Marie Holmes

New York-based writer specializing in parenting topics.

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I'm a teacher isolating because I got COVID-19. It threatens the sense of normalcy our household had finally restored.

• I'm a teacher and a mom of two school-aged kids. • The past two years have been filled with disappointment for my children. • Now that I've tested positive, the little normalcy we had is out the window. It started as a tickle in the back of my throat. "It can't be," I thought. Two years into the pandemic, vaccinated and boosted, was I getting COVID-19? Students and teachers had been dropping like flies with infections in the week leading up to winter break. My wife and I had planned to tra

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What’s In A Name? How Queer Families Choose to Call Themselves

One of the awesome things about being queer is that it frees us from certain social expectations. When we do make stereotypically heteronormative life moves, like getting married or becoming parents, it’s more likely to feel like a conscious choice rather than the fulfillment of some predetermined script. My wife and I got married in Connecticut in 2009 because it still wasn’t legal for us to do so in our home state of New York. We wed while I was pregnant with our first child, in the hopes tha

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8 Simple Things You Can Do at Home to Help if Your Student is Struggling in School

The luster of the first day of school has surely worn off by now, and families have settled back into the daily grind—including some facets of pre-pandemic life that we may not have missed, like early mornings and traffic jams. It’s a challenging transition for everyone. Kids who were kindergarten students in the spring of 2020 had only six months of regular instruction before moving into lockdown, and now they’re in second grade. So, it comes as no surprise that some of these kids are showing s

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5 Ways to Determine If Your Child Would Benefit from Summer School

Answer these 5 questions to see if summer school is right for your child this year. The words “summer school” can invoke draconian misery—and are often uttered as a threat from a teacher or parent. But after more than a year of pandemic shut-down, summer school, like many things, looks very different through COVID-colored glasses. There are many reasons summer school makes sense this year. For one, parents are worried about learning gaps. Whether their kids have been remote, hybrid, or in scho

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Beyond The Makeup Aisle

At the drugstore, I usually have both of my children in tow, and they usually run straight for the toys, followed by the candy. But today it’s just me and my two-year-old daughter, and the first thing she sees are gleaming rows of nail polish: pink and peach, red and purple and even blue. An entire rainbow, right there at the level of her gaze. She turns and finds the lipsticks, and then the eye shadows. She grabs one bottle, then a compact, and another, focusing intently in order to hold each o

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When My Breasts Didn't Work, I Nursed My Baby Anyway

This story is part of our Real Women, Real Stories series, documenting the lived experiences of women along their health journeys. Please always consult your health care professional with personal concerns or questions. I'd always known there was something "off" about my breasts. They're small and shaped almost like cones, not the spheres that give magazine models an alluring décolletage. When I finally became pregnant, after attempting every fertility procedure I'd heard of, I barely had a cha

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Breasts half empty or half full?

Did you know? The poster on the wall on the doctor’s office beckoned, Breastfeeding reduces your child’s chances of . . . a list of illnesses followed. It was a long list. I cringed and looked away. I was there for an ultrasound, my baby still kicking in my belly, happily fed through our placenta. I hadn’t started breastfeeding yet, of course, but I already had a sinking feeling it wasn’t going to work out for me. My breasts hadn’t grown at all during pregnancy, and I had little faith that they

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Doing it “right”

I was wary of making a birth plan. I knew that the unexpected is par for the course in childbirth and was afraid that the more demands I made, the more I was tempting fate. I had already been so lucky, pregnant with the last embryo (number 18!) from our second round of IVF after two tumultuous years of trying. As the weeks wore on, my belly swelled, my back ached, and my resolve to have the birth I wanted took solid form. We switched to a doctor with a very low C-section rate, at 4 percent. I b

Welcome to the Great Hall of Science and Nature! | Points in Case

But why stand on line for forty interminable minutes of whining when you can turn today’s fifty-dollar general admission tickets into an entire year of discovery and adventure! For a mere five hundred dollars, the cost of just three visits, you can become members of the Great Hall. Benefits include: access to our members-only gate, a ten percent discount on astronomically-priced food, drinks and souvenirs, and a free golf pencil your preschooler can ram into your leg in protest when you refuse t

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My small breasts were an even bigger disappointment when they couldn’t feed my son

I always thought something was wrong with my breasts, and I finally learned what it was when I became a mom. I’ve known there was something wrong with my breasts since I was 13. They were small and lacked roundness—there was nothing to squeeze together to create the alluring cleavage the other girls my age had. As I went through adolescence without graduating from my AA training bras, I thought longingly of the day pregnancy would finally bring me “real” boobs. But my breasts didn’t grow with p

