Monthly Archives: July 2007

Hey, Look What I Got!

(Or, thanks to the sponsors of our Chicago Moms Blog swag bag!)

Here you will find a post on Chicago Moms Blog – there is a great photo of all the writers…I’m the one in the front row, all the way on the left, with the jumbo-sized wine glass in my hand! It’s the closest you’ll come to seeing what I wore (a black v-neck cap sleeved top with black skirt with white viney print on it); I’m going to have to leave it up to Becky to show you her ensemble.

But of course the POINT is that it’s a big thank you to the donors of our swag bag – a truly amazing bag filled to the brim with cool stuff!

Check it out!

Advertisements

I Took the Damn Shoes

Okay, okay! I have taken the shoes! I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do, but I was going to have to buy school shoes for the boys anyway. And it was kind of a heady experience to choose $135 worth of free shoes . Thanks for all of your input…I’ll let you all know what I think.

And, by the way, the issue about ads that we all discussed here last week was a hot topic at the BlogHer conference. Here is a link to a really interesting PR guy who attended the session on this topic, got up to apologize to Mom bloggers for the cheezy emails we receive and for “PR people being so bad at this”, and then wrote this post about what we can do if we want to stop the solicitations. It’s worth reading.

So. What Don’t YOU Do?


You can’t have it all, nor can you do it all.

Lately, I’ve had a lot of FUN – evenings out with my husband, my cousin Kate, and lots of cool women from the blogosphere. Even a weekend away with Matt! I’ve been downtown more in the last week than I had in the whole year before that. I’ve been to the theater, parks, a movie, a museum, and an architecture tour; I’ve had more dinners out than I can count.

I’m home with the kids part-time. I run my own thriving business, working full-time hours. I go out with my husband regularly, and also make time to go out with friends often enough. I do this crazy blog writing. I get real pedicures when I can. I stay in touch with family and friends near and far. I have a new volunteer position at my church and am the Treasurer of our condo association. I’m trying to decide if I would rather pursue a PhD or adopt/foster another child in the next couple of years.

Whoopee! Look at me: I’m Little Miss Perfect!

Right?

Wrong.

I don’t do it all. In order to have any sanity in my life, there are things that I have let slide. I think we moms – and adults in general – should talk a lot more about what we don‘t do, because many of us have expectations of ourselves that are way out of whack. If we just understood that no one does all that she thinks she is supposed to be doing, wouldn’t we be better off?

Of course, there are things I don’t do that I don’t feel good about. Since leaving San Francisco, I never got back into my exercise routine. It was just something that got lost in the transition. I have a solid plan to work it back in this fall, and it’s already in my schedule, but for now I feel oh-so-yucky.

But it’s the other things – the things you aren’t doing that don’t really bother you – that I want to hear about.

So, let’s drop our expectations right now, shall we? I’ll get us started:

1. I don’t follow the news. I don’t watch news (I HATE television news!!) and although I love NPR, I don’t have an opportunity to listen to it uninterrupted. We don’t get a newspaper. Until recently, we got the Sunday paper but it sat unread each week until we tossed it in the recycling. We had to admit to ourselves that it was time to cancel. The best I do is get the headlines online and occasionally read parts of The New Yorker. Matt fills me in when something big is going on. I really need to get up to speed on the presidential candidates, and I will. But in a regular week, I live in a news vacuum. I don’t even know who Paris Hilton is, or what she did.

And it’s okay.

2. I don’t make real dinners. We eat healthy meals, but they are simple to the extreme. We might have a platter of fresh veggies with burgers. Or “breakfast burritos”: scrambled eggs in a tortilla wrap with some black beans and corn. Those are our fancy meals. Quite often, we laugh and remark that dinner prep would sure be easier if we had three microwaves.

And it’s okay.

3. I don’t clean my own house. This got to be a real problem before we finally gave in and hired someone to help every other week. With our major allergies and disinclination to clean, there is no money better spent. (And let me tell you: the fact that we’re forced to clear the house of clutter every other week is almost as helpful as the actual cleaning.)

