Megan Cottrell Liz Joynt Sandberg
Megan Cottrell Liz Joynt Sandberg

Welcome to Pluck. We think you’ve got what it takes.
We're Liz and Megan, best-friends to each other and mothers to Ida, age 2, and Teddy, 6 months, respectively. We're all about raising our kids without losing ourselves, with wine as a totally acceptable coping strategy. Nothing Fancy. Sometimes Funny. Always straight-up and open-minded dispatches from the motherland.

Don't breastfeed in public! There's an app for that.

Megan Cottrell
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Moms in Chicago are furious after a local TV anchor compared breastfeeding in public to nose picking. ( FOX Chicago anchors discussed a viral video on Thursday's   Read more 

What's the surprise today?

Liz Joynt Sandberg
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
My daughter has been attending AM summer day camp at her preschool for the past several weeks. I guess at some point early in her camp days, I set a precedent for there being a surprise upon my picking her up from camp. Like so many precedents, this one happened by accident and has now become one of those mandatory facets of living with someone who is relentlessly logical with little regard fo  Read more 

You'll never believe what I saw at Target

Liz Joynt Sandberg
Thursday, July 11, 2013
While driving in my car this morning, I heard a snippet of a call-in show on Chicago Public Radio. The details escape me at the moment (I just underwent the semi-harrowing process of getting Ida to see that a nap is in everyone’s best interest so my brain is a little fuzzy) but the topic was related to violence in the city. The host was taking calls from folks with theories as to what s  Read more 

Mama bear vs. grace

Megan Cottrell
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I perfected my angry phone voice as a manager of a dance studio. Liz and I used to run a dance studio together, and she put me in charge of recital costumes. If you've never ordered dance costumes (and for your sake, I sincerely hope you haven't), you have to put in the orders three to six months in advance to get them on time, and often, the order still doesn't come when they said it wo  Read more 

Dear parent of a 3-and-a-half year old

Liz Joynt Sandberg
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Dear Parent of a 3 and a half year old, I know. I KNOW. Let me start by saying that it really is as terrible as you think it is. You’re not wrong. And crying in the bathroom is the only reasonable response to the day you’ve had. That kid is being insane. Just insane. And I’m sure there is another beautiful and wise missive where we can find out all about why and come away  Read more 

Why the CTA's stroller policy irritates me

Megan Cottrell
Saturday, June 22, 2013
I avoid taking the CTA these days. For one, it's a big of a hassle with Teddy. How exactly am I supposed to hold down the button for the disabled entrance, push open the heavy door and drag the stroller through at once? Unclear. Then there's the CTA's stroller policy, complete with these signs. I have no problem with being courteous, but these rules just don't make sense:   Read more 

My childcare situation is perfect... except when it isn't

Megan Cottrell
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Awhile back, I talked about my work/child care split with my husband for a reporter writing for Quill magazine, a publication that writes about journalism for journalists. The article was about work/life balance (, and I was happy to talk, as working less and enjoying life more is a topic I'm passionate about. My husband Jeff works full-time as   Read more 

What's working right now - my parenting short game

Liz Joynt Sandberg
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Usually, I’m a proponent of long-game parenting. For Ida and me, the mullet model is often the right fit; take care of the business in the front so you can enjoy the party in the back. I ask myself “how does the way I’m interacting with Ida help her turn into a happy, capable adult who can do things for herself, overcome frustration, and navigate relationships?” Instead  Read more 

What to do when you feel like you're going to lose your mind: lead poisoning, stolen bike, life-long guilt

Megan Cottrell
Monday, May 20, 2013
My life is a bit of a cruel joke at the moment. For the past four years, I've continually written about the dangers of lead poisoning in Chicago. In fact, in November, I had a front-page article in the Chicago Reader ( on how lead poisoning continues to affect our city's kids and our scho  Read more 

#protip: Friend just had a baby? How to be the best visitor ever

Megan Cottrell
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Newborn baby! So exciting. You saw the pic your buddy posted in facebook, with the kid's stats - weight, height, gender, name. You want to visit that tiny creature and get a first hand look. But when? And how? You want to be a helpful visitor, one that isn't making it harder on your friend who just gave birth. Here are a few tips to help you out. Follow them, and you'll be the best baby visito  Read more 

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