Please Excuse the Brattling

After stumbling across That Should Be a Word, in the most recent New York Times magazine, a modern mother might feel a mixture of amusement, curiosity and chagrin. The column offers three neologisms: (1) brattle (to discuss one’s children at length), (2) spamily (Facebook or Twitter updates about kids) and (3) spawntourage (a group of approaching strollers). All these terms are admittedly funny. Who hasn’t had to pinch herself to stay awake through a fellow parent's enumeration of nap schedules and dietary preferences? Who hasn’t scrolled right by the Facebook photos of a college acquaintance’s children? Who hasn't felt pushed aside by multiple strollers spanning a narrow sidewalk?

The modern mother snickers, but she might also frown at the tinge of hostility towards children and families. Are there really people out there who roll their eyes at the sight of several strollers passing? Who are these anti-children people? Do they sit around in cafes smoking, writing screenplays, and snarling at passing infants? Do they wear berets? Trucker hats? Do they have bushy hipster beards? Do they all live in Manhattan? (Because, last we heard Brooklyn had been taken over by young families, come to think of it, Manhattan too.)

Whatever the authors of these neologisms are like, wherever they live, anti-child sentiments are not frequently visible in the suburban enclaves inhabited by this modern mother. Perhaps that's a good thing. Or possibly not.

Being cocooned in a child-centric culture just might leave many parents vulnerable to the impression that their darlings are universally adored and admired. Could it give modern parents the idea that it’s appropriate to bring children to any and all events? Does it leave some parents unaware of the possibility that the view of a toddler smearing his dinner across table linens might detract from another diner’s fine dining experience? Or worse.

Perhaps it is just such cluelessness that has incited any child-hostile sentiments lurking in the child-free majority. So, thank you, New York Times, for that little bit of humor and that small reality check to parents out there. Or at least the ones who have the time to read the Sunday magazine.

Happy Turkeys

Dear readers, please excuse our brief hiatus.  We have been up to our elbows in paper mache.  Being neither crafty like Machiavelli nor crafty like Martha Stewart, one wonders what we could possibly have been thinking when we concocted the half-baked, life-size,  paper mache turkey centerpiece scheme in the first place.

Though in truth, this modern mother knows what she was thinking.  She was thinking "Do I really need to spend more than I am paying for my actual turkey at that fancy pants florists for some minimalist centerpiece involving about 9 stems when the children could make something wonderful for next to nothing?"  

So here we are three days and unimaginable effort, home made paste crises, cajoling, tempera paint showers and of course fun (?) later.  

After this "teachable experience," today's real turkey and 26 accompanying guests should be a cake walk. 

Hope we didn't just jinx ourselves with that last thought.

Happy Thanksgiving to all,

Elizabeth & Elizabeth 

A Good Walk

There are few things these modern mothers enjoy more than a good walk.  The  benefits are well established.  Nothing clears your head, stretches your legs and gets your blood pumping like a good walk.  Plus, and we must be honest, it is much easier than running.  So when we came across these two sites devoted to walking we just had to share.

 The first site, called Walking To Listen, is the ongoing story of a young man's journey across the United States.  He walked out his back door in Pennsylvania on October 14, 2011 and is, as of this writing, somewhere in Virginia.  He is headed to the west coast.  He is a wonderful racanteur and there is something very special about knowing this is happening in real time.

The second site is called and it is (of all things!) a live webcam pointed towards the very crosswalk in London where the Beetles album cover was photographed.  So there you have it.   Happy walking.  Or watching.

Photos from Walking to Listen and Google

Friday Frivolity - 11/11/11

There is much frivolity to be had today, which is a good thing given the overall gloomy and weird news to be found in the mainstream media these days.

First, thank you to the wonderful and witty writers who have responded to our earlier post this week.  We are having great fun pouring over your blogs and writing pieces and will be in touch shortly.

Now, there are few things closer to our mostly mannerly hearts than corduroy.  So when we discovered in the WSJ over our morning coffee that today, 11/11/11, is "...the day that most closely resembles corduroy ever," according to Ms. Pieloch, director of "cordination,"for the Corduroy Appreciation Club,  we were delighted.  You can read all about it in this article

As the weather cools our thoughts turn to our dear friends who will and will not be spending Thanksgiving in Paris (you know who you are).  This piece by Julie Blakely might come in handy as well as these general tips for personal Frenchification wherever you are.

In other news, we loved our friend Kayce's post last night about her "Aunt Lilly."  Yes, that Lilly.

Have you had a chance to peruse the Nov/Dec Lonny Magazine?  Pure fun! Plus, we are intrigued by this new lifestyle shop C Wonder that recently opened in Soho and is featured in the magazine.  Sadly, it does not yet seem to have an online shopping component. 

Finally on this Veteran's Day, thank you to all the men and women who serve, have served and sacrificed so that we may prattle on in safety and peace about corduroy, fashion, beauty and decor ad nauseum.   Happy weekend!

photos from LL Bean, France in photos, Flickr and CWonder

Blogger Wanted

 Are you a new mother who knows nothing about children?  Did you once have a viable career with productive days or even weeks at a time?  Are you polite?  Considerate?  Interested in people and the world around you?  Are you wondering what you are doing in this strange new world of babies?  Can you write? 

If the above description sounds like you and you would be interested in writing for Manners for Modern Mothers every couple of weeks, please email us at

Thank you.

photo from the blog daddytypes

Friday Frivolity - Post Halloween Giggle and Mini Rant

Hopefully this funny piece from will help with your Post-Halloween traumatic stress syndrome.  We love it because it is mannerly, modern and very funny.

And another thing, when did it become vogue to "donate" used Halloween candy to  our military, homeless people and food banks?  Ironic, non?  Of course, we all want it out of the house but if it isn't good enough for our offspring why is it good enough for these segments of the population?  What if everyone just composted the candy and sent these groups a can of butternut squash soup?  Who's with me?  Aside from the fact that you can't compost candy...

 Enjoy the weekend. 

Photo and recipe from our friends over at Smitten Kitchen
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