Tag Archives: children

Homeschooling is a privilege many families can’t afford

It is a privilege to be able to homeschool your kids.

Yes, it is also a lot of hard work and sacrifice.But, in the end, if you or another trusted adult is able to devote a significant amount of time on your child’s education, that is a privilege.

A privilege which was thrust into a big bright spot light because of a pandemic that forced our schools to close.

For the first time homeschooling wasn’t a choice, it was a mandate. And as the weeks and months went on, we heard story after story of parents struggling to manage the new normal of working, raising a family and educating their children.

Many parents just asked the bare minimum of work from their kids, others just threw in the towel, believing (hoping) they would get through this until the school year ended.

Well, now summer is here in the United States, and families have to face the reality that “school” will be much different if and when they reopen.

“Will G-d punish me?” Understanding childhood fear in the age of COVID-19

“Will G-d punish me?” My son asked after admitting he had lied to me earlier that day.

The question caught me off guard, because, while my son does have a strong moral compass and feels ashamed when he makes a mistake, never before had he pondered G-d’s involvement in his own life.

I am all for intense philosophical and theological debates on the existence of a higher power, and what, if any, role said power plays in the shaping of human existence.

However, when these questions come from your own child, no amount of scholarly texts or Biblical excerpts will ease their fears.

Before I could approach my son’s question, I needed to take account of our current reality and it’s impact on my children and indeed all children around the world.

We are in the midst of what maybe the most frightening experience thus far for many of our children. Certainly, this is the case for mine.

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And, even if we as adults do our best to keep COVID-19=related news to ourselves, our childre are smart. They can sense our fear and worry. They see us donning masks to run errands. They conduct their studies via video meetings. They wave to their friends from across the street.

They know life is far from normal.

Take ten minutes to peruse online parenting groups, and you fill find countless cries for help, frustrated commenters and moms and dads at their wits end over their kids’ behavior. Continue reading

Bringing babies to the office isn’t “working”

Every so often I come across a post about some company’s generous policy of allowing new parents to bring their babies to work with them. Usually the praise for the family-focused policy is accompanied by a picture of a smiling baby, happily sitting in a baby seat while mom goes about her office tasks.

These policies are touted as a wonderful solution for new parents who have to return to work and can’t or don’t want to rely on outside childcare.

The reality, however, is much different.

While some babies are calm enough to allow you to get your work done, others demand a lot of attention. Some babies are colicky, need to be held constantly. They need to be burped, changed, cleaned, and on and on.

And, then there’s the feeding.

If you are nursing, you may need to feed your baby as often as once every hour, and if you consider how long a feeding session is, that doesn’t leave much “baby free” time to get work done.

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This can be daunting if your job requires you to meet certain daily or weekly deadlines, you have a customer-centric career, or you have a job without flexible hours. 

Though, I was working from home, I still found it challenging to balance my job and my baby without outside support. I often found myself working in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to catch up on what I had missed caring for my son during the day. I imagine those who bring their babies to the office have to do the same.
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We all contribute to our families’ success

“Who has more bills, you or daddy?”

My son asked me, while we were chatting in the kitchen.

“Neither of us do,” I answered. “Dad may pay a certain amount to use the gym, and I may pay a certain amount on my dance class, but we share a budget, and all of us contribute, even you and your brother.”

I went on to explain while his father is the one who brings in the most financially, and that it is important to recognize that, it is just as important to recognize the non-monetary contributions all of us make.

I spoke about how my writing, though not a big moneymaker, enables me to be home when needed, take care of household chores (however poorly I manage them), take his brother to speech services, and other tasks that would be difficult to complete if I was working full-time.

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I reminded my son his role (and his brother’s) is just as important as his parents. I explained how helping with the laundry, cleaning up his toys and being a good brother, all contribute to happy and well-functioning household.

We are all in this together, and we all play a part. Continue reading

This book made me appreciate teachers even more

Whenever I think about who inspired me to become a writer, my second-grade teacher comes to mind.

When I think about who inspired me to think critically, and ask questions, a high school teacher comes to mind.

When I think about who will shape and influence my children over the years, teachers come to mind.

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The importance and value of great teachers cannot be understated. These dedicated servants to education can make all the difference in the lives of our children.

I have long had a deep respect for this profession, yet, I never fully understood the depth of work and devotion to this career, until I got my hands on a copy of Schooled: A Love Letter to the Exhausting, Infuriating, Occasionally Excruciating Yet Somehow Completely Wonderful Profession of Teaching. Continue reading

Kids understand more than we think

“Why do we have belly buttons?”

My six-year-old asked me, while staring down at his own naval during bathtime.

I explained to him that his belly button is the spot where his umbilical cord connected him to my placenta, which is how he got nutrients inside the womb. I told him how after babies are born, the umbilical cord is cut and what’s left is the belly button.

