|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.|
Naturally, many of you hate holiday newsletters.
I do, too.
That doesn’t stop me from writing my own. Family life once again proves to be irresistible fodder.
Happy holidays, everyone.
Part of parenting - a weighty and unglamorous responsibility - is keeping your kids safe.
The recent elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut are a terrible reminder of how unsafe our kids are at times. However, random attacks by strangers, although terrifying and tragic, are far more rare than a common danger lurking in our children’s lives as they grow up, become teenagers, and start to dabble in the world of love.
What do you remember from grade school?
What do you think your kids will remember, 25 years from now?
I remember not being able to speak the entire first day of kindergarten. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, make a sound. My terror was so great, I thought not speaking could translate to not actually being there.
I spent this week gingerly checking in with all my married girlfriends. It felt like that first call you make to someone after the funeral of a relative. Important but dreaded. My calls were to see how they survived the first hurdle of the annual holiday marathon.
“So….how was your Thanksgiving?” I asked J. as we went for a power walk in the woods near my childhood home yesterday.
In college I had a friend who adored cooking for me. She said she put love in the food while she chopped, cooked, and served. I swear, the simple meals she made for me in her family’s kitchen tasted better than anything I’d ever eaten.
I grew up in a chaotically messy home, with a busy mom who disdained cleaning AND cleaning women. Our cat’s litter box was changed approximately every three years. If the screen door ripped, it stayed ripped. Half the food in the fridge was covered in green and white fuzzy mold.
My little corner room was my oasis. You could eat off the polished wood floor. My four-poster bed had hospital corners. The three windows sparkled with Windex. I scrubbed the toilet adjacent to my room once a week (sometimes twice).
When I was in elementary school, my favorite Halloween costume was a cat. Every year. Now that I am an adult I still have a strong feline proclivity - extra black eyeliner, cat ears, and a tail tied to my jeans. 1-2-3 meow!
Two weeks ago, I happened to call an old friend who lives in Ohio, with whom I speak once a year or so. Before I could even ask how the kids were, my friend launched into a fiery political diatribe that caught me by surprise.
“Why don’t you do something about those idiots in your town?” (I live in Washington, about two miles from the White House, but I’m not exactly on a first-name basis with the president.) “I’m busy working my butt off to pay for the other 47% that’s too lazy to work!”