Why All Moms Need A Twin Pass

“I’m the mother of twin toddlers” is a phrase I often use when writing. It’s a true statement, but it’s also the ultimate parenting get-out-of-jail-free card. I have watched, in real time, faces of disapproval and judgment turn to empathy and understanding upon learning I have twins.

Had a cesarean? Twins. Haven’t figured out the how to get more than two hours of sleep in a row, let alone settle on a philosophy about it? Twins. No end of diapers in sight and your kids are pushing 4? You guessed it! Twins. Whether the topic is childbirth, breastfeeding, discipline, or potty training; I get an understanding nod where others might get a sideways glance.

I know it’s hard to believe, but people do tend to give me a pass on things when they see that I have more than one child at the same developmental stage.

Carting my kids through an airport, store or gym – I hear things like… click here to read more at Pregnant Chicken

The New Year Newsletter I Didn’t Have the Guts to Send

I just found this little gem from last month. We’ll call it the cathartic holiday newsletter since I didn’t actually send it to people. 

“I just choked back the annual New Year newsletter. And let me tell you, it was the perfect mix of happy crappy nonsense with a side of truth-telling. I wanted to go with the whole “honest Christmas card” thing but got cold feet and decided on the safe and “normal” card instead.

People think we’re weird enough.

If I’d had the actual guts to write an honest Christmas card, this is what I would have written:

Greetings and salutations dear friends and family! I could not manage a family Christmas photo shoot this year, because the truth is, I’ve eaten my feelings for the whole of 2017 and the only pants that fit are gray and slightly stained, not very festive looking, and would not coordinate with any other family members.

It’s true, I could go out and buy new clothes for everyone, and yes I have seen the helpful Pinterest tips on how to maximize outfit matchiness, but the idea of trying to color coordinate makes me want to drink before noon. And who am I kidding anyway? My children live in sweats and dressing them up for a photo that I will send to a bunch of people I don’t ever hear from just to make them think I have my life together doesn’t feel very authentic.

And 2017 was the year of authenticity for me. Damn you, Bréne Brown!

2017 was also a crap heap of emotions. We lost loved ones, had other’s diagnosed with life-threatening diseases,  were plagued with endless hospital visits, and Trump became the actual president of the United States.

But I digress.

My husband has a job, so that’s good news.

The kids are great. They love to fight and argue and have some really creative name-calling skills.

As for me, I put much of my life and career on hold so I could homeschool the kids. The mix of ADHD, having your mother as a teacher and your brother as your classmate makes many days barely bearable.

It wasn’t a great year, and despite my efforts, the holidays didn’t feel very cheery for us. The movie Elf still made me crazy and no amount of mocha spiced cheery chino, holiday music or perfectly coiffed holiday photos posted to social media soothed this Grinch.

But I’d be exaggerating if I said all was lost in 2017. We did have some fun, and we definitely learned some valuable life lessons. Dealing with chronic illness taught us a lot about how strong we are as a family, and who we can rely on when things get difficult.

Well, here’s to the New Year! May it be brighter and better and less of a dumpster heap.”

Thoughts On Grief

Some grief is so deep, so scary, and so dark that we dare not go near it.

Living through and learning to breathe on the other side of intense mourning, requires that you cling to each shallow breath as it gives way to deeper and deeper breaths.

Eventually, it becomes less painful to breathe.

Eventually walking outside to a world and its people in total oblivion to your pain becomes less horrible and alien feeling.


But for those who are in it, time moves slowly, reality feels distorted, and your ability to relate to the world around you is challenging.

It’s been 15 years since my brother died. Grief ached through my body in ways that made it difficult to move, think, or breathe.

Getting to the other side of intense mourning is hard work, and it was some of the most challenging work I’ve ever done.

How My Son Helped Me to Laugh Again After My Brother’s Death

It’s been 16 years since my brother died. It’s hard to believe that 16 years have passed and that I’ve almost spent more life without him than with him. I wrote this story a few years ago, and The Mighty picked it up and published it last year. Here is an excerpt:

Sometimes, on a very rare occasion, my husband refers to me as a chucklehead. I’m always a little surprised when he does. 

There was a time in my life when I was funny and lighthearted and perhaps even a chucklehead. But that was the Jen of years ago; the Jen back before my brother died.

I don’t want to admit that the sadness and heartache and grief have won, but if I’m honest, I realize in these moments that it has.

On December 11, 1981, my brother, Garrett, was born into the world, and for 20 years he filled it with laughter. To read on, join me here at The Mighty


7 Things You Can Do to Break Your List Reading Habit

Life is busy. You’ve got kids pulling at you, commitments in all directions, and not enough time in the day to warrant a 2-minute shower.  If you’re lucky, you might gather enough news from your social media feed or the magazine racks at the grocery store to appear relatively informed on current events.

