Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bring on the Circus!

I'm typing while my 7-year old is playing his new Nintendo DS, a gaming system that "Santa" reluctantly brought him this year...not sure that we needed yet another electronic gaming device. And my daughter is asking me what the plan is for the day.

I love being home with them and taking a break from my working life. It gives us the opportunity to just have fun. BUT, I have learned over time that my 7-year old is incapable of spending time on his own for more than 5 minutes. And I'm not exaggerating. He must be entertained at all times or else the whining and complaining begin. So I find myself trying to plan for every moment of the day. And that's even after Santa came and brought the 800 new toys that are currently all over my house. But to him, there's nothing to do.

I have begun instituting some quiet time so that he must play on his own for a small part of the day. Usually, though, it ends up with yelling in order for him to actually carry through. What's interesting, though, is that my 4-year old has a much easier time playing on her own and often wants to. It's amazing how 2 kids can be so different.

So, I must go now and create my "plan for the day." Hopefully I can find a circus, a show, or some other spectacular to keep everyone happy...


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Am I Losing My Mind?

This is my first post in months. I clicked on my bookmark for my own blog and just realized how much I miss blogging, especially about the challenges and wonders of being a working mother.

Sometimes I don't know what happened to the "organized me." During the past few years, I seem to have become forgetful and have too many different mediums to try to keep myself organized.

Case in point. Last week, I had a company meeting during which I had to make a presentation. Months before, I had signed up for a parent-teacher conference at my son's school. So, I had both in my head and I knew that both were obviously important. But somehow, my brain did not make the connection that they were both occurring on the same day and at the same time UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE. And then panic sets in...

As always, I worked it out but it was stressful trying to make sure that I could make my presentation prior to having to leave for the conference and it involved connecting with my boss and the CEO. Yes, stressful.

And I can tell you that I had both in my Blackberry, on my home calendar, in Outlook. I honestly think that either I have not found my preferred "device" or "medium" OR I just have too many options.

I'll have you know that I used to be incredibly organized. But now I think I am overwhelmed by the number of things I need to accomplish on any given day. Maybe a good old fashioned list is all I need.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Over the course of our long holiday weekend, I could not get over the fact that my kids are constantly bickering. They seem to have this love/argue thing going on; one minute, they are playing and are best friends. The next, they are arguing over every little thing.

As you ask yourself "Who cares? All brothers and sisters do that," please keep in mind that I am an only child. I never had a brother or sister to argue with. So this whole sibling thing is new territory for me. And I can tell you that I don't like it. Furthermore, I don't really know how to deal with it too well. Most of the time, I just get annoyed and tell them to stop, threatening punishment. That might work for about 2 minutes but then they are right back to fighting again.

And then there's my husband who, at 37 years old, still fights with his sister. So I don't get a lot of support or advice from him on the subject.

What is amazing, though, is watching the kids and knowing that someday they will hopefully have a great sibling friendship which is something that I never had. I can see that these relationships help to shape their personalities and enrich their lives. I also think that it introduces a bit of competition which is something that I think is good since, as adults, we run into fierce competition in everything that we do - especially in the business world.

But, for now, I will try to remain calm as I listen to my 4-yeard old yelling at my 7-year old, "Don't look out my window! Mom, he's looking out my window!"


Monday, June 1, 2009

Why can't there be swim lessons on Saturdays?

As a working parent, I sometimes feel discriminated against. There have been numerous times during the past few years that I have wanted to sign my children up for activities that are just not available on the weekends.

Being in the working world, I certainly understand that for businesses (especially small businesses) the frequency and timeframes in which services are delivered is dependent upon demand. In other words, if the business will get more customers during the week and not many on the weekends, then I understand that it may not be possible to offer services over the weekends.

That being said, we just recently signed up for a pool club after being on a waiting list for 2 years. As a family, we are all excited about this and are really looking forward to our upcoming summers there. But I have to admit that when I was told that they do not offer swim lessons over the weekends, I was a bit frustrated. I have now spoken with about 4 or 5 parents who all have the same issue. So why wouldn't they offer the lessons over the weekends? Or at 5pm so that I could at least leave a little bit early once per week to take the kids over.

Sometimes I want to shout to the world that the scheduling challenges for working families are tough and I wish that businesses, companies and individuals would spend a bit more time to make things accessible for all and not just the stay-at-home parents.

I have a few for private lessons at the club, sign up somewhere else (probably will not get spots now since it's high season) or try to speak with someone at the club about the situation. We'll see how it goes...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Family Vacation in Europe?

