Another Problem with Pain

Today, after writing this, I am going to go work out for the first time in over a year. Walking, biking, weight lifting, calisthenics, and now even rowing on a machine are ways I have stayed (semi) fit throughout my 44 years. Exercising is how I cope when angry, relax when stressed, sort through idea knots I’m trying to untangle onto the page. But a year and a half ago, a spot in the middle of my back inexplicably started… Read more

What Children’s Stories Say About Parenting

Tired of parenting books that make you feel like a failure? Story Mama, gleans parenting advice from an unlikely, but delightful place: classic children’s literature.   Beloved stories like Where the Wild Things Are, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Make Way for Ducklings serve as jumping off points for writer and mom of six, Amy Henry, to inspire you on your motherly journey. Written in short (read: potty-break-sized) vignettes, Story Mama offers both practical suggestions (ie. how to get your kids… Read more

What Your Kids Really Want for Christmas

When my son, Ben, was four years old a friend of ours came and visited for the afternoon. For hours, the two of them wrestled, told jokes to each other, and laughed at Randy’s Looney Tunes impersonations. That night, when I asked Ben what he loved most about Randy, he said, “He just be’s wif me.” It rocked me hard, that statement, “He just ‘be’s wif’ me,’ and I had to ask myself a hard question: Do I ever just ‘be wif’… Read more

What Christmas is Really About

(This piece was first published in my 10yo daughter’s blog. She gave me permission to print it here, too.) Christmas; if you ask any child in the world to describe it, they would tell you that it is by far the best time of the year, full of presents, secrecy, and an endless flow of candy canes. Then, if you asked them what Christmas is all about, they would say two words: Santa Clause. After all, he’s the one that… Read more

How Not to Miss Christmas

Last year we missed Christmas. I mean, we opened presents and drank egg nog and everything, but somehow none of us felt like we had a Christmas. This year, I want it to be different. A few weeks ago I was overcome by the sensation that I was not alive. I was a person who lived in her head, constantly formulating blog posts and essay ideas. I was a person who read great books half the time and thought about… Read more

Finding Rest…Just in Time for Thanksgiving

I’m gonna be real honest with you: I’m pooped. I don’t mean tired. I don’t mean exhausted. I mean, across the boards, Done. In. It started with playing single mommy for four months while Ian was away for military training and it is ending (note the optimism here) TODAY. Quite literally, because his ‘seasoning days’ (whatever those are) are completed TODAY…convenient, since I have been planning a breakdown for this occasion since early June. The year has weighed heavy, on many fronts,… Read more

What I Wish I’d Known When I Was a Young Mama

Ah, how exciting. All these years of writing and blogging and today I get to write the post that’s been on my mind since 2002… Because, when I was a young mama, this is the kind of stuff I needed…another mom, a bit further down the mothering road than I was, but not so far that she’d forgotten what foods a one-year-old will choke on and, related, how to do the baby Heimlich. While normally I like to give principles… Read more

Parenting in that ‘Just Right’ Place

(I’m continuing my series of workbook-type posts for each story in my book…Today’s is Goldilocks and The Three Bears, where we have two opposite mamas, Softie Mama, and Harsh Mama and are learning to mother in between the two). *** Are you more like Softie Mama or like Harsh Mama? For those of you who fall in that ‘just right’ place, congratulations and, pray tell, what is your secret? As we’ve seen, mothering on the poles is easy to do…. Read more

‘Bastard’ and Other Things This Mama No Longer Worries About

The offense? Stolen Buffalo/Ranch Doritos. The culprit? A brother, off on a trip with his dad. “You bastard!” other brother yells. He was hungry and, thus, the epitaph, shot through the iPhone, three hundred miles away. There was a day, not so many years ago, when such brotherly communication would pull me up short. I’d jump in with scripture, with quotes from The Peacemaker, with maternal admonishments and threats to suds up a washcloth. Today…not so much. Perhaps it’s one… Read more

Parenting Your Younger Kids: Slacking Off or Getting Wiser?

If you are raising younger kids alongside older kids you probably hear this twice a week: “Why do you let Jonny (fill-in-the-blank)? I never got to (fill-in-the-blank) when I was his age!” Or, “Are you going to get Jonny get away with that? If I had done that at his age, you would have whooped me good!” Or, “Why are you letting Jonny watch (this movie)? When I was Jonny’s age, you NEVER would have let me watch (this movie)”… Read more

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