Midlife Foibles!

8 Rules of Toddler Parenting

julie and kid at hospitalI am the mother of three children; my youngest is three years old. Living with a toddler presents a myriad of challenges on a daily basis.

Here is my helpful list for parents to navigate the uncertain waters of living with a small, human- like piranha.

1 - Leave all cookies and candy on the lower pantry shelf, within their reach. This will reduce trips to the ER when they try to rescue said candy from your hiding spot. Toddlers are like tiny ninjas with zero agility. When weighing out cavities versus stiches, cavities win every time.

2 – Try to outfit your bathroom with the most comfortable furniture you own. You will spend an excessive amount of time watching and/or waiting for poop to come out of their precious bottoms. You may as well be comfortable waiting. If you can fit a small wine fridge in there, it would be an added bonus. [Read More…]

Parenting For the Wrong Generation

GenerationWhen I became a parent for the first time, my father said something to me that really stuck. He told me, “Every generation is perfectly equipped to raise a child from their own generation.”

He went on to explain that the world changes so quickly, and things are so different “now” that parents can feel ill-equipped to raise their own children – simply because their frames of reference have shifted.

My parents had no idea what to do about video games. They didn’t have any idea what the current drug culture was, or how it affected us at school other than what they saw on the news. They knew how things were when they were kids, and were ready to help us navigate that world – but that world no longer existed. [Read More…]

By |April 22nd, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Slings and Arrows on the Playground (Or, How to Watch Your Kid Grow Up)

Stefan K and kidI’ll tell you what’s difficult: not having a reaction when your kid (or other’s kids) fall down. On the one hand they say that falling down is part of life and, on the other, is the wild reaction when my or their kid takes a digger.

If it’s part of life, then why are we so crazy about reacting?

I know myself – the feeling of that tangy shock when a kid – any kid – especially your own kid, falls on their knees in the street, raking that tender, perfect skin on the asphalt. It’s all you can do to keep your hands from flying to your head and having some primordial sound come out of your mouth. It’s nearly unbearable.

Barefoot or shod, that is the question. Barefoot eliminates the extra possibility of a trip and fall. But those delicate little toes! Jabs, slivers, metal… either way something’s going to happen. [Read More…]

Daily Pearls of Wisdom

Lydia and Caroline 2011

I can hear my cell phone blowing up. First a text, then endless ringing until it goes to voicemail. Trying to work on my novel and tune out distractions, I kick myself for neglecting the first rule of writing: turn off all devices.

Then, the landline starts to ring and it doesn’t take caller ID to know it’s my daughter with the tragedy du jour. I pick up, knowing that she’ll keep trying until she has to resort to calling her father. God forbid. He’ll dispense real advice. Taboo in the parenting manual.

That’s my 26-year-old daughter, calling in for her daily dose of moral support or to simply “kvetch.” When her life is going well, it’s a joy to pick up, but when it’s not… well, that’s when I need to be on my A-game. [Read More…]

Limbo! Limbo, Limbo

Carmel Harrington's kidsThis was the song I was rudely awoken to at 6.30 am this morning, folks. My 3 year old son, Nate, had crept into our bed, natch’, along with the complete cast of Toy Story.

Trying to hold my reluctant leg a few inches up off our bed, Nate had decided to fashion it into a limbo stick for Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Rex. They were having a right old time. Slinky was sitting this one out. Lucky Slinky.

A version of this happens every morning. Mr H and I have now become accustomed to Nate’s unique, loud and sometimes painful method of waking us up. Yesterday, there was no limbo dancing under covers, but there was a plastic truck being driven over my body, with Woody in the driving seat.

Alongside the ‘beep beeps, oh no, I’m stuck, quick lets go before the monster gets us,’ he told us both over and over, ‘I hungry. It’s morning time. GETUPPPPP mama and dada!’ [Read More…]

I Love the Change of Seasons – Spring Thoughts from Mr. Mom


I love the change of seasons.  It’s not that I couldn’t handle California, Arizona or Florida lifestyles.  I would miss the sweet touch of a frozen wind across my face or a summer thunderstorm whipping dust into mini-cyclones.

Rain, pitter-pattering down on the roof to torrential downpours flooding streets and the sun-slanted warmth of fall would be lost.

What is Spring Fever without the Spring? [Read More…]

By |April 10th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

I Shout, Therefore I Am

Surviving life as a mother of a preteen girl is not for the faint of heart. Most days, I feel like a robot mechanically repeating the same tired phrases over and over, only to be met with dramatic sighs and eye rolls. These slogans feel like rites of passage every matriarch must pass down to her offspring, sure to be met with the same indifference as the generation before.

While it is frightening to watch how effortlessly my daughter tells me EXACTLY how she is feeling every second she feels it, it got me thinking. What if I was brave enough to say what I really mean? I decided to give it a shot. [Read More…]

Hormones, My Son, and Me

Jo-Ann Rogan and oldest sonThere are a ton of hormones swirling around in my house.  Suddenly what was once my tiny sweet smelling baby is now a 11-year-old young man with very decidedly offensive odors.  The changes are coming slowly.

He is still devoid of a manly voice and beard and although the changes are subtle, they are happening. I notice he is quicker to anger than he was a year ago.

He craves more independence and I find myself constantly pulling on the reigns of the boundaries I have created at home.

One of the biggest fights we struggle with is about him wanting to be out with friends after dark.  Although we live in a lovely neighborhood, we live in the city, and being a former wild child I know that nothing positive happens hanging out after dark as a preteen. [Read More…]

Phone Folly (Three Short Parenting-A-College-Kid Stories)

telephone#1 – A phone call in the middle of the night is never a good thing.  On a mid-September night, I fall into an easy sleep, secure in the thought that my daughter Catherine is settling into college life.   A rude ring rouses me.    Mother’s intuition, fueled by my overactive, overprotective gene, shoots into overdrive.   I brace for bad news as my husband, Mr. Don’t Worry Be Happy, picks up the phone.

DWBH: “Hey, Catherine, how ya doing?  Good.  Yeah Mom’s right here.”

It’s midnight. Where did she think I’d be? At the mall?  Out for cocktails? [Read More…]

10 Toddler-Tested Careers for Moms

Julie Scagell's kidAs my youngest turned 3, I was reminded that living with a toddler automatically qualifies a person for a myriad of possible career options. Whether you are a stay at home parent looking for entry back into the workforce, or a working parent looking for a career change, I am positive any brave soul who has survived toddlerhood will excel in one of the professions below.

Think of me as your underqualified high school guidance counselor, nudging you into the working world where you will be under stimulated and marginally compensated. You are welcome. [Read More…]

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