7 Sins I Commit in the Name of Motherhood

good-mom-having-a-bad-dayWe are closing in on the holiest day of the year for Jews: Yom Kippur. It’s the day of atonement. As a serial sinner, on a daily basis (minute-by-minute, really), you better believe I will repent.

I do it all. F*ck yeah, I swear. I tell white lies as needed. I covet Tory Burch handbags. And, in a new devilish development, I am now living in sin with the guy I met through HuffPost. I don’t feel guilty about these infractions. The sins that keep me up at night, the ones I truly want to atone for during the High Holidays, are those of the mommyhood variety.

Here are 7 Sins I Commit in the Name of Motherhood:

1. I bribe. Pre-mommyhood, I scoffed at parents who pacified their children with cake at a restaurant. I would stare in disbelief at their kids’ content, chocolate smeared faces as the waiter cleared their plates piled high with uneaten healthy food. I get it now. Sometimes I am beyond desperate to get my five-year-old to eat/be quiet/stop acting like the kid equivalent of drunk and disorderly. Two more bites and you can eat (gloriously soothing) cake. Two more bites and you can use my iPhone. Two more bites and we’re going to Disney World!

2. I cave. I am uncomfortable in mean mommy mode. The defiance, the back talk, the selective listening, and the whining all grate on my already frayed nerves. I can be a badass in the moment — “Your bike, television privileges, and Kindle are all gone!” [Insert evil mommy laugh here] — but I don’t always keep my word. Hell, as chronically overtired as I am, I often forget my word. My son is my kryptonite.

3. I don’t always practice what I preach. “No running in the house!” If I lost a pound every time I yelled that phrase at my boisterous boy, I would be a rail-like Kendall Jenner. At times a total hypocrite, I recently joined in on a harrowing house chase. Zany, crazy mom took over as I ran lap after lap after a boy in hysterics. It was all fun and games until I whacked my pinky toe on the dining room chair. It is so swollen that I can’t squeeze it into shoes. The weather is finally cooperating (there’s nothing more frustrating than waiting to slide into new fall shoes), and now I am Bigfoot.

4. I need to be censored. If G-d can really hear my innermost thoughts, I am screwed. Straight to hell. Buh-bye. My internal dialogue is downright fresh most of the time. I can have a fake smile plastered on my face as I tie my son’s sneakers for the fifth time in five minutes, but in my mind, woah, it’s on, baby. I am an impatient smart a$s. A few choice words may or may not slip out at times, too.

5. I can be immature. I swear I can get right back into elementary school and represent if need be. I make ugly faces with the best of ’em. Sometimes I forget that I am the adult, that I am the one in charge. Keep that in mind if you see me stick my tongue out in retaliation or roll my eyes in exasperation.

6. I dread homework. There’s no doubt I will look like a chump trying to learn Common Core alongside my child, especially with my attitude. I squeaked through math in high school and college and have absolutely no desire to re-learn a subject I despised. Wine. Stat. Oh, and let’s collectively pray I can keep up with my Kindergartner intellectually.

7. I spoil. I wish I could say that I haven’t made questionable purchases following bad behavior. I wish I could say that begging and pleading (and begging and pleading) didn’t work on me. I wish I could say my son earns everything. I wish I could say Donald Trump will disappear. But I can’t. I just can’t. Please forgive me.

Which parenting sins would you add to the list?

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To Be a Mom on Mother’s Day

professional picIt’s almost Mother’s Day. Even in the wake of burying my beautiful, beloved mom, it is still my favorite day of the year. It’s not because of the #1 Mom masterpieces, the cereal-and-brown-banana breakfasts in bed, or even the sweet kisses and declarations of love. It’s because I am fortunate enough to be a mom. Motherhood is not a gift all women receive. And I know some moms don’t get enough time on Earth to fully raise a child.

Each morning, I have the privilege of waking up my fondest dream realized…even when he begs me for five more minutes in bed, screams “mom!” 1,042,747 times before breakfast, or delays getting dressed until I have to threaten to take his bike away. On Mother’s Day, my heart is with him, exactly where my mom would want it to be. On Mother’s Day, I smile, as she would want me to. On Mother’s Day, the love that flows between my child and me brings her love to the forefront of my mind, overwhelming me with memories that do not involve a cemetery.

To be a mom was a gift that my mom cherished, and I cherish. Here’s what it means to be a mom:

To be a mom means I lost more than 350 hours of sleep during my son’s first year of life alone. I will forever miss those sleepless nights with my sweet boy, nursing him, holding him, loving him. I gained so much during those lost hours.

To be a mom means I observe every milestone with a sense of wonder. How can it be possible my once defenseless baby now delivers a mean right hook? Yesterday, he was immobile. Today, he is jumping off the couch, superhero style, nearly missing my 12 pound dog to ensure I am hypervigilant.

