What Is Balance, Anyway?

Vegas Mom wrote about how she balanced working, caring for her five-year-old daughter and taking charge of her husband's care after a debilitating accident. Fred wrote about balancing being a husband, a dad and a son. I've written about day care, breastfeeding, packing your husband's suitcase, stay-at-home moms, working-full-time moms, teenagers, Disney World, and my own balance between achieving career milestones and raising my three children.

All these topics seem to be -- one way or another -- about balancing work and family. Yet nearly every day, no matter what the topic, someone here seems to cry "But this isn't about balance!"

So what is balance, anyway? Do you have to have children in order to struggle with balance issues? How do you find your own balancing point in life? What makes you think you are balanced -- and others are not -- or vice versa? What happens when you tip over -- how do you right yourself and your life?

I've tipped over so many times, I don't know where to start. I once cried for four hours when I couldn't get my car to start -- it took me that long to figure out my frustration was caused by working too many hours for too many months, not the automobile's refusal to start. A few months ago I felt like ripping out my uterus, I was so discouraged by how mothering and endless laundry sapped my ability to work. Two weeks ago I had one perfect juggling day -- I woke at 6 a.m., took my children snowtubing, and by dinner was 200 hundred miles away giving a speech about the mommy wars to sixty businesswomen.

Parenthood often seems much more about "unbalance" than "balance," making the quest to find equilibrium an impossibility, some kind of insane inside joke. The only way I have found "the edge" in my own life is by repeatedly going over it. What is balance for you?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 29, 2007; 10:30 PM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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first!

Posted by: anon for Friday | March 29, 2007 10:24 PM

Second! Damnit!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | March 29, 2007 10:58 PM

Well, getting up early helps, obviously.

When I was young, I didn't give it another thought. Luckily, my wife and I were young parents. So, most of the time we were oblivious to a need for balance. I don't think we would have understood the concept.

Now, the parental thing is a given. The kids are almost all grown and much of what they get up to is their own responsibility. We are there for advice and logistics, money and support, to wear the colors, as it were.

Oddly, these days, I think I am tending to look for imbalance, almost seeking it out. The good days are when something interesting and different happens. Sounds perverse but maybe with some success under my belt, I'm anxious to get after my edge, before the years have slipped too far along.

Posted by: Dave | March 30, 2007 6:37 AM

For me I think it's that feeling when things that you "should have done" aren't popping up at you. I hate to reduce it to lists with items crossed off, but maybe that's it.

If you take care of things, like that car battery that did sound a little anemic the last time you started it, then you have time to be there when unexpected things happen.

Maybe I'm confusing balance with management.

Posted by: RoseG | March 30, 2007 6:51 AM

Re list-making, I have a little trick to keep myself from getting quite so discouraged when there are many things to do: My first item is always "Make list" -- so I get to cross off one item right away!

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 7:14 AM

I try to remember that the balancing act requires constant shifting of priorities and schedules. It is important for me to sit down and actually write out what is going on on a daily basis. It seems to be a good organizational tool and cathartic as well.

I do occasionally wonder whether other people with families have more sane lives than mine, but I guess I'm fairly content in my chaos.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 30, 2007 7:44 AM

For the last 10 years or so, I have defined balance as not NEEDING a vacation FROM my life. My goal is to have meaningful relationships with my wife and kids, enough recreation time to invest in growing my passions, and meaningful work to nourish my mind.

When I start to feel like I NEED a vacation it's a pretty good sign that something is out of balance. I'd like to create a life that I could sustain well beyond a typical retirement age.

Posted by: equal_too | March 30, 2007 8:06 AM

Balance

Render Caesar's things to Caesar and God's things to God.

Posted by: DZ | March 30, 2007 8:09 AM

Balance inherently is big-picture and little-picture. Big-picture, the question is whether you are living your life according to your goals and values? That's what the theoretical discussions, like WOH or SAH, focus on. And if that's out of balance, nothing ever will really feel "in" balance -- you can get by day to day, but if you're not going where you want to go, the journey isn't likely to be real satisfying.

But just because you're happy with the big picture doesn't mean the little picture is working. Thus all the repeated ad nauseum discussions on appropriate allocation of chores, on how many extracurricular activities, etc. Plus, even where the little picture is working, even a small thing can sometimes throw it off-track.

