Time is on my side

By Leda Marritz

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Right after my baby was born and I started maternity leave was when I understood that there are really and truly 24 full hours in the day. I am a creature of routines and plans who needs eight-plus hours of sleep a night: having an infant was a crisis of existential proportions. My daughter was a perfectly healthy, difficult baby, and I was horrified and confused by the amount of guesswork in her day to day care. Should we put her down at scheduled times of day or go by wake times? Was she hungry or was she tired? How should I best feign feeling bonded to her? And most importantly, why the fuck wouldn't she stop crying?

Something that worked one day (getting her to sleep by walking her in the baby carrier) would cease to work the next. The hours passed like centuries. I would watch the clock impatiently all day, increasingly desperate, waiting for my husband to come home from work so I could hand her over. On Friday nights he would say, “It’s the weekend, let’s stay up and watch a movie” to which I would answer, without humor, “Friday is no different from any other day of the week to me.”

There was a Groundhog Day quality to life that I found unbearable but had to be tolerated. I told a close friend I felt depressed, but not in a mysterious way, in a way felt like a normal response to an objectively bad situation (she agreed). 

As my daughter got a little older and started to develop discernible routines I recovered some inner resources to cope with the crisis I was in. I had no work, no hobbies, not even a Netflix show I could focus my attention on. Literally the only thing I could control -- in my entire life! -- was my reaction to the situation. 

With a sort of bitter, I’ll-laugh-about-this-someday-but-not-today attitude, I steeled myself to try to see the daily cycle of her infuriating, blank baby-ness and my own failure to be a loving, tender parent as an opportunity to constantly start over. Did she wail uncontrollably at the postpartum drop-in mothers group, was my walk with a friend and her docile baby of a similar age spoiled by unexplainable crying (yes, yes)? Today may have sucked, but tomorrow was coming, and it was going to be almost identical in ways I couldn’t control -- might as well experiment with the bits I could. It wasn’t magic, and admittedly this approach worked best on shitty days when knowing I had little or no control over the situation offered me badly-needed comfort. But it was all I had, and I’ve found the muscle has gotten stronger the more I use it. 

My daughter is now 20 months old, and I've tried to hang on to this attitude in her toddlerhood, a period I find both much more interesting and also very challenging. On the days when I disappoint myself as a parent I try to remember that I can still start over at any moment, that I can, in theory, choose to not lose my cool as she dawdles on the walk home, hits me when I do something that displeases her, or declares “ALL DONE” before having tried a bite of dinner. Would I give anything to actually be able to control her? I would. Do I disappoint myself regularly, sometimes daily? Yes. But this is the only thing I’ve found that works.

This willingness to see myself and my relationship with my daughter as changeable, not fixed, is not something I have been able to transfer to other parts of my life, namely work and my partner. The conditions of those parts of my life feel permanent, defined, immovable as boulders. As my daughter gets older, as her long-term memory improves and the human tendency to fix people in place develops, I know our relationship will inevitably head in that direction. I’m going to attempt to resist that. I know I will be working against both of our natural instincts (and probably capabilities as well), but I have grown attached to the sense of possibility and hope that believing each day is a chance to start over creates. 

Leda Marritz lives in San Francisco and listens to a lot of podcasts

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I hope you enjoyed this issue Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. Please pass it along, if you know someone who'd like this sort of thing a few times a week. If you’re interested in writing a guest post like this one, have any general questions or have a suggested topic you can reply right to this newsletter. You can also follow us and talk to us on Twitter here and follow us on Instagram too.

One witchy thing

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Teaching tampons

Poor sweet things.

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A girl (no, technically woman)-having witch wrote in:

Witches: Talk to me about tampons. My 15 year old just started getting her period a few months ago. She starts high school gym swim soon. I went to an all girls school with no pool, so this is a situation I've only read about in books or seen in Hallmark movies. Is she too young? What do I buy for a beginner? How do I teach her? I taught myself in college - my mom certainly never talked to me about tampons.

