Lunch Notes: A Christmas Card Recycling Program

In August, my son Wally started first grade. For us, this meant the first time he’d be doing full day school. This also meant the first time we’d be packing him a lunch. I had heard all the stories about all the mom mistakes. An Eeyore-mopey kid saying to the mom at pick up after the first day, “You forgot to put a note in my lunch.” I did not want to be that mom. I also could not imagine...


The Key to a Happy Mother's Day

Motherhood is a gift. They hand you your newborn and send you home from the hospital, and you think, you have surrounded me by nurses for the past 3-5 days who have swept in when my child needed a diaper change, when I needed that lovely prescription-strength Motrin, when I wanted more of that blessed, blessed ice. And now, you have wrapped up my little living lump and sent me on my way to do it...


What Mommy Wars? Insights of a Work-Part-Time-at-Home Mom

When meeting a fellow mom for the first time, there is always a moment in the conversation where there is hesitation…there is a flash of fear of offense…and then there is the question: Do you work? Or do you stay at home? The inflection of the question goes up, just to the right pitch so as to indicate that the asker is okay with whatever answer you throw out there. It’s cool, the asker...


Trouble: How a Dumb Game Proved Me a Fool (and Changed My Life)

The do-it-all mom. Super mom. The idea of modern motherhood is infused with an idea of superhero abilities. When I was pregnant with WallyV, a mom-friend gave me these wise words, “Just wait. You will be walking in from the grocery store carrying a baby carrier, bags of groceries, your purse, your diaper bag, baby toys, your breastpump, and a gallon of milk. You will be able to do a million...


Just Wait. On Terrible Phases and Good Advice.

At a recent girl’s night, a good mom friend of mine was talking about her two-year-old, who is currently demonstrating “terrible”. Three timeouts at breakfast—three!—including one incident where the Little Misses went full Soap Opera on her and swiped everything off the table in a fit of rage. “Did your kids ever do that?” she asked. “No,” I said....


Why I Don't Tell My Daughter She's Beautiful

When Vivvi was a baby, people constantly told me how much she looked like me. And occasionally, I looked at her and it was like looking in a mirror that reduces your age by 31 years. It took my breath away—this feeling that I was born again 31 years later and got to meet myself. But then at around 2 years old she stretched out, lost some of her chubby cheeks, and people stopped saying it. (I...


To Laugh or Not to Laugh? That is the Question.

A favorite question for my two year old daughter to ask is, “Is that funny?” She’ll make a face (yes), do a dance (yes), or spit (no), and follow up with a quick check-in—”Is that funny?” So much of being a kid is about asking that question. And so much of being a parent is figuring out that answer. Parenting requires more brain power than anything else I’ve...


I'm not a perfect mom. I just play one on Facebook.

I’ve been in several conversations lately about social media, and its power to allow people to portray a self that is not reality. This selfie culture, where we can post only the things that shed ourselves in the best light tends to breed a feeling of incompetence. People’s lives look perfect in a news feed. When you hold that up next to your reality where your son just wiped his dirty...


When Patience Runs Dry, or the Ugly Side of Parenting Little Ones

Tonight I didn’t pick WV up and chuck him across the room. I didn’t crack him in two over my knee. I didn’t reach into his throat and rip his voice box out and raise it up in the air with a primal “yalp!” I didn’t Jackie Chan face chop him with my palm and a loud “hi-ya!” And the fact that I didn’t do any of these things is, in itself, a major...


Adventures in babysitting, and a long-time-coming night on the town!

We achieved a new plane of freedom last night—we left the kids with “sitters”. Yes, yes, Wally Ben is 3 years old, so this has been a long time coming. But, he was a notoriously angry little fellow as a baby and toddler when left with anyone other than grandparents. He cried for entire hours in the nursery at church. He would be returned to us, red-faced, doing that post-cry 3-tiered...