They say it’s inevitable in the teen years.

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You just turned 11. I’ve heard 12 is when you’ll start to push me away. The words, “I hate you” will pass through your lips more than once, especially when I’m doing my job correctly. Your tone may sharpen along with a snarky attitude and contempt for my very existence. I’m bracing myself and hanging onto the last year of little girlness before it’s all about make-up and friends and being cool. I’d like to think we’ll be the exception to the tween cliche, but already you’re hiding in the closet on the phone with your friends and applying mascara before school. You don’t have a real phone, but you do have wifi, and you’ve figured out how to do a group video chat. …


It’s not a hygiene thing.

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Even on the days when my partner and I are fighting and my brain screams “head for the hills!” my body tells me the opposite. He smells so… right. His scent is intoxicating to me. It’s like after-shave or cologne — except he uses neither. He, in turn, loves my scent first thing in the morning, after it’s had the night to marinate in me-ness. Our smells attract one another, our bodies are a couture fit. The rest we could work on.

My friend Jen and I used to talk about this in college. A guy could be the nicest human being on the planet, but if he didn’t smell right — not good or bad but “right” — we couldn’t stick with him. …


“Boss up and change your life. You can have it all, no sacrifice.”

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While rocking out to Lizzo with my 11-year-old, I think: I wish I’d had Lizzo as a role model when I was 25. She’s bold, brash and unapologetic. Her music inspires me to “be my own soulmate” and to feel “good as hell.” She’s the virtual girlfriend telling us, “Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you.” I’m thrilled my Gen Z daughter gets that messaging. I wish I’d had it, instead of the fairytale crap I was fed as a Gen X-er.

I also wish I’d had a crystal ball, so I could have recalibrated some of the choices I made over the years. Allow me to be that crystal ball for you now, and share the 5 things I’d do differently. …


A writer’s conundrum

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“First, do no harm,” rasped my father from his hospital bed as we flailed about searching for solutions to save him. He’d quoted this part of the Hippocratic Oath as if to say, don’t let the cure be worse than the condition. Leave the patient better than you found him. It’s my credo as a writer as well.

For better or worse, I feel driven to share stories. Writing is my cure to processing strong emotions and memories. It’s how I make sense of the world and share insights, joys, humor and tidbits about the human condition. I wish I were a fiction writer, so I could hide behind invented characters and scenarios. …


A new family and new traditions arose from the ashes of divorce.

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“What are you going to be for Chanukah, Mommy?” my three-year-old daughter asked. She’d made a plausible connection to Halloween, which was still in the rear view mirror. I didn’t have a good answer and, to buy time, wholeheartedly endorsed her plan to be a fairy.

Chanukah eight years ago commemorated a fresh start for our family as I emerged from the ruble of a protracted divorce to build a new life in California with my daughter, Ruby, and my fiancé, Dane. Ruby did not yet comprehend the idea of being Jewish. This was the year I introduced her to the “Celebration of Lights” since the previous year she’d been too young to absorb it. …


We’re following stay-at-home orders, just moving our home temporarily

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I whole-heartedly believe in the precautions recommended by the CDC and by Dr. Fauci. I’m an avid pro-masker. I’ve perfected the “death glare” at people who don’t take this simple precaution for others. I have not had friends and family inside my home since March. I’ve not been on a plane in over a year. I know we’re not supposed to travel this holiday season.

I’m going anyway.

It’s not a vacation to Seychelles or a weekend getaway to Cancun. I do not take this decision lightly. And I’m not actually going home for the holidays. …


TV writer, producer and author gone rogue on Medium

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Fate nudged me in the direction of entertainment early on when I was offered an intern position at a Miami television station at the age of 15. After working there for two years during high school, I left for Dartmouth College, graduating with a degree in English and a desire to produce TV and movies. So, I set out for Hollywood a la Kermit the Frog (“Big time show biz! It’s always been my dream!”)

After working on numerous television commercials, including a couple years at Ridley Scott’s company, I segued to telling stories longer than thirty seconds in feature film development at Warner Bros., Sony and Touchstone Studios. Later, I returned to my TV roots, producing and writing shows including “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Single in the City,” and “The Adam Carolla Project.” …


I’d thought starting an MLM biz was a detour. Turns out it was an important step on my path to success as a writer.

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I’d just finished a job on a TV show, feeling weary and disenchanted. I’d been producing and writing television for years, climbing the ranks until my daughter was born. Now I took freelance jobs with less responsibility so I’d make it home in time to tuck her in. I’d started this particular show as a polish writer, which was perfect for our schedule. I worked a few hours in the office and mostly from home. Then, the show got picked up for thirteen more episodes, and I was hired to take over the story department.

At first, the job was challenging and fulfilling. Then, the responsibilities grew and so did the demands on my time. Childless me would have revelled in a job that consumed my life. But now, I was a mother. My heart broke when I heard my boss’s kids call her late at night, crying and begging for her to come home. When I was forced to miss some key moments in my own child’s life — my only child — I knew it was time to rethink my career path. …


Confessions of an introverted extrovert

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Until there’s a vaccine or this virus “magically disappears,” most of us remain in various forms of quarantine (and alternating stages of denial) for the foreseeable future. Of course not everyone is still hiding at home, Instacarting their groceries. Many of us have found ways to get on with our lives as safely as possible. Others haven’t seen another soul IRL in eight months. The country’s mostly “reopened,” whatever that means. Yet, we still homeschool our kids and work from our living rooms (or in my case, the bedroom). Seeing neighbors wearing masks no longer feels ominous and weird. …


Navigating the Hardest Days Since the Divorce Itself

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Any other divorced parents out there feeling the extra strain of shuttling a kid back and forth during a pandemic?

The varying degrees of vigilance between households requires the negotiation skills of a psych major with a master's in chemistry and a Ph.D. in mathematics.

In addition to easing the painful consequences of divorce, we struggle to appeal to the preferences of a child who’s already experiencing the terror of a deadly virus mixed with the agony of isolation from her peers.

Keeping kids off screens these days is a Herculean task in itself. We feel like bad parents if we let them stay on and like worse parents if we can’t find constant, alternative methods to keep them engaged and happy. …

About

Pam Suchman

TV writer, producer and author who writes about marriage, dating, sex, beauty, spirituality, Hollywood. Connect with me @ www.pamsuchman.com

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