I don’t do advice. Really. I call that category unAdvice Toolbox for a reason. I’m a stranger on the Internet–why the hell would you take advice from me? You shouldn’t.

So here’s how I want you to take these essays. We’re sitting in my messy living room—probably the kitchen, actually, because there are crash mats and trapeze bars in the living room, and the kids are hanging upside down from them—or we’re sprawled on a blanket under a bright blue sky on the Common, drinking coffee and eating chocolate, and we’re talking. I’m telling you my stories. You’re telling me yours. Neither one of us knows “better”; neither one of us has the answer. We’re both on the journey; we’re both searching. Maybe we can help each other out.


The  posts that made me mini-famous and probably brought you here:

I’m going to do everything I can to convince my daughter NOT to be a stay-at-home mom. Want to know why? Some of you do… and others, don’t even want to think about it…

“Mittens?” Probably the best thing I’ve ever written. FRESHLY PRESSED

They tell you “It gets easier.” They lie. Just read it. I could give you the teaser… but just read it.

The Authoritative New Parents’ Guide to Sex After Children, Redux. I tell you how to have more sex. You’re welcome.

“I just want my kids to be happy!” Really? I don’t. Here’s why… Read it before you call me a bad parent.

The outrageous post that broke the Interwebs and will make you either love me or hate me forever:

The AP Hair Style: I don’t brush my children’s hair. It’s a massive philosophical thing. Really. I outrage control freaks everywhere by saying kids should have dominion over their hair. But did it make you think? Did it?

…and, the two posts that indirectly address some of the fall-out from its impact:

What defines you as a parent? (Nothing By The Book, September 3, 2013)

When I am an old woman, I’m not going to complain about young people (Nothing By The Book, August 27, 2013)

The tough beginnings

“Why isn’t it natural? Why isn’t anything about parenting and mothering natural?” Struggling with breastfeeding? Parenting not coming to you “naturally”? Pissed off at Mother Nature, society and the Earth Girl next door? Read this.

The ultimate secret behind parenting: it’s evolution, baby. The title really says it all. But read the full post anyway.

Any way they have to come… : my token birth story. For all of you whose births did not go according to the master plan. It’s okay. All that matters is that they get here.


The 2 a.m. phone call: why sleeping through the night is irrelevant. Fixated on baby sleeping through the night? Here’s why you should let it go.

Terrific Terrifying toddlers

When Toddlers Attack. (Previously published as “That Hitting Thing.”) Have a toddler who hits? Afraid to socialize with other mothers, because they all have perfect, sweet children? Think the hitting stage is unique—or all your fault? Read this.

Sunshine of our lives, or, how toddlers survive. Sometimes, people think I have this laid back approach to parenting because my kids are easy. Ha! Read this. And then, read this: The rarest song of all.

The day I stopped reading parenting books. My personal moment of liberation. Read it. Then tell me yours.

How we teach children to lie. It starts with toilet training. And continues into their teens and adulthood. Do you want to know why they lie? Because we teach them we don’t want to hear the truth…

Preschooler no longer: the challenges of Five, Six, Seven and Eight

Embracing Chaos: unParenting unResolutions. Never mind the twos. They’re a walk in the park compared to my boys at 3.5. Let’s talk chaos…

Ferocious Five. Caught off-guard by the intensity–immense selfishness–fiveness of your five-year-old? Read this.

Five is hard, or attachment parenting the older child… Ages and stages throwing you for a loop? Wondering if it’s possible to attachment parent beyond the sling? I hear you. This is how we got through it.

Searching for Strategies for Sensitive Seven. Living with an intensive, sensitive seven-year-old for whom life is a vale of tears? Walk this leg of the journey with me.

Emotional Eight. And after Sensitive Seven, comes Emotional Eight…

Ice cream discipline and Love letter discipline: practical examples of what to do instead of pushing the punish button. You might also want to check out “What do you mean you don’t punish your kids, you permissive freak?” And lest you think I’m too theoretical: Surviving 3.5 and 5.5: a cheat sheet.

