Tuesday, November 29, 2016

High Maintenance

I was having a conversation 
about someone's ex-girlfriend who I'd never met. 
For the sake of not naming names, 
we'll call this person Elizabeth. 
(It's my favorite girls name although I'd never use it on a child.)
Elizabeth: "You think you are high maintenance, she was much more high maintenance." 
Me: "I didn't think I was high maintenance." 
Elizabeth: "Well you are much more high maintenance than I am." 

Before I could say anything, 
our conversation was interrupted. 
Later, I thought of bringing it up again, 
asking how Elizabeth thought I was so high maintenance, 
but if there's one thing I'm trying to be better about, 
is just letting shit go
(Not that I'm great at it, but hey, I'm at least making an effort.) 

So I never brought it up again. 

The funny thing is that I consider this Elizabeth to be a very high maintenance individual. 
Yes, she's a fun person - always the life of the party. 
But she's also prone to holding really bad grudges for really stupid shit
And then she'll tell EVERYONE that she's mad at the person, 
meanwhile the actual perpetrator rarely has any idea. 
So you have to tread lightly around Elizabeth, 
or else you'll wind up in the doghouse for months. 
Either until you apologize (that is, if you can figure out what you did) 
or someone else convinces her to get over it. 

And that's why I consider Elizabeth to be high maintenance. 
Clearly, Elizabeth does not share my view. 

So it got me thinking, 
what do YOU consider to be high maintenance? 


When I think of high maintenance, 
I think of someone who is needy
Someone who can't do anything for themselves. 

Which is why I consider myself NOT high maintenance, 
because I am incredibly independent. 
And generally prefer to do it myself anyway because #controlfreak. 
(Except when it comes to killing spiders... EEEK


I think of high maintenance as someone who is obsessed with stuff
Someone who HAS TO have the nicest, most expensive things. 
Someone who wants to be showered with gifts. 

I'm not saying I don't like nice things, 
but you don't see me demanding expensive shit. 
I know our finances and I know what we can afford. 
And I'm very prepared for the day that Adam may quit Big Law Firm, 
and may take a paycut going to In-house Legal. 
That's fine by me as long as he stops 3am nights!

Tread Lightly! 

As with Elizabeth above, 
I think of high maintenance people as those so emotionally unstable, 
that you  have to tread lightly around them for fear of upsetting them. 

Me? I'm not afraid of controversial topics or confrontations. 
And I hope no one is afraid of having them with me. 
I won't hold a grudge. 

So what do you think? 
When you think high maintenance, what do you envision? 
What kind of attributes do you associate with a high maintenance person? 

Also did you know there is an HBO show called "High Maintenance"? 
It has to do with a pot dealer. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

SAHM vs Working Mom: Dressing My Best

"You'll never wear your favorite jeans again. 
You'll go straight from work clothes to sweatpants." 

This was the warning from one of my coworkers way back when I was an intern.  
And I thought it was ridiculous. 
I mean, I had lived in jeans all my life. 
Every single day of college was jeans, 
with the occasional American Eagle sweatpants thrown in on the laziest of days. 

However, she was [mostly] right. 
My favorite pair of jeans was relegated to 1-2 weekend nights a week (at best) 
- saved for a night out at the bar or a house party. 
All other days, it was slacks and pencil skirts, 
followed by yoga pants / leggings at home. 
And when kids came, those bar nights were even less frequent 
which meant even less of my jean appearances. 

Then I became a SAHM. 
Of course we all know the stereotypical attire is YOGA PANTS. 
I can't tell you whether it was a conscious decision or not, 
but that's not how I dress. 
In fact, I now wear my yoga pants significantly LESS than when I was working! 

Overall, I actually dress better as a SAHM than I did as a Working Mom.
(Now don't start thinking I'd fall into the "stylish mom" category just yet. 
I'll never be cool enough for that title.)

Here's an example: 
On a typical day getting dressed as a SAHM, 
I'm in my distressed Joe's skinny jeans and a sweater. 
If it's a park day or some other chasing-children activity, 
I'll wear my TOMs or my floral converse. 
If it's just errands (where children are contained in a shopping cart or other device), 
I can wear boots with a heel.  
In the fall I'm wearing my pink trench coat. 
All days include a shower and makeup, 
even if it's just the HVAC guy coming to give us a quote 
(you never know, he may be cute --- 
totally joking, they are all highly unattractive). 
I've even started playing with lip color, 
something I've never done because colorful lips just accentuated my rosacea.

