Column Central

We are so excited to welcome a talented team of regular, specialized columnists to share their musings, humor, advice, and expertise with us. From thoughts on what it means to parent with mental illness to funny anecdotes about the day-to-day aspects of life with children, there is a column for every reader. Check out their posts in the feed below, or click on each of their columns in the drop-down menu of this page for more!

Pickles for President

Once again, in what seems like a flash, we are gearing up for the rite of passage August always brings; that is right, we are talking about going back to school. This year instead of choosing which superhero or princess will be emblazoned on children’s backpacks and lunchboxes, or weighing […]

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Found Letter Confirms Mermaids are Real.

CHANNEL 17 EXCLUSIVE   It was another ordinary day for 27-year-old Kenz Callaghan. She ate her normal breakfast of an egg in an avocado before taking her dog for a walk on the beach. This was her every day routine, but what she encountered on this particular trip was anything […]

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Local Plumbers Write Plea for Help.

Dear Editor of the Mushroom Kingdom Tribune: I hope this letter finds you well. Thank you for allowing this piece to run. My twin brother and I run a plumbing business that covers all of Mushroom Kingdom. We are running out of options on how to proceed with doing our […]

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With that act of sheer defiance and impressive maneuvering of hors d'oeuvres, I knew I had found the one I was meant to be with forever.

Missed Connection: Me, Prince Charming. You, a Blonde Woman Who Left Behind a Shoe.

With that act of sheer defiance and impressive maneuvering of hors d’oeuvres, I knew I had found the one I was meant to be with forever.

5,578 Miles To Heal My Broken Heart

“Not all those who wander are lost.” My father took his last breath at home. No hospitals, machines, wires or drugs. “I want to die peacefully in my own bed” he said. We honored his wish and with the help of a hospice nurse, he passed with all of us […]

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How it is ever a bad thing when kids are loved? And two people say, hey, rather than being sad and alone, I want to do this life thing with you? Our world is a safer, stronger world when people aren't isolated, ostracized, and made to feel ashamed, but instead are valued and loved and accepted.

When Everyone Has a Circle, Our World Is a Better World

I’m a yoga pants girl who rarely wears makeup. But man do I love a good wedding. Getting dressed to the nines, slipping into some sexy heels, and imbibing all the wine—I soak up every minute. Known for my signature one arm up “woo-hoo!” move (which hasn’t changed since college, […]

He Protected Me From The Grave

She sat quietly on my bed, trying to calm my tears, as I wept into the pillow. We barely knew each other, but as my new roommate she was aware that my dad had recently died. She had heard me crying and came to check on me. I finally felt myself […]

My Father’s Hands

My father’s hands are much like my own. We share the same stubby fingers, the same thick thumbs. Our smallest digits, the pinky fingers, spin off at an alarming angle at the last knuckle although my father’s are more pronounced than my own. They are good hands and ones that […]

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I Married A Masked Stranger

At twenty-three years old, I was already the mother of two. Newly separated from my abusive ex-fiancee, naive about life, love, and everything in between, and scared shitless of adulthood, I was a hot mess and desperate for safety and security. That’s when I met Him. He was way out […]

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How My Split Second Instincts Saved Me From My Attacker

He targeted me the moment I sat down. Did I look like easy prey as I was rushing to work? Unaware of him at first, I found a seat and took out my phone to listen to music on the way uptown. As the express five train left the hustle […]

The Other Mother-Confronting An Abusive Parent And Why It Is Your Business

Her words were so cruel I thought I must have heard wrong. I was rushing through Target to get some inexpensive flip-flops to wear around the house and had just begun scanning the shoe aisle when I first heard her voice. Her words, dripping with hate, seemed to fall without […]

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The Struggle to Accept That Your Teen Is Not Like You

Our children are in some very ways very like us and in others very different. The tween and teen years may be difficult for parents; in witnessing theirs, our own memories may resurface. We may want to spare our children that awkward stage, when we said and did all the […]

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The Surprising Way Parents’ Memories Protect Teens

Looking at small babies, it is easy to think only of the positives. I remember the quiet times: the cozy cuddles, the soft pats, the sweet coos, that unmistakable baby smell. I don’t let my mind go to the shrill screams, the smell of the diaper pail, the sleepless nights. […]

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The Apple Tree and the Grave

“Daddy what’s that sound?” my daughter Darcy asks. “Crickets,” I respond in the clipped manner of a father who just wants his child to go to bed. “I don’t like them,” she answers with the certainty that only a six year old can muster. It’s a new and strange sound […]

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Enthusiasm for Childhood Favorites Is Not Limited to Old Folks

As our kids enter middle school a seriousness descends on them. Anything associated with small children is “childish” and must be forsaken. As a stay at home parent who was present when friends were over, I noted that this opinion was flexible; it really only came out when peers were […]

