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The Working Mother's Blog

Archive for July, 2007

Cake but no presents

July
31

Have you heard about the trend of parents asking for donations rather than gifts/MORE STUFF for their kids’ birthday parties? It’s perhaps the first hyper-parenting trend sans excess. After all, do your kids really need another stuffed animal? On the other hand, shouldn’t kids be kids? (just with a little less?) Quite honestly, I’m jealous of some of the gifts my kids’ friends get — it’s nicer than what I have: think ipods; digital cameras; Broadway tickets; and even the new apple phone.

Still: all the gifts in the world can’t compete with what I really want: a cure for an illness someone close to me suffers from. So, with my birthday coming up, I ask any of you of my faithful blogsphere to check out an unknown orphan disease called Glycogen Storage Disease. Orphan illnesses have no big names or big money or big drug companies behind them and so need our support more than ever. Thanks in advance for your thoughtfulness.

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 at 9:57 am |
| | 5 Comments »

Hair Therapy

July
27

Who needs a therapist when you can go to your hair stylist? Last night I “unloaded” on mine: Hope Belliveau, the artistic director at Premier Atelier in White Plains, and seriously left not only lighter in the hair (she cut off a few inches), but lighter in my head. Between snipping and blowdrying, we talked about everything: life, love, kids, challenges, hardships, triumphs. I left not only looking good, but feeling good.

She’s the kind of person that seriously lights up a room — mostly because — like a life coach, she listens and never judges. And most of all: she’s big into giving to charities, always doing fun hair events with proceeds going towards breast cancer and other organizations. She’s big on “paying it forward,” something I’m also into into doing (though it’s yet to come back to me, though I’m still hopeful one day it will). It’s enough to warm the cockles of your heart. And — with all the angst/pressures I’ve been feeling lately, it was nice to go somewhere neutral, sit in a chair and dish. Hope is also a working mom with teenagers and so “feels my pain.” Underneath it all, we’re all so much more alike than we think.

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Friday, July 27th, 2007 at 9:29 am |
| | 3 Comments »

The Old Days

July
26

Sometimes, I don’t think the ways off our parents was so far off. My friend, Karen, told me how her mom would literally wash her mouth out with soap should she talk back or curse. And while I didn’t have that happen to me (thanks, mom!), I NEVER talked to my parents the way my daughters (ok: mainly Corey) does now. This morning I literally felt like putting soap in her mouth when she told me to “chill” because god forbid, I was dropping her off early to camp so I could be at work in time for a meeting. “It’s not always about you,” I told her. “Chill yourself.” “I’m chilled,” she replied, “But tomorrow don’t drop me off so early.”

ARGH! What is it about teenage girls that gets our goat? She knows how to push my buttons — and as a result, stress me out, put ME in a “mood” before I ever sit down at my cubicle (more about cubes later — I’m starting to hate my small space: what MAN invited these???)….

Can you tell it’s “one of those days?”

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 at 11:42 am |
| | 6 Comments »

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Nine Words

July
25

I got this forward on The Nine Words Women Use and HAD to share: too funny (and correct!). Send to your husbands so they can avoid an argument the next time around!

1. Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
2. Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
3. Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.
4. Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It!
5. Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)
6. That’s Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
7. Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you’re welcome.
8. Whatever: Is a women’s way of saying F@!K YOU!
9. Don’t worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “What’s wrong?” For the woman’s response refer to #3.

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 at 3:18 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

My daughter and YouTube

July
24

So there I am: washing my face, getting ready for bed, when Sydney (my 12-year-old) calls to me: “Hey, Mom, check it out. Corey is on YouTube!” I come dashing (sprinting?) out of the bathroom and sure enough, there’s my adorable 14-year-old singing along with one of her friends in someone named Claire’s room in a short video that Syd thinks is hilarious and I think is scary.

Is this what Corey and her friends do when they’re “hanging out” at someone’s house till all hours? I could almost hear Corey saying “duh” to me as the words of a friend (with older kids) also popped into my head. She told me: Whatever you think your kids know about the Internet, you are already five paces behind them. In other words: they know a LOT! And are doing a lot online.

Plus: it doesn’t matter what you allow or do in your house — chances are, your kids are fiddling with their friend’s computer at their house where the rules may be different.

All of which makes me realize that I’ve got to get up to speed — fast! (in all those “spare” minutes I have, right?) because despite the fact that I have parental controls on our computers at home and despite the fact that I’ve told my kids countless times not to go to chat rooms and post their photos, and despite the fact that I’m trying as best as I can to “monitor” them, yada yada, etc. etc, the bottom line is that they are “out there” in WebLand.

And so: I plead to you all, my faithful blog friends for advice: Anyone out there have any internet safety stories? Stories to share about what I should/shouldn’t be doing? What I could be doing better? HELP!

