When You’re a Feminist Raising a Princess

When You’re a Feminist Raising a Princess

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My 2 1/2-year-old is in an intense princess phase. She’s usually rocking a tiara and princess gown (occasionally layered on top of *another* princess gown), and is weighed down with “brace-a-lets” and other “spawk-a-ly jewels”.

I find myself constantly feeling the need to clarify to the world that this princess obsession is not being fueled by my husband and me. We didn’t plaster the nursery with pink glitter when we found out we were having a girl. We didn’t put her in frilly dresses as an infant or call her princess. We’ve never pushed traditional gender roles Read more

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I’m a “Yes First” Person, and I Want my Kids to be Too

I’m a “Yes First” Person, and I Want my Kids to be Too

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Two years ago a friend asked if I wanted to volunteer to make calls for a political candidate we both supported. Besides voting, about as politically involved as I’d been since college was the occasional sarcastic Facebook post, so I was excited about the opportunity.

The wheels in my head immediately started turning… could my 6-month-old make it through the evening, aka Universal Grumpy Baby Time, without her human pacifier? Could I make it work if I nursed her right before I left, drove separately to make a quick escape, was home within about three hours from the time I left…

No, I didn’t make it to the phone banks. But before ultimately arriving at the decision, my brain defaulted to “how can we make this happen?!”

I had never really thought about it before, but it suddenly dawned on me that a lot of other people’s brains probably didn’t work like mine. When a new opportunity presents itself, plenty of people instinctively start with an affirmative “hell no,” and have to be pushed and prodded, Read more

Write Your Kid a Love Letter

Write Your Kid a Love Letter

As a parent in 2018, it’s easier than ever before to preserve memories of our kids. We carry devices in our pockets that can (and do) capture thousands of images of them. We take video clips of their precious voices and ridiculous dance moves, and share their “firsts” and their best quotes on Facebook.

But recently I’ve wondered whether the thousands of disparate parts add up to an in-depth picture of who our kids are. My memory is terrible, and I have this nagging fear that this whole phase of life with small kids will just be one huge blur. Even if I write down all the major milestones (which I’ve done at best a half-assed job with), there are countless aspects of life with my kids that are so commonplace, it doesn’t occur to me to make a note of them. I’m sure I’ll always remember them.

But then my husband will make a comment about that period when my son insisted on bringing every single stuffed animal from his bed downstairs with him each morning… and I stare blankly Read more

I’m in Charge of Christmas, and Sometimes it Kinda Sucks

I’m in Charge of Christmas, and Sometimes it Kinda Sucks

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freeimages.com/Piotr Bizior

Before we were married, my husband’s signature move before Christmas was buying exactly zero presents until around December 22nd, and then having one manic night of shopping at all the stores with crazy all-night hours in the final run-up to the big day.

I used to just see it as one of his lovable quirks. And it always seemed to work out fine. If the gifts didn’t make their way to the nieces and nephews until halfway through January, it was just chalked up to typical uncle behavior.

But a funny thing happens when you get married.  Along with combining your households and finances, you end up merging Christmas lists too. And by merging, I mean the wife magically becomes responsible for all the presents.

It’s not that my husband has EVER asked or even hinted that I should take care of the gifts for the people on his list. But now that the presents come from us as a couple, my anxiety levels *do not* permit me to sit idly by and hope that my husband finds something fitting for all his relatives at Kohl’s at 1:00 in the morning.

So my holiday anxiety levels went up a notch after we got married, and then up several more once kids came into the picture. Read more

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Bedtime Stories: Cataloguing the Things I’ll Miss

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Bedtime Stories: Cataloguing the Things I’ll Miss

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I’m pretty obsessed with fall… like just shy of pumpkin-spice-latte-deodorant-wearing obsessed (and yes, that’s a thing). Sandwiched in between the long stretch of sweatiness and mosquitoes and the cabin fever-inducing frigid weather, we get this little window of perfection. Crisp morning air gives way to pleasant afternoons. We bust out the sweaters and drink apple cider and everything is magical.

The real object of my obsession is the changing color of the fall leaves. I’m a full-fledged leaf stalker. I’m always seeking that moment of optimal viewing, when most of the trees have turned but before the early changers have dropped all their leaves. I stress about whether a lack of rainfall will mute the fall colors, and check foliage tracking websites for leaf peak forecasts (nerd alert, amirite?)

Fall is an in-your-face reminder of how quickly the beautiful things in life can slip away. I took a picture last year of this gorgeous tree – a vibrant yellow that just glowed brilliantly when the sun lit it from behind. I passed it a week later and the tree was virtually bare.

Watching the transition from trees exploding with fiery color to streets littered with crunching leaves practically forces you to focus on everything awesome and fleeting about this season of life. Fall has been giving me the kick in the a** I needed to start following my own advice to be in a mindset of gratitude, which has been a struggle sometimes with two kids under five.

It’s not a perfect metaphor, though. The seasons cycle. If I don’t consume enough pumpkin-spice lattes Read more

I’m Somebody’s Mother

I’m Somebody’s Mother

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Most of the time I think about parenting from my own perspective – making decisions about how to best raise my kids. What’s the best way to potty-train? Am I striking the right balance of discipline and affection? Will I ever get my son to eat a vegetable?

But sometimes I stop and think about the relationship in reverse. It’s not just that my son and daughter are my kids. I am their mom. 30 or 40 years from now when my kid’s spouse/child/therapist asks what their mom was like, that person they’ll be talking is ME. Holy crap!

There are always these moments in books, movies and television where a character reflects on their mother – some oft-repeated piece of wisdom, the smell of her perfume, the swish of her skirt as she’d move around the house. I’m just picturing my kids, in contrast, wistfully recalling their mother’s messy mom bun and old ratty yoga pants Read more

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye… to My Kid’s Nap

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye… to My Kid’s Nap

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FreeImages.com/Carla Peroni

I can’t believe you’re really leaving for good. Sure, you’ve been showing signs that it was time to go. For the last few months we’ve been in limbo, doing that on-again, off-again thing. I’ve been trying to hold on to you, my son’s nap, but deep down I knew that our relationship couldn’t last forever.

You and I have had a good thing going for these last four years. Since the beginning, you’ve been there for me. Sure, you haven’t always been the most reliable partner. Sometimes you were glorious and lasted 2+ hours, while other times your presence was frustratingly brief. Regardless, you showed up day after day, and always made things a little brighter. I’m afraid I’ve never really taken the time to tell you how much you mean to me, so this message is really overdue.

In those early days, when my son would not let Read more