Great tips from readers

A year ago, I wrote a story called My daughter was a creative genius, and then we bought her an iPhone. It went viral— 219k views — with hundreds of people commenting.

Some readers called me an idiot for the way I’d handled things; others made me laugh. Some shared experiences so painful I cried. Most readers were thoughtful and kind, offering lessons learned the hard way.

A lot of readers, including fellow parents, grandparents, twenty-somethings and many kids, gave advice. …


Life Moves Fast

My daughter is one. We’re at a grocery store. She’s strapped to me in a Bjorn baby carrier, kicking her feet, babbling away, smiling at strangers. A woman walks by. “Enjoy the moment,” she says. “They grow up fast.”

I’m thinking about my shopping list, the dinner I have to make, and whether we’ll be home before my daughter gets hungry or needs changing. I smile and keep walking.

Then she’s two. We’re at a music class. A dozen moms sit in a circle on the floor. The kids are orbiting one another in the center, scooping up bells and…


A Day in the Life of a Pussycat Mom

A lot of people wonder how Western parents raise such stereotypically soft, entitled kids. Well I can tell you because I’m doing it.

7:00 AM

It seems like the middle of the night but it’s actually morning when we hear a small voice saying: “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” etc. My husband and I pretend to sleep, each breathing deeper than usual until the other gives in.

7:02 AM

My husband drags himself out of bed. I stir slightly, but then roll over and close my eyes for as long as I can get away with it. …


Bad parenting

I read something interesting today: “Stress comes to us all in tiny little assaults throughout our day — what we call “micro-stresses. And it’s coming from sources you might never have considered.”

Oh, I’ve considered them.

Take my morning:

It started off cheery enough. I’m singing in the kitchen as I make coffee, toast and grits (yes, grits). I yell upstairs to my daughter to say I’ve composed a song called “grits and toast” and, really, she doesn’t want to miss it.

She misses it.

By the time she gets downstairs, I’m done singing, the grits and toast are cold…


Learning to go with the flow

The day starts with a pair of shoes I can’t get on small squirming feet and then there’s the high chair my daughter won’t sit on and the cereal she won’t finish. The fruit she cleverly feeds to me, and I’m okay with that, as long as we’re out the door by 10am, giving us time to get to the grocery store, the post office, the park, and then back by lunch before she gets cranky.

But the morning isn’t going as planned and that’s how it is with a toddler. …


They say it like it is

At lunch with old friends, the son of one friend asks what advice we’d give our 24-year-old selves. Someone says she wishes she’d traveled more. I say I wish I’d pursued my passion for fiction writing earlier. The young man’s mother has the best answer. She says she wishes she had kept up with more friends from her past.

I’ve been thinking a lot about old friends lately.

On my summer holiday, I get a Facebook message out of the blue from a childhood friend. …


It doesn’t have to be this way

A woman moans on TikTok about the tedium of parenting. She used to hang out with friends; now she spends her weekends in a field, watching her kids go up and down a hill. She’s bored senseless. Not surprisingly, the video goes viral.

Everyone can relate. Parenting can be such a grind. But what people seem to forget is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Indeed, it didn’t used to be this way.

My parents didn’t watch us play in a field. They didn’t take us to a field. They took us to a tennis court where we…


Baby Classes

When my daughter was just over a year old, I signed her up for Sing and Sign class. As the name suggests, it’s a class where babies and moms sing songs and sign words.

I usually hate the forced gaiety of classes like these — clapping in a circle on the floor when I’d rather be drinking a latte and chatting with other moms while someone else entertains my kid. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

This class seemed different. The teacher Joanna is low-key and good-humoured. It’s more than clapping and singing. You actually learn something.

Joanna says there are…


It takes just one person

He swears he remembers the day he was born. It was September 27th, 1997 in the new Mercer Wing at West Shore Hospital. He says he can smell the ammonia; see the blinding florescent lights. He sees his parents hovering that first night, anxious he’s still breathing.

By his first birthday, his mom and dad have drifted apart. By the time he’s four, they’re both remarried.

He tells the story to a spidery, ginger-haired girl on the first day of medical school. She pitches forward over the lunch table, like she’s going to gobble him up. He says that hospitals…


A memory time capsule

It started as a place to park our savings. $20,000 down for an apartment by the sea. Less than you might pay for a Hyundai. It ended with a nutty, irate tenant, and thousands in costs to get her out. In between, though, were two decades of exceptional memories — good and bad — in a space we loved.

The apartment is in Palm Beach, minutes from Donald Trump’s palatial Mar-a-Lago, but a universe apart. A one-bedroom not much bigger than a beach cabana. It sits in a three-storey building that looks like a motel.

My father’s girlfriend decorated it…

Stephanie Gruner Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.

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