Category: Thinking : Parent

Lunch-shaming stories from children who can’t afford school lunch will disgust you.

Yes, lunch shaming is a thing, as I just learned from this New York Times article from Bettina Elias Siegel that is so disturbing, I had to stop physically shaking after reading it before I could come here and write this. Evidently in a number of states, children in need are being publically humiliated and emotionally abused — by administrators — if they can’t afford to pay for school lunch or are behind on payments. One Alabama third-grader came home with an “I Need Lunch Money” stamp on his arm, with a happy face on it to presumably soften the blow. How kind of the...

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Mom Up to let your representatives know Equal Pay Day needs to be every day.

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day which feels kind of empowering while it’s happening — and then honestly a little depressing the day after it’s over. Like, who’s still fighting for us? You may already be aware that the gender pay disparity disproportionately impacts working mothers. While white mothers make an average of 71 cents for every dollar white males make, African-American and Hispanic mothers make even less than their male counterparts. Honestly, it’s shameful.   Which is why we are loving a brand new campaign Mom Up America. Launched by The Mom Project, a digital platform that helps connect working women –particularly mothers — with excellent, often flexible work opportunities,...

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30+ fantastic open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t get a yes or no answer.

If you’re not getting much more than a “yeah,” “nope,” or “fine” when you ask about your kid’s day at school, it might be time for some new conversations starters. (Trust us, we’re right there with you.) So we set out to collect dozens of smart, easy, open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t just get a yes or no answer. We’ve thrown these out around our own dinner tables, and have been surprised by how much these 30+ questions really got our kids talking. So, here’s to engaging dinner conversations…with the whole family. Top photo by Jon Flobrant via Unsplash   Open-ended questions about feelings We...

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40 pregnant women in one prison forced to give birth in shackles and leg irons. Horrifying.

A new lawsuit, as reported by the Associated Press, alleges that more than 40 women have been forced to give birth in shackles in the Milwaukee County Jail over just the past six years. And the details are just horrifying. The plaintiff of this civil class action case was admitted for a 7-month sentence while pregnant. She was forced to endure all of her prepartum care in shackles, then give birth to her newborn baby while wearing a restraint called a belly chain, keeping her wrists tied to her waist, while her legs were attached with irons. Even as her own doctors and OBs demanded the...

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When words aren’t enough: A goodbye to Amy Krouse Rosenthal

It’s always a strange and complex feeling to feel the loss of someone you’ve never actually met, but that’s just what I feel right now, learning of today’s passing of author and mom of three, Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is one woman who definitely left us way too soon. F*ck cancer is right. While a lot of you may have learned her name recently, as the author of the unforgettable You May Want to Marry My Husband Modern Love column in the NY Times, we’ve known her for years as a remarkable children’s author who has filled our kids’ bookshelves with the kinds of titles you...

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Why America needs this comic book about menstruation…written for boys.

One thing Indonesian boys are doing that I wish more American boys were doing: They’re now learning all about girls’ periods, thanks to a comic book about menstruation created by UNICEF. I think it’s simply brilliant. Ever since Judy Blume gave girls the gift of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret back in 1970, there have been so many books, resources and tools throughout my life to help educate about menstruation and the changing female body — right down to free downloadable period guides, and several shame-free period starter subscription kits that are growing in popularity. But when you think about it, if we don’t start including boys...

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A sweet 7 year old stripped of his bowling medal for the craziest reason. What is going on?

While I am not a fan of the “everyone gets a medal” school of thinking, I do believe in earned accolades. So I was startled to read a story about 7-year-old Canadian student Grayson Powell, a little bowling wunderkind who actually earned a trophy at a Canadian Youth Bowl tournament the old fashioned way — by kicking some pre-adolescent bowling booty in the lanes three times in a row. It wasn’t until the medals ceremony that he was stripped of his win. For a wardrobe violation. And no, he wasn’t wearing an OLD BOWLERS NEVER DIE [blah blah blah] BALLS t-shirt;...

