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Posts Tagged ‘Mothers’

5 Types of Over-Balanced Moms

October 27, 2010 16 comments

You know what I am talking about, the too perfect and know-it-all moms…

I know what you’re going to say: “But Paige, you preach that every mother should be valued and not judged”.  Correction – real people should be valued, but I choose to mock stereotypes all I want!  And as for why I have decided to call them “over-balanced” ?  Well everybody knows that too much of a good thing will make you sick!  So to make the rest of us real mom’s feel better here we go…

  1. Too-Perfect-Mom: Nothing ever falls out of her car when she drops the kids off at school.  She attends every event and brings homemade baked goods for all occasions.  She’s never late and never looks like she just rolled out of bed.  You have never seen her raise her voice to her angelic children and when you describe your chaotic day, she just gives you a sympathetic smile.  She is NOT in the running for Mother of the Year! (But you could be if you submit…)
  2. Fashionista Mom: Always perfectly coiffed, trendy and never stained.  Whether it’s early morning drop-off or coming from the gym, she never looks frumpy or disheveled.  We all have our good days, but she’s never had a bad one.
  3. Know-It-All-Mom: She is an authority on everything.  She tells you what you’re doing wrong as a parent (and possibly everything else) and how to correct it.
  4. Age Defying Mom – She has given birth to four kids and looks like she is 18.  Perfectly toned, perky boobs,  no wrinkles and she eats pizza and cupcakes at every party.  The only consolation is imagining she has a plastic surgeon on speed dial, but alas, you’re sure she just has good genes.
  5. Overly-Talented-Mom: She’s athletic, a fabulous cook, crafty and decorated her model home.  She sews all of her children’s darling clothes and made a breathtaking mission out of dried pasta and baking soda for her child’s school project.  Everything she does is flawless and fabulous.  I have a friend like this, but she’s crazy, so I still love her.

In revolt of over-balance, I present you with Paige: 

  • I am mildly athletic, if you count that I don’t usually trip when I walk.
  • When I cook dinner, my husband tells me to focus on the main course and he’ll handle the rest
  • The only thing I’ve made with my glue gun is a mess
  • I forgot my daughter’s snack day at preschool… EVERY TIME FOR THE WHOLE YEAR! (sorry Miss Jill!)
  • My best clothes are Target sales rack and my nanny has had to intervene when I tried to leave the house in a pathetic state
  • I have a small fortune worth of half-empty water bottles floating around my car
  • When I am on my “A” game, I close my windows before I yell
  • The only thing I consider myself an expert on is being a crazy, off-balance mommy

Are you over-balanced? If so, what’s the secret?  Prozac and wine??

If you’re off-balanced, like me?  What’s your shining moment? I can hear what you’re thinking, that’s a funny one, you should enter my Mom of the Year Contest.

I'm no June Cleaver...

There’s Very Little Grass in the Working Mom Pasture

October 15, 2010 18 comments

Yesterday, my witty friend Sarah shared with us 10 reasons why the grass is not greener being a Stay At Home Mom.  For those who know Sarah, she is a great mom and certainly has the skills and abilities to go back to work, but she has made a commitment to her family and she’s happy with her decision… most of the time.

So now it’s my turn.  Here’s my top 10 on why moms (or dads – I think you are under-represented) should not flock to the office.

  1. Is this your mommy? When I am out with my children, people come up and act as if my children are with a stranger.  “Are you her mom?” This is why my children and I wear nametags, it helps us and those around us.
  2. The inevitable party follow-up question? Unlike Sarah, when I tell people I have a full-time job, they naturally ask, “Well who cares for your children?”.  So I am compelled to explain – “I leave them with a pack of wolves.  But I am a responsible mother, so I only leave them with female wolves, they’re more nurturing”.
  3. Nobody thinks you can help Because I do not care for my children, the kids, and others, assume I have no domestic or child-rearing abilities.  Okay, okay, I have very few domestic abilities, but I do know how to care for my children.  I can wash a disposable diaper just like a pro.
  4. Keeping up with the SAHM’s  I have never made my own baby food, sewn a Halloween costume or chaired a school fundraiser.  (I am not sure I would do those things if I were a SAHM).
  5. Playdates  Playdates are tougher for kids with working parents.  Typically playdates start because two mothers who become friends get their kids together.  Mothers of the other kids have a hard time be-friending my 21-year-old gorgeous nanny.  (I can’t blame them, she wears heels to drive carpool – she intimidates me too.)
  6. Life plus work deadlines  We still have to do homework with the kids, wash soccer uniforms, bake (I mean buy) sweets for bake sales, but then I also have to manage my team at work (aka my day-time parenting job), write presentations and go on business trips.  Time is my most precious resource.
  7. Being MIA  Weeks go by where I don’t see a girlfriend, because once work is done, then I need to focus on my kids.  Girl time or alone time with my husband gets pushed down the priority list.  By the time I have an opening on my calendar, my friends are tired from all the fun they had without me.
  8. I Am Not in the Running for Anything there’s no way to win mother of the year and since I try to balance being a mom as much as I can, I am not up for employee of the year either.  I might win Juggling Lunatic of the Year though, as long as they don’t deduct points for what I drop.

