I Won’t Grow Up

I’m sitting in a chair in our bedroom. I’m hiding because it’s quiet here. Downstairs I hear more kids than are mine watching a movie and fixing snacks and still in their pajamas at nearly noon. I sit directly across from our newish bed. It’s an actual bed – with a headboard and a base for the mattress, and it’s the first bed we’ve owned together. We’ve slept on an old mattress from college – at times on the floor and at times on a $30 metal base – for our whole “been-together” life. Our dressers have been cardboard boxes or tubs or closet shelves or piles on the floor. We don’t own bedside tables or matching lamps or a fancy duvet cover with fancy pillows. But we bought a bed this year. Well actually, we didn’t buy the bed, Jed’s parents bought us the bed as a housewarming gift/maybe belated wedding gift for the wedding/reception that we never had. It’s ironic really that our parents bought our bed for us.


My parents have always had a full bedroom suite. My grandparents too. A sturdy headboard with shelves, a low and long dresser for her – with a mirror and shelves lined with flowery smelling powders and perfumes, and a tall dresser for him – top drawer meant for ties and cufflinks. I knew my grandparents and parents were “real” grown-ups because they owned a full bedroom suite. Also because their bedspreads even matched the curtains.


I’ve never owned curtains.


I believe our kids think we are frauds because of the lack of bedroom furniture. And we certainly don’t feel like grown-ups. (Also I just got my nose pierced last year and Jed has a man-bun….but I digress…) So I’m wondering if owning a real bed at 46 years old will somehow give us the credentials we need to feel like adults. I mean it certainly makes me sleep better and want to head to bed by 8:30 just like my grandparents did – so maybe that’s the secret. But it certainly doesn’t help us make some of the tough decisions that we have to make for our family


We’re deciding this week if our kids should change schools – which is major and hard and confusing and new and CHANGE and it’s not all up to the kids(because they would stay..because friends), but I hate being the one to insist and decide. I don’t want to be the one with the bedroom set. I want to camp out on a old mattress and go to bed late and worry about things tomorrow or not at all.


I look back at the decisions we had to make when our girls were little – how small those decisions seem now in the scope of a long life. Those decisions were basic ones of just keeping a child alive, healthy and happy. Now we focus so much more on the emotional, social, mental, fulfilling needs of the whole person…and they can make their own snacks. This stage is much harder to parent.


There’s not a bedroom set nice enough to make me feel adult enough to help make some of the decisions that will need to be made over the next few years.


So I’ll just sit in denial in the chair in the corner of my room and online shop for a matching duvet cover and curtains. Nice curtains will certainly make being an adult easier.


Next up – watching Wheel of Fortune at 5:30pm, right after dinner. Then we will be ready to make all of the hard  parenting decisions.



Sitting To Write

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
Henry David Thoreau

I’ve decided the only way I’m going to write again is to just do it. I have pages of journal entries from this summer. Most are one or two lines – blog post ideas, submission and stories ideas, quotes from the kids that I don’t want to forget, and then of course dozens of doodles. I’ve always been one to doodle flowers. The same flowers that I’ve drawn since I was about 10 years old when I first discovered the art of doodling during a boring lesson in class. I will go back to fifth grade notebooks and recognize my childish script that is crowded into the center with flowers filling the margins. My flowers always have five petals, a big center, a curvy stem and two leaves.  My artistic ability has not improved in these 35 years, nor has my want to draw something bigger or better. I’m happy with my flowers and the familiar.


So I sit content this summer not looking for the new. Not looking for that viral piece, that big break, that instagram picture with 100 likes. I sit here in the happy of my same and good. Yet instead of sitting, I’ve spent more time standing up and moving. And maybe a little time on a lounge chair by the pool.


Yet I sit here right now and try to write again. I’m at the breakfast bar that has become our family gathering place, our homework center, our meal eating area, and my desk, and I hear good things. Eloise is above me in the in living room playing the piano. A few years ago she learned Für Elise(the child version) and now is learning it again(for grown-ups) and she plays it again and again and again. She could play this for days and I would never tire of it just like my flower doodles that still make me smile. She misses a key and goes back and picks it up again and gets it perfect this time. It makes me want to stop typing and head to the couch to be near her and either close my eyes or read a good book that might match the rhythm of the music.


Astrid goes between dancing in the living room – practicing her ballet positions and leaps to the piano music, and heading up to her bedroom to play with Calico Critters. During the summer she has created elaborate houses, roads, businesses and schools with her Critters. She can finally dress them and undress them and manipulate them as she wishes without assistance. She is six. And she is big enough to do anything by herself. It should make it easier for me to find time to write – this time of “no assistance” to her. But instead all I want to do is be near her for as many moments as I can while she is still little. She is still so very little.


Esther is in the other room with her iPhone. Yes, I said HER iPHONE – the original sin of parenting in the 21st century – getting your ten year old their own iPhone. Believe me, I never thought I would do it either. And I could go in depth on why we bought it for her – or I could write a list post about the top 10 reasons why our fifth grader needed an iPhone. But you know what, it doesn’t really matter as we just did what we felt needed to happen for our own family. Ain’t nobody got time to read posts about how my choices are better than your choices. They are just different. Or the same. Or whatever. So she’s currently in the rec room making videos with the cats. She’s trying to make them dance and do jumps and maybe even talk. I really have no clue – but she’s laughing and the cats seem happy. I mean, cats rarely seem happy – so they are as happy as cats can get. And all I want to do is shut this laptop down and go spy on her…and the cats.


Jed is at work. I’ve said that sentence about 1454 times in the past four months. Work is good. Work is busy. But by August I see how hard it has been for him. So when he’s here(which isn’t much) we all shut down and spend time together. Not a laptop or a phone has even come to bed this summer, and it’s been nice to unplug and see new life.


Fall is coming(I’d love to say Winter Is Coming – but fear of plagiarism you know), so there will be a shift. I will sit here alone. And it will be quiet. And my excuses for doodling flowers will be gone. And then I will sit and write about what it was like to stand and live. So I must go now as someone wants to play another song, dance with me, help with shooting a video, or just be given the ease and time to fall asleep together…early.



What The Young Can Teach The Old About Social Media

I have spent the past week with tons of tweens and also with my parents and in-laws. It was dance recital time and our lives were filled with sequins and feathers and smiles and a few tears. But also with technology.


Seven years ago when we started this dance recital thing, our bag was filled with bobby pins, hairspray and coloring books and parents taking quick pictures of their girls before the big show. Now it’s iPads and iPods and the girls taking selfies with their friends and even Facetiming with other friends to show off their costumes.


And in the background and the audience are the grandparents – now taking pictures with their own iPhones and iPads and digital cameras…excited to post pictures on their own Facebook pages.


Eloise joined the social media world six months ago – and I consider it a process for all of us. As a parent, I thought I would be the teacher – monitoring her use, telling her to be nice, watching out for weirdos…but in truth, she has made me more accountable for my own behavior online.


I wrote this article several months back on my blog and am now crazy thrilled that it’s on The Washington Post. THE WASHINGTON POST!


