“As If” – The Limitlessness of Play (by Jocelyn)

I was fortunate enough to attend NYU for my MFA in Acting under the legendary theater director, Zelda Fichandler.  Zelda taught a class for the first years called, The Actor’s Space, which I later came to realize was an in-depth exploration into our Imagination. We created one-person shows which she called Universe Projects and performed them just for the other 17 members of our class and, of course, Zelda.  We learned intimacies about each other, in an instant of mime, mask or music that would have taken years to reveal, and which would make our work as an ensemble incredibly strong.  Every day there would be another brave sharing of personhood.  And ironically, the more specific the work, the more universally we all felt it.

And then the games began.  Zelda led us in the kind of theater games that rely on the trust an actor has in her ability to play. It was like a wonderful regression to kindergarten, where what you make-believe teaches you about the world and yourself, and you don’t even know it. 

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Growing Pains, With a Side of Estrogen (guest post by Alexis Green)

Image courtesy of Murtada al Mousawy via Flickr.

I wasn’t a “bad” child (at least not in the standard ways) when I was entering my teenage years - nor was I “bad” during them. I was responsible - I had babysitting jobs! I didn’t drink or do drugs or do that whole sex thing. (That all came in college…) My parents didn’t really have too much to worry about.

But we all have our issues, and I came into my teen years with a year of therapy under my belt and bouts of kleptomania that I fought (and usually lost).

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What Did He Say? (guest post by Bridget S.)

Image courtesy of Marco Gomes via Flickr.I have a friend with a thirteen year old son who has recently taken to letting her know that, in his opinion, she is an ass.  Nice, right?  He’s actually used even stronger language than that, and when she tells me about it I cringe, but not for the reasons you might think.  No, I have been through the teen years with a son myself, and I cringe because I know this is only the beginning.
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Combining My Single Friends with My New Mommy Job (guest post by Sarabeth R)

(Escaping with a single girlfriend last year — SaneMom)Being a new mom is both exhilarating and exhausting.  Between trying to get the hang of a new sleep schedule, learning how to take care of baby and maintaining a somewhat sane household, there isn’t much time for you.  Add in new mommy friends to the mix and you’re left with little time for your pre-baby friends.

But, just because your life has made a major change doesn’t mean that you have to break off your relationships with your single friends.  In fact, maintaining those relationships can be healthy, reminding you that you are a multi-dimensional person and there is more to you than your new “job title”.

Here are some tips you can utilize to help combine your single friends with your new mommy job.

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Life Lessons (guest post by Bridget Straub)

Image courtesy of Digital Sextant via Fliickr.Here’s a dilemma that came up with my eleven year old daughter.  She came home from school yesterday ten dollars richer, thanks to another classmate who insisted she take this money for no apparent reason.  Naturally, I told her she had to give it back and naturally, she did not want to.  “That money comes with a huge danger sign attached to it,” I told her. She disagreed and insisted she couldn’t give it back, and that it would be rude to do so.  She said she had told the girl at the time the money was offered, that it was too much, but the girl wanted her to have it.  “She’s trying to buy your friendship and it’s not okay,”  I said.  Round and round we went.
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Confessions of a Mommy Playgroup Reject (by Jenny Heitz)

Image courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik via FlickrIt’s been almost ten years since my daughter was born, and a lot has happened. But, one of the things that still stands out for me from the early days of motherhood is my first experience with a playgroup.

Motherhood did not come easily to me. I was 33 when Anna was born (the first of my friends to have a baby), and I ended up with some bad post partum depression. I didn’t really emerge from my hopeless depressive fog until about six months had passed. At that point, Anna was a very cute, tiny, and crabby baby who seemed to need a lot of stimuli. So, I took her to one of those Mommy and Me type classes in West Hollywood.

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Inside And Out (by Christina Simon)

Balancing (or at least trying to balance) my inner and outer selves

As a mom, it’s difficult to pay equal attention to both my inner and outer selves, the emotional and physical aspects of who I am. Neglecting one or the other seems like it comes with being a mom. Time flies and sometimes the day passes so quickly I don’t have time to put on that cute outfit or even sneak a moment for myself. My emotional and physical well-being are equally important, but which one takes priority? It’s complicated.

