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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Off and running — in heels

Yesterday was one of those days when I woke up and thought, "there's no way I'm going to get all of this done today." Most days are very full, but this was one of those have-to-be-in-three-places-at-once days.

It started by getting to the gym at 5:30 a.m. I was home by 6:50, thinking maybe I'd crawl back under the covers for a few minutes before waking my daughter. My thoughts of relaxation didn't last long. The 4-foot pile of clean laundry sitting on the couch shot me an insuting look as soon as I walked into the house. So I folded and sorted instead of going back to bed.

At work I whipped through emails and wrapped up our January magazine, working with reporters on their daily stories in between everything else. When I thought an escape was possible, I zipped over to Target. I was on a mission: black pants and black shoes for my son's orchestra concert that night. (Of course, we remembered he needed these the previous evening).

Black shoes -- check. Black pants -- uh, oh. Nada. Nothing in his size whatsoever.
Alright, I was close to the mall at that point, so I zipped over there and parked at JC Penney's. Once again, failure. Everything is too expensive.

So at that point I realized the clock is ticking and I needed to get back to work to finish the daily story budget for the copy editors. I started power walking into the mall, bee-lining for Sears. My feet were killing me. I hadn't planned to do this much walking when I put on those heels.

Sears had the goods -- Dockers for 17 bucks and a cute clip-on tie on clearance. I checked out and bolted out the nearest door. Turns out I was waaaay far away from my car. I broke into a deliberate power walk again; then a full-out run (in the hurty heels, mind you) once I saw my car in the distance.

The last hour at work was a blur, and then I was on my way to pick up the kids, drop my daughter off at a friend's house across town so she could catch a ride to soccer practice and buzz home to get my son ready for his concert.

Once at home, we had 10 minutes to transform him. I ripped off the tags, he got dressed and we were out the door.

Where was my husband during all this mayhem? As we raced to the school, he called. He had been working more than an hours-drive away in Hudson but was now on his way from Clifton Park. I dropped off my son and parked (after doing two full loops around the school and its parking lots searching for a spot), and as luck would have it, my husband reached the school entrance just as I did.

The concert was wonderful, although we had to crane our necks to see just a patch of his little, blond head.

My day was not over, though. I had to bolt out of the concert a few minutes early, once again running to my car (I wisely changed my shoes while at home earlier). It just happens to be my week to sing at church, and rehearsal was starting at 8:30 p.m.
Two hours later, I was finally heading home.

Just another day in paradise.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where does a parent's responsibility end?

It's always a tough call for me whether to "fix" something for my children or let them suffer the consequences of their actions.

Here's what happened this morning that prompted me to reflect on this. As I was zipping around the house getting ready to leave for work, I noticed my daughter's homework folder sitting on her bed. I picked it up and opened it. Sure enough, her completed homework was tucked inside. For a moment, I contemplated running it over to the school so she wouldn't get in trouble for not having her homework. Glancing at the clock, I quickly decided it against it — but not before a twinge of guilt crept in.

An internal dialogue ensued as I continued on my getting-ready routine. Could I bring it to her? Yes, but I would be late for work. Would she be happy and appreciate my efforts? Yes, but it certainly wasn't my responsibility to ensure the folder got to school. Besides, she goofed off for much of the morning before getting her bag packed. Surely, there is a lesson to be learned here for her.

So I decided to let her take the heat. It reminded me of a saying we have at the office: "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

But where is that line with our kids? We want to teach them to be responsible, but we also want to be there for them. We want to be their heroes on some level. Sometimes that involves coming to their rescue. Usually I can do that without even going out of my way. Like if we all rush out the door to get to soccer practice, and we're in the car on the way, I'll say, "So, you got your water bottle?" Of course, I know she didn't get it because I grabbed it and filled it. But I let her squirm for just a moment. "Oh, no! I don't have it!"

Then I swoop in as the hero. Albeit, with a bit of sarcasm.

That raises the question, though: When do I just let her forget the water bottle? Are there certain times, instances and levels of responsibility that parents just need to back off and let their kids fall?

The biggest struggle I have is with schoolwork. My son is in sixth grade, and the teachers at this grade level are expecting a high level of independence. At what point do I quit nagging him about his homework and just let him suffer the consequences? They are his classes and his assignments, after all.

Ballston Spa School District, like many others, offers parents access to a "parent portal" where we can see all assignments. But neither my husband nor I have time to check in there constantly for stuff our kids are charged with keeping track of themselves.

So, I'm left to guess when to swoop in and when to back off. It's impossibly difficult to watch your kids fall on their faces, but I guess, in the end, it's where life's lessons are learned.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When Dad's a Superhero

It's not bragging to say that I do the lion's share of the daily preparation and household chores for our family. Like many moms, I suppose the same might be said if my husband didn't travel for work, but he does.

When he's not spending a week in China or Europe or South America, my husband's jetting off to Pennsylvania, or Texas or Atlanta. This level of travel is partly why I adopted a friendlier work schedule late this summer. With my son heading to Kindergarten and my husband's travel heating up, it became obvious that something had to change.

Because I'm around a bit more these days for things like leisurely weekday breakfasts and putting my son on the bus, which I love, I've become acutely aware of my husband's 'Superhero' status.

Wikipedia refers to superheros as "mystery men", which I suppose is what has ultimately elevated my husband to this status. On top of being away quite a bit, his job requires him to help others, which he's very good at, and he's 'saved the day' on more than one occasion. Although he doesn't wear a cape, his business suit is equally impressive to a five year old.

I might be the one serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner for my son, bathing him, reading him books, playing with him, carting him to sports, tending to bumps and bruises while working (nearly) full time, but my husband's grand entrance after a week away - gift in hand - is what really makes our son light up and smile ear to ear. In my son's eyes, his dad is most definitely a Superhero. I figure that being the Superhero's wife is pretty cool, too.

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