The Family’s Not-So-Secret Strength

Coming in the wake of last month’s looting and burning riots in British cities, a UN report pinpointing materialism as a particularly British blight was bound to make the country sit up and take notice. The youths who rampaged through the streets of London and Birmingham seemed to both covet material goods and despise them [...]

The Pro-Life Attitude toward Unplanned Pregnancy

"My parents will kill me if I get pregnant." This offhand comment is uttered by young women of every socioeconomic class, race, and religion. A girl is usually taught by the time she reaches puberty that an unplanned baby is one of the worst things she can bring upon herself. That kind of pressure from [...]

Air Your Grievances Here

“When is our next meeting?” eleven-year-old Juliette harrumphed as she slouched on the couch beside me. "Because I have a grievance to air.” This isn’t just a melodramatic pre-teen talking; this is our family’s latest lingo. In our house, the “grievances” are real. And we air them at family meetings. A few months ago, it [...]

Gender Confusion in One Easy Step

  With same-sex marriage, we saw the advent of arguments for “genderless parenting” – the idea that all a child needs is love and it’s irrelevant whether the loving persons are male or female. Now we have “genderless kids.” Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, the parents of Jazz (5), Kio (2) and three-month-old Baby Storm [...]

Tokens of Love

Four-year-old Daniel recently gave me a picture he drew of me. In the pencil and crayon drawing, I stand smiling, arms outstretched, surrounded by hearts and flowers. I was struck by the fact that it is an especially loving and adoring image. A shrine, perhaps, to Mama. My own mom, a mother of nine children [...]

Lopsided Lent

I am not a crafty mom, but I sometimes let fantasy and ambition get the best of me. Two days before the start of Lent this year, my oldest daughter reminded me of a family activity we had done together many Lents ago. It was a craft I had read about in one of those [...]

Giving Gifts, Counting Costs

Rumors are flying. Is she or isn't she? Will she or won't she? The subject is celebrity mom Katie Holmes, naturally, and the second child she is rumored to be currently gestating or planning to conceive with her husband, Tom Cruise. Let the talking and stalking begin! I don't usually pay much attention to tabloid [...]

Mommy Wars, Schmommy Wars

In a recent article at Salon, writer Katy Read admitted something that raised some maternal eyebrows: She regrets having left a respectable job and steady paycheck to be an at-home mom to her two sons for ten years. It's not the quality time with her children she regrets, but the financial toll she's now paying [...]

The Long and Whining Road

My husband and I were recently inspired to pack ourselves, our eight kids, and 13,000 Capri Sun juice boxes into our twelve-passenger van and drive more than 1,500 miles to spend Christmas in south Florida. It was epic -- if by epic you mean a wildly memorable trip that was "so perfectly worth doing" but also [...]

Racing toward Christmas

One of the first Christmas gifts I received this year was a speeding ticket. For years, I have made a hobby of collecting verbal warnings for driving too fast. I know I drive too fast. I am working on it. And I am getting pretty good at smiling, apologizing, and offering sympathetic and yet entirely [...]

Peace Be with Me

Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! Dr. Seuss's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Mr. Grinch, you and me both. It may very well be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also the nosiest. All is not calm, no matter [...]

The Joys of Boys

"Your son," a woman once told me after Mass, "is a bully." "Really?" I asked, surprised by this characterization of my normally well-behaved (at least in church) sons. "Which one?" She told me that she had observed my three oldest boys, all altar servers, putting on their cassocks in the sacristy before Mass. The youngest [...]

Dawn Patrol

I am writing this in the Autumn, as the days grow shorter and the night temperatures inch toward the freezing point. When I drive my son around our neighborhood early on Sunday mornings, helping him deliver newspapers before the 7:00 o'clock deadline, we make our way in the dark until the very end, when the [...]

Littering Love

Are children like litter? Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University professor, thinks so. In a recent video clip from the Joy Behar Show, the esteemed professor compared having many children to "littering" and explained that "we've got too many people on this planet to begin with." Other members of the panel agreed that refraining from having [...]

Theology of the Boy

Who is to blame for the suicides of teenage boys "struggling with sexual identity" that have been so highly publicized in the last two months? If we are to believe many media sources, primary blame rests on bullying peers. But I wonder: Is the homosexual community -- and the Catholic Church -- ignoring the darker, [...]


"Look at me!" I announced to my bleary-eyed husband when he emerged from the bedroom one morning soon after our second child was born. Carefully, I shifted tiny Eamon in the crook of one arm as I scrambled eggs, buttered toast, and poured juice with my free hand. "I can nurse the baby and cook [...]

Not Nearly Enough

When I accepted a job as an activity director in a nursing home, I had grand ideas of what I would accomplish with the residents there. Fresh out of college, sporting my shiny new bachelor's degree in sociology, I felt ready to change the world. Real nursing homes, I quickly found out though, are nothing [...]

Why Taylor Swift Matters

"You'll be the prince, and I'll be the princess, It's a love story Baby, just say yes." -- Taylor Swift, "Love Story" Doesn't everyone love a good love story? Maybe not. At the feminist blog Feministing, commenter Chloe recently confessed that she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift's music now and then, even if it's what [...]

Up in the Air

We're up in the air when the baby starts to get fussy. I try to nurse her without elbowing my fellow airplane passengers. I make her laugh with a game of owl. I hand her a Biscoff cookie. I manage to entertain her for a few minutes, but then her crumb-covered face melts into a [...]

Crash Call

All ten of us were in the van when it happened. Though we were only running some errands and stopping at the library, I had ignored the eye-rolling of my older kids and insisted on the entire family's going out together. One consequence of our growing-up family, I have found, is that we more and [...]