Yes, I owe you two more, but I have a work deadline, no clean underwear and the kids need help with homework, so let me sum up 9 and 10 with my favorite comment of all time:

“Do you think your son is having a hard time because you travel so much?” Well no, but I think he would have a hard time if I didn’t get time away!

While being a working mom is tough, so is being a stay at home mom.  We each have amazing days and horrible days.  We each struggle with balance, we each want to do our best.  The best thing we can do as mothers (and fathers) is support each other, regardless if we get a paycheck for our hard work or not.

 

The Grass is Not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

October 14, 2010 13 comments

As I have lamented the last few weeks about my job, I have also started to fantasize about being a stay at home mom (SAHM).  To provide balance (or to stop my whining) my friend Sarah graciously put together the following for me (and I post it with her permission – little does she know the only payment she’ll receive is a glass of wine). 

10 Reasons the Grass is not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

Help I’m sick!!  When I call in sick, nobody covers for me.   No matter how sick I am, kids still need to get to school; lunches still need to be made.  There is no daycare to drop them off at, no nanny to speak of, just me doing the same thing I do everyday with the exception of barfing ever 20 minutes.

The inevitable party question. “What do you do?” “I’m a stay at home mom”.   Responses range anywhere from the cliché “wow isn’t that great” to blank stares of confusion.  Insult to injury is when the response is followed by the droll discussion of things like how expensive diapers are and The Wiggles, as if those must be the only things I am interested in.  My favorite follow-up to date is still “Do you do anything else??”  NOPE!  Just stay home and stare at the baby.

Only Mom Can Help.  When you spend your day assisting in every menial task for your children from helping brush their teeth to tying shoes 3 or 4 times, your children develop a “only mom can help me” complex.  My children will walk right past their dad sitting in the kitchen, through the entryway, up a flight of stairs, and into my bedroom to ask ME to open a fruit snack package for them…?

Fun Overkill.  Yes it is possible to have too much fun.  My husband and I are on completely opposite “fun” schedules.  By the time my husband gets home I have been on mom duty for 9+ hours.  I have played 25 hands of Go Fish, read 10 books, put together 3 puzzles and even pretended to be the fairy princess locked in the tower. (ok the princess was my idea and I actually locked myself in my room to make a quick 10 minute phone call.)  However, understandably, my husband wants to spend time not only with the kids, but as a family.   I want a chance to be a grown-up and a wife, my husband wants time to be a dad.  “Let’s play soccer” “Come on mom!”……..I’m coming.

Divorce! The D word.  Hate to think about it, but it happens.   My fear as a SAHM is that if this does happen I will be an average aged, average looking, minivan driving no name with a 9 year gap in my resume. I picture my first job interview going something like this “no Mrs. SAHM we stopped running DOS 2.0 about 7 years ago.”

Quantity Does Not Equal Quality.  Some people assume that because I spend MORE time with my kids it is better.  That is NOT the case.  More time just equals more time to screw them up.  There were days when I thought my kids would be better off at day interacting with other children rather than at home with me watching me pay bills and vacuum.

Tomorrow.  The curse word of the SAHM.  Only you know the expectation that you set for yourself.  Therefore what doesn’t happen today can always happen tomorrow, and no one is the wiser.  Instructions are easy..when tomorrow comes…repeat.

Blizzards/ Tornados & Other Natural Disasters.   Being in your home with any number of children 24 hours a day and trying to keep the house clean is impossible.  It is like shoveling snow in a blizzard.  I don’t even try anymore. 

Fashionista.  NOT!  I used to be a decent dresser.  Really.  As I grew tired of washing Cheetos hand prints and baby poop/spit-up off nice clothes, I retired my nice things and adopted the SAHM “uniform”: Workout clothes and tennis shoes that rarely actually make it inside a gym.  You know you have lost your inner fashionista when you put on a pair of jeans and a necklace and your kids ask you “why are you so fancy mommy?”

