Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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Whoever said parenthood was easy, was never a parent

January 29, 2012

baby pictureNoone says this, right? I mean, they can’t. Or at least, I can’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys more than anything. They are amazing and I adore being their mom. Honestly, I’m happy to take care of their needs, but it does get frustrating. Sometimes you just feel like you are failing at parenting (I said this on Facebook and many friends rallied to my side. You guys are the best and yes, I do know it isn’t really true)

I’m a great and mostly patient parent. Just not when they’re sleeping.. or should I say, when they’re NOT sleeping. You see my children? They don’t sleep. My oldest? only started sleeping through the night when he was 4 years old. Even now he still wakes about once a week. And the baby? He’s up every 2 hours. Sometimes more. Naps range from 20 minutes to 2 hours (rare) but mostly they are 30-60 minutes 2-3 times a day. Frankly, he just resists sleep.

Oh I’m not at this point yet, and hope I never will be. But believe me, it takes a toll on you.

I’m not looking for advice about how to get him to sleep. We’ve tried many of your tried and true techniques. We’ve seen the doctor and have tried his advice as well. We’re still not sleeping. Luckily, I have an equal parenting partner in my husband, so we are able to trade off, but what we’d really like is for our baby to sleep.

What I am talking about is the fact that parenting is hard. The rewards are great and I’ll look back at this time and say “oh man… remember when the baby didn’t sleep?? Good times.” and we’ll have a little laugh. I know that this too shall pass. But that doesn’t make it less hard right now.

Sleep has been “that thing” for us. For some other people I know, its eating. Lets not hide the hard things.. because even though we should leave the advice giving to the experts, we can at least get some sympathy and some help. Someone to take the baby for a few hours for a nap or when parents just need a break. Open yourself up for some help and it might be there, instead of pretending everything is sunshine and roses, let the world know that sometimes a little shit is part of growing.

What was “that thing” for you?

And really.. does everyone, like me, always end up reading the archives of Ask Moxie?

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We believe in fairies

December 5, 2011

One of the best pieces of advice I was given upon learning we were going to have a second child was to be sure I put aside some special time with my first born. So when an opportunity to see Peter Pan in Boston came about… well, it was a no-brainer.

As excited as he was, I was a little apprehensive. Sometimes he scares easily. But I had heard the show was amazing and I had a feeling he would love it.

So we boarded the blue line which would take us right to where the performance was taking place in City Hall plaza.

We picked up our tickets and headed inside. Despite a small ticket glitch (I was not actually seated with my 5yo son, my seat was actually 15 seats and one row away. We are thankful for the kind people sitting next to us and the owner of four tickets in the row below us who did not show up), we took our seats in anticipation of a great production.

The show did not disappoint. We were treated to a spectacular presentation of the story of Peter Pan like I have never seen before.

The flying was exhilarating. We both had goosebumps. The look on my son’s face told me I made the right decision to bring him. He was spellbound. There was only one slightly scary moment when the pirates first appeared, but he got through it quickly and was not afraid of the pirates after that. In fact, one of his favorite scenes was a fighting scene between Captain Hook and Peter Pan. It was artistic, and was tastefully done in a slow motion, seemingly non-violent nature. Perfect for children.

The puppetry was spectacular. Nana the dog and TickTock were beautiful and well maneuvered. They were made out of blankets and old clothes and flowed exactly the way your imagination would, well… imagine.

I think that both us had a favorite though.. and it was clearly Tinker Bell. She was ballsy and mouthy, hilarious and punk rock. We loved her.

While the show says the recommended age was 5 and up, I saw many younger children there who were clearly enjoying the show. It is a magnificent production.

The clincher? Meeting Peter Pan and Wendy Darling after the show. Alex was Hooked… so to speak.

For more information about the ThreeSixty CGI experience.. go HERE.

Performances run through December 31st and range in price from $35-$125. Ticketing and more information can be found HERE.

See other rave reviews HERE.

If you can.. See this show. It was a thrill for children and adults alike.

Although we received complimentary tickets to this show, I was not asked to write a favorable review. This review is purely my own and I received no other compensation.
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Now THAT is Influence*

October 27, 2011

Tonight my 5yo son wanted to lay with me in his bed. He didn’t want a book. He didn’t want his superhero action figures or even his comic books.

Tonight he wanted to lay in my arms and stroke my hair and tell me about his day until he fell fast asleep holding my hand.

THAT, my friends, is what is important. More than Klout. More than the latest iPhone. More than being first with the newest piece on social media or voicing my opinion about the newest marketing trends.

Take time to slow it down and remember what is truly important.

