The “Always On” Commitment of Motherhood

I was running in my neighborhood one day when I heard a siren in the distance. It got louder and continued for a few minutes, shattering the quiet of the morning. My heart raced a little faster as a dozen what-ifs suddenly barreled through my brain. I was only a few blocks from my daughter’s school. Was the emergency there?

For a moment, I stood frozen in the road, wondering if I needed to do something.… Read More

The Places That Shape Us

Summer means more time for family fun, and this month we traveled with the kids to visit relatives on the West Coast. My siblings and I grew up in northern California, where we lived in the same house from the time we were babies until we had landed our first real jobs and officially joined the ranks of adulthood.

After I moved out, my childhood home often felt like a loyal friend, one whose steady presence remained in my life despite distance and the passing of years.… Read More

Recognizing Resilience

A friend said to me the other day, “You don’t give yourself enough credit for how resilient you are.”

Resilience. It’s a quality we often don’t recognize in ourselves, even though we have it in spades. I’m starting to realize that resilience isn’t something we have to learn or develop; it’s just a part of human nature.

I’m thinking more about resilience as my five-year-old daughter and I are in the kitchen one spring day.… Read More

I Rue the Day My Kids Discovered YouTube

It began innocently enough. My husband and I decided to invest in an iPad for the kids, envisioning it as something we’d employ for special situations, like helping lessen the boredom of long car rides, airplane trips, or emergency department waiting rooms.

Sooner than we’d expected, however, this nifty gadget had wormed its way into our daily lives with alarming ease. The kid-friendly apps we installed were all fine and dandy and even somewhat educational.… Read More

Surviving a Sick Day at Home with Your Kids

Ah, fall. The air is crisp, the leaves have turned a glorious hue — and the scourge of school germs is wreaking havoc on households everywhere.

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and my first grader and preschooler have already logged several sick days at home with mama. Even when my kids are too ill for school, they somehow still have enough spunk to whine constantly that they’re bored, taking occasional breaks to bicker with each other over toys that neither has played with in years.… Read More

Five Things That Happen When You’re in the Bathroom

Once you become a parent, a simple visit to the bathroom by yourself can be a memorable and even philosophical experience. As the summer winds down, here are some of the things I’ve noticed during this special “me” time:

1. You see the overflowing laundry baskets.
Okay, technically this happens on the way to the bathroom, possibly after I nearly kill myself stumbling over a rogue Lego or one of those blasted Magic Clip dolls.… Read More

My First Duathlon: Reawakening the Past

Rocking the bike segment of the triathlon. Summer 2008.

One sweet summer before I became a mom, I completed two sprint triathlons. The first, a lovely event in Corvallis, Oregon, included a 750-meter pool swim, an 11-mile bike ride in the countryside, and 5K run. Admittedly, I did cheat on the run segment (by accident, I swear – I took a wrong turn that caused me to skip the last half of the route!), but the event was still a great experience that I fully enjoyed.… Read More

Small Size, Big Mealtime Battles

My youngest daughter turned four this March, a fact that surprises most people when they see her for the first time. At 26 pounds and just over 35 inches, Lily still fits in clothes that would be snug on the average two-year-old. Toddlers tower over her, and her legs barely reach the pedals of the tricycle that our kindergartener outgrew years ago.

Let’s be realistic: I’m only 5 feet 2 inches myself, and my husband is no giant.… Read More

Dreaming of Spring

As I type this, I’m sitting on the floor of my bedroom, glancing up every so often to see if my gently snoring four-year-old is stirring. Normally Lily is a peaceful sleeper, but she’s been battling a nasty cough for the past few days. This morning, she woke up with a new symptom. “My tummy really hurts,” she whispered, tears in her eyes, before drifting back to sleep. Though the dreaded stomach bug has been the hot topic of conversation at school and in playgroups lately, I’m hoping my daughter can still escape it.… Read More

Growing Up

For Christmas break this year, my husband, our two daughters and I visited our families on the West Coast. Whenever I return to my hometown, a suburb south of San Francisco, I’m always struck by how much smaller the playgrounds, houses and streets are in reality compared to my recollection. To my childhood eyes, the park was enormous, featuring a sloping hill dotted with trees and a towering half-shell where summer bands played.… Read More