Blogs > Media Moms

We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moments matter for busy moms

As a working mom, there are times when work and family collide and the end result is that you're either home with your child working or, in this case, your child is with you at the office.

When I must bring my son into the office, his incentive for watching mommy work is a trip to the vending machine, which is usually "off limits" to him. I give him one dollar which buys him exactly one item.  Today, he had his eyes on a pack of Twizzlers and proceeded to casually type in the 3-digit code and then press 'start'.
To his horrifying dismay, a pack of Beef Jerky emerged from the drawer below where his Twizzlers should have been.  He was exactly one number off.
The look on his face was priceless, and it took everything I had to quell the laughter brewing in my belly.  I took a breath and embraced this "teachable moment" by explaining to him the importance of being present and paying attention to details. Once he heard me out, he said "I understand that part, mom, but why on earth is there meat in the candy machine?"
{Insert dollar and press correct 3-digit code for Twizzlers}

What a great question! I let the laughter flow this time and the two of us cracked up about the absurdity of meat being right next to candy. We walked hand-in-hand back to my office, talking and laughing the entire way.  Although this isn't what anyone would call a picture perfect family memory, it is exactly what I crave more of as a mom - a perfect moment.  As busy moms with to-do lists a mile long, it's important to make even the most mundane and routine parts of our day with the ones we love count for something. What started out as a scheduling conundrum, turned out to be a moment I'll never forget.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What if moms went on strike?

I saw a segment on the Today show yesterday that really struck me. It was about a mom who -- fed up with picking up after her children — went on stike.

She and her husband agreed to let their children's dirty dishes pile up in the sink (or wherever they left them), let the laundry go unwashed, and, in general, to leave everything their daughters didn't pick up sitting right where they left it.

The result was shocking and disgusting. It took about a week for the kids to realize the filth that was building up around them. I'm not sure I would be able to handle how terrible it got in their home.

It got me thinking: how long would it take before my children would start picking up after themselves? Or at least to realize that something was amiss?

My 10-year-old daughter actually teases me about my tendencies, asking me why I'm so "zany with cleaning." That stems from the acrostic poem on my name (Elizabeth in case you didn't know what Betsy was derived from) that she did at school in which she needed to find a phrase to describe me that started with 'z'.

But the only reason I get "zany with cleaning" is because they leave such messes behind! No matter how much I nag them to pick up the stray socks left in the middle of the hallway or the throw away the granola bar wrapper instead of leaving it on the counter, the lazy messes keep happening.

Something occured to me the other day, though, when I told my son he needed to clean his room. Seriously, stuff was spilling out of his closet and his desk was heaped with random stuff. But to him, perhaps because the carpet was still visible, it was perfectly acceptable. "My room is clean, Mom!" I realized then that his perspective "clean" is clearly much different than mine.

Sometimes I probably am too picky. That is, if you consider requiring that towels are not left on the floor in the middle of the bathroom as being too picky.

Most of the time, though, I'm just trying to keep our space liveable. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

That strange feeling right before school starts

My kids go back to school tomorrow (B'Spa district), and the feeling in my house when I left this morning was quite melancholy.

Between the two of them and the baby sitter, who's getting ready to start her senior year of high school, they all looked depressed as I passed by them all sitting on the couch this morning. The party's over.

They've had a heck of a summer, though. They spend nearly three busy weeks in Kansas with relatives (lots of spoiling going on there.

They returned to go to Lake George for several days for our annual family campout.

Then it was VBS the next week, for which their cousins stayed the week with us. We even attended a Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC that week.

They've spent many summer days with fun baby sitters who take them to cool places like Moreau State Park and play fun games with them like water balloon wars at the house. They've slept in and stayed in their pjs late into the day.

We went to a Yankees game.

We even spent last weekend in the Thousand Islands region on the boat and camping.

I definitely get affected by the close of summer and the start of school, too. On Monday when I woke up at the campground, the twinge of depression hit me. Everyone was packing up and leaving the park -- even the lifeguards were shutting everything down for the season. It manifested itself in being a bit cranky as I started packing up. And taking the boat out of water at the end of that long weekend always feels weird, especially on a beautiful sunny day. There's that uncertainty of whether you'll actually make it out again this year. Once school starts -- and sports -- it's just too busy.

So that's it. So long, summer. Tonight, the kids will go to bed early, and we'll be up at 6 to start back into the routine. It's that strange feeling of letting go and grabbing ahold of what lies ahead.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wonder who's gonna show up to baby sit next week

It's Day 5 of having baby sitters come to my house instead of having to get the kids ready and drive them to the sitter's house. And I have to say, it's going swimmingly well.

Notice that I used the plural -- baby sitters. I actually didn't know who was going to be showing up each day, and I was fine with that. Sounds weird, I know.

But the way this is working — at least after the first week — I can't complain. See, I actually "hired" a college student I know very well from church to baby sit weekdays for the month of August. Though she had some other sitting gigs lined up, she arranged for others to come in her sted whenever she was not available. It should be noted that her substitutes are also teenagers I know very well from church. One is even the pastor's daughter.

