Books Aren’t At All Like Babies, Except When They Are

Welcome guest blogger, writer, and mom Kris Kennedy!

There’s a phrase that goes something like, “Books are like babies,” or “An author’s books are like her/his babies.”

It’s cute and all, but deep-down, I’ve always disagreed with that sentiment. The “books are like babies” thesis runs close to suggesting we treat an author’s words or ideas as if they’re precious, and shouldn’t have to endure being bruised by harsh opinions. The implication being, I guess, that my precious ideas cannot handle the rigours of being read, being examined, experienced, being . . . handled.

The thing is, my stories can handle being handled. They are hardy souls, like wildflowers. Or weeds. (Excepting personal attacks on me, the gardener, of course.)

Because of this, I’ve always been wary of the claim “stories are like babies,” despite an awareness that a writer’s relationship with her story IS one of nurturance, devotion, sacrifice, much like a parental one. But, really, stories are different from babies. Books don’t poop. Full stop. Must we go on? Okay, fine.

Stories do not:

~ Howl with earaches you can’t heal at 2am;
~ Need shoes;
~ Grow out of said (and expensive) shoes the following month;
~ Crawl out into the street or behind the rack of women’s gowns the one single second that you turn your back, to sneeze for Heaven’s sake;
~ Break their arms or their legs or your heart. (we writers say writing can break your heart, but that’s poetic license, because if you have kids, or pets, or a parent, or a friend, you know very well the pain a story can inflict is nothing like what a loving a person will do to you);
~ Also, importantly, books don’t get diaper rash.

So, really, I figured, we’re done here. Books are NOT like babies. End of story.

But then . . . that thing about the poopy diapers? That caught my attention. (Enough out there, in the Peanut Gallery). And the more I thought, the more I realized, hey, wait a second. There are ways babies and stories are very much alike, important ways.

Both books and babies both:

~ Wake you up in the middle of the night, demanding attention;

~ Prompt you to redecorate an entire, perfectly functional room to get you out of the line of traffic in the household foster their growth;

~ Are ungrateful. Sure, I know stories are inanimate and therefore incapable of gratitude, still it remains: they are ungrateful. You pour hours and months and sometimes years of work and attention into them. You devote some of your finest AWAKE hours to them, you become the bottomless well, and some days you fear it’ll never be enough;

~ They have a life of their own. I lose the heart of the story when I over-impose my will, when I insist on being right about what’s supposed to happen next. I want my heroine to be such-and-so, and she keeps being who-and-what. I want my son to enjoy reading, and he likes making shooting nerf darts at me while I cook. I am learning: Let them be.

~Listening is generally the best approach. When I’m having troubles with my child, when I feel like we’re miles apart, generally it’s me who’s missing the crucial ‘ah-ha’ moment of connection. I’m talking and insisting too much. I need to step back and listen more, and stop worrying about my tidy little plotline. Or my dinner plans.

~ They will do things we NEVER expected, if we just loosen up a little bit and give them space.

~ They are magic. Transformational. They change us. They change everything.

~ But mostly, we don’t have to fix them because they aren’t broken. We just have to get better at loving them. Thank-you God.

Kris writes hot, adventure-filled historical romances set in England and Ireland. Her current release, DECEPTION received 4 1/2 stars from RT Book Reviews and is available now! Visit her website to sign-up for the newsletter, read exclusive excerpts, or just drop Kris a line saying Hi!

I just got home from the national Romance Writers of America annual conference. I am, of course, completely exhausted!

One evening in the bar, I stumbled into a conversation with a group of three women (only one of whom I’d even met before). For one of the women, it was only her second RWA. Not long after I joined the conversation, she said, “Finally, a conversation about writing! I’ve been waiting two years to talk about writing with writers.”

In the interests of full disclosure, it’s not like I walked up and instantly started talking craft. I just happened to walk up at the right moment.

