I think at this point most of us can agree that parenting is not the HARDEST JOB.
Because I’m pretty sure between taking Chase and Harlowe to their gym class this morning and picking Summer up for preschool, I was not asked to parachute into enemy territory and take out a terrorist in hiding.
Because I’M NOT A NAVY SEAL for gosh sakes.
I’m a mom.
Which doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. There always have been.
Once upon a time, women just stayed home, tending to their children and mountains of laundry and wondered if there was something more.
Then women were told they could have it all… the husband, the kids, the high powered career and they wondered if they had it all, why were they so exhausted?!
Today, most women are trying desperately to achieve balance.
Because I really like you guys, I’m going to save you a lot of blood, sweat and tears by just letting you know that there really is no balance out there. Well, maybe just a smidgeon.
No matter what kind of life we have weaved together… working full time, part time, volunteering or spending hours crocheting booties for our pet rabbit, we can’t help but think… Am I doing enough for my job? Am I doing enough for my kids? Am I doing enough to make sure my bunny has good arch support?
I rarely feel like I have found the perfect balance.
I don’t think men struggle with this. Certainly not as much.
Women often want to be everything. Do everything. And we don’t want to be mediocre at everything. We want to be perfect!
The best thing we can do is let go of the idea that there is ever any kind of real balance. Sometimes we will feel like we are working too much. Sometimes we will feel like the duties of parenting and being a good spouse are taking over every inch of us.
Sometimes we feel lonely. Sometimes we feel smothered. Our jobs are too demanding. Our jobs aren’t challenging enough. Our kids want us too much. They want us too little.
But every now and then, there will be moment. When you’ve put down the iPhone for a bit and started an unexpected pre-bedtime dance party to boy band One Direction and suddenly life clicks. Everyone is smiling, leaping and laughing.
And then as quick as it came, it’s gone, as one kid takes a dive into the wood floor, the crying begins, these kids need to go to bed, you’re starving, you have work to do, how did it get so late?
But for a beautiful, gorgeous moment, you had balance.
What would have to change—in your life, in people’s attitudes, or in our society—for women to have an easier time managing work-life balance? Share your answer below and like Smarter Life Better Planet on Facebook to be entered to win a Haier microwave for your family along with an additional microwave to be donated to the Food Bank for New York City!
One recent morning, I woke up to find this outside our house….
Yes, that’s a bulldozer or digger or something (I’ll check one of my son’s painfully boring truck books). And this thing is tearing up the end of my driveway and street.
Well, good morning!
Now to think of it, we may have gotten some kind of email explaining some sort of public works project but the details are very fuzzy.
But Rick suddenly has a brilliant idea.
You see we have wanted to replace part of our front sidewalk for awhile. It’s quite uneven and definitely in need of repair. We asked the town to fix it but they said the sidewalk was our responsibility.
So we got an estimate and promptly decided to embrace our uneven sidewalk. Plus, it brings some urban character and edge to the neighborhood.
But once Rick saw the bulldozer or digger or whatever it’s called outside, he promptly discarded our commitment to character and edge and ran out to talk to the workers. And since they were already out there digging and cementing, they agreed to fix our sidewalk. For free!
We love free! Free is totally in our budget!!
So we bought them coffee and doughnuts and now have a beautiful new sidewalk.
You know how much the original estimate was for?
You know how much money was in that wallet I found last week and turned in to police?
The truth people.
That is some serious quick turnaround karma.
mama bird notes:
Thank you to New York Family for featuring me in The Mom Chronicles in celebration of Mother’s Day! I am very honored. Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day! xo
Yesterday I was at a bagel place with my twins, mostly trying to keep nearly 2-year-old Chase from guzzling my cappuccino. Despite my best efforts to keep him at bay, he somehow exhibited super hero strength and kept getting a hold of the coffee. I don’t know how he did it.
I’ve noticed this same crazy baby body builder strength when I’m trying to change their diapers or put them in their car seats against their will. If only we could harness that energy and power windmills or something.
