The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A Writer Who is MAGIC

My favorite authors are those that invite you into their lives to become one of their family members, friends, or loved ones for the duration of the book. For me, Kelly Corrigan is one of these authors. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at Book Passage, an iconic independent bookstore in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently. She is even funnier, smarter, and wittier in person, with her book The Middle Place having already set a very high standard.

Because her book magically weaves tales of cancer, being a parent while also having parents, and lots of humor, she had us all crying and laughing. The majority female audience continued to grow as she spoke. At one point I counted ninety people or so, but more kept arriving (and staying).

She asked those who have had or currently have cancer to stand so we could support them, and at least fifteen people stood. One was a woman, thirty years old or so, sitting in front of me with a knit black hat covering her bare head. All I had to do was see her wiping tears, and then I was done for.

When Kelly read, she kept interrupting herself to tell us back stories, or follow-ups, which were just as hilarious or touching as the material she was reading. It was like getting the director’s commentary on a movie.

But overall, from hearing her talk and reading her book, what I came away with is the optimism that she shares with her father. It’s contagious, and you come away wanting to be a better person.

“I’m so lucky,” she says, and you can’t help but believe her.

See what I mean by watching her touching video that has gone viral. Just click here.

By Kristy Lund

Labels: , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, March 30, 2009


Mothers are NOT Allowed to Get Sick

At first I engage in all-out battle: Echinacea, Emergen-C, the vaporizer, green tea, an early bedtime. But it’s no use. Surrender is inevitable.

So I wave the white flag: I cancel all my appointments and take up residence on the couch with the comforter and a stack of magazines.

I am lucky enough to be able to indulge in such a luxury. I won’t lose my job (since I’m self-employed, what can my boss do?). The loss of income hurts, but is not catastrophic. My kids are old enough now to fend for themselves.

I remember back to when they were sick and too young to be left alone with a stack of videos and a bottle of Tylenol to see them through the day. Who could best juggle an impossible schedule and skip work, me or my husband? (Answer: neither.) Could I dose them up and send them off without incurring the wrathful phone call from the school nurse as well as the bad-mother guilt? Always, I’d try to bargain my way through anything from minor sniffles to stomach aches.

“They probably just don’t want to go to school,” I’d rationalize. “Best not to encourage them to stay home every time their stomach hurts.”

Then I would lay low to avoid the accusatory comments of stay-at-home friends who just couldn’t imagine how anyone could send a sick child to school.

Sometimes, though, the fever would climb above one hundred, the cough and runny nose suggested that a TB sanitarium might well be in order. Even I could no longer deny reality. My frantic calculations about when the antihistamine would wear off and could I sneak medicine into their backpacks would give way to the calm certainty that I’d just have to forego all control and cancel my plans.

Then, as now, I would relish the surrender to the suspended world the sickbed demands. In fact, some of my favorite times with my daughters were spent curled up on the couch with them in a timeless cocoon, rubbing their fever-hot backs as they dozed, too glazed even to whine.

Now it’s just me, alone and sick on the couch. It’s not exactly a day at the spa, but again, surrender is weirdly delicious. No running on empty at one-hundred mph. The endless To-Do list will have to wait. I not only can, but should, sleep all day.

Without guilt.

By Lorrie Goldin

Labels: , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The Doctor, the Cucumber and the Vagina

It was three a.m. and my pager awakened me, like fingernails down a blackboard. It was the emergency room, again. I rounded up the gaggle of medical students (a.k.a. the EBUs ─ ego building units) for an educational experience, because that’s what medical school memories are made of: late night trips to the E.R. with a bitchy resident. Conveniently, all three were named Steve (OK, I named them that, so convenient for me). Off I went, the Steve’s trailing after me like a comet tail.

“She said she’ll only see the gynecologist,” the emergency room attending smirked. The Steves quaked. What kind of patient would have that bravado, to raise the chief resident from her slumber? Like waking the Kraken. I rolled my eyes and grabbed the chart.

As I performed the exam one of the Steves hit the ground. I couldn’t tell if it was because he saw his first real-live vagina or because of what I’d pulled out of it: a cucumber, a peeled cucumber. Not an English cucumber of course (now that would be something), more like a pickled cuke. 

I stepped over Steve # 3 and moved closer to the bedside. It is always a delicate situation. Do you go about your business and make like you haven’t just pulled a peeled cucumber out of some girl’s vagina, or do you ask, “Was it peeled when it went in?”

Perhaps there is a special skill involved, like tying a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue?

Most doctors would say nothing. but it is three a.m., and I am not like most doctors.

And so, the discussion began. . . 

By Jennifer Gunter

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sometimes Silence Offers the Most Support

We read that it’s good to praise your child, in fact, a ratio of five positive statements to every negative one is recommended. I understand the concept and believe in it. However, I am surprised at how often saying nothing at all is the best response, despite it being incredibly challenging given the driving insistence of my daughter.

Last week, she asked for a skateboard. Her dad bought her one. The next day at the park, she couldn’t get the board to turn without shifting the front end. She was frustrated and asked me what to do.

“Maybe your foot position isn’t right.”

“But, it is, Mommy. “

“Maybe it’s about weighting your feet on the board. “

“I can’t Mommy or I'll fall. “

“I don’t know then. “

“But, Mommy, it’s not working. The board is broken. “

“It’s not broken. You'll figure this out," I say as I walk away.

She feigns crying.

I know from experience that the ONLY plausible response on my part at this moment is to say nothing, no matter what she says, or what she accuses me of: in short, completely ignore her. This is very hard for me, because I am tempted to conjure up just one more angle that might solve her problem. The trouble is that she’s not listening to me, she can’t at this point. She has to realize that only she will solve it.

Friends, this has worked so many times. It worked with her Heelys. She was miffed when I left her stranded in the kitchen one day. But, guess what she did! She set up the kitchen chairs in a row and pulled herself from one to the next until she became more comfortable with the sliding action. Then, she took the chairs away one by one, until she was zipping solo across all the bare floors of the house, then down the aisles at Costco and Target. I could not have come up with the chair idea if I tried.

Will she master the skateboard? I’d put my money on it. Should I keep my advice and commentary to a minimum? Yes, except that I slipped yesterday. She completed a half circle on the board.

“You’re amazing!” I said.

By Vicki Inglis

Labels: , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 27, 2009


So Full of Crap

On my desk where I write sits three combs; a tiny nail clipper; an orange bead from a broken kiddie necklace; two pink pipe cleaners; a broken calculator; my camera; Purell; wipes; bank statement from a year ago; an unsent thank-you note to Auntie Boo from Christmas – whoopsie!; a random unfunctioning TV remote; a January Us Weekly stolen from the dentist; a Rolodex from the ‘90s; mouse stickers; a 2004 birthday card; T-Ball raffle tickets expired in March; Target sunglasses; Miss Kitty sunglasses; sunglasses with one lens missing; spinning “organizer” crammed with 30,000 pens; pencils; air tire gauge; more hair combs; mangled Post-Its; broken iPod earphones; rusty Leatherman; red puzzle piece; very tired hair elastic; Aleve cold & sinus packet of eight with one missing. . . need I go on?

