Erris is a recovering attorney, wife and mom. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and The Times of Israel, and a contributor to Kveller. Her articles have been featured in various print and online publications including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Town & Country, Elle Decor, Country Living, Woman's Day, Redbook, Esquire, Yahoo News, Beyond Your Blog, YourTango, The Jewish Chronicle, SheSavvy, Parent Co, The Mighty, Beliefnet, All4Women and The Good Men Project. Erris is an Influencer for Mogul. She is currently working on a manuscript on her years in Johannesburg during Apartheid. Find her blog at ErrisSpeaks.com and on Twitter @ErrisSpeaks
When I heard that some schools are no longer sending kids home for lice, my skin crawled. Of all the blood-sucking parasites we humans attract, lice may be among the most benign. But when it graced…my home with its presence years ago, I still found it hard to be grateful that nothing worse had happened. Lice outbreaks were on the rise that particular summer, and the local camp and town pool circulated cautionary notices daily. By the time school started, rumors and misconceptions were as rampant as the epidemic itself.… >> Read More
A North Carolina restaurant made news recently for banning kids under the age of 5. According to the news report, some parents are outraged calling it #discrimination, while others support the…owner's decision. The restaurant's website clearly indicates that no children's menu is available, and if the photo gallery is any indication, the establishment feels pretty non-child friendly to me, with its faux-marble statues and gold-gilded artwork. And guess what? As a mom who once took my kids out to meals, I'm fine with that. Isn't it… >> Read More
The deafening crack of thunder shook the gymnastics floor and rattled me on the bleachers. I prayed that the torrential mid-summer downpour would slow down before we made a run for the car after my…daughter’s tumbling lesson. I could feel a thin line of sweat making its way down my back when another huge boom muffled a scream. My daughter was on the ground clutching her dislocated knee as coaches ran towards her. The rest is a blur of rain, orthopedists, and crutches. She was sentenced to time on… >> Read More
Last year after dropping my firstborn off at college, I wrote an article describing what now seems like a total freak-show with me starring in the central role. I sobbed for three hours on the ride…home, became extremely nauseated due to my migraine or perhaps because of it, and couldn’t get the stupid words from “Sunrise, Sunset” out of my damn head. As we drove off literally at sunset, it was more like a scene out of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Fast-forward one year: We dropped my son… >> Read More
I learned my lesson the hard way years ago: I don't seek out friendships with my kids' friends' parents.
When my son was 9 years old, he befriended two boys whose mothers were close friends.…Inevitably we got sucked into their dynamic by accepting a dinner invitation here, a family cookout there, and of course reciprocating. Their families mirrored each other, sharing same gender and age kids, as well as an obsession with sports, partying, and "being cool." On more than one occasion I heard one of the moms say,… >> Read More
Last July, we traveled through Europe with our teens, eagerly anticipating our tour of Nice, France. My husband and I were passionate about this stop on our trip as we had spent a wonderful vacation…there 25 years prior and felt our kids were mature enough to appreciate the city’s mix of old world charm and modern sophistication. Despite the scorching heat, my kids soaked in the local culture, cuisine, and architecture. Walking through the Marche Aux Fleurs, Nice’s famous flower market, we were mesmerized by the collections of Gerbera… >> Read More
My daughter and her BFFs were having breakfast at my kitchen counter after a sleepover. They were watching me flit about the kitchen, chopping and bagging ahead of my busy day so that we would have…an easy and healthy dinner that night. “How do you have so much energy so early in the morning?” they asked. “I didn’t when I was your age…” I smiled. “Tell us a story about you at our age.” I don’t know why I instantly flashed back to the spring of 1985 when my BFFs… >> Read More
My daughter expected that she would be hazed by upperclassmen in high school. She heard all the horror stories about freshmen being shoved into lockers and sent on wild goose chases through the…hallways, but these tales never materialized. To her surprise, the older students she interacted with daily in the halls in her elective classes and on sports teams were welcoming and kind. On her second day, an older girl walked her to her class on the other side of the building, knowing she’d be late to… >> Read More
"How can you let your daughter be a cheerleader? I mean, you're a professional, educated woman! How could you want THAT for your child?"
