It’s hard to believe another month has gone by, and it’s even harder to wrap my head around the fact that things just seem to be getting worse. I don’t know what to do except what we’re doing, which is trying to be responsible citizens, to keep these kids healthy and happy, to and add good stuff to the universe in any way we can.
We know we’re lucky, which is something I find myself saying many times a day. So, so lucky, even on the longest, most meltdown-rich days. One thing I’m especially grateful for is the fact that somewhere in the past four weeks—between endless zooms, Dora the Explorer marathons, and a parade of grain bowls—we found some semblance of routine. It’s gone a long way toward keeping us all sane, and it’s been pretty special to have this much time as a family.
And the big development is that our amazing nanny, Jocelyn, is going to be coming back a few days a week. We’re all thrilled, especially Lilly and Finn, who are getting a wee bit tired of us.
Here’s a short list of things you might find useful or happy-inducing in these strangest and scariest of times:
A new generation of startups: For a couple years, I’ve angel invested as part of Cleo Capital, an early stage venture fund started by my friend and all-around impressive lady Sarah Kunst (I’ve invested in Love Stories TV, Glowbar, Love Wellness, and Otherland so far!). Now, in response to widespread layoffs and furloughs, Sarah is launching a Crysalis, a fellowship designed to give would-be entrepreneurs the tools to hone in on an idea and understand how to launch it. Applications are due this Friday, May 8th—take a look if you’ve got the startup itch.
Turning guilt into action: We have a lot of very, very good days—days with stunning weather, early evening dinners in the backyard, and socially distant hellos with people we love. I was telling my friend Rachel how I feel guilty for being happy during this time and she pointed me toward psychotherapist Esther Perel, who says it’s essential to find the joy even in the worst time. I loved this Financial Times interview with Perel, where she reminds us,
“It’s OK to celebrate life in the midst of this pandemic…Because the more you have, the more you can give to somebody who has less. You will have more energy, and you can be more generous and compassionate towards others. And that chain will hold us.”
Elsewhere, Perel says, when you feel guilty, do something. Give money, reach out to someone, call your representative. Make it useful. Birding. Who knew? I have a handful of friends who are self-described birders but I never thought I’d catch the bug. Then a few things happened: Without the constant city noise, I started to notice how loud, distinct, and present the birds are in our neighborhood. Shortly after, I read Nicholas Cannariato’s NYT Magazine piece about how birding has made him better equipped to shelter-in-place. Finally, I downloaded Audubon’s Bird Guide app. I wouldn’t say I’m hooked but there’s something really mesmerizing about looking at birds in this way, and really noticing them. Plus, this weekend we spotted a Goldfinch!
Neighborhood food trades: We have a handful of friends who live nearby and who also love cooking so we’ve started doing trades—not only is it a good way to ensure that we don’t eat multiple loaves of bread a week (Rob’s sourdough adventures are going strong) but it also keeps us feeling connected. Not to mention, it lets us try new recipes without getting any bowls dirty. Some winners that I’ll definitely be revisiting:
- Our friend Megan generously shared her Sqirl Power Balls, which are made with dates, dark chocolate, and coconut, and are the ultimate mid-afternoon pick-me-up. I want these in the freezer at all times.
- We got also snagged incredible quinoa chocolate chip cookies (also healthyish!) from Lish, who leads culinary operations for Giada De Laurentiis—they’re refined-sugar and gluten-free and have tons of flavor and texture.
- And Emily generously shared some of her gorgeous rhubarb upside-down cake, which made me want to track down some rhubarb asap.
Actually useful parenting tips: I’ve mentioned Uplift, a startup focused on helping parents prevent burnout, a couple months ago. Like many businesses, they’re retooling things for a post-Covid universe, but in the meantime I highly recommend their daily newsletter. It’s theoretically for moms but the tips easily translate to partners and the voice is refreshing non-cliché. I always take away something valuable, fun, or heartening, whether it’s the idea of breaking a workout into 10-min chunks throughout the day or gifting someone an at-home-flower arranging kit through Poppy.
So much coffee: I loved Kim Severson’s ode to cinnamon sugar toast on The Daily, especially her reminder that now is not a time to be worried about how much butter you’re using. Similarly, we’ve decided it’s not a time to worry about how much coffee you’re drinking. We’re now members of Go Get ‘Em Tiger‘s Coffee Club and have liked it so much that after our first delivery I had to up our subscription to two bags a week. We also ordered Blue Bottle’s New Orleans Iced Coffee kit and it was as good as the real thing, and our new weekend treat. (And if you were wondering, yes, we’ve also tried making whipped coffee—creamy and delicious but a lot of work by hand. Use a hand mixer if you attempt!)
Upgrading our nonsticks: I’ve been eyeing the Food52 x GreenPan ceramic set for ages and when our latest inexpensive nonsticks started flaking I knew it was time. So far, I’ve made scrambled eggs, sauteéd greens, and banana pancakes—you know, the essentials. You only need a smidge of oil and the food just glides around in a kind of mesmerizing way.
Finn’s newfound appetite: Finn was fairly agnostic about solid foods he hit the eight-month mark and now he’s a fiend. We give him whatever we’re eating but it’s also been so, so helpful to have a freezer full of Raised Real meals. I’ve been advising the company for almost four years now and continue to be a huge fan of the brand and product. They’re frozen, pre-portioned meals for babies and kids—think peas, zucchini, mint, and hemp—that you can microwave, steam, or sauté. Lilly has been eating them since she was Finn’s age and still loves them, and I often heat up the chickpea-based ones when I need a quick protein. Feel free to use code Mollie30 for 30 percent off your first order.
Interactive kiddo books: We’ve been reading a lot recently and it’s been very fun to see what Lilly gets excited about (besides Disney-themed Golden Books). She’s currently very into B.B. Cronin’s The Lost House and The Lost Cousins, both gorgeously illustrated seek-and-find books, as well as Tomi Ungerer’s immersive, unnervingly close-to-home (Ungerer says his experience growing up in the World War II era fed into his stories) tales.
Keeping a cooking diary: Inspired by my friend Emily as well as genius food writer Jenny Rosenstrach, I’ve started adding all the recipes we’re trying to my Covid-19 gratitude journal. It’s fun and quick and will be nice to have for times when we’re stumped for things to make. (For the record, Rob is also keeping a bread book for his baking notes.)
Last thing! Judging by my inbox, Mother’s Day is this weekend. I’ve had a lot of time the past few months thinking about what a tremendous responsibility it is to be a parent, and it’s made me appreciate my mom and dad even more. So, I have nothing to say except: Hi Mom, I miss you. I hope I get to see you soon.
Take care and stay safe,