Posts Tagged ‘ failure hour ’

The Evening Mom Blahs

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

I find that right around 5 pm, when dinner is looming and the kids are typically at their worst, my mentality starts to shrivel. It’s why I founded The Failure Hour 2 years ago, but have been a terrible president as of late. My backyard has remained devoid of girlfriends, toddlers and wine.

Sure, I’ll get one together soon, but my emotions that go along with this time of day have confounded me. It’s not like getting dinner together and sitting down with the family are a bad thing. Sure, the bedtime routine can be tedious, but it can also be fun.

I realized my restlessness and blah-ness are because while many parents switch gears in terms of leaving work and coming home, my gears don’t really switch. I’m not in a boardroom or an office. And no matter what I’m doing–even if my kids are in school–I’m always wearing my mom hat.

From the caption here, I’m not saying I yearn for either side–the working mom or stay-at-home one (though I’m sure the cartoon will provoke outcry).  It’s just that I never have the opportunity to “forget” I’m a mom. Well, except if I’m in Bikram. And dear god, the instructor gets more insufferable each time. The other day she said we could grow an inch by doing a certain pose. Seriously?

I’m not even remotely attempting to have a poor-me, I’m home all day with my kids moment. First, because it’s not true. I’m not home with my kids all day. Fia is in school 5 days a week, Em is in preschool 2 days now and on those days I have a free life to do what I want. Sort of. If you count trips to the grocery store, errands around my area, taking kids to and from school, if I’m lucky a workout (though that’s proved disastrous), meal planning (also semi-disastrous), and, if I’m lucky, a blog post. Thus, the mom hat. I’m not complaining. It’s part of what I signed up for when I slowed down in the career arena and sped up in the mom space.

So I have come up with an experiment to try.

There is a big comfy chair in our living room that we rarely sit on. Around 5 pm, I’m going to sit in it with a cup of tea, a glass of wine–anything that physically tells my brain I am crossing over (not in the John Edward way, of course). I’m going to attempt to sit and do some Sudoku. I know this probably sounds lame, but I need my brain to have some sort of “jolt” to shift gears. It’s a far cry from leaving a boardroom and coming home, but I’m hoping it will train my brain to look forward to 5 pm rather than dread it.

During this time I will unapologetically park my children in front of their favorite show for 30 minutes, which I usually do anyway. I call it our time to regroup.  Fia will sometimes say, “Mama, can we regroup today with Daniel Tiger?” I see nothing wrong with this, especially since any show they watch is educational.

I’m hoping this shift, while not drastic, will be enough to take away the antsy, blah feeling. I will let you know. If anyone can relate and has other ideas, I would love to hear them.

Cartoon of mom via Shutterstock

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Nanny Diaries' Authors on Parenting and Writing

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My Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

It’s 2013. Time to toot my horn! Time to tell you my favorite blogs that I wrote from 2012. This, in hopes you have so much free time, you’ll dive in and read all of them! Yes, I’m starting off the New Year giving you work and working on my own issue with modesty (screw those resolutions).

In all honesty, I’m going to throw my editor, Sherry, under the bus and tell the truth: She asked me to give a list of my favorite blog posts from last year. I’m not saying this to brag, but it was actually really hard to choose. Do I go funny? Serious? Newsy? Controversial? Each post I do is so personal and most of them I really try and put something out there that I feel strongly about. Whether by humor or conviction.

In the end, I picked a variety of subjects and tone. The ones I left out, but am still really glad I wrote (in case you feel like getting extra credit) are the saddest. The nanny who allegedly stabbed two kids to death, the Connecticut Shootings, the Penn State (my alma mater) molestation scandal. There actually is one that is incredibly sad that I did choose. But it’s a more personal sadness. You will know which one I’m talking about below. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. The Failure Hour. My most brilliant invention yet, and what I think every mom should do!

2. Fia Turning Three. Before you roll your eyes or skip over this one, I urge you to read it (assuming you have kids. Why else would you be reading my blog unless you’re really really bored?). It’s not just about Fia. It’s about the unquenchable love these babies bring to our lives.  And our quest to hold onto it. Tight.

3. Losing Justin. The magnitude of loss is still hard to fathom. Father of two young boys. Son to my Baba Yaga. My first cousin. When Justin was killed, so many hearts shattered. I would do anything to turn back time and say it isn’t so.  I want people to read this to understand how quickly life can change. And to send peace and light to all of us who will forever grieve his death.

4. Losing My Mom. I wrote this on the one-year anniversary of my mom’s death. It actually gave me great peace to write it and to know she is in a better place. Especially since much of her life was so tragic.

5. My Embarrassing Pregnancy Problem. Okay, this has the word “Ugly Vag” in the first sentence. How can you not be intrigued?

