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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Meet Poppy, the newest member of our family

Well, we did it. We jumped in with all four paws and got a dog.

It has been about six years since our beloved Cheyenne died, and though we tried getting another dog a few years ago, that ended with me tearfully returning a hound that ate door casings, escaped incessantly and in general couldn't adjust to our home. I don't really like thinking about it and hate writing about it, but I think it helps to put into perspective why we were nervous about getting another dog. Returning her was one of the toughest things I've had to do.

But we decided to try again. We really don't have time to train a puppy, so a full-grown dog from the Saratoga County Animal Shelter was still our best bet. Our requirements: a medium-sized female that was housebroken and good with children.

For the past few months, my husband would escape any conversation about getting a pet by saying he didn't want to have anything to do with it -- his way of ensuring he could play with and love on the animal, but say it wasn't his when it came to the responsibility end of it. I know his game. The kids, who are old enough to do so, promised to help out with feeding and cleaning up after a dog, so I decided I didn't need him anyway.

My daughter and I visited the shelter, our first time in the newly constructed building off County Farm Road in Milton, on a Saturday and were drawn to a black and brown lab mix (Rottie markings if you ask me). They let us play with Poppy for a bit, and we immediately took to her playful personality, my daughter and Poppy playing fetch with a tennis ball over and over in the small room.

She wouldn't be ready for a couple weeks because she had to be spayed before being adopted, but we put our name on her. It didn't take too much convincing to get my husband and son to return the following week to have them meet Poppy. Of course, they immediately fell in love with her.

Last Friday, she was ready to come home, and I rushed out from work to get her before the shelter's 4 p.m. closing time. Boy was Poppy excited -- so excited in fact that she promptly pooped on my backseat. Then, she proceeded to step in it and run EVERYWHERE in the car. Though I had planned to pick up the kids at that point, but instead turned around and headed home.

With Poppy looking on inside the garage, I scrubbed the inside of the car for a good hour before I was satisfied I'd gotten it all. Because we hadn't bought a dog crate yet and I'd only had Poppy for about and hour, I loaded her into the car again. Just a mile later, Poppy barfed. This time, I was a little more prepared and threw the old blanket I'd brought over it to keep her from spreading it to every square inch of the interior.

The kids were so excited to see I'd arrived with the new doggie. Poppy was excited, too, and expressed it with another round of puke. We all stayed calm, though, and managed to keep her out of it.

The kids stayed with her in the car while I ran into Ocean State Job Lot and bought a good-sized crate, a collar and leash, a rawhide bone and a chew toy.

At home, the kids played with her in the backyard, while I went for round two of cleaning the car. As it turned out, Poppy had skillfully aimed her barf right down the seat belt hole in the backseat. Lovely.

Actually, after having two kids and plenty of pets in my life, I've developed an iron stomach. It always impresses my tough-as-nails husband what I can handle without gagging. (Not that I was really hungry for supper after all that.)

OK. Enough of all the bad stuff. Poppy has been nothing short of an angel of dog since then. And she rode in the car all the way to Connecticut for Easter weekend without incident. We're all in love with her.

She'll retrieve a tennis ball over and over and over, bringing it back and dropping it at your feet each time. She hasn't had any accidents in the house and listens well. Poppy already has won us over by being playful, gentle and sweet -- and she has the good behavior to go along with it.

I don't know why her owners had to give her up, but we're so blessed to have her in our home now. Whoever had her previously instilled some good habits, and we are grateful.

I've posted the only photo I've had a chance to take. It's not great because she was moving around so much that first night, but I'll surely be posting more.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sad news has me looking for joy

I got some sad news last night -- a high school classmate had died of cancer. Photos on facebook told the story of a mother of two very young children, smiling despite the disease and fighting to be the mother she'd always wanted to be.

Our graduating class was small -- 90 of us in all -- so I certainly knew Heidi. And though I'm painfully aware of the fact all of us are getting older (I just turned 35 a couple weeks ago), we are still way too young to be dying.

I think what really hit me the most about this is how often I find myself living for the future and not living in the present. Suddenly, that doesn't make very much sense.

It seems every day we rush through daily tasks. When I get home from work, I turn into a drill sergeant. "What's the homework situation? Did you do your chores? Who's first in the shower?"
It's almost always about getting stuff done. And while the stuff does need to get done, I rarely even attempt to have any fun doing it.

So, I'm on a mission to try to find the little nuggets of joy during even the most mundane of days. We have fun here at The Saratogian most days -- we can always laugh about something as we scramble through putting out The Daily Miracle, as we've dubbed it. Collectively, we newsroom folk have developed a way of joking our way through the junk. It's the only way we know how to handle all the bad news that streams its way into our days.

At home, I'm not as good at that.

