Difficult Feelings

Parenting When Depleted

Kathryn’s eyes filled with tears as she related to me how worn and spent she felt caring for her twin boys, now two. Kathryn’s own mother had been emotionally absent, pursuing one affair after another while leaving Kathryn and her siblings with a succession of babysitters.

Fairy Tales

Childhood’s Impermanence

I was doing some spring cleaning in the yard last week, when I found a small plastic T. Rex. He was somewhat muddied, but otherwise showed no signs of significant wear from his decade long exile from the toy box, and even retained his fearsome posture.

Finding him immediately swept me back to the days when dinosaurs regularly roamed the backyard, and a little knot of pain grew in my chest.

C. G. Jung

Is There a Right Way to Parent?

My Facebook feed abounds with articles and book reviews about parenting. Apparently, we are overvaluing, overscheduling, and overprotecting our children. The underlying message in all of these stories is this: We are doing it wrong. And if we are doing it wrong, then there must be some way to do it right. Some fine-tuned adjustment of the dial could help me tune in to just the right frequency, with an implied promise of happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.

Difficult Feelings

Why Does Motherhood Make Women So Judgy?

Christine was uncharacteristically upset when she arrived for our appointment. She had just gotten off the phone with Marni, someone she had felt was a good friend.

“Marni asked me whether I was worried about Josie being too busy and not getting enough sleep now that she is on the swim team,” Christine explained, referring to her 13-year-old daughter.

Though the question may sound innocuous, it stung Christine, who sat across from me tearing up as she talked....

Fairy Tales

Listening to Our Parenting Intuition

Perhaps no human endeavor engenders as much well-meaning advice as parenting. Parenting books, websites abound. Friends, relatives (mothers in law?), strangers, and of course the media are happy to offer advice on all aspects of raising children – much of it wildly contradictory.

Despite all this advice – or because of it – raising children is full of uncertainty. Each child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. What works for one...

Difficult Feelings

Does Anyone Ever Regret Having Kids?

The answer is “yes,” as discussed with great honesty in this article. Most of the time, no matter how ambivalent we may be about becoming parents, once the little one arrives, we adjust and then find it difficult to imagine what our lives would be like without children.

But that isn’t always the case.

Fairy Tales

Is Beauty and the Beast Too Sexist for Kids?

Disney’s recent release of a live action version of “Beauty and the Beast” has sparked new criticisms of this ancient tale, with some writers decrying it as misogynistic. As a result, some parents are opting out of taking their kids to the film. According to The Observer, the story “portrays a fairy tale romance as a product of Stockholm Syndrome.”

Why would we want to expose our kids to something like that?

Parenting Skills

Mothering’s Hidden Masterpiece

In the car on the way to her music lesson, my fourteen-year-old daughter is surly, withdrawn, and irritable. When she is like this, I am careful not to fill the space with anxious chatter, and so these car rides are often silent.

On a recent such drive, I searched out a memory of a similar mother daughter car ride to dance class when I was fourteen. (“You Light up My Life” was often on the FM car...


The Last Baby

I wanted a third baby. My youngest was just graduating from baby to toddler. My oldest was fast approaching school age. They were beautiful, funny, adorable, consuming, exasperating, and exhausting. For great chunks of every day, I wondered how I would survive until bedtime. I hungered for sleep and time to myself. Just as fiercely, I wanted those days to last. Their childhoods seemed like a swiftly flowing river that rushed away from me toward the...


Get Rid of Your Teen

The title is a bit of an overstatement. However, there are some good reason to consider giving your adolescent a taste of independence. Throughout recorded history, children were often sent away from home to live with adults other than parents at the end of childhood, a practice known as extrusion. Not only was this a common practice in many pre-industrial cultures, something similar also happens among our close primate relatives.