And this is just my desk. A 4” x 3 ½” foot space.

Now take this list of crap, times the size of everything by twenty, add wheels or dust or broken musical bits to most of them and – voila! – that’s my basement. Crammed. Full. Stuffed with crap.

So here my house is, overwhelmed by crap and I’m feeling boxed in, swarmed, like I have thousands of mini, black ants crawling all over my body and I can’t – get – them – off!!!!

And then I stop.

And remember.

As a child of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, my indoctrinated guilt kicks in. I remember the sad tales our parents would tell of the kids in Ethiopia who didn’t have enough food on their plates followed by the frightening pictures of tiny, stick bodies with bloated bellies, giant brown eyes staring up at you in desperation.

“Mommy, why are their bellies so big?” we would ask. “Because they’re filled with air, honey,” would come the reply.


This was usually followed by an, “And how lucky you are to have this broc-turk-cheese-brussel sprout stew on your plate! Eat every – single – drop!” And boy we were lucky to have that broc-turk-cheese-brussel sprout stew on our plate!

And that’s the ambivalence I have about the crap in my house. I am completely, totally, and absolutely very, very lucky to have every single yellow plastic paperclip that continually gets stepped on in the laundry room by the basement door, but I am, at the same time, completely overwhelmed and disgusted by it all. I am full already, Mom!!!

Our consumerism disgusts me. And we just can’t stop it. And it’s getting worse as the kids get older. I am full. My house is full.

I am overwhelmed by crap and I just can’t stop eating.

By Annie B. Yearout

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Mothers Naturally Freak When Schools Wrongly Label Kids

A couple of months ago I got a call from my son Julien’s preschool requesting a meeting with both parents. We figured it was about his speech delay, which we weren’t yet worried about, given that he was learning two languages at home.

When we met with the director and our son’s teacher, they handed us a list of seven behaviors they felt were unusual. Three of them had to do with speaking, as far as we could judge, two of them had to do with zoning out and distractibility, to summarize. One had to do with motor coordination and the last, with drooling.

All of these items might be normal in a much younger child, they said, but Julien was three. These items had nothing to do with his cognitive abilities or intelligence, they assured us, and they agreed that he is an intensely social, affectionate, empathetic child. 

But these items gave them great concern. They asked us to observe him at home for two weeks and report back.

My husband and I were still not worried. During the observation period, he only did one of the items with any consistency (repeating a question three or four times), which we took as normal. The motor coordination issue we chalked up to the fact that his legs are rotated slightly inward on his hips, which we were assured he’d outgrow by age seven.

But his preschool insisted there was a problem. Apparently, the behaviors were happening a lot at school, especially toward noon when there were more kids present, and they wanted him to be observed by a psychologist.

Now we were worried.

I checked in with his pediatrician first. She had me come in, held out the list, and said, “I was very surprised, because these items are indicative of mild autism, and your child didn’t strike me as autistic.”

My heart leapt. “What?! But my child is extremely social.”

“Well, there’s a whole spectrum,” she told me. She then spent forty-five minutes asking Julien questions, having him do things, watching him play. Finally, she shook her head and said to me, “You have nothing to worry about. He is not autistic.”

I exhaled relief.

Later that day, I relayed this experience to the person who was arranging a psychologist to observe him at school. She said, “I work with autistic kids all day; that’s all I do, and you have no idea how many calls we get from preschool teachers worried that one of their kids is autistic, and it turns out, they’re not.”

I found this interesting. Do we have such heightened awareness of autism now, that we so easily label certain behaviors as such?

I appreciate my son’s school is over-vigilant rather than under, however a mother has enough to worry about without getting such a freaked-out scare.

By Cindy Bailey


Labels: , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The Voices that Reside in Every Mother's Head

For the better part of the last year or two, I have had the incessant and annoying company of a small but loud voice in my head that catalogues every virtuous/maternal/helpful deed I perform throughout the day. 

“Look at me, I’m doing the laundry. Now I’m ordering more diapers and wipes online. Thank God for me. And now I’m remembering everybody’s jackets and hats and snacks as I head out the door, and on my way out I’ll take out the trash and put those letters in the mailbox.  Check, check, check.” 

With each action completed, I itemized all the ways in which my being at home with our children was necessary, beneficial.  How hard I was working!  How much was getting done because of me!  And, yet, no one had ever questioned the importance of my role.  Not one person in my life had so much as commented on the way I have chosen to spend my time: raising our children. 

Was I really feeling so underappreciated that I had to congratulate myself on every single step of my day?   

Sure, every one of us, no matter what our profession, could use a little more recognition, and perhaps mothers more so than others because so much of what we do is invisible, but this harping in my head seemed to involve more than looking for kudos. 

This was my own, internal conversation, with one half of me trying to reassure that other, relentlessly critical half of me, trying to make the point that what I was doing was indeed valid. 

The reassuring voice knows that I like being home with my children and raising them myself.  I waited so long to have them, have worked with so many other people’s children, and now it is finally my turn.  They’re fabulous -- why wouldn’t I choose to be with them? 

But I am not making any money, and I’m not balancing work and child rearing at the moment the way some of my friends are.  So that, in my mind, took me down a few notches.   

Also, there was the fact that I had completely removed all creative and intellectual thought from my life, after it being so much at the core of who I was for the last two decades. 

In the absence of that intellectual and creative richness, my head became an echo chamber, ready to ring with the unhelpful chatter of all the most unreasonable, harsh, critical voices I could muster. 

I hadn’t carved out any time for myself because I didn’t have any reason to justify paying for childcare -- and because being away from my children just for the sake of getting away was ultimately unsatisfying.  The few times I did get a sitter to grant myself some time, the first hour of freedom felt great, but after that, I had to be really caught up in what I was doing to not feel the pull back home.   

Eventually, the internal monologue got so loud and so monopolizing that I realized something had to change.  I took the plunge and squared away babysitting time two mornings a week so that I could write and read and engage that long lost part of my brain. 

That time is something I simultaneously look forward to and dread.  The first morning was hellish, and I made myself cry before the first hour was up.  Everything that I hate about writing -- having this need to write but not knowing what to write, feeling that I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said before -- all of that came flooding back. 

The difference between trying to write four year ago and trying to write now was that this time I was paying for the privilege of sitting quietly in the library, so it seemed clear that I owed it to myself to try and stick it out and make it work.  The words did eventually come a little easier, and I hesitatingly rediscovered the pleasure of creating on the page.   

