Tag Archives: parenting

10 Other Kinds of March Madness for Parents Who Don’t Care About Basketball

1. OVER-SCHEDULED. March is the only month of the current school year with no holidays, so every single parent workshop, conference, field trip and fundraiser is jammed in. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops from signing an unprecedented number of permission slips.

2. OUT OF TIME. For those of us working parents who just blew their wad of vacation days on February recess, you best clock overtime this month to bank some days off when the kids are out of school in April for spring break. Good luck making that math work as you already put in for multiple half-days in March to cover all of the school’s events.

3. OUT LIKE A LAMB? Winter on the East Coast was brutal this year. Painfully cold and caked in filthy ice that sat on our streets for months. The first day of spring is today, March 20th. Forecast: snow.

4. BUT WEATHER BE DAMNED! March is when we sign up for summer camp! April is too late! Because the prices go up!

5. EVEN MORE OVER-SCHEDULED. Birthday parties – all weekend, every weekend. You never got the memo that June was the designated sexy time for procreators.

6. SLEEP-DEPRIVED. Daylight Savings Time aka That Which Will Undo Any Success You Have Had Putting Your Kids to Bed.

7. RISKING SCURVY? You’re dying for any seasonal produce that isn’t squash. So you spend $8 on strawberries, they’re not that good, but you want more, then realize this is not sustainable for the planet or your wallet.

8. OUTGROWN. Nothing fits. The kids have suddenly grown three feet over the course of the winter. So you have to find a way to clothe them until it’s warm enough to break out the spring hand-me-downs. You try to make the “Mom’s belted t-shirt” look work for your pre-schooler.

9. OVERWHELMED. With the state tests and participatory school budgeting deadlines approaching next month, your social media feeds are buzzing with opportunities for you to weigh in on this and opt out on that. This is important stuff and you follow your convictions, but not before becoming equally annoyed and saddened by the horrible spelling in the comments by similarly impassioned parents.

10. OUTDATED. You have officially run out of excuses for why your December holiday decorations are still up.

And your reward for getting through the March madness to April? Taxes.



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Working Vacation

So when I say I’m on “vacation,” it is to say that we unplugged all our major appliances in our apartment in Queens while we stay with my parents in their Poconos house for the week. And thankfully, they have WiFi.

I’m still working. Scott’s still working. In fact, sometimes, sitting down in front of a computer to focus on something that isn’t alive, screaming for juice, is kind of nice. I don’t really hate Mondays for that reason.

It’s a little hard to truly be on vacation in the business I’m in. We’re in production on a show now. I have a crew in the field, shooting long days the entire week (including Independence Day) while I’m playing in the water and brushing sand off cantaloupe slices (crunchy, but still good!). 

I know the value of completely unplugging. And during the day, I really do. I check email once or twice, return a call and send myself reminders since I leave my stickie notes support system at the office. Blame the smartphone, but we should blame ourselves. We are making the conscious choice to be on call. But I make it clear to my colleagues that I am not in the office. I am with my family this week. And while I am not off the grid, I am not LOOKING for work. If need be, work could find me.

I know I’m lucky that I can make this arrangement for the next few days. I was able to schedule meetings until my return. Maybe something crazy urgent will pop up and I’ll need to address it. But I’m not anticipating that. I owe it to my family, and to myself, to be as present as possible during this vacation. It’s what I need in my arsenal of summer memories. I’ll be very old one day. And a memory like this could never be found on a stickie note:

That's my son, giving me a summer to remember.

That’s my son, giving me a summer to remember.

How do you treat your vacation?

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I Wish I Had More Time!

No I don’t.

More time is what I THOUGHT I wanted. More time to get the pantry re-organized, squeeze another load of laundry in, do a bigger puzzle with the kids, write overdue thank you notes, revise the show budget for the network.

Turns out I just want more CONTROL over the time I have.

With my new gig as development head for a production company that’s in a nascent stage, I took a sizable pay cut. For now. I am developing a few show ideas and films and the series that was just greenlit is not yet in contract, so I’m not making very much. Yet. I knew this going in; the difference in pay from my corporate job is startling but here is what I’m getting in return:

  • A CHOICE of projects.
  • A forum to develop my own ideas and shepherd others’ utilizing my skills as a storyteller and an instinctive nurture.
  • An office way the f*ck south of midtown, thank you (yes, that makes a HUGE difference).
  • Flexibility, in the short term, with how much and where I choose to work.

