Friday, May 31, 2013

A Partnership with OTC Safety

As moms we wear a lot of hats.  Disciplinarian.  Comforter.  Cheerleader.  Role Model.  Chef. Cleaner.  Chauffeur.  Teacher.  Doctor.

I don't mean doctor as in the kind with a medical degree (though obviously some moms have that). I more mean the family caretaker, pharmacist, soother.  We become the resident experts of our children's health.  We are the first line of defense against illness in our own homes - we dispense medication, we sanitize, we tend, and ultimately, we become the gatekeepers for deciding when it's time to call in the professionals.  

Because after all, we know our children better than anyone.  We learn to read their cries, their body language, their jumbled words.  Our lips on our children's forehead end up serving as the most accurate thermometer there is.  We have, for lack of a better word, mother's instinct. We know when illness descends, and when it does, we know what works and what doesn't.

And man, does it descend.

When I embarked on this whole motherhood journey I'm on, I knew my kids would get sick.  I knew I would take them to the doctor and give them vitamins and dispense medications as needed.  But I wasn't aware of just how often this would happen, and just how seasoned I would become.  In the course of nearly five years, we've had it all - strep, stomach flu, allergies, every rash known to man, impetigo, hand foot and mouth, Fifth disease, fungal infections, RSV, croup, scarlet fever, and probably a hundred other diseases I've never heard of and can't even think of right now.  So, yes, after five years, when it comes to my kids' health, I do consider myself an "expert" in a way.

But even the most expert, seasoned, mom can use a little help.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Macro Traders - Beware of the Bosom!

By now you've probably already heard the sound bites.  Last week, Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund billionaire, appeared all over the national media regarding his comments to an audience at the University of Virginia about what happens to women "macro traders" once they have children. Apparently, in his vast experience with women traders (which involves working with two women turned mothers in the 1970's), once motherhood hits, women are worthless at trading.

"You will never see as many investors or traders as men, period, end of story . . . . As soon as that baby's lips touch[] that girl's bosom, forget it . . . . Every single investment idea . . . . every desire to understand what is going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience."

Quotes taken from here and here.

To be fair, Mr. Jones acknowledged that men could also have such lapses, such as during a divorce.  In fact, he says that one can "automatically subtract 10 to 20% from any manager if he is going through a divorce."  (Quote taken from here).

So basically, if you're looking for a macro trader, avoid someone who is going through a divorce. And avoid all women with children.  And maybe even avoid Paul Tudor Jones himself.  Given the public relations disaster he has been enduring for the past week, I'm betting he's lost some focus himself.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Your Turn - Sarah's Story

"Your Turn" is a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally.  If you are interested in contributing a story, please email me at, or click here.  

When I joined a large Washington, D.C. based law firm six years ago, I fully expected that Big Law firm life was incompatible with family, but I thought that I had plenty of time before I had to worry about it. After all, I was newly married, no kids, and a lot of ambition.  About two years into litigation practice, with a baby on the way, I knew that the time had come to take stock of my life, my career, and my priorities.  I came home only to shower, sleep, change clothes, and occasionally walk the dogs.  My husband took care of everything else from cleaning to bill paying to grocery shopping.  He was growing tired of our arrangement.  Our home was my hotel, restaurant, and dry cleaning service.  Convenient for me; painfully frustrating for my husband.

After a particularly grueling month of working around the clock late into my pregnancy with our first son, my husband gave me an ultimatum: do something about your job or this marriage/family is going to fall apart.  Bamm! Less than 2 years into my legal career and I was at the mom vs. career crossroads—job or family.  The next month I requested an alternative work schedule (AWS). 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Seven of Us

When I was in college I had six best friends.  I know that sounds all cheesy and sorority like (and it kind of was).  But the fact is, there was a group of seven of us that more or less spent four years together.  We lived together, we drank together, we traveled together, we grew up together.  Our senior year, we dressed up as the seven dwarfs for Halloween (I was Dopey).  

