being a mom

Homesick: Missing My Babies

October 29, 2009 at 10:56 am , by

Picture 2Funny picture, right? Here’s the really funny part: this wasn’t Halloween. It was a random Tuesday night last week. Because, this is what you do on a weeknight when you’re a working mom and you need to cram a whole day’s worth of fun and bonding into an hour or two each evening. And this is what I miss the most when I’m away from home -  like I am in this week.

Don’t feel too bad for me. I’m at a photo shoot at a beautiful resort called The Moorings in Islamorada, FL. But as great as it is to feel the sun on my shoulders and have a restful sleep without a toddler deciding to get up at 4 am, I still miss them, desperately.

My husband and I rarely take trips without the kids. One of the few times we’ve tried to, we went to Newport, Rhode Island and left Sophia with my parents for three days. I swear there had to have been a “cute 3-year-old girl convention” in Newport that weekend because everywhere I turned I saw a little girl that made me miss mine. So much for romance.

And what do I miss most right now? Sophia’s take-your-breath-away squeezing hugs. The way Lily says “meow” when you ask her what a cat says. (Note: It’s not the same over the phone. I know. I’ve tried.)  And the little smirks my husband gives me from across the room when the kids are being so damn cute we just can’t believe how lucky we are to have them.

In a few days I’ll be home and Sophia will misbehave and deserve a timeout and Lily will get up in the middle of the night, but I’ll still be happy to be there and I won’t want to change a thing.

So, tell me…how do you deal with time away from your kids?


Motherhood, the Movie, Exposes Real New York Living

October 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm , by

Uma with bagsIf you want to know what it’s really like to be a regular mom in Manhattan, watch Uma Thurman’s character go about her daily errands in the film Motherhood, which opens Friday (October 23). It will show you why grocery shopping in New York City has become a religious experience for me.

Famous writer and fellow single mom Anne Lamott has said that the two best prayers she knows are “Help me, help me, help me” and “thank you, thank you, thank you.”  I say these prayers pretty much every time I leave the supermarket.

I usually go in with some reasonable list of things: milk, bread, yogurt, garbage bags. I remind myself that it’s past the home-delivery cutoff time so I need to be selective. But then I realize that my son and I have to actually eat every day, and I won’t have time to shop until the weekend, so the cart gets full and I end up leaving with eight or nine bags, all of which seem to contain cans of buckshot or whole watermelons.

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A Real Mom Attends the Motherhood Movie Premiere

October 16, 2009 at 11:01 am , by

motherhood_uma_thurman“Motherhood will break your heart,” advised the extremely chatty 60-ish woman who was standing in the line of mere mortals—to the right of the red carpet—waiting to get into Wednesday night’s New York premiere of Motherhood, a new film starring Uma Thurman. My new friend was a passerby who intended talk her way into the screening. Me, I was there by actual invitation, so I could tell all you Ladies’ Lounge readers about the event.  (Thanks to my single-mom blogger buddy Rachel Sarah for passing along the invite!) The film is about a day in the life of a harried mommy-blogger, played by Thurman, with Anthony Edwards as her husband and Minnie Driver as her best friend.  I’ll post about it next Thursday—it hits theaters nationwide next Friday, October 23. For now, though, let’s talk about the premiere.

I don’t get out much, so first thing I noticed once I was in the door was all the stick-thin, black-clad 26-year-olds shifting uncomfortably in their 4- and 5-inch heels. Motherhood? I don’t think so! Most gatherings of moms I go to showcase a wide variety of sneakers. Here, just about the only females in sensible shoes were me, Uma Thurman’s 11-year-old daughter Maya, and the one guest who was so pregnant I thought there was a good chance she’d go into labor in the lobby. Uma, stick-thin and black-clad despite being mom of two, wore spike heels as well, but I had to wonder how often she does so. Her walk into the theater was so spectacularly wobbly and awkward that I could hear several groups of women behind me gossiping about it.

