How I lost and rediscovered my self-image after having kids

This essay was originally published by The Washington Post on Sept. 16, 2016

Our culture’s obsession with weight, from diet fads to the thigh gap, takes a particular toll after childbirth.

According to medical books, a 25- to 35-pound gain during pregnancy is considered healthy. A woman becomes roughly 12 pounds lighter immediately after childbirth. The rest is supposed to just melt away.

But instead of fitting a statistical bell curve, many new mothers feel like outliers.

Continue reading “How I lost and rediscovered my self-image after having kids”


On Finding the Perfect Name for My Multicultural Son

A version of this essay was originally published by Kveller on August 4, 2016.

I’d known what I’d call my future daughter since I was a teenager.

But things got tricky with my son. I hoped to parcel out his Russian-American-Jewish heritage into one word, ensuring it’s pronounceable by Russian relatives without making him a laughingstock of his American peers.

Continue reading “On Finding the Perfect Name for My Multicultural Son”


To the socially awkward new mom

This post originally appeared on Babble.com, titled “When you’re socially awkward, mom groups are your worst nightmare” on June 15, 2016.

It’s Tuesday night and you are filled with dread. Tomorrow is mother’s group day, when 20 or more strangers with babies will gather at a suburban park or hospital rec room.

And as much as you crave the company of adults — particularly other new mothers to share your joys and frustrations — you can’t help but feel … well, awkward. On top of being hyper-conscious of your gargantuan t-shirt and the ponytail thrown together during your baby’s 6.5 minute-long nap, you’ve seen how unpredictable these gatherings can be. One could make a friend or witness a face-off between two exhausted moms over whose baby sleeps the longest or who’s hosted a larger play date – and why.

Continue reading “To the socially awkward new mom”

Okay with preschool dress code? Psst, you might be a little bit Russian

Turns out my kid’s preschool has rules. Not just your usual “Refrain from biting others, bringing allergens in your lunchbox and showing up with infectious diseases.”

It’s dress code rules.

Continue reading “Okay with preschool dress code? Psst, you might be a little bit Russian”

6 Parenting Lessons I Learned As a Restaurant Server

This post was originally published by Kveller on Sept. 13, 2016

I never thought waiting tables at a Moroccan restaurant in Manhattan had anything to teach me about kids. If you are a broke student who lives off a credit card and walks 30 blocks to save on subway fare, yet splurges on cocktails and believes fatherhood potential and artistic talent are the exact same thing, children are sort of not in the picture. Continue reading “6 Parenting Lessons I Learned As a Restaurant Server”

The Parenting Aptitude Quiz

Ever wonder how your parenting stacks up in our world of benchmarks and parenting philosophies? Take this quiz to find out, picking one best answer for each question.

1.Baby transportation: Baby wearing or stroller?

From Babycenter.com

a. Baby wearing forever! Or at least until he tells me he prefers to drive.

b. Stroller. My back hurts.

2.Manners: Your toddler said he hates you and threw goldfish crackers in your face. Your response:

From Babble.com

a. Discuss why throwing and name-calling is wrong, suggest postponing anti-parent angst until he is a teenager. Work with your toddler to pick up the goldfish from the floor together. Name the goldfish. Find an appropriate container for storing the goldfish. No, not the green cup. Incentivize as needed.

b. Deal when you have the energy. Pick up the goldfish yourself and eat them.

Continue reading “The Parenting Aptitude Quiz”

Mothers and babies are people too

Image from Pinterest

I know, I know, there’s been a lot of news coverage of babies lately.

Like a guy running for president who kicked a woman out from a rally because her child cried. (Hey lady, not like he’d let you pump milk at work either, which he thinks is disgusting. But hope you stick with the nationwide “Mothers for Trump” club. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither.)

Anyway, I’ll spare you from politics, gentle reader, and get right to the issue: the ridiculous division in our society into “moms and babies” and everyone else.

Continue reading “Mothers and babies are people too”

How to write a speech that doesn’t suck if you are a wife (or a husband) of a presumptive presidential nominee

Melania Trump gives a speech at the RNC convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016 (CNN photo)

Okay, let’s get a few things straight. Party affiliations aside, it’s neat that a wife of a presumptive presidential nominee was born outside of the U.S. and in Communist nation, no less. Gives her a global perspective (baby carrots don’t grow this way, most of the world doesn’t have paper towels, kids walk to school alone and survive). Also, don’t hate her for being beautiful. And the accent? Big deal, I got one too, even though we both spent most of our lives in the U.S. as citizens, some with better purses and a personal chef.

“Hey comrade, join our farming collective!” (From The Huffington Post)

Continue reading “How to write a speech that doesn’t suck if you are a wife (or a husband) of a presumptive presidential nominee”