Tag Archives: working moms

First Thursday

If you live in my house, or that of 6 other outrageous women in my zip code, the first Thursday of the month means a night out with ‘the girls’. I will use that term only in the cliché of ‘girl’s night out’, for the seven of us are certainly w-o-m-e-n. In all its positive (and not so positive) connotations. Our husbands may like to spell that b-i-t-c-h. (or more affectionately… bee-otch).

It is hard to describe this group and do it any justice. Were we born out of the need to be heard and not judged? Perhaps. I do know that this is a table where I can fool absolutely NOBODY. And if I try to, I am called on it… big time!

Our mission, if there was to be one, is to BE THERE, no matter what. And to laugh, laugh, laugh.

We started in the most haphazard of ways. We met riding the train, through carpools, as neighbors or running partners. There was no rhyme or reason to who was in… we just happened. We measure the time we have been together by the age of the youngest of our collective 18 children who was born 2 weeks before we started. (12 years ago!) We have shared each other’s joys and heartbreaks ever since. There have been many of both, which makes us all realize how important it is to have your girls.

Our beginning was the essence of the title of this blog, we all could cry but we just had no time. Funny…but not. We were all working mothers with children ranging in age from 0-10 when we began. We come from all fields: medicine, finance, design, merchandising, real estate and entertainment. We are business owners, consultants, full time employees… you name it. Some have stopped working (for pay), some have scaled back and others have ramped up. We are the embodiment of how to juggle at any cost. And we were all beginning to realize that ‘the cost’ was ourselves.

Now that the kids are older life is easier on a maintenance level, but way harder on a life issues one. 

There is no table I have ever sat at that is more entertaining. The following is the list of topics discussed at one dinner:

hillary vs. obama, SAT vs. ACT, big 10 vs. private universities, medical neutering of men in power (sorry guys, but this COULD keep you focused), career paths, time off, homeopathic vs. western medicine, botox, tennis, pilates and yoga, 10 lbs. on your ass doing wonders for your face at ‘a certain age‘, social media ruining the focus of our kids or are they just learning in a new way, multi-tasking, facebook, study habits, glass ceilings,  spreadsheets, iphones, the choices of our kids, the ailments of our parents, south beach, vegas, perez hilton, dave matthews (how did those two get in the same conversation?), the right to choose… EVERYTHING in our lives, the size of our asses and our egos, face creams, bad dreams, edging towards, turning and passing 50… and everything in between. (And that is just the list I dare to publish).

Thank you my dear sweet First Thursdays, for keeping me laughing, and yes crying too! You make the good times more joyous and bad ones easier to endure.

I love you all. (admit it, you are tearing up a bit ; )

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Filed under family, friendship, parenting, trends, women, work

This is not a dress rehearsal…

With the graduation season upon us (today was the last day of classes in our district), and by request of a friend who flatteringly remembered an email I sent last year, I have decided to post this reflection. This certainly falls under the category of finding the time to cry. Even if you don’t have a graduate, this one will probably require a tissue:

This is not a dress rehearsal…

or watch the temp when you decide to iron the graduation gown. 

6AM on the day that my first child graduates high school. 

how can this be, she was just a curly-headed little whirling dervish whose door i had to hold shut as she was throwing her ever famous brand of temper tantrums. that same door with the loose latch from all the times she slammed it for effect when she stormed into her room in her tweens. you know the one, who at five years old marched into nuerosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’ and never once asked ‘why me?’. 

who was that radiant young woman that walked out of the house wednesday morning with her car packed and her keys in hand saying, “don’t worry mom, i have the garmin GPS, i don’t need a map!” 

well i think, perhaps, i need a map today. someone tell me how to navigate this road. we surely have had enough practice. we graduate them ad nauseum – from the 4’s, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade – the most graduated generation of all times. you would think we would get used to it. but this year’s cap does not have flourescent orange and green finger paint decorating it. this kid has actually grown up! how dare she. does she not know that my bravado this year has all been an act. of course i could not be ready for her to be the competant, independent, grab-the-world-by-the-balls person i worked so hard to raise. does she not know i was only kidding!! wisconsin?!! that is halfway across the country! 