What has your tween taught you this week? Mine has taught me what a pique is.




On Writing

It’s been almost four months since I’ve really written anything. After seven years of blogging(yes, my blogging anniversary came and went last month without a mention from me), I’ve never been quiet for so long.


Even this morning, I actually sat down nearly three hours ago to write this post. I started this post exactly 12 times – but found other things to do…email, grocery lists, bills, laundry, paperwork, messaging friends on facebook, maybe crying a few times, talking to my mom on the phone. So then I would get back to this post and delete everything and start again.


Like now.


This is not what I meant to write about. I’ve started posts about tweens and some troubles we are having. I’ve started posts about our move to the suburbs. I’ve started posts about buying Smashbox at Nordstroms. I’ve started posts about my cats. I’ve started posts about Easter and family. I’ve started posts about training and injuries. I’ve started posts about summer camp sign-ups. I’ve started posts about painting furniture. I’ve started posts about lice. I’ve started posts about books I’ve read. About going to Haiti again this Fall. I’ve started posts about Listen To Your Mother. I’ve started posts about being Pro-Choice and about politics. About morality vs. religion. Did I mention cats?


But instead I now sit here and write about writing. I know that I still need to write. I feel it deep and shallow inside of me when I don’t. A weird frustration that I cannot explain. Like if I don’t write soon, that I’ll just explode. Hitting publish on a post brings almost a sense of relief – both spiritually and physically that the words are out there to read and weave and I can move on to another thought.


Yet for nearly four months I cannot get the words down. They seem trite or meaningless. Already said or not important. Or maybe too personal and not to be shared.


And I now I’m teetering on the edge of unhappiness and what that brings – self-doubt and going to bed before I even tuck my kids in. And I know that I should be using my blog as my place to write and share and feel healthy again that my stories are worth something if even just to me. That’s enough. I need to stop over-thinking every word and every post for it’s virality and SEO and just go back and know that even if I can write 100 words and share 3 pictures – well that is still a story worth sharing.


I’m back. I think.


What stops you from writing?


A Letter To My 46 Year Old Self

December 22, 2054


My Dearest Tracy,


Happy 46th Birthday! I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking – whoa when your mother was 46 SHE WAS old. Because people in their 40s were OLD. And maybe you are even thinking as you drive by the colleges in your neighborhood that those college kids look about 13 years old and that you are MORE THAN OLD enough to be their mother. Also, you worry that they aren’t wearing a heavy enough coat for the weather.


Well get over it.


You should see what 86 looks like. Oh honey, you just cannot even imagine how it is when you feel about 29 years old inside and then you pass by a mirror and wonder who the hell that old person is with your eyes staring back at you. Well, by my age let’s just say that I’ve peed myself more times than I’d like to admit because of that scary old lady who now shows up in my reflection. And I know you’ve started to feel that way about yours. That you expect to see your perky 32 year old adult face. But now…




Well get over it.  Because at 86, well 46 is youthful. It’s the prime of your life. And it’s time you started enjoying it more. So here’s a little list of 10 things I want you to appreciate now and continue to think about as you age. Because things really start to go to shit eventually, and peeing yourself actually becomes such a minor inconvenience.


1. See those wrinkles all over your face. Maybe starting down your neck. Oh honey – those are nothing. Just minor beautiful marks of age and wisdom. 40 years from now you might lose small kittens in your wrinkles as they are so deep. Please stop buying the latest and greatest creams and lotions and embrace this natural process. Spend your money on good wine and time with friends instead. Oh – and by the way you did it! You aged “gracefully” and “gratefully” if you will, and you never did do botox or get any nips and tucks that sadly continue to get more popular. The best remedy for wrinkles is laughter. Laugh more.

2. Do you remember the other day when your husband said “Hey Trace, you have a little chocolate smudge on your face?” And you were all like “DUDE – don’t touch my fucking face!” Yeah, because it wasn’t chocolate but an age spot that showed up on your cheek? Well maybe it’s time to just get used to people trying to wipe chocolate off of your face, because that is the first of many spots to appear. Also, this gives you an excuse to just eat all the damn chocolate that you want.

3. So your butt is starting to go south, huh? Oh poor dear. And your knees are saggy. You look down and wonder how your grandmother’s knees became attached to your body? You can run 50 miles a week(You DO!), do 1000 squats, yoga, CrossFit, and eat right – but gravity is REAL. Who gives a shit though, right? You are fabulous just how you are and it’s time to embrace it, and sure maybe giggle about your body at every age. And don’t bitch to me about gravity until your 32AA boobs miraculously reach your belly button. Think about that for a moment.

4. Sex. Have more. Sure it changes as you’re getting older. You’re tired because you ate dinner at 4pm and went to bed by 7pm. Or your kids never left home. Good news – yours DID leave home! Sure you don’t look like you did when you guys first met when you were 29, but who does. And who cares. Enjoy it while you’re still flexible and not worried about breaking a hip.

5. Don’t ever stop exercising. Ever. Little secret – you no longer run a marathon in under four hours – but you still run marathons. Exercise will always keep you young and fit and mentally present. I mean there was that one time you went for a run and kind of forgot where you were – but we are blaming that on menopause.

6. Don’t live in a world of denial and vanity – and just buy those damn reading glasses. Stop making your kids read everything for you, borrowing glasses from friends, just ordering the special, or stop reading all together. Embrace the readers. Get cool readers – hell even Anthropologie sells reading glasses. Don’t suffer and do without for vanity ever. Oh, by the way Anthropologie is no longer in business. I guess $200 velvet fedoras adorned with vegan leather plumes are no longer in fashion.

7. Wear whatever the hell you want to wear. Except purple. Don’t ever wear old lady purple or a damn red hat. There’s not an age when you should not wear certain items – short skirts, tank tops, bikinis, high heels. Wear what you are comfortable wearing and show off those amazing legs for as long as you want to, dammit. Societal rules be damned. Sport that bikini if you want to. The human body is gorgeous – in all of its imperfections, wrinkles, and sags. Embrace it and never cover up the grace and beauty of aging. Flaunt it and live a wonderful life without worrying about comparing, covering, or cowering.

8. Travel more – sorry, even if it means going into debt. Even if it means blowing all of your retirement savings and pissing off your children because you will leave them with nothing. Even if it means living in a one room apartment with your 40 cats. The only way to really continue to understand the world is to see the world. Don’t stop taking the journeys your started in your 20s – because by your 80s you still won’t have seen it all. But try. Continue to travel to help others. Continue to travel to experience new places, cultures, and food. Continue to travel to unwind and touch all of the oceans.

9. I hate to tell you this – but this whole internet things just continues to get bigger – with more and easier ways to connect with friends and strangers. Don’t ever be a stranger to technology. You can talk about the good old days when Facebook was all the rage for the middle aged people. But it’s not anymore. In fact there’s a Facebook museum thing you can visit and pull up your wall from 2015. It’s adorable. Stay current – it keeps your mind sharp and makes it easy to spy on your grandkids.