6. Should Depressed People Procreate? Hell yeah! I did and I have the happiest babies on the block.  Lots of judgment here from those who have never been depressed.

7. The Death of Rody. I’m happy to report we have a new one. He is blue. And he’s an indoor Rody now. This, after the still-mysterious toy killer hit our yard. Last night we saw SIX–yes SIX coyotes on our street. I have my suspicions…I’m thinking coyote puppies who are teething…

8. Homebirth–I Don’t Get it. And still don’t. But I will say I am lessening my judgement with baby #2 on a few things…like cosleeping. I still believe strongly in sleep training. But I do get on some level why people sleep with their babies–because they are delicious. I do it from time to time. And did quite a bit with Emmett for the first 8 months. I just think you have to have a baseline of good sleep, both yours and your baby’s, before you go down that road.

9. A Monkey Made Me Lactate. Enough said.

10. Why The Boob Rocks. You would think this post would have been well-received by most. But oh no. There is a line in there that stirred so much controversy, I had to open another bottle of wine while blissfully nursing Emmett. In fact, I got so drunk I passed out and decided to make drinking to oblivion while breastfeeding a nightly habit. In fact, I’m in a blackout now.

 

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You Know You’ve Had a Bad Week When…

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

1. You wake up at 2 a.m., not to your baby crying (for once) but to your cat having diarrhea on your beloved sheepskin rug.

2. You grab your Christmas decorations out of the closet, only to have a dead rat fall out as well (explains mystery smell from 2 weeks ago and reminds you of your mother’s Rehab Tour 2007).

3. You find a black widow hanging out on the drain pipe right next to where your kids play. Cue Dr. Death. At least you get to smirk at your husband who said NO to pest control a year ago.

4. Your husband goes to London for work. He gets invited to the World Premiere of Les Miserables. He is even photographed by the paparazzi (dude on the left). You are at home putting your 10-month-old to sleep. Your 3-year-old is already asleep. You are thinking about how lucky you are to finally have a quiet house. You are looking forward to that much deserved glass of wine. You rock the baby one last time and nuzzle into him, when suddenly he barfs in your face.

Yes folks, this was my week. The Failure Hour is in full force. If you don’t have one in your neighborhood, start one. It’s called survival.

Okay, your turn.

 

Picture of woman losing her mind via Shutterstock

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Are Working Moms Making Their Kids Fat?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I often joke that I’m the busiest unemployed person I know. Between a 2 1/2 year old, an 8-month old, and my pretend career, I have zero time. And I have a full-time nanny (Cleo) and a cleaning lady.

So it came as a huge surprise to me that a new study shows that working moms spend a whopping 3 1/2 hours less on their kids’ meals and exercise regimes than stay-at home-moms (SAHM).

First of all, that’s it? I would think it would be much more, considering that I can barely find time to work out or put a proper dinner on the table. Cleo helps us with meals and between all of us, my husband included, we manage. (The study also said husbands don’t pick up the slack.  Mine does in many ways, though meals are expected to come from me. And I do the best I can.)

Sidenote: Phil did ask one day why Fia was eating so many chicken nuggets:

Me: “Because lately I haven’t had the have time to make good meals.”

Him: “We can’t become those people who only feed her one type of food.”

Me: “Then help me come up with a menu for the week for all of us.”

Him: (Shrug shoulders. Subject dropped.)

Me: (Looked at a cookbook–Ellie Krieger–that night and came up with meal plan.)

Him: (Meetings at night the rest of the week.)

Me: (Didn’t waste time making a meal for myself. Fia and I just winged it, which probably included chicken nuggets for both of us.)

Conclusion: Neither of us became obese.

I bring up obesity because the study actually states that the lack of parental involvement in a child’s diet is linked to obesity, regardless of socio-economic status. Huh?

The study was done by Cornell University and is in the current online issue of the journal of Economics and Human Biology.  In it, the authors say “…the findings are consistent across socio-economic lines measured by the mothers’ education, family income, race and ethnicity.”

This makes no sense. It has been reported time and time again that obesity in children is directly linked to socio-economic factors. The poorer people in this country have children with higher obesity rates. Doesn’t mean we all can’t stand to get fit and healthy, but the generalization towards working moms just irks me. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative is all about changing our lifestyle through education. We need to educate everyone: Caregivers, schools, parents, etc., on proper nutrition and exercise. An excerpt from the First Lady’s site states:

The threat of childhood obesity to the health of our children and the health of our nation has never been greater. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is obese or overweight. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese.