To be a mom means I smile effortlessly, almost involuntarily, because I am so amused, so awestruck, so deliriously proud of my little masterpiece of a man. It doesn’t start with the curve of my lips, it wells up from the inside. It’s a smile I didn’t smile until I gave birth. And when he smiles back at me, the world is alright. My son’s dimpled grin is my saving grace.

To be a mom means I forgive freely. My baby is all about saying “I am sorry.” One minute I am the “worst mommy in the world,” the next he is proposing marriage on bended knee. Children are like balloons full of air; one wrong move and they’re in spiral mode, deflating quickly. But it’s so easy to fill them back up again. I follow his example and don’t hold grudges.

To be a mom means I have to push my own limits. When I first dropped my son off at preschool, I sat in the parking lot like a stalker, unable to put my car in reverse. I knew he would love it, but what if he needed me and I wasn’t there? All of his “firsts”—eating solid food (choking), crawling (perfect height for electrocution) walking (falling), running (away from me in a public place—yikes!)—made me uncomfortable. But I have to give him the wingspan to fly.

2015-04-27-1430172903-7036074-photo41.JPGTo be a mom means applauding my son’s creativity when he dresses up like a fireman to go out to lunch. I delight in his silliness. He makes me laugh until tears form in the corners of my eyes. The other person who made me giggle like that–the snort-worthy, hyperventilating type of cackle– was my mom.

To be a mom means I am an eternal student, college degree be damned. My son is a teacher of patience, humility, perseverance, dexterity, love. He’s delivered some of my most important life lessons.

To be a mom means I was alive, but not truly living, before I delivered my greatest contribution to the world. I can remember my life without my baby, but I don’t really want to.

What does it mean to you to be a mom?

You can follow Jodi Meltzer on twitter @mommydish, Facebook, or Mommy Dish.

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Why There’s Nothing 50 Shades About Kissing Your Kid on the Lips

Do you kiss your kid on the lips?

A friend of mine from college–a single dad who puckers up for his three boys–recently posed this question on Facebook (the place for life debates). His ex-wife tried to make him feel like he was Christian-Grey-crazy with a cringe-worthy fetish. Responses to his post were more 50 Shades of Grey than I anticipated. I was shocked …and not in a Hillary Clinton running for President kind of way.


“As a Dad of four boys, lips is love!”

“Yep. If by chance I kiss my child on the cheek, he’ll ask me why I kissed his cheek. Still my baby boy.”

“Lips! We were in public the other day and my 2-year-old wouldn’t stop kissing me. I thought it was adorable but some may have considered it borderline disturbing since it looked like he was trying to make out with me. LOL.”


“Cheeks with my girls! Forehead when they’re not feeling well. I don’t do lips.”

“I kiss my kids on their cheeks or forehead. As far as my wife, I kiss her on her ass. The married life, ugh!” (Sidebar: This comment is, by far, my favorite.)


“Never lips. Awkward.”

“Nooooooooooooo. That’s just weird and wrong.”

photo-1051I had no idea parents didn’t kiss their kids on the lips! I just assumed. To me, it’s the most natural thing in the world. My son runs across the room when I pick him up from school, jumps into my arms, and–lipstick be damned–goes right in for a kiss. What am I supposed to do? Turn my cheek like I would on a date gone bad? He’s my baby.

Pretty soon my son will turn bright red from embarrassment if I dare ask him for a fist bump in front of his friends. I am no fool. I know my kiss on the lips days are numbered. He could very well deny my existence tomorrow given how fast he’s growing up. Until that day — which will be devastating enough to warrant wine and ice cream, I am going to enjoy each and every display of affection from my son. Judge me all you want!

How do you feel about parents who kiss their kids on the lips? Do you do it?

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The 6 Injustices of Thyroid Cancer

Celebrating beautiful Jill's remission (she's on the left!).

Celebrating beautiful Jill’s remission (she’s on the left!).

Imagine if your best friend — the one who deserves one hell of a co-pay for the psych-worthy advice she doles out on a daily basis (with love and/or or a swift kick in the butt, as needed) suddenly couldn’t speak.

My lifeline, Jill Gurfinkel, had a paralyzed vocal cord for what seemed like forever. Not from cheering for her then 7-year-old son at his hockey game or yelling at him to eat his vegetables or even from litigating in Court (I don’t mess around; my chief counsel is a badass lawyer). The only thing that has ever robbed her of her voice was thyroid cancer.

