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.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
An eerily empty house
The same goes for the house this morning. I was sort of lost without two other people to get out the door. No lunches to pack, except for grabbing my Lean Cuisine and fork. No one to harrass about getting dressed or brushing teeth or combing hair. Only one breakfast to fix. No fight over the remote to the kitchen TV. Just me and my coffee and the Today show.
It's a strange feeling. It's part calm and relaxation. But it's also an eerie emptiness. When you are so used to taking care of other people in the house, it's hard to know what to do in their absence. When we got home last night at about 8 p.m., I cleaned the bathroom and did some other piddly neatening tasks.
I actually thought I'd feel more free and less weird about the children being away. But I suppose it's early in the game. I do want to embrace this month-long opportunity for us to just be a couple and use the time to focus on myself a bit. Tomorrow I'm going for a run in the morning to celebrate this new ability to leave the house by myself!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The gift of hand-me-downs
Being first born, I personally never received any hand-me-downs. What I heard growing up from siblings and friends was not in line with my son's current state of perpetual happiness. The general consensus was "this sucks".
Is this an only child thing, I wondered? Because my kid's over the moon! Monday he wore pajama shorts that he insisted were "real shorts". Tuesday he sported a short-shirt combo that could only be described as "clashing". On Wednesday he bragged to his friends about the cool hole in the John Deere tee his cousin gave him. "The air comes right through it, mom", he said. Today as we were just about to leave the house, he stepped right out of his "regular" shorts and ran upstairs to the hand-me-down bag to find a "new" pair of shorts. I'm happy to say that today's outfit almost matches.
In the spirit of giving, I've been happy to pass along most my son's outgrown clothes to the children of friends and colleagues and always felt so good when I received glowing "thank you's". It really is such a great feeling to not have to shell out big bucks for clothes and gear that won't fit three months from now.
In addition to sharing clothing and kid gear with family and friends, there are several clothing swaps and consignment sales and shops here in the Saratoga area you should absolutely check out. Here are a few:
Treasures Thrift Shop
60 West Ave, Saratoga Springs
a service of Saratoga Hospital
2124 Doubleday Avenue, Ballston Spa
Cuddle Bugs Consigment Boutique
455 Maple Avenue (Route 9), Saratoga Springs
100 Saratoga Village Blvd., Suite 3, Ballston Spa
Saratoga County Fairgrounds' Consignment Sale of Children's Items
is scheduled for October 3 - 10 2010
The semi-annual Katrina Trask Nursery School's next consignment sale will be help this fall http://ktnurseryschool.org/sale
Let the packing begin
I've been doing laundry all week (aka washing, drying and making a huge pile in the living room) so we'll be able to pack Friday night. When I told the kids I would need their help packing their bags for their month-long stay, my son said: "Yeah, I'm probably not going to bring much, cuz I'm just gonna be fishing most of the time anyway."
I raised my eyebrows. "OK, so you're not going to be wearing clothes while you're fishing?"
These kids are such polar opposites on this whole packing thing. He'll probably put his swimshorts and his Yankees cap in a bag and say he's done, but my 8-year-old daughter said this morning, "I think I'm just gonna take all my clothes to Kansas." She has even taken her soap out of the shower to take with her!
Monday, June 21, 2010
What ever will we do without the kids here?
Let's be honest, though. If you knew your children were going to be well cared for and having a blast, and you had made plans to take some fun "couple" outings in their absence — for the first time in nearly 11 years — would you be focusing on how much you were going to miss them?
For all the joy our children bring us — the excitement of watching my son reel in his first rock bass or my daughter perfecting the art of hula-hooping — every day brings a new challenge with them, too. Teaching, caring for, disciplining, etc., etc. — parenting is exhausting. So, in the interest of spreading that joy they bring us, why wouldn't we give Grandma and Grandpa (and aunts, uncles and cousins) an opportunity to spend some time with those lovely children of ours?
