Author: Melanie Dunn

Finding My Place In a Small Town

I like the world around me in general, and the community I live in is just fine — very good, even. But I am not the type to seek out activities to do or places to be. I just let them happen, when I’m not actively resisting them. Connecticut is chock full of New Englandy quaintness, and my little Hartford County town is a decent example. There is a farmers’ market in town every summer. It was adjacent to the park we went to after school, so we walked over there. It was crawling with other moms and little kids,...

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I Hate Cooking: An Update, Podcast Interview, and Tips for the Unwilling Chef

I was recently interviewed for an episode of The Food Chain, a BBC World Service podcast. As you might imagine after reading this oldie but goodie post by yours truly, this particular episode featured people who don’t cook or don’t like to cook. You can listen or download it here. The irony at this point is that I actually DO cook, out of necessity. And truly, I never said that I don’t cook at all, or that I can’t do it when push comes to shove. I just love to avoid it as much as possible. Over time, I...

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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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The Most Stressful Time of the Year!

  I realize this will sound flippant, but people who wrap up all their Christmas planning weeks before December 25 really must not have a whole lot of stress in their lives.  Christmas is a disruption in my life.  It just adds chaos to my already chaotic existence.  I walk around dreading it, and at the same time I become wistful when I realize it’s over before I had a chance to enjoy it. We stopped doing gifts for the adults on my side of the family, thank the lord.  I am such a bad gift-giver except when I feel especially inspired.  As for myself, the best gifts I have ever received have been the ones I picked out on my own.  I don’t like the stress of opening something and pretending to love it, honestly. I like giving to others, but I prefer to give my time or money, or both.  I like to create things, but I can’t think of anything I’ve made that is especially gift-worthy.  I want to teach my kids to adopt this spirit of giving as well – but it’s really hard to do when we celebrate secular Christmas and the kids get showered with toys by both sides of the family every year. I have been so overwhelmed with stuff at work lately.  One minute I’m on top of my list of...

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How to Prevent Your Child From Picking Up Negative Behaviors

One of our cats is diabetic, and I found myself in the vet’s waiting room late one afternoon with my two uniformed children, freshly retrieved from their magnet preschool/early elementary school. Their blue and khaki outfits informed the woman sitting across from us of the district they attend. She knew because it turns out she works at another school in that district. “How do you like it?” she asked.  Unsure of whether the question was addressed to me or to my children, I told her we liked it and asked my girls to tell her about school. “How are...

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