It wasn't like we all always got along perfectly and we all were equally close, but for a group of seven girls, we went through college surprisingly drama free.  We looked out for each other.  We were a team.  

Now having had children, I can't say my time at college was the best time in my life, but it was damn well near close.  I can't imagine having a better college experience.  Truly.  And in large part, it was because of those six girls.  

Thirteen years ago.
We've all kept in pretty good touch since graduation.  Some of us even lived together over the years.  And during what I like to call the "wedding circuit" (that five year period where every one you know and then some gets married), we saw each other all the time as we attended bachelorette parties, showers, and wedding receptions.  

But then life went on, and we all went our separate ways.  There was marriage, careers, and lots of kids (15 so far between the seven of us).  There was also divorce, separation, and setbacks.  Our visits got less frequent as life, and distance, got in the way.  And before I knew it, it had been several years since all seven of us had been reunited together, all at once.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

Warning - Pregnant Lady Bitching

When I found out I was pregnant a couple of months ago I made a promise to myself not to turn this blog into a pregnancy rant.  I mean, who wants to read that?  For leisure?  I have stuck to it. Until today.

Allow me to bitch.  


Look, I don't want to appear to be an alcoholic.  But as some of you long time blog readers will know, I really enjoy a glass of wine or two.  Not just for the nice relaxing buzz it gives, but also for the taste of it.  The feel of it.  The aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh you get after a long day and you finally get to sit down.  As far as beverages go, for me it's a staple.  

Fine, I get it, I'm pregnant, inx-nay on the wine.  But with this nice weather and vacation coming and walking past people sitting in sidewalk cafes having cocktails... I am getting a major hunkering for a margarita.  Or a nice cold beer.  Or something that indicates celebration and summer and adulthood and the chance to numb my stresses if only for a few minutes.  And the fact that I CAN'T have it, that I SHOULDN'T have it,  that it's PROHIBITED just makes me want it more in an almost frantic, psycho way.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Co-Parent

As is typical, my trip to Disney World has been followed by a bad case of post-vacation depression.  This tends to happen every time I return from a trip, to varying degrees.  I'm used to it, and I'm prepared for it.  But this one hit me hard and is still lingering, 8 days later.


I have really been analyzing this phenomenon this time around and wondering, WHY?  There are the obvious things of course - the fun, the warm weather, the casting aside of concerns about money and routine and a well balanced meal.  But really, at its heart, I think I have figured out what makes me so sad about coming home.

I miss having a co-parent.

When my husband is around, he is very hands on.  We alternate who changes poopy diapers and tag team bedtime and share meal and bathing responsibilities.  I have a partner to deal with the meltdowns and a co-spectator when the kids do something adorable.  The highs are that much higher, and the lows are not as low.  It's just better, easier, calmer, more enjoyable, when my husband is around.  And when we're on vacation, he's around all the time.

When we're in our real lives, he's not around so much.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Poem for Mother's Day

Love this poem.  Happy Mother's Day, everyone.

On Children, by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children. 
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. 
They come through you but not from you, 
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts. 
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you. 
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. 

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth. 
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far. 
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Placing an Order

When one gets pregnant, one of the first thing one is asked by friends, family, co-workers, and random belly touching strangers is:  So what do you want?  A boy or a girl?  

It's almost like placing an order in a restaurant. Yes, I'll have a boy this time, please.  As if we have any say in the matter.

Most people will play the game, though most will answer coyly - It doesn't matter to me, as long as the baby is healthy.  (As if we won't love our children if they aren't healthy, but that's a topic for another day).

This is generally a lie.  Usually there is some kind of gender preference.  And I haven't conducted any research on this, but from what I can tell, in America today, that gender preference is generally for girls.