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The one scene in Hidden Figures that every parent should be talking about | Thinking: Parent

Hi, nice to meet you. I’m one of the many parents who tries desperately to squeeze in a few last-minute Oscar nominated movie screenings just before the actual ceremony each year so I have at least a moderate shot at the family Oscar pool. You too? At the very top of my list was Hidden Figures, which I waited to see until my own girls could join me. Yay for February break! And while there are so many moments that will stay with me for a long time, there’s one scene in particular that doesn’t seem to get a lot of analysis, but to me, perfectly embodied why the story of...

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Meet the cool dogs of Cool Mom Picks and the stories of what they’ve done for our families.

Update: This post was originally created on behalf of a brand that regretfully no longer aligns with our core values, and that we have removed from the content here. But we love the stories that our writers have shared, here and we hope you enjoy them too.   If you’ve ever had a dog in your life, you know they can be like your other child. They’ve taught us love, they’ve taught us responsibility, they’ve taught us that we may never need to sweep up around the dining table again. (Ha.) Clearly having a special dog in the house brings a special kind...

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Onward.

Kristen and I have never run this as a partisan or a political site, but that’s not to say that our values aren’t pretty clearly reflected on these pages. Our long-time readers know we are, and have always been, about inclusivity. Positivity. Diversity. Honoring our differences and seeking out what unites us. Providing support for all kinds of loving families, and seeking out more opportunities for all kinds of kids. None of that changed today. We’re still here. You’re still here, the hundreds of thousands of you who share these ideals. We started this site ten years ago in part to lift up those who need lifting up, whether...

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My 9/11 birthday

Adapted from a post originally published on Mom-101.com   Hello. Today is my birthday. Which means your knee-jerk response is probably something like, oh, happy birthday, Liz! But as I’ve come to learn, a few seconds later, a certain realization will strike and you’ll add: Oh wait, today? Oh. Ohhhhhhhh….wow. Wow. Okay. Wow. I’ve had 15 years to get used to it and I’m still not used to it. I don’t know if I ever will be. When you have a 9/11 birthday, especially in New York City, there is no chance of escaping discussion about The Day and what...

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The silver lining of the Mylan EpiPen price hike news, from a mom of a child with food allergies

When we first discovered my oldest daughter was allergic to peanuts and could have an anaphylactic reaction, our allergist told us that keeping EpiPens with her at all times could mean the difference between life and death. Think about that as a parent. Death. Of your child. You can bet that since that day, she has never gone anywhere without her EpiPens. And since that day, we have had a huge additional annual expense that definitely puts a a strain on our budget. But, that’s what you do to keep your kids safe. So you can imagine that we’ve been all ears when it comes...

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Why I stopped making my daughter clean her room | Thinking : Parent

I am a neat person. Well, as neat as a mom of four kids can be. I wasn’t always considered neat. In fact, my college roommate might read this and laugh hysterically because there was a point in time that you couldn’t even see my bed because of the piles of crap. And the sink full of dishes? Record breaking. [Top image: Eye Just Shoot on Etsy] But now there are no piles of crap. Mostly. The dishes are done before I go to bed. (Yay kids, A.K.A. free labor.) And the amount of wiping, and sweeping I do is nearly worthy of...

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Important links we’re reading on a somber week. Because #blacklivesmatter.

Each Friday we offer up web coolness, a collection of our favorite links, videos and articles we’re liking around the web that week. But this week, in light of the horrific murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile that are weighing so heavily on our hearts right now, we wanted to share some links specifically around the subject of these tragedies. You’ll find an array of diverse voices and points-of-view that have resonated with us, personally, in various ways. You may not relate to all of them. That’s okay. We think it’s important to hear lots of perspectives. If you are hurting so much you can’t...