The interesting thing is, when I asked her what people had been talking about besides craft and writing, she said, “They talk about their kids and their husbands. They talk about their families.” I knew exactly what she meant. At RWA we do talk about our families a lot. We also talk about the industry and our favorite authors. We talk about our editors and our process. We talk about our agents and our blogs. But somehow it always circles back around to our families.

On one hand, I think that annoys some women. On one hand, we’re at a writer’s conference. We pay to talk to other writers … about writing. Furthermore, if we were an organization of mostly men, we would not spend all this time talking about our kids and husbands. Yeah, it might come up. But it would never be thirty percent or more of the conversation.

So I get it.

But at the end of the day, we can’t divorce ourselves from our motherhood. It’s just part of who we are. We can’t turn it off. Being a mother affects our writing, our themes, our productivity and our creativity. Being a mother is tied so tightly to being a writer, I don’t know how not to talk about it. I am a totally different person than that woman who didn’t have kids that I was eight years ago. (Or maybe nine years ago, before my first failed pregnancy.) I am a whole different person and therefore a whole different writer.

So what do you think? If you’re a mom and a something else, can you divorce those parts of yourself? Do you even want to?

Leave a comment and I’ll pick one winner to receive a goodie bag from conference — a cool bag, some neat freebies and books!

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Sleep: The True Magic Pill

Sleep. It’s the secret to having a happy kid.

No kidding.

You want to get rid of the crankiness in your child? The distractibility? The failing grades? The moodiness or borderline depression?

Start by guarding their sleep. I know from personal experience with my three that the big problems—every single one—happened when they were sleep-deprived. So these days, we’re on it.

Sleep. It’s the buzz word in our house. It’s the cure-all that really works better than  nagging, imparting fabulous life lessons, visiting the counselor, prescribing drugs, popping vitamins, and crossing your fingers for good luck.

Here’s what kids need, according to WebMD:

1-4 weeks      15-16 hours a day

1-4 months     14-15 hours a day

4-12 months    14-15 hours a day (most get around 12 hours)

1-3 years     12-14 hours a day (most get around 10 hours)

3-6 years     10-12 hours a day

7-12 years    10-11 hours a day (most get around 9 hours)

12-18 years    8-9 hours  (ask any teenager if they get this much sleep and they’ll laugh in your face)

I’m worried about this coming school year but now that I know what I know, I’m hoping I’ll head off problems before they start. Nighthawk, who’ll be 15 and entering high school, will be going from 8-9 hours sleep a night to probably seven.  His school starts class at 7:15 a.m., and then he’ll have after-school sports and honors classes to deal with. So I’m anticipating that his schedule will be very tight. Luckily, he’s a guy, so getting ready in the morning is easy for him. Indie Girl used to need an hour or more to get ready, but Nighthawk just needs to grab a quick shower and go. Dragon, when he was home, had the most problems when he didn’t get enough sleep. His Asperger’s Syndrome symptoms—especially anxiety–would ramp up exponentially for every hour of sleep he missed.

It’s crazy that our public school system starts so early in the morning, but it’s because we don’t have enough buses. So to juggle the buses, high school and elementary schools start early and middle school starts later. It was nirvana in middle school. The kids got plenty of sleep because school didn’t start until 8:20 a.m. But it was horrible in elementary school. Thank goodness my kids didn’t have to get up extra early to catch a bus. I used to see first-graders sound asleep on the buses when I subbed at the local elementary school. It was a disgrace, in my opinion, that little kids have to catch a bus at 6 a.m. and some even earlier.

I’ve noticed that private schools around here all start at a reasonable hour, usually after 8:00 a.m. I guess that’s one reason parents pay between $7,000 and $20,000 a year to send their kids there.  It’s a great luxury starting so “late.”

But sleep is that important. I applaud the private schools for recognizing that.

We moms recognize that, too. So if your school doesn’t start at a decent hour, watch your kids’ sleep time. And take heart.  It can be made up—partially–on the weekends. For us, that day is Saturday because Sunday we have church at 9 a.m. and it’s half an hour away.  But there are sports, too, on Saturdays. So what are we supposed to do?

