Change of Address, Moving and More

Dear Readers,

Do you know that this wee blog has been around for three years next month? It’s true.

So, I have some changes.

1. I moved the blog to InMadison.wordpress.com. I know that that’s crazy, since you’ve been coming here for years, but here’s why:
a. When I started FSAT, it was meant to be a hub for parents to share their stories of the first year of parenting. Well, I’m now on year 3.5 of parenting, and the content has changed. I’m slowly writing more about myself, and it didn’t seem to fit.
b. I’m pretty active on Twitter, and my handle there is InMadison. In fact, I had reserved InMadison.wordpress.com at the same time I reserved FSAT. It just sat there in the internet limbo.

2. Here’s another big change. ALW, the top-read writer on FSAT, has branched off and created her own spot online: A Little Luck. I am so happy for her, and I hope you’ll hop over and sign up to read her words.

3. So, can I give you an assignment? I know that this is everything different than what you’re supposed to do online, but can you please switch your feeds and sign-ups to InMadison? At the bottom of the first page you can sign up for email, or on the left is the RSS feed link. There’s always Google reader, too. Then, sign up to follow A Little Luck?

Hope to see around!

xoxo,

MD

Another Mother Taken for Granted (and Loving It)

Hello, dear readers. I invite you to read the following guest post written by my step-mother. Enjoy! – MD

I just returned from another whirlwind 500 mile round trip in three days to see my parents. They are getting older – late 70’s/early 80’s kind of older – and I like to see them often, every 4-6 weeks. It’s not easy. I always take my son with me. He is three now and a somewhat better car traveler than he was. Though this is not saying much. He does not sleep in the car. We do not have a DVD player for him. He talks. He eats. He asks for things by genre. He wants something to play with. He wants something to read. He wants something to eat. He wants something to draw with. He wants water. Miraculously all of these desires are fulfilled by the pop-up laundry hamper, the cooler, the narrow cardboard box that once held a digital projector and an odd assortment of bags all within my arm’s reach.

I am an old mom. Not older. Old. I was 43 when Henry was born. I tell you this so that you can understand how thankful I am to have the chance to be Henry’s mom.

I grew up in a charmed family situation. My grandparents lived near enough to babysit and visit multiple times during the week. My paternal grandmother actually baked bread and knit mittens for me. I didn’t think about it much when I was younger. Seeing my parents parents so often, I expected them to be there and ready to share the fun. Singing songs with them. Planting flowers. Going for walks. Talking to squirrels. Baking pies. Though I know not everyone saw their grandparents with the frequency I did, it didn’t seem special. It just was. I took it for granted.

Here is where you, the reader, expect me to lament my youthful ways and regret my lack of gratefulness. But I am not regretful. In fact, I want Henry to have the opportunity to take my parents and me for granted. I want him to expect me to be there. To anticipate the drive to my folks’ house. To expect them to dote on him and to play with him and make time for him. I don’t want him to have to be thankful for a parent or a grandparent who is patient and thoughtful. I want him to believe that he deserves these kind of relationships. In fact, my desire for him to take my parents for granted is the reason I make the trek through Chicago more than 20 times a year with a passenger seat filled with 50 cent toys and books from the thrift store.

- NK

Rehearsal

This afternoon I sat in on my first rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother. It was held at the lovely Century House, and while waiting for people to arrive and during our break I eye-drooled over the gorgeous furniture.

But enough furniture talk. Can I say that attending rehearsal, sitting with the other cast members, and reading my words, is one of the most empowering things I’ve done for myself lately? The fellow cast members are so. cool. Sometimes I get my Madison goggles on and can think that I know almost everyone in this town, but I sat around the table with 10 other people I have never met, heard their amazing stories and cried with them. Yes, we all cried. And we all laughed. Together.

I can’t tell you how great the afternoon was. Well, I’m trying to, and failing. Take my word for it, grab a ticket, and come see for yourself in May.

- MD

Money Matters

I’ve been thinking about how to talk to Miss Red about money. Money was a tense subject in my house growing up and I want her to have a sense of empowerment about budgeting and monetary decisions, because it’s something I still struggle with at 34. My husband and I have a pretty good way of talking about money – sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s tense – but in the end we generally reach the same conclusions. Most of the time.

I’m working on not seeing spending as something to feel guilty about, and doing my best to witness my relationship to money. Geneen Roth, the author of Women, Food and God, wrote a book called Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, where she chronicles how she lost everything to Bernie Madoff, and how her relationship to money is related to food. Interesting, no?

My mother-in-law was able to be part of a cool Sesame Street project, which focused on financial literacy. She even met Elmo and got to stand in Oscar’s trash can! Sesame Street’s model is an interesting one, but I’m wondering what you all do to talk about money with your kids. Do you plan on giving them allowance? Will you ask them to save for college?

- MD

Indoctrination

My husband and I were raised by very politically progressive parents. You know, liberals. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree for both of us, and while I consider us to be open-minded and left-leaning, there are some areas where our parents might out-leftie us. I consider this an advantage, and yet I am always so curious when I meet people who are now socially progressive, yet grew up in conservative homes. What made the change? What do their parents think? How awkward are family holidays? Then again, I like to pepper people with a lot of questions.

So, as someone who has worked at non-profits and now works for a union, my family remains committed to various causes. And we talk about them with Miss Red. Some might call it indoctrination. Whatever you call it – family conversations, belief structures, family plans, goals – I hope she grows up knowing that she can make a difference. I mean, with more than a year of Capitol protests under her belt, how can she not?

My favorite protestors.

What about you? How do you discuss and navigate the waters of social causes and issues in your family?

- MD

About Listen to Your Mother…

Folks, remember when I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother? Well, I got an awesome email last week telling me that I made it as one of the 12 cast members for 2012 Madison show! The email came on the heels of a very difficult day for me, and the news could not have been more perfectly timed.

What does this mean? That I’ll be on stage this Mother’s Day sharing my story. I am excited and nervous. I hope you’ll join me!

- MD

Revelation

My family was downtown last weekend, and walking back to our car we encountered a gaggle of drunk college-aged men. They stepped aside, but as I looked at their backwards hats, weaving walks and heard their asinine conversations, I realized that one day, some guy like that might want to sleep with my daughter.

Oh. Em. Gee.

- MD

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