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Why I Refuse to Make Their Decisions

One of the joys of being a parent is watching your children grow and learn. There are what I call “lightbulb moments,” when you can almost see the connection being made, that they have figured out the hows or whys. The nature of these moments may change, but the joy […]

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Hungry For More Than This Adventureless Marriage

After a decade of marriage, birthing four mini-me’s, and turning into a SAHM, I am beyond hungry. Starving, actually. My appetite has become insatiable and my cravings unsurmountable. Yet, it isn’t food that I am in need of to satisfy these hunger pangs. Not in the least. I am hungry […]

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15 Teen-Approved Ways to Say I Love You

Each February, after we get over the excitement of a weather-predicting rodent, the world becomes full of pink and red hearts and silly bow-and-arrow-carrying cherubs. It is natural around this time to think about ways to let our loved ones know how we feel. Though teenagers sometimes act as though […]

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When You Know You’re Parenting Teenagers

  The years tend to sneak up. One day you bring a newborn home, and then you blink and have a sassy school age child. Another blink and you have a small adult in front of you. Of course children grow and become more independent all this time, but it […]

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The Truth About Manners – They Still Matter

When our children are small, we teach them basic manners, things like saying “Please” and “Thank you” and “Excuse me” when sounds uncontrollably escape their bodies. We spend years reminding them to not interrupt, to not use foul language (especially around Grandma) and to eat like civilized beings. While most […]

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Whiny snowflake liberal marcher here, proudly explaining why we bothered with this silly little thing on Saturday that turned out 2.9 million people world-wide.

I Deserve Better. So Do You. This is Why We Marched.

They told us to shut up. They told us to sit down. They told us that even though he says he can grab a woman, and even though the most anti-LGBTQ politician in the country is his VP, and even though he mocked a person with a disability, and even […]

I Think I Know My Kids Pretty Well

Some parents complain about how their children will not connect with them on social media, or have them blocked.  I have also heard other parents declare that they would not allow such behavior, since they pay for the phone, etc. This makes me a little sad, but really, how can […]

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8 Secrets to a Good Relationship with Your Teen

The teen years are different. Even after living with your children for more than a decade, you find your relationship changes. Sure, you have dealt with growing pains and increasing demands for independence, but things change in a more subtle way as they hit the teen years, in ways that […]

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Just Below the Surface: My Relationship with Wine

I have this frequent nightmare where I’m underwater, just below the surface of a pool. The water is as grey as the skies above, and I’m cold. So cold. There are brown autumn leaves resting on top of the water, gently rippling from the breeze above. Somehow I know that […]

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Dear Abby

Dear Abby, I need your help and guidance on a sensitive subject. I need your wisdom and advice and do not plan on holding back about my issues and I hope you will not hold back on your thoughts. My children and husband are absolutely out of control. I casually […]

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For the New Year, Let’s Resolve to Set Achievable Goals

The end of the year is a good time to both reflect and plan. There is much talk about resolutions and just as many jokes about how long these promises will last. We hear so much about New Year’s Resolutions that it sounds like making them something we must do, […]

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Embracing the Darkness of Depression

Little can be done to change the fact that my brain is not hardwired as it should be, but plenty can be done to cope with the effects of the disease. Medications, therapies, and self-care techniques, coupled with a toolbox full of how to’s and what not to do’s learned […]

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Enjoy The Moments When The College Kids Are Home

Nowadays, a few weeks a year have become my “collecting weeks.” With two currently in college, in geographically opposite directions, one an hour and the other five hours away, this means three days of travel and loading/unloading the car. It’s a hassle and an expense, but, to quote a popular […]

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Surviving the Holidays with Toddlers

Holidays can make you want to pull your hair out. So can toddlers. Combine them and by the middle of December, your insides will burn like they’re at war with each other. You’ll be running around with leftover fruitcake crumbs stuck to your chin, babbling nonsense about never celebrating another holiday for the […]

Keeping the Magic in Christmas When The Little Ones Are Grown

There are definitely benefits to having only older children, but sometimes I miss having little ones around. Once they all got past a certain age, Christmas changed. It lost some of its magic. Sure we continued with traditions, but it wasn’t quite the same. I don’t think there are many […]

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One Little Birdie

It was an ordinary fall day; full of puffy clouds and a cool breeze that smelled faintly of leaves. My window was down and my short, dark hair was snapping back and forth, lightly stinging my freckled cheeks. Tortoise colored sunglasses covered half my face and kept the sun’s rays from reaching […]

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6 Ways to Encourage Kindness This Holiday Season

In my experience, teens tend to be altruistic. This may sound strange to some, as these same individuals are also self-absorbed and seem to be oblivious to much of what goes on around them, but I stand by my statement. The teens I know care about people. They care about […]

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What goes around comes around

