My first book review from Kirkus Reviews is in and it’s GREAT!!!  Known for their snarky and often negative reviews, I’m pleased with the assessment.  Here are a few of its gems:

“Despite its heavy subject matter, the story is well-paced and witty, sometimes even laugh-out-loud funny.”


“…the narrative is fast-paced and engaging, often reading like a casual conversation between girlfriends…the tale will ring true for many who have endured similar struggles.”


“A sometimes-difficult but uplifting read about the resilience of parents, even before their child-rearing journey begins.”

I’m on a roll now and I truly appreciate everyone’s support.  The holidays are just around the corner in case you’re looking for that perfect stocking stuffer…

Interview with W3 Sidecar

Here’s a reprint of my interview with W3 Sidecar:


“At every stage of life, the struggles might seem insurmountable. Yet, if one sticks with it and strives for new and different ways to address problems, everything seems to work out.”

1.    What do you find most challenging about writing?

Everyday distractions seem to eat away at more of my writing time than anything else. I sit down every day with the good intention of not leaving my office until I’ve written ten really provocative, plot advancing, funny and captivating pages. And then the dryer end-of-cycle bell dings or the mail comes or I remember brownies need to be made for teacher appreciation day…it seems like I just sit down to write when it’s 5:00PM and time to open a bottle of wine and relax. Staying focused and making the writing of those ten pages a higher priority than folding laundry or paying bills is something I constantly battle.

2.     What have you learned from your current project?

I’m not alone. I Wish There Were Baby Factories centers on the challenges I faced to start a family. When random strangers ask me what the book is about and I tell them, inevitably they share their own story (or that of their sister, cousin, neighbor or friend) about their own struggles or hardships along the way. While I was going through the experience, I felt incredibly lonely. After all, even my 16-year-old neighbor could (and did) get pregnant; yet after years of trying, I couldn’t. Now with the book out and getting the opportunity to talk about it, I’m finding out that heartache and roadblocks are just as common on the path to parenthood as simple conceptions.

3.    What are you working on right now?

I’ve started the sequel to I Wish There Were Baby Factories. By adding a second baby to the mix, the sequel steps up the focus on the relationship between moms working in high-powered, stressful environments with the demands of family. The behind-the-scenes drama of working in a political arena highlights the sometimes ulcer-inducing choices working moms must make between missing firsts (steps, words, girlfriends?!) with career choices.

4.    How have your goals as a writer changed over time?

When I first started writing I Wish There Were Baby Factories, the goal was simply to preserve a part of our family history. I just wanted to get down on paper the story of all I went through to start a family so my kids would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were both loved and wanted from the very beginning. Now that the story has been published and the response has been so positive, I feel like I can help other women embrace the power of persistence. At every stage of life, the struggles might seem insurmountable. Yet, if one sticks with it and strives for new and different ways to address problems, everything seems to work out. At least that’s what I’ve found whether it applied to starting a family or raising children or now moving into my empty-nest years.

5.    What are your top 5 reads?

I’ve got an eclectic collection of books on my bedside table at the moment, but it’s reflective of the types of books I’m always reading:

  • The Physician by Noah Gordon—Wow, talk about a man driven to practice his passion for healing! This book reinforces the power of persistence theme that resonates with me.
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson—An amazing biography of a mercurial and churlish genius. His behavior mimics some politicians I’ve worked for.
  • Eat This, Not That! 2013 by David Zinczenko—Compares your favorite menu choices from all your favorite restaurants. Who knew a Ceasar salad was so bad for you?!
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—Children killing children doesn’t sound like an enticing story line to me, and yet I’m captivated by the trilogy.
  • And of course I Wish There Were Baby Factories—but now I’m reviewing plot lines to expand in the sequel.

