About Me

My name is Magda Pecsenye, and I write Ask Moxie.

I'm an ordinary mom of two kids (both boys, ages 8 and 5) who started blogging and making comments on other people's blogs. Some of them thought my comments were helpful, so they asked me to start an advice blog. I thought it would be funny, so I did. That was in November 2005.

I've been a married SAHM, a married WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WAHM, and now I'm a divorced WOHM. I live in NYC, which I hate, but have been stuck here for a variety of reasons for years. If I was allowed to, I'd go back to the Midwest, to raise my boys in a house with a yard and room to run around and just be kids, where I could afford to buy something, and where they could see their grandparents every month.

I don't know where my parenting bent lies. I think you know your own kids best. I probably fall on the slightly crunchy side of things. I was definitely left of the mainstream when my kids were babies, but I find that as they grow older the divide isn't as big anymore, and it seems like parents are just people trying to love their kids and hold things together.

I think everyone's doing a much better job parenting their kids than they think they are. Most of the time the advice I give is either 1) cut yourself a break because you're doing the best you can, 2) cut yourself a break and ask for some help so you can get a little perspective and self-confidence back, or 3) you think you have one big insurmountable problem but you really have four small ones, so pull them apart and solve one at a time.

I'm really not sure how it happened, but for some reason the comments section of this blog is pretty flame-free. Maybe because I'm fairly anti-dogma, so people can say "this worked for me but it might not work for you" instead of having to put up a big façade all the time. Or maybe I'm just lucky. Or maybe the flamers are just storing it up and will release a big ball of flamey fury on my comments section at a predetermined date.

I get 10-12 questions a day at this point, and try to answer a bunch of them privately when I'm not working or being with my kids or shoveling out the apartment or sleeping. It's kind of random the questions that end up on the site. I try to pick a mix of serious and not-so-serious.

Lots of people write in about sleep. I think sleep is the thing that's making parents feel the worst about themselves in our generation. Not only does lack of sleep make you feel physically horrible, but there's also such an industry of sleep advice out there that people feel like they're bad parents if their kids aren't sleeping perfectly. I file that under the same category I file the SAHM vs. WOHM "wars"--nice try, but we're starting to catch on that it's just a distraction to get us to not notice the lack of institutional support for parenting, at least in the US. See also: pacifier vs. no pacifier, off the bottle by 12 months or else, what do you mean you don't have the Britax??, and anything involving the acronym MILF.

My thoughts about sleep are that you'll have a better time as soon as you figure out if your kid gains tension by crying or releases tension by crying, since then you can work with the way your kid is to figure out how to get him/her to sleep. Also, there are some universal truths about sleep that your kid probably conforms to, at least loosely, so start there before you get really worried. Finally, in approximately 18 years the way your kid sleeps won't be your problem anymore, so there is an end in sight, albeit a distant end.

What else? My favorite books are The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, If on a winters' night a traveler by Italo Calvino, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. My favorite parenting-related books are Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott and Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott. I listen to a lot of Stevie Wonder, Fred Hammond, and Jorge Ben. I don't like pancakes, raisins, or scallops. I'm not allergic to poison ivy. I watch too much reality TV. I refused to wear vests in the '80s and I refuse to wear them now. I am happier than I have a right to be that I don't have to deal with strollers anymore.

What do the rest of you want to say? Either comments on my strangeness, or comments on your own strangeness? Vests: yes or no? If you could be any character in a Pixar movie, which one would you be (I'd be Flo)?