Be ruthless. We’ll skip church if our kids are particularly sleep deprived—that’s “breaking the rules” in my culture, but rules are meant to be broken when someone’s health is at stake. We’ll limit sports, too.  That’s a big no-no these days, isn’t it?

But nothing is more important than your child’s getting that sleep. No church sermon and no home run hit will make a valid, beneficial impression on an exhausted child!

So I recommend that you stop running on the hamster wheel of too many activities (if you’re on it) and get to the source of many of the problems your child might be having: not enough sleep.

Of course, your child may resist. Make sure there are no screens in his or her room. No phones, nothing except books. They will fight and fight and fight to stay awake!

And then enforcing these measures is almost impossible in high school. Our two oldest kids ran small offices in their bedrooms, what with their laptops to do homework and their cell phones to stay connected to their small army of peers. We generally had to leave it up to them to get enough sleep—which they didn’t, by the way, although they learned as they went along.

So with our third child, we’re preparing to make him self-regulated, too. But luckily, he saw what happened when his two oldest siblings didn’t get enough sleep, and it wasn’t pretty.  So Nighthawk’s already recognizing a potential problem, which will hopefully make it easier for him to deal with it.

But it is a problem, moms, for everyone I know. What do you do in your household about sleep?

Lucy and Ethel ride again

Normally I blog about my kids, but today I want to start what I suspect will probably be a series of blogs about me and my mom. I suspect there are lots of great moms out there, I’ve met many of them, but I dare say you won’t find one better than my mom. She’s great for many reasons, but one of the main ones is because she’s just plain fun to be around. We tease a lot that our antics, which have often involved my sister as well, are very much like Lucy and Ethel from I Love Lucy.

Someday I’ll tell y’all about my mom vs. the bus when we were traveling in London. And someday I’ll tell y’all about her very bad idea involving Ben-Gay. But today I want to tell you about her most recent chuckle-inducing behavior. Now in the last couple of months I was having some medical issues that required weekly visits to the specialist. My mom came with me to those visits because The Professor was teaching summer school.

On one such day we’d left the appointment with some bad news and I was tired and upset and hungry because I hadn’t been able to eat breakfast that day. So we stopped at the first place we saw, which happened to be a McDonalds. We went through the drive-thru and as I was driving around she informed she had to go to the bathroom, so I parked and waited. I was halfway into my Egg McMuffin when I saw her walk to the driver side of the car and then she proceeded to get into the car parked next to us. I was trying to honk and bang on the window to get her attention, but luckily the poor girl sitting in that car (whom she scared half to death) assured her that she was in the wrong vehicle.

Eight days later we were out running errands and we left the store and I was walking to the car and was talking to her, turned around and couldn’t find her. I looked around and called out because I was concerned she might have fallen, but nope, she got in someone else’s car again. And before you think she’s suffering from dementia, she’s not, she’s sharp as a tack. I think it’s mostly that she’s terrible with car descriptions. Both of the vehicles she got in were small SUV’s like mine, but neither were a Honda and neither were blue. And she’s actually done this before…

Several years ago (before I was even married) we had stopped at the small grocery store on the way home and I was driving her car. She had gone into the store and I waited outside. Out of nowhere an intense rainstorm started and by the time she came out it was pouring and when I say pouring, I mean like crazy, fat drops drenching the ground. In any case she came out of the store and proceeded to go to another vehicle even though I was honking trying to get her attention though admittedly I was laughing hysterically too as she actually pounded on the window of the other car. She finally found me, but she looked like a severely wet and irritated cat by the time she got in with me.

So there you go, my mom’s latest funnies. There are more, I assure you. So how about you? Have you ever gotten in the wrong car before? Or what’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you lately?

