Baby Mama Drama

My current title is Legal Consultant, but for many years I practiced family law. During that time, I saw some ugly shit go down, both in and out of the courtroom. Being privy to messy divorce proceedings didn’t keep me from wanting to get married, though, or even from marrying the wrong guy the first time around. That relationship ended before children or joint properties entered the picture, so our divorce, like our marriage, was short and very bittersweet. I am now married to a wonderful man who has a wonderful five year old son from a previous relationship.  My stepson’s mom comes from a different school of thought than I, though.  No amount of education or life experience could have prepared me for the trials of co-parenting with someone who sees their child as a burden rather than a blessing.  Although I’d like to hope that our very different priorities aren’t confusing Zachy, I do worry that living in two households with such different values might screw him up.  It has to be tough for a kid to have to abide by a completely separate set of rules in each parent’s house, although he seems to handle it pretty gracefully.  For a long time, I felt like I had to decide between trying to adopt a parenting style I am not comfortable with, or risk giving Zach the message that we didn’t agree with Mommy’s...

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Please Don’t Let Me Be the Mom Who Thinks She’s Perfect

Ah, the classic struggle of “having it all.” So far, I’m doing it. I have a book coming out from a major publisher in a few months and an exciting book tour to go with it. I am staying at home raising my baby essentially full-time and I love it. I spend a lot of my day in a comfy armchair watching my favorite TV while she nurses or naps on me. I am continuing my easy part-time work-from-home job and contributing income to our family. I have free and trustworthy childcare help from family pretty much whenever I...

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A Letter From a Teacher to Parents

I am a teacher. This is a label that I wear with pride. I get up every morning and go into work so that I can give my all to the group of young people in my classroom. I am an educator. I teach children about reading, writing, and math. I also teach them about how to be decent human beings and how to make friends. In addition, I am a shoulder for them to cry on when life is rough. We have real life conversations about topics that are important to them. I am the provider of clothes...

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Birth Order is Real

I have two sets of children. The first set, a girl and a boy, were carefully planned, exactly 2 years apart. The second set, not so much. We wanted a third child, but gave up after years of heartbreak. Months later, it somehow happened, and then it split in half. This brought identical twins to me at age 41, my total number of children to four, and my brain to oatmeal.  I now have four amazing children spanning two generations. This age gap creates all sorts of fun, but it’s also required me to become very creative in my...

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It Worked!

A couple of months ago, I decided to have a conversation with my son about “the internet.” I didn’t want to make it too intense, but he’s seven–almost eight, and he has his own tablet. He also goes to play dates at friend’s houses. So, as much as I want to have complete parental control over all electronics, there is outside influence and his own curiosity to compete with. As I began my “age-appropriate” conversation with my son, I asked him if he had seen his dad play video games where you talk to other people. I explained that there are various computer programs and video games just like that, where you can communicate with other people. And, while the majority of these people will be kids his own age, I cautioned that, just like in real life, some people aren’t good people. So, even though it might seem like you know the person you’re playing a video game with and typing to online, you actually don’t, and so, if they ask you for your phone number or your address…SCREECH. It was at that moment when I realized, I don’t think my son knows his address. And, we don’t have a landline, so he definitely doesn’t know any phone numbers. “Donnie, do you know our address?” “No.” “Oh, my goodness, and you don’t know my phone number either, do you?” Internet conversation on...

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FOMO, No Mo’!

I have tried, with some success, to incorporate the typical basics when it comes to self-care into my life. Admittedly, I can always do better job of moving my needs up the priority spectrum.  The room for improvement is directly linked to my lack of time.  It’s not that I want to neglect myself.  But those hours in a day – they tend to slip right through my fingers. That, my friends, is changing.  I recently found that I have more time for ME. I am so excited to share my little trick with you: I say no. I...

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Giving up on the old me

Last weekend, I cleaned out my closet.  I am a person who definitely revels in getting rid of things, and at the end of a purge like that one, there is usually a nice empty spot left over.  Not this time.  At 13 months postpartum, I have two wardrobes now – one for me and one for my body.  Shoved into the corners are all those clothes that I used to wear.  All my faves that are associated with fun, old-timey memories when I was cute and young and didn’t mind hand washing or dry cleaning.  Front and center...

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“And Now for Something Completely Different”: Working Moms In the Age of Online Entrepreneurship

Big, big changes are happening in the Dunn household this spring. It’s best not to dump those details here, but the essential points are: (1) I’m going to be severely limited in my ability to work with my special education law clients this year, but (2) there’s a burgeoning business opportunity I will be able to harness this summer if I play my cards right. As you might have guessed from the title of this post, the key is to shift my time and energy away from in-person interactions to online communication. But just as importantly, I need to move away from work that requires active case management, and toward projects that are more short-term, focused on products rather than service delivery, and involve more automation and routine than the unwieldy world of special education law and advocacy. That’s right.  In 2017, I’ll be ramping up my fashion resale hobby into a real business, while scaling back on lawyering. The circumstances that heralded this change are not new ones. Parents in the post-industrial age, and mothers in particular, have consistently struggled to delineate and refine their roles and responsibilities as the needs of their families evolve throughout the various stages of childhood/parenthood. That’s why we have entire blogs like this one, which over time have transmogrified vague musings like “having it all” and “work-life balance” into the familiar, endless bleating we now hear...

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Triangles Everywhere

A common inquiry in “only child” Facebook groups is about where other members are from, as lonely posters hope to make a local connection with the same family dynamic. I know well that it can seem as if every other family out there is a four-or more, as I was once in the same spot. But as my own outlook changed and I began to appreciate the triangle that is our family, not only did I start to see the less positive aspects of “squares,” I also began seeing lots of other triangles. And now, a few years later,...

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As a mom, sometimes you HAVE to come FIRST

I’m going to preface this by saying I hate to run. I find nothing relaxing about it and in fact find it to be more of a chore than anything else. But I have goals and somehow (much to my dismay) running plays a part in the end goal. Let me explain. In 2014 a group of friends and I decided that for some reason it would be “fun” to run Rugged Maniac (a 5k, 26 obstacle course). I have no idea WHY we thought it would be fun and some days I think we still need our heads checked (especially as we were seeing the injured walking out as we’re walking in about to start the course!). Sure, I’ve never run a 5k so why not add obstacles to the course?! We “kind of” trained – mainly hitting the track and working up to intervals of running. We were so NOT prepared for that course. But had a blast anyway. What made it such a great accomplishment for me wasn’t just the fact that it was a 5k. It was the fact that I pushed myself WAAAAAAAAAAAY out of my comfort zone and climbed up walls (did I mention I am terrified of heights?), jumped over fire, crawled under barbed wire – IN MUD!, etc. Fast forward to 2015 and add in a few more (non-obstacle course) 5k’s...

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