PARENTS
02/05/2013 10:34 am ET

Parenthesis: The Best Of The Mom And Dad Blogs

Parenthesis is where we collect our favorite writing from moms and dads around the web: essays, letters, rants and calls for help that make us nod in agreement, groan in sympathy, reach for the tissues, laugh so hard we spit out our coffee -- and in particularly glorious cases, all of the above.

Consider this your home base to find new bloggers and rediscover past favorites. We'll link to pieces that describe familiar experiences with eloquence as well as stories that surprise, educate, entertain... Our only requirement for mentioning a post here is that we love it.

We'll update whenever we read something great. Please email us at parents@huffingtonpost.com or tweet to @HuffPostParents if you see something worth sharing! Feel free to nominate your own writing -- but we'd always like to hear what you're reading, too.

07/10/2013 5:02 PM EDT

The $100 million question

In a LinkedIn post that's making its way around the Internet, entrepreneur Michael Lazerow poses an outlandish question (borrowed from Rabbi Noah Weinberg, by way of Rabbi Ephraim Shore): "Would you sell one of your kids for $100 million?" Lazerow recognizes that the question is "silly in many ways," but still discusses what he thinks it means that, though parents tend to reject the notion out of hand, "very few of us" -- working parents in particular -- behave as if their children are really worth that much.

If $100 million were wired into your account today, you would sit down and spend a tremendous amount of time caring for it and thinking about what to do.

You would ask questions like, what do I need to do to protect it? What should I do to make sure it grows well into the future? How can it help me live a happier, more enjoyable life?

So why is it that we don't ask the same questions about, or spend the same amount of time thinking about, our kids, who we all seem to value more than riches?

Why don't we spend more time working on how we can be better parents and not just better employees and managers? And, just as importantly, how we can enjoy our kids more and be happier at both work and home?

We'd love to know your thoughts on Lazerow's piece. Does it make you reconsider the quality of the time you spend with your children? Or do you think it comes off as judgmental -- particularly toward working parents? Do you think the questions he poses about choosing between work and children are valid? Is the $100 million question even worth asking?

Tell us in the comments, or on Twitter (@HuffPostParents) or Facebook.

06/04/2013 2:39 PM EDT

What Should We Call Me? New Baby Edition

Joanna Goddard and her husband, Alex Williams -- who are expecting a second baby very soon -- have names on the brain. Williams wrote a piece for the New York Times last week about how parents struggle to find the perfect fit -- and now, Goddard has thrown their family's own debate open to readers of her blog, A Cup of Jo.

Joanna writes that she and her husband are entertaining these possibilities: Sasha, Nicolas, Elias, Porter, Rhys and Julian -- and asks her readers for their recommendations.

Of course, we have no shortage of baby name suggestions here on HPP. How about one of these off-the-beaten-track ideas? Or a name inspired by a beloved literary character? The couple may find it satisfying to cross these 33 names off their list right off the bat, too.

Share your own ideas or head over to A Cup of Jo to let them know directly!

05/01/2013 5:46 PM EDT

Screen Sense: Finding A Balance

Have you read this yet?

It's the letter that launched a thousand blog posts. Or at least, quite a few. In it, blogger Tonya Ferguson scolds a fellow playground mom for being so engrossed in her iPhone that she can't see what her kids are doing.

But "[h]aving a phone doesn’t mean you’re phoning it in," Mike Spohr hits back in a recent post on The Spohrs Are Multiplying. In fact, having a phone makes you pretty normal these days.

Often, Mike argues, smartphones actually make our lives possible, allowing us to see more of our kids and family because we can work remotely, or stay seamlessly connected with the ones we love when we're away from home.

Many of us share the ambition to unplug. We dream of leaving phones and computers behind and devoting our whole attention to one thing at a time: our kids, our partners, ourselves. But smartphones, computers and tablets are woven into the fabric of our lives now, and the situation is rarely a black-and-white, addiction-or-cold-turkey dichotomy. Most parents -- most people -- need to find a balance that allows them to use technology when necessary, and then put it away for meaningful personal interactions IRL.

While in many other aspects of parenting, we can look to the generation before us for guidance and best practices, technology is a newer frontier. Not only do we have to determine the best path for ourselves -- but our kids are watching and learning as we figure it out.

What should we be teaching (and preaching) when it comes to kids and technology? HPP's managing editor, Farah Miller, will be presenting a workshop on Friday at Mom 2.0 about exactly this. It's a topic we've been exploring on The Huffington Post's Screen Sense page -- and something we always love to talk about. Comment below, tweet us your thoughts @HuffPostParents or email us at parents@huffingtonpost.com to tell us how you find balance when it comes to your own technology use around kids.

04/24/2013 6:47 PM EDT

Chasing Rainbows

Like so many others, we have been keeping Chasing Rainbows blogger Kate Leong and her family in our thoughts as they grieve for their son, Gavin, who died on April 14 at the age of 5.

Kate published her eulogy for Gavin, which she read at his funeral Tuesday, on her blog.

"I feel very grateful that I have written about Gavin since he was an infant... and then Brian... and even our sweet Darcy Claire," she said in the speech, celebrating the "parents and doctors and therapists and people all over the world [who] were changed ... because they found hope and inspiration in this little boy and his incredible journey."