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Saving Betty Draper’s Marriage

October 15, 2009 at 11:30 am , by

MMS3-Betty-517As the editor of LHJ’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? column, I frequently ponder precisely that question when I watch Betty and Don Draper on Mad Men.

Betty sure seems miserable: She’s got a husband who cheats on her; a daughter who’s a brat; and a baby she doesn’t want. “I hate this place,” she told Don earlier this season. “I hate our friends. I hate this town.”

Somehow, though, I feel pretty confident that Betty is going to tough it out. She threw Don for a while, but took him back when she discovered she was pregnant. (Had a quick little fling in the interim, but, hey, can you blame her?)  And her recent trip to Italy made it clear that she was putting some effort into saving her marriage.

I don’t think this would be the case if Betty were living in today’s world, where practically one in every two marriages end in divorce.  She’s stuck in the pre-feminist ‘60s when divorce carried enormous stigma—and women let men get away with acting like jerks, especially a man who’s as hot and successful as Don.

But can that marriage be saved? And I don’t only mean can it stay intact. I wonder if anything could happen to make Betty less miserable and Don a little more sensitive and caring?  I kind of doubt it.  What do you think?


Trick or Treat: Kids’ Halloween Costumes

October 15, 2009 at 10:23 am , by

Picture 6Picture 3

As the leaves begin to fall, there is one holiday on my mind: Halloween. I loved it as a kid (who doesn’t like looking back at their old pictures) and as a young adult (my Monica Lewinsky costume was a big hit) but there’s nothing like being a mom around Halloween. I know the time will come when my kids will only want to be something gory—or even worse, they won’t involve me at all. But for now, I revel in every second of the fun!

I went with the “too expensive option” for my first (do you like how I say my first?), and the “$19.99 at Old Navy option” for the second. Looking back, I think the cheap chicken was just as cute as the pricey lion. What do you think?

This year, Sophia is going to be a princess just like she was last year. When you’re a 4-year-old girl, that’s what you do. Or should I say, when you’re a 4-year-old girl with about 20 princess dresses, that’s what your mom tells you to do. I have no idea what princess she’ll pick on October 31st, but I’ll be ready with the bobby pins and hairspray to give her the proper ‘do.

Lily, who always gets the shaft as the second child, is getting her first costume of her own this year. Last year she wore the hand-me-down lion. (Did I mention it was exorbitantly expensive?) She’s going to be a bunny this year. I’m hoping she’ll keep it on for at least 5 minutes—all I need is a picture!

So, tell me…what are your kids going to be? And what have they been in the past? Tell me in the comments or post a link. I’d love to see your pictures!


What My Son’s Preschool Taught Me

September 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm , by

A preschool lunch made by Wendy Copeland (wendolonia.com), a mom who's way out of my league!I was getting a bit lax in the eco-friendly arena. But preschool whipped me into shape.

My son just started preschool for the first time last week, and I thought I’d be the  dorky parent who sends carrot sticks and soy nuts for snacks when everyone else gets Lunchables or some other food that’s “fun,” mainly due to being based on white flour and sugar and housed in disposable cartons, boxes and bags covered with brightly-colored, bug-eyed licensed characters. For at least a minute or two, I seriously worried that he might be a preschool social reject because of his uncool, health-conscious lunches.  (In reality, I think he has a couple years before he risks becoming a pariah on those grounds.)

Turns out I seriously underestimated my ultraprogressive, parent-run preschool.  No Blues Clues-emblazoned Yoplait for this crew! Right in the family handbook, it spelled out a lunch and snack policy that was healthier and way more eco-friendly than I was planning to be. Healthy lunch and snacks only, they said, no sweets allowed—and please send food in reusable containers, with real cups, spoons and forks and a cloth napkin. “This practice will eliminate the waste of paper and plastic and help your child learn to preserve the earth’s resources.”

Whoa. I was planning on being eco-friendly and all, but no yogurt cartons, pretzel packs, or juice boxes EVER? What about those little containers of organic applesauce? Don’t they buy me some moral high ground, despite the plastic? What about my guilty addiction to Ziploc bags? And it would never have occurred to me to send a cloth napkin to school. The responsible citizen in me thought these were excellent rules, but the harried mom thought, “yikes!” I had some shopping to do.

After totally striking out at local stores—cloth napkins for kids and eco-friendly lunch paraphernalia are apparently far from the norm, even in my famously progressive neighborhood—I went online and found some great products (my favorites listed below). Scott was ready to go green.

But something else happened. Preparing his healthy, eco-friendly lunches guilted me into doing the same for myself—and because of his preschool’s rules, I was ready with all the right containers.

The ReSnackIt sandwich bag

I swear my turkey on whole wheat tastes way better in its hip-looking ReSnackIt reusable bag than it would in a Ziploc.  Even those drearily healthy carrot sticks have taken a step up: now they get dipped in the hummus I put in one of the tiny little Sassy containers I got for Scott.

The transformation goes further—as I put his cute cloth napkin into his lunchbox, I find myself thinking that, instead of a paper towel, I really could use a cloth kitchen towel to dry the counter after sponging it. Meanwhile, at work, the Envirosax company sent me a 5-pack of their portable, reusable shopping bags. Thanks to Scott’s preschool giving me a shove in the ecologically correct direction, I decided to try them.

An Envirosax shopping bag

Turns out they’re not only pretty, but practical: They fold up easily to the size of a Kleenex pocket pack, so you can always keep one in your purse, and they have nice long handles so you can hang them from your shoulders, making grocery-carrying a lot easier (a big deal in New York, where you have to shlep your bags for blocks).  Plus, Justin Timberlake uses them. How cool is that?

The upshot: After two weeks, I’ll bet all the paper and plastic Scott and I would have generated—but haven’t—would fill our kitchen garbage can.  I still use too many paper towels and too much plastic, but I feel great about the changes I’ve made. It took some effort to get myself set up with products that make re-using easy, but now it really isn’t so hard to pour some milk into a thermos or spoon some yogurt or applesauce from a big jar to a small container that I can throw in the dishwasher later. I wouldn’t have done it without a push—our culture is set up to encourage excess packaging and the idea that things can be heedlessly thrown away, and it’s so much easier to just go with it.

So, what I’ve learned so far in preschool? Just like the teacher says, rules really can make the classroom a better and happier place. And sometimes, peer pressure can actually be a force for good!

Do you have an eco-friendly lunch product you swear by? Check out my faves, after the jump: Read more


Meet the Girls

September 3, 2009 at 10:00 am , by

Sophia and LilyI’m going to be blogging about my life as a mom, so I might as well introduce you to my subjects, right? Here they are: Sophia and Lily—my delicious little girls.

Sophia was born in 2005, so that makes her 4 going on 16. She has long brown hair that’s been cut only twice (if you don’t count the time my mother-in-law decided that her bangs needed a trim, but that’s another story for another day). She has her dad’s long legs and her mom’s smile. She lost her front tooth by smacking it into a piece of furniture right before her 4th birthday. Oops. She is very well spoken—using words like ‘perhaps’, ‘enormous’, and ‘ridiculous’—so she must be brilliant. (But doesn’t every parent think their child is a genius?)  She loves princesses and ballerinas and Barbies and pink and glitter and shoes and pretty dresses and makeup and nail polish and everything else a 4-year-old girl should be interested in. And daddy is her Prince.

Lily was born in 2008. She’s our silly little adventurer—she climbs on everything and babbles all day long. She has strawberry-blond hair and blue eyes—which neither my husband nor I have. (My mom has blue eyes so yes, a baby can get an eye color from only one recessive gene.) When you say the word “dance”, she smiles and shakes her body. Every single thing she owns is a hand-me-down but she doesn’t seem to mind…yet. When we ride in the car with the windows down, she puts her hands up and yells “Weeee!” She is obsessed with her daddy, Dora, cheerios, ice cream, and the alphabet—not necessarily in that order.

So, there they are—my little nuggets. It’s nice to meet you!