First of All, This Isn't Goodbye

Change can be scary, but I happen to love it. I’m a change addict. I have to always move furniture around and refresh and renew and redo things. I like change. And this one, for me, is a big one. I’ve been writing as Mamatoga for almost seven years. That’s the longest “job” I have ever had. And to be honest with you, I didn’t expect to write this blog for this long with this name that I chose on a whim before I even knew what it was I was doing. So, it’s time for a change. And here it is.

First, let me share a letter I wrote to my children a couple weeks back, which I think will be great as a sort of "last post" on this blog...A few weeks ago I went with my mother and my oldest and some good friends to the Women’s March/Rally in Albany, and it was pretty amazing. Like my friend Lauren said, there was a shift. A shift of some kind, something definitely is shifting. We all feel it, I think. I tried to explain it to my daughter, but ultimately I told her that this is not your call to action, you will find that yourself. This is your call to pay attention, because this will go by fast. Start taking notes.

Here's the "letter" part: The thing is, I’m done with motherhood being this delicate, precious thing. Mama. Mommy. It’s all well and good but let’s face it, it’s some hard core stuff. Giving birth? It’s insane. Raising people you created? It’s not cute. It’s incredibly hard and gut wrenching and beautiful and incredible. Being a mother, being a woman, it’s an awesome thing, in all the scary and unbelievable ways.
I realized I am not going to teach my daughters, or my sons for that matter, that they can do “it all”. You can’t. It's impossible. You can do anything you want, but you cannot, and should not, try to do all the things at once, all the time. Life is going to be all about choices. If you don’t make them they will eventually be made for you. There’s no way around it, most times you just cannot take two paths. And these choices are not going to be easy. You will not know every time if you made the “right” choice, there won’t always be a right choice. I wish I could tell you that you can just listen to your heart and you’ll find the way maybe with a helpful little snowman friend singing about summer or whatever but the truth is that listening to your heart isn’t the whole deal. Listen to your heart, yes, but also never, never underestimate the power of educating yourself about all of your possible choices.
There’s nothing I want to protect you from. Life is so messy and complicated and can be difficult and sad and all of the things. But it is, all of the things. Happiness is because of sadness and quiet is because of noise, embrace the whole big beautiful mess and don’t run away from the hard stuff. It will find you, and deal with you, if you don’t deal with it head on the way you want to. Do your thing. I will be here to shield you from the occasional storm, but only so I can show you how to build your own shield. I always joke with my children that I want them to go to college nearby and never leave me but I also tell them that my job here is to push them out of this nest one day in the near future and they damn well be prepared to fly. Alone.
We are all fighters. That’s the thing. Sometimes its in us from the beginning, sometimes it needs something to set it alight. Some people will go their whole lives never finding the spark, but if you don’t feel like you’re ever on fire then keep searching. Let something move you and consume you and push you and invigorate you, but never let something, or someone, extinguish you. You are not a snowflake. You are a muthaf*#king beam of starlight. Now do your thing, girl. Do your thing.

It’s 2018, the Super Mom no longer exists (if she ever did, or maybe we all went along with it because Pinterest brainwashed us). But if the Super Mom is gone, so is the “Bad Mom”. Let’s stop pretending we think we are “bad moms” if we don’t bake gluten free organic cookies for a bake sale or helicopter-parent our children through law school. We know we aren’t bad moms for being human, so let’s stop pretending like we think we are and let’s sure as hell stop judging anyone else.

Human is the one thing we really are, we are humans, who created other humans, so let’s do that. Let’s not raise super people who attempt to multitask until they drop every ball, let’s raise kind and giving and soulful people that will want to raise kind and giving and soulful people.

Mamatoga started out as, well I'm not totally sure. A "mom blog", I guess. I have shared and shared, and you guys have shared and shared, and I have written and cried and laughed and announced two pregnancies and have taken countless photos and have created magazines and little spin offs and have called people out on their crap and have gotten angry and sad and happy and all the things. And I have loved it. But really, what I love the most about Mamatoga, is the community. And that is why it's time to transition this little mom blog into something bigger, into the next step, which is broadening it to include more voices, more community, more muthas. So, like I said, it's not goodbye, it's see you later, and I will see you on The Mutha Board. xoxo Jenny

I Will Not Be Bullied

Earlier today, I received a card in the mail. It is pictured below, with my address hidden.

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It frightens me beyond belief that someone would take the time to write this card, and mail it to me, finding out my address. Cutting the "ho ho ho" part out. Really just taking the time to do this. It's scary.

But I want you to know, I won't be bullied.

I will NOT be bullied.

Could this be a reaction to this post where I called out the strangers who harrassed us at my daughter's ballet performance? Maybe, but those individuals were nameless and description-less in my piece, other than age ranges and gender, so it is surprising that someone would get that worked up about it, but then again, they called me a horrible parent for bringing a three year old to the ballet so who knows really.

So I wanted to share this with all of you, in the hopes that one of you know who decided to send this to me, and decided to threaten me and my family, and name call. Purposely using the holiday to disguise their hatred. If this handwriting looks familiar to you, or you know who did this, email me immediately at Jenny at mamatoga.com. I will not put up with anonymous, bullying behavior. It won't be tolerated. I will stand up for myself and I will always, always stand up for and protect my family.

I will also always strive to keep this space a positive community, as I have for the past seven years, but again, I want all of you to know that I won't be bullied. I won't. Don't mess with the Mama Bear.

You didn't take any joy out of my holiday, random stranger(?) who decided to be a Grinch. If anything you have made me want to make everything that much brighter around me and my community. You lose.