Stephanie Gruner Buckley

My daughter used to be an artist. She would spend hours in the TV room, not watching TV, but on the floor surrounded by scraps of paper, beads and string, making collages and jewelry, or copying cartoon characters into notebooks.

She loved to sew. With a needle and thread, she would make dresses and hats and shoes for her dolls. Before I got around to buying her fabric, she used construction paper. My brother gave her a small wooden artist manikin one Christmas. She made clothes for that too.

She wasn’t allowed TV on school days, but we were lax…

Toddler Distractions

Photo by Mike Liu on Flickr

It’s freezing outside and the swings are covered in frost. My 13-month-old and I leave the park for Gymboree, an indoor play center for babies and toddlers.

Most parents probably know these places. McDonald’s-like play areas with lessons. Gymboree’s motto is “Building Confident Learners” but from what I can see, it’s about giving moms with babies something to do before meeting other moms with babies at Starbucks.

In the big bright room is another mom and her daughter, 22-month-old Gymboree regular Izzy. Our girls enjoy a few minutes of free play, but when it’s clear no one else is coming…

Life Made Better

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

I recently got to be a guest on Life Made Better, a podcast about improving your life, hosted by coaches Fleur Prime and Lucia Paredes. We spoke about creativity and how to stay motivated as a writer (or any kind of creator), particularly when work isn’t selling or has slowed during the pandemic.

The podcast shares inspiring stories about people from all different backgrounds. A recent podcast featured an American salesman who has fostered six kids. In another, they interviewed a British dramatherapist who runs programs in schools to help kids develop emotional intelligence. …

Covid Lockdown Syndrome

Self-portrait by a friend who prefers to remain anonymous (sort of)

It happened the other day. I’m at my first non-Zoom book club in ages. It’s in a beautiful garden. The sun is shining. I’m with women I’ve known for years. We have a decent book to discuss (Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene). And yet I barely say a word. When I do speak, it’s like the words ring tinny in my head. I feel awkward and discombobulated.

I’m pretty sure I have Covid Lockdown Syndrome (CLS).

Unlike Covid-19 — high temperature, continuous cough, loss of taste and smell — with CLS (I’m making this up) you feel anxious…

Class Action Over Data Harvesting

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

An anonymous 12-year-old girl’s class-action lawsuit against TikTok in the UK could result in the Chinese company paying billions of pounds worth of damages. The suit alleges that ByteDance (owner of TikTok) illegally harvested the private data of millions of kids in Europe. If the suit succeeds, kids could get thousands of pounds each.

I sure hope my kid is one of them. She certainly has earned it, spending countless hours boogying before a tiny screen instead of studying or playing a sport or an instrument or reading.

The allegation is that information including videos, phone numbers, and kids’ locations…

Mommy Dating

Photo by Official on Unsplash

My daughter and I are hanging out at Starbucks. She happily sucks on a rice cake as I sip a latte. Every few minutes, the cafe door opens, and I look up. I’m not waiting for my husband or a friend. I’m trying to pick up. It’s a woman I’m after, preferably one with a baby roughly my daughter’s age.

I need a BMF, a Best Mom Friend.

I had a BMF when we lived in Tbilisi, Georgia. Our daughters were the same age. I could call her whenever. She could always relate. A journalist like me, we would talk…

New dads get the blues

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Research reveals that 8% of men suffer from depression related to becoming dads. “Fatherhood can be a challenging period in a man’s life, and some men are at risk of developing depression leading up to and following the birth of their child,” according to the British Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Depressed dads is a poorly understood condition, but studies suggest that somewhere between a wife’s first trimester and the first year of a kid’s life, the lack of sleep, and the stress of caring physically and financially for a newborn, gets to them. …

Media 101 for CEOs

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

A company commissions a big report to engage customers and media. It assembles an internal team, designs and conducts a lengthy survey, finds a writer, an editor, does interviews, case studies and makes a video. It hires a design agency and engages its PR firm. People work tirelessly for months.

Finally the big day comes and the team is excited. The report launches but it’s like a tree falling in the woods that no one hears.

Tens of thousands of dollars spent (or far more), and all those meetings and rounds of editing reviews — not to mention the expensive…

The kindness of strangers

Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

A year ago her husband crashed his motorcycle and underwent multiple surgeries to fix his wrist. He couldn’t work and lost his job. He also lost his health insurance. The wife didn’t work. She raised their two children. Then she got breast cancer and needed chemotherapy.

Suddenly, this solid middle-class couple from an affluent suburb in South Florida had no choice but to set up a GoFundMe page. Without help from others, they couldn’t afford the wife’s medical treatments and she would die.

There’s nothing unique about this story, which a friend posted on my Facebook page. I see these…

A Fiery Dynamic

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

I always assumed the reason not to give birth after 40 was because it’s risky or because you’ll be an old mom or it’s exhausting. It’s all of those things, but recently I’ve discovered the worst part: you’ll be going through menopause just as your kid hits puberty.

I’m over 50, my daughter is 12 1/2. The 1/2 is significant. She was easier at 12 1/4.

Menopause vs. Puberty (Beauty)

I wake each day exhausted. I toss and turn all night. …

Stephanie Gruner Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Concerned about the world around us. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.

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