When my husband and I are sitting quietly on the back deck overlooking Keuka Lake during our mini-vacation in a few weeks, we'll probably be nearly in tears, missing the two of them arguing over who gets to sit where or how dumb the other one is.
It's getting difficult for me to not turn this post into complete saracsm.
But seriously, there's a little mix of feeling giddy and anxious about their departure this coming weekend. We're meeting my brother-in-law at the halfway point close to the border of Ohio and Indiana Saturday night and then going our separate ways Sunday morning. I'll probably cry a little.
An hour later, though, as the two of us drive toward kidless freedom
for the next few weeks, I think I'll get over it.
This party had to rock(et)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Let's play "Where is Mommy's BlackBerry?"
So after attending a dinner with colleagues last night, I came home only to find out that my BlackBerry wasn't there. So, where was it? Ugh. I'd already riffled through my purse and office during the day, so it must be somewhere in the house or car, I thought. I went to bed determined to find it in the morning.
Slightly panicked and one good cup of coffee later, I began my search for the missing BlackBerry. After an hour of looking everywhere, I decided I'd ask our four year old if he'd seen it. Maybe he'll be helpful, I hoped. "I've seen it somewhere, mom", he replied. "Can you remember where, honey?", I asked. "No", he shrugged.
As we're hustling out the door for school and work, I put my son's yogurt and fresh fruit into his backpack and notice something at the bottom of the backpack.
Could it be? "It's my BlackBerry!", I screamed. "I told you I saw it, mom", my son said with a smile...
Monday, June 14, 2010
The first thing I noticed about Parisians was the return of a retro fashion trend. Hold on to your hats late 70s/early 80s fans, the white lace up canvas (and leather) sneaker is b-a-a-a-c-k.
Both women AND men wear Capri pants. Let's pray that one doesn't take hold here in America.
An iPad is a conversation starter in any language. Excuse me, do you speak Apple?
Carbs are no match for the French. French people aren't fat. They eat, they drink, but they walk. Everywhere.
It's OK to sit at a cafe for several hours. No cares, no agenda, no server staring you down willing you to leave already. Just good conversation and people watching. Life in Paris doesn't suck.
The rest of the world is not a debit card society.
Smoking is culturally significant. As is espresso.
Your stiletto Banana Republic heels are stylish walking five blocks in Saratoga. The same pair walking ten blocks in Paris - ridiculous. Oh, that's why I've noticed that French women don't wear heels. Hello, ballet flats.
The Eiffel Tower is outstanding at night. All lit up, it's breathtaking. I visited the Eiffel Tower in 1986 & 87 during the day as a student. Just not comparable to the night time display. Or, am I just experiencing the Eiffel Tower for the first time as an adult?
Walking the Champs Elysees on a picture perfect sunny day - not a cloud in the sky - is dangerous. We stumbled upon the Hermes store a short block off the fashion thoroughfare. By stumbled upon, I mean I was determined to find it. For the record, I've spent the last decade dreaming about the day I'd replace my Hermes scarf which was lost (OK, stolen by an ex who figured out I loved IT more than him in the end). Needless to say I was both nervous and outright giddy when I entered the inner sanctum that is Hermes. We're talking the Paris boutique people, not the store in NYC. I narrowed my selection to two scarves, then I let my husband weigh in on my choice. This isn't his decade long dream, but he's sharing the moment (and the expense). Once we both agreed that the turquoise blue and purple scarf "looked like me", I sent him back outside. I knew he didn't have the stomach for what came next...
As I shelled out some serious cash to right a wrong from long ago, I peeked out at my husband who was (for the most part) more than happy to share in my quest. We had three romantic days in Paris and I couldn't be happier, I had a super guy by my side. So what if the checkbook is lighter and my waste line is thicker. Was it worth it? Totally. I mean, it's Paris.
Despite that, we invited four of my daughter's friends over for a sleepover this past Friday evening. I figured I'd get everything done for Saturday's paper at the very least and return Saturday to finish up. I planned to leave at 5 p.m. (like most normal people), pick up my children, pick up pizza and a movie and get to the house at least 15 minutes before people were scheduled to arrive (6:30).
