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Oct 2 2013

How I Accidentally Learned to Share the Grunt Work of Parenting

By at 4:02 pm

shutterstock_139032803 (1)

“Thank you. Thank you for going away. It was really nice for me to be able to spend so much time with the girls. We had a great time.”

My husband said those words to me last week, as we were discussing the week before, when I had been away for four and a half days on a mindfulness retreat. I had thanked him several times for postponing a business trip and working from home so I could go away. It never occurred to me that I was doing him a favor.

The night before I was supposed to leave, I decided I wasn’t going to go. There were so many reasons. We had just made it through a dizzying few weeks of one final summer vacation, Labor Day, the High Holidays, and the start of preschool. Things were just starting to settle down, and I didn’t want to shake them up again. We had just put up our sukkah, and I didn’t want to miss even one day of my favorite holiday. Most importantly, though, I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from the girls. Children need their mothers, right? Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 24 2013

Take a Staycation, Seriously

By at 10:14 am

beach goers under umbrellaSummer is yet another opportunity to feel bad about the places you haven’t traveled because you have young children and it’s too hard/expensive/logistically challenging. But I am here to tell you that there’s an answer, and it’s called “Take a Staycation and Send Your Kids to School/Daycare/Camp.”

Jon and I recently did just that. Much as we’d have liked to be back in Botswana, trekking in the bush and spying on elephants as we did when we were young and newly married, or at a B&B in the Berkshires drinking fair trade coffee and gearing up for a hike or a concert at Tanglewood, or in Guatemala boating on Lake Atitlan, we have toddlers and a bank account to consider. So instead, when a vacation week rolled around recently, we decided to try something different, something–I can’t believe I’m about to say this–just for us. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 23 2013

I’d Rather Make My Husband Happy Than My Kids

By at 3:42 pm
silhouette illustration long hair

Long hair he wants? Long hair he gets.

I’ve suspected it for a while now, but it didn’t hit me–in concrete words–until the other day: I’d rather make my husband happy than my kids.

I do all sorts of things to make my husband happy.

He likes my hair long, so I keep it long. (Even though it’s a pain to maintain and, in the summertime, hot and sticky, as well.)

You know how they say that women dress for other women? So, so not true in my case. I could not care less about clothes or fashion. (If you don’t believe me, ask my mother. She begs to take me shopping so I might update the wardrobe I haven’t changed since roughly the late 1990s.) I dress exclusively for my husband. He likes to see me in long skirts and tight-fitting and/or cleavage baring tops. So I try to wear long skirts and tight-fitting and/or cleavage baring tops. When appropriate. I obviously don’t wear those to work. To work, I wear clothes from roughly the late 1990s.

For dinner, I try to cook what he likes to eat. (Though not everything he likes to eat. I am still worried about his weight.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 19 2013

The Best Rap About Cancer You’ll Read All Day

By at 12:01 pm

aly viny cancer rapAly Viny is an actress and writer in New York City.  She has appeared on stages throughout New York City and across the country. She maintains a site of Jew girl raps at www.jap-rap.com where she raps poetic about everything from her frustrations with her husband leaving empty Splenda packets around the house, to Costco trips, to Passover. She loves the crap out of her husband and in this particular rap, she gets more personal as she shares a bit of his incredible journey from being healed to becoming a healer. She sure is lucky she could be along for the ride.

It’s summer and you think I’m gonna rap ’bout somethin’ lotional

Today’s a little different, y’all, forgive me if I’m ‘motional

Let’s take a little breather, slow it down and maybe park it

Put away your kale from your co-op hipster market

Let’s gather like it’s Pesach, all my sisters and my brothers

While I tell you why this night is so much DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS

So let’s all listen up, just relax or take a pill

And I’ll tell y’all the story cuz this shit ’bout to get RIL Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 11 2013

I Caught My Husband Sneaking Formula to the Twins

By at 12:55 pm

baby formulaI have realized in the last few weeks that one of the biggest challenges of having twins is feeding them. They seem to eat all the time, around the clock, especially during a growth spurt when wearing a bra seems useless.

I am fortunate that I didn’t have any challenges nursing my son three years ago and I am not having any serious issues with my girls now. My girls latched within an hour of their births and my milk came in on the third day (in spite of my C-section which can delay milk production). I do pump more than I would like, but that is mostly for efficiency. To nurse them would take longer and I feel I would have no time to do anything else (you know, trivial stuff like showering and eating).

