When Mom is Sick

I’m sick. The germ kind. This is what happens when the weather is pleasant and my schedule is flexible. As you can imagine, this happens frequently during holidays, vacation, special occasions, and other times that have the potential for enjoyment. For this cough and cold I have, I blame my sister.

Motivation frequently evades me. Even on my best days, I am easily distracted and unable to… oh, look… Pinterest! If you clicked on Pinterest, you are just as easily distracted as I am. When I am not feeling well, it is even more difficult to find the motivation to complete my daily tasks such as getting out of bed, leaving the house, and showing up at work. Further, I am struggling to compensate for the hour of sleep I just lost to Daylight Savings Time.

The world must go on, but I’m a non-believer. I believe it should stop until I am physically able to continue. Unfortunately, spouses and children do not recognize when mom is not feeling well. Their needs increase as does their own irritability. It is frustrating to the families of sick moms that their needs and requests are not top priority because mom: 1. Does not feel well and cannot fulfill their request 2. Is putting her health and wellness before mundane issues 3. Is not capable are caring about family nonsense. Families are always important, of course. However, so are moms.

It has been a year since I was sick. Last time I was sick, I enjoyed 3 weeks of a sinus infection and was unable to treat aggressively due to nursing. By enjoyed I mean I was miserable. Currently, I am only on day 3 of an unidentifiable cold and cough. I suspect this is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. We all know how households fail to function properly when mom is sick. Imagine a world of moms with cough and colds. Zombie apocalypse.

My husband is concerned for me… or at least he is afraid I am turning into a zombie with a runny nose and an incoherent attitude. Whilst I coughed for an hour and a half last night at 3 am-ish, he asked me if I was ok. What he means is “You are keeping me awake. You should go somewhere and do something about that cough.” He’s probably right, but a medication induced sleep makes it impossible to find the energy to climb out of bed. I’d rather just lay in bed and cough (and complain about it the following day).

Zombie or not, I managed to brush my hair and show up at work. I certainly hope zombie isn’t contagious. Although I am suffering a sensitivity to sunlight and happiness, I’m holding on to humanity as best I can.

What happens to your household when mom is sick? Share your stories in the comments!

All the Sloppy Ladies

Ladies, and only ladies, I am talking dirty to you. I am gonna talk about big-girl potties. Get the giggles out now because I am serious about this issue.

I know a lot of women (myself certainly not included) who brag about their cleanliness and organization. You probably know them too. They’re the ones reorganizing their pantries, sterilizing their refrigerators, and scrubbing floor tiles with a toothbrush before 7 am. They post this on Facebook too and usually ask for intervention (Oh, somebody stop me! Kitchen junk drawer next then using a q-tip to clean kitchen counters!!!).

Le sigh.

I have never understood this over-achieving behavior. Does coffee do this? Insomnia? Insanity? Motherhood? Whatever the cause, I most definitely don’t have this problem. Yeah, you should see the layers of yuck in my vegetable crisper.

After a visit to the restroom yesterday afternoon, I was bothered and confused. Stall #1 was unusable because of an obvious-colored stain on the seat. Stall #2 was unusable because of fluid on the seat. Stall #3 and #4 were unusable because the previous occupants did not flush after exiting. I utilized stall #5 when I convinced myself it was not a bio-hazard and never bothered looking at stall #6.

Using the restroom in public is one of the few times I can do so alone. No audience looking over me, asking questions, or dysfunction without my presence. Yes, the public restroom is like my Narnia; a way to escape for a moment. Unfortunately, I can’t touch anything in my Narnia for fear of unidentified germs. Also, I have been visited by the occasional stranger who thinks my feet behind the stall door are just an illusion and that the toilet is actually unoccupied. Nope. Hi, it’s me.

But what is most disturbing of all is the mess, mess, mess. I don’t know about all of you ladies, but I put used toilet paper IN the toilet… not on or beside it. Additionally, I flush after use as a courtesy to other potty patrons. Just because we all know what kind of business happens in the bathroom, doesn’t mean we need to see it.

