue reading “The Kid with the Long-Ass Name: Why I Gave My Son My Last Name”