Dear Portia: My Kids Are Slobs. Help!

Dear Portia, How do you get your kids to clean up after themselves? My kids are 12, 10 and 7 and I feel like I’ve tried everything over the years. Chore charts, reward systems, scolding, drawing attention to the mess, calling them back to do it again when it’s not cleaned up properly. IT NEVER […]

Dear Portia: Do I forgive my church family, or speak up?

Dear Portia, Several years ago, our family got involved in fostering children with significant medical needs. The nudge to do so came from the teachings of our church…to love God and to love people. But, the very church family who encouraged us to jump in did not throw the life-preserver we expected. Fostering got hard. […]

Dear Portia: My friend got healed, and I didn’t.

Dear Portia, I keep praying for healing, and I am not healed, but someone else in my circle did get healed and I am trying to be okay with this but I am not. A Dear A, Is it even possible to address your question without using some sort of unhelpful or even offensive platitude? […]

My Improbable Love of “Happy Birthday”

I should get bonus points when I surprise my friend Shoshana: she’s remarkably unflappable. If I’d told her I was getting a giant bat tattoo on my behind, she’d probably nod and say, “Oh, interesting.” But the other day on the phone, when I told her I love it when people sing “Happy Birthday” to […]

I Won’t Say I Read Trashy Books Anymore

My friend Melissa has a way of being kind that also makes me think. We were out for coffee, talking about books. Specifically: about my anxiety about wanting to read more. By most measures, I read a lot, but with the advent of smart phones and parenthood, I read less then I used to. Recently, […]

Dear Portia: How Do You Stay Sane with a Mentally Ill Person?

Dear Portia, How do you deal with toxic or mentally ill people who have harmful behaviors and stay sane? You have no choice but to deal with them—they’re your family or your boss. How do you get them to seek the help they need? Or, to understand they have an issue? JP Dear JP, I […]

Dear Portia: Annoyed, Irritated and Bored at Church

Dear Portia, I am annoyed and irritated and bored at church. My husband loves it, but to me, our church feels like a big show: entertainment, choir performance, giveaways, and a superficial sermon. How do I look past the trappings and experience a deeper relationship with God? If other people love church so much am […]

Dear Portia: I Had Sex…and then We Broke Up. Now What?

Dear Portia, I grew up in the heart of evangelical purity culture. When I was 13, my parents took me out to dinner and gave me a promise ring. Throughout high school and college, I heard boys would ask me to compromise my sexual standards. I was ready to tell them no, but no one ever […]

Is Masturbation Okay? . . . and Other Thorny Questions

The Mudroom is excited to be joining the likes of The Rumpus, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. We’re starting our very own advice column, “Dear Portia.” Every month, we’ll cover questions related to our monthly theme. First up is sex, sexuality, and singleness. Do you have questions about your sex life, about singleness, […]