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10 simple ways to be a great friend to a new mom (who could probably really use one right now)

The other night, I went to a birthday dinner with four of my nearest and dearest mom friends. We’ve been a mom squad ever since our now 8-year-olds were in an infant playgroup together. Truthfully, back then, I found being a new mom totally isolating. I didn’t have my own mom friends prior to giving birth and my playgroup crew became my go-to besties for advice, sanity checks, humor, and good company. But it wasn’t until I had a serious bout of postpartum depression after my second child was born, that I really thought about how truly important it is to...

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Chrissy Teigen proves celebrities are moms! Just like us!

Oh bless you, Chrissy Teigen. Because for every perfectly retouched celebrity baby photo all over Instagram, every “look how hot I am in a bikini 6 seconds after giving birth” celebrity selfie, every quote from a sanctimonious lucky-gene-club winner about how pregnant women who gain weight and “let themselves go” should be flogged with their own illegal crib bumpers…we have Chrissy Teigen. Yes, she does look beautiful. And so does her baby. But we love her best for her humor. After announcing the birth of Luna Simone Stephens to Chrissy and husband John Legend on April 17, check out some of...

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New study: Married people have an advantage when it comes to cancer survival

This week, a new study was published in the journal Cancer, indicating that married people have a “marked survival advantage” when it comes to cancer. And this here single mom sat up and took note. (If, admittedly, a little defensively at first.) As reported by HealthDayNews on the nih.gov site, researchers from the non-profit Cancer Prevention Institute of California looked at more than 800,000 adults in California diagnosed with invasive cancer over 10 years and the results indicated: -Married men had a 27% higher cancer survival rate than single men -Married women had a 19% higher cancer survival rate than single women. Wow. This also...

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Disney LEGO minifigures are released, but look who’s missing.

Now that they’ve been revealed, I’m looking at the new Disney LEGO minifigures with great interest. I mean, I doubt there’s a kid on this planet who doesn’t imagine an array of 18 Disney characters transformed into LEGO minifigures and know right away that there will be at least one they absolutely have to have, please Mom, I’ll do anything, pleeeeeease….!  Related: 19 cool Rey Star Wars toys and gifts, from LEGO to tees to wall art It’s a fairly diverse selection, with characters ranging from classic Mickey and Minnie, to Pixar faves, and even less blockbuster-ish characters like Stitch, all available in May in those $3.99 surprise packs. But looking...

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A look at the brand new curvy Barbie: Will you buy her? | Thinking: Parent

Well, after oh, only sixty years or so of women complaining about Barbie’s unrealistic figure, Mattel has decided to get with the 21st century zeitgeist and the changing look of the world, today releasing Barbies with three brand new body shapes — curvy, tall and petite. And you know, looking at them? They actually are curvy, tall and petite. Yes! Interestingly, they’re called the Barbie Fashionista line, which I suppose is a smart marketing move as opposed to calling them something like Barbie Body Shape. Or Bootylicious Barbie which I imagine was off the table immediately.   Of course we had to have...

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David Bowie, cassette deck memories, and me. | Thinking : Parent

We’ve had conversations around here from time to time about musical artists, and the few of them who are able endure over time, even managing to evolve and experiment and remain relevant for four or more decades. David Bowie is easily on that list for us and we were all pretty devastated to learn of his passing today at just 69. David Bowie heroes greeting card by Etsy’s Lost Plots Shop. I know that some think it’s strange to cry for “a celebrity” you never personally knew; but that’s the genius of real artists. They have an amazing way of burrowing their way into your soul,...

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One-word New Year’s resolutions: The trick to making one you can finally keep. | Spawned episode 27

This week on the Spawned Show, we closed out our year (or, we’re opening the new one if you’re listening now) with a really good talk about New Year’s resolutions: The good, the bad, and the very very broken. I really love Kristen’s perspective about calling them goals, not resolutions. And she has great tips on phrasing things positively, and being specific (“I will research and sign up for a yoga class this week”) which is far more effective than the general goals we tend to make this time each year (“I will stay fit and get healthy.”) Real Simple has a list...

