Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'm the Bitch in the House

"The Bitch in the House"
Amazon Affiliate
"Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play
When No One Has the Time" by Brigid Schulte
Amazon Affiliate
Here are the two books I have checked out from the public library right now; no joke. "The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage" and "Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time" by Brigid Schulte. Such great books!  

Can you guess what my state of mind is? I'm so stressed, anxious, frazzled... I'm too tired to delve into details, but you'll be thankful for that. It is the same story: too much to do, not enough time, feeling like I'm not doing enough, bad mom, bad worker, bad wife...

But now with my new job, my overwhelmed feelings are more extreme. It's not logical; it's full on reactionary and gut level emotions. My sister tries to 'talk me off the ledge' when I'm in my irrational outbursts, but it's ineffective. Yes, I should stop the negative loop, take deep breaths, meditate, think positive... I just don't feel I have the luxury of time for that.

Some minor things I've done to 'own' more of my time: put an hour lunch break on my work calendar each day of the week (even if I don't actually take it) and I've gone walking in the afternoons with a few coworkers. It's nice to get fresh air and stretch my legs.

I'm a month in at my new job. It's the end of the week. TGIF. I hope that next month I own it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Guest Post: "Mommy Has to Go to Work" Poem

A friend of mine recently had her second daughter and has been enjoying her maternity leave with her two girls. She and I have talked at length about how hard it is to leave your babies to get back in the grind.

The night before she had to return to work from her maternity leave, she shared this poem she wrote with me.
Mommy Has To Go To Work

Tomorrow mommy has to return to work.
Tomorrow our daily routine will have to change.
You may be too young to understand that in order to secure your future,
Mommy has to work and provide for you.

I have enjoyed every second of you.
From waking up to you, to every meal,
To all our many adventures throughout the day.
From play time, to reading time, to movie and cartoon time,
To bath then bed time and everything in between.

Those special moments are what will help me make it through my day.
I will carry your laughter and giggles in my heart.
I will close my eyes and imagine your scent, warmth and cuddles.
I will miss you so much, the pain is simply indescribable.
I will even miss the times you fought me,
As well as your fussiness and temperament.

I hope your sitter gets you the way I do.
I hope she learns your likes and preferences.
I hope she imitates the healthy food I make you.
I hope she is patient and makes sense of what you want.
I pray she treats you with kindness and respect.
I pray she comforts and reassures you the way you like.

I hope she constantly teaches you new things.
I hope she is attentive and affectionate.
I hope she is fun and makes you laugh as I do,
With all the silly things I do.
You deserve the best this world has to offer.
And because of this mommy needs to go to work.
The end of maternity leave is the saddest day ever.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Allusive Work Life Balance

Overwhelmed
Stressed
Anxious
Unmotivated
Distracted

Home
Work
Children
Health/Fitness
Money
Calendar

I can't even bring myself to write in full sentences. I've had a writer's block for months. At this current moment, we're at the end of a Saturday. I'm feeling so anxious and overwhelmed; I mainly experience this way on Sundays. The sensation that there is too much to do, not enough time or energy, that things are slipping through the cracks.

In addition to the normal stress of work, home, leisure and the upcoming back to school extravaganza, I've been interviewing for a new job. For the past month. My nerves can hardly stand the suspense and unknown. I'm torn between what is comfortable and known and what is new, scary and potentially extra workload. I don't want a more difficult work life balance. I don't know if I can handle an even heavier load.

I enjoy being a working mom to a certain extent, but I don't necessarily want to be totally entrenched in my profession at the expense of stretching myself even thinner. Will I ever have balance and well being? At my current job I am able to be available to the children and their special events, doctors appointments and their sick days. I get a plentiful amount of vacation, personal days and work at home options. I don't want to sacrifice that.

Is an increase of pay worth it? I almost think not. But then again, the reality is that my finances are tight and I could use the extra money. I am pursuing the opportunity and seeing where it takes me. I may not even get an offer. And if I do, I don't have to take it. In fact, maybe I could become a non-working mom for good measure! Quit working altogether! Yeah, probably not a wise move.

What does a good work life balance look like to you? I need a pep talk.

P.S. In other happy news, it seems as though my l'il Chicken Hawk (3.8 years old) is officially potty trained! Underwear 24/7 - yay!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chickadees' Music Review: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's Perfect Quirk

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's new CD - The Perfect Quirk
 Secret Agent 23 Skidoo recently released their new CD - The Perfect Quirk. We love it!
"Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is the King of Kid Hop! Purveyor of Family Hip Hop at its finest, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has captivated crowds internationally with his own funky brand of positive half pint party music. Combining deft wordplay, great storytelling and pure positivity on top of thumping drums and sophisticated multi-instrumental productions, 23 Skidoo speaks to kids and parents alike. 23 Skidoo bumps up the volume and kids’ self esteem, while setting the family music bar higher than a hidden cookie jar..." More about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Family | Photo Credit: Mike Belleme
Songs include:
  1. You're It
  2. Unwind 
  3. Imaginary Friend
  4. 3 Pointed Back
  5. Pillowfort Pillowfight
  6. PJs All Day
  7. Guess What
  8. Caught in the Screen
  9. Time Machine
  10. Nightlight
"The Perfect Quirk, a raucous celebration of originality and the quirkiness of being a kid in this crazy awesome world, is the ideal soundtrack for living room dance parties or a summer vacation on the road less traveled. The tunes are classic hip hop spiced with Motown, reggae, club thump, blues, and the occasional pirate shanty, each one aimed at the quirky soul of the funky family." (That would be applicable to my funky family of five!)
Skidoo explains, "The word 'weird' derives from the Old English 'wyrd,' which translates as 'destiny' or 'fate.' I hope this album will help kids realize that their quirks are their own funky destinies, meant to be lived to their potential. Oh yeah, and I hope it makes 'em dance like they're crazy!"

