Saturday, October 15, 2016


 Last week I talked about how summer was very difficult for me. 

I really hoped that after that kind of season, the Universe would give me a pass and help us glide effortlessly right back into the school routine.  However, that was not the case.

Marie became very sick over Labor Day weekend.  A scary rash started in her face and then covered her entire body which we originally thought was an allergic reaction to red food dye.  I remained vigilant, noting the times I have her medication and taking photos of her rash.  We ended up going to the ER three times because none of her medications were working and her hands and feet became swollen along with an itchy, tight throat.

Being in the ER at 2am with my kid who is not responding to medicine is a scary place to be. Friends and family would let her know that they were worried for her, which makes an sensitive, analytical person like Marie feel uncomfortable. 

At one time, she asked me, “All of these people are worried about me, Mom.  Are you worried?  You don’t seem worried.”

The question took me a bit off guard, and I thought about what I wanted to say.  “I don’t have the luxury of being worried.  Worried is something that takes me to a place where my emotions take over and decisions are made out of fear.  I am concerned so I can remember important information to give to the doctors and help you get better.”  I wanted to dissolve into my worry and cry, but I needed the energy to stay focused.  She couldn’t feel safe if I was loosing my shit.   

Thomas noticed this laser-like focus.  It was the night before the first day of school, and Marie was devastated that she would not be going.  We were getting ready for bed, and I was giving Marie her medicine while Thomas was putting toothpaste on his toothbrush.  In the middle of Marie’s meltdown, Thomas not-so-gently reminded me, “You have to take care of me, too, Mom!”  Even though Harrington had been with him, it still didn’t fill the void of his mother’s undivided attention.

Mom guilt – it’s the worst.

After Marie was diagnosed with mycoplasma and fully recovered after her antibiotics, I felt the heavy weight of mom guilt as I left my children to go to New Jersey with my Mom and visit family.

It was the same pang  when I was relieved, instead of sad, when summer was over.  What kind of mom does not cherish! every! moment?!

A mom who fiercely loves her children and who has also experienced the unadulterated joy of feeding her soul with creativity, that’s who.

I almost wrote “but” instead of “and” in that sentence because it often feels that these two things cannot exist together.

And yet they must.

I show up for my family in big and important ways.  I am there in all the small, significant moments.  I flow in their lives, and like water, I pool up where I need to be.  I unapologetically take up space in their lives because, as a mother, that is what I am supposed to do.  That is what I want to do.

I then limit the space that I reserve for myself because I worry that it might take away from them.

But I am allowed to take up space, too.

I must remind myself that I am not less of a mom for needing to write.  This Magic Lessons podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert  interviews Glennon Doyle Melton serves as a good reminder.

After listening to Rob Bell’s podcast about seasons , I am reminded that this season of raising young kids is just that – a season.  It isn’t always going to be this frustrating nor will it always be this sweet.

But I can no longer deny the importance of quiet time and creativity.

I need it.

What fills me will overflow into them, clearing a space to fully soak up the light of each season.

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot space motherhood creativity

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot space motherhood creativity


Since I am committing more time to writing my book, my blog might not be as active.

I have a newsletter that I send out 1-2 times a month.  You can sign up here.

You can always find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I would love to connect with you there, too!

Saturday, October 8, 2016


I am unbelievably glad that it is the first week of October.  I am filled with happiness not only because my birthday is fast approaching and few things bring me joy like celebrating my birthday since I get to choose where we get pizza (which will definitely not be the cheap pizza that the kids love) and I get to have cake and champagne.

That would be reason enough to ring in the fall season.

But if I am being truthful, I am relieved that summer is safely in the rearview mirror.  It was the most difficult summer I have had in a long time.

Leading up to the season, we were faced with a string of complications. 

Marie had a confirmed diagnosis of scoliosis, and she needed to be fitted for her back brace.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings seasons blog post scoliosis brace

I got braces on my teeth to prep for a tooth implant that needed to be done ten years ago.

Then there were ALL of the end of school events which relentlessly shoved us right into our summer routine.  This new schedule had me viewing the first few weeks of summer through my minivan windshield while chauffeuring the kids to swim, theater, gymnastics, and Lego camp.

All while Harrington was home for approximately 12½ days in June.

I felt disorientated and frustrated as I drifted further away from my center.

The cat was frustrated, too, and vented his feelings by spraying the walls with urine.  Also my underwear drawer because he really needed to drive home his point.  Message received, Scott Awesome.

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot season black cat

We both dealt with this in our own way.

Scott Awesome went on Prozac.

I went to a yoga silent retreat.  One reason being that we couldn’t share the Prozac.  When I made a joke about sharing to the pharmacist, he did not laugh one bit.  I feared that he would call the authorities about a wild-eyed mother who appeared to be drug seeking the tiniest about of controlled substance through her cat.

I was desperate to take a moment away from my mom duties.  Although jail would give me a break from my kids, I don’t think it would have been as restorative as the preplanned yoga trip, which quite honestly, was life-changing and deserves its own post.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few good memories that were sprinkled through the season.

