“AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?” MODERN PARENT CONTEST

And why being a parent is never easy

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

This post is an entry in Modern Parent’s “Am I Doing This Right?” writing contest.

It’s not easy picking one singular moment during the pandemic when I wondered “Am I doing this right?” The past year seems like one big blur — misstep after misstep trying to navigate unfamiliar warnings and protocols to try and stay safe from the dangerous coronavirus. The added responsibility of being a parent during this time made it even tougher. My actions not only affected me, but they also had an impact on my kids. …


And why I might have to start drinking more

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In less than a week, my son will be coming home for the summer after completing his first year of college. He’s my youngest, so this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. While his freshman year was an experience entirely different than the ones his older sisters had — distinguished by regular COVID testing, quarantine dorms, remote-only classes, curfews, and limited opportunities for a social gathering — that first homecoming will undoubtedly be very similar.

Here’s what I remember from his sisters’ first summers home.

What I look forward to.

And what I dread.

I’ll be thrilled to see him.

I’ve barely seen my son…


IMHO — in my humble opinion

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Three hours ago I got my second shot of the vaccine. Now I’m sitting on my couch, waiting to see whether I’ll have any adverse side effects. A number of my friends complained of headaches, the chills and high fevers after Dose #2. I’m nervous I might suffer the same consequences.

To pass the time, I’ve decided to compile a list of some of the more ridiculous measures taken to guard against the spread of COVID-19 this past year. I’m not making light of the seriousness of the coronavirus. Trust me, I’ve seen enough to understand how harmful this virus…


But I’m nearing the finish line and getting ready to pass the baton

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Decisions, decisions. So much of being a parent involves making decisions — some easier than others.

It starts on Day One. The moment you give birth. What will you name your baby? Will you breastfeed or bottle-feed? Use disposable diapers or cloth?

As your child grows, so does the need to make bigger and bigger decisions. Will you send him/her to preschool? If so — which one? Enroll in half-day or full-day kindergarten? Expose him/her to sports, music, or other extracurricular activities, and at what age? …


Even though it’s hard to resist caring about the stats

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Wow. I finally did it. I’ve read so many articles here on Medium about “how to succeed here on Medium” and it’s finally my turn to write about how I earned more than a few dollars in one month. I’d love to say that I’ve cracked the code, discovered a way to reach and engage more readers, but I honestly do not know why one of my pieces was viewed over 27,000 times and paid out close to $900 in one month.

Here’s what I do know.

I started writing on Medium in June after leaving my full-time job to try to make a go…


A tough lesson learned

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I’ve worked my fair share of customer service jobs. A Burger King cashier when I was 16. A clerk at the local flower shop during college. A furniture store salesperson and a leasing agent for a large real estate development company. Those jobs couldn’t have been more different, but the same overarching principle guided each and every one of them:

“The customer is always right.”


And I couldn’t be happier — most days

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One of my favorite country songs goes like this:

He said I’ve been watching you, Dad, ain’t that cool

I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you

It’s not just because I love Rodney Atkins, which I do, but more so because it’s about the impact our everyday actions as parents can have on our children. I love to break into the lyrics when my husband is “behaving badly” in front of our kids, a not-so-subtle reminder that he’s the parent and should act like one. Like the time he and our son set off on a college visit and decided to skip the official itinerary for a self-guided…


I just got vaccinated and here’s how it went.

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I did it. Got my first shot. One of the perks of being over 50 and living in Ohio.

So now I’m halfway there. Maybe even 80% depending on where you get your data. If I were living in another country, that might be enough to call it a day after the first vaccine. But the FDA recommends a two-dose strategy for Moderna, so that’s what I’ll get. I’ve marked my next appointment on the calendar four weeks from now.

Compared to registering for an appointment online through one of the not-so-user-friendly scheduling portals, the day-of process was pretty seamless…


Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Parenting is hard. Too bad I wasn’t able to push out an instruction manual alongside any of my nine-pound babies. That may have helped. But we’re all just making things up as we go along, trying our best to provide a safe and solid foundation for our children without screwing them up in the process.

We also learn a lot from each other—what to do and what NOT to do. Many of my friends had kids before I did, so I had the benefit of watching them first before trying my hand at the most difficult job I’ve ever had…


Their answers might surprise you.

Photo by Author

This is my daughter. Our middle child. She was born on my 32nd birthday, and people tell me she looks just like me. But that’s where the similarities end.

Recently, our differences couldn’t have been more obvious than last month when I wrote a piece for Medium about having her home for an extended stay during COVID. I talked about how nice it was to get some “bonus time” with her — something that never would have occurred had it not been for the global pandemic. But when she read it, she rolled her eyes…

Susan Poole

Mother, lawyer, nonprofit executive, breast cancer survivor, and aspiring author. Recently left her day-job to write about topics that she’s passionate about.

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