A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

Read the full story »

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.


The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles tagged with: mommy guilt

Big boys do cry
Friday, 25 Feb, 2011 – 14:28 | One Comment
Big boys do cry

After all the warnings that any paper left lying around faced extreme peril, I was the one who screwed up.
I was sorting through Big Guy’s envelope of graded school work when I moved his Valentine’s …

For once common sense wins out
Wednesday, 16 Feb, 2011 – 11:59 | Comments Off
For once common sense wins out

The flier about a children’s drama program coming to Fort Irwin couldn’t have done more to capture my attention if it’d been written in neon:
A week-long workshop capped by a performance of “The Wizard of …

Amazing toddlers who can make their own breakfast!
Wednesday, 26 Jan, 2011 – 17:05 | Comments Off
Amazing toddlers who can make their own breakfast!

I am an awful, awful mom.
Just like thousands of other 2- to 5-year-olds worldwide, Boots cannot tie his shoes. He can’t make breakfast, though he can make quesadillas or Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. …

I might actually miss them when they’re gone
Tuesday, 4 Jan, 2011 – 13:03 | Comments Off
I might actually miss them when they’re gone

I’m doing a little better at this work-at-home/parent-at-home gig now. This year, it took me until Day 17 of their 18-day Christmas break to cross over to losing-it loony.
That point came this morning, as I …

Finding a way to help Boots find his way in the world
Friday, 19 Nov, 2010 – 15:11 | Comments Off
Finding a way to help Boots find his way in the world

“It’s a pickle,” Boots said when he came home from school after Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station assembly that promises to teach kids to draw in 3D. It’s no lie either. Even Big Guy’s skills had …

A letter to a friend – and to friends I don’t know yet
Thursday, 11 Nov, 2010 – 11:59 | Comments Off
A letter to a friend – and to friends I don’t know yet

Hey, lady!
Let me start with an apology. I’m so sorry I’ve been “too busy” to get together with you lately. Sure, I have the guys’ sports schedules and my volunteer and paid work, but that’s …

You call it Mom Hair. I call it extra sleep
Thursday, 10 Jun, 2010 – 13:46 | Comments Off
You call it Mom Hair. I call it extra sleep

It used to happen every time I went to the salon:  The stylist would manhandle my unruly mop into a sleek, fashionable ‘do. She’d lament that I never fix it that way myself, assuring me …

Whatever happened to the lazy days of summer?
Thursday, 13 May, 2010 – 13:25 | Comments Off
Whatever happened to the lazy days of summer?

It’s the same routine every month: Turn the calendar page over and hope for a less-hectic time of it.
But then the summer schedules started rolling out, which of course started clamoring. We want to go …

If the Army acknowledges it, why can’t I?
Monday, 1 Mar, 2010 – 13:17 | Comments Off
If the Army acknowledges it, why can’t I?

The U.S. Army recognizes that I might need a little help when Dad is away. That’s why the military offers 16 hours’ care a month to children whose parents are deployed are wounded.
So why did …

And on Wednesday, we rested
Wednesday, 3 Feb, 2010 – 12:57 | Comments Off
And on Wednesday, we rested

I missed Family Night at Big Guy’s school yesterday, and I feel a little bit bad about that. Only a little bit, though, because it was the right decision.
The teachers had talked up Family Night …

Children suffer from mom’s stress – no kidding
Monday, 18 May, 2009 – 0:52 | Comments Off
Children suffer from mom’s stress – no kidding

If there’s an up side to a recent spate of studies looking at the impact stressed moms have on kids, it would be that researchers are starting to take seriously what’s been whispered at water …

Mom’s having a crappy day, kids. Here, have some Oreos
Wednesday, 8 Apr, 2009 – 0:51 | 4 Comments
Mom’s having a crappy day, kids. Here, have some Oreos

Frustrated with the world? Stressed by the times we live in? Fine, but don’t take it out on your kids by feeding them junk.
According to the latest research from the It’s All Mom’s Fault Department, …

Forget momshell – I’d rather keep my sweats
Tuesday, 24 Mar, 2009 – 11:47 | Comments Off
Forget momshell – I’d rather keep my sweats

Six months into this work at home gig, I have to confess a renewed appreciation for my sweats.
Not that I haven’t always been infatuated, but before it was a love affair consummated only on weekends. …

New proof of what we know: Moms don’t take care of themselves
Tuesday, 10 Feb, 2009 – 1:51 | Comments Off
New proof of what we know: Moms don’t take care of themselves

We confide our fatigue to friends over the office water cooler and vent it to the world at large via social media: I’m exhausted, burned out and need a nap.
We blog about ignoring our own …

Call me the Queen of It Just Didn’t Get Done
Friday, 26 Dec, 2008 – 12:51 | Comments Off
Call me the Queen of It Just Didn’t Get Done

Feeling myself flailing about a week ago, I sat down and made my anal little lists. Three, which shows exactly how anal I am.