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Is Parenting Feeling Hard? Maybe You're Thinking Too Much (Guest post by Gina Osher)

On occasion, I want to tear my hair out, toSometimes I can’t wait for the day to be over. Yes, I said it. Sometimes I am just trying to kill the seemingly endless hours between the crack-of-dawn time that my kids wake up, to the can’t-come-soon-enough hour that they go to sleep. Perhaps this feeling stems from the really intense phase our daughter has been going through in which she needs to be in control of everything. And when she’s not allowed to have her way, holy Mother of God…watch yourself! Or maybe the recent four month long phase where our son was using me as a human pacifier and waking every two hours to ask for a snuggle is what makes me feel that the days are, at times, interminable. Or maybe it’s because my husband had a heart attack two months ago and I am trying give him more time to relax on weekends (hello, Saturdays on my own with the kids). Or maybe this tense feeling comes from micro managing every quarrel and crabby interaction my kids have in a misguided attempt to teach them to get along.
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The Ups and Downs of Facebook for One Mom (by Jenny H.)

Ah, Facebook. Everyone uses it. And everyone uses it differently.

Here’s how I use it: to promote my gift blog, Find A Toad. I have a modest (but growing) number of fans, and I get decent feedback, way more than I received just by my mere existence on the blogosphere. I often use it as what I term “shameless self promotion” for my other writing projects. I also use it to keep in touch with all sorts of friends and acquaintances from past and present.

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Reinventing Myself After Baby #2 (By Christina S.)

Photo courtesy of CarynNL via Flickr

How I Went From Working Mom to Stay-At-Home Mom to Writer/Mom

I love the term “reinventing oneself.” It’s full of possibilities.  It can mean a new wardrobe, a new haircut or something more profound, like a big life change.

For me, reinventing myself came out of necessity after I abruptly quit my corporate job when I was eight months pregnant with my second child.   Burned out, exhausted, stressed and running myself into the ground, I decided to call it quits. 

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Vanity Over 40 (by Jenny Heitz)

Image courtesy of Samantha Steele, via Flickr.It’s one thing to recognize we live in a youth obsessed culture, but once you’ve hit 40, you’re officially on the other side: No Longer Youthful.

Yeah, magazines preaching to the peri-menopausal set can prattle on about how “40 is the new 30,” but we all know that’s b.s.. 40 is the threshold for belly fat, for official skinny face, and for behinds which seem to want to drop off the back of us, as if they’re seeking a new owner found on the sidewalk.

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Leaving Our First Home For A New One, Unexpectedly (by Christina Simon)

A mom’s mixed emotions about leaving her family’s first home 

We’re moving to a new house.  I’m excited, nervous and anxious.  After almost 11 years in our first home, we’ve decided to move.  It was a sudden decision brought on by a next-door neighbor who has become unbearable.

Just three years ago, we completely remodeled our current house.  I never thought we’d move.  Suddenly, that changed.  The house next door went into foreclosure and our longtime neighbors moved out. In moved a couple with six sons.  Within a month, their house caught on fire and was rendered unlivable by city officials. Did they move out?  No!  Despite financial offers to move, they have stayed, turning the house into something that resembles a burned out, junk-filled, scary mess.  Last week, they covered the entire house in a huge blue tarp.

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Almost forty and more defiant than ever! (guest post by Darah)

Thanks to Darah Zeledon for this one, don’t miss her links at the bottom!

As I approach the ripe old age of forty, I will begin to entertain all the existential questions about my life- how I´ve led it until now and what is in store for the future. As romantic and appropriately-timed as this may sound, I honestly cannot truly begin to address these issues because I cannot get past the fact that I am just a year away from forty!

I mean, my parents were always forty and they were full-fledged adults talking about mortgages, Tupperware parties, cruise-ship vacations to the Bahamas and car pool schedules. You know, boring stuff that as a kid, I swore to myself that I would never utter a word about such mundane trivialities.
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Tip of the Week : Try ACTive Reading with your kids! (by Jocelyn)

ACTive Reading

Guest post By Jocelyn Greene (Don’t miss her discount code below if you’re NYC-based!)

Kids love to be entertained, they also love to take part in their own entertainment.   So here is the plan: Make reading aloud a game and let them play parts in the stories you read with them.  I call it ACTive Reading!

Creating the environment of a book is a wonderful way in.

