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My oldest is
almost 10, and this idea of freedom and independence has been on my mind a lot. He's beginning to butt heads with us, to push us, just as he should. I want to tell him to go get lost at a friend's house down
the street, but I can't. We live in a city and drive to a private school. Even local kids who attend the neighborhood public school are not out walking around. I mean
if you seen one, it's on par with spotting a shooting star, it's that rare.
I understand that living in Los Angeles is challenging that way. We
are spread out—way out. We also hold the "capital of hit-and-runs" title, which is, honestly, my biggest concern with letting my kids walk around our
Cleary goes on to say that in her youth, "… mothers did not
work outside the home; they worked on the inside. And because all the mothers
were home—99 percent of them, anyways—all mothers kept their eyes on all the
The tribe I know a lot of us long for.
I feel like sometimes, in our age of feminism, we forget to talk about what we lose when moms can't or don't say home. I cringe just saying that.
I reached out to an old childhood friend who grew up in the
same neighborhood I did and where we used to have all the freedom in the world when we were 12. Her kids are still a bit younger than this, but she said she
does not give them the freedom we had. She also doesn't see kids running around like we did. Ironically, she has seen some kids out and about because
their parents have given them iPhones so they can keep tabs on them.
"I, possibly naively, am not afraid of strangers or getting
snatched up," she said. "I am super nervous about them getting hit by a car crossing the
street. That's my beef—a distracted driver hitting them on their way to the
I am right there with my friend.
I, too, want my kids to have more freedom. But even when I give
it to them, it's hard to find friends to play with, because they are all
scheduled up the wazoo.
I'm curious: Is anyone out there letting their kids roam
like we all used to?
Last thing: Cleary's comment on stay-at-home moms is interesting. I feel like sometimes, in our age of feminism, we forget to talk about what we lose
when moms can't or don't say home. I cringe just saying that. I love being able to
work one-quarter of the time. I'm a work-at-home mom. But I can't do the patrolling alone. I wish I had more friends who were home, not just to see if our presence could create more freedom for our kids, but because I see how
stressed out my friends who work full time and have kids are.
Well, anyway, I have always enjoyed listening to what my elders have to
say. Thanks for sharing and happy birthday, Beverly Cleary.