Charting the puzzles and peeves of kid-herding — from Huggies to homework, Pilates to pinatas.
The Bullet-Proof Backpack
September 3, 2019
It’s the Tactical Assault Accessory All the Cool Kids Are Wearing Aaaaand that was “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the…
June 12, 2019
Parents Prove Useless in Puzzling Through Adventure Game [caption id="attachment_1177" align="aligncenter" width="1416"] Starshine and family, saving the world one Dark…
Uber for Junior?
April 30, 2019
Ride-Hailing Companies Recognize Parents’ Need for Kid-Hauling Help Here’s a little secret no one tells you about raising children but…
‘My Parents Are Stupid’
April 1, 2019
When Kids Refuse to Be Properly Indoctrinated If I had any doubts that Gen Y and Gen Z possess the…
How Not to Raise a Sexual Assaulter
January 13, 2019
You Never Really Know If You’re Raising Good Kids ... Until You’re Long Done The political pandemonium of the past two…
Secrets of a Very Catholic Daughter
June 2, 2018
‘Hiding Out’ Author Talks Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives I thought my dad saddled me with some psychological baggage. He used to…
Raising a First-Person Shooter
April 7, 2018
‘Fortnite’ Video Game Blowing Holes in My Anti-Gun Policy The hypocrisy of my life is corroding my insides, and confession is…
Theater Kids Save the World
April 7, 2018
Drama Class Prepares Students to Lead a Revolution Everyone who’s been to high school knows it: Jocks top the student hierarchy.…
Rooting Against Your Kids
March 10, 2018
Yes, Sometimes We Do Want Them to Fail There’s tough-love parenting, and then there’s just “tough luck, kid!” Wisconsin GOPSenate candidate Kevin…
October 22, 2017
Memories of a Drunk Dad, Gone Dry When I was a little girl, my dad was more fun than anyone I knew.…
Exes Co-Parenting in Peace?
October 22, 2017
Starshine Surveys the Pros and Cons of Sharing Kids I like to think of myself as fairly magnanimous. Generous of spirit.…
What Makes Dads So … Non-Mom?
June 23, 2017
A group of young dudes in Spokane, Washington, recently put an ad on Craigslist for a “BBQ Dad” who’d be…
13 Reasons Why Parenting Is Frightening
June 4, 2017
With Wisdom Comes Age ... And Fear Last month saw the launch of two unrelated cultural phenomena that enchanted teens…
TTYL, College Kid o’ Mine
June 3, 2017
The Joys of Keeping in Touch, via Text, With Your Out-of-State Son Right now, high school seniors throughout the country…
Parenting Under a Toddler-in-Chief
February 12, 2017
When you’re a kid, they tell you the greatest thing about this country is that absolutely anyone can grow up…
Crushing on Mommy Tonk
September 21, 2016
You guys, I found my soul mates, and they’re two ballsy broads who sing about parenting, shopping, and recreational drugs. The…
Hey! Can I Get an Epidural Over Here?
August 10, 2016
It happened again. I wake with my sheets wound round me, legs akimbo, pulse spazzy. I’m fresh from a fight…
Pokémon GO Is the Balm
July 27, 2016
In a world where innocents are mowed down while dancing, and black fathers and sons are senselessly murdered by peace…
Globe-Trotting Grade-Schoolers are ‘World Schooled’
July 13, 2016
I’m spending the week with three charming gentlemen who regale me with tales of their epic world travels. They describe…
Dress Codes Unzipped: Are School Policies Sexist?
June 29, 2016
In a nation locked like longhorns in contentious battles over abortion, immigration, and assault weapons … can anyone really still…
Maxed Out: Is System Rigged Against Working Moms?
May 31, 2016
I have an ugly secret: For 18 years, I’ve felt like a fraud both at home and at work. From the…
The Sudden Surge of Transgender Teens
April 19, 2016
At a party recently, two of my good friends informed me that their teenagers, formerly a boy and a girl,…
The Waiting Is the Hardest Part
February 9, 2016
When my firstborn son was a toddler, I used to wonder if he would become a bouncer someday because he…
No One Cares About Your Hymen
November 3, 2015
Tradition deems that a bride should give a few gifts on her wedding day. She might give jewelry to her…
Tattooing My Teen in Vegas
August 25, 2015
Dang it, there goes my Mother of the Year Award. Again.
Tongs for Nothing: My (Latest) Parenting Failure
July 16, 2015
I forgot to teach my son this basic human survival skill. What now??
Fine, Mom: You Were Right
May 7, 2015
Years after our curfew clashes, boyfriend battles and driving disputes, I gotta admit it. The woman was right.