How does this happen? I understand some public restrooms are not serviced regularly, but in my office building they are serviced 3-5 times a day (service log is posted by the door and I our restroom and someone is in there cleaning almost constantly. How is it possible that the restroom is constantly destroyed with toilet paper and other ‘mess.’ Mom’s, you know how it feels to clean up after someone else. How do you think the people feel cleaning up the public restrooms? If it is necessary for me to discuss the awful things I have seen in the restroom with others, then it must be REALLY bad.

Who is doing this? Women, that’s who! More specifically, I suspect that it is those women who complete their chores before 7 am. Perhaps their standard of cleanliness causes freakishly high levels of stress and they unleash in the public restroom tossing toilet paper here and there and other unmentionable items.

Is this filth acceptable in your home? Is this how you treat your bathrooms? I don’t know any moms that encourage their children to pee on the floor or don’t complain when they have to clean up after their husbands. So why behave so badly in public? It’s appalling.

And let’s find a happy balance, not extremes! Used toilet paper belongs in a toilet. However, toilets have a capacity limit when it may become necessary to flush. I am no scientist, but I don’t think adding more toilet paper on top of toilet paper will unclog a toilet or make it more cleanly for usage. Also, piles of clean toilet paper do not hide piles of dirty toilet paper underneath. Nice try though.

Ladies, I will defend you to the best of my ability when I hear a man assuming a bad driver is a woman, but your behavior in public restrooms is appalling. If I could hold it and wait, I would. but my bladder isn’t what it used to be before I had kids. For moms everywhere, the public restroom may be their only opportunity to go to the bathroom alone (although this is about as likely as finding a Golden Ticket in your candy bar). Keep it clean!

Please vote for Mommy Huh daily… and from your smart phones too!

Getting Work and Life More in Balance

Blogging is greater than just writing. It is about conversation and interaction. If bloggers didn’t want a response or reaction to their posts, they might use a pen and paper to record their thoughts and keep them private. But here I am; an open book.

After Work-Life Imbalance was Freshly Pressed, a productive conversation about work and family occurred. Some shared their personal experiences, others shared advice and encouragement. I would be a fool if I neglected to recognize what I was learning from their comments. I would also be greedy if I didn’t share their wisdom with others.

I wanted to highlight a few comments from different perspectives and with different backgrounds than my own. Recognizing that no two stories are alike, but that they are equally relevant, is important as we all journey to be better bloggers, parents, and people.

Flav_Holman: I think my life went completely off balance 5 years ago when I had my daughter. Never to go back to the way it was again :)

ASuburbanLife: I wish I could find the person who coined the term “work life balance” and kick him. The definition of balance is “a state of equilibrium or equipoise; EQUAL distribution of weight, amount, etc.” or “to be EQUAL or proportionate” (my emphasis in all caps). When you are a working parent of young children there is no balance! I prefer “work family juggle” (juggle = to hold, catch, carry, or balance precariously; almost drop and then catch hold again!).

emmahevezi: you need to concentrate on what you are doing well not on what other people appear to be doing or how you compare to other people.

Life’s amazing journey: There’s a chance that the work/family-life balance is a myth. I think that it’s easier to take work and family as it comes separately – work for these hours, family for the other hours.

kramerjen: I don’t think anyone really has it figured out.

kcburk: Work 8 hours. Get 3 with your kids before bed time. That’s an even trade right!?

krafte: From the other side: I had a stay at home mom, and while she was always there, as I got older, she was STILL always there. It ended up being hurtful both to me, and to her, I think.

divaofdelicious: I hated to work my butt off just pay $$$ for someone else to do what I wanted to do…raise my kids.

oilandgarlic: I’ve written about this topic numerous times. I think flexiblity is more important than the mythic work/life balance, as there is always an imbalance of sorts!

Ruby Bagga: When at home, just try to spend quality time with him and the house work gets neglected. Its a never ending vicious circle.

Thank you to everyone who has been participating in the Work-Life Imbalance discussion. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts or additional comments below.

Working Mom Style: 3 Sweater Alternatives

As a working mom, my look is limited to the constraints of time and budget. Working Mom Style highlights simple ways to make a fashion statement. If you’re a corporate mom or a SAHM, these tips and tricks can work for you too!

