Tag Archives: family

20 Reasons why I am a terrible parent (according to the Internet)

Being a parent today means having access to a wealth of information to guide you toward raising your kids in the best possible way. In the “old” days our parents and grandparents maybe had a handful of books and an occasional newspaper advice column to turn to for help. Most of the time, people with kids were just making it up as they go, and didn’t live under constant fear of shame and ridicule. Or, at the very least, any shame they felt was limited to a close circle of friends and family.

Now, we have a whole Internet full of ideas on how to raise kids, and, more often than not, a contradictory list of all the ways you’re doing parenting wrong. You would be right to think we shouldn’t let our worth be determined by randos online, but, what can I say, those keyboard warriors have a weird power about them.

As much as I share about my motherhood experience, I do hold back, because I know many of the things I do as a parent would be met with ridicule and shame. My style is a mishmash of attachment, tiger, free-range and anything else you may think of. My parenting often changes with my mood or based on what I feel my kids’ need. I consider outside input, then do what I feel is best for my family.

No matter how I hard I try, I still feel shamed by parenting “advice” online, whether it is coming from an expert or just a bunch of moms in a Facebook group. I acknowledge that as a writer who focuses on parenting, I also contribute to this mess. I hope anyone who reads my stuff takes it with a very large grain of salt.

I think we need to laugh at how varied and disconnected parenting advice can be, so I made I list of all the things I have done or am doing wrong as a parent.

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person holding and taking selfie using a smartphone

Does my fifth grader “need” a smartphone?

My oldest will soon be 10 years old, and, with each year, he is becoming one of fewer and fewer kids his age with their own phone. He has known children with smartphones since he was in Kindergarten, and has expressed interest in one ever since.

Before he was nine, I wouldn’t even address the question of getting him a phone. I believe (and still do), he had no valid reason for having one, and trusted that he was always with a reliable individual (whether a teacher, relative or activity leader), who had access to a phone and my information should he ever be in trouble.

Still, I understand the desire to want to enable our kids to be able to reach us if/when they are in trouble or scared. My son is growing more independent, and if a phone could help ease some of my worries and allow him to do more on his own, it may not be a terrible solution.

This thought occurred to me last month, when my son wanted to march in our town’s Homecoming Parade with the Middle School. When I dropped him off, there was no clear adult in charge (though there were some present), and it was a loud chaotic mess of teens, floats and excitement.

I hesitated and asked my son if he wanted to stay. He said he did, and though I felt concerned about his welfare, I agreed, got back in my car and drove off to meet my husband and our seven-year-old with whom I’d be watching the parade.

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flat lay photography of variety of vegetables

Simple tips to encourage plant-based eating in your home

I began limiting animal-based foods from my diet when I was in college, mainly because I never loved the texture of most meat, and I was drawn to the idea that cutting back on such food could be beneficial to the environment. I went back and forth on what exactly I included in my diet, eventually settling in my comfort zone, which is as a technical pescatarian (though my fish intake is limited), who is currently limiting dairy.

For me, cutting back on meat is simple, as I enjoy many fruits, vegetables, nuts and other plant-based products. I am perfectly happy with a salad filled with colorful ingredients, and can put together a full meal entirely of sides at even the most meat-centric restaurant. My kids, however, do not share my love of veggies, and getting them to think of greens, whole grains, legumes and other plant-based foods as tasty parts of a healthy diet has been a futile effort. Like many parents, meat-eaters or not, I stress about whether my kids are eating enough nutritious foods (spoiler: mine probably are not).

Social media makes me believe every other family has kids who happily eat platefuls of raw spinach, while I am happy with mine eating a few pieces of lettuce at dinner. What I am learning, however, is no family is perfect, and that we need to take a deep breath and realize we are all probably doing much better than we realize. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Brooke Brimm, a mom, advocate and champion of plant-based eating. Brooke, who has been vegan for many years, believes adding plant-based foods shouldn’t be a negative or stressful experience. In our chat on Instagram, Brooke shares how eating more vegan foods is not about shaming meat or meat eaters, nor is it about projecting our own needs onto our family. She urges her followers to make food a positive experience and to embrace the myriad of ways many of us (our kids especially) enjoy eating.

Keep reading to see more great tips from Brooke.

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Moving? Here are 5 things to look for in a potential community library

When my husband and I were considering areas for our growing family, we wanted to be sure we would settle in a place our kids could thrive and be fulfilled. Though this meant looking into a number of factors, such as schools and overall quality of life, I made a point to place one particular community element at the top of my list: the local library.

Whether the town or city we visited was large or small, I took stock of how regarded the library was in the community. I took special care to observe the children’s section, as I knew that would be where my family would spend most of our time, yet also made note of the overall condition and atmosphere of the building as a whole.

To me, a library that is active, clean, well-staffed and highly regarded reflects a community that is engaged, involved and invested in the happiness and well-being of its members. This does not mean the library needs to be huge or filled with all the latest technology. I am well aware of how underfunded libraries are, and how unfortunately many communities lack the resources to improve old buildings, pay staff and keep shelves stocked. If you are able, please consider donating to your local library and other programs that support libraries across the country.

When you are exploring potential neighborhoods, here are some things to look for in the local library.

A library that is active, clean, well-staffed and highly regarded reflects a community that is engaged, involved and invested in the happiness and well-being of its members. Click To Tweet Continue reading
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My oldest is “moving up” to middle school, and I have all the feelings

My oldest son entered kindergarten in September 2017, at the age of four. With a mid November birthday, he was one of the youngest students in the class.

Many around me questioned our family’s choice to put him in kindergarten — after all, the overwhelming trend was/is to let kids with late birthdays wait another year. I certainly wondered, at times, if we made the right call. Yet, in my heart, I knew he belonged there.

Sure enough, my oldest continued to thrive. His academic and social skills kept improving, and, by second grade, I couldn’t imagine him being in a grade below, even if some of those kids were in fact older than him.

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Learn all about being a surrogate from Dana of 39ish Life (VIDEO)

Surrogacy, or the process of carrying a child in the womb for someone else, is a fascinating and special service many parents rely on to build their families. And, while there is a lot of content from the perspective of parents who have used surrogate(s) to grow their family, we don’t often hear from the surrogates themselves.

I am fortunate to be friends with Dana Kamp, a fellow boy mom and writer, and one-time surrogate. Dana spoke with me over Instagram about her experience serving as a surrogate, and shared the often emotional story of searching for a match, going through a surrogate pregnancy, and where that relationship with that family is today.

Throughout our conversation, Dana shared valuable information for both potential surrogates and those looking to use surrogacy, and dispelled a few myths about what the experience entails.

Read on to see some of the highlights of our interview and watch the full video below.

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Make the most of family travel with these 5 packing tips

By Sandra Aris

Spring and summer travel is here, and parents are ready to get kids out of the house and on the road or in the air. But before kicking off their dream vacation, parents are left with the difficult task of packing for everyone in the family. And while it may be as simple as outfits and skincare for adults, packing for kids requires much more preparation, thought, and consideration.

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This Mother’s Day, let’s commit to giving moms the care and protection we deserve

I am writing this just a day after the news broke about the likelihood of the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and bringing the issue of abortion back to the states. What this means is those in need of abortion services will no longer be protected by federal law, and instead their reproductive rights will be at the whim of their state legislature.

For women like me, who live in states like New York, nothing will change. However, for the thousands of women who live in states poised to enact the strictest abortion laws in the country, the overturning of Roe means they may be forced to spend obscene amounts to go out of state for an abortion, resort to unsafe and/or illegal alternatives, or continue a pregnancy they do not want.

As a mother who has carried two children in my womb, I know with a full heart the joy and wonder of bringing life into this world. I do not take this lightly, and I reject anyone who suggests those of us who are pro-choice are callous, uncaring supporters of “baby murder.” It is because of my experience with having a healthy, supported and welcomed pregnancy that I more than ever want to ensure that others have the same.

The ability to choose when to have a child is just part of the bigger picture for ensuring women and mother’s are protected. For those who choose to carry a child, we need to do a far greater job of providing them with comprehensive prenatal and post natal care.

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Croquet is the friendly lawn game you must try

If you just finished watching the second season of Bridgerton, you likely noticed how prominent a role croquet played in highlighting the smoldering, competitive chemistry between the Viscount Anthony Bridgerton and Miss Kate Schwarma.

Or, you might be fonder of Heathers and how croquet was used to show the divide between the haves and the have-nots.

And who could forget the memorable scene in Disney’s version of Alice In Wonderland, where Alice was forced to play a highly unusual and markedly unfair game against the Queen of Hearts?

For years, croquet has captured us through pop culture, and may even seem a bit exclusive. However, this centuries old game really is for everyone.

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Camp expert on choosing the best overnight camp for your child

I sat down with Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of American Camp Association, to talk about how families could choose the best overnight camps for their children.

In our interview (posted below), we discuss taking the time to research the options available and consider what camps would appeal most to your children. We also discuss concerns such as tuition costs, homesickness, and device dependence.

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