Category Archives: Parenting

Malia Jacobson: A Writer’s Role Model

Blogging can feel selfish at times because I get to choose what I write about every day, and no matter the subject, the perspective is all me, me, me. But one of the topics I most enjoy is highlighting the work of others who inspire me as a writer and a human being.

Pacific Northwest writer, Malia Jacobson and I took Christina Katz’ writing class, Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff, at the same time a couple of years ago. Since then Malia has been knocking it out of the park. I have been following her regularly on Facebook and her Website. Her flourishing writing career continually pushes me to keep at it.

Of course, she was a successful writer before she took Christina’s class, but what she has accomplished since is impressive. She now has more than 150 credits in over 60 publications (these numbers may be higher because she has 14 articles in January ’12 publications alone), with many in national magazines like Costco Connection and Women’s Health Magazine.

Malia is successful for many reasons (talent, dedication, and hard work to name a few), but I think she would agree that specializing and becoming an expert in a couple specific areas has been a boon to her career. I’m most familiar with her experience as a sleep journalist. She studies and writes about how to get your kids to sleep better and how sleep (or the lack of it) affects the whole family, including us tired parents.

I recommend Malia’s e-book, Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Tooto all my friends in this struggle. Its full of helpful tips for diet, exercise, and other approaches that will get everyone in the family the rest they need dearly.

In December Malia appeared on Seattle’s King 5 News segment, Parent to Parent, to talk about one of her articles focused on how to raise moral kids, which is no small feat in today’s crazy world.

What I admire most about Malia is how she’s able to balance work and life. She is an accomplished writer with diverse publication credits and strong professional relationships while fulfilling her roles as dedicated wife and mom to her young children. She still finds time to bake cookies, clean house, and maintain her blog, Family in Progress. She’s someone we can relate to and aspire to emulate.

Way to go Malia, and thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

Parental Rights in Unwed Lesbian Relationships

When it’s still not legal for lesbian women to wed in many states, how can courts decide about their parental rights in a “divorce?”

This Los Angeles Times article, Both Lesbian Moms Have Parental Rights, Florida Court Rules, presents a dramatic family saga, no less disturbing if it were a heterosexual couple.

A lesbian couple fell in love. One womans egg was fertilized by donor sperm and then implanted in the womb of her partner of many years. Because the birth certificate has only one space for “mother,” the birth mother’s name was the only one on the birth certificate, while the biological mother’s name was omitted. Jump to years later when the couple breaks up and are fighting over custody. While the initial Florida court regrettfully sided with the birth mother citing current Florida state law, a state appeals court overturned the ruling on Dec. 23. The article states, “The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that the U.S. and Florida constitutions trump Florida law and give parenting rights to both women. State law, it added, has not kept up with the times.”

But this situation has long-term implications for the rights of gay and lesbian couples. I am curious to see how this case might set a precident in future decisions.

This situation also has all the makings of a movie-of-the-week. The birth mother had fled with the child to Austrailia without the biological mother’s permission, but has since returned with apparently no legal repercussions.

Who would have thought that all this reproductive freedom we now have access to could be misused so terribly? Of course, we don’t know the circumstances within the couple’s relationship, but we definitely seem to be tromping through a gigantic gray area regarding parental rights in same sex couples. Let’s hope the muddiness is cleared soon.

(illustration courtesy of The Guardian)

Change: Blessing or B@#ch?

Check out my new blog post over at Easy to Love But Hard to Raise about our future transition into a new program at school. I don’t know whether to be excited or scared to death.

Exterminating the Worry Trolls

Check out my new post over at Easy to Love But Hard to Raise about what we’re doing at home to reduce the roll that worry plays in our lives. The book is due out in full release in February, but you can order your advance copy now at a discount at DRT Press!

A Son and Citizen

This Moveon.org video of Zach Wahls, a young man conceived using anonymous donor sperm and raised by two lesbian moms, speaking to the Iowa State Congress about gay marriage made me cry with pride. He’s well spoken and would make any mother proud.

Amen Zach. Amen.

Independence vs. Safety

New post over at Easy to Love about my latest parenting struggle: how can you let them blossom while still protecting their safety? How can I find the perfect balance?

I’m Off to Italy!

Today is my last post for a couple weeks…unless I find an internet cafe in Italy that I can’t resist.