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007 at 10:41 am |
| | 12 Comments »

Sandwich Generation

July
19

Are you, like me, in the sandwich generation? Taking care of our kids while also taking care of our aging parents? My situation with my Dad (Alzheimer’s; Parkinson’s; severe asthma; other “old age” stuff) is so bad, it’s beyond depressing (and beyond worth getting into details). Hard to keep “up” all the time — let alone “explain” the whole sitch to my kids who up until recently, didn’t “get” why Gramps was so tired and generally unengaged in their lives. Somedays I just feel really really worn out.

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 3:01 pm |
| | 8 Comments »

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Dad as Mom’s Helper

July
17

Do you let your husband do enough around the house? Or are you controlling and do too much because you don’t think he’ll do as good a job as you? So many fathers I hear from tell me “Nothing I do is ever right.” Many women simply believe that because they are female, they know best. This criticism tends to leave Dad to taking a back seat when it comes to parenting. Then Mom feels the extra burden and dare I say resentment?

In my house, we try to keep our parenting and household duties as equal as possible. My husband cooks and yes, cleans (though I tend to spot the stray dog hairs while he seems to never see them!), though I tend to be the one who chauffeurs our girls to most places (though he does the later shift now that our teenage daughter goes to bed after me). It works…until of course, it doesn’t. Marriage is a ying and yang and parenting is a challenge — no matter your child’s age. Though of course since we ARE the women, and this is my blog, I’m allowed to complain! (Plus: we women have hormones and cycles men don’t have..which makes us more tired and cranky.)

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 at 2:56 pm |
| | 4 Comments »

Are You Happy?

July
13

A recent survey by Bizrate Research, reported here on a recent edition of The Today Show, says an overwhelming majority of moms (47%) are the least happy person in the household; mostly because we feel overwhelmed with all the demands placed on us. Do you agree/disagree? I’m curious…

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Friday, July 13th, 2007 at 9:33 am |
| | 6 Comments »

Job or Career?

July
10

For some women, working is a job. Nothing more, nothing less. Just the paycheck, please. For others, it’s a Career with a capital “C” — the prize of using their higher education to get the golden goose egg (or trophy husband: sorry — had to put that in!). But I wonder: does it ever feel like both?

For me, it does. There are definite days that I LOVE MY JOB – and feel empowered and proud that I’ve worked my way up from a struggling editorial assistant at a national publication to a senior editor position at a glossy local magazine where I get paid to know my neighborhood. But other days, when I feel bogged down with having to drive all over the county, yet still find time to pick up my kids, dinner and dryclearning, not to mention have the emotional headspace to deal with “stuff” with my kids, it feels like a chore….and oh, how I wish I could just “sleep in” and call it a day. What about you? What’s your working mom feeling regarding work?

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 at 9:27 am |
| | 3 Comments »

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Stress Free Vacation

July
6

Everyone else is on vacation this week — I’m jealous. If you’re like me, you count your vacation days like they’re gold. After all, we moms need to save them for taking the kids to the ortho, dentist, doctor, field trip, or whatever else crops up (god forbid, they really get sick!). I don’t think I’ve used a sick day yet for ME!

It’s days like these I want to move to Europe. (Can you tell I’m hot and cranky today?)  Europeans average between 24 and 36 vacation days a year, according to the 2007 Vacation Deprivation Study published by Expedia. The study also shows that more than one-third of Americans do not use all their alloted vacation time. They should, though, says Jon Allen, PhD, a senior staff pscyhologist with the Topeka-based Menninger Clinic. And he should know: He regularly treats patients with depression caused by stress. “Taking a vacation helps rest your mind and body so that you have a better perspective when you come back,” he says.

Whadda ya say?…..let’s all call it a day and meet at the beach. I already ran to Stop and Shop once today — what’s another trip….

Posted by Jeanne Muchnick on Friday, July 6th, 2007 at 2:26 pm |
| | 2 Comments »

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About this blog
The blog of two busy, multi-tasking moms on balancing work and family (and still getting dinner — even if it’s take-out) on the table!

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About the authors
Jeanne MuchnickJeanne Muchnick is a multi-tasking mama who's been writing about her two girls ever since they were born. She's the former Editor of Baby Magazine turned InTown Senior Editor whose parenting stories have also appeared in a variety of national consumer magazines including Woman's Day, Healthy Kids, Parents, Parenting, Pregnancy, FamilyFun and more. She lives in Larchmont, NY with her two girls: Corey, 14 and Sydney, 11, her husband, Mark and her flat coated retriever, Chip.
Mary Lynn
MitchamMary Lynn Mitcham, the editor-in-chief of InTown Westchester, is new to the mom scene. Her son, Owen, was born on the Fourth of July, 2006. Needless to say, she's still trying to figure out how to get herself - and her son - dressed and fed and still make it on time to work. Before she joined InTown and motherhood, she worked as a senior editor at Travel Holiday magazine and has freelanced for several publications including Parenting, Adoptive Families, Bridal Guide, Boating, Men's Fitness, and more. She lives in Westchester with her new baby and her husband, Adam.
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