Here is one more paragraph from her extraordinarily moving tribute (it was also highlighted by Love That Max blogger Ellen Seidman, who attended the funeral and wrote about it here):

The message here is not "go home and hug your kids because you don't know how much time you have" - because we all do that. The true message here is don't lose hope. And never let anyone tell you that you can't chase rainbows. As I look out at this sea of faces, I know that each of you have been inspired by Gavin's story. Gavin, really, was everyone's child and I was happy to share him with all of you. But you can find hope and inspiration and important life lessons in your own lives. In your children's lives - young or old. In your journeys - even when the path seems impossible to walk… like this one for us. Everything is an opportunity to learn… to help others… to grow. Gavin taught me that. I'm just the messenger today. And I will continue to be his voice until the last day of my life.

Click here to read the full speech.

On Sunday night, before the viewing and funeral service, Leong wrote another powerful piece addressed to people who planned on attending either event. Beginning with the story of the only memorial service for a child she had ever attended, she wrote:

I have been there. A child's funeral is awful. Please don't be nervous to see us. Please don't worry about trying to figure out what to say. We know there is NOTHING you can say that will reverse the order of events that brought us here. But also know that it's possible you'll fumble and say the absolute wrong thing. We don't care. There is no right - and there is no wrong. You being there to show your love for Gavin and our family is enough. A simple silent hug works for us. We love hugs. And don't worry about trying to hold it together - if you're like us, it's sometimes hard to hold it in. We won't expect you to.

Read the full piece here.

04/12/2013 5:14 PM EDT

Brony Power

Rebecca Woolf's son's love for "My Little Pony" was recently the catalyst for a thoughtful discussion -- between mother and son in person, and also on Woolf's blog -- about the way our gender stereotypes harm girls and boys:

As much as we need to undo the way women have been perceived since the beginning of time, we must also create an environment that shatters the emotional glass ceiling for our sons. ... Raising strong, empowered daughters is only PART of our mission. We need to be just as enthusiastic about raising caring, empathetic sons.

03/26/2013 10:04 AM EDT

"Bright Young Things": The backlash

Victoria's Secret has rejected the claim that it's introducing a new line specifically for tweens called "Bright Young Things." But many parents aren't buying it (pun intended) -- and voiced their anger in the blogosphere with comments, posts and even petitions.

In an impassioned, widely-circulated letter last week, the Rev. Evan Dolive -- father of a 3-year-old girl -- wrote:

There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves… not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a 'call me' thong? I want my daughter to know that she is perfect the way she is; I want my daughter to know that no matter what underwear she is wearing it does not define her.

And on Mom-101 yesterday, Liz Gumbinner also registered her strong objection to underpants with risqué slogans marketed to young girls. She added a new element to the discussion, too, reminding readers that in a social media-saturated world, girls may regret immature behavior and the choice of inappropriate attire far into the future:

I made dubious choices at 14. Kids today will make dubious choices at 14. The difference is -- and here’s what’s terrifying for parents of girls like me --those choices can now follow you around your whole life. ... Victoria’s Secret, c’mon. This is not days of the week briefs. This is underwear meant to be seen by boys. Probably more boys than should see them. Probably boys you don’t even know, who have access to social media. Boys you may want to think of you as wild, uninhibited, available. Even if you’re not. Even if you’re still figuring out who you are.

What do you think? Have you read any outstanding blog posts on the controversy? Tweet them to us at @HuffPostParents or email parents@huffingtonpost.com.

02/26/2013 7:30 PM EST

Asking The Hardest Questions

When it comes to pregnancy, "the basic conversational questions are always the hardest" for Heather Spohr, she writes at The Spohrs Are Multiplying. Even questions like "Do you have any other children?” don't have straightforward answers, since Spohr's oldest daughter, Madeline, passed away at the age of 1.

You might think her sensitivity would make it easier for her to know which topics to avoid when talking to other people -- but she says the opposite is true: "[B]ecause of what I’ve been through, I am now the worst at small talk. I’m terrified that I’ll ask someone a seemingly simple question that’s accidentally their Hardest Question. ... I’d rather someone think I’m quiet than accidentally ruin their day."

02/25/2013 6:21 PM EST

"I have help, that's how"

Rebecca Woolf has a thought-provoking post on the "argument we'll never stop having" -- with ourselves and with each other -- about when it's OK to get help caring for our kids:

Nobody talks about hiring help because nobody is supposed to. Because it insinuates privilege. Because it suggests weakness. Because it's strange for women to be at home with children, and also working jobs. Because it's strange for women to be at home working jobs that don't seem very job-like.

And it is strange.

Why does your house always look so clean?

How do you have time to work?

How do you do it all?

I have help, that's how.

02/14/2013 10:37 AM EST

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Saturday mail delivery may soon be a thing of the past -- but some kids already find the concept of mailing a letter unfamiliar. One of them is (or was, until recently) Heather Armstrong's older daughter, Leta. Armstrong's post about teaching Leta to address an envelope for the first time is predictably hilarious and (mainly) downright sweet:

Watching her enthusiasm over this antiquated way of corresponding with other people, this total novelty, fulfilled me in such a way that I stopped for a second and thought, damn if this isn’t satisfying. I love this.

02/08/2013 5:32 PM EST

"I missed him and he missed me. Good."

Parents don't like to see their kids suffer. But is it wrong to hope a toddler will express a tiny bit of emotion the first time mom drops him off at preschool?

Amalah's Amy Corbett Storch couldn't help but be "relieved" and "maybe even a twinge of downright pleased" to hear that her son, who hadn't put up a fuss at drop-off time, missed her during his first solo foray into early education. (She was even happier, of course, when his "face lit up" as he noticed she was there to bring him home.)

If you're near us in the snowy Northeast, here's hoping this sweet, short story will warm you up a little inside.

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