As soon as I found that pleasure, that piercing voice that was trumpeting every trivial accomplishment of my day quieted down some. 

It didn’t disappear, but it became manageable. 

The writing is still hard, and I still get those flurries of panic when I want so badly to write yet don’t know what about, but I have a little hope that it will get better. 

It will get worse too, I’m sure of it. 

Perhaps if I can manage enough moments of satisfying writing, that will be enough to get me back into my quiet corner in the library on those precious mornings I have to myself.  I have this other, engaging place that my brain can go now -- at the end of the day, when I’m picking up toys and wiping down counters and cleaning bottles.

I have another place I can go, even if it’s all in my head.  

By Eliza Harding Turner 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Challenges of the Day, Beauty of the Night

I close the cover of our last storybook and reach over to turn off the bedside lamp while my son scoots down under his covers.

“Good night sweet boy,” I whisper while leaning down to pull the blankets over his shoulders how he likes it, making sure both sides of his Superman cape are still secured to his pajamas top.

“Good night,” a little muffled voice responds. It sounds heavy and resigning. I wait for its follow-up. “I love you, Mommy. Goodnight!” But instead tonight there is only silence.

An unexpected silence that jars to recollection all of the challenges of the day. All of the reprimands, reminders and more reminders to “please stop” or “let’s go now” or “will you please!” But now in the quiet of the dark my thoughts drift past the dawdling and defiance to my little boy who is just a little boy.

I sit back down on the side of the bed and let the silence settle between us. The Buzz Lightyear nightlight does little to dilute the darkness but my extended arm finds little shoulder blades, which I gently begin to rub.

How hard it might be to be the middle kid sandwiched between two sisters. And how hard it is to just be four-years old sometimes. A little four-year old who covers misguided explorations with, “Oops, sorry Mommy.” A lot of misguided explorations happened today I recall.

“You are our wonderful boy,” I begin sharing aloud.

”Noooo, I’m not” the muffled voice replies flatly.

“You are to us,” I begin, letting every day memories guide the observations I share about all the wonderments of our William and the joy and delight he brings his family and those around him. And how lucky we are to have such a special boy.

“So goodnight sweet boy,” I whisper, rising from the bedside. My hand reaches blindly to the thick mop of short hair and I lean over to grant a kiss on the side of his soft cheek.

A slumber-heavy little voice calls out, “Stay and snuggle. Please Mommy.” And so I do.

“I love you, too, William. Goodnight.”

By Maija Threlkeld

Labels: , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, March 23, 2009


Oh, Shit

My son, Dane, came home from kindergarten and told me his classmate Nadia got in trouble at school. She’d said the "S-H-" word.

Nadia's from Romania and she’s a little older than her classmates. She’s also a bit rough-and-tumble, but harmless enough. I asked him what kind of trouble she got in and he said she had to run a lap.

Aubrey, my younger child, yelled from the other room, "What's the S-H- word?"

I sighed and leaned forward on my chair, trying to come up with some quick teaching points as Aubrey made her way to the room.

I knew full well they’d heard me say it before, but when Aubrey showed up, I started out carefully: "Well… it's a word people say that shows their frustration -- only it's just adults who use it, and they try not to use it very often. And,” I said, looking at each of them deliberately, “kids aren’t supposed to use it at all."

Pause. Calm response. "It's SHIT."

"Shit?" Dane asked. "She said SHUT UP. . ."

By Anjie Reynolds

Labels: , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Baby on Board

Yesterday, I saw an orange "Baby on Board" diamond dangling in a minivan. I remembered seeing lots of those signs in the eighties, but I thought "Baby on Board" had disappeared, like torn Flashdance clothing, excess black eyeliner and fluffy hair.

As a twenty-something, I thought the signs insinuated that I had some control as to whether I collided into the parents' car. "Oh no, they have a baby on board," I would tell my college friends as we drove to the I-Beam nightclub. "We'll have to rear-end someone else!"

Now, I can see the point of a baby on board sign. It is not a warning FOR others drivers, it is a warning TO other drivers. I'm ashamed to admit that I've held the wheel with my left hand as I reached back with my right hand to locate and then stuff a pacifier into my screaming infant son's mouth while driving sixty miles an hour.

While navigating the steep hills of San Francisco, I have inserted the “Lilo and Stitch” CD and read the cover to locate the "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" track to sooth my irrational, but inconsolable, three-year old daughter. Driving across the Richmond Bridge, I've torn open a bag of Goldfish with my teeth, only momentarily taking my eyes off the road.

Now, my kids are six and eight, but they still affect my driving in a negative way. My son and daughter recently started arguing whether the Easter bunny is married like Santa Claus. After their disagreement escalated to punches, I had to arbitrate, while signaling to make a left turn off Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Occasionally, on the way back from school, my children say titillating phrases like, "My knee bled all over the place today." or "Nobody is my friend anymore." I get to be a counselor at thirty mph.

Anyway, may be I should get one of those "Baby or Kid on Board" signs. Of course, I'll only hang up my diamond when cell phone users, tooth flossers and make-up artists display their own symbols as well.

By Beth Touchette

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Meditating Mommies? How About a Gift of the Present?

Lately I have been working on developing a spiritual practice. Meditation is what I am attempting, as it is the path and practice that provides the best vehicle for spiritual development. 

But I am a mom with two children, two boys no less - ages five and eight. Ages that propel boys to run and bounce and re-enact space wars, complete with the high voltage sound effects for explosions and crashes.

Meditation? Who am I kidding?

But what I would like to propose is that it is absolutely possible to have a practice while raising children. Even with two rambunctious boys - especially with two rambunctious boys.

What most spiritual teachers or practices don’t often recognize, is that parenting can be a practice. Like any other formal practice, parenting requires dedication and commitment. When we practice being mindful while parenting, we are given zillions of opportunities to notice how we’re feeling, to be patient and pause before we react, to use our frustrations and preoccupations as signals to come back to the present. And what is even better that traditional meditation, is that when we are triggered by parenting issues, we have an opportunity to resolve our own unconscious issues and negative patterns, and to become a more conscious parent and person.

So for now, meditation may have to wait, and in the meantime, parenting will be my practice.

By Lisa Nave

Labels: , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 20, 2009


One Son Is a Talker, The Other Not

My son, Eric, is not a big talker. This came as a complete shock to me since I come from a long line of talkers. It seems like all my friends and family members love to talk (often at the same time).

My older son, Paul, began talking early and often and has basically never stopped. So, when my second son came along I just figured he would speak up, but that was not the case. First of all , I could barely hear him over his older brother’s constant demands for my (waning) attention.