(Of course I have like no photos of my actually looking like this, 
because 99.9% I'm behind the camera, 
but here is a typical outfit, 
minus the Hunter rain boots) 

Why do I put in more effort now than before? 
Why don't I just wear yoga pants? 

I don't really know. 

Maybe because I don't have the pressure to dress up for work, 
it's more fun to look nice other times.

Maybe it's because my jeans and trench have more pockets 
than yoga pants & sweatshirt, 
which is essential for my cellphone and keys. 

Maybe it just makes me feel good. 

Maybe it's only the first year 
and by next year I'll have reduced my appearance to 
"a notch above slob." 
(Perfectly likely)

So check back with me in like 5 years, 
and maybe by then my yoga pants collection will have overtaken my closet. 

Monday, November 21, 2016


6 Tips I learned in my 6 months a SAHM:

1. To speed up getting OUT the door, 
take time to organize after getting IN the door. 

As a Working Mom, the biggest hurdle of the day was getting out the door in the morning. 
While this is still probably the biggest hurdle, 
I am now going out the door at least 3-4 times a day. 

The best way to make these exits smooth is to make sure everything is in its place. 
Which means that when I get IN the door, I have to take time to put everything there. 
Maybe not right away, 
but before tackling anything else in the house, 
I organize my next exit. 
Shoes line up by the front door. 
Jackets/sweatshirts hung up. 
Hat/gloves in the winter box. 
Diaper bag restocked. 
Which leads to...

2. Properly stocked diaper bag. 

Like, ok, duh, I get it. 
Most moms have the diaper bag down to a science. 
Truthly, I didn't until becoming a SAHM. 
As a Working Mom, my diaper bag was always an outdated, wrong season mess. 

Now, I have it down to a science of the minimal essentials. 
(Hmm, maybe I'll do a diaper bag post like I did of my workbag?) 

The best decision I made was to dedicate two water bottles solely for the diaper bag. 
My S'well water bottle is my go-to travel water (post: water bottle showdown). 
And Aaron has his Zoli D.Lite which is a great stainless steel travel thermos. 

3. Always have food. 

For you AND kids. 
It took me nearly 6 months to learn this, 
Every time we step out the door, 
I have at the very least one granola bar each for Aaron and I. 
If we're going somewhere close to lunch, 
I'll often pack a deli sandwich for myself, 
knowing that when I get home, 
I'll be in such a hurry for lunch and naptime, 
that most likely I won't eat until much later. 

4. Set aside a designated amount of time to pick up the house.

I love a clean house. 
I mean, don't we all? 

But picking up all the time is maddening; 
it just doesn't work. 
Then again, I can't leave the mess too long or picking up because a HUGE task. 
(I hope you read that in a Trump voice: "It's gonna be HUGE"

I found the best is to pick up the house at two specific intervals in our routine: 
Naptime and Bedtime. 

I try to clean up after meals and cooking, 
but sometimes I have to prioritize. 

I also found it helpful to SET A TIMER for my pickup time. 
I don't check my phone, which keeps me from being distracted. 
Usually I can do a full-house sweep in 15-30 minutes. 

Every now and then, especially after vacations or a particularly crazy weekend, 
I'll need a Power Hour Pickup. 
But mostly 15 minutes twice a day is sufficient. 

5. Pen and Paper is still real. 

Yes, I store absolutely EVERYTHING on my phone. 
But picking up my phone can be dangerous. 
Adding a single item to my to-do list or calendar, 
can suddenly turn into a 5-10 minute distraction period of answering texts and emails. 

Instead, I keep a pad and paper out to just SCRIBBLE thoughts. 
"Ketchup" (add to grocery list) 
"Call contractor about sinks" (add to do list) 
"Salad, cookie, and yogurt" (add to food log app) 
And sometimes even...
"Text Adam - Aaron nap story" 

Then when I sit down to nurse Oliver, 
I spend that time inputting everything into my phone. 

Of course, like every human with a smartphone, 
there are still times I get distracted or lost in a text conversation. 
But this has helped me tremendously to stay focused. 

6. If you call it "preschool," you sound like a responsible mom.  
If you call it "daycare," you sound like a lazy mom.  

But they are the exact same thing. 

