Thursday, November 29, 2012

Venting of a Disgruntled Daughter in Law

Photo Credit: Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime.com
Now that the holidays are upon us, I'm feeling extremely stressed, annoyed, overwhelmed and anxious. I don't like all the craziness of it, but I also want to make the season memorable and enjoyable for the kids. I don't have much extra time for shopping and decorating and cooking, so that doesn't make me happy either.

The in-laws came to visit us during the Thanksgiving break and I pretty much mentally checked out the entire time. I was trying to be tolerant and kind and relatively hospitable, but I increasingly became irate; mostly with my step mother in law. She always had contrary things to say and I grew weary of her mannerisms and presence. Parenting itself exhausts me; having guests makes it even worse.

At one point, my l'il chickadee (5), said on the car ride from a restaurant, "Get out of our way!", which is what I often say when I'm driving, and one of our Lightning McQueen Car toy says, so it was perfectly acceptable to me. 'Granny' chastised her, "That's not polite to say. We can't just say whatever we want." Me: "Self expression is so liberating though. It's healthy." Granny: "That's the downfall of civilization - people just saying whatever they want all over the internet." I wish I had said something clever about Freedom of Speech and empowering people, but instead I said something lame like, "The internet is not the downfall of civilization, and the world isn't a perfect place anyway. Earth is only temporary, it's always been filled with evil and it will only be perfect when we reach heaven." (She's not spiritual or religious.)

Of course I say it while looking away from her and in a mumble since I don't like confrontation. She retorted, "I'll remember that when I'm drifting off to sleep at night". Not sure what she meant by that, but whatever. Not only does her words annoy me to the core, but the way Daddy-O and my father in law stay mute the entire time she and I are shooting verbal bullets to each other. I wish either 'man' would speak up and say something even just to diffuse the situation or change the subject. But they don't. They remain silent and pretend not to hear.

Then I pulled out my phone and wrote down what happened in my notetaking app for blog ideas. She was sitting next to me and asked what I was writing. Me: "Making notes of what to write about." Granny: "Are you still writing?" Me: "Yes. Not fiction. Creative writing on my website for self expression, publicity and reviews, etc." I don't want to delve into my blog and what I really write about for fear of her scrutiny. I've tried to tell her various things about myself in the past and my interests, but she doesn't seem to get it, care or find it of any value. Unless I was writing for the New Yorker, it is of no consequence.

The next morning at breakfast I was trying again to be pleasant, but keeping my emotional distance. When my oldest chickadee (7) asks me for another English muffin, I handed it to her. Granny said something about being careful about eating too much bread or else she might get chubby. My anger skyrocketed and I snapped, "We DON'T talk like that." But I didn't speak directly to her; I was saying it while looking at my son in his highchair. My l'il chickadee asked granny what she meant by that and then she tried to define the meaning of her words and the consequence of eating too much bread without enough protein to balance it out.

I hate that she did that. I was and still am pissed off about it. We don't talk about fat, chubby or overweight with the girls. We talk about being healthy and active and we don't make eating certain foods a big deal. They are extremely fit, slim and muscular. I try not to even use negative words when describing my physique. I don't want my daughters to have low self esteem or body image or an eating disorder. Granny certainly has some issues with her eating as it always seems to be about food restriction for her. But she sure makes up her calories in drinking wine.

I also seethed at Daddy-O for not speaking up then either and just ignoring the family table discussion altogether. I wrack my brain in trying to figure out how to best cope with this family stress. I want to avoid any more holidays with them and I don't want them staying with us ever again. I want to move far far away from them to make it even harder for them to visit, but the kids love spending time with them. I just don't. So maybe I should just go away when they visit? Why can't they stay in a damn hotel?

I wish I was better at coping in stressful situations. I wish I was better at confronting authority and elders assertively without fear. I'm brave in other areas of my life, but I'm so uncomfortable when I think about talking honestly and directly to people. What am I scared of? Their approval, acceptance, judgement?

Granny was an only child and never had any children of her own. She tends to like high society and polite conversation. She doesn't like competitive games, playing sports, teasing, etc. I'm the opposite. I like low brow humor, rowdy activities, competition, athletic activities and dirty jokes. She is becoming increasingly crotchety in her age. Perhaps this is the normal course for women? Even so, it can be intolerable.

Luckily I survived their visit and now it's back to normal with them at a safe distance a state away. Christmas vacation will be spent with my crazy family in Washington, but on our own terms. We'll take a leisurely road trip with plenty of stops along the way for adventure: Northern California, Redwoods, Portland, Seattle and the surrounding areas. It's going to take a long time, but we have two weeks off of work. I can't wait!! (Even though spending that much time in cramped space with all of us together might get overwhelming.)

So in the mean time, I'm dealing with all my emotions at work and at home: mild depression, melancholy, anger, impatience, restlessness, anxiety, low self esteem, doubt, worry... I'm just trying to survive and get through each day of chores, tasks, responsibility and humdrum. Needless to say, I'm not very enthusiastic lately. But it's nothing new to me really.

I told my one of my colleagues (who is a therapist) about my Thanksgiving and how I needed therapy after it. He recommended I read the book, Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life. I've certainly read my fair share of books on healing from my dysfunctional family upbringing, but I'm willing to read a new one.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Contest: Orange County Adventures

I'm not from Orange County originally, but I've lived here for over 12 years now, and I still haven't experienced all there is to do. So much work, so many kids, so much housework, so little energy, so little time, so little money...

But check this out! The Anaheim Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau has introduced a new contest to help showcase the best of Orange County. So Cal peeps can enter to win an OC Adventure and I for one am hoping to win something! Maybe you can too.

One lucky Grand Prize winner and their friends or family will win a chance to experience some OC Adventures! The Grand Prize package includes:

•             Four (4) Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® tickets
•             Four (4) tickets aboard Ocean Institute’s R/V Sea Explorer
•             Four (4) tickets to Bowers Museum
•             Four (4) tickets to Discovery Science Center
•             Four (4) tickets to OC Wildlife & Beach Tour
•             Four (4) tickets to Pretend City Children’s Museum
•             Four (4) tickets to Knott's Berry Farm® Theme Park
•             Dinner for four (4) at Pirate's® Dinner Adventure

Just visit the Anaheim/Orange County Facebook page,  “Like” them and enter to win and share this contest with your social network! Limit one entry per Facebook page, participants can earn five (5) BONUS entries for every Facebook friend that enters. Visit www.facebook.com/AnaheimOC for more details.

And just for added fun, leave me a comment below telling me what your fave So Cal family activity is. Personally, I like the great outdoors and trail walks best.


iPhone Reasons

Monday, November 19, 2012

A So Cal Family Christmas at Knott's Merry Farm


Get ready for some big time fun in a small town setting in Southern California! Introducing: Knott's Merry Farm!! I can't wait to go with the family! Our l'il Chicken Hawk is on the cusp of turning two years old, so what a perfect way to celebrate his birthday and Christmas. It is going to be memorable for all of us! 

It's easy for me to get overwhelmed and stressed out around the holidays, especially being surrounded by large crowds of people. I much prefer these quaint, affordable destinations for our family holiday staycation memories. Here are all the festivities that Knott's Berry Farm is featuring this Christmas season.

Knott's News Release:



Knott’s Berry Farm will be filled with the magic of the season this year as it transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm and celebrates with live entertainment, crafts fair, spectacular decorations including a 65 foot tall Christmas tree, and a colorful Christmas parade starting Thanksgiving Day and running through January 6, 2013.
         
"It's Christmas, Snoopy!" at Knott's Merry Farm
Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm
Now a holiday tradition in Southern California, Knott’s Merry Farm is proud to present the holiday ice spectacular, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!”  The show, performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, is hosted by the famous skating beagle and his PEANUTS friends as they look for the true meaning of Christmas.  The show features Knott’s ensemble skaters, dazzling sets, colorful costumes and plenty of surprises!   “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” will be presented November 22-25; December 1-2, 8-9, 15-18, 20-24, 26 -31, January 1, 3-6, 2013.
       
Children and adults alike will enjoy “A Peanuts’ Holiday Parade” which includes seven elaborately themed floats featuring the PEANUTS Gang.  Join CHARLIE BROWN, LUCY, LINUS, SALLY, SCHROEDER and of course SNOOPY, as they partake in all the holiday festivities including cookie making, tree trimming, and even toy building!   A delightful soundtrack, professional dancers and the appearance of Santa make this a must-see for everyone.  “A Peanuts’ Holiday Parade” will run from November 22-25; December 1-2, 8-9, 15 - 23, 26 -31, January 1-6, 2013.      
         
Knott’s 1880s Ghost Town will again be transformed into Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village, inviting mall-weary guests to explore one-of-a-kind treasures created by dozens of artisans in a Victorian holiday wonderland of strolling carolers, musical groups, community choirs and lavish holiday decorations. The Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursdays and runs from November 22 through December 24.
       
Adding to the unique Village atmosphere are live performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and O. Henry’s “A Gift of the Magi” in the Bird Cage Theatre.
       
Elf Mountain  Christmas is also back.  The world famous Timber Mountain Log Ride has once again been transformed this holiday season giving guests an up-close-and-personal view into the world of Santa’s Elves.  Sneak a peek at Santa’s helpers as they get ready for Santa’s busiest day of the year.  Rich with lights, music and the merriest of times, this attraction will remain open until Jan. 6, 2013.
       
Guests can also experience the wonder of “Snoopy’s Magical Nights of Lights.” Hundreds of thousands of twinkling white and multicolored lights merrily light up the nighttime sky accompanied by a festive soundtrack that brings the Christmas spirit alive from dusk to Park closing.
         
A trip to Knott’s Merry Farm would not be complete without a visit with the man of the hour – Santa!  Stop by Santa’s Toy Barn for a little one-on-one with the big guy.  Here, in Santa’s cozy hideaway, kids can share their wish lists with St. Nick, and Mom and Dad can take home a picture of the occasion (photo requires additional fee).
           
Village guests can also indulge in the ultimate comfort foods with Knott’s world-famous holiday treats, including fresh-baked pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men, as well as daily specials and the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.
             
Another holiday treat is “Snoopy’s Calico Christmas Tree Lighting” each evening in Calico Square.  Join SNOOPY, LUCY, LINUS, SALLY and CHARLIE BROWN as they host a song-and-dance show complete with carolers and a Christmas sing-along then light a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, November 22-December 24.
 
For more holiday cheer, the Peanuts gang and their pal JT are featured in their very own live musical show, “Winter Wonderland” shown daily in Camp Snoopy.

Merry Farm guests can combine their holiday treats with Knott’s blockbuster rides.  The legendary GhostRider®, the ultimate wooden sleigh ride; 30-story Supreme Scream®, the world’s tallest descending thrill ride; and Silver Bullet, the longest and tallest suspended coaster in the West will all be available for holiday enjoyment.

Knott’s Merry Farm admission covers all Christmas Crafts Village and in-park shows and activities, including the ice show, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” and all regular rides, shows and attractions.  A Knott’s 2013 Season Pass makes a wonderful Christmas present and is available for only $66.99, and can be purchased with our six easy payment plan now through 1/13/13.  Buy one now and receive one free visit in 2012 and additional visits through 2012 for just $9.99 per day!
                 
Knott’s opens daily at 10 a.m.  The park closes Dec. 25 to allow its employees to spend Christmas with their families.  For information about the day you plan to visit and available discounts, call (714) 220-5200 or click on www.knotts.com or download the Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app for your smartphone.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Let Mrs. Knott's Cook Your Thanksgiving Feast

Here is some news that I am happy to pass along! I'm all for making my fellow stressed out mama's lives easier. I love a delicious home-cooked meal and Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm is one of the tastiest in Southern California!



Mrs. Knott's News Release:
Don't spend the time laboring over the Thanksgiving meal this Thursday when Mrs. Knott’s can do the cooking! This Thanksgiving, Knott’s Berry Farm will be offering a special Thanksgiving Holiday Menu, a complete buffet at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, or a classic Take Home Thanksgiving Dinner.

