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Jul 5 2013

There Is A Difference Between Mom and Mommy

By at 7:02 am

mommy“MOM!”

I hear the cry of “Mom!” in my house more often than I hear the telephone and doorbell combined. This is what happens when you have elementary-school age children. The semi-feral cry of “MOM!” can preface anything from “He hit me!” to “Am I done practicing piano?” to “Where ARE you?” If only their eyes worked as well as their mouths.

I hear “Mom” all the time from my second grade boy and my third grade boy. Which is why, I suppose, I shouldn’t have been shocked when I heard it yesterday from a new mouth: that of my not-even-2-year-old daughter.

“MOM!” G yelled (we are not yet masters of ‘inside voice’), in contrast to her usual “Mommy!” She was proud of herself, I could see, and she was savoring the taste of a new, “grown-up” word on her tongue.

But that’s a promotion I don’t want. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 27 2012

Hanukkah Gift Guide 2012: For Moms

By at 11:14 am

She gave birth, and then oh-so-much more. Thank mom this Hanukkah with a thoughtful present. Here are our favorite picks from ModernTribe.

latke server from moderntribe.com

If you’re dealing with a cooking-friendly mama, she will be proud to serve her potato pancakes in style with this adorable Stainless Steel Latke Server ($6). Or if you’re looking for something she can use year round, they make the same server just for kugel. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 15 2012

The Fashionable Moms of Fashion Week

By at 4:30 pm

So, Iman is hosting the first ever Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show as part of New York Fashion Week this Thursday. Featuring moms wearing clothes that are actually affordable and actually available in stores, it will definitely be a departure from your typical fashion show. But, the moms do take themselves pretty seriously: “No mom jeans. No yoga pants. No sweatshirts.” What do you think? Is this awesome, or over the top?

Fashionable Moms from Big Fuel on Vimeo.

Jan 12 2012

Avoid Becoming “That Mom”

By at 1:29 pm

red leather thriller jacketWe just got hip to this new site, Gifts From Your Mom, whose tagline–She gave you the gift of life. She should’ve quit while she was ahead–says it all.

Red leather thriller jackets and vibrators abound on this new site devoted to the worst gifts received from your mother. We’d like to think our crew of Kveller mamas would know better than giving a filled-out profile on Spirtitual Singles, but if you need some help on what not to do, here you go.

Loving Your Kids & Loving Motherhood Are Not the Same Thing

By at 10:06 am

Right after my daughter was born, someone told me that what’s best for the mama is what’s best for the baby.

Alas, at the time I was too wrapped up in the dangerous idea that dark under-eye circles,  scraggly hair, and spit and shit stained sweats made me a Good Mother. Sleep deprivation meant I was tending to my child’s every need. The two tell-tale wet spots on my shirt meant I was too busy breastfeeding to care about personal hygiene. Matted hair? Awesome. Pit stains? Bring it on. Oh, and do me a favor, bring over a large pot because I’m too busy shushing and swaying my colicky child to use the bathroom. Thanks.

“Go out with a friend for coffee!” my mother-in-law said.

“When can we see you?” my friends asked. “We miss you!”

I missed me, too.

But I thought that women who waltzed off for a night out with a friend or–God forbid–their husbands, were selfish bitches.

Really.

And in between obsessing about germs and aspiration pneumonia, in between counting M’s poops with religious fervor, in between pouring boiling water on one of the organic wooden toys made by magical elves in Scandanavia, I realized this: Would I die for my child?  You bet. Would I kill for her? Touch her before washing your hands with antibacterial soap, and you’d find out.

But, I hated being a mother.

When I found out I was pregnant again when my daughter was 8-months-old (um, you guys? Breastfeeding is not birth control, just saying) I started writing as a means of survival. I couldn’t live the way I had been living any longer and bring another baby into the world, so I took a (very) deep breath and started writing. And wearing a push-up bra.

Maybe it was also a hormonal thing. Maybe growing a teeny tiny penis in my uterus gave me the balls to take myself less seriously. Or more seriously.

Regardless, I started to enjoy my kid. And the idea of having another kid.

But it still wasn’t enough.

And when we moved to Israel–when I left the community I loved in Los Angeles for a place that confused me, while we dealt with a barrage of illnesses strange and new, while the idea of sleep seeped down the drain and I tumbled headfirst after it into a world of manic exhaustion, I lost it.

Take a break, take a break, take a break my friends back home told me on Facebook and g-chat. But I couldn’t when it felt like there was no where to go.

This isn’t why my marriage imploded. This isn’t why I’m living 30 minutes away from my children in an apartment in Tel Aviv. But my fragile sense of myself–of what I liked and what made me happy–certainly contributed to the collapse of the family I worked so hard to protect.

So please, mamas who think they can “do it all,” take me as a cautionary tale. Take me as an example of what NOT to do.  And go take a fucking break.

Dec 5 2011

Hanukkah Gift Guide: Presents for HER

By at 4:08 pm

This is NOT on the Hanukkah gift list.

