#lifestagesLessons from a Square Peg

27 comments | November 13th, 2012

square peg

(by Mir) My standard answer, when people ask us why we chose to remove my son from public school and enroll him, instead, at a facility we have lovingly nicknamed "Hippie School," is this: It took me a while to realize that public school was trying to fit my beautiful square peg into a round hole, and eventually we figured it out and put him where there are round holes and square holes and octagonal holes and even the option not to go into a hole at all. The answer is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, sure, but it's also the shortest way to encapsulate how it all went down. Because, truly, by the time my son was struggling to fit into a classroom, I already had 30-odd years of conforming to expectations (or suffering the consequences when I didn't). There was a tacit assumption on my part that my son could also learn to adapt and that would work out just fine. Yes, I accept that my son is very different from me, and even that his mind works very differently from that of a "normal" kid, but for years I believed ...

#bodiesWhere’s the Outrage?

10 comments | September 24th, 2012

WTF Burst

(by FMB)

We'll admit we don't get why and where popular media chooses to focus its - and our - attention, sometimes. 

Sometimes we're outraged by the abscence of outrage in our society.  Let's all talk about Lady Gaga's weight, Amy Poehler's divorce, or Amanda Bynes' troubles , but not these #s, and the massive, epidemic crisis of confidence affecting girls.  The status quo just isn't acceptable anymore.

7 out of 10 girls 8-17 believe they aren't good enough or don't measure up in some way (We're wondering good enough for what and measure up to what or whom?)

62% of all girls feel insecure about themselves (this is a massive crisis of confidence that does and will have serious ripple effects)

57% have a mother who criticizes her own looks (hey mom, think what you will - but stop hating on yourself in front of the kids)

What do you think?  Surprised by any?  What can we do to put the focus where it needs to be (and not on Ryan's abs), and why aren't we talking about this more?.




( data from Real Girls Real Pressure, a National Report on the State ...

#bodiesSelf-Loathing, Just Like Mama Taught Me

10 comments | July 12th, 2012

Chestist Shares

(story submitted as a comment, by Lana a Chestist, and reposted here, now)

The writer first posted this as a comment to our story on Mothers, and what they teach us about ourselves - for good and ill.  Here's her story:

When I was 14, my mom told me that, for her, 130 lbs was "big." At that time, I weighed about 165 lbs. In that moment, I wanted to kill myself.

She wasn't telling me to lose weight, she was expressing her own dissatisfaction with her body. My mom has a curvy hourglass figure - she's wears a 32DD Bra and size 12 pants. Her waist is tiny but she has our family's hips bodacious booty. My whole life, my mother talked about food, and she still does. She decides to "hate" foods that have "too much fat," like cheesecake, which, I recently found out, she actually loves but told me that she hated it my whole life. She won't even drink a latte because it has "too much milk." She has been on Weight Watchers my entire life and when we went around the table ...

#thecumulativeeffectRewriting Fairytales

8 comments | July 10th, 2012


(by Kristen, a Chestist)

I found out I'm having a baby girl over the weekend. To be honest, I was disappointed. Life as a woman in this country is difficult. Beautiful women get a lot more without trying as hard and the rest of us are inundated with media telling us why we're not right for not being those beautiful women.

I didn't want that for my daughter, so I wanted a son. I looked at the ultrasound screen; I saw the difficult life she would have---that I've had---and I cried. And then I realized why it matters more for me to have a girl. It matters because it's time to change my attitude. It's time to make this world understand that beauty isn't as important as what she can do. It's time for me to step up and teach her that she is incredible, smart, talented (no matter what those talents are). And it's time for me to use my own talents to help her understand.

I'm a writer and thanks to my unborn daughter, I have a new project in mind. When she's born, I won't ...

#lifestagesThe Joys of Potty Training a Toddler

9 comments | June 17th, 2012


(story by Renea Dijab, from

After successfully weaning a full-grown, walking, talking child with TEETH, it was time to move on to potty-training.  She very nearly attended her 4th birthday party in a diaper.  We do not do things quickly at my house.

If you read:  “Breastfeeding… FOREVER”, then you know I am committed to doing whatever it takes to move my baby girl happily through childhood, despite my own pain and suffering, but after nearly FOUR YEARS, I was getting really tired of changing diapers twenty times a day.

First of all, she was costing us several hundred a year in Pampers and I looked forward to the day that I got to pass on my coupons at a playdate the way other moms did.

