Buying your first piece of IKEA furniture. Backpacking around Europe. One-night stands. Splurging on dinner Friday night and spending the rest of the week eating ramen. These are just a few of the things most of us expect of our 20s.
Something that isn’t on anyone’s list? Slowing going blind from a degenerative eye disease.
It wasn’t on Nicole Kear’s list, either. And the Yale and Columbia graduate intended to live her life like it wasn’t. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, fell in love, got married and even attended clown school. Yet through it all, Kear knew a degenerative eye disease she had been diagnosed with at 19 was slowing taking her vision away. She was told she had one good decade before she would be entirely blind. Her family and husband knew about the disease (retinitis pigmentosa), but Kear was embarrassed and hardly told any friends — she had lots of excuses for why her eye makeup looked messy or she wouldn’t drive at night. However, Kear and her husband settled into new parenthood, and she had to come to terms with the realities of her disabilities, including learning how to walk with a cane.
I read Nicole Kear’s funny, fascinating memoir Now I See You in almost one sitting and came away from it thinking, I could be friends with this person. She’s smart, spunky, and makes it easy to put yourself in her (unfortunately, no longer high-heeled) shoes. I gave her a call at home in Brooklyn to chat about blindness, how she managed to write a book with three young kids, and giving strangers the benefit of the doubt.
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Can seven-year olds be assholes? You bet.
Do parents sometimes talk about how their kids can be total assholes with their friends? Most likely.
Should parents — especially those with a decent-size platform — talk publicly about how their kids are huge assholes? Of course not.
But that’s exactly what “Real Housewife” Brandi Glanville did, and she’s not sorry at all. Keep reading »
Sigh. Here we go again.
People are currently in an uproar over a photo of a mother breastfeeding her daughter taken while at her college graduation. 25-year-old Karlesha Thurman posted the photo to the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page, which reposted it for her, and it quickly went viral. Many people were shocked and appalled at what they saw.
Here’s what I saw. I saw a woman who managed to make it through an undergrad program with a young baby and still managed to figure out a way to breastfeed. I saw a woman who is also a mom and a student doing her thing and being proud of it. I saw someone normalizing something that should already be seen as “normal” in our society, but sadly isn’t. Keep reading »
Childbirth is a miracle. It’s a miracle that I intend to experience (hypothetically, in the distant future, maybe) with an epidural and as many pain-numbing drugs as they’ll give me.
Some moms-to-be go the other extreme: giving birth outdoors, literally on the floor of the fuckin’ woods, sans a doctor. And because this is America, there’s a new Lifetime reality show about them called “Born In The Wild.” Keep reading »
I’ve been out of the country for the past two weeks, spending almost the entirety of that time in Israel. Along the way, I’ve learned some interesting things about taking an extended global trip while parenting.
Contrary to what you might think, there are some pretty sweet perks to traveling with a child. I made the trip out to Israel with just my son and while there are some challenges traveling as a solo parent, I also noticed some up sides. People tended to treat us with more patience and kindness then when I travel solo (and I do, often). We bypassed regular TSA security to go in the fast lane, where shoes blissfully remain on and you don’t need to take out laptops or toiletries. We were also allowed to board first if we wanted to, we got meals served to us earlier, and there were more smiles and less scowls from airline employees — although perhaps this is just an Air France thing? They were pushing the free booze … Keep reading »
It must had been in third grade that my daughter Ella was assigned a project for Black History Month. She was assigned Maya Angelou.
I was unaware of how this selection would impact my view of being a feminist mom.
We eagerly trekked to the public library to check out children’s books on Angelou. I expected the usual broad view on Angelou’s life illustrated by cute watercolors — not so much a whitewash of Angelou’s life, but one that would be generally acceptable for elementary children to read. As with any revolutionary figure, the book would have to deal with racism and discrimination. What I had not planned on was the book, if not both, to deal head on with Angelou’s rape at the age of eight by her mother’s boyfriend. Keep reading »
We’re on the cusp of “bikini season,” if magazines in the grocery shore checkout line are to be believed. I’m sure you’re familiar with the wide variety of products — ones that remove hair, ones that firm up jiggly thighs, ones that promise to burn stomach fat — which supposedly get a body ready for a teensy two-piece.
Want to know my secret for getting a bikini body? Buy a bikini. Put it on. Voila.
But, we don’t live in a society that allows people to just put on a bathing suit and not think twice about it. Instead, we live in a time and space where we are inundated with messages of what the “right” type of body looks like. I felt and absorbed those messages growing up, and that was before the 24/7 barrage of media via the Internet. I remember going through my tween and teen years, always giving a second or third glance in the mirror. I never felt 100 percent comfortable in my skin. Keep reading »
“You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time. … I wanted to spend more time with my family. A year off was my birthday present to myself. I didn’t actually act or write. I was just a mum. I taught drama at my daughter’s school, cooked meals and had fun. I highly recommend others to do the same if they can afford it. … Sometimes in life you’ll have some things, at other times you will have other things. You don’t need it all at once, it’s not good for you. Motherhood is a full-time job. The only way I could have continued working would have been by delegating the running of the home to other people. I never wanted to do this as I find motherhood profoundly enjoyable.”
Because a celebrity hasn’t weighed in on working moms in, oh, a couple of days, here is Emma Thompson in the UK’s Daily Mail on her decision to take a year off from acting to stay at home with her 14-year-old daughter, Gaia, who is pictured. (Thompson also has a 26-year-old adopted son, Tindyebwa.) Recently, millionaire-with-nannies Gwyneth Paltrow complained that working as an actress is harder for her than for moms on a 9-to-5 schedule. Angelina Jolie responded that she has “much more support than most people” and “women in my position … shouldn’t complain.” Sort of in the middle of both points of view, Thompson explained to the Daily Mail how she just didn’t feel like she could juggle parenthood and work without a lot of help, which made her feel like she was missing out. The only way not to miss out was to put work on hold for a year. Keep reading »
This kind of bullshit makes my blood boil: the New York Post‘s cover today shows a picture of New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray with the headline, “I WAS A BAD MOM.” It references an article that just came out in New York magazine about McCray’s life in which she writes about her difficulties balancing work and motherhood.
But did McCray actually ever call herself a “bad mom”? Of course not. Keep reading »
After almost two years at home with my son, I’m going back to work. As I’ve told people the news — family, friends, other moms, the checkout guy at the liquor store who sold me the celebratory champagne, the customer service rep from Citibank’s fraud department who called to check on my unusual activity – I’ve been taken aback by some of the responses. I assume the inappropriate reactions were simply people being dumbstruck by my good fortune, so I created a guide of what not to say when a woman tells you she’s going back to work.
Here they are, in a very particular order: Keep reading »