Christmas Day menu
Grocery shopping list
To-do list, with tasks parsed out between Friday …

9to5to9: Stress, thy name is woman
Thursday, 30 Oct, 2008 – 0:39 | Comments Off
9to5to9: Stress, thy name is woman

The worst parenting advice I ever received came when Big Guy was two months old and in the throes of colic. Dishes were piled up, unwashed laundry flowed like lava and my hair looked like …

Nice to meet you, Little Guy
Tuesday, 15 Jul, 2008 – 6:24 | Comments Off

From the time he was born, there’s been one constant in Little Guy’s life: Big Guy.

Big Guy, who tried to dump him out of the stroller before he had lived his first month. Big Guy, who developed a sudden affection for formula and pacifiers and snatched his brother’s every chance he got. And Big Guy, who would gently caress Little Guy’s head with a consoling “”it’s all right”" as I warmed bottles.

Little Guy has lived few seconds of his life outside Big Guy’s shadow, and it’s quite a prodigious shadow to be in.

Big Guy, you see, is an “”it”" kid. The type of person who captures a room’s attention the second he enters. “”Madre de Dios! Face of an angel!”" a woman exclaimed in Wal-Mart when he was about 7 months old

Giving up the fantasy for the greater good
Tuesday, 10 Jun, 2008 – 6:05 | Comments Off

Working moms have strange fantasies. My most recent: Big Guy’s “dream” fifth birthday party.

Working moms who’ve been at this for a while also learn when it’s time to let go of fantasies that the reality of the 24-hour day render impractical. Times like this, when I have to make these choices, make me a little sad. But I acknowledge what a snappish grump I become when I’m overstressed and overscheduled, and I swore long ago to quit doing that to the guys and myself.

The party was to have been a Batman theme, of course. The gala would have opened with me as Poison Ivy welcoming the guests, then playing a DVD in which “”Batman”" asked Big Guy and his friends to help save him from my evil clutches.


Overcoming the temptation to cheat
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 21:25 | Comments Off

My fingers trembled as I reached out tentatively, my longing gaze nearly igniting a fire. At that moment, I wanted this more than anything.

My mind rationalized at warp speed. What would be the harm? I’ve done it before and gotten away with it. Other moms do it all the time.

It took the last remnants of willpower to pull the Sharpie back from the calendar, where I was about to scrawl “off” across a day later this month.

I would not cheat on the guys.

It’s a conflict for many a working mom – what to do with a day off. I have an extra one coming up in a few weeks, for President’s Day, and I’m allowed to float it a month in either direction. It’s revived

“Wife Swap” and the chaos of the middle path
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 21:18 | Comments Off

I would love to let Jennifer Galvan take over my house for a week, if for no other reason than to titter as the Clutter Beast cowered in a now-immaculate closet.

And I’d enjoy a visit from Melissa Martin-Portala, because it’s always nice to have a refresher in the joys of childhood, to see people play with the guys in ways I’ve either never thought of or forgotten in the midst of the day-to-day grind.

Galvan, a Modesto working mom was sent to the Martin-Portala household in Toledo, Ohio, where the whole family supports dad’s career as a magician. The results will air tonight on the television show “Wife Swap.”

I suspect I could learn a lot from both women. But could

Undecking the halls of holiday busy-ness
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 21:14 | Comments Off

‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the land, the pressure was mounting – almost more than I could stand.

The guys were all nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of disaster danced in my head.

Had a brief bout of holiday hyperventilation today, brought on by last-minute shopping trips. Yes, trips, as in two. One with each guy, to pick out presents for the other.

Big Guy finally has accepted my basic tenant: You don’t get to shop for your own gifts. He still has a little trouble buying its corollary — you don’t get to know what they are until you unwrap them — but his resistance is fading.

Little Guy wasn’t buying any of it, though, as he saw Mean Old Mom

The new Mommy Track doesn’t leave the station for many
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:44 | Comments Off

I resented Alpha Mom as I scraped neon toothpaste off my dress today. Alpha Mom is too carefully coiffed to go to work looking like that.

She taunted to me as I jetted to SaveMart between work and soccer practice. Alpha Mom never would have forgotten her kid’s water at home. Her nanny would have made sure it was packed.

I cursed her as I rushed dinner to the table – grilled cheese and applesauce. Alpha Mom serves pork loin.

