If you’re worried about whether you’re a good parent, you probably are one

If you’re worried about whether you’re a good parent, you probably are one

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A Facebook friend recently posted about an incident that happened after dropping her daughter off at school. On her way home she found a one-year-old playing in a busy street without an adult in sight. She called 911 and took the child to her home for safety, and eventually the mother was located and came to pick him up. As she said in her post, unfortunate incidents can certainly happen to anyone, but what concerned her most was that when the mom came to pick up her child, she wasn’t remotely upset, apologetic or appreciative. If anything, she acted mildly annoyed.

The incident was upsetting to be sure, and I can’t help but worry about that little guy who appears to have a mom who is pretty neglectful, or at least alarmingly clueless. But as a parent myself who tends to worry constantly about how every single parenting decision I make will affect my son, it’s weirdly comforting Read more

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An Open Letter to the Dad-to-Be

An Open Letter to the Dad-to-Be

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Dear Dad-to-Be,

I know you’ve probably already been bombarded with unsolicited advice, so I’m sorry to throw some more at you.  Even though I’ve only been a parent for 2 years, it feels light-years away from that period when I was eagerly awaiting my son’s arrival.  The little bit of wisdom I’ve picked up seems worth sharing, so here’s some advice from a relatively new mom’s perspective.

First things first – do the stuff on the mama-to-be’s To-Do List.  Yes, I know there’s a list, and yes I know there are things you haven’t done yet.  But here’s some insider information about why it’s so important to her. Almost everything about the baby’s arrival and the reality thereafter feels totally out of control.  This to-do list gives her a feeling of control amidst the chaos.  Everything on the list that she can’t cross out is slowly driving her crazy. So just freakin stop putting it off and Read more

Forgetting Your Baby in the Back Seat: “It couldn’t happen to me….”

Forgetting Your Baby in the Back Seat: “It couldn’t happen to me….”

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As the days have been getting warmer, there’s been a resurgence of Facebook posts warning parents and pet owners not to leave their kids and dogs alone in hot cars.  I saw similar posts last summer, and flatly ignored them.  I had no intentions of leaving my baby alone in a car, hot or otherwise, so I assumed the warnings had nothing to do with me.  And then I read the Washington Post article “Fatal Distraction,” which recounted in heart-wrenching detail the stories of several parents whose young children died after being accidentally left in the back seat of the car.

When I started reading the article, I thought the whole thing was total BS.  HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET THAT THEIR BABY IS IN THE BACK SEAT??!!  I wasn’t buying it, not for one second. What kind of horribly negligent parent Read more

Being Grateful for the Stuff That’s Invisible

Being Grateful for the Stuff That’s Invisible

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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

The Little White Lies Parents Tell

The Little White Lies Parents Tell

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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

The Day My Son was Called Stick Boy

The Day My Son was Called Stick Boy

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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

Advice from a Personal Finance Nerd: Part 2

Advice from a Personal Finance Nerd: Part 2

Personal Finance Nerd

In case you missed it, last week I confessed to the world that my husband and I are personal finance nerds.  The advice from that post is a great place to start if you’re trying to get your family’s finances under control.  As promised, here’s the second installment with more tips based on what I’ve absorbed from books, articles, and TV and radio shows that I enjoy as a money nerd.   *Note: I’m NOT a financial professional.*  These are just things I’ve learned that have worked well for my family.  So you know, consult your own personal financial advisor, blah blah blah, before actually doing any of this stuff I suggest.

1. What goes out must come in – this sounds so obvious that it should barely be worth mentioning: don’t spend more than you earn. So why am I mentioning it?  We can’t Read more