Perspective | No, I don’t have a minute to be a more productive parent

No, I tell my son. We don’t have time tonight: There is homework to do, quizzes to sign, instruments to practice, small hands and feet to wash — and somewhere in there, I need to provide a meal. “But it doesn’t have to be this way,” a thousand helpful Internet advisers tell me. There are shortcuts. It’s not that there isn’t enough time, they say, it’s that I’m not effectively using the time I have. You see, I’m squandering. I sleep. I exercise. I read long news articles. I am a terrible thief,

Perspective | In birth certificate decision, Supreme Court reaffirms the story of our family

The Supreme Court this week reaffirmed its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, to the great relief of queer parents across the United States, many of us still decked in beads and stickers from last weekend’s Pride festivities. The right of a spouse to be listed as a parent on a child’s birth certificate is indeed one of the many rights and privileges granted by marriage, the court found, reversing a decision in Arkansas that had denied this right to married same-sex couples, citing “bas

Another presidential election rolls around, and I’m celebrating my ‘Obama baby’

I will never forget the night of Nov. 4, 2008: Feeling an electric rush when the results were called, seeing American flags unfurl and realizing that for the first time I wasn’t cringing at the sight of them, hearing through the open window what I can only describe as a roar of joy coming from Harlem, 20 blocks to the north. There were other things about the evening that are noteworthy only in hindsight. At the results-watching party we attended, I kept returning to the savory snacks and wasn’t

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What I Wish I'd Known Before Giving Birth

After my son was born, I lay flat on the delivery table, staring up at the dotted ceiling tiles. I could hear the clinking of the doctor's instruments down below, repairing what I would later learn was a third-degree tear. I noticed a window, and the darkness outside. I heard rain beating against the glass. For the first time in 20 hours, I formed a coherent thought: That was it? That was the birth experience I had been waiting for? I wished, already, that I could go back in time and do the who

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My Breasts Never Grew, But I've Forgiven Them

I can still see the rosy pink shade of the tee-shirt I was wearing the afternoon in fourth grade when I stuck my face down into it and made an incredible discovery: I had boobs. Or the beginnings of them, at least. I could hardly contain my excitement. These little buds, I thought, were the first hint of the real woman who would emerge from my awkward girl's body. I would be tall and lean, and my breasts would perfectly fill out the most elegant dresses. I would be the sort of woman who stopped

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How Raising Children Has Made Me Question My Religious Beliefs

One afternoon last summer, I was walking through Central Park with my kids when a couple of overdressed young men approached us. I had an inkling of what they were peddling, and tried not to make eye contact. "Excuse me, ma'am? What are your religious beliefs?" "Um," I stuttered, taken aback by such a direct question. Couldn't they just hand me a pamphlet or something? My mind flipped through possible responses. Our family belongs to a Presbyterian church, and it's where we send our children t

My Son's White Privilege Is Like A Vaccine Against Police Violence

I know, Tamir Rice’s mother knows, the cops and the prosecutors and the judges and the jurors all know: If it had been my son out there in the playground that day, holding any kind of gun, he wouldn’t have been shot. It’s winter break, so yesterday morning I was home with both of my children. It involved a lot of mess-making on their part, and an even greater amount of clean-up on mine. (Note: “washable” bathtub crayons don’t wash away from the grout between tiles.) So when they were distracted

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When This Happened, I Suddenly Stopped Caring About My Weight

I wanted to carry a baby like I wanted to be thin: for longer than I could remember. When my partner, Sarah, and I began exploring the possibility of me carrying our child, the whole project seemed tailor-made for my obsessive need for body control. I began to track my basal temperature and check my body for other signs of ovulation. As it turned out, other than my period blood, there were none. Something was up. We booked an appointment with a fertility specialist who immediately told me to sto

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Our kids have two moms. Here’s what the gay marriage decision means for us

Back when we were struggling to get pregnant for the first time, I sought the help of an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility issues. He would carefully prepare my naked, barren body, then cover me up with a giant sheet of Mylar and leave me to lie alone in a darkened room, wondering how I became so desperate for a baby that I was willing to spend $135 twice a week to have someone stick pins in me. At the beginning of the session, while he placed the needles, we would sometimes make small

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I Fed My Daughter Breast Milk I Found On The Internet

In my daughter's first year of life, 40 different women helped me feed her. On my daughter’s first birthday, I sat down during my lunch break to write thank you notes, mostly in the form of emails and Facebook messages, to the women who had helped me feed her that year. There were 40 of them. One was a gymnastics coach in town without her baby for a tournament. Another had a newborn in the NICU, taking just drops of the copious amount she produced every time she pumped. A number of them had b

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