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, August 25, 2011

Sold on the cell

It took a long time to reach this decision. We went round and round about it. But, after much debate and deliberation, We've given in to letting our son get a cell phone.

Of course, he's been using the argument that "everyone else in my class had one in fifth grade except me." Dylan, his best friend, has one. His cousin, Hannah, who is the same age, just got one. He says he'll pay for it, which means I'll only have to pay his weekly allowance once a month.

I stood my ground as long as I could before coming to the conclusion that -- with a kid like him, who could use boost in the social world -- this couldn't really be a bad thing. He's almost 12, and we've been trying to foster more independence. With him heading to the middle school this year, he will be expected to handle more independently at school, and we want to enforce that at home, too.

There have been times, like when he was a baseball camp this summer and it got rained out in the afternoon, that it would have been helpful. Not only that, he seemed really excited about being able to call his grandparents and cousins, who all live far away, from his own phone.

But it feels weird already. He got a call from my husband while we were driving home and relayed the message that his dad wanted us to stop and pick up dinner at KFC instead of making something. I grumbled about it, saying we just went grocery shopping the day before and shouldn't eat out. He tells his father on the phone, "Yeah, well Mom's being a little fussy about it, but I think I can get her to go to KFC." Nice, huh?

One definite upshot: We have something very big to hold over his head. Do your chores, or we'll take the phone away. Do your homework, or we'll take the phone away. Wash my car, or we'll take the phone away. Clearly I'm drunk with power.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

The Bento Box - what's not to love?

My husband and I brought this bento box (left) home from a trip we took to Kyoto, Japan a couple years ago. This particular design was recommended to us by a friend who lives in Japan with his wife and son, who's about the same age as our son. Japanese children bring these efficient containers to school with them, filled with rice, seaweed, sushi and other delicacies.

Our newest bento box has been aptly named "Froggy". Froggy is displaying a more American style kid lunch below - complete with the standard chicken nuggets (whole grain variety, thank-you-very-much). My son loves rice and veggies and enjoys them so much more when they're neatly packed in a bento box. Rice with Edamame is also a huge hit with our boy!

Here's my tip to moms everywhere: If a kid finds veggies more palatable when they're in a bento box - go buy one. Make that two!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's still summer, but I've got back-to-school on the brain

As much as I'm trying to savor every minute of summer and the joy that this fair and fleeting season brings with it, I'm never far from the thought that my only son is off to Kindergarten this Fall. It's going to happen, whether I like it or not.

I do like, don't get me wrong. He's worked up to this moment. His entire pre-school class is rehearsing their graduation songs and he's really into being 'big'. So what's the problem?

His life is changing. Mine is, too.

I've changed my work schedule to be more in line with Kindergarten hours. It's a big change after having him in daycare for the last five years for ten hours a day (and me at the office for ten hours, too). He'll have a shorter day. I will, too. He'll be carrying his own backpack, fending for himself in the lunch line, shuffling from classroom to classroom, riding the bus - gasp! It's a lot to take in for a mom who likes doing things for her kiddo. In the mornings lately, he's been standing at the door saying "Let's go mom. Come on!" and at school the other day he actually said "You're good to go, mom". No lingering in his classroom or extra kisses and hugs needed. I was GOOD-TO-GO.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I'm ready for a truly independent, confident child, who needs me on a need-to-know basis. Of course it's what I should want. In fact, my husband and I have raised him to think for himself, do for himself, and to be a well-mannered boy. He just never "bought in" until now.

While my husband was in Houston this week, my son put on his clothes, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, put away his toys (without me asking) and engaged in all sorts of well-mannered behavior. He held open the door for me and "other ladies" at school, asked to be excused from the table without being prompted to do so and cleared his own plate. For three days in a row he kept up this routine. Are you kidding me?

Don't get me wrong, he's not perfect. What he most definitely IS is a soon-to-be Kindergartner with a new found sense of pride in his own ability. He's growing up. And until now, I didn't get the message that as his mom I need to "grow up", too.

What I know for sure is that come this September, the leaves won't be the only things falling. This mom's going to shed a few tears.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A summer break (from the kids)

Our family in the Midwest likes having our kids come visit for a stretch of time in the summer. So we met my mother in-law and her sister in Ohio so the kids could go with her to Kansas for two weeks. After driving for about 12 hours each from opposite directions, we met up with them at a motel off the highway.

That night, we all piled into one motel room (hey, we're cheap, what can we say)and planned to rise early to get back on the road, again in opposite directions.

At 5 a.m., my mother in-law and her sis jumped out of bed and started running circles around us as we stood by bleary-eyed. In what seemed like mere moments later, my husband and I were left standing in the parking lot of the hotel, watching the tail lights of his mother's red sedan fade out of sight.

We stared into the distance. "What just happened?" we both wondered aloud.

"I think those two ladies just took our kids," I said.

So there we stood, kidless on the far western edge of Ohio and two days off ahead of us.


We proceeded to have a great couple of days, meandering our way back to Ballston Spa, stopping to stroll a pier on Presque Isle in Erie, Pa., and have dinner at the home of the original Buffalo wings (the Anchor Bar). We stayed at a great hotel in downtown Buffalo and did the tourist bit at Niagara Falls the next day.

Then it was back to the grind -- except the kids were still gone. It took about a week or so before I really started to miss them. And after two weeks of couple time, we were ready for the little monsters to come home. It is possible for the house to be too quiet.

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