I’m Robyn DeHart, AKA Basket-Case Mama, but not because I’m crazy (though really, what mom isn’t?) but because I have a slight obsession with baskets, well containers really. I’m a bit of an organization nut and I love to containerize stuff. And yes, I’m authorized to use words like that because I am also a writer. But back to the kids, so I’m mom to two ridiculously beautiful little girls and I can say that without bragging because I didn’t actually make them. Last year my husband, The Professor, and I adopted said little lovelies from the foster-care system here in Texas and now we’re a big happy forever family. Busybee is three and so full of joy it just oozes from her. Babybee is a walking-talking toddler who has a heck of a temper but is so cute, it almost keeps her out of trouble. Though neither of my girls are newborns, I’m fairly new to motherhood compared to the other peanut butter moms, but we’ve settled in as a family as if we’ve always been together. When I’m not trying to keep up with my two bundles of energy, you can usually find me on my laptop on Pinterest, no, that’s not right, um…you can find me writing, yes, that’s it, writing my latest historical romance.

The Hazards (and blessings) of Working From Home

I like to think of myself as a businesswoman. I have a lot of things to manage. Being a writer isn’t just hiding in your office, eating marshmallows straight from the bag while wearing your husband’s Angry Bird PJs and listening to Adele. (Oh, sometimes I wish it was…but it’s not.)

Being a writer means sending important emails very quickly, getting in alterations to a MS that need to be done YESTERDAY, taking phone calls that are extremely important and career changing no matter what is going on around you.

I’ve mentioned before, I am an expert in the haphazard, and there are times when I’m grateful for that. Thanks to a little thing called time zones and the fact that my editorial office is based in the UK, I’ve had to learn to hop out of bed at five AM and be taking editorial direction by 5:30 over the phone. I can practically send emails in my sleep. This is one area where being a mom has better equipped me to handle work. All those 3 AM feedings? Yeah, baby. They were training! Training for my career. Who knew?

Of course, while motherhood has helped strengthen my ability to deal with a career that is always in flux and never, ever dull or what I expect, there are times when trying to conduct a career from my tiny little house has been a…challenge. To say the least.

I’ve taken calls from my editor while the husband and I did our best to get a kid on the bus for school. I’ve taken calls from my agent while we were driving our mini-van through a dead zone with kids screaming in the back seat and lightning McQueen jabbering in the background on the van’s (pretty freaking awesome) tv. I’ve done revisions in the hospital after giving birth. (true story)

My most stellar moment came when I was firing off an email to my editor and my oldest son started shouting, “THIS IS REALLY SCARY. I AM SO SCARED.” I looked over to see Diva baby standing in front of the table. There was a pair of pants on the table. Which wouldn’t have been a big deal except there was also a lit candle on the table. And the pants had fallen into it. Pants on fire indeed.

I put it out, and no one was harmed except what were a very cute pair of skinny jeans.

It can all be a little overwhelming sometimes. And I can start to wish for a quieter, more organized way to do business. (And long for RWA Nationals, which I’m currently chomping at the bit to get to!) Ultimately though, I find some comfort in the fact that things can get done, even in the midst of all the chaos. (there’s a theme to my posts, I think. I’m Manic Mama, remember?)

I think it can be easy to slide into fantasies about silence and organization. To think that if I have all that THEN I can get things done. But honestly, if you wait for that, you could wait for a long time. Or in my case, forever.

I think the memories of those important phone calls are more meaningful in a lot of ways because…my family was there. Even though it was insane at the time, the thought of them is even sweeter, and makes me smile more, because everyone I love most in the world was nearby to be a part of it all.

I treasure the days where I can go to my office and close the door. But I wouldn’t treasure them quite so much if there wasn’t all THAT going on in the house to make me appreciate the moments where I just HAVE to go work in solitude. I also wouldn’t appreciate my time away from work so much if there wasn’t all THAT in my house. 🙂

Seriously though, I can’t wait for RWA. And then I’m taking my kids to Disneyland right after. 😉


Maisey Yates is a USA Today Bestselling author of sexy, angsty, funny romances and a terrible housekeeper. When she’s not writing books, you can find her reading them. If you CAN find her beneath the massive pile of unfolded laundry. Maisey has three kids (5, 4, & 2) one husband (who is a much better housekeeper than she is) and not a single dull moment. You can find her on twitter, Facebook and her website.

