Growing up in the early ’80s, I was spanked by my parents now and again. I’ve never considered this to be that much of a big deal — every kid I knew got the same treatment if they pushed their parents too far — and I doubt that infrequent spanking had any long-lasting effect on me. I have a healthy relationship with my parents. I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, or suffered from hyperactivity, aggression, cognitive difficulties or oppositional behavior.
My relationship with antidepressants began over 20 years ago. Back then, as an anxious teenager crying in my doctor’s office, I had no idea that they would become such an integral part of my life.
I spent a long time wrestling with my need for medication. But you can have as much therapy as you can handle and self-care yourself silly, but for some people, nothing gets rid of that big black cloud — or at least lifts it enough that you can take a breath — like a daily pill.
When it comes to self-care, I’ve tried it all. Hot baths, hot yoga, trips to hot climates. Retail therapy, sun therapy, cat therapy, talk therapy. Massages, mindfulness, acupuncture, reiki. I felt pretty chill for an hour or so after a massage, sufficiently revitalized after working up a sweat with sun salutations and downward dogs—but the positive effects never lasted. For all my forays into the world of wellness none ever seem to make a real dent in the anxiety and bouts of depression I’ve been living with since my teens.
The timeout technique, used by parents for decades, exploded into the public domain in the early 2000s thanks to TV’s “Supernanny” Jo Frost, who rebranded it as the “naughty step” technique. Supernanny may have left our screens, but many parents still rely on timeouts when their kids misbehave. A growing number of experts, though, advise against it.
My sobriety doesn’t define me. I’m a whole lot more than a sober person. I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a feminist. But sobriety is a thread running throughout all of those other things. It makes me better at all those other things. It’s given me a greater understanding of what it is to be all those other things, and be the best at them I can be.
When I was first diagnosed with depression, many people—even those who knew me well, who cared about me—responded with the opposite of what I needed to hear. This was partly because they didn’t understand, but also partly because we live in a world where the prevailing view is that mental illness is a weakness and that a person with depression is someone who can’t leave their house, sleeps all the time, lacks enthusiasm, and neglects personal care. Most of the time, this wasn’t me at all.
Choosing a baby name is potentially one of the best parts of being pregnant — at the very least, it’s a nice distraction from heartburn and swollen ankles, but it can also get pretty complicated. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Baby-naming is a big deal. Your kid’s name is a piece of their identity for their entire life, so it’s something that deserves a lot of thought. Some people even have their baby names set in stone long before they get the positive pregnancy test result.
One of the best parts of pregnancy should be choosing a name for your baby. And it can be — if you don't get overwhelmed by all the choices and you and your partner are pretty much on the same page when it comes to these things. My top tip as someone who has already named two kids and is currently growing a third in her uterus who's estimated to make an appearance in around eight weeks' time is don't tell anyone your baby name until there's an actual breathing, squirming, puking person attached to it.
In addition to setting an example of how to build a strong relationship and make a marriage last (spoiler: it takes a lot of hard work), actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are strong advocates for mental health awareness. Bell, 38, has lived with anxiety and depression since she was in college, and Shepard, 43, celebrated 14 years of sobriety in September 2018.
I’ve done some nerve-wracking things in my life. But meeting my future stepchildren for the first time had my stomach in knots I’d never experienced before. Knocking on the door of my boyfriend’s flat, I heard them before I saw them. Three high-pitched voices, six racing feet. At that time, they were 3, 4 and 5. Three little blonde-haired boys who would later, 18 months later, join my son and daughter to witness the exchanging of rings, the celebration of us becoming an official family of seven.
IDK about you, but it seems like a new sexually transmitted disease pops up every other day—so when a new one reportedly started making the rounds in 2010, it didn't seem that far-fetched. The one in question back then? Blue waffle disease—basically an STD that made parts of a woman's vulva turn blue (yes, really).
When you hear the words “electroconvulsive therapy,” you might picture the scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest where Jack Nicholson’s character, Randle Patrick McMurphy, is subjected to barbaric, unjustified shock treatment as a punishment rather than as a mental health therapy. Cultural depictions like this have attached a stigma to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation treatments, but the reality is quite different.
Some things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, Queer Eye's Antoni and heated debates about guacamole, and Instagram influencers and detox teas. Really though—scroll through Instagram and you're bound to find a reality star or 10 posting ads for one of their fave "slimming" drinks. But...what is it about those detox teas in particular that make celebs swear by them for weight loss? Are they really better for you than your standard cup of Lipton?
We live in a world that glorifies chaos under the pretense of reassurance and inclusivity. Your house is a mess? Totally OK. Your kids are a mess? So are everyone else's. You're a mess? It's all OK. Bring on the mess. Yay for hot mess mom.
And it is OK if you're genuinely OK with it, and not because popular culture tells you hot mess mom is the most "normal" type of mom to be. Because she's not the only type of mom, and they're all equally "normal."
Does it take a village to raise a child? Maybe not, but the more help you have, the better. It’s not always about practical support (although the value of on-call babysitters should never be underestimated). Certain types of people can make the Solo Mom journey easier, more rewarding, and a lot more fun. And if you have someone in your life who answers to more than one of the following descriptions, consider yourself blessed!