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18 Ways to Build Community Wherever You Are

In the five years J and I have been married, we have moved three times. Each time, it has taken some time to feel settled, to feel like I belong, and to make friends. Consequently, I have had to learn the art of settling in quickly and becoming at home. Making friends is perhaps the most important part of that, and I’ve found it’s actually a lot easier once you have kids because other parents love to talk about their kids and how they survived various parenting hurdles with other parents. A big part of the goal is to feel connected to where you are and to other people. Another part of it is to have someone you can call if your car breaks down on a random Tuesday. To Meet Other Humans Who Dwell Somewhere Near You: Apply deodorant ’cause you’re about to go meet new people like a boss! Consider wearing a bra (am I the only one who considers donning a bra and brushing my teeth to be “getting ready?”). Make this zucchini bread. Acquire several mini bread tins. Double the recipe and bring some zucchini bread to…

Why I failed at Night Weaning (and how you can… not fail)

I’ve always loved organized mom blogs. The ones where they purport they follow a weekly cleaning schedule, and a weekly menu plan, and their baby naps consistently precisely at such-and-such o’clock. Sigh. I’ve also always loved the illusion of control, and of doing things “right.” Yes, oh yes, I was one of those new moms who researched the *eh hem* out of everything prior to trying it. (You don’t even want to know how many times I googled “2 month old baby clingy and fussy,” “3 month old baby clingy and fussy”). By no means, and under no circumstances, did I leave my parenting up to instinct. Oh no! I wanted to know what the experts recommended, what the peer-reviewed research said. I did not want to screw anything up. So, consequently, you’d think myself and my beautiful little baby girl would be excellent candidates for sleep training. It would appear that I could follow instructions. When Warrior Girl was born, I was just about to start my second year of a three-year Master’s in Clinical Mental Health…

How to Clean Your House for Visitors in Ten Minutes or Less

Because I know it is possible some of you do not keep your homes visitor or in-law ready 24/7, I have provided simple step-by-step instructions for what to do when you get the random text at 10 am on a Tuesday saying, “Hey, I’m in the neighborhood and thought I would drop off that book of excellent parenting advice I’ve been telling you about.” This will also serve well for those situations in which you forgot you had plans with someone until they announce they are headed over. Ditto for occasions on which you remembered full well they were coming over but were too busy trying to keep your toddler from coloring on the library books to do anything about it…. And are then filled with a rush of adrenaline/panic/doom as you look around your laundry and toy strewn living-room, gaze upon the dishes overflowing the sink and observe the yogurt slowly dripping onto the kitchen floor…. Not that I would know what that is like… Ahem. Nevertheless: Instructions! Grab laundry basket Throw all contents of living room floor into this basket. Hide said…

In Which I Transform Tiredness into a Catastrophe Using Only the Power of My Own Mind

I’m tired. Which by itself is not a catastrophe. However, for me, tired tends to be accompanied by other, less benign thoughts and feelings. What happens is this: Notice urge to “rest my eyes” while standing in line at the grocery store/waiting for next client to arrive/attempting to wrangle screaming toddler/sitting on couch contemplating doing dishes/serving as jungle gym for climbing toddler. “Rest eyes” momentarily only to be jolted awake by nearly falling over. Think: I’m way too tired to do everything I need to do today, and I’m never going to be able to get everything done. Exhaustion and dejection creep in Think: I never finish anything. How am I ever going to be able to… write my novel/write consistently on my blog/make dinner/keep my house clean/catch up on paperwork/enjoy my life/complete anything in my life EVER, etc., etc., etc. Dejection begins to look like depression (of the miniature, not the clinical, variety). Watch a few episodes of Friends to take the edge off. Look at clock. Be Shocked and Appalled. Think: What have I done? The night is gone and…

That time I Fell into a Nihilistic Hellhole

If you’ve been hanging around Wonderland for a while, you might know I work as a therapist, in addition to caring for my daughter and pontificating to you all via THE INTERNET a couple times per week. Now, being a therapist involves a lot of sitting in stiff-backed chairs, mustache-twirling, pipe-smoking, and saying “mmm…mmmhmmm.” Just kidding. But seriously, I was wondering why my 1.5 year old daughter, Warrior Girl, says “uh huh” and “hmmm” all the time when my husband pointed out it is because I am a therapist. But really, being a therapist involves a whole lot of listening to things that are hard to hear, and a whole lot of sitting with people in their sadness, their anger, their despair. This is tough to do without a paradigm of life that can give meaning and/or coherence to the vast suffering we therapists (and humans in general) encounter on the daily. So not long ago, I was skating through life, not really paying attention, when suddenly I woke up and found myself in a nihilistic hellhole of absurdity. Yes, yes, I’m sure…