When kids exclude. Frankly, it’s easier to cope with when your kids are excluded than when they are the ones doing the excluding. But it’s a playground rite of passage. How do you handle it?

How focused attention, freely given, changes everything. I’m a big fan of un-helicopter, on-the-edges, wholesome neglect parenting. Most of the time. Sometimes, you’ve got to do this…

Existential angst as they grow

A love letter to the boy who’ll set the world on fire. Confused why your nine, 10, 11 year-old (boy) is wracked by existential angst? Think he has no right to be? Oh, baby–he’s suffering, truly. Find out why.

How I got deprogrammed and learned to love video games. There’s a reason he loves video games as much as he does. I explain–and help you connect to his love.

What children mean when they say “I’m bored.” It’s not at all what you think. Listen carefully…

Life’s rhythms

In Defence of Routines. The role of routine in an anything but routine life.

10 habits for a happy home from the house of permissiveness and cool chaos. Hampered somewhat by the fact that I’m responding to someone else’s 10 habits. Maybe I should have called it anti-habits? Why don’t you read it and tell me what you think… or write your own version.

Need a new bedtime routine? It’s not rocket science, really. The short version: stop doing the thing that doesn’t work…

It’s not about balance: creating your family harmony. When people talk about “balancing” children’s and parents’ needs, it raises my hackles. Here’s how I reframe it. And this is what “harmony” and “family-centred” looks like in our house: Defining family-centred, in pictures.

On the delicate art of running away… and always coming back. I run away from family and obligations to ensure I never run away permanently. What do you do?

My favourites…

A “lost” year: on standing still, moving forward, stepping back (Nothing By The Book, June 18, 2014)

I wear the skanky dress because I want to… (Nothing By The Book, May 6, 2014)

Why insomniacs, obsessives, the mildly neurotic and the otherwise troubled and imperfect make better parents (Nothing By The Book, November 5, 2013)

How we teach children to lie, without realizing it (Nothing By The Book, November 19, 2013)

My kids are quitters. Wanna make something out of it? (Nothing By The Book, December 4, 2013)

Unfooding: good eating habits and happy mealtimes without power struggles

The titles really say it all:

The Family that eats together, or “Help! I can’t make my kids stay sitting at the table through the meal”

Picky eaters: how can he know he doesn’t like it until he takes a bite?

Secret to raising healthy eaters: don’t feed your kids crap; don’t force “good for you food” down their gullets

Gender Bender

The Return of the Princess Dress. Boy likes to wear dresses? Girl likes to wear camo? Read this. Then this:  Gender-bender: is that a boy or a girl?

The truth about working from home

Dream about working from home? It’s worth it. Absolutely. But that sepia-coloured picture of tranquility you’re painting in your head? So totally wrong. This is what it’s really like:

The naked truth about working from home, the real post 

The naked truth about working from home, the teaser

Teaching kids about money, sort of

How I broke my children

Involving children in our odd 21st century work lives

How my four-year-old receptionist defies the uterus-less CEO… and why that’s going to change the world

A whisper of advice to an exhausted blogger, uninspired writer

Telling people to “fuck off,” slightly more politely

Another Christmas present: the all-purpose answer to “those questions”

“Boy, you sure have your hands full”: the rebuttal.

Building and understanding community

We had this massive, destructive flood in my neck of the woods in June 2013. It had a profound effect on my life and the lives of everyone around me. Here’s some of the fall out:

Why you need to get off your shy introverted ass and start building your tribe right now―and how to do it (Nothing By The Book, July 2013)

And now, a few words about parasites, getting ostracized, and serial communists (Nothing By The Book, September 10, 2013)

After the flood: Running on empty and why “So are things back to normal?” is not the right question (Nothing By The Book, October 29, 2013)

A love letter to my flood plain (Nothing By The Book, June 11, 2014)





“Parenting” (Photo credit: Carol VanHook)