Got 99 Problems, but a List Ain’t One

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All right. So I don’t have 99 problems. Maybe there are two sorta complaints, if I’m being particularly grouchy about things. But this was probably my one opportunity to quote Jay-Z on a parenting blog. #justletmebegreat

Big, happy news to report, friends. Ms. Mary Mack made Babble’s Top 100 Mom Blogs. And we’ve got a splendid badge to show for it, too. Here it is below, and also in its new home: just glance over there to your right. A little lower. There! Pretty, ain’t it?

Making this whole thing even sunnier? MMM came in at Number 50!

“I like to kick, stretch and kick — I’m 50!”  

Sally O’Malley and S-dot Carter quotes aside, this is really a great honor. To be listed along with these remarkable women I admire and respect — mothers carving out their own molds for how to parent — is just the extra sprinkle of sugar on what has been a delightful blogging experience. Thank you, friends, for reading along through it all.

Now, let’s celebrate a bit. Since we haven’t given a Fa-la-la-lala Alert yet this week, this feels like the perfect time to just that.

The question: What are your top two (or three!) Christmas/Holiday songs? These are the ones that raise your cheer every time. So much so that you might even consider listening to them in the middle of the year, during a heatwave. These songs are THAT happy-making.

Here are mine, I think, and in no real order:

  1. “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole
  2. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney
  3. TIE (why not just make it top 4, right? I don’t know. A tie seems more Yuletide-y.):
    “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway + “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” by Bing Crosby & David Bowie.

Leave yours down below in the comments or head over to the MMM Facebook Page and list your top songs there (while you’re at it, do “Like” us if you haven’t already. Thanks!).

The prize: A $15 iTunes gift card, so that you may load up on some of these holly, jolly jams.

Guest Post: I’m Becoming My Mother … Yaaay!

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I cannot tell you how I met author and blogger Ernessa T. Carter. It’s a secret. Well, it’s more like a secret group … but already, I’ve said too much.

What I can say is that she’s a smart, funny writer-mom raising a two-year-old daughter with her husband in California. Also? I’m rather pleased to have her on Ms. Mary Mack today with a guest post about becoming one’s mother.

So before loose lips sink any ships, I give you Ernessa …

———–

The other day while working at my office (Starbucks), I overheard two college-aged girls giggling over something one of them had done or said at a previous time. This something must have been pretty heinous, because the doer declared in the most dramatic of voices, “I’m like, ‘Oh no, I’m becoming just like my mother!’”

Oh, the horror — becoming like one’s mother.

What’s interesting about this common fear, is that you rarely overhear young men saying with such laughing terror, “Dude, I’m becoming just like my dad.”

Even my own husband often precedes a nitpicking sentence with, “Not to sound like my mother, but…” Yet, he never fears aloud sounding like his father, who had his share of undesirable traits.

When my back gets raised over what I perceive as others picking on or making fun of the women who carried their silly selves around in their wombs for nine months — which is rather often now that I’m a mother myself — I remind myself that I’d probably feel the exact same way …  if my mother were not, in fact, dead.

The nice thing about having a dead mother is that you lose the somewhat natural ability to not appreciate her. I never, ever say out loud, “Not to sound like my mom.” On the contrary, I proudly represent for all the lessons she taught me. And I often begin sentences with, “Well, my mom used to say…” in the same tone of voice that scientists introduce statements of solid fact.

Yet, even I have to admit, that many of my most important life decisions have been predicated on not wanting to become my mother. In my twenties, I knew I wanted to be in a good marriage, not just in a marriage-marriage — that’s because my mother suffered through a bad marriage. Also, I diligently attend to my inherited low self-esteem, making sure that I surround myself with people that heighten my sense of self-worth as opposed to lowering it — that’s because I grew up with a mother who admired her daughters to bits, but didn’t think much of herself.

I’ve to realize over time that I have to take the good with the bad when it comes to my mother. I continuously strive to be like her in some ways, but I know that I am happier, because I am not like her in other ways.

