Tag Archives: parenting

How I use cooking to encourage independence

Raising children is a lifelong lesson in letting go. From the moment they are born, our instinct is to protect them, to shield them, to make their lives easier. We help them with as much as we can — not because we are overprotective — but, because we love them and want them to succeed.

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Ultimate success, however, comes by stepping back, and letting our kids do more on their own. Each age offers new opportunities for growth, and each family can decide what works best for them.

I look out for signs from my kids to guide me about when they might be ready to try new tasks. So, when my son, who is five, started insisting on making meatballs on his on, I let him. Continue reading

I see myself (and my kids) in pop culture

Staring up at the young performers in “Dear Evan Hansen,” watching in awe as they masterfully captured the angst, confusion, boredom and small joys of being teenagers, two thoughts popped in my head:

  1. Wow, this reminds me so much of high school. 
  2. Is this what my kids will be like?

I am privileged to say I have attended a number of Broadway shows, several with strong, emotional stories and engaging characters. When I watched these shows in my teens and my 20s, I felt their struggles and connected with their emotions. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what it was like to be a 20-something in the late 80s living in the East Village (RENT), or a sexually-confused teen in 19th-century Germany or green witch struggling to find acceptance in Oz (Wicked); I saw myself in those characters.

I See Myself (And My Kids) In Pop Culture

We all see ourselves in fictional characters, whether on the stage, screen or the page. It is what drives us to experience these stories. That deep connection. That sense of knowing exactly how a character feels. We are moved by them, because we are them. 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

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?

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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

5 reasons to never say, “Enjoy every moment” to a new parent

If you have young children, you have likely heard some iteration of the phrase, “Enjoy every moment,” repeatedly. They are the words uttered to you with a smile by the store cashier as she sees your toddler yanking at your hand. It is the comment on your Facebook post about finally getting the kids to bed.

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Being a new parent is tough, but not tough enough to ever be sad, angry or even just a tiny bit annoyed by the situation.

That is what you are telling a new parent when you say, “Enjoy every moment.”

Take the time to think about why this phrase is problematic. Continue reading

Parents of five-month-olds got it made

One parenting joy is the ability to bitch about the difficulty of raising a (insert age of child here). New parents struggle to stay sane while caring for a helpless, poop-machine. Toddler parents contend with tantrums, crayon murals and picky eating. School-age kids bring constant questions and whining. And, the adolescent years? Yeah, not even gonna touch that.

Seems almost every stage of parenthood has its challenges. So, is there an age when things are not so bad, or even great?

Parents of Five-Month-Olds Got it Made

After nearly five years of completely unscientific research, I have concluded the period between four and six months is the most pleasant age for children.

Continue reading

5 more parenting-inspired shows: Netflix edition 

I have few loves in life, my husband, my kids, and, of course, my Netflix. Give me a night with Francis Underwood or the ladies of Litchfield any day. And, while those shows are fantastic, they don’t always reflect the everyday mundane reality of parenthood. Just like I offered some parenting-inspired tweaks to some popular network programs, I thought Netflix could use some of its own.

1. Orange Is The New Food My Kid Won’t Eat 

ORANGE

Will it be oranges or will it be mashed potatoes? Tune in to each episode of this riveting drama to find out which food your child now hates.

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Lucky penny

This story describes handling a medical situation involving a child ingesting a foreign object. Some language might be offensive to some readers. Also, every child and situation is different. Please consult your doctor if you need medical advice.

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“Mama, I swallowed a penny!” So began the series of events leading to me kneeling beside my toilet searching for the coin my four-year-old ingested.

How I managed to make it through two kids and more than four years of parenting before either of them swallowed a foreign object is nothing short of a miracle. I never fully baby-proofed my home and my little ones are always getting into precarious situations. I’d like to think I did a decent job of enforcing certain rules like, staying away from the stove and crawling backwards down the stairs until walking has been mastered. I am humble enough to admit keeping my kids safe is equal parts quick reflexes and just plain good luck. Continue reading

Stop bitching about how much better being a kid used to be

Being a kid in the 1970s, 80s or 90s was so much better than today, or so says countless essays, listicles and Facebook rants. We played in the street, stayed put until dark and used our imagination instead of iPads. Our parents were stern, but still gave us freedom to explore. We tell our own children of the good old days and wax poetic about how wonderful their lives would have been back then.

Raising children today can never be like it was. Society changes, values evolve, technology grows, new challenges emerge, etc., etc. Our grandparents grew up very differently from our parents, as did our parents from us. Our great grandparents may not have had much of a childhood because, back then, kids were expected to work at a young age.

Our ancestors are looking down on us and wondering what is wrong with us. Our kids are fortunate in so many ways. They are not suffering the burden of a Great Depression or the terror of a World War. And while, as a New Yorker, I do not discount the real fear of terrorism, the truth is, kids in the United States are safer than ever. Instead of bemoaning the fate of our children, let’s give them the childhood they deserve. Continue reading