And when they are that big, they don’t fit on baby changing tables and you can’t change them in your lap, hence the fine art of changing a poopy child standing up, which is a particular problem when you are in Europe and the restaurant’s bathroom is down a dark alley in a cupboard the size of a linen ...

#lifestagesFamily Bed

16 comments | June 6th, 2012

Chestist typewriter 2

(story by Renea from

Can I please have my bed back now?

After weathering the twin tsunamis of weaning and potty training, the two most anxiety producing events in a new mom’s life, my husband and I decided that after 5 YEARS, we might like to sleep next to each other in the bed again.

Not only did “Our Precious” sleep between us, but due to her overwhelming need to be close to me and my “Nips” (weaned or not), she literally slept ON MY HEAD.

We started out the night with one tiny arm over my neck and one tiny leg thrown over my waist in a human impression of “tiny baby monkey clings to Momma monkey”; oh so cute in the wild, not so cute in our Queen size bed.

I hate to re-visit a sore subject – but way back before I had a child, when I was a judgmental bitch, I said things like, “babies are supposed to sleep in their own beds”, “it is not healthy for a child or a marriage for the baby to sleep with the parents.”  What did I ...

Happy, Happy, Mother’s Day

8 comments | May 13th, 2012


To those who nurture, care, teach, help, hold, give, sacrifice, and love unconditionally, fully, deeply, and with every bit of their being.  To mom's everywhere ~ and every day, including this one. 

Working mom, SAHM, single mom, divorced mom, widowed mom, married mom, mom with 1 kid, 2 kids, 3 or 4 or 5.  Moms.

Happy mother's day, moms.  You don't just make the world better, you make the world.

?  What's one word to describe your mom?

#lifestagesHer Last Mother’s Day?

8 comments | May 11th, 2012

chestist sad

(story submitted by Theresa, a Chestist)

This year's mother's day is bittersweet. On the one hand I derive much joy in my own role as mother. On the other hand I must accept that I am losing my mom, whom I admire and adore.

My mother has ALS, a gradual but unstoppable atrophying of her muscles. She lives in FL, I live in NYC- Skype keeps us in touch. It limits how much of her decline I see. But it's still happening, even if I can't see it.  In the last three months she has lost the ability to transfer out of and into her wheel chair. This newly revealed bit of info does not bode well in terms of her beating the "average" ALS patient's lifespan of 3-5 years. She was diagnosed just before my son was born. My son is two and a half.

I am expecting a second son this August, and as mother's day approaches, I have been aware that my mom is unlikely to get the chance to hold him. Perhaps her health will hold long enough for us to visit her and set an infant ...

#lifestagesWhen Family Goes Missing

7 comments | April 25th, 2012

chestist swirl

(submitted anonymously, by a 39yo Chestist) Is your family together?  Here's her story:

I have two daughters...1 is three years old and one is seven do I empower myself to get family back together and strengthen ties for these precious beings with their uncle, aunt and most importantly...their cousins. Daughters, girls, women, mothers, sister in laws cannot sit back anymore and allow possible family connections and memories to disappear. Suggestions PLEASE.  {end story}  

Thanksgiving tensions aside, our extended familes can be an important part of giving our kids - to say nothing of ourselves - a sense of the past that helps contextualize the present.  How close is your exnteded family?  Does it feel more like obligation, habit, or joy?  Any advice for our writer?  Remember, you can help change her story if you share yours.

#lifestagesI’m a Mean Facebook Mom

101 comments | April 17th, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-04-16 at 5.22.13 PM

(story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda) We're hardly Luddites. My kids have their own computer. They have iPods. My daughter has a cell phone; my son has a Nook. We're a very tech-savvy family. And I use Facebook, as does my husband and, I assume, my kids' dad. I have nothing against Facebook. Still... my daughter is nearing her 14th birthday, and she still doesn't have Facebook. Because I haven't okayed it yet. Is this logical? Probably not. It started logically enough: She wanted Facebook, and many of her friends---middle-schoolers, all---had it. But the Facebook terms of service say you have to be 13, and although people are clearly bending the rules to create underage accounts, we weren't okay with that. "You're not starting your online presence with a lie," we told her, as she moped around, muttering about how everyone else's parents were cooler than we are. (Aside: I'm sure they are.) Sorry, kid. You have to be 13, and that's that. Her 13th birthday arrived, and now we couldn't use the Facebook TOS excuse. ...

