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Creating a sense of 'home' when home keeps moving

I am writing this post from my parents' home. They have lived here since the 1970s, and I have spend at least part of the holiday season between these four walls every year of my life, from my first Thanksgiving to last week's Christmas. The house has gone through a...

By Brian Reid | December 29, 2009; 07:33 AM ET | Comments (7)

On Christmas, seeking parental perspective

Have yourself a very merry Christmas Eve panic attack... (Bloomberg) For those of us who a. procrastinate, and b. live on the East Coast and recently got buried under several inches of snow, the last-minute Christmas panic is even more intense than usual. "We don't have all the presents!...

By Jen Chaney | December 24, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (25)

Celebrating the snowfall windfall

It is my genuine hope that all of you are celebrating the snow day today and -- therefore -- have little time for reading blogs. It's not every day that Washington gets socked with a White Christmas-guaranteeing blizzard. So go on, get outside! Though there is no wrong way to...

By Brian Reid | December 21, 2009; 07:34 AM ET | Comments (21)

How to get your kids to bond with your parents (even if your bond isn't so strong)

I'm traveling this week with my wife, a professional trip that meant that the kids needed to stay home. Fortunately, Grammy is keeping an eye on the girls this week. Earlier in the year, the other grandparents bailed me out by watching the kids when I was on the road....

By Brian Reid | November 6, 2009; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (12)

Babysitting: Is it worth the investment?

My wife and I went out last Friday night (no, we didn't go pumpkin smashing), and our college-aged babysitter let it drop that she was sitting even though the party she had thought was Saturday was actually happening that night. I quickly apologized -- we could have found a replacement...

By Brian Reid | November 4, 2009; 06:37 AM ET | Comments (29)

The Risks of Unpopularity

Every 5 years, without fail, I traipse halfway across the country to my high school reunion. I go partly to connect with old friends and partly out of the voyeuristic impulse to see how we've all grown up. But the last couple of gatherings have driven home a point that...

By Brian Reid | September 30, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (45)

Long-Distance Relatives: The Good and the Bad

By Serena Beltz When my husband I first started discussing the possibility of getting married and having kids, two years into dating, he was adamant that we would be better living closer to our families. In our case, that would be no easy task -- he is from NE Pennsylvania...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 5, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (105)

'He Has Two Moms'

By Dana Rudolph I recently visited my son’s kindergarten to celebrate his “Birthday Walk.” During the ceremony, he carried a globe around a candle that represented the sun. After each orbit, once for every year of his life, I shared photos of him at that age. I explained who was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 29, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (84)

When You Have a Favorite

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Every parent I've ever spoken with, while expecting their second kid, always expresses the same fear: What if I don't love the new one as deeply as I love the old one? But once the second child arrives, those fears dissipate. No two kids are alike,...

By Brian Reid | June 25, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

Obama's Call: To Be a 'Good' Parent

On Sunday, Parade magazine published an essay by President Barack Obama about what fatherhood means to him. It was one of many, many father's day essays that appeared in all sorts of media. In case you missed it, here's what he had to say: "We need fathers to step up,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 22, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (7)

Why Can't I Stop Fighting in Front of My Kids?

By Melissa Chapman “Why do you just step out of your clothes and leave them on the floor, do you think I’m the maid?” “If you put your used coffee cup in the sink, why can’t you just fill it with water and let it soak?” “You need to put...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 12, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

Shhh! The Losses We Never Talk About

Last week, I started searching for a guest blogger to talk about the pain of having a miscarriage, live on On Parenting guest blogging central. The first rejection e-mail came in and I figured that I'd be digging for someone for quite awhile. Then, I ran across the essay I'd...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 5, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (76)

In Praise of 'Bad Mothers' and 'Bad Fathers'

By Rebeldad Brian Reid I do love a good parenting tempest in a teapot, so I’m eagerly awaiting Ayelet Waldman’s new book, “Bad Mother.” It’s an expansion of her most famous piece on motherhood, a doozy of a bomb that the New York Times ran four years ago that details...

