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Liz Henry is the irreverent voice behind the award-winning blog The Six Year Itch. She lives with her daughter and her partner, Slasher, in Philadelphia. That's not his real name and that's not her real hair color. Her soft middle is totally real. Liz graduated summa cum lazy with a degree in English literature, which means she knows how to write properly, but rarely does. She loves Harry Potter and Luna is her favorite. Find her on Twitter @sixyearitch.
Saturday, May 18, 2013 by Liz Henry
I knew she was struggling. I knew she was depressed. I knew, and have known for a few years now, that my friend was a shell of who she used to be -- funny and tan with long, chestnut hair and salon highlights that were more sun-kissed than tin foil. Everywhere she went, everyone wanted to talk to her. It was my job to walk into a store, a party, anywhere first and she would follow behind me. She had anxiety like that and I rolled with it because we were thick like thieves. We played softball together and our two dads were our coaches. She is an aunt to my daughter and sat for twelve, long hours in a waiting room down the hall while I labored and gave birth. My friend – my best friend – wrote the time of every contraction on a Post-It until they were five minutes apart.
That was ten years ago.
A little over a year ago, she started her own family.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by Liz Henry
There’s no good reason why we never married. Alright, maybe there are a few: when he was going to ask – thinking he would make an honest woman out of me – I would have declined, we never had the money and then, as the years went by, it became less and less important. And then there were gigantic craters worth of problems and now we’re actually very happy, but still not married.
As it stands now, he and I have been together longer than most stay married. We began as high school sweethearts even though we didn’t go to the same high school. I met him when I was a senior and our birthdays are two months apart -- for most of the year, we’re the same age. We were friends first, dated for a year and then I was pregnant with our daughter. For much of my pregnancy, we were barely on speaking terms, so when he told my mother he was going to propose she rightly said I would turn him down.
Thursday, May 09, 2013 by Liz Henry
In a few short weeks, my family and I will be taking a huge leap of faith: we’re moving. And not just down the road or to another town with a new school district – we’re leaving Philadelphia for Atlanta. Hello culture shock and southern charm, we can’t wait to meet you.
This is just about the most daring thing I have ever done and I’m filled with excitement and terror. I’m not a fan of heat and my hair can’t stand humidity, I love snow and Philadelphia. But the truth is I live in the suburbs of Philly and I’m bored to death. Living in the heart of the city would make me incredibly happy, but the schools are terrible and I’m not interested in joining long lines and lottery systems that maybe, kinda, sorta will get my daughter into a great school. Plus, housing is just too expensive. It’s not New York City expensive, but prices far exceed what my “creative” career can afford.
We picked Atlanta because we have friends there and a built-in support system. Additionally, housing is affordable and it was voted the top nerd city, which made us feel even better about our new home. If I was being really, really honest, I picked Atlanta because it wasn’t here.
My daughter is surprisingly excited and my partner is on board – if you asked me two years ago if he would ever move I would have swore up and down that nope, never. But he’s leaving and I’m proud of him for taking such a colossal leap.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 by Liz Henry
The four of us were driving back from the Land of the Single Lady (just in case: that would be New York City) when we started talking about our last names. In our rented Chevy, there was a bona fide single, a domestic partner and two wives; all but one of us had children. The Single was my best friend of twenty years and the wives were colleagues. With me behind the wheel and my bestie next to me in the passenger side, we all somehow came to different conclusions about changing our last names.
Taking your husband’s last name is a deeply personal decision, but I would be lying if I didn’t say a little part of me died every time one of my friends changed their last name. Although my partner and I have been together for twelve years, we have never married. My name is still what it was when I was born, had skinned knees and barely danced at prom, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a conversation with him.
Thursday, May 02, 2013 by Liz Henry
I know it’s fiction, but what TV mom are you most like?
For me, I’m just like Roseanne. Yes, I have fewer children and no – technically I’m not married – but Roseanne and Dan Connor are our doppelgangers. I really do miss that show and how it broke the rules about what families looked like, how they struggled, and how - deep down - laughing about crappy situations can get you through to the next day. Plus, the Halloween episodes are just awesomely festive.
