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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Parenting

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A “digital detox” probably won’t fix what’s broken. Here’s what will.

Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

Not so long ago, I came to believe that I was prioritizing technology over the most important people in my life — including, most painfully, my daughter.

It hit me hard one day when the two of us were playing games from an activity book. The first activity involved naming each other’s favorite things. The next project was to build a paper airplane with one of the pages. The third was a question we both had to answer: “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

I wish I could tell you what my daughter said at that…


Why it’s so hard for us to understand this

Photo courtesy of the author

It is with some pride that I can think of some “big” things I have passed on doing.

Tickets to the Super Bowl.

A trip to Necker Island.

More than a few different book deals.

I’m not proud because I think I am better than those things, it was just that I had better things to do with that time, at that time. Sometimes it was family, sometimes it was cooler work opportunities, sometimes it was just because I was exhausted and I needed to rest.

Just because you’re offered something that might be good for your career, that would…


I don’t know if I’m any good at this yet, but I’m trying

Photo: Cavan Images/Getty Images

This Sunday will be my 10th Father’s Day as a father. My first son was born in November 21, 2011, and not a single thing in my life has been the same since. I did not know how tumultuous the next 10 years of American life would be when my son was born. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and my country, and my fellow citizens, in those 10 years. But I’ve learned even more about being a father.

In honor of those 10 Father’s Days, here are 10 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Father.

My wife and I…


Why haven’t we been doing this all along?

Photo: Jamie Street/Unsplash

My husband, Josh, is a politics reporter. On January 2, he flew to Atlanta to cover the Senate elections, then went straight on to Washington, D.C., where he stayed through the inauguration. I was alone with the kids for three weeks. We were fine! I treated us to a meal delivery service and was amazed at how much space I had in my brain when I didn’t have to think about what to make for dinner. But what’s more interesting is how we coped after he returned home.

Even though Josh had been the only guest in his Washington hotel…


That kid-free trip to Target is not going to bring you back to life

Photo: Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

I’m a big fan of self-care. Five out of five stars. No one can pour from an empty cup, right?

But lately, all over Instagram accounts and the Facebook mom groups I belong to, I’m seeing something that troubles me — a subtle message that can be misleading and even downright damaging.

The message? That fulfilling our basic human needs counts as self-care.

I’ve seen moms write that their time in the bathroom without any kids climbing on them is like “a mini-vacation.” Or that they got seven hours of sleep for the first time in months and now they’re…


Photo: Lucas Uebel/Getty Images

I Miss Big, Wet, Embarrassing Kisses From My Father,” John DeVore wrote yesterday on his Medium site, Humungus.

It was a one-day-later reflection on a truly awful tweet—one that is (thankfully) already fading into the morass of toxicity that this election cycle has unleashed. John Cardillo, a right-wing pundit, captioned a photo of Joe Biden hugging his son with the question: “Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?”

“The message is both muddy and crystal clear,” DeVore writes:

Cardillo is plainly suggesting there is something… off… about these two men. …


I took my eight-year-old son to a birthday party on Friday afternoon, a party for a close friend of his that he hadn’t seen since the pandemic began, a friend he’d said goodbye to before spring break in March and had then vanished from his life. …


How perfectionism can undermine the work of dismantling White supremacy culture

Photo: AlenaPaulus/Getty Images

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in my neighborhood, I wrote about my experience as a White mother talking to my White children about race, justice, and how we can do what’s right. I shared how I was worried about getting these conversations wrong, but that I knew I had to start them anyway.

Many fellow parents reached out to me, all saying some version of the same thing: They, too, had been so worried about fumbling, and saying the wrong thing, and not being able to answer hard questions that they’ve avoided this conversation with their…


A scientific way to assess pandemic threats

Students wearing face masks getting their temperature checked at school.
Students wearing face masks getting their temperature checked at school.
Photo: izusek/Getty Images

So much of life now seems like a rather dark game of Would You Rather? This summer, my husband and I asked ourselves: Would we rather send our kids back to school where they’ll benefit from traditional instruction and social interactions — but also potentially pick up and bring home a viral infection? Or would we rather keep them safe at home, knowing they will be miserable — and, thus, in true teen fashion, do their best to make us miserable, too? Talk about lose-lose.

You likely now have the option of going out to eat at a restaurant, letting…


Photo: Imgorthand/Getty Images

During the month before school started this September, my parent friends and I collaboratively composed one of the most Beckett-esque group chats of all time. One mom would text: “We can’t send our kids to school in the fall, can we?” And another would respond: “Right. We cannot. But also, we can’t NOT send them to school, can we?” And a third would confirm: “Right. But also — ”

School has started, and there is still no good answer. The catch-22 of pandemic parenting has by now been well documented. It’s simply impossible to work remotely and parent full time…

Forge

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