And the funny thing is, it always IS the small things that send you over the edge. When my toddler ended up in the emergency room twice this winter, that was "easy" to balance, because there's just no question -- you drop everything until he is safe and healthy, because Nothing Else Matters. But three months later, when you get the zillionth call from daycare that he has a 100-degree fever, while you're still trying to catch up on everything else that happened during his LAST minor bug -- that's when it all gets overwhelming and you wonder how you're ever going to make it back to "normal."

As if there is such a thing.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 8:20 AM

yesterday I got home after being gone to work over 11 hours. My wife went to her job, I was trying to cook dinner and help my annoying son with his homework subtracting fractions as my 4 year old was trying to get his attention by throwing balled up socks at him. Meanwhile my oldest daughter was blasting gansta rap and some idiot left the crock pot in the sink which made it impossible to fill the pot with water...

Oh well, there is a roof over our heads, cold beer in the fridge, and at least 1 toilet that flushes. At least nobody is bleeding... except for my favorite daughter who gets PMS worse than her mother. It's her 12th birthday today.

So you want to be a parent? Get a sense of humor first!

Want balance? Get a cat!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 30, 2007 8:35 AM

Feeling extremely unbalanced lately -- actually it was the kids' summer camp physicals and the immunizations for middle school that put me over the edge. Grrrrrr!

I think for me balance has something to do with waking up every morning and not groaning as you are immediately hit with the massive mental to-do list that seems to follow you around. I guess for me, part of that is making sure that there's something every day that counts as a joy and pleasure -- and not just a series of obligations to be gotten through. I read somewhere that you know you're out of balance when EVERYTHING starts to feel like an obligation (like 'Oh no, and on top of everything else it's my anniversary this week'). I know when I start to feel like that it's time to start simplifying routines and schedules.

I'd be curious as to what other's coping strategies ARE for those moments when you hit the edge and know you don't have an ounce more to give. I know that this week, it's consisted of simplifying dinner down to salad and sandwiches and refusing to answer the phone after dinner. Would be curious to hear other's simplifying tips.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | March 30, 2007 8:37 AM

As always, Laura, very well said. I couldn't agree with you more.

Balance is definitely a fluid concept in my life. Whether I feel "balanced" changes on a day-to-day basis and I don't know if I ever think my life is completely balanced. I constantly feel like I need more hours in the day to spend with my family, or finish work, or get the chores done, or (heaven's forbid) do something for myself. At the end of the day, though, my DS is a happy, thriving toddler, my DH is happy and is thriving as both daddy and in his career and I'm generally pretty content.

Posted by: londonmom | March 30, 2007 8:39 AM

Balance according to wikipedia:

a desirable point between opposite forces

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 8:41 AM

I made the top ten list from yesterday's blog! I don't have a speech prepared or anything...

RoseG had a good point about management. For me, listmaking is the key. Whenever somethhing pops into my head (the dogs need their heartworm meds), it goes on the list. I never get discouraged with the list because it forces me to confront all the menial tasks that have to be done and allows me to make time for them.

We attack long-term tasks this way too. When we were staining shelves, we had a different task for every day of the week (Mon-strip, Tues-sand, etc.) until they were done.

It's certainly much easier without kids. No question. But we do have a balancing act, what with each of the four parents and two siblings living in different states.

Posted by: Meesh | March 30, 2007 8:45 AM

I too am a list maker. For some reason it appears as tho you have done more when you cross something off. I have been known to put something on the list that I have already done just so I can cross it off (pathetic isn't it?).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 8:47 AM

Hmmmm...What does today's topic have to do with balance??????

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 8:51 AM

"I'd be curious as to what other's coping strategies ARE for those moments when you hit the edge and know you don't have an ounce more to give."

(1) Cry
(2) Figure out what you're doing because you "should" and not because you want/need to, and drop it. Without beating yourself up about not doing it.
(3) Figure out what else can give without anyone actually dying, losing a job/failing a class, or suffering major long-term harm. For us, that typically means www.papajohnsonline.com. Or living with a pile of clean laundry -- last I checked, the world isn't going to end if the laundry doesn't get put away.
(4) Call for help, ask a favor, even if it kills you.
(5) Think about the last time you thought it was never going to end. Realize it did. (especially helpful for month 9 of pregnancy -- not to mention first few months of new non-sleeping baby)

I am laughing at the "you know you're out of balance when EVERYTHING starts to feel like an obligation" bit. Last month or two of my last pregnancy, that was totally me -- first year as a partner, high-energy 4-yr-old at home, lots of medical issues w/ 1-2x/wk doctor visits, etc. One day as I was complaining to my husband about how stressed I was, he (helpfully) suggested I go get a massage. And I got hugely PO'd -- all I could think was, "oh, great, now I have to figure out time to fit in a MASSAGE, too!" Big lightbulb moment there for me. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 8:52 AM

For me balance is as much about what I keep off my list as what I put on it. The day I have to schedule all trips to the park, sex or reading time I'll know my life is completely out of whack.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 8:54 AM

Oh, KLB, I have done the same thing! It just feels good, huh?