Witches with young women (or who remember being young women) replied:

“Definitely not too young. I started using tampons shortly after getting my period at 11. I might suggest buying a ‘slim’ tampon. If she has heavy flow, she will have to change it relatively frequently because they are only in regular absorbency. I think I would probably go for a tampon with an applicator at this early stage as she might be uncomfortable putting her fingers all up inside her. I prefer OB now, but I didn't start until college with them. However, if you think she is comfortable with that, it might be easier because she can be as gentle as she wants. As for helping her, my mom didn't use tampons, but she told me to read the instructions in the packet carefully and we could talk if there were any questions. I did that, attentively alone at 11, and it was fine. The first few times might take a while, so be patient and maybe have her do it at home, not just before gym class.”

“I started using them at 12. Game changer for me. I haven’t used a tampon in almost 5 years, but when I did, I always preferred Playtex sport because they’re a little smaller and shorter, which I think would work great for a 15 year old on swim team.”

“I have a 15 year old who just switched to tampons though it did take a couple of tries. A few ideas: mine likes the plastic applicator best (sorry, environment) and go for the skinniest version you can find (I think Kotex U brand has one, with the snazzy black/color pop new branding), and have her try it when she's on the heavier day for the period. I realize that might not all work before the swim practice... I'm sure she could also get a ‘cold/stomachache’ for the first day if she doesn't have it down by then.”

“I am not 15 but I think the Tampax pearls are the easiest. Plastic and round. And try the purple ones that are for light days.”

“I'd just be totally honest with her and say, ‘You know what? I didn't start using tampons until much later, but here are the basics’ and then, when in doubt, YouTube:

“I remember going through an entire box while alone trying to figure it out. Make sure she gets it up high enough - I remember leaving it partway out (and mayyyyybe with some of the applicator on? Poor 12 year old me) and it made me feel so sick to my stomach. So she's not too young and you're doing her right by making sure she's set up for success!”

“One of my teenage girls had no problem using tampons, and the other one either refuses to use them or can't figure out how to, she won't tell me. I couldn't use tampons until I lost my virginity because I couldn't get anything in there, and it sucked. I assumed that was from my DES exposure (high doses of estrogen when my mother was pregnant with me, which cause reproductive system problems), but now I'm a little worried she has the same thing. She does NOT want to have a gyn exam, either. I had when I was her age because of the DES exposure.”

“Not too young! I also remember poring over the detailed line drawing in the package, trying to figure it out. I think the Captain Morgan’s position, with one foot up on the toilet, is also good for starters to get it up in there correctly.”

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“For all you with menstruating youngins, take a tampon from each type you try and put them all in a bowl of water to show how they expand and absorb. It’s totally the most fun simple science experiment (and shouldn’t some fun come out of decades of periods?) I used to do this to show my friends how OBs were far superior to thin ones that leak all the time. My daughter is only 4 but I’m already contemplating what age a reusable silicone cup is doable!”

“If a tampon is just not workable for any reason at all—too hard to master or for girls with sensory issues, there are Thinx-style bathing suits, and some even can store another pad in there for extra protection. Those can be lifesavers.”

“My 15 year old daughter got her 1st period when she was 13 year old and we were on vacation. We had to use the vending machine, which only sold tampons. Trial by fire, baby! It took two tries with my guidance and she has used them ever since. She uses pads overnight and liners as her period wanes. Specifically, I recommend Playtex Sport tampons because they are super easy to use and conceal. My daughter also uses Thinx on the heavier days of her period as a back-up. Make sure to talk about Toxic Shock Syndrome and the importance of keeping track of tampons and changing them often. I knew someone who had TSS and it was truly touch and go for a while, but she lived.”

“Our high school would let girls walk around the pool back in the day if they did not feel like swimming on their periods, thought I always felt like it was a bit equivalent to the red tent of yore - mark all the bleeding women! Also tell her she must change it right after swimming class is over because of infection risks from the pool water, because she may not think of that.”

“I got my period at 11 and first tried to use a tampon at age 12 while on a family beach vacation in Thailand. Let’s just say I went missing for several hours and ultimately ended up fainting on the hard bathroom floor from bending over so much trying to read instructions in Thai while trying to insert a dry, applicator-less tampon. So wish my mom had been as thoughtful and cool as you are! I started using them successfully at 16, when my boarding school roommate took me into the bathroom and talked me through the process while standing outside the stall.”

“Ahhh small vagina issues. Meanwhile mine inhales tampons like Cookie Monster. I remember being horrified during my teen years when a friend's mom told us she had to use two tampons. Now I'm like, bitch please…”

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I hope you enjoyed today’s issue of Evil Witches, a newsletter for evil witches. If you’re not already, please consider becoming a paying subscriber to support this very essential reporting and also enjoy some extra content. Or at least please forward to a bunch of friends and encourage them to subscribe!