I Am Out the Running for Mother of the Year.  No awards to polish around here.  No plaques to cover my walls, no raises.  You can work your fanny off at your “job” as a SAHM but no one is there to pat your back.   I would like to say that your child’s smile is payment enough but let’s be honest, when’s the last time a smile bought you a purse?  And a promotion??  The only time my husband uses the word promotion is when he wants sex, and by “promotion” he means another baby.

There are days I start to think, gosh it would be nice to have a job, one where I got to talk to people about politics or books without pictures, or dare I say an R rated movie.  Then I realize that the grass in not greener, it’s just a different shade.

Thanks Sarah for the perspective!  I’ll share the color of my pasture as a working mom tomorrow.

Mother’s Gone Wild

September 30, 2010 6 comments

Please do not be alarmed.  You are not about to be subjected to thirtysomething mama’s flashing video cameras.  But I have seen such an occurrence… 

I am taking about working mothers on business trips or  any mamas on a girls night out.  It is amazing how you can take your typical suburban soccer mom, remove the kids, add alcohol and see the transformation.  She goes from pony-tail, hoodie wearing mom to plunging neckline, trippin’ in her stilettos mama.

I had such an evening (minus the plunging neckline – it was a work event people!) this week while on a business trip.  A few co-workers and I went out for drinks.  I broke my two cocktail at a work function limit (okay, I more than doubled it…).  I knew it was time to switch to water when I am in a photo booth with one of MY EMPLOYEES, hamming it up for the camera.  After the photos we stop to each call our kids to say goodnight and then start researching karaoke bars…  that’s when not only did I need water, but a taxi back to the hotel!

What makes moms (and dads) go from nose wiping angels to boozin’ babes?  I will tell you:  We live to close to the brink of insanity!  When given a small break from parenting we digress.  Not only do we shed some responsibility temporarily, we shed our ‘set the example’, ‘do the right thing’ personas. And guess what – it feels great!  Well, actually it feels hazy and not as great the next morning, but still worth it!

Pictures have been omitted to protect the guilty!

My Son Has a Garden?

September 24, 2010 4 comments

I am learning so much from scaling back my career to spend more time with my family.

But let me give you some background.  I have always over-scheduled myself and wanted to be involved in everything at the same time.  I was Student Body President in middle school, Panhellenic President in college and have served on more committees since I was in the 5th grade than I can count.  So naturally, when my son started kindergarten I over-committed myself.  I signed up to be assistant room mom, field trip chaperone, classroom helper and art docent.  It ended in disaster with me having to break my commitments and be rescued by my stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) friends so I could fulfill the requirements of my day job.

This year, with my son in first grade, I didn’t sign up for ANYTHING, but did tell my son’s teacher that I would volunteer in the classroom as time permits. (See, I can learn from my mistakes!)  With my conscious decision to balance my life and devote more time to my family, I have been spending more time at my son’s school.  The trick is I am not in charge of anything, but I show up and act as a worker-bee whenever possible.  Today this worker-bee got to help teach my son’s class about bees and pollination (wanna know something interesting about bees?). 

I met the other mom in the school office and we headed for the classroom, then she continued to walk past it – where the heck was she going???  I followed her and found myself in the elementary school garden.  The garden?  Who knew?  Not me.  It was big enough to have one or two classrooms full of kids inside exploring its treasures.  But wait, there is more…  We then walked down to the “lower garden” that was even bigger.  How did I not know about this magical place?  Do other parents know this is here?  I bet the working ones don’t…

If I start a list (and I love lists) on the benefits of cutting back at work I will definitely include discovering that my son has a garden and the joy of visiting it with him!

What discoveries have you made that brought you joy?

My Better Half

September 15, 2010 22 comments

My husband left for a business trip this morning.  He was gone before the sun came up.  My daughter had me up from 2:30 to 4:30 am and I was trying to catch a few extra winks when my husband called to say good morning and make sure I got up okay.  He was worried that he had not re-set the alarm clock, although unbeknownst to him, I had set my own alarm.  So I drug myself out of bed and started the morning routine.  When I walked into the kitchen, he had laid out my son’s lunch bag, put out everything for his lunch that didn’t need to be kept cold (down to the knife to make his sandwich) and arranged his homework.  This was such a sweet gesture, but I wasn’t shocked…

My husband is better at… well everything sometimes.  He gets  up (usually before me), gets our son dressed, packs his lunch and starts breakfast.  He does the laundry, the grocery shopping and the cooking.  He volunteers in my son’s class twice per month and helps coach his sports.  He has tea parties with our 3-year old daughter and knows  my son’s weekly spelling words better than me every week.  Oh yeah, and he’s the bread-winner.