Bedtime: An Emotional Odyssey
February 26, 2015
The highs and lows of this nightly ritual leave ME exhausted. Can I get a tuck-in, please?
Immune to the Facts?
February 12, 2015
I'll say it: Those who declined vaccines when they lacked intel are probably better parents than the rest of us.
New Year’s Resolutions for Laggers
January 15, 2015
It's not too late to set some goals for 2015! And my friends and I have some suggestions for you…
A Letter to the Bullied
December 18, 2014
Bullying is the new smoking: The bad kids do it and always for terrible reasons. The schools are wall-papered with…
Dating a Musician? I Recommend Bass Players
November 20, 2014
Any other gals out there all about that bass?
Welcome to Parenting
October 23, 2014
Let's call it What to Expect AFTER You're Expecting
Road Hazards: Driving with My Teen
August 28, 2014
My son's learning to drive. I'm learning not to scream-in-fear-for-our-lives. It's all good.
Let It Go? We’re Trying
July 31, 2014
The packrat vs. the planner -- a fight to the finish.
Stone Starts Driving
June 19, 2014
My son parked in my column spot this week.
The Sting of the Strikeout
May 22, 2014
Turns out you CAN watch a Little League game without tearing your hair out. You just need sage advice.
Ban ‘Bossy’? Over My Bossy Body
April 10, 2014
Sheryl 'Lean In' Sandberg says it 'hurt' to be called bossy as a girl. Um ... she did alright is…
Drunk Shopping: It’s for the Kids!
March 27, 2014
I had to do it. My take on the school auction-fundraiser—or as I like to call it, Philanthropic Drunk Shopping.
Foodies and Babies
January 30, 2014
Who cried louder? The baby who disrupted dinner at the nation's top restaurant? Or the foodies who were outraged by…
Best Part of Parenting: The Music
November 7, 2013
When my kids queue up my jams - The Pixies or Sam Cooke or Blondie, say - all is right…
Trashing Junior High
August 29, 2013
Young adult author Teddy Steinkellner joins me this week in bashing the miseries of middle school—an experience he calls 'a…
April 11, 2013
Where do you vacation when you live in paradise? To the urban jungle so your 7-year-old can learn to hail…
Benefits of the Boob Tube
March 14, 2013
We lazy parents are vindicated: Turns out kids can learn life-saving skills from staring slack-jawed at TV.
No Children, No Comment
February 28, 2013
Is 'I don't like children' a reasonable thing to say?
Paranoid or Preventative?
February 14, 2013
The Lockdown Lowdown: Our kids are practicing cowering in corners. And I don't like it.
No to Botox
January 17, 2013
I need my furrowed brow ... so I can strike terror into my children.
Tracking Your Teen
January 3, 2013
Our parents never knew where we were. But parents today can monitor our kids' locations, connections -- even their speed.…
Parental Kissing: Ewww
November 22, 2012
Must we hear 'yuck' and 'nasty' when we plant one on our partners?
May I Have This Dance?
October 11, 2012
Teens making over-the-top overtures to invite dates to homecoming.
September 13, 2012
What every parent should know about pedicures, pizza and peeing in bushes.
Family Car Decals
August 16, 2012
Why tally your clan in stick-figures on the back of your Yukon?
Dog Hair: The New Superfood
July 19, 2012
Thank dog. Turns out great hygiene does not a good mother make.
Cool or Not Cool?
June 21, 2012
Sometimes my kids ask me questions that rattle my mind like a cold, brass church bell, like when my teenager…
May 28, 2012
Cannibals, Harleys, and Other Things My Daddy Taught Me
One Tyke, One Teen
May 10, 2012
The ups and downs of having seven years between sibs.
April 26, 2012
Today's teens are born to porn. Need we worry?
Your Child, Your Mouthpiece
January 5, 2012
Don't turn your kid into your personal picket sign. It's creepy.
October 27, 2011
Classy and timeless? Or outdated and meaningless?
Gift Wrap This
October 13, 2011
Are you worn down by wrapping paper sales and jog-a-thons? You ain't the only one, sister.
Avoiding the Custody Shuffle
September 15, 2011
'Bird-nesting' means the kids stay at home and the PARENTS come and go ...
What If My Kid’s Gay?
September 1, 2011
Though we may have hunches about our kids, experts say we can't ever really tell.
August 18, 2011
It's not that I INTEND to sing dirty songs to my son, it's just that ...
My Child, My ‘Friend’?
August 4, 2011
Am I spying on him ... or is he spying on me?
The Brand Canyon
July 21, 2011
When the kid's just GOT to have Converse ... (sigh)
Circumcision: Cut It Out?
