Superman DVD PlayerThis morning, my four-year-old came to me for help. He tried to put a Superman DVD into the DVD changer on his own, which I was well aware of and didn’t try to stop him. He knows how to do it, so no big deal. Wrong.

Like most mornings, I was rushing around trying to get everything ready for the day; for school, for the sitter, and today, for a meeting I had with a potential new client. Since I quit my day job, I have been spending the mornings with the boys. Sadly, this is all foreign to me, since I was barely around before and had limited interactions with them; the kind of day-to-day interactions that are common for anyone who spends more than one hour a day with their children.


“Mom, something bad happened.”


I looked at the clock, only forty minutes until we had to be out the door and we were an hour away from being ready.


“What?” I brusquely asked from the next room.


He came into the room looking afraid and defeated.


“The Superman DVD went into the machine but won’t come out.”


I quickly pressed a few buttons to try and get it out. I hastily concluded that he had jammed it in and it was floating around somewhere in the machine, which meant dismantling it in order to fish it out.

This boy came to me for help. This boy. A preschooler. My son. That’s what I want, right? To create an environment where he feels safe to come and talk to me and his dad.

And you know what I did?

I shamed him for it.

I went into a mini-tirade about how he broke the DVD player and how he had made the morning even more difficult and now I’d have to spend time retrieving the DVD…and I went on for a moment as his face fell with sadness and shame.

And then I snapped out of it. I called him over and held him tightly, telling him it was not big deal and that mommy would fix it. And then he bounced off merrily while I continued about the day without thinking much of the exchange until just now, when I got home and disassembled the DVD player so I could be the hero and flash the lost DVD to him when he gets home.

Jen Free: Heroic DVD Retriever, Mom-Who-Does-It-All-Even-When-She’s-Busy-As-Hell, Disciplinarian of Preschoolers.

And here is what I found when I dissected the DVD player: The Superman DVD, right were it should be in a disc space. My son must have pressed the corresponding button to play the DVD and when you do this, it puts the disc in “active” mode, so you can’t pull it from the machine at that time. You can only see the “inactive” DVDs. An easy fix, had I paid attention and not verbally attacked a helpless four-year-old boy.

Jen Free: Total Asshole.


A few months ago, my son, who is learning to spell, said to me with pride and excitement, “MOM is MOM backwards!”

In all literal ways, yes son, it most certainly is. And what better time for me to introduce you to the word palindrome.

But it’s also true in the bigger picture. No matter what way you look at it, it’s all the same. Whether we’re starting at the beginning or working from far down the line backwards, we’re all moms.

We’re all new moms, at that.

My sister is a brand new mom. She is home right now, feeling her way through the dark with a tiny, infant daughter, not even two weeks old. Some moments are pure bliss, while others feel like pure hell. And just as she gets used to things, just as their family nails down a routine, things will change and they will have to learn to adapt to a new routine and feel their way through the dark all over again.

My friend, who we’ll call Marge, has five children, the oldest of which is moving in to the tween years. With each child constantly growing and changing, she’s a new mom every single day of her life. When her sweet little girl was found to be sneaking onto social media sites after bedtime, long after the cutoff time, Marge found herself feeling her way through the dark yet again, navigating uncharted waters in her personal mom chapter, not really knowing what to do.

I’m working through a new career path, a new house, losing my old group of colleagues and friends, learning how to be a business owner, learning how to be home with my sons for more than an hour at a time, and learning how to parent them as they grow and change in leaps and bounds.

Isn’t that what we’re all doing? Living in a constant beta stage, testing the waters as we wake up to something new every day?





not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.


So to every parent out there, whether you’re a mom or a dad forwards or backwards…we’re all new. I beat myself up when I was in the brand new mom stage because of the “rookie” mistakes I made;  I thought that I’d have momming down pat once a few months went by. I was wrong.

I’ll always make mistakes. Some days I will fail miserably. That’s not just parenting, that’s life. I will learn from my mistakes and try to do better the next time.

After all, I’m new here.