This is more of a question than a post. We are considering a family vacation to London in the fall. It is our 10-year anniversary and we want to take a "big" trip (at least, something a bit more adult than Disney). We initially talked about going away without the kids but with a lack of family to help out with babysitting for a few days, coupled with the knowledge that I will miss them terribly after a day or two, we are now thinking about a family vacation to Europe.

London seems to stand out as a place that would likely be "kid friendly." My son will be 7 and my daughter is 4; I know that he will really enjoy it - Buckingham Palace, Wax Museum, Tower of London, etc. But I'm wondering how my daughter will do.

Does anyone have thoughts and/or have you taken a trip like this? We had talked about Ireland but I think it's too much driving for the kids. Jeff mentioned Rome - I cannot see that working out too well. We both feel that London would probably work. I welcome your comments and experiences.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One for the Dads

A colleague told me an awesome story about someone who he worked with at a previous company. I must share because it's a fun example of a high-powered man - a Dad with a baby at home who is also an executive at a large compay - having to set aside work priorities in order to take care of things at home. We will call him Joe.

A group of execs from this organization flew to New York for a big meeting. When they arrived for the meeting, Joe was nowhere to be found. They tried to call him but no answer. They delayed the meeting for an hour and Joe finally showed up an hour and a half late. When asked if everything was okay, Joe responded that his baby had thrown up on her bouncy seat so he had to wash the cover before he could leave.

Not only do I love the story but I love the honesty about why he was late. As a working Mom, it makes me shudder to think about giving an answer like that, although incidents like that happen all the time, don't they?

So I applaud Joe. Here's to all the Dads out there who understand that raising a family involves everyone in that family, whether you are a CEO, a consultant or a stay-at-home parent.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Successful CEO Moms

Last week, I attended the Boston Business Journal Pacesetters Breakfast to honor the fastest-growing private companies in the Boston area of which my company, Veroxity Technology Partners, was one. (Yeah for us!)

As I drank my fresh-squeezed orange juice - a big no-no on my low-carb diet - I listened to the panel of CEOs who discussed their key strategies for success. One of these CEOs was Kip Hollister of Hollister, Inc. Kip spoke of focus, strategy and staffing needs, relaying her thoughts on how to be successful in these key areas. But what struck me was that she also talked about the realities of being a working Mom and an executive in a hard-driving economic environment. She was honest about the fact that time for herself is often scarce and that you cannot be perfect in all of your roles at every moment. But if you have your priorities set up front and understand that turbulent times often call for flexibility, you can be more realistic about what you can and cannot do.

I applaud Kip for not only being a strong influence in the corporate world and an involved parent, but also her willingness to be up front about these responsibilities and to share her experiences with the world.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Battling the Mommy Guilt

I feel like I'm going to fall asleep as I type but I could not let this day go by without a post so here goes...hope that it makes sense.

I started my new job this week and really love it. The company has this great culture with talented, smart people who seem to enjoy what they do. At the same time, everyone seems very grounded and down-to-earth. So I am thrilled about it.

But Week #1 and I already have the Mommy Guilt complex. It doesn't matter that I was home for 4 months when I could have spent hours or even days at Zach's school for events, plays, etc. It doesn't matter that I now race home to help him with his homework, make dinner, spend time playing and reading books. You may be saying: "Why doesn't it matter?"

The answer? Because Zach's class put on a play yesterday that took place right in the middle of the day. And it was my second day of work. Did I mention that I was home for 4 months? Did I mention that during those 4 months, there were no plays, no school-day events, no calls to help out in the classroom? So why wouldn't there be this cute, adorable, first-grade play during my first few days of a new job?

To make matters even worse for me, I had a conversation with Zach the night before the play to let him know that neither me or Daddy would be able to attend. I thought he would start yelling at me, that he would bring the usual drama. But that was not the case. I told him and apologized, letting him know that I was very sad that I had to miss it with tears running down my face at the time. And he said to me: "That's okay, Mom." WHAT? That made it even worse!

One of the "good" Moms in the class was kind enough to provide a DVD that she had taken of the play and we all watched it tonight. Of course it was amazing. At the end of it, the teacher stood up in front of the class and the parents and said, "I have a request. There is a parent who could not make it who would love to see a video and/or pictures if any of you can pass these along." Translation in my head: "There is one horrible Mother who did not come to see her adorable son's cute play and now she wants to get the video from one of you good parents out there."

Okay, so I'm being dramatic. But I still feel so guilty. I want to be there for EVERYTHING and this is the first school event that I have missed. Zach, of course, seems fine with it. But I'm sure that I will continue to feel guilty for quite some time.