July 7, 2011
There's been quite a lot of flap over foreskins lately ...
Giving Birth: A Laughing Matter?
June 23, 2011
I coulda used a giggle in the delivery room. You?
Lost: One Father
June 9, 2011
Remembering the man who made me write, even though he's still alive.
I Want Camp
May 26, 2011
Imagining Pie Camp, and High Metabolism Camp, for grown-ups ...
May 11, 2011
I get a big, fat 'F' for Freaking Out:
I’m Raising an Addict
April 28, 2011
Facing the monkey on my kindergartner's back.
April 14, 2011
Refusing to raise a rude texter ... I may have gone overboard.
Flock My Life
March 31, 2011
I thought I was a laissez-faire mom, but ... how do you say 'hand-wringing mom' in French?
Mom’s Got Germs
March 17, 2011
Really? The kids who once peed on my shirt now think I have cooties? REALLY??
‘Yo Mama’ Still Draws Laughs, Wrath
March 3, 2011
Are we genetically programmed to chafe at mommy slander?
When to Say When
February 17, 2011
Will our kids ultimately do to us ... (gulp) what we do to the dog?
Correcting Others’ Children
January 20, 2011
Yes. I reprimand other people's kids. Right in front of them. You wanna make something of it?
Chasing the Empty ‘A’
January 6, 2011
Who knew that nudging our kids towards 4.0s was bad?
Fame and (Mis)Fortune
November 25, 2010
Are All Child Stars Doomed?
Happy Meals lose weight
November 11, 2010
I've been waiting decades for someone to make my parenting job easier. And you've just done that.
Scouting for Some Sense
October 28, 2010
Starshine talks to a gay dad who was booted from his son's Boy Scouts troop. So much for 'loyal, friendly,…
Insanity by Baby Book
September 30, 2010
The sole purpose of baby books is to make moms more deranged than we already are. There, I said it.
Take My Kids … Please
September 16, 2010
Have you named a guardian for your kids? YOU HAVEN'T?! Yeah, me, neither.
Life is Laundry
September 2, 2010
Does your kid know how to clean a toilet? Hang a picture?
Our Kids are Snitches
August 19, 2010
AACK! Why teach our children to be honest if they'll just turn it against us?!
August 5, 2010
You've got a lot of nerve calling this a vacation. Where's my flip-flopping cabana boy?!
Why Have Kids? No, Really.
July 8, 2010
Starshine contemplates the joy — and the horror — of having offspring.
I Ain’t No Supermodel
June 24, 2010
Sloth, baked goods, monkey sex and other reasons I shouldn't be a role model to children.
June 10, 2010
What if you don't WANT to be friends with your kids' friends' parents? Do you HAVE to? REALLY??
Little League Lunatics
May 27, 2010
Parents going gonzo on the sidelines?
Tweens ‘Dating’ Tweens
May 13, 2010
Sixth-graders? 'Going out'?!!
Enough for Two
April 29, 2010
Only child ponders the Math of Love: How do you divide affection between 2 kids?!
April 15, 2010
Teaching college students has made me a meaner instructor -- but a better parent.
April 8, 2010
Where's the stinkin' stork when you need him?
Fall From Cool
February 25, 2010
Starshine is suddenly humiliating to her children. And doesn't much care.
February 18, 2010
How I officially freaked out my kids. Sigh. Again.
View from the Control Tower
February 11, 2010
Control freak? Yeah, maybe. But isn't that my job?
The Getting from Giving
January 7, 2010
Slop-slinging can be glee-inducing.
Parents’ wise words seldom build vocabularies
December 31, 2009
'Don't let the dog lick your privates' and other things no one should have to say.
Scarred by Santa?
December 10, 2009
Will decades of December deceit land our kids in therapy?
Parenting by Committee
November 26, 2009
How Facebookers helped me survive the Tween TV Tantrum Trauma!
Baby Einstein Refunds
November 12, 2009
Did 'Baby Mozart' fail to make your child a genius? Join the 'I couldn't care less' club.
The Playdate Secret
October 29, 2009
The crazy thing about having other children over to your house is, it's actually easier than not having them.
October 15, 2009
The saddest eight words in the English language are 'Mommy, why is my drawing in the trash?'
Gloss of Innocence
October 1, 2009
How do moms decide when it's okay for their tween girls to wear makeup?
