All posts tagged: Parenting

When My 4-Year-Old Punched Another Kid, I Became That Mom

So. My kid punched a kid. Let’s just start there. It happened at preschool, on an unassuming, every-day kind of a day. But at pick-up, the teacher slid next to me on the sectioned colored rug and delicately started in, “…so, your son was a little off today…” What’s that? She then unveiled my son’s litany of attacks that day: a shove, a push to the cement and the whopper finale of three sucker punches to the ribs of his classmate. Oh. Oh, God… When she asked him why he did it, he stared blankly into space and said, “For no reason”. Quick backstory on my kid: He’s a hyper dude — but not a violent one. His body goes before his brain, and sometimes it’s a struggle to calm him or focus him or get him to put on his shoes (putonyourshoeswillyoujustputonyourshoesyourshoesrightthere…), but he is usually a keep-his-hands-to-himself kind of a kid. Until today. The teacher excused herself to talk to the parents picking up their wounded children. “So, Jasper was pushed…Markus was shoved…Michael was punched …

Teaching Your Children Empathy: 15 Resources for Parents and Guardians

The 2016 presidential election made one thing clear: Empathy is sorely lacking in our society. Empathy, like racism, sexism, prejudice and bigotry, is learned at home. Here is a short list of ways you can teach your child to love, respect and value those who do not look or act like her.  1. Go beyond a play date. It’s easy to look inclusive when meeting at a neutral location but actually take an interest in your child’s ethnically or religiously diverse classmates. Hang out at their home or in their neighborhood and see how they live. More from Urban Moms NYC.  2. Be a good sport. Talk with your children about what a good sportsman looks like. More from KidsHealth.org. 3. Go help someone. The holiday season is around the corner. Invite a neighbor or classmate over for dinner. Deliver meals to boys and girls clubs, senior living facilities, then stay and engage with them. Show your kids how to shine their light on others. More from Volunteer Match. 4. Failure is your friend. It builds character, teaches humility and resilience. Encourage your child to make mistakes. More from Business …

My War Against Mommy Frump

In six weeks of pre-adoption training, no one ever mentioned that I would lose the fight against becoming a frumpy mother. While I was prepared for the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion of dealing with social workers, birth families, teachers and cultural judgments, I had no inkling that my sense of style would crash and burn. Having skipped the required change in wardrobe demanded by pregnancy and with no post-baby weight to lose, my dress code was never supposed to change. I would remain sexy, current and not look like an 8-pound bowling ball had been dragged from my loins. My breasts would sag from maturity, not a tour of duty in the hands and mouths of babes, and lace would trim my dainty panty sets. Yes, sets, because that’s how one purchases undergarments, not piecemeal when panties get stretched out and bra padding goes limp from being machine-washed with Tide, rather than Woolite. In my new parenting days, I wore skinny jeans, willing to suffer through the squeeze marks left on my abdomen. I …

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The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mom

My son hands me a form and tells me he needs $10 for a field trip. A client requests a change to their website. The tulips are coming up and the flowerbeds need to be raked. One of my volunteer causes has been patiently waiting — for weeks — for a new logo. We’re out of toilet paper. And milk. And, oh yeah, food. Ten years ago, my 40-year-old brain would have remembered it all, categorized the demands in a mental list and multi-tasked the crap out of them. But over the course of the past decade, I’ve found myself relying less on memory and more on strategy. You know, the little sticky notes, the smart phone apps, the piles of paper strategically placed near the front door. Like most other people my age, I simply can’t remember things the way I used to. Thing is, I’m happy about it. I’m clearing the clutter from my overloaded mind, and it’s such a relief. The decluttering began when I hit menopause at age 47 — and …

When My Perfect Dinner Caused a Nervous Breakdown

I believe I have suffered two nervous breakdowns in my life. The first was the day my mom dropped me off at college. You mean I’m staying here?!? The thought of that much freedom, that far from home, made me woozy. My more recent breakdown came in the weeks after my second child was born. You mean we have to keep them BOTH alive? Somehow the responsibility didn’t feel like it had doubled — it had exploded into millions of tiny needs, each of which was wriggling away from me no matter how hard I tried to contain them, like the magic green seeds in James and the Giant Peach. I know we actually had it very good. I had an involved husband who wanted to help out. We had money to hire a sitter. Both kids were healthy. It’s just that it felt like there was so very much to do, all of it essential. Breastfeeding. And naps. And vaccinations that I wanted to space out so as not to expose either of my …

#SoProud Moms on Facebook, We Need to Talk

Dear Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids (hereafter referred to as MOF-WAACs), Your children are unique in their accomplishments. They exceed in a wide range of sports: soccer, basketball, field hockey and then soccer again, but of the “travel team” variety. They are given baffling-to-me-and-perhaps-other-people-who-don’t-live-in-your-town awards like “regional,” “all-city” and “division champ” (I say choose one geographical designation and go with it, but I don’t live in your town.) They always get A’s, and you, as a MOF-WAAC, have never failed to photograph their report cards and upload them to Facebook with the hashtag #soproud. In fact, from their post-natal APGAR score (perfect 10s, scanned and uploaded) to their college diplomas (magna cum laude, ditto), they’ve done nothing but made you #soproud. One noteworthy example (and I’m not making this up): Your toddler photographed mid-defecation, straddling a low plastic toilet with the caption “First poop in a big-girl potty!” And the hashtag #poophappens. On this point I couldn’t agree more: Poop does happen. But ask yourselves, MOF-WAACs, do we need photos of it online? Setting …

