How Children Keep You Young

The snow has dropped its suitcases in Northern New Jersey and determined to outstay its welcome. Snow makes the best of us a little cranky on our morning commute, but for my kids, it’s an adventure.

While I’m shivering and trying to hurry everyone along so that my six year old isn't late for school, he’s climbing every snow pile without any concern to his socks getting wet or even falling flat on the ice. He even turned our short drop-off/pick-up walk into a game, it’s called “survivor night.” Basically, you can only walk on the snow, you must climb over every snow pile, and there are no such things as “rescues” or “help from mom.” There are levels and points, but they seem to be randomly determined at the discretion of the six year old. Needless to say, it takes us twice as long to walk the half a block from school to where I park the car. It can be exhausting, and frustrating, when all I want to do is get out of the cold and get on with my day. We are always the last ones to leave.

But the other day, I decided to give in and play along. I trudged through the snow instead of walking the path, I climbed over the huge mounds in the parking lot made by the snowplows while other parents stared— their children eyeing us enviously. My two sons were overjoyed by my participation. They became even more dedicated to the game, humming theme music as we jumped over obstacles.

Something strange happened in that moment, some block of ice melted off my shoulders, and I realized that I felt free. So often, my day to day experience of being a parent turns into a routine, and it becomes more about “looking” like a good parent, (whatever version of that we imagine it to be), than being in the moment. I realized that I felt more like myself crunching snow and kicking ice, than I did walking the cleared path and trying to corral everyone.

Maybe we’re all just six year olds pretending to be grown ups. Wearing grown up clothes and acting how we think grown ups are supposed to act, “don’t get your shoes wet,” “don’t run,” “don’t be late.”

We might think that being a parent means we have to put ourselves above the fun, when in reality, it’s an opportunity to join in.

Sure, my kids might give me gray hair, but they also provide me with endless opportunities to be present; to look at life with curious eyes, to find joy where others see misery, to be a part of the game.

This morning my son took his boots off and walked through the snow in order to try out his new waterproof socks, “double points,” he said. 

Game on.

Three's a Crowd: Romance After Baby


When two becomes three, it’s not just the living room full of baby toys, or the safety locks on all the cabinets, everything is transformed, including your relationship.

When I had my first baby, I knew that things would change, but it was still jolting stepping into that uncharted territory. I remember the doctor telling me I could have sex six weeks after the baby was born. “You have got to be kidding me,” I thought. That was absolutely the last thing on my mind. I was overwhelmed with being a new mom, I was exhausted and terrified, and everything I had to give was being given to my son. The first time my husband and I had sex after the baby was born was disappointing. It felt different, sometimes painful, and I was completely terrified that this was it, that things would never get back to where they were. I was so traumatized by that first experience, that it took another couple months before I tried again. (My husband is seriously the most patient and compassionate person ever...points for life!) But guess what? Eventually my body healed, my hormones calmed down, I got a handle on the whole being a mom thing, and things did get back to normal, even better than they were before. We even managed to make another baby (and things were way less traumatic the second time!)

If I could go back and give myself (and my husband) some words of wisdom, this is what I’d say:

Hey Mama:

  • You are amazing! You grew a baby and then you gave birth like a warrior. Your body is fabulous, and just did something incredible. So don’t be too hard on it. You need time to heal, physically and emotionally.
  • Be honest with your partner. Tell them what you are feeling.
  • If you are not ready to go all in yet, show your love in other ways. I know you are completely consumed with this amazing little bundle, but your husband helped make that happen, so make sure to let him know that you love and appreciate him.
  • It will be different at first, but it will get better. Don't spend time feeling guilty or worrying, just take it one day at a time.

Hey Daddy:

  • I know you are sleep deprived and going a little crazy because your wife is super hormonal. It will pass. Right now, she needs extra compassion and love. Trust me, she will make it up to you eventually.
  • Your wife loves you, please don’t feel rejected, it’s not about you. She’s just exhausted, and it’s hard to feel sexy when you spend the day with spit up all over your shirt.
  • Her boobs belong to the baby right now. You’ll get them back, but you just have to wait your turn. Sorry.
  • Don’t forget the first Valentine’s Day after baby (psst. She wants a bubble bath, chocolate, and a nice long nap!)

Most of all, never forget that you are in this together. When things get rocky, remember to turn towards each other and not away. That sweet little baby wouldn’t exist without both of you. Also, he won't be traumatized for life if you let him cry for an extra five minutes while you make up for lost time, enjoy!

This post originally appeared

5 Mantras Every Parent Should Know

It’s no secret that parenting is hard, it’s a 24/7 job that offers little acknowledgement and no glamour. Some days, you just need a little help to get through. Over the years, I've developed (and stolen) some helpful sayings that keep me going and remind me that it's a beautiful and privileged journey:

This Too Shall Pass

Kids grow so fast, just when you think you've got it down, they flip the script and you have to learn it all over again. The good news is, that everything is a phase— they eventually sleep through the night, get dressed by themselves, and learn to use the toilet. The bad news is, everything is a phase. They’ll stop asking for a bedtime story and leave for school without a hug. This mantra is a double edged sword. It reminds us that the difficult parts don’t last forever and better days are right around the corner. It also reminds us to put things in perspective and not to take the joyful moments for granted. Sure, it’s exhausting to have a baby wake you up during the night, but those midnight snuggles are precious and fleeting.


You have to laugh or you’ll cry

This is for the inevitable moments when your kids destroy all of your favorite things. If you are about to have a baby just take my advice, pack up anything you even remotely care about, and put it into storage for the next 18 years. Also, never buy a white rug. Even with this precaution, your cute little cherub will still manage to make trouble. This mantra reminds me that there is a choice when you see your kid’s dump out an entire bag of sugar, you can get upset, or you can laugh (and grab a camera). Laughing does not teach your kids that it’s okay to make a mess or break things, you can still make them help you clean it up, but it does show them (and reminds you) that things don’t matter in the long run, they do.

Say it with a song

When I’m late for an appointment and I need to get out the door, 
when the kids won’t eat their dinner and they throw it on the floor, 
when it’s time to clean up toys but they still want to play, 
say it with a song and the work becomes a game! 

I’m no Mary Poppins, I can’t snap my fingers to clean up the nursery (this is my “if you could have any superpower” wish), but I can make up silly songs about whatever I want the kids to do, and it really is a kind of magic. I know you feel stupid, but trust me, it works. I have to give props to Yo Gabba Gabba here, who taught me you could make up a song about anything:

treat yo self

A reminder to take care of yourself, and to celebrate little victories. Got the kids to bed on time? Treat yo self! Got all the laundry done? Treat yo self! Survive a holiday weekend with house guests and hyper kids? Girl, you better treat yo self! A bubble bath, an extra cup of coffee, a new pair of earrings...whatever revives or lights you up a little bit. My personal fave is a binge session with Netflix and my secret stash of chocolate (shhh!)

I'm alive

As wonderful as being a parent can be, and as helpful as all those other mantras and advice are, there are some days when the only thing you can be grateful for is that you are still alive, (and so are the kids!). Hey, that’s okay. Tomorrow is another day, and being alive is pretty great.