Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?
In the span of less than a year, I became a parent, left my job, and moved from a big city to a small town of about 3,500. I traded in my life of happy hours, high-end restaurants and theater performances for diapers, baby food and story time at the library. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world, but it’s been a pretty dramatic lifestyle change. From my new vantage point I can see with new clarity all the things I took for granted in my “old” life.
I now work from home part-time, and most people think they’d do the same in a heartbeat if they had the chance. But working from home has made me acutely aware of all the things that are awesome about working in an office – the morning chats with coworkers, the potlucks and holiday parties, the lunchtime gossip sessions. Having coworkers Read more
I’ve written before about how my old opinions about parenting went right out the window as soon as I actually had a kid. No screentime before age 2, all home-made baby food, never losing my temper… yeah, I didn’t stick to any of those. But here’s another opinion from that list that I hope I can actually follow through on: not lying to my son.
I’m not making an argument for 100% candor. There are concepts that are too mature for my almost-2-year-old son, and complexities that I put in simpler terms that he can understand. What I’m talking about is the little white lies of convenience – the things that come out of our mouths without much thought at all Read more
As long as he’s outside, my son is a pretty easy kid to entertain. It’s amazing to me how long he can stay occupied just digging in the dirt, throwing rocks in a stream, or simply walking around wielding a stick. So if the weather’s decent, you’ll probably find us wandering around the neighborhood. On one such day I was trailing after my son while he tromped, stick in hand, down the sidewalk. We walked by a neighbor’s house, where visiting relatives’ young children were playing in the front yard. We paused so my son could “say hello” (or his version of it) to the kids, and as we walked away an isolated phrase floated to my ears: “Stick Boy.” I didn’t catch the context, but the little boy’s tone was unmistakable. He was making fun of my son.
The words were like a punch to the gut. I will readily admit Read more
The day your first child is born, there are about a million ways in which life as you know it will never be the same. Here are a few truths about motherhood that I never really thought about before I became a mom.
1) We hear our babies crying all. the. time. Neighbor’s dog barking? Distant ambulance siren? Goose honking while it flies by? Somehow they all – at least momentarily – sound like our baby’s cry.
2) We learn just how much it’s possible to accomplish with only one arm. Who knew I could make Nutella cupcakes with buttercream frosting while holding my infant son the entire time?
3) Things come out of our mouths that we never would have expected. “Sweetie, don’t chew of Papa’s flip flop.” “No honey, that’s not Mama, that’s Michelle Obama.”
4) Our kisses take on the magical power to make pain disappear.
5) Even if we absolutely swore we’d never do baby-talk, Read more
Becoming a parent has made me eat my words. A lot of them. Before I had my son, I had plenty of opinions about the best way to raise kids. If a mom mentioned in passing a TV show that their 18-month old enjoyed, I’d think to myself “that kid shouldn’t be watching television! Pediatricians recommend no screen time before age 2!” At social functions, I’d silently judge parents who would let their little ones just eat junk food. From discipline techniques to bedtimes, I had endless opinions about what parents could be doing better.
Dealing with the struggles of real-world parenting has been a major wake-up call. At a recent Super Bowl party, my son basically ate hamburger rolls and cookies for dinner… I see now that getting your kid to eat apple sauce when everyone around them is eating junk food is essentially impossible. His normal diet is pretty darn good, and we’ll all survive some unhealthy snacking during the occasional party. And yes, my son (now 20 months old) watches TV. What started Read more
You made it through a year of parenthood! Before your very eyes, your baby transformed from a tiny helpless creature who could basically only eat, poop and sleep into an active one-year-old who can laugh, crawl, play, and might even be starting to walk or talk. Baby’s first birthday isn’t just a milestone for her – it’s also the anniversary of the day you became a parent. The day your little one was born, your life changed forever. You’ve probably never known such joy and love, but you’ve also probably never felt quite so exhausted. It’s easy for mommy-hood to completely take over your life and identity for a while. I think this is pretty normal. Particularly in the first few months, your baby is so helpless that it takes all your time and energy just to tend to his needs. But by the time baby has turned one, life has most likely calmed down a little, and baby is probably better able to handle being apart from you. Once all the presents have been opened and the icing has been cleaned out from behind baby’s ears, Read more
The draw of the screen is undeniable – well before my son’s first birthday, he was already eager to get his hands on any cell phone left within his reach. While tablets and smartphones can certainly be a lifesaver in our moments of desperation with our little ones, I worry about how addictive these devices can be. My prime childhood years took place before most families even had personal computers at home, and I can’t help but feel nostalgic for that low-tech era. I remember inventing games with my neighborhood friends, riding our big wheels down the hill, getting sprayed with the hose to stay cool in the summer, and hours of entertainment with a huge cardboard box when the family next door got a new fridge. My son will grow up surrounded by much more technology that I did – there’s no getting around that fact. But the experiences that make childhood memorable are unlikely to involve playing computer games! Here are 25 screen-free experiences I want my little guy to have during his childhood years: Read more