Expecto Patronum!

Why do moms have such a propensity for guilt? patronum

Why does this guilt seem to surface most visibly around our children’s birthdays?

I have a secret to share: I suffer from a lesser-known anxiety disorder. It’s called Party Compulsive Dysfunction. I’ve had this affliction going on nine years now. It is a wholly personal affliction that usually sets in 8-12 weeks ahead of either one of my children’s birthdays.

I suffer from PCD because I am under the false pretense that having in-home birthday parties is more low-key and easier than the expensive, elaborate off-site parties so prevalent these days.

(how very wrong this assumption is) More

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Educating Girls

This post originally appeared on World Moms Blog February 8, 2015 as part of a three-part series supporting #aPathAppears and @SavetheChildren

malalaI have long been an advocate of girls education. It is something I want every girl, wherever she is in the world, to have access to. I deeply believe educating girls is a key piece to improving our world.

So when my daughter was born eight years ago, I committed myself to ensuring that she would always have access to and the support she needs attaining the best education my husband and I can give her.

But along with the paramount importance her education is to me, so too is her understanding of how valuable having an education is and how lucky she is to have safe schools and many choices available to her.

But how do you impart this on an eight-year-old? More

Enjoying the Journey

happy anniversaryBack in my early twenties, when the internet was still in its public nascency and using e-mail was pretty novel, I used a quote in the auto-signature of all my outgoing mail.

“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”

It was a quote I came across while preparing for a nine-month journey home from Japan, where I had been living for the past two years. As someone perpetually focused on the outcome, I am consistently guilty of “achieving the product but missing the process.”

I’m not a live-in-the-moment sorta gal. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m more of a busy-myself-in-the-moment-by-planning-for-all-future-moments kinda gal. So you can see how the concept of enjoying the journey as well as the destination would be a novel one for me.

I have since matured out of using this quote in my auto-signature but I continue trying to follow its mantra.

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, DH and I took a journey.

More

Our Bags Are Packed And We’re Ready to Go

suitcasesIn fact, I’ve been halfway there since we booked our first, family overseas trip back in September. Because for me, one of the hardest things about settling down and starting a family has been, well, settling down…

Truth be told, I’d much rather be traveling the world, meeting new people and exploring different cultures, or at least still doing that WHILE having a family. Don’t get me wrong, the kid journey can be pretty amazing too but I’ve been eagerly waiting to have them participate in the bigger journey pretty much since I first conceived our daughter, 8 years ago.

Prior to that time, the world was an open road waiting to be explored. In our twenties, both DH and I did a fair amount of traveling in some pretty extreme locations, predominantly Asia but some in the Middle East too. We carried backpacks and our Angus MacGyver tool was the multipurpose sarong (which doubled as: a dress, a scarf, a sheet, a towel, a curtain). We thirsted for third-world travel, where we found life stripped away at its rawest and yet most complicated state.

Traveling became part of who we were and what drew us to one another, then also how we grew together. Now that we’re married, kids do the same thing for us. More

Running Scared

5491796838_9e91366626Today was Patriots’ Day in Boston, a day marked by its predictability and routineness. A day that begins April break for many Boston school children; the heralding of spring; a home game for the Red Sox, sometimes a win; and always the running of the Boston Marathon. In fact some people know today first as Marathon Monday, and second for the holiday commemorating the Battle of Concord and Lexington, fought in 1775, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Today things changed.

I’m thankful that I took my kids away for April Break. Away from usually safe, predictable, routine Patriots’ Day down to our Nation’s Capital, where just about anything can happen. Yet here I sit, feeling safe and unthreatened while I watch news reports of fellow Bostonians feeling shaken and upset.

Two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today and at least three people are confirmed dead so far. More

Mommy Burnout

Yesterday I let my three-year-old sit on the potty for 45-minutes, having an epic meltdown, waiting for someone to help him wipe. That someone was not going to be me. I’m out of the bottom wiping business.

Did I feel like a bad mother? yes. Did it fry my nerves to listen to his wails? yes. Will I repeat the situation all over again when it happens next? yes.

In just three week’s time he will head off to preschool where no one will be allowed to wipe his bottom. He’s got to do it on his own. But it wasn’t just this motivator that spurned me on, it’s that I’m in Week Eight of the American school system’s ten-week long, summer holiday. I’m toast. More

In Memoriam

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably familiar with my least favorite, family pet, Butterscotch.

What started off as enthusiasm for a cute and unique, (non-mouse) first-pet for our daughter, quickly evolved into a loathing disdain for a too-fast-too-hold, quick-nipping-nightmare of a rodent.

The divide widened when my daughter—whose only chance to bond with her pet was by sitting in a dry bathtub together while he darted around seeking an escape root—lost interest in the weekly cleaning of his cage and then abandoned feeding him daily rations all together. Guess who got saddled with hamster duty?

DH and I selected this pet for two reasons: 1. because our daughter desperately wanted two mice and this was as close as we could come to a mouse without the tail and infestation issues; and 2.  life expectancy for Robo dwarf hamsters is 1-3 years. More

Writing Requires Discipline

In addition to my sporadic writing on this blog, I also write (and edit and work) on another blog. It’s a fascinating blog, which mainly focuses on travel and parenting issues around the world. Even though I’m on the site several times a week, editing other writer’s posts, I only get to publish my own articles about once every 6-8 weeks.

Since I have a post running on that blog next week, I sat down to write. I chose the topic: children and discipline. As I got into the article, writing about how important discipline and enforcing rules is in our house, it occurred to me that I’m not very good at practicing what I preach and I started to wonder why that was.

It’s times like these where I really wish I had taken more psychology classes in college or understood more about what makes people tick. More

Teaching Philanthropy

My oldest child turns six today. She’s a terrific kid. Perhaps one of her best attributes is that she’s not at all materialistic. I suspect this is because the only television she’s ever watched is commercial-free PBS so partly she doesn’t even know what’s out there to want.

Whatever the reason, out of all of the presents she’s received over the past five years—dolls, doll houses, Play Mobil figurines and sets, craft kits, puzzles, games—the toy she plays with most, in fact, almost every day, is a set of 10 colorful nesting blocks.

She does all sorts of things with them. They have deep social bonds and alternating pecking orders, depending on their size and number. And while it’s a marvel to observe her playing with them, it’s also discouraging to think of all the toys and things that don’t interest her.

Several weeks ago, I began thinking about and planning for her 6th birthday. People started asking me what she wanted and it occurred to me that I really didn’t know. In fact, it’s entirely possible that she really didn’t know what she wanted herself.

Then the idea dawned on me that maybe this year, instead of birthday gifts, people could help my daughter support a cause. But what cause? More

John Lennon Got Shot

And if you’re reading this, I’m sure this isn’t news to you but its news to my kids, both of them, but particularly my three-year-old son. They are totally captivated by this information.

The topic came up quite innocently. And unfortunately, quite early in the holiday music season—which in my house begins the day after Thanksgiving. The song Happy Christmas, by John Lennon, came on and I mentioned how much I love the song. I also, off-handedly, mentioned that the song was even more moving because the singer was singing a song wishing for peace but tragically, was, himself, shot.

The conversation went something like this: Me: isn’t this a beautiful song, kids? It’s so sad that the singer is dead. Daughter: he’s dead? Why’s he dead? Me: he got shot. Son: why’d he got shot? Me: Hmm, I don’t More

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