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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My sanity became roadkill

You know the sanity has been sucked out of your life when you've raced out of the office at 4:50 p.m.(in Saratoga Springs), sat through multiple lights in a mad dash to the babysitter's house (in Wilton), and fought through summer tourist traffic to get your kid to football practice (in Ballston Spa) by 5:30 p.m. so he doesn't have to run extra laps for being late.

To address the first part of that whole mess, trying leave the office at that time of day requires the stars alligning nearly perfectly. With all the buzz in the newsroom between 4 and 7 p.m., I have a lot of difficulty having everything set for the evening crew who are putting together the next day's newspaper by quarter to 5. So often, I'm high-tailing it out the door with the words,"I'll be back in an hour," trailing behind me.

Then, after I've gotten the kids to their respective cheerleading and football practices, I'm off -- bee-lining back to work to clean up the mess I left. Usually it's just editing a couple stories and tying up a couple loose ends for the next day's assignments -- just enough to have to return for.

Some days, the jaunting to and fro can be maddening. The other day, I was determined to get a haircut, something I hadn't made time for in about 9 months. So after leading an afternoon reporters meeting about a project we're working on, I dashed out to my hairdresser (about 10 minutes away on Geyser Road).

Then it was back to work to get as much done as possible before doing the daily "run-the-kids-to-practice" routine. A return trip to work was necessary, so after making the drop and starting the drive back to the office, I called my husband to find out his ETA to the ballfields. He was coming from a job site in Saratoga.

"You're about to pass Price Chopper? Wait, so am I, but I'm going the opposite direction! We're about to pass each other. I'm gonna stick my head out the window. Hi honey! See my new hair-do?"

See what I mean about the sanity being sucked out of our lives? There it went, right out the car window.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

50 After-School Recipes from Food Network Magazine

I shared some of my family's favorite snacks earlier this summer, but here's the "list of all lists" from Food Network. For 50 after-school snack ideas click here

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Last chance for family fun before summer's done

If you're anything like me, you started the summer with a list full of endless possibilities for family fun this summer. As we approach the home stretch of the season, though, I'm personally finding it hard to believe that my family has only checked a few things off our list. We've had all summer long, how is this possible?

First of all, I must admit that I was far too ambition with my list to begin with. Imagine that! I also mistakenly forgot to pencil in lazy afternoons, rainy day naps, play dates, family gatherings, etc. you get the idea. It's important to factor in spontaneity when planning for a great summer, I think. Second, summer is my busy season at work and my husband travels for business.

So aside from the fact that we missed a few classic Saratoga events due to a mid-summer family illness (family oriented evenings at the Ballet at SPAC, for example), there's two weeks (weekends, at least) left to squeeze in a few more activities before the back to school bell rings. Below you'll find a few easy activities from our newly edited "before summer ends" wish list:

Moreau Lake State Park - We went once early in the season and swore we'd be back. It's so close and has summer written all over it. Swimming, playgrounds, fishing, and cookouts make this a special location. Minutes from Saratoga located at exit 17 off the Northway, Moreau is easy to get to. Just make sure you get there early since there's a crowd limit and they enforce it.

Peerless Pool - We have a pool, but a trip to the Peerless Pool is special. The gradual wading pool makes it easy to watch your kids from the water or from a blanket or towel on the grass a few feet away. The snack bar and playground right outside complete an easy afternoon of fun in the sun.

Camping - We've made it a point to camp at least once each year since my son was born, but haven't been able to make it work so far this year. I'm thinking we'll resort to a bonfire in the backyard for S'mores followed by a night spent sleeping outside in our tiny three man tent. To think we had actually planned to buy new gear and go camping MORE than once this year!

Tailgating at Saratoga Polo - We brought our son to the clubhouse for a match last year and quickly realized that the tapas and cocktails don't hold much appeal for a three year old and stomping the divots with my son in heels didn't work out well for me. This year the plan is to pack a picnic, meet up with friends and enjoy the match from a picnic blanket. Tailgating is definitely the way to go!

Great Escape - We had a blast at Magic Forest in Lake George two weeks ago for son's pal Cooper's birthday, but are still trying to make it to Great Escape this season. I have a feeling this one may end up being pushed to the Fall to-do list since the park is open on weekends through Halloween.

