Everyone in our family benefits when I get out of the picture every once in a while. I get a much-needed break, time that helps me feel nourished, rested and ready to fully re-engage with the hard work of raising children, and my husband gets solid alone time with our children.
Everything we learn, everything we read, everything we do, everything we understand and everything we experience counts on the hippocampus to function correctly. When the body endures ongoing stress, our ability to learn is impaired.
It's time to take parental stress seriously. Moms need to seek help when overwhelmed with parenting so that their stress does not trickle down to the children. Family stress is much like a revolving door: Once it begins, it's difficult to stop.
When you become a parent, your priorities naturally shift. But that doesn't mean you should disappear.
It's one thing if party planning is a source of a joy for you, but if it's not a priority, foregoing fancy party trappings does not mean that you don't love your child enough or don't care enough about the moment to be celebrated.
I hate that instead of palming my belly to feel movement of a life, I fingertip-explore my body for lumps of danger. I hate that it will always be possible that there is something wrong, and it will never be that kind of right again.
There are serious logistics involved when your children are in school. What with the lunches and the clothes and the papers and the pickups and the drop-offs and the homework and the social and extracurricular activities and the vacation schedules (not to mention the volunteering)...
You -- and only you -- get to decide what's important to your family. Not the modern culture of "more" and "faster." Not the experts. Not even your mother. You choose what your family considers valuable, enriching and fun.
When it comes to parental authority, we Americans could take some more lessons from the French. They work hard at being "the one who decides," and believe that kids blossom best inside limits, and that it's reassuring to know that a grown-up is steering the ship.
It's such a dream, the Family Dinner. From the moment I saw my first ultrasound, I could see it so clearly. A happy family sits around a table, passing heaped platters of colorful food.
When my kids started attending daycare in Paris, I was struck by the lunch menus. Every day, the 3-and-unders were served four-course meals.
Patience isn't a fixed quality. It's more like a muscle, which grows stronger with practice. And French kids get a lot of practice.
I've come around to the French (though not exclusively French) idea that a slower, less stressful pace of family life isn't just more relaxing for grown-ups. It's also good for kids.
The behavior I'm expecting from my daughter has not gotten better because what I'm doing is just being confrontational and even desperate in my attempt to "fix" a problem without digging deeper to find strategies that would be more long-term.
As an only child, I never grew up with a lot of children, or brothers and sisters who paved the way for this journey. If you are anything like me, here are some of my tips to manage the experience of nursery shopping and registering for your shower.
I had a baby, my first, earlier this year. After over a decade of telling parents how to raise their girls, I'm now tasked with raising my own. I have no doubt I'll take back some of what I said from a childless perch -- and hopefully feel gratified about the rest.