Remember to follow my Working-Mom-Style Board on Pinterest for style tips that can work for any mom!

Although the winter has been mild, I often underestimate the chill. For years I have gotten warm and cozy with bulky sweaters, but there is nothing stylish about a gender-neutral and over sized sweater made for function and not fashion. Here are 3 sweater alternatives that will keep you warm and looking stylish.

3 Sweater Alternatives

Blazer: You can get blazers in many colors, patterns, and fabrics. Blazers also come in lightweight and heavyweight (for those days when it is really cold).

Just be careful with blazers. The wrong one can be just as bulky as sweaters if the cut and fit is too large.

 

 

Scarf: Scarves are an endless source of possibilities and options. They come in a variety of fabrics and lengths and can be the perfect accessory to any outfit.

You can also tie, twist, wrap, and drape your scarf in a number of different ways to change the entire look and accommodate any scarf length.

Poncho: Not only are ponchos trendy, they can be really warm and comfortable too. They can function as a light cover up, or even as an alternative to wearing a coat.

They’re also super comfortable! Nothing tight or restricting about a poncho.

Guest Post: Getting the most out of Family Portraits

Today’s special guest post is brought to you by a longtime personal friend of mine. I have long admired the wonderful portraits I have seen other moms having done and reached out to Jessica, a professional photographer, for some more information that I could share with all of you. Enjoy and stay tuned for other helpful tips from Jessica on capturing memorable moments in photographs!

By guest blogger, Jessica Grof:

My name is Jessica, and I’m a mom to my 2 stepdaughters, Jessica and Gina,
and my son Nathan. I’m also a professional photographer and I work at
McMillen Photography, and part time at a one hour photo lab
in Uniontown. My kids were my main subjects for quite awhile (they mostly
just squirm when I get my camera out anymore, I guess I wore them out…)
but now I enjoy focusing on other people’s children in a studio setting.

I realize that the thought of getting portraits done can be overwhelming,
especially if you have more than one child, but the effort that you put
forth is very much worth it. It seems to me that people get a false sense
of security anymore because of digital cameras. You can click away and
have hundreds of snapshots of your children and the quality of point and
shoot cameras is improving. Most people don’t even print their photos
anymore. They just keep them trapped in their camera or computer. I’ll let
you in on a little secret here…memory cards fail and computers crash.
Things are changing rapidly if you haven’t noticed; there are several
different types of memory cards and it seems that each brand of camera
takes a different one. Instead of burning CD’s anymore, we use DVD’s
because they hold so much more information. Think about how many changes
have been made since cameras came about. They started off with tin or
glass plates, then film came along. Most of us think of 110 or 35mm when
it comes to film. But before that there were slides, the discs that remind me of Viewfinder
reels and who could ever forget the Polaroids (makes me want to sing shake
it like a Polaroid picture!). Polaroids aren’t around anymore, and who
reading this still even uses 35mm film? My point here is that things
change, all the time. Prints will last, as long as you take care of them.
And they can be passed down from generation to generation.

One of our main points of business at the photo lab are old black and whites that
customers want to get reprinted. Very rarely do these customers have the
slide or negative, they come in with the original print so we can scan it
in and re-print it. That’s just the way it is. I personally value a print
that I can hold in my hand or put in an album (just ask my husband, I have
so many photo albums that it’s a little crazy). Nothing beats taking a
photo album to a family reunion and seeing the looks on the faces of
relatives you don’t see very often as they admire your little ones. And
how in the world are we supposed to fill the frames on our walls without prints?

Portraits are important for many reasons. First, your child will never be
the same as he is today. Tomorrow brings changes that can’t be undone. As a parent, I know how quickly time flies. Before you know it, that baby you just had is walking, then he is walking into his kindergarten classroom. Where did all the time go? You may feel that you are too busy, or that now just isn’t the right time, but if not now, when? We also want to give our children something to remember. I suggest using a 3 ring binder with the
clear pages to store your 8×10’s in when you replace the photo in a frame, instead of stacking pictures on top of one another. That way you have an over-sized album of all of your portraits that you can look through and pass on.Do you remember what your parents did with your pictures? Shoe box? Albums? Nothing? I’m proud that my kids will have their photos to show their children.

