Parenting like Jack Pearson…

is the equivalent of talking to people like I’m in an Aaron Sorkin drama. Imagine knowing just what to say, in just the right moment, with just the right tone and inflection for each word. Unfortunately, when it comes to parenting, (and life in general), after any incident is over, my verbal reel is award winning. In the moment, however, not so much.

I’m blessed beyond belief with two little ones and a husband who pretty much is Aaron Sorkin when it comes to the perfect line. (I mean that as a huge compliment.) Joey, my eight year old son, and Charlee, my five year old girl, are very different in nature. That means my husband and I learn to approach them differently. Since parenting is pretty much doing then learning, I often turn to Jack Pearson for guidance when I have a less than stellar moment, say the wrong thing, or say too much without saying anything at all. Thanks to Jack, I’ve learned a few things. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know just what I mean:

  1. That breathing technique works. When Joey gets upset, he breathes fast and heavy. Nothing feels better, for me at least, than putting his little face in my hands and telling him to just breathe, while locking my eyes with his. Eventually, his breathing slows, and we can talk it out or come up with a plan of action. Note: This does NOT work when Charlee is in the throes of a full on tantrum. In those moments, she is unable to process anything. I just give her a big ole hug and wait it out. (Learned that the hard way and from some books on parenting.) Once the storm passes, then she can learn a coping technique.
  2. On the spot stories can assuage physical or emotional pain. My husband can instantly make up a story to rival the magic shirt one Jack uses on Kate when she feels left out by some mean girls. Joey and Charlee love them. I never realized the importance of a good story when it came to kids, especially when it’s us doing the telling. This is the time they want to listen to us, and I want to take advantage of that.
  3. We can make our own traditions. Thank you, Pilgrim Rick. This is something I embrace wholeheartedly. Whether it’s as simple as taco Tuesday, breakfast for dinner, (aka Brinner/Dinfest), or making our own pizza. (Wait.These are ALL about food! What can I say – we love that f word.)

Sometimes I wish I did more of these – that I wasn’t so rushed during the school year when I’m teaching, that I was more creative, more calm, more present. There’s still so much to learn; I’m just grateful these two little ones are my forever students. I hope they feel the same.

I also learn from my own husband, who is not Jack, but Joe. He plays this game called Daddy Boss with our kids. It’s basically rough housing at its finest, and Joey and Charlee both live for it. They beg him for it. Charlee has been in it to win it since she was two. If a neighbor heard the squeals coming from our house, they wouldn’t know whether to call the police or laugh out loud. Daddy Boss usually ends with Joe suffering some kind of male related injury, but he never lets the kids down. He has not done push ups with our son on his back, (yet), but he has bench pressed Joey into gales of laughter, accepted that his son may never play baseball, given Charlee all the love and respect a man should give his daughter, (He would totally vogue for her), and embraces who they are as individuals. Sometimes I forget those things when we are bickering, or when we are less than stellar humans to each other.  I lead with emotion, while his verbal reel is always on point. That doesn’t always end well for me, but at the end of the day, he – and those two little humans – are my favorite f word.

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About me

About me studyI started writing this blog in 2010. In my head. Then I did what most people do. I got “too busy.” Got scared. Swallowed my words.

I thought the fact that I had countless mom fails, fashion escapades, fitness journeys, food adventures, and a family life was just a ME thing.

Who would care if I take the worst selfies in America, or that I’m in my forties, I’m still  trying to figure out how to be an adult?

Recently I was told I’m about 15 years too late to start a blog. Oops. Add that to my list of fails. I say the time to start anything is the time you actually start it. I feel compelled to write for women, both younger and older than me, but once I hit the F word –  40, I realized women my age need someone to relate to.

We may not be the greatest at Instagram filters, we may not be able to sport the resurgence of 90’s midriffs, and we may still use Facebook, but we, (like all women) are empowered, wise, bold, creative, and it’s time to finally be comfortable with who we are.

I’m still a work in progress, straddling the line between a wanna be influencer and what some people call middle age, but I want to share this time of my life. I’d like to offer hope, swap stories, make people think, laugh, and to remember how pure it is to laugh at myself.

So here goes.

Ready or not.

F it.