In Cindy Finch’s recent HuffPo post, The 6 Injustices of Cancer, she went on and on about how thyroid cancer is like a spa day, complete with fluffy slippers, refreshing cucumber infused water, and a detoxifying steam bath compared to other cancers. Nothing could be further from the harsh reality of this insidious disease. Here are the 6 Injustices of Thyroid Cancer:

1. It’s not the “good cancer”. Jill’s doctor held her head down as he inserted eight needles into her neck to biopsy her two tumors. No anestetic was involved … and that was just the beginning of her journey to hell. Soon after, she was in surgery to remove the right lobe of her thyroid.

When the pathology results came back a week later, they weren’t “good”. One tumor was a Papillary Carcinoma and the other larger tumor was a rare form of thyroid cancer called Hurthle Cell Carcinoma. The rest of her thyroid had to come out— stat. The surgeon reopened the fresh, 3-inch scar across Jill’s neck the following morning to remove the
left lobe of her thyroid. That time, there were complications. She lost a parathyroid gland and ended up with a paralyzed vocal cord. She couldn’t breathe without coughing, couldn’t drink without choking and could barely speak.

I am not making this about me at all, but I have to say I still don’t think I am over that time that I couldn’t talk to my beloved bestie as I knew how horrifying it was for her on every level that she had cancer.

Before Jill was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 39, she took care of and buried both of her parents. Her dad died from pancreatic cancer and her mom of breast cancer; she knows a thing or two about suffering. And she will be the first to tell you thyroid cancer is gutwrenchingly hard.

2. The treatment is definitely not spa treatment.
How does a low iodine diet in preparation for liquid radiation after two surgeries sound? Like a massage? Jill had to have Radioactive Iodine Ablation to eradicate remnant thyroid tissue. Cloaked in protective gear, she drank a metallic tasting liquid out of a lead container and
was forced to remain in isolation for 5 days afterwards. No encouraging hugs from her son, no face-to-face food deliveries from her sister (she had to leave meals at her front door so she wouldn’t be exposed to radiation). She was alone, exhausted, and extremely nauseous. Her jaw and cheeks ached, but nothing like they would within a year from treatment when she had a stone in her salivary ducts that caused recurrent parotid gland infections (parotitis). It was excruciatingly painful and a direct effect from having radiation. Now that she does not have a thyroid, infections are much harder for her to fight off. She’s also at risk for secondary cancers, dental problems, and more salivary and parotid gland issues, among other ailments.

3. It’s not “one and done.” The “one pill a day” people like Cindy associate with thyroid cancer is a cruel joke. Jill takes 40 pills a day, administers her own daily injections, and uses several hormone creams
to address the numerous deficiencies she has now that she no longer has a thyroid. Every single day is a struggle. Many survivors spend years trying to figure out the right hormone levels and suffer debilitating fatigue, depression, adrenal fatigue, cardiac issues, aches, pains, hair loss, brain fog, weight gain, inability to control body temperature, hot flashes, edema, muscle weakness, impaired memory, sex hormone imbalance, anemia, slowed heart rate, palpitations, thinning hair, menstrual irregularities, and so on. It’s tough to be hypothyroid and even hyperthyroid for the rest of your life.

4. Thyroid cancer survivors are misfits.
Thyroid cancer survivors are often dismissed by other cancer patients like Cindy, by the medical community, and by big budget cancer organizations. Most people just assume that since thyroid cancer is purportedly “treatable” or even “curable”, it is an easy diagnosis. Imagine going through what Jill has endured and not being able to b*tch? They do not get the benefit of funding, 3-day walks, or research breakthroughs. According to the American Cancer Society, thyroid cancer is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the U.S. That’s pretty hard to swallow, isn’t it?

5. People die. For many with Medullary, Anaplastic, Hurthle Cell Carcinoma and even Follicular and Papillary thyroid cancer, their cancers are not responsive to treatment. These patients are often given other treatments (chemo, external beam radiation) and numerous surgeries in an attempt to cure their sometimes incurable disease. The only diagnostic tools they have available don’t always work for these patients either.

6. The future is never certain. Jill has blood tests every three-to-six months plus ultrasounds and body scans to monitor for recurrence. She has had a scare or two, but, thankfully, she is still in remission.

Regardless, she will spend the rest of her life worrying about whether her “easy cancer” will recur. She has to look her sweet son in the eye when he asks her difficult questions about her disease. As if that’s not enough of a burden to bear, she also has to school insentitive women like Cindy on what it’s really like to be a thyroid cancer survivor.

Do you think thyroid cancer survivors are treated fairly?

Want more? Here’s Jill Gurfinkel’s response to Cindy Finch’s article.