By Brian Reid | May 1, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

A Kid's-Eye View on Talking to Us

Alec Greven may only be 10 years old, but he's got lots of thoughts about how to talk to parents. So many, that as a follow to his book, "How to Talk to Girls," he's written two more: "How to Talk to Moms" and "How to Talk to Dads." Here...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 29, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (18)

Black Dad, White Daughter

In "Raising Katie," Newsweek explores the life of an average family in Baltimore. To the outside observer, though, the family is not average. Guardians Mark and Terri Riding are African-American. Fourth grader Katie O'Dea Smith is white. The transracial family endures stares, rude comments and glares. Well-meaning folks have followed...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 28, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (27)

Alec Baldwin and the Daddy-Daughter Bond

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Alec Baldwin's long-promised book on divorce, driven by his excruciatingly public split from Kim Basinger, is now on bookstore shelves. I've seen enough of Baldwin to know that it's not likely to be worth the investment of my time. So I am somewhat grateful for Caitlin...

By Brian Reid | April 23, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Jade Goody's Mission: Her Sons

Jade Goody with sons Bobby and Freddie in 2006. (Getty Images) Jade Goody captivated many on "Big Brother," a reality TV show in Britain, and in her battle with cervical cancer, which she eventually lost. On Saturday, her family -- and nation -- buried her. Jade's focus -- both...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 8, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Dads and Downturns

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The victims of the current economic recession, we are told, are overwhelmingly men, which means that more and more fathers are coming home to -- at least temporarily -- different roles. The prospect of fathers taking on increased roles at home has sent the media into...

By Brian Reid | March 19, 2009; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (28)

Maintain Family ... At a Distance

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Last week, I took an unexpected field trip. My young nephew was going in for some long-planned surgery, but -- at the last moment -- the procedure was bumped a week because of some sniffles. That left my sister, who had made careful plans to ensure...

By Brian Reid | March 12, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (16)

What Kind of Parent Are You?

Parents: We're a politician's -- and marketer's -- dream. We spend money on our kids even when we save on all our other expenses. Once bucketed, we've been known to turn elections (a la soccer moms). And so, in order to appeal to our senses, we get put into simply...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 10, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

Babies Die and We Judge

In this weekend's Post magazine, Gene Weingarten takes us into the worlds of children forgotten by parents, children left to die in the back seats of their hot cars by mistake. As you'd expect, the parents' world is a harrowing one. These parents suffered severe memory lapses of a type...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 9, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (73)

Do Kids Screw Up Marriages?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Now that the warm fuzzies of Valentine's Day are behind us, it's time to look at a bigger question: Do kids screw up marriages? The New York Times tackled this earlier this month, flip-flopping a bit. First, the op-ed pointed out that "more than 25 separate...

By Brian Reid | February 19, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (18)

Tight-Lipped Moms are Mad at Dad

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The No. 1 most-read piece on parenting.com right now is a massive analysis of Parenting's latest poll of moms, which finds that mothers today are -- to put it mildly -- ticked off. The title of the piece is "Mad at Dad," but "mad" hardly seems...

By Brian Reid | February 3, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (78)

Goodbye, Mom and Nana

Today's blog is bittersweet. As I've written before, I've long wanted my mother's suffering to end and for her to die. Well, that day has finally arrived. Two months ago, when the hospice nurse told us she thought we were looking at less than two weeks, I sat 7-year-old down...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 30, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

Public Enemy No. 1: Layabout Dads

By Rebeldad Brian Reid As much as I hate to admit it, the inescapable fact is that dads, statistically, aren’t holding up their half of the parenting bargain. I’ve known this for some time, but when confronted by the stubborn reality, I usually do one of two things: I point...

By Brian Reid | January 22, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (41)

Dr. Sears on Ways We've Changed

A month ago, I snatched up an opportunity to chat with Dr. William Sears. THE Dr. Sears. You know, the one who, along with his wife, registered nurse Martha Sears, wrote "The Baby Book," which was pretty much glued to my body along with my first infant until I gained...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 28, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (26)

A Brit Says American Parenting 'Ruined my Life'

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Last weekend, Janice Turner at the Times (UK) set off a bit of tempest, declaring that parenthood had become an overly dramatized exercise in smothering children with attention and educational opportunities. Needless to say, Turner does not see the rise of parental obligation as a good...

