Note: This article was scheduled for today’s publication months ago, well before the world turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike ever before, it’s nearly impossible not to feel the weight of stress and worry bearing down. If you’re like me, there was always “enough” worry to contend with before the pandemic erupted. How much harder it is today to breathe deeply and stay calm while stuck indoors, digesting the daily news and facing the unknowns of coronavirus fallout. This personal story includes wise words from a friend and from a seasoned therapist, but if needed don’t hesitate to call the CDC stress-anxiety hotline for help.
IMAGE CRED: @KatieAbey
On social media I recently posted the meme, “Didn’t get much sleep last night but I did get a few solid hours of anxiety in,” followed by a trail of laugh-cry emojis. Many responded, piling on with a lot of LOLs and high-fives, much as I’d encouraged.
But truthfully, I wasn’t laughing on the inside. Worry wasn’t just waking me at night. Its presence was coloring my mood and clouding my judgment about what to say and how to say it. My worry was more than my problem — it was seeping into my family life and poisoning the air. It started innocently enough when my first child was born and intensified as my second appeared.
Read in full on AARP The Girlfriend.
On the heels of hearing a string of bad news about friends of friends losing loved ones or reeling with a sudden cancer diagnosis, I sent a flurry of love-ya-friend texts to my band of merry girlfriends around the country ranging in age from 40 to 70-something. Moving numerous times throughout 27 years of marriage has helped me understand the value of true friendship and learn to fiercely protect and nurture these friends. My girlfriends have faithfully supported me over time, first hanging out in the same town and eventually separated by hundreds of miles. My text reads something like this:
“Hey, dear friend. Just blasting into your world to remind you how deeply I value our friendship! I’ve always appreciated and relied on your counsel and words offering direction, encouragement over the years. Thank you for being in my life.”
Read in full at AARP, The Girlfriend.
“Summer is greeting us with her cheerful grin, but parents who couldn’t come up for the air needed to plan for her grand entrance are not doing a happy dance. It looms instead like an epic black hole, begging for definition. Camp registration deadlines came and went a long time ago, but maybe, your kids aren’t keen on camp, anyway. You don’t want summer to be a chore for you or your kids. So, what’s a good parent to do?
There are plenty of life-changing ways to occupy your children over the summer besides sending them to camp and, ample evidence that these experiences are deeply formative. In my case, an older friend needed help weeding her flower garden and asked if my 12-yr-old daughter (who wasn’t a camp-loving girl) wanted to earn some cash. In fact, she did, and though it was a hot, humid undertaking, my daughter was glad she said yes. Weeding side-by-side, the two bonded over their love of fiction and started their own book club, reading “The Wheel On the School”, “Ruby Holler” and “Number the Stars”. My daughter grew from that summer, on her knees beside my dear old friend, picking weeds and talking books.”
Read in full in Houston Family Magazine.
Published by The Washington Post, On Parenting. If you want your children to have good relationships with each other, make sure you’re modeling the same with your own siblings. Kids are learning from our actions!
‘My teenage son and I left the house to walk the dog just as my phone started buzzing. “It’s Aunt Bren — I’ll call her back later,” I said, letting it go to voicemail. My son wondered how long it had been since I last spoke with my younger sister, and encouraged me to return her call that afternoon.
“Have you always been close?” he asked. I opened up and told him about our stormy relationship as kids. His fun-loving, attractive aunt was the one who got blamed for everything that went wrong. Guilty or not, she bore the brunt, and was probably punished numerous times for things I’d slyly pinned on her.’
Read in full here.
I’m honored to have my essay in About Families, page 14.
“One hand reaching to another, this is how we make it, moms. The circle of Older Moms hand-in-hand with young moms.”