While I had hung on Paul’s every word (and before that, everything resembling a word) I had a hard time really listening to poor little Eric. I am sad to say his needs were constantly unheard. While I would have pulled off the road to nurse my crying first-born it was not uncommon to wake my second son from a much-needed nap in order to do school pick-up.

Sorry, buddy.

I have always tried to understand him in the way that can only be described as a combination of love, context and wishful thinking. There was usually no doubt what he wanted. He was a consummate grunter and pointer. Not to mention the growls and screams punctuated by the giggles and belly laughs. He was never shy about asking for what he wanted and he usually got it.

But he would not talk.

At pre-school I begged them. Make him talk. Even if he is pointing at the desired item, he needs to ask for it and say please. This may be where he picked up: “MY TURN!” Followed by a (prompted) “please."

The stuff he came up with was too cute to correct. “See you later, crocodile!” And anything not “now” is “after-morrow."

But now he is four-years old. His talking becomes clearer and clearer. I can often get actual answers to my queries and I can ask him questions that require some thought. I feel like I am just beginning to get to know him now that he is expressing himself with actual words. He may never be as talkative as Paul but he gets his point across.

I may not always like what I hear but at least he is talking. And now I am listening.

By Cathy Burke

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The Guilt of Having an Only Child

My daughter and I are in the art room at the Discovery Museum. We share the clay table with the mother of a newborn and his three-year-old sister. Another mom, pregnant with her second child, sits across from us with her toddler son.

“Do you like being a big sister?” the expecting mom asks the little girl brightly, anticipating the day her boy will play the role of big brother. “Do you help mommy give her a bottle?”

She smiles shyly and gives a proud nod.

My daughter looks up from the blob of clay she’s kneading like a baker. She stares intently at the woman and the little girl, hanging on their every word. I stop my lame attempt to coax a snail from my mound of clay to watch her watching them.

Uh oh. . . here it comes, I think. I wait for her to blurt out that she wants to be a big sister, too. As an only child, she’s made this request more than once.

It doesn’t happen today. But even as I breathe a sigh of relief, I feel a familiar combination of guilt and sadness stirring inside. Guilt because, at forty-seven, I can’t provide her with the sibling she’d love. Guilt because I always feel like she doesn’t quite buy my explanations of why it can’t happen. Everywhere she goes— her school, the park, the museum— she’s surrounded by kids her age with little sisters and brothers or mommies with swollen bellies.

The sadness is for both of us. Because sometimes my yearning for another child is as strong as hers.

It’s a ridiculously greedy dream. I was on the fence, afterall, about being a mom for years. When I miscarried at forty-one I was devastated. But I also accepted that by postponing motherhood for so long, I may have missed my chance. So when I did get pregnant and become a mother at forty-two, the gift was that much sweeter.

Leaving the art room, we pause to gaze at the Golden Gate. It’s wrapped in a soft gray cloak and the day has turned cool since we were last outside.

“You’re my special girl,” I tell my daughter, bending to kiss her cheek.

My one very special child.

By Dorothy O’Donnell

Labels: , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


How Movies Put EVERYTHING into Perspective

Blood Diamond.

I stagger out of the movie theater with the newfound certainty that my life is pointless.

Why write blogs about my kids’ aggravating but endearing traits when African children are being snatched from their mothers’ arms and forced to commit unimaginable atrocities just to stay alive?

It seems indecent to obsess about SAT scores or worry about underage drinking in light of such horrors.

Yet, I and everyone else I know persist in the delusion of how stressful our pampered lives are.

We have no idea what goes on in the rest of the world.

Nor do we want to.

I wish I could channel my shock and grief into the righteous indignation of action. Petitions, rallies, boycotts, bake sales -- anything to stave off paralysis and guilt.

In my tireless fight for justice, I could inspire my daughters to trade People magazine for a life dedicated to helping real people.

I could instill in them fervor to save the world rather than regret being born into it.

Instead, I just want to retreat.

I want the bubble to descend over the soft green hills of Marin, over our soft neuroses about trivial injuries, over the soft lives of my precious girls.

Maybe then I’ll feel safe from the wolf at the door.

By Lorrie Goldin

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Mama is Free at Last -- P-A-R-T-Y!!!

My family and friends find it extremely amusing to remind me of a time when I used to question the necessity of having children. “They just weigh one down,” I would pontificate. How could one be impulsive or do anything spontaneous such as fly off to Europe with friends on a whim?

I can’t ever imagine giving up this freedom, I would famously say.

But I did, willingly, periodically lamenting what I gave up with the caveat, “but I got so much more in return!”

Then a few years ago, I joined my best friend for a girls' weekend in New York. It would be the first time I was away since my daughter was born. I flew to N.Y. on sheer euphoria, Ah! To be free and footloose once again!

But from the moment I landed, I missed my daughter so much I could hardly move a muscle. It was as close to a panic attack as you could get. I would have flown back immediately if it wouldn’t have seemed crazy.

How had I become this person who couldn’t even breathe when her child was out of range?
When my mother asked about my trip all I said was, “I’m never doing that again.”

And I didn’t - nixing any idea that even suggested a trip without kids.

That was over three years ago. From the sidelines I envied moms who went for business trips or girlfriend weekends and though they missed their children, seemed to do it without being paralyzed by some indefinable fear.

Now another friend has invited me to Las Vegas.

“Go,” says my husband, “it’ll be good for you. She was fine the last time and she’ll be fine this time, too.”

So, in the interest of showing that I have positively matured since my N.Y. trip, I agree. My friend and I have spent the last few days booking our hotels and flights and looking at our choice of shows on the Internet.

Should we go for some Cirque du Soleil extravaganza or magic show or concert? Or something Vegas-like and adult?

Wait a minute…what’s this?

Thunder From Down Under!”

“A tasteful and titillating time for everyone. . . ” states the review.

Both tasteful and titillating? Well in that case. . . maybe I could be persuaded to enjoy a few days of freedom after all.

By Tania Malik

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, March 16, 2009


Mother's Milk Saves Son & Others

When my son Nicolas was born at twenty-seven weeks, he weighed two pounds, had jaundice, and was too weak to cry. For ten weeks he lay in a high-tech womb that we euphemistically called an incubator. I was permitted to hold him for one hour per day, then longer as he grew stronger.

Our skin-to-skin contact was essential for our emotional survival, and it caused my breasts to swell and leak. A mother's milk usually comes in right after giving birth, no matter how prematurely. The trick for we moms of preemies is to keep the milk flowing.

If I hoped to breast-feed Nicolas one day, I would have to pump, a lot. I lugged home an industrial-sized breast pump, and the hospital provided me with an ample supply of yellow-capped, seventy-milliliter bottles.

