• Why am I so scared?

    Dear friend,

    I hope this finds you well. Or, you know, as well as possible during this time.

    I hope you are finding yourself with as much health, both physical and mental, as one can muster.

    This time is (well, I don’t want to be trite, and refer to this time as “unprecedented” so I will, instead, use one of the synonyms offered to me when I highlight the word in Microsoft Word, and go with) extraordinarily trying for all.

    I don’t want to scorn #2020 or reference something I did not “have on my Bingo card.”

    I want to get real.

    I want to tell you what this pandemic is like for me. I want to try to shake off the dust; to pummel the writer’s block; to try to illustrate something for which we do not yet have words. Part apology, part explanation, part excuse, part SOS cry (can you hear me from behind my mask?). Why I have been absent, quiet, cocooned? Why am I so scared?

    I won’t take you on a deep dive into my psyche, as you definitely didn’t have that on your 2020 Bingo card, but I will give you a bit of background:

    Before the pandemic hit, I suffered from anxiety. Surprise! Hey, try to get the shock off of your face (can you see it from behind your mask?). Though it is free-floating and broad in nature, a few particularly profound and intense areas of focus include: health (and its opposite, illness) and the well-being of my family.

    I know that I come by this particular breed of anxiety honestly, with an indiscernible blend of nature and nurture. I was hardwired and I have scars. I grew up being taught about superstition and when I have to fill out a family history at a new doctor’s office I always need an extra page.

    “Who in your family has had cancer?” these forms ask.

    “Where do I begin and can I write on the back?” I reply, in kind.

    I am terrified that something will happen to the people I love, and particularly that they are/will get/will someday become sick.

    In fact, in the few weeks before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the US I had to take my children to the pediatrician and urgent care several times, with Belle having an undiagnosed case of the flu and Beau having an undiagnosed case of strep. When his developed into scarlet fever I lost my mind. Protecting my kids is my greatest duty and when I miss something – when I don’t listen to the scary ruminations in my mind – the ones that sends out red, angry-looking flares signaling imminent danger – I shatter into a million pieces. I should note, when I took the kids to said doctor visits, as an avid germophobe, I brought a giant towel shaped like a hamburger for us to sit on, not allowing the kids to touch anything, frantically dispensing Purell and reminders. THIS WAS PRE-COVID.

    Now, before I continue, let me acknowledge my privilege. COVID-19 is universally awful, and I recognize all that I have. I have so many things that make this situation better for me than for so many others. I have insurance, access to healthcare, a home, food, transportation, solid internet connection, solid personal connections, a job from which I was able to step away while morphing into a teacher for my kids, a job at all, support systems, therapy, medication, and many other things for which I feel so grateful. I am not a frontline worker, no longer work as an educator, and have been able to stay home (which we are still doing, have never stopped doing, and plan to do for the foreseeable future.)

    But, friend, I want to admit to you that I am struggling. Despite my best efforts, my anxiety has been raging. Nothing feels safe to me anymore. I spend some part of the day, every single day, so scared that I feel physically shaky, queasy, or foggy, with increased heartrate, migraines, and exhaustion. I am now, what you’d call, hypervigilant. Hypervigilance is grueling. I cannot trust my intuition or “mom gut” because everything feels scary to me and I have no ability to tease our the actual from the imagined. I treat most things as the former, panic, feel sick, make frantic calls to patient doctors, but having patience for this patient is arduous, if not impossible.

    Why am I so scared? Why do I ask, “Are you OK?” every single time someone in my house sneezes from ragweed, coughs from swallowing their water the wrong way, or gives any indication of displeasure? Thank you so much for giving me this chance to explain.

    To unmask.

     I am terrified of COVID-19. An extremely contagious, novel virus that is spreading globally, wrapping its germy arms around every semblance of normalcy and protection is scary! I am scared of all we do not know; the things that continue to confound the medical community, the lack of any surefire, definitive treatment or vaccine. I am scared of my kids getting sick and being scared to touch them. I am scared of my parents getting sick and being scared to lose them. I am scared all day, every day. Even when it isn’t in the forefront of my mind, the fear is always there, lurking, eating away at me like…well…a virus.

    A lot of this fear is rational, I know. Back in March, when we first locked down, one of my doctors explained to me that I would be at higher risk for complications if I were to contract COVID, as I am already immunocompromised. I have two autoimmune diseases. My body’s own immune response naturally goes haywire and so when doctors started to speak of things like the cytokine storm and body systems “going awry” my own anxiety cyclone began to rage.

    This is scary enough (for everyone, I know, including you, friend). But, there is a second storm, perhaps a hurricane this time, that, when swirling in conjunction with the first anxiety-related-natural-disaster, creates a superstorm big enough to sweep me away in its ominous grasp. I am Dorothy, clicking my heels so many times that the soles are now as thin as paper, begging to go home. Begging for things to feel safe, again. Wanting to wake up from this nightmare.

    This second storm is known as “the doctors and hospitals can no longer, reliably, protect our health” and just thinking about this counterintuition makes me dizzy.  The doctor’s office, once commonly “germy” to me, is now a place we are trying to avoid at all costs. Because life is life, some of the people in my family have had to visit doctors during this time and, I will say, the offices we have encountered are doing remarkable jobs to keep their patients, staff, and, thankfully, themselves safe and healthy. However, it is a reality that weighs on me constantly. For a family that had to take our youngest to the ER so many times in his first few years that we began to joke about a frequent-user-punch card, like one you’d get at the frozen yogurt shop, this is so very scary. By the way, the frozen yogurt shop is oh so very scary to me, as well, and that sucks oh so very much.

    Now, if someone gets sick or has an accident or escapes my hypervigilance for one second, it could be catastrophic. It was only 20 months ago that, as you may remember, friend, I had a freak injury during which time several heavy, cast-iron pans fell from six feet above me, right onto my head. It was terrifying and painful and, when I sat on the kitchen floor, stunned, and touched my head to identify the tender, throbbing spot on the left side, and I felt something wet, and Kenny looked at me, terror in his eyes, and said, “Bec, that is blood,” we immediately called 911 to get help. A trio of EMTs arrived, carried me to a stretcher, drove me the two minutes to our local hospital and got me admitted to a room immediately. A doctor, nurse, and medical student worked on me, taking me for a CT scan, injecting my head with a numbing agent, and using staples to close the wound. Kenny was able to sit with me, holding my hand. They diagnosed me with a concussion and I was sent home to rest and heal. It was pretty scary, but I was OK. I did not have to worry about all of the things I worried about (major brain injury, brain surgery, needing brain surgery for a major brain injury without McDreamy being the ER with this ferryboat adorned scrub cap) alone or masked or gloved or at risk of contracting a novel coronavirus.

    Why am I so scared? Because I am so scared of illness and so scared of injury and so scared of not being able to protect the ones I love and so scared that if someone I love is ill or injured then they will have to seek medical care and risk being exposed to or, worse, contracting COVID-19.

    This fear infiltrates every aspect of my life. I try to be a good mother by protecting my kids from harm and, yet, I am an anxious mother. I want to make sure my kids are healthy, both physically and mentally. I want them to see friends, but do not feel safe with them interacting with other kids in person. Neither child has touched another child since March. This breaks my heart. But, not as much as it would break my heart if someone got sick. I want them to grow academically, and work tirelessly as a member of their teaching support staff, but I constantly feel as though I am falling short. They miss meetings. They have too much screen-time. They aren’t able to make meaningful connections. I am ruining their lives! But, I am protecting them! But, at what cost? This is, also, why I am scared. As I have said before, I feel like a terrible mom.

    I want to apologize, however. I am sorry if this letter seems self-centered. Trust me, I want to hear exactly how you are doing, what you are feeling, what moves you, what worries you, what I can do. I simply wanted to explain to you why I act and speak and feel the way I do at this time. I share my struggles so that you remember that you are not alone. Never, not ever.

    I wanted to give you a peek behind the mask.

    Thank you, friend, for your patience with me. I know I have not been as communicative. I have been no fun at all! Eight months without fro-yo can have that effect.

    Do I think things will get better? Yes. I am confident that they will. In my experience, and if past is prologue, a hopeful story often comes after the hard. So, while we are trudging around the muck and mire of the virus’ dark winter, let’s look for the light. For the positive changes that are happening around us. Change is the one thing I will, most certainly, keep on my 2020 Bingo card.

    And, if I start to forget, I’d be so grateful if you would remind me. I promise to always do the same for you.

    So, how are you doing? Please write back!

    Sincerely yours,


  • 11 things I’ve become obsessed with during quarantine.

    Friends, you know me. You know that we are still quarantined, or socially distant, or in the red zone, whatever you want to call it.

    You know that COVID-19 is making me feel like a bad mom.

    There has been a lot of womp-womp-ing over here, and so, as I sit here in my living room, my favorite room in my house, enjoying the light that pours in from the windows and the world around us, I have decided to share an upbeat post.

    I bet you didn’t know I had it in me!

    As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been in a strict quarantine bubble with my parents, and there is this thing my dad does, not infrequently, and this thing is that he says, “You know something? _______ has been one of the greatest finds of quarantine!” or “I have to say, ______ has had a a major renaissance during quarantine!” or, he posits, “Do you know what was COMPLETELY UNDERRATED before quarantine?”

    (each time, as if he has not already said it. Love you, dad!)

    We tease him (because he is, in fact, unintentionally funny), but he is also correct. We have discovered and re-discovered some things during this period of isolation that have made said time better, happier, more delicious, more fun, and, dare I say, tangy-er!

