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Motherhood: It’s Not What It Used To Be

Raising children isn’t what it used to be. That’s because young people today aren’t who they used to be. To give you an example, in my mother’s era, penny candy cost just that—a penny. Today’s generation, on the other hand, thinks the Dollar Store is a bargain. In fact, some kids have their own credit cards to pay for their king-size candy bars. Continue reading

Fasting Makes Jews Hungry for More

One of my favorite parts about being Jewish, aside from the rich traditions and ancient wisdom that are passed down to us, is our “it’s-all-about-the-food” attitude. This expression is especially true on holidays, lifecycle events, and pretty much any given meal.

So on the one day of the year when Jews are asked to fast, Yom Kippur, I’m almost relieved to have a chance to cleanse my palette and my soul before I reach for another slice of honey cake again. Continue reading

Lice Liven Up Seder, But Traumatize Household

When it comes to the 10 plagues in the Passover story, I would rather suffer in real life through a hailstorm (I’ve got insurance) and darkness (I’ll carry a flashlight) than go through the anguish of lice again. These pesky little insects are a parent’s worst nightmare. Just ask me. I lived through lice three years ago when my daughter and several of her unlucky classmates that I know of got the itch to scratch while they were still in preschool.

I remember the day that lice turned my happy home upside down. Continue reading

When In Doubt, Do As the Jews Do

When the Sunday school teacher asks the second-graders to draw a picture of what God means to them, most of the students grab their colored markers and eagerly get to work. They waste no time making bright rainbows, beautiful flowers, puffy clouds, beaming sunshine, twinkling stars, and an assortment of bearded stick figures. I join other parents in the classroom for this thought-provoking activity, and I witness first hand how the topic of God sparks creativity in grownups and children alike. Everyone seems to enjoy the opportunity to explore God out loud; everyone, that is, except my daughter. Continue reading

Making Conversation With Answering Machines

Let’s face it—we live in a world of faceless communication. Answering machines and other wireless wizardry substitute real voices, not to mention impersonal emails take the place of handwritten letters. Think about it–phone tag is now considered a sport or human interaction, and I’m guilty of playing the game. As a matter of fact, if I dial someone’s number and a real person answers the phone, I’m disappointed because I’m not in the mood to make real conversation anymore. Continue reading

Love is in the Air; So Are Mold Allergies

Even though Valentine’s Day is named after two Christian martyrs named Valentine—that’s at least one of the theories—a Jewish woman nevertheless worships this romantic holiday. She loves to be loved, and Hallmark makes it official. It doesn’t seem to matter that the price of long stem roses quadruples in mid February. Flowers are symbolic of love and romance, so there. Deep inside, she desires to be treated like the unsuspecting actress on the Zales Diamond Store commercial. Continue reading

Columnist Makes Confession of Secret Obsession

During the fun-filled, stressed-out 11 months that I’ve been writing “Mishegas of Motherhood,” I’ve developed a bond with my readers. Many of you have sent me supportive emails, and I encourage you to continue to give me all kinds of honest feedback via my new email: ellie@mishegasofmotherhood.com.

I feel that I can share almost anything with you, including secrets about myself that I don’t talk about with my best girlfriends, not even my own mother. My husband doesn’t have a clue about these innermost feelings either. It’s time that you hear the truth from me before any gossip sneaks out and the facts get distorted. Continue reading

Tu Bishvat Plants Deep Roots in Our Environment

In the dead of winter, cherry blossoms bloom in Brooklyn, New York. And in the Midwest, the unseasonably mild weather allows Jack to still wear gym shorts when he plays basketball in the driveway. Then again, he likes to trudge barefoot in the snow.

Seems innocent enough, but truthfully I wonder if this bizarre temperature pattern is a subtle warning sign that our environment is in trouble. Continue reading

Planning Dream Bar Mitzvah is a Nightmare

Let the countdown begin. It’s officially the time to freak out about my son’s bar mitzvah, which is scheduled in March 2008. I know what you’re thinking. What took me so long? What can I say, except that I’ve never planned this kind of lifecycle event, not even a bris, which only my obstetrician was invited to.

So far, this is what I have in mind, roughly. Continue reading

Start the New Year with A New You, Or Not

My New Year’s Resolution this year is to never make another New Year’s Resolution. And this time I’m sticking to it. I figure, why bother setting myself up for failure when any promise I make to shed a few pounds is usually broken before the Super Bowl playoffs anyway? As soon as I tell myself that I won’t mindlessly munch on as many carbs, I start to fantasize about Mr. Salty Pretzel himself. Likewise, if I make a commitment to be a better parent, I feel even guiltier when I daydream about the laundry instead of paying attention to my daughter’s drawn-out synopsis of gym class.

Still, for those of you who follow tradition to make a resolution or set a personal goal, then more power to you. To improve your chances of success, here’s what the experts advise: Continue reading