Yes. No. In my mothering lexicon, these are each complete sentences and everyone in my house knows it. Sure, I'm all for conversation, dialogue, discussion and open lines of communication. My husband and I like a good game of verbal volleyball, and we'll talk with our kids about almost anything. But I also reserve the right to not discuss, to sometimes employ just one word. Or make that two. No. Or, yes. Sometimes I don’t even explain. That's okay.
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Being a sex writer and all, it seems as if I should now feel overprepared for the eventual sex talk with my future children, I'm not. I still wonder: how much do I share, and how much is too much? What if I tell my kids something, and they tell other kids, and I'm then approached by angry parents who feel I'm revealing too much? How do I know if it's too soon to share something with them, or how do I know if I'm waiting too long?
Famed mommy blogger Heather Armstrong—better known as Dooce—recently wrote about the reasons behind the dwindling coverage of her older daughter on her blog. She mentioned that her daughter had been squeamish lately about getting her photo taken, and also wrote that she now asks for her daughter's permission before mentioning her on the blog. It brings to mind questions that have been swirling around the blogosphere for awhile now: Do parenting bloggers compromise their chidren's safety by revealing so much online? Is this type of blogging exploitative? How much is too much, and where should we draw the line?
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Next week my wife and I enter the modern world—that rush of jobs, school, daycare and preschool, that buzz of fast mornings and exhausted little kid evenings—for the first time as a couple. Let's put it this way: we just bought our first ever family calendar this week, and it's already full.
My husband and I have worked hard to carve out time for each other in our busy, workaholic lives. We cook together. We indulge in our mutual appreciation of wine together. We do the couch potato thing and watch Netflixed episodes of NCIS together. We even make a weekend activity out of house hunting. As busy as we both so often are, we cling to these moments of intimacy, and know that we'll have to try even harder once a child is in the picture. We come from close, tight-knit families and, despite my mother's failed attempts to institute monthly Family Fun Time several years ago, we both have fond memories of growing up—and growing close—thanks to regular family activities and events. It's important to us that our kids have the same sort of chidhood.
Some family stuff is just plain hard. Like now. My mother is 84, lives 2,700 miles away, has been in and out of the hospital due to illness, and is now in a rehabilitation center. I've flown from New Jersey to Nevada to relieve my brother, who lives down the block from her. I'm now navigating conversations with doctors, figuring out what isn't being said and working out what happens next. I'm staying for several weeks and, since I've done this a few times, I know the terrain. I'm not complaining. But I am keenly aware of what such separations and circumstances do to my own family, to my marriage and to me as a mother.
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My husband and I once visited all 33 New Jersey wineries registered through the NJ Wine Growers' Association. We did it in three, frenetic months. We spent every single weekend together over the course of those three months, immersed in this shared interest of ours, and it revitalized our marriage. Nowadays, we still enjoy the occasional tasting and, most weeks, we pour each other some wine and cook together. It's a way to keep connected, even though we're still hopeless workaholics. This will all end once I get pregnant.
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