Blog Posts by Erin Zammett Ruddy

  • Is It Ever OK to Leave Your Kid in the Car?

    Would you do it?Would you do it?This is a hot topic in my house right now. I'm not talking about forgetting kids in cars during hot summer days and the unspeakable tragedies that occur. I'm talking about running into Dunkin' Donuts or the dry cleaners and leaving your little ones for just a minute or two. My husband, Nick, thinks this is totally unacceptable under any circumstances. Even though I never do it, I wonder if maybe there's a gray area…

    Yesterday I was at a gas station and a dad pulled up in his Audi wagon. He left it running with his 2-ish-year-old kid in the backseat while he ducked into the mini mart. He was still in there when I pulled out, which was at least two minutes later. He was parked in front of the mini mart (not in a spot) but he definitely could not see the kid from where he was in the store. I gotta say, I was a little shocked to see this and, to me, it falls in the unacceptable column. Someone could have jumped in the car and driven away.

    But I get it. I have a 3- and a 6-year-old and

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  • 10 Things I Want to Do Immediately After Giving Birth

    A good beer is on the list, too...This is not a post about eating placenta or skin-to-skin contact with my baby or immediate latching or anything else my title may have made you think. Those things may be tops on some moms' postpartum to-do lists but I'm more concerned with dirty martinis and full-caf lattes and finally getting some damn sleep. You know, the important stuff.

    As I've written before, I don't really mind pregnancy (and I'm incredibly lucky to be having a third child) but as I approach full term, I'm starting to get really excited about not being pregnant anymore. I have eight weeks to go and I can't help but get pumped for all the things I've gone without (I'm also really pumped for the baby but that's a different post for a different time).

    True, I won't be able to do most of these things in the delivery room (and yes, I will be doing the right things for my baby first and foremost--though eating my placenta is not my bag), but I've really missed some of my old habits. And I want to talk about them

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  • Life with Cancer, Then and Now

    With my beloved doctor in 2001 (left) and just last week. These two pictures were taken 12 years apart. The first, on the left, was shot at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, in 2001. I was 23, single, and had just been diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. The second was snapped last Tuesday at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. I'm now 35, married, and a mother of two kids with a third on the way. And I'm as healthy as a (very pregnant) horse. If you'd told the girl on the left that someday she'd be the girl on the right, I don't know if I'd have believed it. How could I?

    On November 13, 2001, I was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. I didn't feel sick but a routine blood test at my annual physical revealed an elevated white blood cell count (normal is between 4,000 and 10,000; mine was close to 100,000). CML is a slow-moving form of blood cancer, but one that traditional chemotherapy and radiation do little to stop. Without effective treatment I would have had five years to live. Needless to

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  • An Ode to the End of Summer

    Hooray, summer's over! I may be in the minority here, but I am so not sad to see summer go. It was fantastic, don't get me wrong. We did tons of boating and swimming and fishing and beaching and barbecuing with friends and family. We even took two lakeside vacations. There were s'mores and pool parties and delicious grilled veggies from our garden and …l obster. But I am officially done. I'm ready for pumpkins and jeans and crisp mornings and hot coffee and fires in the fireplace and, well, I pretty much love everything about fall. I'm sure I'll be wistful for the lazy days at some point (like when I'm elbow deep in making school lunches and helping with homework I don't really understand) but for now I'm ready to say goodbye. And in honor of the end of the season, I decided to write a little poem, set to the classic Goodnight Moon. Here goes (apologies to Margaret Wise Brown):

    Goodbye Summer

    Goodbye endless days, goodbye strong UV rays.

    Goodbye oppressive heat and goodbye grilled processed meat.

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  • The Perfect Back-to-School Meal for Your Family

    Rodale BooksMy kids start school in about a week (hooray!) and that means dinner, along with life in general, will be taking a more structured form. We'll be eating earlier, together, indoors, sans bathing suits. And hotdogs will not be on the menu. The transition from summer mealtime to fall requires some thought and I don't know about you, but it takes me a little while to jump-start my mom brain after the lazy days. Especially when it comes to preparing food (we literally grilled everything this summer). Enter the brand-new cookbook "Keepers" by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, two busy moms and home cooks who know their way around good food (they met while working at Saveur). For years they traded recipes and tips and finally decided to share their "keepers" with the rest of us (those "brag-worthy, reliable, crowd-pleasing recipes that you can confidently turn to again and again"). Yes, please! 

