Monday, March 31, 2014

Pollen is (Almost) Upon Us

It's spring.  And it snowed yesterday.  (I'm going to leave it at that, as I have a contract with myself to never blog about the weather.)

But the fact is spring is coming (well, it's technically here).  And that means so are the allergies.  

I'm one of those allergy-free people who thought for a long time the whole allergy thing was a farce. I mean come on, runny nose?  Watery eyes?  It's a cold!  My husband is not one of those allergy-free people, and for years I have made fun of his "fake allergies" (to nuts and pollen and apples that have not been cooked).  

Now my son, Casey, has a severe peanut allergy.  And my other son, Braden has severe seasonal allergies.  

So apparently it's not a farce.  I've seen firsthand that my kids are definitely afflicted.  And I blame my husband completely.  (As an aside, my blame is well founded.  According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, if one parent has allergies (check), or if relatives on one side of the family have allergies (check), then the child has about a 50 percent chance of developing allergies).  

In any event, I am gearing up for April.  As an allergy novice, I had no idea that pollen could wreak such havoc.  Last spring my son walked around for the month of April with eyes that were nearly swollen shut.  And by the way, telling a four year old not to rub their itchy eyes DOES NOT WORK.  It got so bad that we even avoided going outside at times, but then that got way too depressing.  When spring finally does arrive, who wants to stay inside?  (Especially after this winter.  Must. get. out.)

In case any of you have little ones that are afflicted by allergies, here are some things that ultimately worked for us: 

- Change clothes immediately after playing outside
- Bathe after coming in from playing outside (I know this sounds excessive, but that pollen gets everywhere)
- Vacuum daily
- Wash the dog (okay, I didn't do this daily, but I probably should have). 
- Cold wash cloths over the eyes  
- Allergy medication - OTC Safety has a lot of useful information on over the counter medications and how to use them.  (Click here).  

For us, over the counter allergy medication worked wonders (in conjunction with the above).  If you do decide to go the medication route for your child, make sure to always read the label and follow the dosing instructions for children.  Also, note that diphenhydramine (a common ingredient in many allergy medications) should NEVER be used in children, and that allergy medication should never be used for the sole purpose of making a child sleepy.  

The graphic below from OTC Safety has a lot of helpful information regarding seasonal allergies.  With any luck, we'll all have a happy, WARM (snow-free), spring!

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All of the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Two Steps Back

When I left my job and started this blog, I was in some ways very lost.  I knew I had made the right decision for my family, but I wondered if I would ever work again.  For money, that is.  I wondered if I was "worth" it anymore - whether anyone would want to pay me again, given that I wasn't willing to devote my life to a career.  Would anyone want to pay a stay at home mom, who wanted to continue to stay at home?  

Slowly but surely, I did find paid work.  And it felt GREAT.  It wasn't even about the money, really. It was about a sense of pride that I was forging my own path, and making things work for me.  The fact is, working at a law firm does tend to make you feel powerless - powerless over your time, your priorities, and your career trajectory.  This new sense of control over my life was refreshing and, for lack of a better word, empowering.  

I stated off tutoring.  Then I lucked into some fairly well paid freelance work for a law firm. Then I joined forces with Montage Legal Group and continued to freelance and head up the group's DC efforts.  Then I started teaching an online legal course at a local university.  At the same time, my blog was becoming somewhat successful.  My readership was increasing, I was making a little (emphasize little) bit of money from it, and I was even getting media opportunities, like appearing on Huffington Post Live.

Things were happening.  And I was feeling more confident than ever.  

Then things got a bit derailed, most specifically, by this: 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Potty Talk

As a mother of three under the age of six, my life is consumed by poop and pee in ways I never knew possible.  On a daily basis, I probably change at least 10 dirty diapers.  I wipe three different butts, at differing points in the day.  I take smelly diaper champ bags out to the garbage.  I clean urine off of the toilet seat and, on some unfortunate occasions, remove urine soiled clothing from a child.  I discuss it, I joke about it, and I obsess over it ("Are you sure you don't have to go to the bathroom before we go out?  ARE YOU SURE????").

