“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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My Daughter Has Made an Unsettling Transformation

My daughter has become a cat. She turns 13 years old in six days, but she began the shift to coy feline about two months ago.

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Advocating for Public Education

I want your child to come to our neighborhood middle school, Emerson Community Charter. So there’s my agenda right out there in the open. And part of getting you to do that is convincing you that Emerson middle school is

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How I Made My Daughter A Better Athlete!

I stalked left field like a panther, my stride sinuous. Predatory.

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Can You Guess Which Movie?

Sunday night I took a hard, violent fall, kinda pin-balled down there. Hit a lot of railings, broke a lot of shit! …

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A Plea to the Overachieving Mothers!

I’m a terrible mother! For all I know the drama kid’s really staying at school till four playing craps against the side of the handball court with a coupla middle schoolers named Vinnie and Jett …

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10 Things NOT to do on Your Child’s School Field Trip

When the Bossy Docent yells at a child for pulling a pine cone off a tree, yelling, “Leave this land exactly as you found it,” do not whisper to your child’s teacher …

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Zen and the Art of Sailing During A Small Craft Advisory Warning

I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to barf. I didn’t want to get salty. I didn’t want to smell feces. I didn’t want to be dominated by forces beyond my control. I was invited to take a sailing

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My Kids Don’t Rebel Against Me, I Rebel Against Them!

12-year-old Clare looks at me as I’m getting ready to go to the gym. Clare: Shannon, you can’t wear those shorts. Me: I am not Shannon, I am Mom. Clare: You are Shannon when you wear those shorts. Me: Is

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If Corrupting My Child Is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right

We’re the parents who allowed our 12-year old daughter to watch two R-rated movies. Is it my imagination, or have our phones stopped ringing for play dates? Because we’re the libertines leading our child down the inglorious path of foul-mouthed,

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What Happened When I Forced my Daughter into the Ocean

Bad Parenting 101 The day was perfect for boogie boarding at the beach. The tubes were hollow; the pits weren’t dropping, there weren’t any bombs to pound you and you could even catch air on some radical ramps, Bro. But

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5 Summer Camp Activities My Kids Hated

I did something that totally pissed my kids off. I sent them to summer sports camp so I could work and try to make money to pay for their braces and college. That’s right, I’m an asshole. After camp, when

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How “The Fault In Our Stars” Changed Me

What was I thinking? I just read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars; the one about the teenage cancer patients, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, who fall in love.  I bought the book for my daughter Clare, because she wanted

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My Daughters They Would Never Speak to me Again (Funny)

Okay. This is funny even if you’re having period cramps. Don’t want to publish any spoilers, so all I can really write about this is: #flocomestotown #theredbadgeofcourage #surfingthecrimsonwave #thecurse #therearecommunistsinthefunhouse #reddotspecial First Menstruation. Enjoy!

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Daughters are from Venus, Daddies are from Mars

 The Father Daughter Relationship Daddies value quiet, calm, cool-headedness, solutions to problems and a frothy lager. Daughters value love, acceptance, patience and a safe place to dump their volcanic, spuming, flesh-incinerating emotions. If an unsuspecting Daddy doesn’t understand how a

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The Exquisite Maternal Martyr

Let Them Eat Cake! “Alright fine, let’s just go! No one wants to be here anyway, so let’s just go home and all get on our electronic devices in separate rooms so we don’t actually have to interact ever again!”

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I’m a Tween’s Worst Nightmare

Bridget just turned 10. Claire has 12 in her sniper sights. I’ve had a few epic fails recently, which I won’t detail in order to protect tween privacy. But one of my less epic fails was attempting to kiss Bridget

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10 Ways Having Kids Changed My Life

When the nurse placed my first swaddled newborn on my chest right after I gave birth, I believe the first words out of my mouth to my husband were, “I am so f#@ked.” And I still feel that way. Because

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Experts Say, “Don’t Tell Your Daughter She’s Pretty!”

There’s a trend in parenting to compliment our children’s abilities rather than their appearance. The lead in a recent Daily Telegraph article states: “Parents should stop telling their children they look beautiful because it places too much emphasis on appearance

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Sex and Drugs “To Don’t” List For Teenagers

My kids don’t do what I say. Especially in the morning before school (TMBS). In TMBS they become spaced-out love children in the Haight circa 1969. They get distracted by the way the light bends in from the skylight in

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The Thing That Put This Soccer Mom In Her Place

I’ve been reveling in some bragging rights about my daughter Bridget’s prowess as a soccer goalie. She made the All-Star team this year and I heard people whispering she was the best goalie in the 10-and-under age group. (I know

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The Post In Which I Fail As A Mother

Me to Bridget (aged 9) when I fail as a mother: Honey, I’m sorry I lost it with daddy in front of you today. Bridget: You mean when you yelled you were sick of his fucking napping all the time

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What Makes Me Feel Optimistic In A World Full Of Bad News

If you read my blog you know I’m capable of catastrophic Irish morbidity. Case in point. When my daughters strike an aloof attitude toward me as I leave the house, I have to muzzle myself from saying:   “You should

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6 Ways to Keep Kids Happy on Vacation in Paris While Enjoying It Yourself

Welcome to my Traveling With Kids In Paris series: This year our vacation has been to Paris over the kids’ winter break. Here are my 6 tried-and-true ways to keep your kids happy on vacation while still being able to

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Traveling With Kids in Paris

Shhh. I’m hiding in an internet cafe on Rue Thouin across the street from the apartment we’re renting on the Left Bank in the Latin Quarter in Paris. Henry left us for the day to travel to Verdun. He’s meeting

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In Defense of a Commercial Christmas

We Collearys are not a religious people. Henry’s a recovering Catholic. I was raised Mormon and love them dearly, but simply could not commit to “One True Church” or give up wine. (The Mormon age for baptism is 8, but

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