If you’re interested in writing a guest post, have a suggested topic or have any general questions or you can reply right to this newsletter. You can also follow us on Instagram and have witchy conversations on Twitter too.

One witchy thing

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Please help me cook less!

Less is more. For you.

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An international witch wrote in with a question in response to last month’s newsletter about areas of lowered expectations, and how, for sanity’s sake, I’ve stopped making reliable, beautiful, comprehensive and interesting Proper Family Dinners (#PFDs). She needs help leaning out:

The dinner thing is killing me these days. Most nights, after my kid is in bed, I'm preparing the next night's dinner and then cleaning up, and it's getting old having basically no down time. I don't know how to change this. I love to cook (but I'm getting resentful: by the time I get home, I have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. I don't understand what people mean when they say they don't cook. Like what do they eat? I can't eat takeout every night. Prepared/frozen meals are not really a thing here in the Netherlands where I live. We do like store bought falafel or veggie burgers once a week. I don't want to not cook—I'm still happy doing it some nights—but please help me cook a bit less!

First, I got some professional witchy advice from Virginia Sole-Smith, author of The Eating Instinct, who covers feeding and kids for the New York Times Parenting newsletter:

“I cook Something Big on Sunday (stew or pasta) that will make leftovers enough to be lunches or one other dinner during the week. Monday is chicken or fish with a roast vegetable (all on one sheet) and a side of pesto pasta so my kids eat something; Tuesday is taco night; Wednesday is pasta or soup with bread (often something I've frozen from an earlier Sunday cooking or repurposing Sunday's meal). Thursday we eat out due to kid activities and Friday and Saturday I refuse to have anything to do with dinner, so my husband either gets takeout or roasts a chicken (his one move). Narrowing it down to just 4 nights and having a clear concept of what each night is has helped me so much—I know I've got the picky eaters covered with those dishes, I know they are things I can make with minimal prep in under 30 minutes (except the Sunday thing) and if I do have more time or am in more of a cooking mood, I can riff on the theme —like make a fancy cabbage slaw for the tacos or some such. (But taco night can also be ground meat or scrambled eggs, storebought guac and cheese, done.)”

She adds, “Something I think about a lot: #PFD doesn’t mean you eat a perfect meal (or anyone else does). It means you spend some quality time with your family around food OF ANY KIND. I really think so many family meals would go so much better if we dropped the hyper nutrition agenda. It’s too much work and it means on the nights when we fail to meet that bar, we act like the meal didn’t even happen or isn’t worthwhile. Which is a fucked up message for our kids. Me eating grocery store sushi while my 2 year old eats a yogurt pouch and a doughnut happens almost every Thursday and it is still a Family Dinner because we are family and we are eating dinner.”

Tell ‘em, Virginia!

Here’s some other advice from witches on how to put a little less on the table:

“I'm a big fan of meals that roll into each other. I'll make a vegetarian red pasta sauce (it's not really marinara, because I add roasted eggplant and loads of mushrooms and peppers). I'll cook that with meatballs for the kids and my husband (I eat veggie meatballs). I make sure to make a ton of extra sauce. The next night, I'll make an approximation of shakshuka. I add olives to the sauce and then poach the eggs in them. We eat that with bread. Or, I'll cook something that needs rice one night and intentionally make a boat load of rice so we can eat fried rice the next night. (Notice, all my second night options basically are just eggs cooked in some leftovers).”

“We struggle. The teenager demand for food is high, and I don’t get home until after 7 most evenings. We order take out more than we should, but have gotten better in the past year or two—partly to cut down on the expense and partly because we’re all so sick of the places we order from and can’t agree on other ideas. I’m not good (at all) with prepping ahead but I am good am making more than one meal out of an item. I made pork tenderloin for Thanksgiving—a lot of it—and after Thursday’s meal, I recycled the leftovers into tacos (adding fresh guacamole and cilantro and grilled onions), and chili. If I make a chicken dish, I cook up an extra chicken breast and make chicken salad the next day. My kids don’t like it, but one chicken breast can make enough for 2-3 adults easily (one dinner and lunch for me the next day.) Using the Instant Pot has helped me branch out more.”