Why?  The typical reasons are draped in gender stereotypes: Girls are so much calmer than boys. Boys are wild.  Girls clothes are so much more fun!  Boys clothes are boring.  Girls will stay close with their families.  Boys will stray.  Girls will be their mother's best friend (eventually).  Boys will never talk to their mothers (eventually).  Girls will share their emotions, express their love, and show vulnerability.  Boys will be aloof and cold and strong.  Girls are sweet.  Boys are rough. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

I certainly felt the pull for a girl.  Coming from an all girl family, for my first child, if I were placing an order, I would have ordered a girl.  When I found out it was a boy, I wasn't upset per se, but I wondered what it would be like.  What am I going to do with a boy?  I thought.  Eventually I got used to, and embraced, the idea.  I went crazy for blue bedding and baby suspenders and figured I could do all the frilly stuff with my next child.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

When I worked in big law I allowed stress to take over my life.  I was stressed about deadlines, stressed about pleasing the client, stressed about meeting the firm's expectations, stressed about defending depositions and giving presentations and finding the perfect case and making sure everything was always just right.  I felt like there was always someone counting on me, always some kind of performance to orchestrate, and a million opportunities to let everyone down. There was little rest from this pressure, particularly because so much of it was self inflicted.

Leaving my job was driven by my desire to be with my children, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved to leave some of that responsibility behind.  It's not that all responsibility went away - obviously kids come with a whole new set of obligations, commitments, and burdens.  But my duties to them didn't intimidate me - I knew I could do it, that I WOULD do it.  I had a faith in myself as a parent that I never had in my myself as a lawyer.  

A trade off to being a stay at home mom, I always thought, was that any sort of professional satisfaction I had would cease to exist.  And despite the stress and the pressure of being a firm lawyer, I certainly did experience notions of achievement - particularly after I overcame an obstacle or a fear: getting through an oral argument, negotiating a settlement, making my colleagues proud, or just finishing a project that had hung over my head.  I figured those senses of accomplishment would be replaced by something even more profound - the joy of being with my children, every day.  

It is joyful and rewarding and gratifying and worthwhile.  But generally, being a stay at home mom is predictable and routine.  It certainly is stressful at times, but it's a different kind of stress than the stress I felt as a lawyer.  As a parent, I rarely have to get out of my comfort zone like I did as a full time professional attorney.  

I think it was a matter of weeks into my role as a stay at home mom that I realized maybe I did need something more.  After all, isn't that what this blog was about?  About "professional" satisfaction? About feeling like I'm still adding something real, something thoughtful, outside the confines of my own home?  About putting myself out there?  About stepping out of my comfort zone?   

A few weeks ago I really put myself out there.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hello from...

In the midst of everything else going on lately, I neglected to mention the fact that we were going on vacation...

Today, I write to you from Disney World.  Well, actually, I write to you from a pitch black hotel room where I am sitting in silence while Casey naps.  But, that's how it goes.

I did a post on our last trip to Disney World where I chronicled our Disney trips over the years, starting with a trip with just my husband, then a trip with Braden, and then our last trip, with Braden and Casey.  I ended it by saying: "Who knows what our next Disney trip will bring?"

Well, it brought two boys more excited for the flight than Disney World itself:

It brought RAIN (ugh), ponchos, and rides on Dumbo.

It brought meet and greets with Mickey.

It brought family photo attempts, with swords weilding.

And it brought a growing belly (seriously, it's out of control).

We have two days left to make some more Disney memories until we are back to reality.  Until then, I shall bask in the Disney magic.  Who doesn't love Disney World? (Don't answer that.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two Secrets

I've never been a good secret keeper.  In fact, I'm pretty damn awful at it.

But since March 6, I've been keeping a really big secret.  

On the evening of March 6, my husband and I were up late packing for a road trip to Cincinnati to visit my best friend.  We were a bit tipsy - we always crack open a bottle of wine before a trip, to make the packing a bit more entertaining.  I was in the bathroom packing up my toiletries, when I glanced under the sink and saw a package of pregnancy tests.  I honestly don't know WHAT enticed me to take one.  Sheer curiosity?  Tipsy-ness?  The fact that I was sure to be tipsy during my weekend away?  

I don't know, because we certainly weren't planning anything pregnancy related that month.  But for some reason, I took it.  And this happened:

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