I have a new essay at Hippocampus on fear and writing. Beware of bugs and spitting.
“On my mental list of bad-mom moments, teaching my two-year old to swear is right up near the top.”
Yes, that’s right. I taught my kids to swear — unintentionally, of course. If you want to see what happens next — and how I took a mess from bad to worse — join me at Mamapedia’s “Voices” for the rest of the essay.
Mamapedia is an on-line community of moms, a collective of shared wisdom. Linking moms at all stages of their parenting adventures, the site provides articles, advice, questions and answers, and even some sweet family deals.
I hope you’ll click on over to read the rest of my essay, “Curses” — and bring a cup of coffee. You’ll want to stay awhile.
Dinner’s just begun and already there’s big trouble. Grumpy faces, slouching backs. Elbows on the table, spilled parmesan and blueberries. I’m a broken record of “please sit down” and “eat your vegetables,” tired of listening to myself. And dinner’s not half over.
Every parent knows this scene, this vibe, of tempers flared and days unraveling. By evening, we count up our infractions, our impatience and mistakes, regrets played out like a barbed-wire rosary.
Tomorrow, we’ll do better.
But the next day starts with grumbles, spilled orange juice and chores undone. My kids wait until I’m in the shower before they start to fight. Covered with shampoo, I’m a rotten referree. The screaming escalates. Here we go again. Continue reading
If my daughter had been two seconds faster, she would have been hit by the car. She was running, the hedge blocked her from the driver’s view, and the car was going too fast, cutting a gap between parking lots.
My breath must have stopped, stopped and hung suspended, leaving pieces of me there inside that frozen moment. Now I return, again and again, to the same almost-image. The car, the hedge, my daughter. It’s a stillpoint emblazoned with viceral, burning clarity. It shocks me out of sleep.
Two seconds. Two seconds can be a not-much, forgotten and discarded. Two seconds can be an everything. Continue reading
This weekend — on the same day we returned from our vacation in Maine — author Tim Kreider published an article called “The ‘Busy’ Trap” in the New York Times. I read it as I mourned the loss of the sea and tides, the peaceful ebb and flow of our vacation. It didn’t take me long to be caught back up in schedules. In Kreider’s description of our culture of busyness, I saw my own reflection — an often-frenetic mom, wondering where the day has gone and if there’s something I can do about it.
In a style both lighthearted and incisive, Kreider argues that we are busy — crazy, frantic, mournfully busy — because we choose to be. Everybody’s doing it — rushing, multi-tasking, piling hours into stacks — and so we march along.
He’s not talking about ER doctors here, or single working moms juggling two days inside of one. No, he’s talking to those of us whose busyness is “purely self-imposed.” I sometimes take on trivial tasks like Atlas holding up the world. Sigh, I am so very, very busy. But do I have to be? Is there another option? Continue reading