Archive for the ‘
Moving to Los Angeles ’ Category
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
It’s my turn!! I get to go out of town today. I get to sleep in high thread count sheets at the Ritz. I get to order room service and have two precious nights of uninterrupted sleep.
Since we moved to LA, Phil hasn’t had to travel nearly as much as when we lived in NYC. As a screenwriter, he was hopping on planes all the time to the west coast. Which is one of the reasons we moved here when I became pregnant with our second baby, Emmett. We both wanted to cut down on his time away from home.
However, he’s had a few trips. A couple different ones to London (he even got snapped by the paparazzi) and recently an 8-day trip to Atlanta where his latest movie is shooting.
So when Parents asked me a couple weeks ago if I could go to Mom2Summit in the beautiful area of Laguna Niguel, about 90 minutes from my home, I told them my bags were already packed.
Then I started reading about the conference and saw there was a whole lot of crazy/silly controversy surrounding it. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article called “The Mommy Business Trip.” I didn’t find the article as offensive as some did. Though the comments were pretty brutal. I mean the title is a bit demeaning, and some of the piece suggests that conferences like these are one big excuse for moms who have pretend careers as “mommy bloggers” to get out of town and party. I think because we carry “mommy” in our title as bloggers, people don’t take us as seriously. But they should. We moms are the demo most advertisers want. We DO matter.
One of my best friends is a businesswoman. When I told her I was going to a “mommy blogger” conference she scoffed a bit and a laughed. I had to explain to her that these are real conferences with thousands of attendees and corporate sponsors. But I didn’t take offense to my friend. She just isn’t in my world.
For most of us, including myself, being a “mommy blogger” isn’t what pays the bills. But as my good friend Liz Gumbinner put in her popular blog Mom-101, a blog… “is rarely the end–it’s the means.“
“…your blog can be a platform for visibility, a place to connect with your community, a demonstration of your writing chops or digital prowess–all of which can lead to those actual career opportunities.”
She is absolutely right. And for some of us, it’s just an extension of our career. She mentions me as an example, since I have had a television career for the past 20 years and blogging for me, is a natural progression of not only that, but for whatever I have to come. Be it a book, a show, etc. For now, I have put many of my career aspirations on hold in lieu of changing diapers–something that is my choice and my luxury, since Phil can carry the bills (Sheryl Sandberg would be disgusted. As if I care…). Phil and I have always had a mutual give and take relationship. I put him through film school; he is putting me through motherhood. I love the trade-off. But I digress…
For me, going on a trip is exciting in my post-kid world for all the legitimate and plain fun (i.e. illegitimate) reasons. Which is the same as any businessman or woman who travel on occasion. I don’t need to justify this to anyone. I’m just flattered Parents asked me to go and that I have a husband who can take the reigns for a couple days. I may even get really crazy tonight and take an Ambien since I don’t have to listen to the baby monitor. Ahh, the little joys in life.
Best of all, since the conference is close to home, should anything go wrong without me, since I’m a total control freak and expect everything to fall apart, I can just hop in my car and come home. But really, I don’t anticipate that.
Stay tuned for some cool updates. Most will come next week as I’m going to try and really enjoy myself. I think I’ll also be posting an interview I’ve been asked to do as well (with a surprise keynote speaker).
Okay, hitting the road! More to come…
Pic of business woman via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles | Tags: article, blog, blogher, businessman, businesswoman, conference, Liz Gumbinner, mom 101, mommy blogger, mommy blogger conference, mommy business trip, paparazzi, Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
When I walk in the door after having a sitter, my mere presence sets Emmett off. He is like a cat that can sense me a mile away. He starts howling. This has happened with the previous nanny, with every sitter…. basically everyone but Phil. Phil is excluded because the same thing happens when he walks in. Emmett wails.
