Category Archives: Juli

How having hamsters can prepare you for having children

By Juli

From the age of ten until my early teens, I cycled through a lot of pet hamsters. I was so into them that I had multiple books about them, built elaborate cages for them, and even had that little ball that allowed them to roll around the house to their tiny hearts’ content. Eventually I became a teenager with less of an interest in hamsters and more of an interest in friends and sleepovers and New Kids on the Block, and then I became an adult, and eventually I became a mother. But the other day, as I breakfasted my two children, I realized how familiar everything was feeling, and I’ve discovered that it’s almost like I have hamsters again. Here’s why:

1. My kids, like hamsters, are messy Continue reading

Let’s talk about sex, baby

By Juli

Last summer my daughter, S and I went away for a week, leaving Spencer, my husband, and A, my son, at home by themselves for a week. They had a great time together, rambling around like boys do, and then one evening at dinner then seven-year-old A asked his dad what the word “sexy” means. And from there, I am told, the conversation quickly “went there.”

There are many of us, I think, who dread the idea of having a sex talk with our kids. Perhaps this is because we remember this being an awkward conversation (or lack thereof) with our own parents. Perhaps it’s because we feel unqualified to speak on this topic. Perhaps it’s because we’re embarrassed. Continue reading

My Best Exercise Secret

By Juli

Exercise and I have always had a dubious relationship. I like to get things done once and then never have to do them again, which makes exercise an extremely tedious and repetitive chore for me. However, annoyingly, the “exercise people” (the people who keep telling us all to do exercise) are right. It’s not just for looking good in a bikini anymore. Now that we’re old it’s so we won’t die early. So there’s a less fun and more necessary reason to start exercising.

A few years ago, when I started doing Yoga, I just leapt right into it, as I do with each exercise fad I get into. Continue reading

The Pink Bicycle

By Juli

Sometime between the ages of 8 and 10 I got a beautiful, brand-new pink bicycle for Christmas. It was hiding in the basement, and my parents sent me down to take a peek after all of the other presents were gone, and there it was — shiny and new, a petal-pink bike with white wheels and pedal brakes. I loved it, and rode it all afternoon on that sunny Christmas day. My sister had a blue bike with white wheels, and was very happy that I wouldn’t be borrowing hers anymore, and so in the many days to come we’d ride around the neighbourhood with the neighbourhood kids from after school until dinnertime. Those were happy, happy days. I loved my pink bike. I loved the sense of freedom it gave me — I could just ride as fast as I could, feel the wind on my face and leave everything behind.

mHDV5b4z7ZI7DH3VSCq02zw Continue reading

When My Child Overreacts: A Therapist-Mom’s Thoughts

By Juli

Since Halloween, my treat-loving 5-year-old has had a pillowcase full of treats that occupy her thoughts every waking moment. Most of our conversations throughout the day involve her asking for a candy, or two, or four, from her halloween treat bag. Usually she’ll see if she can get her foot in the door with asking for just one, then it will migrate to her asking for either two “small candies” or one “big” one, and then it will end with her choosing two big candies. If I, heartless mother that I am, restrict her to just one candy, however, she will make a very noisy display of how difficult it is to choose which candy she wants. For example, she will have to choose between eating a Snickers or a Skittles. Something peanutty or something fruity? This choice, it seems, is quite torturous for her. She makes it clear that she feels like she is being asked to choose between two of her very best friends. So she usually tries another plea that she may eat BOTH of her best friends, and I say no. Out of options, then, she finally picks one, and hastily devours the chosen candy.

And then comes the regret. Continue reading

Six obvious yet awesome secrets for less sucky school mornings

By Juli

I try not to get too “preachy” on here, but when I figure out something amazing that changes my life dramatically I cannot help but want to shout it from whatever platforms I have to shout from. I know I have complained about school-day mornings many times before, but the other day I had the perfect morning. And since then I have been obsessed with figuring out exactly what went so right so I can replicate it every day for the rest of my children’s school careers. And of course I want you to benefit from my amazing (and as it turns out, kinda obvious) secrets, so please enjoy:

1. Make the lunches the day before. Doy, Juli. Doy. Continue reading

When they collaborate

By Juli

Have you ever noticed how delightful children can be when they’re alone, and then how it all can just quickly go to hell when they’re together? If you put my children in a room together, 9 times out of 10 it will end in a disaster. Usually they will find some game that involves them crashing into one another, a game that they had both ABSOLUTELY AGREED UPON as an AWESOME GAME IDEA at the time, but 5 seconds of actually playing the game has taught them that they DO NOT LIKE THE GAME and MOMMY WHY WOULD YOU LET US PLAY THAT AWFUL AWFUL GAME WHY MOMMY WHY?

For example, this delightful exchange happened when A came to me crying after being in another room with his sister for all of 3 minutes. Continue reading

To the Good-Enough Moms of this World

By Juli

**Back in the early 70s there was a psychoanalyst and paediatrician named D.W. Winnicott whose research enabled him to develop the concept of the “Good-enough parent.” His position, according to research, was that all that children needed to grow into healthy, functioning individuals was at least one parent who is “good enough” — basically one parent who is devoted to the child and provides at least the essentials for the child to grow and develop. This is a concept that keeps me going on the days I fall short of perfection as a mother (so … every day). And so, for myself and all of you other good-enough mothers out there, I have written this poem, Please enjoy, and keep on keeping’ on.** 

This is an ode to the good-enough mom
The mom who works hard even when nothing gets done,
Whose dinner consisted of toast and KD,
But your kids got fed, mom. That’s good enough for me. Continue reading

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