There are days when I definitely feel like the lesser half.  This is not because of anything my husband says or does, but just because I have a nasty habit of keeping score when I am losing.  (Ironically, I don’t keep score when I am ahead).  I often jokingly say, “What do I bring to the marriage?”  But those are thought for another day.

Today, I want to celebrate and appreciate having a better half.  I have shared in a previous post that he is my best friend.  I am so fortunate to have a husband who is my partner in all of this chaos.  He keeps me as balanced as I can be (which is still off-balance).  My kids are lucky to have a dad that is not solely devoted to his career.  Our family and our life works because my husband is great.  People often ask how we juggle two careers, two kids and still appear it to have it together most of the time.  The answer is often simple: I have a better half!

Parenting Handbook – Meals

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I got the BRILLIANT idea of writing a “parenting handbook” in which I would pass on my super secret, full-proof parenting wisdom.  If this feels like a to-good-to-be-true gimmick, then you’re on the right track!  NONE of my parenting advice is full-proof and it is rarely wise, but I’ll share it with you anyways for the amazing low price of $20.00 – that’s the price of my co-pay on my kids therapy, from being subjected to my “wise” advice.

Because I have SO much wisdom to share, I will break it down into sections, starting with meals.  Meals are tough in our house.  I think this is because I am a control-freak and try too hard to prove how great of a mommy I am (a-hem) by getting my kids to eat what I think they should, when I think they should.  So here’s how you do it:

  • Eating games: Show me how a dinosaur eats (and every other possible animal)  This will not teach great table manners.  As it turns out Dinosaurs and other “cool” animals are VERY messy eaters!
  • Reverse psychology: “Do not eat your chicken because I really liked it and I am going to eat yours when I finish mine”.  The problem with this approach is the possibility of, “Here you go mom…”
  • Fun with counting: “I bet you can’t count all the bites you can eat!”  This is my crowning glory as I get my kids to eat and can check off working on their numbers.  I am huge multi-tasker, so the only way I could improve this is to incorporate reading or social skills.  Hmm… 
  • Cool names.  Turkey Lurkey is one of their favorites and it’s chicken, not turkey.  We have confused our share of waiters and dinner guests with our secret code names for food.

When these fail (absurd as that may seem…) here is Plan B (read the fine print):

The following is meant for entertainment purposes only.  Use of the below tactics is done at your own risk. 

  • Negotiation: “I’ll give you $5 to eat your whole dinner”
  • Fear: “Your friend Aiden barfed one night because he didn’t eat his dinner…” (I really used that one in a less than spectacular parenting moment)
  • Proximity: Duct tape the little darling to the chair until dinner is done.
  • Supply and Demand: Starve them for a few days, then they are bound to eat just about anything.
  • Peer Pressure: All the cool kids are eating this.
  • Listen to Their Bodies: Feed them whatever they want.  If they are craving it, their body must need it.

What other parenting challenges would you like for me to solve?  I am taking requests! 😉

It's what my body needs Mom!

Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs

September 8, 2010 3 comments

My husband walked into the kitchen after we put our kids to bed and found me serving up a bowl of ice cream and stealing part of my kids homemade ice cream sandwich.  He looked at me, recognized the seriousness of the situation and kept walking.  He knew his life was in jeopardy if he tried to stop me or reason with me.  He understands the “Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs” based very loosely on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Based on how tough of a day I have had, I have different needs for coping.  Here is the graphical representation:

As you can see, from the scientific diagram above, there are 5 levels of need.  Within each level, the amount needed to cope can vary based on the severity of the day.  Sweets is level one, but one M&M is a good day compared to a whole chocolate cake which is a catastrophic day.  The most rare and severe level is a shot.  If the day requires a shot, alternative child care should be arranged!

However, the pyramid can also represent exceptional days, where each level would denote the amount of celebration appropriate for the occasion.

With good days and bad days, levels can be combined to most accurately represent the situation and mommy’s psychological state.  For example, a shot and a cupcake means that the principal, poop and stitches were involved.

So as not to discriminate, I will put together Daddy’s Hierarchy of Needs in a future post.