About Julie Weinberg

Julie left behind the calm of her childhood upbringing in Overland Park, Kansas when she followed her dream to live, work, and breathe politics by attending American University in Washington, DC. Never looking back, she worked as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill before jumping ship to state politics with the Maryland General Assembly. Her K-12 education policy expertise helped her in the political arena and eventually as a mom, too. An avid Baltimore Ravens fan and dedicated soccer mom, Julie and her family live in beautiful Potomac, MD. You can find out more about Julie and her debut novel, I Wish There Were Baby Factories, at Julie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @JulieWeinberg1.

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I’m heading into the home stretch of my summer vacation.  I stayed with my folks for a night and over the next couple of days I will enjoy the pools of two f Vegas hotels (Venetian and MGM).  All of this traveling tuckers a girl out! I’m so looking forward to just veg-ing next to a pool…

So I take the elevator to the pool level and a big thermometer let’s me know that the 2:00 pm temp in sunny Las Vegas by the Venetian pool is 115.  Awesome!  Nice and hot, perfect lounging weather…except there’s no place to lounge.  There are no umbrellas or shade trees.  I don’t mean none are available; I mean they don’t exist.

But I can rent a cabana for $250.  Ah.  It’s all clear to me now.

I’m thinking I’ll have to wait until tonight then to relax by the pool.  My momma didn’t raise a fool, just a pale skinned, burns-not-tans kinda girl.  And if I’m gonna part with $250, it’s going to be betting my lucky numbers (25, 16, 31) on roulette!


A pet peeve of mine reared its ugly head on my flight home from Orlando yesterday.  A parent “disciplined” his young (maybe four year-old?) daughter by threatening to leave her at the airport.  She got quiet for a moment and then went back to pestering her brother incessantly.

Smart little girl.  She knew that Dad was just blowing smoke.  She knew she wasn’t going to be left at the airport so Dad’s threat was meaningless.  He offered up “discipline” that could easily be discounted. The girl knew—at least for that moment—that nothing was going to happen to her, hence the continued bad behavior.

Parents, please take note: it’s not discipline if the kid knows it’s meaningless!!! I’ve heard close friends tell their kids “You’ll never see your Xbox again!” or “I’m going to throw the TV away!” or “When we get home, I’m locking you in your bedroom forever!”  WTF?  Even a four year old knows you’re full of it.

In today’s society, we don’t hit kids to discipline them–an excellent progression of societal norms.  But time and time again it seems like parents have given up on disciplining their kids entirely.  How many times have you rolled your eyes at your dinner companion because some kid at a restaurant created an obnoxious disturbance?  Those kids behave poorly because those parents are not in control.  And I would bet a whole bunch of money it’s because they offer meaningless threats instead of “discipline” in these situations.

When my kids were young, I threatened them with “You won’t watch Barney for three whole days!” or “You will have to take out the trash (or insert whatever dreaded household chore your kid hates here) for a whole week!” or “I’m going to cancel Saturday night’s sleepover!”

And here’s the key (too bad it’s buried so deep in this blog):  AND THEN FOLLOW THROUGH WITH IT!!!  I never just threatened discipline; I always actually imposed it.  So my kids knew with absolute certainty that if they kept doing whatever was pissing me off they would be without Barney, carrying trash cans down the hall and missing their friends if they didn’t stop.

My kids got complimented all the time growing up for their great behavior.  Teachers loved them.  One actually told me I should write a book on getting kids to behave.  So while it’s not a book, just a daily blog, it’s really good advice that I wish I could have shared with Daddy at the airport yesterday while I picked from my hair the pretzels little four-year-old Sweetie Pie kept throwing at her brother.




Daytona Beach

I love the beach.  I love watching the ocean, feeling the sun on my (very white, always burning) skin, drinking some Bacardi and people watching.  How long must that guy work out every day to look like that?  Are those two fighting or just totally bored with each other? Do you think someone smashed all the mirrors in that woman’s house? Eish…

Who sits beside me on the beach definitely influences the overall experience. To the right was a family with nine-month old Katie, who was visiting the beach for the first time.  They were lovely people, but the day was definitely challenging for them. Between the sand on her skin, sweating from the heat and the scariness of the ocean, Katie wasn’t having any of it and spent most of the day trying to crawl back up inside her mom.