Posted in Friends, Mommy, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

7 Reasons Why I Am Grateful for Cold Season

photo-29We’re on day five of an unidentified plague in my house. The past four nights have been sleepless for several unpleasant reasons. Night one: an unrelenting croup-like cough. Night two: a few rounds of throw up. Night three: a dangerously high fever. Night four: a sick symphony of sneezing, sniffling, coughing, nausea and fever. I helplessly listened to the crescendo of cold season at 3:37 a.m.

Of course I am exhausted. I could start complaining about how much my overtired eyes hurt to be open in a fog of Lysol, or how seriously done I am with never-ending laundry, or how hard it is to convince a toddler born with what has to be a natural form of speed that he has to rest. You would forgive me for a explicative laced rant at this point, right?

But I am not going to bitch. All I am feeling today is gratitude. Here are seven reasons why:

1. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers. After my son tested negative for the flu, we were sent to the hospital for a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia. He was given a bag of goodies to choose from afterwards for being so brave, settling on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Legos. The gifts were given by a grandmother who spends most of her time by her grandson’s side as he fights a terminal illness in that very hospital.

2. I am grateful for my beloved child’s health. I understand how lucky I am that my four-year-old son was nervous about having an X-ray. He’s never had one before. There are other children who have had many X-rays, treatments, surgeries and procedures. Some kids live in hospitals; we only visited. All I could think of were the kids who don’t get to leave.

3. I am grateful for the sabbatical.
Sure, this nasty virus turned my life upside down. Appointments were cancelled. Work was put on hold. Some chores were ignored. I focused only on my child. What an incredible gift.

4. I am grateful I let the rules slide. Eating in bed, iPad binges, and lots of “bubbly” (my son’s code for Ginger Ale) were allowed. After days of barely eating, he had a craving for a pizza delivery. I ordered it knowing he would only eat a slice. We rented lots of movies (to hell with my overpriced cable bill). We drank our favorite tea (Teavana’s Raspberry Balsamico/Limemade Twist which, serendipitously, was on sale this week) in the wee hours of the morning. Makeshift forts were not broken down. All of our rule-breaking was actually fun.

5. I am grateful for my dog.
I rescued a mistreated shih tzu from Arkansas six months ago. She’s had her moments — pooping on the rug, chewing toys, barking precisely as my son is about to fall asleep — but, wow, is she a little love. She hasn’t left my son’s side during his illness. Like my little boy, she has given me more than I will ever give her.

6. I am grateful for my mom.
How lucky was I to have her when I was sick as a child? She was always there with a cold compress or a warm hug. I believed her when she told me I would get better. She would do anything to stop my tears with a laugh. Even though she is no longer here — I lost her more than one year ago to ovarian cancer — I see her in me, especially now. Last night, I pretended I was a prima ballerina. I felt the spirit of my beautiful mommy as I (pathetically) twirled around our living room to make my son giggle.

7. I am grateful I am a mom. My son wants me when he is sick. He knows I will do anything and everything to make him well. He wants me to pick him up and carry him upstairs to bed. He loves kisses on his forehead when he has a fever. He trusts me when I tell him a steamy shower will help his cough in the middle of the night. He looks up at me for reassurance when he misses the toilet. It’s okay, sweet boy.

And, oh, how I adore the cuddle time. The sick clinginess reminds me of when he was a baby. He wants to nestle right beside me, caress my hair and give me bear hugs for comfort. He believes in his mommy. He knows I am here to take care of him, to love him, to encourage him. He trusts me when I tell him he won’t always be sick. I promise you will get better, sweet boy.

I am grateful to be needed, wanted and loved by my child. I am grateful I have a child to take care of. I am grateful my son will get better. I am truly grateful. I will always love you, sweet boy.

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Cold Cookie Spree

cold outside.004Apparently, being cooped up due to knock-you-on-your-butt cold makes me bake. Hey, it’s better than bitch, right?

I can’t be too much of a weather whiner. I was born and raised in Boston (well, a suburb a half-hour from the city you’ve never heard of). It felt like spring on Christmas day. This morning, I could not get my car into reverse without repeated revving, pleading, and some desperate — yet ninja-like — moves to coax it into gear. Next week could be a raging blizzard or a great thaw… who really knows? (Certainly not forecasters).

All I really know is — New Year’s resolutions be damned — my friends and family are getting cookie deliveries while I am bone cold mode. I can’t stop baking, and I can’t keep all of these cookies, so I am spreading the calories around. If I like you, or kind-of like you, or can tolerate you on a good day, be forewarned … you’re getting brown sugar oatmeal cookies and sugar cookies. And they’re irresistible (just like me). Hehe.

photo 1-3Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies


1 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
1-1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups Old Fashioned Oats


Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each one.

Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. Add it into the creamed mixture in 2 to 3 batches, mixing it until just combined. Mix in the oats until just combined.
Use your preferred size cookie scoop (or a regular spoon) to drop portions of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, spacing them a couple inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until dark and chewy. If you’d like a crispier cookie, just cook a little longer!

Let them cool slight on the pan after removing from the oven, then transfer the cookies onto a plate for serving. Source: The Pioneer Woman.

photo 2-3Sugar Cookies


2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
Sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating


Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. Add enough of the buttermilk to moisten the dough and make it soft, not wet.

Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and place on a ungreased cookie sheet. With a brush or fingers, moisten the top of each cookie with the remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with raw sugar or colored sprinkles.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to cool on a rack. Yum!

Posted in Boston, Family, Food, Friends, Holidays, Kids, Life, Mommy, recipes, spring, Uncategorized, weather | 1 Comment

Happy Hanukkah Eve!

hanukkahSometimes it’s not easy being a Jew during Christmastime. There, I said it. But a kid I know came up with a brilliant idea to start to level the playing field. It’s all about Hanukkah Eve, baby.

Yes! Hanukkah Eve. Music to this Hebrew school dropout’s ears. You see, sometimes the festival of lights sneak up on me. One year, I missed the memo from the tribe that it began right after Thanksgiving (it happened to be my baby’s first Hanukkah so I felt extra guilty). The first night was a blur of presents I lovingly selected as my prescriptions were filled at CVS. Not my finest mommy moment.

In my defense, I was functioning on three hours of sleep. And there’s only one Hanukkah song in rotation on the radio to jog my mommy brain. (Adam Sandler, you’re my Jew Juke Box Hero). As Jews, we have to be on alert for subtle cues. I mean, we get a little giddy in stores that feature more than a token shelf of Hanukkah items. One of my Facebook friends recently posted a photo of a display — a whole wall! — with pride. It was the blue-and-white mecca of Hanukkah. Like!

Even with Adam Sandler in our corner, there’s always a flurry of texts with my friends to figure out when Hanukkah starts every year. If there was some build up to a rockin’ Hanukkah Eve, I would be all set. If I flaked, I would have a whole day to act like I have it all together (really, that’s all I need to fake everyone out, no last-minute run to CVS required). And the kids would rejoice in the splendor of opening a bonus gift without reciting the Hanukkah prayer in front of Aunt Mildred. Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?

I will admit I have never felt the real sting of going out for Chinese on Christmas. You see, I am Jewish but I was raised celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas (my mom converted to Judiasm and my Jewish dad didn’t mind dressing up like Santa Claus). We had a menorah in the midst of our suburban North Pole, complete with a decked out tree, festive stockings, dancing reindeer, and jingle bells on the door. It looked like Santa regurgitated his workshop and threw in some Hanukkah gelt for good measure. My mom made delectable golden brown latkes on one night and gingerbread the next. I was spoiled with double gifts. That’s just how we rolled.

Still, I get it. I’ve been stung by a surprise Hanukkah. I talk to my long-distance friends enroute to the movies on Christmas because they have nowhere else to go. My son begs me over and over and over to begin Hanukkah ASAP (all the holiday hoopla starts before Halloween and toddlers aren’t known for their patience). Hanukkah Eve is the answer to all of our issues. And it’s tonight!

Happy Hanukkah Eve! (And thanks to Hanukkah Harry for the idea)!

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5 Healthy Hacks to Try on Your Kids This Holiday Season

IMG_6137‘Tis the season moms consider candy canes a viable breakfast option. Empty calories are no longer on our naughty list. Kids enjoy a prolonged sugar high knowing we’re feeling pretty damn good, too. Our oversized sweaters give us away. They realize we loosen up a little bit when we break them out of storage (or a lot if spiked eggnog is involved).

I am no mommy downer. I am all for cuddling up with some hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies on a cold night … but they can’t interfere with my bedtime mojo. There’s a delicate balance between being festive and being stupid. Incorporating nutritious, temper-tantrum-fighting foods is a must to neutralize kids’ sugar buzz during this time of year. We want them to go the f*ck to sleep, right?

Here are the top 5 healthy hacks to try on your unsuspecting children this holiday season. (You can thank me later … when you can focus your attention on your crazy uncle because your kids are under control.)

1. Make healthy snacks easy to grab and eat. Deborah Yaffe, M. Ed., CPT, and mom-of-three recommends having fruit washed and ready for kids when they return home from school or activities. “This way, the fruit will be the first thing they see when they come home hungry,” said Yaffe. “If you’re at work when your kids get home, prepare the fruit the night before and put it at their eye level in the fridge. It really works.”
The tried-and-true celery logs filled with peanut butter (or any nut or soy butter) are also great grab-and-go snacks. The key is to have them ready. And hide the Christmas cookies as needed.