Aaron goes to a "center" 3 mornings a week. 
When I called it "daycare" (BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT IS) 
people looked at me like: 
"Uh, you stay home, why is your kid in daycare?

But when I called it preschool, I got the nod of: 
"Ah yes, education and socialization is important.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Moving on to recent life

I've had a string of passionate controversial posts these past two weeks, 
 and I think it's time to move on 
and get back to what really matters: 
complaining about my children and drinking wine 
(jk... sorta). 

I would like to thank those of you who commented, 
as every comment was reasonable, well-thought out,
 and very helpful in guiding me through my freak-outs. 
Well, of course there was one "wtf?!?!" anonymous comment 
(those kind of comments are always anonymous, after all), 
but one stray seagull doesn't phase me. 
(In case you are wondering, a "seagull" is a random person or group of persons who swoop in and shit all over the place.) 

Let me get back to some of the important aspects of life. 
Like food...

The most delicious easy muffins ever. 

2. Oliver has decided to not nap for more than 45 minutes. 
Let me say that again... 
It used to be that I could put him in the swing 
and he'd nap for 1.5-2 hours and
 I'd become the most productive person on the face of the planet. 
But now... 45 minutes. 
I can't do JACK in 45 minutes 
(except, of course, make Amanda's muffins, lol) 

I really need to just crib-train him already. 
He sleeps in his crib for 8-10 hours a night so really, 
it shouldn't be that bad. 
I tried crib naps last month, 
but he only did 45 minutes so I abandoned it. 
But if he's only doing 45 minutes in the swing... 
about time huh? 

3. Oliver is getting addicted to his pacifier 
and I am 25% terrified and 75% HALLELUJAH 
because having a child with a plug is a magical thing. 
Aaron never took a pacifier so I have zero experience on pacifier weaning. 
I swear I won't be the mom who has a 3-year-old with a pacifier, 
but I've also sworn other things before and HAHAHAHA. 
Like: "I swear I will never use the TV to babysit my child." 

4. On a totally different note, 
I'm running more and eating healthier again 
(something I resolved to do back in September
and finally getting to it now), 
and I can see the improvement in my mood. 
I have more energy and generally feel better about life 
(which you would have NO IDEA based on these last two weeks' of posting, 
so just imagine how much worse they would have been if I wasn't eating healthy and exercising!) 

5. Probably related to the above, 
my anxiety is getting better. 
Adam has ceased his 
stint of INSANE hours 
(like 3am insane) 
which means I'm not lying awake at 2am convinced someone is going to break into our house. 
Additionally, we got a security system which definitely doesn't fix it, 
but certainly helps it. 

And that's about it for now. 
We'll call that my "Five on Friday" 
as though I designed it that way 
(I didn't). 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sore Loser

This is the kind of post that NO ONE should put on social media. 
Neither popular blogger nor totally anonymous blogger (me).  
But we already know that I have no blogging common sense so... 

Whenever the opposite party wins a vote, 
opposition voters proclaim:
But usually by the end of term, 
the country is not in shit. 
It has survived.  
We are all alive and living in our jobs and our homes and IT'S OK.

When Obama was elected, 
there were outcries of EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE RUINED.
8 years later and we're still here. 
(Fair, there was an epic stock market crash, but that was from a housing bubble that began in the 90s and expanded through multiple presidencies) 

Now, I'm going to be THAT person. 
THAT person we all roll our eyes at. 
 (So commence eye rolling now...
And I'm being that person in HOPES 
that in 4 years you throw this post back in my face 
and say 
"HAHAHAHA, everything was fine.  
CHILL THE F**K out."  
Please say it to me.  
Bookmark this.

(Ok fair, no one is going to waste a good bookmark on this shitty post but STILL... 
Humor me, I've been drinking all night) 

Things I fear:

- A Muslim Holocaust

- Mass Latino deportation

- Nuclear fallout from severed foreign relations

- A police brutality state

(In short, I fear that we will become Nazi Germany)

Now, if at the end of 4 years, 
none of these have happened, 
I am ok. 
I am not going to move to Canada 
(although Natasha makes it very appealing). 
This is why our country is great, 
we have a BALANCE OF POWER. 
Senate and Congress can balance the outcomes.  

