Maya Mason
When I realized I was pregnant, my initial feeling about joining an online moms’ group wasn’t positive, so I wasn’t all that interested.Then when I found out I was having twins — a big mental adjustment, to be sure — I heard the same advice over and over again: You’ll need support. You should join a moms of multiples group.Yet I still felt hesitant about it, despite everyone’s claims that this digital community would be a wonderful resource.So I decided to explore this apprehension and figure... more
A guide to help those grieving
My husband died in 2018. Colin (pictured) was a bicycle commuter and was on his way home from work on April 10 when he was killed instantly in an accident, just blocks from home. We were 16 days shy of our 15th wedding anniversary.I’ll spare you the details, but I knew something was wrong when Colin was late for dinner. Taco fixings sat... more
Winning at housework
Housekeeping’s never been my jam. But I finally realized, after eight years of trying to maintain my own home, that I needed to outsource some of the work. With three boys, a dog, two cats and all the hair I seemed to be shedding, my home had become a minefield of cereal, crumbs, dirt and more — daily. I could sweep and pick up... more
On being ‘woke’
I was introduced to the meaning behind the term “woke” in the fall of 2018, about one year after it was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I was teaching a literacy course at St. Catherine University, and one of my students created a project focused on the topic of being woke. The term “woke,” which originates... more
Protecting your family’s future
If you’re a parent — whether you’re just starting your new life with a tiny newborn or getting your oldest ready for college — you know the decisions parents have to make every day can feel overwhelming. No matter where you’re at in your journey, creating a will may not be on the top of your list, but it’s an essential... more
How to mom-date like a pro
I knew I was officially a mom-dater when, sitting on the couch after the kids were asleep, I squealed after hearing the ding on my cell phone, alerting me that my new — dare I say friend? — had texted me back. We had met earlier that day at my daughter’s softball practice. She was the coach and, I was sure, the one who could be... more
Read a bit. Feel better.
Did you know that reading — good old-fashioned reading — can help reduce stress and anxiety? According to a 2009 research study by the University of Sussex, people who read for only six minutes had lowered stress levels, including reduced heart rates and decreased levels of muscle tension. Six minutes! Even busy parents can... more
Investing with purpose
Giving to others is top of mind in December, but making a difference with our dollars isn’t limited to the holiday season. A growing number of Americans are investing their money year-round in companies with corporate values that align with their own.Indeed, Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) assets now account for $12 trillion — or... more
Learning to fall
“You aren’t from Minnesota, are you?” This was the first question my kind, well-intentioned instructor asked after I hobbled across the ice for my first adult skating lesson. I was born in Wisconsin, which may explain why I’m 40 years old and only just now learning to ice skate — or you might say — learning how to fall.... more
Planning for the unthinkable
What are your big financial goals? Most people are saving for something. Whether it’s retirement, college, a cabin or something else, the key component to achieving your goal is your income.And what’s your plan to ensure your income continues if you (or your partner) become ill or die prematurely?Injury or illnessRecent statistics show... more
What’s ‘moderate’ drinking anyway?
Every week there seems to be a new study in the headlines linking alcohol to health problems. Even moderate drinking is said to put women at an increased risk of liver disease, depression and several types of cancer.But what is “moderate” drinking?It depends on whom you ask.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define moderate... more
My iPhone cleanse
How long can you go without using your phone? After declaring “device-free dinners” at our house, I decided to conduct a monthlong iPhone experiment: For an entire month, I would limit the use of my phone and see what happened.Initially, I planned to restrict my phone use to its intended purpose — making phone calls. However, after... more
Getting back to me
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... 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