Parenthesis: The Best Of The Parenting Blogosphere

All in the balance
Scary Mommy's Jill Smokler isn't the only blogger currently enjoying a successful book tour: fellow authors Jenny Lawson and Stephanie Nielson have also been prominent on the national stage over the past several weeks.

But exciting as they are, outstanding book sales and major publicity efforts can have downsides, too, as Smokler reveals in a remarkably frank recent post. The blogger admits that her son Ben -- who came up with the blog name "Scary Mommy" to begin with -- last week declared he was sorry he had ever done so, since her publicity commitments take her away from him so often. The lesson seems to be that no matter what a parent does, or how well he or she does it, the challenge of finding balance still exists:

As amazing as the experience has been, I can’t help feeling that I belong at home, in my yoga pants and carpool line. You know, with the kids who inspired the whole thing to begin with.

Have kids, still travel
On A Mommy Abroad, Emily makes the case for traveling with kids of any age -- even if they might not be old enough to record exact memories of their experiences. She is an American mom who moved to Europe with her young family when her husband was offered a job in Austria. Traveling with children (traveling at all!) was new to her ("before deciding to move our entire family to Europe," she explains, "I had left the US a total of 3 times in my entire life"). Still, Emily says exposing young people to foreign experiences whenever possible is paramount:

Saying, “Don’t travel, the kids won’t remember it yet” is like saying, “We don’t have our camera with us, we might as well sit at home and stare at the walls.” Is the point of traveling . . . of doing anything, really . . . just to have a perfectly formed, indelible memory of the event? Sure, memories are nice, like perfect pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower are nice, but you don’t GO to France to take the picture. (At least, I hope not.) The point is to have the experience.

Setting an example
Graduation season has begun -- and while that's good news for senioritis-infected older kids, it also means exam time for their younger siblings and friends. Tanis Miller from Attack of the Redneck Mommy wonders how to get her children (who've "never struggled academically," she admits) to make schoolwork a priority when they know all the gory details about the work their parents did (or didn't do) in high school:

I must have missed the day they were teaching new parents how to effectively lie to their children in parenting school which kind of sucks because all of those years of being honest and forthcoming to my children? Turns out they were actually listening and they remembered everything we ever told them about ourselves.

But really, last week was just …

About TIME
So -- are you mom enough?

HuffPost's Lisa Belkin responded to the obnoxious question posed on TIME's most recent cover with a proud and resounding "No." Her thesis: "The breastfeeding conversation is not titillating. The TIME cover is." Many readers agreed with her. Mamapundit's Katie Allison Granju called for a national "Not Mom Enough Movement," a plan to end the mommy wars once and for all by not engaging in the conversation. Most people, however, couldn't stop from themselves from reacting. Moms, dads, the cover models themselves, Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon -- almost everyone had something to say. And the reactions keep coming.

Here are some standouts:

"When it comes to issues of motherhood, there is one issue I care about: some kids don’t have one. ... This is the only mommy war I’ll wage. " -- Kristen Howerton

"[We should hold mothers up. Encourage them. Let them know that they are the exact right mother for their children…." -- Katherine Stone on Babble

"Why should we stop talking about it? Because it fuels the so-called Mommy Wars? The tensions underlying those ‘wars’ are already there. Those are live wires. We should be paying attention to them." -- Catherine Connors on Her Bad Mother

"Dialing back the conflict is now more important than advocacy for any specific parenting practice." -- Katie Allison Granju

"Women are already fighting enough battles over what they're allowed to do with their bodies. Let's not add another one." -- Jason Good

"Despite the controversy (which is surely designed to drive sales and buzz), I am proud to have taken part in the photo shoot for the cover. Why? Because I want to normalize breastfeeding past infancy." -- Dionna Ford

"If you really want to talk about attachment parenting or child-led weaning, this is not representative of a healthy conversation. This is an image that says, 'Bring it on.'" -- Dr. Logan Levkoff