Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Work-Life Balance Tips From a SITS Girl

SITSGirls.com recently posted a list of work/life balance tips for working moms. The article was geared for professional writers/bloggers, but they could benefit any working chick.

Some of the things I'm already proficient at:
  • Scheduling
  • Making To-Do Lists
Things I need to work on:
  • Learning to Say No
  • Winning the Lottery and Hiring a Staff of 20
As usual, I'm struggling with balance lately and am feeling those familiar pangs of discontent. I am happy to be employed with a stable job, but I have so many interests and activities I want to pursue. Not to mention trying to stay healthy and eat right. It's hard to do all the things I need and want to do every day. 

When I start feeling stressed like this, I start picking apart every aspect of my life and wanting to overhaul it. I daydream about quitting, moving far away, ultimate freedom. What's sobering to me is the reality that none of these daydreams are possible anytime soon. I'm stuck in a working rut. 

In happier news, I just bought a little stationary bicycle peddle machine that I can use at work to help me exercise while at my desk. Genius! You can exercise your legs or arms with it apparently. All this for only $30! I'm starting my new routine tomorrow and expect to lose 5 pounds by Thanksgiving. (It might work as long as I don't eat my kids' Halloween candy.) I'm sure it won't look funny at all when people walk by my office. Or when I start wearing a sweat band to work.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Awaken Your Baby's Senses and Love of Music

Vered's Good Morning My Love Children's CD is a Gem

Vered's new CD has earned her a 2012 Parents' Choice Gold Award and many accolades;
including Laurie Berkner's top album picks of the year in USA Today.

I had the pleasure of previewing a new children's music CD that made me smile from the moment I pressed play. It was irresistibly sweet and nurturing for infants to school-aged children and for even big kids like me - Good Morning My Love by Vered. Immediately I found it to be cheerful, happy, joyful and nurturing all at the same time.

The first song, "Good Morning My Love", would definitely be great for playing first thing in the morning every single day because it would put our hearts in the right place to start our days with school for the chickadees and work for me.

What I find fascinating about Vered is that she creates her music based on music therapy, infant psychology and attachment parenting philosophies. In plain terms, when you spend quality time interacting with your baby and/or small child while playing great music, it helps foster a strong bond, increased trust and love for you both.

I've experienced this phenomenon with my own three children as I've played nurturing music for them since they were born. Playing music like this also helps me relax and unwind from the stress of work and parenting too, not to mention healing that perpetually lonely inner child in me that still misses her own mommy. It allows me to visualize myself being an infant again, being nurtured and cherished which makes mothering so much more enjoyable.
"Good Morning My Love is a baby CD for parents. It's for parents who want to enjoy their babies more. A perfect example would be when mom has been home all day with her baby, she feels a combination of boredom and guilt because she just doesn't want to deal with the baby anymore, and has one more hour to go. This CD can help her through that hour. It reminds her to stop and appreciate the moment, empathizes with her wanting to throw in the towel and gives her songs that she'll relate to as an adult but that are also baby friendly to engage her baby, bring smiles to both of them, and make the time fly by." - Vered
Honestly, I loved every song on her CD. I can't wait to play it for my l'il peeps in the morning; I know they are going to love it as much as I do. I will attempt to capture their initial expressions on camera when I blast it at 6:15 tomorrow morning - a nice alternative to playing Taps, don't you think?

Some interesting tidbits about Good Morning My Love:
  • The songs are ordered somewhat chronologically by a baby's development 
  • They are geared to both novice and experienced parents
  •  Playtime songs "Flying Hands," "Bikeride," and "Faces" incorporates body movement as well as facial and hand gestures. Suggested gestures for the songs can be found at www.veredmusic.com.
  • One or more of these songs might make you cry a little.
 The song "One Day" really got me choked up. The chorus made me so nostalgic for when I first held my first born daughter.
"Those where the first days of our lives. Those were some good days of our lives."
"Don't Leave Me" even pulled at my heart strings. This is the stage I'm at with my l'il Chicken Hawk; his struggle for independence yet a strong desire to have me close by.
"Mama leave me alone. But don't leave me."
I can't say enough good things about Vered's Good Morning My Love CD. It is such a unique mix of fun playfulness and soothing sentiment accompanied with her beautiful, melodic voice and brilliant instrumentation. I encourage you to listen to some samples from the CD to hear for yourself.

Good Morning My Love, Hands in My Mouth, Faces, Jump, Bikeride, One Day, Sunday, Flying Hands, When You Smile, Ah Ah, Don't Leave Me, New Words, Sunshine, At 63, Swinging, Bathtime, Dolly, Sleep.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just Say No for Red Ribbon Week

Barb says NO to coffee and YES to veggie juice!
Tomorrow is the first day of Red Ribbon Week where students across the nation Say No to Drugs. You know, drug abuse is life abuse.

Barb and I are banding together against alcohol, caffeine and (maybe) carbs for the week and I will be on a new juicing kick. I won't say diet because I don't necessarily believe in them. My friend just started a detox/raw foods diet, the first diet of her life, and at first I was skeptical but now I'm becoming swayed. I'm getting irritated with my increasing midline and lack of energy.

