Category Archives: Balance

I am not a housekeeper

In the spirit of making do with less, one of the things that has fallen by the wayside is hiring a professional to come in and clean the apartment. It’s a really nice perk, but one we seem to be surviving without. Of course it does mean that we have to find the time to actually do the cleaning and we don’t get to experience that miraculous feeling of walking in the door and finding the floors sparkly, the porcelain gleaming and everything smelling faintly of ammonia. So, in my quest for balance, where does cleaning the apartment fit in with keeping up with a toddler, vigilant nursing of a newborn and trying to maintain a business and home. Answer, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day, most everything has found it’s way back to where it belongs, my amazing amazing amazing husband manages to clean the kitchen every night, the laundry gets done once a week – and maybe the sheets get changed, the trash goes out every day, but there’s always something left undone. I have never been much of one for housekeeping, clutter makes me crazy, piles make me nuts, so while I can straighten things to death, don’t ask me to do the dishes and I’m a whiz at ignoring a dirty toilet.

A few years back we heard about the idea that if you and your partner each clean for 10 minutes a day, you will always have a neat house. This idea does not work. Okay, in theory, if you’re doing a massive cleaning once a week, then sure, 10 minutes a day of picking up around the house might work, but there’s that once a week deep cleaning. And so far, I haven’t figured out how to do this 1x a week clean with two kids in the house. As far as I can tell, diligent cleaning is almost impossible with a toddler. So I’m excited to try this new method I read about from the Work at Home Woman – the 22 minute house cleaning. LOVE IT.

Okay, I’m not saying that cleaning is awesome, but it needs to be done, living in this city, the dust alone that builds up on the furniture could kill you, and  I can find 22 minutes a day to do these things (especially if Jeremy continues his commitment to the kitchen) and then if we put into the schedule, once a month, drop the kids at grandma’s and scrub the place down. We can do this. I think.

One final thought about housecleaning and then I swear I’ll post something fitness related – the other day Harry and I were listening to Free to Be, You and Me. When I was a kid, my mother mainlined this album for me. I remember my record had a chip on the edge and as long as we didn’t listen to the first couple of tracks, it worked fine. But, we were sitting in his room and it came on the pod (sidenote…when I was pg with Harry, I bought a Fisher Price record player because I don’t want him to think that music only comes out of a sleek white deck of cards looking thing, now to find some records) and there was Carol Channing talking about housework. I stopped building my Lego tower and flashed back to 8 years old. I guess all that listening I did as a kid actually sank in, because I realized there are so many lessons from this album that I hold true to my heart. It’s Okay to Cry, William Wants a Doll, Parents are People…but this Housekeeping one, boy howdy. It’s worth copying.

You know, there are times when we happen to be
Just sitting there, quietly watching TV,
When the program we’re watching will stop for a while
And suddenly someone appears with a smile,
And starts to show us how terribly urgent
It is to buy some brand of detergent,
Or soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
To help with the housework.

Now, most of the time it’s a lady we see,
Who’s doing the housework on TV.
She’s cheerfully scouring a skillet or two,
Or she’s polishing pots till they gleam like new,
Or she’s scrubbing the tub or she’s mopping the floors,
Or she’s wiping the stains from the walls and the doors,
Or she’s washing the windows, the dishes, the clothes,
Or waxing the furniture till it just glows,
Or cleaning the fridge or the stove or the sink,
With a light-hearted smile, and a friendly wink,
And she’s doing her best to make us think
That her soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
Is the best kind of soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
That there is in the whole wide world.
And, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t,
And maybe it does what they say it will do,
But I’ll tell you one thing I know is true.
The lady we see when we’re watching TV,
The lady who smiles as she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Or whatever she does on our TV screens,
That lady is smiling because she’s an actress,
And she’s earning money for learning those speeches
That mention those wonderful soaps and detergents and cleansers and cleaners and powders and pastes and waxes and bleaches.

So, the very next time you happen to be
Just sitting there quietly watching TV,
And you see some nice lady who smiles
As she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Remember, nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV.
Your mommy hates housework,
Your daddy hates housework,
I hate housework too.
And when you grow up, so will you.
Because even if the soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach
That you use is the very best one,
Housework is just no fun.

Children, when you have a house of your own,
Make sure, when there’s house work to do,
That you don’t have to do it alone.
Little boys, little girls, when you’re big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there’s housework to do,
That you do it together!

So this is one thing I know. Housework sucks. And one way to begin to achieve balance is to get a handle on it, get everyone in the house involved and don’t spend too much time worrying about it. There are far more important things in life than worrying over streaky stainless steel.

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Filed under Balance, marriage, relationships, werk

Getting on with iy

Four weeks ago I had my second baby. Yesterday, my husband went back to work – I know how incredibly lucky I have been to have had all this extra help and support, but I think it’s also made me a little lazy and a little bit more scared than I need to be.

