Adult Parenting 101

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Photo by Christopher Ott on Unsplash

It’s my son’s 20th birthday today.

He doesn’t ask for much: a couple of books, a cool t-shirt, and to not be contacted by his father.

He gets the books and the shirt. His father hasn’t figured out yet that despite the fact that my son has blocked his texts and calls, and has not answered any messages of any kind — he doesn’t want to interact with him. He didn’t ask for this just for his birthday; he wants it every day. At least until his father figures out how to repair their rotting relationship and set things right.


My Son’s, Not Mine

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Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

The Before

February 29, 2020. Seems like a hundred years ago, but also yesterday. In a whirlwind of winter, surrounded by fear, hope, loneliness, and love, I spent the weekend in Pittsburgh. It was the last weekend my son would live in Pittsburgh, and much of it was a lie.

He thought he was just packing up his stuff, ditching a crappy apartment, a crappy apartment, and coming to live in Baltimore with me.

That was the end game, but there were a few things he didn’t know about first. I had used many weeks before to develop…


Four Ways to Plant a Financial Forest

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Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash

They say that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second-best time is today.

If you are a woman, chances are you didn’t start investing twenty years ago. So, it’s time.

It’s not just that young women are afraid of investing; it appears that ALL women are afraid of it. According to the TransAmerica Center, fewer than 70% of all women are even saving for retirement. Considering that we women outlive men in pretty strong numbers, that’s alarming. …


Toxic Positivity is Real and Well…Toxic

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Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

When I lost my job in the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to take hold here in America, nearly everyone I knew said, “You have so much to offer any company; you’ll find work in no time.”

No time ended up being June.

Two years earlier, when I was dealing with breast cancer, I cannot even count how many people said things like, “You’re young and strong,” or “You are so healthy from all the years you’ve been a runner; you’ll get through this,” or “You are so lucky to have such great kids.”

All of…


Get One Now — No Proposal Required

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Photo by Emma Dau on Unsplash

Women spend more and more time in the workplace, even if that workplace is our home office (thanks, Covid), and handling more professional decisions than ever. The most likely person to understand, and sympathize with, the challenges of balancing a 2021-sized female workload is — you guessed it — another woman.

According to Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, the phrase ‘work wife’ goes as far back as the 1930s and refers to “an especially high-functioning secretary” The idea wraps in someone who hits all the notes of personal and professional, providing support, handling administrative tasks, anticipating needs (both practical and…


Important Financial Decisions for Singles

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

In my tenth-grade economics class, our teacher, Mr. Bennett, flat-out told us the unvarnished truth: “Love doesn’t make the world go around. Money does.” Harsh news for a bunch of teenagers, but we needed to hear it.

It sticks with me today.

When I was in my twenties, I married a man who taught elementary school. I eventually became a stay-at-home-mom of three great kids. I thought we were ok. Except we weren’t. I learned, over time, that he was really bad with money. It’s not that he had gambling habits or anything, but he…


Time to Turn Fifty

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Photo by Peri Stojnic on Unsplash

Just twelve months ago, I acknowledged that I’d been shortchanged for most of my 49 years, not really getting to celebrate my birthday and having been trained to say I didn’t want to anyway.

You can read about it in my coming-out essay, “I Just Want a Birthday,” but the gist of it is that over the years, from childhood on, partly thanks to having a birthday just a month after Christmas and partly thanks to the short straw of an insensitive parent, I rarely got to mark my birthday in any memorable way. So, as…


Teaching Our Daughters Money Smarts Today

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Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

When my kids were in elementary school, I volunteered with Junior Achievement to go into their classrooms to teach them about career opportunities, professional pathways, and financial savvy. It didn’t take long before I learned that the boys seemed to be geared toward wealth-gathering, and the girls trended toward fiscal responsibility.

I thought it was all in my head. My own gender bias.

So I read up on it.

Susan Beacham, CEO of Money Savvy Generation, confirms this trend. She tells a similar story of volunteering in her own kids’ school, in fact. …


Parenting Your Way Through Teen Anxiety

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When my daughter started middle school at age 12, it was a big shift. A huge one, in fact. She moved from a small, neighborhood parochial school where I was a frequent parent volunteer to a public performing arts magnet school across town, on the opposite side of the city, in an aging building flanked by dilapidated houses surrounded by boisterous classmates. Instead of the calm, orderly morning prayer, she could barely hear the daily announcements over the shouts and banging metal lockers closing. …


Never Was, Never Will Be

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In 1994, I was snowed in in Pittsburgh, PA over the Thanksgiving weekend. My own family lived just south of Buffalo, NY, in the ubiquitous snow belt. In the days before cell phones, I didn’t dare drive myself all the way from Pittsburgh to my hometown on the snowy, icy roads. It was just me and my newborn son. So I stayed put. I didn’t even make myself a turkey sandwich in my tiny apartment, because I don’t really like turkey, and six-week old babies can’t eat that stuff.

By Saturday, I was lonely and depressed and craving human connection…

Susan Kelley

Susan is a runner, a mom of 3 grown children, and an avid traveler. She writes about humans, and wrote a book about false accusations of sexual assault.

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