Now I’m Mother Goose and Knesset MK Rachel Azaria gets it.

Mother Goose figures out the way.Recently, I made a conscious decision to give up.

It was a few weeks into my return from maternity leave, talking with younger mothers at work who were looking to me for answers.

I didn’t really have many. I gave some tips, some words of advice. I thought, maybe I could just be the Mother Goose. Come under my wing for a minute, have a seat, feel unjudged. Feel vulnerable and supported. Know I don’t have the answers. I don’t have solutions. I only have some acquired, coffee-stained wisdom wrapped in my daily insane struggle to keep up. 

That goes for coworkers, for friends, for younger moms, for my kids one day – who may have it even worse.

After that, I let out a long sigh, reached into the universe, and decided to be ok with the Struggle. Because I have no choice.

I had given up the last shred of hope hunt for a working parenting life mentor and decided to be an imperfect substitute for others.

Israeli MK Rachel Azaria (JPost)And tonight, Israeli Member of Knesset Rachel Azaria verbalized why: this is generational. This is fairly new. This is indicative and caused by a few concrete reasons she could list after having done her studies on the topic of differences between our generation’s parenting styles versus our parents’.

The following are my notes from tonight’s meetup with the MK via the Ima Kadima group, an organization run by a team of local Anglo-Israeli parents working to support and campaign for working, career-oriented mothers.

Difference between how we grew up and how we’re raising kids:

  • The public space was ours vs now.
  • The food was homemade vs now.
  • More mothers took off during early years.
  • They could live off one salary, at least for a few years.
  • We work more hours today.
  • The standards became unstable, smartphones, being available at night.
  • More cars in the 90s, more traffic. Kids used to play under buildings, now they are parking lots.
  • Everyone walked to gan… less cars.
  • Food is given to kids somewhere else, so we are not in charge.

In the meeting, Azaria covered three areas she’s been working on included in the list above:

  1. Food
  2. Public spaces
  3. Time

1. ADRESSING FOOD IN TZAHARON:
Azaria has worked on the legislation to make the food given healthier.
Also in two days they will pass committee as legislature that puts the food under the national standards and jurisdiction of the health ministry.
And then next week should pass for next year’s academic year.
Note the new law about no sweets in schools, ganim.

2. PUBLIC SPACES:
Azaria is working on urban planning better organized for children.
Trying to make it better for kids to walk to school, foster independence.
That we shouldn’t have to drive our kids to school all the time.

3. TIME:
Azaria is also tackling time. Being in the workforce with young kids. Three key questions:

A. How do you give parents more time?
B. How do you make it possible for both parents to be involved with the kids?
C. Where does the government take more responsibility for the kids?

A. How do you give parents more time?

1. Azaria extended vacation days from 10-12 recently. That was a big job.

2. Trying to meet with histadrut morim. Trying to work on yemai histaglut.

B. How do you make it possible for both parents to be involved with the kids?

1. Sha’at hanaka can be split.

2. Yemai machala for kids… so parents can switch off without penalties for having to pay for taking the days off. Now it’s combined. View it based on the child and family unit and not individual employee.

What else do we need to change so we view the child and not the parent? Something to split between two working parents? Azaria wants more suggestions of legislation.

C. Where does the government take more responsibility for the kids?

1. Prices of Tzaharon

Once ganim became subsidized, the iriyot jumped the prices of tzaharon… depends on city size, less in Jerusalem. More kids, price drops. “We will only be able to combat this after the budget.”

2. Maonot yom

Next term… too big. Need too much money.

3. Maternity leave

  • Maternity leave – People want to handle it but it’s very expensive. That’s the main problem.
  • No one has thought about it in a holistic way.
  • Not just number of weeks…
  • How do you bring in fathers?
  • How do you bring in employers? They pay chafifa… there’s a lot of choser vadaut.
  • It’s hard for employers. They need to plan, not allowed to ask but need to practically ask to manage your company.
  • What if you had an in between option where you can come back partly for a phase, easing for both the employer and the employee.
  • A few days for men at the least – to build it in… it’s significantly more expensive.

