Monday, January 22, 2007

You Know You're a Mother When . . .


You get more excited about buying a new toilet than a piece of fine jewelry.

You don’t hesitate in the least to swipe a booger from your child’s nose with your finger.

You know all the words to the Caillou and Blue’s Clues theme songs.

You cut up your spouse’s food in little pieces.

You forego buying badly needed new underwear for yourself in exchange for an adorable little outfit for your child.

You can’t remember the last time you painted your toenails.

You can unfold a stroller in two seconds flat!

You’re ecstatic when fruit snacks are 2-for-1 at the store -- and you have a coupon!

You give up your subscription to Cosmopolitan and get a three-year subscription to Parenting magazine.

Your favorite piece of jewelry says "Mommy" on it, and only cost $10.

Your washing machine never stops running.

There’s always a "surprise" under the couch or in the cushions (which you discover by following the odor)!

The cat no longer comes in the house when the kids are awake.

You let your gym membership lapse and sign up for Baby Ballet class.

You have thousands of photos of your kids, but not a single one of yourself.

Your comfy flannel pajamas look much more appealing than your naughty lingerie.

You buy bargain furniture because you won’t feel as bad when the kids destroy it.

You can’t wait to escape your troublesome toddler for an evening out, and then miss him terribly within the first half-hour.

You put your child’s name on the preschool waiting list -- and she’s only six weeks old!

You’re constantly checking the back seat of the car when you’re driving alone because it feels like you’re forgetting "something."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Traffic Etiquette

I’m ashamed to say I almost caused a car accident today! I was attempting to change lanes in my minivan and just didn’t see the little compact car next to me. It must have been in my blind spot. Fortunately, the driver saw me coming and honked loudly to get my attention so I could swerve back into my lane. The great thing about that incident was that when he sped up and passed, he and his passenger, a woman, both gave me a very friendly and enthusiastic wave out the windows! It was as if they were saying, "Don’t worry about it. Everything’s okay!" That was such a heart-warmer. Instead of feeling sick about almost causing an accident, it made me feel good that I didn’t have a near case of road rage upon me!

Later in the day, I was coming out of the grocery store, and was waiting to merge into a long line of traffic in front of me that had been stopped at a red light. As the signal turned green, and the traffic started to move, a nice woman halted her car before me and waved me into the line! I was amazed at her generosity since she ran the very real risk of missing the green light as this put her further back in line.

Both these wonderful incidents made me reflect on how many times we aren’t so generous to others in traffic. And, even more worrisome, how often our kids witness us exhibiting lousy "traffic etiquette." How many times have your children seen you give someone "the bird," or swear, or yell at someone for making a stupid move? Is this the kind of example we really want to set for our children? How I would have loved to have shown my children the traffic etiquette I witnessed today instead.

Our children are going to become the kind of drivers – and, more importantly, the kind of citizens – that we model for them. Isn’t it about time that we cleaned up our traffic manners?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Love My Job

I feel very fortunate to be able to work from home. I love it, especially since I know what it’s like to work outside the home as a mother. I’d always worked in an office—even after having my two oldest children—until I had my twins three years ago. I certainly don’t miss the long hours, the commute, the bureaucratic nonsense, the idiotic bosses, and the limited vacation time. I do, however, miss the bigger (and reliable) paychecks and the chance to have more adult conversations. But those things are well worth the trade-off of being able to work from home.

Of course, having a home office isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For instance, I never leave the “office”! Work is always calling to me, and I find myself working more nights and weekends than I ever did. There are no days off (yes, I work 7 days a week), and no getting away from the demands of my job. And, of course, having kids at home, it’s always a struggle to balance my time with the children and my work commitments.

But, in the long run, I do feel I have the best of both worlds. I have a career I love, no irritable boss, a flexible schedule, and more time with my kids. My heart aches for those mothers who have no choice but to trek to an office every day to support their families, and I hope that the future holds more opportunities for mothers—and fathers—to work from home if they desire.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

How I "Do It All"

People often ask me how I "do it all" -- raise four children, write and edit books, take care of the household, etc. The truth is that I don’t do it all, or at least I don’t do it all well. Nobody can, and the key to happiness is to learn to accept it. Do your top priorities well, and be satisfied with “good enough” for the rest. For instance, I’m the first to admit (and my husband is the first to agree) that I don’t cook much. I hate to cook! I’m the dig-something-out-of-the-freezer- an-hour-before-dinner-type of mom. Costco is my best friend because they have so many frozen meals ready to go. Food is just not something I’m interested in. Fortunately, I married a man who is a good cook and often doesn’t mind doing it (especially since it ensures that he gets something he likes once in a while!). The important thing is that I don’t beat myself up over the fact that I’m not Betty Crocker. My family gets fed. They’re fine. And I can think of plenty of other things that I often let slide. The lesson in this is that you shouldn’t try to do everything to perfection for your family just because you’ve been told that you should. Don’t feel guilty because your friend irons all her kids’ clothes or because you brought store-bought cupcakes to the school bake sale instead of homemade. In the long haul, these are all little things. I promise you, when you’re on your deathbed, you won’t be wishing you’d ironed more! Rather, you’ll wish you’d followed your dreams and relaxed a bit more. Do it now. Be happy.