I am sitting in my local Starbucks watching a young couple and their new daughter.  She is about 3-4 months old.  They are mesmerized by her!  She is talking and cooing and they are in complete love with her. She is perched on the table like a trophy.

When I got here, I was attempting to read about how to write my business plan for Max and Bear.  But honestly, I have been just watching this family.

I am always fascinated by the joy a baby brings.  I know that throughout all of history, having a baby is not news.  But, it strikes me that if that baby is yours, or someone you love, it is always miraculous.  

It's summertime, and families have their kids around more, usually.  So, if it is one of those days when you aren't sure what to do, just enjoy.  Kids change and evolve and become someone new each day!

Celebrate and experience the joy that comes from watching the person or persons you have made.

If however, they are being terribly grouchy or challenging, you can always do what I did during those times and say they are "My husband's children."

Until next time,


Taking a Risk...and shameless promotion....


One thing I have talked about is taking a risk, the right one, at the right time.

So, here goes!

I have taken the risk, for myself, and completed my first children's book.  It is called
"Max and Bear" and is now ready and is out in the land of online ordering!

Anyone who would like to take a look, or buy one... :)

It is on :  and Barnes and

Amazon Listing

Barnes and Noble Listing


Shameless promotion...yes!!

Until next time,
Here's to taking risks!


" More Kids are Better..."


This morning while I was waiting for a car in Brooklyn to go help Anne with Max, a young couple walked by with their child in a stroller.  The Mom was explaining to the Dad that she had heard more kids are better.  Her exact words were, " I heard that more kids are better.  If you have more, you can not focus and pick on all the small stuff.  You just worry about the big stuff.  They will be less neurotic."


What do you think?

Thought for the day!

Until next time,




This morning while I was driving with my youngest daughter, she and I were talking about new ideas for this blog.  She has some young friends who are now mothers.  Her idea, and that of the young women she has spoken to, is to have some of these posts be of the problem solving or helpful idea mode.  Maybe, for those of you who live in Chicago, the Lou Manfredini of parenting

I have been thinking about this of and on today and am honored, in the sense that people think I may be able to offer sound advice!  A lot of the posts I have written are more anecdotal and after the fact.  Maybe here, I can try to head things off at the pass... like today on getting some questions from my oldest daughter.  She has a toddler.

Many of you know, I like to share stories that are real, from my family and from experiences that I have either had or witnessed.  I guess my thought is that observation can be relevant, and that having already been there, it may help to get some ideas and strategies before hand.

Having said all of that,  I do want to always add the disclaimer that all of this, is my opinion.  I will say that Bill and I have some sort of reasonable track record, given that our kids are competent, effective and functioning adults.

Yesterday I received a phone call about what to do with an 18 month old who is just trying to figure out how to talk and get his needs met and is also periodically demanding.  I thought for a few minutes and then just fired away.  

I am a long way removed from the 18 month old!   Yet, I do know that most kids have a spiraling development process.  Just when you think you have things figured out, they change.  There are periods of calm, and periods of evolution and change.  No one stays static, and kids are the same.  I read a good development book when I was a young Mom by Ames and Ilg.  I tried to find a copy for my daughter, but because that was 30 years ago, it is out of print.  The premise was that kids have 6 good months, where they feel calm and comfortable in their own skin, and then 6 months of change and development.   Time to shift, evolve and reach that next developmental  milestone.  Yes, it is true.  Just when you think you have things figured out, they change.  Maybe that is the whole plan.  The chance to understand that life is a constant state of change.

I shared with my daughter that little kids can not truly tell you what they need, and they can't really function too independently until maybe they are 2-3.  Most two year olds still need a lot of supervision and direct play, and then by the time kids are 3, they can spend more time independently playing and occupying themselves.  Young children truly do need you A LOT!   Of course, some personalities require less, and each child is different.  

To that end, although it can be frustrating at times because parents have a lot to do, try hard to savor and enjoy and do your stuff when the kids are napping.  Oh, and it truly is O.K. to use the "evil TV".  Some good kids TV is out there, and you do not have to be a saint.  Sesame Street has won lots and lots of awards!

So, relax, trust yourself and enjoy as best you can.  Play, spend time, and also set boundaries.  Being a good parent does not mean you have to sacrifice all that you want to do.  It just means having to balance and be flexible. 