2. Sneak nutrients into their favorite foods. “Organic baby food is a great trick to add nutrients to baked goods and sauces,” said Yaffe. “Kids don’t have a sophisticated enough palate to notice subtle changes.”
Yaffe uses coconut and whole wheat flour in her chocolate chip cookies (instead of white flour). Granulated sugar is replaced with honey. Protein powder is also added to the mix. “My kids and their friends devour chocolate chip cookies with these substitutions,” said Yaffe. “They see a cookie and don’t analyze it, especially if it tastes good and is hot from the oven.”
Other ideas: Whip an avocado into store-bought chocolate pudding; it will be creamier and healthier … and they won’t notice a thing. Sneak cauliflower in mashed potatoes, butternut squash or sweet potato in macaroni and cheese, and zucchini in baked goods. You just have make the commitment to incorporate healthy additions into your food preparation.

3. Get kids involved. Kids are inquisitive, curious little creatures who are always looking for new things to pique their interests. Teach them about food from the ground up. If they plant seeds that turn into vegetables they’re more inclined to eat them. Same holds true if they hand-pick items from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Involve them in food preparation (give them a kid-friendly knife to cut cucumbers or mushrooms, for example) to get them excited about eating colorfully.

Another trick: stage healthy foods to make them irresistible. Make a smiley face out of raspberries in their morning pancakes. Serve fruit on a skewer at your holiday parties. Create a scene on their plates: broccoli can be a Christmas tree; blueberries can be a menorah. Use your imagination and your kids are more inclined to eat up.

4. Be patient and persistent. Research indicates that it can take kids a dozen tries or more to embrace a new food. So, make sure you don’t give up too soon. Some parents swear by the one-bite rule … kids take one taste and spit it out if they don’t like it. If they take enough bites they will get ultimately get used to the flavor.

5. Make it fun. Lay out a bunch of vegetables and encourage your kids to have a crunching contest. Table manners can slide in the interest of getting them to try red peppers, carrots, celery, and cucumbers (really, someone in your family is going to be rude during your holiday meal anyway). Kids love variety, so accompany the vegetables with healthy dipping choices: hummus, yogurt-based dressing, cottage cheese. Natural food dyes can make the dips more festive. You may be surprised by how many nutrients you can sneak in when kids are laughing between bites.

What are your tricks to help your kids eat healthy foods? Remember, this is all about saving your sanity this holiday season.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Courtesy Debbie Yaffe, Debbie Yaffe Personal Training


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (Yaffe recommends Juice Plus)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips


Mix all of the ingredients together. Scoop by the teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 oven for 9-11 minutes (depending on your oven).

Posted in Dishes, Family, Hanukkah, Holidays, Mommy, Parents, recipes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 10 Rules for Dating a Single or Divorced Mom

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 8.52.39 PMSo, I am recently back on the dating market after a long hiatus, this time with the cutest little boy ever (fact). My life is complex and chaotic, but it’s all mine now and I am embracing it fully (well, on Wednesdays and every other weekend anyway … my main squeeze always comes first).

I dropped my married last name on social media. Big move. Definitely saw an uptick in male correspondence (which may or may not be because my new moniker — my first and middle names — have a porn star vibe). While I can’t afford to rent a billboard to announce I am single again, word has managed to spread in suburbia (shocker!). Turns out a happier, ring-free, forty-something is an aphrodisiac to some and inspires others’ inner matchmaker.

Who is the “perfect guy”? To me, he’s a spunky, funny, handsome, smart, talented, superhero lovin’ four-year-old with a good arm, bold dance moves and a flair for the romantic. Just the other day, my son noticed the ice cubes in his juice glass had holes in them while we were out to dinner. He took a big one out (kid doesn’t mess around), slid it on my finger, and said, “Mommy, will you marry me?” Who could possibly compete with my little casanova? He’s the one who melts my heart on a daily basis.

In my mind that never shuts the f*ck up, I consider man detox or remaining single for the next 14 years. I think about dating against my type. I tell myself I will leave my past boyfriends in the past as they come knocking. I ponder saying yes to all fix-ups within reason (sorry random guy at Starbucks who thinks I am perfect for his nephew). On optimistic days, I believe I should simply let my life unfold. On tougher days, I click my heels three times with the hope I will become a lesbian (no such luck).

What do I want at this stage of my life? I am trying to figure that out … and I am not in a hurry. But I can share some rules for dating single or divorced moms. I have a handle on them already.

1. I spend most of my time double-checking if my kid wiped his butt, bribing him to brush his teeth and trying to keep him presentable long enough to leave the house. I work, take out the garbage, make dinner and do the dishes. I clean up never-ending emotional and physical toddler cyclones. I elevate reasoning with the unreasonable to an art form. Cliff’s Notes version: I am really busy. My free-time is limited, well-earned and precious. Treat it as such.

