Blog Posts by Redbook

  • Don’t Judge Me Because... I Let My 2-Year-Old Watch TV

    By Amy Shearn, REDBOOK

    My two-year-old has an imaginary friend named Pretend-Murray. She talks to him constantly. "Pretend-Murray!" she'll exclaim while excavating a small mountain of plush. "Why are you sitting on the table?" Or: "Pretend-Murray! Don't poop on your shirt!" (Pretend-Murray poops A LOT.)

    Pretend-Murray is furry and orange, and enjoys preschool, having adventures, and playing with The Big Kids, an amorphous group of mischievous but fun children who Harper also spends a lot of time with. I'd love to say she just has an outstanding imagination but alas, she did not create the Murray on which Pretend-Murray is based. The good people at Sesame Street did that. Yes, her Murray is the Sesame Street Murray who has apparently joined the crew sometime in the decades since I frequented the muppet nabe myself -- the large, floppy host who ties together segments by screaming bon mots like "THAT'S THE WORD ON THE STREET!"

    Yeah, TV. It's gone on that long,

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  • Don’t Judge Me Because...My House is a Mess

    By Joslyn Gray, REDBOOK

    My house is a mess, pretty much all the time. I wouldn't go so far as to say my house is unsanitary; it's just unsightly. I mean, if for some reason Child Protection Services showed up, I don't think we'd lose the kids. I try to keep the house just clean enough that we won't end up on the news one day, hanging our heads in shame as a police officer recounts the horror of our non-self-cleaning oven. You know what I'm talking about -- those news stories that include a shell-shocked police chief ending his sound bite with "... and there were dog feces everywhere."

    Note to self: Never get a dog.

    I should note that I do clean, sometimes. I clean when:

    • We have a party. Unfortunately, this means that any time I start cleaning, the kids get excited, thinking there's going to be cake.
    • Company is coming. My main cleaning efforts center on scheduling house guests at least a couple times a year. The last time we had company, my husband was confused (and
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  • No-Judgment Day: Moms Are the Best Allies

    By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    As mothers it's easy to feel judged. As a mom of five kids, I know this feeling well. I can feel the judgmental glares through the back of my head when I decide to pretend I didn't notice my toddler pick his nose and eat it. (You know what they say about "picking" your battles.) But often, we judge ourselves more harshly than anyone, especially when we don't measure up to the standard set by all the books, TV shows, and endless streams of parenting experts (who often aren't even parents!).

    Just when I think I can't take one more stranger saying, "You sure have your hands full!" or when I realize my Super Mom cape is imaginary after all, though, someone will surprise me. And that someone is usually one of you, my mom-friends in the trenches.

    Related: 3 Holiday Shopping Tips For Busy Women

    Take, for instance, a routine trip to the mall when my then 3-year-old son demanded Chinese food for lunch. I said no. With a speed and

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  • Watch Out for More Bank Fees

    By Beth Kobliner, REDBOOK

    Sure, it's really great that Bank of America canceled plans to start charging a debit card fee in 2012. Consumer push back worked-what a victory! But now, more than ever, it's time to watch your bank like a hawk.

    The planned debit fees, while definitely outrageous, were always just one part of the story. Banks are leaving no stone unturned in their hunt for bigger profits. All of a sudden, most of us are shelling out more than $50 a year for a checking account, which is nearly double what we were paying a year ago. And the minimum you have to keep in your account to avoid a monthly fee has also doubled-to almost $600, according to Bankrate's 2011 Checking Account Survey. Banks are also increasing overdraft fees (for those customers who opt in), and we're seeing a ramp-up of under-the-radar charges for services like wire transfers and paper statements, too, the New York Times points out. They're hoping, given how dependent we are on online banking,

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  • 10 Kids' Gifts that Will Sell Out


    With the help of toy expert Chris "The Toy Guy" Byrne, we've come up with the 10 best games and playthings for the 2011 holiday season. So read on and then run-don't walk-to the nearest toy store before these hot items are flying off the shelves.

    Courtesy of LeapFrog.Courtesy of LeapFrog.

    1. LeapPad Learning Tablet
    If your child is playing with your iPad more than you are, the LeapPad Learning Tablet will satisfy their tech craving. This durable tablet has a built-in camera and video recorder, eBook capability and a library of 100+ games, making this a great integration into the tech world for younger kids.

    Who to buy for: Kids ages 4-9.

    To buy: $99;

    Courtesy of Toys R Us.Courtesy of Toys R Us.

    2. Lazer Stunt Chaser R/C Vehicle
    This is not just your average racecar. Using the lazer gun, project a light spot on the floor and watch as the car automatically chases after the light at high speed. The two-sided design allows the car to keep running even if it flips over.

