I know it sounds weird, but I’ve recently had to make a daily appointment with myself to listen to music. As a teen, like most, I had music playing in the background always, attended concerts, and kept up with the latest bands. As I got busy in my 20’s with graduate school and work, music seemed to interfere with my concentration a lot of the time, so I saved it for evenings and exercise. Once I started having kids, there was always such commotion in the house, or the need for quiet during nap time, that music just sort of faded away without my noticing. Only my daily runs were plugged in, and though in retrospect running has partly for that reason always been one of my favorite ways to unwind and relax, I never realized.
Back in 2007, I wrote an essay on family nutrition that I never published. Rereading it this morning, the points still seem valid, so I’m posting the first part as today’s blog. Will post the rest later…
Weeks away from giving birth to my fourth child, I have begun reflecting in earnest on parenting yet another new life. All of the usual issues arise, but increasingly one issue has taken center stage in my mind, due largely to the difficulty I’ve experienced in dealing with it with my other kids. That issue is nutrition, or, rather, the wave of anti-nutrition that confronts them at every turn. [Read more…]
While reading one of my favorite columns in The New York Times—Tara Parker Pope’s invaluable “Well Blog”—I came across some important information on fighting germs, always useful during cold and flu season. It turns out that we don’t have to worry about using hot water when we wash our hands. I had always turned the water to just below scalding, thinking I was wiping out more germs that way. But the high water temp that would be needed to kill the germs would also burn our skin. Best to use tepid water—though not cold water since it fails to remove bacteria-harboring oils. What matters most is time spent actually washing. They say a good rule of thumb is to wash for the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song. Also, be careful to wash the entire hand–between the fingers, on top, and so on. Those pesky germs can travel around. [Read more…]
“Family Life is Better when your kids are Healthy! FIBER is an essential part of a healthy diet.” I’ll give you three guesses where I came across this slogan. (1) A carton of prunes. (2) A package of All Bran. (3) The side of a Froot Loops box. If you guessed (3), congrats.
Huh? Consider the ingredients list on the opposite side of the box. First in line is sugar, 7th is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. (For those who may not know, ingredients are always listed in their order of prevalence.) But don’t worry, just a little further down are all your various artificial food dyes, now associated with behavior and attention issues in kids, among other things. [Read more…]
Our primary concern as mothers is naturally our children’s well-being. Isn’t it funny how we all interpret that slightly differently, though? I have one friend who understands her kids’ welfare as requiring that she spend as much time as humanly possible by their side. Another pushes her kids to master countless extracurriculars to give them an “edge.” A third whose central issue is that her kids treat others with kindness, and who seeks out charity projects far and wide. We all have our shtick, and usually it’s informed by perceived gaps in our own upbringing. I know mine is.
I have two, actually. I’m consumed by efforts both to properly feed and nourish my kids’ bodies, and to enlighten them by the constant study and discussion of philosophy and politics. Reflecting on my youth, it was filled with junk food and mediocre health, and by a virtual familial obliviousness to current events and the liberal arts. Oops. [Read more…]
“Motherhood is mental freeze.” So sang Kim Deal of the Breeders in their 1993 track “No Aloha”. I had just received my Ph.D. in philosophy that year, I was 27, and that sounded about right. I saw all the exhausted woman who were feeding, disciplining, and ferrying around their crying, whining, snotty broods and thought: what a bunch of suckers. I will never do that. I will have a career and develop my mind, and write important words and speak important speeches, and when I die, I will be remembered not for changing diapers and driving to hockey, but for the wonderful contribution I made to mankind.
I am 46 now. I have 4 small children ages 12 and under. My baby boy has stopped pooping in diapers, but he will soon join his two older brothers in playing hockey. I’m trying to figure out what lessons to impart to my daughter, now that I’ve abandoned my tough career-chick attitude. I’m trying to figure out what lessons to impart to myself, now that I’ve abandoned my tough career-chick attitude. [Read more…]