Until next time,

Lou... oh, I mean Pam

You Can't Drive the Bus...revisited


Last weekend I was in New York.  One of my daughter's friends had a baby shower for her, and we were helping Anne, and her husband Patrick, pack up their apartment. They are moving to a new place next week.

While I was there, I was trying to be helpful.  All of us were, my husband, my daughters' Megan, and my son Bill.  Anne has lived in this current apartment for 10 years and she and Patrick have lived there for 4 years.  There was a lot of stuff to pack!

As the weekend progressed and time was spent helping, I had to remind myself that in this scenario, I was an assist, not the captain or co-captain.  Those jobs were already taken.  Anne and Patrick were the co-captains, and Max, of course, was the captain!  Max is their 18 month old son.  I took it upon myself to spend most of my time helping with the captain!

While Max and I were at the park, and later when my husband Bill joined us, I thought the job we were there to do, was provide support.  Support and fun for Max so that he would not be in the middle of all the packing craziness, and support, maybe even relief, for Anne and Patrick so that they did not have to worry about Max.

Hey!  Maybe that is an accurate description of what I was trying to do.  I was trying to be a good relief pitcher!

As our kids get older, and as you ride the bus with them, remember that you are ultimately working towards making yourself obsolete as the driver.  It is hard sometimes to not want to say, pack a box a certain way, or organize a closet, or "suggest" what your kids might do in any number of scenarios! Try hard though, not to.

So at every stage along the way, when the time is right, step out of the driver's seat, trust that you have done a good job and enjoy the ride!

Relief pitchers get lots of glory when they do their job well!

Until next time,


And then this.....


I forget when I wrote my piece about the "Tiger Mom."   I know it was whenever the big hullaballoo came out about the book and after I saw an interview with the author.

This past weekend I was reading the weekly periodical called "The Week."  I enjoy the magazine because it is a quick and thorough publication that highlights all the recent news, and offers commentary on timely topics.

While I was perusing this past edition, I was delighted to see the article "A tiger mom's angry offspring."   In this piece a young woman spoke about her upbringing by a tiger mom.  She talked about how her mother would hit her, and make her kowtow to her, and grovel on her knees to show submission.   She also said that these tactics made her become amazingly successful in her field and a very wealthy, accomplished musician.  So, I guess if those are the results you are looking for in raising kids, have at this method!

Now, "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used as his byline...

The article concludes by saying that when this young woman turned 21, she fired her Mom, got a new manger and has not talked to her Mom since... Oh, and she also has decided that although she is an accomplished educated professional, the one thing she will never choose to take on, is Motherhood. She felt that she would sadly, probably do the same thing her Mom had to her, and so will pass on the whole Mom thing...


Until next time,

A not so tiger Mom,


Mother's Day

Hello All!

For each and everyone of us women that are Mother's, Mother's to be and women who help in every way...

Celebrate yourself, the women that came before you, the women that will come after you and honor all that a Mom does...each and every day!

Happy Day!

Until next time,


Hold on!

Hello All!

This morning I am sitting in our living room contemplating the fact that I (well actually we) have three grown children... How did that happen?

Yesterday Bill and I were out doing regular Saturday chores, the excitement of groceries and car washing.  When we were at the car wash, I wondered where Bill was, then saw that he was talking to and playing with a little girl that was being held by her Dad.  Bill and he struck up a conversation and I heard him comment on "It goes really really fast!"  I smiled.... It does.

Two weeks ago Bill and I got the opportunity to go to Houston, Texas for Easter with our son, his wife and her lovely family.  While Bill and I were driving over to the hotel,  I realized that 31 years ago, well I actually already knew that, but to put that number of 31 on the realization was fascinating!   31 years ago Bill and I and baby Anne lived in Houston, then we added our daughter Megan, she was born there. Now 31 years later we are going to our son's in-laws right in the very same place we had two baby girls and Billy was not even part of the equation.  O.K.  I am staring to annoy myself at this whole nostalgia thing...

But... here it is...


Hold on, enjoy every bit of time with your kids even when they are bugging you.  Before you even know it, you will be the crazy Mom like me commenting on how in the world did your kids get to be grownups?

Until next time,
Nostalgia photo included....




This morning I had a conversation that reminded me being a parent is rife with Guilt!  (I capitalized the word Guilt because it is a bugger.)   Of course I already knew that, having been a parent myself for going on 34 years.  I had to smile and empathize while trying hard to listen and offer counsel, that I hope was wise.