“This is an extreme example because I'm emerging from a rough month, but tonight for 4:30pm ‘supper,’ I'm eating soft cheese on crackers, about 1/2 a jar of petite dill pickles, olives, and scotch. Other nights I eat my kids' grilled cheese crusts, make breakfast for dinner, or heat up soup or another ready-made something from the grocery store. Very occasionally I cook the kind of simple and healthy supper I used to make before kids: fish or chicken and roasted vegetables in the oven. It just all feels like a lot these days.”

“We eat snack-y dinners all the time. Bread and cheese, some cut up raw veggies and fruit, maybe a sausage, maybe a bagged salad. My preschooler is super picky so he gets cereal many nights and/or bread and butter many nights. We eat a lot of leftovers. We always have corn tortillas in the fridge to made quesadillas, Sometimes I'll make a big batch of Smitten Kitchen zucchini for the quesadillas, and add some spinach (my children will not eat this). If we have sliced bread, grilled cheese. We eat dinner together almost every night, but often don't have #PFD; we're just scrounging for food. My husband will make a nice dinner one or two nights a week and we'll have leftovers from that. We'll get pizza once a week, but my little kid will eat pizza whenever possible—it's one of his few food groups. If we order takeout Indian or Asian food, we always have enough for a second night and probably lunch, too. If we have absolutely nothing else, we'll make a quick pasta.”

“I make a giant pot of black beans and keep some in the fridge because my kids will consider black bean tacos one night, black beans and rice the next night, and black bean nachos another night to be three different dinners. Same beans, cheese, and avocado, with different starches.”

“I aim for one meal a night that I cook and we sit around the table and it feels nice. The others are a combo of Tovala meals for me and my husband, takeout, omelette a for the kids- EASY. We don’t get home until 6pm and at that point the boys are hungry, I’m tired and cooking real meals gets lost on them so I just make something easy and feed them and I scavenge while I do that. I also love to entertain and while my boys won’t look back at their upbringing with many fond memories around the table for frequent family meals, they will remember (I hope) how we had lots of parties and dinners with friends and families and I can throw those together easily. So hopefully those are happy memories.”

“My ‘I'm exhausted’ meals are: scrambled eggs or omelette (maybe with cut up cherry tomatoes and cheese) plus easy fruit (grapes) or veg (carrots) and toast. Grilled cheese and canned soup. Frozen sausages (veggie for me) and an easy greens salad. Also pancakes. From a box or scratch. No shame!  Also roasted chickpeas, rice, and sliced avocado. Tonight the kids and I ate home fries and a green salad because it was what I wanted. Tasted good. They’re full. ✅”

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I hope you enjoyed today’s issue of Evil Witches, a newsletter for evil witches. Please pass it along if you know someone who'd like this sort of thing a few times a week.

If you’re not already, please consider becoming a paying subscriber to support the work and get some extra content. Or at least forward to a bunch of friends and encourage them to subscribe!

If you’re interested in writing a guest post, have a suggested topic or have any general questions or you can reply right to this newsletter. You can also follow us on Instagram and have witchy conversations on Twitter too. Please do share any under-cooking ideas you may have. One avenue you might want to try is Toby Lowenfels’ newsletter Dinnerin20. Hopefully one day we’ll get to Dinnerin0.

One witchy thing

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You time

It's science.

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I had lunch with author Rachel Bertsche Levine last week to talk about her new research-based book, The Kids are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting. After we had a race to see who could devour her popover the fastest (it was a happy tie), I asked her why she felt this book needed to be written. “When I had my daughter, and went into the hospital, I was ‘Rachel.’ I walked out, and they were calling me ‘Mom.’ My identity had changed overnight.” 

Along with that identity change, she says, came the hard new approach to time and how it ought to be used when you’re raising kids, which is what she examines in the book. “I talked to so many people who say, ‘I can’t remember what I thought about before I had kids.’ I wanted to look at the research to confirm that it’s OK if we’re not our kids every second of the day.”  

After interviewing numerous experts and parents, Bertsche stands by her hypothesis: “It’s better for you to take time to yourself, so you can reconnect with the person you are outside of being a mother or father, and it’s good for your kids when you’re not super stressed all the time.” In fact, she says, “It’s good for their kids to see that they’re not the center of the universe.”

