jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Category Archives: Surviving Motherhood

The Playground Disappeared

The playground suddenly disappeared. This both is and is not a metaphor. We were heading to the library, the place I would take the kids for story hours and sing … Continue reading

July 5, 2017 · 2 Comments

Manipulated

She manipulates me. I have finished the hour-long process of reading to all four of them together something like Harry Potter or The War That Saved Me and then with … Continue reading

June 5, 2017 · 4 Comments

The Art of the Lost Hour

We all grow older, grow up, get stinky, lose track of time. We remember, and then we hold tight suddenly, lamenting. There’s nothing to be done about it at all but this, this one hour outside of time, to celebrate, to mourn, to repurpose into something new that we can hang on a wall to remind us of what was.

May 10, 2017 · 6 Comments

We the People…

  Midweek last week I had one of those strange moments where two very different things that are deeply related rubbed up against each other. Those are generally my favorite … Continue reading

January 29, 2017 · 14 Comments

A Week in Three Parts (You Don’t Stop When the Pom-Pom Drops)

Part I: Fishbone Leaves Last Saturday I was contemplating my role as a woman and a mother. I was deep in thought about who I am, and what I should be … Continue reading

November 11, 2016 · 5 Comments

The Morning After the Election, Still I Rise

Last night I stayed up as long as I could watching the television coverage of the election results. And then somewhere close to midnight I finally went upstairs to bed. … Continue reading

November 9, 2016 · 11 Comments

On Grief and Farm Stands

I was picking up our share at the local farm today. It’s been a long week with a boil water ban due to a water main break. It was strange … Continue reading

September 30, 2016 · 20 Comments

Labor Day Weekend, Where Did it Go?

  Today was the last day of summer, Labor Day weekend, two days away from the start of school. In the morning I headed out alone to the beach with … Continue reading

September 6, 2016 · 6 Comments

The In-Between

I stepped outside today and it was what we call nether weather. It was neither cool nor warm, windy or calm. It felt like there was no temperature, no sun, the … Continue reading

August 21, 2016 · 4 Comments

The Weightlessness of Water

I could sit underwater and watch my children swim for hours. Well, not hours. I’m no David Blaine. I can only hold my breath for about four times as long … Continue reading

August 5, 2016 · 9 Comments

Last Week of School

  It is their last week of school. And when I’m not feeling overwhelmed at the thought of a recent birthday just passed, or one looming ahead in two weeks, … Continue reading

June 21, 2016 · 7 Comments

Turning Six, Not To Be Missed

My baby is turning six. I know I always say this. My baby is turning four. My baby is turning five. But this time I mean it. My baby is … Continue reading

June 17, 2016 · 15 Comments

Turning Nine and the Football Cake

My son turned nine this weekend and I have absolutely nothing to say about it. I should. I want to say something. But I am in turns fake-preoccupied with something … Continue reading

May 16, 2016 · 18 Comments

We Went to the Ocean

We went to the ocean this weekend. I was resistant. “But we’ll miss three lacrosse games and two birthday parties and a lacrosse practice and an invitation to go to … Continue reading

April 20, 2016 · 20 Comments

Happy Jazz Handsy Valentine’s Day

My kids were talking about Valentine’s Day in the back row of the minivan. My five-year-old was beyond excited about the day. They had all been told to wear red, … Continue reading

February 16, 2016 · 14 Comments

What I Remember, There You Are

It begins like this. My alarm goes off and I get out of bed. My husband is already awake, because he is an early bird.  I get out of bed, … Continue reading

January 26, 2016 · 30 Comments

Elf on the Shelf Gets the Last Word

Something you might not know about me is that I’m not so into magical creatures. I mean, the Tooth Fairy forgot my kid last year (what a jerk, right?) and … Continue reading

December 27, 2015 · 7 Comments

The Big, Stupid Stuffed Panda

My seven-year-old daughter wants a stupid, stuffed panda for Christmas. Not just a stupid, stuffed panda, but a big, stupid stuffed panda, big enough to be bigger than her, for … Continue reading

December 17, 2015 · 19 Comments

Getting My NaNoWriMo On, One Bird At a Time

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, … Continue reading

November 30, 2015 · 28 Comments

Just Five Things

Lately I’ve been remembering the words of a woman I used to work with. She’d been diagnosed with one of those illnesses that takes away your ability to do what … Continue reading

October 27, 2015 · 27 Comments

Twin Posts: Mirror in the Sky

I spent the morning at my daughter’s school celebrating her seventh birthday. We had planned for me to make crafts with her class, a collaged ocean seascape and some hot … Continue reading

October 10, 2015 · 15 Comments

Learning to Go It Alone

I just realized that I hate to be alone. I was standing and wiping the counter, putting dishes in the dishwasher, mindlessly eating granola off the kids’ plates, and I … Continue reading

September 16, 2015 · 26 Comments

Last First Day of School

I began to see my day and the things I would do. Then my week and the things I hoped to accomplish, then my month, and so on. As I told my son, I guess you need new beginnings for sentimental endings and sentimental endings for new beginnings. And now it’s time for the next new beginning.

September 10, 2015 · 9 Comments

The Last Last Time

I was wringing out wet bathing suits and hanging them over the deck railing. Our front porch is about fifteen feet from the road with a lively view of the … Continue reading

September 8, 2015 · 12 Comments

The Summer of Enough

Last week my email account resent a bunch of emails with photo attachments, emails I’d sent a year ago. And my sister replied to a very back-to-school looking picture as … Continue reading

September 2, 2015 · 21 Comments

August is the Cruelest Month

This morning, as my husband walked out the front door, he reminded me that the painters were coming tomorrow and that we needed to vacate the house. They would come … Continue reading

August 30, 2015 · 15 Comments

I Don’t Like Eight-Year-Old Boys, the Never Ending Sequel

I don’t like eight-year-old boys.You might remember that I didn’t like seven-year-old boys much either. It’s hard to describe what the actual thing is that he does that drives me … Continue reading

August 28, 2015 · 6 Comments

How You Measure Half a Life

It happened. The kind people at Mamalode published my essay on their August theme Optimism, How You Measure Half a Life. And ironically, it’s a meditation on whether there is … Continue reading

August 8, 2015 · 26 Comments

100 Rejections

My sister had a brilliant idea for my nieces’ thirteenth birthdays. What do you give young women who have pretty much everything they need? Words of wisdom. My sister asked … Continue reading

August 4, 2015 · 30 Comments

Summer Camp, All Alone

This week is camp week. You know the kind I mean. You slather four children in sunscreen, pack four bags with yesterday’s damp swimsuits and towels, and then send them … Continue reading

July 30, 2015 · 14 Comments

U2 Can Have Your Cake and Eat It… Too

In six degrees of separation how would we get from U2 to a Doc McStuffins cake? Doc McStuffins cake, inspired by the Doc McStuffins cartoon, for which China Anne McClain … Continue reading

July 23, 2015 · 18 Comments

The Tooth Fairy Forgot to Come Last Night

The tooth fairy forgot to come last night. Mica walked into my bedroom this morning, waking me with his sad, sweet little face and shuffling footy pajama’ed feet. He said with the … Continue reading

May 20, 2015 · 27 Comments

Little League, It Ain’t No Big Thing

I admit it. I was equipment-shamed by the guy at Modell’s. And Modell’s by the way? It sort of sucks. I’d much rather go to Dick’s. Especially with my mother … Continue reading

May 6, 2015 · 15 Comments

Silent All These Years/ Fireworks Mash-Up (For My Daughter)

The other day I heard that Tori Amos song on the radio. I was driving in the minivan, picking the kids up from school. I was loaded… with carseats and … Continue reading

April 23, 2015 · 6 Comments

Learning to Swim

I started swimming again, and it’s been a revelation. I grew up with a pool in the backyard. I have memories of swimming with my sisters at night while my … Continue reading

March 30, 2015 · 23 Comments

Who Are You Going to Be When You Grow Up?

I was driving to school to pick up the kids in my minivan. Like I do every day. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I pulled up behind this truck. WOOD PELLETS HOT … Continue reading

March 5, 2015 · 12 Comments

In Defense of Winter

My four-year-old daughter said it to me this morning. “What if this-” she gestured pathetically out the car window, “-is still here in June?” And I felt for her. She … Continue reading

March 4, 2015 · 15 Comments

Melancholic Birthday Girl, Carry On

I’m a melancholic birthday girl, and it shows. I think my kids picked up on the impending doom of my birthday and my sad-sack state, because they were straight up punks for the week … Continue reading

February 28, 2015 · 24 Comments

Something About Now (Valentine’s Day 2015)

Tim found some old videos on his computer. What with hard-discs being full and switching from desktop dinosaurs to laptops and iPads and iPhones, we hadn’t seen these videos for awhile, … Continue reading

February 15, 2015 · 4 Comments

Reading (to My Children)

I love books. I love to read them. I dream about writing one someday. My shelves are covered, covered, covered with books. Because once one has acquired a book, whether … Continue reading

January 20, 2015 · 19 Comments

The Betta Fish, the Sugar, and the Fevers

I had a dream last night that I killed one of the betta fish. In the dream it was in the same glass bowl we had goldfish in as a … Continue reading

January 12, 2015 · 4 Comments

Ten Minutes of Thankful (and Then Some)

I was talking the other night with an old friend. She was feeling sad, and bad, and blue. The holidays, the dark winter days, family pressures and perceived failures seemed … Continue reading

January 1, 2015 · 27 Comments

The Twins Turn Six (from the Basement Tapes)

Again and again this year I found myself beginning posts I never finished or finishing posts I never polished enough to post. So they’ve sat half-lost in a virtual notepad, … Continue reading

December 20, 2014 · 10 Comments

Elf on the Shelf: A Re-Purposed Re-Poem

It’s the first day of December and what should appear? But Mr. Elf on the Shelf, the puppet so dear. He’s hiding in nooks, humping a small wooden lamb Frosty Bo … Continue reading

December 2, 2014 · 19 Comments

Sleeping Children, Peace, and Other Thankful Thoughts

Tim brought Mica to me last night. I was in bed. We were watching television, the president juxtaposed against Ferguson, burning cars and police in riot gear throwing tear gas, … Continue reading

November 26, 2014 · 8 Comments

Life’s a Journey: This Woman’s Work

[I’ve been away. And honestly, I’ve missed you. And this. And feedback (jazz handsssss.) But I had some art to make and a birthday party for the twins and so … Continue reading

November 14, 2014 · 39 Comments

One Year Blog-o-versary, 100 Years

It’s been a year in the blogosphere since I first began, and I had such high hopes. I wanted to write a one year post with that song 100 Years by … Continue reading

October 1, 2014 · 22 Comments

Life is More Than a Chopped Up To-do List

Today, at pre-school drop-off a convergence of exhausted harried Mamas met somewhere between the butterfly garden and the fairy garden. We stood, sort of gasping for air, and my eyes … Continue reading

September 30, 2014 · 14 Comments

On Acrobats, Motherhood and Friendship

I am a circus performer. I am the tightrope walker, the fire breather (although usually only in the morning before brushing my teeth), the clown in the striped shirt doing jazz … Continue reading

September 18, 2014 · 29 Comments

Found in the Fog

Last weekend was our last in Maine, or at least the last real day of summer for us. I awoke early, crept to the window and was despondent. There was nothing, … Continue reading

September 9, 2014 · 16 Comments

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