So many times we as parents expect ourselves to be super- human.  We want to be the best Mom, the best business woman, the best partner, the best friend, the best....OK... you get it.  We Mom's can try hard to "best" ourselves right into the ground!  ( I am purposefully leaving Dads out of this for now, because I think women have the market on guilt...)

Maybe it's time we all take a moment to pause, and accept the fact that not a one of us is going to do this whole parenting thing perfectly, and give ourselves a break.

Next time you have a conversation with a friend who's beating herself up about something she did or did not do for or to
her kids, suggest she cut herself some slack.   Perfect is boring anyways.

Kids don't want us to be perfect.  Our kids want us to be present, to show up, to listen to them, to love them, to play with them, and to help them become their own imperfect selves!

So, forget about perfect and move on.

Until next time,

An imperfect Pam

The Equality Issue....


I wanted to write today, but did not have the inspiration I was searching for.  Luckily I had a fun morning conversation with my friend Eileen.

We were chatting about our kids and where they're at in life.  Eileen has three grown children as well, and we were talking about how even though they are all grown up, we still think about how to make sure that each one gets treated equally.  We came to the conclusion that equal is really not possible, but equitable is!

From the time you have more than one child, at least I did, you think about how to make sure everyone's needs are met and met in a way that demonstrates equality for all.  Unlike having a favorite child, I think you need to have a favorite part, quality, personality trait, in each and every child you have.  I would guess there is already plenty in Literature about how someone got "the shaft" because they were not treated well or equitably by their parents.  Oh yeah!  There already is at least one famous story out there... Cinderella!

My three adult children are all different, and to that end, what each of them needs, desires and aspires to is quite different.  I think the goal of an effective, dare I even say good parent, is to figure out how to play to those parts.  See what each child needs, don't concentrate on equal, concentrate on meeting needs.  And honestly, even though we may want to give our children all that they want, that is probably not the best idea for their long term development.  I think the Rolling Stones say it best in the line "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need."

How that looks is different for everyone.  It may mean you help your adult kids with a home purchase, or your new teacher with a car, or your son with his next quest to be a Steady-Cam operator.  In reality, it has nothing to do with money at all.  Actually, it is probably best demonstrated by my friend Eileen's story about Easter with her three daughters years ago.  She made sure that each child's basket had equal amounts of candy and fluff and fun.  I am going to go out on a limb here though, and bet that in each of those baskets the bunnies were different.... I  bet there was a yellow one, a purple one and a pink one... depending on what each child's favorite color was... just sayin'.

So, here's to embracing our kids, celebrating their uniqueness and striving always to help them become who they truly are.

                                                 I love this picture.....

 Until next time,


A Sense of Humour


One of my favorite books that I used to read when I was teaching preschool was "My Mom Hates Me In January".   I used to love to read this to the kids that were 3 and 4 and see what they thought.  If, by chance they were aware that when you live in a cold and snowy winter climate, that sometimes their parents weren't
quite as excited about those continuing snowy and cold days...

Maybe the answer is ....It depends.

So, even though today is actually March 13th and it truly is still cold and though not snowing, there is an ample amount of snow on the ground...and I am listening to Al Roker predict another big snow event on it's way to the East Coast....have fun today!

Go out... play in the snow with your kids, do something fun, enjoy the whole kid thing, act like a big one yourself today!

What a great example that is!  You may even laugh a lot or be surprised.

Who knows, you could be surprised like my daughter Megan was. She was given  Hot Chocolate with Whisky from her Cleveland neighbor, after Megan chose to play in the snow with her snowblower and cleared off her neighbor's driveway. That will make you smile!

Have fun today....Be a Big Kid!

Until next time,


Taking a Risk.....

Hello All!

Last time I wrote I talked about different mindsets and shared the book I have been reading.
I have read more of it.  "mindset" is the title.

I think part of being a good parent, well maybe effective parent or mindful parent may be a better way to define this behavior, is to try and be a good example of all the things we tell our kids to do.  Part of the continuing process of growing in life, for our kids, for us, for families, is to learn how to take risks that are purposeful and that demonstrate growth.  By putting ourselves out there and taking mindful risks, we demonstrate that "our talk and our walk" match and are consistent.

So, to that end, I have taken a new risk.  We will see how it plays out.