By Brian Reid | October 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (26)

Connected -- And Happy About It

For any of us who've spent time watching YouTube videos or playing online games with our kids or who rely on our cellphones to call each other to coordinate schedules, this new research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project won't be a surprise. Nearly all married adults with...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 20, 2008; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (11)

A Web Site for the Professional Aunt

By Sharon McLoone washingtonpost.com staff writer Mothers spend about $1.7 trillion annually on consumer products, but mothers are only about 50 percent of women in the United States. What about the other 50 percent? Chances are moms and dads leave their kids in the care of this group more than...

By Ju-Don Roberts | August 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (32)

The 50-50 Split

Just in time for Dad's day comes an extensive New York Times magazine piece on shared parenting. For families such as that of Amy and Marc Vachon, that means that Amy doesn't make Marc follow her routines when Marc is the parent-in-charge (known as PIC in my household). It means...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 13, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Adoption: A Black and White Issue

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1809722,00.html http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2008_05_mepa.php

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 12, 2008; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

Sex After Kids

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article3997517.ece

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 2, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (33)

Parent Punishment?

If Six Flags banned you from using your CrackBerry, would you still take the kids? That's just the experiment that's going on in a theme park in Britain. Alton Towers Resort has roller coasters and other rides, shows, characters and a water park ... all the requisite family fun activities...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 27, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Family First

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been linked to a prostitution ring and has now stepped down from his public role. While his actions as a public official aren't about parenting, I can't help but wonder how he is talking about and explaining this to his three teenage daughters. Eliot...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 12, 2008; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Momnesia

Oops. Missed another doctor's appointment even though it was written on the calendar. Oops. Forgot to pack lunch in the backpack. Oops. There's wet laundry in the washer? There's actually a name for all that forgetfulness. It's called "momnesia," writes Liz Szabo in USA Today. "Few parents enjoy feeling so...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 7, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (22)

The Truth About Lies

Ninety-eight percent of teens lie. So says Dr. Nancy Darling, who has studied them. Surprised? Probably not. But when does the lying start? Po Bonson explores the developmental stages of lying in a New York magazine piece this week, Learning to Lie. In it, child lying behavior expert Dr. Victoria...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 14, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Sandwich Dilemma

Taking care of a kid or two or five is plenty of work all on its own. But add an ailing parent to the mix, and life becomes downright messy. Reader Kate touched on this earlier this week in "As Life Shifts, So Do Friends": I lost touch with friends...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

As Life Shifts, So Do Friends

While still in college, my best friend from high school got married. She was so young, in my early-twenty-something eyes, that a shift in our friendship was inevitable. It didn't hurt that we attended college across the country from each other and simply grew apart as we met different people...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Dating Rules Do Apply

When it comes to dating in a world where teens text and post on each other's "walls," in a world where a comment on a Facebook or MySpace page can circulate to thousands in the blink of an eye, are there new rules we parents should contemplate? Bill Albert, the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 16, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (34)

A Little Holiday Cheer

What would the last workday before many folks take off for Christmas be without some feel-good stories? (Okay, for the record, I'm the Jew crew next week and will be working, though not blog writing.) Anyways, let's hear it for: 1. The rescue of Frederick Dominguez and his three children...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 21, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mom and Dad on Equal Footing

When I heard that my colleague Jill Hudson Neal was writing a Still Me column about how -- even today -- women wash the dishes while men sit and watch football at Thanksgiving, I rolled my eyes. Yet again, these stereotypes surface that I simply don't see in my life....

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 28, 2007; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (61)

Traditions Old, Traditions New

Turkey day. A time for family. A time to give thanks. A week full of cooking a large homemade meal that everyone at the table appreciates. Thanksgiving day in our house has evolved over the years to become much different than the Thanksgivings my mother hosted. In those, Mom would...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 19, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (66)

Skimpy Skirts or Modest Fairies?

Whew! Another Halloween's come and gone. And the girls' costume wars can begin anew next year. After reading Brigid Schulte's story on preteens trading fairy wands for fishnets, I wondered: Who's going to win the costume battles this year, the girls or the parents? In my neck of the woods,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 1, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

Family Planning Gone Too Far?

An election is coming! An election is coming! Shout it from the rooftops. No baby this year. An election is coming! For many election-obsesseddevoted women and men whose jobs revolve around campaigns, having a baby in an election year is too disruptive to their work. So, they plan around it....