I love that Roseanne didn’t look or sound like any other TV mom: she was large and loud and at times was the breadwinner for her family. Like most mothers, Roseanne had a slew of jobs over the course of the show’s run: factory worker, waitress, secretary for a day, small business owner, and even felt the sting of unemployment. Yes, she eventually won the lottery, but the last two seasons I write off as not really Roseanne.
I even loved that Roseanne desperately wanted to be a writer and get out of Lanford.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Liz Henry
I absolutely love Pinterest except when I’m on Pinterest. Which I guess means that I don’t really like it. Or, maybe I don’t like what other people are pinning; things that I have no chance of making, wearing, or organizing because they look so utterly perfect.
Pinterest is where my creativity goes to die a horrible death. Yes the rainbow cakes look well-intentioned and beautiful, but I know that in the past year I have burned every frozen pizza I have made and baking stands no chance. Rainbow or no rainbow, the house will turn to kindling if I go near the oven with a Bundt pan.
Thursday, April 25, 2013 by Liz Henry
I may be a little late to the game, but I am beyond tired of reading about Lean In; the book and social movement manifesto from Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg. Let me rephrase because I need to widen my scope a little bit: I’m beyond tired of hearing from the “Corporate Mother.”
The “Corporate Mother” is the type of lady that’s “doing it all.” She’s a media darling that writes a book or skips maternity leave to run a struggling company to save it from sinking. She has millions in the bank, a nursery next to her office and is home, every day, at 5 pm to have dinner with her children. She has a supportive husband at home and, by golly, she’s just wonderful! The New Woman! The type of mother we should all want to be!
Well, that’s what the magazine covers and interviews suggest: that regular mothers and women are flatlining and it’s up to the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer to save us from ourselves.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Liz Henry
Every year my daughter celebrates another birthday and every year I refuse to hand over goody bags at the party. If a “Down with Goody Bags” picket line existed, I would probably join it. Probably. I can’t stand them.
Call me an old-school parent or whatever you like, but I believe the “goody” is attending the party. And, quite frankly, my daughter has never attended a party where the bag wasn’t filled with absolute junk that wasn’t toss-in-the-trash worthy. I mean plastic kazoos and harmonicas? I could create an amazing ball pit with all of the yo-yos we have received over the years.
Every year there is a lone parent that comes up to me after the party has ended to double-check that, in fact, no goody bag was handed out and every year I say the same thing: we gave up goody bags when the birthday girl was three. As if birthday party goody bags were an addiction that required my family to go cold turkey.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by Liz Henry
Mistake number one was taking my mother-in-law shopping with us. In hindsight I can see how that probably wasn’t the best decision, but I didn’t know any better. In twelve years, I have ventured pretty much nowhere with my mother-in-law and after she handed me a size 4X skort as a viable fashion choice, I can pretty much guarantee we’ll never go shopping again.
First of all it was a skort – which I might add are fairly cute on toddlers, not grown women – and second, it was four-times too big. But I let it go and moved on. She was still my mother-in-law.
And then, the unthinkable happened.
Yes, it was April Fool’s and, of course, my partner should have known better, but now I feel fairly confident my mother-in-law has hit monster-in-law proportions.
Thursday, April 04, 2013 by Liz Henry
I was certain about one thing when I became the mom of a girl: I wanted to do my best to raise a confident one. For the most part – and so far because this journey is not over yet – I have done a good job. I feel like I have modeled confidence and every-so-often my daughter shocks me that she’s been listening all along to the things I have to say.
One day we were driving in the car when daughter asked why the comic MAD was making fun of Twilight. I told her that MAD makes fun of everybody and everything just like the Simpsons. I continued by telling her that you can pretty much make fun of anything as long as you make fun of yourself too. I gave her a few examples by saying that I could make fun of myself for wearing glasses or being short. And, genuinely, because she didn’t understand she said: “Why would I make fun of myself? I love myself and have joy in my heart.”
Swoon. My daughter is awesome.
I was so shocked that she had been listening to her mother (that would be me), I wrote the conversation down. I know that she probably will not make it to her teen years with all of her amazing self-confidence, but if she can hold on to at least half of it, she’ll be way ahead of the game.