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A Holiday Sample of My Own Particular Mommy-Madness : Guest Post from Rahti

A Holiday Sample of My Own Particular Mommy-Madness

I don’t know what I was thinking.  There I was, late afternoon smack in the middle of Spring Break, on line at the Flagship 5th Avenue Build-a-Bear with a flaccid, waiting-to-be-stuffed plush toy and mandatory outfit.  A camp full of kids from out of town had descended on this Manhattan tourist trap unannounced, leaving the store understaffed. But I couldn’t just walk away…

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Are You Teaching Your Children to Live Without You? (guest post by Susan)

Guest post by Susan Heid of The Confident Mom, thanks Susan!

“The most beautiful sight in the world is a child going confidently down the road of life after you have shown him the way” – Confucius

Confucius had it right – isn’t that what our job as a mom is, getting our kids ready to leave the nest?  I don’t know about you, but I certainly am not interested in accompanying my child at age 19 to his first job, carrying his briefcase for him or dropping off his lunch that he forgot at home.  Okay, that is an exaggeration (I hope….but I bet there are some moms who fall into that trap) but at what point do you starts truly putting forth that effort to develop independence and self-reliance in your kids?  It can start a lot sooner than you think.

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Guest Post : Godzilla Mommy

With the holiday today and everyone home, we spent the day sleeping in, putting together, flying, and losing Douglas’ first model rocket, and in the aftermath of that there just wasn’t time for a proper newsletter.  Tomorrow!  So today you get treated to a guest post courtesy of Rahti Gorfien, thanks Rahti!

Godzilla Mommy

Contemplations Regarding a Mother from Another Planet

by Rahti Gorfien

Last night I heard about an orthodox Jewish woman here in NYC who has 17 children and works full time as the principle of an elementary school.  That’s right.  You read me.  Works full time and has 17 kids.

I wanna talk to her. 

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Guest Post : Moms the Word

Thanks to my friend Dierdre* for today’s post, I appreciate her take on things and find this hits home for me extremely well!  Enjoy.

As a mother I am tortured by guilt, I am crushed by responsibility and feelings of failure and incompetence. The problem is if tomorrow I suddenly didn’t have kids anymore there would be a silence and a void as large as the abyss. I can’t quit but I can’t succeed at this job. No matter how perfect I try to be, I will fail somehow, sometime and repeatedly against my will and better judgment. I will inflict emotional pain upon my kids and I will feel guilt, anger and fear and break down into tears over and over again. Most moms will not let me say this without sympathetic looks and knowing smiles that say, “It is just a bad day, its not always this way. We all have our days.” The truth is it is not just a day it is many days and no words can ease the pain of feeling like you are failing at the most important job in the world. It isn’t really a job now that I think of it, it is really a quest, a quest to give ourselves the best start possible again, to not repeat what was done to us and to do better than they did, to move forward somehow less blind. The truth is I am haunted by the failure, I see the guilt in their eyes and now in mine. Could I not do better than this, could I not make it all better this time?

God bless my kids and give them what I have not. Heal the wounds that I have inflicted upon them and nourish their souls with the perfect love that you are, Father to all of us in our imperfection.

*Not her real name, she prefers anonymity.

Sitter Debting (Guest post by Rahti)


© Rahti Gorfien 2009

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of grousing about lack of reciprocity when it comes to watching someone else’s kid(s).  ‘I take her kid, and as soon as I ask for coverage, there’s always some excuse…’  I call this Sitter-Debting.  Not to brag, but I seem to have the opposite ‘problem’.  People won’t take me up on reciprocating!  Is it just me?  Am I that pathetic?  Is my child so fabulous that people feel blessed just having him around?  Now I know THAT’S delusional.  A friend said recently it’s because I don’t exude neediness around the issue.  People sense that if they say no, I’ll be okay; in other words, I’ll manage perfectly well without their help.  Well, there may be some accuracy to that observation, but only because I approach child care as a numbers game.  I know a lot of parents.  I know several with kids who have the same schedule as my son, and with whom he gets along.  I won’t presume to say that we’re all so fortunate, but many of us are, even  the folks who feel isolated due to being a single parent, or are in the I’m-the-stay-at-home-parent-so-everybody-dumps-their-kids-with-me role. 

Now this is touchy.  In fact, I’m truly afraid of getting my ass kicked for saying this (metaphorically, of course).

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