Thursday, May 30, 2013

Moving In

Big news - we are moving into our new house this weekend!!

The last piece of the puzzle (carpet installation) was completed this week so we are ready.  Finally.  Not ready to put this company on blast yet, but when you promise us something and we base our decision to buy from you based on that promise, you better follow through.  Without an attitude.  Roar.

But I digress.

For those who are keeping track, we have been in with my parents for approximately six weeks.  We have had some nice times along with some difficult ones.   I am a full-grown adult with a family of her own living with her parents - there are bound to be a few bumps in the road.  (And if you are going to practice multigenerational living, I can attest that these tips from my interview with Susan Newman for The Mother Company are super helpful).

Since I knew this arrangement wasn’t forever, I tried to approached the experience by diligently focusing on the moment with the knowledge that there is a good chance that I probably won’t be living with them like this again.

Having said that, there are a few things I am looking forward to when we finally take residency in our new home.*

My office :

This was a huge selling point for me!  Not only will I be able to have my computer, books, printer, and calendar on the same level of the home, but they will all be in the same room!  A room that will not be shared with the kitchen.  Or the basement.  Which was how my old “office” was set up, like bits and pieces throughout the house.

Big trees in our backyard instead of a major road:

 I grew up with a huge backyard with lots of trees, which I totally took for granted until our last house which was backed up to a busy road right by an intersection.  Fire trucks always paused there, and lucky for us, we were situated between two fire houses.  Now we can hear birds sing without the backdrop of traffic.

An upstairs:

It will be so very nice to have bedrooms that are not on the main level.  I am just fantasizing here, but maybe, just maybe I can make coffee without waking everyone up.  And since I am already day dreaming, I will take that coffee into my office and look out at all those big trees in my backyard.

A pool: 

There is a pool in our neighborhood - a pool that I can enjoy without having to take care of it!  This is a game changer for how we are going to spend our days this summer for sure!  On a related note: I see a lot of dirty laundry piles and sandwiches for dinner in our future this summer.

Here’s to hoping this all lives up to my expectations!!

*It just dawned on me that I have no photos of this whatsoever.  I think I avoided taking photos because it just seemed like a place we would visit. I will be sure to rectify this immediately. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Multigenerational Living

Things have been kind of hectic since we are still in the middle of moving.  By kind  of hectic, I mean my whole world is totally turned upside down.

My nightstand is a cardboard box which hold the contents of my regular nightstand that is in storage.  I have to drive approximately 30 minutes to pick up my daughter from school.  My food is in plastic bins on the floor in my parents’ kitchen.

That’s right, my parents’ kitchen.

I am living with my parents.

Yes, there have been some challenges.  I mean, I am an adult with her own family that has moved back in with her parents, right?!

But I feel lucky to have an opportunity to experience multigenerational living.  Living with my parents as an adult, I am able to see them in a different light than I did the last time I lived with them, about eleven years ago.

My kids are also getting to know their grandparents on a level different than when visiting and babysitting.

Apparently, we are not unique.  There is a huge trend of multigenerational living families in the United States.  I recently wrote a post for The Mother Company which was all about how to successfully live in a multigenerational home.  I was super excited to interview Susan Newman, Ph.D. who wrote Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)learning to Live Happily Together.  She had some great advice on how to move back in with your parents.  

I would be ever so grateful if you checked out my post.

I will leave you with some pictures of the positive highlights of living with my parents.

Reading comics

Birds-eye view

Generations and technology

Have you had to move back in with your parents or in-laws?  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And Now You Are Seven

Dear Marie, 

You are seven.  Seven year old.  As cliched as it is to say, I can’t believe it.  I remember the day you carefully made your way into this world like it was yesterday.

This year was a pretty big year for you.

You wrote your first book and entered it into the PBS Kids Go! Writing Contest.  First of all, so proud of you for writing a whole book just because you love to write.  But I am even more proud of you because you saw it through the whole process - from prewriting to the final touches of the illustrations.  I am so very proud of you!

And even though I have known you since before you were born, I did learn something new about you this year.

You don’t like surprises.  At all.

Daddy and I bought Taylor Swift concert tickets for you, and we were so excited to give them to you.  At first you were shocked, and then I thought delight and sheer joy would be the next obvious reaction.  But alas, you did not want the tickets and disappointment set in, which quickly turned to guilt about feeling disappointed.  Watching you struggle with the guilt because you expressed your true feelings was worse than knowing you were disappointed about the tickets.  It resonated with me because I often find myself managing my true feelings and the guilt associated with them.

I did my best to coach you through this; eventually you made your peace and spoke your truth.  And your truth was wanting either a World War II themed birthday party.  Although it was a great idea, we decided to go with your second choice of having your party at an indoor play area.

And because I have now learned your true disdain for surprises, we had an open talk about what you wanted for your birthday gift.  I thought about it and, I agreed that you could get gift cards for an iPod.  

But once you had the money, you felt guilty about the iPod.  After much investigating/observing/listening, I determined that you felt guilty because you thought you wore me down.  Which totally wasn’t the case.  I explained to you that I had to come to terms with what I thought you should have and what truly interests you.

