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Sep 19 2014

To My Mama Friend Who is Having a Rough Time

By at 1:37 pm


This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Nitzavim. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

To a mama friend who is currently having a rough time:

I’ve never been a fan of the, “We’re only given what we can handle,” line. Extra rough things happen only to people who are better equipped to deal with them? I just don’t believe that.

But I do believe the opposite of that line. It is precisely through dealing with hard things, that we become strong. And that is exactly what you are doing. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 19 2014

How Can I Be a Happy Mother During the More Difficult Times?

By at 11:03 am


There are two sentences that have impacted my parenting philosophy more than anything else I’ve read about raising children. In “The Art of Loving” by psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm, he writes, “The Promised Land is described as ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ Milk is the symbol of the first aspect of love, that of care and affirmation. Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life, the love for it and the happiness in being alive. Most mothers are capable of giving ‘milk,’ but only a minority of giving ‘honey,’ too. In order to be able to give honey, a mother must not only be a ‘good mother,’ but a happy person.”

I didn’t have children when I read those words for the first time, and yet, I made a promise to myself that when I did, I would make an effort to be happy, no matter what life threw my way.

A few short weeks after I encountered Fromm’s writing, my then-boyfriend brought up the idea of starting a family, and before we realized the enormity of our decision, there was a wonderful baby boy in our lives. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 3 2014

Potty Train Your Child in 10 Easy Steps

By at 11:48 am


If you are organized and thoughtful enough, you can easily potty train your child, with no trouble at all. Just do what I did!

Pre-planning: As with any successful strategy, the earlier you start the better!

1. To successfully potty train a child, you must begin five years prior to having a child. Muse aloud to your partner that unlike your friends’ kids, your kids will be potty trained long before they turn 3, which is way too old for diapers. Maybe, you think, your kids will do that no-diapers thing from birth, so as to avoid supporting evil diaper companies, who are destroying the earth, and the like. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 24 2013

The Best Advice for First Time Moms, Royal or Otherwise

By at 11:37 am

duke and duchess of cambridgeWith the world-wide hullabaloo over the new yet-to-be-named Prince of Cambridge, I thought it might be appropriate to offer Catherine and William a few tips about first-time parenting, although some of my observations will apply less to a child born into privilege and massive resources.

My aunt gave me the best advice of all about parenting, and I must say that her grown children are incredibly centered and mentally sound. She told me that the key to successful parenting is to accept, even while the child is still growing in the womb, that it will always be your fault. As soon as you realize that whether you neglect your children or have the capability to give them everything they need, your kids will eventually end up on some therapist’s couch, complaining about their mother.

That being said, I present a cheat sheet for new mothers, royal or those of lesser bloodlines, to get through the first few years with relative sanity. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 25 2013

One Year Later & I’m Still Marveling

By at 1:55 pm

ravi's first birthdayWaking up at 5 a.m. has never been my forte. I’m used to going to bed around then. I never even changed a diaper before my daughter was born. And yet, here I am, 12 months later, still marveling. How is it that such a little person can inspire so much commitment and love?

“We’re still in the grace period,” my wife used to joke when we were dating, meaning bickering and disagreements were rare as we were first getting to know each other.

I’m starting to wonder, though, how long does a grace period last with your kid?

Ravi was born six weeks prematurely and right on time. She shook our worlds like an earthquake as we were thrust into parenthood. What did we know? Cleansing breaths, guide books, yoga, our young nephews and niece, baby cousins, and siblings could never prepare us for that first night home alone with our daughter. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 25 2012

Having My First Baby: The Before & After

By at 12:16 pm

new baby hand in mom's handWow! Charlotte is 8 weeks old and it’s hard to believe she’s been home for two months now. My life feels like it’s been broken into two parts–B.C. (Before Charlotte) and A.C. (After Charlotte).

B.C. I could get up and go places without asking anyone to watch the baby, or could leave the house without taking a ton of baby supplies. B.C. I could easily sleep eight hours uninterrupted and leisurely shower and brush my teeth at will. B.C. the only pumping I did was at the gas station. B.C. my purse held my wallet, keys, and a tube of chapstick. Read the rest of this entry →

May 22 2012

We Don’t Love Our Firstborn More, We Swear

By at 4:07 pm

little boy eating yogurtOne day my daughter will ask me, “Daddy, why was my naming ceremony a small gathering in the synagogue while Asher’s bris was a large bash at our house?”

Yes, my princess, you might be thinking it’s because your religion is sexist and your parents already like their firstborn son better. And perhaps this writing is nothing more than me trying to convince myself it’s not the case. But here’s why I don’t think so: first, right now, your brother is covered in yogurt. A few minutes ago, he screamed and fell on the floor when I took my car keys back from him. So, I don’t like him better. And is your religion sexist? Maybe you should read about exactly what goes down at a bris. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2012

I Was So Crazy I Wrote a Baby Manual

By at 4:50 pm

changing baby's diaper manualWhile cleaning out Baby G’s room, and general baby paraphernalia, I came across an ancient artifact. It was a document I’d written close to nine years ago, entitled “Z Operator’s Manual.”

Z is my now 8-and-a-half-year-old son. This document was a five-page, small-print instruction list for babysitters for my then-infant–babysitters, I might add, who were exclusively people to whom I or my then-husband was related. Perhaps even my then-husband himself was meant to read this instructive screed. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 23 2012

Running Marathons is a Lot Like Having Kids

By at 11:05 am

marathon runnersLast month, I finished my third marathon. It was a good race and a triumphant experience.

Looking back on the five months of training, I still can’t believe how quickly it went by and how easy it was compared to my first marathon. Like raising my fourth baby, I have found myself trying to remember what was so hard the first time around. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 25 2011

Everything I Haven’t Taught You

By at 10:46 am

When my oldest child, Hot Shot, was 3, her active vocabulary included the word “stereotype.”

“No one can have two moms,” her little friend told her. They were sitting side by side on 3-year-old sized toilets at preschool, overheard by their teacher in the next room.

“No,” said Hot Shot, certain as a statistician. “That’s just a stereotype.”

Her teacher was surprised, but we weren’t. My partner and I had been schooling her in such things for years. Deconstructing her picture books with feminist, anti-racist critical analysis. If pressed she probably could have given a brief overview of the three major phases of the civil rights movement, a short lecture on the use of Mitzrayim rather than Egypt at the Passover table, and a comparative critique of her five favorite authors.

She was, after all, our first child.

Now is it me, or does the parenting get a little more lax on children two and three? Our second, Moon Boy, now 3-and-a-half, is exactly the age Hot Shot was when she made her toilet-seat stereotype remark, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve taught him anything. Seriously: he doesn’t even know his shapes. Read the rest of this entry →


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