Raising My Children in Trump’s America

Raising My Children in Trump’s America

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I typically have two or three blog post ideas kicking around in my head at any given time. So I’ve had a couple in mind for the last week, but after the election results I just couldn’t bring myself to write a light-hearted piece about the trials of parenting.  Trump’s win is weighing too heavily on my mind.  Thoughts about it have literally been keeping me up at night and making me sick to my stomach.  I NEVER intended to bring politics into my blog, but as someone who is committed to being open, honest and raw about my feelings and my personal experience, I felt compelled to write this.

When I think about the four years of Trump’s presidency, over which my son will grow from a 3 year-old to a 7 year-old, and my baby will come close to turning 4, I feel overcome with anxiety.  I understand that there will be presidents throughout their lifetime that I don’t agree with ideologically, but the example that Trump has set seems to go against Read more

Why I’m Not Apologizing for the Crumbs on My Floor

Why I’m Not Apologizing for the Crumbs on My Floor

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Ever since my daughter was born, my status as a sort of stay-at-home/sort of working mom (part-time from home) has been leaning way more toward SAHM territory. It’s a struggle to work even half the number of hours I did when we only had one kid. My rational mind knows that taking care of two kids under four is plenty of work in and of itself, but part of me feels vaguely guilty that my financial contributions to the family are so minimal at this point. If I’m not doing a whole lot of working, it feels like I need to step it up in the homemaker department.  Trust me, I never aspired to be the cliché 50’s housewife vacuuming the house in pearls, ready with my husband’s robe, slippers and a stiff drink the moment he walks in the door. But somehow I do find myself feeling inadequate Read more

A Letter to my Unborn Daughter

A Letter to my Unborn Daughter

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The moment the ultrasound tech announced that you were a girl, I burst into tears. She confirmed what my maternal instincts were already telling me.   I had already been mentally designing the nursery, and trying to figure out how many of your brother’s baby clothes we could get away with dressing you in (I mean, who cares if we put you in blue PJ’s?)   I am overflowing with joy.  At the same time, there are worries that creep in when I look into the future. When my thoughts turn to your teenage years, I can’t help but remember my own struggles at that age and worry about how you will navigate your way through.

I hope that you will manage, against the odds, to see how beautiful you are. Of course I don’t want you to base your self-worth on your physical appearance.  But neither do I want you to walk through life feeling perpetually self-conscious about how you look.  This will be an uphill battle; you will be confronted non-stop with airbrushed images of women that will create impossible standards to compare yourself against.  I hope you will be able to see that these women are illusions, and that real women have freckles, scars, and blemishes, thighs that touch and body parts that jiggle.  Our skin will always seem pasty next to the artificially bronzed women Read more

The Universal Mom Conundrum: on daycare, stay-at-home-moms, leaning in, and stepping back

The Universal Mom Conundrum: on daycare, stay-at-home-moms, leaning in, and stepping back

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My son started daycare about 4 months ago. Every time I mention this fact, I feel compelled to immediately clarify that he’s only there part-time, for 3 half-days a week.  Can someone please tell me why this makes me so defensive?  I think subconsciously I’m convinced that the stay-at-home-moms of the world will see enrollment in daycare as a major mom-fail – abandoning my little guy and turning him over to the care of strangers.

But as much as some people might look down on the decision to put children in daycare, there is just as much derision thrown at SAHMs. In casual conversations with someone you’ve just met, one of the very first questions is “What do you do?”  When the answer is “I’m a homemaker,” the response tends to be “Oh!”, stated in an awkward high-pitch as if to overcompensate with forced enthusiasm for the initial reaction of “oh, so you don’t really have a job.”  Even many well-intentioned people  Read more

“Parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.” REALLY?

“Parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.” REALLY?

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A couple of months ago, the Washington Post published an article with the not-at-all-click-baiting-title “It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.”   This is only one of many pieces I’ve read recently indicating, basically, that parenting makes you miserable.

But here’s the thing about the study on which the article was based. Aside from the fact that it was conducted in Germany (no comment), the measurement of happiness was based on participants’ numerical rating of their overall happiness/satisfaction on a scale of 0-10, from the period of time prior to having a baby through at least 2 years after having one.  Can a single question about happiness really tell the story of what it means to become a parent?  When you just got peed on during a diaper change, are you going to rate your happiness at that moment as a 10?  Probably not.  When your toddler starts Read more

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

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

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