So it's been a joy each morning this week having these youngsters, whom I consider positive influences on my two children, come to my home. I've left each morning feeling good about what lay ahead for the day, on the homefront anyway.

The only negative so far is that I feel compelled to have my house totally in order before anyone arrives in the morning. Perhaps this OCD-induced compulsion will pass.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A working mom's summer is no vacation

For the working mom, summer time management is no picnic.

At least for me, I find it's a constant juggling act — almost as much as it is during the school year. It starts with the coordination of making sure we have child care throughout the summer.

That's gotten a little less stressful since the children started going to visit relatives in Kansas during the first few weeks of their summer vacation. Those two to three weeks should have been stress-free, right? But because I'm me, I jammed in as much stuff as I could -- two weekend camping trips and some nights out -- putting a lot of pressure on myself to get all my office work done AND packing for camping (never simple).

My inlaws brought the kids home a couple weeks ago and stayed at our house for a week before joining us on a camping trip to Roger's Rock on Lake George. Once again, everything had to be buttoned up at work (in the midst of track season no less). Thankfully my inlaws are AMAZING and packed and planned for much of the trip.

This week, my sister is here from Connecticut with her children to attend our church's vacation Bible school each morning. So we have a houseful, and I'm a bit on edge during the day because she's got her kids and mine and I'm scrambling to get out of work before she loses her mind dealing with all of them.

Beginning next week and until the end of the summer, I'm counting on two lovely teenage girls to watch my kids full time. I'm grateful they will be coming to my house so I don't have to get us all out the door to go somewhere each morning, but my OCD about having my house presentable for guests is looming. I can see myself uneccessarily burdening each morning with the stress of having my house clean. Gotta shake that quickly or I'll be a basketcase by next week.

Work here at The Saratogian is always overwhelming, and summer is no exception. Outside the office window, looking out on Lake Avenue, I can see the blue sky and people walking around in vacation garb. It adds a pressure to get out and enjoy these fleeting days of summer. But, truthfully, all I really want to do is sit on my back porch with my feet up and sip a glass of lemonade.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do kids of working parents get cheated in the summer?

First Day of Camp 
Was my son going to get cheated out of his summer vacation because I'm a working mom? This was the question that kept racing through my mind mid-way through my son's first year of elementary school.  When he leaves Kindergarten in June, would he feel like less fortunate than his peers who "got to" stay home all summer?  It's never simple balancing work and family as a working mom, but this particular dilemma was new to me.  You see, during the daycare years, the transition to summertime was seamless and frankly unnoticeable. Why was that? Well, all of his friends were in the exact same boat. Not so with elementary school. In fact, several of my son's closest friends have moms who are teachers or freelance or don't work.  How was I going to ensure that my son had a great summer? Or better yet, was that even possible?

Back in February, my fellow working mom friends and I were frantically signing our kids up for camp, or more accurately camps. I registered my son for six-weeks at the local golf and tennis club, followed by two weeks of day camp at the YMCA, and added one additional week of
Art Camp (there is no camp the last week of summer, but that's a topic for another day).  As you can imagine, there are numerous logistics associated with singing up for multiple camps and then there's tuition, something we hoped not to see after years of daycare payments.  In fact, camp does not come cheap.  Honesty, though, the looming sign up deadlines and credit card charges were nothing compared to the unknown: would my son feel like he got robbed of his summer vacation?

To my surprise (and delight!) my son loves camp and has said multiple times that he's a very lucky kid because he gets to go to the "Best Camp Ever!" Phew, what a relief.  The kid can't wait to go each morning and is having the time of his life - playing sports, making new friends, eating chocolate cake for snack - and he can't wait to tell me about the games he plays and crafts he's made when I fetch him in the afternoon.

Sure, we still need to transition to camp #2 and #3, but I can honestly say that the first several weeks of summer have been a joy for our family and a big relief for me.  My son has his cake and is eating it, too.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chicken update: the coop is open

Remember the little chicks I wrote about in my previous post? Well, they are not so chick-like anymore. In fact, they practically look like full-grown chickens now in just a couple months' time.

They outgrew the storage tub we had them in very quickly, so my husband built a bigger box to keep them indoors until it got a bit warmer. In no time, they were too big for that, too.

In the meantime, we built a coop in the backyard. We have three acres, and my husband chose a spot nestled in a stand of trees with lots of vegetation around the coop for the chickens to enjoy.

In the interest of being economical about building the thing, we used all free materials -- old wood fence takedowns from jobs my husband did recently. (A lot of stuff around my house is made of old fence parts. That's what happens when you're married to a fence installer.) The only thing we paid for was the box of screws.

We "finished" the coop and fenced yard for them (it still needs some work, but it was at a functional point) on a Saturday evening about 9. So, under the cover of darkness, we transported the chicks one by one from a fenced area behind the house to their new home. I'm sure it looked pretty odd -- my daughter and I running in the dark with chickens in our hands. That's 19 trips to and fro.

They were very happy in their new home, especially the outdoor area, where they spend their days.