(Of course there are other things I fear like repealing gay rights and repealing progressive health care, but those are recent steps forward, the repeal of which does not shake me to my core. I also fear another stock market crash but we've proven we can survive that.)

So yes, to those who vote for Trump, 
I give a bow. 
I didn't think you had it, 
but you did it. 
I do not despise you. 
(And I hope you don't despise me, 
Which you shouldn't, 
Because winners usually don't despise losers, 
They just laugh at them) 

You had an amazing win. 
And we all had our reasons for voting. 

I acknowledge that one of the main points of Trump was to elect a pro-life judge which 
(although I think there are other ways to reduce abortion rates, 
but that's a totally different post which I shall NEVER write - PLEASE hold me to that!). 

So in the end, 
the election is done. 
I did my part. 
It didn't work out. 

I hope that my worst fears are never recognized. 
I hope that when 4 years ends, 
I laugh and say: 
"Ok, that was fine.  
We are all good." 

Let me nurse my wine hangover. 
And let me now do my part to love. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Opening Presents: a follow-up

A little follow-up / response to my post on 
opening presents before or after the party.

First of all, I think this was the most controversial post I've ever had. 
Particularly when measuring my passionate feelings 
versus the passionate disagreements. 
This is particularly funny given the subject matter: 
We're not talking about the election here, just presents. 

Anyway, as I suspected, I am most definitely in the minority 
in that I'm the only one who likes to watch presents being opened. 
To everyone else, it's just plain boring
Natasha brought up an excellent correlation that I had not thought of, 
but was certainly a lightbulb moment for me. 
In weddings, the tradition is to do pictures post-ceremony, 
but when the ceremony & reception are back-to-back or at the same site, 
doing so means the bridal party misses out on the fun 
and instead is bored out of their mind.  
I relate very much to this and was the main reason we did pictures beforehand. 

So where do we go from here? 

Two parts to this: 
1) decision on birthday parties going forward and 
2) the fact that I still  very much so want to see others open the gifts I gave. 

First part: future parties we host

I think I will structure the party so that the actual time of the party is spent eating & playing, but gifts are opened immediately after in the event people want to stay 
(and I know grandparents will at the very least). 

For example...
Aaron turns 4 in March and I very much so want to copy Meredith's pizza & PJs party
I'm thinking party 4:30-6:30, 
then at 6:30 thank everyone for coming 
but let them know we are going to open presents if anyone wants to linger. 

Now, of course, this could result in the same situation as Sloane
where Aaron is DYING to have people leave so he can open gifts. 
But... well, we'll deal with that if/when it happens. 

Thoughts on this? 

Second part: I still want to see gifts opened. 

While I'm much less passionate about seeing every gift opened, 
it's really important to me to see the gift recipient open his/her gift. 
I spent time, money, and effort selecting and procuring the gift, 
so I really want to see what the recipient thinks of it (good or bad). 

The first idea I had was to just bring the gift the next time we get together. 
Generally the stack of gifts is high enough that my gift would not be missed, 
and bringing the gift to the next visit means it spreads out the joy of gift-getting. 

The second idea suggested by Amanda, 
is to just ask the host if they could open my own gift before I leave. 
Since everyone's objections to the gift-opening process is the boredom aspect, 
opening one gift eliminates other guests from having to sit around and watch, 
but still gives me the ability to see my gift being opened. 
The downside could be that the child then wants to open all the gifts, 
so anticipating that, 
I would make the request at the very end of the party, 
so the child can get to the good stuff shortly thereafter. 

Thoughts on this? 


Now moving onto much more controversial topics... 

No no no, don't worry, I won't talk issues or candidates. 
I just want to encourage everyone to go vote tomorrow 
(if tomorrow is your day). 

Personally, I don't like either of the two major candidates at all. 
The thought of enduring either one for four years is... UGH. 
(I never realized how much I was going to miss Obama until now. UGH) 

Normally I would encourage someone like myself to vote third party, 
but since Pennsylvania is a somewhat-swing state, 
and there is one candidate I want to win LESS than the other candidate 
(please note the "less" versus a "more"), 
I am going to pick my poison. 
Whatever you decide, 

Friday, November 4, 2016

To open or not to open?