    Yes, of course we’ve baked banana bread; I’ve enjoyed every bite of my bestie’s delicious sourdough when she’s dropped it on my stoop; I spent two weeks tie-dying every white thing I could find; we watched Tiger King. 

    Here, I am talking about the things that are not on a quarantine Bingo card. Well, mostly.

    And, because they may make your life similarly peaceful and tangy, I’d like to share with you

    11 things I’ve become obsessed with during quarantine.

    1. Iceberg lettuce

    I know. It has been reviled in the lettuce world. No nutrients! Colorless and flavorless! The lettuce they use in gross, camp salad bars!

    Oh no, my friends. Say what you will, but I have gotten into iceberg lettuce and if loving it is wrong then…what is that you say? I cannot hear you over the loud sound of my chomping these crisp, delicious bites of lettucey goodness.

    I keep at least 3 heads of iceberg in my fridge at all times, and though washing and drying lettuce is laborious, it is so worth it. I chop it up into fine, little bites, and munch away. More on this, soon!

    (P.S. if it is any indication of how much I adore iceberg, I was just going through the running list I’ve been keeping so that I could, at some point, share these things with you, and I had accidentally listed iceberg TWICE!)

    2. Cardenas Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar

    I have to hand it to my dad. He was right. Red wine vinegar HAD been underrated (by me, at least). Until I tried Cardenas Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar. We go through this by the case. Unlike other vinegars, it is not sour. It has a bite, but just enough. It is sweet, tangy, and is currently bffaeaeae with my iceberg lettuce. I have been making the same salad every day for the last two months, and it never gets old:

    Iceberg Lettuce, a peach, peeled cucumber, cracked pepper, a little olive oil, a lot of Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar.

    It is dreamy. I have no idea why.

    Let me just say, last week we had run out of the good stuff, so I used my Whole Foods Brand red wine vinegar and I could not even finish the bowl. Too sour! Not my Cardenas.

    3. Top Chef

    Let me be clear: I watched the first seven or eight seasons of Top Chef religiously.

    The Season 2, Marcel head-shaving incident will go down in history as one of the most dramatic reality tv moments ever, and Kenny and I are devoted members of Bachelor Nation. The night before that well-teased episode was set to air we literally could not sleep, giddy with anticipation.

    Ahh, life before spoilers.

    Then, we fell off. Until one of my favorite podcast hosts started talking about the new Top Chef All Stars season, and, by some stroke of luck, Kenny agreed to start watching with me, in real time, just like the good old days.

    It was everything we wanted and more. Cozy, nostalgic, delicious, dramatic, suspenseful, inspiring, heart-warming, I could go on and on and on. Just in case you will, in fact, take my advice and watch this most recent season of Top Chef (All Stars, Season 17) I shall not spoil it, but let me tell you, I had a very exciting interaction with the winner before they were the winner and I now own merchandise that has to do with the winner and a package of food from the winner just arrived at my door, so I encourage you to watch so we can discuss this and you can also enjoy the cozy, inspiring, nostalgic, happy deliciousness.

    (Top Chef has also been the gift that keeps on giving, as all of the seasons of the show are available on Hulu, so we’ve gotten to re-watch and catch up since we resumed our love affair with the show.)

    4. Coffee

    I’ve been a tea girl for as long a I can remember.

    Chai was almost a verb for me, “Hey, wanna chai?”

    And don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I’ve pivoted. I’ve gotten basic.

    I’ve realized that with enough sweetener and creamer it is not only delicious but crave-worthy.

    I like my coffee hot, but flavored similarly to coffee ice cream. Light and sweet. BUT, when Kenny makes it with with AeroPress I can even drink it black. It’s that good. Why someone would choose to drink it black instead of with milk and sugar is beyond me, but it no longer disgusts me. We chemex. We use a machine. We have Nespresso pods. I am almost like a big girl!

    Which leads me to my next discovery which is…

    5. Oat Milk

    I get it, I get it, oat milk has not only been a thing, but it has been THE THING.

    I am late on this! I am often late on things. I refused to get emojis until I turned 30, if you recall. I still don’t have Uber.

    But oat milk, oh yes. You were right.

    I have a complicated relationship with milk and so when I am trying to avoid it things (like coffee!!!!) become tricky. Vanilla almond milk is fine in smoothies, but it just does not taste good to me in a latte. Enter: Oat Milk.

    It is creamy, the flavor goes beautifully with my coffee, and I would drink it straight. It reminds me of soy milk, which I also love but do not often buy, and I don’t know why I am telling you this, because you certainly know way more about oat milk than I do, as you were not, in fact, late to this oat milk party, but now you know I know, ya know?

    6. Puzzles

    This is TOTALLY new to me. I talked about my love of puzzles just last week, and this love has only grown. I won’t repeat myself. I will, however, say that I tackled two 1000 piece puzzles in this last week

    (Love Lives Here puzzle and All Good Things Are Wild and Free puzzle).

    I have a crazy idea about puzzles, but I think I’ll keep that one up my sleeve.

    7. Professional home self tan kit

    I don’t think I have ever felt less cute or confident in my life.

    Hyperbole or not, I hardly ever think, “Oh! That looks great!” these days and I have been my own very harsh critic.

    Cue: Flawless Bake By Sophia.

    Full disclosure, Sophia is my friend, but I paid for my kit, this is in no way sponsored, and the fact that Sophia is my friend simply allows me to confidently vouch for her skill, style, and immaculate cleanliness. I ordered my first ever home kit by Sophia right before my 35th birthday in April, as a little treat, and I have used to twice since. Let me just tell you, it has done wonders for my mood.

    I mean it. Something about the subtle, natural glow (that I did not mess up and I mess up everything like this) made me look healthier, less like I’ve been indoors and sullen since March, and was a “self care” moment, when such moments are scarce. I used to treat myself to bi-weekly manicures, and have not been since February, but let me tell you that tanned, bare-nailed hands look much better than pale ones!

    If you are looking for a similar burst of confidence, I cannot recommend this enough! Sophia is amazing (you’ll want to be her) and she will drop to you, ship to you, FaceTime with you, work with you, and you will feel better.

    8. Spice House Spices

    Another Robb Fox find, here, and I must give the man credit where credit is due.

    When he told me he was buying a set of spices from Spice House I was, to be honest, mildly skeptical and somewhat indifferent.

    I was also completely, totally wrong.

    As someone who has never liked dried herbs, I will tell you that this set of essentials is so good we have purchased two more sets during quarantine. My personal favorites include the sweet curry, garlic powder, celery seed, dill weed, onion powder, and cumin. You have no idea how big this is for me. I think you’d enjoy, as well!

    9. Organization

    Look, I cannot say I find the process to be meditative. If I could outsource it, I would. I get that some people like the act of purging, placing, folding, etc. but I am not one of these people. It is, still, a chore.

    But, alas, I have been stuck at home for eight months, and the clutter and disorder was really getting to me. Messiness gives me anxiety and my anxiety is already so high. I read articles and followed Instagram pages and made some Amazon orders and let me tell you, tackling one, small area or project at a time has been manageable and the rewards have been awesome.

    I bought different kinds of bins, set up two donation pick-ups, dropped bags off on my best friends’ stoops, and went to town (again, one one, small space at a time). I recommend this.

    Now, every time I look in my pantry to see neat rows of snacks all organized by type and size, with each type of item in its own, sorted bin, I feel accomplished; less anxious.

    10. Audiobooks

    Late in 2019 something embarrassing occurred to me: during the year prior I had WRITTEN more books than I had read.

    I was mortified!

    I was also completely unsure of how to find time to read when I had children and dogs and a husband and a pandemic to keep an eye on.

    Audiobooks, for the win! I have been “reading” with my ears nonstop, even replacing my beloved podcasts with audiobooks (from all different genres). Not only do I find these books enjoyable, but having read more than one book makes me feel accomplished. Imagine that!

    I often share my book recommendations over on my Instagram page, so you can follow along there. I have been really into junky, fluffy, easy thrillers lately, but this summer I also read some non-fiction pieces (ranging from Andy Cohen to Bob Woodward) so I have a lot to recommend.

    11. Putting it out there

    Ok, this is not new, and I would not say I am “obsessed” with this, but I want to use this opportunity to thank you.

    You have allowed me to continue to put it out there, whether “it” has been my twirling, magical dance parties with baby Belle in 2010 or “it” was the bleakest days of my postpartum depression, and you have followed along, supported me, and given me an incredible sense of solidarity.

    In this case, though, I want to thank you on behalf of my kids. I put myself out there a few times this summer, with their permission, and I admitted (on social media) that we are still “staying home” as a family, and that it can be lonely. I shared that Beau is obsessed with Minecraft, and could use a virtual buddy to play with. I explained my kids’ unique school situation, having gone back to public school just last year, right before quarantine, and how we all long for connection. I know that by sharing my clear, potentially controversial viewpoint on the pandemic I am opening myself up to criticism and judgement. I am, potentially, further isolating my kids.

    But, by putting it out there, I found some brave, bold, honest, good, kind people who, I now know, are my people.

    Moms who also want to set up Minecraft dates for their kids and with whom I now text daily, about Minecraft, yes, but also about motherhood, health worries, and life.

    Parents who are working to welcome my kids to their school community.

    Strangers who tell us that what we are doing is helping others to stay safe, giving us a sense of purpose during this sea of worry.

