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The Nora Ephron guide to motherhood

Categories: Parents in the Media

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Nora Ephron made the 90’s. She created Meg Ryan out of thin air (sorry about how the lips turned out). At least, in my head she did.

I miss Nora Ephron already. You’ve probably heard the news that she died yesterday —  the pseudofeminist screenwriter and playwright responsible for the phrase, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

The 90’s are over. Meg Ryan’s lips now have their own orbits.
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How far would you go to protect your kids?

Categories: Parents in the Media

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I was appalled to read the bloodthirsty go-get-’em comments in support of the dad who killed a dude who was trying to sexually abuse the dad’s four-year-old daughter. At a social gathering this weekend, a Texas father caught a casual acquaintance attempting to sexually abuse the dad’s four-year-old daughter, who had gone inside the house while everyone else was outside tending to horses. The dad reportedly punched the molester in the head repeatedly until he died. Local sheriff says he won’t press charges against the dad. And people are cheering.

Listen, the very thought of one of my children being molested or sexually abused by an adult makes me want to throw up. But the thought of punching someone in the head until they die? That makes me want to throw up more.
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Are French mothers better?

Categories: Bad Parenting, Parents in the Media

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Trust the French to take something we Americans think we do great at and make it better. Like food. You like french fries, right? In France they’re called frites: delectably long super-skinny bites of salty potato-y crispness. Terribly addictive. Impossible to turn down. Totes yum.

Now the French have turned their attention to mothering. OMG! French mothers rock. They have this mothering thing down, it would seem. And you know what hurts worse? Turns out they’ve been rocking the mother thing for years and we just didn’t notice.
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Bad Mommy: Mad Men parenting, Betty Draper style

Categories: Bad Parenting, Parents in the Media

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Mad Men is back, and I was prepared to love it. Primed with new-season promises of the glamor of 1960’s New York, with miniskirts and rising feminism, I tuned in Sunday night with high hopes.

Instead I felt icky, and I blame Betty Draper.

Have you been following the first three seasons? I confess it’s one of the few TV shows I watch. The characters are complex and finely-drawn. They seem like real people. Maybe too real: I hate Betty Draper.

I hate her in her petulant blonde perfection. I hate how she treats everyone around her, including herself, with disdain. I especially hate her apparent indifference to her children. Watching her telling them to “Go upstairs” or “Go watch TV” makes me squirm. I want to climb into my 32-inch flat screen and hug her children.

Betty Draper hits a little too close to home for me.
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What the family of the future looks like

Categories: Parents in the Media

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Once upon a time in our Mad Men-esque not-too-distant past, a non-traditional family was one where the mother worked outside the home. Later, bucking tradition meant single professional women having children, a la Murphy Brown, alone and husbandless (anyone remember Dan Quayle? Anyone?). Who needs a bicycle when you’re a fish, anyway?

Where is the traditional North American family headed now? Does your family fit the norm? Do you care if it does?

My situation is admittedly non-traditional. Am I alone in my non-tradition? Nope. There are two million non-custodial mothers in the U.S., with no two stories alike.

But this post isn’t about my family, it’s about yours. The New York Times says that despite feelings to the contrary we’re spending more time with our kids now than ever. And that’s quality time in activities like helping with homework and playing backyard catch. Memory-making time.

Couple that wee factoid with the facts that we’re sick of Jon and Kate’s endless bickering (not to mention Kate’s robotic performance on DWTS, did you see that?) and that we yawn over “news” that Michelle Duggar is leaving the hospital with her gazillionth child, and it clearly shows where we are pointing as the Family Of The Future.

My prediction:
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Breast milk cheese: yum or ew?

Categories: Parents in the Media, Wanna Fight About It?

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It’s a slow news day when you Google “mother” and come up with 237 stories about cheese made from breast milk, but there you have it. My lactation inspiration for today’s post.

Breast milk cheese. Mmm. Daniel Angerer, a Manhattan chef, is making cheese from his wife’s extra breast milk. No, the cheese isn’t on the menu at Klee Brasserie, Angerer’s restaurant, though at customer request after reading Angerer’s blog about it, the cheese has been offered as a canape (with figs and Hungarian pepper, for those wondering how to serve a breast milk cheese). Yes, Angerer’s baby has plenty of breast milk otherwise. No worries there.

