Edition Number 13
Hi Everyone,

In Lucky Edition #13, I’m sharing a podcast that I really related to. It was about the idea of equality and how as women we should allow ourselves, and each other, to be totally mediocre: Now wouldn’t that be equal?! The pressure always to be on-point, and better than him, and more than this, and less like that, is enough to make me head for the hills and hide! Only, I can’t hide anywhere. Nor do I want to retreat from the world, my work or my family; at least, not permanently. I’d rather talk about how to change the dominant motherhood narrative and frame it differently so that as women who are also mothers we can explore radical ways of being — of being mothers, friends, family, colleagues, and our selves. That narrative is TBD, pun intended, and I love discovering other women who are also interested in changing their stories too! That’s true equality for me — the power and permission to determine your own story, even if it's just OK.

Additionally, I’ve included a therapist’s thoughtful answer to a father’s question-slash-concern over his son’s popularity (a tricky, triggering topic); an update on Paid Family Leave plans currently in some distant part of the Senate chamber; and a piece on the proposed KIDS Act (Kids Internet Design Safety Act) much needed legislation to protect children online. Since it is Spring, I've included a round-up of cute umbrellas for the Littles; classic kicks for you; and ideas for very personalized Mama’s Day gifts.

I end these newsletters with an article on what I’d like the collective "Us" to discuss more so I leave "Us" with a comprehensive article on the key role money plays in infertility, and how access to reproductive information and fertility treatment today in the U.S. is totally unequal and inadequate. As someone who is privileged to attempt to conceive again this way I feel conflicted that I get to try this method when so many other women can’t. I didn’t think I’d consider an infertility diagnosis a privilege, but in this context, it most definitely is.

What part of this path has been ambivalent for you? I’d love to hear your personal stories about the good, the bad and the-oh-so-ugly to include in my brand new site, launching in May! This collection of real talk shares will be included in a new s ection called “TBD Mama” in order to help all of us navigate this strange and beautiful path toward, of and beyond motherhood!

With love,
Ooh. How. I. Love. This. In a sea of posts about women “killing it” and everyone and everything being “amazing” I often feel overwhelmed, annoyed and exhausted by this always sunny, go-for-it message. Maybe it’s my inner Gen X teenager who is perfectly OK with being average and not living up to her amazing potential vs. the responsible Gen X adult adamant about keeping it all together, always. So while yes, sometimes, something is actually AMAZING and sometimes we do “kill it,” a lot of the time, especially in mama-land, we don’t. This podcast celebrates letting women just be, spoiler, GOOD ENOUGH, BORING AND AVERAGE.

Here’s to the ordinary which can be an extraordinary gift of self-love and acceptance, indeed.
The other day I was searching “O” for Octonauts on Netflix and had to shield Karuna’s eyes from a dizzying array of images and promos for shows his barely-four-year-old self can neither process nor understand. I can barely process the odd visual matrix that has become the reality of TV today and am horrified at what The Algorithm suggests I might like, not to mention what might randomly autoplay next. Even searching an age-appropriate show on a filtered Netflix channel can lead to being bombarded with inappropriate images of cartoons-slash-ads masquerading as “content” my son is not ready to see.

Thankfully, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) is spearheading the KIDS Act (Kids Internet Design and Safety Act) which proposes new regulation for streaming platforms such as Netflix and You Tube so our kids don’t accidentally, or intentionally, view content laden with all the terrifying things you can possibly think of. The bill would ban autoplaying to help combat binge-watching and online addiction (something I’m slightly guilty of but certainly don’t want to model and promote!)

It also proposes mandating more commercial-free content and would require platforms to rate the “age appropriateness” of their content similar to how traditional networks are required to do. The last children’s media update was in 1990 which was well before people even used email! A sensible regulatory refresh is long overdue in order for families and their children to successfully and safely navigate the ultimate Superdrug — T he Internet.
Were you popular? Does the word make you feel happy, sad or meh? Hearing the very word conjures mixed emotions for me. I never felt popular despite being told much later in life that I was grouped in with the “popular” kids; words that surprise me still. I always strived to be kind though, and knew people thought I was cool in that early-nineties-Parker-Posey-idolizing kind of way. At some point, that felt far preferable to hanging with “popular” girls at my all-girls prep school, ground zero for Mean Girls In Training who seemed to share the same brain and/or boyfriend. 