10. Keep trying new things. Don’t ever get set in your ways. I see it starting for you already. People are interesting creatures how they migrate to what is easy and comfortable. Don’t do that. Don’t atrophy your body, spirit or mind by routine and the predictable. Try new things, go new places, have sex at 2pm on a Thursday, take up snowboarding, go back to school and learn something new. Read new and more books. Give back to others in new ways. Challenge yourself.


Honey, you have 60 more years of a beautiful life to live. 46 is still young with years left to discover the beauty of yourself and the world. Don’t let the mirror scare you or control you – because what we have to give – our human gifts – come from the inside. And that my dear is still oh so young and fresh and ready to do big things.


Live a good, honest, big life. The best is yet to come. No regrets. Hell – that tattoo you get for your 65th birthday is still your favorite.



Happy Birthday, Tracy.



Listen To Your Mother 2015

A HUGE announcement was made yesterday! LTYM announced their 2015 season with 39 cities!


And the Twin Cities will be back again for our THIRD show! Watch for dates, sponsorship opportunities, and information on submissions soon! We cannot wait to read and share your words that continue to give Motherhood A Microphone!!


The talented and incredible women that we have met over the past two seasons leave me verklempt – and with friends for life as we continue to connect and inspire each other to write more and share more.


And I couldn’t live without my partners in crime(and in production) Galit and Vikki. My sisters in this journey. May we one day bring LTYM to a beach in Costa Rica where we can enjoy margaritas and an outdoor venue and a motto of pura vida..and no worries of making anyone mac-n-cheese. Love these ladies.


You must watch the 2015 LTYM announcement video – and watch for details about a show near you soon.


And in case you can’t wait to hear all of the new pieces read – well go back and watch 2014 and 2013. Grab some tissues.


Happy almost 2015!!!


Apple Picking

Astrid sat in the wagon like she always has. Esther typically does too. And then Eloise pushes or pulls and I do the other. It’s quite a climb up the hill from the barn and packing lot up to the lines of trees. Esther starting getting in and I told her that I would try, but didn’t think I could get the old and heavy wagon and both of them up the hill by myself. And half way up the hill Esther could tell I was struggling. She jumped out, got behind the wagon, and pushed Astrid up the big hill. I looked back at her to search her face – was she sad to not ride? But instead I found her smiling and asking Astrid if she enjoyed the ride. She looked proud. Big.


For the first time ever we went apple picking without Eloise. This is happening more and more. She’s invited to go places with friends. She has dance. She has to study. She wants to stay home by herself more.


She turns 12 soon. And we all feel it. This middle school shift of her priorities.


Last weekend she went away for the whole weekend to a cabin with a friend. I asked her if she wanted us to wait to pick apples and pumpkins until she returned. But she told us no, to go ahead without her. Her request was that we pick out the largest pumpkin for her, and to pick a good amount of honey crisp for her to eat when she returned on Sunday.


So we went without her. Reluctantly. She is always the one to grab Astrid’s hand and lead her around the farm – to feed the chickens, see the horse, jump in the hay, and to find the best pumpkin. She lifts her to pick the best apples, and she’d blow on her cider to get it cool enough to drink. Always the biggest sister and caretaker.


And I wasn’t sure how this day would go with this hole in our foursome.


But Esther stepped up as the biggest sister. She held hands and helped. She jumped and ran and helped with snacks. The girls picked the best apples – talking about which ones Eloise would eat. And when we entered the pumpkin patch – I could hear them saying that they’d make sure Eloise’s pumpkin would be the biggest.


It was okay. But my pictures still show something missing. Just like a part of my heart was gone that day.


But it’s a dynamic we have to get used to. Because pretty soon she’ll be gone more than home…and then Esther too. And in 13 years will I still go to the orchard to pick apples?


I guess maybe. But it will probably be without my camera.



What We Keep

At about 3pm today I sat here in the family room just completely broken. Astrid was demanding my time – asking for scissors, or for me to look at a picture she made, or for clean socks, or something. But I just shushed her again and again. I put my hand up to keep her back.


So I could hear.


I had invited her to sit on my lap and watch and listen with me  – but the people on the screen didn’t interest her.


So I sat and watched and listened to history. My history. Their history. Our history. And I sobbed. Big loud and heavy tears type sobbing.


As I was cleaning out our books and movies and music, I found the DVD that my uncle had burned from the video at my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary party in 1997.  I had never watched it before. I put it in and there on my screen were my grandparents. Just as I remember them. Now both gone, but there all of a sudden in front of me and so full of life like always.


I smiled and stood up to touch the screen at the place where I could touch my grandpa’s face. I used to sit on his lap and stroke his face – the whiskers and wrinkles – as he would hold me tight on his lap.


I watched the two of them making jokes with each other. Flirting like they always did. Making jokes with the Priest as he blessed their marriage again.


My tears were of joy because there they were in my home. Them. Their voices. Their friends. Alive.


But soon my hand covered my mouth to try to catch my first sob when I heard her laugh.


And I cry again now just typing that. When we talk about saving things as a memory – books, pictures, letters, trinkets – nothing I have of my grandma’s can truly bring her to a place of peace and love in heart. Nothing brings her back to be with me. NOTHING can replace the love she gave to everyone. There’s this void that I’ve felt for nearly nine years since she left us.


And at 3:11pm today I realized what it was.


Her laughter. Her laugh is like no other laugh. This quiet lady had such a big laugh. Unique laugh. Often laugh. And I sat here today hitting rewind -play- pause-rewind  – over and over and over again just to hear her laugh.


“It’s here, Astrid – It’s here – SHE’s here!” I kept saying again and again and again. “She’s right here! We have her. We can have her forever because we still have her laugh!”


And Astrid snuggled in my lap for a few minutes to listen and to meet the great-grandma that she never knew.


The anniversary party soon faded to black and I turned the TV off. My tears continued to fall and I kept wiping and wiping and wiping to no avail. I hugged Astrid tight and tried to make plans to capture more moments like that video. Now we capture such small snippets of life with our phones. But are we capturing what’s really important.  Are we capturing what their grandchildren will want to see and hear one day. They’ll want to remember what she was really like – when she hugged them, when she laughed, when she told funny stories.


It’s hard to guess what could capture that. Because loved ones leave us with these odd material things – furniture, linens, letters. But none of that matters because it’s not them. This helped me today as I made hard decisions to toss or keep. Because I know I have what’s really important. My grandma’s laughter forever in my heart.



Welcome to November And NaBloPoMo

I decided to blog every single day in 2014. Do you remember that promise? Well I made it exactly two months and then quit. Because ain’t nobody got time for that. Well actually some people do – OMG – but I don’t. Yet I loved blogging everyday as it gave me a reason to sit down and clear my mind and write. Sometimes my writing wasn’t have bad. Sometimes my writing was just a bunch of random words about the day. Sometimes my writing was not really writing at all – but pictures of life. And sometimes I probably made some shit up. But every day I sat down and published something.


So for November, I’m joining up with hundreds of other bloggers and BlogHer who promise to write every day for the month. And here I am with only about two hours before the end of day one and I’m struggling to get a post up. Because time. Where does the time go.