And it’s okay.

4. I don’t ever, ever, ever make my kids’ (or anyone else’s) birthday cakes. I buy them from our favorite bakery or the grocery store.

And it’s okay.

5. I don’t make my bed. Or the kids’ beds. I thought this was something we all let slide until recently!
And it’s okay.

6. I don’t volunteer at my son’s elementary school. But you’ve already heard about that one.

And it’s okay.

Everyone is letting something major slide. So, come on…’fess up! What’s on your list?

(PS: You do NOT have to be raising kids to participate in this – non-parents can have just as many challenges in this department as the rest of us!)

Hey, Matt! Look Over There!

At times, I enjoy it when Matt’s away on business. Even when he’s had a trip every week for many weeks in a row.

Of course, of course, I miss his funny self and his help with the kids gorgeous good looks, but there’s something sort of fun about staying up late blogging and eating cupcakes doing whatever I want when he’s away.

I’m just saying.

Giraff-eriffic!

My little guy in pink. He wears it well.

BlogHer Drop-Out

Um, folks?

(Ahem.)

I have a confession to make.

I never actually made it to BlogHer.

Well, wait, that’s not technically true; I seemed to show up at most of the parties associated with BlogHer, it’s just the actual sessions I appear to have missed.

To be fair, I wasn’t planning to go on Friday anyway because I was working. But I fully intended to go on Saturday. I swear, I did! But there was the little problem of Matt being sick…and then both boys going straight into Full Meltdown Mode when I mentioned that I’d be gone for most of the day (remember the part about them being exhausted and cranky on Saturday?). I was out a lot more than usual last week and they were feeling it.

So I looked around at my sick, tired, and cranky guys, acknowledged the fact that I too was feeling very tired, and finally said, “Well, guys, how about if I stay home today?” Needless to say, they were happy. Very happy. Even through their tears, I could tell. (The boys, that is. Matt gets full credit for encouraging me to go even though I’m sure he felt like a truck was repeatedly running over his head.)

I wouldn’t have skipped out on a professional conference related to my work, but this nagging voice in the back of my head kept asking, “You’ll leave them in this condition? For a blogging conference?? One you didn’t even pay anything for?? Really???

Happily, after all of my guys took long afternoon naps, they were cheerful and refreshed. When I suggested I would go meet some people downtown for dinner, there were no wails. No tears. So, yes, in the end, I just showed up for the party. Again. Only this time I borrowed a very cute necklace from Becky. Because we all know by now that her taste is just a wee bit better than mine.

I got to hang out with Susan Etlinger of The Family Room fame which was a lot of fun – a rather fuzzy photo of us is posted above – and we went to a great Japanese restaurant with a group of Chicago Mom and Silicon Valley Mom bloggers. It was another enjoyable event with smart and funny “womena”.

But, um, no, I can’t tell you anything about the actual conference. For that, you’ll have to look here and here. And there’s lots more here.

That’s How Bad it Was

Yesterday found the four of us in our kitchen together at lunchtime, Matt and I just barely squeaking by.

The boys were exhausted because we let them stay up late to watch Star Wars (yes! we let them watch Star Wars! aren’t we loosening up nicely?!)…Baxter was cranky and hyper at the same time, and Lyle was just a mess of tears and whining.

It was really horrendous.

Matt looked at me with a hopeful expression and asked cheerfully, “Do you know what would be really fun right now?”

“What?” (I knew anything would be better than what we were doing.)

“Poking our eyes out with sticks.”

Summer Is…

BlogHer: Party Night Review

Wow. I am home from my big blogger parties, and boy am I a litle drunk! (I’ve just decided to leave all inebriation typos in for your entertainment tonight.)

