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…

Mommy Dating

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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. …

Moving from Tbilisi to London

Stephanie Gruner Buckley

I’m flying to London in the middle of the night — my husband and daughter asleep at my side. That’s when the sadness hits. We’ve left Tbilisi, in the Republic of Georgia, our daughter’s first home, for London where my husband has a new job.

I’ll miss so many things about Georgia, but most of all the way the Georgians treated our baby girl. Everywhere we went people smiled at her, reached out to touch her head, her hand, a foot, or give her a gift.

We’re walking through our neighborhood on a quiet morning…

Keeping children safe

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She met him on Roblox. He said he was an 11-year-old boy from Sweden. He loved role-playing adult life on this wildly popular platform for kids. He told the girl they should connect on Snapchat.

Before connecting to the boy, the girl asked him to prove who he was. He directed her to his TikTok account. She looked on TikTok and found videos of Fortnite, an online game especially popular with boys.

Of course, this didn’t prove he was an 11-year-old boy, but she connected to him anyway. She thought it would be fine.

It wasn’t fine.

She was at…

Things worth remembering

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I found it while packing up my father’s house, on the coffee table in the den with the brown shag rug. A small black notebook with a soft cover. It looked like one Dad had when I was a boy. He said he used it to write things down he needed to remember. I went back to boxing up books and forgot all about it. My dad died two weeks ago.

He got Covid-19, although I can’t imagine how. He never left the house except to walk to the mailbox. I delivered groceries to his screened-in porch. I wore a…

Raising a lawyer

Photo by Rochelle Brown on Unsplash

It starts at 6:55 a.m. with a hair tie in the puppy’s mouth. I chase him around the house until he’s cornered. We have exactly five minutes to get out the door. Otherwise, my daughter will miss her bus, and I’ll have to drive her 40 minutes to school.

I’ve been mentioning the time for a while now. Finally, I enter my daughter’s room. The bed isn’t made. She’s not wearing socks. She hasn’t brushed her teeth or tied up her long Covid-style hair. I hand over the hair tie.

Me: “This was in Leo’s mouth. Can you please make…

Stephanie Gruner Buckley

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

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