Challenges: 
**Giving flextime is hard to make a policy. It has to be up to workplaces.
**Tav chavrati for family friendly workplaces… again not policy… very hard to do.
**Changing perspective of employers… and what is the incentive for them? The research exists about productive employees…
**Hatavot for employers also hard… expensive… where do you start and end?
**Big companies versus small companies – harder for small companies to work it out and they need the hatavot more than the big companies.
**Daycare at company is a good idea but doesn’t work practically unless you live next to your work. Most people want daycare close to home.
**Tamat you are in between if you make too much but not enough… also Tamat is hard to find in many places.

Fun fact:

Azaria once hired a consultant who was pregnant at the time, to the shocked reactions of colleagues at the Knesset. As if she didn’t know what that could mean.

A favorite quote:

”I don’t like legislating laws that won’t be followed.” AKA, laws without practical meaning.

Catalyst for change:

Azaria’s video campaigns are the most watched in Israeli politics – more than even the Prime Minister’s (bless him for trying). And the reason is clear: she’s addressing one of the largest struggling demographics in our country: WORKING PARENTS.

What is #dinovember? And other jurassic questions.

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Is it 2016 and you’re still doing dinovember?

Is it 2016 and you’re still not doing dinovember?

Ok, point taken. So what is it, again?

writing dinosaur writes dinoA chance to tap into the creativity you haven’t accessed since childhood. Also, a chance to freak your kids out.

How does one do dinovember?

Here’s a quick how-to on Dinovember:

Step 1: November. Is it November? Yes.

Step 2: Dinosaurs.

Step 3: After your kids go to bed, release their toy dinosaurs from their pent up state and arrange them in some scene around the house.

Step 3a: Have fun with it.

Step 4: Keep your ear out for when your kids wake up and discover what the dinosaurs did last night.

Step 5: Repeat.

Do the kids know it’s you? They do, right? I mean, c’mon.

10755976_733806086696656_1576230030_nYou know what’s amazing about kids? There’s no One Truth for a kid. This can be possible, and also, this other thing can be possible. Or this thing is probably possible, but that doesn’t mean this other thing is definitely not possible.

I won’t be the one to destroy that reality for my kids, not now, anyway. It’s a gift we’re born with, and I’m sorry you lost yours so soon.

Wow, this is genius. You started this? You should write a book!

It is, and I didn’t, and the people who did, did. When I heard that a mom and dad in Kansas City started this, I was immediately signed up. Here’s the picture book they got out of it.

So how can I follow this? 

Follow the hashtag #dinovember at your nearest social media outlet. Or follow me on instagram, twitter or facebook.

You got me. I’ll share the love. 

Thanks on behalf of plastic toy dinos everywhere.

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From homeless wooden frame to family centerpiece: upcycle crafts!

Another craft complete, from start to finish!

A couple months ago I found a few naked, damaged wooden frames tossed by the trash and I took them home (cue huz’s eyeroll and kids’ nonstop questions).

This was a true team effort: I took the frames, daughter had been collecting flower petals on the side, huz got pinteresty and thought to hang photos.

So here’s what I did:

  1. Made my own mod podge, on the cheap, with as 15-NIS bottle of white glue and water (add 1 cup of water to 2 cups glue, and a veneer finish type material if you want gloss).
  2. Set down the petals and glued them (mother-daughter project) – I repeated this 3 or 4 times, covering over browner ones with fresh ones, adding tons of glue to make sure the petals wouldn’t crisp and fall off. You really can’t use too much glue for this. I do recommend collecting a ton of petals and using them soon after because they go brown.
  3. Staple-gunned string across the frame in the back.
  4. Got those cute little decorative clothespins ($6 for a pack of 100 on Amazon).
  5. Printed a bunch of photos in small squares so as not to crowd the frame background.

Win for upcycling! Win for teaching the kids about upcycling!

Win for annoying huz because now the kids insist on bringing impractical things home like giant broken tiles!

State of the obvious.

So there’s feature on twitter where it autoplays videos in your feed on mute.