This past week I read an interview in Entertainment Weekly with Neil Patrick Harris. He said, “I feel like it’s important to have three lives. Your professional life, you personal life, and your private life….You need to be as forthcoming about your personal lie as you can be, because if people are intrigued by you, then they’ll want to know more about you….I’m in the Howard Stern camp of full disclosure. He doesn’t talk about how he had sex with his wife that night, but he talks about having sex with his wife….You want to be able to have some transparency with people who are watching you tell stories.”

I always struggle where that line lies. What is private? What is professional? And with blogging, what is personal?

The longer I write here, the more personal information seems to come out.

I’m headed off to Italy tomorrow morning, with a friend from high school, leaving the kids and hubby at home. I can tell already that they’ll be fine without me. I could barely get them to hold still long enough last night to sit through my last round of snuggles.

I’ll be gone for two whole weeks, touring through Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Rome. When I’m with my high school friends, a different side of me appears, a side that hides in my role as get-it-all-done wife and mommy. When I’m away, I’m my most irreverant, sassy, and even politically incorrect, and I am so looking forward to that freedom.

I can’t promise I’ll post while on vacation, but if I do, I’ll do it here first. I hope that the next two weeks are as productive, relaxing, and educational as mine will be. Don’t forget to make time for yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.

Arrivederci!

Time for Self-Care

Read my latest blog post at Easy to Love But Hard to Raise, about my upcoming trip to Italy, without the hubby and kids. I’m filling my quota for self-care beginning this Friday. Am I being selfish? Wise? Or just lucky?

P.A.N.D.A.S.?

I heard about this on the facebook page for Easy to Love But Hard to Raise and I’m just blown away by it.

P.A.N.D.A.S., according to this article in Psychology Today, is an annoyingly cute acronym for Psychiatric and Neurologic Disorders Associated with Strep, and may be the cause of many disorders that we currently understand poorly, including Tourette’s syndrome, tic disorders, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, and anorexia nervosa with possible connections to lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.

As often seems to occur, researchers in other countries have been trying to establish links for over a decade and the information is now trickling in to the U.S. medical community, however slowly.

When I see this type of new-to-me medical information, I pay attention. It was only four years ago that my children were diagnosed with a poorly understood metabolic disorder, pyroluria, a disorder that our pediatrician had never heard of. If I hadn’t read about it in a valuable niche book (Aspergers Syndrome: Natural Steps Toward a Better Life for You and Your Child by Suzanne Lawton) we might still be searching aimlessly for a diagnosis and treatment for my children.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if P.A.N.D.A.S is the culprit (or aggravator) in so many misunderstood disorders? Time will only tell. But as a mom who has been there, knowing something isn’t right, but the medical explanation isn’t obvious, I think we should educate ourselves and work with our physicians and naturopaths as a team.

Many people feel overwhelmed by medical information and when they turn to their doctors, they want answers and perfection. But our physicians and naturopaths are human, they can’t know everything, and it takes a while for new discoveries and breakthroughs to make their way to the trenches of small-town medical care, especially if the info is being blocked for political reasons and/or ego.

Our pediatrician admitted he’d never heard of pyroluria when I brought it to him as a possible diagnosis for my children, but he was willing to educate himself, order the tests, and locate a lab that would conduct them. He was supportive when the tests came back positive and encouraged our connection with our naturopath to help manage their vitamin therapy treatment.

Since we learned to kill bacterial infections with antibiotics in the 50’s , those little bugs have lost their umph in our minds, but they’re still here, evolving faster and smarter than us, and finding new ways to control our machinery. Popular culture, like the new movie, Contagion, reminds us how much stealth power they still command.

Let’s hope this article is right, that there is a connection between P.A.N.D.A.S. and many debilitating medical disorders, so that we can better understand them and use this knowledge in their treatment and management. I, for one, will be following new developments with this family of bacteria and the work of Dr. Jory F. Goodman, who wrote the article.

Can you recall any medical disorders that were eventually explained by a simple culprit? I can think of cleft pallate and folic acid as a most recent example.

Second Grade

My babies started second grade yesterday. Oh how big they’re getting. I’m sad that the summer is coming to a close, but I’m also looking forward to the time to write!

The fall will be busy, but I’m looking forward to those guilt-free rainy days where I can spend five hours mulling over ever word and sentence with my favorite music playing in the background.

I hope the close of your summer is as satisfying and optimistic as ours.