In our start-up phase, it’s understood that there won’t be much money. So my new work partners are very understanding when I say: “Hey, I’ll be offsite the next two days. I can do calls before 3 if need be.” And then get some work tasks done, in between blog writing and bonus parenting that I didn’t get a chance to do while at my last job.

So today I’m scheduled to appear in Campbell’s Cupcakes Class to read “The Cat in the Hat” as part of his daycare’s monthlong celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

More Thing 2 than Cat, but still...

More Thing 2 than Cat, but still…

And I’m picking my daughter up from the bus and bringing her with me. Her kindergarten class honored the author last week.

Say "Seuss" because that will make for great mouth placement in the photo.

Say “Seuss” because that will make for great mouth placement in the photo.

I actually don’t prefer working from home. I’m not as productive because I’m trying to combine work and life projects. Multi-tasking kills. It’s why it’s illegal to text and drive. And like Ron Swanson says:

“Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

So I do make a point to get to the office for meetings and to get sh*t done. But on days when I have a captive audience of 2-year-olds for storytime, or I just need a haircut, I’m happy to be at home. I’m trying to making it count now, because I DO want to work. I DO want to be busy with projects I’m passionate about. And I DON’T want to start worrying about money.

I have 3 ½ weeks of unused vacation time that I’m being paid out from my last job. So I guess I’m kind of using it now. Going on school trips, having morning coffee with friends I don’t get to see much, not having those knock-down, drag-out tussles with myself about how to spend the fleeting minutes.

Then it’s go time. Because I really can’t see myself getting into the pantry renovation. I’m just not that girl.

What’s YOUR ideal work schedule?


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Life, at Work

Here’s the deal.

The fairytale formerly known as “work-life balance” is dead.  We need to depart from referencing any kind of “balance.”  Eff balancing. Like we’re supposed to be perfectly balanced, never off-center, never experiencing extreme joy or heartbreak, always even keel, always compensating for shifts in the scales?  Nobody alive is able to pull that off.  And if they were, can you imagine how BORING they would be?

Enter phrases like “work-life fit” or “work-life integration.”  Anne-Marie Slaughter has ignited fiery dialogues on the topic with her “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” piece for the Atlantic this past June.  I had the opportunity to see her and Stewart Friedman, the founding director of the Wharton School’s Leadership Program and Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project, speak on the subject at a recent conference and it woke me up to the fact that this is not solely parents’ battle.  It’s something we should all be campaigning for – flexibility in the workplace that allows us to be whole human beings with interests that enrich our lives and ultimately make us more productive, more loyal, healthier (read: FEWER SICK DAYS) employees.  So c’mon, companies.  Get on board.

Charlotte in my office when childcare coverage fell through.

At times, I have what I call a condensed day.  I power through in 6 hours what the company expects of me in 8.  And then I have meetings for the remaining 2.  It kills me.

We have some groundwork ahead of us.  It’s a reason why I joined our company’s Culture Committee – to lobby for DISCUSSION, at least, about the POSSIBILITY, at least, of implementing time shift options to our work days to accommodate the variety of pursuits we, as humans, have (other than improving our company’s bottom line, of course).  For parents, it would be a coup not to have to report to an office for all 40+ hours of the week, yet still be able to deliver on the demands of a full-time job.  But for those of us training for triathalons, getting a degree, volunteering, studying another language, the ability to do those things alongside our careers is also huge.  Work and life are not mutually exclusive.

So, I would like to come clean with things I have done for my life, at work:

1. Washed sippy cups I’ve discovered in my bag
2. Made doctors’ appointments
3. Taken a lunch hour to go to said doctors’ appointments
4. Looked in on my kid at after-school via webcam
5. Called my mom for a report on how ballet class was going for my kindergartner
6. Ordered diapers
7. Emailed my husband grocery lists
8. Reserved a bike in spin class (ok, I haven’t done this since 2007, before my daughter was born, but I have every intention of getting back in that saddle, or at least Googling spin class locations…unless spin isn’t a thing anymore)
9. Ran to Old Navy for socks to tide the kids over til laundry day
10. Proofread my posts (c’mon – how sharp could I be in the wee hours of the morning or evening that bookend my workday?  I need to be on point if I’m going to catch any f*ck-ups typos)

I know I’ll be writing lots more on the topic of work-life integration (yes, I have an opinion on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s short maternity leave, but it’s not what you think!) and I hope to engage more people in the campaign for work-life smushing, to borrow a term from the kids down the shore.

Until then, what kind of LIFE stuff do you deal with at WORK?  And for stay-at-home parents, how are you integrating the parts of your day that are kid-centric with those that are YOU-centric?


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