Today was my first morning alone with the baby and the two year old. While I was nursing, the toddler decided to remove every toy from his toy box, open up the freezer and take out an ice pop and a handful of ice and in general wreak havoc, all while I’m on the couch with a baby on my boob saying oh, please don’t do that. It made me feel kind of pathetic. And weak.

Okay, firstly, how do I keep him out of the darn freezer? Ugh. It’s one of those bottom drawer freezers and I don’t even know, do they make child proofing for that? He’s already figured out how the “child proof” drawers and cabinets work.

And secondly, what on earth do I do while nursing. I’ve read all about the “special” toddler toy box or offering to read to him or even putting on the television. This morning we had on Sesame Street (which engaged him for all of about 10 minutes) and when I asked if he wanted to come sit with us, he threw a plastic penguin from the “special” toy box at me.

I know we all have to go through an adjustment period, but boy oh boy, I sure do hope it’s a short one.

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Filed under baby stuff, Balance, mom stuff

The road to recovery

Okay, so my new years resolution of keeping up with this blog failed. But I was finding it next to impossible to write anything of any use about fitness or health at 30+ weeks pregnant, when all I wanted to do was sit on my butt, eat and watch old 90210 reruns. But here we are. 3 weeks postpartum and it’s time for me to get back on that horse. Time to get back outside, time to introduce my new baby to the world of Prospect Park and exercise, time to start clean eating and clean living and refocusing my attention on my self, my family and my business.

It’s been a roller coaster couple of weeks. The lead up to the birth was an exercise in frustration, discomfort and boredom. And these past few weeks following the birth have been an exhausting hormonal fiesta of baby love. I’ve been amazed at how easy it’s been to forget the exhaustion, the engorgement, the feeling of being nothing more than a baby feeding machine. But at least now I know how fleeting this time is, and how important it is to live in the moment and be as present as possible for not only the new baby but the whole family.

I don’t know what’s more exhausting, the fluctuating hormones or the sleeplessness. There have been a few days where crying seems to be the easiest thing to do. Days when I feel like the worst mom in the world because I have to focus so much attention on the new baby and Harry is getting the shaft. I went from spending all the time in the world with Harry and now we get fleeting moments of together time. And while he’s being a champ, I can tell he’s frustrated and confused. And I know it’ll work itself out and the hormones will equalize, but some days it’s hard to imagine how…and when.

The plan is to use this blog as a path to recovery. Today starts the Get Fit Challenge with Stroller Strides, we’re challenging moms to see what changes they can make in their body, lifestyle, eating habits and while I can’t join in on classes yet, I can start making changes in my life. I can write down what I eat, I can get out and go for a walk every day, practice plank, squats, kegels, I can go to bed earlier and drink more water and find the joy in spending time with my children and my husband.

And hopefully this will help alleviate my stress and nerves about how much life will change with these two kids and how I’m ever going to leave the house with these two children and my sanity again.

 

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Filed under Balance, fitness, motherhood, Stroller Strides

How I learned to stop worrying

Okay…I haven’t STOPPED worrying. So much to worry about, birth, new baby, how on earth I’m ever going to leave the house again with all this $!@* snow and ice and a kid who won’t walk in the snow and the crosswalks aren’t crossable with a stroller. BUT, I have found a small amount of peace in motherhood strategy. And from a book of all places.

Last week I read Instinctive Parenting : Trusting Ourselves to Raise Great Kids by Ada Calhoun. I knew Ada back in Austin when we were both disgruntled New Yorkers living in the Lone Star. And I LOVE her book. Right before I read it, I spent an evening online looking up the best waterproof pads for changing tables and cribs, reading reviews, cross referencing. Even as I was searching I was thinking about the other things I could be doing with my life and how silly it all seemed. Don’t even get me started on the double stroller thing.

Ada writes about  her experience raising a child in the city and how all we need to raise a great kid are three basic essentials, shelter, food and love and to teach them to be kind and responsible human beings. And the rest, how we do that, is all up to us, you, the individual. It’s all written in short chapters perfect for my attention span and it’s very honest and frank and funny and if I had to recommend ONE parenting book of the hundreds I’ve looked at, this would be it.

What I’ve learned in the past two years of mothering on the fringes of Park Slope is that EVERYone is going to have an opinion about everything and I spend a lot of time keeping my parenting opinions to myself because I don’t really want to have to defend my decisions OR have anyone attempt to sway me in another direction, because truth be told, I’m highly susceptible. So vaccination, circumcision, baptism, plastic toys made in China, I generally don’t engage, especially if someone is busy telling me how doing something one way or the other is going to irrefutably damage my child. I have an annoying tendency to smile and nod and say something about oh how isn’t that nice.

But this book… reading through it, I had an Oprah ah-ha moment. That small stuff, it doesn’t matter. I need to do what works best for me and my family and my kid and not spend more than 5 minutes thinking about things like waterproof changing pads or watching Elmo or how many snacks he eats, if that’s all he’s eating right now or the fact that he doesn’t dig on wasabi or Indian food or kale or the HORROR of juice. Sometimes juice is good. In fact, I might go have some juice right now.

