Varda Steinhardt

Squashed Mom is a mother, a daughter, a wife and a writer. She blogs about special needs parenting, elder care (and loss) at The Squashed Bologna: a slice of life in the sandwich generation. She also writes for the Hopeful Parents site.

I Can't Remember the Last Time I Wasn't Squashed by My Family

It's been ten days now since my 89-year-old mother fell, broke her hip, and landed in the hospital via the ER. And thus I'm in my second week of being completely torn between my mother's and my family's total need of me. To say I am nearly being ripped apart by this is an understatement. ...more
I just went thorugh this with my grandmother. She fell and I took her to th ER becasue she had a ...more

Backward Days

Jacob has put his underwear on backwards again this morning. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but still, occasionally I will come into the living room prompted by Jake’s “I’m dressed Mommy!” shout-out, to find them on the wrong way. Then, like this morning, I have to tell him “No, Jake, they’re backwards, let’s get that fixed” and not just the usual “That’s a good start, Jake, how about the shirt and pants, too?” ...more

Dinner with a side of Autism

I hear the volume increasing, and my stomach tenses. Still, I ignore, stay turned to the task at hand, dinner in the making: skins thinly peeled from slices of ripe-bursting peach, rice steamed to softness. And then the pitch rises again. And the thuds. And the keening. And the wail. The wail that cannot be ignored: Mooooooooooommmmaaay! In their bedroom is a tangled mess of snot and confusion. Jacob with glasses awry. Ethan with hands on temples, shrieking “He head butted me, he head butted me!” ...more
Good stuff!! You really captured one of those indescribable "sibling moments" that occurs where ...more

Mom Nostalgia: What Passes In A Blink

Riding the subway with my sons, I look across to see a baby strapped to his mother’s chest, lovingly patting her face. (And then, not quite so lovingly, trying to stick his fingers up her nose.) I smile. Remember. My two are slumped against me, one at each shoulder; snuggled, tired, happy. On our way home from a boisterous day at the Cloister’s medieval festival, swords and shields safely stowed in our pack. I think the thought of all parents of older kids: “How did THAT turn into THIS?” Blink. Whoosh. ...more
@RuthNY Thank you. Yes at 9 there are whole new realms opening up, yet still they deign to hold ...more

Lesson Learned: Just. Write.

I spent all day Friday with my true tribe - writer/bloggers - at the wonderful, first ever (hopefully becoming annual) BlogHer Writers conference. There was so much useful information and so many amazing conversations going on all day (and at the cocktail reception the evening before) that my brain feels about to explode. And I am still digesting most of it. But if there is one message I took away from the conference? It was this: JUST. (FUCKING.) WRITE. ...more

3 AM in the ER

My watch says 3 AM. But ER time is timeless time. The lights always on full bore. The always ignored monitor alarms calling out their ceaseless beep beep beeyoups, making sleep near impossible in this place where it is so desperately needed by all. The cots have thinned out by now, their former residents lost to beds upstairs or returned to the street beyond. Thankfully tonight's more than full share of screamers and moaners, the deeply pained and the ecstatically crazed have been among the dispatched. ...more

Tangled Stories: Losing a Parent

My husband is a very private man. I am not. His 93-year-old mother went into the hospital a week ago Monday, and she is gravely ill. As my father passed away just this past March, at a similar advanced age, of a very similar condition, after spending much time at the same hospital, seeing some of the same doctors, you can see I might be having a lot of feelings right now. ...more

Sorry I didn't offer my condolences the first time - I was busy crying over both your post and ...more