Okay, so first, I was running late so I ended up taking a taxi downtown to Viand restauarant where I got to meet quite a few of my fellow Chiccago and Silicon Valleu Moms. I really, truly enjoyed meeting them, and had some very nice conversations with so many cool womena. (“Womena”! That’s what we call blogging woemen, of course. ) Oh, dear, this post is just getting worse and worse!!

But it’s cracking me up, so I’ll continue.

Because, as you know, making myself laugh is really what this blog is all about.

So, yes, I met some groovy “womena” from Chicago and Silicon Valley, and ended up having hte “Why did you move from San Franfcisco to Chicago?” and “How did the trnasition go?” conversations a great many times, but evenetually learned to finesse the answer so that the Silicon Valley Moms didn’mt inch away from me due to total insult.

I discovered that I live under a rock because I didnm’t realize that I was supposed to bring some kind of hip-looking business card or sticker with my URL on it to hand out, in order to bring in more readers. I was just about the only loser who failed to do so. However, judging from the current post alone, why WOULD anyoner ead this blog?! (And I’m guessing that last sentence alone just lost me my last few readers.)

I would sum upt the dinner by noting that I should’ve visited the food table more than once. They just kept bringing drinks to us (thanks, Uncle Yahoo!) but we had to actually GO to the food table. And the plate was small. So small. The wine glass was a lot bigger. I’m sure of it.

All of a sudden, I realized it was almost 8:30 and I was supposed to meet my friend Becky at the W Hotel at 8:30 for Party #2! Clutching my ludicrously huge swag bag, I ran out, caught a cab, and stumbled into the W on Lake Shore Drive, where I was met by very flashy decor and loud ass mucis. (That’s music, not mucous.) I tried to deal with the nanny calling in sick while I was in the lobby, butg ended up turning it over to Matt, who was admirably holding down the fort back home.

Now, Becky and I – being super-cool bloging woemen – had an instant messaging conversation earlier today in which she mentioned maybe going shopping for something to ewear to this party tonight. I recommended the great sale at Ann Talylor Loft, and off she went. Much to our amusement (and Becky’s horror, although I wasn’t upset at all), our outfits TOTALLY coordinated. We looked like corny sisters at a blogging event, being of very simialr stature and all. Someone even asked us, “Do you two blog tgogether?” Except they actually said “together”, not “tgogether”. So that was sepcial. Or, perhaps, special.

But the reason I’m telling yout his is because BECKY got at least THREE compliments on her ensemble – and me? NONE!!! She even got a major compliment from Susan Wagner from Friday Style!! If I remember correctly, this actually prompted me to slap my good friend and holler, “YOU TOTALLY SUCK!!!!” while doubled over laughing, so no one knew what the hell I had seaid. I’m sure they were all quite uncomfoftable, though. Apparently, I totally picked the wrong outfit from this coordinated pair. Sigh.

It was loud and dark at this hipster party, but we managed to have some conversations with woeman we’d never heard of. I collected a great many more blogger cards and will be very curious to read the blogs of the people I met. People are =here from all over – we talkeed to women from St. Lous, Seattle, NY, Atlanta, and Oklahoma. I was very happy to get to meet and chat with both Jess from Oh, the Joys and Susan from Friday Playdate and Friday Style. Each of them was just as I’d imagiend them: charming and lovely. But it was somewhat surreal – at one point I somewhat-drunkenly suggested to Becky that it was like seeing their photos come to life. Well, I guess that’s what it would be like to meet someone you’ve only seen in pictures, now wouldn’t it? Duh. (That would’bve been a good time for her to smack me and tell ME that I totally suck, actually.)

On the way out, I saw a few of my old Chicago and SV Moms friends, heading to the elevator to go up. I oh-so-helfpully tole them that the party was on the 33rd floor. As if they didn’t know where they were going. Nice. I’ll bet they were super grateful.

Anyway, now I’m home trying to drink a lot of water before bed. It’s a work night, after all. And I can’t get this damn necklace off. Can anyone help me get this necklase off?

Sheesh.

