Month: March 2007

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

Taking a bloggy break today to get some things done around the house that I’ve been neglecting…the following was written by Connie Slockbower and since I could totally identify with her (this could have been written by me), I’m posting it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Shortly after the birth of my second child, I decided to take a hiatus from my successful career to dedicate time to raising my two daughters, then five years old and eighteen months. Though I could hear the faint chant of hundreds of feminists chastising me for surrendering my “real job” to such a mundane existence, the guilt-inspired call of motherhood is difficult to ignore. Resolute in my decision, I traded my computer for a pasta machine, my briefcase for a diaper bag, and marketing presentations for ad nausea viewings of “The Rescuers”.

Having climbed the corporate ladder and negotiated the churning waters of office politics, I knew that I would find this new era of my life comparatively dull and unchallenging, but I told myself I’d put to good use all the extra time I was sure to have on my hands.

Roughly three hours into my first day of my new career, I abandoned my smug view of the ease of the stay-at-home-Mom lifestyle. By the second week I began compiling a list titled, Things You Never Have To Say In A Management Meeting. The list included such classics as, “Your nostril is not an extra pocket from God”, “Take that out of your mouth”, and “For the last time, put your underwear back on!” I’ll concede that maybe that last one has been used in a business setting, but never outside the halls of Congress.

My biggest mistake in raising toddlers was continuing to indulge my life-long habit of sleeping at night. Children need much less down-time than their grown-up counterparts, and while parents awake sluggish and barely coherent, children leap from their beds armed with nefarious thoughts and boundless determination. While I quickly realized that I must awake an hour before them, the previous days’ antics invariably left me too exhausted to carry through with my strategic defense plan.
I frequently awoke to unwelcome surprises. One morning as I fumbled my way downstairs to the life-giving coffee pot, I noticed a peculiar path of stickiness winding down the stairs, dancing up the walls and sporadically snaking along the carpeting.

I knew the chief suspect in the sticky crime would be wearing blonde pigtails and a pull-up. Following the trail, I spotted her in a corner, sporting a devilish grin and futilely attempting to hide a squeeze bottle of Log Cabin syrup behind her tiny frame. Huddled in a nearby corner was the family cat. Until this moment, I didn’t realize cats could scowl. I surmise that one of the unpronounceable ingredients in the syrup, when liberally applied to cat fur, produces the phenomenon, which does not subside until after all the fur has grown back in.
Two hours later, I had scrubbed away most of the evidence, the cat was busy tearing the pet groomer to shreds, and I was still yearning for the now-cold coffee. I opened the door to the microwave oven and was greeted by a ramekin filled with melted crayons. This time, my oldest was the culprit.

At that moment I realized that I was raising either a pair of mad scientists or two sociopaths. Either way, I was confident I could put an early end to these anti-social leanings. I knew from my managerial days that one must first uncover the motivation for the errant acts, and then apply an appropriate punitive measure to discourage further endeavors. I was determined to see past the dimples and bright eyes, ignore the deceptively sweet expression and act decisively and firmly.
“Why did you melt crayons in the microwave?” I demanded, anticipating the familiar “I don’t know” or “Because” response that children have employed since the beginning of time to confound and stupefy their parents.

Instead, she replied, “I was making lipstick for you, Mommy.”

With that one line, my anger and frustration were nullified. Seven little words, and I was rendered defenseless. “Thank you, honey, but orange isn’t really Mommy’s best color,” was all I could muster.

I loved my former career. I enjoyed the challenge and the sense of accomplishment I felt when motivating a difficult employee, winning over a disgruntled customer, or being awarded a promotion or plaques. Yet, amazingly, in all those prior years not one soul ever thought to reward me with homemade lipstick.
There was a time when management meetings and career advancements ignited my enthusiasm. I’ve since discovered that they just can’t compare with standing in the driveway with my daughters, holding a bubble wand out to the breeze and sharing in their giggles as we watch newly birthed bubbles dance across our front lawn.

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One Pair down…Five to Go..

Well, here they are…the bane of my existence right now. Those (cursed) culottes…
I’ve got them all cut out, but only one pair completed. No must see tv for me tonight. Do they even still have must see tv?

I’d much rather be HERE.