Begging for Tuition
September 17, 2009
Single mom Shelle Curley has taken to begging for cash at a freeway off-ramp to raise tuition money for her…
The All-Nugget Diet
September 3, 2009
The experts say I'm doing it all wrong. And by the way you bellow 'that's YUCK!' at the sight of…
Little Drummer Boy
August 20, 2009
My son is a drummer. An enthusiastic one. With beefy forearms and a double bass pedal. The kid, I'm just…
Whose Getaway Is It?
August 6, 2009
Who Needs a Break More, Starshine or Her Kids?
Rated PG for Parental Gaffe
July 23, 2009
I realize memory fizzles as you age, but I don't recall my favorite flicks containing so much sex, violence, drugs,…
Kids and Marijuana
July 16, 2009
Keep Your Offspring from Smoking by Being a Pothead Yourself
The Nip/Tuck Talk
July 9, 2009
What Parents Tell Their Kids About Plastic Surgery
June 25, 2009
Have Americans become unnecessarily fearful for our children's safety?
June 18, 2009
For Father's Day, Starshine gives the dads-of-daughters a good grilling.
End-of-the-Year-Gifts for Teachers
May 28, 2009
No coffee mugs. No cheap candy. Starshine asks teachers what they really want for end-of-the-year gifts.
May 21, 2009
Starshine chats with the stars of a startlingly honest new film about mom-bonding.
May 14, 2009
Loathing floaties: Swim lessons make Starshine want to beat someone with a pool noodle.
My Son’s Peaceful Defiance
April 30, 2009
Fed up with life's bossy mandates, Starshine finds freedom in a toddler's two-word cue: 'I won't.'
April 16, 2009
Of schlepping the kids to smut-soaked Sin City, Starshine has this to say: OOPS.
Bag o’ Tricks
April 2, 2009
In the event of a nuclear disaster, you'd better hope you're sitting next to Starshine.
The Sob Squawk Screech of Siblings
March 19, 2009
Who's got it better, only children or siblings? As an only herself, Starshine has no clue how to parent the…
Rent’s Price of Admission
March 5, 2009
Rebellion for 'Rent': Should high-schoolers play smack-addicted, cross-dressing pole dancers?
The Post-Baby Bop
February 19, 2009
Hop on Pop? Starshine chats with a sexpert who swears that new parents can have a rockin' boudoir.
The Dirty Truth
February 5, 2009
Dirty talk: Starshine finally gets a leg up on all you Lysol-huffing scrub nuts.
The Family That Rocks Together…
January 29, 2009
Crank it up, son! Starshine finds out what happens when parents rock out with their kids.
Pop Goes the Kids’ Bop
December 25, 2008
Wiggle me this: Why does kids' music have to suck so badly?
December 11, 2008
Starshine finds out why all kids -- even the sucky ones -- get trophies these days.
November 27, 2008
The two words that most set my family moaning are these: class project.
November 13, 2008
PTA meetings aren't boring when a gunman's on the loose.
October 30, 2008
There are good reasons why kids shouldn't play tackle football. Starshine offers five: Smack. Crack. Thud. Grunt. Oof.
The Best Toy Ever
October 16, 2008
Beanie Babies? Ha. Wii? Puh-lease. Starshine reveals the best toys EVER.
A Formula for Guilt
October 2, 2008
China's formula fiasco feeds Starshine's (gulp) guilt about not breast-feeding.
The Stuff Slough
September 18, 2008
Life doesn't live in the things that we have. It takes place in the things that we do.
September 4, 2008
Remember when you didn't have to hire an elephant to fete a birthday?
August 21, 2008
It's impossible to feel lonely, Starshine discovers, when you're high on acetone.
Starshine Roshell, Meet Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii
August 7, 2008
Few people know what it's like to have a name as odd as Starshine's. But Talula Does the Hula from…
Growing by Bleeps and Bounds
July 24, 2008
Through some terrible mutation of natural law, a four-letter word has become my young son's all-time favorite utterance.
July 10, 2008
Despite what it looks like, Starshine swears she did NOT give birth to two Sarah Brightman-loving 68-year olds.
Next Stop: Freedom
June 26, 2008
Powerless at the pump, the bus may be the exact change you need.
Phantom Tiara Syndrome
June 12, 2008
Lamenting that boys prefer guns to glitter.
Do You Have to Like Your Kids?
May 29, 2008
Parents aren't supposed to say this out loud, but... we don't always like our kids.
Mothering the Mothers
May 15, 2008
Fifty mothers bask in a kindness that has become all but foreign to them.
How to Handle the Brave New World of i, X, IM, and Wii
April 24, 2008
iPods and YouTube and Twitter, oh, my! An unnerving but enlightening teens-and-the-media summit.
April 17, 2008
Deconstructing Spring Cleaning and other lies meant to torture us.