    Who to buy for: Kids ages 4-6.


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  • 3 Holiday Shopping Tips

    By Perri O. Blumberg, REDBOOK

    It's 8 p.m. Time to blaze through your holiday shopping list. These simple rules will take away the headache and keep the holiday cheer.

    1. Shop late. Once you've done all you can online, brave the stores at night. (Most shops and malls have extended hours this time of year.) "The crowds are smaller, so you'll get more help and check out faster," says Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing for Premium Outlets. The best part: Many stores restock inventory and do markdowns in the late afternoon. Score!

    Related: 7 Ways to Glam Up Your Look

    2. Hit the mall running. Start on the top floor and work your way down. Want to be really speedy? Go to on your smartphone and search for your shopping center; it has maps of more than 400 malls. Use it to streamline your route.

    3. Divide and conquer. Make a shopping date with your guy and store a gift list on both of your phones. (For $1.99, the Holiday Gift List app will keep

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  • Settle an Argument: Much Ado About (Holiday) Leftovers

    By Perri O. Blumberg, REDBOOK

    Ellie, 40, and Sean, 38, have been married for 11 years. Every year, they have a holiday dinner at Ellie's parents house where her dad cooks up a delicious hodge-podge of rich and decadent food, and they get a ton of scrumptious leftovers to take home. Luckily, Ellie, has managed to inherit her parents' amazing eat-all-you-want-and-never-gain-an-ounce gene. Sean, however, is in the middle of a weight-loss plan and is trying valiantly to stick with it. He's nervous that he'll be tempted by the leftovers and doesn't want to bring any home this year. Ellie thinks that's rude. Who's right?

    Related: 17 5-Minute Marriage Makeovers

    He says: "I love her dad's cooking and don't want to be impolite, but I've been trying really hard to stay on track with my no-carb diet this season and the sugary cakes, thick slabs of cornbread and giant heapings of leftover lasagna will surely derail my progress. I think we should tell her parents we love their food

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  • What His Friends Know About Your Sex Life

    By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK

    Photo Credit: Nathalie DionPhoto Credit: Nathalie Dion

    Once, my wife, Karel, came home from a hair appointment and told me that she'd compared notes with a casual girlfriend on how similar her husband and I were in our sexual habits. Gah. I know that guy-I don't need to be privy to his "habits," or how much they're like mine. She's told me about many sex conversations she's had with girlfriends, and frankly, I'm flabbergasted. You ladies really don't hold back, do you?

    Believe it or not, dudes are much more tight-lipped about this stuff. I prefer not to hear what my friends' wives will or won't do in bed. I don't have any hang-ups when it comes to seeing Karel as a sexual being since she's become a mother, but I have major hang-ups about seeing my friends' wives as sexual beings once they become wives and mothers. After a single life of trying to sleep with everyone, I think most married guys develop this mind-set to safeguard our relationships with our friends and their partners. Nobody wants to

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  • Top 9 Adult Christmas Songs

    By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK

    It's that time of year again: Whether you love it or hate it, if you venture outside you're going to be inundated with Christmas music. For a season that can be stressful and emotionally draining for the adults in the house, the version of Christmas music that stores and restaurants choose to play seems insultingly upbeat and cheesy.

    Look, I love Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time as much as the next guy the first time I hear it (usually sometime in mid-November), but by the third or fourth time it comes on (in one day) it makes me want to declare war on Christmas... and Paul McCartney.

    So what happens when you want to stay in the holiday spirit after you've put the kids to bed, but you don't want to listen to something that's going to give you and your partner flashbacks to the "unpleasantness" that happened earlier in the day at the Build-A-Bear Workshop in the mall?

    Here's a list of grown up holiday music that is great for

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  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK


    I'm a grown woman who has never even had a massage (weird, right?), much less gotten acupuncture or a chiropractic adjustment done. When my 9-month-old son came down with his 10th ear infection, I became so desperate to end the cycle of antibiotics that I listened to all my mom friends who told me a chiropractor could cure him. In case you're thinking this will be a "And then he was magically cured!" story, I'll make this clear: When the scary lady wrenched my tiny baby's head to the side (making a popping sound like broken bubble wrap)... I freaked out. I think I may have even screamed as I grabbed my baby, my bag, and my pride as I ran right out the door. Yeah, I'm awesome in a crisis.

    That was five years ago, and no one in my family has been to see any kind of alternative doctor since. I try to keep an open mind though, even if I don't act on it. When a friend recently told me how acupuncture works wonders for autistic kids, I

    Read More »from The Great Mom Debate: Do You Approve of Alternative Therapies (Like Acupuncture) for Children?


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