|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.|
Twenty years ago, when my darling husband and I were first in love, we lived in Manhattan. He spoke often of his wonderful childhood summers in nearby East Hampton, New York.
When you first had sex, did you tell your parents? Either parent? BOTH of them?
In my case, being a 70s child, I never discussed sexuality (my own or others) with my mother or father. After I had three kids in my 30s, I assume they figured out I knew what to do between the sheets. But the subject continued to be an unexplored, let’s say completely closed, family topic.
At just 16, Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas is the first African-American since Dominique Dawes to represent Team USA on the Olympic gymnastics team. However, in my mind, her mom, Natalie Hawkins, also deserves a medal. A lifetime achievement award of a different stripe.
Over 20 years ago, the night my first marriage ended, I spent hours dialing the phone. My husband had beaten me unconscious, I’d given statements to the police in my wrecked living room, and then I’d driven with my dog to City Hall to file a restraining order at midnight.
But when I got back home at 2 am, bruised ribs and glass cuts on my face, the first thing I did was make several calls, all of which were as important to my survival as the police, a locksmith, a divorce lawyer, and a good therapist.
Beauty is the strangest gift ever given, because you have to give it back.
Try telling that to a teenage girl. Or any woman under 30. Or, maybe, any woman of any age.
When I was eight months pregnant with my third child, I informed my boss, my staff and my colleagues, that I wasn’t going to take any maternity leave. I loved my job as general manager of The Washington Post Magazine. Our bottom line was at a critical growth stage. Stay home with a baby? Been there, done that.
One of my mom-mandates is that I’m easy when it comes to food. My job is to put out nutritious items; the kids’ job is to eat what they like. Having survived a bout of anorexia as a teenager, I have zero tolerance for pressuring kids to eat or not eat. I have a loose definition of “nutritious.”
Over the years, this has translated into lots of fruits and veggies, plus lots of chicken nuggets, tater tots and ketchup. Milk, water and Gatorade are the only beverages available in my kitchen.
Two years ago, one of my daughters made the colossal mistake of declaring, to the family, that she was not going to finish high school.
“I’m just going to marry a rich man,” she said. She’d been watching a few too many episodes of The Kardashians.
Fortunately for her in the long run - albeit unfortunately for her in the short run -- we all set about educating her.
Last week, after school got out but before my three kids scattered to camp and basketball tournaments, we kicked off summer at our new lake cabin in New England. Although none of us had ever driven a boat solo, we purchased an old 1986 13-foot Boston Whaler for the lake. The marine salesman gave us a 20-minute lesson. Then he pushed the boat away from the dock and we were off.
The first day went beautifully.