I just feel that some days things are good and some days there are too many things to do. But not working for me was not good after a while, so I know that it is just life- there's lots of stuff going on and it is all good....

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 8:55 AM

For me balance means correctly judging the distinction between "Important" and "Urgent", and appropriately parsing the available time based on that judgement (with a nod to Covey).

Lesser things don't get addressed, and that's just how it is. Expect it and don't obsess over it.

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 30, 2007 8:56 AM

To Armchair Mom

Simplifying tip

Think about all the kids who will never go to summer camp or go to school or get immunizations. Be grateful to live in the U.S.A.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 9:03 AM

Bookworm Mom, you cracked me up. I completely agree with your sentiment about putting sex on the list. I hope it never comes to that.

Both Laura and Bookworm Mom hit on three subjects that we've mentioned before on the blog.

1. Letting go of what I "should" be doing is very hard. On beautiful weekend days when I don't have a packed schedule, I always think about where I could be volunteering. It makes it hard to relax! But I know that I do enough. It's that Catholic guilt that was instilled early on.

2. What usually goes first when something's gotta give is "me" stuff. I do this too much during the holiday season or during mulching time when every weekend is full. But I don't have the solution. What else can go instead? Not much.

3. To get through the never-ending list of chores, I remind myself that completing them always makes me feel better. And having a clean house and clean clothes makes me happy. That helps, as does reminding myself that tomorrow I'll be so glad that I did the chores today.

Posted by: Meesh | March 30, 2007 9:09 AM

Armchair Mom wrote: "...refusing to answer the phone after dinner."

Definitely!

Please repeat after me: I pay for the phone so it can serve me, not vice versa. Ditto for the computer (pager, Blackberry, whatever).

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 9:09 AM

I learned the hard way that you shouldn't try too hard to find balance. I had a SAHM, and I have to work...so, it's hard for me to reconcile being a career woman vs. my mom who was a SAHM. Soooooo...what do I do? I torchure myself on a regular basis by reading the Dr. Laura website when I get to work...and all of her preaching on how moms should stay home and raise their kids...and only selfish moms would go out and work. It's much better to live in a hut and dine on bugs...but be "my kids mom." Anyway, we're not doing that. We need my salary...if nothing else, but to live in a medium sized house in a nice neighborhood that we feel safe in, that has excellent schools. So, to make up for my "guilt" of working (even if it is out of necessity), I subscribed to a meal planning service...and rush home every day to prepare a homecooked, from scratch healthy meal--to not be like the people who Dr. Laura describes on her website who work long hours and serve processed crap to their families. I also stay caught up on all the housework/laundry/etc. Make sure I'm spending lots and lots of quality time with my family...and what do I get back? Lots of complaining...we don't like this dinner, make something else, etc. You get the idea. So, what did I do...I REBELLED!!!! And my family now has some of these chores to do...and I get to sit back and eat (I mean complain about) dinner :) So...to make a long story longer...I think the best balance is when you go to work and do a good job in the time you're there...then go home and do a medium/good job there...and it's okay to sit out on the porch on a beautiful evening after work, drinking wine with the neighbors and letting the kids run and play...instead of making dinner!!!!! It's also okay to let the laundry pile up to the ceiling. And to be out bike riding with your kids when you really should be doing housework. I sometimes feel when I'm being a "perfect" mom, everyone's miserable. But when aI'm "slipshod" mom...not doing all the stuff I "should" be doing...I'm happiest and so is my family. Is that balance?????

Posted by: Don't try too hard... | March 30, 2007 9:10 AM

Laura, RoseG, Armchair Mom, great points all of you!

In my life, I know things are "balanced" when Mr Bee asks if I want to have dinner with friends on Wednesday and I say "sure, that sounds fun" instead of snapping "Why would I want to do that when I have to pay bills/do taxes/clean the bathroom/work late?" I usually see time with other people as an obligation, not a pleasure, even when it's meant to be fun.