It brought back memories of David and Skylar’s first experiences.  David spent the whole time walking on his tiptoes and picking individual grains of sand off of his body.  Skylar, on the other hand, thought sand was tasty and just kept picking it up and eating it by the handful. I’m always amazed at how differently they respond to the exact same experience.  Keeps it interesting!

Today I’m going to a waterpark.  More of the same as the beach, just louder and without the Bacardi.  Can’t wait!

Random Thoughts…

So…mother’s intuition or did I jinx him?? David did manage to get a black eye at soccer last night.  Obviously not a big deal nor a trip changing event, but…I’m just saying. 

Kids leave for a two-week European vacation tomorrow.  I’m so excited for them!  And so sad for me lol.  It’s hard being away from them for just a weekend!  Two weeks will seem like a loooooong time. I’m keeping myself busy while they’re gone but I’ll still be missing them constantly.

Which raises the question…how exactly do you send a kid off to college?  David is a rising senior.  One more year and he’s “all grown up.”  Forget about time flying by.  I feel like I’m living in an episode of I DREAM OF JEANNIE where she blinks her eyes and he’s a man.  Especially since I’m quite sure I’ve remained in my early 30s throughout HIS aging process…

I’m leaving town tomorrow for Orlando myself. I’m looking forward to it.  We still own a condo/hotel down there that we rarely use.  BTW “condo/hotel” is Swahili for “lose a fucking ton of money and never be able to sell because you’re so upside down.” It’s a great three bedroom/two bath unit with a balcony that you can watch the Epcot fireworks from.  So if you’re interested in renting it just let me know!

Happy Tuesday!





So I spent some time this morning reading some of the “best mom blogs” forwarded to me by a publicist I’m considering hiring.  She’s not quite sure she wants to be hired by me yet, though, because I didn’t have a single blog posted on my brand new website.  Worse yet, I’d never even looked at a blog much less read, analyzed, compared, or scrutinized someone else’s.  Hence today’s homework assignment.

I gotta tell you, I’m fascinated by this whole mommy blogging concept.  Some women are hysterical.  Makes me want to buy their books–and makes me want to learn how to blog myself so people will feel that way about mine!  Some were kinda preachy, while others seemed to be just an excuse to post cute pictures of their kids.  But what I loved best about my perusing was that there seemed to be no rules about what I could write about.  Observations about life, funny daily anecdotes, advice on potty training.  Absolutely anything seemed game.

So, I’m sure my blogs will evolve over time and hopefully at some point I’ll have followers other than my immediate family, but it sure seems like this blogging thing will be right up my alley.

Today, for instance, let me dwell for a moment on my being a worrier.  Lots of people are worriers, I know, but I take it to Olympic levels.  I woke up with a start this morning because of this thought:  the kids’ are leaving for a two week trip to Spain that their dad has planned for them for almost two years…and David has a soccer game later today…what if he gets hurt?!?!  It will ruin the trip!

Irrational worrying? I think not.

Ok, or maybe it’s a tiny bit irrational, but that’s the kind of shit that clogs my brain and wakes me up.  When was the last time David got hurt on a soccer field?  Never.  And yet I’m considering telling him not to go to the game today just in case.  Surely other moms out there are shaking their heads, “Yep, I totally understand.  I’d consider keeping him home too.” At least I hope that’s the case.

I’m not totally psychotic when it comes to fearing soccer injuries; there is a solid basis for it.  My daughter Skylar is a soccer superstar (tried out for the US National team even) and got a concussion Sept. 6, 2013.  She missed the entire first semester of her freshman year of high school and wasn’t cleared to play soccer again until April.  Talk about a long recovery (which I’ll share in another blog…)  So my insane fear of injury on the soccer field does have a legitimate basis.

