Why We Finally Caved to the ‘American Dream’

My husband and I have done two things we said we’d never do (and neither was reminiscent of 50 Shades of Grey). We bought a house and it’s in the suburbs.Isn’t this the American Dream? Perhaps for many people it is, but it’s never been our dream.After a condo-owning fiasco, we had sworn we’d never own property again. We’d happily fork over cash to a landlord if it meant trading in home maintenance and a hefty mortgage for more fun things, like dining out and European vacations....more

Walking Through A College Campus Evokes Mixed Emotions

My neighborhood has been teeming with new blood for the past two weeks—not with babies but instead with baby-faced college students.The townhouse we’ll be moving from in two weeks is just blocks from a college campus, and fresh-faced youngsters have descended upon the area like locusts. The electrifying combo of fear and excitement radiates off them like summer’s last heat....more

How I Spent the Best Summer Vacation of My Life

Today marks the first day of school and the official end to what I had dubbed the mother-daughter summer of fun. After nearly three months of staying up late, sleeping in, and pretty much setting our own schedule, we must return to routine....more
Experienced Bad Mom Thanks! Though I'm not sure our future summers will be quite so free, I ...more

What Does Happily Ever After Really Mean?

This week my parents celebrated 42 years of marriage. In a Facebook, my mother pondered if anyone truly understands the promises they are making when they get married. Her conclusion was that they don’t. Anyone who’s been married a decent length of time would probably agree—I know I do....more

What We Learn When Someone Young Dies

Yesterday I nearly had a panic attack while watching a movie about pandas. You might ask how cute, cuddly, endangered pandas could cause anyone anxiety. Well, they are endangered, but this angst was the self-centered kind not the I-must-save-the-world kind. The answer is simple and stupid: It was the middle of the afternoon, and I was at the public museum goofing off....more

The Power of Friendship: What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago today, I woke up for the first time in my Milwaukee home. I was excited about our new chapter in life but also exhausted from the three-day drive across country and overwhelmed by the unpacking.Mostly, I was terrified at having left behind a circle of friends that had taken more than a decade to create. My emotional stability was in question—so I guess things were actually pretty much the same as always but I worried about life without having dear friends close by....more

A Childhood Friend Can Make You Feel 15 Again

Having spent the past four days visiting my best friend from high school, I woke up this morning in a curious funk. I should have felt refreshed and happy, on a post-vacation high. Instead, I was melancholy and moody....more

What I Learned My First Week Off Anti-Anxiety Meds

Just over a week ago I swallowed what I hope was the last pill for anxiety control that I will ever take. After six months of medically induced mellowness, I felt ready to boost my serotonin levels on my own. Plus, I really missed my libido.The medication had taken the edge off my anxious personality, but it also made me slightly numb (in more ways than one) and unmotivated. I’d lost my internal fire and I wanted some of it back....more

Never Say Never

Back in college, we used to play a little game called “I Never.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it? One person says something they’ve never done and those who have done said thing must drink.It’s an excellent way to learn people’s deepest darkest secrets, thereby creating lifelong friendships based on fear that the horrible things you’ve done could be shared. The game creates way stronger bonds than pinky swearing....more

What I Learned from Returning to Kindergarten

Tomorrow my daughter “graduates” from kindergarten. Milestones like this always make me sentimental, but this year the bittersweet emotion is amplified by 27. You see, this was my year to revisit kindergarten. I gave up the security of full-time work for the flexibility of freelancing so I could spend more time with my daughter and volunteer at her school. That meant spending time with 28 little people on a regular basis....more