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Unnecessary gun violence: Don’t lose hope. Here’s how.

Kristen and I each went to bed distraught last night, and woke up no less unsettled after yesterday’s news about two mass shootings in San Bernardino and Savannah —  the 354th and 355th in the US in 2015 alone. We alternate between outrage and grief, wondering just kind of world we are raising our children in right now. Especially when 10,000 US children a year are injured or killed as a result of guns. As far as we’re concerned, even one is one too many. While this is not a site where we tend to discuss politics, we have never shied away from sharing the causes and...

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How to talk to your children about the tragedy in Paris: Excellent resources to help parents, teachers and other caregivers, because we sure need it right now.

It’s been a somber mood around here, as our hearts go out to the people of Paris. We each have been hoping and praying for peace for humanity in our own ways, and this image from French artist Jean-Julien, which you’ve probably seen by now, has captured the sentiment so simply and beautifully. As someone who lived through 9/11 in New York, I admit I am having a very difficult time with this. It’s hard enough to process the horror and inhumanity of it all, but what’s different this time — even though it’s 3600 miles away and not just a...

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The quote that does more than inspire: It saves lives.

Sharing, liking, or commenting on this post donates one life-saving vaccine to a child around the world. Please read on for the full story.   One of the most wonderful things about social media is that it gives every single one of us a voice. One of the challenges however, is that sometimes it’s easy to stop at so-called awareness; we may discuss topics and causes we’re passionate about but that doesn’t always translate into tangible action. I get it. We’re all busy, and we’re all guilty of this from time to time. That’s why I’ve been so thrilled to be...

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Peace, love, and Girl Scouts | Thinking : Parent

I was a two-year Brownie, a Girl Scout for less than a year and then…well, I okay, so I was never much of a joiner to begin with. It all came down to the dress in the end; I didn’t want to have to wear one — this was the 70’s after all — and my troop leader wouldn’t allow me the tomboy sash-only concession that my Brownie leader did. That’s how I became a third-grade Girl Scout drop-out. Don’t worry, it didn’t lead to a pre-adolescent life of petty crime and clove cigarettes. That would come way later. Top photo: Authentic peace and love Girl Scout tee at...

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The best beauty tips from my mother — and the other beautiful women in my life.

Beauty is a delicate thing to talk about, especially as a mom raising girls. I want my girls to feel great about themselves no matter what; but I can’t deny that beauty is a part of our society — whether you define that as simply putting yourself together like you made some effort, knowing how to look appropriate in various social settings, remembering to brush your hair before school (how come that one never sticks?), or just thinking twice before lining the inside of your eyelids with fat, sparkly turquoise eye pencils in 8th grade. Okay, so that last one was me. I’ve been talking to...

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Thinking: Parent | 15 things you should stop putting off and do right now.

One of my most prized possessions is a photo of me holding my daughter, flanked by both my mother and grandmother, Momsie. Four generations of strong, first-born women together for a brief time on this earth. As we come up on what would have been her  97th birthday, I often think how fortunate I am that Momsie got to know my girls before she passed five years ago. I’m especially grateful that my older daughter still has a few nice if simple memories of her: A swimming pool with a frog in it. Hide-and-seek behind her gauzy Florida curtains. An impromptu karaoke party. Her special...

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Thinking : Parent – The LEGO Friends wars are back, and girls are losing. But not for the reasons you think.

We’re excited to launch a new editor’s column called Thinking: Parent, for common sense conversations about parenting issues we care about. Complete with random pop culture references.    This week, I’ve seen a lot of shares of a set of fantastic photos from A Mighty Girl, featuring a friend’s daughter turning a LEGO Friends Juice Bar Set into a cool robot. My fourth-grade daughter, Thalia, who just spent 10 straight hours on Saturday in the NYC semi-finals of the First LEGO League Robotics Competition (says the proud mom), hardly glanced at it before raving, Awesome! And it is! Majorly awesome. Related: Are LEGO Friends good for girls?  ...

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