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Melinda Wentzel
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Melinda L. Wentzel, aka Planet Mom, is an award winning slice-of-life/humor columnist and freelance writer whose primary objective is to keep mothering real on the page while maintaining some semblance of sanity on the home front. She and her husband reside in north central Pennsylvania with their twin daughters, a pampered dog, a self-absorbed cat, three smelly hamsters and two Godzilla-inspired lizards. Learn more at, follow her on Twitter at, read her biweekly spiel in the Khaleej Times, Weekender, Dubai, UAE and in Webb Weekly, Williamsport, PA or find her on Facebook at to share your in-the-trenches parenting moments.

Planet Mom: It's where I the corner of Irreverence and Oversharing. Please join me.

Entries by Melinda Wentzel

A Curious Harvest of Thanks

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 4:16 PM

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us -- that grand and glorious season of thankfulness. I'd like to think I appreciate the people and circumstances that give me pause year round, but like so many others, I get caught up in life's hectic pace,...

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All Hallows Eve...The End Is Near

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 1:25 PM

I've been informed it's over -- my brood's love affair with trick-or-treating, that is. I knew it would happen eventually. I just wasn't expecting it to happen now, seemingly minutes before Halloween. It's possible I'll need weeks of therapy in order to...
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The Road Less Traveled

(1) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 5:21 PM


I remember it as if I were standing before it this very moment -- the dirt road behind my childhood home that snaked through the mossy woods, carving a narrow, road-not-taken-inspired path along the base of a deep ravine, sheltered from the sun...

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You Might Be a Band Parent If...

(2) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 6:23 PM

Fall is upon us. Time for corn mazes and jack o' lanterns, flannel shirts and apple cider, football and marching bands. But let us not forget, 'tis the season for band parents, too. In the spirit of identifying with the tireless role...

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The Dog That Came to Stay

(31) Comments | Posted October 4, 2015 | 9:47 PM


It was his eyes that got me. Deep pools of espresso dappled with specks that reminded me of caramel. I hadn't even reached through the cage to caress his indescribably soft ears yet, a practice I would come to revere more than...

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Eggs, Toast and a Side of Cynicism

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 3:40 PM

For whatever reason, the gods of morning madness have been smiling upon me these past few weeks. And like any good cynic, I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out. With every ounce of my being, I fully expect my petulant...

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Hands Upon My Heart

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 12:50 PM

When I was 9 or 10, I remember being enthralled with my mother's hands. They were delicate and slender, sweetly scented and rose petal-soft -- so completely unlike my own nicked and scraped, callused and chafed boy-like hands that were better suited for wielding a hammer and throwing a fastball...

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The Swan Song of School

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 7:53 PM

I have a love-hate relationship with the end of my children's school year (i.e. that inimitable wedge of time that is at once delicious and detestable -- conveniently sandwiched between the intensity of academics and the celebrated death of structure). To most, it would seem like a fairly simple dichotomy:...

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The Color of Bizarre

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 4:41 PM

Of all places, it began in an obscure corner of a local pharmacy, with child in tow. My incapacitating infatuation with a certain hue of green paint, that is. Who does that? What sort of deranged mother follows a late night visit to an urgent care facility (due to excruciating...

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Countdown to Christmas

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 1:31 PM

It was painful to stand there and simply watch. To idly witness, that is, a little boy, no more than 3, seized by a desperate longing to ride on the horse-drawn wagon that had circled the park more times than we could readily count in the hour or so that...

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It Took THIS to Get My Family to Unplug

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 11:51 AM

Shortly after the big, yellow school bus groaned to a halt and deposited Planet Mom's brood at the curb, the skies grew angry and the winds began to whip, swirling all manner of leaves and debris about the place. The heavens rumbled in the distance and massive clouds moved swiftly...

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(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 11:17 AM

As we shift from August to September, I can't help but dwell on the notion of my freedom -- and how utterly delicious it will soon be. But by the same token, I am also reminded of how horribly unprepared I am for all that heading back to school entails....

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M Is for Motherhood

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 4:23 PM

While it's true the term "motherhood" is a simple collection of ten letters, specifically arranged for ease of pronunciation, it is suggestive of so much more. In sum, I regard it as a wholly intangible, behemoth-like affair that effectively upended all that I thought I knew about life as a...

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Great Expectations

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 6:02 PM

In the dark of predawn I lay in bed, tucked snugly beneath my downy comforter, sleet pinging against the window panes in soft yet fitful waves. Against all odds associated with parenthood, no one under the age of 8 burst into the room to announce that the sky was falling....

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In Praise of Turkey and Tradition

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2012 | 3:51 PM

We make pot pie at our house each Thanksgiving -- a savory Pennsylvania Dutch meal that features the most perfect blend of onions, potatoes, thick squares of doughy goodness and meaty strands of chicken. Only we use turkey on this festive occasion. Six-and-a-half pounds of succulent dark meat to be...

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It Takes a Hurricane to Raise a Village

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 6:32 PM

As I piece this column together on the cusp of Election Day, the fate of our presidential race has yet to be decided. Granted, over the past several weeks, multitudes of early votes have been cast, absentee ballots from near and far have been duly harvested and an embarrassment of...

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Nightmare on Mom Street

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 5:06 PM

Sunday afternoons are my respite in this harried place. The sanity cocktail from which I draw sweet sustenance. That said, I lounge around doing as little as humanly possible, embracing my inner sloth. Old movies and blanket forts rule the day. That is not to say I haven't been inspired...

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Sweet Dreams

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 1:25 PM

Putting a child to bed at a reasonable hour has never been my forte. Okay, it's at the bottom of the list, hovering slightly above ice sculpting and changing a flat tire. Admittedly, I am pitiful when it comes to the bedtime routine thing. Clearly, it represents for me yet...

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Sometimes the Sidelines Are Best

(3) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 1:17 PM

Five years ago, my kids swam like stones. Stones both dense and unwieldy in nature. Stones destined for the bottoms of lakes, ponds and pools. And yet, there was an uncanny barnacle-ness about them. Said buoyancy-challenged individuals were largely comfortable in swimming pools, so long as my husband and I...

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When Worms Fail Me

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 11:49 AM

My children have a routine when they leave the house each school day. It's a fairly logical succession of events that usually culminates with a mad dash to the bus stop, backpacks and jackets flapping as they run, their unruly manes trailing behind them. Of all the memories of motherhood...

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