Tagged With family

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Most of us have very little unscheduled time in our days - and it’s hard to keep that time unscheduled. For every precious free evening we hope to put towards finally reading that book, cleaning that closet, or simply sitting on the couch doing nothing, there’s a friend, parent, partner, child, or colleague who would prefer we spend that time doing something else.

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I’m lucky: As a kid, I had excellent examples of how to be a fun aunt, and even as a teen, I knew it was a role I wanted to play in adulthood. And because my younger brother has autism—severe enough so that having his own family is not in the cards—that meant I needed to marry someone who had siblings who wanted kids.

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Maybe it starts with the song that was playing when your baby was born. Or the one that would always put them to sleep. The first song they really danced to, their little toddler butt bouncing to the groove, in that jerky way that all toddlers dance.

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In my first post-university employed position, I worked for a boss who loved Excel spreadsheets. She thought nearly everything could be put into "boxes and rows", and after my first year working there, I was officially a convert. I'm big on organisation anyway, and those spreadsheet cells called to me, luring me in with their promises of order and clarity. Event planning logistics? I had a spreadsheet for that. Airline and hotel reservations for the office directors? Spreadsheet. Goals for the new fiscal year? Spreadsheet.

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In preparation for today, Giving Tuesday, I recently started a fundraiser on social media for one of my favourite non-profit organisations. A friend who donated mentioned that they were including the gift as part of her family’s “Gift-Giving Countdown to Christmas.” They’d created an advent calendar of joy and generosity.

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Whatever your relationship with food is like, it probably intensifies around the holidays. If you’re sticking to a special diet, you have to decide whether to keep it up or to say fuck it and take a day off to indulge. If your family’s eating habits annoy you, how fun! You’ll be watching them cook and eat all day. I’m going to suggest something radical: let’s just call a truce about all of that.

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When I asked recently about bad money habits you learned from your parents, you chimed in with stories of debt, despair and the bumpy roads you’ve taken to financial stability. But just because you (eventually) learned not to make the same mistakes your parents made doesn’t mean that your entire family tree is cured of its financial flaws.

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When I saw this post on Reddit the other day, I almost skimmed right past it. It was titled, “Parents: What are your real thoughts about having kids? Would you still have them, after everything you’ve been through?” But I paused. I knew there would be a lot of “Parenting is so hard, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything!” responses, but surely some had regrets. Out of curiosity, I clicked through.

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You’ve had the perfect baby name picked out for years. For as long as you can remember, you vowed your baby girl would one day be named Molly Elizabeth. And damned if your best friend from high school — who knows this — didn’t just announce that her brand new baby girl’s name is (shockingly!) Molly Elizabeth.

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If you died tomorrow, how many people would feel compelled to travel for your funeral, and how far would they have to come? It’s now fairly commonplace to leave your hometown and move across the country or abroad, at least for a while, and to find your loved ones scattered across thousands of kilometres.

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I’m all about letting kids be bored (it’s good for them) and responsible for their own entertainment (they have a ton of toys), but once in a while, it’s nice to provide them with a little inspiration. Especially when they’ve been stuck inside for the past few days because of bad weather and they’re practically climbing the walls (and soon you will be, too).