Carousel in Congress Park - grab a cup of coffee at one of our great coffee coffee shops - Saratoga Coffee Traders, Uncommon Grounds and Starbucks (right across from the park!) and stroll to the park. A ride on the historic carousel is a favorite family activity for the Rose's since my husband and I rode this carousel (yes, the same one - they moved it to Congress Park) together when we were 17 and 16 respectively working during the summers at Kaydeross Park on Saratoga Lake. Oh, the memories...

So, let's enjoy what's left of summer. It will be gone before we know it!

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Thoughts on my (almost) Kindergarten Kid

My husband and I are officially one year out from becoming the parents of a Kindergartner. How did this happen? Didn't I just have the baby? Or, at least just parade my six-month-old around in his pea pod Halloween costume? Nope. Four years have passed and we're in the home-stretch to Kindergarten. Emotions aside (expect waterworks from me next Fall, people), what does this mean exactly? Should I be happy? Sad? Both?

Our son will no longer be a daycare kid. True enough. Without daycare expenses, is that lake house or kitchen remodel finally within our reach? Not likely. There's before-school care to pay for. Oh, and after-school care. We'll still be shelling out money each week, so no big change there.

He'll finally sleep through the night. Who knows. Most of my friends who had a head start on me in the parenting department say there kids are really tired after Kindergarten. No more naps! Although, I fantasize about getting a great night's sleep in a bed that sleeps two NOT three, my gut tells me that my son is just not a good sleeper. And, our pediatrician agrees. She shared with us at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and every milestone check up to the present that "some kids just aren't great sleepers. I think you have one of those."

Will he still want to play with his daycare pals? (i.e. Will I lose touch with my mom friends?) Our kids have been inseparable since they were six month old. Daycare friendships led to play date friendships which led to mommy having a great group of cool mom friends. I love my mom friends and can't imagine not seeing them virtually every day. What will happen when our kids scatter to various elementary schools around town? Yikes. Will our kids remember each other? Will the moms still get together for "Girl's Night Out"? Gosh, I hope so. I'm in! How about the rest of you?

In the meantime, we have a whole year of pre-school ahead of us! What milestones will my son reach this year? Last year's biggie was my son declaring his independence from pull-ups. Also, what do we as parents need to do to prepare our soon-to-be-Kindergartner for his elementary school debut? My friend Carolyn told me he'll be tested on what a "curve" is. Really?

I'm sure I'll be studying the "what your child needs to know for Kindergarten" websites and pamphlets soon enough. For now, we simply plan to enjoy our boy as he changes and grows and makes us laugh out loud. Right now he's lounging on his new sleeping bag in our living room watching Toy Story 2 on DVD holding his Sheriff Woody doll in the crook of his arm. Come to think of it, he's growing up way too fast and I'd really like to slow things down - a LOT. Next year he'll be taking the bus, eating his lunch in a cafeteria....deep breaths...stop panicking!

From behind my chair I hear "Mommy, you're just beautiful!" Why do I suspect this level of sweetness won't last long either. "Thank you, sweetie", I say with a smile and a squeeze that says "you're always going to be mommy's baby."

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why rush the back-to-school prep?

"Mom, we have to go back-to-school shopping!"

After getting the much-anticipated letter in the mail this weekend revealing who their teachers will be this school year, my daughter is rarin to go to third grade, the list of needed school supplies at the ready for a trip to the store.

This morning, she dragged her backpack from two years ago out of the closet and cleaned it out, telling me I didn't need to buy her a new one because "this one is fine." Wow. I didn't see that coming, but anything that saves me money is wonderful. My son's backback is fine, too, so this may end up being a year we get away on the cheap. I bought them each three pairs of jeans on clearance at the beginning of the summer, so as long as I compensated for how much they've grown in the past few months, we're good.

Of course, there's the supply list to conquer, the sooner the better to avoid picked over aisles (something we are all too familiar with). While it is a chore — and something that I cannot justify wasting a sunny summer weekend day doing — I get a little excited helping the kids check off everything to get ready for the new year.

My son is less enthused, especially since everyone keeps saying, "ooh, fifth grade, there's a lot of homework in fifth grade." Unlike his sister, he can think of a gazillion things he's rather do than get back to school.