As I raise a boy who will one day become aware of his popularity status, or lack thereof, my heart wants to leap out of my chest and shield him from all of it. But this fantasy is just that, fantasy, so it’s helpful to read articles such as this one from Dr. Bronwyn Charlton, Maisonette’ s parenting columnist, who discusses the two kinds of popularity: a positive kind that’s based in being warm and well-liked and a negative kind which is based in fear and instilling fear in others. Interesting to note the latter type statistically leads to adults with substance abuse issues, fractured relationships and unsuccessful life paths. You hear me Mean Girls - you’ve been outed! 

Dr. Bronwyn also lists specific exercises and strategies to provide support and practice positive social skills with kids who may not know how to be social or kind innately. The post-play-date review made corporate me chuckle but kind of makes sense; why not try this tool to process and problem solve? Most importantly, Dr. B reminds the grown-ups not to stress too much if your child isn’t seated at the cool kids table. Whatever that means.
At least the conversation continues! This New York article parses through the latest proposals from both sides of the aisle, yes, there are actual proposals from both sides. Experts weigh in on which ones (if any) are any good but at the very least this signals hope that while the path to universal paid family leave may differ wildly, touting the idea is gaining quasi, bi-partisan momentum.
If I a had a dollar for every bodega umbrella I have lost, left or watched implode and blow away down Seventh Avenue I wouldn’t be rich but you’d think I'd just buy a serious umbrella already. My resistance to owning expensive umbrellas and functional rather than fashionable rain gear is another way for my unconscious to say, “But you really still live in LA and it never rains!” and “But I’ll just buy another one for $5 from that guy on the corner since they all break anyhow!” Alas, this pattern is not something I wish to pass down to my son. It’s time I own up to my weather reality and get my son his own damn umbrella. Luckily, these options are cheap, cheerful and easily replaceable for when one of us (probably me!) leaves it behind in a taxi.
Thank the old gods and the new that the ugly dad sneaker moment-slash-movement might be passing at least according to Instagram. I’m too set in my sneaker ways to embrace anything too new or trendy (those who know me well know it took a baby to get me to wear sneakers at all!)

I’m more than happy to re-rock the Supergas and Converse I’ve had in my closet since, oh, 1994. Running to school in heels in construction city just isn’t what it used to be.
I get very excited for a monogrammed anything and believe personalization goes a long way. This is a surprisingly original list in Business Insider that proposes plenty of personal gifts for mamas that will surprise and delight. Gifts range from the more traditional standbys like personalized spa robes and photo stands to more unusual items like custom Nikes; candy Bento boxes; Vitamin subscriptions?; personal styling services and more.
I’ve written about this before as I witness so many couples go to any, often extreme, lengths to conceive. When is the end of the road truly the end? When is it time to stop trying or do you just run out of money?

This is an excellent article that breaks down key socio-economic factors affecting women’s unequal access to diagnosis and subsequent treatments. It lists average treatment costs in select Westernized nations for comparison (or shock!) and includes upcoming disruptors in the infertility field working to make information and access more affordable and inclusive.

IUI and IVF are miraculous solutions to infertility when they work, and yet they are far too expensive for most women in the U.S. to try particularly given the statistical likelihood they will need multiple cycles. Surrogacy, donor eggs and adoption are all fertility options that aren't options at all for most families pricing out a huge swath of the U.S. population. The gap widens (as one would imagine) by income, education and race.

I recognize how lucky I am to get to do IVF; to go to a leading clinic; to be supported by my family as we try to grow ours. IVF is a privilege firstly, despite the pain when it doesn’t work. But why should I get to try before someone else? Someone who doesn’t even have one child? These guilty thoughts don’t serve anyone so I try to imagine them as rising clouds that disappear into the ether of Other Big and Unhelpful Thoughts. Then I resolve to try again, one more time, at the infertility casino. I can afford to go, I say; one more time.

Why can’t we all?