#lifestagesA Stay-at-Home-More Mom

6 comments | April 11th, 2012

black explosion chestist

(submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

I was working at home the other night.  I was trying to squeeze in what I thought was a last email, and a final look at something I needed for the morning.  I was only focused on what I was doing when I notices my youngest, who's 5 standing in the kitchen staring at me.  As she notices me noticing her, she says "mommy, why do you always work?"  I thought I was going to die and just felt so guilty.

I began trying to explain why I work a lot but everything seemed to fall short of being relevant.  Then I began to wonder why I do "always work", and wondered what I've missed because of it.  My career is really just beginning.  I love what I do and I'm good at it.  I'm not suited to being a stay-at-home mom.  I wish I was.  I can't help but wonder if I can be a stay-at-home-more mom.

In the battle on how to spend my time, it seems like for sure there's always going to be a loser. {end story}

You have any thoughts ...

#lifestagesWalking Tall

19 comments | April 3rd, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)

It finally happened, and I have to tell you... I'm not usually all that sentimental, but it got to me. Not even when it was happening, but later.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start over.

Yesterday I took my daughter to Goodwill with me. I've been a dedicated thrifter since high school, which is a fancy way of saying "I'm cheap and I don't mind buying used." It's only recently that my teenage daughter put two and two together and realized that the chances of me saying "yes" to a purchase at a thrift store are astronomically higher than if we're at, say, the mall. (This is a no-brainer to me. A t-shirt for $2? Sure. The same t-shirt for $35? Uh, no.) So nowadays if I say I'm going to the thrift store, she's eager to join me.

As it happens, I was looking for shorts for my son. And as it often happens when it comes to thrifting, the thing I needed that day was in short supply. It seemed silly to leave five minutes after I discovered someone had ...

#lifestagesFlying the Helicoptery Skies

41 comments | March 27th, 2012


(story by Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda) We all know that post-9/11 air travel is a completely different reality than what most of us grew up experiencing. (I say "most of us" because I recently met a woman my age who'd never been on an airplane. That kind of blew my mind. I'm talking about people who had experienced commercial air travel pre-9/11 as opposed to folks who have only had the dubious pleasure of the TSA-nanny-state experience we all get to "enjoy," now.) I am one of those people who finds the new regulations... well, they're annoying, sure. It would be much nicer to just walk into the airport, locate the proper gate, and head on over, yes. But I prefer having to remove my shoes and put all my toiletries into a quart sized Ziploc bag to, say, having my plane blown up by crazy people, so the bottom line is that I'm not that bothered. In fact, I am almost always selected for either a full-body scan or a spot-check of my carry-on luggage, and---given that I am, I think, a fairly regular ...

#lifestagesTea for You, Tea for Me

31 comments | March 22nd, 2012


(story by Mir, from Both of my kids were big fans of the ubiquitous pretend tea party when they were little. We always had a tot-sized tea set (or two) floating around, and I would obediently fold myself into a child-size chair when directed, so that we could sip our air together. My daughter often donned a special outfit for the occasion---either from the dress-up clothing or her closet---while my son usually opted only for a funny hat. ("This is my tea drinking hat!") She would hold her pinky up and "act fancy;" he would dig through the play food and serve me a banana on a hot dog bun or something similarly weird, and then laugh and laugh at my reaction. I want to tell you that I treasured every moment of those tea parties. I'd love to be able to say that in the moment I knew that it would all be over in just a few short years, and I savored it fully. I could tell you that, but it wouldn't be true. Sometimes I savored ...

#lifestagesI Don’t Want To Have Babies

17 comments | March 3rd, 2012

chestist enthralled

(submitted by Angela, a Chestist.  Originally posted 5.18.11, and again now)

I'm a 35 year old female, married to a wonderful man, educated, working at a good job, but I have a confession to make.  This confession has taken me several years to actually realize.  Here it is...ready? (You may think you are, but I don't know!)

Okay...I don't really want to have babies!

There, I said it.  Do I still get to keep my Woman Card?  I feel like I’ll be booted out of the club for daring such a thought, the lone woman out in a world obsessed with fertility.

What I do know is that my hubby and I have been trying to get pregnant for about 5 years now - our progress is one ectopic pregnancy and...well, that's it!  He and I both have some fertility issues, meaning our reproductive organs aren't exactly working in rabbit-like fashion.  Okay, so no big deal, right?  Take some fertility drugs, try a couple (or more) of In-Vitro fertilizations, and just pop some out!  Or adopt a bunch, there are kids everywhere who don't have families!  Or get your mom ...