Here are a few tips for your portrait day:

  • Schedule your appointment around your kids. When are they happiest during the day? Don’t schedule at a time when they would typically be napping or hungry.
  • You can dress you child casually. The frills and lace are optional. But if your kid is comfortable, it will show in the pictures, and the shoot will probably go smoother too. It may be a good idea to bring a few outfits, in case he happens to get dirty (we are talking about kids here). Most photographers don’t mind waiting the few minutes it takes to change clothes.
  • Bring snacks and a sippy. Sometimes bribery works.
  • If your child has a favorite toy, or if you have a special blanket or hat, bring it! It can be incorporated into the shoot, and make it all the more special.
  • This one depends on the photographer and your child, but sometimes its easier if mom and dad stick to the background and let the photographer be in charge. It can be confusing to a child to have so many people try to get his attention, and he may not be quite sure where you really want him to look. Bunches of people jumping up and down playing peek-a-boo can be overwhelming!
  • Be patient! It’s rare that we have children that come in, sit still and smile for every picture. A lot of the time we have to work for it. Kids wiggle, so re-posing may go on a lot! If they need a break, give them one.
  • Pick up your baby and cuddle or let your toddler roam around a bit.
  • Studio sessions aren’t the same as outdoor sessions. During an outdoor session, we are able to get more natural, unposed pictures of your children. They are more on their turf, so the smiles won’t be forced or fake (you know the big cheesy smiles I’m talking about!). We are able to move around more and get different, creative shots. If the weather is nice and the option is available, a mix of studio and outdoor shots is the way to go!
  • If you can’t choose just a few pictures that you like because there are so many good ones, get a collage. It’s a great way to incorporate several of your favorite pictures into one photo, and in a creative way.

I hope that I have inspired you to make that call and schedule an
appointment to go get some portraits taken. It will be well worth it!

Work-Life Imbalance

On a daily basis I find articles and blog posts promising good advice on balancing work and family. They only seem to help with making me feel more out of balance. How do these working moms do it?! There is a deceiving calmness to the advice they offer and I always ask myself the same question. What am I doing wrong? A harmonious work-life balance is like Bigfoot; I want to believe it exists.

On occasion, I have brought my son to work. He’s well behaved when he’s somewhere new and loves the oooh’s, awww’s, and attention he gets from co-workers. Although I don’t know much about cooking, I do know a 1 year old and an office environment full of things he can’t touch is a recipe for a tantrum.

The working hours are long and even longer when I am lonely for my son. Which is like always. Working from home sounds nice, but I can’t even fool myself into believing that it would be a good option to consider. Worth a try, but likely not a productive solution.

Fortunately, I have found ways of feeling closer to my baby during the hours of 9-5 when I’m doing my ‘other job.’

My son is always in the care of family when I am at work. Instead of a standard written report telling me about his day, I get pictures through out the day showing me the exciting things he is doing. For a moment, seeing his pictures makes me feel like I am right there with him. Fortunately my co-workers are good sports when I show them the pictures too.

There is also a special area in my work space where I keep a few of my favorite (and fabulously Washington, DC) photographs. I proudly display his hand prints we made during his first day in the office many months ago. Don’t be fooled by the neatness and organization. This is the only thing orderly about my cubicle. Might explain why a work-family balance feels so unattainable to me.

Occasionally, there are those days and opportunities for bringing my son to the office. By opportunities, I mean days when a lower level of productivity is acceptable. Mostly, those are just weekends.

With President’s Day just behind us, I’m reminded of how difficult 3 day weekends can be. You know what happens to the mouse you give a cookie to, right? Inevitably when I return to work, I miss my son a little bit more than usual.

If there is a such thing as a work-life balance, I am still looking for it. In the meantime, I have his pictures, baby-talk phone calls, and a wonderful greeting each evening when I come home. Although the quantity of time I would like to spend with my son is significantly less than I would prefer, the quality of our time together is wonderful. Perhaps it is the quality of family time that keeps work-life in balance. In that case, mission accomplished.