Here at Kveller, we know that it can be hard to balance everything in your life–and then on top of it, people expect you to buy them gifts for Hanukkah? Not to worry, we’re here to help. This is the second installment in a series of Hanukkah gift guides aimed at the special people in your life. Enjoy–and happy shopping!

Imagine: It’s the first night of Hanukkah. The latkes are crackling in the frying pan. Y’all are gathered around the menorah, and with a crack and a hiss, the match ignites and the shamash glows. The room is bathed in the golden light of the hanukiah (menorah) while your family chants the ancient blessings over the candles.

After a succulent dinner–brisket, perchance?–it’s time to open presents. The kids go first . And then it’s her turn. She reads the card. She unties the blue ribbon. She peels back the layers of silver and white wrapping paper. She opens the box, and takes out… a shiny new toaster.

Uh uh. Please please PLEASE don’t let this happen to her!

Ok, so what does she want?

The best Hanukkah gifts for Her, directly from the women who want them:

1.      The Kindle Fire seems to be a popular choice with the ladies.  The sleek interface is a convenient alternative to schlepping around a book when you’re on the go.  And for women who commute on public transportation, the Kindle Fire makes an interesting travel companion.  If she already has a Kindle, the new iPhone 4s or a great DSLR camera seems like popular alternatives.

2.      And on that note, a gift certificate to Amazon.com is always welcome–especially if someone bought her the Kindle Fire.  (Hint hint.)

3.      Let’s take her craving for a power nap and some down time and kick it up a notch.  Why not send her off on a spa day?  She’ll come home glowing.

4.      And if you want to get her something sparkly, I have one word for you:  Tiffany’s.

5.      But if your budget is limited, why not offer her a service? Significant Others can score a lot of points with a cute coupon book with messages like “A cuddle coupon. Good for 2 hours of cuddling with the coupon-issuer in one of the following locations: in front of a roaring fire, on a porch swing, on a cozy couch or in a bed. TV is prohibited. Radio is permitted.” (le sigh) Grandparents, extended family and close friends could also offer (free) babysitting services so that Mom and Dad can actually use that, um, “cuddle coupon.”  (Ahem.)

6. Do something original:  Find a first edition of her favorite book.  Find a photograph with meaning and have it framed. If she paints, get her art supplies.  If she likes to write, buy her a beautiful journal and a cool pen.  If she’s into music, concert tickets are a great choice.  If she likes basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, whatever, then she won’t turn down tickets to see her favorite team.

7. Disclaimer: The following gift should not come from her parents.  Or Aunt Esther and Uncle Bob: While she probably knows just how sexy and desirable she is, a little reminder never hurt.  Yummy scented body lotions from Bath and Body Works will leave her feeling pampered.  A cute camisole or bra and panty set from Victoria’s Secret is almost always appreciated.  And if you want to give her something with a little more, um, shall we say, oomph then I suggest you check out Good Vibes. ‘Nuff said.

8.      Gandhi was on to something when he said “be the change you wish to see in the world.”  So, if she’s passionate about something–whether it’s ending world hunger, or the whole Occupy movement, or saving the spotted owls, then making a donation in her name is another thoughtful gift, and one that will touch her altruistic side.  So while world peace seems a bit out of reach,  Tikkun Olamhealing the worldis a step in the right direction.

Sep 15 2011

Fashion and Moms: Can They Go Together?

By at 11:45 am

At least Stephanie's diaper bag is cute.

As I mentioned, I was in Dallas for a bar and bat mitzvah this past weekend. Besides comparing the ceremonies and parties of now to those of then (as in, 20 years ago, when I was 13), I realized something about traveling with a toddler. It seems that the smaller the person, the more you need to bring for them.

I have traveled around seven countries of Europe twice with less baggage than I needed for 48 hours in Texas. Forget not checking a bag. For my first experience with staying in a hotel with my daughter, I packed enough changes of clothes to keep her outfitted for a week. But without ready access to a washing machine and her tendency to wear half of what she tries to eat, what else could I do? I also brought enough healthy foods (see my post about vacay eating) to feed several adults. Crazy? Perhaps. But there was no way I was chancing having to pay mini bar prices.

This all really came to mind after my mother-in-law twice pointed out that I had to schlep a diaper bag instead of delicately carrying something more fashionable. Unfortunately my dressy bag – a Lauren Merkin clutch – wouldn’t be able to accommodate several size 4 Pampers, a wipes case, several bags of various Gerber Graduates, a snack cup of peanut butter Ritz Bits, a jacket in case my daughter got cold, tissues, two water cups, two toddler books, and my wallet.

In my defense, my “diaper bag” is actually a snazzy Lululemon Athletica bag that just so happens to have all the right compartments in all the right sizes for toting all of my 21-month-old’s assorted items. The bag is a lifesaver and I love it, plus it’s black so it’s subdued and goes with everything – including the dresses I wore to temple and to the party. So, I think I deserve a slice of slack for forgoing a posh purse.

In retrospect, it’s not easy getting dressed up with a toddler around, period. At the temple, I laughed at the image of myself sitting on the lobby floor in my Ann Taylor dress and high-heeled pumps while keeping Ellie from disturbing the goings-on. I mean, there was Play-Doh involved. And markers. I was dodging spilled food and milk and praying the rubber soles on her gold mary janes wouldn’t somehow snag my pantyhose mid-Haftarah.

