Small choices can make a big difference. Feels like every year after the holiday chaos fades, after we clean up, haul out and find our way back to some sense of normal, we catch the New Year staring us in the face. You know, the big, bold opportunity for a new start, the begin-again line, the “OMG seriously, another year already?” line.  Some years we seem to let it slip by. Others, we toy around with eating better, drinking less, exercising more. Then, occasionally, we see the New Year as a lifeline, because we’ve just survived a year that threw us some serious curveballs, tested every morsel of who we are and kicked our asses, mercilessly. When a hell year hits hard, your goal for the next year should be to kick hard back.  No one gets through life without a bad year, and there’s no way to weigh yours against…

Holidays can be some of the most miserable times for parents who are recently divorced. Shuffling the kids between parents feels foreign and uncomfortable. But it gets better with time, practice, and lots of planning and communication. Here’s how to cope. The first holiday I experienced after my divorce was Thanksgiving. My ex took our kids to New York City to see his family, and I found myself alone for the first time since I could remember. I’d had three kids in four years and been home raising them for more than a decade. After they left I walked around the house for a couple of hours, circling the quiet like an old golden Lab trying to figure out where to land. I ended up calling a friend who was three years into her divorce and whose kids were with her ex. After talking for a long time, we decided…

The first time my daughter had a school friend over, the mom marched through our living room and parked herself at my kitchen table. (I’d met her once.) I thought, “Ummm…is she going to stay here the whole time?” Yes, she was, and yes she did. That was the start of the small village that became my life in the years to come. Village friends are people with children the same age, living a parallel life at the same point in time. We crave company, commiseration and venting. Suddenly we’re together waiting in lines, watching games, figuring out carpools, bitching about teachers and coaches. Eventually we’re downloading daily on all things Kid—from truly important to completely inane. Yet as organically as it all goes down, the village would obviously never be if not for our kids. That is what makes these friendships so different from others. But in the village,…