Mary Beth Burgstahler
#adulting
I was raised in the mountains of Southern California. I had a father who instilled a love of nature and a passion for hiking into my soul. Both are a part of me. They’re my therapy for recovering from a tough week. The thought of simply being out in the woods, by a stream, on a mountaintop or just any beautiful spot outdoors, is what’s always gotten me going each morning.Then came April 2014 when my OBGYN told me I would have to remain on bed rest for the remaining four months of my... more
Planning for peace of mind
Ensuring the financial future of a child with special needs is an important task. An effectively designed plan can provide the support and maintenance needed to help your child live a full and happy life. Many children who have a special need or disability will at some point qualify for and receive public assistance — such as SSI (... more
A motherless mother
Seventeen days before my son turned 2, my mom died.She, a single mom. Me, an only child. I felt orphaned. And the prospect of facing motherhood without her still hurts. Three years later, my son, now 5, still asks about his Mimi. My daughter, 18 months, will never know her. I’m 35. Married with kids. I own a house, two... more
A good-enough marriage
In a few weeks, it will be 12 years since my husband and I stood in front of a Bahamian minister — in what was generously described by our travel agent as a “garden,” next to the swim-up bar at an all-inclusive resort — and said our “I do’s.” It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since either of us made out with a stranger in... more
Daring to be vulnerable
Throughout my high school years, I was the girl who liked to run, but never joined the cross country team — the one who liked to shoot hoops in the driveway, but never tried out for the basketball team. I told myself — and anyone who asked — that I wasn’t “into” joining a team, I wasn’t that serious... more
Beyond ‘the baby blues’
Many people have heard about Postpartum Depression (PPD), but not many know that there are other types of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) that can be equally debilitating. The most common thing I hear from moms struggling with any of these disorders is, “I do not feel like myself,” or “This is not what I expected it to... more
Holiday tipping done right
Like you need another thing to do … but the holiday season is an appropriate, if not ideal, time to say thank you to all the people who have provided quality services to you and your family all year long. An envelope filled with cash is nice, but a gift that can be unwrapped is pretty sweet, too.Here are a few one-size-fits-all gift... more
Staying connected amid kid chaos
With the craziness that is parenting — rushed mornings, constantly interrupted conversations and evenings packed with activities — even the strongest relationships can start feeling more like business partnerships than love connections.After our second daughter (who seemed to be an insomniac) was born, my husband and I suddenly... more
Mother’s intuition vs. anxiety
As a childbirth educator and doula, I hear the term ‘mother’s intuition’ a lot.Experienced mothers attempt to reassure moms-to-be or new moms with, “Don’t worry: You’ll just know. It’s just a mother’s intuition.” I’ve been guilty of using this form of advice myself, knowing quite well that when I get this little nugget of... more
This is adulting
Is getting enough exercise and eating right on a regular basis really easy for anyone?Add in the enormous feat of carrying and birthing a baby (or even babies!) and it can feel monumentally more challenging. Impossible.As a new parent, you have few #adulting assets — no sleep, no time (relative to your recent past), no money (... more
The value of non-paid work
A frequent lament of my Motherhood & Words students is the challenge of carving out time to write. There’s the tower of laundry on the sofa in the living room, the dinner that needs to be made, the sick child home from school, the co-worker calling to find out why you haven’t emailed the report that was due two minutes ago.... more
Why you need an estate plan
Parents will often go to great lengths to ensure the safety, security, health and wellbeing of their children. But there’s one part of protecting kids that parents often overlook (or simply find unthinkable): “What if something happens to us?” Parents give of themselves — financially, physically, emotionally — to ensure the... more