My girls arrived five weeks early and combined they weighed less than my son when he was born. They lacked the lovely fat that makes babies look cute and plump; instead, they had skinny little chicken legs and their skin hung off them like pantyhose several sizes too big. That made regulating their body temperature a challenge, so for the couple days in the hospital before my milk emerged, we decided to give them formula. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 24 2013

The TV Show That Brought My Family Together

By at 9:54 am

all in the familyThe last couple of weeks, I have been surprisingly emotional over the death of actress Jean Stapleton.

The television show All in the Family was a big part of my childhood and Jean Stapleton’s passing almost feels like a member of my own family has died. I know that sounds starstruck and kind of stupid, since All in the Family was a television show and not real life. Yeah, yeah, I should pick up a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and spend my life doing something meaningful rather than watching TV. Got it.

“One of the most acclaimed and controversial shows on television.” is what Henry Fonda said about this show and it holds true today. Watching old episodes on DVD, the show holds up beautifully, still uproariously funny and touching in just the right way, despite the 70s fashion and the infusion of political correctness that has permeated American life in the decades since this show went off the air.

I love it for those reasons certainly, but I love it for something much more.

For a half hour a week, on Saturday nights my family gathered around the television and watched this show–and we laughed.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 26 2013

Friday Night: My Husband is an Atheist and He’ll Do Shabbat

By at 10:01 am

two shabbat candlesticksI remember our first night as a family of three. We were in a small hospital room, just large enough to hold a bed for me, a cot for my husband, and a small bassinet for our daughter. I had been in active labor for days, and we were all exhausted from the birthing process. We carefully swaddled our new baby just as the nurse had shown us, and as we laid her down to sleep (HA!) between us, Josh suggested we sing the Shema.

I cried once more, yet another stream of endless tears of gratitude, but this time it wasn’t for the arrival of a healthy daughter. It was for my husband, this man who had been my rock for most of my adult life. Now, in just a few brief words, he had managed to help me find some stable ground once again, if only for a minute. By suggesting that we sing the Shema, Josh took me out of that tiny room, beyond the fear and exhaustion, and reminded me that we are part of something bigger. We had family, community, and the wisdom of an entire history and tradition supporting us. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 22 2013

I Married an Atheist

By at 5:22 pm

i married an athiestWeeks before I met my husband, I went to Israel on a Birthright trip and pranced down twisting streets belting out Hebrew songs, swept up in the fervor of the group. I shared my feelings in drum circles and slipped a note into the Western Wall expressing the hope that I’d find love that year.

When my wish came true, the trip was so fresh in my mind that I could recount to Josh in detail the spectacle we’d made of ourselves, dancing through the desert in some proto-flash mob. When he joined me in rolling his eyes, I loved him even more. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 12 2013

Losing My Sex Drive After Having Kids (and How I Got it Back)

By at 2:37 pm

motelIt was a first for me–being in bed with two men at the same time. Well, let me clarify that–one was the Tall Man, my vertically blessed, handsome, and loving husband, and the other was Little Man–my lovely, lanky baby with blonde hair and a smile so big and bright it could light up a room. Nuzzling my head into the area of little baby chub folds on his neck I listened to his breathing, and curled in closer to his tiny body. Brut may smell like a man, but the only scent that got me going anymore was No More Tears by Johnson & Johnson.

“Little cock blocker,” my husband muttered before rolling over and going to sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 28 2013

The Orthodox Matchmaker I Never Thought I Wanted

By at 2:39 pm

wedding rings on pink backgroundI grew up in an Orthodox Jewish world where at age 22, a girl was considered a cat-collecting spinster if she was heaven forbid, knock-on-wood, still single. In my world, girls at 22 were on the brink of “spinsterdom,” and girls who were 23, 24, or worse, 25 (gasp!), well, they were just ancient.

After graduation, I traveled to Jerusalem where I studied Hebrew, Israeli culture and customs, and visited the grave sites and the places of my Jewish ancestry. Each landmark visited reminded me that there was a world much bigger than Miami Beach, Florida, where I had lived for most of my life. Much like my classmates, I was studying in Israel for a year following high school. But unlike me, the girls I shared rooms with planned to continue on The Plan once they returned home. The Plan was to get “set up” with a suitable religious guy from a “good” family, who was either ambitious or extremely learned (depending on said girl)–a guy who would provide a comfortable life for the two of them and their soon-to-be children. The Plan was flawless. Read the rest of this entry →

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