He could be perfectly happy playing or eating, but wham, we walk in and he is suddenly aware that he hasn’t been with mom or dad and starts to cry. Often real tears stream down his little face. I usually walk over to him, pick him up and hug him. “Emmett,” I say, “it’s okay. Mama’s here.” His crying immediately ceases. He burrows himself into me, his arms down at his sides in a little cocoon. We call it “pod-ing” like he’s a pea going into his pod. I kiss his head. And every sitter says the same thing, “He was fine until he heard/saw you.”
I know this is part of an infant-toddler’s development. But it gets me every time. I have this heart pull. It’s not even conscious. It’s a visceral reaction. I know my kids are in excellent hands when they aren’t with me. Three days a week Fia is in preschool and absolutely loves it. She is really blooming there too.
I know Emmett has loads of fun with our sitters. I honestly don’t believe in the extreme version of attachment parenting–where you’re supposed to be with your kid 24/7 until they’re 3. Or 13. I’m not judging those who do it, but for me, I know exposing my kids to different people, different races, different environments is good for them. So why is it so hard to NOT feel guilty? I wish I knew…
I’ve said before that I think moms with full time jobs in some ways have it better. They have a purpose, whether it’s career aspirations, or providing for their family, etc. I’m in a murky place because I’m freelance and I don’t have a set job. Each time I plan my week I do it in a way that I get enough play time with Em, enough with Fia and enough with both. Then I fill in the gaps with a sitter. But why do I even have to make sure I clock in with my kids?
In November I stopped having a nanny. Now I have about 15 hours a week of help. But the fact that I want to say in the next sentence “but I try and book my sitter while they are napping” is just whacked. It’s like I have to continually justify to myself that I’m not abandoning my kids. I have to make sure people know that “Hey, I’m a good mom. And I’m around.” It’s ridiculous on so many levels.
My sitter Michele is amazing. She was our night nurse for, oh, 7 months. I didn’t feel guilty about that at all, because with Fia, my lack of sleep led to an insanity that wasn’t pretty. I am terrible without sleep. I never pulled an all-nighter in college. So justifying my night nurse for Emmett was easy. I have no regrets. I was a better mom to everyone. I don’t feel like I “missed out” on anything.
When we didn’t need Michele anymore she offered to babysit during the day. And get this: she has 5 kids. Yes 5. Her oldest is 19. Her youngest are twins Fia’s age: Maci and Cruz (pictured below).
As a veteran mom, Michele is always telling me to stop feeling guilty. She pounds into me that we all need our own time. I know she is right. But in going to my yoga class this morning, leaving to the cries of Emmett, I felt that usual pull on my heart. It sinks deep into my stomach. Not for long, but it is always there. Should I be doing this? In downward dog I noticed how bad my toes look. Damn, I need a pedicure. I guess I could do one while they nap tomorrow, since I have Michele again, I thought.
I am seriously pissed at myself for thinking this way. I would have slapped myself silly in my pre-kids day if I ever thought I would be like a walking blanket of guilt.
I often ask Michele to bring her twins. They go to daycare most days, but if Fia isn’t in preschool, the three of them have a near perfect chemistry. Plus, instead of saying to Fia, “Michele is coming today!” and her replying, “No mama, I only want you”, (cue the guilt) I can say, “Guess what? Maci and Cruz are coming!” She jumps up and down. “Yay! Yay! No Way! [pause] Ballet” (her new thing with rhyming words). I am reassured she won’t miss me. That I am ok.
It’s like the rational side of my brain can’t reconcile with the primal side of my being. Logically, I know I need a break. I know it’s okay to go to the store by myself. I know it’s okay to do yoga, get a pedicure, write a blog, and have time to myself. I also know it’s good for my kids on so many levels. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t even consider it. So this is all on me.
So how to get rid of the guilt? Maybe I need to go back to my hypnotist. Or maybe this is just the way it is when you’re a parent… battling conflicting emotions that put your heart and head in the middle.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read | Tags: attachment parenting, babysitter, daycare, full time job, guilt, hypnotist, mom guilt, nanny, sahm, stay at home mom, toddler development, working mom
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
I had two graduations in my life. One in high school, one in college. So what is with the “preschool graduation,” “kindergarten graduation,” “second grade graduation,” “fifth grade graduation,” and “junior high graduation?” I am not there yet, since Fia is just now in preschool, but I can tell you one thing: it’s going to annoy the sh-it out of me when it’s our turn.
