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Mar 17 2014

Forget the Vacuum Cleaner: 10 Things Moms Actually Need in Minivans

By at 1:42 pm

The Minivan and I have been together for a few months. We’re past the idyllic honeymoon phase, when I was constantly impressed by his self-closing doors and he could do no wrong. We’re at the point in our relationship most easily likened to that moment where you fart in front of your lover for the first time: in short, I have seen that the Minivan is not perfect. And I’m not looking for someone new, but there are things that Minivan could do to step up his game a little bit.

So if you’re reading, good folks at Honda and Toyota, this one’s for you. Add these things to the Minivan and I will be ready to make a commitment, i.e. not just the lease thing we got going on now.

1. Privacy partition.

As a mom of five, let’s forget all of my degrees and resume: I’m a chauffeur, plain and simple. Period. And being a mom chauffeur in 2014 is no longer the job of nonchalance that it was when I was a suburban kid and my mother would honk for me from blocks away. Nowadays, not only I am expected to be at least five minutes early for each and every pick up, but I am also supposed to park in a legal spot, hustle my ass to the doorstep of the activity in question, and meet my child with a manic expression of unmitigated joy. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 6 2014

Having Seven Kids in the Orthodox World

By at 9:44 am

costco exterior

Yesterday Kveller contributing editor Jordana Horn wrote about the challenges of  raising five children in a two-child world. Jordana’s friend Ruchi, an Orthodox mother of seven, wrote this follow-up piece about raising her own brood in a seven-kid world.

I feel Jordana’s pain. My freakishness, when I venture beyond my little Orthodox Jewish community, or others like it, feels a lot like yours! But it is infinitely easier to have seven kids in a seven-to-ten-kid world than five kids in a two-kid world. See, my whole seven-kid world works perfectly around my seven-kid family. Two or three kids is considered a “small family,” while twelve is considered large. Fortunately for me, expectations in my world fit right in with my family’s lifestyle.

1. Grocery shopping.

In bigger kosher communities (i.e. Israel, New York, Lakewood, NJ) you can call or fax your local kosher store or produce market and have them deliver everything to your door. Here in cute little Cleveland the best option for large-scale shopping is still Costco. True story: I can’t understand why anyone with two kids belongs to Costco. How’s that for reverse-freakishness? Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 5 2014

Having Five Kids in a Two-Kid World

By at 10:05 am

Having five kids in a two-kid world.

I am a freak.

Arguably, this was true anyway. But by having a fifth kid (on purpose!) I have pushed myself into the realm of the unfathomable…at least, in the environment where I live.

I live in an area of suburban New Jersey primarily known to most for its mall. It is a bedroom community of Manhattan. It’s where I grew up, and arguably continue to grow up. It’s a well-to-do place where people–to generalize–tend to focus on status symbols like fancy cars and fancy college stickers for said cars. It’s a secular place where, with the exception of attending a friend’s bar or bat mitzvah, people are more likely to be at spin class Saturday morning than Shabbat services.

Having five kids around here is not normal.

I’m not sure what it is about the number five that makes it so different from four. I can name a handful of local peers who have four kids–hey, I was one of them until not so long ago. But for some reason, “five” tips the scales. When people ask you how many kids you have and you say “five,” it’s prone to produce wide eyes and a “Wow!” or “Yikes!” That never happened when I answered “four.”

The fact of the matter is, if you’re not in a religious community in America, more often than not, you live in a one, two, or three kid world. I’m fine with being different, but my experience thus far has made me start to see the ways in which the secular world is not hospitable to families like mine. Read the rest of this entry →

May 23 2013

I Minivan, Therefore I Am… Depressed

By at 2:40 pm

row of minivansI’m not upset about turning 40; I’m upset about getting a minivan.

My age will change in a few weeks. I’ll leave the insane decade of my 30s–had two kids, had horrible divorce, had bizarre experience dating and moving back in with my parents and said two kids, met love of my life, got married, had two more kids–and move into the unknown terrain of the 40s. Read the rest of this entry →

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