Author: Elise Schreier

Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Politics

More than 12 months out from the 2016 presidential election and the political circus already appears to be in full gear.  We’ve got candidates coming out our ears, Facebook memes, and slanted reporting in every direction. It’s overwhelming, but to be honest, I kind of love it.  Sure, it can bring out the most obnoxious and judgmental in all of us but at least people care and have a voice with which to air their opinions. I’ll never forget the day in 2012 when my son, a first-grader at the time, came home and asked me who I was voting for for president. What?? How could he not know?! I felt passionately about “my” candidate and I’m pretty sure *everyone* knew who I was voting for…except, apparently, my son.  How could we not have talked about it? It really opened my eyes to the importance of having these conversations with my children.  Politics don’t have to be a dirty four letter word and I take my responsibility of raising the next generation of voters seriously! So, from that point forward, I’ve made a point of discussing politics with my crew and here are a few tips I have gathered along the way: 1. Be respectful. The political arena is the perfect place to model how we can disagree with someone while still acting in a way we can be...

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4 Questions I Ask My Children Every Day

Good communication is important in all aspects of my life, but nowhere more so than in parenting. Developing relationships with my children in which we communicate openly is my hill to die on.  I mean, what else would you expect from a lesbian mom-blogger with a psych degree?? #mykidsaresoscrewed My actions don’t always fit my goals (we are perpetually running late for something and 5 minutes of listening to my kid yammer on about Lego Chima is about 4 minutes too many) but I really do try.  To help me on my quest, I’ve come up with a set of questions that I ask my children nearly every day, usually around the dinner table or in the car (same thing, right?).  These questions seem to really get to the heart of it and spur meaningful dialogue that gives me an insight into their thoughts and feelings. 1. What was the best part of your day? My favorite.  What makes you feel joy? What makes your heart sing? As all parents know, I receive happiness through the happiness of my children and every day when I drive home from work, I look forward to the answer to this question.  I love knowing exactly what made my child smile the biggest that day. I especially love it when they answer, “When you came home!” (even if they are just working me over...

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On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States declared it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the fundamental right of marriage.  It was a long-awaited, historic decision that has been celebrated in rainbows of every size, shape, and hue in the days since. As a gay woman, I too celebrated.  Justice! Equality! Acknowledgement! Acceptance! RELIEF.  It is an incredible time to be alive and I can already picture what it will feel like to tell my grandchildren about that time long long ago when (if can you believe it) two girls weren’t allowed to get married (I know, crazy). But. Through the tears, smiles, text messages to friends and family across the country, and Pride parades, there was always an asterisk on my celebrations. Having lived my life as a gay woman, even having suffered at the hands of discrimination and hatred, I am still more afraid of raising black children than gay ones. In our country today, raising black children, especially a black man, is a scary responsibility. On June 26th I raced home to share the good news with my children. We were excited and celebrated by going out to get some Ben & Jerry’s I Dough ice cream.  As we happily ate our ice cream talking about the importance of the day, I looked into their faces and couldn’t help but feel the asterisk on my...

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Why Paid Family Leave is Important to Me

I recently came across Scary Mommy’s article 6 Reasons The Family Medical Leave Act is Bullshit and, man, did it resonate.  I’m a happy mom of 3 thriving children.  Life is crazy, but manageable. I’ve never really resented being a working mom…that is, except for when it comes to the few first precious months of my children’s lives.  I harbor quite a bit of anger and resentment over that time.  You see, despite having had 2 newborns dropped on my doorstep (literally), I haven’t had a single day of “maternity leave”.  That precious time designated for bonding with your child and figuring out how life works in this strange new world of Motherhood – I didn’t even get ONE DAY. Neither did my wife. I’ve previously shared the story about how my family was created (here and here) via foster care and adoption, but what I haven’t talked about are the days and weeks that followed.  What I haven’t shared is how exactly a dual income household manages getting children dropped into their laps out of the blue.  Spoiler alert: no matter how well you plan, it never goes smoothly, but we did live to tell the tale. December 2009 We’ve been licensed to be foster parents for many months now and had basically given up on getting placements this year. My company doesn’t allow you to roll over many days off so...

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Top 10 Reasons Having a Puppy is Better Than Having Children 

10.  My puppy has never, not once, even considered talking back. In fact, he rarely even barks, and if he does bark, it is only for the purpose of communicating very important information such as: “I have to pee”, “I’m hungry”, or “I must protect you from that popcorn maker that is going to cause you great harm at any moment.” 9. When I’m reaching my patience and just.need.a.break from the pup, it is socially acceptable to put him in a crate and walk away. They frown on doing this with children. 8. Puppy doesn’t care if little sister follows him around all day long, gives about 67 too many hugs, or wants him to play dress up. He’s even 100% cool with her “exuberant” attention in front of his buddies at the dog park. In fact, he loves it! There isn’t one thing that little sis could do to him to annoy him (trust me, she’s tried it all)! 7. Dog years work to your benefit for the baby stage. I thought my kids grew up fast, but holy crap do puppies grow up fast! While this is somewhat heartbreaking, it is also awesome for all of those less pleasant milestones (he was sleeping through the night after 1 week! Potty training was all of 2 weeks!) 6. On a related note: he will never be a teenager.  I...

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