Portfolio

Here are several pieces that are representative of my work: (full list of publications here.) Anthologies published can be found at the bottom of this page.

On Motherhood:

They Are Not Half Sisters, published on Brain, Child Magazine’s blog

I believe with all my heart that my children will never regard each other as half of anything. Their relationship contains everything that full-blooded siblings experience. It is full of loyalty. Full of conflict. Full of that deep understanding and witnessing that only siblings can share. Full of love.

I’m the Mommy Who Swears, published on Redbook.com

Despite my diligent efforts to practice the type of self-care that would leave me in a state of perma-Zen– meditation, yoga, acupuncture, Zinfandel (kidding. Sort of.)– I often succumb to aggravation and wind up unleashing my “angry voice.” I’m not proud of it, but I’ve spent years in therapy learning to accept who I am as a person: an expressive, emotional, “hot responder.”

I Stopped Wearing Makeup for My Daughters, published on Cosmopolitan.com

As I watch my little girl scrutinize her face, I’d like to tell her that it doesn’t matter if you look perfect, that nobody else is judging you as harshly as you judge yourself, that it’s a waste of time to stand in front of the mirror criticizing your appearance. But I would be a hypocrite.

Debate: Should Kids Have Homework in Elementary School? published in Brain, Child Magazine’s September 2015 issue:

Parents in our culture receive mixed messages about how we are to approach childhood; we exchange sentimental quips about how fast it goes and how we should savor every minute, and in the next breath we prematurely push our children to be responsible, work-driven mini-adults. When do they get to just be kids? With the metamorphosis of extracurricular activities into high-pressured endeavors, our children already enjoy far less unstructured time than their parents did. If they are supposed to be involved in competitive sports, foreign languages, musical instruments, and religious or philanthropic organizations, where is the time for family meals, relaxing with a good book, and roaming freely with their neighborhood friends?

I Guess I’m Raising a “Tomboy“, published on The Washington Post’s On Parenting.

My little girl loves her robots. She’s athletic. Her black-and-blue knobby-kneed legs stick out under carefully selected dresses only occasionally, as she customarily prefers to dress like a drunk, blind hobo. Her imaginative play involves far more action and adventure and far fewer baby dolls than my childhood play did, or her sister’s for that matter.

Does that make her a tomboy? I don’t know. She sure loves her some glitter, and Anna and Elsa have a good deal of street cred in her eyes. I’ve always tried my best to avoid applying gender stereotypes to my children, or anyone else’s children for that matter.

As her mother, I will make every effort to give her the freedom to avoid contorting herself unnaturally to fit into boxes or adhering to rigid labels as she grows. I don’t know if I’m raising a tomboy or not. I’m raising Sophie.

Play With Me, Mommy!, published on Mamalode

Whenever my preschooler would croon, “Mommy? Will you play with me?” I felt my heart sink. What kind of a mother doesn’t want to play with her own daughter, I chastised myself. The idea of sitting down on the floor, manipulating a plastic doll and contributing to inane improvisational dialogue gave me the urge to pop a few Tums.

I’m Glad Someone Told Me, published on The Huffington Post

But I also think our society is at major risk of internalizing this kind of glorified commentary of motherhood as fact. Yes, yes, I’m well aware that many people are tired of all the negativity and complaining. But it’s about more than that. It’s about our culture’s absolute lack of support and understanding when it comes to the postpartum period. We embrace an archaic view of motherhood, and, more disturbingly, of the smooth and natural transition to motherhood.

Mean Mommy published on Mamalode

“Shut up,” I yelled at the small dog who was yapping frantically at the crazy woman entering his territory. Yes, I am that big of a jerk. I shout at dachshunds. Reentering the car to the soundtrack of my daughter’s crying, I realized I had to get it together. “Izzy,” I began, “you need to stop freaking out.” I had an out of body experience as I watched the words float out of my mouth. The glaring hypocrisy smacked me in the face, but it was too late to take my duplicitous words back.

A Tale of Two Uncles, published on the Huffington Post

By the time they had been together long enough to refer to them as “the uncles,” my daughter had turned six, and it seemed awkward to initiate a conversation on the details of their partnership. It seemed a bit like asking someone’s name after you have spent months sitting next to her at PTA meetings and it was implied that you already knew it, because clearly, she knew yours. What’s the statute of limitations on bringing up questions that should have, theoretically, been answered years earlier?

The Last Easter Dress, published on Brain, Child Magazine

“I want a dress like Sophie’s,” Izzy complained, while her three-year-old sister licked the mirror. “Hers spins better.”

It was true. The ability of a skirt to fan out, ballroom-gown-style, upon twirling, was one of my preschooler’s prerequisites when selecting a dress. It was, in fact, the only prerequisite. Her closet contained hangers of forlorn corduroy dresses that went unworn due to their subpar performance when spinning.

My eight-year-old wanted a dress like that: a full-skirted number with ribbons and bows, one better suited for Easter Sunday than this discount retailer’s attempt at haute couture. She wanted a dress like I had in the 1980s, one that would have undoubtedly been accompanied by a stiff-brimmed Easter hat with a pale pink ribbon. She wanted a little girl’s dress. And there were none to be found.

Why It’s Important To Talk About Pregnancy Loss, published on Role/Reboot

In addition to my fear and sadness, I felt a sense of embarrassment that I had been kicked out of the “pregnancy club.” I felt as though I were defective. The humiliation I experienced was just as debilitating as the aching void of loss.

