jen groeber: mama art

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

Category Archives: Surviving Motherhood

When the World Falls Apart… Again

When my children were little, like really little, I would go with them to playdates. The parent (usually a mom) and I would sit on the floor together and pour … Continue reading

March 29, 2023 · 3 Comments

My Not-So-Little One Graduates 8th Grade

He’s fifteen now, with his own phone, his own ideas about everything, including how long his hair should be and whether or not his new mismatched sneakers count as dress shoes. He is his own person.

July 11, 2022 · 6 Comments

The Choking Silence (Just Breathe)

There’s something about our days now that is familiar. It is heavy in a way and light, too. I know where all the things are but I’m tired of putting … Continue reading

April 15, 2020 · 8 Comments

Learning to Lean Your Sequined Heart Against Another Human

I cried this afternoon at my computer. But not for the reasons I should be crying at my computer, like pandemics and people not being able to get their organ … Continue reading

March 26, 2020 · 27 Comments

48 Is…

Last night we went out to eat at a favorite restaurant with my in-laws, my hubby, and kids. Which seems more like an expected kind of birthday. But the one … Continue reading

February 26, 2019 · 7 Comments

Being Luna Lovegood

I’ve had a bit of a weird jumbly year so far. Not especially bad, but not especially good either. Just last week, one week into the new year, I lost … Continue reading

January 25, 2019 · 3 Comments

Preadolescence. It’s a Thing.

  Oh my god. Preadolescence. It’s a thing. And I knew this thing was coming. I won’t say this day because it’s more than a day it’s a passage, an … Continue reading

January 15, 2019 · 7 Comments

See You In the New Year

It’s not that I haven’t written. I’ve written a lot. In the last few months I’ve reread and rewritten approximately 250 pages. Then I’ve forward written just under 200 more … Continue reading

December 25, 2018 · 3 Comments

Goddamn August, I Say a Little Prayer For You

I’ve been reading about writing; Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Stephen King’s On Writing, and now Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer. It’s a sort of self-imposed syllabus, otherwise called, … Continue reading

August 25, 2018 · 7 Comments

He Turns Eleven

He is the best of us and the worst of us and so many things I no longer get to write about because while he is still mine, his stories for the most part are not. But it’s all right there now on his own little world stage, the field, classroom or couch, or stretched across his bed.

May 21, 2018 · 23 Comments

Standing at the Edge

We went for a walk today. It had snowed and was cold but my husband had the car and we needed to get out. Like, get out. They’d been ganging … Continue reading

February 23, 2018 · 4 Comments

Women’s March 2018/ (Don’t) Take a Drunk Girl Home

Take a drunk girl home. That’s not a sentiment of mine. I don’t think it’s anything I’ve ever said before today. Take a drunk girl home. But it’s a song. … Continue reading

January 26, 2018 · 4 Comments

I Ran Over My Daughter’s Boot (Who’s Responsible?)

I ran over my daughter’s boot this morning. Thankfully, her foot was not in it. We were two minutes late for school, two minutes for which my oldest son was … Continue reading

January 11, 2018 · 15 Comments

Rabbit, Rabbit, 2018

We got stuck behind the train crossing on the way to school this morning. Of course it happened, because it is the first day back to school for the kids … Continue reading

January 4, 2018 · 9 Comments

We’re Gonna Let It Burn

I cried as I drove along, as the principal described how routine lockdown drills are, how well prepared the kids were. I’m not sure why I cried. It just seemed like so much. So much luck? So much good timing? Or so many guns.

November 16, 2017 · 4 Comments

I’m Learning to Fly (But I Ain’t Got Wings)

“You know which one was my favorite, don’t you?” I asked my husband as we sat side by side last night catching up on Ray Donovan. We’d paused the episode … Continue reading

October 3, 2017 · 14 Comments

An Ode to the Second Day of School

The first day of school is a shitstorm of pain. Is it sunny and hot with a chance of cold rain? Why is it so damn early, every year such … Continue reading

September 8, 2017 · 3 Comments

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 · 4 Comments


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 · 6 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 · 12 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 · 21 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

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