Watching how much you torture yourself with guilt at the tender age of seven, my birthday wish for you is to have the confidence within yourself to be guilt-free. I want you to know that you need to be who you really are.  You have a lot of amazing gifts, and I don’t want them to get lost in a sea of guilt.

In your life, you will find guilt at every turn.  Guilt about wanting something. Guilt about getting something.  Guilt about your feelings.  Guilt about your guilty feelings.

Just stop.

You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to speak your truth.  No, not deserve, but the responsibility to live your truth.

Without guilt.

Never apologize for your feelings or for being you.

Happy birthday.

Love you always,


Friday, May 10, 2013

Why Every Mom Needs to Read Lost in Suburbia: A Momior by Tracy Beckerman

Happy (early) Mother’s Day!

On this very day seven years ago, I became a mom.  Little did I know that when I became a mom, I also became part of a club in which all the members know what it is like to have spit up run down your back and understands what it is like to function with as little as five hours of broken sleep.  It’s great to have a community of women to look to for advice on baby food, diapers, and preschool.

What gets lost in that conversation about baby gear and sleep schedules is who we are as women.  Not the women we were before children, but the women we become after we have give birth, separate from being a mom.  

Tracy Beckerman breaks down the walls about the identity crisis that many moms go through in her hilarious new book, Lost in Suburbia: A Momior of How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs.  She details her journey from a full-time working woman in New York City with a cool job in TV where she gets to wear real clothes and shoes to a full-time stay-at-home mom for a boss that isn’t even potty-trained in a New Jersey suburban neighborhood. 

She explains her situation with such humor that I was able to laugh at some of those difficult memories of weird baby illnesses (like the time Marie had hand-foot-mouth disease as a baby, which at the time, was the grossest thing ever) to finer points about being neurotic about a pacifier (I actually called the pediatrician to see if it was OK to give her one).

However, the part that resonated deeply with me was the conversation about cleaning wipes. 

Yes, cleaning wipes.

I took great comfort in the fact that she, too, shared the feeling of insanity that cleaning wipes was an acceptable topic of conversation.  In fact, those kinds of conversations are the exact reason why I started a blog.  

And when I didn’t think that I could love this book anymore, Tracy writes about her rock bottom. I laughed through some tears as she describes the layers of guilt of not feeling totally and completely fulfilled with being a mom.  I love being mom, but sometimes it feels as something is missing.  That guilt about feeling guilty about being lucky enough to stay home with my kids mixed with the guilt of wanting something more is exhausting - on top of an already exhausting schedule.

I absolutely enjoyed reading about Tracy’s journey of finding her cool, that part of you that is just for you and not tied with being a mom or a wife or even something you do.  It is difficult to talk about this sometimes because it can be embarrassing (or scary or what is the word? Oh, yes, *guilty*) to admit that the most important job in the whole entire world doesn’t complete you is a bitter pill to swallow.  It is also frightening because if you let it, motherhood can make you a stranger to yourself. 

I am at a point right now with blogging/freelancing/teaching that I am enjoying what I do, but sometimes wonder what the hell I am doing taking time away from my kids to pursue my interests.  After reading Momior, I somehow feel less guilty to want a little corner of my mind that is just for me.  Her wicked sense of humor mixed with her powerful insights are exactly what I needed at this point in my life.

Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think!

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

*I was given a free e-copy of this book to read.  The opinions are all my own.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Technology for Kids - A Slippery Slope?

So my baby, my little girl, my first born told me she wants an iPod for her birthday.

Her 7th birthday.

My first reaction was visceral.  Of course not.  How could a 7 year old have her own iPod?!  Wouldn’t she want some stuff to go with her American Girl collection? 

And then I started to ponder her wish.

She is on the computer a lot and not just to play games.  She is on there researching former presidents and first ladies, you know, for fun.  She researches writing contests. 

I say this not to brag, but to show her maturity.  (Well, maybe brag just a touch - come on, I’m her Mom)!  I guess it isn’t any wonder she isn’t into dolls all that much.

Well, I take that back.  She is into American Girl dolls, but not so much to play with them.  She enjoys them for the purpose to learn about World War II.  (In fact, she tossed around the idea of having a World War II theme birthday party).  Please also note that her other favorite period of history is the Revolutionary War.

But I digress.

So when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she hemmed and hawed that she would like some books and notebooks  . . .  which I know she would love, but I asked her what she really, really wanted.

When she took a deep breath in and whispered desperately, “An iPod,” I knew I had to quiet that knee-jerk no and listen.  

Marie has never been the type of girl to play with dolls, and even though there is a finite time period in which she will even be interested in them, that just isn't her thing.

She loves to read and create.  And she loves technology.

I would rather her have something that she really wants as opposed to some things that she kinda sorta likes.

But is this a slippery slope sliding towards self-entitlement?  Towards the end of her childhood?  

Or is it a great opportunity to teach her limits and boundaries?  A chance to teach her how to navigate safely through technology-centered world?   

So after much thought and discussion, we have decided that she can ask for gift cards for the Apple store and she can buy an iPod.

I think.  

Or am I making a mistake of gigantic proportion?  

Or am I over-thinking this too much?

Do your kids have technology?  How old are they?  What kind do they have?  What kind of guidelines do you have for them to use their devices?