Daily Living

I Need Movie Theatre Seating (A Commentary By the Mid-Life Mr. Mom)

movie theatre seatingAs parents, we’re spending all this time worrying about not keeping score at our kid’s games; being supportive, not yelling, having fun at sporting events, etc. – so much so that we have ignored our most basic needs—of us, the parents.

Why do we watch the games on television rather than go to the game? It’s not just because some of us need to be near the restroom. It’s more basic than that. We’re sitting on bleachers, wood, metal, itchy grass. We’re subject to searing cold and blazing hot days. Even the ides of any month would be bearable if we just had movie-theater seating at all the games.

At this point in my (mid) life, give me a cushy seat, a Dolby stereo surround sound speaker system, basic food stuffs, a little petit cru and some Brie, for example. I can watch any game, no matter how long, cold or wet it is. We could add a lightning rod, a wet bar and cheer our kids on until dark or the booze ran dry. (I’d prefer to keep it inside, I must admit, but it all works.) [Read More…]

Why Are Our Children’s Issues Held With Such Secrecy and Shame?

Nicholas son in winter

“I hate myself. I can’t do it. I’m no good at it. Everyone else can do it and I can’t.”

When I picked my son up from kindergarten many months ago, he uttered those first four sentences. I was driving, so I pulled over to try to understand what he was talking about and find out why he was so upset.

With tears streaming down his face and my heart sinking fast, he told me that the other kids in his class could write words and he could not. I told him we would work on it together and he would be able to write words, too. I took a piece of paper from my glovebox and wrote ‘I Love You’ on it and I brought it to him in the backseat. I went over each word with him. Over and over. And over. [Read More…]

Autumn Musings

leafIn Love With Death

Fifteen years ago, I was talking to a woman at a party who told me she absolutely hated the Fall season.  No bones about it – she loathed it and would never feel any different, no matter how many picture perfect postcards you could wave of New England’s vibrant color change.

To this day, this mystifies me. My favorite month of the year is October.  I am invigorated from October 1st till well after the Christmas holidays.  The month of October rejuvenates my spirit and I believe that the air I breathe in during that month sustains me for the rest of the year.

This same woman told me that the only thing she felt during the fall was the impending notion of winter.  It was as if on exactly September 21st, her bones began to brace themselves for all things cold.  At the time she had two small children and I asked her if the kids liked jumping in piles of leaves, apple picking, or of course, the thrill of Halloween.  She told me that she didn’t do leaf piles(there might be ticks) and yes she did Halloween but it was generally in a safe place like the mall.  [Read More…]

Teens and Hate – A Scientific Life Lesson

Stansell Daughter - Scientific Life LessonYou know what I HATE the most?  I hate hate. And, I REALLY hate it when my children say they hate something.  In fact, I hate it so much that I hate to even write this.

I hate it when people say, “Don’t you hate it when….”  I hate that there is hate in the world that causes me to have to write about hate to help people see why it doesn’t even make sense to hate anything.  OK. Enough.  Blech!  I think you get the point.

Here’s what has me riled up:

The other day, my 8th grade daughter was getting herself ready for school.  I’m proud of her because, until now, I’d have to get up early to make sure she’s out of bed in time.

[Read More…]

We Love Vans (A Commentary by Mr. Mom)

minivanIt is not true that men don’t love mini-vans. Someone needs to straighten out the record.   We fear what mini-vans represent, toting kids hither and yon, the words, “Are we there yet,” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” (and our impending death).

Mini-vans save the backs of millions of men annually. Those cute little cherubs fit tightly, snuggly and comfy in SUV’s at the loss of our ability to move our torso or even sit upright, our current version of lifting a calf over our heads until it becomes a cow.

It is true that men approaching middle-age prefer not to be caught either riding or driving a van. This response makes good sense; not because of mid-life crises, but because our bodies require more vertebral support. We need the space and the view. [Read More…]

By |September 21st, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Fatherhood, Fathers over 40|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

6 Great Tips for Stepfamilies/Co-Parents to Navigate Back-to-School (Madness)

school bus For many families the start of the school term and the return to school is a looming presence that generates a sense of palpable unease. The back-to-school madness, coupled by parents who operate from two separate homes  juggling their respective household’s needs, brings with it a unique set of challenges.

The pressure of organizing enrollments, purchasing of school equipment and supplies and selecting and confirming extra circular activities can exacerbate simmering tensions and ignite old debates between separated parents about finances, about who did more, who did nothing or who doesn’t do enough.

The key to limiting back-to-school madness and a successful school year for parents, stepparents and children, ultimately comes down to two things: civility and effective communication between everyone involved – between parents, children, stepchildren, ex-spouses and new partners, teachers and administrators. All of whom, although in particular parents and stepparents, are integral parts in ensuring the kids’ academic success and emotional wellbeing. [Read More…]

Where Did the Time Go?? (Letting Go of My Teenager – One Step At a Time)

IMG_3153 (1)My sweet toddler, who only a minute ago was going off to pre-school, is starting high school this week.  I am terrified!

All these spinning emotions are rising to the surface and I woke today with butterflies in my gut.

I was in high school 42 year ago and I don’t have a clue where to begin with all the changes that have taken place.

It’s times like these that I wish my daughter had an older sibling, cousin, someone who could bridge the gap and be there to navigate this new terrain for the next four years. [Read More…]

My Gentle Little Warrior

Carmel's daughterIt’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that we were all chucking buckets of water over each other in the worldwide charity bid to raise money through the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Once our news feeds dried off the last few droplets of icy water, in its stead were dozens of first day of school pictures.

I remember every detail of that time so clearly. Why? Because last year, my daughter Amelia Rose, embarked on one of the biggest adventures of a child’s young life – she started junior infants. [Read More…]

Why is There No Reaction (From My Child)?

child no reactionWhether you’re having a sit-down with your kiddo after something went awry or his teacher told you he’s being bullied in school, you may be wondering several things.

Why doesn’t he seem upset? Why didn’t he come to me if he was upset?  

Does this not matter to him? Why is he laughing when we talk about this? Why has he been so difficult lately? [Read More…]

By |September 10th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

The Professional Photo Shoot (In Honor of My 3rd Child)

Lori and LouieThe night before the photo shoot, I made sure he had a bath. I brushed his teeth and trimmed his hair so you could see his eyes. The next morning when I said, “We’re going for a car ride,” Louie ran to the door and waited patiently. I packed a bag of his snacks and favorite toys. Finally we were ready. Louie, my dog, was ready for his first professional photo shoot.

I am an empty nester and Louie is my third child. I admit it. Louie has replaced my children – my husband knows it, my kids know it, and Louie knows it.

I love stopping at the pet store to buy little treats and toys for him. He also receives a monthly BarkBox of surprise toys and treats. My phone is filled with pictures of my dog. I feel like a new mom as I take pictures of every new thing he does or encounters.

He sleeps, I take a picture. He looks cute, I take a picture. He plays with a toy, I take a picture. It’s his birthday … well, you get the picture! [Read More…]

Featured In