My ability to be fashionable has slowly increased as my daughter has grown. At first, the constant spit-up prohibited any kind of nice shirt or dress, and her habit of grabbing dangly earrings and necklaces precluded wearing those. Once she was starting to be mobile, I stopped wearing dresses and skirts because I spent most of my time cross-legged on the floor with her. Slowly, I have added jewelry back into the mix, and the occasional nicer ensemble, but I can see where moms get a bad rap for the Mom Look.

How do you maintain your style while adapting to the necessities of motherhood?

Check out our list of the most stylish Jewish moms and our interview with Piper Weiss, author of the book My Mom, the Style Icon.

Jul 12 2011

Strong Women, Late Babies

By at 11:43 am

I come from a family of strong women, and my mother is the strongest woman I know. Holder of a PhD in Jewish education, she has created an utterly loving and functional family of uber-educated, smart, fun and happy Jews. Her students in every context, whether familial or professional, regard her with a combination of awe and fear.

When I was in high school, my mother was principal of a synagogue Hebrew school, and she asked me to fill in at the last minute for a teacher who would be absent. I realized seconds into the class that obviously, the regular teacher had had a nervous breakdown. The class was full of little third grade assholes who cared much more about being smart asses than being smart. I tried teaching them Jewish history, but to no avail. It was like something out of Dangerous Minds, but with braces and Benetton as opposed to gang signs and guns.

At one point, though, my mother walked in to give me a message. The second she appeared at the door, the little jerks ran back to their seats and sat ramrod straight in silence. My mother silently appraised the class and then left.

One jerk raised his hand. “She’s SCARY. Do you know what we call her, Jordana?”

Sitting on the front desk in that affected teacher-but-I’m-still-cool position, I raised my eyebrows. “What?”

He smiled. “The Terminator.” Everyone laughed.

“Do you know what *I* call her?” I said, leaning forward as though to divulge a confidence.

“No! What?” the class responded as one, eager for new dirt.

Taking a breath for dramatic effect, I said, “Mom.” Read the rest of this entry →

May 6 2011

Why Are Moms So Embarrassing?

By at 11:14 am

Did your mom make you cringe like mine did?

Growing up, I never realized how much I needed or appreciated my mom. I always saw her caring, helpful, and protective ways as meddling, overprotective, and overbearing, especially when I was a teenager.  It wasn’t until I had my son that I realized how much we really do need our moms, even when we don’t know it.

Looking back, although my mom always tried to help, her motherly ways were, quite frankly, embarrassing at the time.  What teenager wants their mother in the middle of everything?

Take, for the example, the time I was 16 and invited a few friends over from my B’nai B’rith youth group. When word got out that my parents’ home was the infamous Fast Times At Ridgemont High home and that the pool was the very pool that Phoebe Cates dove into, a few extra people showed up. (Admittedly, it was kind of cool to live there.) I now had over 100 of my closest “friends” come to the party. And no, I was not a popular kid, but having a famous house made it so…for one night. Instead of being angry, my mom invited everyone in (and around, since the house was not that big). She got my father involved and the two of them began clearing out our fridge and making sandwiches for everyone, because, in her words, she didn’t want anyone to leave our home hungry. Can you say embarrassing?

Or then there was my 19th birthday when I stretched the truth a bit and told my parents that my friends were taking me out for dinner and a movie. In reality, my girlfriends and I were going to hang out at the Jewish fraternity house and most likely do nothing (read: watch a bunch of lazy guys play pool or video games. The things we find amusing in college, right?) My parents were clueless as to where I was really going on my birthday – well, at least that’s what I thought until I reached the frat house.

When I walked in, there was a huge birthday cake on the table, complete with paper plates and decorations–the whole nine yards. I was amazed that my “brothers” remembered my birthday. Turns out, the cake was not from my fellow brethren, but from my mother. Yes, my mother! She had the cake delivered so that no one would forget my birthday and I wouldn’t be disappointed. I stood there flushed, matching the color of the little frosting hearts on my cake, as everyone whispered and chuckled while enjoying my cake. I felt as though there was a big “L” stamped on my forehead. Loser! Just how cool did I look now?

My mom has always been there. During the times I did not want her there, and more recently the times that I have. When I gave birth to my son, my mom was there the entire time, right outside my door. Then she stayed overnight with me, my husband and our newborn son, sleeping upright on the chair by my side. She never left the hospital–or my room, for that matter. When my husband went on the road (he’s a professional musician) shortly after my son was born, she stayed with me one night holding my son for the entire night, never putting him down, just handing him over to me when it was time to nurse, simply so that I could get some rest.

Five years later and she continues to meddle, only I understand it a little better now. Her overprotective ways don’t seem so overprotective any more, but rather natural–the way it should be. She has taught me how to be the best mom I can be, and also what to avoid so I don’t embarrass my son. And I know that when I have a cake delivered to his frat house, he will appreciate it…well, not at that moment, but someday.

So, let’s cut our moms some slack. Happy Mother’s Day!

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