Do we mom’s deserve a right to privacy?


Would a warning like this keep my computer files safe from children’s eyes???

“Get off my computer!” I impatiently bark at my 12-year-old son, Levi. He raised his guilty paws from the keyboard as if a masked robber had surprisingly cornered him and yelled, “Put up your hands!” I moved into his place and started pounding away at an e-mail I had neglected to send earlier in the day.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you,” I later apologized. “It’s just frustrating that you’re always on my laptop. After all, you have your own.”

With that rebuke, Levi slunk away without a word. I felt badly. Mothers are supposed to be selfless and giving. Why am I so irritated and resentful about sharing an electronic device with my kid.

I checked my e-mail as I pondered this maternal quandary. That’s when I saw it; an e-mail from the practice coordinator at our Orthodontic office. It was an introductory sales letter inviting us to meet Dr. Sams and tour the office. This would have been a lovely invitation had we not been already been seeing this Doctor for over two years. I was livid.

My fingers snapped to attention and without effort I typed back a snarky response. “Dear Jenny,” I wrote, “It might behoove you to pay better attention to whom you are sending an introductory letter like this so that you do not inadvertently send it to people who are already patients. Trust me, it makes us feel insignificant.” Then, a captive of my momentary rage, I deliberately hit “send” and watched my haughty response disappear into cyberspace.

Levi was still sulking across the room. “I’m sorry, buddy,” I told him, “I shouldn’t have yelled at you. What were you doing on my computer anyway?”

“Oh, I was just looking back through all of your old e-mails,” he explained. “There are e-mails from like three years ago. Don’t you ever throw stuff in the trash?”

Suddenly a horrifying realization overtook me. “Oh no,” I thought. Yet another Debra moment of leaping to the erroneous conclusion. I re-opened my e-mail and saw the appalling truth. That e-mail from Jenny was in fact from 2010. It was her warm invitation to us to meet Dr. Sams and visit his office. I did it again! I’m like a an emotional Tourette’s patient. I just emote at people randomly, without a shred of rationale for my outbursts. Shit. This is soooooo embarrassing.

“Levi,” I calmly pronounced, “Why would you look up my old e-mails? That’s weird and kind of…creepy.”

“I like to learn stuff about myself when I was younger. Plus now I can read e-mails you wouldn’t let me read back then.”

That actually sounded kind of reasonable. It wasn’t until I was in bed a few hours later that I started to feel like his behavior was completely inappropriate and uncomfortably invasive. I nudged my husband, Mark, who was snoring next to me.

“Huh? What’s wrong?” He bolted upright.

“Do you think it’s okay for me to tell Levi he can’t use my computer and that he is never allowed to read my e-mails? I just feel like I should have some semblance of privacy in my own home. I mean before we had internet and e-mail it wouldn’t have been okay for a kid to rifle through his mom’s mementos hidden away in a box in her closet, would it? So just because everything is electronic these days that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have clear boundaries and restrictions. Right?

A loud snore wafted through the room. He had immediately fallen back to sleep, which seemed to be a fairly common response to my pontificating. I was on my own with this one.

The following morning on the ride to school I told Levi that my computer and email were off limits, that I needed to have some privacy, that not everything about parents should be accessible to their children.

He said he understood and apologized. “But you know, mom,” he said, “There is something really cool about reading all your old blogs and plays and e-mails. I get to really know you, in a way most kids never know their moms. That’s pretty awesome.”

Suddenly the privacy invasion felt a little less irksome. The haunting truth that at any moment adolescence could rear its ugly head and make me the least fascinating creature on the planet, was a reality too ominous to ignore. I felt badly, again. Maybe I had over-reacted.

But I didn’t turn back. I should have a right to my privacy, right? I’m an adult woman who doesn’t want to share every detail of my life with my 12-year-old son. That’s reasonable.

This is one of those issues on which I wish I could take a poll. Do you have personal boundaries in your home that protect your privacy or is everything fair game? I really need some good old fashioned girl-talk on this issue so please, share!

Benign neglect

imgres-5I feel guilty. I mean for the past few years I’ve religiously written a weekly blog that happily gets sent out to hundreds of awesome subscribers. But I’ve been inundated with work deadlines, life, family responsibilities, etc…And I’ve neglected my blog. It’s actually painful to come back after this kind of inadvertent vacation.

It’s like that cousin you’ve been meaning to call for a few weeks, then a few months, then it’s like seven years and you’re estranged for no real reason other than the awkwardness of not wanting to call after a two week hiatus.

The truth is, I haven’t had any terribly impressive, prolific or provocative ideas in the past two weeks. And I am vehemently against anyone who blogs about the inane trivialities of day to day living. Like what’s with those people who send out five, six, even 10 new blogs or tweets every day? Really? Do they honestly believe anyone cares? Hey, bloggers, we are deleting your frickin’ posts before even reading them if you’re inundating us with multiple reminders of how banal your everyday life is.

