31 | Rewriting the Rules: Lea Woodward’s Location Independent Life


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Lea Woodward is not afraid of living  life on her own terms. She and her husband, Jonathan, left successful corporate jobs  to build web-based businesses that would allow them to work from anywhere.  They pioneered the location independent lifestyle-  roaming the globe from Panama to Thailand to Dubai and many places in between.

Lea and Jonathan now have two young children and they are in the midst of recalibrating how to travel, parent, stay married and still get their work done.   We had a great conversation about constantly re-visioning  how to “do” family. For more about Lea and her work, check out LeaWoodward.com and locationindependent.com.


30 | The Science of Parenting: A Conversation with Dr. Alan Kazdin



Dr. Alan Kazdin is the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University and the director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic. His research has focused primarily on the treatment of aggressive and antisocial behavior in children. In 2008, he was named President of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Kazdin has worked on approximately 700 publications including 48 scholarly books. He recently completed The Everyday Parenting Toolkithis second book for a popular audience. His work on parenting and child rearing has been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS, BBC, and he has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC News, 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, and the Today Show.  

And now Parenting Reimagined. 🙂

In our conversation, Dr. Kazdin and I talk about his work with the Yale Parenting Center and his recent bookHe is wonderfully warm and humble as he reflects on what he has learned from a lifetime of working with families and studying the science of behavior change.

For more about Dr. Kazdin and his work, check out alankazdin.com.



29 | Longing for Motherhood: Ruth’s Journey Through Infertility


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Ruth Clayton is an ordained Presbyterian pastor and a hospital chaplain. Her professional life is spent providing comfort, wisdom, and spiritual support to those experiencing the failure of their bodies, those who are dying.

For the past two years, Ruth and her husband, David, have been longing to become parents. In the midst of joyful anticipation, Ruth has had to confront the possible limits of her own body. After months of charting cycles and temperatures, Ruth and David entered the world of medical infertility intervention.

In our conversation, we discuss the ups and downs of the trying, hoping, waiting process. Ruth reflects on what is happening in her soul and her marriage as she looks toward the possibility of motherhood. She is also honest about the low points and how she copes with the monthly disappointments of negative pregnancy tests.

It is an open conversation about an experience that is deeply painful and increasingly common.

28 | Far From the Tree: An Interview with Andrew Solomon



All summer I have been talking about the book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. It has been part of my conversations at picnics, over coffee, during meetings, in lectures, and in a few therapy sessions. I have yet to come across a book that so vividly portrays the experience of parenting as both heart-wrenching and heart-expanding.  It presents a narrative of immense love woven into a kaleidoscope of stories of all that can go wrong in family life.  It is thoughtful, nuanced, and honest.

I was honored by the opportunity to interview the author, Andrew Solomon.

A native New Yorker, Andrew studied at Yale and recently finished his PhD in psychology at Cambridge. Andrew is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology. His last book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner, 2001), won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and was included in the London Times list of one hundred best books of the decade.

Andrew’s own story of fatherhood is a bit complex. He is the biological father of a daughter with a college friend who lives in Texas. Andrew’s husband, John, is the biological father of two children, Oliver and Lucy, who live in Minneapolis. Andrew is the biological father of three-year-old George, who lives with Andrew and John. The lesbian mother of Oliver and Lucy was the surrogate for George.

So the shorthand is: five parents of four children in three states and lots of frequent flyer miles.

Andrew lives with his husband and son in New York and London, and is a dual national.

27 | Weird in All the Normal Ways




This week’s interview is with writer and photographer, Lisa Howard. Lisa is the mother of 12-year-old Chase and seven-year-old Jordan. It is quite possible that Lisa is one of the busiest gift-givers I know. She and her wife, Cayne, mark the beginning of their relationship 19 years ago, their decision to become domestic partners 12 years ago, their marriage in California five years ago, and the federal governments’s recognition of their marriage earlier this year.  So, that’s like five anniversaries.

Lisa talks about the joys and challenges of motherhood, the unique parts of becoming pregnant as a lesbian, and the ways in which her family is weird in all the normal ways.