Per usual, my 5 p.m. departure turned into 5:30, and the mad dash was on. Thankfully, my husband was enroute to the house, so he could be there if people arrived early. And I was glad we was, because I cut it a little close, and two people were already there.
After that, most every aspect of the night was smooth sailing and had all the ingredients of the quintessential girly sleepover. They all jumped on the trampoline and played outside til dark, only coming in for pizza and to decorate cupcakes (which they didn't end up eating because they had piled so much frosting, sprinkles and candy on them, they were gross). We painted fingernails and watched a movie, "Alice in Wonderland."
My son wanted to be included in everything, too, even the nailpolishing session. The girls officially dubbed him "Jessica," allowing him to be one of the girls. Up until the actual sleeping part, he fully participated in all the girly activities, despite my husband trying to coax him out to my his workshop.
Except for one girl deciding it was time to go home (her first try at an overnight) during the movie at about 10 p.m., everything worked out as planned. Perhaps that's because we didn't overplan it. After pancakes in the morning, they all played in the basement together until their parents arrived.
The whole event was very low key, actually. Well, as low key as a house full of five little girls (plus "Jessica") could possibly be.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Spa day? Not exactly.
I dip my hands into the paraffin wax and then warm mitts, slide into the reclining massage chair as Trish adjusts my warm aromatherapy neck wrap into place. One deep breath later and I'm ready for...
A dental cleaning. Yeah, you heard me right. When you're most relaxed at your semi-annual cleanings, you know the place MUST be doing something right. What makes this place so special? It's not so much the place (although it's beautiful - in fact, a quaint little east side Saratoga home now used commercially), but the people. In the five years or so that I've been going to Saratoga Smiles, I haven't had a negative experience. The care and comfort is a real plus for someone like me who used to get really anxious about going to the dentist. The staff puts you at ease and the massage chair and neck wrap bring the whole pampering experience home. This is customer service at it's best, my friends.
As a person who's been in sales and customer service for more than twenty years, the businesses that get it right really stand out. I'm pretty picky and my expectations (for myself included) are pretty darn high. Saratoga Smiles delivers...with a - you guessed it - smile.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Making her day made my day
The morning of her birthday started off with a surprise from my husband that we needed to get the transmission on our truck serviced — that day. That meant getting the kids up early and driving two vehicles over to the service garage at about 6:15 a.m.
Early, yes, but even by that time, I was in full Supermom birthday mode. My daughter requested "those little bluberry muffins" to bring in to her classmates, and it turned out we were right by Hannaford dropping off the truck. So easy! That's what I was thinking all the way to the front door of the store, when ... what? They don't open til 7 a.m.! Crud.
OK, Plan B. We would just get ready early and head back to the store for the goodies, and then I would drive the kids to school. Good plan, if "ready early" exists in your family's vocabulary. For the DeMars clan, it's non-existant. So we scambled as usual to catch the bus, and I called out to my daughter as she booked down the driveway, "I'll just drop your goodies off at school in a little while!" That would be known as Plan C.
Thankfully, I did not have to get any further into the alphabet and got the little muffins dropped off on my -- sort of -- way to work.
I managed to run out of the office with about 7 minutes to spare and bee-lined for the cupacake shop across the street. Yes, working at The Saratogian is great for location. So many things are in walking (or sprinting) distance. I got the prettiest pink cupcake they had, and another couple smaller ones for my son and husband and took off for the soccer field for my daughter's soccer practice.
It was soooo hot that evening; everyone was sweltering. So, I dashed over to the grocery store and grabbed some popcicles for the team in honor of my daughter's birthday. I had already thought of doing it, but the heat made the sweaty bunch that much more appreciative of the cool treats.
When we got home, my daughter crawled into the driver's seat of the car with me and gave me a tight squeeze. "You did EVERYTHING for my birthday. You're the best Mom in the world."
I've filed that away in my memory banks for all the times she hates me in the future. Seriously though, making her happy on her special day meant the world.