Wanted: Mary Poppins


Now don’t worry. I’m not going to go on and on again about watching Mary Poppins with my kids. (Although my babbling did actually spark a bit of a revival around the country last time…)

No, right now I just need to say that I am feeling really burned out on searching for a new nanny. I hesitate to even post this because I can just see some of you rolling your eyes and thinking this is some privileged rant, right up there with, “Oh, my! I simply can’t decide between the Land Rover and the BMW!” or, “I’m having a hell of a time deciding whether to take the cruise or the ski trip this winter!”

Well, of course I do know that in the scheme of things, having a dual income and a nice condo in a big city, and a car, and being able to afford any child care at all is a privilege in this crazy country. But, this is no “nanny diaries” scenario; a nanny has a basic child care provider role in our household. It’s just that, well, no one calls them “babysitters” when they work for you long-term. And it doesn’t mean we’re raking in the big bucks, either; no, we actually – when it comes down to it – can’t afford a nanny.

So why do we do it? The prestige? Um, no, not our style. After all, have I even mentioned here that we have a nanny? Is it because we turn up our noses at the other more affordable options, believing that any other type of child care is sub-par for our darling angels? I’m gonna have to say “no” here, too. (Oh, and “Barf.”)

Quite the contrary. In fact, we’ve tried it all, including a home day care, a small child care center, a large child care center, a couple of nannies who brought their own children, a nanny-share with another family, and our own nanny. Each option had its pros, for sure, and there are days when the nanny calls in sick or “dead uncle” and I daydream about a child care center that’s always open when it’s supposed to be.

I should say here, too, that the other option we tried was me just staying home, because when I worked for a school part-time, my salary pretty much covered child care and not much else. But none of these child care options made me less happy than being at home full-time. It’s simply not for me. And you know what they say: if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy. After six months at home, I started my private practice, which was the perfect solution for me and my happiness. It still didn’t make child care easy, however.

Because here’s the problem for our family – when your small child gets sick (which mine have been – with their chronic allergies and asthma – a LOT), you just can’t bring him to a center or a home day care, because of course he’ll get everyone else sick. (And he’ll get sicker, just by being there!) So, when you own your own business, as I do, and your child gets sick, you are totally stuck. I am not on a salary; I get paid by my clients for the hours I spend providing therapy to their children; when I stay home for a day or two, we take a significant hit. Matt and I have taken turns, but sometimes he has a business trip or big conference call, and can’t stay home. So, in the end, a center is more expensive for us, because of how much money we lose when a child can’t go. With a nanny, we have coverage if one of the kids gets a cold, or a low- grade fever, or has some mild asthma. I can still go to work.

Also – and this may scare the pants off of working parents with small children – those big kids in their free public schools? You know, the ones you’re looking forward to NOT paying child care for anymore? Well, we have been really stunned by how many frigging days OFF they have ALL THE TIME! I’m not even just talking about the 10 weeks in the summer, 2 weeks over the holidays, and a week for spring break…it’s the random, seemingly-constant full- and half-days off that will drive you bananas! And if you’re both at work all day, who’s with your child? Who the heck is free to pick him up at 12:25 at least a couple times a month?? So, we have been very grateful to have a nanny with Lyle who can also provide all that back-up care for Baxter at no extra fee.

All in all, it makes the most sense for us right now, even though I cringe when I write those checks every Friday and an accountant would surely insist we find a cheaper option.

But the point is, the process of hiring someone new is heinous. The ads, the emails, the phone interviews to screen them, calling their referrals, meeting them, negotiating. We can’t pay top dollar, so we meet lots of wonderful nannies who we end up unable to hire. This is depressing. We always find someone eventually, but it’s so much work. I knew our current nanny would be taking a teaching job this fall and that we only had her for a year; I hope this next hire will get us through until kindergarten. It’s almost exhausting enough this time to make me want to go through an agency, but when I think about spending so much money for a middle-man, I figure we can do it ourselves just one more time.

Please, let it be just one more time.