I asked her how her own personal time has changed since writing the book. One thing, she says, is that now she tells her kids where she’s going, what she’s doing, and with whom. “I’m not just going out. I’m going out to see friends or going to book club or going to exercise. I want them to know I have a fuller life.” She hopes this especially makes an impression on her daughter. “If she decides to have kids, I don’t want her to think she has to give up everything to be a mother.”

Of course the concept of “you time” is more complicated than just claiming it—childcare is expensive, and as you’ll see in the discussion below, sometimes getting spousal support or even deciding what truly makes you happy is also tricky. In Bertsche’s book she explores the importance of simple, everyday joys in addition to taking bigger chunks of time. She showed me a list she made on her phone of little things she likes to do for fun, as a reminder for when she has even 20 minutes to herself. “Watch a TV show” was one. “Read a book.” Sounds almost too simple, but be honest with yourself: when was the last time you watched a TV show and did nothing else? No phone or laundry or laptop in your hands? Last night I watched a very weird movie (The Lighthouse) with my husband (who now owes me) and I have to confess the first 15 minutes I was itching to get up and go online to catch up on royal gossip and other important things, but I eventually settled down. I don’t remember the last time we watched something together and I wasn’t asleep by the end.

After working on the book, Bertsche says, “I’m much more intentional about how I approach my time. I try not to spend date nights with my husband just talking about kid stuff. I’m not looking at pictures of my kids after they go to sleep. We all do that: we’re yelling ‘Just go to bed already!’ and then you’re looking at picture of them when you could be watching a show you want to watch.”

The laundry and dishes and picking up always need tending, but maybe it’s best to think of that as a comforting constant rather than a rock you’re always pushing up the hill. “I’m not saying don’t ever do the stuff you need to do,” Bertsche says. “I just believe in not waiting ‘til you finish all that before you get to your own time, because then you’ll never find the time.” So next time you put the kids in bed, instead of getting straight to the dishes or the pickup, take a tiny break to do the type of thing you always mean to get to, that’s just yours. “Really lean into your time, even if it’s just 20 minutes,” Bertsche advises. “The dishes will still be there when you’re done.”

Okay, but…

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This is all easier said than done. Here are some struggles and victories witches have logged in the fight to get their time back:

“I feel like the trickiest part of ye olde ‘take time for yourself’ advice is the piece that people don’t talk about (or maybe this isn’t true for everyone): that your partner might be grumbly or difficult about it. It’s not all internal.”

“It was so unpleasant for me to have friend time because my husband doesn't have friends who hang out. He would be all passive aggressive and mopey about it. And I would end up coming home after a great day with friends to find I had crabby husband. Funny enough, recently I had my annual Christmas outing with high school friends, I was gone for about 5 hours, and he was not crabby or passive aggressive at all. Apparently it took 16 years for him to realize it's OK for me to go out and for him to deal with the kids for a day.”

“I had lunch with a woman recently and my daughter melted down while I was gone and he couldn't manage it and LO MY HUSBAND WAS SO ANGRY AND BITTER. The texts I was getting! My girlfriend, who was with them earlier in the day at the birthday party, said there is a notable difference between how she is with me and him, meaning she's not nearly as tense and jacked up with me as with him. I wish he could just get it together in those hard moments so I can just feel like I can be away.”

“I am the least exercisey person ever but when I was home with m daughter when she was a toddler I used to go the Y because they offered one hour free childcare. I would lazily stroll on the treadmill and read for an hour and assume it was good for her socialization.”

“The best thing that ever happened to me as an early parent was that one of my best friends (who also had a new-ish baby) was acquainted with some other women who started a regular moms-night/dads-night out thing and invited me. Every Wednesday for nearly 11 years, we have alternated - moms one week, dads the next. It has made such a huge difference in my life.”

“Time for myself has been so intertwined with things I do solo, but for my family. Like in the early days - a trip to Target - grab a coffee, stroll around home section and maybe buy one tiny candle for myself, then $100s of dollars on diapers. Yet it felt like such a treat. Now that mine are a bit older, I’ve joined a rowing team.”

“Reverse sleep training was crucial for me. My daily dose of me time comes from getting up earlier than my kids... so I had to do some pretty ruthless cry-it-out with both my babies so they wouldn’t expect me to go get them the second they opened their eyes if they woke up early. We probably did more work on the early wakeups than we did on bedtime! Now they both reliably sleep till at least 7 and the toddler sings to herself till we go in around 7:30 or 8 on weekends.  I figured this out when my first was about a year old — but with the second, I was actively working on it by about 3 months!”