Spork It Over
March 20, 2008
Starshine submits to a cafeteria lunch at a local elementary school and lives to tell the tale.
The Game of LIFE
March 6, 2008
Starshine skipped college, avoided kids and shacked up with a woman, but -- thank you, Milton Bradley! -- she still…
The Swing of Things
February 21, 2008
Don't flirt with hunky dads, and other playground rules by Starshine.
Hang the Potty
February 7, 2008
Kick the can: Starshine is happy to leave her youngest in diapers forever.
January 24, 2008
Starshine has been on both sides of the schoolyard tension between working moms and stay-at-homes. And she thinks it's stupid.
Mommy’s a Liar
January 10, 2008
Starshine tells the truth about fibbing, cheating -- and swindling for Hannah Montana tickets.
Where Are the Homeless When You Need ‘Em?
December 20, 2007
Hell-bent on benevolence, Starshine ponders: Where are the homeless when you need 'em?
The Nana-Fest Manifesto
December 6, 2007
The Nana Manifesto: Starshine begs grandparents not to turn their grandchildren into unbearable brats this season. But really ... what's…
November 22, 2007
The birds and the bees and the mom behind bars: Starshine pits information against innocence -- and finds that it's…
Old Wives vs. New Science
November 8, 2007
Remember when Pop Rocks were lethal? Starshine hates how science takes all the fun out of ignorance.
Once Upon a Cool Mom
October 25, 2007
From belches and butt-heads to limits and let-downs -- how Starshine was stripped of her coveted Cool Mom title.
I Killed the Tooth Fairy
October 4, 2007
After a celebrated and centuries-old career in the dental detritus trade, the Tooth Fairy, sadly, is dead. Because Starshine killed…
September 27, 2007
A close encounter with a pick-up truck reminds Starshine that control is nothing more than a lame Janet Jackson song.
Warning: Children in Charge
September 6, 2007
Is CBS' controversial Kid Nation really the devil's work, or are parents just kidding themselves? Only Starshine knows for sure…
The Great Disney Smoke-Out
August 16, 2007
Starshine doesn't just analyze Disney's decision to ban tobacco from its films. She puts it in her pipe and smokes…
You Camp Be Serious!
August 9, 2007
Stuntman camp. Heavy metal guitar camp. Jedi camp. Now that summer nears a close, Starshine and other parents ask: What…
July 19, 2007
Starshine dishes on the curious kitchen phenomenon that happens when the man of the house skips out for supper.
Down With Uptalk
July 5, 2007
I owe you all a big apology. Because when I was a kid? Growing up in the San Fernando Valley?…
My Father’s Gift
June 14, 2007
Starshine's Father's Day gift: What do you get the Dad who betrays everyone?
Who Wants to Be a Cotillionaire?
May 31, 2007
Don't mind her manners: Starshine learns that a trip around the cotillion ballroom is a lesson in balancing party punch…
I Now Pronounce You SISSY and WIFE
May 17, 2007
Hyphenates are for sissies. As California men demand the right to adopt their wives' last names, Starshine confesses her surname…
Only Pinocchio Nose for Sure
May 10, 2007
Fibbing in Frontierland? Starshine encounters deceit, perjury and a whole lot of hooey at The Magic Kingdom.
Road Trip, a.k.a Chaos in a Box
April 19, 2007
On the highway of life, nothing forces an appreciation of the here and now like the crowded, noisy chaos of…
Babies vs. Puppies: Who’s More Trouble?
April 5, 2007
Whiny, drooly and prone to mess themselves just as you're headed out the door, puppies and newborn babies have a…
Turning the Other Cheek on Spanking
March 8, 2007
Starshine reveals the bare-bottom truths about spanking.
The Third-Grader’s Guide to Girls
February 7, 2007
Starshine answers for her puzzling, pony-tailed gender in The Third-Grader's Guide to Girls.
The Business Trip
January 4, 2007
Business trips sound enticing to this work-at-home mom, but kidlessness - it turns out - has its price.
December 20, 2006
Dearest Friends and Family, We hope this holiday letter finds you merry, gay, and all the other pleasant emotions the…
Confessions of a Mall Santa
December 14, 2006
Starshine gets to the bottom of what makes all those mall Santas tick. She finds that there are three types…
November 16, 2006
As a little girl, I lived vicariously through my Barbie. When she wore her Bob Mackie halter gown, I was…
Protect your children! Eat their candy
October 10, 2006
I think we can all agree that candy is the devil's work. That's why we, in order to be good…
What’s next… toddler cell phones?
September 12, 2006
As the first school bell signals the end of summer, you may think your children have everything they need to…
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