2. I worry constantly about how my son is coping with divorce. Hell, I even wonder whether I should be concerned that his favorite character on “Scooby Doo” is Shaggy (he’s obviously a stoner with a perpetual case of the munchies). I mean, I am one of those moms who gets my son’s foot measured on the regular to make sure he doesn’t need the next size up. Be patient. Moms anticipate issues. Some of us are a tad bit anxious. All of us are moms first.

3. If you want to play games, please batter up elsewhere. There are women who may actually wonder and worry about your texting frequency. They may analyze an instant replay of your date, fret when you haven’t called for a couple of days or initiate an emergency session with their girlfriends about your perplexing behavior over cocktails. Cute, right? If you’re into that, move along. Stat. Single and divorced moms don’t have time for that sh*t.

On a related note, if you want to ask us out, ask. Chances are, we will welcome wine (affectionately known as mommyjuice), food we don’t have to prepare, and adult conversation. You have to be more interesting than watching the same episode of “Power Rangers Super Megaforce” over and over, right?

4. If you’re just looking to score, be honest. See rule #1. Not all single or divorced moms are looking for love. We didn’t have kids through immaculate conception. You know what I mean? [Insert wink here].

5. A surprise in our lives often revolves around a call from the principal, an accident in big boy underwear, or a trip to the Emergency Room. Surprise us — in a good way. You can do it. It doesn’t take much. Bonus points for being creative.

6. Being a single or divorced mom is exhausting. It can be a thankless job with impossibly long hours. Spoil us. Make us dinner once in awhile. Be kind. Give us a reason to get dressed up (we have to fight for our right to shower on most days). Make us laugh. Give massages willingly. Listen. Be spontaneous. Tell us we look beautiful even if we have stray Cheerios in our hair — and mean it. We spend our lives taking care of others; take care of us if we give you the opportunity.

7. We’re not going to settle for crumbs. We sweep crumbs, yes, but not yours. You see, we can do it all on our own. We’re doing it every single day of our lives. We don’t need men who offer crumbs. Aim higher than the floor. Much higher. We’re worth it.

8. Don’t be offended if we never want to introduce you to our kid(s). Personally, the only way a man I date will even breathe the same air as my child is if he survives the firing squad of loved ones looking out for us this time around. I would have to be completely smitten with a belly full of butterflies to even consider a meeting. “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each other love.” (Yeah, that was Carrie Bradshaw, single girl extraordinaire. And, yes, it best articulates the way I feel at this juncture of my life. I can pass anything else up.)

9. When you date a single or divorced mom, we’re a package deal. It’s buy one and get one (or two … or four, you get the idea) free. Our children are an extension of us. They’re the new and improved versions of us. Our love for them is innate, overwhelming, incomparable, unconditional. If you’re considering the possibility of loving us, your heart needs to be big enough for them.

10. Little boys need not apply. Men only.

Do you agree with #4? Do you have more rules to add to the list?

Posted in Date Night, Kids, Life, Mommy, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

17 Things I Miss About My Mom on the Anniversary of Her Death

He has learned so much from his Grammy Mimi already!

He has learned so much from his Grammy Mimi already!

My mom died one year ago today. I somehow survived one full lap around the sun without my guiding light. Grief is an emotional vampire that, at times, sucked me dry of my reserve. I felt trapped in an endless, starless night … unable to see the dawn.

So, I faked it.

I smiled through the crippling pain. I laughed through the unrelenting heartache. I rejoiced through the hot tears that burned my cheeks. I didn’t curl up in the fetal position to mourn my mommy because she never gave me that example during her 11 year duel with ovarian cancer. She wanted more for me, and I wanted more for my son. Don’t get me wrong — I host pity parties for one — but I don’t overstay my welcome. Even though my mom’s no longer here, she showed me the way. And I still ache for her guidance every day.

Here’s 17 things I miss most about my beloved mom.

1. I miss her flip-phone. She was the only person I knew who had one … and had her ringtone set to Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” to complement her whole retro non-techie vibe. She had no idea how to text and, most of the time, she had no idea where her phone was. It was part of her charm.

2. I miss her reassuring smiles, her warm, comforting embraces, her unparalleled compassion for anyone fortunate enough to look into her soulful, doe-shaped eyes. When the doctor told her he wasn’t sure she would make it through the night, my mom consoled him. After all, he was the one who had to tell her she would probably die … and how hard was that? After the doctor, she comforted me the way only she could. And then she applied lipstick, brushed her hair, and cracked a joke about how she could at least represent well in the intensive care unit.

