Category Archives: Uncategorized

We should “social distance” more often

A few weeks ago, I asked my friend, fellow writer and environmental expert, Shannon Brescher Shea of We’ll Eat You Up We Love You So, how COVID-19 was impacting our world. Over Twitter, she shared with me how the factories closing in China had significantly reduced pollution in that nation and improved air quality. I’ve heard many there are starting to see stars in the night sky for the first time in ages.

It’s almost as if this Coronavirus pandemic has helped the planet get a much need breather and chance to recuperate.

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On a personal level, my family has driven far less these past couple of weeks, is spending more time exploring in our own yard/street, and simply doing “less.” I will admit, our use of paper and other consumables is up, but overall, I believe we and other families have reduced our carbon footprints in a big way.

The Earth isn’t the only thing getting a chance to breathe and recuperate.

We are as well.

Without my kids on their usual school schedule, I have been able to sleep in more, stress less about getting them ready, and been able to ease up on the usual regimen. I’ve enabled my children to take the lead on their own learning, and have been amazed with the results. My seven-year-old, for example, now spends a few hours a day writing and reading on his own, all without any prompting from me.

As a family, we are enjoying quieter, simpler activities together, no longer rushing from one activity to the next.

I have also witnessed a higher level of connection with friends and family. I find myself checking in (and being checked on) more than ever. As if, being forced apart has brought us even closer.

It’s nice. It’s necessary.

I wish it didn’t take a global illness to do it. Continue reading

It’s time to stop ‘boot-strapping’ parenthood

Scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I came across a video featuring a well-known motivational speaker, who this person is doesn’t matter, as the message shared is pretty much the same for the lot of them:

“I worked hard, came from nothing, did this all on my own, became successful, and you can too, if you just tried.”

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At face value, this is an encouraging sentiment, and provides us with that “can-do” attitude we need to achieve our dreams.

Yet. when we dig deeper, we find that success is never achieved in an isolated vacuum, and this message is dangerous no matter what you are pursuing, but it is especially true for parents — women and mothers in particular — who are taught we most work harder, better and smarter, with little or no help from society at large, because this is the American way.

Suck it up, pull up those proverbial “bootstraps,” and do what you gotta do.

This toxic message roots itself deep in our psyche and tells us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Continue reading

For those days when you don’t feel thankful

With Thanksgiving this week, we tend to focus on gratitude, taking the time to appreciate our good fortune and express our thanks to family, friends, colleagues and, sometimes, a higher power.

This is the time of year for commercials that make us cry and Hallmark movies that make us swoon. We will read inspirational quotes plastered on our Facebook feeds, and share heartfelt videos reminding us of our many blessings. These lovely reminders will resonate with many of us. They will be enough to put a smile on our faces and joy in our hearts.

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For some of you, they may not.

Some of you may not be feeling all that “grateful.”

You may have lost a job.

Your relationship may have ended.

Your child may be suffering at school.

Your spouse might be ill.

Your pet may have died.

You may just be having a bad year.

Maybe there is no reason.

Whatever the reason — or lack thereof — it is OK to not feel thankful. When you sit around the dinner table Thursday, and people share what they are grateful for, it is OK to not answer, or to just excuse yourself during that part. You aren’t a bad person if you can’t find something. You are a human who is entitled to feel angry, sad, lonely or confused.

You don’t owe anyone a smile or pleasantries. You don’t need to “fake it.” You can just be.

Continue reading