5 things this Jewish mom loves about Christmas

Thanksgiving has passed. The store shelves are stocked with ornaments, tinsel, and lights. The mainstream radio stations are playing holiday tunes. Holly and pine adorn streetlights and shop windows. Santa and his elves are depicted in countless commercials. Christmas season is here.

As a Jewish mom in a predominantly Christian society, I do feel a need to shield my kids from the Christmas stuff. The lights, the tree, Santa, the presents—I get it—it’s pretty awesome. I can’t blame my 5-year-old for wanting in on the action.

5 things this Jewish mom loves about Christmas

I could respond by playing up Hanukkah, telling him we get eight nights of presents instead of one. Or I could diminish the role of Christmas in our secular society, and hope he just gets over it.

Instead, I will share with my son all of the wonderful teachings of Christmas. Continue reading

What parents of allergic kids want us to know

I have two small boys, and while I may joke my oldest, extremely picky, child is “allergic” to food in general, I do not know what it is like to raise a child who has food allergies. I do not know what it is like to spend hours in doctors offices. I do not know what it is like to rush my child to the E.R. because he accidentally ingested a harmful food. I do not know what it is like to overhaul my life to ensure I don’t endanger my child.

Allergic Kids

I do, however, know plenty of parents who know all about those things and more. They are living life as parents of children with food allergies. As their friend, I have learned much about their struggles and how they navigate the world a bit differently than the rest of us. I have tremendous respect for them, and as a fellow parent/decent human being, I want to do my part to help keep their kids safe. Continue reading

I let someone else plan my kid’s birthday party

I am a bit of a “type A” personality. I was involved with everything in high school, from the student newspaper to a Jewish youth group. I then went on to college, where I became president of my sorority. For much of my adolescent and early adult life, I was in charge of something, planning something, delegating something — always doing something.

I thrived on deadlines and responsibilities and was able to manage the stress that comes with them. I was also a lot younger, sleeping a lot longer and only had to worry about myself.

party

Since becoming a parent, I have found my interest in doing all the things has waned. Managing my family has occupied so much space inside me that I often dread adding another responsibility. Some might call it lazy, or poor time management skills, and they might be right. But, I know what I can handle, and I don’t want to push myself over the edge. Continue reading

Parenting helped me embrace my inner “no”

A make-up free selfie of Jennifer Garner made the rounds, last month, showing the exhausted mom of three after her fifth-annual “yes day.”

When hearing about the actress’s yearly trend of indulging every whim, no matter how much it beat her down in the process, I wondered if I could ever commit to a full day of only saying yes to my kids.

Parenting helped me embrace my inner -no-

I already do my own version of this with my kids, in a way. During the week, for example, I limit things like junk food and screen time, but on the weekends or special occasions, I let the kids indulge a bit. It’s why you might see my kid eating nothing but cookies at a birthday party. He rarely eats them, so for him it is a splurge. Surprisingly, this method has taught him some self control. At a recent synagogue function, he ate a few cookies and declared he had enough.

I learned quickly as a parent that in order for those “yes” moments to work, I need to be able to say, “no,” too. Continue reading

The beautiful bond of my boys

The Beautiful Bond of My Boys

The following is an excerpt from my story, “Brotherly Love,” in the book,
The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys: Hilarious & Heartwarming Stories About Raising Boys From The Boymom Squad, edited by Tiffany O’Connor and Lyndee Brown of #Lifewithboys. Continue reading

Promote early literacy skills with this ABC lift-the-flap train

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I am a blogger, and, as you might have guessed, I loved reading and writing in elementary school. I devoured books and composed stories of my own, many of which my parents still saved to this day.

Yes, I was one of those kids who read for “fun.”

My oldest, so far, shows no signs of having inherited this trait. He is much more into running around, building train sets and pondering highly existential thoughts. Sitting down and working on his writing is not high on his list of priorities.
ABC Train (1)

Granted, my son, who will be five in November, is very young for Kindergarten, and may develop more of an interest in writing as it gets more comfortable for him.

Like all of you, I want my child to do well, without pushing him so far that he completely loses any interest in learning.

So, when I learned he needed a little more help with his literacy skills, I knew I had to come up with some fun ways to make reading and writing fun. Continue reading

To the parents of girls: It’s not your job 

girl

It’s not your job to tell your daughters not to dress “too sexy.”

It’s not your job to warn your daughters about parties, drinking and hookup culture.

It’s not your job to teach your daughters to avoid walking alone at night.

It’s not your job to teach your daughters to avoid walking alone at anytime.

It’s not your job to tell your daughters to keep their heads down while using public transportation.

It’s not your job to encourage your daughters to say they are in a relationship to avoid unwanted attention.

It’s not your job to teach your daughters to ignore the cat calls.

It’s not your job to tell your daughters smiling or being friendly might be mistaken for wanting something sexual.

It’s not your job to give your daughters whistles, or mace, or a knife or a sharp set of keys.

It’s not your job to teach your daughters how not to get harassed or assaulted or raped.

For far too long we have made women and girls shoulder the burden for the inappropriate and often violent behavior some men inflict upon them. Continue reading