Author: Christa Allard


I see the signs of summer’s end creeping into our daily routine. My daughter’s summer activities have tapered from a flood to a trickle as each one ends. I laugh at myself now, fearing at the beginning of summer that I was over scheduling my five year old; now I’m fretting about how to keep us busy in these last two weeks. When my summer semester began, my five o’clock drive into clinical was accompanied by a sleepy sun; lately, I’ve been making my way to the hospital in the dark. Fall is coming. It’s right around the corner. I’m told I’m supposed to be teary about my baby headed off to kindergarten in mere weeks. It does feel significant; it feels like the true beginning of her life as a kid, one where mom isn’t around all the time. Where I won’t be the one primarily influencing what she’s exposed to. Where she’ll be trusted to make her own choices. Wait – I won’t be around all the time? I can’t control everything she’s exposed to? I have to trust in her choices?? Forget the tears and pass me a paper bag. Truly, though, we’re both more excited than apprehensive about the upcoming school year. I think on some level she and I both are ready for a little more time apart from each other. I think it’ll...

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Long days short years (more than a) Few tears Keep them close But at arms length Weak in the knees Or beg for strength Tight squeezes Pushing back Extreme connection (then the lack) Doing your best Doubting all Full heart Trust fall We carry them for a time But they’re within us for good The push and pull Of...

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Be Still Together

This night…I’m as sleepless as I was five years ago, except this time she’s beside me instead of within me. But always within me; always a piece of me… It’s clear that one of my favorite times with my daughter is snuggling her to sleep at night. No matter what the day brought, it’s our chance to regroup and reconnect – a reset button for the day to come. It’s our chance to be still together, to lay quietly after the noise of the day. Tonight I lay beside her on her last night as a four year old. This time, five years ago, I laid in a hospital bed, not yet with her by my side. I’d been in labor for 24 hours already. I was tired and ready to meet her. Ready, yet terrified of them opening me up and bringing her out, leaving me raw and exposed. Motherhood can do that to you; leave you raw and exposed. They said it was time. It was my first difficult choice as a parent. It was the first time I had to put her needs ahead of my own. It was the first time it truly mattered that I had to push through the fear and do it anyway. We may have already bonded in those first nine months that I carried her with me inside my body,...

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Baby face

It’s late, but my daughter isn’t feeling well and is having trouble sleeping. She’s got me pulled in close, playing with my ear as she always had, and I’m simultaneously basking in the snuggle and trying to avoid her germy breathing. Up close like this, I can still see in her face the little baby I used to hold all night long. It hasn’t been that long, after all; she’s not yet five. But lately she’s appeared older than her years, in the way she interacts with adults, her sense of humor, her mannerisms and inflection in her speech. It has become harder and harder to remember not having her in my life. It seems she’s always been here, and yet it’s in the moments like this one when I catch her baby face and am reminded how new to this world she still is. I tend to push her to grow and learn – that’s what we do, right? – but the truth is I still need her to still need me. I may roll my eyes by the third time in a row she claims she can’t do something for herself that I know she can, but what about the day when she no longer asks for my help? Won’t I then be longing for the times she would drag me onto the floor to again explore...

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Two times parenting has made me question my feminism (and why my feminism is stronger because of it)

My first degree was in sociology and women’s studies. I chose it because I loved it. I liked that my classes pushed me to think out of my comfort zone and consider possibilities I didn’t know existed. I didn’t understand what feminism was before college, and it was there that it increasingly became a pivotal part of my identity. And yet, it wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized just how narrow my understanding of what it meant to be a feminist actually was. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit now how exclusively I had internally defined feminism for so many years, despite outwardly working towards equality. I didn’t realize that disconnect, but parenting, as it has a way of doing, has opened my eyes to many of my weaknesses, including those in my work empowering women. Here are two ways parenting has challenged my idea of feminism, and helped me become more inclusive: 1. Being a stay-at-home mom is not anti-feminist. I graduated college with a goal of creating a career. I wanted to get married and have children, but I had a murky understanding of how that would fit into my career. Mind you, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted my career to be, but at the time I was determined to work; after all, so many of my classes emphasized equality in the...

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