Mindful Mama Lori Mihalich Levin is the mother of 2 children and a regulatory lawyer in Washington, DC. She is also guiding dozens of women as they navigate their way out of and back to work when their lives are transformed by motherhood. We sat down recently to talk about the origins of her 4-week online course Mindful Return.
After her own maternity leave, Lori noticed how other new moms at work rarely spoke about the changes in their lives, the intensity of their feelings towards their children, and how they coped. On one hand, her colleagues were undergoing a major transformation, but there was little outward acknowledgement at work that anything was happening. On the other, fearful of criticism or loss of professional status, the returning mothers dodged necessary conversations about pumping at work, child care hours, or poor sleep. [Read More…]
Artist Esther Howland (1828–1904) was the first to publish and sell Valentine cards in the United States. Before Esther, many Valentine cards were hand made with paper, lace, and ribbons and handwritten poetry. By the end of the 19th century, most Valentines were mass-produced by machine, many based on Esther’s designs.
The Howland Family operated the largest book and stationery store in Worcester, Massachusetts. As a young student at The Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Class of 1847, and a contemporary of the poet Emily Dickinson, Esther had been exposed to the annual Valentine celebrations. After graduating at the age of nineteen, she received an intricate English Valentine from one of her fathers’ business acquaintances. She was sure that she was capable of making similar or even better ones.
Persuading her father to order lace paper and other supplies from England and NYC and, with determination, she made a dozen valentine’s samples, which her brother added to his catalog for his next sales trip. Hoping for as much as $200 in orders, they were shocked when her brother returned with more than $5,000 in advance sales, more than she could make herself. Faced with the huge order, she asked her three best friends to help her. A Valentine assembly line was born at the Howland home. In 1879, The New England Valentine Company was born.
Esther is credited with several innovations in valentine design: the small brightly colored wafer of paper placed to give contrast under the white paper lace; and the built-up shadow box that became popular in the latter part of her career. While not the only Valentine’s Day card shop, Howland’s became [Read More…]
Media images of the holidays are often exaggerated and, before you know it, you’re trying to conform to unrealistic ideals. Combined with the added pressures and demands on your time, this can lead to overload. Just remember that nothing is perfect.
Now that the holiday season is swiftly approaching, you may be wondering if your dysfunctional family dynamics will surface as soon as you get together. Are you worried that your mother’s inquisitive nature will scare off the first girlfriend your son’s had in years? Or that your mother-in-law will think less of you because you didn’t ask her to bring the dessert? [Read More…]
Dear Stressed Out Over-40 Mom,
I see you.
I know who you are, because I am just like you.
I became a Mom for the first time at 41, and then again, at 44.
I know you think you’re the only Mom who is ‘older’, but you’re not.
I know you think that you’re the only one who struggled with infertility, but you are also not alone when it comes to this issue. [Read More…]
By John Simmons
Perhaps we should. My wife and I decided that it was the right thing to change our children’s names as we adopted them. This happened across the board, from Jack, who was only a month old when he joined our family, clear up to Emily who was fifteen.
That really upsets some people. My kids? Not so much. Recently a mom-blogger voiced her disagreement and so I decided to find out what my adopted children really thought. We had never talked about it before.
Whether or not I understand how it feels to have my name changed, my children do. (My eighteen-year-old with Down syndrome could have been asked the question many times and would have provided contradictory answers, so I’ll leave him out of this particular story.) The children I questioned range in ages from twenty-two, down to nine. Four of the five said they preferred getting a new name. The youngest, my nine-year-old son, said, “I wish I still had my Russian name, but it’s okay….
Each of our five children from Russia bear the names of ancestors of either Amy or me, who left their native lands and migrated to the United States. We have used the stories of those ancestors to show our children that they are not the only ones in our family who left native lands behind. We teach them that emigration is never easy, but that with hard work, it can be worth it. Our children know that our reasons for changing their names were based on love, and wanting [Read More…]
by Jane Samuel
Can I call you that? Mama? I know you are not my mother, but that is what she would have called you if she had been permitted to. Had stayed in your arms, in your home, never finding her way to that gate and thus, that spartan, sweltering-in-summer, freezing-in-winter room of crying, hungry, abandoned babies. Unlike me, she would have said it with the right tonal inclination, parroting back your words as you taught her with thought, word and deed who you were – her Mama.
Mama, I have so much to say. So many questions and so many answers. Some for me but most her. Perhaps you have some too? You should.
First can you tell me, tell her, who you are? Entirely, in every cell of your being. Are you a wife, tied to your husband, and his family, in the traditional, filial way? Or are you single, not ever planning to be mother but left that way after some human-need-driven encounter amidst some backward industrial city of the great China…
Sometimes I have wished we could find you. But I know that is next to impossible, and as she and I have talked she has come to know this too, as hard a fact as it is. Perhaps it is the impossibility of this that makes it safe to dream of meeting you, having you know her and her know you. Because as much as [Read More…]