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The Good Mother

May 07, 2010 Some say motherhood is the hardest job in the world; turns out, there’s a lot of history to back that up. In this Mother’s Day episode, the "American History Guys" from Back Story Radio explore the changing expectations of mothers over three centuries. Historian Linda Kerber discusses the “founding mothers,” who were tasked with instilling future generations with good republican values. Ann Hulbert, an expert on parenting experts, explains why mothers in the 1920s were instructed not to smother their children with love. And reporter Nate DiMeo tells... read more

I Knew You When

I was sitting perched on the arm of our couch, quietly observing my father-in-law, husband, and son. Next to me was Gabriel, rapt and motionless, listening to his grandfather read a story. At the far end sat Mike, puzzling over conic sections for the math class he was teaching. Maybe it was something about the way he was holding his back and head at attention, but suddenly little Gabriel became a big teenager in my mind’s eye. I could see his long limbs and strong brown neck, his graceful motions and intent way of listening. And when I looked at my husband... read more

This, too - —whatever it is! - —shall pass

Another one-two punch for your parenting arsenal: perspective and gratitude. While fretting over my 21-year-old’s announcement that he might fail a class because of all the time he missed due to rehearsals and performances (Oh, come on! How hard is it to get to class?! and if you have to miss, how hard can it be to check in with your teacher about absences?), I was hit with a completely unrelated realization that just about took off the top of my head. He’s potty trained! Back in the summer of 1993, this seemed as remote a possibility as a Black... read more

Celebrating Arbor Day in Books

By Mindy Rhiger   In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees.  We know that day as Arbor Day, or the last Friday in April.  One way to celebrate is to learn more about trees, and there is no shortage of great books to choose from.   Since April is also National Poetry Month, it seems appropriate to start with a book of tree poems.  Old Elm Speaks by Kristine O’Connell George just may change the way you look at the trees you see.  Some of the poems are from the trees’ perspectives.  Some are from the eyes of the... read more

Naturalists, Naturally

After all the jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and high-intensity Easter egg hunting at church, we were all in need of simpler, quieter pleasures on Sunday afternoon. The weather had been warm and sunny, coaxing forth green growing things (including many exuberant weeds) and a variety of birds and bugs. The flora and fauna were loving it, and so were we. Just as I reached for the door to head out on a tour of the blossoming neighborhood, my daughter Frances suddenly raced upstairs to get something. “Wait! It’s important!” she shouted over her shoulder. She returned... read more

How to be creative and other inadvertent parenting advice

All advice is autobiographical. This thought for the day, is appropriately enough, stolen from Austin Kleon, author of “How to Steal Like an Artist and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me,” a highly recommended smart and charmingly inspirational pictorial for creative people. The quote is included as a kind of disclaimer, but I was struck by the wisdom of it. Whether giving or taking, it might behoove us to remember where advice comes from: we can speak with real authority only about what we have experienced, ourselves. Which may or may not apply to the... read more

Another Kind of Gift

By Angela RossmanithWeb Exclusive - October 10, 2008 A while ago, my little granddaughter Ella spent the night. Bedtime was a long, drawn-out affair, with lots of stories and lullabies and snuggling. Eventually fatigue won, and her eyes stayed closed long enough for sleep to take hold. I could feel her soft breath on my neck where her head rested. Slowly, gently, I lowered her onto her mattress, patted her bottom lightly when she stirred, and watched her sink into a slumber I hoped would last for a few hours. I loved my children, and of course I still do and always... read more

L.O.V.E. Parenting in Person SATURDAY, APRIL 23

Siblings! I am hosting a L.O.V.E. Parenting Workshop tomorrow, April 23, at Mystic Journey Bookstore on Abbot Kinney in Venice, California, 9-11am, and I hope you can join me! The workshops are always inspiring, supportive and community building. I present various techniques & there are participatory exercises & time to address individual challenges. Call to reserve: 310-242-7081 or JUST SHOW UP. Many blessings to all on this journey together! –Jessica “Truly amazing woman.”–Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped... read more

Playing Ball

Your turn, Mama. Now you make a basket. My son half bounces, half rolls the basketball to me, across the squeaky indoor court at our local rec center. I dribble the child-sized ball once, twice, then on three it bounces off the soft toe of my sneaker instead of the floor and rolls into a corner. I do not wince or look around to see if anyone caught my embarrassing move. I just run after it, dribble it back to the hoop, and shoot. It goes in. You DID it! My son is jumping up and down, grinning. He’s holding up his hand, waiting. High five,... read more

What Is A Girl? What Is A Boy?

When I was three years old, my mother took me to the bank and propped me up on the counter while she tended to her paperwork. Legend has it that I looked at the male teller and asked in a loud and clear voice, “Do you have a penis?” Luckily, my mother was a preschool teacher with a degree in early child development and she knew my question was a natural part of a young child’s inquiry into gender, identity and anatomy. While my mom went on to explain when it was best to discuss such things and with whom, she never shamed me for my natural curiosity. Soon... read more

Mothering › Child Articles