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This blog is about the intersection of wife, mother, and employee.

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Only at Christmas time is "SHOP" a four letter word!

It is that time of year…Halfway through the holiday season.  That frenzied time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I have written many times about being a bit of a planner.  Christmas is no exception.  By the time 'Black Friday" comes around I am usually 70ish percent done with my shopping.  Anything that can be plotted out on a spreadsheet comes easily to me.  As for other parts of my life- much less organized, but that is another post.

I like shopping early.  Thanks to my smartphone I almost always have my list handy.  To me this spreads out the fun, the expense, and the anxiety.   I am also able to face the hectic holiday season with more calm as I am not fighting for parking spaces or dealing with the 'joyful' staff at the mall.

HOWEVER, in the past two years I have really noticed the coupon, special deals, super saver, door buster, friends and family deals have started to give me anxiety about over spending.  In the past, of course, there was a sale or two that might have made a small difference in my overall budget.  This year I am questioning several big purchases.  Should I have waited?  Does the increased stress and aggravation really equate to “coming out ahead on the deal”?

The sheer number of catalogs and mailers that arrive at the house each week astounds me!  Yes, I have opted out on , but still they come.

I saw an item on the cover on one of these catalogs for a LOT less than I had paid.  Suddenly my holiday cheer hit a sour note!  I investigated a bit more and found that it was not THAT great of a deal, but still my confidence in my way of shopping was shaken. 

In the end, I think it has all become too much.  Too much pressure, too much expense, too much focus on the stuff and not the people…  I plan to enjoy my Christmas this year by ignoring the extra noise (and flyers) and focusing on what matters to me.  I am staying out of the stores, enjoying some craft fairs, and looking forward to the closeness and conversation that the season can bring.  CHEERS!


When can I have a cell phone like you two?

At breakfast this morning, my four year old asked "When can I have a cell phone like you two?"

My husband and I could not help it.  We chuckled.  Why would he need a cell phone?  He gave us a very serious look.  He did not know what was so funny!  He furrowed his brow and said "this is important".

Looking at things from his perspective, cell phones are everywhere.  Everyone has a smart phone.  His parents, his teachers, his grandmothers  - everyone!  We all check them regularly and hush him from time to time because "this is important" hmmm.

Little ones have strong egos.  If everyone has one of these devices and we say "it is important", they are going to think it is important to have one!  Add to this logic the fact that my husband and my mother both have iPhones and both are guilty of letting him play games on the phone.  Talk about enticing. 

I don't have any games on my Blackberry, but I am just as guilty of calling the device and what I see on it "important".  I am surprised my son has not asked for a smartphone before today.

At the beginning of the year one of my resolutions was to shut off all the buzzing and beeping on the phone.   I have missed a few small things here and there, but nothing urgent.  This morning I realized I have not gone far enough.  I need to put the phone away more and make sure my son knows that he is what is REALLY IMPORTANT.   Maybe that is a resolution for 2011?


4-Year-Old Can Be Sued, Judge Rules in Bike Case

I was awestruck tonight reading this article in the online New York times.  Two children under 5 were having a bike race on the sidewalk (complete with training wheels) in NYC when they hit an elderly woman.  The two children were being "supervised" by their mothers at the time.

I had no idea of what a magical age 4 years old was from a legal perspective.  The court papers of the case  “correctly notes that infants under the age of 4 are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence,”  however after the 4th birthday there is no such caveat.

“A parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior such as running across a street,” the judge [Justice Wooten]wrote. He added that any “reasonably prudent child,” who presumably has been told to look both ways before crossing a street, should know that dashing out without looking is dangerous, with or without a parent there.

I just returned from Disney World where "reasonably prudent" children were bashing into things and other people everywhere you looked.  My child, who is by all accounts a well mannered and gentle child, would not be able to pass this standard of behavior.   His father and I have to be ever vigilant because he WOULD cross the street without looking and actively engages in other dangerous behaviors because he is a child.  They get distracted, they forget and they certainly do not have the capacity to understand their responsiblity to protect other people's safety.

I have never lived in a large city so I can not say one way or the other if bicycles on the streets of NYC powered by pre-schoolers is a good call by the parents or not, but I am certain that worse things have happened on the streets of NYC that have gone unpunnished.

