Mean Mom: middle school edition

In a few short months, my oldest daughter will graduate from elementary school and become a middle schooler. (Hold me.) In addition to all the perennial challenges of the junior high years—hormones, mean girls, a larger school, kids who party—we must figure out how to navigate social media and smart phones.

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How I prefer she spend her time. Outside, playing badminton.

For the first time in my parenting, I cannot look to my parents’ model or that of my wise friends with older kids. Even five years ago, smart phones were far less ubiquitous than they are today. My cabinet cannot help me here because when their daughters were in middle school, flip phones were socially acceptable. Snapchat hadn’t been invented.  Today, 50% of kids have smart phones in 6th grade and 90% have them by 8th grade.

Continue reading “Mean Mom: middle school edition”

A meditation on voting

I remember going with my mom to vote. As a pre-schooler, I was particularly intrigued by the curtain she had to step behind with her ballot. Even more intriguing was the fact that my parents’ polling place was a cemetery—my mom always laughed at the irony of voting at a cemetery in the suburbs of Chicago, a city famous for voter fraud that involved dead people casting votes.

We, too, always try to bring our children when we vote. We do this not for convenience’s sake, but for vision’s sake. We want our kids to understand the great privilege and responsibility that voting is. Continue reading “A meditation on voting”

My family’s (unarticulated) mission statement

Some families have mission statements. Together, they craft a short paragraph that will guide the family’s practices and shape its ethos. They post the mission statement in a prominent place in their home to remind them of their deepest values and sense of calling.

We are not one of those families. We do not shine when it comes to visionary planning. No, we rock a willy-nilly, go with the chaotic flow, and clean up afterwards approach to life. Yes, my husband does love planning (and research, oh the research), but after fourteen years, I have beaten him into submission won his willingness to go with my haphazard ways.

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Planning and execution do not seem to be our gifts

I realized the other day, though, that we had intuited our way to a working mission statement. Continue reading “My family’s (unarticulated) mission statement”

On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons

Once a month, I meet with an ecumenical group of moms from our elementary school to pray. We pray for the district, the school, the staff, and our kids. We pray for everything we can think of. I always pray that if my kids do something bad that they will get caught. 

This may seem counter-intuitive. Why would I want to get a call from the school that my child has misbehaved? Wouldn’t it be easier if they just got away with it? Continue reading “On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons”

Trading my dream house for my dream life

In June of 2008, we sold our home in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to an apartment in the suburbs of Chicago.  The home we sold was my dream home – it was old and it had built-in cabinets, bay windows, a laundry chute, and a large front porch.  It was one block from interesting stores and restaurants.  Our neighborhood was full of similarly old houses and tall trees.  With mixed feelings, we sold this house where we had returned from our honeymoon and later brought home our first child.

We had loved living in Cleveland, a city where you can have a very rich life for a very cheap price. Continue reading “Trading my dream house for my dream life”