The same goes for Facebook. I mean, come on. Who gives a crap what you ate for lunch or where you went with your family or how many times you’ve watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.” NOBODY is interested. I actually stopped going to FB because I have several “friends” who post incessantly about inane nonsense. Sure I could have “unfriended” or “defriended” them or whatever it’s called. But I’m even more opposed to confrontation than I am anti-triviality.

So I remain silently devoted to all of you. Forgive my temporary lapse in the epiphany arena. Surely the muse will attend to me at some point. Then, and only then, shall I pick up the pen (or rather strike the keyboard) to share my deep and philosophical revelations.

Happy Chanukah!


If I'm so sure of myself, why do I have this idiotic expression on my face?

This morning I discovered my 11 year old son, Levi, curled up in our big King size bed, both dogs on either side of him, with my laptop open and a smile from ear to ear.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Reading all of your old blogs,” he announced proudly. “I love this entry from Passover last year.”

I suddenly got nervous and wondered if there was anything I’d written that I’d prefer him not to read. Of course that was an inane concern, considering I’ve never stopped him from reading the blog before. But somehow, the idea of my entire blog retrospective felt alarming to me.

I’ve been told, on more than one occasion, from more than one concerned observer, that I ought not to allow Levi to read my blog. The issues are often personal, often focused on my insecurities, my inner conflicts about motherhood and life and love. People have vehemently argued that this is not appropriate reading material for my children.

Well, I agree that there are several I’d prefer Eli, my 8 year old, not yet have access to. But since he’s shown zero interest in reading them up to this point, I’m not terribly concerned about him. But I like having Levi read them. It gives him a window into my soul that allows him to know me at a much more meaningful and personal level; in a way most children never know their parent. It lets him understand why I love him and his brother so much, why I’m proud or angry or frustrated by their behavior, why I struggle so desperately to do right by them. And while today a blog entry might seem little more than a silly story to him, the older he gets, the more meaning he’ll derive from some of these pieces. That will be of great value when he’s older, when I’m not around anymore, when he looks back to unravel the threads of his childhood and see how they fit together to comprise the tapestry of his adult life.

Levi giggles at some of the stories I share about him and his brother and their daily antics. He was moved to tears by one piece I’d written about my father. He loves that his life is chronicled, along with my own, in this easily accessible written format that he can sign onto and read whenever he feels the desire. Sure these tales are revealing. But I’m not trying to fool him or anyone into believing that I’m some sort of maternal caricature who makes perfect chocolate chip cookies, knows exactly what to do at every parenting juncture, and never loses her temper during a tot’s temperamental tantrum. That’s just not who I am. He obviously knows that from real life observation, why futilely attempt to snow him into believing otherwise?

My boys will have to accept me for who I really am. And I’m fully prepared to disclose that reality to them every day we’re together. And since I also happen to be extremely introspective, self-critical, and neurotic, a combination of traits that allow me to obsess, judge and analyze every maternal action and personal foible on an ongoing basis, they get a glimpse inside the maternal mind that may, one day, help them as they embark on their own parenting journeys.

I may have blown it on the baby book thing. Might have forgotten to religiously mark the giant Sunflower growth chart on the wall by the laundry room every six months. I might even have failed to bring the video recorder to more than one school play, pageant or parade. But when my kids look back at their lives, they will know, from my writings, who I was, what I believed in, and how their extraordinary presence brought meaning, joy and magic to my world.

They like me, they really like me…


Good news on the “is anybody out there?” front. I received this delightful award today from Sometimes Meaningful Ramblings and am more than happy to “pay it forward.”

Check out SMR @  (

And now…the envelope please. Here are my award recipients. They’re cutting edge, well written and just a little bit tilted, which must explain why I like them.

Red Vinyl Shoes 

dante, degreed    

savingtaniasprivates  h


a simple kind of chaos       (

behind the ‘Zine   

not drowning, mothering

just mothering through  


Now for the rules for accepting this award…

1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they’ve been chosen.

Also, please don’t feel obligated to accept the award. I like your blogs and wanted to share.

I’ve been a bad blogger…

Ok, I’m sorry. I’ve let you down. I’ve taken this relationship for granted and stopped trying to build it up on a daily basis. I’ve neglected you, disappointed you, abandoned you. I’m an idiot. We had something really great and I blew it. Please, give me another chance. I will devote the time you deserve to making this right. It wont happen again. I’m here for you, honestly. You can count on me. I’m rededicating myself to us.

What? Right now? Well, I don’t have any great insights right now. I’ll…I’ll come up with something. I swear. I wont fail you. Just give me a day or two, okay? Well, how ’bout a few hours? Alright, I’m on it.

New meaningful blog filled with pithy, thoughtful insights pending.