The Middle Years: Life with Children at Home

I used to think that my epitaph would say, “Margaret Emily Friedrich, 1952-until fill in the date. I’m fine, thank you.” Recently, I have changed it to “She did the best she could.” Because honestly, that’s all we can do…

How would I describe myself before children? I would say I was a young, ferociously ambitious, working New York woman. I have four children and have been married for 39 years. My oldest two girls are 32 and 27. Then I have two younger children who are both adopted: my daughter, P-quy, from Vietnam, is […]

If I had to give my daughters one piece of advice as they enter adulthood, I would say “Just because something seems hard and other people perceive it as a big stretch for you, that doesn’t mean that you should not keep reaching for it.”

If I had to give my daughters one piece of advice as they enter adulthood, I would say “Just because something seems hard and other people perceive it as a big stretch for you, that doesn’t mean that you should not keep reaching for it.” Before kids, I was pretty career-driven. I was living in […]

There wasn’t a particular moment that I can remember thinking, “oh, my son is asking for a dress.” It was just more gradually that we realized that he was attracted to girls’ clothes and that it wasn’t a passing phase.

The most surprising thing about motherhood is how much children are who they are, completely apart from anything you may or may not do. I had a lot of forgiveness for my parents after I had children because I realized that they didn’t make me. We come into the world so much ourselves. I had […]

I had all three of my children in the Netherlands. The difference between having a baby there versus here is night and day. We’re just crazy-making here in the U.S.

When I got divorced at 33, I was sad not only because of the end of my marriage, but suddenly also because I might not have children. I might not meet the right person in time. Which seems crazy in hindsight. I could have tried parenthood on my own. But my ideas of what I […]

Sometimes when we hear about women who are in abusive marriages, we think, “Why the hell did she stay with him?” My own experiences have taught me that we just can’t judge that.

I am 42 and I have a daughter, who is nine and a son, who is six. Both of my pregnancies were planned and intentional. I really wanted to have children. How did adding children affect my marriage? That is a difficult question because my ex-husband was abusive. He was verbally and emotionally abusive and […]

I want desperately to be able to say to you, “He’s my greatest teacher, and it’s so humbling, and I’ve learned so much,” and I expect to get to the end of my life or his and be able to say that, but right now I can’t.

My name is Susan. I’m almost 48 years old. I have a daughter, Annabella–we call her Bella. She was 12 on July 4th. And I have a son named Milo, and he’s almost 9. Motherhood was not something I wanted since I was a little girl. It was not something I aspired to. It was […]

I think motherhood makes you shed some layers to get down to what’s really important. At the core, I am the same, but there is a little more of the core shining through.

My name is Carrington. I am 40 years old. My son’s name is Griffin, and he is six. In my early 30s, a lot of my friends started having kids to complete a life that they had dreamt of. They would say, “I’ve always wanted two kids” or something along those lines. For me, that […]

I see my mother very differently. I see how little I thought about what she was going through. I have a lot more respect for everything that she’s done.

I am 42. I have 2 sons: Bennett who is 10, and Henry who is 8. Before children, I was young. I had a lot of energy. I was focused on putting my career experiences in my bank. I had been to school a lot. I have two Master’s degrees and a third undergraduate degree. […]

Sometimes I am so grateful for the smallest things. And I don’t think I would have had that if I hadn’t had the illness. Some people say, “oh, that’s such a great thing to have,” but if I had the choice, I would still say, NO. I would be very happy not to have the leukemia. But it’s not a choice.

My name is Aranzasu and my two daughters are Clara, age 13, and Ella, age 11. Describe myself before kids? I wanted to see the world. I had just finished a masters program in Oregon. I had always wanted children. It was also a time that was unsure for us. We had just finished graduate […]

It’s been a long road, but he went from being completely nonverbal and having classic symptoms – like flapping, making noises, no eye contact, humming, no interaction, and doing strange things — to being mainstreamed. He talks. He reads. He writes. He’s considered high functioning.

As a young person, my intent was to go to college and have a career. I was not a family oriented person. I didn’t really think about getting married or having kids. What is that saying? You make plans and God laughs at them. I’m a stay at home parent. My son was diagnosed with […]

People say, “you’re so strong. I don’t know how you’re doing this.” I don’t think we are doing something that any parent wouldn’t do.

I’m Erin. My daughter’s Embree and she was diagnosed with leukemia about six weeks ago. She’s seven and in first grade. I always thought I would be a mom. I have a good mom. I grew up in a happy family. I have a brother and sister, who I cherish.  When Dennis and I got […]

I’m from Venezuela. Having a family–it’s what you expect to do.

My name is Carolina. I am 39 and have two boys: Ignacio, who is ten, and Alejandro, who is five. I would describe myself as very independent, proactive, and ambitious, and also very passionate about my career. Having a family was very intentional. I guess it’s because of our culture. I am from Venezuela. Having […]

I really did expect myself to be good at everything before I had my kids.

My name is Kate. I am 42. My children’s names are Sofia and she’s 8 and Aliza and she’s almost 3. Before I had children I lived in San Francisco with my husband Chris. We’d been together as a couple for a long time. I was working at a daily newspaper, covering criminal justice. I […]

When we finally figured out what was going on, I had to sit my sons down and say, “this is what the disease is. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but these doctors are going to do their best.”

My name is Marie. I’m 44 and my boys are Joe, 13 and Jack, 11. Before I had children, I was living in San Jose, California and I was worldwide sales manager in the high tech dish industry, flying all over the place. I got married at 29 and about 30 I started getting the […]

I was mobilized to Iraq in December. It was totally different (going back as a mother).

I am a veterinarian by training, but I was in the military at the time my son was born. At that point, work was my life. I didn’t love it but I always thought of it as a means to an end. I didn’t want to have to depend on someone else. My self-identity was […]

I came here for my children.

My name is Lovelyn. I am 32. I have three girls, Pearl, 7, Nancy, 4 and Janet, 1. I am from Nigeria. We moved to the US three years ago. I had one of my children here. Before children, I was living in Nigeria working as an office administrator. I loved working. I also loved […]