To now link this obesity issue to working moms is preposterous, in my opinion. As if us moms don’t have pressure enough already.  Now working moms have to feel guilty for making their children fat? Please. Everyone read my post on The Failure Hour. I now have another reason to celebrate my inadequacy as a parent.

Fia, Your Mom Pretends to Work. Therefore, You Might Get Fat. Sorry, Baby!

I’m not a scientist, nor do I understand all the research a study like this undertakes. I won’t bash the authors because they are just reporting their findings, but how many reports and studies do we need to tell us how to “be” a proper mom? How many millions of dollars do we need to spend researching pure logic? As my fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott says in High-Chair Times:

“Instead of fanning the flames of the mommy wars by comparing working moms to nonworking moms, why don’t these researchers redirect their efforts to curing cancer?”

Amen, sister.

My good friend Hulda, who just moved to LA from Iceland, is here with me while I write this. She is a PhD professor. She actually pulled the study for me and read it (bless her). She finds the hoopla this study is causing just plan silly (and some of the data a little questionable).

“In Iceland, 96% of moms work. It is just the norm,” she told me. “Almost all kids are in daycare from a young age.”

I’ve been to their country. It’s an amazing place. Theirs is a culture with an incredibly high standard of living. Their kids become productive citizens. Their babies aren’t missing out because the moms are working. Oh, and by the way, their obesity rates don’t come close to ours, though they are rising. But I’m guessing it’s not because the moms work (which has been the norm for decades there). I would bet a Big Mac that it’s because our American companies have saturated their market with all our crap. Soda, fast food, you name it. Those entities are the real enemy. Corporate greed at any and all cost.

At least New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg gets it. His soda ban (any sugary beverage over 16 ounces is O-U-T) passed this week. I believe it’s his most brilliant move to date. But I’m getting off track.

This whole argument becomes so circular. If you spend a couple hours less per day with your toddler, then we have to assume he/she is in daycare or with a nanny. Therefore, 2 of their 3 meals are taking place without you. So really it’s the daycare or nanny who is feeding your kid crap. Which I doubt is the constant in all this. But if it is, fix it. This isn’t rocket science.

Any child over 5 is in school full-time whether the mom works or not. So when they get out of school at 3 pm, make sure they don’t have a house full of Doritos to come home to. (The study says that unsupervised children are more likely to eat poorly. Wow, that’s a shocker.)

Come on people, this is basic stuff. Whether you stay at home or work, just love your child, feed them nutritious meals, have whomever is watching them feed nutritious meals, have them exercise with or without you, and instill the importance of healthy living.

Then, at the end of the day, plop down on your couch with your favorite glass of wine (red is better for you), and give yourself credit for making it through another day as a mom who is simply doing the best she can.

 

Photo of fat kid courtesy of Shutterstock

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The Failure Hour: A Must For Every Mom

Friday, September 7th, 2012

I may have come up with my most brilliant idea yet. At the end of the day, between 4:30-6, my mental state falls apart. I am exhausted from schlepping in 100-degree heat, working on my lack-of-career, “pretend play” (read my rant), changing diapers, begging Fia to eat one more piece of turkey, telling Wayne to stop eating her piece of turkey, and on and on and on.

But as all you moms know, the day is far from over. In some ways, the hardest part is setting in.  The dreaded dinner hour (what to make? I have no food), the bath (“No shampoo mama. I don’t want it! No!!!”), and book time.

Sidenote: has anyone tried “reading” Good Dog, Carl to their toddler? Yes, let’s show our child how to fall out of the crib, open a refrigerator, choke on food, poison a dog with chocolate, maim themselves in a laundry shoot, and drown in a fish tank. All without words. It is a hopelessly exhausting book. Not to mention full of stupid ideas.

In short, by this time of the day, I feel like a failure. I’ve failed as a wife (messy house, sh-tty dinner), a mom (Benign Neglect + 2 hours of Sesame Street/Super Why/Sid the Science Kid), and as a person (I swear running shoes, I’ll workout tomorrow).

What better way to get over it than celebrate! Introducing: The Failure Hour.

Bring the babies! Bring the wine! Let’s embrace inadequacy!

The pressure is so great on being the perfect mom, wife, blah blah, we may as well benefit from failing on all fronts.

A couple times a week at the allotted hour, we moms gather at my house, drink wine, and watch our kids get even filthier. Sometimes we feed them dinner; so at least one thing is checked off our evening list. As the sun sets and we sit around laughing, the rest of the night seems so much more manageable. Even bearable.

Maybe I’ll make this a national organization. Let me know if you’re game to start a chapter in your area. It’s easy. BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby–and bottle. Of wine, that is).

Founding Members of The Failure Hour

Occasionally a husband or two will join in. But they have to have at least one kid in arms to participate.

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