How to Talk to Your Kids about Sex. And Snacks. And Other Stuff.

One of the reasons parenting is so exhausting, in addition to all the usual running around, is that you’re giving your all (and then some) to teach your kids how to live. I was struck by this thought today: it’s all up to Paul and me. Yes, other people come into play: grandparents, friends, teachers, other people in the line at Starbucks. But for the most part, the shaping of their character — the teaching of right from wrong — is in our hands. With newborn babies, our main job is simply keeping them alive. But later on? You have to teach them how to be.
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How Many Consecutive Grown-Up Days Can You Do?

It seems we’re bombarded daily with inspirational quotes and mothering advice columns that encourage us to take time for ourselves by having a bubble bath or a massage. A bubble bath is nice on occasion, but I get bored in about 10 minutes, and personally, I find it comfier to read in bed with my seven pillows than in a slick tub. Also, bubbles make a scummy mess. And massages are great, but I need a LOT more than one hour to recharge. In fact, ever since the kids were born, I have felt guilty about how much time I seem to want (need?) for myself. Those encouraging articles always suggest taking time “every now and then.” But I want a chunk of time to myself DAILY. In fact, I want a regularly repeating bunch of consecutive hours to do what I want without guilt, without questions to answer or obligations to fulfill. And I finally realized why I need so much of this: it appears I have very few consecutive grown-up days in me before I feel myself reverting back to a kid again. I can’t help it. It’s just a fact. Continue reading

9 Shades of Crazy, Deal with It

Lizzie is bopping around the kitchen, singing the phrase “own your own crazy,” a good message for me right now since I am currently feeding my rabbit applesauce from a soup spoon and I could feel embarrassed about it if I let myself. It is one of the cutest things I have ever seen, especially since the applesauce dribbled down her little rabbit chin and her little white chest (just like a baby) and now she is busily cleaning her fur with her adorable little rabbit paws. When I tried to show Liz how cute Beatrix was, Lizzie said, “That’s just great,” (without even looking!) and wandered off. So I think Liz has a double standard: she advocates for owning her own crazy but she’s not willing to celebrate my crazy. What kind of a daughter is that? Anyway, I’m thinking that middleage is a great time to start owning our crazy. We’re old enough to stop giving a f*** (mostly) about what other people think.
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How to Plan for a Week’s Meals (and then Not Eat Them)

Learned an expensive lesson this week, people. Resolving to turn over a new leaf and actually cook, I went to the grocery store and shopped like a fiend for a week’s worth of meals. 

Here’s my lesson up front: don’t plan meals for every night of the week, because as you know, hardly anything in a middleaged mom/wife/woman’s life goes exactly as planned (probably hardly anything in anyone’s life goes exactly as planned), and the food that doesn’t get cooked will sit around your kitchen being passive agressive. Let me explain.
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Why I Love Women, More on Stitch Fix, and a Confession

This morning I opened the door of the small, private hair salon I go to and was greeted with great joy and excitement. Right at the door stood my stylist/friend Nicole and one of her customers, who immediately started shouting things like, “And here she is! There’s one on each side of you! [laughter, applause]. This is so great! [More applause]. Let’s roll out the red carpet! [Nicole had a brown towel in her hands and laid it on the floor in front of me]. Oh my God, she’s here at last! Hooray!” So I laugh and shout with them, and I step onto the towel and bow and give a Queen Elizabeth wave to the two women. I’m complimented and applauded some more. I applaud them back. Mind you, I did absolutely nothing but walk in the door.  Continue reading


Don’t Exercise, and Other Key Findings

I learned three things today, which makes it an awesome day for personal growth. (Yay, me.) I’ll share with you so that it’s a personal growth day for you, too. (Yay, you.) After you read this, and if you find it useful, you can go watch cat videos on YouTube or discuss conspiracy theories with your teenage son (don’t ask), because your day has been productive.
The three learnings are:
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Teenagers Make Me Mental: A Short Play

Have you ever felt like a total imposter? I have, so very many times in my life. I start a new job, feeling totally under-qualified, and pretend I know what I’m doing and hope nobody finds out how inadequate I am. It was even worse when I first became a mother: terrified, I’d make up rules that seemed completely arbitrary, and then second-guess myself about whether it’s the right way to parent. I’m always confused about what I should crack down on and what I should allow, and the line seems to be constantly shifting. And when I think I have a handle on motherhood, the kids get to a new stage and all the rules change again. 
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