US Catholic Magazine: "When rules fail, empathy prevails"
This story was inspired by a study that posited that children raised in religious households are actually likelier to be more punitive and judgmental than their secular peers. Empathy can be a tricky subject to handle with kids, I found anyway. On the one hand it seems like it just confers some touchy-feely "Everyone's feelings are important!" stuff but it entails some beliefs that are a little counter-intuitive to most parents, like, for instance, not forcing kids to share or to apologize to each other, mostly because that just follows a "because I said so" approach but doesn't really let kids explore the consequences of their actions (IE how sharing can feel good, or how words can hurt feelings, or that if someone is playing with a toy you want, his enjoyment of the toy is just as valid as your desire.) It gave me something to think about as a parent, as did my interview with Alfie Kohn, who opined that time outs (which we practice and I personally think are relatively harmless) are actually a punishing way of withholding love. There is also a new book out called Against Empathy but I found this critical review of it a little satisfying, I have to admit.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'm doing a marketing challenge, where you get points for various ways of marketing yourself (like this post!) I pitched this piece during a time that was way too busy for me, but I wanted to keep up with the challenge. When I read about Genevieve Shaw Brown's book The Happiest Mommy You Know: Why Putting Your Kids First Is the Last Thing You Should Do I thought, "That's a book premise I can get down with." I pitched a Q&A to the editor at SheKnows, whom I worked with for a bit while I was the interim editor and she came on, and she said yes. I set the interview up, had a nice conversation with Genevieve, bing bang boom. A byline, a little money and some extra points for the marketing challenge.
I posted a comment on Facebook about viewing this doc, which was of interest to me since "JT Leroy" was a Zulkey.com interviewee back in the day. My dear old internet friend Mark Graham, who edits Decider, asked me if I'd like to send him a piece about the doc. Again I was in the middle of some major deadlines and didn't need one more thing to take on but that marketing challenge reared its head! Plus, when an editor of a publication pretty much asks you if you'd like to write something for them for money it's hard to say no. I haven't done a lot of pop culture writing, it feels, since I had kids so I really enjoyed doing something different and writing an essay-type-review.
Fisher-Price: This Simple Switch Took the Stress Out of Dinnertime
This is why being a decent human being (-ish) is integral to having a writing career. A friend of mine apparently recommended me for a gig writing parenting content for Fisher-Price and at a nice rate, too. I've always had a rant in me about how dinnertime is much more difficult for families of young kids than you would think and so I got to writing. I think my first draft was a little too ranty--the editor asked if I could tone down the gloom and doom and make it a gentler, more positive take. Apparently Fisher-Price doesn't need people coming to their site reading how much parenthood stinks and how children are the worst. Hey, if you're paying, I have no problem being nice. Or nice-ish. Anyway, be nice to the people you meet in your freelancing life. Names get passed along--and it could be yours!