I spend night after night, exhausted, weepy, and worrying to the unforgettable mechanical moaning rhythm of that machine. No replacement for an infant's coo, to be sure, but I was consoled by my actions: I was saving milk for my son. Soon, I filled two deep shelves in the intensive care unit's commercial freezer. My milk had special properties. Breast milk, with its unique disease-fighting properties, is far superior to formula. Milk produced by mothers of preemies is even more potent since the body knows it gave birth too soon.

Oh, what the body knows!

At four weeks old, Nicolas consumed his first breast milk, about three drops of what the nurses called "liquid gold," administered through a tube. Two weeks later, with Nicolas showing the benefits of milk intake, I stood before the open freezer experiencing a rare moment of bliss. I had more than enough milk for Nicolas until he could breast-feed.

Then anxiety struck: What should I do with all that frozen milk? I could never throw it away. "There are plenty of babies who could use it," a nurse offered. "You should donate." I became a regular depositor to the Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose.

Premature or sick babies whose mothers are not able to produce healthy milk need donated milk. Chemotherapy, for example, affects breast milk. Adoption and foster care also create a need for donated breast milk.

There are only six milk banks in the United States. Banks screen donors, then collect, process, and dispense the milk. The liquid gold costs about three dollars per ounce. Most health insurance carriers cover it, but banks tell me they never turn away a prescription. Banks go to extra lengths to facilitate donation, even providing storage containers and paying shipping costs.

Healthy, breast-feeding mothers, including moms of preemies, should donate. Recently I was at the park with Nicolas, and I looked at the pregnant moms populating the playground. Soon they will be spending delirious weeks feeding and pumping. They could pump one extra bottle every time.

They could spin liquid gold.

By Alexandria Giardino

Labels: , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Diaper Genie in the Bottle

Late last night, I got into a domestic dispute with the Diaper Genie, and the result wasn’t pretty.

I needed to empty the darn thing, but it didn’t want to be emptied. I did all the preliminary work: pressing the scissors button and turning the knob to cut the plastic. All I had to do then was open the bottom over the trash and set the dirty diapers free.

Well, I trooped outside to the curb in my flimsy pajamas and raised one of the trash lids half-way. I then pressed the magic button on the Diaper Genie and, like linked soccer balls, they rolled out into the trash.

But the last ball wouldn’t let go. I pulled and tugged, and then realized: the plastic wasn’t all the way cut, which sometimes happens.

This is how the diaper genie retaliates. It doesn’t like its job so it doesn’t do it very well, and hopes that I won’t notice, which this time was true. It was late. I was tired. And now I was mad. I tried tearing the plastic, but it didn’t give. Instead, reams of plastic unleashed like the toilet paper my son pulls across entire rooms.

This is when the trash bin saw fit to intervene. Needless to say, it doesn’t like its job either, so you can guess whose side it was on. As I stood there, having it out with the Diaper Genie, the trash lid dropped. Bang! Right on my nose, scraping the skin off the ridge.

Stunned, I held my nose until the pain dissipated, and then pulled my hand away. There was blood. Once I got inside, I realized it’ll definitely scar.

In my pre-baby, outdoorsy, athletic life, I would take pride in the little scars I’d acquire rock-climbing or falling head-first over my mountain bike. Those patches and lines in my skin made me feel tough and strong. I wore them like badges, proving that I pushed limits.

Now there was this: my first scar as a mommy warrior, right in the middle of my face. Yet, it didn’t make me feel tough. It made me feel stupid. Even though, in a different way, I am pushing my limits like never before.

By Cindy Bailey

Labels: , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I Can Dream, Can't I?

I'm seated at a table outdoors somewhere -- a swank L.A. eatery? Something occupies my hands. I'm making a pair of earrings, slicing frilly lettuce, or ???. . .

Ted Danson sits across from me and another man is to my left. I feel their eyes upon me. Interest, desire, that thing -- you women know. I feel shy, a little scared.

“You forty-four?” Ted asks.

“No, forty-two,” I respond too quickly. I immediately avert my eyes.

Time bends again. I lose myself in that primordial dream state.

Suddenly, I feel self-conscious again. I look up. Ted Danson is stretched out on a chair next to me, naked, skinny and hirsute. He searches for my approval, or better yet, my enthusiasm. I look away, trying not to laugh out loud.

Back to primordial fluid dream state.

Now my husband sits opposite me, his eyes fixed on something he’s working on -- eating, patching a tire tube, or ???. . .

“You happier with just the kids?

“No,” I state emphatically. I still want us to be an intact family.

“I am.”

This jolts me awake. Anxiety gnaws away at my solar plexus as I lay in our queen-size bed without him. He’s staying with a friend. I try to get back to sleep. I stuff a small, hard throw pillow beneath my stomach and the bed. My head’s bent at a sharp right angle, my ear pressed against the mattress. It’s a technique I have developed over the years.

Twenty minutes takes me to a deep sleep, thankfully devoid of dreams, until morning.

By Vicki Inglis

Labels: , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 13, 2009


PSYCHO (Analyzed) Mama

There is a belief in the world of psychoanalysis that a pregnant woman cannot be psychoanalyzed.

The fact of being physically merged with a baby, some have said, empties the maternal mind of its ability to examine and effect change in its contents.

I used to get feministically ragey on that prejudice.

But today I am wondering about how much access do I have to writing, to creating characters, remembering details, and painting a visual picture.

How much can a mother do that while her kid is napping?

Wait, is that her? Do I not get to finish even this?

How much of our mama brain is ours and internally free to wander while we try to sing our song and voice our particular story?

How much of me is taken up in crouching, waiting for the interruption or the remembered phone call I HAVE to make while she's out?

We need so much to have a place where we are subjective, messy, passionate creatures, beholden to no one, freely longing and growing.

Today's answer: Well, at least I can try to write a blog. . .

Oy, she's up!

By Avvy Mar

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Moustache Mamas

The concept: Women shouldn’t be ashamed of shaving – their upper lips.

I’m sure this has been conceived before, by some hairy Betty, in some by-gone era that had a few faithful Sallys offering timid support, but it looks like Betty tucked that Bic away when the rest of her friends quit inviting her to bowling night.

But this hairy Betty wants to resurrect the movement. Here’s what I’d really love doing – no, let me be more honest than that: here’s what I really love doing:

Shaving my moustache.

There, I’ve said it. I know it’s a HUGE no-no, especially in Marin. The whiskers! The masculine image of it! The financial ease of it! At least wax (at home or in the parlor)! At least do something hi-tech like electrolysis! At least bleach! But whatever you do, don’t shave! And be sure to do whatever you do discreetly and privately. Do not tell your girlfriends and do not let your children or partners see you.

But what are we afraid of? Looking (or feeling) a bit prickly? Being too much like men? Well, guess what? Maybe we are. Maybe even growing moustaches is an inherent link we need to boisterously admit we share with mankind.

