I'm staring down an open road, waiting to take the next step. Hemmed in by the vastness of the open space, my breath catches as the heat chokes my feeble grasp for air.
To understand what Magpie Momma is, you have to understand where it comes from:
I like to have a plan. Most of my life has been a series of calculated next steps. Of course there have been bends in the road, detours, and complete road closures at different junctions, but I have always found purpose and meaning in the plotting, the planning, the preparing for what’s next.
But as I sit here, just over two months into COVID-19 quarantine and just two months shy of the birth of my first child, there is no next step–or if there is, it’s clouded by my hazy vision. My husband and I met while we were both teaching, but when we decided to start a family, we both had to make difficult decisions about what our next steps would be because it was clear that emotionally and financially, the road we were on would sooner or later lead to a dead end. For my husband, that next step meant redirecting his focus back to a career in engineering, and for me, it meant taking some time to focus on learning how to be a mom.
I was raised on the backbone of third-wave feminism. The nuns at the prestigious, all-girls high school I attended instilled in us a ferocious courage to pursue the world at high speeds. The moxie of a career woman was the pulse that beat our drums in the war for advancement and achievement. Deciding not to pursue a high-profile career with my communication degree was a diversion enough from this long-established vision I had built for myself, but leaving the working world all together was never something I had imagined.
I know this is the right direction. I was disillusioned and dissatisfied with the education field anyway. I felt trapped with no way out and no way forward. The departure truly is a welcome one, and yet, for what feels like the first time in my life, I am facing a complete unknown. And if I’m honest, it’s best for me not to think about it for too long or I start to find it terrifying.
I know the immediate next steps of my life are going to be an exciting learning curve. They will be filled with onesies, baby cuddles, naps, diapers, swaddles, bottles, spit-up, and poop…lots of poop. I know I’m going to be learning the ins and outs of a whole new vocabulary of words like meconium, vernix, flange sizes, back-flow protectors, and let-downs. (Let’s just say, before this, “expression” either meant something you did with your face or an art movement.) And I’m ecstatically excited about all of that!
But what comes after? And what do I do for myself in the meantime? I feel lost when I’m not working on something or working toward something, and as the school year (my final school year) comes to a close and I stare down a long, hot Arizona summer approaching faster than a haboob in August, I know that I need something or I will lose my mind. This is the moment Magpie Momma was born.
Magpies can symbolize many things, but the meanings that really speak to me have to do with creative expression, re-evaluating priorities, and finding our calling in life. This project is an opportunity to explore those arenas, share lessons learned, and build a community with other mommas and creatives. We’re all just trying to figure it out, so let’s figure it out together.
At Magpie Momma, you’ll see a lot of writing, photography, and maybe even some art about marriage, motherhood, food, and life. There will be reflective essays, book and product reviews, and informative articles. There will be lots of mishaps and lessons learned. I hope Magpie will open a door to your own journey of creative expression and self-discovery so that we as a community of women can celebrate together the gift of living our lives to the fullest each day. I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you’ll stay awhile.