Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Nuts & Bolts, Parental Adolescence, Parenting Tweets, Round Two, Teens

It could have been this simple…

empty nestTonight, after 20 years of parenting, my creativity evaporated, so I just said:

“What did you learn today?”

And then I heard a whole lot about Bangladesh.


Posted in College, Mid-Life Mama, Nuts & Bolts, Twenty-something, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

home again, gone again

photo: Julie Fender-Zobel

the food lasts longer.
so does the cleaning.
routines are simpler.
decisions too.
but less than 48 hours later,
our hearts ache in his absence.
so we tell them:
don’t be silly,
he’ll be back soon.
but hearts are funny that way.
families too.

Posted in *Workshops, Fragile Life, Mid-Life Mama, Nuts & Bolts, Teens, Tweens, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

CHORES–Why they’re WORTH the FIGHT

I’ve written about the importance of chores before, including these posts:

The Necessity of Chores


How Full is Your Plate? an online workshop for moms

But what I’ve failed to fully admit is how much easier it would be to  do everything myself.
(And it would be done a lot better.)

Why do I bother?

I’d like to say that I do it all for them–to make them better citizens, humans, energetic beings (and that is true); but another truth is that I don’t want to do everything so it’s worth it to have some jobs done less than perfectly.

BUT the angst. THE ANGST!
The reminding. The redirecting. The reprimands.

Sometimes I find myself questioning if it’s worth it, and questioning whether I should be encouraging other people to suffer like this by leading workshops on chore sharing in the home.

And then there are those other times, when in the distance, I hear the sweet and soothing sound of a boy swishing a toilet, or vacuuming a room, or emptying waste baskets; and I think: I AM BRILLIANT.

But what if you like doing your own chores and want them done perfectly?

I still recommend sharing the load. Here’s why:

The Necessity of Chores

But what if your teen’s resistance is so strong that it takes way more energy than you can manage to keep them in the game?

It’s still vital. For them.
Try a dose of creativity, like this:


And now for a new chunk of highly salient information expanding on why it’s worth the EFFORT:

Kids need conflict to grow up. Particularly teenagers. It’s part of the individuation process. It’s how they begin to separate from our cozy nest and shape their own flight.

When I accept that conflict is necessary, I surrender to it, and not just that, I RESPECT it.

This is quite revolutionary.

Conflict isn’t in the way,
it IS The Way.

I’d like to take credit for this awareness, but my therapist gets a lot of that.

See this post for how I put it into action:

Episiotomy (of love)

And here’s something even more radical for your consideration:

Since conflict is a necessary part of the developmental process, particularly with teens, then how cool is it that they get their daily/weekly dose of parental conflict in a way that makes such a foundational difference in family life–working together to honor and contribute to the space we share–rather than investing it in other areas with much higher stakes.  (Think sex, drugs, alcohol.)

Posted in *Workshops, Nuts & Bolts

I’m Selling Something…!

(Stay tuned for the next offering of How Full is Your Plate?)

No doubt I will regret the blatant choice of titles for this post sometime very soon, but in this moment, I’m capturing my excitement about learning something new:  How to share something worthwhile on my blog and be paid for it! (After writing for free for 5 years, this is a radical thought!)

And, no, I’m not selling my writing; that’s still freely offered. What I’m selling is a workshop that I typically offer one on one with individual coaching clients or in small workshop groups, but never with people far away, who have asked, but I didn’t know how; Until now!

thumbnailThe workshop was called: How Full is Your Plate?; and wait till you see how much it costs you online. (I’ve used my favorite number. And IF I programmed the code correctly, you should see the price when you click, BUY NOW. (Note: you’ll have a chance NOT TO “Buy Now” if you just wanted to peek.)

(Segue: I love PayPal. It’s given me so much freedom and flexibility; but you don’t need a PayPal account since I have one. You can just use a credit card.)

Back to The Full Plate Workshop. It arrives in your email box in three parts. It’s an activity you do with your family or partner or roommates or office mates, but it was first created in response to my first born when he hit the ripe age of 10 and started complaining that his chores were “unfair” and that he “had too much to do.” (Which, of course, was completely absurd, but there was no way to get through to him around this, until…

Gerald_G_Busy_MomTHE FULL PLATE ACTIVITY: after which he NEVER complained again. He was actually HAPPY about his small share of chores; okay, maybe not happy, but at least silent about it because he didn’t want to have to face the reality (and potential consequences) of The Full Plate Activity again.

Another bonus was that this activity was a wakeup call for my husband, who realized that he wasn’t the only one “doing everything.”

And lastly, as a mom, The Full Plate Activity provided a sense of validation and recognition for ALL I did (and do) behind the scenes of home and family life.

The best part is that no one knew what hit them. When the night came for The Full Plate Activity (Step II of the three part mailing), I made their favorite dinner and even served dessert…

…And then I put out 4 clean plates and a bunch of what look liked fortune cookie strips, and life as they perceived it changed…

Now, all I have to do is mention The Full Plate Activity and everyone gets moving on their share of the household work.

Does this sound like something you’d like to try with your family? Your partner? Your housemates? Your colleagues?

Contact me and let’s get started. That special price won’t be there forever. Unless no one tries it out. (Then the title of this post will be really embarrassing!)

(Satisfaction guaranteed by the way. No matter what it costs.)

Posted in Nuts & Bolts

Inventory of a 13-Year Old’s Pockets


  • 2 wallets (undisclosed contents)
  • a ski pass
  • a miniature mag light
  • a jet lighter
  • a metal jiggly puff pokemon card
  • a hundred dollar bill notebook
  • ear buds
  • two ticket stubs: Prairie Home Companion and James Taylor with Carole King
  • a Pittsfield Colonels game schedule
  • an iTouch
  • a note to himself
  • a miniature Bay Blade
  • a drawing
  • a straw wrapper
  • 2 plastic molded pictures from the movie the Croods
  • a quartz stone
  • an ink pad and an invisible ink pad
  • a plastic penguin
  • a LED light/laser pointer
  • another set of ear buds
  • a survival bracelet
  • a nose plug
  • a magnesium rod
  • a cupcake wrapper
  • a miniature crank flashlight
  • a pocket knife
  • an ipod shuffle
  • a lego Indiana Jones
  • a shark-tooth shaped rock
  • copper wire
  • a miniature hammer
  • a zip tie
  • a quarter and a 1944 penny

(Compare to: Inventory of a 12-Year Old’s Pocket)

Posted in Nuts & Bolts, Tweens

Inventory of a 12-year old’s Pocket

Aidan, age 12
Aidan, age 12
  • a wallet with $3 in change & $3 in bills
  • a nose whistle
  • a mustache whistle
  • a key chain
  • a hook, a lock, and a lego piece
  • a straw wrapper
  • a flattened penny from the science museum
  • a pedometer
  • a set of directions for UNO
  • an expired b-day coupon for Pizza Hut
  • a pack of tissues his mom brought home from Japan
  • 5 pieces of green origami paper and 1 yellow origami crane
  • 3 pendant necklaces
  • an i pod shuffle
  • 2 sets of earphones
  • 1 rubber band, 1 rock, 1 pebble
  • 1 piece of hardened clay
  • 1 Megabucks coin
  • and one unidentifiable creation that was originally a pen…

as catalogued by his mother, November 2012

(Compare to: Inventory of a 13-Year Old’s Pocket)