#FOODSHAME – How I Spent Years Doing This to Myself

My highschool boyfriend’s sister was what I would call a cool chick. Denise was six years my senior, with Elizabeth Taylor eyes fringed with lashes a Kardashian would envy, and a mass of soft brown curls that rested just above her lash line. She also had an edge – that’s what made her so cool. I loved her, admired her, and was a little bit afraid of her.

One cold Saturday night in winter, Denise, who was home from college, made an announcement. Boyfriend and I were to drop what we were doing, (which was most likely him trying to teach me Algebra, or me pretending to like The Terminator 2), and participate. Tonight was Brownie Delight – the chance to drown any/all sorrows into a mixture of partially cooked brownies, extra chocolate chips, Redi Whip, and vanilla ice cream, made warm and melty by the heat of the brownies. (If she was really in a mood, the ice cream would be Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and you did not ask questions.) The whole thing would melt into itself, creating a warm, gooey mixture of half batter, half brownie goodness awash in ice cream. This concoction was meant to diminish heartache and assuage any emotional pain a woman endured.

For me, however, looking at it was enough to make me shake. Don’t get me wrong – I totally ate it. There was no way I could defy Denise, and it was heavenly. But inside, I was convinced that every chocolate laden scoop was sending me straight to hell. I chastised – make that berated – myself in between bites, inwardly swearing to run at least three miles the next day – in the snow and uphill. And it didn’t end there. Later, alone in the safety of my bedroom, I must have completed 500 jumping jacks, told myself it was just once, I could work it off in the morning, I would skip breakfast to make up for it.  At a time when clean eating was nothing more than washing your fruit before ingesting, I felt dirty and ashamed.

And I can’t lie; I spent many more years berating myself for eating a second, (or even first) piece of cake, reaching for the afternoon snack, or god forbid, choosing real ice cream on a summer day. The way I spoke to myself could make Trump’s tweets sound like a coloring book. I spent hours, days even, hating myself when I could have been focusing on having a healthy mindset and enjoying life, rather than punishing myself for living it.

I often think about how or why I suddenly gained the infinite wisdom to be nice to myself when it comes to food; it may have something to do with having my own children, which is good news for womankind. No matter how old we are, once we decide to be parents, teachers, big sisters, bosses, or any sort of role model for another person, we want them to avoid our mistakes and become kind and confident humans who are present in every moment. We also don’t want them to feel ashamed, or to listen to us shame ourselves for enjoying dessert. And I know, sugar is now the enemy, but let’s not kid ourselves. There’s still a time and a place for old school sweets.

Some very sweet co-workers recently thought to bring me some very sweet cupcakes for my 45th birthday. They were from a bakery I love and were meant to be enjoyed during our daily meeting. I had to catch myself; in years past, I would have created a narrative in my head: “They don’t know me at all,” “Do they want to sabotage me?” “I’m going to start my 45th year of life as a fat, middle aged woman.” Rather than assuming positive intentions and being grateful, I would have inwardly ruined the moment or made things weird by not having a piece. Instead, I cut one in half and ate it. It was worth it. Any pangs of guilt that crept up in my belly were squashed with a few frosting filled bites and a meeting that was much more pleasant than usual. 

If anyone out there reading this is still in your twenties, or if anyone is reading this at all, please do not wait until you’re in your forties to get over food shame. Food is life, and life is filled with enough angst to let an occasional indulgence make us feel more guilt than my Italian mother. Sugar may be the new enemy, but my mother in law’s brownies are so good, they would make Denise trade in Brownie Delight and make my husband her new little brother. That person I described, alone in her bedroom, futilly doing jumping jacks to stave off one night of sugar, felt more sick in her mind than in her stomach. I wish I could tell her she was beautiful, she was athletic, she was being a good friend, and she was allowed to have fun, especially with food. 



Oh, The Places I Go…When I Run

My friend, Tori, sent this text on a thread:

“I knew a long run today was going to be tough, so each of you mentally joined me for parts of [it]. I did 3 alone, 3 with Megan, 2 with Aileen, and 3 with Dana.”