Friday, February 27, 2009

I want you to buy me something expensive!

These words were shouted by my 3-year old daughter today while I was browsing in a store. After many chuckles from the women shopping in the same aisle and my fruitless attempts to tell her that I was not buying her anything in the store, I caved. She wanted a $10 item which I told her was too much and then we settled on a $6 item. So I told myself that it wasn't a big deal since it wasn't as expensive and she did not get EXACTLY what she wanted.

Yes, I know...a lot of BS. The reality is that I found a few items I was interested in and just wanted a few minutes to shop in peace. So I did the horrible thing and gave in. As we left the store, I spent 5 minutes telling her how that would not happen again and that I was not about to buy her something every time we went into a store and blah, blah, blah. "Yes, Mom," she said in her cute little voice. Yeah, right.

It's amazing how much more diligent I was with my 6-year old. He never got away with things like this. But, as they say, the second child (and third, fourth, for those who have them) always gets away with more. Especially when they are adorable and cuddly with big brown eyes.

But I recognize that we need to do a better job with our kids when it comes to financial responsibility. They both get an allowance and Zach used to save and save his money. Until he decided that he wanted to buy a few different Lego sets. Jeff and I have both decided that we need to teach him to set aside a portion of his allowance for savings and the rest he can use to buy items of his choice when he is deserving of this privilege.

How do you teach your kids about financial responsibility? I would love to hear thoughts from others on this topic so feel free to share.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moms on Alltop

Just a quick shout to let everyone know that Working Moms Make It Work is now out on under Top Moms News. There are lots of other great bloggers out there, as well, so take a look.


Kids, Media and Values

A few days ago, I blogged about the TV dilemma: how much is okay? Which shows are okay? Well, as my kids watch Arthur on PBS, I noticed that they are running educational spots for They are offering up a kit called "Kids, Media and Values" to answer many of these questions. So, in case you are interested, give it a look.

As I review, I realize that I have not even touched on the whole internet issue. Because my kids are still pretty young, that's an issue that I have not had to tackle yet and I hope it might be a few more years. For now, Zach is still focused on his Lego Star Wars game and wants to play it every chance he can. I limit it to one hour per week and only over the weekend. For now, it works but I'm sure all of this will get more complicated over time.

Happy reading!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

My New Gig

It's now official; I have accepted a new job and I'm very excited about it. I had previously written about my layoff and it was tough to get past it. But once I was past it, I realized that what I had helped build had disappeared well before I was laid off. Now, I am able to look back on the earlier days of that experience as being incredibly rich; I learned so much while I was there, helped to build a company and was able to enjoy its success.

I was also able to stay home for a while and enjoy my children. I got to spend a lot more time with them, help Zach with his homework and be more involved in their day-to-day lives. This was so wonderful. But I also know that I'm just not a stay-at-home Mom type. I am a much better parent when I am out working and being challenged. It energizes me and I believe that that happiness and energy translates to my parenting role and to my kids.

I am very excited about my new opportunity. It is a broad marketing role which I love and I will be working for a small company that is pretty close to home. Best of all, the culture seems great and I have really liked everyone I have met so far. I am a bit nervous about being on a specific schedule since I was pretty much able to set my own schedule in the past without issue. But that's hopefully just an adjustment that will easily work out.

To all Moms who go through the ups and downs of being a working mother...we role with the punches, figure out how to make it work and most importantly, ensure that our situations work for our families. It's tough and we don't have much help out there - hats off to all of us.


TV Choices: PBS and Beer

Ahhh, TV. To watch or not to watch? How long is okay? PBS or Nick Jr.? These are all questions I have asked myself for years. These days, my kids watch TV in the morning before school and then Zach watches one show after school after he finishes his homework. I am pretty strict about what both of my kids watch and it's mainly PBS. I also have to balance between what Zach can watch (he's 6) and what Brie can watch (she's 3).

Some of this has become a joke between my husband and I. Jeff often thinks that I am overprotective and that Zach is too old for some of the shows that he watches. I feel that if he likes these educational shows then why not let him watch them until he gets to a point where he is bored with them. I'm sure that at that point, I will need to figure out which shows are appropriate and will likely have a hard time with most of them.

This is all so different from when we were kids, though. I can remember watching many shows that were probably not entirely appropriate (there were also fewer choices back then). But I turned out okay. And my parents always took me to see movies that weren't necessarily the typical kid movies (I can remember seeing Amadeus at an artsy theatre in NY) and I actually liked it. But then today's movies and TV have so much violence, sex, etc. that it's also a much harder task to make choices that are older, interesting and still appropriate. So I think that we have to be more selective that our parents were.