My six year old chickadee has definitely been uplifted by their songs and messages. She has told me countless times after listening to their music that she's unique and special just the way she is, so she has gotten the message. Her older sister can be quite harsh and mean-spirited towards her, so it's a constant struggle to reverse the self esteem damage. 
 
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo also has a new music video for their song, Pillowfort Pillowfight. It's so fun, playful and silly. Watch and see for yourself.



I have loved Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's music since I first heard their song Space Cadet on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live; then I saw the video - so cute and catchy! Their songs are super fun, light-hearted, entertaining and have a positive message for kids (and parents). Have you ever heard Gotta Be You? -- "Whatcha gonna be?" "I gotta be me!" That is a great reminder for even the grown ups out there, struggling to be true to their 'perfect quirk'.

What's fun about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's music is it's got a little bit of hip-hop (they call it kid-hop) mixed with a little bit of some funky Mother Goose. My favorite song on The Perfect Quirk is Unwind - it is certainly an uplifting summer song.

"Daddy-O" loves the band too. His assessment: "They are a cool band with great music that helps build kids' character. It's fun, entertaining and I like the whole family experience; everyone's got a part."

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo are out on tour this year and we want to see them live badly! We're thinking of driving to Las Vegas to catch them in action this October.

Here are our eight and six year old's (our little chickadees) reviews of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's CD, The Perfect Quirk.

Little Chickadee's review:

My six year old's review of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's new CD
Translation:
  • I think it is a jig
  • This jig is fun
  • I have never done a pillow fight
  • What does your songs mean?
  • I like your songs
Oldest Chickadee's Review:

My eight year old's review of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's New CD
Translation (organized by song, I think): 
  1. I like the beat
  2. It feels like summer
  3. Sounds really funny
  4. Great idea
  5. Love the synthesizer
  6. I love your voice
  7. I like the instruments
  8. I love all the songs
  9. I know you worked so hard
  10. I love your whole family
  11. My favorite songs is pillow fight, pillow fort
My little Space Cadets working on their 'Perfect Quirk'


Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Chickadees' Review of Laurie Berkner's New Lullaby Album



Laurie Berkner, one of our favorite children's musicians, came out with a new lullaby CD recently and it is exquisite! Her voice is so soothing and warm and her songs are incredibly catchy. We've been listening to this CD in the car and at home and all sing along together to the songs.

I especially love the beautiful melodies, fun lyrics and some of the new twists on her popular songs (Pillowland, Moon Moon Moon, Goodnight, 5 days old, Under a Shady Tree.) My 6 year old chickadee said it best when she said, "I feel like I'll never grow up when I listen to her music." That's exactly how I feel.

After listening to Laurie Berkner's new album many times, I think one of my favorite of her new songs is Mahalo; it's definitely catchy and upbeat. Her music is geared towards children of young ages, but even appeals to my eight year old; they are not annoyingly babyish or 'sing-songy'.

Laurie is joined on Laurie Berkner Lullabies by band mates Susie Lampert (keyboards), Brady Rymer (bass) and Bob Golden (drums, percussion). The album is enhanced by the voices of children including Laurie’s own daughter, Lucy.

Laurie says of Lullabies, “I have been getting requests for this album for many years. I’ve now been a parent since 2004, and I’ve had a chance to feel that amazing experience of singing my own child to sleep. I’ve written lullabies for her and I’ve sung my favorites from my own childhood to her over the years. To me, making that time feel safe and full of love is so important. I hope some of these songs create some of those feelings and become as special to other families as they have been for mine.”

Here is what my youngest chickadee (6) noted about the album, in graphics and words:
A six year old's review of Laurie Berkner's new lullaby album
 Translation:
  •  Lullaby - I like it a little bit
  • Firefly - it's fun
  • Pillowland - I could fall asleep
  • I like it
  • I love it
  • I feel like I could never grow up
Here is my eight year old chickadee's review of the album in graphics and words:

An eight year old's review of Laurie Berkner's new lullaby album
She tried to put her notes in order, but she tends to get a little distracted... But I love how earnest she is and sweet. She really loves music.

Notes translate to:
  1. Soft and peaceful
  2. Creative talking and singing
  3. Loving and kind
  4. Love the instruments
  5. I like the title
  6. I love the beat
  7. I like the rhyme
  8. I love the melody
  9. Like your voices
  10. Sweet and good
  11. Creative rhyming
  12. It reminds me of Hawaii
  13. Kind of sad
  14. The name sounds weird
  15. Peaceful song 
  16. Grassy
My little chickadees rocking their spunk and creativity
 The album's songs include:
  1. A Lullaby 
  2. Fireflies  
  3. I Gave My Love a Cherry  
  4. Pillowland 
  5. Sing Me a Song    
  6. Under a Shady Tree
  7. Your Beautiful Eyes
  8. Moon Moon Moon 
  9. Hush Little Baby 
  10. All Around My Room   
  11. What Is the Color of My Dreams? 
  12. Mahalo  
  13. All the Planets 
  14. Nona 
  15. Little Boy Blue 
  16. In the Clouds 
  17. Like a Seashell 
  18. All Through the Night
  19. Five Days Old    
  20. Stars Are Shining
  21. Goodnight 
I'm a little melancholy that my chickadees are getting older and will be aging out of some of this fun children's music. I hope they carry these little gems with them in their hearts when life/school/friends gets tougher and it helps ground them in familial love. For me, being from a disconnected/dysfunctional family, listening to Laurie Berkner's music (and similar musicians) with my kids, it helps heal some of my childhood angst.

I highly recommend Laurie Berkner's new lullaby CD for your family!

Enjoy!