Maurie Backman lives in Central New Jersey. Between her active toddler, twin baby girls, and yappy dog, she gets more than her fair share of noise. Maurie currently works as a freelance content writer and editor, and enjoys creating works of fiction. She also bakes way too often.
The phone rang at midnight, jolting me awake. I smacked my husband in his sleep, annoyed that it was probably his office again, calling with some major network outage.
Only it wasn’t his…company; it was the local township’s police department, informing me, as a parent, that a vicious online threat had been made against our school district, and that the department was in the process of conducting its investigation. As I attempted to process that information in my groggy, already sleep-deprived state, I realized I needed much… >> Read More
As the parent of a 6-year old and 3-year-old twins, I’m certainly no stranger to snot, coughs, sneezes, and other lovely excretions that emanate from small children.
I’m also acutely aware…that littles tend to lack manners when it comes to keeping those germ-ridden emissions to themselves. And that poses a problem for pretty much every parent whose children spend their days in a school environment, because it means that, inevitably, their kids will catch some version of whatever is going around. And there’s always something… >> Read More
My 5-year-old son started kindergarten this year, and like most of the parents I know, I was nervous about it at the time. Would he like it? Would he fit in? Would he find the large school and new…routine overwhelming? Thankfully, my son took to it like a champ. From Day One on, he's come home every afternoon with nothing but good things to say about kindergarten. In fact, when I ask him about his day, his responses run the gamut from “great” to"excellent" — with “awesome” sometimes in the mix, too. It's almost like he has a… >> Read More
Like most parents of young kids, I often find myself walking around in a perpetual state of exhaustion. Sleeping in hasn’t been an option in years, and while I aim to go to bed on the earlier side,…there are plenty of nights where I’m up well past midnight, whether it’s because I’m finishing up work, taking care of household chores (quiet ones, of course), or lying awake stressing over the dozens of things I need to do but don’t know when I’ll be able to get around to them. Even so, most… >> Read More
Though nobody enjoys fasting, I happen to be particularly bad at it. I’m the sort of person who needs to eat every couple of hours, even if just a small amount, and I tend to drink lots of water as…a matter of course. I therefore dread Yom Kippur each year, and that worry has only increased exponentially as I’ve added more kids to the family mix. See, back in the day, Yom Kippur was pretty doable. I’d get up that morning, spend a few hours at services, come home, pass out in bed, and… >> Read More
It’s a struggle so many of us are familiar with, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m talking about the insanity that is preparing and carving out time for the Jewish holidays when the rest…of the world doesn’t come close to standing still. You’ve heard of Christmas envy? It’s not the giant tree that I want–it’s the opportunity to spend a couple of days celebrating a meaningful holiday with my family, but without having to worry about missing work or school or activities. The holiday stress is hitting me… >> Read More
It was a good idea in theory. My husband and I were itching to get out to Colorado for some fresh mountain air, hiking, and scenery. But with three young children in tow–a 5-year-old son and twin…2-year-old daughters—the idea of flying seemed not only expensive, but unfeasible. After all, how would we ever manage to schlep all of the toddler gear we needed onto a plane, plus our suitcases, plus enough in-flight entertainment to keep the little ones from screaming their heads off the entire time? No, flying just wasn’t a… >> Read More
I’m a dues-paying member at my local synagogue. And yet, I’ve also been advocating for a pay-what-you-can/voluntary dues model at my synagogue since I first joined. It’s not because I think my…synagogue is too expensive or charges too much. Rather, I realized long ago that when it comes to synagogues, people don’t like being told what to pay. Period. Here’s something else I’d like to make clear. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where the money I spend on my family’s synagogue membership (not… >> Read More
It was a weekend that was supposed to go very, very differently. For the first time in four years, my husband and I were heading away with some friends for three child-free days, complete with adult…activities such as wine tasting, hiking, and dining at establishments whose menus didn’t include chicken fingers and mac and cheese. My parents had agreed to watch our 5.5-year-old son and 2.5-year-old twin daughters to enable our escape. And as nervous as I was about that (not because my parents aren’t amazing babysitters, but because our… >> Read More
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Having twins is an absolute blessing. It’s also an incredible challenge, especially if your twins happen to be the rambunctious, strong-willed type,…like my 2.5-year-old daughters are. But while I try to be patient on many levels, nothing makes me want to lock myself in the bathroom for five hours straight more than a good old-fashioned hissy fit. And often, in my world, that’s a hissy fit times two. Of course, my daughters don’t always throw simultaneous… >> Read More
Back when my husband and I first bought our house, we had a vision for what it would look like: two kids' rooms, a beautifully appointed guest room, and a living room with modest furniture and…decor. We set up the guest room right away, but the two kids' rooms remained empty for quite some time. Meanwhile, our dining room featured antique furniture inherited from my husband's grandmother, which we often adorned with candlesticks as we dined, sipped wine, and dreamt out loud about our future. Right off our living room… >> Read More
Though my now 2-year-old twin daughters amazed me back in the day by pretty much never napping before their 1st birthday, once they turned one, something shifted, and magically, they began taking a…solid 90-minute nap smack in the middle of the day. This was something to celebrate for a number of reasons. First, it meant having less cranky kids in the evening, but just as importantly, it gave me a small window of time to do the things I needed to do to function as a human.… >> Read More
Ever since my twin daughters turned 2 earlier this year, I’ve started to increasingly ignore them during the day.
