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Desperate in DC is the hilarious blog-book creation of Crystal Walker and Phoebe Thompson, two Washington, DC moms wrestling in very different ways with the issues of motherhood, money and marriage. The ladies gleefully skewer the privileged and powerful in the nation's capital, while simultaneously tackling their own life challenges. In the meantime, click on Chapter 1 to read a preview of the first chapter.

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Eleven Things I’ve Learned Since Dropping My Kid at College

September 16th, 2015 : 1 Comment »


Dropping my firstborn off at college may have been way harder than I expected, even though I’d been anticipating it all year, but one month on, I’m here to report that the aftermath has been both more heartrending than I anticipated in some ways, but also a pleasant surprise. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1) You will have less laundry, but more leftovers
2) You won’t need to buy as much food at the grocery store, or order as much at restaurants, and this will make you inexplicably sad
3) Their bedroom will look too tidy, so you will need to keep the door closed, to avoid feeling bereft
4) You will send crazy texts reminding them not to stand on balconies at frat parties, and worry about them cycling without a helmet, even though that’s exactly what you did all four years at college, and your parents never said a word
5) You will also send videos of dogs vomiting at the prospect of a new baby in the house, telling yourself it’s a good way to stay in touch, but also because you share the same juvenile sense of humor
6) You will miss them terribly, and yet feel an unfamiliar sense of liberty at having one less family member’s needs to attend to
7) Your daughter will sign up for Catholic mass at the Activities Fair because a stranger offered her candy, and you will fight the urge to tell her not to go
8) Parents at your younger daughter’s Back to School night will look a generation younger, and way too involved in their children’s lives
9) You will resist the urge to tell them it really doesn’t matter where their kids are going to college, so long as they’re happy – not necessarily a given, you know from other parents whose kids have dropped out
10) Your relationship with your kid who’s still at home will get closer and more mature, although you will have to resist the urge to defer to them about every decision, especially related to dinner
11) Your relationship with your husband will get closer, even if it involves being gentler with each other, rather than lots of wild sex (although that may happen too).

Postscript: As I was writing this article, my husband was watching a Ken Burns documentary about the Civil War on TV (I told you he was wild), and I overheard the narrator reading an excerpt from a letter from a mother to her Union soldier son, warning him not to engage in too much card-playing, because she feared that might only lead to gambling. Some things never change.


The College Countdown Begins

August 21st, 2015 : No Comments »

2015-08-17 16.37.07Dear Crystal,

As the mother of four cherubs, including two young adults, I know you are already familiar with the process of seeing the fruit of your womb going off to college, so I am hoping you can advise me if the turmoil I am right now, both internal and external, is to be expected.

To whit, is it normal to feel both bereft at the thought that the baby you once carried on the crook of your hip everywhere will never live at home in quite the same way she once did again, and simultaneously irritated that she is trying to engage you in a deep philosophical discussion while you are trying to eat breakfast in peace?

Is it OK to fall over oneself to do as much as possible for said offspring, by way of shopping, laundry and list-making, then find yourself being driven crazy by their inability to choose between laundry hampers at the Container Store, which is generally your happy place?

And is it to be expected that in spite of the fact they have more or less managed the entire college application process themselves, and held down two part-time jobs successfully most of the summer, all it takes is two weeks of witnessing them hang around in ratty old t-shirts and pajama bottoms all day, watching Netflix, for you to start panicking that they will never figure out what they want to do in life, let alone find someone to share it with?

Of course, it doesn’t help that I seem to have chosen this particularly inconvenient moment in time to embark upon a comprehensive attic to basement de-nesting exercise, when it could easily wait another year, when my second and last chick will fly the coop. I blame Marie Kondo and her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for selling me on the illusion that I can sort out all my emotions and all my life-problems just by sorting out my shelves. Right now, I appear to be stuck with more of both, and I fear the solution may end up involving putting myself out on the curb with all the other old baggage.

Please tell me there is hope.




Speaking of wombs, I often wonder why my college-aged darlings seem to want to return to it more than the ones who emerged from it much more recently. I suspect, as in all matters of the heart, Phoebe, distance–lots of it– makes the heart grow fonder. Once tucked into dorm rooms, one’s children seem to both relish the pleasure of independence, naturally, and long for the parental servitude of home. The impressive number of heartwarming texts from my offspring while not in my presence is encouraging. However, after a summer spent with so much quantity time with all of my children, I know their looks of disdain for me are surpassed only by my snotty flip of the wrist when discarding yet another carelessly discarded empty juicebox or water bottle in their presence. Can’t wait for my eldest ones to be back in their vastly overpriced maturation pods so that I can long for them (and they for me) again.

In sum, Phoebe, it should not be forgotten that this is as much your journey as theirs. A near constant reminder of that, while their nerves are frayed with anticipation for their new life, is likely to create just the right friction necessary for the the last goodbye on campus to be one they cherish forever.