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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

The Swan Song of School

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 6:53 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 | 3:41 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 | 12:31 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 | 10:51 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 | 10:17 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 | 3:23 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 | 5:02 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 | 2:51 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 | 5:32 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 | 4:06 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 | 12:25 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 | 12:17 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 | 10:49 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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All Is Fair in Love and Mommy Wars

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 12:21 PM

I made a solemn vow not to tread anywhere near the Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney brouhaha that erupted recently, thrusting the infamous Mommy Wars to the fore yet again. But I simply couldn't resist. Not because I have a compelling desire to foist my views upon anyone...

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April Awakenings

(3) Comments | Posted April 10, 2012 | 12:39 PM

I've always loved springtime -- especially the warm embrace of April. Of all the seasons, I'm inclined to say that it is my favorite. Partly because baseball is back and the school year is drawing its last breath, but mostly because it is an era awash with newness. Almost indescribably...

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A Sacrilege of Sorts

(1) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 4:38 PM

There are but two kinds of people in this world: those who brazenly read the endings of books before the endings are actually reached and those who would never dream of a crime so heinous. I myself fall with the masses into the latter category, always mindful of the tenets...

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The Purple of Penance

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 6:12 PM

It's time to decorate Easter eggs -- an age-old tradition symbolizing new life. An activity infused with color, the pungent aroma of vinegar and great swells of kid-inspired, eggshell-adorning creativity, all in the name of celebrating the long-awaited rebirth of the land. By contrast, I've been celebrating the rebirth of...

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Have You Hugged a Book Today?

(3) Comments | Posted March 12, 2012 | 2:11 PM

We have a library in our house, which sounds slightly more impressive than it actually is. The area in question is far from a sprawling expanse littered with overstuffed chairs and an abundance of narrative gems. More correctly, our so-called library occupies a modest corner of our home -- a...

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From There to Here

(2) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 3:48 PM

Just a moment ago, my children were kindergarteners -- spindly creatures with wee arms, knobby knees and tinny voices. I remember well our maiden voyage to the school's Open House one afternoon late in August -- to the shores of Mrs. Morehart's classroom, a warm and welcoming place at the...

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A Decade of Enlightenment: Ten Things Parenthood Has Taught Me

(8) Comments | Posted February 28, 2012 | 11:11 AM

I've been a parent for some 8,710 days. A stunningly imperfect parent, I hasten to add. During that period of time I learned more about sleep deprivation, sibling rivalry and teen angst than I previously considered humanly possible. However, the past decade has proven to be particularly edifying. Indeed, Thing...

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