Like the time we went to Myrtle Beach.  We played on the beach (when we weren’t dodging jellyfish).  We also ate Krispy Kreme donuts right off of the assembly line which was more magical than I anticipated.

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot myrtle beach family vacation

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot myrtle beach family vacation krispy kreme

Or the times we went to the park and they played so nicely with each other I thought that my heart would explode.

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot park

But overall, it was not easy.  Everything – life, writing, being a mom and a wife – it felt clunky and heavy.  I often wondered what business I had writing a book while mothering young kids. 

With all my mixed up feelings of guilt and relief, I ran towards the first day of school with the promise that balance would be restored.

Of course our transition from summer to fall was not smooth at all.

But because I am writing my book, I will need to talk about all the things like mom guilt and how much space I really allow myself to fill up in next week’s blog post.

How was your summer?  How’s your fall starting off?


Since I am committing more time to writing my book, my blog might not be as active.

I have a newsletter that I send out 1-2 times a month.  You can sign up here.

You can always find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I would love to connect with you there, too!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Motherhood - Otherwise Known as the Most Difficult Thing I've Even Attempted

Raising babies to be healthy, happy people  is the most difficult thing I've ever attempted to do - and that's on a good day. 

If there is anything else going on (and usually, it's always something), motherhood can push me right up against my edge, wondering if this is the time I might break. 

The past few months for Marie (and me) have been difficult. After years of motoring her for scoliosis, we have decided it was time for her to get a brace. 

After waiting in the tiny waiting area, an elderly gentleman (and I use that term very loosely) introduced himself and asked Marie to step on the scale. When she stepped off the scale, he chuckled to himself and asked her, "Hm. Do you like to eat?"

Marie looked at me with a mix of shock and confusion. He looked at me, and repeated the question, but this time more like an answer. "She likes to eat."  

I was in disbelief that he would address her weight in such a way. I was already off my game because I was so nervous about this appointment, so I gather whatever wits I have left and say, "Yes, she does like to eat."

He then briefly left the room, and Marie frantically asked, "Is he calling me fat?!"

Desperately trying to protect her, I told her, "Of course not!"

He then scoffed about how she was determined to not let this brace get in the way of her personal style.

I didn't think it could get any worse, but then he looked up from the X-Ray and asked me,  “Do you know what the number of her curve?”

“Uh, yes, I think so. But isn’t it on the x-ray?” I have 0 technical training in reading an X-ray, but I was able to find the number with an arrow pointing to the obvious curve in her back.

“Oh, yep.  There it is,” he said matter of factly.

Any shred of faith that I had in this guy was totally lost.

I wanted to bolt out of there, but felt trapped by the code of etiquette.

We got to the car, and I blurted out, “He was an asshole.  You know, someone once said something about my weight when I was a little older than you, and it really hurt my feelings.  But it wasn’t for me to take in.  Don’t take it in.”

She looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Just say you what you want say.  You know you want to say the MF word.”

Lost in a moment of truth and solidarity I hugged her close.  “You are right.  He was an mother f*ucking asshole.”

Ugh.  I was already feeling like failure.

 Maybe I should have gotten her those orthotics when she was a toddler and then we wouldn’t be in the mess now. 

And then I felt like I failed again because I just sat there in disbelief at ALL of the professional incompetnecies I witnessed in a 10 minute period instead of storming out. (Although she did witness me taking quick action of calling the office to cancel our brace, found a new place, and let our referring doctor know what happened).

I worry that because I didn’t call him out, she will think it is OK to have someone comment on her body.  I worry that I didn’t get angry enough in that office.  I worry that I got too angry after we left.   

This is just one scenario – never mind all the second-guessing I do about managing her anxiety.  And the reaching out to moms I don’t really know to try and make play dates – that’s so awkward that I actually feel like a tap-dancing monkey.  Maybe not exactly because the monkey might not have the self-awareness to analyze every bumbling conversation.

This is gig is hard.  So hard.  Some mornings I wake up with achy shoulders because I was literally clenching my body all night.  I try to approach uncomfortable motherhood situations like I approach a pose that I can’t stand in yoga (revolved moon, perhaps, or inverted triangle): deep breaths and an understanding that I am going to meet this pose in the body that I have today, which may or may not be different than last time.

But that focus is hard to sustain, especially when there is another child that needs me or laundry has to get done or I have to work and write.  It’s in those moments where my ego sneaks in and leads me to believe I have to work harder at controlling all of the variables.  It’s that constant struggle of “I am enough” and “You pretty much suck at this job.”

In the spirit of Mother’s Day and really embracing my self-care practice, I am going to lean towards “I am enough.”  Yes, I wish I could have been Beyonce in that doctor’s office and been all “boy bye.”   But it’s where I was at that moment.

We are all enough.

erin janda rawlings mommy on the spot motherhood post
This was taken at a family party.
There were a lot of people there so it was kind of rare to have a photo of just the two of us.
I wish every day looked that sparkly and put together.