 

UPDATE 03.01.2012 Check out a follow-up to Work-Life Imbalance at Getting Work and Life More in Balance.

Working Mom Style: My 3 Make-up Must Haves

As a working mom, my look is limited to the constraints of time and budget. Working Mom Style highlights simple ways to make a fashion statement. If you’re a corporate mom or a SAHM, these tips and tricks can work for you too!

Follow my Working-Mom-Style Board on Pinterest or follow me on Twitter @DCWorkingMommy for style tips that can work for any mom!

As mom, my ‘getting ready’ routine has been simplified for time and degree of difficulty. You know moms get no privacy in the bathroom no matter what they are doing. One of my getting ready must-dos is putting on a little make-up. With practice, my make-up routine has been adjusted to 3 simple steps to accommodate minimal time and effort.

WITHOUT Make-Up:

With Make-UP:

My 3 Make-Up Must Haves

(In order of importance)

1. Mascara does amazing things. It make me look polished, wide-eyed, and emphasizes a feature I kinda like; my eyes. (Cost: $8)

2. To cover blemishes and dark circles I use a liquid foundation with moisturizer and SPF. It’s like a 3 in 1 tool for my skin. (Cost about $15)

3. Blush is a subtle touch but gives my pale skin a pop of color. Bonus when you use it on your eyes too! (Cost about $4)

My 3 step make-up routine is done in under 3 minutes and doesn’t bust my me-budget!

Adventures in Commuting

I’m going to tell you a story. Not the soap-box kind, it’s more like the sitting-on-the-couch-with-Oprah kind. Yeah, it’s kind of major. No, not really.

I’m assuming that you’ve seen Adventures in Babysitting because it is so awesome. Girl babysits little girl and teenage boy. Girl’s BFF gets into trouble. Girl goes to rescue BFF and takes little girl, teenage boy, and teenage boy’s friend. Shit happens; stolen cars, stolen Playboys, and singing the blues. Yes, it is that awesome!

Occasionally, I experience my own adventures-in-babysitting moments. Although they don’t usually involve stolen Playboys or babysitting and I am not nearly as cool as Elisabeth Shue, shit happens in such a twisted way I believe it is scripted out like a Chris Columbus directed sequel to the 1987 flick.

This morning I was feeling especially sleepy and debated driving in to work instead of my usual rail commute. But because I was so sleepy, I didn’t think driving was a good idea. If you have ever visited Washington, D.C. you understand why public transportation might be a better option than sitting in traffic. Lots of traffic.

Fast forward 30 minutes into my commute. The empty seat beside me was occupied by a middle aged man with receding hair and shifty eyes. I usually only complain about the fact that middle aged men with receding hair and shifty eyes always want to sit beside me in my head. I silently shout at myself that it happened again. I have never shared this with anyone else before because it might be rude of me to complain to the other passengers or twitpic these pervy-vibe dudes for everyone else to see. But now you know the type of person who usually occupies the seat beside me.

Headphones and Pandora do a miraculous thing; keeping the outside world far away from you. Fortunately, this made it possible to ignore the pervy man sitting next to me with shifty eyes and a sneer every time my eyes looked slightly in his direction. And yes, he might not be pervy at all. He could be harmless and friendly, but my mind doesn’t work that way.  I always think the worst.

According to my maths: Vivaldi+pretty scenery+being sleepy= DID NOT SEE WHAT WAS COMING NEXT

A woman says excuse me once and says it again before I realize she is trying to get my attention. Give me five minutes to un-zen myself so I can understand what is happening.

“Ma’am, I don’t want to alarm you,” she says loudly. “Please stay calm…” Her words were doing the opposite of what she was saying. I’m totally un-zened. When she said, “Don’t panic” next, the rest of the train took notice. Yes, each and every one of my fellow commuters were un-zened and looking at me probably thinking bomb, robbery, chick fight.