One of the goals I have shared with my family is to write a Children's Book.  I have been thinking about it and working on ideas for a couple of years, and now have completed a manuscript.    10 days ago I decided to take a risk and signed on with a self publisher.  

Do I hope the project is wildly successful?  Yes, I do.  Is that the main goal?  Nope, the purpose is to "just do it".

Ok... here's to risking it!

Until next time,


Growth Mindset

Hi All!

I can not take credit for the title today....

Just wanted to suggest that the whole purpose of parenting is to help our kids grow into healthy competent people.

Also, we want to continue to grow and set a good example and love ourselves well, so that our kids can see how to evolve throughout all of life.

So, to that end, I want to share a book.  My daughter, Megan, who I believe is an educator and person extraordinaire, suggested this title to me.

Last weekend we, as a family, spent a lot of time talking.  Members of our family were waiting on some news, and it was a long weekend.  I can say that thankfully, all is well and I am extremely grateful!  Through the process of waiting and not being able to do anything except talk and in our case, pray, Megan shared this book.  I highly recommend it.

All of us struggle I think, at times and to that end, I found this so helpful and educational and growth oriented, because that is what we all strive for... to become.  For our kids to become the people they are meant to be, and for us to both help them get there, and evolve well ourselves.

The book is "mindset"  by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D

Happy growing...

Until next time,



I just need to say that when you are a parent, love is all they need.

When you love your children well, you can not make the world perfect for them, no matter how much you hoped you could.   You can, though always let them know they are never alone.  You are there, always.

Happy Valentines...

Until next time,

R words... Resolutions, Rebalancing, Rebooting

Hello All!

It has been a while.  I have been carrying a notebook around in case I had any ideas or notions of what to write about.

In the last month we all started a new year.  A time of new beginnings, new opportunities, and new challenges.  I like to think that most of what life presents are opportunities, some better than others. That is where the title comes in, and is what I am working on.

At the beginning of any new year, we hear about all sorts of New Year's resolutions.  It has become a constant in society, lots of talk around the start of each new calendar year.   People make resolutions, plans on how to change and improve their lives.  I do too.  I try to sit down somewhere near the beginning of the year and think about how I want to evolve.  I like the word evolve.  It is a verb that means to" develop gradually and naturally; devise; unfold, open out".

I went to a conference in November, and had the chance to see an educator and presenter that I admire. She spoke to the fact, that although she loved what she had been doing, it was now time to "reboot".  She said she came up with that idea, instead of retiring.  Retiring sounded too staid and old to her, and I have to say I grabbed onto the idea.

If we are lucky enough to hang around a long time, we will get a lot of chances to "reboot".  At the place I am at in life, I am now more of an advisor and hopefully role model to my/our children.  As I have said, they are all grown and live on their own and have their own lives.

Recently I had the chance to reconnect with a person I  had not seen for a while. She chose to share with me all the challenges, changes and new opportunities she had and is experiencing in her own life.  I was honored and thrilled that she shared her ideas and thoughts with me.  She is an example of a woman who is rebalancing and rebooting and evolving on terms that matter to her, even if her Mom is not able to support her at this time.  I thought a lot about that.

Each of us, no matter where we are along the spectrum of life, want to be accepted and validated and truly loved unconditionally by our parents.  I know that for some people that is easier than for others.  I guess the conundrum of parenting is that we truly have to demonstrate that our love is  unconditional.   I like the older version of the movie "Dirty Dancing" with Jennifer Grey.  She has a falling out with her father at one point in the movie, and she says to him "If you love me, you have to love all of me", and also says something to the effect that he can not just love her for the parts he likes, but also for the parts he does not.

A few years ago, when I began my first attempts at writing this blog, I proposed that unconditional love was one of the tenets of good parenting.  I have to say I believe that even more today.

This past weekend, we had the chance to attend a wedding in Los Angeles (why I came back to Chicago is beyond me with all this cold!)  While we were there, we got to spend time with our kids, and Max and our nephew and many of Anne's friends.  During that time, we heard about what they were all doing, and how their lives were evolving.  We got to listen.

After Bill and I got back, we were talking about how interesting it is to see what people evolve into and how they design their lives.  Honestly, it is hard to not want to tell your kids what to do, but I guess that is just it.  We have to take the opportunity to evolve and continually try to give our kids, no matter what age they are, the gift of unconditional love.  I think it pays off....

