The Phrase I’m Banishing From Our Home

My toddler slides a guitar strap around his neck. His fubsy fingers strum a choppy tune as I smile from the couch. Maybe he’ll become a musician and escort his dear old mom to the Grammys. “Bradley Cooper took his to the Oscars,” I’ll joke. A funny face can trigger an equally audacious thought about…

Why I’m Not Ready For Mom’s Night Out

I stepped into the Magic Time Machine without a diaper bag. A woman dressed as Disney’s Jasmine handed me a menu. Teal harem paints framed a tonned porcelain tummy. She must not have kids, I thought. Marks formed over two pregnancies now wind around my belly like a mountainside eroded by rain. My middrift wasn’t…

Pride, Ego and the Plastic Pineapple

I sat on a park bench, one sweet Saturday afternoon, swapping humble boasts— bonding over motherhood. The woman next to me cooed at my baby and praised my toddler’s fearlessness on the slide. My pride beamed like October sunshine until my son shoved a little girl to the ground. The little girl’s mom shouted “No!…

A Message for the Mamarazzi

My dad shoved a sandwich bag in my direction. I opened my hand unimpressed. What is this? I peered through plastic to find treasures from the past—photographs bearing the unmistakable filter of the 1980’s. The pictures unlocked traces of the everyday. It was all there (joyful, silly, happy, moody moments and forgettable frowns). Dates written…

New Year, Big Questions

I’ve started writing down big questions ahead of 2016. It’s my new year’s resolution. I’m ready for a year of reflection and a reprieve from a world of fast answers (how to calm a crying baby, how to toast bread properly, how to be a California girl living in Texas). Pinterest. Facebook. It’s overwhelming. I want…

Mindful Breathing Hack for Angry Moms

Life with a toddler is like riding on a revolving see-saw all day long. UP. DOWN. ALL. AROUND. My head spins trying to keep it together. The other day my son wildly pecked and pawed at my laptop keyboard. “He’s literally pushing my buttons,” I told my husband later. The power struggle is real my…

Here’s to Harvesting Gratitude All Year

Thanksgiving once loomed very low on my favorite holiday list. I’m not partial to yams or gravy and (as embarrassing as it is to admit) I wasn’t always very grateful. Growing up, the women in our family rushed around fretting over trimmings while barking at my cousins and me for cluttering the kitchen. Everyone on…

Word Up

Nothing intimidated me more—pitching stories, every morning. Scribbling ideas into a box hoping one met my bosses’ exacting standards. I improvised on the days I couldn’t find much to fill my little square. I told anecdotal stories, hypothesized about any number of things and tried to act cool. On one such day I was going…

Fear and Judgment

I dipped into a silk sleeping bag tucked into hard white sheets. Tears queued in the back of my throat as I flipped off a lamp in a small and sparsely furnished space. I wondered how people ended up here. Suddenly, I noticed a large hand print glowing on the wall. Fear soaked my gut….

Learning from My Losses

A cascade of confetti signaled my defeat. I felt like a toy soldier grasping the ends of a smile like a falling parachute. I couldn’t hold on. Tears fell with the paper rainbow as cameras pushed-in for my reaction (morning TV.) I wore my disappointment and a California State University Fullerton T-shirt. The winner of…