I’m an Adult Child

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My mom has a tendency to do things for me, even though I’ve told her not to, that often drive me crazy.  Every time I visit her, my trip starts out in the same way. I call her, and before I discuss plans,  she asks what I eat for breakfast.

  • Me: Don’t worry about it, Mom. I’ll pick something up when I get there. I probably won’t eat at home much.
  • Mom: Well, I’ll just make sure we have some bagels. No, I forgot. Gluten-free bread!
  • Me: Really Mom, you don’t need to get anything.
  • Mom:  Yogurt?

I agree to yogurt. When I arrive, she insists on leaving me money for anything else I need. I know that providing for me while I’m home again (she still lives in the apartment I grew up in) is her way of expressing her love and affection. And she knows that I won’t use the household money and find the idea infantilizing. But I no longer point this out. I just say, “Thanks Mom,” and kiss her on the cheek. (read more…)

Milkies

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He wakes up crying from nap. He didn’t sleep long enough. Will he go back to sleep? Not this time. I wait 5, 10, 15 minutes. Still upset. I go in. “Mama up,” he says, big wet tears on his face. “Do you want mama to rock you?” “Yeah.” “Do you want milkies?” “Yeah.” Slowly, his breathing calms, his tears dry. We stay like this, locked together for a while in the dark, glints of sunlight arrogantly streaming through the blackout curtain. And just like that, my happy guy is back, ready to play.

I never set out to be an “extended breastfeeder.” I never thought I would be that type of mom. That was for moms who bake gluten-free zucchini muffins from scratch, not me who picks up donut holes from Krispy Kreme in Penn Station. Before I got pregnant, I remember thinking I definitely wanted to breastfeed, probably for about a year. That’s what my mom did with both me and my sister in the 80s, so I figured that’s what I would shoot for too. When my son, Walter, was born 20 months ago, my milk came in quickly and heavily. I realize in another era, I could have been hired as a wet nurse to a village and I would have enjoyed the work, too. I was blessed with a baby that took to the breast easily and that I was able to nurse with little to no discomfort. I also became a woman with a giant rack. I remember wearing nursing bras in a size J/K. J/K! Which should stand for Just Kidding! Boobs should never be that big. (read more…)

“Quit Slacking Off with Your Baby”
5 Fathers Discuss Paternity Leave

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I’m part of a group of women who come together to discuss current issues in feminism and gender equality. At a meeting a few years ago, we discussed paternity leave and discovered that many of the husbands of group members with adult children had taken little or no time off when their kids were born. When I got home that night, I asked my husband if he would take paternity leave if we had kids – and he immediately and reflexively answered “no.”

While his answer might be different if I asked him today, the swiftness and surety of his response startled me. Since then, many of our peers have started having kids of their own, so it’s a natural time to re-examine this issue and take a close look at how and why men make their decisions about parental leave. (read more…)

“Do you want kids?”

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“Do you want kids?”

This is possibly one of the most fraught things you can ask a woman, and at 33 years old, with a new fetus or baby popping up on my social media feeds every day, I hear this inquiry – real or implied – pretty frequently. Putting aside for a moment whether you want to share this personal information with the person asking you, what if you don’t even know what the answer is? What if you can honestly imagine your life both ways?  (read more…)

An Angel Investor, Part 2

Egyptian jugglersI wrote “An Angel Investor” as a standalone piece without intending to explore the story from other sides. It provoked a lot of interesting discussion in the comments, on Facebook, and in private conversations.

Many people I spoke to expressed an interest in hearing about the experience from the perspective of the parent – in this case, Tim’s dad, Philip. This interview shares Philip’s side of the story of their family’s relationship with Paul. If you haven’t already, please read Part One first.

Some additional background for the reader is that Philip has three other sons and one step-son; Paul contributed to all of their college fees.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

 

Tell me about your relationship with Paul. How did you meet?

Paul ran a big corporation that came to our small town. My wife had recently died, and a well-connected friend of mine – who knew Paul – was worried about me and my family, because I was a single dad to four kids. She arranged to throw Paul a birthday party where one of my sons performed a juggling act. Paul and my son met that night and made a connection – and that, eventually, is how I met him.

Were you aware of Paul’s “sponsorship” of kids prior to meeting him?

No, I wasn’t. But his interest in supporting and helping my sons happened very quickly. Within six months of Paul’s birthday party, he told me he wanted to give my son, the juggler, a car for his birthday. I said “thanks, but no thanks.” But he was not one to take no for an answer and pressed me, so I said, “it’s not fair to his older brother, my other son.” So Paul said, “well that’s not a problem. I’ll give him a car too.”

That’s how our complicated relationship began. (read more…)