Looking back and gazing forward

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lookingback

I had a few ideas for how I would close out this year. I thought about piecing together, what I think, would have been a strong post, pushing my page views up a bit more to round out my year with some solid numbers. Or maybe, one more silly piece, since my writing has been a bit more serious/sentimental lately, and I want to mix things up. Perhaps, I would finally complete one of the gajillion drafts I have sitting around, waiting to be published.

None of that felt right. As this time of year has me thinking about all that has happened, I realize how grateful I am. I hesitate to put a definitive word on the year, as it is still not over, but I can at least say that, up until this point, 2017 was an amazing year for “Maybe I’ll Shower Today.” Continue reading

Fear of labels won’t stop me from helping my kids

Growing up as a child who went to school in the 90s, there was definitely a stigma around special education. Autism diagnoses were much rarer back then, and you maybe saw one or two kids with ADD or ADHD in an entire grade. Most people had never even heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. At least, that is what it seemed like to me, living in my world as a developmentally typical student. The few kids who did need extra help existed in another world to me. I didn’t really understand what challenges they and their families faced.

labels

What I did understand, however, were labels. And the label of being a kid who needed “special education” was full of stigmas. The stigma of not being smart. The stigma of not being normal. The stigma of not being able to cut it in the regular world.

I would like to think that I was a kind person in my younger days, but I am sure I had my moments of looking down on those students who couldn’t cut it in a regular classroom. Maybe I thought, if only they worked harder. Or they are just making excuses. Or why do they get extra help?

As someone who had a relatively easy time in school, I often failed to comprehend why others might struggle. I didn’t know that many students learn differently and that didn’t make them any less intelligent or curious or eager to achieve than me.

I gained a whole new perspective on how kids learn, after having two kids of my own. Continue reading

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