“A few months into new parenthood, on a frigid February night, my husband came home happy, tipsy, and carefree from a concert in the city and I snapped, a la ‘All work and no play makes Jackie a very dull girl’ moment of rage. From then on, it wasn’t a question of if or when I took 'me time,’ it was more of a proclamation. I have probably said ‘It’s only fair...’ a hundred times before I stopped defending my need for a break. We both recognize we’re better parents/spouses/people when we get time to recharge, though I do have to rein in my tendency to keep a tally.”

“I felt very pressured to always ‘be there’ and decided it was my job to be home every night, but it was a pressure I put on myself—not by my husband. It never occurred to my husband that he needed to also be home every night, so he still went out at night for work and for fun, and he thought that I saw things the same way. I remember the first time I said, ‘I'm going to a post-work event, can you pick up the kid?’ and he was like, ‘Yes, of course.’ One thing I learned about my marriage post-kids is that I have to give myself permission and say, ‘I am doing X on X date’ to him. He wasn't ever going to notice that I wasn't taking time for myself and suggest that I do.

“I go to the movies with a friend who has 5 kids ages 2 to 13. We go to a late show and are usually the only people in the theater. We have drinks, chat and watch the movie as if we are home. But when I say I am doing this, I can feel the guilt just creep in.”

“I think it's important to know what *kind* of time for yourself is actually replenishing. For example, I used to try to make myself go to ‘moms night out!’ things when I had really young kids and they would just make me feel more exhausted and talked out. [Introvert alert.] A book and a bar, alone, is more my speed. Or a movie, with all the snacks, ditto ALONE. Do what is right for you, that time is pretty limited (as we all know), so if it feels like more of a chore, it's probably not the right event for you at that time.”

“I just stink at this. My smaller person just turned 4. And, we are coming to the end of 6 years of paid FT childcare so I feel broke and especially reluctant to treat myself to a hobby or movies. Sometimes the recharge time I crave is in the apartment with no one there - which is within budget but hard to negotiate when it means willing everyone out to do something else. I never in a million years would have understood this battle even if someone had tried to give me a heads up. Lately, I’ve been coming back home after dropping the kids at school for like a half hour of breakfast to myself before I go to work. And I’m surprised how much I can savor it. But honestly, I think this is a real part of me that needs rehabilitation now that my kids are getting older. Like, what do I ENJOY?”

“My therapist told me, ‘If you say you want to raise a strong, independent daughter and a son who respects strong, independent women, but your kids never see YOU having your own life or being independent of them, what message are you really sending them?’ This had to do more with me taking multiple vacations per year without my family (which is THE KEY to my marriage/sanity/me not being in prison—and I know how lucky I am to be able to do this), but I think it applies to *any* time away or any type of self-care or break.

Another powerful thing my therapist said was ‘Would you want your kids to have your life?’ That guides a lot of what I do. One of my proudest moments was passing this lesson on to a friend of mine. We were on a trip without my family — 4 college friends at Disneyland (yes, we're those weirdos). We were walking from ride to ride and she said she had NOT told her kids she was at Disneyland. And I was like ‘HOLD UP!!!’ and then I gave her my big rant/speech about how they NEED TO KNOW that she had her own friends and was having her own fun. So I made her FaceTime them right then and there, and while at first they were like ‘Huh? What?,’ after 2 minutes all they cared about was if she would bring them back a present. And the guilt was lifted from her. I feel it is my life's mission to convince all women of this stuff!”

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I hope you enjoyed today’s issue of Evil Witches. Please consider becoming a paying subscriber to support the work and get some extra content. Or at least forward to a bunch of friends and encourage them to subscribe!

If you’re interested in writing a guest post, have a suggested topic or have any general questions or you can reply right to this newsletter. You can also follow us on Instagram and have witchy conversations on Twitter. What is your tiny moment of zen these days? Mine is reading a book on the couch while my husband does an activity with the kids that is not my bag (like wrestling, or doing a Lego set or crafts.) Just getting to the point where I didn’t feel bad about it was as fulfilling as actually reading a book.

If you want to give a friend approximately five minutes of time to herself, I know a good option:

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