Sure, it’s significant that we even demurely admit we grow them. It’s a step forward that women have the option to wax, electrocute, or bleach unwanted facial hair. But what a step it would be if we could just shave.

Think of the progress we could make! Shaving our moustaches – in front of our husbands, our sons, our daughters, our friends -- could do more to equalize men and women than any amount of pants-wearing, bra-burning or corporate ladder climbing since Susan B. Anthony held up her first picket sign.

Of course, the ultimate step forward would be to proudly grow a moustache. No, really -- think of the fashion possibilities. Women could start their own Handlebar Clubs (Google it – you’ll see what I mean), cultivating the coveted “grass grin” or “splay press.” Hell, we could bring new meaning to the “bush puss.” Oh, the possibilities are endless if we could just own our ‘staches.

Unfortunately, though, we still live in an age where telling someone you shave your moustache is akin to telling them you wear a jock strap.

But maybe it’s time one of us untucked our brass balls and took on the challenge. I say: Game on, Shavers unite!

By Anjie “Betty” Reynolds

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Mother Attempts to Talk to Her Teenage Daughter

Weary of news about the world falling apart, I turn to the comic page for relief. Recently, however, that’s been just as hair-raising as reading about Iraq or global warming. April is in trouble.

April is the sixteen-year-old in For Better or for Worse, which chronicles the domestic ups and downs of an average Canadian family. Unlike most comics frozen in time, these characters age. They grapple with real-life problems, not just how much they can pile on a pastrami sandwich.

I’ve followed April’s development closely, because she was born just a few weeks after my daughter. She’s smart and sassy, just like my daughter. She’s a great, responsible kid whom everyone likes, just like my daughter. Right now she’s lying on the bed making out with a boy who’s come to visit when her parents aren’t home, just like . . .

No, it can’t be. This is when my heart stops. I think I know my daughter. I think I have been a good mother. I try not to be naïve. I even think good mothers can have good daughters who are sexually active. But this is only in the abstract. I wish we could be frozen in time, my daughter as ageless and untouchable as the little red-haired girl for whom Charlie Brown pines, me as blithely impervious to reality (and gravity) as Blondie.

Perhaps I am impervious to reality. In truth I have failed miserably at having “the talk.” Whenever I attempt it, my daughter literally leaves the room. I have left Changing Bodies, Changing Lives on a strategically placed shelf, where it sits gathering dust. While we profess to be highly attuned communicators, our family actually operates under an informal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. I can only hope my daughter was paying attention through all those years of Family Life.

So what will April do? What will Elly and John, her parents, do? I haven’t dared to read today’s strip, although I suspect Elly and John will arrive home in the nick of time and April will be grounded for life, breathing the air of freedom only while enroute with her grim mother to the Planned Parenthood clinic.

What will I do? I took a stab at it tonight by asking my daughter if she reads For Better or for Worse. Good opening gambit.

The answer was no.

What’s my next move?

By Lorrie Goldin

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


If ONLY I Could Be On Time

No matter how early I get up, I’m always late in bringing my daughter to school.

After spending a couple of hours at my desk writing in the morning, one would think that this initial sense of accomplishment would propel me to ensure that I would succeed in getting my daughter out the door, in the car and into her classroom on time.

It doesn’t.

It seems like there is always something. And that something always seems to come during the last, critical five minutes before school departure.

My five-year old will suddenly have to go to the bathroom; need me to admire her output; wipe her bottom; want a different breakfast; have a stain that can’t be hidden; can’t find a sock; doesn’t like her shoes; hasn’t brushed her teeth; asks if she has to go to aftercare; cries that she has to go to aftercare; wants to have a spirited discussion on why she has to go to school at all.

Those five minutes are the difference between getting to school on time and missing the second bell.

I always think, “Made it!” when the bell hasn’t rung. When it already has, I have to make a decision. Do I press my daughter through the classroom door, where all the other children are already sitting neatly at their desks, and smile at or avoid the teachers, or admit defeat and trudge into the school office and ask for a late slip.

Gail, the women at the front desk, already knows my name. I can only attribute this to our tardiness.

I wish I could figure out a way to magically make us arrive at school on time. But the truth is that I have been late for everything my entire life, including my own wedding, so it’s really no surprise that I’m late bringing my daughter to school.

Or that my daughter is late on her own.

The thing about progeny is that they inherit the good and the not so good.

Oddly, for some reason, I’m always one of the first mothers for school pick-up. And Mimi is always one of the first kids in line waiting to be picked up.

She loves to possesively shout, “My mommy’s here!” her hand waving wildly in the air, while her Hello Kitty! backpack wiggles behind her.

While school mornings usually have insane beginnings, afternoon pickups almost always have happy endings.

By Dawn Yun

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, March 09, 2009



My old friends and little sisters are thinking about getting pregnant.

I am mother to a three-year-old boy. They are getting Ph.D.’s, attending law school, and going to the gym.

They are very busy.

I am playing with motorcycle guys, building train villages, and possibly taking a shower.

I am also very busy.

To them, days are about productivity – how many articles did I read, how long was my run, how far did I get?

To me, days flow best without too heavy of an agenda – reading the same picture book to my son over and over again, exploring local lakes without a need to complete the loop.

I can’t wait for them to cross over into Planet Motherhood. How I want them to navigate this path with me, to make up missions of the day and invent quirky Halloween costumes.

I hope I will still be in a nearby orbit when they have newborns and my son starts preschool, or maybe I will even be starting all over again with them.

It feels as if I’m in high school, and they are just beginning middle school. But if I wait long enough, maybe we can all be in college together.

By Ariana Amini

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, March 08, 2009


My Husband, the Father I Never Had

I watched my husband, Keith, brush the hair away from my five-year-old daughter’s forehead last night as he read her Pirate ABCs. His voice growled as he did his best Johnny Depp impression. Miranda nestled next to his chest, looked up at him, smiled and snuggled closer.

I walked out of the room, tears welling in my eyes. My dad never read me a bedtime story. Not once. That wasn’t our bedtime ritual. Even though I was only six, I remember it clearly.

You see, Lyle Dennison didn’t read to his kids. He he was too busy being an Oakland cop. And when the job had been too much for him, he was busy hoisting a few Manhattans at the neighborhood tavern.

But we did have a bedtime ritual. He would come home, collapse in his big comfy armchair, and yell “George, take off my shoes.”

I would be in my room, in my pajamas, reading. Slowly, I would walk down the hall and enter the living room. “Hi Dad,” I would say quietly, trying to get a read on his mood.
If he was a happy drunk, then I could sit by his chair and watch McHale’s Navy. But if it had been a hard day, it was safer to be quiet, pull the shoes off and leave. Otherwise, there could be hitting, pushing, yelling.