In any case, whenever someone tells me that I’m just like my mother, I smile. What a compliment.

In addition to running the online magazine, Fierce and Nerdy, Ernessa T. Carter is the author of 32 CANDLES, a romantic comedy disguised as a novel, that is totally worth buying.

Don’t Call It a Comeback, Been Here a Year

MMM Showcase Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For the last few weeks, I’ve hinted about the “new” that we were brewing. Now, after many, many hours of building, tweaking, re-tooling, and resetting, it’s time to share it all with you.

Welcome to the sparkling fresh take on Ms. Mary Mack (Beta*)!
*We’re still adding some more flavors to this concoction.

Big thanks go out to Todd Wilson, who has a black belt in design and a gold medal in creativity. Down to the precise shade of orange, this man was focused. (And he’s always good for an involved chat about fonts, iPads, and college hoops.)

OK. A tour …

In addition to the insanely fresh coat of paint, there are also some new pieces added to the MMM mix. You’ll see them in full as we go about ripping off the plastic wrap around here. But let’s give you a taste of what to look for this month:

  • The Confab: It’s a gallery of experts sharing essential advice for an upgraded life. As much as we have been about celebrating motherhood and sharing parental intel, I wanted to add something more, a service, to this community we’re developing. In this new section, we’ll talk to experts about a range of topics—those things that are issues or challenges for mothers/parents. And we’ll go about putting together some solutions. The Confab debuts Wednesday (tomorrow!), so be sure to check back. Plus, there’s a little treat tucked into tomorrow’s post. Hint: It’s free!
  • Global Mamas: This is the “Whoa, Mama! Worldwide” project continued, but with a shorter, snappier name. And, friends, there’s this double-scoop-of-cool map that we’ve added to the project. Nothing short of fantastic! Again, raising a glass to Todd on this. Next country: Trinidad.
  • Third Thursdays: Yes, alliteration is always special, but you’ll want to drop by for this. The ever-fabulous (and fun) One Hungry Mama will be our resident Mother on a Mission, aiming to get us eating and serving good, healthy, colorful, fresh food at home. Yes, the same home with picky eaters, young palates, and often short-on-time parent-cooks. As OHM puts it, “Kids change the way we cook, but they don’t have to change how well we eat.” Aaah. So every Third Thursday, it will be OHM + MMM chopping it up in an e-mail exchange about good food and even better family. First one up: Next Thursday, April 21. Join us.

We’re very excited and proud about our new, snazzy wardrobe, but know that beneath it all, we’re the same ol’ gal, walking along with you as we make our way down this parenthood path.

Looking forward,

MMM

Oh, Haaaappeee Anniversary!

MMM Showcase Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Well, friends, we made it. Today marks ONE YEAR of Ms. Mary Mack.

(Wait, where’s the confetti? I thought I ordered the Blogger Confetti Deluxe package. Hmmph ...)

It’s been an utter delight hanging out with you, talking as we walk along this parenthood path. If I had to boil it all down to one thing that I’ve learned, the one thing I now know for sure, well, I would lose that game. I couldn’t name just one. Each post, each photo, each link, each story … all important, all part of an education. One that I hope we shared in, leaning on each other for answers.

This year of blogging also meant another year watching this magnificent boy—my son—grow, learn, laugh, live. And that experience leaves me clutching my full, warm heart every single day.

I love this kid. I love being his mother. He makes me laugh—that honest, middle of your spirit laugh. He brings me joy, a rich and sweet brand of happiness that you wish you could bottle and stash away for those grayer days.

QB has shown me that patience truly is an extension of kindness. And living this particular life has taught me that sometimes the most loving thing you can do is listen.

Ms. Mary Mack is all about celebrating motherhood. I’ve said it here before: Being a parent is a tough job, but you got this. You’re doing it right, friend. Believe that.

So I’m sharing this blogiversary with you folks. Thank you for reading, commenting and encouraging me to keep this thing in drive.

This is me, sprinkling a bit of confetti in your direction because, let’s be honest, don’t we all kind of deserve it?

Take us home, Fred …

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