I, too, would like to hang onto summer a bit longer. I need a few more lazy lake days and a campfire with s'mores before I'll be ready to embrace the next season.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How can I stop the morning yelling?

The kids have just returned from their month-long trip to Kansas with relatives, and we're already doing battle to get back into a routine of getting out of the house in the morning.

Add to that with the Pop Warner season already under way, we have to leave the house in the morning with everything packed for practice that evening. And there's a lot of stuff for football and cheerleading to take with us every day.

This morning was the first time we returned to our routine of packing lunches and practice gear and getting to the sitter — a drive from Milton to Wilton — so I can get to work. Since the kids have been able to sleep in and bum around most mornings this summer, today proved a bit of a challenge. I didn't want to do it, but after several attempts using my Mrs. Nice Mommy voice (including a weird made-up song of what they needed to do to get ready), I had to resort to yelling.

I didn't want to do it, but there's only so many times you can sing about getting ready to an 8- and 10-year-old before it becomes completely ridiculous. Especially when you suddenly hear the baskeball bouncing in the driveway and look out to see a boy in his stocking feet who has yet to brush his teeth or pack his football gear!

Of course, once the yelling begins, I become the bad guy in the whole scenario -- the "meanest mom on the Earth," in fact.

So, I'm brainstorming on how to effectively get us into a morning routine that gets me to work without sending my blood pressure through the roof in the process. I'm open to any and all suggestions of how to avoid the yelling, but get them to understand that "we're leaving in 15 minutes" does not translate to "we've got all day, so why don't you go shoot some baskets in your clean, white socks for a while."


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Friday, August 6, 2010

When balls drop in the act of juggling career & motherhood

This past week has been humbling as a working mom. I started my week attending a funeral and memorial service for my dear friend and next door neighbor. Not the way you want to start any week.

Arriving at work just after noon on Monday, I began review of month end commission statements, held a sales meeting to kick off the new month, and worked with our online sales manager to confirm our digital numbers - our best month ever! I was happily getting into the swing of things when at 3:45 PM when I received "the call" from my son's daycare provider. "Your son has a fever", the director shared. This was the beginning of what would be a week of balancing a sick little one, a hectic work schedule, a husband out of the country, and the loss of a close friend.

My son started feeling under the weather with stomach issues on Saturday, but once the fever hit I knew we were in trouble. And after nursing the new symptom of a croup-like cough all night long, we headed straight to the pediatrician first thing Tuesday morning in an attempt to nip whatever it was "in the bud". The pediatrician confirmed my fear: Coxsackie virus. She said they call it the "summer flu" because it's quite often spread in warm weather and, in particular, pools (Um, we have a pool). Thankfully he didn't get the accompanying mouth sores, which can be incredibly painful. Daycare was out, so Tuesday became a sick day for him and a missed day of work for me. I'm one of those lucky working moms who usually has a lot of support. This week was the exception rather than the rule and I was lacking back-up big time.

I attempted to find a new groove on Wednesday and Thursday spending half days at home in the morning with my son (including a SECOND trip to the pediatrician) while the second half of the day my parent's watched him while I hustled into the office trying to squeeze in conference calls, meetings, deliverables and other sales management duties. At home on the couch in the morning, emails and voice mails piled up on my BlackBerry while I stroked my little boy's hair as he lay his head on my lap. Afternoons spent in the office were interrupted by daycare and doctor and concerned granparent calls centered around on my son's health. This was not going to be easy.

As Friday begins - my first full day back to work - my to-do list is a mile long and my fingers are crossed that my son will make it through his whole day at school. My husband is simultaneosly making his way home from South America and tomorrow we'll be one happy - and (hopefully) healthy - family again.

I'll be spending a few extra hours in the office over the weekend in an attempt to not start the week at a deficit, which is just fine. As a working mom it's never possible to give 100% to two separate endeavors. Each day, as hard as you try, you inevitably come up short somewhere. This week, both work and motherhood suffered as I tried desperately to keep the balls in the air. Once I finally acknowledged the truth that they had fallen on the floor, I took care of each the best I could knowing that there isn't a playbook for the working mom. If there were, mine would most certainly be dog-eared.

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