I cannot tell you how much this made me smile.  It’s no secret that running, or any physically taxing exercise, is more than half of a mental feat. Being chosen as someone’s  figurative companion during an endurance run means I’m a source of inspiration.  It also means I’m not the only one who has imaginary friends, illustrious careers, even rockstar performances while running.  Some make sense, some don’t. I’m making myself vulnerable here and sharing a list of my most famous endeavors, set to music – all of which I’ve achieved on the treadmill:

Flag Football with co-workers. I may as well start with the one that’s the most weird. You already know work is not my activity of choice, but yet, here I am, on the back field of my school, diving for passes thrown by the phys ed teacher. I sprint, football held tight to my chest. I weave in and out of defenders, strong-arming anyone who may have annoyed me. I flip over a different phys ed teacher and land in the endzone, on my feet.  Victory. My team always wins – either to the beat of Gaga’s Edge of Glory, or Scandal’s The Warrior. Once in a while it’s Fame, (the original). Great tune for a flip.

Rockstar on Stage. Beyonce, J Lo, Gaga, Pink, Melissa Etheridge – I’m my own version of all my single, (or not single) ladies.  I’m also some boys – Bon Jovi, Bruce, JT – the list is endless, and the songs are varied. I could be anyone from 80’s Def Leopard, to flying Bon Jovi, to dancing queens J Lo and Beyonce. And, oh, rhythm is a dancer on this stage.  When I perform, my legs move in ways that would make my husband’s head spin.

Rocky Balboa in Russia, and yes, to Hearts on Fire. Don’t judge me. I train in the snow. I will break you. I also run through the streets of Philadelphia to Eye of the Tiger. Sometimes I’m in New York, depends on my mood.  Cheesy sports movies and and their songs are life.

Olympic soccer player.  Fantasizing about running while running doesn’t make sense, but being back on the soccer field makes me feel alive.  My friend, Megan, is often with me for this one. I pass to her after a break away, she chips it back to me to avoid defenders, and I land a header in the goal.  Brace your self for song choice: We Built this City. I’m having the time of my life to a song that’s been voted one of the worst in history. Who knew??


What Goes Around….

TBT to 1997 – my friends and I are huddled at a bar, navel rings glistening between the sandwich of low rise jeans and Britney Spears style crop tops, beer bottles dangling from our fingertips. We’re watching the makeshift dance floor that would erupt around 10 pm, when the dinner crowd fizzled and the locals would let loose.

“Dude, look at them,” we’d sneer. “They are so stuck.” They were a group of women, older, sooo much older than us, in their high rise mom jeans, hair way too sprayed for the decade of grunge, waving their hands in the air and dancing like they just didn’t care. They were stuck, we judged, in the 80s – the decade of their youth, unable to let go of the look they sported in their prime.

“That will SO never be us,” one of us would drawl.



Well, here we are, twenty something years later, in the land of never. The irony is, crop tops are back, and most of us wouldn’t even be caught sneaking one on in the privacy of our own attic. We are now the forty year old moms, longing for a night out, wishing we looked like we did in our twenties, and not quite sure how to create a look that’s youthful, but not insane, for our forties. We’re straddling the line between Bebe and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

Fashion has always been one of my favorite f-words, and like many things in my  forties, I have finally learned to find it freeing. (The alliteration here may even be too much for me.) I understand that sparkly Ugg boots would make me look slightly crazy, but I’m also not ready to shop in Chicos. The forties have, however, let me experiment, have fun, and take some risks. (I also did this in my twenties, but I wasn’t nearly as good at it.) Being married also allows this; I love testing an outfit when going on a date with my husband. It’s safe to look a little wild when you’re with someone who vowed to stay with you through sickness, health, and a gold lame jumpsuit.

The even better news is, I also do NOT want to look the way I did in 1997. Plaid shirts and baggy jeans were not flattering on me, and my eyebrows are now paying the price for all that tweezing. (I blame you, Jen Aniston. All you talked in the 90s was how much you loved to tweeze Courtney Cox’s eyebrows.) I’ve accepted that I am five foot two inches, I have calf muscles that rip skinny jeans to shreds, and straight leg or bootcut jeans make me appear taller. It’s a sigh of relief to not try a trend just because and to understand what makes me look better, and what makes me look nuts. And if gold lame makes me nuts, make room for me on that dance floor.