Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MidChix Who Click with Moms Who Blog

As I listened to several inspiring speakers Sunday at the incredibly cool Chicks who Click 2010, I kept thinking "Damn, what if Mommy Blogging had been around 15 years ago when I had a 6-, 5-, 3- and 1-year-old hanging on my leg??" I had always fantasized about being the next Erma Bombeck. I'm not sure if it was because my mom adored her, and I wanted to be adored too...or if it was because her honest and humorous take on marriage and motherhood hit so close to home.

I love people who tell it like it is. They don't pretend that their spouse is a saint, or their kids are perfect, or that they eat a balanced diet. I must have been in tenth grade or so when I had the epiphany that girls liked me better if I confessed to an Oreo orgy than if I pretended to abhor sweets. Isn't that odd? How girls try to jockey for position with the popular gals by pretending to be perfect, while underneath it all, everyone aches to not be the only one who overdoses on Oreos?

Thank God that something happens between the Mean Girls of middle school and the magical good will of middle age.

It hasn't always been easy to convince my daughters that the day will come when their girlfriends will be their most treasured possession. But as Oprah says, I know this much is true. Whether it's the surprise attack of hormones on steroids when we hit 40, the realization that our spouse may never say the right thing, or the humbling of hemorrhoids after a 48-hour labor, our universal experience as women binds us in a way that we long to be bound.

When I laugh with my girlfriends it is medicinal. No matter how tired, angry, sad, burdened, or overwhelmed I am...sharing the human experience with like-minded humans is as close to a cure-all as you can get. Mommy bloggers have the right idea. By sharing the dementia of early motherhood and the demands of properly admiring while secretly reporting a toddler's proud announcement that her poop looks like a shark, they are empowering themselves, each other, and subsequently, their children. As everyone on the blogger panel confirmed, mommy blogging began not as a way to attract advertisers, but as a creative outlet, a connection with others, and a chance to talk out loud about what motherhood is really like. I think that may make it much more bearable. Instead of blowing up when the kids are sick, the DVD player is shot, your husband is traveling, and your roots are growing in...you write about it. And you feel better.

This morning I pulled out the file folder I have kept for the past 20 years. It is filled with sheets of scribbled rants, and printed-out potty-training stories of my own. (For those who heard the shark poop story, my own daughter's description was snake poopies). I always thought I would have a chance to share some of my inane insights, but except for the annual Christmas letter, I never did. Believe me, there was still satisfaction in writing them...but how much more satisfying if someone had been reading them and nodding, and laughing, and writing her own?

Maybe it's not too late to be a blogger. Sure, my kids don't call me "Mommy" anymore, (except when they need money), but my daily life is still alternately beautiful and beastly when it comes to the unique challenge of motherhood, not to mention womanhood, wifehood, sisterhood. Now we just need a name for blogging in middle age—how ‘bout "Been There Bloggers"?

If you want to join the ranks of this burgeoning blogger group, start by clicking on Bird Seed and submit your rants or reflections to us; or read Kathryn Bass' great intro to blogging in our How-To section. Maybe at next year's Chicks Who Click Conference, more of the clicking chicks will be MidChix!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

School Rant

I wasn't the only one who was cranky yesterday. I talked to at least a few other moms who confessed that they had lost their patience. My theory is that after having more than three weeks of school holidays in the past eight, we are weary. Weary of juggling our usual work responsibilities and our usual home responsibilities along with holiday demands and the added complication of multiple children in the house all day.

Whether you work at home or out of the home, days off are a mom's conundrum. While I do appreciate the break from the morning rush, lunch-packing, and pick-up schedule; at the same time, I am flummoxed by the need to fit five days of work into four. To top it off, today Denver Public Schools have early dismissal. So that means I still get to wake up to a 5:45 alarm, drive my sleepy teen 20 minutes to school at 7, and then turn around at 10:45 and go back to pick her up. That is crazy.

You know what is even crazier, it's only four weeks until President's Day. Except at my son's school the Presidents get a whole week. And so does he.