Thanks Ada. It’s a swell read and I’m happy you wrote the book and have given us a good reason to take a deep breath, hug the kids and go eat some m-n-ms.

 

 

 

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What I want to do vs. what I do do (heh do do)

Okay, we survived another snow day yesterday. The snow wasn’t really all that bad, but I live with a kid who currently won’t walk around in the snow and at 29 weeks pg, I just don’t have it in me to carry him around so he can look at the snow…and heaven forbid the sidewalks would be stroller friendly…so we had an indoor snow day. I know, I know, I should just force him to go outside and we could both use the fresh air, but darn it, I’m preggo and can do whatever I want. Sort of.
Pre baby – if I had found myself with a day off and 8 inches of snow on the ground, forget about it. I would have been lying on the couch, under blankets, watching game shows and wondering what time is okay to start the hot toddies.
Since motherhood and really toddlerdom, there is not a single thing on that list that I can get away with. Not only do I have to be entertaining and get creative with how we spend our time, but I should really try and make our home bound time interesting and possibly educational (ie not turning on the television and watching the Price is Right).  And amazingly, we passed the day and had fun and we made some stuff with craft supplies that I found around the house (THAT’S WHAT PAPER PLATES ARE FOR). We played with glitter, which will now be in the carpet til I guess, forever. We blew up balloons and pretended to be pregnant and danced around to show tunes and in general had a really silly and fun day. AND for a few blissful minutes we did get into bed and lie under the covers and read stories.
AND in the midst of all of this hilarity, I remembered to do some exercise and H played along and did some squats with me.
Take that old me.

 

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Unplugged

A GREAT post from Lisa Druxman today on the Stroller Strides blog about how we could all use a moment to unplug.

I was thinking the other day about what I was doing ten years ago, working this summer job where we had computers, but didn’t really use the internet, much less email all that much. I can’t imagine how we did our jobs back then without email or web searches? And how quickly things have changed. My kids will never know a world where we don’t carry computers around in our pockets or stand around discussing if Josh Brolin did a movie before Goonies or wonder whatever happened to that person you went to Jr. High with…

Nope, thanks facebook. But if we don’t start teaching them that it’s okay to turn off sometimes and by this I mean that we actually turn off sometimes, how will they ever know.

Thanks Lisa for your thoughts – here they are…

Last night, I watched a show called Crackberry about how addicted we are to our phones and how much harm can come of it. It showed everything from car accidents to train accidents, from family dysfunction to work problems. This year, we announced a new employee program at Stroller Strides called Unplugged. Each employee is suggested to take one day off a month and literally unplug their phones, email, texting, skype, instant messaging, etc. I’m a firm believer that there is no room in our brain to create anything new if we are always inputting information. In fact, none of us are working as effectively as we should be. The show demonstrated that the brain cannot totally concentrate when you are aware that you might get a text, a skype or a Facebook post. So sad that it is so difficult to disconnect that there is now a program called Freedom where you literally buy a program that will lock you out of the internet. Shouldn’t we be able to do this on our own?
Of course, my posts most usually tie in to motherhood.
Do you want your child to text and drive?
Do you want your child to take calls at dinner?
Do you want your child to be on Facebook when doing homework?
No? Then we better curb our actions now because they are watching and learning. They are being raised in this tech-connected age so it will be much harder for them to escape.
Me? I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Linked In, etc. But in my heart, I know that we all need to UNPLUG!

 

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Filed under Balance, Family, Healthy habits

the 30 second rule

I’ve been reading a lot of parenting (and birthing) books these past few weeks. And by reading, I mean what I do for the 10 minutes between when I get in to bed and my eyes forcibly close. BUT, the other night I was reading this chapter about work/life balance and how to maintain a semblance of an organized home while having kids and the woman talked about the 30 second rule. If there’s something to do that will take less than 30 seconds then just go ahead and do it. A lot can be done in 30 seconds. I remember this episode of 21 Jump Street, I think it was Johnny Depp’s last season, when he got all melancholy and mopey because he went undercover to jail and had a really hard time. Anyway, there was this one episode where he could have prevented someone getting shot and all it took was 10 seconds, and he became obsessed with what could be done in ten seconds, like tie your shoes, that kind of thing…

So imagine what can be done in 30 seconds. Last night, I took off my socks before going to the shower and given my exhaustion level last night, I probably would have left them there but I remembered the 30 second rule. And it only took me about 5 seconds to put those socks in the hamper. And today, I pulled out a tissue package and left it on the counter and was about to walk away, but no, the 30 second rule and put it back in the medicine cabinet.

I don’t know how much I’ll actually live by this rule, but it seemed handy enough to share and a great tool to keeping some hint of order in what seems like a fairly disorderly life.

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