Archives for June 2011

More Misunderstood

Today in the car the boys were discussing their future professions.Dash (5): "I want to be a  butterfly farmer."Jack-Jack (4): "I want to be a chef."Incredibaby (2): "I want to be a doctor. But the kind that doesn't give shots and gives lots of lollipops."The baby paused and added, "And Mommy will clean."I asked in a rather higher than usual voice while suppressing all sorts of snarky comments in my head, "Mommy will clean?!"To which he replied, "No, Mommy, you're the … [Read more...]

Mom’s Salary?

I've always been slightly annoyed by those websites that calculate a projected income for the stay-at-home mom. You enter the time that you spend on certain jobs around the house and caring for your family each week, type in your zip code, and voila, out comes your projected yearly income. Don't get me wrong, I think that the idea is clever and the point is well-taken: as mothers who stay at home we work very hard and are, essentially, the managers of our family's life. I guess what bothers me … [Read more...]

Summer Reading with a Greater Purpose

Many of us are encouraging our children to continue reading throughout the summer months, and this task is made easier by the myriad of summer reading programs sponsored by local libraries and bookstores. These programs usually offer incentives for children who read a certain number of books or pages, such as a free slice of pizza or a special book. My son's elementary school is asking each student to read at least 20 minutes a day for a minimum of 20 days; all students who participate in the … [Read more...]

In praise of mother’s helpers

And I don't mean the TV.Over the past year, and now with four children, we have seen our family expenses ballooning but are more in need now than ever of an extra set of hands. We don't have the income now to cover the amount of daytime help that I need for sane summer months... unless the help costs only $3-4/hour.So, at the Feast of the Ascension Mass a few weeks ago, I started recruiting 12 year olds in our parish. They're out of school for the summer, and idle;  too young to have jobs … [Read more...]

Talk to me about allowance

Friends, we started paying our 6-yr.-old an allowance of $1/ week when she turned 6. I put no guidelines on how she spent the money, but rather, used the first six months as a sort of test period. Well, she spent it all on ridiculous things like silly bands, temporary tatoos and sticker albums. All of it. I think the most she ever saved was $4.  I wanted her to have the freedom to make mistakes ... well at least I thought I wanted her to have that freedom. It made me too frustrated to watch. So … [Read more...]

Pet Envy

My kids want a pet. As someone who requested a horse for every single holiday, be it President's Day or Christmas, for about 12 years, I can understand their desire. As a mom with many bells to answer to, I can understand my reluctance. I have an easy excuse for saying no to cats and dogs as my son and I are allergic. We have any number of insects in cages, nets, bags at any point in time. But the most recent requests have been for fish.My question is this: Can I handle a fish? I mean, it … [Read more...]


Yesterday afternoon was a sad one for Maria, our middle child. The baby was crying because of a terrible diaper rash, and Maria attempted to console her with a big hug and words of encouragement. The baby would have nothing of it - only mommy would do.Being a fairly flexible child, Maria sought out her other sibling, the older one. "I'll help you build your lego ship, Christopher!" she proclaimed with enthusiasm. But the older boy, having had too many bad experiences with little sisters and … [Read more...]

Another sort of example

Just as we were speaking about the Atlantic article on how adult children find themselvs "unhappy" while nothing is wrong in their lives,I was really struck by this statement from the adult son of a man who sacrificed his own life to save another son from drowning."He knew that joy is best found not in the pursuit of pleasure, but in the execution of responsibility."Wow.  I will warn you that it is rather a sad story, but if you are prepared for it, you can read the rest here. … [Read more...]

Lessons from the Road

This year, we planned in advance to have our son to miss the last 4 days of first grade. Why would we do such a thing? Our family had the opportunity to take a wonderful 10-day trip to the northeast, and it was too good for even this rule-following mom and dad to pass up! We squeezed in Princeton reunions, visits with both sides of our family, a wedding, and a trip to the town where we began our marriage and where our first child was born. All in all, it was an amazing vacation and we feel … [Read more...]

Why Mr. Red Doesn’t Let Charlie Win

How to Land your Kid in TherapyIs it possible to do too much as a parent?  I believe it is absolutely possible.  Letting your child win every game, get a trophy, or award after every sporting event, a ceremony or official performance for every accomplishment, and generally building up his self-esteem at every opportunity, seems to be the rage these days.  But will these practices lead to adult happiness?  Do they develop virtue in our children?  No and no.  Interested in this topic, read the ab … [Read more...]