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When The Team Won't Follow the Leader

I am aware that there are some critics out there who think that Andy and I are kind of loosey-goosey parents. Some think we don’t have enough rules or enough structure or discipline in our family. I’ve always felt really bad about this because, from one perspective, I can sort of see what they are talking about. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel guilty about being a shitty parent. My thoughts before passing out each night, exhausted, are about how I could’ve done a better job today and that I really hope I can do a better job the next day. Tomorrow is a new day to make rules and implement them, right?But I finally figured out what the missing link is for me and Andy and why we just can’t be the structured, rigid, disciplinarians that we “aspire“ to be. The other day I was picking up the kids. When we were driving home, my mind was racing with about 50 different things I needed to do at home and at work. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really present in the moment with the kids even though…
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Choose Happiness

I was shopping at Claire’s Boutique last weekend with the kids. Claire’s Boutique is like the At Home for children. My kids love spending at least an hour in the store, browsing all of the glittery, sparkly plastic items made in China. They get excited about the buy three get three free offers and the six dollar grab bag with surprise items in it. They wander, basket in hand, looking at every item from top to bottom, reviewing each display, sometimes many times, to make sure that they don’t miss seeing anything.I have a tolerance for Claire’s for about 20 minutes, depending on how many other people are crowded into the tiny, very cluttered store. I can't lie, every once in a while something actually catches my eye for myself, like a cute pair of plastic rhinestone earrings or a purse shaped like a pug head. During this last shopping trip, while the girls were deciding between fake hair ponytail attachments or Beanie Boo dolls, I saw a display marketed to the preteen set. Paired to…

On Being Happy (Part One)

Does happiness sit in a bottle on my shelf? Can I find what I’m looking for in a manufactured pill? Does happiness come if I alter what's inside of me, what I can't see and feel unable to control? Or, does happiness come with the things I buy? The car I drive and the clothes I wear? The house I live in and the way I decorate it? Would I feel better if I could just buy happiness? Or, is the size and shape of my happiness dictated by the size and shape of my body? Would I be happier if I were skinnier or prettier? Would I be happier if my nose were smaller, my breasts fuller and my tummy tighter? Is happiness found in success, in professional achievement or academic accolades? Is being happy getting an A and getting a corner office? Or, is happiness being present in every moment, especially for my girls? Would I be happy if I knew I could pick them up from school every day, if I didn't get the sweats thinking about when the school nurse calls me to pick them up, or if I didn…

It's Complicated. It Doesn't Have To Be.

I was preparing dinner the other night. I still had my coat on and I was balancing a cat dish in one hand and a frozen pot pie in the other when Charlotte came into the kitchen. She had been in her room changing into her pj's. She pranced into the kitchen wearing only her favoritest undies- with the words SUNDAY emblazoned on the rump. She called out my name and I distractedly and tiredly looked in her direction, making eye contact. "Mom," she asked me, grabbing the soft, doughy skin above her waistband, "am I fat?" I dropped to my mental knees. I barely knew what night it was, I actually couldn't have told you in that moment what town Andy was working in on that particular evening, and all I wanted to do was take my bra off and her question stopped me in my tracks. I looked at her again, really taking in her body. Her beautiful, perfect body. I have loved her body during every stage of growth- from a chubby baby legs and round bottom to the freckle on her…

Tips for Transitioning to Back-To-School Time

Transitions can be hard for kids with special needs, making the back-to-school schedule particularly challenging for them and their families. Here are some tips for making that transition, and first few months of the fall, easier for everyone.Map out a Schedule and Reduce AnxietyWhile no kid wants to start talking about going back to school when he or she is still enjoying their summer vacation, it’s important to reduce anxiety by starting to talk about what the back-to-school schedule is going to look like. While this could mean creating a visual schedule or developing a calendar, it’s important to talk with your child about what the back-to-school schedule is going to look like, including wake up time, what happens during the day, after school, right up until bedtime. Developing a schedule can hopefully alleviate some of your child's stress about what to expect during the transition and can also open up a dialogue for what questions and concerns your child has. Have your child w…

A Bad Relationship: Flip the Narrative

I asked you if I was smart enough.I asked you if I was pretty enough.I asked you if I was funny enough.I asked you if I was serious enough.I asked you if I was quiet enough.I asked you if I was loud enough.I asked you if I was enough.I asked if my hair was right, my clothes, and the music I listen to.I asked if you liked my friends and my family.I asked if you liked my laugh and my sense of humor.I asked if I did this right and I asked if I did that right.For years, you never answered me and I took your silence as reproach.I told you I could do better next time if I just knew what better meant to you.Then, one day, I stopped asking you these questions and I started asking them of myself.I was surprised to learn my answer was yes.Then, I decided to flip the narrative.I asked myself if you were smart enough.I asked myself if you were pretty enough.I asked myself if you were funny enough.I asked myself if you were serious enough.I asked myself if you were quiet enough.I asked myself if …

Me V. Parental Judgement

When you are pregnant, there’s so much to think about when considering the future: what color to paint the nursery, what decorating scheme to select from Pottery Barn, whether to go with disposable or reusable diapers, what to name your little nugget, and even deciding to use a cake or a box of balloons for the gender reveal party. You quickly learn that, if you share any of these decisions with anyone, you are bound to get opinions- lots of them. And, while this isn’t the first time we get solicited or unsolicited advice (where to go to college, what to choose as a major, what profession to pursue, who to date, who to marry, what dress to wear to the wedding, who to invite to the wedding, what type of alcohol to serve at the wedding..) the birth of a child seems like the first time that SO MANY opinions are given. It’s already a time of anxiety and unknowns that the opinions of others can easily feel overwhelming.What, I should have gotten the rocker that swings from side to side ins…