The two most powerful words

I glanced around my office this morning and realized that, if I have a decorating motif in this messy place, it must revolve around words. They’re everywhere. On one shelf is a small plaque that says “My greatest blessings call me Mom.” Another one says “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” Above my computer, a square stone has these words etched into it: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (I read that one a few thousand times when I’m on deadline and staring at a blank page.) On another shelf is a sign that says “If at first you don’t succeed, do it like your mother told [...]

Up against the wall

The interstate that connects my town to neighboring cities is under construction. It’s going from two lanes to a much-needed three. But during the road’s growing pains, construction workers have erected a concrete wall that runs along the left-hand side of the road right next to the yellow boundary line. And that wall? It scares me. It’s not a tall, intimidating wall, but I get nervous when I enter that stretch of interstate. I tense up. I put my hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel and try to remember all the safe driving tips I’ve ever heard. I even hold my breath a little, as if that will somehow pull the sides of my car in and [...]

To cut or not to cut?

Once every six weeks or so, a woman has a certain window of opportunity that makes her feel as if she’s on the verge of greatness – like anything could happen. The window opens about 10 minutes before a haircut appointment. And for those 10 minutes, we women flirt with the idea of doing something crazy. This is especially true for women in the midst of growing their hair longer or for those of us who get our hair colored. (And for the record, I color my hair because I want to. The fact that the hair color also happens to remedy the valley of grey hairs sprouting up along my part is just a happy accident. But I digress.) [...]

Top 3 things annoying parents do

Today I’m sharing important research I’ve compiled here in the parenting trenches that may help my fellow parents gain more insight into why we’re so annoying. While driving them back from yet another after-school lesson, one of the three kids in the car began to drum on the armrest. (Have you ever noticed how almost all boys under the age of 20 have a tendency to drum on things? Desks, tables, cars, legs, and almost any hard surface? I think they’re born with it. I call it the Ringo Starr gene.) After four miles of drumming, it got annoying so I asked him to please cut it out. But it made me wonder: What do I do as a parent [...]

Thoughts upon waking (in five-minute intervals)

No…no, no, no. What is that awful sound? Oh, I hate that sound. Why did I pick that sound for my iPhone alarm app? ’m definitely changing that sound option later today. The “crystals” alarm tone sounded so pretty when I chose it, but clearly I was deluded. Crystals are bad. I hate them. Go away, crystals. I’ll get up in five minutes. (Tap to snooze.) No…no, no, no. I need to sleep. Sleep is the best thing that God ever created. I’m in love with sleep. I love sleep so much that I would marry sleep and Tom would just have to understand. Nothing feels better than this. My body is demanding sleep and I should listen to my [...]

My pre-Halloween chocolately mistake

“Stupid, stupid, stupid.” That’s what I muttered to myself as I reached into the basket of guilt-inducing Halloween candy for the fourth time today. Last weekend while I was buying groceries, I grabbed several bags of Halloween candy because it was on sale and I wanted to save money as well as another trip to the store. But when I got home, I remembered exactly why I should never buy Halloween candy a second earlier than October 30th. The longer it’s in the house, the more of it I’ll eat. Why? Because it’s there and because my jaws aren’t wired shut. Even as I type these words, my desk is littered with fun-size wrappers, hard evidence of my pre-Halloween mistake. [...]

If mothers had super powers…

Superheroes are hot right now. They score big at the box office. They’re piling up on prime time TV and you’ll see plenty of little caped crusaders ringing your doorbell this Halloween (since it’s common knowledge that superheroes need Skittles and Snickers to fuel their superpowers.) Several years ago the word “supermom” became popular – a term used to describe the overly enthusiastic mom with limitless energy and a Pinterest-perfect home who can run a PTA bake sale and a Fortune 500 company and still have time left over to teach Zumba. I and many of my fellow mothers tried our best to live up to the Supermom name but soon found that it’s about as mythical as potty-training in [...]

High mileage

When I was growing up, we kept our navy blue Pontiac Bonneville a long time – mostly out of necessity and partly because my mother had a hard time letting go of things, including cars, empty Cool Whip bowls and every picture I ever colored in the second grade. At one point, the car’s headliner – that fabric on the ceiling of the car’s interior – started to pull away from the roof and sag down like an inverted parachute. Before it got low enough to brush against the tops of our heads, we performed a do-it-yourself fix using thumbtacks. We spaced them out evenly which created a quilted appearance, and we used gold thumbtacks, which did not add the [...]

Wheels on the bus

My kids used to ride the bus. Now they don’t. Now I spend more than an hour in the car on weekdays sitting in long car lines at three different schools so I can pick them up. It’s not one of my favorite activities, although I’m slowly learning how to make better use of my “sitting in the crazy long car line” time. So why don’t I just make the kids ride the bus like they used to? I’ll tell you. The bus has changed. When my kids first started riding it in elementary school, they had this incredible bus driver named Ms. Virginia. Every time she pulled up at the stop sign, it felt like Mother Goose herself had [...]

Falling out of “like”

Dear Facebook, We need to talk. I think we need to take a break. It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, maybe it’s a little bit you. It’s not that you’re a “bad” social media platform. You’re not. It’s just that when I spend time with you, I feel like a loser. And I just don’t think my self-esteem can take much more of this relationship. Please don’t take this the wrong way. There’s a lot to like about you. Thanks to you, I get to see adorable pictures of nieces and nephews and watch them grow up even though we’re hundreds of miles away. And I love the way you make me laugh sometimes. That video of the hamsters spinning [...]