I think the last two decades have been an exercise in indulging our children. From our consumerism when it comes to the holidays (read my rant) to the idea that when playing sports, no one loses anymore. “Oh hooray for us!! We are all winners!!!” In my Participation Awards blog post, I brought this up because sometimes it’s hard to resist all the indulgence. But really, when trophies and medals are given out to both teams so that no kid “feels bad,” I say suck it up and toughen up. You think teaching your kids never to lose is smart and useful preparation for life? I don’t know what candy-coated life you live in, but it ain’t mine, nor most of ours.
Speaking of candy…I read another mom’s blog called Rage Against the Minivan. Kristen Howerton’s hilarious rant about all the “new” holidays that set your kids’ expectations for more gifts–like candy–got me thinking about all these “graduation” issues, sports issues, and of course my own annoyance at the holiday toy overload. They all stem from the same line of thinking: spoil and shield your kid from what’s real. Since I’m already having a crappy week, I figured I’d just continue to rant about it all.
Her take on St. Patrick’s Day is spot on. Her kids came home from school with the expectation of receiving chocolate coins from an elf. Seriously? I mean, will it ever end?
This year at Fia’s preschool I didn’t even know it was Valentine’s Day. And luckily we were out of town so I didn’t have to deal with anything. But when we came back, there was a huge basket of cards for her from her “friends.” Written of course, from the parents of the kids she plays with. Okay, that’s sweet. But just like in Kirsten’s piece, I found some parents had put together gift bags of candy. I’m sorry, but that’s just not cool. It raises the bar for anyone who cares (I don’t, so knock yourself out. You’ll get a handmade doily from Fia every year that I don’t whisk her off to Hawaii during holiday weeks. That’s it.), but it also sets a precedent. One that is embedded in an already monstrous problem facing our society: obesity. Okay, okay, I get it. You think I’ve gone too far to equate a Valentine candy bag with obesity. But the snack epidemic is already out of control in this country and gift bags of candy don’t help.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in Parents Magazine by Sally Kuzemchak:
Obesity experts now believe that the frequency of eating, not just bigger portion sizes, is also to blame for the uptick in calorie intake for kids and grown-ups alike. “Our children are being offered food at every turn,” says Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. And adding just one extra snack each day can make a big impact. In fact, it’s possible that obesity is driven by as little as 165 extra calories a day for kids ages 2 to 7, say researchers at both Harvard and Columbia universities. That’s roughly the amount in a handful of potato chips.
…Or a bag of Valentine’s Day candy. Or chocolate coins left by leprechauns.
I don’t know what the solution is because it would truly take a village–where everyone is in agreement–to stop this madness; to stop creating indulgent children who have no perspective when they grow up and face the real world. I’ve seen the results in my extended family. It’s not pretty. But the village mentality won’t work. The addiction to consumerism and more, more, more is just too great. I guess the only way is to try and shield my kids from all the excess. Ironic, since so many parents are doing the opposite: they are shielding their kids from real life. I wonder, who will grow up with the better coping skills?
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read | Tags: consumerism, excess toys, holiday gifts, holidays, marketing, not losing, participation awards, skype, sports, toy overload, toys, trophies, winning
Friday, March 15th, 2013
Emmett never stops. He is a tank, a brute of boundless energy. At his 1-year check-up the pediatrician, who has been with him since birth, reiterated again that my dude may need Occupational Therapy to find ways to Slow.Him.Down. He is the most active child she’s seen that’s not on the spectrum or that has any mental or health issues. Even changing his diaper has been a challenge since he was, oh, 5 months old. Thank god for his amazing temperament or I might consider selling him.