I went on to talk about how his younger brother’s umbilical cord might not have been cut properly, which is why he got sick when he was born.

We talked about how he had to go to the hospital, and my six-year-old commented on how lucky his brother was to have good doctors working on him, and I agreed.

My son followed up by asking me if doctors still had to help patients even if they didn’t have money. I explained how doctors have a sort of “code” which demands they care for anyone, no matter the circumstances. I told him that afterwards, the hospital or doctor’s office sends a bill saying what is owed to the patient or the patient’s family.

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We talked about how our family fortunate to have the means to pay for his brother’s procedures and NICU stay, and to be financially well enough to afford quality healthcare for our family.

I told my son that some families aren’t so fortunate, and many have to do things like sell their homes, or ask others for help because their medical bills are too expensive.

My son looked at me and asked with the innocence of a child, “Why can’t it just be free?”

I could have just said, “I wish, or, I don’t know,” but I believe our children deserve honest, thoughtful answers. Continue reading

If your child struggles in school, cut yourself some slack and stop the self-blaming

Here we are, many of us in the middle of Spring Break, heading into one, or just getting ready to enjoy a long weekend with our families. Many of us are eagerly awaiting to get our kids back in school and back to the routine. I for one, have a child who needs the steady structure of school, and actually, for the most part, is happy to be there. For others however, school can be a source of dread and anxiety.

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You might struggle every day just to get your child out of bed. You beg and plead, hoping for a day when they happily get on the bus.

You might be dealing with a newly diagnosed learning challenge and an I.E.P. (individualized education plan). Your mind is a tangle of questions, worries, and wondering what this all means.

You might spend so much time with the principal, guidance counselor and other specialist that you feel you know them better than your own family. You might secretly envy other parents whose children are never cited for disciplinary problems, for being a distraction or for being unfit for the classroom. Continue reading

Five tips for surviving Passover with picky kids

Passover is almost here, and, for many Jewish families, that means stress. Before the holiday begins, lots of cleaning and cooking must be done to prepare for the eight-day-long festival. Here’s where I’ll admit, I don’t tidy up to the extent of other Jewish families, and I’m fortunate my mother is the one who cooks for and hosts the family seders, or ritual meals which mark the start of the holiday.

Whether you vacuum and scrub every inch of your home, or barely clean at all, if you are a family who observes the holiday, there is one thing which can cause lots of anxiety: figuring out how to get through eight whole days of no bread, no “real” pasta, no pizza and all the other yeasty foods most picky eaters love.

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If you already have healthy, adventurous eaters, Passover is probably not much of a challenge. Kids who love to eat their vegetables and fruit as well as most proteins are going to be fine this holiday as they are at any other. Count your blessings and enjoy.

For those of us whose children are a bit more selective about their food choices, Passover is the most difficult holiday to get through. Though the Passover-friendly food market has grown, and it is amazing how people have managed to produce everything from cereal to cookies, the holiday can still be hard for kids who only eat a limited amount of food.

We parents need to do what we have to to get ourselves and our kids through the holiday, and not like the stress of food ruin anyone’s experience. To help you make the best of the restrictions, here are my tips for surviving Passover with your picky eater. Continue reading

Dynamic mother/daughter team deliver thoughtful insights via new parenting podcast

Like many relatively new moms, I turn to more experienced mothers for advice and comfort. For me, there is nobody better than my own mom. Our phone calls often morph into intense discussions on parenthood, with my mother sharing her strong opinions on how kids are raised today.

Dynamic Mother_Daughter Team Deliver Thoughtful Insights via New Parenting Podcast

Who better than my mom to join forces with for an exciting new new podcast dedicated to bringing humorous, insightful and heartfelt content to parents everywhere?

“Mom Around The Corner” will examine a variety of parenting issues through the eyes of a baby boomer mom and a millenial mom. Each episode is like eavesdropping on one of the many candid conversations between myself and my mother. Always unfiltered, often heated and always keeping it real, we hope to give our listeners a broad range of perspectives on everything from childbirth to discipline. Continue reading

Dear G-d, thanks for the hormones

Our human bodies are marvels of creation. We are divinely crafted specimens, whose intricate functionality surpasses even the most advanced of machinery. Every part of us moves in beautiful synchronicity to enable us to live out our lives as best as we are able. And flowing through our impressive vessels are hormones, perhaps one of our greatest gifts from G-d.

Dear G-d, Thanks For The Hormones

Hormones? Are we seriously talking about those things which caused our faces to turn into bumpy messes as teens, and turns us into irrational rage machines about three quarters of every month? What’s so great about hormones?

If you stop and think about some of the greatest moments in your life — the moment you first fell in love with your spouse, your wedding day, the birth of your first child — almost every one of them can be attributed to hormones, those strange chemicals in our bodies which make us who we are and influence so many of our decisions. Continue reading