On Mother's Day: Here's to surviving another year

On Mother's Day: Here's to surviving another year

If I had to sum up the first year of motherhood in one word it would be survival. It’s a lot like being on one of those reality shows where you’re stuck on an island doing weird and crazy tasks with a group of strangers (or in the case of motherhood, one tiny stranger), just trying to make it to the next day. You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know what’s coming in the next episode, and you really, really don’t want to screw up.

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We need to talk about the mental load

We need to talk about the mental load

Even if you’ve never heard this term, you know what it is. It’s the accumulation of all the small details you manage in your head that keep your family’s life running smoothly. It’s remembering who needs to be where and when, and that everyone is appropriately attired for Tacky Sock Day and Wacky Hair Day, and every other fake holiday invented to push moms over the edge because we don’t already have enough to manage.

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The cult of Leaning In

The cult of Leaning In

I was always the kid who shot for the stars. At any given point I wanted to be a Supreme Court judge, a NASA scientist, or an Olympic high jumper. While my zest for the law and astrophysics didn’t last, my ambition to do something big and important did. From a young age I was driven to collect accolades the way other kids collected stickers. National Honor Society, Cum Laude, MBA—nothing gave me more satisfaction than adding another title or set of initials next to my name. As I began my career, I was fiercely ambitious with my eyes always fixed firmly on the next rung of the ladder. Then I had a baby.

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Creature of habit

Creature of habit

I’m proud to be a creature of habit. This has taken me a long time to come to terms with. For most of my life, I wanted to be the fun-loving, free-spirited girl known for her spontaneity. Call in sick to work and go sky diving? I’m in! Adopt a puppy on the way home from dinner? Absolutely! As much as I wanted to be that girl, though, it just wasn’t me. Looking back, this should have been clear from the diaries I kept as a kid. In them are pages of daily, minute-by-minute schedules that include activities like “Play with Barbies” and “Water fight with neighbors”. Apparently, these things can easily slip your mind when you’re seven.

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Happy Galentine's Day

Happy Galentine's Day

Before I met my husband, I dated some amazing women. Some of them are still an important part of my life. We text on a daily basis, talk on the phone at least once a week, and every couple of months we spend a weekend together. They are strong, beautiful, and understand me in a way my husband never will. I’m grateful every day to have them in my life. What’s more, I know the only reason I do is because I’ve learned to treat my female friendships with the same care that I would a romantic relationship. So, I’ve learned to date my friends.

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Why I'm not a mess (and neither are you)

Why I'm not a mess (and neither are you)

I have a confession to make: I am not a mess. As a mom, this is apparently unusual. Moms who are a mess dominate social media. They have a dedicated hashtag (#hotmessmom) and their meme game is strong. Interestingly, though, when I scroll through their posts, their lives don’t look that different from mine. I have dropped my son off at daycare in my pajamas without brushing my teeth. I have lost my patience and yelled at him during a tantrum. I have worn the same outfit and gone without washing my hair for days. I have counted the hours until bedtime and opened a bottle of wine at 3pm on a snow day. None of this, though, makes me a mess. It makes me human. Which has me wondering, when did we start defining imperfection as “everything’s falling apart”?  When did we start billing a rough day (or week) as abject failure?

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Why is making friends as an adult so hard?

Why is making friends as an adult so hard?

I am good at a lot of things, ranging from crossword puzzles to packing for a two week trip in a carry-on. Making friends, however, is not one of those things. Don’t get me wrong, I have always had friends. From each phase of my life I have carried forward one or two precious people with whom I’m still close. When I reflect on the depth and quality of these relationships, I feel enormously lucky. When I look at the small number of them, I wonder if something is wrong with me.

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The inconvenience of motherhood

The inconvenience of motherhood

My baby turns one today. Later I’ll probably post an adorable picture of him on social media and write something about how I never knew what love was until he came along and what an honor it is to be his mother. All true. This morning, though, I’m thinking about the moment in the hospital when they laid him on my chest for the first time. I looked down at his tiny body and puckered face and thought, “Well this is going to be inconvenient.”

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Feeling bad when life is good

Feeling bad when life is good

In the past few weeks I’ve had the same conversation with so many friends. The script goes like this: Life has never been better—work is great, marriage is good, the kids are all right, things are fine financially—but I’m feeling depressed, or anxious, or angry and I can’t shake it.

These feelings follow my sweet friends around, turning what should feel like a beautiful life into a joyless existence. These conversations inevitably culminate in the same question: If my life is so good then why do I feel so bad?  To which my response is, because you’re paying attention.

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Why becoming ordinary made me happy

Why becoming ordinary made me happy

I’ve spent most of my life terrified of being ordinary. Not being like everyone else was the driving force behind many of my decisions, big and small, from dying my hair purple in high school to breaking off an engagement to a perfectly nice guy in my twenties. The source of this fear probably goes back to being what people kindly called a “precocious” kid. I read at an early age and was drawn to books that were too old for me in both style and substance. Adults noticed this and told me I was smart. What I heard was, “You’re different.” I took this to heart and “different” became my brand.

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The ultimate life hack to be more productive

The ultimate life hack to be more productive

The other day I had another mom say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” It’s true that I’ve been known to fit a lot into a day. I work, parent, volunteer, write this blog, and waste my fair share of time on social media. You’re in luck, though, because I’m about to reveal the secret to my productivity…

I’m half-assing it. And, now that my secret life hack is out in the open, I’m going to take it one step further and reveal how you, too, can learn to half-ass it in just three easy steps.

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The truth about being an older mom

The truth about being an older mom

I became a new mother later than I intended. It wasn’t my choice. I’d always assumed I would get married and have kids in my twenties. But then came New York City, grad school, marriage, divorce, marriage again­­—and suddenly I was thirty-eight.

Like many women my age, getting pregnant involved more time at the doctor’s office than it did in the bedroom. Finding out (at last!) I was going to have a baby ignited in me a fierce desire to give him the best possible life. This included the safest crib, the top rated pediatrician, the best preschool, the most organic baby food—you get the idea.  As it turns out, the best thing I did for his future was completely accidental: I did not have him in my twenties. 

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How to deal with a judgmental person when that person is you

How to deal with a judgmental person when that person is you

Confession time: I am extremely judgmental. It’s something I’m working on. Honestly though, I’ll probably never fully overcome it unless I move to Bali and spend the rest of my days meditating on the beach—which my husband informs me is not an option.

My judgement never shuts up. Like a toddler with separation anxiety, it follows me everywhere. It never misses an opportunity to make assumptions and label people. Wow, listen to that Starbucks order, she must be so high maintenance. Omg, a Nickelback shirt, what a tool.

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