I’ll freely admit that I’m having a tough time writing lately. Time is not on my side. I’m being pulled and pushed in so many directions, and with my traveling over the last few months I am so behind in just everything. And then today we went and made a HUGE life-changing decision and I have even more on my plate – so hey, let’s also add blogging every day.


But I think I’ll need this outlet and enjoy this outlet again. To share more again. To give you tidbits and slices of our daily doings. And to give another excuse to get my camera out again.


And it’s time I get my blogging mojo back and enjoy it again like I really used to. And I bet with daily blogging that discipline will help me get the rest of my life some organization and discipline. Hey, maybe I’ll get laundry put away!


Or maybe not – instead maybe I’ll just spend the whole day putting on make-up for Halloween. And then wonder why I never get things done.


Maybe prioritization is my issue? And this blogging every day is really bad idea?


Nah, that can’t be my problem.


But if you don’t see a post up one day and it’s pushing midnight – holy heck message me. Because I will probably be online shopping or binge watching Scandal or something equally as important.




The Blank Page

I’ve started and deleted and stared for days now. Trying to document a conversation or something that happened or a funny story. Most of the time I get distracted by work emails or a snack that needs to be made or a hairball that our new cat coughed up. And the rest of the time I don’t even open my laptop. In fact this past weekend I left my laptop at home. Just like a did the weekend before. And the weekend before that I was at home – but never opened it.


I still enjoyed snippets of life and love and family and conversation on Facebook – but haven’t read blogs for weeks. And I’ve started feeling almost selfish for ‘making’ you read my stories, my conversations, my thoughts…because I’d rather you work on your tan or hit the beach or take a bike ride and not worry about me.

Family Picture - Watch out for the penguin.

Family Picture – Watch out for the penguin.

It’s weird how I can thrive off relationships but then get to a point of exhaustion when I just need to focus on what’s right here and touchable. My work is very busy – work that I LOVE and am more inspired by than ever before when I see the good this company does in the world. My kids are just the right kind of busy and I feel the need to be with them and near them, but just as an observer in a way as they play and enjoy a lazy summer together without early wake-ups or routines. My family room is filled with Calico Critters and My Little Ponys and Lego Friends and they play for hours. Or I find one of my girls reading alone on the porch. They’ve reached that age where they can run off down the block with friends, make their own lunches, and empty the dishwasher without a reminder.


I’m spending more time in a quiet and restful state when I’m home – and besides our family room – the house is clean and  I’ve read eight books since mid-June and delight in losing myself in a story almost feeling like I’m a high school girl again and I believe that fiction can come to life. And I’m running daily and using that time to push myself HARD and really feel what great things a body can do if you just don’t sit back and go with the flow.


I’m happy.


And I don’t want to do it all. My life is so beautifully boring right now and I’ve found no greater joy really. We’ve spent more time with family and we’ve laughed so hard.


Jed said to me last night when he made a joke and I laughed my deep laugh that actually makes me sound like my brother “There’s nothing hotter than listening to you laugh.”


Good things are coming – I can feel it. Until then and September and The Busy – I’m just going to work on what feels right, parallel my kids’ joy in the ordinary, and fill my bedside table with more books.


And of course run like the wind(my own definition of wind).


Linking up with Heather.


The Mommy Wars

I yelled up to Esther at 7:53am that she needed to get her butt downstairs NOW! The bus was coming in five minutes and I knew she still had to find her shoes, pack her backpack, and brush her hair.


But she didn’t respond, so I took the stairs by twos and ran down the hallway to her room. I found her standing completely still, staring forward and wiping tears from her cheeks, in front of her open closet door.


“M..M…Mo..Mom, I don’t have anything red to wear.”


Why do you need something red, my love?


“Be..be…be..b..be..cause it’s Listen To Your Mother day and I need to wear the colors for you.”


Oh love.. The words caught in my throat..You don’t need to wear red for me. I know you support me without wearing anything that matches the show.


“Bu..bu…but I want to because I’m so very proud of you.”



I haven’t read or presented anything that I’ve written or created in front of a large audience since I worked and did glamorous marketing things for a Fortune 500 company. Back then I would give reports and presentations with a Power Point slideshow with all kinds of numbers and graphs to back up my talk. And I used fancy slides to make me look like I knew what I was doing. Because everyone knows that corporate presentation have a large percentage of fluff and bullshit. But it was comfortable and I was confident talking to a room of suits.


But sharing my personal writing – OUT LOUD – is something I have not done since high school.


So last week, on the night of our Listen To Your Mother show – to say that I was nervous, had to pee a zillion times, and had palms that no one should touch – would be a gross understatement.


Because what if no one liked my words? Because words aren’t numbers that you can make look pretty with a bar graph.


The piece I shared stemmed from a blog post I wrote several years ago when I sat one day completely exasperated reading ANOTHER article on the Mommy Wars. But I rewrote this piece to fit with the show, to relate to the other pieces we would hear, to close the show, and it needed to be funny and light.


No pressure.


And I also needed it to be personal – how I was mothered and how I mother. And I knew that my family would be in the audience listening.


Here’s the piece that I shared. The YouTube video will be out shortly. Thank you to everyone for your love and support – and for wearing red if you were so moved to do so.  If you’ve never been to a Listen To Your Mother Show – well you must put it on your calendar next year.


Oh, and here’s me eating a Hostess Ho-Ho on stage. I pretty much think anyone will nail a reading if eating a Ho-Ho is involved.


I stand here today as a survivor. I was exclusively formula fed as a baby.I never co-slept with my mom.  I watched entirely too many episodes of The Brady Bunch and The Love Boat, and did not eat anything organic until I was 25. We enjoyed Hostess desserts and red Kool-Aid by the gallons. I come from divorced parents who both worked full-time, enforcing a childhood at that time that was labeled “latch key” and would now be called illegal please call CPS.

And I don’t remember what the other moms in the neighborhood even did- whether they worked or stayed home, or if we discussed if breast was best at any play-dates.

Because there weren’t play-dates.

There was “Just go out and play with your friends!”

I only remember one family that was a little different from the rest of us and I only recall this because of a very bad experience. You see one day I went to my friend’s house for a snack and I saw what I thought was a jar of chocolate pieces on the counter, and asked if I could please have a few. “Of course” my friend’s mom said and handed the jar to me. I reached in, shoved a few pieces in my little hungry mouth and promptly spit them onto her faded bell bottom jeans and brown etched leather clogs. “Don’t you like carob chips, my dear?” She asked.

No wonder this friend would come to our house and eat all of our Hostess treats.

Maybe back in the 70s we didn’t have Mommy Wars. No one acted like a parenting expert but instead just acted like a parent – of their own kids. Everyone pitched in and helped neighbors and kept an eye out for the kids that were all running around without supervision because it was what you just did. Maybe we drank our body weight in Tang each day because the astronauts told us too and that was good enough for my mom. Maybe the Mommy Wars didn’t exist because there wasn’t social media, Facebook, those pesky Mommy Bloggers to compare ourselves to, OR my nemesis, Pinterest.