Mother of Game: Lessons from the Sidelines

I sat in the gym with my ass flattening on the wood bleacher. This occasionally alternated with sitting on soccer fields where the same ass is suspended more forgivingly in a camp chair. It’s a butt-annihilator, but I prefer the gym. I have no memory of what I did during weekends before basketball and soccer fused themselves to my being like an exoskeleton. Was I at the theater? Pickling breakfast radishes? Whatever I was doing didn’t include camp chairs — a product both nifty and humiliating. My son’s team was getting crushed. This was local basketball and different from the travel team he also plays for — this one has volunteer coaches with a gentle vibe. Not harrowing. But feelings creep in. There are impotent frustrations. If only they did this, they’d be winning. If only I could shout some advice to my son, Griffin and the other kids, this game would turn around. I’ve never played basketball, not a single game, but I’m convinced I’d coach to victory. The previous time I’d given in …

Margit’s Note: Are You My Mother?

Last year in our “Mother” issue, we talked about the simultaneously hilarious, humbling and, ok, sometimes irritating experience of turning into our Mothers. This year, we’re honoring the many ways women play the role of Mom— even if you’re not a biological one. Our approaches to motherhood are hotly debated (and, um, there are Dads too!) from a consequence chart to a hearty slap to keep them safe — and if you haven’t read it, read Ylonda Gault Caviness’s piece “What Black Moms Know” in the New York Times. The parenting role ebbs and flows, but our Moms are always our Moms. Contributor Stephanie Battaglino says it best: “As a parent, I have embraced the fact that, as we transition from the active parenting phase of child rearing to a more ‘consultative’ phase, we have to let them go. Our kids need to find their own way and create their own individual reality.” We here at TueNight are all about the diversity of experience, especially as it relates to being a so-called “grown-up.” Being a Mom is no different. So this week, …

How My Father Became the Mother I Didn’t Have

Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day). Ugh. For those of who have lost parents and aren’t parents, these days can really suck. And while we should be celebrating what we once had (assuming we had something wonderful), it’s hard not to wallow in their absence, and what we will never have again. I sometimes wish I believed in heaven or the afterlife or reincarnation. Seems like it would make things a lot more palatable, though probably not any easier. They’re still gone. Mom got sick when I was about 11 — I have very few memories of my life before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through chemo, hair loss, remissions and the returns of the beast, I was always afraid I’d lose my mom, but never really accepted that it would happen. There was a lot of sadness and dread and anger in my formative years, which resulted in life-long fear of abandonment, as well as depression and codependence. Add to that a father who wasn’t really around. He was busy starting his own small business, …

Women Who Inspire: Robin Wolaner

NAME: Robin Wolaner AGE: 59 OCCUPATION: CEO, Vittana, a nonprofit that pioneers loans for students in developing countries WHO SHE IS:  She founded the wildly popular and prescient Parenting magazine at the tender age of 31, persuading Time, Inc. to become her partner and marking the publishing giant’s first time ever investing in a joint venture start-up. Just four years later, Time, Inc. bought Wolaner’s share, making her Vice President of its Publishing Ventures division, and a millionaire. It was an unusual story, and remains one of the most popular case studies in the Harvard Business School’s first-year curriculum. Since then, Wolaner has been the COO of CNET, founded baby boomer social networking site TeeBeeDee, and been a bestselling author. WHY SHE INSPIRES  ME: At a time when women were rarely in the C-suites of tech companies, let alone sitting on high-tech boards, Robin paved the way for the rest of us to believe it was possible. I’m pretty certain that Sheryl Sandberg wouldn’t be leaning into Facebook if Robin hadn’t first leaned into CNET. After the Internet bubble imploded on itself, undaunted, …

In the Middle of the Night: Two Friends, Two Babies, Two Phones

  Christina and I had babies two days apart, and we went through the exact same thing at the exact same time. Even when babies are a just month apart, there are already variances—especially when they are newborns. There is not a shared sensitivity of what is happening right now. Christina shared everything I was feeling, especially in the wee hours of the night.   I don’t think anyone ever impressed upon me just how lonely and long nights can be when you’re the only one up, nursing and bouncing and rocking your fussy, lovely, crying, wonderful baby back down. When most of the world was sleeping and our men were snoring beside us, Christina and I had our babies in one hand and our iPhones in the other. And because we were bent on breastfeeding on demand in the beginning, this meant we were up 2-3 times a night. l was so bleary eyed, crazy tired, falling asleep while sitting up in bed holding on to my blob of a newborn. I am not sure how it started really, …

My System: Bribing the Kids to Bed

Who: Robin Marshall Job: Brand Strategist, Brooklyn Mom, Zipcar enthusiast How does it work? Robin says she created this system to eliminate night-time battles. “Every night our four-and-a-half-year old has the opportunity to earn three quarters. 1) for going to sleep without a fuss, 2) for sleeping IN HIS OWN BED all night (no 3 a.m. visits), and 3) for staying in bed, or at least staying quiet until 7 a.m. Each morning he gets to put stars on his chart and mom and dad pay up. After three weeks, he’s earned 40 quarters (his self-imposed goal) to buy a book of knight stickers at the Scholastic Store.” How long have you been doing this? About three weeks. Does your son actually like it? ”He loves it.  He feels good about his accomplishments, is learning about saving and spending. We’ve only had one night where he didn’t earn any stars. You’re raising a little capitalist, in his sleep! Yes, well, he likes feeling in control and ‘choosing’ to earn his reward.