    If you are also staying at home, reach out. To me! To someone. The loneliness is crushing and it does not have to be.
    If you are not, reach out! To those who wish they could, also, be out having fun but, for one reason or another, cannot.

    It is hard to display vulnerability. But, when you do, you often reap the sweetest rewards.


    There you have 11 of the things I have been obsessed with during this period of time.

    As I finished typing that last paragraph I realized that I left some incredibly important items off the list (my daily yoga practice, if you can even call it that, Beau’s newfound love for basketball and The Sixers, sweet munchee cheese, to name a precious few), but maybe I’ll just use those missed opportunities as a chance to connect in the future. See #11.

    I hope you have as happy of a day as is possible, considering. For many, it is the first day of school! You’ve got this!

    For others, change looms in the air. We’re in this together!

    Now, go make yourself a delicious iceberg salad and eat it in front of the television as you start season 17 of Top Chef as you wait for your sunless tan to develop. Just don’t trip on the puzzle piece!



  • COVID19 is making me feel like a bad mom.

    (What I have done for the last 2 months: yoga every day.
    What I have not done for the last 2 months: felt, in any way, relaxed, calm, peaceful, or zen.)


    try (verb): 
    make an attempt or effort to do something; an attempt to achieve or attain.
     trying (adjective):
    difficult or annoying; hard to endure.
    Has any other homonym been more applicable during this pandemic?
    If so, forgive me. My brain is oh so tired. (And, while your’e at it, please give me bonus points for remembering the difference between a homonym and homophone!)
    We are about to enter into another novel phase of this novel time of this novel virus,
    and I am scared. The two hands I wrote about in May are not just full; they are unkempt, unmanicured, weathered, and they are trembling.
    I have shared a lot of how I am feeling on my Instagram page (particularly in a highlight called RL Talk COVID, if you are interested), but compared to my normal level of openness, honesty, and verbosity, I’ve been quiet.
    I have spoken about my anxiety and hypochondria, shared my worries for my kids, posted metaphors about how, for me, the idea of schools reopening now feels like trying to shuttle kids in school busses during a severe blizzard.
     What I have not yet shared? The thing that is so hard to consider that I, most often, do not; the thing that hit me, just yesterday, during a teletherapy session; the thing that is just as novel to me as this virus and chapter in history:
    COVID19 is making me feel like a bad mom.
    Allow me to explain.
    There are so many things that make me feel like me. 
    In “normal life” I am proud to identify as many things at the same time. While being a mom always tops the list, I am also proud to be a wife, and an author, and a blogger, and a friend, and a daughter, and a sister, and a singer, and as part of a rock and roll band, and an advocate, and as a speaker, and as a gardener, and as someone who faces tasks head on.
    As COVID19 began its perilous spread, each of these things began to fall. Some were in deafening collapses. Others were silent.
    This one hurts the most.
    All of my external identifying factors began to disappear.
    (As swiftly as the disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer bottles on store shelves? Too much? Too much.)
    My second bookBaby Ever After, came out right before the pandemic reared its head. I was an author with a book that could not be promoted properly. I could no longer blog, as I had mommy school to teach. I had a singing gig lined up for July, along with my incredible guitar teacher, and I would be able to play for the first time ever in public. We all know how that went.
    All of my attention had to be harnessed inward, or at least to the inside of our home.
    I tried to keep our spirits up. I tried to keep us connected. I tried to keep music in the air.
    In the past, even in my darkest days, I could still host a raging dance party for my kids.
    I could twirl them around, play them like a guitar in my arms, set the amp to blast music so loud that it felt like the house would shimmy and shake along with us. I could keep my kids happy.
    I could overcome.
    I’d done this before! I had worked through a crisis! Even when I hated myself during those miserable months of postpartum depression, I loved them enough to keep them happy. I over-functioned, in many ways. I couldn’t do many simple things (you know, like feed myself), but I could plan elaborate costume parties, perform in rock concerts, make kale smoothies, enroll both kids in the right schools, participate in fun classes, and jump in ball pits. I even got them their own ball pit! (Note: I have never been good with germs).
    I was on top of my shit.
    I could persevere through my own suffering just enough to give them all they wanted and needed and then a little bit more, leaving exactly no reserves left, but it was OK. It kept us afloat. It wasn’t ideal, but they were smiling and thriving and nothing mattered more.
    It was trying, but I was trying, and, most of the time, my tries were triumphant.
    All of this is to say, motherhood was this one, salient, impenetrable thing I could always fall back on. I’ve been blogging here for ten years, and during that time I have been open about many of my struggles and alluded to others, but during all of these times I still felt like a MOM. A mommyish mom. A good mom.
    And that feeling, the one thing that has been my buoy, is gone.
    Right now, as this un-summery-summer is drawing to a devastating close, I feel more lost than ever before.
    I do not even know which direction in which to paddle my arms.
    With little leadership, no uniformity, limited data, inadequate supplies, and a poor sense of direction I am trying and trying and trying to tread water, because I do not know what else to do.
    When I look in one direction, I see red hazard lights blaring.
    “Stop!” They indicate. “There is danger, ahead! We do not know exactly what this danger is, but it is bad. It is so bad. We know it is probably even worse than we think, but we will not know for a long time, but trust us: you should be scared! Oh! And make sure to scare your children, as well! Not, like, scar them scare them, but make sure they know the gravity of the situation! Stay. At. Home.”
    When my head whips in a different direction I see the flags from mental health organizations, hanging soberly.
    “It is OK to not be OK,” they read. There is profound compassion and obvious good intentions.
    The flags wave in the wind, but I can still make out their words.
    “Kids need other kids!”
    “Kids are suffering!”
    “Kids aren’t meant to be alone!”
    This is so confusing. Both directions are telling me to save the kids, and all I want to do is to save the kids, but I cannot do both, and I do not know which direction in which to head, and I should know.
    A good mom would know.
    The sound of loud music thumping draws my attention to yet another direction.
    A pool party! In the sea! How about that!? It is almost as if science doesn’t matter and a pool can exist in a churning ocean! WHOA! These people either know something about science that I don’t or…
    …wait, I cannot think straight, the music is too loud.
    As I try to make out the figures at the party in the distance I realize that it is hard because they are so close together.
     They are raising glasses of colorful drinks, throwing arms over shoulders, laughing with unmasked mouths.
    What. the. fuck?
    “Come hang with us, kids!” The partygoers shout. “We have candy! New friends! Fun!”
    It is as if I am looking at a reality so different than my own that, although there is something vaguely familiar about the scene, it is impossible for me to comprehend. It feels like something I must have dreamt about, a long time ago.
    And then there is yet another direction in which I feel myself being pulled.
    I hear laughter, there.
    Laughter feels better than the blaring of red sirens, or the somber flag-waving, or the thumping party music.
    When I turn my head in that direction I see the most startling sight of all.
    I see little Becca, on stage, dressed as a cat, with perfectly applied cat-person makeup, belting out a song into a microphone.
    It is a scene from my fifth grade play (which was, obviously, “Cats!”)
    I see a montage of scenes from my youth, in which I am talking to, and laughing at, and playing with my friends, who are still, to this day, my best friends. We are making shared memories. Doing things that we will, I know, still be talking about almost three decades later, as we reflect back with fondness and warmth.
    It is this direction that finally knocks the wind out of me.
    I can barely tread water anymore. I want to throw up.
    It is in this direction that I am seeing everything that my kids cannot have. It is in this direction that I feel that I am failing Belle and Beau most. It is in this direction that I am reminded of all the ways in which, despite my best efforts, my trying cannot triumph any longer.
    Despite the mounting uncertainty, there are three things I know to be absolutely true right now:
    1. This is hard for everyone. No one likes this.
    2. I am extremely privileged. I have a partner, a home, resources, access to care, and so many advantages. I am aware of and grateful for my privilege every single day.
    3. I love my kids so much that, just sitting here and typing those words, I feel a physical ache in my chest and stomach. I love them so much that it hurts. I love them in ways that I never thought possible. I love them more than I did yesterday.
    If only that camaraderie, that privilege, and that love were enough.
    Right now, everything feels surreal and impossible. Like a choose-your-own-adventure nightmare.
    Make a choice, face the consequences. Pick between multiple bad options.
    How can I do my best to keep my kids physically healthy and mentally healthy right now?
    Do I prioritize their short-term and long-term physical safety, which, if compromised, I cannot necessarily control or treat, or do I prioritize their happiness, over which I feel like I have a slightly better handle?
    Do I keep them enrolled in their pubic school, the school where they have both finally found a safe home, knowing that we are at the school’s mercy? Do I sign them up for the year-long virtual school, so that things will be consistent, but will no longer allow them to be part of their home school community?
    Will they learn? Will they grow? Will they feel confident?
    Does the school know what they’re doing? Will they reopen in person? What metrics are they using to determine the safety?
    What about the teachers? The teachers who are my friends? What about the teachers who have helped our kids and loved our kids and devote their lives to them? How do we keep them safe?
    Will my kids be the only ones stuck inside, alone, while their peers POD up into discrete groups?
    Will my kids be ok without a POD?
    Is anyone being as cautious as we are so that we could even entertain the idea of a POD?
    How do I find out?
    Whom can I trust?
    Am I making the right choice?
    What if I allow them to see people and someone gets sick?
    What if they get my parents sick?
    What if someone dies?
    Would I really send my kids to school during an unprecedented, dangerous blizzard?
    Will they ever make memories like I did in “Cats” or did I (and not COVID) rob them of the joys of childhood?
    Will they resent me? Does that even matter? Would I even blame them?
    Why is this so hard for me?
    Why is everything so hard for me?
    Why do I have to be such a whiner? Will people read this and roll their eyes at me? Chide me for complaining?
    Will I be more alone than I am now?
    Will that negatively impact the kids and their ability to socialize?
    Why can I do better?
    Why can’t I just be a good mom?
    I have said it before and I will say it again: We are the lucky ones. I said it about my postpartum depression and the fact that I survived. By the skin of my teeth, I did, but I did.
    I was able to order school supplies. My sister gave me the furniture from her old apartment and it is cool and functional and allowed me to set up classroom areas for both Belle and Beau.
    But, as we all know, it is not about the infrastructure, it is about what is inside.
    Right now, we are a family who does not see other people indoors. We still do not go into any public places, except for visits to the doctor that are necessary and unavoidable. We have our groceries delivered and wipe down every item with disinfectant. We do the same with takeout, and only order from restaurants that are not currently allowing for indoor dining. It is an arbitrary rule, but one that gives us a small sense of control.
    We try to get outside every day, but some days, like yesterday, the kids did not leave the house. They were down, and it was a vicious cycle. I took some time to water the plants in my greenhouse, but it no longer feels like my sanctuary; yesterday it felt more like a chore. I cannot identify as a gardener anymore. My plants are yielding a stunningly small amount of fruit this year.
    How fitting.
    This is the best I can do, as I keep treading water, spinning around in every direction, reading, researching, evaluating.
    I do not know when things will change, how much worse they will get before they improve, or how much my anxiety is influencing that grim internal forecast.
    I do not know if I am making the right choices, and that is something I may never know.
    There is no one right choice, after all.
    Every choice exists on a spectrum, as a shade of right and a shade of wrong. I’ll try to look at it as the former.
    Today, I do not feel my best, but I do not feel my worst.
    I do not feel like a great mom, but I am hopeful it will change. As COVID19 evolves, so will I.
    Today, though, unlike most days, I was a writer. A blogger. An advocate for my children and yours.
    I hope that counts for something.
    At least I tried my best.
  • Baby Ever After