The No Shouting Rule

I *think* I was inspired to do this by one of the commenters on a previous post. You know how it is. Intelligent with a good memory before kids. Now…not so much. 😉

Regardless, just a couple of weeks ago I was inspired by *something* to try a no-shouting rule. For me, specifically, not the kids. I don’t shout a lot, to be honest, but whenever I do get upset enough to shout (thinking perhaps the kids will pay more attention to me if I’m louder? ha!), I always feel more out of control. I wanted to try a “no shouting” rule for myself because 1) I wanted an internal reminder to stay calm and patient and 2) I don’t want my children to look back on their childhoods and remember their mother shouting at them a lot…or learn that it’s okay to shout whenever they’re upset.

(Awesome note: I was sneaky and didn’t ask my husband to abide by this same rule; I simply told him what I was going to do. A few days later, voila! He told me he decided to implement his own “no shouting” rule. =) )

So, after at least a week and a half of this rule being implemented, what are the results?

I’m pleased to say that having this accountability for myself seems to be working–for the most part. I still do raise my voice (mostly when I’m concerned, i.e. someone is fixing to hurt themselves), but the shouting from being upset only happens very rarely now. Because of the “no shouting” rule, I feel like I am calmer and more patient, which is definitely good. I’ve developed a different perspective with my kids also; better communication and affection has replaced shouting. I’m in a better mood because I do truly feel like I have more control, and I’m also happy because I made that positive change to be a better parent. I’m not sure how much the girls have noticed this change, but the major impact has been on how I feel about myself as a parent; it’s given me more confidence. And, yay!! because it seems to be working well for my husband, too.

So, for all of you other moms out there who are trying to preserve your sanity and become a better parent, I highly recommend giving yourself a “no shouting” rule.

Next step: getting WonderGirl to start obeying the “no biting” rule. =)

What rules do you have (if any) for yourself as a parent? And if I got this idea for no shouting from you and I can’t remember who you are, thank you so much! =)

Fun (or Not!) with Poison Ivy (+ Giveaway!)

This past week, my oldest (10) came down with the most hellacious case of poison ivy the clinic has seen all year (Yeah, we were at the clinic, because it happened–as all visits do in my family–on a holiday and the regular doctor had no office hours). ON HIS FACE.

Several doses of behind-the-counter overpriced cream, topical steroid cream, and oral suspension steroids later, he can finally open his eyes again. For someone almost as tall as his mom, and who insists he’s “almost a grown-up,” he needed a lot of hugs the past few days. His entire world was upended by a little plant that he doesn’t even remember brushing up against (or rolling in, because honestly, it was everywhere. Our best theory is that it was a towel that got dragged through a patch, then used to dry off from swimming).

But while we were in the thick of things, there was no room in my Little Lion Man’s head for anything besides his misery–it consumed him, and by extension, it consumed me. During that time, I did a lot of thinking about how our lives and our focus can change in a few heartbeats.

I realized the characters in my current WIP were always rolling off on tangents for more than just the reason I thought they did (they’re a group of friends who’ve been with each other for twenty years, and half their conversations devolve into movie quotes and “your mom” jokes). Their conversations derail not because that’s the way of longtime friends, but because I never gave them poison ivy.

When Little Lion Man weathered the worst of it, every waking moment (and the sleeping ones, too) was spent trying desperately to not scratch, soothe the itch, or make the itch stop itching. He didn’t have time to play video games, or energy to spend singing new Minecraft parodies of pop songs. It was Him versus The Itch and nothing else.

When you write romantic comedies (or really, anything that’s more lighthearted in nature), it can be hard to intensify your conflict because let’s face it, the Sturm Und Drang of Life-Threatening Menace(TM) is pretty much self-explanatory. When you bring the funny, you have to be more subtle. You can’t bring the pain…but maybe you can bring The Itch.