What’s interesting is the response this gets. Breast milk cheese, or in other words cheese made from milk that humans are designed to consume, causes humans to respond in ways that vary “from mild yuckiness to sheer revulsion” according to The Guardian.

Yuckiness? Revulsion? I’ve tasted breast milk. Hey, you’re there all day with a baby and a bag of Baked Lays, and you’re deciding between Regis and Kelly or reruns of Little House on the Prairie — what else can you do to liven things up? The baby drinks breast milk, right? Poisonous? I don’t think so. Why not check it out?
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Zero-tolerance in schools: have we gone too far?

Categories: Parents in the Media, Wanna Fight About It?

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I was appalled to read the story of Zachary Christie, the Newark, Delaware first-grader who was suspended last week for bringing his Cub Scout spork-type utensil to school so he could use it to eat his lunch.

A six-year old Cub Scout, who frequently wears a shirt and tie to school because it’s a way to express his excitement about being there, is now suspended and sentenced to reform school for 45 days while his mom scrambles to provide a homeschooling alternative. All because he was excited over his new combination fork-knife-spoon and wanted to use it at school.

Zero-tolerance weapons policies have been established in schools all over the U.S., set in place to protect kids in large part as backlash from the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings. Guns don’t belong in schools, and I think we can all agree on this.
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Could your kid be an activist?

Categories: Parents in the Media

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When my older son was 7, he decided to relieve me of the 30 minute each way country-lane commute to his school every morning and afternoon. After all, he reasoned, surely I could do something else with the two hours-plus I spent every day in the car, taking him to school and picking him up again. A train. A nice friendly train. Yes, our community really did need a train that went from exactly our house to exactly his school.

So he decided to raise money for the train — by making felted wool balls at home and selling them in his school’s store. It all made sense. So he got to work. After the first day he decided that it would take a LOT of felted wool balls to buy a real live train.

Remember those days? Kids are relentless optimists. Who else expects to make a zillion dollars from a sidewalk stand selling cups of warm lemonade? I know I had high hopes when it came to selling magazines or greeting cards or sending in my Can You Draw This Pirate? artwork and winning a trip to art school.

But kids really do make a difference. Kids like yours. And I think we parents have an obligation to support them.
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My kids didn’t watch President Obama’s speech

Categories: Parents in the Media, Wanna Fight About It?

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…and boy are my arms tired!

Oops, wrong punch line. Actually, I am wishing there was a punch line, or at least that I could punch somebody (not really, but sort of) because my kids didn’t watch President Obama’s speech yesterday. They attend public school in a blue-state county where five years ago I saw way more Kerry-Edwards signs than I saw Bush-Cheney signs, and where the vote last November was predominantly pro-Obama, so I assumed they watched. Nope, neither kid who speaks knew anything about it. Huh. A non-issue.

Frankly, it only became an issue for me because over the weekend I heard what an issue this speech was for many parents all over the country. I don’t think it was particularly appropriate that the President, any President, speak to my child at his school via a television screen, but hey, this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day. The message was innocuous: stay in school, study hard, life is kind of tough but you’ll be okay. What’s wrong with that?
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How many kids in one family is enough?

Categories: Parents in the Media

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Oh my, the Duggars are at it again. Don’t get me wrong: I sort of like them. Who doesn’t admire the assembly-line precision they must have had to create just in order to, say, get everyone’s teeth brushed in the morning? Plus, they allow us to say to ourselves, “OMG, that could be me. But hello, no. No way. No way would I have EIGHTEEN KIDS.”

And then we can all breathe a sigh of relief and go about our day and maybe enjoy one of the other parenting train wrecks on TV, like Jon & Kate or Octomom.

That’s not me.

Since we’ve agreed that having 18 kids is probably unlikely for most of us — sheer logistics and, well, sanity tells us that — how many kids IS enough for one family? One? Two? Three? How do we decide the size of the perfect family? How big is your perfect family?
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