The Benefit of Boredom

Dawn Michaelfriendship, Screen Time, self careLeave a Comment

My daughter asked if she could have a friend come over after camp and sleep at our house for the night.  Sure!  Having another child over would encourage hours of wondrous play for my two girls.  Memories of my childhood sleepovers came to mind-staying up late, french braiding each other’s hair, and dancing and singing into an imaginary microphone.  They were in for a fun night! After camp, we drove home.  The girls whispered and giggled while the radio drowned out their conversation.  We were almost home when I got the question, “Mom, what are we going to do tonight?”  I had already offered to take them to a movie, either in the theatre or the drive-in.  Both options were shot down as Jurasic World wasn’t something they wanted to see.  There were no other age appropriate movies that we could agree on seeing.  The idea of a drive-in didn’t appeal either as they couldn’t understand the concept of being able to see the movie screen with cars parked in front of you. One daughter suggested staying home and watching Dance Moms.  “No, that’s child abuse,” responded the friend.  Lighten up kid, my girls like to watch the dancers.  It’s reality tv- exaggerated behavior, but not to be taken too seriously.  I suggested we browse the bookstore and get Del’s … Read More

Skipping the Field Trip

Dawn Michaelguilt, our book, School issues, self care5 Comments

I love a good field trip just as much as the next gal!  Shopping, yoga retreat, tastings (wine or food)!  School field trips, not so much.  And so it was with reluctance that I told my daughter to add my name to the chaperone list to Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI.  Just what I wanted to do with a day off from work- spend it with 31 fifth graders!  I did get a little excited when my daughter said there might be ghosts at the mill!  Would these spirits channel my energy and offer me some supernatural advice?  Perhaps this trip wouldn’t be so bad?! Alas, I wasn’t chosen as a chaperone.  Two other moms got their names in before me.  What if I had told my daughter upfront that I didn’t want to go on the field trip?  Would that have hurt her feelings?  Would she have thought I didn’t care enough?  Part of being a parent is to make sacrifices for your children.  So even though the thought of making small talk with other chaperones and keeping all those children in line wouldn’t have been my thing, I owe it to my daughter to support her.  Yet, as a believer in conscious unparenting, I need to put my needs at least on par with my child’s. I decided … Read More

Taking Back Mother’s Day: Time to Start Some New Traditions

Kim Kinziehumor, self care8 Comments

I wrote this piece last year for Motif Magazine and it stirred a bit of controversy.  I’m reposting it because I still think the message is important. It’s slightly different (i.e. less offensive) than my original post, but I think I’ve made my point. Hope you like it: Invariably when I ask my fellow moms what they’re doing for Mother’s Day, I receive one of two responses: (1) we’re spending the day with my mother/mother-in-law or (2) we’re going out to brunch/lunch/dinner as a family.  Correct me if I’m wrong but Mother’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of women who are mothering children; to honor their hard work and give them a break. It is not a day to torture these women, right?   Then why, oh why, are they engaging in such dreadful activities? Don’t argue with me here. Please don’t try to tell me that going out for brunch with your family is “fun.” It’s not.   “But” you insist, “my partner made a reservation at my favorite brunch spot. Of course it will be a great day!” Perhaps you’re picturing yourself, dressed in grown-up, party clothes, enjoying a mimosa as you dine on delectable food. You glance over at your partner with a smile of appreciation on your face. You don’t have to cook or clean a thing. He feels smugly satisfied … Read More