This has been on my mind for far too long
It's nagged at me and I can't let it go. 
I sense that I am a total minority in my way of thinking, 
but I've yet to find an argument to sway my opinion. 
And finally, after reading the hilarious account of Meredith's daughter Sloane's reaction in her recent post 
(I'm with you, Sloane!), 
I just have to chime in. 

So here it is...

Do you think presents should be opened at the party or afterwards? 

I have thrown three birthday parties for Aaron, 
and at all three parties the presents were opened at the party. 

Aaron's first birthday

Aaron's second birthday

Aaron's third birthday watching gifts be opened
 (I was a million months pregnant)

Now, on the other hand, I have been to three year's worth of family/friends parties 
where the presents have NOT been opened at the party, 
but rather saved until afterwards. 

This phenomenon has puzzled me greatly. 
And if, we're being honest, also greatly irritated me. 

Here are my thoughts: 

1. I bought the damn gift, 
I want the gratification of seeing your child open it. 
EVEN if they don't like it. 
That's ok, too!

2. My FAVORITE part of parties is the gift opening. 
As a child, this was "YAY NEW TOYS FOR ME" (see also: Sloane)
But even as a child watching other children, it was fun to see toys. 
To this day, my favorite part of baby showers is the gift opening, 
and seeing all the great new equipment for babies out there. 

I've asked a few friends and family why they choose to not open presents at the party, 
and usually the answer is along the lines of 
"well that's what everyone else does" 
(which, if you've ever worked in a S6 or ACE corporate environment, you are trained to REVOLT at that statement.)

Finally, I did the thing that every mother does nowadays... 
I took to the internet. 

I found this Parents Network page where people wrote in their thoughts. 
And oh my LOTS of different thoughts. 

If I were to summarize the reason why gifts are NOT opened, 
I would summarize my findings as such: 

1. Other children get bored. 

2. Other children may get jealous. 

3. The gift opener may react poorly to a gift, thus embarrassing the gift giver. 

4. The gift opener may be overwhelmed. 

5. It takes too damn long. 

6. Some parties ask for no gifts, but people still bring gifts and thus those are opened those later (note: I 100% support opening gifts later if the invite says "no gifts", AND I also think it is rude to bring a gift and thus disregard the invite

For those who also advocate for not opening gifts are parties, am I missing anything?

Now, after reading line-after-line of explanations, I stumbled upon a response that summed up all that I felt. 
Since they wrote it better than I did, I'm just going to copy and paste it here: 

After reading the responses to this query, I feel compelled to chime in. I am from the old school of birthday party etiquette. My son opened his presents at every one of his birthday parties growing up. It was a lot of fun for all. I dutifully stood aside and made my list so that we could do thank you notes together afterward. I wanted to teach my son good manners by writing thank you notes. I had planned every party (through the tweens) with a theme and a handmade thank-you card. I might add here, that we hardly ever got a thank you card from gifts we gave. Sloppy parenting, in my book. Anyway, here is how I feel about the withholding of gifts until after the party - the first time I encountered this was when my son was little and I was in attendance at the party. I was a bit disappointed. Heck, half the fun of giving a gift is seeing the reaction right? Full disclosure here - I am one of the most thoughtful gift givers on the planet. Now, my main point is this. This holding back of gifts so that they can be opened in a controlled environment away from the hustle and bustle, and god forbid - uncertainty! of real time just smacks of the detriment of the current culture we live in which is controlled communication 24/7. It sickens me that we are so busy living highly electronically controlled lives that there is barely any face time, and even telephone conversations are becoming rarer and rarer. Opening gifts at birthday parties is an age old convention! And it's a fun one! All you parents who are abandoning it in favor of risking overstimulation, hurt feelings for the ones who didn't measure up, jealousy, etc. are just prime examples of the worst of helicopter parenting. This is yet another modern cultural practice that I do not agree with!
One more thought worth pondering to all you modern thinkers out there- what is the point of giving presents at a birthday party? If we are going to sequester the act into a private activity, why bother at all? So, the kid can accumulate more stuff and not even recognize or care who provided that stuff? Yes, it is exciting/stressful to open gifts in front of an audience but that's part of life, and all the messiness that comes with it. Too much sequestering/privatizing/controlling isn't healthy. Old School party maker
Thank you, Old School Party Maker. 
I could not have said it better myself. 

(Note: Follow-up blog post to this topic is now here.
 And yes, I somewhat changed my mind.)