When a shower and staying up on current events seems too daunting, the thought of reading, if that’s even entered your mind, has probably come along with immense feelings of inadequacy or a dismissive chuckle. Ain’t nobody got time for reading literature these days. As a busy mom and reader, I get it. More often than not, I reach for the short, quick-witted, easy-to-read points over the lengthier expository musings.

I like quick and easy. I’ve fed my kids Mac and cheese and Nutella sandwiches far more than I’d like to admit in the name of convenience. But like these foods, lacking in nutrition and substance, the quick reads and easy-to-digest list formats that have become the pinnacle of many online publications, leave us feeling malnourished.

Lately, I’ve been feeling overstimulated by the sheer amount of information I take in on a daily basis. Ironically, I also find myself feeling empty and frustrated by the lack of substance in the midst of this bounty. If you’re feeling similarly, but aren’t sure how to get out of the rut, here are seven steps to help you break the cycle:

Commit to reading at least 10 minutes per day.

Doing anything for ten minutes per day is doable. After twenty-one days, new habits are formed. Studies show that reading can help slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s. So reading for ten minutes per day seems reasonable, habit-forming, and good for your brain. 

Save interesting articles for later.

Only have three to five minutes to scan your newsfeed, but come across something that looks interesting? Think you’ll remember it for later? Highly unlikely. Tag it, save it, or email it to yourself. Whatever your method for saving, make sure to circle back around to read it when you have some free time. 

Read articles without lists.

I know it may sound scary, but if the title intrigues you, and the content fascinates you, don’t shy away from an article because it lacks the popular list format. Read it. You might like it.

Seek out quality over quantity.

I know it seems counterintuitive, but taking in less scattered, low-quality information could actually increase your brains’ ability to retain information. So spend less time on screens scanning the bounty, and choose your intake of content wisely. 

Read a novel.

Ain’t nobody got time for that, right? You’d be surprised how addictive it is once you start. Audio books count too, so what are you waiting for? 

Unplug more often and go for a walk.

What does walking have to do with reading you ask? Taking walks can help clear a busy mind. A clearer mind has more space for reading. See the logic?

Find writers you love and support them.

Seriously. If you like us and you want to read more from us- follow our blogs, share our articles, and give us feedback. If you’re a fellow writer, and this isn’t a regular practice of yours, there’s still time to redeem yourself.


*This list is in no way, based on science, research, or fact. It is the opinion of the author and meant for the sole purpose of venting, humor, and irony. (In case you’re a bit slow and didn’t catch that.)

The Holiness of Dissatisfaction

Life is full of pain and dissatisfaction, and we live in a society that tells us pain and dissatisfaction are bad. We try to make ourselves feel better with clothes, books, drinks, habits, and addictions. People, companies, and industries are making millions by feeding our sense of dissatisfaction and then selling us the “cure.”

At one time, I craved the cure above all else.

I had just moved back to the United States from an overseas assignment when I hit my lowest point. I was a fairly new mom to twin toddlers and found myself living through a home renovation that spanned years. I was spread thin and struggling with dissatisfaction on every level.

Pull a chair up to The Glorious Table to read the rest of the story.

How To Make Space for the Messy and Imperfect

I had one of those come-to-reality moments when I opened the photo gallery on my phone today. You know, an icky sinking moment when you realize your life looks nothing like the filtered pictures you seek out on Instagram from time to time? To make matters worse, I then stumbled upon the Instagram page of an “old friend” and felt even more lacking.

It was awful. There I was, in the parking lot of Starbucks, rifling through the beautiful photos of other people and feeling a little fatter and frumpier than usual. Suddenly, my house was ugly, my tomatoes weren’t heirloom enough, and my children weren’t intellectually stimulated in the way they deserved. It was three o’clock in the afternoon, and they were still in their non-organic mismatched pajamas with the mustard stains on them. The crushing failure of my life became crystal clear at that moment.

I sat there drooling over pictures of beautifully lived lives and perfectly arranged meals, and I cursed my poor photography skills and scolded myself for not taking the time to learn how to use my camera properly.

I often tell my children that comparison is the thief of joy, but today I was caught off guard. Today I was exhausted. Today my kids were home from school for the umpteenth time and on their third round of strep throat. Today I was acutely aware of all the goals I’d made in January and still hadn’t met.

Today I opened my door wide to the thief.

To read more, pull up a chair at The Glorious Table.