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 31, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (35)

A Comic Strip Mom's Death

The story is tragic. A thirty-six-year-old mom with a husband and five-year-old daughter dies after years of battling breast cancer. Now, add a twist. The mom, Lisa Moore, isn't real. She's a Funky Winkerbean comic strip character. Readers of the comic tell NPR on air that they are split between...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 17, 2007; 07:39 AM ET | Comments (44)

Well, Britney, Here's How You Parent...

For now, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline will continue an even custody split of sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1. But court commissioner Scott Gordon imposed some rules on Britney: random drug and alcohol testing and eight hours a week of parenting classes with a coach. So, let's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 21, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (30)

What Makes a Good Parent?

Once upon a time, in la la land far, far away, a prince met a princess. They got married and had babies. And all was well in the world. And then the world changed. Welcome to United States circa 2007. Births to unmarried mothers is at an all-time high (nearly...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 20, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (42)

Do They Know Who Mom Is?

In last week's Trust Your Instincts blog, we had an interesting -- though overly nasty at times -- discussion. Here's a flavor of some comments: Anonymous: Seriously- at camp 9 hours a day not including drive time? It's a wonder your child even knows who you are. So sad... :(...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 3, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (120)

Do You Love Your Kids the Same?

My kids are different -- I happily admit that. One is an engineer in the making. He's all about building based on directions, and math, math, math. The kid did tangrams at age 3 and 500 piece puzzles at age 4. The other is a more creative, verbal and touchy-feely...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 2, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Father's Day Revisited

As is to be expected, the media had a field day with dads this weekend. Stay-at-home dads were on the minds of The Post, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Denver Post, The New York Daily News and The Washington State Olympian as well as a few other media outlets. For...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 18, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

School's Out for the Summer

To any of you with preschoolers moving to kindergarten, elementary schoolers moving to middle school, middle schoolers moving to high school, high schoolers moving to college: Congratulations on passing a milestone. Your child's moving on. As I sat in elder son's classroom just after graduation yesterday, the teacher had them...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 15, 2007; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Best Age To Become A Parent

You know you want kids. But you've got a life to live, a career to build and a partner to find. So, you wait. And before you know it, you're in your late 30s or 40s. Your biological clock has been ticking away. Getting pregnant becomes harder. Infertility treatments cost...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 11, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Single Parenting Ups and Downs

I've been a single parent for four days. Thankfully, my spouse returns from his out-of-town work trip today -- and not a moment too soon. I could use some much needed sleep. As far as I'm concerned, single parents must have an extra patience gene. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, playing,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 5, 2007; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (98)

Some Parents Make It Home...

Memorial Day weekend coverage was filled with tear-jerker stories of parents, sons and daughters who have died in the Iraq War. In the Newsweek video series, Voices of the Fallen, Michael Mundell's wife talks about her husband as a father. His children, full of sadness, read from the letters he...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 29, 2007; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Supernanny's 'Seeds'

"Supernanny" was in town this past weekend. No, not British nanny Jo Frost herself, but the show's casting producers. And a funny thing happened: The turnout at their casting call was slim pickings. The show put a good spin on it. Casting producer Kim Clevenger told The Post: "People usually...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 24, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

The Choices We Make

New parent-to-be and Post workplace columnist Amy Joyce wrote a thoughtful piece this weekend about impending motherhood and the life choices she is about to make. So many questions, so few answers. Amy, in case you're reading this, that doesn't change, even years after that baby has been born. At...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 16, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Wish for Mother's Day

This Mother's Day I'll wish for something a tad unusual: I'll hope for my mother to die. She would want it that way. I recognize this wish is unusual, and most people don't understand it. I certainly don't speak this wish aloud very often, though I think it nearly every...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 11, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mothers and Daughters

Apparently, all those times my mother called my hair "a mop," it was out of love. And all the times she told me I was fat -- even though I was a competitive swimmer going to practice for four to seven hours per day -- that, too, was love. That's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 10, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Date Night

First comes relationship, then comes baby, then comes ... what's that? More dating? That's right. After the sleep deprivation, the months and years of feedings, diapers, night wakings, learning to roll, sit, crawl, walk, talk, read, etc., there comes a time for spouses, partners, adults in general to take some...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 22, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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