Case in point: Jeff and I slept late the other morning while the kids went downstairs to watch TV. In my partially-awake state, I called down to Zach to make sure he was watching 802, our PBS station, to which he responded yes. Jeff then joked, "Yeah, Mom. I'm watching 802. I'm taking the car out to pick up some beer. See you later."

See what I have to deal with? I would love to hear thoughts from others on my TV dilemma.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Detours and OnRamps Forum

I just found out about a phenomenal event that will take place on March 25 in Waltham, MA: Detours and OnRamps Forum. This is a conference for parents, both working and stay-at-home, who are seeking expertise on navigating the world of work. For working parents, it's about finding better ways to balance work and home life. For stay-at-home parents, it's about looking at the options for re-entering the workforce, possibilities for consulting and/or starting your own business.

One thing that amazes me about this entire topic is that your work life is forever evolving dependent upon your stage of life. Yet most people don't even realize it. I personally have gone from workaholic career woman, to stay-at-home Mome, to consulting, to part-time, back to full-time in an Executive role to being unemployed. That's a lot of shifting. Yet, with each change has come new options and pathways. It's challenging and is something that none of us really anticipated. I mean, if someone had told me when I was 25 that I would be doing consulting work or working part-time, I would have said they were crazy. But here I am and here we all are trying to figure it out.

So kudos to Meghan McCartan for developing this fantastic way for parents to try to figure this all out and to network with others. Check it out and attend if you can!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When Does the Empathy Kick In?

Let me get this straight. You care for and nurture your kids from the time they are in the womb, through infancy and toddlerhood. You give them everything, prepare them for the world and make sure they are happy and healthy. And then, you get a sinus infection that makes you feel like your head will explode and they cannot give you one moment to rest.

My son is six (7 in a few months). He is just a great, funny kid. But the one thing that I cannot get over is that he has no least not with his own family. Last week my husband was sick but, of course, still going to work and doing all the things that need to be done. He comes home from work and Zach insists that he has to help him build his Lego ship. And Jeff just wants to lay down on the couch for a half hour but Zach just starts screaming at the suggestion that Jeff might want a few minutes to himself.

I have had many conversations about this with Zach but I'm not sure if it's something that can be taught. In the back of my mind I think that I should probably give him ways to help his Dad or me when we don't feel well or just need a break...maybe that would help. But I don't always want to think this hard. I just wish he could understand that his parents have needs, too.

I would love to hear from others who may have suggestions or thoughts on empathy. Right now, I'm going to lay down so that my head doesn't explode.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Keeping Kids Busy in Winter

My husband and I had a conversation this past weekend about trying to keep kids active in the snowy New England winters. It's not easy, especially when the temps go down to 15 degrees, making outdoor play, skiing, etc. almost impossible. And if you choose not to spend $200+ to sign up for some kind of regular class, it's even harder. We have been through all of the indoor playgrounds, as well.

So, I was thinking how great it would be if there were some kind of "drop-in" arts n' crafts type of place with different stations for art projects. In an ideal world, parents could work on the craft with their child and there would also be a lounge with yummy treats, Starbuck's coffee and a huge window so that you could watch your children as they create their masterpieces. What a great business idea, huh? Over time, we could add a music lounge where children could practice on different instruments with the help of a music instructor.

Just an idea but something fun to think about. In the meantime, I will don my snow pants, sled and pray for 30 degrees.


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Promise of 2009

Happy New Year! Here we are in 2009 and I spent the latter part of 2008 thinking that once January hit, the job market might open up a bit. But I see no evidence of this and all news indicate that we are in for an even tougher first quarter of 2009 with many more layoffs to come.

So, I continue to look for that next great position. I am glad that I have at least managed to land some interviews but each time I was either too qualified or someone beat me to the punch. I am trying to see if maybe some consulting work might be the short-term answer.

It is somewhat strange to go from being the quintessential working mother (conference calls on my Blackberry while on my way to pick up the kids and trying to figure out what I could throw together for dinner) to being a Stay-at-Home Mom. It is wonderful and difficult all at the same time. I love spending more time with my kids and I feel really good about that. But I also miss that energy of a fast-paced office where I was constantly being challenged. The patient side of me says that there is plenty of time for that office buzz in the days to come. I know that this time at home with my young kids is something that I can never get back so I plan to enjoy it as much as possible.