3. I miss her voice. I talked to her at least four times a day. How is it possible I have survived 365 days without her telling me what the f*ck to do?

4. I miss asking her questions only she can answer. Did I ever do [insert kid behavior here] as a child, mom? What was I like when I was four-years-old? How was I like my son? How was I different?

5. I miss her inappropriate humor, her ability to deliver 1,000 dirty jokes flawlessly. She didn’t forget punch lines, stammer, or even warn you that she was about to tell a joke. She could have had a boo-free career as a stand-up comedienne.

6. I miss telling her about my life. Mommy, I finished my children’s book. And, remember Jeff from high school? He’s illustrating it. I am going to make your dream of publishing a children’s book come true. I am writing for The Huffington Post now (you would have loved to share my stuff on Facebook)… and some other publications. Can you believe some people actually give a sh*t about what your mouthy daughter has to say? But, enough about my writing. I separated from my husband after you died. I got pneumonia … oh, and basal cell carcinoma. I took myself to surgery and drove myself home (and managed to fit in some shopping while I waited for clean margins … yes, that butterfly necklace from Tiffany’s I bought was in memory of your beautiful spirit). I can’t bear to tell you about Alex the Great; you should be here to enjoy your grandson. But I will say his love sustains me, just as you knew it would.

7. I miss seeing her sitting across from my son, telling him made-up stories that kept him entranced. There was a magic about my mom. She was a hybrid of Mary Poppins, the Fairy Godmother, and Marie from The Aristocats … but she could cackle better than the evil witch in The Wizard of Oz if need be. She was so animated she didn’t need any props. She was the one I wholeheartedly trusted with my son, who went out of her way to make me dinner and reorganize my spice cabinet during naptime (even though hers was a mess). She surprised me with things that filled my heart with pride (Mom, Alex still remembers how you both picked out flowers and planted a garden for me).

8. I miss strategizing about our Thanksgiving menu, beginning in October every year. I was so thankful for her … even when she got in my way in the kitchen. I wish I could bump shoulders with her just one more time.

9. I miss driving aimlessly with her, listening to her sing songs over the radio. I remember all of those “aha” moments — the ones where we discovered we both loved the same song. It happened with Al Jerreau’s “Mornin’” on our last trip to Story Land with my son for her birthday. And with Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.” It reminded both of us of my son when I was pregnant. I hear so many songs, so many words … and they remind me of my mom. I do “the Mimi dance” with my little boy in her memory. I still blast the music, sing off-key with wild abandon, and stick my hands out of the sunroof for a laugh. I do it all for her.

10. I miss her handwritten letters, her cards, even the annoying emails she forwarded. I miss that she took the time to “Elf Yourself” … and did it for me and pretty much everyone she knew.

11. I miss taking her to chemotherapy. I spent months of my life in the hospital. Literally … when you add up all of the hours I spent at her bedside it adds up to months. No matter what we were dealing with, how dire the news or circumstances, how excruciating the treatment, how infuriating the commute home — we always managed to laugh. Sometimes we’d even have belly laugh crying fits when she was attached to an IV. It was pretty funny when a nurse donned a hazmat suit to administer the poison that flowed through her veins.

12. I miss Christmas mornings at her house. The jingle bells on the front door, the cheesy Santa dancing on a motorcycle, the tree decked out with ornaments from my entire life. She stayed up wrapping all night long on Christmas Eve– every year — and would inevitably forget where she hid a gift. I would get it sometime in June of the following year. She was the most thoughtful gift-giver … not only on Christmas or Hanukkah (yup, lucky me celebrated both), but also just because. I long for those little gifts. No one does anything like that for me anymore.

13. I miss the things that once drove me crazy. She would put me on hold to answer another call and talk to the person for ten minutes. She ran late (“You wouldn’t believe it but I got caught behind a family of turtles trying to cross the road, Jodi”). She called me out if I was being a b*tch. All of it was better than the horrifying silence I suffer through every day without my mom.

14. I miss her validation. She helped me believe in myself. She dared me to dream. She told me the truth. I hope she knew how much her opinion meant to me.

15. I miss her at grandparents’ day at my son’s school (just yesterday my son said, “When Grammy Mimi died it broke my heart, Mommy”). I miss having a mom on Mother’s Day. I miss surprising her with things to make her smile, with impromptu day trips (she was always game), with movies on a rainy day. I feel so alone without my mom.

16. I miss her companionship. She was my very best friend. A part of me is buried next to my mom.

17. I miss her love. No one loved me like my mom, and no one ever will again.

Posted in Family, Kids, Life, Michael Buble, Mommy, Mother's Day, ovarian cancer, Parents, Uncategorized | 6 Comments