The Prisoner Gets Furlough

Dawn Michaelfriendship, self care2 Comments

My life is full of endless responsibilities.  I play advocate, parent, wife, daughter, friend, and colleague, always morphing from one role to the next.  It takes concentrated effort to pull this off.  Someone always needs me for something, “Where are my gym socks?  Hey, can you take a peak at my eye?  Did you stop at Target for juice boxes and sandwich bags?  Did you sign my permission slip?”  As fellow moms, you can probably all relate.  Though grateful for the wonderful people in my life, I sometimes feel like a prisoner. It’s so freeing to give up those roles and just be me.  I crave that respite from my daily life.  I try to emmulate our book, “Conscious Unparenting” by placing my needs at least at the same level with everyone else’s.  In fact this weekend, I put myself first.  I let my husband take over my role of chauffeur, church goer, and frozen yogurt connoisseur!  I escaped to the Cranwell Resort and Spa in the Berkshires with four wonderful friends.  It took a lot of planning and money to make this happen, but the results were pure bliss!  After a weekend of shopping, eating, drinking, and relaxing, I was able to reconnnect with who I am.  I mattered.  My effortless existence allowed me to stay focused.  I wasn’t … Read More

The Go-Gos Would Never Sing a Song About THIS…

Dawn MichaelADHD, our book, self careLeave a Comment

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to get the book, here’s an excerpt from my chapter called,”You Call This a Vacation???” It takes place in 2013 at Loon Mountain in NH. Foolishly, we had decided to take the kids skiing. Here’s what ensued when we signed them up for lessons. Hope you enjoy! We got to the mountain and made our way over to the ski school corral. I put the girls in level two classes and my son in level three with his buddies. My friends and I kissed our kids goodbye and skied away. I felt the familiar sensation of exhilaration I always felt when I finally get some time to myself – one you can only feel when you’ve also experienced deprivation. As a working mom, my time away from my kids is mostly when I’m at work, so when I get some actual time to myself, it’s positively delicious – like the first glass of wine after nine long months of pregnancy, an unexpected warm day in the middle of winter or eating that chocolate Easter bunny after giving up candy for Lent. Yeah, it’s that good. I hit the mountain and slowly re-acclimated to the swaying and balancing that comes with skiing while the sun shone on my face. I was so … Read More

The Battle of the Screens Part II

Kim KinzieScreen Time, self care1 Comment

Last week I pledged to attempt a four-hour car ride with kids, minus electronics. I kept to my pledge. I didn’t break the news to my children until we got in the car and my 8 year old asked for his Kindle, so I told him about our plan. “But you said we could have our Kindles on any car ride that’s more than an hour. You said…” (Both kids got Kindles for Christmas…I know, I’m a douche bag for giving a Kindle to a 5 year old. Sue me). I truly hate when my own rules are thrown back in my face. “I know that’s the rule, but we’re going to try something different today. It will be fun.” “Can we play that alphabet game?” I assured him that we’d play as soon as we hit the highway. He seemed to settle down. The 5 year-old, bless his heart, was too clueless to realize the severity of the situation and remained mute. Two minutes into the alphabet game, I was on the letter “C” and my son hadn’t passed “A.” Frustrated he quit. We were 5 minutes into our ride. This was going to be one long day. Eventually he picked up his papers and pencils and started drawing, while the younger one began asking for his Kindle. I … Read More

Seeking Quiet

Dawn Michaelself care1 Comment

I find life pretty hectic.  I chuckle when I think of my parents “going for coffee.”  Imagine, lingering over one cup!  My cup of joe is always on the run from the nearest drive-thru. I often view my life as a merry-go-round- hang on tight or I’ll fly off the horse!  Desperately, I latch onto the painted pastel seat, harness dangling off to the side. So, I wondered what I could do to bring about change to my precarious lifestyle?  Besides drinking red wine, I decided to explore the world of meditation-conscious relaxation!  Sounded simple enough-merely  find a quiet place to “just be.”  I thought I’d allow 10-15 minutes to begin my practice.  I waited until the girls left for school-how would I calm down after their incessant arguing?!! “That’s my headband and you can’t wear it!” “Well, you wore my sweatshirt yesterday!”  “The bus!!!!,” I screamed  like a mad woman.  My ah moment happened when their backs faced me as they crossed the icy terrain of our driveway.  Feeling like a PTSD victim, I ambled  to the couch trying to embrace the calm that awaited me.  I grabbed  my “touchy-feely” CD and began breathing.  In, sat, out, nam.  I circled my neck.  So far, so good.  Then the chatter began,  “Whose picking my son up from school?  Did I … Read More