The Working Mom: Is She An Oxymoron?

September 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm , by

Ahh…back to school time! It’s that time of the year when stay-at-home moms rejoice over having a few free hours to relax. (And by relax I mean clean the house, do the grocery shopping without someone nagging you, run countless errands, volunteer and maybe even squeeze a little part-time job into the day.) But what about the working moms like me? The ones who juggle a full-time job, an hour-long commute, and two young kids in school/daycare with no nanny or family nearby. It’s not the most wonderful time of the year for us. It’s the guiltiest.

Listen, I love my job. Yes, I need to work but even if my husband made a million a year, you’d have to pull me kicking and screaming from my desk to make me quit. (Sorry to my kiddies. I love you more than anything but mommy really likes putting on her big girl shoes and going to New York City everyday and talking to grown ups. You’ll understand when you’re older.)

Since Sophia started first grade last week (yes, she absolutely loves it—thanks for asking!), there have been no less than 10 (TEN!!!) emails, fliers and invitations to sign her up for events that we will not be able to be a part of. Some are sports or cooking classes that take place in the afternoon but lots of them are school events—like the open house that was scheduled for 11 a.m. or the back to school picnic this Friday at 4:30. Where will I be this Friday at 4:30? At work. And Sophia? She’ll be at After Care at the Y.

It kinda makes you wonder if being a working mom is really possible. I mean, we know that a full time job is more than 40 hours a week and being a full time parent is 24/7 so it just doesn’t add up. Of course, the working parents with babysitters, nannies or even family nearby have it a lot easier. (Remember Amy Poehler’s great speech where she thanked her nannies for everything they do. Loved that.) But I guess for me, I’ll just have to do homework with Sophia until 9 p.m. and then maybe get a few minutes to myself before I crash for the night. (And by “minutes to myself,” I mean packing the girls’ lunches, folding some laundry and cleaning the house.)

I know it’ll get better. It’s just this time of year that is so stressful for working parents. And while we’re at it… whose brilliant idea was it to have Fashion Week the same week as back to school? Certainly not a mom.

How to Wear It: Not Your Mother’s Ponytail

September 12, 2011 at 11:42 am , by

Stocking up on new school supplies—from shiny pens and mechanical pencils to completely revamped wardrobes—has become a Fall right of passage for children. But, why should the kiddies have all of the back-to-school fun? While you’re working on overhauling your own autumn wardrobe (FYI: peplum blazers, mustard hues, and polka dots are all the rage), don’t forget about your hair. Here is a grown-up ponytail style from celeb stylist David Lopez (his clients include the Glee cast—Heather Morris, Lea Michelle, and Diana Agron) to add to your autumn repertoire.

STEP 1: Prep your strands beforehand by applying a texture spray or mousse to the hair line and blowdry completely.  ”Don’t forget to blow dry the hair around the nape of your neck upwards towards the base,” says Lopez.

STEP 2: Gather all of your hair into a ponytail with a large paddle brush.  Use the top of your cheekbones as a guide to line the ponytail up and follow diagonally towards the crown.  ”I like to use a ‘wrap’ style ponytail holder but a snag free holder works just as well,” adds Lopez.  After securing your ponytail take a one inch section of hair and firmly wrap it around the base of the ponytail to hide the elastic. This trick makes an otherwise sporty style look a bit more glam.

STEP 3: Use a large barrel curling iron and wrap large one inch sections to give the pony some bounce. A ponytail showcases the ends of your hair so smooth them with a light oil like Amika Obliphica Pure Oil too boost shine and definition.

Save Money! 8 Back-to-School Supplies You Don’t Need

August 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm , by

classroomChances are you’ve got a long list of items you need to buy before your child is ready to go back to school. Here are eight things you don’t need when shopping for school supplies:

  1. Stuff Not on the List. Most schools provide a handy checklist of necessary school supplies. If you don’t have the list for your child in hand, you can probably find the school supply list for your child’s school online. If it’s not on the list, there’s no reason to buy it.
  2. Duplicates. Before heading out to the store, check your school supply list against items you might have purchased for previous years. No one needs more than one protractor!
  3. Themed items. Sure, your kid might be all over that Strawberry Shortcake or SpongeBob backpack now, but what happens next year when they move on to the next fad? Keep items fairly plain and generic and you boost their reusability factor.
  4. Novelty items. Smencils might make math class a little less painful, but at more than a buck a piece it’s a pretty costly non-necessity.
  5. Stockpile of clothing. You never know when the next growth spurt will hit,so it makes little sense to buy a wardrobe for an entire year only to have your little tyke turn into a beanpole in a matter of months.
  6. Book covers. This is a great way to recycle paper bags and, with the addition of stickers or magic marker art, allow your kid a chance at self-expression. No need to buy book covers when you can make them for free.
  7. Correction fluid.  Although most students use pencils, which make mistakes easy to fix, many school supply lists include correction fluid. If it’s absolutely necessary, substitute correction tape instead. Bottles of White-Out are messy and tend to dry out before they’re half-used. In the long run, correction tape is the much better bargain.
  8. Anything Not on Sale. With so many retailers running back to school deals every week, there’s really no reason to pay full price for any of the school supplies on your list. Keep an eye out for sales and don’t worry if you don’t have everything by the first day of school.

Stella Louise is the editor of the personal finance blog and remembers fondly when back to school supplies consisted of a brand new binder and a few newly sharpened number 2 pencils.