But maybe those women were just wiser and had better things to worry about. Like the war, or whether Sam and Alice would ever marry and if they did would Alice leave the Brady Bunch or would Sam move in and how would they fit another square in the screen.

So I’m taking a lesson from my mother and her generation and believe it’s time we make the mommy wars go away by ignoring them, because they truthfully don’t exist if we just focus on doing what we need to do for our own families. Let’s make a pact today to stop talking about breast vs. bottle, sahm vs wahm, cry it out vs. co-sleep, and feeding organic vs feeding them a little Kraft Dinner once in awhile. Let’s start wars about more important things. I’ve been making a list of some things that bother me more than how others parent their own children.

Those moms  who read People Magazine or Us Weekly or InStyle instead of award winning and educational and thought-provoking books.. What are you(me?) teaching your children about the importance of where to focus their time. Also, did you know that celebrities are “JUST LIKE US!” and grocery shop and walk on sidewalks? These are the important things I know because I read People.

Or you moms who actually throw away your kid’s half-eaten Mac-n-Cheese.  This is wasteful…it is our job as moms to finish the plate as quickly as possible while standing at the sink and hoping the kids don’t come in and catch us. Don’t ruin this for the rest of us.

Or you moms driving your cool SUV’s or hybrid-eco-friendly cars like “oh I’m not going to be a sell-out and buy that Minivan even though I know it would be so much more convenient..but I’ll be damned if I can be one of ‘those’ soccer moms…”  Oh my SwaggerWagon set has you all figured out…I mean it took me 7 years of motherhood to finally give in to the minivan. But the in-floor storage, the auto-sliding doors, the seating for 8, the low clearance for easy loading and unloading.  I mean sure, when you do have that twice a year date night with your spouse – pulling up in the minivan in front of the new, hip vegan restaurant seems awkward on a Saturday night. But by Monday when you are driving carpool again, you forget your pain.

Now those are important subjects that I think we need to toast over a glass of wine. As long as we make it red wine. Because I don’t understand you moms who prefer white wine.

I am not my mother and made my own choices that surprised even me. I breast fed exclusively, co-slept, I quit my job to stay home with my kids full-time, yet I don’t keep a very clean house compared to her, I still don’t let my 11 year old ride her bike around the block by herself, and I mainly buy healthy snacks.

Until today. Because these Ho-Hos totally rock and I think I need to buy another package to share with my kids. I thank my mom for making sure these were always in the snack cabinet and not worrying about what others thought. She and others mothered without a manual, and I hope without a worry of whether they were doing it right, without comparison, without guilt, and without regret I believe, and thankfully without carob chips.

I think we can all take a lesson from the moms that came before us who didn’t live with the mommy war myth that is perpetuated by the media.

As mothers who have experienced loss, mothers who’ve made tough decisions, mothers who’ve overcome infertility, mothers who never thought they could experience such joy or such pain. And as daughters, all of us reading here today. We owe it to ourselves to just be at peace with our own choices.

So I toast you with my tang and my Hostess Treat that we just enjoy them together today as mothers, daughters and women who may have differences in practice and opinion but are unified in our celebration and experience. Unless carob chips and white wine are truly your poison. But I promise I won’t judge.


Esther was late to school that day – and she was not wearing red. It’s true – she owns nothing red. But the extra time we spent together that morning meant more to both of us than her wearing the right shirt.


After the show my girls rushed to me with flowers and hugs and tales of the shows. Esther looked up at me and said “I love you mom – you were really funny!”


And then Lorna Landvik came over and asked if I’d ever consider writing or performing stand-up comedy.


After I picked myself up from the floor I realized that I too had a story(a personal story – not one that using bar graphs and numbers) that was a worth sharing. As do you. xo


Listen To Your Mother has been a game changer for me and so many others. Thank you Ann Imig for your vision and love.  And to Vikki and Galit – my partners in LTYM Crime – girlfriends I love you and would totally move a body for you. xo



How To Prioritize

I ran-hobbled down the basement stairs and grabbed a load of laundry from the dryer and transferred the next load in before carrying the heavy pile of clean clothes back up the stairs. I was still in my running shoes and clothes with my fuel and water belt strapped around my waist. As I was walking in the back door from my 18 mile training run I realized that I had left a wet load of laundry sit all night.


Typically when I come in from my long training runs I slip my shoes off, unsnap my fuel belt, pour a big glass of water, and lean into the kitchen counter to catch my breath.

egg hunt

But last week, catching my breath seemed nearly as impossible as a ‘spa day’ or ‘lunch with a girlfriend’ or ‘shopping for new spring sandals in Milan.’


Last week was one of those weeks when you look at the calendar on Sunday and scan your eyes to the next Sunday and just hope that you make it through and it all comes together. That you don’t forget a child somewhere, that your four year old doesn’t mind sitting for hours for days as you have to bring them for work hours, volunteer hours, class hours, that you don’t disappoint someone because you just could not do it all, and my personal pet-peeve  – that you are late.


And somehow – at 4pm yesterday when I walked in the door from the last ‘thing’ that was expected of all of us – we survived the week. And the last thing I wanted to do(all week really) was open my computer. Instead last night I poured a large cup of coffee, piled the two kids that were home on my lap, put blanket after blanket on us, and I took a nap while they happily damaged their brains watching Sam & Cat episodes OnDemand. It was bliss.


May is hard(I know, not May yet), but this still counts. From recitals, end of school projects, field trips, cleaning, wardrobe transitioning, school carnivals, yard work  and cleaning-up crap from the snow, finalizing camps, my own things – Listen To Your Mother, work, writing, making sure there are groceries and toilet paper, marathon training – life is busier than usual and we are surviving week by week and day by day.


And I need to look at my own priorities or nothing will get done that should get done.

1. Family – Jed and the kids and all the school needs. Also the cat. It’s Astrid’s last year at home before school. If that means I play animal bingo 453 times a day until September, well that will be my priority.

2. Home – food and toilet paper and vacuuming and making it a relatively nice place to inhabit. I find that if I let our home go – it messes with my mind and overall happiness. I want to be here. I want to exhale when I enter our place. Lately I just want to slam the door and find another house that feels better.

3. Work – many of you probably don’t know I have a full-time job because I keep it separate from my blog and writing. But I do. With real hours and money. This is getting busier and it is what helps us have fun things as well as food – and my focus MUST be here before the blog – so I kind of think my focus is changing a lot as I put not only my time but more of my heart in what’s important. We have some pretty aggressive financial goals this year and this is where my focus needs to be.

4. Me – what feeds me right now – marathon training. I’m running a lot – nearly 60 miles last week and this will hopefully continue as long as I’m healthy and injury free. Working on LTYM – working with other writers, sponsors and our charity to give back. Friends. I miss having time for friends.

5. Taking pictures – I have the heart and equipment to do more with this. I need to carve out time. I’ve been saying this for nearly five years – and each year I say “THIS is the year!” and it’s not.