But do I let the worry overpower the rational?  David himself is a worrier and making him miss the game might (will) reinforce the crazy rather than the likely (HE’LL BE FINE!)  And yet, the kernel of worry is there today and I can’t seem to shake it…


Happy Father’s Day to all of the dad’s out there.  My kids are lucky to have an extraordinary dad.  Mack is still a driven professional, but he has always made time for his children. He never misses a soccer game, always goes to Back to School night, schleps them to play dates or the mall—everything a modern dad does.  On top of helping with the logistics, he involves himself in their daily emotional and intellectual development.  Even though he still travels constantly, he calls the kids every night to hear about their day and offer support and advice.  He is definitely a role model to working dads everywhere.

And this I’m saying about my EX-husband, ladies.  It seems to me that once women get divorced they seem almost obligated to trash their ex-husbands.  I never played into that mentality.  Every professional involved with our divorce–our attorneys, kids’ doctors, therapists, school counselors—universally preached that how we treated each other would ultimately determine how messed up our kids would be from the divorce.  And needless to say, we wanted to mess them up as little as possible.

Many women claim that they never trash talk their ex’s in front of the kids, and they probably believe that.  But kids do hear you whispering to your friends or talking when the door is shut.  They hear your tone and read your body language and facial expressions. Kids aren’t stupid; in fact I would argue that because they’re so focused on learning in their early years they’re picking up on everything you do or say to a greater degree than you might think.

So this Father’s Day, whether you’re divorced or happily married, resolve to say directly to your kids at least one good thing about their dad every day.  Let them hear you praise him in some way.  Doing so will counteract any negative your kids are picking up about the relationship and might even improve your own interactions with him.  That’s how I try to live anyway and it seems to be working.

It’s available everywhere!

The book is FINALLY available everywhere in print and as an ebook!  It seemed to take forever and one has to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops to do it but now it’s done.  Yay!  It’s a pretty amazing feeling seeing your book for sale on Amazon and then having it arrive in your mailbox, but downloading it to the iphone…well, that just seemed the most permanent of all! Maybe it will even protect me from flushing my phone (for the fourth time in as many years)!

I did the first review on Barnes and Noble.  Was that cheating? 🙂  I would have given it six stars but surprisingly that wasn’t  an option.

Honestly if you’re reading this and you want to help me out with some marketing, please post a (raving) review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I recently went to a private book club signing and the women said that in general they never even look at books that don’t get at least four stars.  So as long as my five star review is the only one ever posted I’ll be safe, but just in case it would probably be good for a few non-anonymous reviewers to say it’s worth a read.

Hello and welcome!

Welcome to my site!  My blog will cover a wide range of issues about parenting, motherhood, and the challenges of being an author.  Today, though, I just want to introduce myself.  I am Lauren Weiss…well, actually, I am Julie Weinberg but called myself Lauren Weiss in the book (I changed all the names in the book–and will stick with the pseudonyms here for everyone else–to protect the innocent). I am a very happy stay at home mom with two teenagers–a 16 year old boy named David and 14 year old girl named Skylar (or she may be changing her hand-picked name to Rylie; she hasn’t quite decided yet. But for today it’s Skylar).

Anyway, Mack and I divorced about five years ago and he got remarried to a wonderful woman and they have two boys ages 2&3.  We’re still very close– so close that our kids tell people we’re a family of seven–three adults raising four kids.  We even occasionally vacation together! But more on that in future blogs.

All the major events in the book really did happen to Mack and I on our journey to parenthood.  Because I needed a cathartic outlet, I started writing in a journal and it morphed into a book that eventually took a life of its own.  I’m very happy to have published it and hope you will or have enjoyed it!

Over the course of the coming weeks I will write more about what it’s like to be a parent of teenage kids when you feel like a teenager yourself, how I’m adjusting to my new author status, how to make divorce work for everyone, and basically anything else that I think someone  might find amusing or interesting.  I invite your comments and hope you enjoy my blog 🙂