I know that sounds bad, but let me explain.
Back when my daughters were first…born, I was pretty much attached to them 24/7. Much of that had to do with the fact that I was nursing, and couldn’t manage to feed both simultaneously. The result? I slept very little, and spent nearly every waking hour with an infant in my arms. When I wasn’t feeding the girls, I was… >> Read More
No matter what time my 5-year-old son goes to sleep at night, it’s inevitable: Come roughly 5:45-6:00 a.m., he’s up every morning like clockwork.
Case in point: The other week, we had him up…until 10:00PM after a family gathering that ran late. Since that’s a solid two hours past his typical bedtime, we figured he’d sleep in a little the following morning, but no--I’m pretty sure I heard him rustling about by 6:01. But while my son’s perpetually early wakeups used to be a major problem for me… >> Read More
One of the hardest things about being a mom who works from home is the glaring lack of opportunity to do things yourself during the day. Case in point: When I had a doctor’s appointment last month…and couldn’t find anyone to watch my twin 2-year-old daughters, I had no choice but to drag them along with me and take turns holding them on my lap while my doctor went about her business. It’s this very arrangement that’s made me long for the era of going grocery shopping myself. Don’t get me… >> Read More
It was a typical morning, like any other in our household. My 5-year-old son had finished his breakfast while his twin 2-year-old sisters sat at the table doing what they usually do during…meals—playing with their utensils, making faces at one another, and basically doing everything possible to avoid putting food directly into their mouths. I'm used to breakfast taking 45 minutes with this crew, so I've learned to tolerate the table-side antics. But what I don't tolerate well is when my daughters decide to take their food… >> Read More
Recently, for the first time in a long time, my husband and I planned a rather extravagant evening out. It started with drinks at a cocktail lounge, followed by dinner at a nice restaurant, and then…a concert by one of my favorite performers. We were looking forward to this night for weeks—but every time it came up in conversation, I found myself feeling surprisingly awkward about it. When a good friend, for example, asked what we were doing that weekend, I told her our plans, and while her response was nothing… >> Read More
I went back to full-time work after having my first child, and while I missed him terribly, at the time, it was the right decision for me and my family. But once I had my now 2-year-old twin…daughters, I realized that going back to full-time work would not only be logistically difficult, but practically useless from a financial standpoint. Given the cost of daycare and commuting, it just didn’t pay to go back to a day job. Instead, I figured I’d look for a part-time work arrangement once my girls got past… >> Read More
I’m no stranger to keeping kosher at home, and while there are times when it gets a little…okay, I’ll say it, inconvenient. For the most part, I don’t actually mind keeping kosher. Except for…when it comes to Passover. Making my house kosher for Passover is something I dread doing to such an extent that in the 10-year span since getting married, I’ve yet to attempt it even once. Instead, I’ve taken a shortcut year after year—packed a bag, sold my chametz, and headed to my parents’ place for… >> Read More
It started when our piano teacher quit on us a couple of months back. My 5-year-old son had been taking lessons for well over a year in addition to a host of other activities--soccer on the weekends…and swimming lessons during the week, to name a few. But it just so happened that when I got the call about piano, we’d already wrapped up the soccer season and decided not to sign up for more swimming lessons, figuring my son would be taught at camp. I began making calls to find a… >> Read More
Very recently, my husband had to spend an entire day taking care of me and our children as I recovered from a horrible stomach bug. My kids got the virus first in rapid succession and fortunately…recovered within 12 hours each time. I, on the other hand, was left incapacitated for an entire 24-hour period, during which time I was confined to either my bed or the bathroom floor. Picking up my twin 2-year-olds and changing their diapers was out of the question, as was fixing my 5-year-old lunch, helping him… >> Read More
When you have twin toddlers, you tend to bring a lot of noise and ruckus with you wherever you go. It’s something I’ve gotten used to, more or less, but every so often, the commotion that ensues…when I walk in the door with my kids starts to make me self-conscious. And despite the fact that I happen to belong to an extremely warm, inviting synagogue, that self-consciousness tends to come to a head when my kids get restless during services. Don’t get me wrong—I love taking all of my kids to… >> Read More
My son just turned 5, and though his financial awareness is limited at best, he does understand the role money plays in everyday life. For example, he knows that we need money to buy food, have a…home, and drive a car, and he also understands that not everyone has enough money to do these things—hence our weekly tzedakah. But recently, we read a book where the main characters started getting an allowance, and it made him wonder when he'd be getting one. It made me wonder, too. I ran it by… >> Read More
I'm grateful to have a husband who pitches in not only in terms of caring for our kids, but doing things around the house. That said, the bulk of our household chores still falls on me, and it's not…just because I happen to be home during the week. Even on weekends, when chores are conceivably up for grabs, I end up doing most of them. And while I sometimes get a little bitter or crabby toward my husband about that fact, I recently realized that he actually isn't to blame for his lack… >> Read More
It happens pretty much every day. Because I need to leave my house at a certain point to pick my 5-year-old son up from preschool, I end up having to cut my twin 2-year-old daughters’ nap short to…take them with me. Here’s how our schedule actually plays out: I need to feed my girls lunch around noon—doing so any earlier is hard because they tend to sleep late and eat breakfast on the later side. Once I manage to clean them up and get them down for a nap, it's already 12:45.… >> Read More