6. The blog and social media – I will still write(on paper)(on a word document) and submit other places – but I’m not sure what I’m going to have time on a regular basis here when I look at everything that comes above it. And maybe all these beautiful things always did come above this – but I wasn’t aligned with my own priorities – so I have words here but a house that is uncomfortably messy and too many email apologies to others for not getting a project done.


I want the luxury of hobbling in after a long run knowing it’s okay to just lean and breathe at the counter for a moment. I want less emergency-I forgot trips to the laundry room and less last minute cereal and milk meals because life is too busy to slow down and focus on what I really should be doing. And if that means more silence here – than I need to have peace with that. And after this week of waytoomuch – I do.


But right now I need to get off of here and find a good and easy Bavarian cream recipe because I promised to make homemade eclairs for Eloise’s class tomorrow. WHY?????


Do you ever think and change and tweak your priorities. What comes first for you right now?


My Writing Process

A beautiful chain-letter of writing has been circling the internet for the past few months. Typically, I’m not a fan of memes or chain letters, and I’m certain I’ve brought bad luck upon my family for not forwarding recipes to my seven best friends, or deleting emails I was suppose to give to 10 amazing women in my life, or hurt my child somehow by not mailing a book or something to eight of her friends.


But this chain intrigued me. As a blogger(and a writer) I love to learn more about my favorite writers and how they write exactly – their process, what they are working on, how they write, why they write, and how the hell are they so damn brilliant when some days I truthfully would rather watch a marathon of made for Netflix series than to even open my computer. Do others ever feel that way?


So I’ve been reading about writing processes and learning a lot, nodding my head in ‘yeah I do that too’ and taking notes on some brilliant ideas that they have shared.


I was honored when Denise of Universal Grit asked me to share my writing process next. I met Denise through our essays for This Is Childhood. I’ve been honestly overwhelmed being grouped with these amazing women and writers as their words humble me yet push me to write more and better.


So with that – I give you my writing process:

1. What am I working on?

Sadly not much lately. After writing a lot over the past six months I honestly am very busy right now with my co-production/direction of the Listen To Your Mother Show in the Twin Cities. I am actually reading an original piece for the show – so I did write that! I also have several essays in draft form that I need to revisit when I have the time as they are topics I really want to explore more. I’m finding that right now this isn’t a great time to write – the kids are busy, work is busy, Jed is busy, Spring is busy – that writing for me has hit the back burner hard this season.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I consider myself a blogger more than a writer – but I hope I do a decent job with both? I don’t know. This question is hard because I don’t feel like I’m different or stand-out from others – but what I do write is real – it’s me – and it will always be more for me(and my kids) than for you. Is that weird?

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I started my blog because I wanted to capture moments of what our lives are right now. Right here. And as a way to make connections. I’ve always tried to be transparent in my writing – but it’s hard sometimes because of the feeling of being less-than or judged. My worst days are when my husband receives a phone call from a family member questioning me or my decision to write what I do. Like it’s not okay to be vulnerable. But I think we can’t be strong without being vulnerable. I hope through my writing that my daughters will see and know that it’s okay to share and just be themselves. Worrying about what other people think will always kill your creativity and joy.

IMG_4105-0014. How does my writing process work?

Ha! What’s that? My process goes something like this…pay very close attention here as you will learn to better your process…

4:45 come up with brilliant story idea while out running

5:15 return home and forget brilliant story idea

5:30 pour coffee and remember story idea

5:32 sit down to write but open facebook

6:15 still on facebook

6:25 oh…pinterest…instagram….twitter…

6:35 read other blogs. think that I’ll never write anything that great…

6:40 brilliant story idea is not so brilliant

6:45 wake-up kids

8:00 wave good-bye to two kids after the last hour of DOING ALL THE THINGS FOR THE KIDS

8:05 stare at third child who is staring back at you. tell her that mommy needs to write for awhile – so just go play.

8:15 realize child will not go play. plan something to do that will exhaust her so she takes an afternoon nap.

9:00 go to zoo. try to act like I love the zoo

12:00 lunch of mac-n-cheese eaten right off the plate of my child because she ate like four noodles and just lives off of air.

12:30 child settles down to rest/nap/watch a show/generally just let MOMMY WORK for two hours

12:35 sit down to write

12:40 open facebook

12:45 “Mommy I’m bored.”

12:50 close computer, snuggle with child, fall asleep

2:30 SHIT – the other kids are getting home soon

2:35-3:15 do ALLTHETHINGS FOR THE HOUSE – laundry, kitchen, sweeping, bathrooms, prep dinner

3:15 kids home – ALLTHEHOMEWORK

4:00 cook all the dinner

5:00 eat dinner

5:30 shuttle allthekids to alltheactivities

7:30 get home from alltheactivities

8:00 littlest bedtime late tonight because of alltheactivities

8:30 big kids bedtime

8:35 sit down to write amazing story that maybe really is still amazing

8:40 check facebook

8:45 fall asleep on the couch

fade to black…

Next week the writing process continues with my sisters from another mister. Since nepotism is alive and well in the blogging-world -I am asking Galit Breen and Vikki Reich to share their writing stories. I love them both so much that I could dedicate hundreds of blog posts just to them – if I ever found the time to write. But they both have inspired me – as mothers and as writers to dedicate time to both amazing crafts(motherhood and writing), and I hope we are old and cranky and still hanging out together when we are 85.


Be sure to check-out their posts next Monday, April 28th.



Six Years Of Blogging And Now A Book

My six year blogging anniversary passed quietly last week. Celebrating my six year ‘blogiversary’ is kind of like how I handled my 45th birthday – locked in the bathroom alone with a glass of red and a dark chocolate bar as I pondered what I’ve really accomplished.


I started my blog as a blog. It had five readers and I shared silly, daily stories of my girls and cats. It grew to something a little bit more as I shared stories of loss and hope and I found my voice in humor.


After six years of blogging – fame and fortune have not come my way – except for that one viral post that made me step back and be quite comfortable really without fame and fortune.


Actually, blogging has given me something much better than fame and fortune – it’s given me friends and the ability to be fearless.


And blogging has made me become a writer.


Six years ago – or even three years ago I would never say “I’m a writer.” Me, who went to school for business and engineering and took many math and economics classes, and took only speech and debate as my required and very painful English class.


I wasn’t always adverse to English classes. I was a voracious reader as a child and kept a journal since I was eight years old. During high school I filled notebooks with poems about asshole guys ,and I submitted short stories to magazine contests.


Until that year of AP English when my teacher sucked all the joy out of reading, appreciating good literature, and creative writing. I sat in the back of the class refusing to participate, listen or engage. I wanted every book to burned, every piece of paper to be shredded, and every English class in the world to cease immediately. That’s how much she made me hate literature and the beauty and power of words.


I was an A+ student and near the top of my class, and I still smile when I see that string of Ds on my report card from that year of AP English.