I’d love to hear about you! Have you ever learned anything about writing from your kids? What’s your favorite way to give “poison ivy” to your characters so they can focus on their big problems? Got a good remedy for real poison ivy or just a war story from Endless Summer Fun with the kids? Let me know in the comments below. One lucky random commenter will receive a nice break from reality with a complimentary electronic copy of Forever Material (open internationally, winner to be announced Sunday)! Thank you for joining me today!


Hi, I’m Athena. I’m a geek mom with two kids (Little Lion Man is 10 and Volcano Girl is 7). The most important thing I want my kids to learn is not to forget that the world is bigger than their worldview. Stories–in whatever form they take, whether it’s books, video games, movies, or some other as-yet-undiscovered delivery system–shape and drive so much of us as beings, that my greatest achievements would be to instill in my kids that same sense of awe at discovering truths in a good story. My padawans are bright, clever, and perceptive, which makes my inner Jedi master swell with pride most times. I work hard at keeping those other times–when Darth Mom makes an appearance–in check. I’m also an author of my own stories–romantic stories about quirky, unique people who are more than they appear, finding their own way to their own happily ever afters. Visit me at .

I Don’t Know How You Do It

Okay, Moms, how many times have you heard this? Even moms who I say it to, say it back to me. My standard answer is that I don’t sleep a lot. And neither do other moms I know. Or, they give up something else—exercise, time with their husband, time to read or do something else they love. The bottom line is we all do what we have to because we have to.

I’m no time management expert, but I have given workshops on how becoming a mom taught me to manage my time. Here are a few tips that might help you. And please give me some of yours, too!

1. Get up before everyone else in the household and get a head start.
I know from personal experience that the days I am up early go more smoothly than the days I “sleep in.” I can get a lot done when I don’t have a short person calling for me every three seconds or hanging on my leg. I’ve recently been reading a book titled What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam. She makes a great case for the productivity and accomplishments of the early-risers. I suppose if you’re absolutely against mornings, you could do as much of the morning stuff as possible the night before.

2. Make naptime productive.
If you are lucky enough to have a child young enough to nap, or even one who is willing to retreat to his or her room for quiet time for an hour, take advantage of this time! I know I am tempted to use my daughter’s naps as downtime for me too, but that’s a mistake. Again, I can get a lot done more done without interruption, and I can surf the Internet or watch TV or fold clothes later and with a child talking my ear off.

3. Make a list.
If you don’t know what you need to accomplish each day, you’re not going to accomplish it. I have a list of what I need to do each day—how many pages I must write, household chores, phone calls to make, etc. My daughter’s activities are on the list too, so I don’t get caught up with laundry and forget music class (not that she would let me!). As a mom, it’s sometimes hard to feel as though you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day. It’s a lot easier if you’re working a traditional job where you make a deal or sell something or cure a disease. But most of the moms I know feel better when they have goals each day and are able to accomplish those goals.

Now it’s your turn. What are your tips?


Shana Galen, Multitasker Mama
I’m Shana Galen, AKA Multitasker Mama (and aren’t we all?). I’m a wife, mom to a two-year-old daughter I call Baby Galen. My parenting motto is, “Keep moving. Don’t pass out. Don’t throw up.” Or maybe that’s my fitness motto?

Making Time for Sex When You’ve Got Kids

Let’s all laugh about that title together, for a whole paragraph:


Okay, now we can breathe again and try to remember that we’re sensual, hot women with needs of our own, not just bedraggled mommies with endless supplies of energy and understanding for our babies. Yes, you’re sleep deprived. And yes, your bed partner always asks you at the wrong time to turn into a sex goddess. But this really is an example of when you should fake it until you make it.

No! Not that kind of faking it! Never pull a Meg Ryan–for your own sake, not for anyone else’s. Sex needs to be about you, too. I know “they” say that you should give it up whenever your partner wants it because in a loving relationship you do that, but sometimes I think “they” should go stuff their heads in a toilet and flush.

