21

A US military pre-op trans woman and fiancée ponder parenthood

As a pre-op trans woman struggling with life in the US Armed Forces (while "Don't ask, don't tell" is not gone, transgender people are still forced to live in the dark) who had just arrived at a new command with no friends, no idea what I was in for, and no clue who I could trust. A dream of a woman — who was also fairly new to the command — entered into my life. At the time I assumed I had no chance with her. Even if I did, all the heartbreak I had experienced over the years had left me believing that the women I'm attracted to never understand my journey as a transgender woman, and are never willing to help me through the issues I deal with on a daily basis.

16

Parenting goal: avoid competing with other children and families

The best outcome for your kids — best best, with no meaningful challengers — is for them to find a place in life that feels right to them based on their skills, their temperaments and their passions. That some of your kids’ A’s slip to B’s and some of their peers run/swim/flip/play/dance/sculpt/sing better is not even remotely an obstacle to this outcome. After all, those everyone-else’s-kids getting all the awards will get their butts kicked, too, probably as soon as they move on to the next level of competition.

16

The Good Mother Myth: redefining motherhood to fit reality

Her kids have always slept through the night, and even if they don't, she still manages to look like she has had eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. There is always a well-balanced, home-cooked meal on her dinner table. She either happily stays at home or holds down a fulfilling job while still finding time to join the PTA, run the school's book sale, and makes it to every single soccer game. She is usually white, middle to upper class, heterosexual, and neither too young nor too old. But above all… she's a myth. And it's this myth that divides women and pits mothers against each other while fueling the flames of the manufactured "mommy wars."

27

Sometimes I fear the closeness between mother and child

It's been an uncomfortable adjustment to motherhood, this reality that not even if I wanted to, and don't we all want to, sometimes, I can't hide myself from him. Growing a person inside you, birthing them out into the world, it was heavy stuff for me. I wanted it, without a doubt, but I had no idea how much I'd crave being alone.

28

What non-candy stuff would you want your kids to get on Halloween?

Halloween is less than two months away, so it's time to start stocking up on Halloween candy! (At least in my head, it is.) I've bought a few bags of mini candies already, and those will satisfy the vast majority of the kids who come by my house. But can I get anything for the rest of them — what do kids who don't like (or can't eat) candy want to find in a Halloween candy bowl?

12

Let's talk about what you're reading right now + my favorite recent grown-up reads

Depending on where you live it's likely your kids are either already back in school or headed back soon — possibly leaving you with a bit of free time that would usually be spent organizing the house or shepherding everyone from one evening summer event to another. I know we tried having an Offbeat Families Book Club last year to varied degrees of success, so we don't have to go that route — but I'd love to know what you guys are reading nowadays!