However, I still remember the one and only assignment I completed for her. The assignment was to write a personal essay about a difficult time in our lives. At first I resisted – because completing an assignment for her was like cleaning my room when my mom asked me to. I was 17 and liked to push her buttons just like any adult who told me what to do. I told her that I had nothing to write about and did not turn in my assignment. I still remember her coming over to my desk, kneeling down to be eye to eye with me, and saying “I’m giving you 24 hours to turn something in. Just try doing this – not for me – but for you. Don’t make me fail you because you’ve failed yourself.”


That evening I sat in my room with some nameless punk music blaring and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote about something very personal until my hand hurt and tears smeared the ink on my papers. I turned that first draft as my final paper into her that next day. The pages that were frayed, smudged, and with some margins filled in with edits – just like my life at the time. Imperfect and feeling still so incomplete.


Two days later she passed our essays back to us. I expected my usual ‘D’ as I did appreciate her effort to not fail me in her class, as god knows she wanted to see me again next year even less than I wanted to see her.


But instead there was a big red ‘A’ on the top of the page. Along with a note “Tracy, see what you can do when you write from your heart.”


And I find that still today – the best writing comes from my heart – and no, it won’t be with the best grammar or spelling, but it will always be me.


Which is why I’m thrilled to announce today that my words are in a book.


A little over a year ago, two amazing women came up with a writing series called “This Is Childhood.” They invited eight of us to join them to celebrate each year from age one to age 10.


I wrote about seven. My Esther at seven.


Well Brain Child Magazine picked up our series of essays and has published them in a journal that launches today. This journal includes not only our essays of childhood, but also provides pages for parents to write their own thoughts as their children experience the joy (and the hard) of just being kids. It gives parents a place to write from their heart. Which is where all of our best writing comes from.


However, for me, being included in this book is just the frosting on the cake. The cake is made up of many layers of love from getting to know the nine other authors and moms. Over the past year they’ve become friends, mentors, and women I admire more than anything. They are brave, beautiful, and giving. I’m so grateful that blogging has given me the gift of incredibly talented ‘writerly’ friends, who don’t think my words aren’t worth publishing because I am ‘just a blogger.’

This Is Childhood cover

I stand among greatness my friends…


So thank you Allison – whom I’ve know the longest – for your friendship, your support in this endeavor, your brilliant writing, and the daily laughs and tears we have in this strange on-line space.


Lindsey, whose writing makes me want to write more. Her honestly and emotional availability and wisdom and talent come through in everything she writes. I’ve loved getting to know her and her beautiful family more.


Galit, my Minnesota sister and a ‘co-bringer’ of Listen To Your Mother to our fair state. We’ve become close, forever friends, and her writing will always inspire me to be more. I do not have the words to express my love for her. Also, she’s made me ‘almost’ like dogs.


Nina, another Minnesota friend. I’ve admired Nina’s writing for years, but now we are ‘in real life’ friends and I am forever grateful for her talents, kindness, honesty, and advice.


Denise  – whom I met through the ‘This Is Childhood’ series, and I am overwhelmed by her writing experiences and talents, and would follow her writing to the ends of the earth if she’d let me..in a non-stalkerish way of course.


Aidan – another mom of three girls and a truly beautiful soul. I admit to reading her blog archives because she is a master at her craft and deserves to be published everywhere. I’m honored to have my words close to hers. Also, I want to live in Manhattan.


Kristen’s writing inspires me, makes me think, and makes me want to hug her daily for asking the hard questions in a beautiful way. Her heart comes through in her essays in a way I can only dream of doing.


Bethany makes me laugh and cry and share with every word she writes. Her talents are immense and she almost..almost..makes me want to have a house full of boys. Almost. I find myself nodding along with her essays and wishing we could take a long run together. There would be so much laughter that just writing about that run makes me want to hop on a plane and show-up on her doorstep in a sparkly running tutu.


Amanda. Oh Amanda. Don’t tell her but I want to be her neighbor. I have these strange dreams of living next door to her, our six girls playing in the yard, our husbands enjoying a few beers together, while I run my fingers through her hair. OMG, I mean while we discuss life and writing, everything because I think we’re meant to be friends forever, and her words have forever changed me.


No matter what happens with  my writing and my blog. Whether I am published again, or I take my blog down before the 7th anniversary – I will always be grateful to count these women(and many others) as friends who’ve inspired me, challenged me, laughed and cried with me, and celebrated good things like being published in a book. SERIOUSLY GUYS, WE ARE IN A BOOK!


Buy it.



Well THAT Was An Interesting Week

Well I’ve had an interesting week. One I’ve been trying to write about, but the words seem to fail me. Or they are just wrong. Or not as meaningful or deep as they are suppose to be. So I walk away from the internet and start putting hats on my cat. I’m not even kidding.


This week I’ve had bad words thrown at me and good words offered to me with incredible kindness. I’ve had letters full of ugliness and letters from strangers saying “me too” and “thank you for speaking up for us.”  Some strangers were 15 and some were 50.


I’ve had friends write posts about their struggles – and the silent struggles of moms just like us.


And it’s time that we aren’t quiet anymore. Or ashamed. Or just a statistic that we brush under the carpet and pretend that what we experience doesn’t exist.


I’ve heard radio stations talk about ME – when they think that I’m not listening or didn’t bother to do their homework to find out that maybe I’m in their backyard and they could CALL ME to discuss. Or maybe they’re afraid I’d come whack them with the pillow.


And the thing about everyone thinking they now know you because of your 800 words that went around the world – it takes what you feel and say when you felt strong enough to voice it, and it takes every layer of skin off of your body and leaves you naked and bleeding and exposed, and you spend awhile hunkered down thinking you may never get up again and maybe you should not have sent those words out – but sometime at about day three, you get up and get dressed and your heart grows about three sizes because of the people who matter, and you come out on the other side feeling even stronger than you did when you first wrote those words. And you think of about 2000 more words that you want to write because you were right to say those words. And no one can take your voice away. Also you write run-on sentences.


So today – I talked to people. I had a radio interview on our Top 40 station this morning – KDWB. It’s my kids’ favorite station and now I’ve probably ruined it for them because they interviewed THEIR MOTHER! It was not a great interview as it was at 7:15am and we were having a burnt waffle/lost hair bow/I need help with my homework/WHERE’S MY BOOT/Mommy I can’t find any undies kind of morning and on our way to missing the bus.


And then this afternoon I was on HuffPost Live, which was super fun and I met some great co-panelist. It was kind of awkward to do though as when you’re talking the screen goes white so I never knew where to look because there were no people to look at. Next time I have to remember to just stare at the white and pretend there are people.

And my internet stalker is back. Have I told you about my stalker. Well that’s a very long story for another day…


Dear Nordstrom – About Your “Skinny Sleep” Pillow

Dear Nordstrom,


I posted a picture of me at 18 on Facebook the other day. It was from a time in my life that I didn’t love how I looked, but the picture was kind of funny with my huge 80s hair so I thought it was worth posting for a few laughs.


But only one person(my husband, the person closest to me), asked me what was up with my puffy cheeks in that picture. He could see from the rest of my body in the picture that I wasn’t overweight – so why were my cheeks so puffy.


