Freelance Writer focused on parenting, art, architecture, design, and the trades. Higher ed Content.

When Losing a Pregnancy Leads to Losing Friends

As the mother of a gregarious 5-year-old boy, I experience parenthood in all its wonder and burnout. I’ve also had four miscarriages, which I continue to grieve. Those losses have led to others: I’ve let go of close relationships with friends who got pregnant with their first, and then second, and then third babies. At times, I’ve found their joy too painful to watch. When people casually post their ultrasound photos on Instagram, I shut my eyes and breathe through flashbacks of my own devastat

You’re Allowed to Complain About Your Kids, Even After Infertility

I clamped my hands over my ears as the obstetrician cranked up the volume on the ultrasound machine. After three pregnancy losses, I was convinced that we’d be met only with static. “I think you’re going to want to hear this,” the doctor said. And there was the unmistakable drumming of my son’s heart. At that moment, I promised myself that I would always be grateful for this baby, and for my body that found a way to grow with him. And yet, when it’s 4:58 a.m. and I’m awakened by him bellowing for potato chips and cartoons, parenting can feel tedious, lonely and exhausting.

Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Charming Summer Home Is Revived for a Young Boston Family

Isabella Stewart Gardner was the original Boston patron of the arts. Occupying a Venetian Gothic Revival building defined by its dramatic palazzo courtyard, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is still the beating heart of the city’s art scene, even nearly a century after its founder’s death. In 1884, Gardner and her husband, Jack, inherited their country home, Green Hill, in Brookline, Massachusetts, and began using it as a pastoral summer retreat. Images: Michael J. Lee.

Perspective | Why visualizing images is so important for young readers, and how to foster the skill

I try to explain that my brain lifts off in flight. With “Firekeeper’s Daughter,” I become an avatar of the main character, Daunis Fontaine, an 18-year-old Ojibwe woman, sprinting through the damp reservation woods in Michigan, chest heaving, trying to bust up a local drug ring. It feels so real, and I am so focused on trying to understand and respect her world, which is so unlike mine, that when I am interrupted mid-paragraph, it takes me seconds to land back on the couch, into my 41-year-old m

Is job sharing the solution to our flexible work problems?

The nine-to-five in-person American workday is rigid, arbitrary, and increasingly outdated. Yet, if an employee wants to trim their hours to part time they often risk losing opportunities for advancement, getting caught in a slippery slope of pulling far more than 20 hours a week in exchange for more flexibility but less pay. And for women who are parents, they frequently end up getting slapped with the “mommy track,” label and taken less seriously by colleagues who relentlessly value a 60-hour

What Does a Good Paid Parental-Leave Policy Look Like?

Working as designers at a real estate company, Brittney Hart and Justin Capuco felt pressured to take just two weeks of paid leave when their twins arrived. They remember the time as one hard, delirious blur. Having since gone on to found their own firm, Husband Wife, they now have the flexibility to be home in the evenings, when their preschool-aged kids are still awake, says Capuco. If you’re pregnant, adopting, fostering, going through surrogacy, or managing someone who is about to welcome a

Bribery, rewards and other ways to motivate your kids without feeling guilty

There’s a difference between rewards and bribes, but it’s subtle. Bribes are offered in desperation to get a child to cooperate in a difficult, often unplanned situation — as a kind of prepayment for compliance. Rewards are considered in advance, given upon completion of a task, and structured to motivate. For Ferdaws Seraj, a mom of two in Fairfax, Va., the toughest part of parenting after an intense workday followed by the dinner-prep grind is not giving in to the kids’ nagging or crying.

