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Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell has a Master's degree in Creative Writing and has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Penn State University. She is the author of the book Writers of the Holocaust. She has written articles for the Washington Post. She is married with four children

The Attack: Blaming and defending Kimberly: Why did you leave Dina at the doctor? She's only 15. She doesn't know the whole medical situation. Greg: Then you should have taken her yourself. Name calling Kim : She needed you there with her. It was irresponsible of you.

Robin (38) and Max (40) have been married for 15 years. Robin is a stay-at-home mom who studied art and sometimes does silk screens-which she gives as special presents. Max is a corporate lawyer. They have three kids: Tanya is 12. Dylan is 10, and Amanda is 7. The family is coming home from a dinner at Max's boss's house early because Dylan (10) misbehaved. He poured a drink down his sister's shirt, and she started screaming. Max grabs Dylan by the hand: You are going to be in your room the rest of the night, Dylan.

You will see the family bed referred to as "night time nurturing," or "family co-sleeping." Hey come on - let's call it what it is: The lazy parent's bed. And I don't use the word lazy pejoratively. (Everybody else does but they're wrong.) With my first baby, I was vigilant. I wouldn't let him sleep in the bed. I'd nurse him and my husband would whisk him away like an efficient nanny. "He has to be able to comfort himself," I told my husband.

Eugene and Bonnie are the parents of two kids, Katie, eight and Randy, 13. Eugene owns parking lots, Bonnie works as a prep chef in a local cafe. It's Saturday afternoon. The kids are lazing around and Eugene wishes his kids were out playing and were more active, more like he was as a kid.

Yesterday I got down on the floor with my five-year-old son and began to play cars. I did it out of guilt; I felt that I "should" spend time with him. But honestly, I'm not very good at playing cars. I sat down and thought: What are we going to do? My son had no such problem. He smashed and bashed and crashed. He created fires and tornadoes. He took the family on a trip to Africa to visit his dead grandfather.

I have always had a fear of experts. I think it started when my mother decided not to breastfeed me because the experts told her not to. So I was bottle-fed. My mother said it was like being in a lab. Everything had to be sterilized. She felt more like a scientist than a mother. When I had kids, the experts decided that a good birth was a painful one. (The experts had put my mother into "twilight sleep" when she gave birth.

Sherri Mandell reviews Kay S. Hymowitz’s book Ready or Not: Why Treating Children as Small Adults Endangers Their Future-- and Ours

Once I camped for a week on a beach in Greece. A sleeping bag on the sand. One dress, one skirt and three shirts...that was all of my gear. My food: all served at the cafe. Turkish coffee. Fresh goat yogurt with a sprinkle of sugar for lunch. Grilled fish. My company: Gents with accents. My activity: Topless bathing. As much sun as I could stand. I was single. Reading seemed taxing. It was only natural that when I had kids, I thought my family would enjoy camping.

I worked part-time until my oldest was 12. I was there every morning and afternoon. I found it tough going. I don't know any mother who doesn't. The need for food, comfort, talk, activity. When they were little, I made up games where they ran into me and I pushed them down with a pillow. They loved it. They kept running back. I would hum Kachatorian's the Hungarian Sword Dance.
We've all been there....stay at home moms and those returning from work. Those hours between 4 and 7:30, till the kids are fed and settled , till the kids are at peace. At those hours, you can hear mothers all over America calling each other and shouting: Help! In this scenario, Mother has been at work for eight hours and has driven home in traffic with the car making a funny sound which worried her the whole way home. She had to stop and buy some toilet paper since there's none left in the house and she was angry because she was on the express line behind someone with more than 10 items.
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