He pointed out exactly why I hate all pictures of me for a period of four years, and almost 30 years later I couldn’t just tell him why I had puffy cheeks. I think I brushed off his question with an explanation of ‘left over baby fat’ and growing out of them eventually.


But my puffy cheeks were a symptom of my bulimia. And my bulimia started after suffering from anorexia and starving myself for months. Once I started to finally eat again – I purged for years.


And while I consider myself ‘better’ in that I don’t starve myself or purge my food – I will never feel thin enough. Ever. I still worry about everything I put in my mouth, how my clothing fits, and will catch glimpses of myself in every mirror looking for faults.


My 10 year old threw a fit last year when I made her wear snow pants to an outdoor event. It was well below zero and there was no way we were going out without being bundled up from head to toe. “But Mom, my friends will be there and my snow pants make my butt look big.”


Your butt look big, Eloise? For one, that is impossible..and for two, everyone will be wearing snow pants..and for three, trust me, no one looks at snow pant butts.


My daughter is five feet tall and is lucky to weigh 60 pounds soaking wet and barely registers as having a  BMI. She could wear 10 pairs of snow pants without the worry of her butt looking big. But that fact doesn’t really matter, does it.


She’s a healthy eater, gets plenty of exercise as a dancer, and even though she has a mother who will probably never be totally past her eating disorder(what addict is), we still never talk or show unhealthy habits around our kids, and live in a home with healthy food and people who exercise regularly. We don’t own a scale.


And she has the same body I had at 10 and 11 – tall, seemingly impossibly thin, and with legs that go on for miles. I’m not worried about her – she’s a healthy girl – but to hear her worry about looking fat….


I sank. My heart broke for her into a million tiny pieces.


And I want to do everything to make sure my three daughters daughters do not become one of the 10 million Americans with eating disorders. Of which, 20% of those suffering will die.


I see the stick thin models on the runway, the supermodels on the cover of magazines(many photoshopped), ads everywhere on how to have a flat stomach and the importance of a thigh gap, and a diet ad on TV during almost every show. Daily I feel like I’m trying to push away the negative media images and reinforcing to my daughters what is really important – health and the importance of loving themselves.


As I whisper to myself – don’t be like your mother, don’t be like your mother.


At this point you must be wondering why I’m writing this very personal letter to you, Nordstrom. Well, it’s because I was shopping with my daughters at your store(one of my favorite places to shop) on Friday and this pillow prominently displayed in your store stopped me in my tracks.


Actually, it stopped my daughter in her tracks… “People can get skinny by sleeping, Mom? I had no idea.”


No hon, you can’t get skinny when you sleep. You have good sleep because it makes you healthy and strong. That pillow was meant to be kind of a joke I think – and a horrible one at that.


Oh Nordstrom – we have skinny drinks and skinny food and skinny pills and see skinny ads and read skinny articles…and now, now you have to make our daughters think that there’s skinny sleep? We’re embroidering skinny dreams on our pillows now just like the ones that we can’t etch out of our hearts?


Please don’t send a message like this. It’s not okay. It’s not message we need. It’s not a message that they need. And if my daughter is asking about this – how many other daughters are asking their mothers the same question?


Did you know that approximately 40 percent of American girls ages 9 and 10 report being or having been on a diet to lose weight.


Let’s do better by our daughters and our sons and start making strides on focusing on healthy messages and giving them more positive images of what a real woman or man looks like. And should look like. I know we have a long way to go and daily we are bombarded with negative influences..so some might say “What’s the big deal about a pillow with a cute little saying.” And I’m saying – taking a pillow off the shelves is one little step in the direction where millions of steps still need to be taken if we are ever going to stop this cycle.


Having an eating disorder is like being a drug addict, this illness is always near the surface just waiting for the right trigger…and while one can survive without drugs or alcohol, a person with an eating disorder is faced with their biggest fear – food – every single day. So whether you want to believe it or not – even seeing the words ‘skinny sleep’ on a pillow can trigger us into thinking something is really possible. Just like my daughter asked me such an innocent question about it on Friday in your store.


Don’t make her even have to ask those questions. Don’t make her think that skinny is ‘in’ or that skinny is even important.


Don’t be responsible for adding to this devastating epidemic.


Thank you for listening,


Tracy Morrison

Woman, Wife, Mom of Three, Eating Disorder Survivor


Update Sunday Night 1/26 – I received the following DM on Twitter from Nordstrom…

“We’re so sorry we disappointed you. This is a sensitive subject and we take what you’re saying seriously. We totally see your point here and would never want what was suppose to be a play on a well-known saying as sending a different message. We appreciate you sharing your perspective with us. We’d like to share this feedback with our buyers and get back to you.”


I’m glad Nordstrom responded so quickly – and I actually tweeted them about this three days ago – but now it’s time for them to remove the pillow from their stores. And it’s honestly a pretty sad ‘play’ on a well-known saying – that truthfully I already don’t love.


So Much To Talk About This Week!

It’s suppose to be -24 on Monday morning. Actual temperature. Windchill will be about -786. Totally tolerable in my humble opinion and school should go on as planned. But I’m already preparing for another ‘snow day‘ and having the kids at home. Which is why I am still considering dropping them at Galit’s house.


Or I could just stay home and look at my daughter’s beautiful face.


Jed and I(okay, maybe I’m still bitchy) are having a tough week. I would like to blame it on 1. Sure, maybe I’m bitchy and 2. One toilet in the house and 3. We’ve spent way too much time indoors this winter. Because COLD! We need more tolerable snow days to get outside and play. 4. Also, I might be bitchy because one toilet, the cold, too much time indoors. So I’m trying not to let it bother me and to accept his compliments even when I’m feeling gross and stinky.


I wrote an essay this week about one of the houses I lived in when I was little. It’s strange, the details you remember about a house from when you were only five years old. Sometimes I wonder what my kids will remember about the houses of their lives. And about how much this current house means to them – the only home Esther and Astrid have known. When I get mad at our house for being broken or old and too small-ish – I need to remember that children don’t care about any of that. It’s the people inside the house that matter.


But Eloise will probably only remember that we never let her have a guinea pig.


Since it’s the season to stay in – we are reading a lot. I just finished one of my dear friend’s books. Jennie – from A Lady In France just published her first book. It’s a stunning memoir of her incredible and extraordinary life spent all over the world, and her journey of faith. I yearn for the day when I can sit down with her in her home in France and have her tell me the stories of her life. I love Jennie dearly – and now her book has made me even closer to her.  Maybe I’m peeking in her kitchen window right now.


You need a copy of her book – maybe two or three. A Lady in France is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle.


And if you are looking to work on your photography this year – I highly recommend following along Alison and Greta’s 52 week #ThroughTheLensThursday project. They are fun and easy weekly prompts and you can join in anytime!


One more thing – my friend Alexandra has published a beautiful and important piece on the Huffington Post about How Our Society Raises Young Boys. I suggest popping over there today.


AND one more week to submit your stories on motherhood for our Twin Cities Listen To Your Mother Show. We would be honored if you shared your words with us. xo


Happy Saturday!