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The Wiki Meme

The rules are:

1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)
6) Tag 5 other bloggers to complete

Three events:

1918 – Hammond circus train wreck kills 86 and injures 127 near Hammond, Indiana.
1940 – France forced to sign armistice with Nazi Germany.
1941 – Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, one of the most dramatic turning points of World War II.

Two Birthdays:

1922 – Bill Blass, American fashion designer (d. 2002)
1973 – Carson Daly, American television personality

One death:

1987 – Fred Astaire, American dancer and actor (b. 1899)

One holiday or observance:

Anti-fascist struggle day in Croatia

Five Tags:
Tag…You are now it! (okay, so I cheated and used 5 words, but I hate it when people don’t play along, so I just quit tagging! Play at your own will!)

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Read to Me – The Results

Setting goals is one of the number one ways to achieve success in an area – the number two way to achieve success? Get started. If you set your goals (like reading an hour a day with and to your kids) but you never get started…well, you get my drift…you won’t succeed.
Fortunately, I did both this time – and the results have been amazing. Let me start off by saying that I have always read to my kids, but not on a consistent basis…I tend to go in spurts and it’s all centered around how I feel, how the day is running, what I have on my plate, and a plethora of many other silly exuses I tend to dream up.
Last November, we started the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and got through about 1/2 of the first book. Abby’s attention span at 2 was not the best, so I didn’t know what to expect this time around, but I was pleasantly surprised. She not only paid attention to the story lines, but she also thought about them afterwards and I found all the kids discussing what Almonzo’s life in “Farmer Boy” must have been like. Katie even said that she wished we lived back in those days (I had to laugh at that one, because she just THINKS she works hard now!). AJ identified with Almonzo because he likes to get into a bit of trouble now and then and it was good for him to see that other boys that misbehave have to suffer the consequences for their actions, too.
We finished “Little House in the Big Woods”, and read through 3 more books — “Farmer Boy”, “Little House on the Prarie”, and “On the Banks of Plum Creek”. PLUS…we still maintained our daily devotions…so really? my kids got about 1-1/2-2 hours of reading a day depending on what was going on. Were there days when we didn’t get to read at all? Yes…my mom spent two nights in the hospital, but other than that, they rarely let me stop reading after only an hour. Some days, I need an extra cup of tea just to make it through because my voice is hoarse and scratchy from reading.
Benefits the kids have received from reading: they are learning about American Pioneer history, they are learning and practicing listening skills, they are learning to create pictures and images in their minds and not rely on a tv to entertain, their attention spans are improving, and they are overall behaving better because they don’t want to miss the next installment of the series.
Benefits mom has received from reading to the kids: I’m learning that my kids are much brighter and focused than I’ve ever given them credit for. I’m getting to spend really good, quality time with them and no distractions – we just huddle up on the couch and READ. Sometimes daddy walks out of the home office and his face lights up…makes mom feel like she’s being a mom.
Thanks, Jennifer, for this project. I don’t think I would have been so faithful had I known I didn’t have to report back. It’s been a great experience for our family…and a daily tradition we’re not likely to give up anytime soon.

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Need a laugh?

You can’t watch this video and stay in a bad mood. No way. Even if you don’t laugh out loud, you’ll be smiling on the inside.

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WFMW: Cheap! Alternative to Dryer Sheets

Want to save money on expensive dryer sheets? I already use Downy in the wash (I just gotta have me some of that “fresh clean scent” in my clothes) and have always bought unscented dryer sheets for the static cling control factor because I didn’t want to “mix smells”. I know. I’m wierd.

I was at my mom’s the other day and she mentioned a tip she’d read in a book she bought (sorry, I don’t have the name of it, but I’m going to get it from her) that is CHOCK FULL-o-rama of household tips and hints aimed at saving money. She told me that if you tear a sheet of aluminum foil off and ball it up into a ball, toss it into the dryer with your wet clothes (sans dryer sheet), it will control the static cling. Voila! I tried it and it works. I have no clue how long one ball is good for, but I’m on the 5th load and it’s still working fine. The photo below is NOT the ball I’m using, merely a “sample” of what mine started out as. Mine is now packed tighter than a can of sardines, but still controlling that static.

It works for me, what works for you? Head on over to Shannon’s to see more WFMW hints!

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