Serene Garden Sanctuary on Nantucket

Shaped privet hedges meet untamed swathes of periwinkle hydrangeas and layer upon layer of herbaceous plantings that sway in the Atlantic salt breeze. Greenwich, Connecticut–based landscape designer James Doyle and his team at James Doyle Design Associates have cultivated a Nantucket sanctuary here on the island’s bluffs. The clients had very specific needs and wants because they spend a lot of time on the island from mid-summer into the fall. The large family gatherings that they host form the

This Women-Owned Stone Supplier Does Things Differently

Four times a year, sisters Agnes and Beata Pisalska, the owners of BAS Stone in Long Island City, New York, methodically walk through dusty quarries for 12 hours a day for a week in the Tuscan province of Massa-Carrara, hunting for treasure in their matching black Prada eyeglasses. “We’ll spot a block through the rubble,” says Agnes. “No one wants it.” Beata joins in with a laugh, “And then we’re like, what is back in that corner?” Following their gut instincts, the BAS sisters make their selec

Neglecting Yourself Doesn’t Make You a Better Mother

For Ms. Herold, that can be a therapy session by telephone or even plopping her son in front of a screen for a break. But her needs are always hidden out of sight, she realized recently. When her son is awake, she’s reading him books, washing dishes or working remotely — not stretching out on the couch with a novel. “He needs to see me reading just for me,” she said. Before my neighborhood sandbox in Brookline, Mass., became a potential infection zone, I learned fast that pulling up with the st

When Nobody Wants to Be in Your Pod

Pre-pandemic, barely anyone knew about our personal health, and we liked it that way. In particular, Isaac, who is now 4 and an only child, had no idea. We aren’t sure if my husband’s condition is hereditary and doctors don’t know how to test for it, and all of that didn’t feel right to share with a preschooler. Now, before we so much as go to the park for a masked play date, we have to disclose these health issues, so that other parents know how serious it is that we all keep safe when we see

These Photo Albums Offer a Rare Glimpse of 19th-Century Boston’s Black Community

With a quiet, unflinching confidence, Virginia L. Molyneaux Hewlett Douglass posed for the photographer, one slender hand rustling the pleats of her fine silk dress. Although portraits were trendy and accessible in the 1860s when hers was shot, hand-colored photographs were a luxury, and this one is saturated with shades of emerald and lilac, underlining Virginia’s wealth and high social standing as the wife of Frederick Douglass, Jr., son of the celebrated abolitionist. Her name is handwritten

These Women in Construction Are Cracking the Cement Ceiling

In the United States, the trades are booming. However, according to recent data from the National Association of Women in Construction, women make up just 9.9% of the construction industry in the country, with nearly a third of that stat attributed to female sales and office personnel. To those women seeking to break into the trades, one roadblock can be the intimidation of learning on a job where they are likely the only female. In 2014, in Detroit, Samantha Farrugia set out to narrow the gend

Nina Farmer Brings Exuberant Color and a Globe-Trotting Sensibility to New England

Every home Nina Farmer takes on is either guided by a charming backstory or acquires an unforgettable plot twist by the time she is finished—from seamlessly adding a contemporary wing to a 1920s colonial to revamping an 1880s shingle house while maintaining its historical quirks. Farmer’s own career hasn’t been exempt from such narrative turns, either. Growing up in an artistic family in Westport, Connecticut, she adored childhood trips into New York City to the Kips Bay Decorator show house. H

For Sarah Whiting, Harvard GSD’s New Commander-in-Chief, Business As Usual Isn’t Enough

As Sarah Whiting, the new dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, prepares to publicly meet her community for the first time, her chosen anthem, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” blasts through the school’s Piper Auditorium. Students and professors pour in through the doors, a sea of black jeans and Moleskine notebooks. Whiting takes the stage with her old friend architectural historian K. Michael Hays—a virtual fireplace video crackling behind them—and the muscular banter begins. A stage

The women taking charge in the Gulf's rising art scene

It is no secret that the art ecosystem in the Gulf is dominated by women. Much more than figureheads, there are female royal patrons, experienced expatriates and homegrown professionals leading cornerstone institutions including Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, 21,39 Jeddah Arts, Qatar Museums and Sharjah Art Foundation. Western observers often delight in pondering why so many women are at the forefront of this scene, a relative newcomer to the global art world. “How is it possible that women