In our family (and yes, I know that it is my own darn fault for having five kids), there is someone on spring break from February 27th-April 9th. I'm serious.

So, as long as I am ranting about school vacations, I might as well gripe about the hours too. Why are they so ungodly? With all of the attention given to test scores and student achievement, how can it make sense to have teens begin class at 7:29 AM? There may, somewhere in the world, be a teen or two who gets to bed before 10:00...but I doubt there are many. It has been clearly established that we are a sleep-deprived society, that teenagers need even more sleep than adults, and that lack of sleep leads to lower performance, slower response times, and irritability. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Getting out of school by 2:45 is a fifteen year-old' dream come true. How many hours that leaves to text and video chat! But just think, if she were in school, she could just talk to her friends in person! Sure, in some parts of the country, I guess there may be a handful of kids who need to be out of school and in the fields to gather the crops before dark. But for the rest of them, couldn't school hours more closely approximate work hours?

If the school day covered 8:30-4:30...imagine how much easier it would be on just about everyone. During daylight savings time, there would still be light for outside sports, and once the clocks change for fall, sports should be inside anyway. Transportation always crops up as a driving force behind the staggered school times. Maybe by scheduling a later start, more parents would be able to drive kids to school on their way to work...or maybe increasing the transportation budget, buying more buses, and hiring more drivers to accommodate a later start time across the board-would in fact result in higher test scores, better prepared and healthier students.

Seems like the pros of a longer and later starting school day have the potential to greatly outweigh some of the cons. Why not try this simple solution, before pouring more money into school overhauls?

And how ‘bout doing away with half-days while we're at it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There is something about being alone. It is an indescribable feeling I get on that first day after summer vacation or winter break when everyone has gone back to school, or work, or wherever…and I am actually in my house by myself. It is so soothing, so peaceful, and so incredibly rare. I guess that it is that rarity that makes it so good…

I am sitting here by myself, listening to the humming of a home—the clocks, the radiators, the fridge, the dryer, and the occasional pinging of my phone making sure I don’t miss the arrival of a single email. It is heavenly.

It is not alone if the only other body in the building is a somnolent teenager who rarely makes it downstairs before 1 or 2 pm. I know that I will miss the chaos of kids when they have all flown this coop. But maybe not as much as people say I will.

How can I admit this, especially knowing that for people like my Mom, an empty house is the very last thing in the world that she wants to come home to? I am reminded to be thankful for the precious hours of silence; but also that the silence will end, and that I will not be alone. And so I am thankful…

Thankful for the noise, the interruptions, the mess, the dirty laundry, the clean (unfolded) laundry, the fingerprints, the empty orange juice container in the fridge, the toothpaste gobs in the sink, the snoring of my mate, the three different songs being sung at once from different rooms on different floors, the ringing phone, the whining, the sighing, the out-of-tune cello, the lunches to pack, the emails to answer, the forms to fill out, the thank-you letters to write, the counters to wipe, the parties to plan, the snow to shovel, the flights to book, the schools to research, the ticket to pay, the paper to read, the friends to call, the kid to comfort, the dishes to load, and unload, the trash to take out, the teacher to question, the long-lost friend to find, the light bulb to replace, the gas tank to fill, the shirt to iron, the toilet to plunge, the sheets to change, the potatoes to bake, the show to watch, the child to tuck, the teeth to floss, the articles to edit, the bills to pay, the lamps to turn on, the papers to file, the reservations to make, the passwords to remember, the plants to water, the headache to get rid of, the meals to plan, the blog to write, the day to seize.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

breathe deeply,

be polite,

stop swearing,

practice patience,

sleep more,

drink less,

plan dinner,

call my mother,

knit a scarf,

take that art class,

visit a museum,

go to the movies,

write letters,

honor date night,

walk a lot,

kiss my husband,


bake homemade cookies,


read more,

drive less,

hug a child,

tip liberally,

never honk,

screen calls,

be grateful,


consider forgiveness,



love life.