When we landed and I turned my phone on, I had 3 great messages, one from each of our kids.  They were thanking us for just that, loving them well enough to allow,  support and encourage them to be who they need to be.

O.K. !

So far, so good.  I am working hard on this whole rebooting thing. Knowing that my goal now is to love my kids unconditionally enough to let them be.  Let them be, so they can become more of their own true selves each year.  It's hard!  So, I am being thoughtful about resolutions, and rebalancing and continually "rebooting".

Happy evolving!

Until next time,


Part two of this week...Confessions...


Today I had the chance to have lunch with a friend of both mine and my Mom's.  My Mom, God bless her, was a complicated person.  I miss her daily, and also know that when she was here, I periodically wanted to take a shot at her!

Ok... I am not a perfect person, and so when I had lunch with this friend today, she and I shared stories about my Mom.  My Mom, being who she was, had a tendency to see the world and her life through a series of rose colored glasses.  I guess that is a nice way of saying she would make sh*t up!

As lunch progressed and we talked more, it was clear to me that Sandy had been told stories that I knew and was actually involved in.  The version she had been told was quite different from what had actually happened.

Here is the confession part.   Family.   Family is complicated and challenging and lovely all at the same time.   I know I want to think that my family, the one Bill and I created, will be fabulous, supportive, healthy and
perfect all the time.  But, alas, as any sane person knows, that will not be the truth.

What I do know, is that when you are all in, and I think most families are, the good, the bad and the periodic ugly are part of it all!  I really don't think anyone escapes.  I have said that each of us have some level of dysfunction in family life.  If you don't I think you are either lying or delusional!

So, if you have any family gatherings this holiday season, figure some of it will be great, some of it will be bad, and some of it will be in the middle.   Personally, I am hoping for more of it to be great!

Like I told my kids, I do believe I have done the best I could.  If there are any complaints, I am going to suggest they blame it on their Dad!

Oh, and yes, I do miss my Mom, in spite of and because of it all.

Until next time,

Happy Holidays, Pam



Today when I was at one of our local malls finishing up some shopping, I met this beautiful little girl.
She was 14 months old, according to her speaker, her Mom.  She was dressed from head to toe in red, white and sparkle.   She had silver sparkle shoes, a red jumper with sparkles, a white turtle neck with sparkles, and red hair bows with added silver sparkle...just for emphasis.  She was there to see Santa.  Her Mom said they were early, Santa did not return from lunch for about 30 minutes.  Their plan was to try and have her stay clean and sparkly while they let her run around as they passed the time.  All of them had huge happy smiles on their faces.  They sparkled!

Here's to sparkling!

Hope you all find yours during the Holidays.

Until next time,


Just do it....anyway


I thought I had better add a twist to the whole "Just Do It"  slogan so that I would not get in trouble for stealing someone else's idea.

I was busy watching a whole bunch of stuff on You Tube that a friend suggested.  So, as I was watching said info, a piece popped up called "Why would you want to bring kids into the world as it is now?" I was intrigued.  I clicked the watch button.

The piece was compelling.  It was a video of expectant parents of all races and ethnicities.  It showed these soon to be parents, watching videos on the television monitor of a whole variety of horrible afflictions, events and disasters throughout the world.   Of course, many of the parents were tearing up, both expectant Moms and Dads.  ( Me too! Even though I am most definitely not expecting!)

I generally think of myself as a positive person, unless it is one of those times when I go off the ranch  and decide to worry about a whole plethora of things, most of which I have no control over anyway.  So, I was annoyed that someone would dedicate their creativity to this sort of idea.  Then, I saw the point.

After seeing all of these negative images there was a brief interlude, and then... images of lovely newborn babies interspersed with historical figures that changed the world began to stream across the video monitor.   People.  People who became important for ideas, inventions, diplomacy, music, art.  People who changed the world through their very presence, their very being.  As an irony, as I am sitting here writing, an inspirational message from an app I have on my phone popped up.  It was from Albert Einstein.

Being a parent is a scary, daunting, exhausting challenging task.  Parenting, as a verb, requires endless hours of blood sweat and tears, and there are no guarantees that your hard work will pay off.  There are no guarantees that your children will not suffer or have hard times in their lives.  Yet, I do believe parenting provides the opportunity to make a difference, to change the world through the people we mold.

So, having said all that, just do it anyway. Why bring kids into this world?  Because.

Who knows?

Maybe you are nurturing the next Albert Einstein...

Until next time,