Usually, it had been a hard day. “George, hurry up, I’m tired,” he would growl. I would bend down and untie the shoelaces as quickly as I could. I would pull them off. His feet usually stank. I stood up and walked quietly away as his head lolled back on the armchair, unconsciousness waiting around the corner.

I don’t remember where my mom was when this would happen. My older sister, Kathy, tried to stop it once and Dad just growled at her to leave me alone. And I don’t remember how long this ritual lasted -- I just remember how scared I was.

And last night, standing in my daughter’s room seeing the love and trust on her face as she snuggled next to her dad, I realized how far I had come from that dark ritual.

By Georgie Craig

Labels: , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Bachelor Dad Sings the Blues

I admit it. I’m a fan. Or an addict. As I watched Jason, the formerly dumped dad, finally pick his whisper of a bride-to-be on Monday night on ABC, twirling and twirling her gowned figure around and around, as only a short man can do with an itty-bitty woman -- I thought, grabbing a tissue, True Love!

But then, at the Most Shocking After The Rose Ceremony Ever on Planet Earth in our Universe, where we’re supposed to finally meet, live, the happy couple who’d been twirling and twirling and pulling the moon into an alternate orbit, the bomb drops.

Jason doesn’t really love his ex-Dallas Cowboys cheerleader sprite. He wants the other one. The one he dumped. Flat. On. Her. Incredulous. Face.

If you don’t watch the show, you may be scratching your head. Let me lay it out there for you. Single, unlucky in love dad goes on a date with twenty-five women. He gets to play with all the women however much he wants – kiss, tickle, tempt them with his shirtless body, take helicopter rides and laugh – haha! – for the countless cameras that surround their every move. And then politely dump them by not handing them a rose. Dating under a microscope is the appropriate cliché, ‘cept this microscope has twenty bazillion fans (addicts) who just can’t get enough of poor Jason’s quest for love.

This season, according to Chris, the well coiffed and patiently disgusted host of the show, Jason’s journey has drawn more viewers than ever. And I can see why. To add to the drama/trauma, we viewers all already knew and held a stake in Jason’s fortune as we had all watched him fail at finding love on last season’s Bachelorette. The one with the Greek gal we all had girl-crushes on. Deanna. You see, Deanna dumped Jason last minute, and chose the completely inappropriate snowboard dude instead. We wept.

Of course, to make the soap opera circle complete, (feel free to skip this paragraph if your kid needs a diaper change or Ed McMahon is at the front door) back to this season, the same Deanna flies all the way to New Zealand where Jason is about to propose to his itty-bitty sprite (because of course, he can’t propose State-side – this amount of sap just isn’t legal here anymore) and old, unhappy Deanna confesses that she made a mistake last season and wants Jason back!

I mean, can it get any better than this?

Confused? Head a-twirl? Good! Because isn’t that what love is, confusing? Dizzying? And that is what has drawn so many (educated!) suckers like me into this orgasmic, minefield of drama played out for us on Monday nights. This isn’t a sappy, happy story of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy marries girl happily ever after. This is the 2009 version of how love really works (uh, sorry, Shakespeare), and Jason’s angst and complete bungling of making the “right” choice for his small family reminds me of some of my friends and acquaintances who have recently made their own tough, love choices and are leaving their marriages and relationships even after ten plus years and three point two children. And are ripped up inside about it.

Fortunately or unfortunately for them, my friends don’t have helicopters whisking them and their kids on date nights or long-stem, red roses determining their fate. But their world is twirling, around and around, as I watch and hope that their new, single-mom ride is smoother than the bumpy, public one our sweet Jason, Bachelor Dad, has chosen to take. Hopefully, I will watch and engage with compassion and empathetic angst on a different level than I do with my guilt-ridden Bachelor addiction.

By Annie Yearout

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 06, 2009


Finding a Good Babysitter is a Bitch

I always knew parenting would be a challenge. What I didn’t expect was that finding good babysitters would sometimes seem almost as difficult.

Take my first babysitter, who I’ll call Lana, for instance. I hired her when my daughter was six-weeks old after my mother—the only relative who lived near me that I trusted enough to leave her with— announced she was moving to Colorado.

I was desperate for an hour or two reprieve from breastfeeding and diaper changing a couple of afternoons during the week. And Lana, who responded to an ad I placed in the paper, seemed ideal. She had tons of experience, great references, CPR training, and a smile as warm as her native Hawaii.

But I soon discovered that child care wasn’t Lana’s true calling. A self-described multi-talented artist, her passions included painting, writing, and soap and candle making, to name just a few. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all in favor of creative expression. The problem was that Lana was constantly trying to sell her creations to me.

Occasionally, I caved in and bought a bar of soap or a candle. But I knew the situation was out of control when Lana breezed through my front door one afternoon with an armload of paintings, all with clearly visible—and rather hefty— price tags.

“Hey girlfriend!” she chirped as she proceeded to spread them out on my dining table. “Brought you some paintings to check out!”

Great, I thought. I don’t recall asking to SEE any paintings.

Lana’s masterpieces weren’t quite what I had in mind for my living room walls. Even if they were, there was no money for “art” in my budget at the time. Hiring her to baby sit for a few hours a week was a luxury I could barely justify given my husband’s tenuous job situation.

Even more annoying, her uninvited sales pitch took place as the clock in my dining room ticked away the precious moments of freedom I was paying her to provide me. If I didn’t escape now, I realized, I’d barely have time for my swim. And I could forget about stopping at Starbucks on the way home for the mocha I was counting on to get me through the rest of the afternoon.

“They’re nice, Lana,” I said, through clenched teeth. “But I’ve got to go, and I really can’t afford to buy any art work right now.”

Though I was tempted, I didn’t fire her that day. When my husband was laid-off a few weeks later, however, I had no problem saying “Aloha” to Lana.

By Dorothy O’Donnell

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Everyday is a Child's Birthday

What if I treated each day like my son’s birthday?

I am not talking about presents, balloons, and birthday candles -- though I enjoy such symbols of celebration. I am addressing the way I admire my son’s every expression on his birthday as if he were a newborn -- the way he wakes up and notices the light lining the shades, the long eyelashes that he shares with my dad, the way his unkempt hair reminds me that I cannot yet bear to have anyone besides me trim his curls, the way he says, “Remember when we went on a walk to Phoenix Lake, Mommy? Remember that? Let’s do that again sometime.”

This year, for his actual birthday morning, I imagine a mommy, son, and Nana outing to Crissy Field where he can ride his new bike, followed by grilled cheese and hot chocolate, but my son doesn’t want to leave the house on a cozy December morning.

My son and I weave trains up and down a mountain as my mom watches from the nearby couch. Usually, I might grow restless after hours of indoor play, but today I am engaged in each moment and lose any trace of agenda.

