Even pretend weapons can be dangerous

I have a 12-year-old son who is a 7th grader this year. Like most 7th grade boys, my son's actions don't necessarily involve a lot of thought. Just this week alone, he decided that buying and consuming a Monster energy drink right before bed was a good idea, skipping his chores and lying about them being done was perfectly acceptable, yelling at his stepdad would have no repercussions, and leaving the house and not coming back until after 8 p.m. (with no cell phone or note) was okay. ...more

I didn't leave after the first hit - A story of abuse.

A whole other lifetime ago, life was very different in our family. We didn’t have a lot of money, and things were really tight. When money is tight, so is patience, as well as everyday common decency. My then-husband (the Ex) and I thought nothing of our verbal sparring matches we held way back then. There were some nights when we screamed at each other through to the early hours of the morning. Eventually, those screaming fights escalated into something more physical....more

Why I Let My 14-Year-Old Move Out

My 14-year-old daughter, DQ, is moving out. It’s weird; I never thought I’d type these words before she turned 18. But here I am, standing by as she packs up her bags and prepares to leave the nest. My nest. The one I have padded with protection and comfort since the day she was born, through a messy divorce, during financially tight times, and in her tumultuous teen years. She is flying the coop with my assistance when I drive her a full three hours away to live with her father. And this might just be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. ...more
hi,  i am struggling with my 16 year old boy right now.  we were homeless for about a year ...more

Make 2013 YOUR year!

You know what I love about the new year? It’s a chance to start over, to create something huge, to make a difference in at least one life, even if that life is merely yours — especially if that life is yours.It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, a time when we can say all those cupcakes we indulged in don’t count because it’s the first day of a new year and better eating habits start today!...more

The big name change dilemma

“You’re changing your name?”This was the big question today at our newspaper’s features meeting when I announced that any future stories I wrote would be under my new last name.“I wouldn’t do that, ” one of the gals said, noting all the work I had done under my current last name.  She mentioned how she was sporting her maiden name as her byline.  And one by one around the room, it was apparent that this was the popular choice among all the women.  I would be the only one taking on her husband’s name legally and professionally....more

Being the Cool Parent

On a recent afternoon, my daughter DQ and I were on our way back from dropping my son, Taz, off at his friend’s house. I had assumed that DQ was going to spend the rest of the day bored since one of her best friends was grounded that day, so I racked my brain for something we could do together.“What do you want to do?” I asked her, and was surprised when she said she already had plans....more

7 Tips for Busy Moms

One of the favorite phrases of kids is, “I’m bored.” You know, as in they have nothing to do, would like to be entertained, have finished all the play they had on their list of things to do and literally don’t know what to do with themselves. I do not understand the concept of boredom. Seems like once you have children, being bored becomes a luxury. If I’m not carpooling kids, making something to eat for a hungry child, signing paperwork for school/camp/sports, attending a dance recital or soccer tournament, cleaning up in front of the adolescent tornado following me around, or entertaining said-bored children, I’m mulling over all these things on a constant rotation in my head....more
my kids never said that when they were kids. or now. never heard those words from them. ...more

Making friends at camp

Last year when my son Taz went to camp, he spent the whole entire time hanging out with a 6-year old instead of 10-year olds like him. It had been an awkward year for him already, having started the school year at a new school, and then finishing it back up at his old school because the first school was too rough on him. It was a learning experience for all of us, and we were lucky to have ended it on a good note....more

Teenage Jekyll & Hyde

On a recent evening, I took my daughter, DQ, to the store to go shopping for some clothes and jewelry she wanted for a special occasion.  We not only looked for what she needed, but had fun going through the different aisles trying on scarves and making fun of gaudy rings.  It was an inexpensive way to get in some mother-daughter time – until we got to the checkout.  We both knew I ended up spending too much money on her, and she was extremely gracious about all her new pretty things I bought for her.  So I was caught off guard when the very next day she was blasting me ...more

Raising boys - 10 things they don't tell you

I grew up in a family of three girls. My dad was good-natured about it, inviting us along to magical places like “the dumps” and the racetracks at Sears Point in Sonoma, CA (now Infineon). And he merely stepped over our Barbie shoebox hotels that lined the hallway. He got us into sports like soccer, took us for hikes in the hills, and taught us how to get back up when our horse bumped us off the saddle. We learned how to mow the lawn, muck out a barn, and pull out loose nails from the deck....more