*Blog title taken from a comment to this post on Google+ from Lynette Young (@LynetteRadio)

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But what do we tell the children? 9/11 thoughts from an eyewitness

September 9, 2011

We all have moments of time in which our lives took a dramatic turn. A wedding, a birth (or several), a death.

For me one of those moments was 9/11/2001

The impact that day had on my life and the chain of events it spawned is not illuminated in that post, but they are bright in my mind. I left New York City within 6 months of the attacks. My childhood home, my adult playground, NYC will forever be in my soul, my heart but I had to leave after that. I realized after that day that I was not my career, which I had been chasing for years, my passion, the music industry. I loved it, I adored it, but there was one thing more important and I just didn’t realize it until after that day.

Me. Happiness. Love. Life. and now I’ll add to that, My Family

So 6 months later I packed up my Brooklyn apartment and moved to Boston to be with my then boyfriend. now husband (See! It worked out!).

But right now this isn’t about me so that story will have to be for another time.

With my oldest child starting kindergarten this coming Monday, it occurred to me.. How are they teaching our children about 9/11?

My first thought was about how do I explain this tragic event without overflowing with emotion about my own fear and panic and scaring my child. Followed immediately by – He should know I was there and that ‘history’ happens all around us as life unfolds and we should be aware and grateful for every moment.

Well clearly THAT is too heavy for a kindergartner. *SIGH*

I reached out through my channels to ask the teachers that I was connected to this very question. I received a wide variety of answers and resources.

Several friends and teachers mentioned that there were workshops that have taken place in the last month (some this weekend) that are helping teachers develop their own programs for discussing 9/11 with middle and high school students. I know that there are programs for younger kids, but the teachers I spoke with were specifically teaching in this age bracket. From what I can tell (and I’d be happy if you all had better information than I do!), this education happens more in the later years (which makes sense based on maturity levels).

Then I became interested in materials that were being used and thought they would make great tools for parents to help talk to their own kids about this day.

A few pointed me to the US Department of Education site. Sadly I found this resource lacking in substance with the exception of one beaming light called Voices for Peace – Nonviolent Strategies for Change. WOW this program look like an amazing teaching opportunity, but that might be (definitely is) the Human Rights activist buried deep (OK, not so deep) inside me.

I’ll be brief about this because the lessons are wider rather than 9/11 incident specific but I feel it is an important resource and information to teach our children. From their site:

Voices for Peace was developed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The site provides a collection of resources for exploring alternatives to violence for promoting political change.

They include a teachers guide as well as a section called Strategies for Change which includes information and examples about change through the Arts, Change Through Cross-Community Work, Change Through Education and more. If these are the types of values you want to teach your children, and I do, the resources here are fantastic for parents as well as teachers.

This might not specifically be about teaching 9/11 education, but I do think it is relevant to teaching children that there are other ways besides attacking innocent people to express anger.

Moving on.. yes.. 9/11

US DOE Site also leads you to other places where more materials can be found. It lead me to a site organized by the Smithsonian National Museum of American history called – September 11: Teaching Contemporary History. These online recorded conferences are free and available now. I also love that on their description page for the programs it outlines the audience this material is meant for, middle school age, High school, elementary and even mentioning parents specifically in one.

From their site:

On Wednesday, August 3 and Thursday, August 4, 2011, the National Museum of American History, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Pentagon Memorial Fund, and Flight 93 National Memorial, offered a FREE online conference, September 11: Teaching Contemporary History, for K-12 teachers. Designed to provide educators with resources and strategies for addressing the September 11 terrorist attacks, the conference included roundtable discussions with content experts and six workshop sessions. These sessions — all of which were recorded and are now available — highlight resources available at each organization, provide background information on September 11, and encourage conversations on how to document, preserve, and interpret recent history and current events.

Once again.. these resources are mostly meant for teachers, but parents will greatly benefit from these resources as well. This one might very well be my favorite of the bunch.

Finally, for more resources, check out teachinghistory.org’s page about 9/11 for even more teaching tools and information.

Do you have resources you are already using? Ideas for discussion with young children about tragedy? Let me know, I’d love to have them in my arsenal.

As for us? We are going to hold off for now. But I am making myself ready for these conversations, I will keep my ears open for the curiosity and questioning of my own children to lead the way in to this discussion, or will introduce my own story when they start learning about it in school.

Maybe I’m selfish or naive or both.. but I want my 5 year old to stay innocent about these things just a little bit longer.

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Welcome baby Eli

August 11, 2011

Our big boy. 8 pounds 13 ounces of all boy. Arrived 8/8/11

20110811-053707.jpg

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Some personal musings of family and career

July 21, 2011

I will be having a newborn baby within the next 18 days. I should be concentrating on this miraculous event.

Instead I’m thinking about my career and the things that I have to not do right now  and for 12 weeks after the birth to prepare for this other wonderful event in my life. Thinking that I’ll be missing some critical time and critical discussions while I take time off.

I am devoted to what I do. Weaving the social into traditional marketing, crafting campaigns and strategies that make my employer and clients successful, training those who need to know more. Watching these successes unfold are my triumphs.

It is more than just what I do.. it is a passion.

So I’ll watch while my Klout score will plummet like a rock and conversations with thought leaders will grow quiet. I’ll observe and congratulate others as they climb and achieve and the work I love will be put on hold, my thoughts will be on sleepless nights and a brand new life in my arms, heart and in my home, I do KNOW which is more important.

But

I can’t help but think about what a slacker I’m going to be for not keeping up and what it might do to my future.

When we achieve in our careers are we obliged to put our families off to the side? When we focus on our families does our business influence wane and our reputations falter?

and why do we have to choose? Can’t I be a great mother and an asset to my employer and clients at the same time?

Am I just too pregnant in 100 degree heat to even think clearly about this stuff right now and I’m out of my mind?

Someone pass me the ice cream.

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The woes and triumphs of a mom who works outside of the home

June 8, 2011

Ah.. the mommy wars.

There has always been a push and pull about staying home with kids vs. working outside the home. Yes, there are many who also work from home, and yes, being a mom is also work. The terminology alone offends people sometimes!

And because this is me and I like to speak in fair terms.. all of the below statements can also refer to dads. Dads are equally an important parental partner and can make these same choices and decisions that moms can. Many dads also feel the same push and pull about working. I will be using the term ‘mom’, but please know it can be interchangeable with dad.

I specifically want to talk here about those of us who work outside the home for an employer. In some cases, these are choices we make, believe it or not, some moms LIKE to work (the shock! The horror!)! In many cases, a dual income family is a necessity.

In both cases, and I’m speaking in general terms here, there is always the thought that we need to be at home. Some times we need an extra day to be with our kids either for pleasure or because of inconsistent daycare. Sometimes we want to reclaim that commuting time to add on an hour to our days to make a proper breakfast for our kids before they go out the door to school or to be able to be home when they are done. Sometimes we just need to throw in those loads of laundry so we don’t have to do it on those too short weekends.

Does any of this sound familiar to you, my working mom friends? I thought so.

The truth is, instead of getting frustrated about it, you should figure out what you really want, what would be ideal for you, and make it work.

While the working environment can be hostile to work/life balance, you don’t know what your options are until you try. In many cases, Human Resources departments and senior management don’t know how to handle work/life balance. They want to be fair to everyone. They also want the work done, and done well.

Well if that is the case, show them how it can realistically happen.

Step one? Be a hard working, dedicated employee in the first place. I add this in here because I did not want this to be an assumption. Be great at what you do, always. You want your employer to go above and beyond for you? Do the same for them.

Next, you need to make decisions for yourself. What do you want? What would make the balance easier for you? For some it might be working a 40 hour workweek in 4 days instead of 5. For some it might be telecommuting a couple days a week (and in some cases, full time). Adjusted work hours, job sharing, there are many choices. Be realistic about what your requests are in balance with your typical work load.

Write up a plan. A serious proposal about how this can work. Mom’s Rising has a great template to get you started on the path for asking for telecommuting. Its a good base proposal to customize for your needs. Be fair to yourself, your employer and your clients.

Have patience. You might be turned down or put off at first, in fact I would almost say, expect this. You just have to keep presenting your case and perhaps adjusting your requests, at appropriate intervals. For me these intervals were review periods.

Human resources and senior management actually want to figure out work/life balance. They want to keep hard working employees. There is a struggle for them as well. Be willing to work together to create new policies. Be willing to be flexible, be open to the conversation, and be willing to be the conversation starter.

For me, I have been proposing some balance for a couple of years. I will fully admit, that the timing was just wrong in the beginning based on the projects I was working on, but now? The timing was better, and my manager came to me.. yes, you read that right, she came to me, and asked if I was ready to do some telecommuting. More importantly, she was ready, the company was ready and the timing was right.

So we are working on it, and I am piloting this project. Adjustments will be made, discussions will take place, but this is how change happens.

Am I lucky that I work for a company and a manager who are willing to discuss these issues? Who do care about work/life balance? You bet I am. But you also have to be willing to take a chance and bring it up yourself. You don’t get what you want by wishing for it and not telling anyone, and then get frustated when it doesn’t happen.

As with anything in life, if you need something to change. Do something about it!

One last thing.. I believe that the term “work/life balance” is a fantasy. Even in the best of situations, there will be struggles and conflicts. But I do believe we can make adjustments to traditional work situations to make both a little more realistic.

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