On the other hand, there's a creative balance that can happen when I am writing a lot (I'm writing a book)--during good writing months I honestly don't care if I'm living on leftover Chinese takeout, haven't been to the gym in weeks and have tumbleweeds of cat-hair all over the house.

Posted by: worker bee | March 30, 2007 9:20 AM

Balance is defined very simply: juggling work, pleasure, family, and self.

Is there balance? Yes, but it is different for everyone.

Posted by: John Q | March 30, 2007 9:21 AM

Ok, new simplifying tip no. 1: don't waste any time on the websites of judgmental hypocrites who have gotten hugely wealthy by making normal people feel overwhelmed, guilty, and "bad."

PP, I head that Covey saying before, and it resonated. I just haven't figured out a real good way to implement it, when all my clients consider their matters to be both "important" AND "urgent." :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 9:21 AM

""""Ok, new simplifying tip no. 1: don't waste any time on the websites of judgmental hypocrites who have gotten hugely wealthy by making normal people feel overwhelmed, guilty, and "bad."""""

I'm the one who wrote that post...and you're right! I know you're right...but I still read her site :)

Posted by: TO: Laura | March 30, 2007 9:24 AM

"Balance: a desirable point between opposite forces"

Work and family are not opposite forces. For some work is more important. For others, family is more important. But unless you are independently wealthy, you must devote substantial time to a job as well as a family. I would never say my livelihood (that I chose) is getting in the way of my family, or vice versa. They are simply two things in my life -- and there are room for at least two things in most people's lives.

They are not opposite, nor are they mutually exclusive. Balance has more to do with keeping all of the balls in the air without letting anyone down -- employer, family, self.

Posted by: catmommy | March 30, 2007 9:24 AM

Balance is when my mind isn't nagging me to do something...which is a rare occurance. Frustration is totally another subject and are not the same. It seems a single parent rarely has balance without frustration at something.

Posted by: Sterling Park | March 30, 2007 9:25 AM

Father of 4,

"Want balance? Get a cat!"

The first funny of the day

Posted by: John Q | March 30, 2007 9:25 AM

"They are not opposite, nor are they mutually exclusive. Balance has more to do with keeping all of the balls in the air without letting anyone down -- employer, family, self."

What happens to most o fus is we don't let our employer and family down...but we definitely drop the ball when it comes to "self"...then we're in trouble!

Posted by: TO: Catmommy | March 30, 2007 9:26 AM

A little off topic but still has to do with balance. I went to the doctor yesterday and my baby has a heart beat! Yeah baby!

However, my three year old had a melt down in the office and I had to carry her out to the car screaming and kicking. I am finally starting to realize that this balance thing is going to get tricky with two. :)

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 9:31 AM

Remember Dr. Laura is the woman who make huge money telling us to stay at home while she is working out of the home away from her kids and traveling for business.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 9:35 AM

Hey, Don't try too hard --

Yeah, I recognized a fellow pop-psychologist weakness, though for me it's Dr. Phil. Might I suggest you try converting? If you can ignore the schtick, he's got some pretty good stuff about respecting your "authentic self" -- there's a lot less guilt about what you "should" do and a lot more about whether what you are doing is consistent with your own values and what you want out of life.

Remember, first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging. Believe me, I recognize the guilty addiction (watched her TV show myself for a bit when it was on). But it's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer -- it really does feel good when you stop! :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 9:35 AM

Balance (for me) is feeling equal amounts of guilt for 1) not spending enough time with the kids / husband, and 2) not spending enough time at work.

Note that I generally feel more guilty about my kids, and less guilty about work. So, my "balance equation" is tilted towards my family life.

Posted by: Liz | March 30, 2007 9:38 AM

Scarry --

Congratulations!!!!! That's such a happy thing.

If it makes you feel any better, my daughter really hit a different level of rationality and reason around 4. So maybe by the time the baby comes, she'll be a little easier to manage. At least, you know, until the jealousy sets in. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 9:38 AM

worker bee

"have tumbleweeds of cat-hair all over the house"

It's all in your point of view.

I waited over 40 years to own my cats, so their tumbleweeds don't bother me a bit!

I waited 12 years for my daughter, so her dolls strewn throughout the house don't bother me either.

