Kristen Mittler, curator of the Instagram account @OLDJOY and the author of the emotional and touching MOON SCHOOLING ELEANOR blog, “sat down” with me in 2015 to work on a blog series called Rad Moms. While many interviews fell through, I am so thankful to still have this gem. Kristen continues to remind me how precious motherhood is and inspire me to be a better mother… and human.
What’s in your purse?
i’ll be honest … the contents of my purse are quite boring for two reasons: i am not very glamorous and i do not leave home often. as a result of those two things, i usually only carry my wallet, one diaper, a ziploc baggie of wipes and smith’s minted rose lip balm. i always carry my lifefactory water bottle with me wherever i go and have for years. if i forget it at home, i am completely lost.
What is your favorite thing to do for yourself?
when i first read this question, i was going to say something like going the movies alone, or a solo trip to target … but really, my favorite thing to do alone is sit in bed … undies, no bra, husband’s white tee … and watch tv while eating a bowl of cereal. usually, i will be watching reruns of the office, the sopranos or law & order svu. for me, rewatching tv shows is the equivalent of a really long hug.
What do you believe is the most important thing women can do to promote positive energy + actions between themselves and other women?
the other day, a friend of mine shared an article with me from huffington post about comparison and women in social media … basically, it was saying to stop believing in it. put it out of your mind that comparison is a real thing and try to just enjoy your own life and find joy in the happiness of others. this hit me so hard because for the longest time … i felt so inadequate. like my life is a fraud and her life isn’t. she is ACTUALLY the perfect mom or wife or woman. once i got passed that .. i was able to see the human in everyone. that we are not perfect. not one of us. and that she may take a perfect photo, but on the outer edges, the edges that we cannot see … is a pile of dirty dishes and two empty cans of diet coke. and i fucking love that. i love that more than the pretty picture. so i guess in short the answer to that question is … stop comparing.
As a woman (or just as a human being) what would you consider to be your biggest hurdle, day-to-day? How do you overcome that?
my biggest hurdle is myself. absolutely. i can self destruct in the blink of an eye. i feel almost ashamed to admit it, but on my dark days i can convince myself that me being the mother of my children is, in fact, the worst thing that has or ever will, happen to them. i am a very irritable person. sometimes i feel so full of rage that i could kill the angriest lion with my bare hands. i know it stems from childhood. i manage it okay, but it’s tough. i know well enough that life is a choice and my actions are everything. i think being aware of our faults is the first step in moving forward. never letting it affect another person. especially the ones we love. i don’t want my children to ever know rage, so everyday i choose to show them love instead. i have made mistakes and my guilt is my guardian angel. one time, my daughter was misbehaving so badly that before i knew what i was doing, i was grabbing her. like sort of rough by the arms. after a few seconds i realized what was happening and i pulled her in and held her so tight. afterwards, i went to the bathroom, closed the door and hyperventilated for what felt like forever. it felt really good to type those words right now. anyway, i overcome it because i want to overcome it. i want to be the best person, the best friend, the best wife, the best mother and the best woman for my family. and for myself.
What advice can you give to new mothers?
just love them and everything else will fall into place.
What has been a big lesson you’ve learned, transitioning from your teen years up till now?
i love this question .. i would say that over time, i have learned who i am. every strong and weak part of me … and owning up to every part of you is crucial. i don’t ever have to be a fraud. if i fuck up … fine. own it, learn a lesson and carry that lesson with you wherever you go. if i do something really great, it’s okay to feel really great about it. also, never claim to know something that you know nothing about, but be willing to learn. gosh, those teen years to thirty is such a roller coaster. i’m glad the ride is over. now ill just embrace being me.
Who would you consider to be your hero or biggest inspiration?
i don’t have a hero. i like real people and im inspired by them. a cranky waitress makes me smile … she is there and she’s pouring my coffee and she’s pissed, but she’s there, pouring my coffee anyway. an old man who walks up to wolfgang at the grocery store and says nothing … just stares … i love that. he knows he doesn’t have to make small talk with me and that it’s totally fine to just stare at a baby and smile. kids inspire me. their honesty is a breathe of fresh air. why do most of us grow up and lose that? after college, i worked at the state mental hospital for five years and the patients would find joy in the smallest things. a cup of hot cocoa was there whole world. ever sense i left that job, i have never forgotten that. it was a lesson. an inspiration. to let a really good cheeseburger change my life. to find joy in a new pair of socks or a hug from a stranger. soak up every deserving pleasure and moment.
What are you most proud of about yourself?
i am most proud that i finally found the courage to start a blog and say what i’m thinking and not what i think other people want to hear. in the beginning, i thought i wanted it to be a broad range of topics and how to’s and DIYS and all that typical blog stuff (which i love), but it’s not really me and i am proud that i do not pressure myself into writing about things that maybe i don’t want to write about.
These photos belong to Kristen Mittler of MOON SCHOOLING ELEANOR and @OLDJOY on Instagram. This post originally appeared on my blog, THE SENTIMENTAL CYNIC in February 2015.