It took me longer than I care to admit to process that…comment and get over it. I normally don’t care what others think, but this stranger at a party really struck a nerve. I guess I was caught off guard because we were just making small talk at a fundraising event, while supposedly on our best and most charitable behavior. The last thing I expected when… >> Read More
Every year, my visceral need to decorate and rotate seasonal adornments onto shelves, mantels, and tabletops comes to a sad and screeching halt after Thanksgiving. I replace the gourds, candles,…haystacks, lanterns, and mums with Hanukkah paraphernalia and breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have Christmas to deal with. This year as I put away the last menorah, I wondered if I sighed with relief or resignation. My "seasonal closet," stocked with beads, leaves, fruits, table runners, vases, candles, and jars for all occasions,… >> Read More
“What a cute pumpkin hat,” I said to the woman holding the toddler behind me on line at the grocery store.
“Thanks! My friend knit it for her,” she beamed.
“Enjoy it while you can…still dress her without a fight. I haven’t been able to tell my teenage daughter how to dress since she was 2,” I confessed. “Ugh! I dread my kids becoming teens,” she rolled her eyes and pulled her baby a little closer. Her words fell between us like the steaming pile that teenage years represent… >> Read More
October ushers in not only high pollen counts but the hugely anticipated and often dreaded homecoming dance. Non-stop chatter regarding the "right" dress, the "right" date, the "right" group, the…"right” after-party—and all the wrong values—float in the air like additional allergens and seem to infiltrate every pore. It started when a friend called to tell me that her daughter's two best friends decided this was the right time and season to unfriend her—not only on social media, but the good old-fashioned real-life way as… >> Read More
Dropping my son off at college and driving away was harder than 24 hours of labor with an epidural that didn't take, and lots of pushing, culminating in a messy C-section. I'm not kidding. At least…that time, he came home with me. I've never sent a kid off to college before, and I couldn't wait for his first weekend back at home. I dove headfirst into obsessive and irrational homecoming preparations. I scrubbed his room and bathroom, and laundered his sheets and towels with extra fragrant softeners. In the back… >> Read More
I'm not gonna lie. Dropping my son off at college sucked. Experienced friends warned me that they cried all the way home and I empathized, but doubted that would happen to me. I expected to tear up a…little hugging him goodbye and definitely cry while walking to the car, but then my husband and I would smile at each other, hold hands, and congratulate ourselves on a job well done as we drove home... Yeah, right. I've been preparing myself for this moment since he was 2 years old and starting preschool… >> Read More
I was totally blindsided (as usual) when my then 16-year-old son dropped what is arguably the most important question since, "Where do babies come from?" over dinner one night: "Mom, how did you…know who to marry? I mean, how did you know that Dad was the right one for you?" Oy! Can't we just eat dinner in peace? My natural instinct to brainwash his perception for the sole purpose of ensuring that I end up with a suitable daughter-in-law was mitigated by a rare moment of clarity,… >> Read More
"I lost another tooth!" my 8-year-old daughter shrieked as she ran towards me with the little bloody specimen. I pretended not to gag (I survived as a pre-med student for two semesters before…dropping out, following a gruesome dissection lab involving a nasty rat). We carefully placed the tooth in a miniature plastic chest under her pillow. "Try to fall asleep early tonight," I whispered in her ear as I hugged her. "I hear the tooth fairy is very busy these days." We walked back into the kitchen… >> Read More
When my kids were little they attended Jewish preschools where volunteering was mandatory. How can volunteering be mandatory? Simple. We had designated dates to be "mystery reader" and "Shabbat…parent," which involved saying a prayer, lighting candles, and supplying juice and snacks. This carried over into religious school, where we helped make siddur (prayer book) covers, painted yarmulkes, and contributed to the bake sale. Although technically there was a choice, no parent in his or her right mind would say no to helping out.… >> Read More
Last spring after Passover I had lunch with two friends: a convert to Judaism and a Reform rabbi. I know this sounds like the start of a joke that goes something like, "three women, a rabbi, a…former-Christian, and an Israeli-American went out to lunch..." But this was no joke. My former-Christian friend eyed the menu and announced with a sheepish grin that she craved a BLT, but didn't want to offend our rabbi friend. The rabbi's response? "You enjoy your lunch. I don't look into other people's plates, and I hope… >> Read More