Necessary conversation

Talking to children about grief

A few years ago I blogged about one of the first of many heart-wrenching conversations I had with my children after they asked a question about their sister. I received a nasty comment from a reader telling me that if I had not been “selfish” and told them about their sister I would not have to talk to them about her at all. The commenter went on to say that children should not know that babies can die. In part, he or she was right. Children should not know babies can die, because babies shouldn’t die. But sometimes they do. When they do, we follow our parenting instincts and do the best we can to explain the unexplainable and we talk through tears and answer questions when we can Continue Reading

The most important like

teaching kids to like themselves

It happened innocently enough. I was posting a new photo of Parker in one of his costumes to Instagram and tagging it to #Parkerpretends. Parker was watching over my shoulder and saw several names show up as "likes" underneath his picture. "What are those names for Mommy?" "Well when people like pictures on here they click the heart button to show they like it." "So three people like me? There's another one! Four people like me! Now how many?" If conversations could have a delete, rewind, or backspace button I would have been pushing it with both hands and my forehead. I don't want my children to look for "likes" or equate their value with the number on a computer Continue Reading

That one time at the grocery store

kindness wins

Last night at the grocery store the woman three overflowing carts in front of me was having some issues at the register. I have no idea what was going on because I was too far away to hear but I know her groceries were mostly scanned and situated in her cart and she wasn't leaving lane 15. Shoppers were continuing to line up behind me but there wasn't much progress being made in the actual moving forward of the line. I started wondering why I always pick the aisle where there is a price check as Parker pleaded for anything sugarcoated and eye level. I probably let out an audible sigh and Parker probably did too when I offered him bottled water instead of those nasty push-up suckers that Continue Reading

Autism and empathy

autism and empathy

Before my life as a stay-at-home mom/writer/taxi driver, I was the director of an autism center. I had the privilege of watching countless children and teens on the spectrum come in and out of our doors every day. One of my favorite teens was a boy with Asperger’s. He was broad and tall for his age and could converse with you over a thousand topics without ever changing the expression on his face. I was always fascinated by his mind and what must be going on in there at lightening speed. During our first week of social skills class he was paired with a boy who had autism and was also deaf. We all wondered how this would go. His comments were sometimes brutally honest and his patience was Continue Reading

The stone

life after loss

A post I wrote several years ago about what a grieving parent needs has been recirculating lately, putting me in touch with so many newly grieving moms. When I read their stories and the pain running in between and on top of their words I'm reminded of how far I've come and how close I am to still being right there. The best way I can describe grieving over a child as the years go by is to say it's similar to carrying a stone in your pocket. When you walk, the stone brushes against your skin. You feel it. You always feel it. But depending on the way you stand or the way your body moves, the smooth edges might barely graze your body. Sometimes you lean the wrong way or you turn too Continue Reading

I’ll take a side of feminism with my motherhood please

#likeagirl

When I was finishing up my senior year of college, I went on a job interview for a huge corporation in our area. I wanted the job so badly I actually followed all of the interview preparation tips given by my least favorite but very successful Marketing professor. I researched the company, practiced shaking hands "like a man" and interviewed myself in the mirror. I wore my most professional skirt suit to the interview and breathed in through the nose, out through the mouth to keep from keeling over while waiting for my name to be called. I brought my portfolio and strategic answers to those questions designed to bring out your negative qualities. The interview was not difficult. Two Continue Reading

What raising a child with autism taught me about raising a child without

what raising a child with autism taught me

Twelve years sit between Ashlyn and her next siblings. I parented through more than half her childhood and nearly survived the middle school years before adding more kids to the mix. Raising a child with autism before parenting her siblings who do not have autism taught me a few things I hadn't expected. 1. Including others is our job. It is not just "nice" to include the kids who don't have someone to sit next to or might not get a birthday invite, it is necessary. I still remember how painful it was to watch my own daughter alone in a crowd, whether she realized it or not. Her siblings will not contribute to that feeling in someone else. 2. Everything happens in its own time. Continue Reading

A blanket statement about blanket statements

About blanket statements

With social media comes all kinds of blanket statements about how we should live our lives. Facebook posts tell us we must try pumpkin spice lattes and hot yoga or both at the same time before spin class. Instagram photos beg us to dress our kids in flowered headbands and moccasins while Twitter yells at us to be right winged or left winged or protest on the White House steps. The world of over-sharing has opened our eyes to all kinds of lifestyles choices but it has also caused people to use the "everyone must" or "anyone can" statements as often as I reheat my coffee.  I'm fine with this when we're discussing lattes and moccasins but not when we're evoking mom guilt and superiority. Continue Reading

On the way to you

parker pretends

This post might be for you but it might be for me. I heard a quote recently that said something to the effect of "our kids are better versions of ourselves." I may or may not have heard this quote on an episode of Real Housewives of some city so it's best that I don't recall the actual source. If you haven't rapidly clicked away, I'll head toward my point. In each of my kids I see little pieces of myself but I also see bits of them I wish I could put in my pocket and not just because I think they are adorable. I see singing in front a crowd and wearing your favorite shoes even though they clash horrifically with your pants and dancing through the frozen food section. I see all kinds Continue Reading

12 Books You Must Read

12 books you must read this year

I always read a ton over Christmas break. I'm not sure if it's because we have extra free time or if my unrealistic Goodreads goal is to blame. A few weeks ago I was three books short of my goal for the year. Five quick reads and 20 put off tasks later, I'm well on my way to creating an unrealistic goal for 2015. If you're looking for a few great reads to add to your list for 2015, here are my favorites. And if you want to see my book suggestions from last year you can find them here. (The list below contains affiliate links.) **Click on the books for links to purchase if you are like me and need to go straight to Amazon and buy all the books as soon as they are Continue Reading