So while Chase got acquainted with my coffee, I glanced down at the floor and saw a wallet. With $700 inside.
I had about $11 in my own wallet.
I tweeted about my amazing find and someone tweeted back, “I hope you are going to return it.”
Of course I was going to return it. If not, I would have simply tweeted, “Check out my new Marc Jacobs handbag! Isn’t it gorgeous?!”
But instead, like a good citizen, I brought it to the police station.
Of course, I had two of my kids with me and I contemplated whether I could leave them in the car for 5 minutes while I dashed inside to drop off the wallet. But then the newspaper headline popped into my head, “Mother of Four So Dumb That She Leaves Kids in Car at Police Station and Immediately Gets Arrested For Leaving Kids in Car.”
So I took them in with me.
And the guy who had lost the wallet had already been there earlier in the day hoping that someone had turned it in.
The police officer asked if I wanted to leave my name and number so the guy could thank me. And I said no.
Just tell him to pay it forward. Do something nice for someone else.
I bet you didn’t know that leggings are controversial! They totally are. I mean, not as controversial as whether Jessica Simpson should have named her baby girl, Maxwell Drew, but leggings are still a big issue around here.
That means it’s time for another round of… I’m Right. You’re Wrong (an idea stolen from my talented friend Marinka).
Disagreement: Should a 5 and 7-year-old be able to wear just leggings and a t-shirt to school? Or should their mom require the girls to put on a skirt/dress over the leggings?
Disagreers: The mom vs. 5 and 7-year-old.
(To keep things completely fair, I won’t tell you who represents each position.)
Position One: Of course it’s okay to wear just a shirt and leggings. EVERY GIRL AT SCHOOL DOES THIS. Seriously. Everyone. And skirts are so annoying. And itchy. And we hate running around with skirts on. And we are going to be so mad if you don’t let us. Because that would be so unfair. SO UNFAIR. So PLEASE let us. PLEASE let us. We will be so good if you let us. And so mad if you don’t. You just have to let us.We love leggings. It’s like wearing pajamas at school. They are so comfortable. PLEASE. And also, we want a pet rabbit.
Position Two: I don’t know about this leggings thing. It’s a slippery slope. If I say yes, then you are going to come downstairs with leggings and a toddler pajama top and call it an outfit. And that’s just not appropriate for preschool or first grade. What’s wrong with a nice skirt? Or dress? You can still wearing the leggings. Just under something else. And we’re still thinking about the rabbit.
So who’s right? Is leggings and a top now a school appropriate outfit?
On Sunday morning, I am waiting for a photographer from The New York Post to arrive. I had recently been interviewed for an article about French vs. American parenting and they wanted a photo of me with my four very American children. Because I obsessively love The New York Post, I had to make this happen.
I just needed to take a shower, blow dry my thick mane of crazy hair, flat iron it down, put on make-up and then get all the kids dressed in presentable outfits with presentable hair.
By 9 am.
Except 5-year-old Summer is shouting about definitely NOT wanting to be on camera.
And Dylan and Summer are outraged because they like to wear their pajamas for as long as possible on the weekends and 9 am is totally not as long as possible. They sob to showcase their complete devastation over the situation.
And then cry some more because I am making them wear dresses. “Dresses?!” they screech. “During pajama time?!!”
And Rick has the flu. And can’t move.
So at 7:15 am, I send a text to my dad that promises him a ritzy retirement home someday if he would PLEASE get over to my house and help me. He demands the home be on water front property and then agrees to show up at 8 am.
And somehow (screaming is definitely involved), we get it all together…
To read Sara Stewart’s New York Post article, Be a Mom Like Moi!, click here.
And then Jen Doll of The Atlantic Wire tackled this topic too. And picked up one of my quotes from The New York Post….
Yes! Yes! I’ll write about a book about that. It will be entitled, Screw the French. How I Raised My Four Kids 70′s Style. On Tab and Love Boat reruns.
Details of the book tour coming soon.