A Huge List of Links for YOU

I have a ton of links lined up for you. A more conscientious blogger might split these into a couple of posts, but I just can’t restrain myself.

WAMC had an interview with Kristine Barnett about “The Spark,” her book about raising her genius autistic son and focusing on children’s individual strengths instead of trying to get all kids to “measure up” to the same standards.

Buzzfeed offers up a list of 41 Camping Hacks that range from obvious to brilliant.

If being mama is tough right now, you’ll particularly appreciate Renegade Mothering’ post called You Blissed-Out Mothers Are Ruining Futures, in which she responds to all those people who chastise her for admitting that being a mother is hard.

If you’re looking for a light at the end of the tunnel or if parenting hasn’t been hard lately, it might be time to appreciate The Sweet Spot like Julianna Miner of Rants From Mommyland.com just did on Huffington Post.

If you still don’t “get” Twitter, here’s another example of it’s weird and sometimes wonderful intimacy with NPR’s Scott Simon’s Tweets from his mother’s deathbed. So wise and poignant and, because it’s Twitter, concise.

I totally missed that Historic Cherry Hill Mansion was in danger of closing, but apparently locals with cash are rallying.

If you’re a teacher, GiftCardGranny.com has a list of 66 different teacher discounts.

If you’re not a teacher and need an education, check out this post on Female Intel.com on Why Teaching is Harder Than It Looks.

If you have (or may have) a baby son who’s uncircumcised, Huffington Post had a blog post warning you to be careful at well-baby checks.

If you are a rabid Gilmore Girls fan like me, you will love checking out the List Challenges.com’s Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.  Oh, that child was brilliant.

I love this hilarious back-and-forth between two churches debating an important theological issue on No Fate But What We Make, aka Trillians Tumbler.

Oh, my gosh, I love-love-love this tampon ad. I am not even kidding.







  1. @Claire, should I have warned about F-bombs? I was glad she got tough–when people leave me comments implying I’m not loving my children enough, I just get weepy like a wimp.
    @Nichole, me too! And my older daughter’s watched it a ton. She laughs most at the “this is your life now” line, and it’s so poignant b/c I know it’s funny b/c she’s a little scared.

  2. Claire

    Katie, I have followed your blog for at least 3 years, and I have never read any post that even suggests anything other than the love you have for your kids. I find you to be very upbeat and positive about motherhood, while also being honest about the struggles. I have not read any other entries from Renegade Mothering, but based on this one, she sounds like someone who (under the pretense of honesty) actually needs serious anger management. Her article totally depressed me. I find it really sad that there are people who feel that negatively about motherhood. I am no Pollyanna, and no one who has spent 5 minutes with me would ever categorize me as a blissed-out mother. Nor do I think mothers should be silenced from expressing their feelings. But there is a serious problem when someone who has been blessed with an amazing human being finds the negative aspects of motherhood to outweigh the very real joys that it has the potential to bring.

  3. @Claire, well first, thank you–both for reading and saying that you think I have a good balance. I guess this post really resonated with me because I’ve definitely had folks who don’t agree with you. I’ve been chastised for saying that I sort of dread February break, I’ve been told that my kids will hate me for writing about them, etc. Many people say all sorts of lovely things as well, thankfully, but of course it’s the negative comments that really resonate, somehow. And the truth is, I’m pretty cautious about blogging. Often if something’s really upsetting or troubling me, I might write about it on my own, but I don’t share it until I feel like it’s somewhat resolved or I can be a little bit more emotionally detached, or if I feel really secure that what I’m saying is absolutely the right thing to say. It’s honestly because putting stuff “out there” makes me vulnerable and I’m scared. Plus, I want to be a helpful resource and not chase people away from me with too much vitriol one way or the other. It’s probably not the best thing for my writing, actually. At Renegade Mothering, trying to grab & hold onto some joy is absolutely one of her themes, intermingled with the kind of frustrated rants that I’m too mild-mannered to share.

    I didn’t blog early on in motherhood, and I don’t know if I could have. My kids were terrible sleepers, M screamed her way out of the childcare whenever I tried to join a gym, and I missed my working life. I was reeling for a while, and I felt like a pretty crappy mother. But I have it EASY. My kids are healthy and smart and have no significant issues, we have enough money that I could stay home, and my husband rocks. So as I finally got my bearings, I just kept thinking of all of the mothers out there who are struggling and feel alone. The main reasons why I started Capital District Fun were that I wanted to try to write and that I was worried about all those mamas and I wanted to help them. And I feel like, if writing about sorrow or pain or anger or dread or loss or anything helps a mama cope or helps other mamas who feel like they are trapped and alone, then the last thing I want to do is tell them, or any mother, that they’re doing it wrong. I might not make the same choices for myself, but I’m so glad that folks can connect and find support/relief/release.