I get interviewed

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Most of the time I get to listen to interesting, wise folks speak insightfully about their family lives. I like that. I like to listen.

I few weeks ago, I was asked to do an interview about my family life. Role reversal- yikes!

I have been tempted to calmly pretend that there is no evidence of this conversation (suddenly feeling very shy). However, I realize that I can’t really go around asking other people to be vulnerable, if I’m not.

Bretch and Scott are a couple of dads who are in the process of building businesses. I hang out with folks like this because of my husband, Rob who is something of a start-up, entrepreneur guru. In this interview, Bretch, Scott and I talk about the ways that entrepreneurship and family intersect. We also talk a bit about homeschooling, my own career choices and I make reference so my love of shoes. It was fun to be part of this conversation. Thanks, Bretch and Scott!


Episode 26 | Nurturing Music


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K.C. Simba-Torres is a professional musician and a Suzuki teacher. She is also a Suzuki parent. She and her husband, Juan, have two children ages 10 and 6. In our conversation, we talk about the value of learning music early and the role that music plays in helping kids develop character. K.C. also talks about her hopes for her tremendously talented children and she reflects  more personally on the ways that parenting has changed her.

K.C. runs a private music studio and plays violin professionally. To learn more about her work, visit her website: simbaschoolofmusic.com

The music featured in this episode is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Variation 1 by Dr. Shinich Suzuki. The second piece is Flight of the Bumblebee composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and performed by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.



Becoming a cello parent


Some of the Parenting Reimagined interviews have autobiographical roots. This week’s interview with musician, K.C. Simba-Torres, was prompted by recent events in my own parenting life. Her interview will go live on Tuesday.

Six months ago my son began playing the cello. He is learning through the Suzuki method which means that we are learning. I am his practice partner. I go to every lesson.  I sit across from him during each daily practice session to remind him to hold his bow straight, not skimp on the dotted half note, and keep his feet flat on the floor.

I have never played a cello (or a violin or anything that requires a bow).  I don’t know much about classical music. I didn’t know what rosin was until a few months ago. I wasn’t really planning to enter the music world. My husband and I were both star high school athletes, so I really pictured myself as more of a sports mom.

A year ago, my son informed me that he would kindly decline to participate in any activities involving balls (baseball, basketball , soccer, tennis, water polo, bocce ball…). It is not a decision he has shown any signs of wavering on.

He is not interested in accessing my inner sports mom.

I told him that he could pass on the “ball activities”, but that it was important for him to choose something that he wanted to try to be good at. Something that would require him to practice and persevere and work hard. Something that he really loved and wanted to spend time doing.

Chess? Karate?

He said he would like to play the cello. I asked him if he was sure. He said yes. I waited a week. I asked again. He said cello.  I waited another month. I asked again. He said cello. I asked him why. He said he liked the low notes.

So… we bought a cello (two actually, the first one was too small). And I began to delicately stalk the only Suzuki teacher in town.

Life is different now. In six months we’ve become a music family. We are still working out lots of the details and making lots of mistakes. But, we’re in. We’re committed. We took our summer vacation to a Suzuki Institute. We begin each day by listening to a playlist of songs from Suzuki Cello Book One. We take the cello with us on every weekend away. We don’t miss a day of practice.

Eventually, I am going to have to trade in my Prius so that we can transport a full-sized cello and still fit both kids.

The addition of the cello is just one of the many ways that my life has been transformed by becoming a parent. It is completely new territory and most of the time I feel quite inferior and like I am stumbling through the whole thing.  (Hmm, that sounds a lot like how I might describe parenting in general).

My son and I are learning together. He is depending on me to encourage him, support him, challenge him, and always, always show up for lessons and practices and recitals any other cello-related festivities that might come our way. And I want to be there. I want to watch him smile when he is satisfied with himself. I want to watch him try hard and create something he enjoys. I want to see him walk on a stage, take a deep breath and find a courage within himself. I want to celebrate each new song.  I want him to know that practice pays off and that creating beauty is a valuable endeavor.

Tchaikovsky here we come.