If parenting perfection is your jam, please just move along.

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“How was my Mother’s Day? Oh it was great! My husband played golf all day while I was home with both kids, but, really… it was nice!” The smile was plastered on her face. I saw no sign of sarcasm or bitterness. She swished her perfectly styled ponytail and walked her child to her classroom.

In my head, I could only think of what swear words I’d be using if my Mother’s Day had looked anything like hers. What mother of two young kids wants to spend a special Sunday in May alone doing laundry and making macaroni and cheese…


When it comes to our kids, is there really only one “right” way?

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This post is an entry in Modern Parent’s “Am I Doing This Right?” writing contest.

“Am I doing this right?” My 11-year-old daughter frequently asks me this question. I try to reassure her… remind her that, oftentimes, there really isn’t a right or a wrong. You can’t do art “wrong.” You can’t pick the “wrong” t-shirt to wear. You can’t order the “wrong” dessert.

Sometimes, I feel a pinch of frustration when she poses this question to me. Why does she feel this lack of confidence when…

I quit. And good luck finding someone who will take the job

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Every Friday, I love the feeling that comes over me around 4pm. Work is winding down. I see an evening filled with take-out and red wine. All four of us gather around the too-small kitchen table so we can eat dinner while watching a family-friendly movie. As our daughters get older and move into the teen/pre-teen years, we inevitably have some sort of argument about what movie to watch. Rarely does everyone agree on the final selection, so I do my best to tune out the heavy sighs…

The danger of keeping secrets

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The packet came in the mail. 20+ pages of complicated verbiage that we could barely understand. But the last paragraph was clear: Your daughter has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD. I had a few choice words about the decision to mail such a diagnosis when our follow up appointment was still several weeks away, but my husband and I came to a quick decision nonetheless.

We would not share this news with anyone outside of our small circle of family. No one else needed to know.

A few tense and emotional weeks passed. We…

Getting an unexpected course in how to pump the brakes in life

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“Yes!” I whispered to myself as I triumphantly placed another spaghetti piece into the “Lady & The Tramp” puzzle. I’d been working on that section, along with my husband, Jason, and one of my daughters, for nearly an hour. And, while I had a to-do list that literally made me feel trapped in my own skin, I kept telling myself, “just one more piece, and then I’ll get to work.” But, as many of you know, with each puzzle piece, you correctly tap into place, the greater the…

Comparing, competing, and ruining your joy

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When I graduated from the 8th grade, our school principal gave us a stern warning during his commencement speech. “If you compare yourself to others,” he said, “you’ll never really be happy.” At the time, my 13-year-old brain couldn’t really appreciate the meaning behind his message. But now, nearly 35 years later, I give an awful lot of thought to Mr. Clements’ words.

It’s a self-diagnosis, but I have come to believe that I suffer from a nearly incurable case of comparisonitis. This disease won’t kill you (thank goodness), but it will certainly rob…

When no one will listen, do you give up or speak more loudly?

Our pediatrician was nice enough. She kept us current on vaccinations, made sure the girls’ eyes were tested, and usually squeezed us in for an appointment when another ear infection cropped up. But an advocate? A detective? A physician who respected my mother’s intuition? No, she was none of those things.

I had so many questions about my oldest daughter. I watched other children her age, and I knew.. I just KNEW… that she was different. Sometimes, the differences were obvious. Finley walked on her toes. All the time. As a toddler, she could physically stand flat-footed, but she rarely…

Caitlin Cartwright

Mom. Wife. Recruiter. Aspiring writer. Learning to make sense of the frequent “I didn’t expect that” parts of my life.

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