What I Learned From My German Mother-In-Law.

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She was barely into her twenties when the Nazi groups began to come into real power in Germany. Slowly the ideals and beliefs of the group would spread around her.

Lenni came from a family of intellectuals. Both her parents were educated. Her father taught at University. There were books and conversations. They were catholic, but not especially adherent.

She was in her late 80’s when I first met her. Long and lanky, fidgety and full of nervous energy, she lived in Oakland with her husband. …

Here’s what you really need to know to survive the first few years of parenthood.

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Yikes! Double trouble for sure!! (photo by author)

The beginning of this article may sound a bit dark. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) But, that’s just because I’m going to talk about many things that no one tells parents-to-be. Just hang in there. I love being a mom, and parenting can be truly wonderful.

However, the whole truth is more interesting, and considerably more helpful, than the cheery clichés. The truth about parenthood is rarely discussed with “outsiders.” There’s an unspoken agreement that if you aren’t a parent you won’t “get it” when told of the realities. …

It starts with acknowledging the national economic value of “woman’s work” and demystifying motherhood.

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Parenthood can feel like an endless ferris wheel of frantic activity. (photo by author)

In America we like to forget the reality of working mothers. Instead, we tend to imagine “good” mothers as unfailingly devoted to the all-consuming task of caring for others. American motherhood is celebrated in visions of a stay-at-home mom whose life moves to the rhythm of her kid’s needs. Always present. Always solicitous. Steady and unwavering in her focus on her children’s and family’s slightest need.

This ideal completely lacks any allowance for a woman’s own selfhood. It obliterates the needs of the female adult while also elevating her work so stratospherically high that it becomes beyond worth…to pay for such purity would be disrespectful. No. …

How do you feed your family when the world is burning and so is your brain? Any way you can.

Are you feeling kinda “done” with dangerous air? I am. On the west coast you can’t escape the risk of fires or Covid or the smoke. Our air varies daily from “dangerous to sensitive people” to down right “hazardous.”

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The sky is dark at noon. You can smell and taste the soot in the air when you step outside. The sun is just a weird glowing orb in the sky. You can’t tell your home schooled kids to “go ride your bike” for P.E. because now even the outdoor air is a danger. No shooting hoops. No pool time without a mask on while you’re in the water. …

Staying sane while quarantined with kids

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A child friendly decor.

Things are crazy right now. Even more crazy than typical American parenthood. I expect it will all settle down to “normal” once we have a good vaccine and actually get it out to everyone. Sometime in 2021, I suspect.

Until then, some of you with young children are in a really, really, really tough spot. If you have someone vulnerable to Covid in your family, as do I and some of my closest friends, then you may find yourself in a prolonged cloister with young kids.


Kathleen Cawley

Physician Asst., twin mom, author of “Navigating Modern Parenthood: Warty Truths and Wisdom from an Older Mom with Twins.” Blogs book at shockofparenthood.com

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