    “I know words, and I love words, but I simply do not have the words to express my gratitude for this book and for all of the people who made it possible.”

    When I wrote this in the acknowledgments of Baby Ever After, it was my way of trying to convey the deep and profound appreciation I feel in a way that will never do it justice. I call myself a writer, but I could never possibly impart the gratitude; it is just so vast.

    Six years ago, right now, I needed help. Not the help I wrote about today in a long Instagram post (more on that tomorrow!) but intense and intensive support I required just to survive. So that I could try to claw my way out of the hard story, even when the hopeful story felt so far away that I couldn’t even see it on the horizon line.

    Out of sight, out of my mind.

    Life has changed so much. The world is colorful, but in different ways. The palette is not even the same.

    I am not depressed. I have anxiety that, at times, can feel debilitating, though I don’t know the clinical severity. I do know the big thing — the thing that I have said over and over, in front of crowds of thousands, and in the quiet of my own bedroom, said solemnly to Kenny in the dark of night: I am one of the lucky ones. I never, ever forget that, nor do I take it for granted. We have struggles, and since January 2014 they have only grown, but I feel indescribably blessed to be here for my children as we all claw our way up different mountains.

    I cannot believe that I am now just two days away from the release of my second book. Not only is it something that still astounds me on a fundamental (and high) level, but I cannot believe I have been given the opportunity to share my story and write about my experience and share the stories of others and write about other people’s experiences and, now, once again, I am at a loss for words.

    Fortunately, in just two days, you will be able to read approximately 80,000 new ones, I hope they turned out OK.

    I hope you like it.

    Let me just tell you, if you thought my first book was honest and raw, you ain’t read nothing yet. In this new book, I talk about some of the most personal things a human being can share as I take you on a tour of my body and my mind in ways I never imagined, but also do not regret.

    We talk about my ovaries. In detail!

    We talk grooming. I shave my legs for you!

    We talk tattoos. I LET YOU UNDER MY SKIN!

    We go deep. Oh, do we go there.

    I hope that by unzipping myself as I have in writing Baby Ever After I can help you or someone you love to feel seen or understood or a sense of camaraderie or the deep belief that none of us are alone.

    Aside from my own unzipped self, seven women and one man shared their unique stories for this book, and they are just exquisite. We have stories of pregnancy post-postpartum depression, and tackle topics including marriage, divorce, fertility, vasectomies, OCD, psychosis, religion, and other things that are often considered to be too taboo,

    and therefore only talked about in hushed tones.


    And they don’t even know this yet…

    While every story is different and unique and discreet, they are also so similar. There are things that unite each story in ways that turn my belly in a flip or give me goosebumps or make me weep.

    It is a tapestry.

    A multimedia collage.

    A woolen blanket.

    It is my own ragged pieces of yarn, woven together – hopefully with some dexterity – with the colorful threads shared from the incredible contributors, all so beautiful and tattered and soft and delicate,

    which are then expertly woven,

    over and under,

    around, up and down

     to your stories –

    the ones that you hold in the deepest places of your heart, and that no one knows, or may ever know.

    It is something that we make together, and it is heavy and light in the right ways.

    Six years ago if you told me I would be two days away from releasing my second book on postpartum depression…

    well…honestly? I don’t know what I would have done, as my emotions were very up and down those days.

    I will tell you that I shared more than I ever thought possible in this book, because I have more than I ever could have imagined.

    We did this. Baby Ever After is our hopeful story (with happy and hard sprinkled in – anchoring it).

    It is our piece of art. It isn’t the very best thing I have created,

    as that is a clear tie between the two creations currently playing on the jungle gym in my backyard,

    but it is my hope that it is up there.

    Thank you for continuing to be a part of my ever after, and for allowing me to be a part of yours.

    Cheers to words, and woolen blankets, and the light and the red balloon, and all that is hopeful -



  • Babysitting

    originally published on this here site, over four years ago, and I still feel the very same way!
    Photo circa April, 2014 — Beau’s former signature move. Today, he is still just as crafty, he is just a lot taller. 
    Or, as I like to call it, “Why everyone who wants to be a parent someday should babysit (and not for the reasons that you think”).
    I know what is going through your head. You think that I am going to advise you to do a lot of babysitting before becoming a parent so that you can see what it is like to be responsible for taking care of kids. How children can lead to levels of exhaustion and fear that would impossible to describe without having experienced it firsthand.
    That is not what I am thinking at all.
    I was just carrying my 28lb toddler while trying to simultaneously hold my kale smoothie (which he was drinking from my straw) and a covered cup of hot cocoa (The smoothie makes me cold! Hot beverages are dangerous around babies!) and I was thinking about how today my “work day” will be 10 hours long. Today, during my shift, I will be a cook, a cleaning person, a mediator, a clown, a nurse, an IT specialist, a detective, a photographer, a chauffeur, a dishwasher, an actor and a human jungle gym. I will not be getting paid.
    I managed to get the smoothie, cocoa and kid safely up the stairs and my thoughts continued to swirl as I snatched tiny socks up off of the floor, straightened a mini bookshelf and changed a diaper. As I continued to do task after task, all while trying to keep my son, toothbrush and glasses out of the toilet and the toilet paper out of my son’s mouth, I had the same refrain echoing through my head:
    “I used to get paid for this.”
    And so, here is why I am now determined to spread the word to all of you: If you have yet to have children and plan to (either imminently or in the future) then take my word for this. Babysit. Babysit now. Do it as much as you can. It is an amazing job. This is why:
    1. You get paid to play
    Even if you have the best, most high-power job–you know, like one where you go to meetings and write emails (as I have said, I do not totally understand a person’s job unless you can dress up as that person for Halloween)–I am sure that you can find a few minutes out of your week to play with some kids. You can give piggyback rides and play hide-and-seek and, at the end of your playtime, someone is going to hand money to you.
    2. The Snacks
    If you are babysitting, that means that you get to spend time in someone else’s home, which means that you get to raid someone else’s pantry. And, in all likelihood, a person with kids has good snacks. Of course you don’t buy Birthday Cake flavored Goldfish at home. You still shop at Whole Foods. But while babysitting you get to have snack time and enjoy double-stuffed Oreos, Pop Tarts and those little bags of gummy fruit (those are just examples of what is in my cabinet currently, but the possibilities are endless). And then there are meals. If you are babysitting during breakfast hours, imagine your cereal options. And what lunch is better than a PBJ with a juice box?
    3. You a hero
    As a babysitter, you do all of the things that parents simply do not have the time or energy to do. You do art projects. You make up creative games. You can take all of the receipts that you’ve been meaning to throw out of your purse and roll them into balls and throw them. That is a solid half-hour of entertainment, and you get to simultaneously “work” while knowing that someone else will be cleaning up your (literal) paper trail. You take kids to the park. You can pretend to be the bad guy. You let the kids use the bathtub as a pool. Because, why not? It’s fun.
    And it’s only for 20 minutes.
    4. Cash
    Babysitting is especially lucrative because you get paid in cash. And not only do you get paid in cash, but you have an hourly rate, which means that if you are watching children for 3 hours and 15 minutes you will inevitably get paid for that entire extra hour. No one wants to piss off the babysitter.
    5. You get to go home at the end of the day/night
    As a babysitter, you are there for the honeymoon period. You aren’t responsible for cleaning up the giant mess that you and the kids have made because “you were having so much fun!” and so you just “ran out of time playing!”. You don’t have to be the main disciplinarian, as special rules apply when you are over (“Yes you can stay up an hour late, but just for tonight”). You may have to deal with some of the yucky realities of the different things that can come out of children’s bodies, but only for a bit. You can handle one nasty diaper. You can handle it because you can go home and pour yourself a drink and put your feet up, because what’s one diaper when you have Bravo to watch.
    So, if you are someone who does not have children, I suggest that you babysit, as it is the second best job in the world. You get to receive wet kisses and warm snuggles and you are responsible for helping to shape a human being. You build bonds and you have inside jokes and you can eat yogurt from a tube. Babysit. Babysit whenever you can. Because someday, perhaps, you will have to do everything, and more, and you will be doing it without pay.
    It really is only the second best job. I haven’t had all of the jobs (see above; I cannot be a consultant because what the hell does a consultant wear? A French Maid, however, I could be!) but I have worked professionally as a teacher and writer and I have performed as an actor and singer, but nothing in the world compares to the moment when you, as a parent, walk through the door, after your child has been with his babysitter, and your wild maniac of a toddler comes barreling towards you, chanting, “Mama! Mama!”
    Yes, being a parent is the hardest job in the world. I see you brain surgeon shaking your head (by the way, I know how to dress up as you, so ha!). You are responsible for saving lives. Well, so am I. And not only am I responsible for making sure that my kids are safe, but also happy, secure and confident. I have to instill values and carry more weight than I ever could have imagined, both literally and figuratively.
    I hope I have made myself clear and that you think of me when you are dunking your cookies in milk while playing Candyland and getting a big hug from little arms FOR PAY.
    But, for now, I have must run; My son’s face is covered in a mixture of Oreos and snot.
    Is this part of motherhood fun? No. But is it worth it? Yes. Without a doubt.
  • Being a parent is hard.

    “Did you feel the house sway?” I asked, trepidatiously.

    The people around me all nodded, as we peered outside the sunroom windows, staring at a blowing blanket of white snow.

    “I know that we all felt the house move when that cyclone passed over us, but our house is over 100 years old, so it must be strong, because it has been through so many storms, right?”

    The quickness of my speech belied the calm affect I was trying to employ.

    Everyone around me was chatting, saying things like,

    “I’ve never seen anything like this!”


    “There aren’t usually tornadoes like this in Philadelphia!”

    and I chimed in with,

    “I guess this is a SNOWNADO!”

    We had seen it coming during a snowstorm, bracing ourselves for impact when the white flurries turned into a dark, ominous looking swirl, growing in size and speed by the second. The feeling of our house swaying was one I had only felt before during the earthquake of 2011, a feeling that has haunted me ever since.

    The snow continued to fall, I decided to contact my loved ones to check on their safety, and, the next thing I knew, I woke up.

    It was 5 o’clock this morning, and yet I knew I was up for the day.

    I have been recovering from a migraine, and since it was a doozy, I had to take my medicine, and it knocks me out, so I fell asleep around six last night, woke up at 11 to eat some Oreos, and then went back to sleep.

    It was early, the sun not yet peeking into the sky, and I was still feeling shaken.

    “A snownado,” I thought to myself. “Well, at least I was creative.”


    Just moments ago, the third clap of thunder boomed from above.

    “What’s that?” asked Beau, with the same cautiousness that I know so well.

    “It’s just thunder!” I said calmly, this time belying the anxiety I really feel inside.

    Both kids are home with me, today.

    Despite the weather forecast for a warm, cloudy morning, I am staring out my window at the deluge of rain, falling in torrents; I am counting each clash of thunder.

    What my kids do not know is that as a child, I had a severe phobia of thunderstorms.

    I cannot tell them this. Why not? I do not want to impart my fears onto them, and, most of the time, thunderstorms aren’t actually scary.

    Beau chimed in with a legitimate concern. “Will daddy be safe?”

    I assured him that we will all be safe, and daddy will be able to get home to us without a problem.

    As I write, the rain continues to fall.

    I see squiggles of light in my line of sight.

    Belle is reading in her room, Beau is playing a computer game in mine.

    And, the same words keep repeating over and over in my head, on an endless loop:

    Being a parent is hard.


    I have amazing parents. Earlier this week, when I texted my mom to see if she remembered my pushcart, a 25-year-old project for which I was particularly proud

     (I carefully and meticulously used all of my third grade skills to design a pushcart, with little, tiny baskets lined with colorful fabrics, and fruit crafted from modeling clay),

    she responded immediately with, “I still have it!!!!!!!”

    Not only does she remember, but she lived this with me, and it is still a part of her consciousness.

    Yesterday, when my dad heard that Beau had been feeling sad, and had tried to make a wish that he was sure would not come true, he came to my house on his way to work, at seven in the morning, to bring my son a snorkel.

    “This was my wish! My wish came true!” Beau shouted with glee.

    Not only did he take in my little anecdote about his grandson, but he wanted to make magic for him.

    My parents are amazing.

    And, my parents are the first to say, “There is not a manual for being a parent.”



    Being a parent is hard.

    I can remember my first summer as a mom, around nine years ago, when I lamented Belle’s changing non-schedule of a schedule.

    “They aren’t robots,” my mommom said, as we settled into her beach house for the weekend.

    At the time, I resented her comment, finding it to be flippant. But, I see what she meant. Every time we think we have it down, the rules of the game change; it is an ever-moving target. Just as soon as I get my grip on how to parent a child of this age, and at this stage, the age and the stage evolves, and I am left, once again, to figure it out, often by the seat of my pants.

    This stage of parenthood is pretty awesome. My kids are people, now.

    They both teach me things that I do not know, and I find it to be fascinating and brilliant and beautiful.

    Belle is into farming, and composting, and weeding, and worms. She devours books, and loves graphic novels, and spends her time drawing, writing, and looming. She is politically and socially aware (at our Passover Seder this year, she chimed in and proclaimed that Pharoah was just like Bill Barr). She likes things that I don’t like. She is her own person. And yet, she is still nine.

    Beau is into Star Wars, and building, and quirky things like maps, planets, and…snorkels. He is like an encyclopedia of knowledge about the alternate universes that he explores, and he has an incredible memory. He just asked me how to spell “MONSTER” so he could type it into his Mincraft world. He is loving and curious. He likes things that I don’t like. He is his own person. And yet, he is still five.

    The fact that my kids are now actual kids, and not babies, makes the decision about expanding our family (the subject of my second book, which is now in the copy-writing stage of production!) more complex. On one hand, having a baby now seems like a piece of cake. I’d have built in help! My kids would love a little brother! On the other hand, we would be starting all over again, at a time when we are in a very different stage (without schedules, or diapers, or the inability to communicate effectively with words), and we would have a rather large age difference to contend with. But, there is something else that holds us back. It is not just my former battle with postpartum depression.

    Being a parent is hard.

    I have learned that in an instant, just like it did in my dream, the world can shift.

    It might not literally sway like a SNOWNADO, but it can feel like it.

    Thunder can so quickly turn into sunshine. As I sit and write, the rain has stopped falling, and I see light through my bedroom window. All in the span of one little blog post.


    Yesterday was a hard day for me. I shared the following on my Instagram pageScreen Shot 2019-05-23 at 11.32.52 AM

    This is a weird selfie. It’s real, though. This is exactly what I was doing in the moment that I decided to write this post. I was in the backyard, a watering can in one hand, my phone in the other, in a sundress from my best friend & soccer sandals on my blue-toed feet, and I realized that I wanted to share.
    This has been a hard time for a lot of people I know. I don’t know what planet is in retrograde or moon is eclipsing but I know so many people – members of my tribe – who are hurting right now; for whom life isn’t the most beautiful. I feel you.
    This morning was hard. I didn’t want to get up & dressed & head out to the garden, which signaled to me that I was not OK. So, I spoke to Kenny. “I’m not OK,” I said. I talked to my best friends via text. My sis called. I want to be clear in saying that yes, I am OK, & I don’t mean to sound hyperbolic, but I’m shaky.
    It wasn’t easy to get up & dressed & head out to the garden, but I did. I watered my greenhouse veggies & herbs as the thermometer in there read 97.3; I watered all of my annuals; I saw that the rose bushes have started to bloom, resplendent in different shades of pink; I tended to my new pumpkin patch, in an outdoor area by the swing set; I replaced the seeds in our bird feeder; I took stock of the perennials that have surprised me this week. “The world isn’t so beautiful, right now,” I said to myself. “But this is.”
    I let myself feel the sun on my open back, and then I snapped this weird photo of myself, leaning into one of my favorite new flowers. It’s OK to not be OK, they say. I’ve said. This is what it looks like to be OK and not OK at the same time. We can hold so much in our two hands.
    To those of you who are also feeling burdened by those things less than beautiful, you are not alone. You are seen. At least by 1 girl in a sundress & soccer sandals.


    When I think of what we know about being a parent, my mind goes back to the metaphor of the oxygen mask.

    “You must put on your own mask first,” we are told.

    And I get that, and I try to adhere to it sometimes, but that is just one thing that can happen on a plane.

    You see, what my children do not know is that I still have a pretty bad fear of flying. I have flown all over the world, and yet it is my biggest phobia. The last time I flew, the pilot gave me wings. I was 31.

    So, while we parents worry about how to occupy our children on plane rides, and what they will have to eat, and cross fingers that they will nap, or won’t nap, and

    please do not let them kick the seat in front of us

    I also have my own issues to tend to. On top of all of the logistics and parenting, I have to gracefully accompany my children on airplane flights when I am supremely terrified, AND I cannot let them know.

    You know that I talk very openly with my kids about feelings and fears, and I have normalized emotions in our house to the best of my ability. They know that there are things that I am scared of. BUT, I never want my phobias to plant seeds in their minds, and therefore potentially hold them back.

    I have told them that I am scared of snakes. This is true! Why was I honest about this?

    Because, in my mind, worst case scenario is that my kids would also be scared of snakes (just like my dad, and my grandmother before him). We would avoid the reptile house at the zoo, and all run screaming at the sight of anything slithery.

    But, it is also something that I have been able to show them – tangibly – that I can conquer, at least enough to pet the snake at the demonstration at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Showing them that, “we can let it scare us but we don’t have to let it stop us” is huge for me.

    Another one of my fears? Space. I don’t even want to talk about it.

    Now, if you reread the above you will see that I have one child who is obsessed with worms (I wrote about this here) and one child who is obsessed with Star Wars (and here).

    Being a parent is hard.


    “Look! Look outside!” I just told Beau, as we curl up in my bed.

    “It’s not raining,” he said, without much emotion.

    Once again, the world had changed. Some fears were abated as others grew.

    “And no more thunder.” he added, as he built a patio out of wood and obsidian, which he favors because it can be used to make portals, for his latest house in Minecraft.

  • a blogger?

    Hello, my friends.

    How are you, on this fine day? Did you rest well? I sure hope so.

    Speaking of rest, I was thinking of you this morning, at 4:30, when I was roused from slumber and then could not manage to fall back to sleep.

    I tried all of my go-to tricks; the healthy ones, to start. I counted backwards, slowly, from 100, taking a deep breath between each number, and, if my mind started to wonder, to started back at the top.

    Once I got down in the low 80s I knew that this trick was not working. Not this morning.

    4:30 is one of those weird hours; when I first woke up, before checking the time, I did not know if it was 2am or 6am, because, these days, the light at those hours looks the same. Having gone to bed around 9 last night, after yawning through the evening, I figured that by 4:30 I had gotten a reasonable amount of sleep. If I was up for the day I would definitely be tired, but it would be survivable.

    When my healthy tricks failed me, I turned to the things filed under: “Bad Idea” –

    I let my mind wander;

    I checked my messages;

    I peeked at Instagram;

    I opened the Netflix app on my phone and, after losing all self-control, turned on Season 2, Episode 21 of Gossip Girl.

    The latter served to tired my eyes, but sleep continued to elude me.

    I checked the clock, again, and it was 5:30, though the sky still looked the same from the bedroom windows.

    In one, final effort, I put Dax Shephard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast on, stuck it on the bedside table, curled up under the covers and, the next time I opened my eyes, it was 7:30 and Beau was singing “Happy Birthday” to me.

    It is not my birthday.

    Early this morning, while my mind was wondering, I thought of my goals for today.

    I have been hitting the book-writing hard, and have accomplished more this week than I had in the past couple of months. I am really in a groove, and as hard as it is to write this book, it is therapeutic, and it draws me in, and it is, in some ways, healing. I am learning a lot. And who doesn’t love to crush a daily goal?

    But, as I realized, with some horror, in the wee hours, I have not been blogging.

    Have I been sharing my life? Yes.

    I post on my Instagram page every single day, with full posts, photos, and stories.

    Instagram now, for me, is what blogging once was;

    it is my connection to the outside world. It is where I share vulnerabilities, and my daily goings-on.

    When I first started this blog in June of 2010 (we are talking almost NINE years ago, folks!), it was my way to feel connected during a time when I was otherwise isolated. It was on this site that I’ve told my hardest stories.

    It was on this site that I came out with my postpartum depression, in real time, as I was in the midst of my battle.

    But, my old, short, quip-filled, pithy blog posts of the past have morphed into longer, more meaningful, dense posts of today. It is on Instagram that I share the little notes and captions and stories and photos.

    I’ve written on here, countless times, about “keeping it real” — but, on Sunday, I shared this.

    I have blogged, for almost nine years, about dance parties. But, last weekend, I was able to post this video.

    This is not an excuse. In some ways, it feels like an apology.

    Because, at 5am, as I have done so many other times in recent months, I turned the same question over and over in my head:

    Am I really a blogger?

    The landscape of blogging has changed. It is a saturated market, and people can gain (and, ehem, purchase) social media followers to become “influencers” and it is a way to make money and feel relevant and make this big world a lot smaller. When I started blogging, things were so, so different.

    I share on social media, but in different ways. I have never purchased a follower, but I am sure my account would look more appealing if I did.

    I am a writer. I authored a book and I am writing my second.

    I have been able to speak at conferences, and marches, and small, intimate truth-circles.

    But, am I a blogger?

    I can try harder. Even if this means taking some of my instagram stories and posts and building on them, so that they are fully-formed pieces on here, I can do that.

    BUT, I also want to stay true to my resolutions.

    I’ve been doing well, so far. Some areas are harder than others, but I am pushing myself, nonetheless.

    So, in that spirit, I will not apologize for my lack of blogging.

    I will just remind you that I am here and I am grateful to you, always.

    Without you, I would not be able to do any of the other things about which I just shared;

    without this blog, there would be no books; without this blog, there would be no community;

    without this blog, I would be adrift.

    I would have so much less to ponder at 4:30 in the morning.

    Perhaps I will share some of the stories with you that are centered around the main topic of book 2.

    But, for now, catch me over on Instagram, take care of yourself, and know that I am endlessly appreciative.

    Am I a blogger? I hope so! I hope this blog is like one of my soul-friends, with whom I can go weeks, or months, or even years with out seeing, but, when we are together, it is like no time has passed, at all.

    Will you accept me, despite what the answer may be?

    I hope so. I accept you, too.

    With stories to tell and zzzzzzz’s to catch



  • What I want, now.

    Last year, right around this very time, I published a post called, What I Want,

    which was both a Holiday Wish List and a nod to The Spice Girls.

    Last November, I wrote,

    “There are so many meaningful things that I want this holiday season, and none of them can be held in my hands. I want for my family and loved ones to be happy, healthy and safe. I want justice for anyone who deserves it. I want a more peaceful year ahead. I want to affect real change in the world.

    But, alas, these things are either supremely difficult or all together out of my control.”

    At that time, I did not think that things could get much worse in terms of the state of our union (read: President).

    I was wrong. Not only have we been systematically smacked in the face by many (all?) branches of our government, but there have been so many tragedies; too many tragedies to name.

    I am not limiting this list in any way, but certain names — people and places and things — come to mind, first.

    Parkland. Pittsburgh. California. Jemel Roberson. Dr. Ford. Fire.

    Since I last made a list o’ wishes, I have sat in front of my television set (or in my car, or on the bathroom floor) crying, more times than I can count.

    I want to be clear about this. I have perspective. It is hard for me to post a list of shiny, fun things in a shiny, fun post when people I know and love (and those I don’t) are suffering so greatly, right at this very moment.

    And, at the same time, we must do what we always do when it comes time to celebrate the holidays, or to put one foot in front of the other. We must persist. I must do the same thing that I did after October 28, 2016 and then November 8, 2016, and February 14, 2018, and October 6, 2018 and all of those other unimaginably hard days.

    Like I’ve always said, I have two hands. In one, I can hold all of the compassion and empathy and pain.

    I can wish, with all of my might, that the wildfires will stop and that my friends will be able to breathe clean air, once again. I can wish for peace. And I do. 

    But, today, in the other, I can hold those wishes for things that are tangible. Luxurious. Decadent, even.

    What I want, now.


    I have to say, last year was pretty amazing. My husband (who I did not know was such a religious reader of this site!) got me so many of the items on my list, it was pretty remarkable. Even my mom chimed in, treating me to the parka I had asked for. I returned it, though, as I loved it, but I did not love it enough, I thought, to justify its cost.

    From my list last year Kenny got me the Truffle Salt, the Brett Dennen album, and the Naked Cashmere pants.

    My mom, along with the jacket, got me a pair of Naked Cashmere slippers (those I kept!) and the West Elm Velvet Duvet for my room at her home. I never got the Lingua Franca sweater, and I am pretty bummed about this, as I asked for it before Lingua Franca was such a thing. I still LOVE the sweaters, but they have become so trendy that I am not including a Lingua Franca redemption song on this list. I am a rebel like that. (I still love “All the Feels” though!)

    I also did not get Christmas. I will never stop believing.

    I am not just sharing this with you as an exercise in superficiality or #bloglife. I am hoping that you will, perhaps, fancy some of these, too, and so this will feel decidedly less selfish! Or, perhaps, you will be inspired to make your own lists. To treat yourselves. To think outside the box (or to own the things that are in the box that will make you happy).

    Now, without further ado, here is my 2018 Holiday Wish List

    aka What I want, now.

    Jonathan Adler Vice Canister

    Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 5.08.29 PM

    I’ll say it, again. I covet the “Dope” canister. As I wrote last year,

    “So, this is kind of funny. I love me some Jonathan Adler and I am the proud owner of 3 of his Vice Canisters, but, alas, the “Dope” canister has eluded me. I would love to add this to my collection. And, in searching for the image for this post, I typed in “Jonathan Adler Dope Canister” and the 6th google hit was MY POST from my days of blogging at 511 Ever After (the transformation of my old house into a home…that we then sold). The funniest part? I ended that post with these words:

    “and I will never stop wanting this”

    I know myself well!”