I heard the line click when my mother picked up the phone. “Hello?” She answered in her familiar, warm voice. It put my fried brain at ease straightaway. “Mom?” I cried out. “Oh, honey, what is wrong? Are the children all right?” Her voice was dripping with a combination of […]

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Follow the Yellow Path

She sat quietly on the toilet lid, hoping the kids wouldn’t find her. It was only a matter of time before one of her three children blew her cover, but she really needed space and there was nowhere else to hide. “How did I get here?” she asked while putting […]

7 Reasons I Am Thankful My Kids Are Older

Babies and small children are precious, and I tend to get a bit nostalgic for days gone by. My children are all adults now; the two youngest are in college. Having spent almost of all of my adult life as a parent, I am just now discovering what it is […]

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Working Together Is How to Guarantee Success

When my kids were in school, they sometimes were assigned group projects. Many times, the teacher selected the groups, rather than allowing students to always work with their friends. (This may make the work less fun, but when you friend is a slacker, you appreciate this.) Sometimes, these projects caused […]

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How to Find Stories That Will Make Them Put Down the Smartphone

Last month was Family History Month. As we move into November and December, many of us are likely to get together with family, both old and young. In today’s busy families, the holidays may be the only time generations get to spend time together.  This can be a cause for […]

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Are Teens Too Old to Trick-or-Treat?

Teenagers occupy a strange in-between world. They are no longer children, but they are not yet adults. They are quick to abandon “babylike” things, then almost as quick to regret that they have done so. It is during the teen years that many of us start to wonder why we […]

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What This Presidential Campaign Is Teaching Us About Parenting

This presidential election has been like no other. Animosity and discord have grown tremendously over the past year. There has been name calling and mudslinging. One might say this is common in elections, but this year, things seem personal.  I believe that this election is teaching us some things. We […]

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I Found Pain Relief With Medical Marijuana

Living with a disease that causes chronic pain was never part of my life plans. I couldn’t have prepared for it. Even if I had known what was in store beforehand. Pain. Limitations. Treatments. Therapies. Depression. They’re all part of the package. Finding relief while learning to navigate around my […]

How to Cope When Your Teen Says, “Don’t Call Me Pumpkin!”

Many parents have pet names for their children, often from the time they are young. Things like Princess, Slugger, Buddy, Bubba, and yes, Pumpkin. Sometimes these nicknames are then picked up by other family members and friends, even when they don’t know the origin. Some nicknames stick through life, others […]

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Are You Excited for Parents’ Weekend?

This month is when colleges around the country invite parents to visit for Parents’ Weekend. The new students have had enough time to settle in and get comfortable with their surroundings and are ready to see Mom and Dad without being tempted to hide in their luggage on the return […]

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7 Things Parents Need to Know About Applying to College

You may remember applying for college back in the dark ages (before every home had internet). Back then you had to research schools, which often involved a library trip or the purchase of the thick and pricey college “Bible,” Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges (which I just learned now has […]

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How Involved Should Parents Be in the College Search?

If you are the parent of a junior or senior in high school, your child has likely gotten or will soon get more mail delivered to your home in the past few months than in their entire lifetime. Many of this will be in the form of glossy brochures and […]

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My Reality-Too Young To Have Kids

There is no doubt in my mind that I had my children too young. It didn’t seem that way at the time, but I know better now. Just 21 years old when I had my first, I was naive and hopeful that everything would work itself out on its own […]

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Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott are the latest hashtags you will see flood your newsfeed. But yeah, let's keep saying racism isn't a problem.

Two More Innocent Black Men Shot (The Next Hashtags)

Have you seen #terencecrutcher and #keithscott start to flood your newsfeed? Is it getting hard to keep them all straight in your mind? Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. That’s what we do now, right? We watch the videos of innocent black people die because of their perceived […]

7 Reasons to Be Involved in Scouting as a Teen

  Everyone knows about Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. After all, they are the two largest youth-serving organizations in the United States, with more than 4 million youth members between the two. Even so, membership starts to drop off as they enter middle and high school, for a number of […]

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Dear Pre-Baby Me: How A Baby Will Change Your Marriage

Dear Pre-Baby Me: When you and your spouse bring your newborn home from the hospital, you’ll be prepared for your world to change. What you won’t be expecting, though, is how your marriage will change after you have a baby. After several years with your spouse, you’ll feel as though you have […]

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Survival Guide For The Football Addict’s Wife

My husband has addiction issues, but not to drugs or alcohol like you probably thought upon reading that. His addiction can only be fed during the same six months of the year, sending him into withdrawals for the other six months. He jumps aboard the bandwagon with all the others […]

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How to Be a Hands-Off Parent

As your child heads into senior year, you may be thinking ahead, to what lies beyond, as well as looking back, to how far you both have come. It is natural to want to hold on, just a little longer, but if you haven’t already, this is a good time […]

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