 

Humor pieces:
She’s Not an Asshole; She’s Just a Three-Year-Old published on Scary Mommy

When in my threenager’s company, I rarely go more than several minutes without encountering her dark side. She is constantly sobbing over some injustice, be it my refusal to allow her to ingest the entire Costco box of Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks or the fact that her Dora nightlight isn’t properly aligned with her bed railing. It’s as though she lives in a constant state of PMS and has just found out that chocolate is now illegal and her favorite soap opera has been canceled. I contemplate crushing up some mood stabilizers and sneaking it into her yogurt tube.

But then I remember: she’s not chemically unbalanced. She’s just a 3-year-old.

Come to think of it, she is kind of an asshole. But she won’t be forever.

Marijuana Is the New Red Wine published on In the Powder Room

Let’s be honest—for many moms, Happy Hour is a thing of the past, regrettably replaced by Crappy Hour, aka the witching hour. This is the time of day when moms begin preparing a healthy, home-cooked meal (or EZ Mac), children begin melting down, and the Disney Channel is once again flipped on. Instead of uncorking your vacuum-sealed Petite Syrah, why not take a petite hit off yesterday’s joint? 

10 Ways I Am Failing Adulthood, published on the Huffington Post

When I look back on the efficient, well-oiled machine that was my childhood household, I don’t remember as much chaos, scrambling and disorder. Was at least one person sick all the freaking time, the way it is in my family? Were swear words uttered and too many TV shows viewed? I don’t believe my brother or I ever had fingernails (or toenails) that would’ve been considered an unfair advantage in The Hunger Games.

5 Things I’d Really Like People With No Kids to Know, published on the Huffington Post

Imagine you are a waitress and the only meals you are allowed to eat take place at your restaurant. While you are still working. While you eat, you are expected to continue to wait on your customers, providing for their every need. But these aren’t the friendly, tidy, appreciative customers. These are the messy dipsh*ts who are dissatisfied with their meals, spill and break things and always need another side of ranch. Bon Appetit!

 

 

I was honored to be chosen for the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother Denver, reading “The Guilt, The Crippling Mommy Guilt.”

In fact, I usually only shower when my husband is home, due to the highly unpredictable and reckless nature of my youngest child, and I am always mindful of my family members waiting downstairs for me, likely in the throes of a pivotal family disaster while I sudse away.  This vexing awareness causes me to rush, taking as hot and quick a shower as possible, leaving me the human equivalent of pan-seared.

I was also named one of the BlogHer 2014 Voices of the Year for my piece, “My Beautiful Girls: Raising Feminist Daughters.”

 My own mother set the bar high; she was an intelligent, involved, social, and dynamic woman, but she was also an incredibly selfless and dedicated mother. I, on the other hand, am painfully aware that my desire to keep my own needs on the table and my identity somehow intact is often perceived as being selfish.

For a full list of my featured writing, click here.

As one of The HerStories Project co-editors, I have published four books: 

<em>So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood (August 2016, HerStories Project Press)

A UNIQUE COLLECTION OF 60 ESSAYS BY SOME OF TODAY’S MOST TALENTED FEMALE WRITERS

• In the increasingly competitive culture of modern motherhood, parenting advice can often be judgmental, unrealistic, or smug. Or sometimes, there isn’t anyone there to offer advice or support. Mothers may be feel isolated and lack a support network to provide honest advice, and others may face a barrage of unwarranted, unhelpful tips or warnings.

•Empowering and compassionate. This collection of essays will empower and unite parents with real, honest advice from women who have been there. These writers share the advice or support they received—or wish they had—on everything from pregnancy to surviving the first year to parenting teens to empty nest syndrome.

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Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience (November 2015, She Writes Press)

Approximately 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression after having a baby. Many more may experience depression during pregnancy, postpartum anxiety, OCD, and other mood disorders. Postpartum depression is, in fact, the most common pregnancy-related complication―yet confusion and misinformation about this disorder are still widespread. And these aren’t harmless myths: the lack of clarity surrounding mothers’ mental health challenges can have devastating effects on their well-being and their identities as mothers, which too often leads to shame and inadequate treatment. In this one-of-a-kind anthology, thirty mothers break the silence to dispel myths about postpartum mental health issues and explore the diversity of women’s experiences. Powerful and inspiring, Mothering Through the Darkness will comfort every mother who’s ever felt alone, ashamed, and hopeless―and, hopefully, inspire her to speak out.

From the foreword: “The words and sentiments throughout this book are heartbreaking and heart-warming. They are touching and provocative. For readers who dare to believe that good mothers feel a myriad of amazing and shocking emotions, this book will truly be inspirational.” —Karen Kleiman, LCSW, author of This Isn’t What I Expected

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My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends (September 2014)

My Other Ex was a Finalist and received an Honorable Mention in Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Book of the Year contest. 

From the back cover: “There can be so much good, so much power, so much love in female friendships. But there is also a dark side of pain and loss. And surrounding that dark side, there is often silence.” 

“Friendships between women simmer with force and tenacity, tenderness and manipulation, confidences and compassion. Then, sometimes, the simmer increases to a burn. My Other Ex collects stories of burnout, the slow burn, and the uncontrolled wildfire. Each reader will find someone she knows here, including herself.” ~Susanna Sonnenberg, author of She Matters: A Life in Friendships

Cover HSP

The HerStories Project: Women Explore the Joy, Pain, and Power of Female Friendship (December 2013)

From the back cover: “The bonds of women’s friendship can be more intimate than marriage, and just as essential to emotional needs…The HerStories Project is a collection of essays from 50 women writers, encompassing friendship tales from the sandbox to the inbox. “

“These stories will make you laugh and cry, and remind you that in our overbooked lives, it’s the deep and lasting friendships that sustain us.” ~Katrina Alcorn, author of Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink