Posts Tagged ‘working moms’

Career Counseling

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
No Gravatar

I have two teenagers in my house, which means two people question my intelligence on a daily basis.

The years are long gone when my children thought I could bestow gems of great wisdom upon them or provide an answer that would make all things right again.

Their desire for my input has changed so much in the past few years that now I’m almost grateful when they ask me for anything but money.

And when they actually do seek my opinion, I want my words to be meaningful and memorable.

Unfortunately, that isn’t working out for me.

Take, for example, the other evening when my daughter asked me what career she should choose. Her question was preceded with an explanation that a few of her I eighth grade comrades have already decided. One, she told me, wants a job like Penelope’s on the television show Criminal Minds.

I was briefly distracted from the conversation by the thought that such role models as Penelope didn’t exist when I was growing up, and I wished I had known about that career option. But my distraction didn’t last long as I was drawn back into the conversation by Kendall’s insistence that I provide some clear career advice.

The best I could give her was, “Find something you love to do.”

That answer is one of the many reasons my children constantly question my intelligence. It’s the kind of answer that teenagers would consider “lame” if they actually used that word anymore.

And so, my daughter persisted.

“No, really Mom,” she said. “What should I be?”

I couldn’t give her a better answer.

Just that day I had been sitting in my office with my board chair discussing various issues related to my work for a non-profit, social service agency. I had launched into yet another passionate commentary about how to better help the people for whom we provide services while she listened attentively. When I was finally silent she said, “You are one of the lucky ones.”

Apparently, I had a confused look on my face because she added, “You have a job in which your values, your beliefs and your spirituality are all part of what you do every day. Few people are as lucky,”

She then told me about a former youth group leader at her church whose profession was building bombs.

“He lived in a perpetual state of conflict,” she said. “But he had to feed his family.”

I appreciated her comments. I didn’t mention that most of the jobs I’ve had could barely feed my family and that I’m extremely fortunate to have a husband who also works. Instead, I thought about the strange and twisted path that has become my career. I didn’t even know that the work I do was a career option when I was my daughter’s age. But somehow, through a series of both personal decisions and life events, I have landed where I am.

And I couldn’t be happier.

And that’s also why I couldn’t provide my daughter with a better response to what kind of career she should pursue. I don’t know how relevant my, or any other person’, input should be. She has so many choices to make and so make events to still experience.

What I really wanted to say was “Get an education in a field that interests you and  experience life as much as you possibly can. If you do both, your career will fall into place. Even if you don’t always have a job you love, you’ll have the foundation for an amazing life.”

I would have said that to her, but I know she would have  given me  a classic Kendall look that can only be defined as a mix of pity and frustration.

And so, all I could do was repeat what I had already told her  - make a decision based on her own interests and skills.

She still wasn’t satisfied with my answer, but I knew that giving her a list of professions wasn’t really going to help.

I also knew that someday she’ll recognize that maybe, just maybe, her mother was smarter than she once thought.

All the Cries

Friday, August 29, 2014
No Gravatar

Babies cry. Everyone knows this. Baby cries have never bothered me. Not on an airplane, not at the grocery store, not in a restaurant. I hardly notice a baby crying unless it’s in a very silent place (like church). When I do notice, it doesn’t annoy or upset me; I feel more for the parent trying to console his or her baby than anything else.

So I’d say I was significantly unprepared for how much I would be affected by my own baby crying. Her cries break my heart. I can hear her from anywhere in the house. If I’m sleeping, and she so much as makes a little coo, I wake up. And can’t go back to sleep, even if I’ve just fed her and it’s dad’s turn to soothe her. My mind races: Does she need me? What’s wrong? What does she need? I guess it’s that motherly instinct kicking in. One whimper and my senses shoot to attention, ready to meet her every need (if I can figure it out).

The baby books say you’ll be able to decipher your baby’s cries and respond based on what they need. Only in the last couple days have I started to notice different patterns of crying and sometimes been able to soothe her by meeting the need of her cry.

A single ‘wah’ is a cry not to be taken seriously; it comes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly. I try not to let this cry bother me.

‘Ack, ack, ack’ is her tired cry. When she starts crying like this, I’ve learned it’s best to just hold her in my arms and be quiet and still. Eventually, she’ll doze off.

‘WaUH, waUH, waUH’ is her hungry cry; feed immediately or face the consequences.

‘Grunt wah, grunt wah’ means it’s time for a diaper change. But don’t change immediately; the grunts tend to come back after five minutes of silence.

‘Sob sob, whimper whimper.’ That’s her…oh wait, that’s ME crying. Hormones, exhaustion, hunger, not being able to figure out what your baby needs…there are many reasons new moms cry.

‘WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHH WAHHHHHHHH’ is the worst cry of all, impossible to interpret and inconsolable. It’s this cry that makes me shed my own tears and hurts my heart the most. This cry comes at any time and lasts for a long time. Earlier this week, it lasted for three hours. I’ve tried everything I know to console her, and nothing works. I dread this cry. When she cries this way, my emotions range from sad to frustrated to desperate to sad again.

At her two-week checkup this week, the doctor said AJ has the symptoms of acid reflux. This may be why she has the terrible cries. I had acid reflux while I was pregnant, and it made me want to scream for hours on end too. I’m following various instructions to try to soothe her reflux. I also was given the go ahead to give her a pacifier, which has worked wonders.

Soothing her reflux may help, but the fact of the matter is, babies cry. Sometimes they cry for what seems like no reason. I won’t always know why she’s crying or be able to soothe her. I know this, like everything, is a phase, and we will get through it together. Holding her and comforting her is the best thing I can do, even if it doesn’t stop her crying. As I’m sure any mom knows, hearing your own child cry is worlds different than hearing a stranger’s baby cry.

And on that note, I better wrap this up…I think I hear a hunger cry starting.

The Empty Lot

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
No Gravatar

The small house was torn down only a few weeks ago, and already there are few signs it ever existed. Grass and clover cover the empty lotare growing where the foundation once was, and there is no indication of the fence that bordered the small yard.

Now, it is just an empty lot.

Maybe someday the area will be used for  a garden or a new structure, but the space will never be the same again.

The destroyed house shouldn’t even be on my radar. When it was standing, it meant no more to me than a random stop where my dogs sometimes greeted the dog on the other side of the fence. Soon, I won’t even notice the changed landscape during my short, daily commute to work. I will accept the space for what it is: the status quo.

Yet, the destruction of the house has been weighing on my mind like the rapid progress of time, the growing independence of my children and the aging of my parents.

Maybe that’s because its destruction was timed perfectly with my son attending his first real graduation party – not one for a family friend but one for a friend no one else in our family knows.

Dropping him off at the party reminded me of dropping him off for his first day of kindergarten almost eleven years ago.

For months, people had been asking me if I was ready, and I blew off their concerns. I didn’t understand why they thought kindergarten was so significant. Both of my children had been in day care since they were toddlers, and I thought kindergarten was no different from day care.

Only it wasn’t.

On that first day of kindergarten, his teacher didn’t know my name. The school personnel didn’t know my son’s unique issues or about his contagious sense of humor. He was just another little boy who needed to be taken out of his car seat, encouraged to wave goodbye to his mother and walked into his classroom.

And I, his mother, couldn’t even watch him walk away. The woman working the carpool line frantically waved me to move on as the tears trickled down my cheek .

Now, my son’s public school education is quickly coming to a close. This coming school year, he will be a junior, which is considered an upperclassman. He is already talking about colleges and moving out of our house – which is exactly what I want him to do. I have no desire to have a 30 year-old son still living in my basement and depending on me to do his laundry.

And yet, there is a part of me that is sitting in my car watching my 5  year-old son take a teacher’s hand and walk into doors which lead to a world over which I have no control. And I can still feel the tears trickling down my cheek as I realize that my children, like time, grow, change and move on without me.

I can’t control my children’s growth or the rapid flip of the calendar any more than I can control the landscape I pass every day on my way to and from work.

What I can do is appreciate the potential.

Roses might bloom in that now empty lot. Or a  young couple might build a house and start a family there. Or the lot might remain one of few empty green spaces where people can walk their dogs while enjoying fresh air.

But I have no doubt that the space is destined for something meaningful that will make the world a better place.

Just as I believe my children are destined to make a positive  mark on this ever-changing world.  And like the empty lot, their quickly fading childhood needs to be appreciated rather than mourned, celebrated instead of regretted and, most of all, serve as the foundation for something even greater.

 

Out of the Box

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
No Gravatar

I felt like climbing into a box, pulling a lid over  it and hiding from the world. Needless to say, I was having one of those days when out of the boxnothing goes as planned and everything goes wrong.

On the hottest day of the year so far, the air conditioning at work was broken, and I had to change my schedule to wait for the repairman. The finance office was asking about checks we had issued more than a year ago, and I was dealing with an unhappy volunteer.

Since the box wasn’t an option (and would probably have been even hotter than my office), I considered screaming, but that wouldn’t have been very productive either. Nor did I have the option of  going home to a partner who could sympathize with me. So I just dealt with each issue as best I could. Then went home to a husband was walking out the door on his way to work after having fixed dinner for our kids.

Such has been my less than traditional life for the past ten years when my husband took at job that required him to work evenings and weekends.

It’s a life that has its ups: a parent has almost always been home when the kids are off school or need transportation. It’s also a life that has its downs: there is generally only one parent available for two kids, and our time together as a family is very, very limited – even on holidays. And sometimes, it’s down right painful.

I will never forget the women at church who made the snide comment “at least my husband comes to church.” I kept my mouth shut (unusual for me), but what I wanted to say was “It’s kind of hard for him to deliver a national news broadcast from a church pew.”

Her comment  represented what my out of the ordinary life has taught me over the past ten years:  even though our lives, our families and our children often don’t fit into a neat package with a label, society operates as if they should.

I like proving they shouldn’t.

When people automatically assume that my teenage son plays sports, I take pride in telling them that he has other interests.

When people assume that my daughter is at an age when she feels the need to follow the crowd, I like talking about how she boasts about being a nerd who loves science fiction.

And when people assume that my husband and I have time together on the weekend, I appreciate how his strange hours have made me so incredibly independent.

I realize that the boxes in which we put people and situations can be comforting, but some things were never meant to fit in a box.  And even when they do, they usually aren’t very useful.

In fact, I’ve yet to find anything that works best when it is still in a box, even when I feel like hiding in one.

Getting out of the box, tearing off the labels and making every situation our own is when great things happen.

Or as my mother used to tell me, “Just remember that Albert Einstein was never called normal.”

And I’m pretty sure she’s proud that I haven’t been either.

The World’s Meanest Mom

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
No Gravatar

I left my phone on my desk as I was while attending to work duties outside my office Friday afternoon, and didn’t pick it up until the end of the day. By that time, there were seven missed calls and a text from my daughter.

I was thankful for the text because I immediately knew there was no emergency. My daughter obviously thought differently as she called again while I was reading the text.

“Can I please go to the party?” she begged.

My “no” was followed by a great deal of whining and asking “why not?”

Even though I had no need to explain my decision, I am a mom and the words escaped my lips before my brain engaged. “Because.” I said.

And then I hung up.

My co-worker asked what was happening.

I explained that my 12-year old was begging to attend a sweet 16 party, and I had said no.

“You go mom,” she said.

I needed those words of encouragement because I knew what I would be facing when I got home. And I was right.

Before I even pulled into our driveway, my husband had sent me a text warning that Kendall was very, very mad. (Actually, he used slightly different words but he captured the essence of the situation.)

When I walked through the door, he gave me a brief run down. He even told me she might be more mad at me for not answering my phone when she called than by my not letting her go to the party.

“I told her that she’s just not your priority when you’re at work.” he said.

He’s right, and I’m o.k. with that.  I might not get any more “You go Mom!” cheers for not creating the perfect balance of work and home, but I don’t live my life to please others. I live my life to make the world a better place – and that includes children who know the world does not revolve around them. My daughter is struggling with that reality.

I spent the first ten minutes at home listening to Kendall tell me that I am the worst mother on the world. Then I listed to her tell me  there was no rational reason for her not to attend the party. Then I listened to her slam doors.

Then I listened to myself.

Kendall  is 12 and in the seventh grade. She doesn’t belong at a Sweet 16 birthday party. Even though I’m not one of those moms who is trying to keep her daughter from growing up too fast, neither am I too keen on pushing her to adulthood any faster than necessary.

The consequences of that decision?  My daughter was angry for a few hours.

That was it.

By 10:00, she was showing me her latest drawing and giggling about something a friend had sent her. She never mentioned the party again. She even seemed to forget that I am the meanest mom in the world and begged me to chaperone the seventh grade field trip in May.

When I said I could make that happen, I was suddenly the greatest mom in the world.

Funny how that works.

 

An Uneducated Comment

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
No Gravatar

On Tuesday during a Washington Post event, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant suggested that mothers in the workplace started the decline in the American education system.

In my well-educated opinion, I can’t imagine a more stupid comment.

“I’m going to get in trouble. You want me to tell the truth? You know I’m thinking both parents started working,” Bryant said in response to a question about why the country’s education system has gotten so mediocre. “The mother is in the work place.”

Apparently, he tried to clarify his remarks saying that “both parents are so pressured” in modern family situations.

Both parents? Modern family situation? I’m not sure what world Bryant lives in, but many American children don’t have the luxury of even having two parents in the home.

His comments come on the heels of a study released last week by the Pew Research Center that found mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners of 40% of American households with children under age 18. The share was just 11% in 1960.

Although I’m a working mom,I have to admit I’ve never been the primary breadwinner in our “modern family.” I also know my husband wouldn’t complain if I were.

In reality, I’ve never held a high paying job, but I’ve also never worked just for the money. I’ve worked in positions that, I hope, have made the world a better place – similar to all those working moms in our schools. I wonder what would happen to our education system if all of the moms who serve as teachers, principals, counselors, social workers, librarians, psychologists, cooks and aides quit to stay home with their children.

I know the students wouldn’t be better off, just as my children wouldn’t be if I stayed home with them.

For many years, our family needed my income to help meet our basic needs and to keep my children warm, safe and dry. I’m sure the single, working mothers would say the same.

My children also needed me to work for my sanity. I’m just not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.  I quickly learned that trying to arrange play dates and doing arts and crafts drained me. I get my energy from working in the community, and I bring that energy home to better meet the needs of my family.

Most of my work involved helping communities look for solutions rather than blame and point fingers for social, education and other problems. For example, extensive research on brain development indicates that what happens between the ages of zero and three affects our ability to learn,  If our education system shifted some of it resources and focus to the very young, children might actually be better prepared for academic learning and our education system might gain some ground.

I’d point that out to Governor Bryant, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t notice. He’s too busy pointing his finger at me, a working mom.

Remote Access

Monday, January 28, 2013
No Gravatar

Some time ago, I found myself in a verbal sparring match with a care adviser who was (at that time) coordinating my aunt’s home health plan. Even though I was on a cell phone discussing issues and concerns that should have been addressed in person, I felt like I was in this woman’s presence…and pushed up against a wall.

“Can you take a leave of absence from your job to help care for her?”  she asked.

“I’m already caring for her,” I replied.

“Yes, but she needs 24-hour attention.  You work.”

“For a couple of hours a day,” I countered.

She wouldn’t budge.  “Can you take some time under the Family Medical Leave Act?”

“I’m self-employed. I have no paid time off.  If I take a sabbatical, it means I’ve gone out of business.”

And that’s the truth.  When you’re a small business owner — and entrepreneur, a sole proprietor — there’s a healthy chance you’re already on a type of family medical leave.  People who work from home do so for many reasons, one of which is the flexibility to perform services (when it doesn’t conflict with loved ones’ needs).

“Well, then,” she began. “You’re going to have to hire someone to sit with your aunt when you can’t be there. Are you sure you can’t adjust your schedule?”

My brain hummed with anger.  Insults raced from one hemisphere to the other. Can’t you adjust yours? That’s a fine idea, actually.  Perhaps YOU should take some time off from YOUR job!

We hung up with no clear solution — well, nothing other than my desire to talk to someone else about the situation.

The next day, my youngest daughter produced a stomach virus. Four days later, my older daughter caught it. My husband had a deadline that forced him to stay at the office until 7:00 or later.  I needed a babysitter, an aunt sitter, a nurse, possibly a doctor, an office assistant and a drink.

Had I worked for someone else, I would’ve had to quit.  That is, if a supervisor hadn’t already fired me.

Thank God I have understanding clients who have repeated to me on numerous occasions: “First things first.  Family always comes first.”

It seems as though more employers are sitting in softer office chairs these days, as about 34 million people work from their residence on occasion, reports Forrester Research, a technology and market survey company. Forrester Research also predicts that the number of people who work remotely will nearly double — to approximately 63 million people — by the year 2016.

Why is this the case when the demand appears to be for more human interaction?  It’s all about the Benjamins. Alternative employment saves an average business $10,000 per year by hiring a virtual employee. There is no need to lease office space when the business grows, owners don’t have to invest in equipment when they can hire a freelancer that already has it,  and they don’t need to hire a full-time staff member for a termed project. Employers can hire professionals anywhere on the map, and an invisible employee eases tax burdens.  As with creative freelance work, most every product or service can be e-mailed to the employer or client. And, most managers will admit that the majority of in-office days are wasted in unnecessary meetings or in Cubeville chit-chat. They also believe that most off-site employees are more productive because they don’t want to lose the sweet deal of working from home.

As for freelancers, the upside is being able to “walk” to work. Office hours are scattered, which frees parents to spend more time with their children and at school activities. While there may be start-up expenses — computer, cell phone, software, etc., if the employer doesn’t provide those tools — there are considerably savings in automotive upkeep, parking, meals and dressing for a public office setting.

Did you notice what was missing from these savings?  Childcare expenses.  Even though a parent works from home, mom and dad may find themselves in a bind when kids aren’t in school.  Business doesn’t fold up just because it’s spring break or summer vacation…or when a relative gets sick.  And I can tell you that it’s a weird feeling to be working in a basement office with a sitter carrying for children a floor  away.  It’s a type of “Upstairs, Downstairs” production.

No job is perfect, and a home-based arrangement has its own set of disadvantages.  As I explained to the care adviser, being self-employed means there’s no security net of any kind:  No long-term or short-term disability coverage, no paid holidays, no free Saturdays or Sundays.  In the words of the The Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) from Downtown Abbey, “What is a weekend?”

As for my situation? Two options remained:  Be there all the time, or hire someone to be there part of the time (if I refused a nursing or personal care home).  So, I’ve stopped teaching and I’ve scaled back on my volunteer work.  I handed off a few projects that required undivided attention, and I’ve hired a sitter to be with my aunt while I work part-time…from home…next door to her house. However, if she still needs me, I can run from my desk to her bedside in seven seconds flat. I’ve timed it.

I was angry with the care adviser because my best efforts weren’t good enough. That was hard to hear. There would have to be trade-offs if my aunt intended to stay at home.  But isn’t that what I wanted, too? To remain at home so I could be with my family?

As a parent of a child or as the guardian of a family member, you do what you have to do, when you have to do it, without second guesses and without regret.  And, in the end, I doubt too many people will look back on their lives and wish they had spent more time at the office.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Sting a Little

Monday, September 17, 2012
No Gravatar

Greetings.  Karen here, aka Brad McElhinny’s “my wife, let’s call her Karen” aka mom of Isabelle and Katie and chief cook and bottle washer at the McElhinny household.  I have been a fan of the Mommyhood blogs for sometime.

I felt moved to write this column after having a conversation about a  colleague who decided to quit her job to, “stay home and be a full-time mom.”  This comment got under my skin because I just happen to be a mom who, in addition to mothering two adorable, active girls, also holds down a full-time job as a lawyer.  Despite this fact, I have never, ever considered myself to be a “part-time mom.”

Indeed, is the mommy bird any less a mommy bird because she leaves the nest to get her babies a worm?  Is there any dad who you would call himself a full-time or a part-time dad?

So first I got mad, and then I got to thinking.  What does it say about us as moms (not to mention women) that we feel the need to label ourselves in such a way that, at least implicitly, puts down other moms?

I have been guilty, from time to time, of referring to myself as a “working mom.”  Gosh, I’ve even read Working Mother magazine at the gym without hiding the title.  I never really thought about it, but that label probably implicitly puts down those moms who are home (or volunteering at the elementary school, or carpooling to dance class) working their derrieres off but not getting paid for it.  And, let’s face it, THOSE kind of moms, regardless of what you call them, are probably working a good bit harder than I am at my paid workplace.  I rarely have any vomit on me or have to wipe anyone’s bottom (at least not literally!) at my lawyer gig.

But you have not felt pain until you have had to squeeze your postpartum body into a business suit and leave your six-week old newborn behind while you go away for eight (or more) hours to practice law.  And you do not know true heartbreak until you hear a little girl’s voice on the other end of a long-distance line saying, “Mommy, I miss you” when you are on a business trip.  And you do not know exhaustion until you are up all night with a sick kid and then have to go try a case the next day.

Or maybe you do.  Because, frankly, sisters (and brothers) I don’t really know what it is like to be a mom who does not work outside the home.

I suspect that we all work pretty darn hard and have a lot of difficult days.

So why, WHY, do we fell the need to put each other down?  I think it may have a little something to do with our doubts about our own choices.  We have all had those moments when we question the choices we have made, and I think it is human nature to argue our cases, with phrases like “full-time mom” and “working mom.”  Even when no one is questioning our choices.

Can’t we all just get along?

Let’s find a new language of motherhood.  Let’s recognize that all moms (and dads) work pretty darn hard and do the best they can under sometimes next to impossible circumstances.

No one really know what goes on at 3 am in someone else’s nursery.  And know one really knows what kinds of sacrifices another woman has made for her babies.

Let’s love our kids and ourselves.  And recognize that we are all are full-time working moms.

Websites guide families to healthy eating

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
No Gravatar

As mothers (and fathers, grandparents, and any other caregiver that reads The Mommyhood) we are busy, but we want the best for our babies. Even when our babies aren’t really babies anymore. I know I want my child to eat good, whole, nutritional foods. However, I don’t always have the time to make it happen. I know there are days when it’s 5:30, there’s no food in the fridge and I remember we have to eat dinner.

Well, over the past several months I’ve been made aware of a couple websites with local ties that teach and support healthy eating, from birth on. They’re great resources for everyone that has a child in their care. In fact, they’re just plain ol’ good resources for everyone.

The first is Healthy Kids, Inc. Operated by locals Kirk and Mandy Curry — Mandy was recently named one of the State Journal’s 40 under 40 — the site offers a plethora of healthy eating tips. The Currys have two young sons, the inspiration for HKI.

I found out about HKI when I wrote this story for the Gazette-Mail Outlook edition. What I personally like about HKI is the guidance from menu planning, to the store, to food prep, to actual cooking. Mandy, with the help of dietician Sarah Sturgill and chef Joe Crockett (one of Jamie Oliver’s helper chefs in Huntington), do everything but actually cook for you.

There are step-by-step videos and great photos to use as visual guides, as well as provided nutritional content. I picked up a few tips from Mandy during my interview.

  • First, do all your prep on one day. After your menu has been planned and the food has been bought, take a chunk of time and get everything ready to cook. Mince all that garlic at once, get those peppers chopped, peel those carrots, etc.
  • Second, organize your meals in containers. Mandy puts everything for a meal in a container (which the site will have for sale, soon) and puts the recipe on top of the container. When it comes dinner time, Mandy pulls out the container, cooks up the meal and has dinner on the table in around 30 minutes. Isn’t that brilliant?
  • Third, buy fresh foods. Mandy told me she took a friend to the store one day. The friend didn’t believe you could eat fresh, healthy foods for less than you could buy frozen foods. Mandy guided her through the produce section and the friend ended up spending about half of what she normally spent, for a week’s worth of meals.

HKI is a membership-based site, but offers some free recipes if you want to try out the meals before committing your money. However, it’s less than $100 for a year’s membership. If you’re struggling with menus and need help creating kid-friendly foods, they’ve got you covered. Worth the money.

The second site is Eating for Breastfeeding. The site was started by Marshall grads Elizabeth Green and Stacy VanBibber. Elizabeth (aka Marybeth, for you St. Albans folks) is a broadcast journalist and WAHM and Stacy is a registered and licensed dietician. Together, they provide a series of videos on tips for breastfeeding and provide support to moms that might be struggling as they nurse their child.

Along with the videos, Elizabeth and Stacy also offer downloadable PDFs and a Q&A, as well as teach the basics, update you on the latest breastfeeding recommendations, and provide meal plans (the tropical salmon looks amazing), shopping lists and tips on how to save time in the kitchen. One of my favorite resources on their site is the Freezer and Refrigerator guidelines. I am always asking if our food is still good and may be throwing away food that is perfectly fine.

Here is one of the videos on Eating for Breastfeeding.

I hope you take the time to check out these sites. I love that Mandy, Elizabeth and Stacy are taking the time to show other women what to eat. It’s a simple part of our life that we get so, so wrong on a daily basis. Enjoy!

When mommy works

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
No Gravatar

Tiny dancer

  My daughter loves to dance. She flits about and twirls around in check-out lines, waiting rooms and even at school when she’s supposed to be sitting for circle time.

  She lives for Tuesdays, the day we go to ballet and tap class.

  But a couple Tuesdays ago, I found myself still at the courthouse with a stack of cases before me at 3:45 p.m. Julia needs to be dressed and ready to go by 4:15. It wasn’t happening.

  And in sets the working mom guilt.

  I’ve been having a lot of that lately.

  I wasn’t able to chaperone a field trip to the pet store. Instead, I had to entrust my child to the care of another parent. On the interstate. This was almost more than I could bear. I was the kind of mom who got nervous when my husband took her somewhere in the car without me.

  I couldn’t attend the school Valentine’s Day party. My mom went in my place. I didn’t want her to be all alone, when all the other kids’ mommies were there passing out cupcakes and cards.

  Those are just from the past few weeks. There are more.

  It’s awful being torn in two. You want to be with your child, to take care of them. You didn’t give birth and get stretch marks just to hand them over to someone else.

  But you also have to be your own person, with your own career ambitions and, in most cases, you have to keep a roof over your heads and food on the table.

  How do you explain that to a little girl who just wants to put on her tutu and dance?