When I first read a review of Lauren Sandler’s new book, One and Only: The Freedom Of Having An Only Child And The Joy Of Being One , I was hopeful. As the mother of an only child (and with no plans at all to have any more children), I’ve had my fair share of judgement from others. I’ve been told I’m selfish, that I’ll live to regret this decision, that my child will grow up lonely, that he’ll end up resenting me and his father for not giving him any siblings, that he’ll feel burdened when it comes time to care for us in old age. The list goes on and on. I’ve heard variations on these remarks from family, people I know well, and complete strangers.
Trust me, this wasn’t a decision we came to lightly and it’s one that is constantly on my mind. In fact – shameless self promotional plug – my essay in my upcoming anthology about the myth of the “good mother” deals specifically with this topic and is titled “Yes. I Am That Selfish.” So to read about a book that thoughtfully takes on the notion of having one child — and debunks many of the myths commonly associated with it — felt a bit liberating. Keep reading »
My father didn’t walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, but he did help me up some very steep stairs. That’s not a metaphor for the next iteration of my life as a married lady: there were actual stairs, my high heels were ridiculous, and I didn’t want to fall over as I climbed to greet my very-soon-to-be husband on the stage where he was waiting for me.
I love that moment. I’d never envisioned being “given away” by my dad. I always loved the idea of walking solo, down the aisle, toward my future. But at the end of the “aisle” — a treacherous brick walkway — at our venue, was a set of precarious stairs. When I reached them, I put one foot on a step and reached with my left hand toward my dad, who helped me balance before taking my place in front of Patrick.
In both the figurative, and the most literal, sense, my dad helped me arrive on that stage, standing with the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I was legitimately nervous I might fall down, but I also wanted that moment of connection with my dad during the ceremony, as a nod to what he and my mom and our family mean to me.
My dad? He was just legitimately nervous. Keep reading »
I’ve written before about why my dad is awesome, but looking back at my childhood, he definitely wasn’t the only father figure in my life. Being the imaginative weirdo that I was, most of my alternate dads were completely and totally fictional, but that didn’t make them any less integral to my emotional development. It was actually pretty hard to pare down this list, but here are 7 fictional characters — from a Jedi Master to a clumsy handyman — who were my imaginary dads, and taught me a lot about life in their own unique ways… Keep reading »
Choosing a baby name may be one of the hardest things a parent has to do. I’d say it’s harder than potty training — which has become my nemesis right now. Giving your kid a name, whatever name it is, is the one single word your kid is going to hear for the rest of their life. It’s a BIG deal. It also says a whole lot about you as a parent. It even reveals your political leanings.
Conservatives tend to choose a certain kind of name, and liberals prefer names with a certain kind of sound. Before I reveal, let’s take guesses. Let’s think about the kid names Leo and Kevin. If you had to choose who belongs to the liberal parent and who belongs to the conservative parent, what would you guess? Read more on The Stir…
In June 1961, after applying to Harvard’s graduate program in city planning, Phyllis Richman received a letter from Harvard asking her exactly how she planned on having a career and a family.
You see, Phyllis’s admission seemed like a waste of time to the admissions office. William A. Doeble, a professor in the department to which she had applied, wanted to make sure that she really wanted to put all of the time and money into an education that they felt she may never use when she was already so busy being a wife.
In his letter to Richman, Doeble wrote:
“[F]or your benefit, and to aid us in coming to a final decision, could you kindly write us a page or two at your earliest convenience indicating specifically how you might plan to combine a professional life in city planning with your responsibilities to your husband and a possible future family?” Keep reading »
I was so sure I was having a boy. I’d even given my baby a boy name, and I talked to my belly and told him he was a great son. A strong, noble, excellent son. People said, “A mother knows…” and nodded along with me.
Not this mother. Apparently, this mother doesn’t know shit.
“Can you tell if he’s a boy or a girl?” I asked the sonographer at the 20 week ultrasound, just to be sure.
She bit her lip and tried not to smile. “Oh yes. I can tell.”
He was a girl. She had always been a girl. I burst into overwhelmed tears. And then something shameful happened. Instead of being fully happy, the way every new mother is supposed to, I was worried. I was worried that she would look like me. Keep reading »
Because that seems to be the point.
This isn’t a real pregnant 70-year-old, though. She’s a British TV host, Kate Garraway, who is 46 and warning young women through the First Response Early Result Pregnancy campaign to MAKE BABIES NOW. Like, right now. Garraway got involved in the campaign because she had her two children at ages 38 and 42 and now is unable to have more. So to scare women about the terrors of old mommies, Garraway got done up in prosthetics to look like a 70-year-old who is heavily pregnant.
Except … no. Keep reading »
I’m not going to sugar coat it: Sometimes, this whole parenting gig can be pretty damn hard. Yes, parenting is rewarding and wonderful and absolutely special. But it can also be completely terrifying and difficult and frustrating. And, despite all the parenting books that line the shelves of bookstores, there’s truly no one manual to tell you exactly how to successfully raise your children without going completely batty.
It also doesn’t help that parents — new ones especially — are surrounded by images, advertisements, articles, books, television shows, “experts,” movies, news media, and more that basically dictate to them what it (supposedly) takes to be a good parent. It can be doubly overwhelming in a society that pushes Tiger Moms at you while also promoting the benefits of French Parenting in the same breath that both encourages and disparages Attachment Parenting. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink. (Or smoke).
So it doesn’t surprise me one bit when parents turn to the Internet to find some answers or relief. Even if that relief is in the form of mild complaining or slightly neurotic questioning of everything that’s being thrown at you. But of course, as with everything on the Internet, everyone has an opinion. Enter Jezebel’s Tracy Moore, who earlier this week tore apart a private online Facebook group for L.A. parents. Moore listed a handful of topics that various mothers posted about and then proceeded to mock and snark on each one. Keep reading »