10 Effects of Shopping with Kids

August 31, 2010 3 comments

While my husband was on his guys trip this weekend, I stayed home with the kids.  I was thrilled to have no schedule to adhere to other than one soccer game.  I had planned to just relax with my kids, until I had the brilliant idea to do some shopping for my upcoming trip to New York.  Here are the effects of my bright idea…

  1. While wearing flip-flops I had my foot run over by my insistent cart drivers SIX times
  2. They opened the dressing room door, exposing my semi-naked body, TWICE
  3. My daughter did “snow angels” on the floor of Ross – hello bath time!
  4. I fed my kids two chocolate milks, two LARGE cookies, hotdogs and popcorn in an undisclosed order…
  5. I had to bribe with a toy submarine, a Dora backpack, and two dollar-bin masks, AFTER say, I would not buy them anything
  6. I ran into someone I knew at the exact moment I was hissing at my kids that they had better behave or else
  7. I “temporarily” lost the car keys
  8. I was impressed by my kids creativity when they devised dressing room games including
    • Different ways to wear a strapless bra and underwear (picture underwear on their heads with sunglasses over it)
    • How to turn plastic hangers into weapons
    • How high can they throw the tags that tell how many items I have in the dressing room
  9. I almost inadvertently shoplifted when I found a bracelet in my purse, as I was pulling out my wallet at the register, that my daughter had decided she wanted
  10. I have come up with a new mommy threat – “Be good or I will take you clothes shopping with me”

I have friends and family who would have watched the kids, but I decided I was supermom and could handle a few errands with the kids.   Isn’t it great how life reminds us that we there is no such thing as supermom?

The “Real” Me

August 26, 2010 8 comments

I attended my daughter’s preschool  back to school night this evening.  This means, getting to know a new group of parents, some of which have their oldest in preschool.  New parents always worry me because they may not have given up their ideals and sanity yet.  They say admirable things like, “How do we know what our kids learned in school today so I can ask my child about it?”  I respect this, but the easy way out is “what did you do, what did you learn and what was your favorite part”?  They are still trying to do everything right (bless their hearts).  I have to say, all of the moms I met seem very nice and down to earth, but time will tell who is as off-balanced as me.  I have decided to show them the “real me” as early as possible in hopes of bringing them to the dark-side of reality parenting.  Or maybe they are already there…

Last summer, there was an evening when I had too much to liquid fun and I was acting like a child.  I was throwing food at my friends (trying to start a food fight, not out of malice) and generally acting silly.  My husband was getting irritated with me (how could this be?!) .  I turned to my group of friends and proclaimed, “This is the real me!”.  I will never live that quote down, but I have also embraced it in many ways.  Here’s more about the “real” me.  Yes, it’s another list of confessions.

  • I loathe the idea of owning a dog.  My kids want one very badly and I am dead set against it.  When I hear dog, I think hair, fleas, chewed up furniture, doggie breath and more responsibility.  It is a threat to my precarious life balance.  Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs – when they belong to other people!  I am also not a huge fan of overnight dog guests, but have made exceptions for my dearest friends. (Devon – I am high-fiving you right now).
  • I let my kids eat food they have dropped on the ground (there’s no dog to clean it up).  Correction, I tell my kids they have to eat what they drop, because I am not giving them more.  Now, this is only in my house, when the floors are reasonably clean, and maybe outside if it’s not too public of an area…
  • I love the idea of playdates that involve cocktails.  I NEVER drink when I am responsible for someone elses children AT ALL and I never have more than one if my husband is out-of-town.  This is not a joke and if you drink while watching my kids, you will learn about mama bear.  But, if you bring your little one over in the afternoon and you’re staying and want to have a beer with me, that is my kind of playdate!
  • I am perfectly comfortable letting my children’s teachers be responsible for their learning.  I will do all the homework and read to them, but frankly, I am exhausted at night and do not feel compelled to do extra credit as a mom.  I am glad there are professionals to ensure my kids are brilliant.
  • I recycle, but I drive a diesel SUV, do not compost, never made my own baby food, use disposable diapers and pull-ups and loved having drugs to ease the pain of labor.
  • I bake the bread for church, but mostly to make up for how often I miss Mass (meaning mostly absent) and to see a friend who I never get to see unless it is baking time.
  • I don’t like cold water so I spend more time watching my kids swim than swimming with them.
  • I cannot do math.  Period.

What’s the real you?  You can tell me, I promise to use a fake name when I blog about it! 😉