“You are going to have to run him twice a day. For at least an hour each time. He is the kind of kid who will need to be worn out. Every-single-day,” she said.
I pictured a horse let out to pasture. Or a dog during off-leash hours in the park. I then pictured Emmet’s face on both beasts. Yup. That’s my boy. I decided I needed to find an activity for us to do together. One that wasn’t awful. Or disastrous (like Fia’s ballet class).This time I was smarter. I decided on Toddler Gymnastics. I should have thought of it sooner, since Fia goes to the same gym. I know the coaches, the facility, the drill.
He was the youngest one but kept up with the best of them. He loved the trampoline the most. He giggled incessantly. Of course he wouldn’t sit still and wait his turn. I had to pull him away and run him (yes, my horse) until it was his time. He hated the balance beam. It took both me and the coach to try and hold him upright. He kept doing the “baby flop”–you know, when they go limp. I’m sure because it would take too much concentration to walk slowly. I had no time to stare at the clock or dream about my lunch like I did in other mommy and me classes. But that’s a good thing. I hate being bored.
I took him early and we left late. I really thought I “ran” him good. Then we came home and he slept for 30 minutes. Should I put up my For Sale sign yet? WTF??
Three nights this week he has shrieked off and on for 3 hours. Phil and I have taken turns going in when we can’t take it anymore. He’s not sick. He’s not teething. He just wants to be held. He is one strong-willed little dude. And he knows it. I think in a test of wills he will win. Actually he already has. But man, he’s so damn cute and snuggly at times. He knows just when to turn on the charm to keep that For Sale sign at bay.
You all know I am a sleep training guru, but even I know when to throw in the towel. Since he won in the cry-it-out category, last night we switched tactics. I went in on the first wail around midnight. In less than 20 seconds I put his paci back in and laid him down. I said in a fairly stern voice, “Emmett, it’s night time.” I closed the door. He didn’t peep until around 3 am. I did it again. He slept until 7:15.
I think he just needs reassurance that we are there. Even when he’s running he pauses and looks back to check that I’m still with him. I’m usually a few paces behind, sweating. I am soon going to need a cane. Boys. Men. It’s hard to keep up with them. They are needy little f–kers. But impossible to resist.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Fia Friday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles | Tags: active toddler, ballet class, CIO, cry it out, Ferber, gymnastics, hyperactive, mommy and me, music class, Occupational Therapy, Pediatrician, sleep training
Monday, February 25th, 2013
Just a quick note of thanks for all the well wishes on Phil’s movie, Wreck-It Ralph. Despite saying I thought we’d be home in sweats for the Oscars, we did rally and spent the evening at a small party with some of our closest friends. I was pretty bummed it didn’t win (and frankly really surprised), but only for a couple minutes.
That’s the thing with awards like this. Leading up to it, I really don’t pay much heed to the hoopla. But then the moment before they announce it, I throw myself into the game, hoping and praying. Then, if you get lucky, like we did at the Animation Awards (it won for Best Screenplay), you get this 30 seconds of pure euphoria; that jumping up and down, high-fiving feeling that comes along on rare occasions in life.
I was sooo hoping for that moment last night. We were squeezing each other’s hands. I couldn’t even look at the screen as the envelope was being opened. My other hand was over my eyes and the words kept repeating in my brain: Come on, say Ralph, say it, say it. Please!!! As much as we’ve both said it doesn’t matter, it is still such a dramatic moment. And you realize in that moment how much you really like–and want--to win. It’s f-cking awesome. At least for those 30 seconds before life goes back to normal. But alas, when the words “Brave” were muttered, my heart dropped. Temporarily.
Next time maybe we’ll get those 30 seconds. In the meantime, I will nurse my minor hangover, go to bed early tonight and feel grateful for what’s really important: Two healthy kids, our own good health, a lovely home, and good friends and family. That’s worth a lot more than a few seconds on cloud nine. (But dare I say, it would be kinda fun to have both?)