Last weekend (along with 90% of Americans) I saw “Black Panther.” The movie itself was rad and subversive and set a new bar for Hollywood action movies, blowing up the idea that people of color and women (and most particularly women of color) can only carry the roles of sidekick, token or gooey-eyed love interest.... Continue Reading →
Last month, I helped some aspiring first-generation college students prepare for Ivy League admissions interviews and, as usual, I had to hold my jaw off the floor as they casually described their lives. Lydia*, for example, was explaining why she wanted to study biomedical engineering when she mentioned that she learned to speak English in... Continue Reading →
Dear WOM, I have a two-and-a-half-year-old who is incredibly smart and curious. He already talks in full sentences and wants to understand how everything works. Yesterday, I found him in the dishwasher trying to figure out how the water gets in and out. I’m worried that he’ll be bored in a traditional school where he... Continue Reading →
There's nothing like bathing suit shopping with one's teenage daughter to foster a more nuanced and perhaps sympathetic perspective on Snow White's stepmother.
This week's high school carpool conversation featured BDSM because the term had been heard and a definition was requested. My answer, which skimmed lightly over any meaningful definition to focus on its consensual nature and sharp contrast to relationship violence, segued into a question about how I define healthy relationships. So yeah, at 7:07am as... Continue Reading →
Once, at a dinner party, I mentioned where I work and the conversation — as often happens — veered into awkwardness. A woman across the table pointed her fork at me and said, “My daughter’s eighth-grade English class is having a debate. One of the topics is abortion. Don’t you think that’s inappropriate for 13-... Continue Reading →
Most of the time, I feel like I'm a perfectly adequate parent, but then my son insists that an label-less plate-of-spaghetti line graph is an appropriate visual display of scientific data and I wonder where I went so terribly wrong.
My daughter, when she was seven, ambushed me in the kitchen while I was chopping vegetables. “Mommy,” she asked, blue eyes blinking up at me, a little crease of confusion between her brows, “how does the baby get inside the mommy?” This was a delicate moment. I knew that how I handled these first few... Continue Reading →
Because of my profound lack of interest in entertaining an unenthusiastic 13-year-old at the Getty (mom-ing at a museum is all "What do you think the artist wanted us to feel?" and "What does this make you think about?" until I want to scratch my *own* eyes out) I hooked him up with a self-guided... Continue Reading →
Me: Okay, family, while the ornaments are technically on the tree, there are some weird gaps and places where they're all bunched up, so maybe if we just moved this one or... 13yo son: I'm just going to sit back on the couch and watch a Becca in her natural habitat.
“Those are great pants!” I said to the mom next to me at the beach picnic. They were embroidered and loose, hitting mid-shin in that perfect casually-chic way. “Thanks,” she said. “They’re great because no one should see 45-year-old knees.” The other moms in the circle nodded and laughed, and the conversation moved on. I... Continue Reading →
Dear World’s Okayest Mom, Dinner is pure torture in our house. I make us all put away our phones and turn off the television like I’m supposed to. But instead of quality family time, I get slouching and pouting and one-word answers. It is so painful that my wife and I are ready to give... Continue Reading →
Let’s admit it: our generation is a lost cause. Despite our Take Back the Night rallies, candlelight vigils and rampant use of hashtags, our generation keeps doing and saying terrible things to other humans. But when I think about a world where my kids have to post #MeToo and #TakeaKnee on their 2040 virtual-reality equivalent... Continue Reading →
Dear World’s Okayest Mom, My 11-year-old son monologues. He gets started on a topic, and goes on and on and on. And on and on. Sometimes he gets really passionate and starts lecturing everyone within earshot about why the topic is important and why he’s right. At first, it’s boring, then it alienates people. I’ve... Continue Reading →
Among my friends, it’s become something of a sport to gripe about our young teens. The sullen faces. The eye-rolls. The sinus-searing scent of their shoes. One dad I know, in the middle of a tirade about epic homework battles, exhaled deeply, “Remember when they were in preschool? Those were great days.” His eyes glazed... Continue Reading →
Tip #1: If you see a bear and the bear is not aware of you, quietly and calmly leave the area in such a manner as to avoid being detected. Do not approach more closely for any reason. It’s an hour and a half flight from Fairbanks to Bettles, Alaska. The nine-seater plane leaves not... Continue Reading →
I’ve always enjoyed my life porn: Sunset, Real Simple, Pottery Barn’s catalog. I cancel plans on the day that Ikea’s annual idea book arrives. At points in my life, even the Dixieline Lumber circular or that one catalog full of drapey clothes and Buddha-themed wall plaques has scratched my itch. And now there’s Pinterest, a... Continue Reading →
Once, years ago, my friend Natalie asked me, “You always say you’re too busy for stuff. What are you doing with your time?” There was an awkward, confused silence, because my every waking moment felt crammed with non-discretionary activities, stuff I had to do and do well. I felt like I barely had time to... Continue Reading →
The minibus driver pulled out without looking, just as my twelve-year-old passed on her bike. Two taxis, caught behind her, began call-and-response honking. She sped up, but so did the minibus driver, drag-racing my little girl on the traffic-choked streets of this dusty Colombian town. My husband and I had assumed the English-speaking bike tour... Continue Reading →
Communism had fallen, but no one told the bakeries. It was the early, hopeful years of Yeltsin (before he devolved into a bloated drunk) and the news agencies were reporting that Russia was flowering, backed by B-roll footage of the first McDonalds near Red Square. I was 21, my first passport stiff in my money... Continue Reading →