The traditional Thanksgiving Holiday Menu at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant will make you feel right at home! The meal includes roasted farm raised turkey with giblet gravy, roast prime rib of beef, glazed ham with sweet yams, mashed potatoes with gravy, Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken, green beans or sweet buttered corn, freshly baked biscuits and Knott’s preserves, and traditional pumpkin or boysenberry pie. Thanksgiving Holiday Menu prices are $19.95 for Adults, $11.25 for Children (3 -11) and $23.95 price for roast prime rib of beef dinner.


For a more expansive holiday menu, try the Thanksgiving Champagne Brunch also offered at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. This buffet includes items from Knott’s pantry and salad kitchen; carving stations with roasted prime rib of beef, turkey and ham; holiday classics including Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken, country apple stuffing; a South of the Border station with cheese enchiladas and tamales; pasta station; dessert station and much, much more. Thanksgiving Champagne Brunch prices are $29.95 for Adults, $23.95 for Seniors (62+) and $17.95 for Children (3 -11).


A holiday dinner on the go never tasted this good! Knott’s famous Take Home Thanksgiving Dinner offers a complete meal with all the fixings your family will love including a complete turkey or honey glazed ham, country apple stuffing, freshly baked rolls, warm candied yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, creamy giblet gravy, whole kernel corn, bread and butter pickles, and your choice of fresh boysenberry or pumpkin pie. For $99.95+tax, the Take Home Thanksgiving Dinner serves 6-8 people. Placing your order has never been so easy, simply visit www.knotts.com or call (714) 220-2055.


 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Laurie Berkner's Song About Work Life Balance

While writing a review for Laurie Berkner's new Christmas CD, I stumbled upon her article she wrote for Huffington Post on "Balancing Work and Motherhood". She even wrote a song about her struggle for work life balance.
Laurieberkner
Photo Credit: Huffington Post
 Balancing Work and Motherhood
The journalist asks me, "How do you do it?" 
My answer is "Not very well."
Each day is different 
And when I think I've found a rhythm 
All the plans I've devised 
And so carefully scheduled
Get all shot to hell.
So I'll take a taxi, 
'Cause I might get there faster
But the subway would cost me much less. . . 
Ugh, the trains are delayed!
Now what if there's traffic?
Either way, half my days
Are spent out of breath
Running from one thing
Late to another
Looked away for two minutes, and now there's a line!
Forgot to bring lunch again 
(Mine, not hers)
Slow down, slow down
Slow down
Slow
Down...
I'll get there
Just not on time.
Talking with Brian
And planning for sitters
Who's home today,
You or me?
That feeling of panic
That hits when I think,
"I forgot to make sure she was free."
All my years of therapy 
And yet I still cling
To the guilt I feel when I'm not there. 
It's such a cliché but I find myself thinking,
"I wish I'd been born as a pair."
In some ways it's easier now than it was 
Lucy's used to me coming and going. 
She's older, has friends, even tells me 
"Get out Mom!" but each time it's hard for me 
Knowing
That I'll miss some of what she was feeling that day
And I'll miss hanging out with her too.
Time moves so fast (oy, another cliché!)
And there's only so much I can do.
I run my own business.
I'm both artist and boss,
But pretend I'm a mom who stays home.
Then I'm gone on the weekends
Or when we're together
Spend less time with her than my phone.
So I accept from a colleague
A derisive laugh when I say,
"Sorry, I can't make it then." 
Because I'm picking her up,
There's a potluck, class play 
Or perhaps there's just no school... again.
And I get to spend time with her 
We read on the couch
Her body all snuggled with mine.
I breathe her in deeply 
So I won't forget 
Just how good that feels 
Every time.
(Then I notice that I have a pile of new messages and texts and I haven't made dinner or taken 
the dog out. When did it get to be 6:30 p.m.? When did she turn 8 years old?)
So I stay up too late
Doing work, sending email
I'm addicted to "just one more thing..."
I haven't yet found 
A different way, a better way 
Or just a way
To fit everything in
I spent all that time getting ready for birth 
And I think of my good friend, who said,
"Remember Laurie, this is just the curtain rising, 
The real show is what lies ahead."
Ok, so there's no rehearsal for life 
(But I'd hoped as a parent things that I've learned would help)
And they certainly sometimes do.
Yet often I catch myself being the child, 
'Cause I still want to be mothered too.
This song is so true to the core. It captures the perpetual struggle so perfectly. "Yet often I catch myself being the child, 'cause I still want to be mothered too." I feel that way ALL THE TIME. It's unbelievable to be almost 40 years old and still cry for my mommy when life gets too hard. And my mom never even nurtured me at all anyway. 

