Favorite Posts in October

So I do quite a bit of writing for this here Internet. It's how mama pays the bills. If you're interested, I'd love for you to check some out:

I Refuse to Raise a Bully

“Would you rather your kid be a bully or be bullied?” my friend asked a few years ago, back when our boys were still in diapers.

We grew up asking each other these kinds of questions — sprawled out in my childhood bedroom, arguing over the “Would You Rather” questions printed in that month’s YM magazine — but now we’re grown-ups. And this “Would You Rather” had a grown-up weight to it."

When an Attachment Parent Has to Detach

"It’s no wonder I gravitate toward being an attachment parent; I’m an attachment person. I already told you that I have caretaker tendencies and codependency issues, and that’s the other side of the “attachment parenting” coin. It’s the side that leads to enmeshment and over-bonding — which isn’t emotionally healthy for anyone involved. Except this side has a different label: Helicopter Mom, or Codependent Mom.

Whether we like it or not, our kids eventually need us to detach. And for those of us with attachment issues beyond an attachment philosophy, it can be seriously hard."

7 Reasons Halloween Is Way Better as New Parents

"#5. No more sexy costumes to squeeze into

Rather than worrying about our bare midriffs or super-short skirts (as we did) we’re dressing up babies to look like little old men. On my first Halloween as a new mom, I was 23 years old. My Facebook feed was splashed with frat party photos and lace-up corsets and spandex animal costumes — while I spent my night with a cuddly little animal baby. It was nice to bring some innocence back to a sexed-up holiday. It was nice to remember why this holiday was fun to begin with."

I'm Done Focusing on How My Son "SHOULD" Be

“Daddy, can we fight tonight?” my 5-year-old boy bounces like a terrier, looking up at his towering dad.

It’s the highlight of his day, really. Climbing up on the Big Bed, assuming a superhero identity and back-story, and facing off with kicks and jabs until my husband staggers to the floor in a humbling defeat, “You … got … me.”

My little boy gets into the fighting. He’s been deep in the Good Guy/Bad Guy playtime narrative for a few years now (his entire working memory), except the violence has taken a sharp turn upward.

His drawings are getting bloodier and more elaborate. His imaginary guns and bombs have become more detailed, and when he came home from kindergarten with a crayon-scribbled picture innocently including a school, children, and bombs, I thought, “Crap. I am seriously messing up here.”

Kids Don't Need Internet Limits, They Need Internet Guidance

Our kids have the world at the click of a button. And while you can certainly argue the negatives and scary pitfalls of this strange new world — the desensitizing, the sensory overload, the addictive allure of a blinking screen — the bad always comes with the good. And with something as big and life changing as the Internet, the bad and the good are mega magnified.

Bottom line: The Internet and all of this technology are just tools. Tools that we created, and that we can and should control. Tools that can be used to share our stories, better understand the human condition, and learn about ideas and topics that would have been confined to a textbook only 20 years ago.

And so it’s up to us — parents of digital kids — to teach the next generation how to live and thrive in this new environment. Whether we like it or not, our kids’ future will be heavily reliant and driven by technology — even more than ours is. (At least we remember a life without this permeating technology; that won’t be the case for our kids.) That’s just reality.

So if we’re trying to raise ethical, responsible, productive adults, we have to think about it in a tech-based context as well. And if we can? That just might change the world.

Hey, Kid, You Are the Boss of Your Body

"Excuse me, please! I have something to say: It’s my birthday, and I’m tired of being pinched, noogied, hugged too tight, picked up, grabbed, tickled, and touched in ways that I don’t like. I’m six years old and I’m the boss of my body!”

I read these words to my 5-year-old boy from the book “Miles is the Boss of His Body.” Miles had endured a series of events that most kids, my son included, strongly relate to: an older brother gave him birthday noogies, an excited mother hugged him extra tight, a stranger rustled his hair, and a loving dad lifted him into the air. All harmless. All typical.

But Miles had a point: he is the boss of his body! If something doesn’t feel good, he has a right to say no.

I looked over at my boy as I read the book, reading his face along with the story. How many times have I told him to give Grandma a kiss, when he really didn’t want to? How many times have I grabbed and tickled him when he wanted to be left alone? Does he know that he can say “no”? And that other people can say “no” because we are all bosses of our bodies?

10 Signs You're Raising a Digital Native

Our kids might look and sound like ordinary children — they might enjoy apple picking, playing board games and reading picture books, just as you and I did as kids. But don’t be fooled by their play-dough-crusted fingernails and chocolate-smeared cheeks. There’s nothing ordinary about this newest generation of children.

In fact, these kids’ lives are drastically different than any child ever in the history of the world.

These brand-new children are digital natives, meaning they were born into a world where flat screens and Google are completely normal, expected even. Social media is as pervasive and established as newspapers and cable TV, perhaps more so. The only world they know is a digital world — always buzzing, always clicking, always blinking.

Here are 10 sure signs that you’re raising digital natives:

Young Moms Need Support, Not Shame

Shame reinforces the idea that there are “right” ways and “wrong” ways to be a mother or woman, and the fallacy that anything hard or challenging is bad.

Shame whispers that we’re not good enough, and that our lives aren’t worth supporting. Shame chips away at our motivation and keeps us in a perpetual state of discouragement and defensiveness. It also alienates young women, making us afraid to ask for help because what will people think of me?

Shame is so loud, so consuming, that it keeps us from hearing our true intuitive hearts. It keeps us from being the kind of mothers we could be. It fuels a cycle of insecurity and second-guessing, which ultimately hurts our children as much as it hurts ourselves.

20 Secrets of Motherhood

Psst. PSSSST. You there, with the tired eyes. I know those eyes; I’ve had those eyes.

I could spot a new mom anywhere (and it has nothing to do with that adorable babe strapped to your chest, swinging those baby moccasins). I actually recognize it from the inside out. I remember when everything was so new and confusing — the contentment and adoration and complete exhaustion?

Actually ... now that I’m back to a normal human sleep cycle and can think clearly, and now that I’ve gained a bit of perspective over the past six years, I could let you in on a few secrets. If you want.

No Baggage! And 9 Other Perks of Getting Married Really Young

"...Yet as life happened, I willingly signed a marriage certificate in 2008, with an 8-month-pregnant belly between us. I was 22 years old.

Six years later, I've had more than just my perspective shifted. I've grown and matured in so many ways—mostly because of things in and around my marriage. Yes, marriage is challenging and getting married at a young age sets us up for unique obstacles, but there are also little-known perks to entering marriage and adulthood roughly at the same time. It's not all bad decisions and dead ends."

Messy Finances! And 9 Other Challenges of Getting Married

"...That's not to say we haven't experienced real, unique challenges from getting married in our earliest moments of adulthood. To claim otherwise would be disingenuous, especially considering all life situations have perks and drawbacks. Turns out legally committing yourself to someone in your early 20s has some mountainous obtacles to navigate around, too.

For the sake of full disclosure, let's talk about the hard parts of getting married really young."

I also wrote a print feature for the October issue of Renew. It's a piece on children of addicts and children of codependents, and it was incredibly eye-opening to research and interview. If you have access to the magazine, it's worth a read.

Thank you for reading! XO