Two Cents
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. 

Empty Car Syndrome

I watched the back of his T-shirt as my 16 year-old-son marched off with another woman.  She was a gray-haired African American grandma, her hair pulled back in a bun pulled so tight it looked like it had to hurt.  Her clothes were starched as if she had spent most of her life in the military.

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What Makes a Good Teacher?

There is a new book out with a title sure to spark parents’ interest: The Smartest Kids in the World. Doesn’t every parent hope - or believe -- that our kids are the smartest?

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Battling Girl Bullies

Another bullying suicide hit the news recently: a 12-year-old Florida girl, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, leapt to her death after enduring a year of cyber taunts and threats perpetrated by a group of 15-year-old girls at her Lakeland school.

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The Problem With Trying To Be Perfect

I had lunch with an old friend recently. She’s a New York-based Broadway actress. My friend is a pixie -- waifishly pretty, sweet and thoughtful. You’ve seen her in a few commercials playing a ditzy young housewife and a cute first date trying to figure out how to use her new phone.

 

She is now in her early 40s, and has never had children. In many ways she is still a child herself.  

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The Worst Mother on the Planet

I loooooved being a mom when my kids were 10 and under.

 

I was the unrivaled hero in their lives.  My middle daughter once presented me with a crayon drawing scribbled with “There are many pritty things in life, but you are the prittiest of all.”  My youngest daughter asked me to marry her at Cinderella’s castle in Disney World.  When he was six, my son asked me to drive him to and from college so that he could keep on living at home, with me, forever.

 

Ah, the sweetness of early motherhood!

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Clothes-Shaming Our Teens

Last week, my take on young girls, high heels, and bikinis generated a lot of dialogue - ok, mostly disagreement - from my fellow moms.  So it seems worth it to dig into this topic again.

 

Here’s a sampling of what other moms wrote:

 

“Call me a mommy buzz kill, but I am way DOWN with mini-heels (I'm looking at you, Suri Cruise...)”

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Banning Bikinis Isn't The Right Answer

Does letting your daughter wear a bikini increase her risk of becoming anorexic or bulimic?

 

If your daughter wears high heels, does that means she’s on the path to sluttiness?

 

As a mother of two daughters, and a former girl myself, I think these questions about apparel are absurd.  Issues facing girls today about sexuality and body image are far more complex than how much material one’s bathing suit contains, and whether your shoe has an extra piece of leather under its heel.

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Did Your Husband Grow Up With Sisters?

Women’s affect on men has long been a half-hearted joke.  You meet a boy or man raised with lots of sisters, and you can just TELL.  Little things like he doesn’t freak over a box of tampons in the bathroom. Big things like he’s a good listener and knows exactly when to put a hand on your shoulder (and not on your thigh).

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What Kind Of Political Wife Are You?

Big news in New York these days: disgraced politicians Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner are both running for political office again.  Spitzer, who was New York’s attorney general and governor, is pursuing city comptroller. Weiner, a former New York Congressman, is making a play for mayor.

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Stay at Home Dad Speaks Out

I barely need to add a syllable to Slate’s recent, brilliant article by 30-something dad of two, Peter Mountford. With the perspective of a stay-at-home dad who can barely leave his house with his kids without being called a hero, Mountford captures the agonies of our culture’s double standards for moms, better than almost any woman, academic, or work-life expert I know.

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