I’m thinking to myself, there must be a tyrannosaurus rex chasing after the train. Wouldn’t you be thinking this too? No, I won’t panic. I will sit perfectly still. T-rex’s vision is based on movement. Yes, I learned my survival skills from watching Jurassic Park. This is why I camp in the tree tops. (No, just kidding. Maybe.)

“Ma’am don’t be scared. There is a bug on your head.”

A bug?

On my head?

I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately react to her concern. Probably because I am less concerned about a bug on my head than I am about a tyrannosaurus rex.

“There’s a bug,” she said again. Perhaps she assumed I was one of those girls who freaks out about that kind of thing. But no, I’m a mom who has cleaned tub shits. Bugs are not a big deal but I assumed the man sitting beside me might roll up his newspaper and smack me on the head, so I calmly reached up to touch my head.

In the nonsense that was happening, I failed to notice two train conductors had come to investigate.

“Is there a problem, ma’am?” one of the conductors asked the woman who had confronted me.

“She has a bug on her head. There is a bug on her head,” she repeated pointing at me almost at the same moment I concluded it was NOT a bug.

My tweet announcing to the world what it was after the conclusion of this incident:

@DCWorkingMommy: Thank you lady shouting I had a bug on my head. I call them bobbi pins not bugs. Is Tim Burton scripting my freakish commute today? #Punked

Yes. A bobbi pin.

“It’s just my bobbi pin,” I repeated 3 or 4 times to the woman, conductors, and other commuters. My hair is one of the few things I like about myself and someone just accused me of having hair bugs. My hair-thunder has been taken away.

Thankfully the conductors ushered the woman back to her seat and I quickly looked out the window and avoided the stares of the other passengers. I could feel their eyes fixed on my hair like laser beams targeted on my blond locks. I was thinking to myself “I DO NOT HAVE BUGS IN MY HAIR” so loudly, I may have accomplished telepathy. Perhaps you live on the west coast and you got that message. Yeah, that was me. And no, I really do not have hair bugs.

It was impossible, even with my headphones and Pandora, to recapture my zen. My zen is now broken. A few minutes later, I had arrived at my destination. Politely, yes politely, I told the man beside me that this was my stop. I had lost any concerns I might have had with the pervy dude. I wanted to be away from each and every passenger who had witnessed what had happened. Slowly, the man beside me got up (it was apparently his stop too) and he slowly began walking towards the doors. When I say slowly, I mean I was concerned that he might not get to the doors in time for me to get off. Can’t this commute just be over?!

No, the commute is not over until my shoe falls off of my foot and a fellow passenger stumbles over it. I’m still waiting for that scene when some handsome British actor in a scarf (because they pull it off so well) shows up to rescue me so the scene can fade to black and the end credits can roll. With as unusual as this commute was, the end scene might be a t-rex running around Washington, D.C.

DISCLAIMER: Yes. All true. Including the t-rex.

Blog Post by Her Bad Mother: Love Lifts Us Up, To Where We Probably Belong

Aside

Blog Post by Her Bad Mother: Love Lifts Us Up, To Where We Probably Belong

I wanted to share a blog post by Her Bad Mother. She talks about another controversial parenting subject; stay at home dads. She addresses the judgements others make and the complicated way some dads feel about being the parent at home. As I mentioned in the comment I left; We all eat the bacon. It doesn’t matter who brings it home. – Jennifer

This will seem like a statement of the obvious, but still, it bears stating: when we moved to New York City, everything changed.

Everything changed, of course, in the ways that you might expect: we went from living in Canada to living in the United States, we went from living in a very small town to living in a very big city, we went from living in a detached house with a basement and a yard to living in a loft, we went from socialized health care to totally not socialized health care. But it changed in this way, too: we went from being a household in which mom worked in the home and dad worked away from home to the reverse. And that, my friends, has made all the difference, and a difficult difference at that…

Continue reading at Her Bad Mother…

Also, the Co-Sleeping controversy.

How I Really Feel About Valentine’s Day in 11 Images or Less

The rumors are true; I do have a heart. Here is the story of How I Met Your Father and my special Love Affair with Mr. Darcy. Enjoy and tell someone you love them!