My first attempt at raw foods juices are what's called 'green lemonade' and 'vegetable chocolate milk'. (If you want me to email you the recipe, leave me a comment below.) They don't taste too bad, but they're definitely different from my typical Jimmy Dean sausage egg and cheese muffin I usually have for breakfast. My first impression of this diet is that it requires a lot of vegetables for just a little bit of juice and  it requires substantial effort too. Shopping, peeling, washing, pushing and then more cleaning of the juicer. But it's easier than real cooking, which I don't usually cook with a lot of ingredients or steps. I think I will be more efficient when I get the hang of it.

But as I was saying about Red Ribbon Week, my chickadees are geared up to say no to drugs, which is good. But I don't know how I feel about even educating them about drugs at this stage of their lives. I feel like once they know what drugs are, they're going to want to try them. Kind of like how some religious extremists view sex education.

But oh well... what can you do? You gotta go with the flow. Fight the battles you can fight. I try to teach the girls about not putting unhealthy things in our bodies. I keep it general so that it covers drugs, but I don't want to talk about specific drugs and which ones I may or may not have tried. Which for the record I haven't tried hard drugs. But alcohol is technically a drug and I've had plenty of that. And some say love is a drug, and I was totally addicted back in the day.

Speaking of drugs, I totally saw a small mouse running into my house this afternoon and I panicked! I know I wasn't hallucinating, but my family members think I was. Now I'm totally creepy crawlied out. Everything that moves in the corner of my eye has me in a state of terror. We never did find it, but I assure you, it was speedy and agile! I swear I just had a nightmare last week about little mice infesting my house and I was trying to kill them with my iron skillet, but nothing was fazing them. Sorta like the arcade game Whacka Mole. Lord help me not have any more nightmares like that tonight!

Enjoy your Red Ribbon Week!

Update 10/30/12: I was pretty good about juicing all last week, but I wasn't able to abstain completely from coffee, carbs and coffee. At one point I realized how silly my idea was to begin with and decided to embrace my small vices. I'm replacing coffee with green tea most days though to cut down on calories.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Child Labor is Not Just for Third World Countries

When I was out of town for a conference two weeks ago, I went to the hotel gym every morning after waking up. I've never been a morning exerciser, but I was definitely getting the hang of it without having to get anyone else up and ready for school.

While I was on the treadmill one morning, the Today Show was on and showing a mom who went on strike from cleaning up after her kids. They showed photos she'd taken of the mess (which wasn't as bad as our house, by the way) and they interviewed her and her kids. It sucks that I didn't have earphones to hear what she said, and there were no subtitles on the treadmill TV, but I could totally grasp the meaning with the photos and captions.

I made a note for myself to follow up on the mom and her blog: Jessica Stilwell of Striking Mom Blog. I wanted to learn more about this genius who had obviously had enough of her teenage offspring taking advantage of her.

Here is a little bit more about our Canadian friend Jessica:
I am a full time working mom of three wonderful daughters. I have twins on the brink of 13 and my youngest is 10. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend in no particular order and sometimes all at once:) We have a crazy life of family, school, sports and work.
She's had some negative feedback from the 'Bad Parenting' critics, but even more support from other moms like her (me) that can relate. It sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders and is in fact a good mother who wants to actually teach her children how to be responsible, self sufficient and productive citizens. Which is what I'm also trying to accomplish. That is partially why every time I think we should get a housekeeper, I decide against it thinking the kids need to learn that we all need to work together to clean the house - that mom or someone else isn't just going to do the work for us.

It reminds me of the stand that dad, Tommy Jordan, who posted a video on YouTube of him confronting his teenage daughter about her spoiled behavior and sense of entitlement. At the end he took a gun and shot up her laptop. EPIC! 

Anyway, as I was saying, Jessica's been getting some heat from what she calls 'Negative Nancies' (ha!). She vehemently stands by her parenting and choice to go on strike:

I hope she continues with her blog so we can laugh and drink along with her as we commiserate our woes. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Barb's Grand Adventures in Southern California

Barb, our lovely Working Mom Barbie, has had quite the adventures in Southern California! 

It is very hard for a working mom to fit in leisure activities. When I'm able to do the fun things outdoors that I love, I am so supremely happy. It's been super busy lately with work, kids going back to school, family time and laundry, as well as living life in the moment, that I haven't had much time to write. 

But here are some photos of some the highlights of my fun 'See Mom Play' adventures I've been up to the past few months. I love anything and everything to do with the outdoors and the Southern California lifestyle. Mountains, trails, beach, sports - and there is still so much to discover!

Last weekend I was in Wisconsin and loved the fall weather and natural beauty and this weekend we're driving to Palm Springs for a wedding and some fun in the sun. Barb is up for the adventure!

Barb on the Razor scooter in San Diego
Snow Summit Sky Chair at Big Bear Lake
Stand Up Paddling in Mission Bay
Beach cruising on my beautiful Nirve sunflower bike