Reading through all the comments on Laurie's article, I see that most people had kind, uplifting words to say about how much her words touched them. Then, of course, there are those other ugly comments people make that show their shortsightedness. 

 Comments Against Working Moms:
Fact: If you work, you are NOT a full-time parent, and someone else is raising your children. - AngelGreb
Retort: Regardless of whether or not you work, you can only be a part time parent if you put in part time effort. A full time parent doesn't have to be with their children 24/7 - being a full time parent is a state of mind; anyone who puts in full time effort achieves full time status.  
I firmly believe that for a mother to choose to work during those pre-school years is selfish. Staying home is a huge sacrifice for many women. It's way harder than working and I've done both. 

Dragging a child out of a warm bed on a cold morning and throwing them in a day care with underpaid workers and a room full of other sick or miserable children, must be awful. I hear mothers talk about how their children love day care. Bull. What kid would love to be yanked out of bed and put in what amounted to a dog kennel every day?

But some women have no choice either. But there's no way any woman can convince me that a child is better off in day care or with strangers than home with his or her own mother. If a day care is better for a child than the child's home and mother, what does that say about the home and mother? - A Little Birdy
 RetortYeah, kinda makes me sad that I had a part-time dad growing up, being that he worked and all. Now that I think about it, I'm a part-time pet owner, a part-time parent, a part-time spouse, a part-time daughter (only see my own parents twice a year). Gotta love those part-time relationships. Snark off. 
Best Retort: Your comments are rude, close minded, and judgmental. What good comes out of pointing fingers at people and saying that the way they live their lives isn't as good as the way you live yours? Why don't you shed a little light on a few things for us. Do you have a college degree? Do you have any skills? What type of salary & benefits did you take away from your family so that you could stay home? Have you taught your daughters that they better not even dream of being anything besides a mother and homemaker? If every single mom stayed home, then who do you think would be the teachers teaching your kids? Who would be the nurses, doctors, scientists taking care of their health? Who would create the music we listen to? Are you suggesting that only MEN do all these things? Oh that's right, we are all just supposed to magically re-enter the work force when our children enter Kindergarten. This advice is coming from someone who clearly has not had a career and clearly hasn't been negatively impacted by the downturn in our economy. I have been a stay at home mom, part time working mom, full time working mom and I believe that we all do the best that we can, not only for our children, but for our future, or community, and ourselves! Let's try to support each other in these forums, not tear each other down!
I really despise when people say that using childcare is 'letting someone else raise your child'. I've even heard my own brother-in-law say those exact words. I scoff. Is it that unthinkable to trust someone to care for your child during the day in your absence? I certainly don't consider my trusted childcare provider as a dog kennel for my son. Even when our family goes out of town for the weekend, the place where we send our dog is a 'doggie camp' where they play with other dogs and get lots of attention! (A lot more attention than when we're even at home.) That's what childcare providers are paid for and most of them LOVE children and WANT to shower them with love. At least in the world I live in; I can't speak for everyone's neck of the woods.  

I don't believe that a mom staying home with their kids is always advantageous. I've tried it. I'm not the best mom when I'm taxed out like that. I stayed home for a year with my third child and juggling my other two was not easy. The baby was easy; it was the busy preschooler and kindergartner that exhausted me. Kids in their early years are learning and growing and seeking and you have to be able to provide them with learning experiences as well as social activities. You're not doing them any service by being their sole playmate and care provider. 

I want my kids to be secure in the love of our family but also resilient, smart, capable and social. I want to show them what it looks like to be a working mom who is also present and nurturing with them. But ultimately, they are on their own life's journey and need to connect with the world outside our home and have trusting relationships with other people. 

