Dec 17 2014
“Why are people constantly telling me to chill?” my 15-year-old dramatically demands of me. “Who says I’m not chill? I am very chill. I am the epitome of chill-ness!”
Then he heads off to the most selective public school in NYC, where he is a sophomore taking eight classes, including AP History, and participates in Model UN, sews costumes for the play, draws cartoons for the newspaper, and fills out paperwork for college grants. When he’s not volunteering at the Jewish Museum. Or constructing balloon art. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 10 2014
As the mother of a toddler, most of my fellow parent friends have children who are on the young side as well. But when the topic of affording a college education came up during several recent conversations, I was a bit surprised to learn that other parents don’t seem nearly as worried about it as me.
“We’re so many years away from college,” was one friend’s response.
“We’ll save more when we can,” said another blithely.
And my favorite: “We’re hoping our parents will somehow help—though we’re not necessarily counting on it.” Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 19 2014
A few weeks ago, I was at a 3-year-old’s birthday party, and I put my 6-month-old son down next to another baby. The other child effortlessly rolled across the blanket, while my son, a few weeks younger, mortified his mama by crying, in place, on his tummy. Oh no, I wondered, is my child not going to be a gifted athlete? Maybe he won’t be as flexible as his brother? Are these early signs of some kind of processing delay? I panicked. Will he be popular, or an outcast among fast-moving little boys? And the terror took hold.
Have you had that fear about your child? The fear that bubbles up when you notice they are not particularly good at singing, drawing or academics? You retaliate by frantically signing them up for soccer, karate, and music classes. You become certain that if you keep trying to find it, the prodigy in your child will emerge. You talk to other parents, trying to gain reassurance that all children are special at something. The other parents may even soothe your anxiety by pointing out how smart your child is because he knows 50 more words than the average kid his age. You placate your own worries by repeating that old idea that everybody has a special talent they excel at. Surely your child will find theirs at some point.
At the birthday party, my friends pointed out the benefits of a kid who doesn’t move: fewer worries about baby-proofing the house and those lurking dangers at the park. They referenced other children we knew who didn’t move until after a year (oh gosh!) but who were doing just fine on the playground now. Many also pointed out that while he may not be able to move, my son was so gorgeous and smart.
Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 13 2014
OK, so maybe I’m not such a good mother.
I didn’t cry or sadly wave goodbye as my kids boarded the bus to camp.
I can’t even truthfully say I missed them all that much. It was four weeks until Visiting Day and four weeks later they’d be home. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 23 2014
I loved college. If I could go back and relive any period of my past, I’d head back to Philadelphia as quickly as the Amtrak could take me, and set up camp in the squirrel-infested dilapidated house on Spruce Street that I shared with seven friends during my junior and senior years. I’d go back to three hours of classes a day, evenings studying in the library, and nights with friends testing out our fake IDs at the local bar. Okay, maybe I’d opt for an upgrade on the housing.
Luckily for me, I recently had the chance to go back to college. Well, at least back to my 20th college reunion. It was a wonderful weekend to reconnect in person with some of my best friends whom, because we live in different cities, I normally only “speak” to by phone or email, and to catch up with those classmates who were a big part of my college years but from whom I’ve since drifted apart. Sometime between the parade of classes, the alumni picnic, and the shopping trip at the campus bookstore to purchase souvenirs for the kids and husband I had left at home, one of my friends posed the question, “If you could go back to college is there anything you’d do differently?”
Yes. There is. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 27 2013
The semester approaches. The students have all returned to our small town and the sun is out in Athens, Ohio, which means the students take their shirts off and stand around on their front lawns in their bathing suits. They blow up kiddie pools and fill them with water and rubber ducks, then they stand around some more, sometimes in the kiddie pool, drinking their alcohol and blasting their music.
We live in a pedestrian friendly town, so we walk by these students on our way to get ice cream or watch a dance performance on campus. My son, 10, watches them all very carefully. They’re like an alien species from a distant planet. And he knows that he will eventually visit this distant planet, and so he spends quite a bit of time wondering about himself in eight years. Sometimes he shares his thoughts; other times, I can see him having an intimate dialogue inside his head. I know enough to leave him alone at these moments, but other times, he wants to talk. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 7 2013
I have a recurring nightmare. It’s not a classic anxiety dream, like the ones where you find yourself standing naked at a podium with no notes or teleprompter. Mine is a maternal dream.
In my dream, my teenage daughter, my mother-in-law, and I are standing on the Golden Gate Bridge. The setting is disconcerting, as the three of us have never been in San Francisco at the same time. In fact, my teenager has only been there in utero.
My ordinarily soft-spoken mother-in-law is yelling at me. I look down and I feel queasy. Not unlike I felt when I was pregnant with my daughter. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 23 2012
As part of our month-long series about Women, Work & Money, we’ve brought on internationally acclaimed personal finance expert Suze Orman to answer some of our questions about money. This question comes from Kveller writer Carla Naumburg in Boston, MA.
My grandparents give a small amount of money to the girls each year. We have been putting it in a UGTM (uniform gift to minors) account, which, if I am not mistaken, the girls automatically get when they are 18. What do you recommend in terms of this sort of thing? Do you like these accounts? Or do you prefer some sort of trust? Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 16 2012
To kick off our month of Women, Work & Money, here’s some great advice from CPA Bette Hochberger about starting a college savings plan for your kids.
Dreams of your little one becoming a doctor or lawyer one day might be dashed when you look at the high price of college and graduate school tuition. There are a number of programs that let you start saving for college. Here I am going to discuss the popular 529 college savings plan.
The 529 savings plan is a great way to put away money for college for a number of reasons. The income generated, interest, and dividends, is tax free and many states offer tax breaks for contributions. The funds can be used for college or graduate school tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board, and even computers. Tax-free contribution limits are high ($13,000 for 2012), and there are no age or income limitations. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 12 2012
I have a confession. I am so embarrassed about it that I feel compelled to defend myself before I even share what it is.
I have had a very successful career in Corporate America. I was never promoted to VP (nor did I aspire to be) but I made a very good living working at Fortune 500 companies negotiating complex contracts. I have always said it was the perfect job for a nice Jewish girl: I got to spend millions of dollars of someone else’s money while shopping around for the best price. Read the rest of this entry →