Category Archives: Smile

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

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

A tale of Ivanka Trump and kosher weddings

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the special connection I felt with Hillary Clinton, and ended the post with a comment on how I have a Trump story.

Well, more specifically, an Ivanka Trump story.

I was going to post something else today, but, since it happens to be my anniversary, and this story relates to my wedding, I can’t think of a better time to share how Ivanka and I will forever be linked. So, I guess, today, is another anniversary. Where’s my gift Ivanka?

wedding_trump

Anyway. My story begins in the offices of a lovely, conservative synagogue in Westchester County New York. My fiance and I are sitting across the desk of the catering manager. Behind him are displays of a notable New York, high society couple: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Continue reading

A lesson in patience from a praying mantis

Whoever said, “Patience is a virtue,” probably never had kids. I say probably, because I am too impatient to look it up. See where I am going with this?

praying mantis

Patience. Yeah, that’s not one of my core elements. Before I had kids, I’d be that person, who would run down the stairs, passing a pregnant lady and simultaneously knocking over an elderly disabled person so I could catch a train I probably didn’t really need to make. I lived life in a hurry, and everyone and everything was in my way. My intolerance wasn’t limited to the physically slow, anyone whom I felt lacked my perceived level of comprehension of basic knowledge was also met with disdain.

I know, I was pretty obnoxious. Continue reading