    Rodale BooksFull disclosure: Caroline and I worked together at Glamour for years and I think she's

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  • The Mom Phrase I Really Can’t Stand

    There are three words moms say to other moms that make me cringe. You generally hear more seasoned moms saying this to newer moms. And, full disclosure, it's something I've caught myself saying in the past. But I've made a real effort to rein it in because I think it's dismissive, unhelpful and kind of holier than thou. All things I don't want to be to other moms. The offending phrase: "Just wait until…"

    Just. Wait. Until. These words are often said in response to something you might tell another mom about your parenting experience. And rather than acknowledge your statement or commiserate or offer a helpful tip, a "just wait until…" flies out of her mouth. It may not be intentional (I'm sure it's often not) but, to me, it comes off as one-upping, flippant, condescending. Or, worse, like saying whatever it is that you're enjoying or struggling with or sharing isn't all that important because it's not as good/bad/exciting/meaningful as something the other person has already

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  • Mom Facebook Statuses I Love

    LoveI like to periodically highlight the good stuff I see on Facebook because, let's be honest, there's plenty that isn't so likable. I often find myself scratching my head/rolling my eyes at what pops up in my newsfeed--especially when it comes to people posting about parenthood. I'm just not a big fan of the super earnest ("I love my kid soooo much!") or the super braggy ("my kid is soooo smart!") or the super complainy ("my kids are soooo hard!"). And that's a lot of what's out there. That said, if you can do these things with humor, style or self-deprecation then all bets are off and I'll probably be clicking like as fast as I can.

    It's also been a slow summer on social media. People are on real vacations or taking "vacations from FB" and so the updates aren't streaming as fast and there are fewer things to entertain me (I know this because I have pregnancy insomnia these days and am often checking Facebook in the middle of the night...). But I can always rely on my crew of funny mom

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  • 10 Reasons Being Pregnant for the Third Time is Better Than the First

    Hanging with my niece, enjoying life....Like many of you I've been reading the buzz surrounding Expecting Better, economist Emily Oster's new book in which she attempts to debunk some of the age-old pregnancy rules. And while I'm not going to start guzzling wine and gorging on spicy tuna rolls, I am intrigued by her premise. I agree that we put ourselves in a sort of prison for nine months when we're pregnant. In the book, Oster refers to pregnancy as "One long list of rules. In fact, it's a lot like being a child again. There is always someone telling you what to do." Yes! And I know first hand that all that obsessing about said rules can cause undue stress--at a time when we should be avoiding stress at all costs. When I was pregnant with my first, I was hyper-aware of all the dos and don'ts. I scrutinized everything I ate (OMG, what if some unheated ham touched my cheese?) and everything I did. And more than that, I was constantly worried that something would go wrong and wondering how I measured up, reading books,

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  • Why I Wanted to Change My Daughter's Name

    I can't imagine her with any other name. When my daughter was about 3 days old, I had a full-blown change of heart about her name. And by change of heart, I mean that I realized I hated the name and cried about it to anyone who would listen. The name in question: Nora. We'd toyed with a bunch of options throughout my pregnancy and had narrowed it down to Nora and Charlotte. Within minutes of seeing her, we knew that she was not a Charlotte, and so she became Nora Jane.

    PHOTOS: Top New Girl Names of 2013

    We loved the name, and all was well until two days later when the cards and gifts started rolling in and I saw it in print: N-O-R-A. The name looked so weird to me. Flat. Strange. Foreign. I don't mean to offend any Noras out there. (In fact, the only Noras I know are totally awesome, which is another reason why I loved the name.) But it sounded off to me, too old-lady, unfeminine. And the more I said it, the odder it became. You know how that happens with a word you say over and over? I honestly felt that I'd made a terrible

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  • Totally-Awesome (Kind-of-Crazy) Idea for a DIY Kid’s Birthday Party

    My son getting (very, very) messyEarlier in the summer I went to a "messy" party for my friends' five- and three-year-old sons. From the invite, I didn't really know what to expect, though it said to pack bathing suits and a change of clothes--not good clothes. When we arrived, there was caution tape everywhere (part of the décor, I later learned) and my friends had turned their backyard into a wild obstacle course--think Double Dare meets a tough mudder for kids. My son nearly burst when he surveyed the situation. I kept expecting Marc Summers to pop out.

    The parents (who are lifelong friends of mine) had gotten the initial idea for a messy paint party from Martha Stewart. And then they built on it from there, googling, pinning, using their imagination and generally getting really into the idea (they used this site a lot). There were about 15 different stations set up, each one ickier and stickier (and thus more appealing) than the last. Once all the kids had arrived, they gathered at the starting line and my

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