If you take it really seriously, parenthood is the most challenging job you’ll ever have. The hours are long and the pay stinks. It requires the most emotional investment and the greatest patience. And no matter how well you do it, there will always be that nagging little voice in your head wondering, “Should I have handled that differently?” But parenthood is also the most rewarding and important role you’ll ever play. And the good news is that we're all in this together...

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Somewhere along the line, I stopped waiting for Thanksgiving to count my blessings. I mean, I don’t exactly enumerate them and make exhaustive lists that I ceremoniously share with others. But almost every day at some point, I find myself in this little ritual of sending out a karmic thank you for some of the things I’m grateful for. On really good days, it’s mostly for the big things – family, health, a roof over my head, plenty of food, etc. During periods of high stress amidst chains of little crises, I can often calm myself with little things – an extra half hour of sleep, a really strong cup of coffee, a cat on my lap, warm boots, etc. But rarely a day goes by that I don’t have some moment, no matter how fleeting, of profound perspective and thankfulness, throwing my gratitude out to the universe and hoping it creates a little positive energy.

I’m not exactly sure when this ritual became so ingrained, but I think it started on a more conscious level as I began talking more regularly on the phone to my father.

Monday, November 19, 2012


As a parent, one of my most primal instincts is to “make things better” for my children. Whether it’s kissing a booboo or helping mend a broken heart, my immediate response is usually to try and “fix” whatever problem my child is confronting. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not the dreaded “helicopter parent,” hovering over my children to monitor and micromanage every aspect of their lives. But when one of my kids comes to me with an issue, my “make it all better” gear can sometimes go into overdrive. I reflexively want to suggest solutions, offer advice, brainstorm some effective strategies.

However, as my children have gotten older (and I have gotten a little wiser), I’ve come to realize that many problems aren’t and shouldn’t be “fixable.”

Monday, November 12, 2012


“Dad, I know the boot is heavy and uncomfortable, but you have to wear it if you want your foot to heal. Put it on and leave it on.”

Lately, I often find myself talking to my father as if he’s a recalcitrant child, which is actually a pretty apt comparison. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in May, he has rather rapidly lost the ability to remember simple instructions – “Take your medicine.” “Close the door so the dogs don’t get out.” And the latest admonition after he slipped and broke his foot  –“Don’t take the boot off!”

Today’s baby boomers are often in the challenging position of parenting both their children and their parents at the same time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


With this week’s election, Massachusetts joins the ranks of states legalizing medical marijuana. For many people, the vote marks the end of the discussion. For parents, however, it should be only the beginning, or perhaps the continuation, of a very important conversation that stresses one message – for the developing adolescent brain, marijuana can be extremely dangerous. (I keep thinking about the landmark New Zealand study showing that adolescents who regularly smoke marijuana lose an average of eight IQ points by adulthood, an irreversible cognitive deficit.)

The article in yesterday’s Boston Globe points out some of the inherent pitfalls

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The 22-second YouTube video clip of four-year-old Abigael Evans crying because she’s “Tired of BroncoBamma and Mitt Romney” went viral just days before the election, echoing the strain we all felt from the extraordinary media blitz this time around, not just invasive television commercials and radio ads, but phone calls interrupting the dinner hour. However, when she was later asked why she was crying, the four-year-old  explained, “I just want them to stop fighting,” reflecting not just fatigue from political overexposure but real emotion over the anger and  hostility the election brought into our homes every day. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


The essay is done, the common app is in, the transcripts and the letters of recommendation have all been sent – my daughter’s application for early decision into college is DONE! I thought we would both feel this huge sense of relief. And yet…