Alpha Mom mouses placidly at her computer, infant in arms and toddler playing blissfully behind her. I tried that during my second maternity leave. Little Guy wailed on one side and Big Guy turned my other arm into steak tartar as I tried to hear my boss over

My guilt and angst at screwing up the world
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:28 | Comments Off

Originally published July 17, 20007, thehive.modbee.com

Woke up in a great mood this morning. The sun was shining, but not too much. The kids were 90 percent less grumpy than I expected considering they’d stayed up too late the night before. I didn’t screw up the coffee and made it out the door on time.

But then The Associated Press told me I had it all wrong.

In a story about the latest round in “Mommy Wars”, AP recapped the alleged conflagration so far: “There’s spirited talk, angst, and some guilt from mothers who fear they’re doing the wrong thing.

“Now the guilt seems actually tangible.”

Oooooh. Ominous.

I rifled through my purse for some angst but couldn’t find any. Dang it. I know I put it on the grocery list last week. Dad must have

Studies and mommy guilt
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:20 | Comments Off

Originally published June 27, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

This just in from HealthDay:

“First-born children possess IQs that are 2.3 points higher, on average, than their younger siblings, a new study contends. This finding held true even when first-born children didn’t survive and a younger child was reared as the eldest, scuttling the idea that genetics determines the difference in IQ among siblings, according to the Norwegian researchers who authored the report, published in the June 22 issue of the journal Science .

That’s swell news. Because I’d been sitting around all day wondering what I should feel guilty about next. Lucky for me, this showed up in my inbox and I had my answer.

I knew there was a reason I’d always wanted twins. Technically, one still would have been older, but maybe

They HAVE to be the best
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:13 | Comments Off

I knew better than to say anything, but it was one of those instances where pressure to make polite conversation took a masochistic turn.

“So how’s the kid doing in kindergarten?” I asked.

“Fantastic!” parent gushed breathlessly. “The teacher said the kid’s way ahead of everyone else. So I’m really going to keep working with the kid at home. Now that I have her ahead, the kid has to stay ahead. The kid has to be the best in everything.”

I’ve never been the best at math, but I do know enough to burst that bubble: There’s about a 50 percent chance the kid will be only average at something.

There’s a 50 percent chance my kids will be “only average” at everything. And I’m fine with that.

Much of the rest of society isn’t these days.

Heche, Homer and the working mom
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:57 | Comments Off

Seems that I have some things in common with Anne Heche, although I’ve never run dazed and confused through rural Fresno County knocking on doors and pleading for help late at night.

Heche’s husband of 6 years, Coleman Laffoon, has filed for divorce. And it looks like Laffoon v. Heche is going to be anything other than a civil civil case. He wants $33,000 a month and joint custody. Presumably, his $6,000 a year premarital salary won’t keep him in the style to which he’s become accustomed.

So he’s letting it all hang out: allegations of poor parenting, disorganization and potty mouth.

Some accusations, if true, are troubling. The most serious: That she allowed their 5-year-old son, Homer, to ride without a car seat.

Most of the rest smacks of the standard stuff used to smear working moms, whether they make $81,000 an episode or $8 an hour.

Bad, bad day care kids!
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:27 | Comments Off

To children entering kindergarten in 2008, let me apologize now. Seems my heathen brat is going to disrupt your education for years to come.

Or so recent headlines would have you think.

“Poor behavior is linked to time in day care” screamed the New York Times. “Study: Day care can lead to bad behavior,” proclaimed the Salt Lake Tribune.

The chilling news makes me want to hang my head in abject shame for sending my children to a place that’s a cross between “The Jungle” and “Lord of the Flies.”

Problem: Once you look beyond the headline, the news isn’t chilling.

I plead guilty, your honor
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:23 | Comments Off

Mornings are the worst for mommy guilt.

I tiptoe into Little Guy’s room and see his round rump up in the air – he sleeps on his knees, El wrapped around him, the stuffed elephant head and the curly blond one side by side. He’s so throat-catchingly beautiful that it causes the first knot of the day to clump up in my stomach. He’s just a baby. Babies deserve to sleep.

It’s dark, except for the nightlight, so I grope for his clothes, dreading the moment. No puttering left to do, I go to his bed and caress his back. “Hey, babes, it’s good morning time,” I whisper. He snuggles into my shoulder as I pick him up. No sign of smile until he’s diapered and dressed.

We head down the hall to Big Guy’s room, where the scene is similar. Except Big Guy knows enough words to protest. “No, Mommy, don’t wanna get up. Wanna stay home.” “Yes, love, so do I, but I have to go to work today.”

Big Guy can pretty much clothe and shod himself, but how quickly it happens and how snappish I get depends on how many times he stops to stare off into space. “Get your shoes on NOW or your feet are going to get mighty cold walking to the car,” I growl.