Ten or so years ago I drove to NYC with friends.  My car was hit while stopped at a red stoplight by a police cruiser in pursuit of a suspect.  I was stunned.  It was a huge crash and the police kept going just like in the movies.  When other police officers came to talk to me it was only to ask if I had been able to catch the license plate of the FIRST car.  There was not so much as an apology from the officers. 

Suing pre-schoolers over an accident seems like a stretch to me.



Vacation Treasure

I just returned from vacation.  In the past, I would feel a little bit of dread thinking about returning to work, and the end of "fun".  This year is very different for me.  Of course, I love the idea of being so weathly as to to live on permanent vacation, but this year no dread set in for me.  I enjoyed allowing a few select, productive work thoughts to float through my mind while there were lulls in vacation activity as much as I will enjoy brining the calm and happy memories back to the frenzy of Q4 work demands.

One thing I will definitely remember from this vacation was my son expressing his opinions.  A double-edged sword indeed.  At one point he told me he wanted to play with Daddy and not me.  I was so hurt.  I plan the trip and pack his suitcase.  I am the one who makes sure his special lovey is in the carry on bag and that he has special suprises planned throughout the trip.  When his father told him to apologize to me he looked confused and said..."Oh Mommy you are most excellent at getting what I needed.  I love you very much."  Then I realized.  My husband is the one he sees tossing him around and rough-housing. I plan.  My son is smart enough to see that Mommy is a planner.  Daddy is his "in the moment" go-to guy. 

My husband and I are the perfect example of opposites attracting.  I plan he is more of a wing it kinda guy.  No matter how frustrating that dichotomy can be at moments, overall we truly balance each other out.  Sometimes I just need to chill out more and he could stand a bit more structure.  Kudos to my son for figuring out his parents and just accepting each of us the way we are best.  Most parents try to be all things to their children.  Letting your children know what each of you is best at is not a bad way to go!

Happy Fall everyone!


Sometimes even your best friend can suprise you.

I have never met a working mother who felt like she had it all together.  I feel like a have a nice harmony in my life (most days).  I am lucky to have a good mix of intellectual stimulation at work, love, support, and a hint of chaos at home.  We all have good days and bad days.  A few days ago I was having a sad day. 

I remember when my tot was little I could not wait for him to say "Mama" which he did at 10 months.  My bean was also smart enough to make that his first word, further securing him a Mama smitten for a lifetime, but I digress.

When he first said the word Mama I never thought I would dread hearing it.  I could not image that, but there have been times since that has been true.  Most recently he said "Mama please do not go to work today, I would miss you."  When I said I had to go many tears and and much pleading ensued.  It was so hard to walk out that door even though he was going to spend a fabulous day with my husband.  I knew he would forget as soon as he got distracted, but that experience stayed with me all day. 

I called my best friend for comfort.  She told me to focus on how much my son loved me and that his wanting to spend more time with me was a good thing.  She was right, of course, but it still felt terrible.

She changed the subject to an upcoming event.  One I am really looking forward to and I told her that I did not want any pictures of me taken there.  I have been feeling less than picture perfect as of late.  She paused for a moment and said, "Don't be silly, you are beautiful."   The comment took me by surprise.  I don't think anyone other than my family and husband have ever said that to me before (other than on my wedding day on which a statements about "the beautiful bride" are mandatory).  I have known her a very long time and this just popped out now?  I of course belittled the comment to "beautiful on the inside".  She is my best friend.  She is required to think I am a good person.  It is right there in black and white in the Best Friend Handbook.

She stopped me mid sentence and said. " Stop. No.  Beautiful.  Lovely to look at.  *SILLY*.  I am sorry if I never told you before, but it is true."   When she said it, I felt it.  It was as true as anything else we believe about ourselves.  She suprised me.  She made me forget my troubles and feel "together".

No worries.  I have no intention of quitting my day job and picking up a modeling career.  It was nice to think that I was not the ugly duckling I had feared.  I have read many articles on the subject of beauty and the objectification of women in the past.  Of particular interest to me was the Killing Us Softly documentary found on the Media Education Foundation website.  I arrogantly thought that knowing all of this information did not affect me, but I was wrong.  

I think many women (if not all women) to some degree struggle with body image.  I thank my best friend for surpising me the other day and making me feel "good enough".  I challenge each of us to follow her example.  When you see something good in action.  If you think something looks nice on someone, or you see something in someone you admire - SAY IT at least once a week.  Think about how much nicer the world would be if we said more nice (true) things to each other.  

Oh.  By the way, I think my best friend is beautiful, too!