i digress – back to the gown and the iron. being a working mom i always look for ways to overcompensate and make sure that i am doing the mom thing as well as the work thing. so, of course, they both are never really quite up to the standard i expect. somewhere in the 4-page green directions for graduation (you know the one, where the assistant principal gives them a 10 bullet list for how to enjoy graduation and prom, 9 of which stress not drinking or doing drugs) there was mention of taking the gown out of the bag and ironing it. at midnight i was the mom who would just hang it up. at 6AM i decided no daughter of mine will graduate with a wrinkled gown! 

so why is it, exactly, that they make these things out of the same material as basketball shimmer shorts?! 

no, you will not be able to notice my daughter by the big brown iron mark on the back of her white gown. but if you look close, you may notice that on the front left shoulder the fabric is, how should i put it, a tad ‘melted’. 

as jana would say, ‘it’s FINE’. as my parents would say, i did it ‘the Amy way’. 

a huge thank you to the jana who has become one of my favorite people on earth to spend time with. surely the one that knows me the best, and loves me anyway. sometimes it seems that she is raising me. i think her humor and radiant smile will get me through this one. levity has always been her strong point. 

love and congrats to all of you who have been in the parenting trenches with me the past 18 years. for some of you it is your first, others, your last. it is never easy to watch them go. but then again, we could all use a rest. and as my mommy mentors tell me, they come home, stay out all night, sleep late and bring lots of laundry.  

let the games begin! 

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Filed under family, humor, parenting, women

Chairman of the Basement

Those who know me are fully aware of my subterranean life. I work in a home office in the basement. I click the mouse, pick the colors and bang the keyboard for way too many hours a day.

It has its advantages. Let’s see, I am not distracted by windows or changes in weather. I can stay focused. There is no real time, I can simulate night or day at my own whim.

There are times when I think, ‘please G-d get me out of here’. But mostly I am happy with the set-up. Sometimes towards the end of a weekend I get a little heady from being above ground too long. Too much daylight and fresh air maybe. I do occasionally worry that this controlled environment makes me, what I like to refer to as a ‘social recluse’. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, I just prefer extended periods of time with my dog during the week.

This could be why I love this blogging thing. I guess you could say that the social recluse branches out without upsetting the agoraphobic apple cart. (there could also be a good chance that I am certifiably insane, but we will talk about my mental health at a later date).

During a conversation with the First Thursdays (you will hear about them soon) about working women, we got on the topic of breaking the glass ceiling. There is no glass ceiling in the basement (rather dangerous, no?) The conversation went around the table about achievements of women, famous and those we know personally. At times like those I sometimes feel a slight regret about where my career could have gone if I did not have a family.

But then I realize that I may not have climbed the ladder and broken that ceiling (which sounds quite painful, actually), but I have created a balance that enabled me to do what I do (whatever that is), make a good living, feel a sense of professional fulfillment and still be, not only the Chairman of the Basement, but also the kind of mom I needed to be to my kids. (And of course if I carry dog biscuits at board meetings I can get the dog to vote my way).

Net of it all for me? I can always turn up the steam and work my butt off, but I can’t get back my little kids. Or my tweens. Or my teenagers (yes, I happen to love having teenagers. perhaps because they get my sophomoric humor best). 

Don’t get me wrong, I do not preach that women cannot have it all. They can. AND SHOULD. It just needs to be the all that THEY choose. Hey, some of best friends carry the windex up there! (a glass ceiling should always be clean).

I will end this ramble with a plea to all women (and men for that matter). Can we stop being our own worst enemies. Working moms criticizing stay-at-homes for giving up their lives; stay-at-homes criticizing working for not being there enough.

Everyone has their own ride. Let’s support each other for our choices and be cool about it. 

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Filed under humor, parenting, women, work, work habits