I also mentally record it, or at least I try to.  Just last night, I said to my husband, "I don't think Colin has pooped in a few days. Come to think of it, has Casey?"  I then sat and pondered when I last cleaned a poopy butt. There are so many poopy butts, they all blend together.  Then I feel like a bad mom because I cannot recall the last time and date of my childrens' bowel movements.  

Because there's nothing worse than when a child is constipated.  I imagine all of the excess waste stuffed into their little tummies.  I will it to come out.  As they sit grunting on the potty, like a stage mom, I grunt too.  But alas, it's one thing as a mother, I cannot control.  The first of many.  (There's a reason Freud created an entire developmental stage in its honor - the anal stage, in case you were wondering.)

This issue is pretty common in kids.  According to an OTC Safety article, constipation accounts for 3-5% of all pediatrician visits.  I am guilty here - way back when, when I was potty training Braden, and he was withholding poop, I dragged his butt (no pun intended) into the pediatrician's office.  "Make him poop!" I demanded.  

Unsurprisingly, they couldn't do that. 

But, I have learned there are over the counter medicines that can be used, such as: 

1) Stool softeners - The active ingredient is docusate. 
2) Laxatives - There are four (osmotic, lubricant, stimulant, and bulk formers).  
3) Enemas and suppositories.  

(For all of the above, be sure to ask a doctor for advice about treatment in children.)  

Tummy problems aren't restricted to constipation of course.  There's also heartburn, reflux, indigestion, etc. - all of which children can experience.  We have luckily avoided most of these, but in case you or your child are suffering, below are some tips from OTC Safety, (also click on this helpful article here - and be sure to always read the medication labels!).  

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All of the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why Can't Law Firms Retain Women?

It's no secret that in large law firms, men fare far better than women.  All one needs to do is review any website of any major law firm (or simply walk the halls) to see that most partners are men.
Still, I was shocked by an article published in the Washington Post last month, entitled "Large law firms are failing women," which conveyed some alarming statistics:

"Women are enrolled in half of law school classes and work alongside men in nearly equal numbers as associates.  And yet, women today are twice as likely as men to leave law firms for reasons like work-life balance.  What's more, in a survey of more than 17,000 law firm associates, women rated their firms' culture, their job satisfaction and their compensation (to name just a few) much lower than their male counterparts did.  This may provide some insight behind the statistic that only 4% of the 200 top U.S. law firms have female, firm-wide managing partners."  


We women go from making up 50% of a law school class, to 4% of managing partners.

There is clearly a problem here.  

Friday, March 7, 2014


I have a thousand things I want to write about.  Problem is, between illness and travel and various other things (like finishing House of Cards and gallivanting around Manhattan), I have yet to put pen to paper. Too bad you can't read what's in my head.  That would make things much easier.

Instead, I am going to redirect you to another article I found today which is absolutely PHENOMENAL, called "Mommy, Somebody Needs You".  It's one of those blog posts that people share on facebook and you never really click on unless you are waiting on a train or plane or in a carpool line.  None of those applied to me, but I read it anyway, and I ended up with tears streaming down my face by the end of it. It summarizes eloquently the highs and lows of being so "needed" by our children when they are young - how it's overwhelming, exhausting, unrelenting, and amazing all at the same time. Here's a little snippet: 

"One day [my] little boy will be a big man.  There will no longer be any sweet words whispered to me in the wee hours.  Just the whir of the sound machine and the snoring husband.  I will sleep peacefully through the night, never a worry of a sick child or a crying baby.  It will be but a memory.  These years of being needed are exhausting, yet fleeting.  I have to stop dreaming of 'one day' when things will be easier.  Because the truth is, it may get easier, but it will never be better than today.  Today, when I am covered in toddler snot and spit up.  Today, when I savor those chubby little arms around my neck.  Today is perfect.  'One day' I will get pedicures and shower alone.  'One day' I will get myself back.  But, today I give myself away, and I am tired, and dirty and loved SO much . . . ."


To read the full blog post, click here.

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