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Essay

photo by Phil Whitehouse (Flickr Creative Commons)

The Happiest Meal?

It was summertime. My kids had “free happy meal” coupons from the library and since they very rarely have fast food, they were particularly excited about it. Daddy-O was working late so it was the perfect day for a special treat. We got our happy meals and buckled into the car to drive to a new playground that was VERY close to the restaurant. I knew the smell of French fries was too hard to resist so I told them they could snitch one or two but to please save the rest for the playground.

Three minutes later we parked at the playground and one of the children—I won’t name names—announced, “I’m done with everything, even all of the apple juice!” Great. Thanks for listening, Pal.

I spread a blanket out on the ground and helped each of the other kids with their happy meals—opening straws and inserting into drinks, opening and

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Moments

Don’t Judge Me, I’m a Mom

photo submitted by youbabyandi author

Moms are judged too frequently.

I had an incident with my daughter not too long ago at a lodge we visited for a weekend. It was 8 PM at night and we were at dinner shortly after we arrived. She normally sleeps at 8, so she was tired and grumpy.

At this point, I’m starving and so

Plan a Strategic Santa Response

photo by Kevin Dooley

1) Answer every Santa-related question with a question, and however your kid answers, go with it:

How do YOU think he gets down the chimney?…Wow! I never even imagined he gets Floo Powder from elves in the the wizarding world! That makes such perfect sense!

2) When that doesn’t work, say you don’t know:

Well, I’ve

The Moment My Children’s Fashion Sense Blindsided Me

photo by Jen Preiss

I believe I have a good fashion sense. I have clothed all my children without someone questioning my taste. Even my own clothing has earned occasional positive reviews.

So I wasn’t prepared for my children to rebel, making shopping a grueling nightmare. I’ve had more fun at my yearly OB/GYN visits.

My thirteen-year-old son refused to wear

No Return Policy

baby's bracelet tag

My three-year-old son stared in horror as I delicately cut my newborn twins’ hospital ID bracelets off with a manicuring scissors so I could scrapbook them.

As he burst into tears, I calmly reassured him that I hadn’t harmed his new siblings and, in fact, they slept through the whole thing. But that wasn’t the problem

Stepping Off the Parent Treadmill

Photo by: Leslie Gordon

Ever since having children, I’ve felt like I’m on a treadmill: getting through the days, trying to keep up with who needs what when (usually: everyone, all the time), all the while wondering what this is for, how it really works, and, of course, if I’m doing it right.

But

More Like the Sun Than the Sun That Day

More Liek the Sun Than the Sun That Day

It was a perfect day with a bright sun and a cool breeze. My one year old in the stroller was pointing and yelling “Ba!” at each bird, squirrel, dog, butterfly, and live creature he saw along the way.

My three and four year olds raced down the sidewalk smelling every flower they could find. “Smell

The Last Gift

The Last Gift

The last gift: grief and mourning for my granddaughter over the death of her beloved dog.

Proof Positive

Radio

Listening to an NPR show discuss the Ferguson, MO, shooting in the car this morning, my daughter asked, “Why don’t they just call people by their name? Not black or white, they have a name. I just want to know their name and if they are good people.”

The Pre-teen Shopping Wars

Photo by: Tat Schloer

I have found six key phrases to keep my pre-teen girl from buying clothing that I don’t like:

1. Wow, that is really cute! I love it! So cute!
2. Doesn’t ______ have that shirt, too? (Fill in the blank with any friend’s name or Miley Cirus.)
3. Super, they have that in my size too!
4. That reminds

Future Lawyer

Future Lawyer

I threatened to charge the kids money every time they tattled on each other this summer. My son just found $5 on the ground and said excitedly, “Now I can tattle five times!”

 

Photo credit: Cecilie Sønsteby

Too Much Stuff

Too Much Stuff

It occurred to me that if I charge the rates of a public storage facility, my adult children might come and remove their stuff. Brilliant!

Then I realized how hard it would be to get them to pay that bill. Darn it.

Empty house, full of stuff. Memories. Family. Love. A lifetime.

Photo credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm

The Perfect Anniversary Gift

The Perfect Anniversary Gift

What do you get the woman you love to celebrate 16 years of marriage? In my case, I knew the answer. There’s only one thing my wife wants more than anything else, and that’s a healthy future for our son.

Along with being a bright, energetic, playful kid with a quirky sense of humor, our son

The Worst Day of Her Life

The Worst Day of Her Life

“This is the worst day of my entire life,” my daughter sobs. Her eyes are red and tears are dripping down her cheeks.

Today someone adopted the last puppy we have been fostering for the animal shelter. Today the big beautiful tree that shaded our front yard was taken down. My daughter mourned the birds’ nests

Zombie Grandma

Photo by ankakay (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ankakay/)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the time (second grade) when kids try to figure out death.

“Your mom’s DEAD!” my son reminds me from the back seat. “I know,” I say. “That’s a real thing. It makes me sad.” But nothing I say changes his interest in

Let’s Play Babies!

Let's Play Babies!

Ava: “Mommy, want to play babies? You and Jack are the babies and I’m the Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Ava: “Okay babies, time to clean up the Barbies. Mommy didn’t make this mess!”

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Mads Boedker

And What Does Your Mother Do?

wine

We were on vacation, five people crammed into a tiny hotel room. I told the kids they needed to find something to do for a few minutes so I could shower and the husband could get the car.

“It must be hard,” my seven-year-old son said.

“What?”

“Trying to take care of yourself when you have to take

Century Old Mama

year in review clock

One of the weirder mom quotes: We were reading a story when out of the blue my six year old asked me, “Mommy have you lived for a century?”

I replied “No, that’s 100 years.” “Are you sure?” he said. “Yep, I’m sure butterbean.” (Though sometimes it feels like it.)

Tot Etiquette

lessons from toddlers

In the early years we spend plenty of time and energy teaching manners and etiquette to our little squirts.

Wash your hands–but sing the entire alphabet while doing so. What is this message we send? Don’t you ever wonder what our kids think of these signals we send? And why is it that “we” don’t sing

Yes, I’m Not Ashamed to Admit It

doughnuts

I was standing at the kitchen counter with a glass of red wine in one hand and a Krispy Kreme doughnut with Key Lime filling in the other. My husband was laughing at me. I didn’t care.

I started a new job that was full-time in the office instead of part-time at home. I was working really

Best Moment of the Year

mom and daughter

After successfully completing another big conference for moms, MomCom–this one national (whoot whoot!)–this mom finally got some free time to unwind and reconnect with her patient daughter. This is how the moment went:

My daughter as she’s putting her feet between my legs while we’re reading in bed: I’m not cold. I just haven’t seen you