I was scrolling through to pass time and one shows kids after a bombing in Hass. You see these kids urgently rushed to a van to be taken away. They’re crying, they’re calling out. It’s on mute for me.

Maybe that’s why I noticed this, of all things: missing teeth. The boy opens his mouth and I see he’s got that mark of childhood, the tooth gaps. maybe he’s in kindergarten like my daughter. Maybe the girl with the missing front tooth is in second grade, like my son.

Missing teeth is universal. every kid on earth loses their teeth.

But I don’t need to state the obvious… right?

[The video was here.]

Koala update: seven and a half

Did you hear the one about the kid that wanted to know everything about everything?

(Aside from Sid the Science Kid, which you’ve grown out of,) that’s… you.

I can’t wait to show you Wikipedia… and to catch you at 11pm with a flashlight under your covers reading in a Wikipedia spiral…

Huge milestone this past half-year: learning to dive. Much like everything else you care to try, you really dove deep into that one.

Trying over, and over, and over, (ima look!), and over, and over (ima look now!), and over until you really got it right.

Even when there was no water around…

You spent hard core quality time learning baseball with your grandpa and uncle. That’s four sports you’ve gotten into over the years.

This made me proud – you took this on, on your own. When we were busy, or asleep, or pretending to be asleep – you’d wake up, come down, and work a little bit more on your model airplane project. Minimal frustration makes a slightly more mature boy.

You started second grade, and I know you love it. I know, despite your token response ‘my favorite class is recess’ – I know you.

Learning is your favorite class.

Zooey update: six months

Even after three other kids…

Even after seven years of parenting…

Even after hundreds, if not thousands, of sleepless nights…

It just goes to show you can still be taught.

Zooey, every day that you move, grab, scoot, reach, crawl as quickly as you can,

clinging to the idea that you can keep up with everyone here,

grabbing the bra by the horns…

…is another day you’ve taught me something new.

Bebe update: five and a half years

Bebe,

We enjoyed such a great summer together. It was the highlight of the last half year. Your curiosity is my favorite thing I discovered about you. You’ve got to touch and smell and feel and wonder at everything. It’s your age, and it’s you.

Wearing a flowery dress to feel pretty, while exploring a botanical garden to feel nature. That’s you.

Dressing up as Snow White, to pretend your a ganenet to dwarves… that’s you, too.

Your science projects – that’s you, too. I think the science here was trying to figure out how many stones could fit on this plate filled with water before the water spilled, but it also just could be that I completely missed the point.

And what’s also you is painting your nails and together, getting excited about the newest color we’ve got.

And like I said, getting dressed up for a mother daughter day at the Botanical Gardens, where you found colors and butterflies and beetles and frogs. You’re also so outdoors.

And that extends to the beach, which I think is pretty funny since when we first brought you, you were overwhelmed by the waves and the sounds and the textures – until you weren’t. Now you are the beach, too.

You are so water – being with and in and around water – running through sprinklers, floating in pools, pouring it, dumping it, splashing in it.

And another texture you love.. a good messy dessert.

And a good messy juice-making.

You are so many things, Bebe, and you are also Super Gwirl, and as long as you keep being everything you are, you will always be.

Nettles update: two and a half years

Nettles.

When you’re not around, I think about you. Randomly. You pop up in my thoughts.

I was thinking the other day if you had this much character a year ago. I guess you did but in smaller bites?

These days, the bites are getting chunkier (and I don’t mean because of your dinosaur teeth). You’ll ‘bite’ into anything – you’ll try whatever is happening du jour.

Can it be sat on? Can it be sat in? Can it be carried? Can it be dragged up the top of the couch and thrown? Can it be climbed? Can it make siblings cry? Can it make mom and dad laugh?

Chances are, yes. Always. Because whatever you want to happen, you make happen.

You’ll get what’s yours, and then some. Your eyes, man. You’re going to have to reign in those eyes. Or not… your eyes are your magic.

And your magic makes us crack a smile when you know you’ve got us cornered.  You have a sense for reading people. For turning it for your benefit.

It’s a life skill you’ll have to hone and develop. It could be huge.

I love your magic. Hold on to your magic.