Category Archive


The bright side to a “broken” home

As co-parents we have established a new type of relationship between us and the boys have settled into their schedules. Both of us are now in committed relationships, so new parental figures and extended families have been added to the mix. While we don’t aim to all vacation together or live next door to each other, we can truthfully attest to life and happiness as amicable dual households. Even still, we hit rough patches. It’s hard not to blame every temper tantrum on the transitioning between places or question if your kids are somewhat permanently scarred.

I became a parent by straightening a bathroom towel

Does my stepdaughter ever even notice that the towel gets magically straightened? I have no idea, but the chances of her thanking me for it are slim, and my mother was right. It’s not the point. Is it important that the towel be straightened? Well, it certainly increases the chances that she actually gets a dry towel next time, but who knows if she even notices whether or not her towel is dry? It makes me feel better about the state of the bathroom and in the grand scheme of parenting, that is not something to be taken lightly.

I had to ground my step-son for the first time and it made me feel like a “real” parent

I love my little man. He’s seven, and while not mine by birth, he sure as hell is mine by love. The four of us parents, (mom, step dad, dad, and me — step mom) get along pretty well, and while we disagree on some things, we try to compromise and present a united front. Usually, this isn’t too hard — he’s a good kid, hardly ever misbehaves, and for the most part a good talk will prevent any major infractions of the rules. That is, it was easy until yesterday.

“Bonus Mom” and other name alternatives: what are your favorite terms for additional parents?

Reader Brigitte recently emailed us about this comment that contains an awesome alternative to step-mom, “Bonus parent.” Clearly bonus [insert parent here] is great since it can be applied to so many relationships, but what other terms are you guys using in your families?

A stepdad success story

My children don’t share his genes, but you’d never know by watching my dad interact with my two-year-old daughter. He holds her with tender arms and listens to her stories with the contentment of a proud and happy grandfather. When I watch her giggle as he scratches her cheek with his whiskers, I’m reminded that my family is not bound by biology, but by love and commitment, two values that he helped instill in me.

There’s a teenager in my house and he’s probably cooler than I am

I don’t know how or when he got here, but his voice is low, the top portion of his underwear is permanently visible, and he feels very strongly that Justin Bieber’s version of The Christmas Song should be played all year round.

Blended families and how the shapes of family trees are changing

Families are magnificently complicated. They bend and shift to include new members based on shared lineage, marriage, and choice. These days family trees take on odd shapes. Limbs poke out of nowhere and tangle around one another. Red Oaks mix with Longleaf Pines to create something entirely new and utterly perfect.

This is my second child but my partner’s first — how do I refrain from comparing the two pregnancies?

I was super excited when my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby. When we got pregnant the first month we tried I was a little scared — and not just the normal, “OMG we created life… are we crazy?!” scared. This will be my second pregnancy but my husband’s first — when we met I was a single mom to my son.