What I mean by faking it until you make it is this: when your partner wants to have sex and you’re too worn out, mentally and/or physically, try to think of sex as a gift to the weary. Yes, to the weary. And to the frustrated, the anxious, and the depressed—all states of being that mothers understand.

Be open to new ways of being sensual before nodding off to sleep. Tell your partner you’re tired but that you’re willing to play around. Turn on Cinemax (OMG, I had no idea until the other night that you can see naked people on TV! I was shocked!). Read a hot sex scene in a book. Buy nice lingerie.

And if nothing, absolutely nothing, gets you in the mood, say no.

But chicas, I know this from experience, say no too many times and you both suffer in a romantic relationship. It’s such a relief to turn over and go to sleep sometimes when you’re in full-fledged mommy mode, but as time goes by, my husband gets severely cranky, I get bitchy (you need those hormones flowing through your body, seriously, or you’ll get brittle and wrinkled before your time; it’s a fact), and our relationship in general can sour.

This still happens to me, even though our kids are older. Their problems simply change. You’re as obsessed with wanting to help them as you are when they’re toddlers. And then the opportunities to have sex dwindle as they age up. The house gets really, really small. Everyone can hear everything!


So make hay while you can, ladies. Sex is always going to be a challenge until you have an empty nest.

I get such mileage in my relationship from a good sex romp with my husband that I’ve learned to remind myself of all the great advantages when I’m in full-fledged exhaustion/hysteria/anxiety/depression mode. And what’s so crazy is that it’s taken me years to figure out how much better off I am, too!!!

TMI? Deal with it. :>)

And don’t be me. Don’t go through spartan sex times. Literally, keep a secret calendar to remind yourself how often (or not) you’re having Green Eggs and Ham sex with your partner (you’ll take it in a car, on a boat, on the train, in a box…but not the plane. Please, not the plane. We’ll all hear you.) Do whatever it takes to keep your libido alive. And go away for an overnight in your own town’s bed and breakfast. Let Grandma take the kids. Drink a cocktail to loosen yourself up when you’re anxious, if you can do so in moderation (otherwise, you’ll fall asleep). And most of all, keep your sense of humor, your sense of adventure, and your sense of fun.

Sex really is Nature’s way of keeping us young and flexible. Make this your new mantra: More Sex, More Me. Okay, that sucks as a mantra, but I mean that you’ll blossom when you keep sex a priority. Yes, blossom!!! And you’ll remember that you matter, your marriage or relationship matters, your partner matters…not just those roly-poly babies with their gummy smiles and adorably charming ways.

That’s what I mean by More Sex, More Me. Now someone come up with a better slogan in the comments. Please! And okay, if you’ve had sex on a plane, you can tell us in the comments if you want to brag.

But the most important thing is that tonight you’re going to pull out that tray of appetizers, that bottle of wine, some cool glasses, and make a date with your hottie. I promise you won’t regret it. But don’t tell us what happened.


We’ll be able to tell anyway from that rosy glow on your cheeks and the bon vivant Tweets you’ll post tomorrow.

XOXO Kieran

Kieran Kramer, Merry Mama

Hi, I’m Kieran. My family loves music and anything that makes us laugh out loud. I try to teach my kids that we have to actively choose happiness–and if I accomplish nothing else as a mom but pass that one lesson along to them, then I think I’ve done my job.

My oldest guy, Dragon, was diagnosed in kindergarten with Asperger’s syndrome, and now he’s a sophomore in college; his sister Indie Girl, who’s younger by 16 months, is a college freshman; and my youngest, Nighthawk, is in eighth grade. My kids are compassionate, smart, fun, and funny people–and they turned out that way even though I wasn’t June Cleaver. I lose my keys all the time. I stare into the fridge and wonder what’s for dinner in half an hour and then remember I have to cook it. I double-book things a lot because I have three ways to make appointments (phone, purse calendar, and kitchen calendar) and haven’t yet worked out a great system for streamlining them. I don’t know how I managed to write a book, much less five now. But for me and my kids, it’s about managing your weaknesses and wringing everything you can get out of your strengths. And along the way, finding joy.