|Leslie Morgan Steiner is the editor of the best-selling anthology Mommy Wars and the brand new memoir Crazy Love. Steiner is a frequent guest on the Today Show, MSNBC, and regularly contributes to The New York Times, Newsweek and Vanity Fair. She lives with her husband and 3 kids in Washington, DC. In this column, she will offer her Two Cents on issues relating to modern motherhood.|
On Mother’s Day, one of my closest friends from summer camp left me a voicemail message. This woman has witnessed my ugliest, most vulnerable, childish stages over a 30 year stretch and therefore can share her own hellish moments with me with impunity.
We are roughly the same age, but her two kids are a full decade younger. In short, she’s a new mom, figuring parenthood out as it unfolds.
Here's the message:
For your own sake maybe you shouldn’t listen to this message. more
Every parenting self-help primer seems to stress how important the ages 0 to 5 are for children’s development.
Now that I’m parenting teenagers, I wonder. There is no denying that the years 12 to 17 are even more formative. Of course, in different ways. But my kids are going to remember this time period far better than 0 to 5 (of which they have only a few fuzzy memories).
To my surprise, I’m finding that “screen time” -- that evil scourge that warps kids’ brains - is actually my ally here. more
Just thinking about all the childcare arrangements I’ve made for my three kids over the years makes me break out in an icy sweat even today. The list reads like a daycare c.v. of modern American motherhood, no less important to my career than a resume.
Ok, moms. We’ve had our go at parenthood. We’ve moved the finish line forward on reading before private school pre-k applications are due and potty training before age two.
Plus we’ve stressed the importance of bringing only handmade patisserie quality cupcakes to school bake sales.
Now it’s time to let dads take over.
On the way home from spring break, I sat in the back of a certified “completely full flight” surrounded by my husband and three kids, ages 11 to 16 (my husband is 47, just to be clear). Behind me sat a cute mom and two super cute, albeit plump, blonde kids with adorable freckles. A boy and a girl.
When my three kids were younger, I felt like a watching-machine. It was as if I had three GPS chips that constantly transmitted the coordinates of each kid. I knew, 24/7, the precise location of each child. In crib. In babysitter's car seat. In daycare center. At field trip to the zoo - probably in Monkey House.
Watching my kids was a critical component of motherhood. In order to keep each kid safe -- out of an open pool, sewer, toilet, or kidnapper's hands -- I needed to know where each one was.
We moms have recently had a darn good run as far as scintillating, empowering, enraging mommy commentary in the media goes, even without the Sheryl Sandberg explosion.
Take this blog you are reading right now, which is going to review an article about a magazine - all about the frustrations of modern day motherhood! Extra bonus: thousands of comments from real live moms that accompany each article, blog and sidebar.
I suspect I am just as weary of the buzz over Sheryl Sandberg as everyone else with a TV in their kitchen, Internet access at work, or a radio in their car.
During the past two weeks alone, Sandberg has been interviewed by 60 Minutes, The Diane Rehm Show, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and other media outlets too numerous to cite, reaching well over 50 million people. She has been the subject of at least 43 million blogs, articles, Instagram posts and Twitter comments.
Now here’s a concept that would have made my '70s mom spit out her martini: Dads who kvetch about the frustrations and joys of changing diapers, setting up playdates, and the best products to use to clean vomit off a highchair.
What would have amazed her even more: hundreds of these dads gather annually at daddy conferences. The get-togethers are just as glitzy as marketing-to-moms conventions, with the dads’ events sponsored by mammoth brands such as Honda, Dove, Kraft and Huggies. more