Happily, after trying out various work scenarios these past seven years of raising kids, I am finally in a comfortable work situation where I feel I can have the flexibility I need to be there for my kids, home and my career. It's such a relief. If the job ever tipped too far on the other side of the scale where it was taking away from my family, I think at this stage of my life, I would just quit. Or at least I like to daydream that I would. But I like having the feeling that I have options, even if I may not in truth. 

I've read that it's better for working moms to stay at home with their kids when they are middle school age because they need you more and can get into more trouble. What do you think?


Create Christmas Memories with Laurie Berkner

Hooray!! Laurie Berkner has just released a new Christmas CD!! A Laurie Berkner Christmas is filled with classic hits and new festive songs to get your family in the spirit of the season!

1. Jingle Bells
2. Santa's Coming To My House Tonight
3. Little Drummer Boy
4. I Saw Three Ships
5. Candy Cane Jane
6. Do You Hear What I Hear?
7. Children Go Where I Send Thee
8. Silent Night
9. Christmas Lights
10. Christmas Is Coming
11. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
12. Jolly Old St. Nicholas
13. Frosty The Snowman
14. White Christmas
15. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

We've been listening to the album since before Halloween and now we're gearing up to go into the holiday season full speed ahead, so it will be playing regularly. Laurie's voice is so beautiful and melodic. We absolutely love the song "Candy Cane Jane"; it's so playful and fun. "Silent Night" is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs and Laurie Berkner's version truly 'tender and mild'.

Listening to Christmas music as a family during the holidays fills our hearts with love and joy and helps create the lasting memories that we hope will endure. A Laurie Berkner Christmas is one of those CDs that will become a favorite in our holiday collection.

Also look for Laurie Berkner's new ebook Candy Cane Jane, available on the Nook or iPad.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review, but given the CD to facilitate it. My opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Post: "Perpetually Perturbed"

I often have quality vent sessions with one of my dear friends on my way to work in the mornings. She is adjusting to life with one year old twins and a demanding career. After one of our conversations recently, I insisted that she write to me with her work-life balance struggles. Of course she complained that she had no free time to write a quality post (she's a bit of a perfectionist), but I wouldn't relent. 

I'm so glad she did! I can relate with almost everything she said and have felt that inner struggle as a working mom. I hope you can relate and provide support for her too. Leave a nice comment for her if you are so inclined.

Guest Post: "Perpetually Perturbed"


Resentment and guilt, it looms in every feeling, thought, and decision I make daily. I guess this is what comes with being a working mom and wife. No person or thing is immune to being a target of my resentment, not even myself. Here is a little laundry list of my resentment targets, hopefully by getting them out there others will know they are not alone:
  1. Myself. I always promised myself I would never be a working mom. I resented my mom for working, not being a room mother, not dropping me off at school, in my eyes she simply didn't seem to care like the other moms who were there for their kids. 
  2. My husband. I will admit it, one of the attractive things about my husband was the promise of his high powered career. The fact that some day he would make partner and I would get to be there for our future family and home. Instead we still need my income and in order for me to handle my career I need more help from him and he has taken a lighter lower paying job to allow for that. It is frustrating. You try to not want what others have, but sometimes it is just so hard to tame the thoughts.
  3. My job. I feel like they talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk. Work life balance, it is like the thing companies like to say but rarely do. Here is a great example, many nights I come home, see my kids for an hour or two (if I am lucky) and then I do more work before bed. I even worked a weekend day recently and when I asked to have another day off they told me to fill out a vacation form. How do you expect people with stay at home wives, housekeepers, and nannies to really understand and respect what work life balance means. I certainly don't as I live it everyday.
Does being a working mom really mean not being good at any one thing? Just being mediocre and getting by? That is how I feel now, there is no time, and I am just trying to keep my head above water. Being any kind of mom is difficult, but the daily battle of resentment and guilt that comes with being a working mom is much more difficult than I could have ever imagined. 

All this said, I wouldn't trade a thing for my kids. At the end of my day which often gets dark, they are my light; when I see their smiles, I melt. I see both my husband and myself in them and it is amazing, it is us together. And they don't care that I look a wreck, have gotten fat or just put my hair in a pony tail. They are awesome.

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