    And it particularly drives me crazy when someone says, “Oh, I never find my children frustrating. Every single moment I have with them is PURE JOY.” First, I don’t really believe it, or I assume that if it IS true, the mom must be a little bit vapid, because parenting little ones just isn’t intellectually stimulating enough to be pure joy. But whatever, why argue with her? The point is, why would someone respond to another mother’s talk about their frustrations or struggles by saying their life is awesome? I mean, if someone said that they couldn’t pay the rent this month, would you say, “Wow, I just got a fabulous bonus and I’m redoing my kitchen”? If someone said that they just failed a test, would you answer, “I got a 100%, plus all the bonus questions! You probably should have studied”? That would be considered obnoxious, because it’s so clearly gloating. For whatever reason, people think that they need to tell other parents how to parent, and they make these remarks as if parents just need an attitude adjustment and everything will be perfect. But it’s not true. We all have different children and different home lives and different emotional baggage that create challenges that we respond to differently. To me, comments from the “blissed out mothers” she talks about feel a lot like telling a depressed person to snap out of it–it’s inherently disrespectful. And I know that when I get one of these comments, it really hurts MY feelings. So I admire folks who are willing to put it all out there and who no doubt get a great deal more criticism than I do and who keep on keeping on. It’s brave.

    And at this point this comment has become my own little rant should have been a post on its own. But maybe it’s too hard to explain if you’ve never had someone email you to tell you that you’re doing a bad job at parenting and you should stop writing about it.

  4. Claire

    Katie, I’m really sorry to hear that you have been the victim of those types of emails. I don’t blame you for being very hurt by them, and I know I would feel the same way if I were in your shoes. I agree that people should be able to blog about their feelings and struggles without being accused of bad parenting. And as I said, I have only read the one post on Renegade Mothering, so I was not aware that she also has posted about trying to find joy in mothering. I will take your word for that, because I honestly am not up to reading anything more from her blog.

    I am definitely not a blissed-out mother. I struggled for years with infertility and miscarriages before we adopted our son. He did sleep well at night, but otherwise was not an easy infant, and it was hard. I often felt guilty for not appreciating him enough. By the time he was a year old, he was a delightful child, but I am still not a blissed-out mom. However, I do appreciate him for the gift that he is, and every very real struggle that I experience as a mother pales in comparison to the blessings that he brings me. When I’m in the middle of a struggle, I try to remember that, not to dismiss my legitimate feelings, but to keep things in perspective. If I were brave enough to put myself out there in a mommy blog, I’m sure that like you I would share both the good and the bad. And I agree that it is a shame when people respond self-righteously to a mother who is honestly expressing her struggles. While I might try to encourage a mother in that situation by pointing out the hidden benefits of some situations (for example, a willful child might end up being a child who is better equipped to stand up to peer pressure), I wouldn’t intentionally try to make her feel bad about her parenting. The only thing I don’t 100% agree with you about is the intellectual stimulation involved in raising young children. I think it takes intelligence and creativity to figure out how to handle the various behaviors and stages that young children go through. Hence the plethora of books (many with opposing viewpoints) on those topics.

  5. @Claire, ah, this sounds like all those times I think about how this stubbornness will serve the kids well some day! And Cute W used to joke that I was going for my MA in Mommy Administration with all the books I read, and when I could manage to “intellectualize” things it would help–like when I heard that the same pretend play over and over was a developmental thing–but I also spent a long time just walking and jiggling and singing. I remember one year at Christmas I printed out a bunch of lyrics to memorize all the verses to a bunch of Christmas carols because it was a way to entertain M while feeling like I was doing something more productive than just walking and jiggling. With something like that, I can spend maybe 2 to 8 minutes thinking, “Oh I love this baby so much” or “I’m mimicking the womb” but eventually, I’d just get bored and try to think of something, anything, else. These days I do audio books when I’m, say, cleaning the bathrooms, but it seems to anti-social when interacting with kids. I remember that I didn’t want to do tv or radio, either, because I’d read that hearing disembodied voices that weren’t attached to anything the baby could see (like a radio story) would interfere with language development. Man, looking back on it, it’s amazing that I didn’t drive myself crazy! 😉

  6. Claire

    You are hysterical! I remember that post about the repetetitve pretend play; it definitely hit home! Pretend play is not my favorite. I enjoy watching my son engage in it, but I don’t exactly love participating.

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