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The unremarkable splendor of all this living: a love letter to 2021.

I’ve been spending these past few weeks rereading many of my own old blog posts. In March, My Jenn-eration will be ten years old. I rarely stick with anything. That isn’t a criticism of myself but more just a fact. I drift from one thing to the next but here I stayed, I lingered and reflected on a particular chapter of my life. If I hadn’t written it down as I did, I’m not sure I would have remembered any of it, the way my grief for my mother felt early on, or the way that sleep deprived, bone deep love of early motherhood took hold of me. All of it, was such a jumble of all the things. I was so deep in the living it that if I hadn’t taken a moment to just step back, well I’m not sure I would be able to recall any of it. In the life I lead now, in the way I love a parent with Alzheimers, I wonder how much any of that matters. If in the living of this thing, does it matter as much specifically whether or not we recall any of it? The moments happened whether we get to travel back to them
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I hope you'll take these words and go forward.

  I’ve been spending some time going through what is now nearly a decade of blog posts. That seems utterly unbelievable and yet for the bulk of my time as a parent, I’ve been writing it down. In those early years, I wrote about different things and I wrote differently because I was different then. It has been absolutely lovely to travel back in time through my own words, and revisit who I was, and who we were as a family, over the years. When I started all of this, I’m not sure what I expected. At first, I thought what I wanted from this blog was a chance to pour my own heart out, but what I found was community. Other people came, and left comments, and shared their own experiences as mothers and parents and oh, how that filled me up, especially when I felt unsure, or alone. I was writing in those early days for me, but I realize now what a gift this space will be for them some day. It will be my gift to my children. As someone who has parented almost exclusively without my mother and

It's not our job to do it all. So why does the Internet keep telling women it's ideal to try?

Join me over on Medium where I've written a  post  that reflects on ten years since Anne Marie Slaughter's original 2012 piece "Why Women Still Can't Have it All." Nearly a decade later, women are still thinking they need to do it all, mostly because the Internet wants us to believe it is our job to do so. I reflect on this toxic and antiquated narrative. I think the tones of this piece will resonate with your readership, highlighting how social media is holding us back from making progress in the modern mother's quest to be recognized for who she is, not what she does.

Dear Moms: thank you.

Mother’s Day, right from the very beginning, has always been complicated for me. Maybe it’s because my very first one was so upside down, so sad without my own mother, so beautiful and joyful to be a mother myself to my newborn son. But mostly it always feels complicated because as any mother will tell you, the business of mothering is a 24/7 job. We never stop caring or fighting or loving. It seems odd that we should celebrate something all encompassing only one day a year, and do so with such simplistic frivolity. More than that, we often honor Mothers specifically for what they do for others. I love my children more than my own life. But I bristle whenever I receive cards from them thanking me for what I do for them (which is a lot!) but mostly because it’s a reminder that I’m doing too much for them (which won’t help them down the stretch) and because it makes it seem like our connection and love for each other is tied to things that are actionable, which I would hope they would no

Rachel Hollis' Instagram is The Bad Place

  Women, mothers, pull up a chair.  I wish to have a word with you about Rachel Hollis, toxic positivity, and women as a commodity.  Do you know Rachel Hollis? She is a self proclaimed motivational speaker and life coach. She has nearly 2 million followers on Instagram, has published multiple NY Times bestsellers, and runs her own business, has a product line in Target, a clothing line on QVC, her own fitness app, and sells out large convention size stadiums where people pay $40 for a general ticket or up to $200 per person for a VIP pass that will give them things like “digital swag” (those two words together form a new one that has an unclear meaning to me), and video playback on all speakers. Rachel Hollis is a business and the thing that she is selling? Why that’s you. It wasn’t always this way. As one of the few bloggers still kicking around that started out nearly nine years ago, many of us old folks can tell you how quickly the landscape of personal essays and blogging changed.

It's Not a Pandemic Wall.

I’ve been inching closer to the anniversary of the date when I knew it was all changing with an incr e asing sense of dread. That day, in my mind, was March 9th. I was playing soccer with the girls in the field outside my son’s school while he attended basketball tryouts inside. Just then the email came through from my father’s Assisted Living community saying they were closing their doors indefinitely because of COVID. There would be no more visits, no hugs, and no idea what comes next. I looked at the girls joyfully playing in the last light of the day and snapped a picture of the evening sky. I wanted to remember what it looked like when I knew their entire world was about to change. I’ve read lots of pieces recently about the  pandemic wall  that many of us are feeling one year in to quarantine but to be candid, that isn’t quite what I’ve been feeling lately. Until I read these words on Claire Bidwell Smith’s instagram the other night: “This month marks nearly everyone’s anniversar

Gen X Is Not Okay.

You really ought to check on your Gen X friends. It is difficult to articulate what this middle is like right now for us. We are caring for the parents above us, watching this pandemic ravage their mental health as they stay isolated inside, but simultaneously worried that if we try to hug them or comfort them or encourage them to leave they will catch a deadly disease. At the same time we are trying to shepherd our kids through this thing too, somehow ensuring that they don't grow up to be permanently scarred and weird because all they know are screens and adult conversations and that is not a childhood. We are doing all of this while we hold the line on businesses and jobs and careers. We are twenty years in. We are the ones with enough institutional knowledge to keep the office or that business afloat right now. We are 15 years into a marriage and at best, two away from needing a new roof. We are holding ALL of it up. But watching everything unfold yesterday just about nearly br