As long as my son is content, I am happy.

Our big excursion at noon is to the bike shop in downtown San Anselmo to adjust the height of my son’s bike seat. I photograph him outside the bike shop, and his face brightens the lackluster cement setting. He asks to see the digital photos. As I play back the shots, I notice a building behind him -- the now closed Yahiro restaurant where my husband and I ate chicken Teriyaki the night before we would be surprised with an early delivery of our dear boy.

My mom and I follow my son as he rides up and down a ramp, through puddles. As he begins to soar down the hill, he says, “Hold me, Mommy.” I place my hand over his as he grips the bike handle. He will only turn three once. But to me everyday is his birthday.

By Ariana Amini

Labels: , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


If Only I Could Get Organized

Okay, TODAY I'm going to get organized.

I can do this.

All I need are the right storage containers. Didn’t I just buy some? How can they not fit? Why is it that things grow a crucial inch right after I measure them?

Every time I get back from The Container Store loaded down with purchases necessary to change my life with elevated efficiency -- I fail.

Nothing ever ends up looking anything like the picture in my mind.

Okay, that’s fine, I tell myself. I resolve to use my new storage bins somewhere else. But they're never the right type of containers that are needed where they actually end up fitting.

So I achieve less order than before.

I vow to return my latest purchase. That is once I find the receipt, plan a trip back to the store and manage to put the items to be returned or exchanged into my car. Then I have to actually remember to do it. And this all better happen before my husband sees another stack of containers on the porch.

The problem is that in order to be organized – I have to get organized first. If only I possessed the organizational skills necessary to achieve this.

Okay, now where are my keys?

I have got to get organized!

By Cathy Burke

Labels: , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


The Great Pumpkin

I took my ten-year old daughter and two-year old son to Bob's Pumpkin Patch five miles south of Half Moon Bay this morning.

My daughter and I alternated carrying Baby Brother on our backs through the corn maze. Our dog tore off ahead of us, absolutely ecstatic about this set of new smells and sounds.

Then I wheeled my son around in a wheelbarrow through the pumpkin and corn field. My daughter picked out some big fat round orange squashes. I pointed out a flock of red-winged blackbirds. It veered off in varying directions, settling down in a spot in the pumpkin field, then launching off toward another part.

Later, I found a ladybug on the spiny stem of a pumpkin vine. I put it on my son's hand. We watched it for a good while. It stretched out its translucent black wings from underneath its spotted forewings. Then it folded them back in, content I guess with its current location on the warm skin of my son's hand.

I just love those birds and ladybugs and dogs, each with its distinct design and grace.

I make myself look at them again even if I have seen a million before, because if I were to revisit my turbulent feelings regarding my fragile marriage, I might instantly cry again.

Before I had kids, I could just let my tears flow, go write in my journal, then go have a tea or a pint somewhere with or without a friend. Now, I have to keep going. Keep doing the things that I have liked doing with the kids, and let the future shape itself.

While I cannot prevent my daughter from seeing my distress at all times, I can try to focus on the next thing. Is it cleaning? Preparing a meal? Raking the leaves? Scanning craigslist for new job possibilities? Reading "Calvin and Hobbes" with my daughter? Wrestling my son?

By Vicki Inglis

Labels: , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, March 02, 2009


Why Moms MUST Lie to Survive

Is it really so wrong that my three-year old son thinks his antibiotic medicine is peanut butter-flavored? That I, his mother whose duty includes teaching him right from wrong, has informed him of this, even though the medicine is actually that orange-flavored thick-coated stuff?

So I’ve lied. But it’s a white lie so it can’t possibly be so bad. Right?

Twice daily for 10 long days, as prescribed, I’m not having to force medicine into a clamped mouth while jousting the flailing appendages of a determined preschooler. My request is being met with “oooh, I like the peanut butter kind!” and a little mouth agape like a baby bird!

Before I do penance, I must confess that I’ve told my children, those same headstrong and impressionable young offspring of mine, white lies on more than a few occasions.

I’ve actually lied a lot.

White lies have informed the kids that the ice cream parlor is suddenly “closed” when proven inconvenient and that the computer “isn’t working” five minutes before bath.

Remember your Mom telling you if you eat spinach you’ll be as strong as Popeye? I just happen to stick in “tomorrow” for added enticement.

This week my first grader shared with her teacher how “Leo is our second Beta fish. Our first one missed his friends at Petco so Mommy returned him while I was at preschool.” Her teacher’s knowing glance was met with my impish shrug.

I didn’t have it in me to share with my little girl then that her fish died (Mom’s a fish killer!). But since then we’ve grieved over the loss of our beloved old cat, shared concern about Grandpa’s declining health, packed food for the hungry, and donated nearly new items to the needy.

My little white lies add convenience to small matters. And only small matters. Life’s harder truths are addressed openly and yes, honestly.

So, is it so wrong to lie that medicine may be peanut butter-flavored? That dinner is usually almost ready? That “we’re almost there!” at our destination when we’re actually not? I need a reprieve once in a while from the truth and frankly my Santa believing, tooth fairy anticipating kids do, too.

By Maija Threlkeld

Labels: , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Mommy Has Free Time Alone!!!!!!!!!

My husband has taken the kids camping and left me to have a precious twenty-four hours to myself.

It is a gift.

I walked them to the SUV, gave kisses and hugs and waved as the car descended down the hill. Then I opened the gate, skipped down to the house and ran inside.

I noticed something unusual.


I liked the sound of it.

I checked e-mails without fear of being interrupted.

I read four stories online in The New York Times.


Then I felt guilty. The running To Do List in my head noted we were out of everything: paper towels, napkins and, perhaps more importantly, dinosaur chicken nuggets, my daughter’s sole source of protein. It looked like I’d have to go to Costco.

Just the thought made me tired so I decided to take a nap -- because for once, I could. As I walked to the sofa, a thought occurred to me – you’ve been given a present – open it.

Costco could wait. Suddenly, I was no longer tired, I was energized! This really could be all about ME, instead of Mimi, Jay and John.

I love them beyond human comprehension, but sometimes the requirements of family can be taxing. Sometimes, I just need time alone.

I changed course and drove to the DVD store. I luxuriously walked from one end of the store to the next without having to go to the children’s aisle first.

I could get an adult drama. Capote. I could get a comedy. The Squid and the Whale.
I felt like the little parent who could.

John had given me this gift once before. Then it was for two days. I remember the first twenty-four hours I was giddy with freedom. By the second, I couldn’t wait for them to come home.

I knew then that my single days were over. But I could pretend now.

I popped in the first DVD. With my cat curled in my lap, a blanket swathed around us, I would enjoy this private time.

By Dawn Yun

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble This Post Add to Technorati Favorites

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?