    Cough * I will never stop wanting this *

    (Note: If you google said canister, my old post on my old website is one of the top hits. UGH!)

     All the Gilligan & O’Malley Sleep and Loungewear

    Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 7.47.10 AM

    This summer I bought a few sets of legit pajamas from this brand (on Target.com) and they’re heavenly.

    Light, soft, old-school.

    Quite serendipitously, I was given the nightshirt pictured above last month when I was a bridesmaid in my oldest-friend-in-the-world’s beautiful wedding. She knows how important it is to be able to wear “yummy things” and these are THE YUMMIEST. Since we were given this bridesmaids’ gift, the other girls have been equally obsessed, and our fondness has caught on to other friends. Now, we all have this black nightshirt, and rumor has it that I’ll be wearing one in a different color by the end of this week ;-)

    It comes in a few other colors, as well, and I would gladly have them all. I also would also gladly wear this black one with thick, black tights, booties and jewelry and make it my holiday outfit this year, but, I have to figure out where that would fall on the line between “edgy creative” and “socially unacceptable.”

    If I HAD to pick a few more of these yummy things, I would not mind lounging (or partying, as it were) in this or this


    (I already bought the sweetest short sleeve/shorts PJ set with buttons and a little collar. #obsessed.)

    Mignonne Gavigan Lux Feather Mini Madeline Earrings

    Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 8.12.59 AM

    Do you remember last year’s post in which I spoke of my dear friend who should really have a gift-buying concierge service? She is still at it! On a weekly (daily?) basis she sends me the most fabulous gifts, each so perfect for me (Faux fur dog clothing! Shiny, metallic, vintage! Hemingway!) and I smile every time I receive one of her messages. These earrings are her finds, and I love them because they are edgy and feathery and cool and different and, as always, me. 

    Kitchen Gear!

    Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 7.29.42 PM

    I do not know if this makes me super boring, super grown-up, or just super sensible, as I have been making a real effort to cook well and often for my family. Cooking for my family makes me feel virtuous, and it is also a very important thing for me, in general.

    And, for these reasons, I could really use (and, honestly, really want!) some new kitchen gear.

    High on my list? A new set of fry pans.

    Equally high? Glass Storage Container Set. Who am I!?

    I would also be very happy with some sort of Baking Set because, apparently, this is who I am, now.

    (Oh, and I would also love a vacuum sealer of some sort, as I have some major food-spoiling-paranoia and also because I would love to be able to seal up wine bottles and because they sound fun!)

    More Naked Cashmere Goodies

    Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 4.19.30 PM

    You could go to the Naked Cashmere website, blindfold yourself, and touch your computer screen, and I would LOVE anything on which your finger could possibly land. But, if we are getting specific here, I would love this Black Friday Setthis beanie (in Clay)this cropped sweater (toffee, please!), and the list goes on and on.

    An Overnight Bag

    Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 7.27.30 PM

    The last time I went away for the night — a Saturday – Sunday girls’ trip with my two best friends to the Jersey Shore (off-season! Atlantic City! Wheel of Fortune Slot Machine for the first time!!)  – I scrambled to find something in which to throw my 18 absolutelynecessaryoutfits. What I landed on was my son’s monogrammed mini duffel from Pottery Barn Kids. Basically, I could use something a little more functional and slightly less “five-year-old-boy.”

    Some bags that I dig include this cool camo duffel (on sale) from Nordstrom, the “Traveling Party” getaway duffel bag, this XL leather bag that is said to be for a ” ‘gram-able vacay” (I think it is cool, but more for you than for me), but clearly I would like, more than anything else, these PBTeen bags by Emily and Meritt in both the duffle for overnights and either the checked or carry-on spinner suitcase.

    (If anyone really wants to splurge, I think that Belle and I would be absolutely darling with this set AND it would allow us both to graduate from PBKids to PBteen).

    A Massage!

    Image result for massage

    (image via)

    I love massages as much as (if not more than) most things on this earth.

    I like all types of massages (I have enjoyed all of the massages I have had, except for two: the time the man at the fancy Philly spa massaged me with his chin and the time in Barcelona when the man massaged my boobs.)

    I like massages in a car,

    I like massages near or far,

     I like massages on a boat,

    I like massages with a baby goat.

    I like massages, yes I do,

    there how I’d like to spend an hour (or preferably two)!

    Initial Earrings

    Mini Diamond Initial Stud Earrings


    Despite the fact that I have seven combined holes in my ears, I rarely change my earrings. I wear a classic pair of studs and, the tiny, pink heart that I got with Belle when she got her ears pierced. Remember that story?! She was so nervous, and so after several failed attempts, she finally managed to muster the courage after I showed her, on my self, just how easy it was. With the pink, shiny heart earring she chose for my upper-ish right ear. Is it stylish? Not in the conventional way, but I would not trade it.

    All that said, I do love adding fun, unexpected touches to my ear game, and I would really like some cool initial earrings. Maybe one day I will wear “R F S” in my left ear while keeping my more conservative stud in my right. Maybe I will wear a B in each year for Belle and Beau (ehem, Becca). I would be tempted to wear “FOX” but that might come off wrong. Or, oh so right! Ooh, imagine “FOX” in one ear and a star stud in the other! #partylikeafoxstarr

    If I could shoot for the moon, I would love some initials like these (yellow gold, I think), but I am going to be a bit more realistic. These are very cool, and I like how they’re mixed and matched.

    These are great, and the price is right.

    Oh, and did I mention I might want some more piercings? Sorry, mom.

    Fender Limited Edition Stratocaster Electric Guitar

    Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 8.05.28 AM

     This would be considered a very, very big gift. During the three hours we spent in Guitar Center (during a horrible thunderstorm over the summer), I played so many guitars. This one was my favorite. It is so nice, but it is also not THE fanciest, and although my awesome salesman, Nick, chose this color for me, I worry that it is a bit too precious.

    I am a singer, not a guitar player, except I do now play the guitar, and I plan on playing a lot more, so I do not want to be a girl guitarist. I just want to be a guitarist (albeit a very new one without much confidence).

    I have an acoustic guitar and I would love, some day, to have an electric. And while this Sea Foam one does strike me as a bit “cute” it is also a bit badass, and if someone ever described me as “a bit cute and a bit badass” I would take it, so I would also take this. Perhaps for my birthday in April, right after Book 2 manuscript is due? Perhaps.


    In my life, I have so much. I have a loving family, wonderful friends, a house I love, a general sense of safety, insurance, security, care…

    that others do not have any of these things is not lost on me. So, I say again, if I could really wish for something this holiday season it would not be anything I could hold in my hands.

    I am so thankful, this year more than ever, for the people in my life, for my health, and for my survival. It was Thanksgiving Day five years ago that people started to notice that something was terrible wrong with me. I do not think I will ever look at the holiday, or any, the same way, ever again.

    Thank you for being a part of my tribe. I am so grateful that you allow me to share, journal, vent, chronicle, and make mistakes, all on here. I appreciate you.

    To feathered earrings, copper pans, and Peace on Earth –



  • Book Two!

    This time five years ago if you told me that I would be the published author of a book called, “Beyond the Baby Blues” (or, really, anything!) I would have (I’m sorry to say this) probably rolled my eyes at you.

    While I am not rude by nature, I was 37-weeks-pregnant, anxious, depressed, terrified of my impending repeat

    c-section and had no idea what was yet to come.

    The notion of a book with my name on the cover would have been laughed at, and then I would have gotten back to obsessively folding onesies, driving all over the Philadelphia suburbs looking for the perfect gray & yellow nursery hamper, and contracting.

    And then, everything changed.

    Alexander Beau Starr was born on October 24, 2013. I loved him instantly.

    Soon thereafter, I began to experience my Hard Story, and suffered from severe postpartum depression that, at its darkest, could have claimed my life.

    I am one of the lucky ones.

    I survived.

    But along with my battle scars, the experience left a hole in me. As much as I love my two children, my Belle et Beau, a piece of me feels like something is missing. The decision to have a baby was taken — no, ripped — out of my hands.

    Until it wasn’t.

    Nearly five years later I still do not have the answer as to what is right for my family, but now I know that I have options. And, what I have learned is that so many ppd sufferers and survivors think that there is no hope for future family expansion and when they turn to the bookstore for resources, there is hardly anything there.

    Is it safe to get pregnant again after having suffered from postpartum depression? How does it work?

    In my case, how does one even attempt to get pregnant after one’s husband is so traumatized by the experience that he vows never to have more kids and makes sure to surgically secure said decision?

    What about the other options? How else can someone expand a family?

    Adoption? Surrogacy?

    For me, it seemed like the more questions I answered, the more appeared out of nowhere.

    Because, what I have learned is that there is no one right decision. There are many ways to expand a family after postpartum depression.

    There is also another choice. The choice not to expand; to grieve the loss of what you thought would be; to embrace life as it is.

    And so, with all of these thoughts, and all of these experiences, and months of research, and countless meetings with doctors, and psychological professionals, and experts in the field and real moms who have explored all of the options above (and more), Rowman & Littlefield Publishing House and I are teaming up once again.

    What happens beyond “Beyond the Baby Blues” and where do we go from here?

    I will tell you…

    in my second book!!!!!

    Book Two!

