"That’s what makes parenting insane — the constant barrage of contradicting emotions. The thrill of having the house to myself for a few hours and the longing for them while they’re away."

"Several years ago, I was on a Southwest flight to Los Angeles and was sitting next to a very loud, intoxicated businessman. To a closeted introvert, he was my worst nightmare realized.

"In an effort to get him to stop talking to me, I pulled out my laptop and started randomly typing. He leaned in and asked what I did for a living. When I told him I was a humor writer, he lit up as if he had an idea.

"'I know Cindy Chupack. Do you know of her?' I shook my head no and pretended to type important words.

"'She’s one of the main writers and executive producers of 'Sex and the City.' I met her on my vacation. I’ll email her and introduce you.'

"I lit up, but also got embarrassed. If there’s one thing I know, highly successful people in show biz don’t love random dudes they met on their honeymoon to give their email out to annoyed women on planes.

"I called his bluff: 'Okay, do it. Email her.'"

"'Now?'

"To my shock, he did. And to my even greater shock, Cindy wrote me back."

"Lucy has a very loose tooth. I didn't think it was possible at her age, but I Googled it and we're fine.

"I remember at the slightest wiggle, begging my dad to just rip my tooth out with brute force so I could get in on the Tooth Fairy's fat cash. Lucy's tooth, however, is dangling on a pathetic last thread and she won't let me even breathe near it. It's just swaying there, mocking me. And I've tried to entice her with the delights of the Tooth Fairy, but there's one little problem.

"She's too little to have a freaking clue what I'm talking about.

"Turns out, I don't either."

We can avoid other rooms, but we can’t avoid the hub of the home. The simple act of waking up as a mother of small children is hard enough as it is. Then I’d enter the kitchen with a sink piled high with dirty dishes, a floor covered in so many cracker crumbs it looked like a sandy coastal beach and a countertop that required a jackhammer to break off crusted-on marinara. Cortisol rising!

"It seems like every study about our use of smart phones eventually correlates to an inevitable apocalypse. And frankly, no one cares because we’re in way too deep to do anything about it now.

"Once, in a flurry of missing keys, I left for the DMV and forgot my iPhone on the charger. For 45 agonizing minutes, I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I eventually just stuffed them into my cleavage and waited for my number to be called.

"So color me nonplussed as new research is now linking parent’s phone attention to children’s bad behavior. Researchers have found that when parents interrupt family time by checking their phones, kids are more likely to whine, get angry and exhibit over-sensitivity."

"Most of our grandmothers and mothers loved their children just as we do; they just didn’t get weird about it. They kicked us out of the house to play outdoors and, as we banged on the sliding glass door begging for some water, she told us to turn on the hose and flipped the blinds down on our faces. She sparked her Parliament Light, cracked a TaB and flipped through a Good Housekeeping magazine. Say what you want, but these women knew how to prioritize their 'me' time in a way I deeply respect."

Dear Lucy and Poppy: You may have seen in the news that Aunt Becky from “Full House” and a lot of other rich people used bribes, photoshopped pictures of their kids playing sports and even paid off people to fix SAT scores so that their kids could get into prestigious schools. If you think I’m going to jail so you can Milli Vanilli your way into Stanford, you have another thing coming.

"I started adding up the amount of time I let my girls watch cartoons or play on our devices. Then I recalled once reading Jo Frost (Supernanny) recommending no more than 30 minutes of educational screen time per day. It sounded reasonable at the time as I was rocking a newborn. Then real life motherhood happened and I decided Supernanny is a liar."

“This isn’t Burger King; you can’t have it your way. And for the record, the customer isn’t always right. In fact, you’re pretty much wrong 100 percent of the time. Oh, and your tips are insulting,” I said, stomping back into the kitchen.

I know this kind of behavior is bad for business, but my 4-year-old is the absolute worst customer I’ve ever had in my kitchen, and I had had enough. Quite frankly, I hope I get fired. I would welcome getting fired from being the short-order cook to two demanding tiny people who wouldn’t know a delicious meal if it slapped them in the face!

"Once more, a very scientific study I’ll call my own anecdotal evidence reveals that a woman can only be repeatedly called “mommy” for 16 straight times without the top of her head swinging open and confetti bombs blowing off. By the 17th “mommy,” something shifts in the atmosphere. The lights dim, the glasses rattle and shake, the house rumbles and mommy’s eyes turn wide and begin glowing like something you’d see in a Marvel comic."

"My family always knows when my pajama pants are tight because what gets served to them at the kitchen table takes a dramatic dark turn. Reindeer shaped pancakes turn into scrambled eggs and a dry piece of Ezekiel toast. The cookies have vanished, replaced with “pre-sliced” snack bags of vegetables lined up in the fridge. The smell of spaghetti squash begins to permeate the house. The yogurt is plain, the milk is almond and the broccoli steamed.

"It’s not their fault; their pajama pants aren’t tight. But this is the plight of the child, victims to the whims of the latest weight loss book their mother just read. All they can do is hope that eventually her pajama pants will return to the right amount of “loose” and ice cream will be invited back into the home — at least on occasion — so they can press pause on frozen grapes for dessert."

When Anna Lind Thomas' daughter turned 3 last year, she sought advice from seasoned friends on whether she should transition her into a bed.

“'Are you insane?' the rest of my friends asked. 'Unless you like toddlers haunting you at 3 a.m., staring two inches from your face, then just wait until she shows signs she’s ready.' So, I took their advice. 

I was looking up stuffing recipes and there was one that really caught my eye. I didn’t realize my husband was peeping over my shoulder.

“If you even think about putting raisins and orange peels in the turkey stuffing...” he said. But then he just trailed off, like he couldn’t bear to imagine the horrific possibility.

I can’t stop being extra for Thanksgiving and especially Christmas. It’s the overachiever in me, but also the Food Network addict. If Tyler Florence makes his own mushroom soup and fried his own onion strings for the green bean casserole, why shouldn’t I spend $400 and five hours destroying my kitchen to do the same?

"Most of us still manage to say thank you, albeit it’s often hurried while we’re scrolling through Facebook. But expressing true gratitude isn’t just words. It requires a sacrifice — of time, of effort and thoughtfulness. That’s what makes it so beautiful. It means taking time and care to be personal about your gratitude. To be specific about why you’re so thankful. To pay it forward. To, someday, return the love to the person who has so beautifully given it to you."

"I’ve learned a few things during this process. One, as I already suspected, is that men are quite emotionally attached to their parts and are constantly on guard like a soldier protecting his king. The idea of a vasectomy sounds good on paper, but when their doctor throws out words like “shot” and “scalpel,” it’s quite normal for them to vomit or partially lose consciousness. In other words, he’ll need your help. Here are tips I’ve learned on helping your significant other survive a vasectomy."

"Just the other day I told my oldest that I was going to pass on cake because I was planning on gobbling her up for dessert. I was kidding, but only a little. I feel like I could have kissed her up until I got bloated; I felt so in love. I don’t want to actually eat them, obviously, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking they would fit perfectly in a cake box with a few buttercream florets on their heads."

My husband and I haven’t slept solidly through the night since that one time my mom took the girls overnight. We had no idea that having babies had made us lightweights, so we found ourselves wildly drunk off a glass of wine as we stumbled our way back to the Old Market Marriott.