Hey, maybe stuff like rolling the garbage cans to the curb doesn't have to be a total drag. Kind of a bad example, but I just want to make a point of living in the moment a bit more.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Working Mom aka Easter Bunny

"I'm not going overboard this year," I told my fellow mom friends during girls' night out on Friday night. We were talking about Easter and how we were going to fit playing Easter Bunny into our already packed schedules. As working moms, as excited as we are to make our children's holidays special, it can be a challenge to pull off the planning.

When Monday came, I headed out to round up my son's Easter basket loot during lunchtime. It was a nice, sunny day, so I decided to enjoy a much-needed stroll on Broadway in downtown Saratoga. When you're the advertising director at a local newspaper, you not only shop local — you shop with local advertisers. It falls under the "do the right thing" category.

So, what did I do once I entered the inner sanctum of our beloved local toy store? I went completely overboard, of course!

My rationale? My son's not going to believe in the Easter Bunny forever. Plus, I figure I owe my son for hanging the bunny over his head for weeks on end to control his behavior. It's also eight more months until the big guy with the red suit and beard arrives on the scene.

There was no mistaking what my son wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him this year. I purchased it from our local toy store, G. Willikers, the Smart Lab 'You Explore it Human Body'. My son is obsessed with anatomy and has been for some time. We have hardcover anatomy coffee table books, anatomy coloring books and the Dimensional Man anatomical 3D chart in our living room. You get the picture...

I picked up the anatomy set and then roamed around store. "Just a quick look before I leave," I thought. Um, yeah. I added a carnivore dinosaur, a super size magnet, wind-up deep sea diver bath toy, magnetic monkey acrobat game, three toy ladybugs, and a wooden butterfly net. Thank goodness for the 10% discount I receive for being a member of the local downtown business association!

It's r-e-a-l-l-y hard not to spoil your kids. As a working mom, seeing your child after a long day is a beautiful thing. I cherish every moment I spend with my boy (even when he's being bold, which is more often than I'd like to admit). We do spoil him with love and affection, hugs and kisses. In return, we demand good manners and that he keep his listening ears in the "on" position. That said, our days are filled with teachable moments. Not just for him, but for us as parents. Parenting and childhood evolve moment to moment. My hope is that Easter morning will be one to remember.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back to 'normal' with hubby out of the house

Today was day 2 of my husband being back at work (thanks to all of you out there who have decided to pull the trigger on getting that fence installed at your house).

So, today also marked day 2 of me running the morning show again. And I must say, it was sure nice having all that help getting the kids out the door each school day. Not only that, but my husband started some things that I won't be able to carry on in his absence.

For one thing, he started packing our son a "hot lunch" every day. For the past three months, he's been filling a Thermos with Spaghettios and soups, so my sandwiches now seem flat and boring.

He also was making pancakes and sausage, eggs and bacon and sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast. With me at the helm, those are weekend breakfasts. All the other days it's cereal, oatmeal, toast or a bagel. And get it out yourself, please. I don't have time to make a big production out of breakfast when I'm trying to get ready for work, too.

I also had been working out while my husband was packing lunches and fixing breakfasts. Now I've got to start getting up earlier again.

During the first week he was home, I really struggled -- and I think he did, too -- with which one of us was doing what to help get the kids ready for school. Who checked off on the homework? Who made sure the gym clothes were packed? Who packed the snacks and water bottles?

But, soon enough, we hit our stride. Honestly, I just let him do most of it so I could work out and get ready for work.

So, although we are definitely happy he is back at work after a long winter layoff, it was nice having him there. Back to the grind ...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Seeking treatment for my overscheduling disease

Hi, my name is Betsy, and I am an over-commiter.

I've been trying to be better. Just the other day, when my son's baseball coach sent out an e-mail asking for a parent to be the volunteer coordinator, I started a reply e-mail saying I'd do it and then stopped myself -- abandoning the reply all together.

In the office, Online Editor Emily Donohue has named this chronic overscheduling — obviously a disease — after me. Some of the symptoms of DeMarsia include irrationally believing an inordinate number of things can be done in one day, completely misjudging travel times and the inability to say "no."

I've suffered from this strange ailment for years, but only in recent weeks has this begun to manifest itself as insanity. You see, we've been very short-staffed here at The Saratogian, but I haven't been able to stop telling people that I can handle yet another task during our already long workdays. Thank goodness for Emily, who has taken to grabbing me by the shoulders and shaking me violently whenever I start to say "yes" to something ridiculous. Well, OK, she doesn't do that, but I do get a stern look as she tries to set me straight.

We can only do so many things in a day, and what I'm learning is that jam-packing every one of them leaves no opportunity to get a refill. And we all know you can't run on empty.

So, what kinds of treatment are available to those who suffer from DeMarsia? For starters, I decided that, because I had a day off coming to me, that I would take my birthday off from work yesterday. I'm not someone who ever has time to kill, but after a nice lunch out at 50 South with my husband, I got to do just that, browsing around a store before picking up the kids from school. It was kind of weird for me, but I rather enjoyed the feeling of doing nothing, even if only for an hour.

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