    Because, as I have learned, expanding one’s family after postpartum depression is never as easy as just knocking boots.

    See you on the flip side. Literally.




  • #honestmotherhood

    “I am calling this post #honestmotherhood, brought to you by this thing I try to do called honest motherhood.

    It is when I share things about my life — motherhood in particular — that are honest and raw and occasionally unflattering and sometimes comical.

    To get off on the right (honest) foot, I have to admit that I have now gotten to the point where after almost 8.5 years of writing this blog I have to search my own site to make sure that I am not writing a duplicate post! I have written extensively on the subject of motherhood and all of its charms (and cray) and it is quite fun to take a trip down blog-memory-lane, as there are moments that, without this site, I would have forgotten. For instance, I know that I have spilled kale smoothies in the past few years, but I did not remember just how times and in how many locations a kale smoothie has been spilled. Together, on here, we have laughed, cried, face-palmed, danced and raged.

    Why? Because I always try to #keepitreal and share about #honestmotherhood in a way that feels both respectful to you and respectful to my family. This means that I will never tell a direct lie, but it also means that there are areas of my life about which I do not write. There are things I keep private about my kids and my friends and that is because this blog was my decision and so their stories (when more than just kale-smoothie-related) are not mine to tell.

    But, some are funny enough and innocuous enough that I can share them, because I think you will find them funny, too.”

    …is what I wrote on August 10.

    I then got a call from my bae about her ridiculously “Becca-ish” morning and everything got derailed in the best way and I stopped writing about #honestmotherhood and wrote this post, instead.

     The funny thing is, I have no idea what happened on August 10 that inspired me to write about motherhood, honestly, and that is because every single day I find myself having “hashtag moments” (#hashtagmoments?) about which I could write an entire zany, honest, maybe tear-jerking or maybe laughter-inducing post.
    Isn’t that what life is like?

    For instance, on September 6 I posted this to my instagram page:

    Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 12.07.02 PM

    rebeccafoxstarr I need to keep it real. I need to make a confession: today, I did many things, but I failed in one huge way; I forgot to take care of myself. I’m now paying for it. Today, I had pretty bad hip pain, & yet I still limped my way up to the 3rd floor of my kids’ school to take my daughter to class; I had appointments & meetings; I worked & I parented; I neglected my basic human needs and it was all fine and good until it caught up to me, quite abruptly, in a most undesirable moment. I picked up my kids from school & my daughter told me that she needed a binder for class tomorrow. Instead of turning right to go home (where I would have had access to food, drink, Tylenol & rest), I turned left & limped my way around Staples, with 2 kids & 800 school supplies to wrangle. At one point I crouched down (for wide ruled paper) & I couldn’t stand back up. I type this with tears in my eyes. I started to feel faint & as my kids rummaged through the $5 bin for Pez & slime I said, “You guys, stop. I’m not feeling well.” When I stood up, I saw that someone I know – another mom – was standing right before me & she looked at me with such incredible empathy and offered to help me; to find me a snack (thank you, R) & I apologized to her for my moment of weakness. I finished our shop while eating a granola bar with my one free hand and when we finally got home I really thought I was going to pass out. I drank & sat & then had to make a really hard phone call. I had to call my mom to tell her that I was feeling sick, & she said (100% correctly) that I couldn’t go to the Eagles Home opener with my family. With my dad. My heart hurts, because this it is all my fault. I’m so sorry. Today, I messed up. I’m writing this to remember; to hold myself accountable. With regret xx, B **

    It was a total #honestmotherhood moment and, since then, I have tried to be better about taking breaks and taking time, but I have been far from perfect. That’s the honest part.

    But, this week was its own animal. Actually, Thursday was an animal inside of an animal.

    Ahh, yes. Thursday was a friggin’ pregnant animal. And we’ve come full circle (#motherhood).

    On Thursday, I woke up with my eyes matted together. Sorry for the horrific graphic, but I could not open them, when I did they would not stop tearing, and with once glance in the mirror I saw that I had, what we often refer to as, pink eye,

    though, in my case, it was more “red eye”

    as I tend to be an overachiever like that.

    Taking care of two children and getting them to school by 8:30 in the morning is a feat in and of itself (for me), as it involves outfits and meals and more meals and hair styles and more hairstyles and all of these things are extremely hard to do when you do not want to touch (lest you infect) your children.

    But, it got done, and I got myself to the eye doctor, whose exact words were, “Wow, this is impressive!”

    Major case of viral pink (red) eye (0r, in his words, conjunctivitis) and explicit instructions to do over-the-counter treatments, stay home, rest, and avoid parenting. Along with my red eyes I also had some aches and a general feeling of malaise. When I asked him about the concert tickets I had that night (to see the David Byrne masterpiece at The Mann) he said, “If you go to that show tonight I will have a line out my door tomorrow of the people you’ve infected.”

    Hard stop.

    No concert, no family birthday dinner Saturday night, no Eagles game Sunday (again!!!!!!!!!) – just red eyes.

    I was able to take it easy for a whole two hours before my phone lit up with the phone number of my kids’ school on its screen. My husband had so kindly offered to pick them up, and this was the very end of the day, so I was more surprised than alarmed…

    …until I picked up.

    “Hi, Becca,” said the dear, kind nurse, whom I adore. “Don’t worry, nothing is wrong,” she continued, so sweetly (and also with the words that automatically mean that something is, in fact, wrong; albeit not an emergency, but otherwise, she would not be calling. I held my breath.

    “But, I do have to break some news to you. Belle has head lice.”

    Hard stop.

    I grew up with a sister and for the majority of our lives we both had very long, flowing hair. During those 33.5 years I have both lived in fear of AND successfully avoided head lice. It has been a “thing” for me and every single time I hear about someone having lice I cringe and then sigh that it is not me. For some reason I figured that with Belle now in 3rd grade and being 33.5 I was in the clear.

    No. No no no no no.

    Despite the fact that I was “not supposed to parent” I spent the rest of Thursday doing hardcore parenting. I had to call the emergency lice phone number (you’re welcome) and got the emergency lice product and we did all of the things. We treated Belle, combed out her hair, treated Beau, combed out his hair (he did not have lice), treated me, combed out my hair (I did not have lice) and then, worst of all, I had to wash my hair for the second time in two days. I had JUST washed and dried my hair the day before for Yom Kippur and, as someone who washes my hair once a week (at most) I was almost as horrified by the extra hair wash as I was by the nits. #honestmotherhood

    I do want to pass this information on to you, however, as it is very important and will be the best news you’ll get if your child ever has head lice: you don’t have to go crazy cleaning your home. Lice lives on heads, not on furniture. It is a myth that you have to bag up and burn all of your belongings. It is a myth that your couch and crevasses will become infested with lice babies. It is a myth that you have to do major housekeeping backflips. I took the “extra measures” explained to me by the lice expert and simply took anything that could have touched Belle’s head (her pillowcases, stuffed animals, blankets, throw pillows, etc.) and threw them in the dryer on high heat for a few cycles. I boiled the hair brushes in hot water. I may have been a bit overzealous in my cleaning, however.

    Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 12.29.53 PM

    R.I.P. Mason Pearson hair brush.

    (FWIW, this is what it looked like before.)

    By 6pm I had sterilized the house from my conjunctivitis germs, sterilized our heads and home from Belle’s lice cooties, and had a scalp covered in olive oil and rosemary.

    Not only did we have one yucky and highly contagious issue that day, but we had two yucky and highly contagious issues!

    I tend to be an overachiever like that.

    If I am being honest, as that is what this post is all about, it is actually a little embarrassing to write about unsavory things like pink eye and lice and even though we’ve cleared up the latter and I’m working on the former, I still think that you might think I am gross. Like when I have caught myself eating a stray M&M from my son’s carpet and then, just after swallowing, realized the horror of what I’d just done.

    I’m an animal. Like Thursday. #honestmotherhood


    All in all, Thursday was a tough, overwhelming day but it could have been so much worse. Yeah, I lost out on the chance to go to an amazing show, the ability to say, “Yes, I have indeed kept a lice-free-home!” and my favorite hair brush, but we were all safe and generally healthy and when I brought the whole gang to the lice treatment center salon the next morning, just to have the expert double check for us (I can still proudly say that I, personally, have never had lice, thank you), she told me that this was hardly anything.

    Thursday was sucky, unglamorous and exhausting for me, but, in talking to some of my close friends, it was for them, too. Whether it was because of a job shakeup, an upcoming trip, a baby with insomnia, marital issues, mental health crises…we all had our shit.

    On the spectrum of hard days, mine seemed to be on the pretty easy end. That’s #honestmotherhood for you. It is all about perspective. Sometimes it serves to remind you to be grateful for your health (and that a call from the school nurse could be oh so much worse), to savor clean sheets, and that spending over $100 on a hairbrush is just patently ridiculous.


    Today, two days later, Belle is totally lice-free (though my hair still feels like olive-oil and I do NOT want to wash it for the third time this week), my eyes are more pink than red and we got to spend the morning running around with a frisbee and soccer ball in our backyard; in the sunshine.

    Things can be sucky and sunny at the same time. That is why I have two hands.

    It won’t always be pretty, but I would not have it any other way…

    except for the lice. I’m fine with never having lice in our house, again.

    #honestmotherhood FTW

    Clear eyes (ha!), full hearts (for sure!), can’t lose.


    ** This week I changed my instagram handle from @mommyeverafter to @rebeccafoxstarr, so please join me for your daily dose of all things RFS and Co.