Posted by: liz | March 30, 2007 9:41 AM

I'm certainly still trying to figure out the right balance for myself and family and probably will be for a while...

I'm in bit of a unique position in that we recently moved to the area and don't have many family or friends nearby, which puts me out of balance. I guess balance for me is knowing that I have a support system in place and can access it (and provide support in return) when I want and have private time with myself and immediate family when I want.

And of course find a job that I enjoy, with a short commute, that pays enough for my wife to stay home with the baby. It's challenging to say the least, but at least it's possible and I have all the tools necessary to try and achieve the balance I'm looking for, which many do not have, so it helps to keep things in perspective...

Posted by: JDS | March 30, 2007 9:41 AM

Laura I am really worried that she is going to be jealous. How do you handle that. I never really went through it because I was so much younger than my siblings.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 9:41 AM

Hooray Scarry! Thanks for sharing that great news. My four year old LOVES LOVES LOVES her baby brother, but still can pitch quite a fit, but the love of the baby is overtaking the fit-throwing. Good luck with your pregnancy!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 30, 2007 9:42 AM

"Remember, first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging. Believe me, I recognize the guilty addiction (watched her TV show myself for a bit when it was on). But it's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer -- it really does feel good when you stop! :-)"

I know you're right...so why do I get some guilty pleasure out of reading her website and making myself NUTS!!!! Is it because I can read about working moms who are much more BAD than I am...so I feel okay by comparison. Or because I can feel GOOD that I'm doing some of the same good stuff that SAHM's do, eventhough I work. Something keeps drawing me back...it's like a powerful drug :)

Posted by: Don't try too hard | March 30, 2007 9:45 AM

Scarry, congratulations! And don't be too nervous about balance with two. I actually felt I hit my stride more when I had another baby. Almost immediately, actually.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 30, 2007 9:47 AM

Scarry -- regarding jealousy -- my advice and experience is to make sure Dad does a ton with your 3-year-old. He needs to become the "go-to" person for your daughter as often as possible. So when you are engrossed with a new baby, she'll still have Dad to focus on her. Plus, there's lots of things a "big girl" gets to do that a baby can't -- whether it's a trip to the playground or playing with a new box of legos.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 30, 2007 9:47 AM

The challenge of balance is navigating the tension between persona fulfillment and external responsbility.

And i think that the key is to define both in the most parsimonious way possible.

Posted by: bird | March 30, 2007 9:54 AM

Having a fully charged cell phone & adequate sleep(for all family members) = balance for me.

Posted by: Shasta Daisy | March 30, 2007 9:55 AM

Thanks guys those are good suggestions. My daughter is a real mama's girl. Anywhere I go, she wants to go to.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 10:02 AM

Let big sister be your special helper- she can open presents, pick out what baby will wear in the morning, grab the burp cloth, etc. Making her feel like she is contributing and very valuable will go a long way in easing jealousy. Also, plan time alone with her. Dad really can watch the new baby for an hour while the two of you go have hot chocolate/ ice cream (depending on the weather) and chat. Just time leaving to right after you have fed the baby and don't go too far.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 10:04 AM

Everyone struggles with balance, regardless of childbearing status. What each of us needs to achieve that varies from person to person and time to time. Balance while I was a single gal was different than what I experience as a WOHP. And as my parents get older and become more dependent, the needs will change again.

For me, planning in advance is had been the best. My son used to have fits about picking out clothes in the morning so now he sets out his clothes the night before. Boy did that eliminate stress! Communication is also key. I used to get so mad at DH for "hiding" in the basement for "alone time" after dinner, leaving me with the kiddos and a dining room and kitchen to clean. After I talked to him about it, he watches the kids for 20 min while I clean. Less fighting, less stress, cleaner house. Finally, as the prayer goes "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." This mantra, and some deep breathing, gets me through a lot.

Posted by: LM in WI | March 30, 2007 10:05 AM

For me balance is being able to be focused in whatever moment I'm in, and not worrying about what I just finished or what comes next. So if I'm at work, I'm at work (or blogging, of course) and not worrying about my son. And when I'm with my son, I'm with him, and not worrying about work - and so on with every moment. And just letting it be. When I can trust myself and stay centered in that way, I feel great regardless of what all might be going on.

Of course, I don't manage to stay centered that way all the time, but I'm getting better at it.

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 10:11 AM

Getting a housekeeper.

Posted by: DC | March 30, 2007 10:12 AM

Scarry, my daughter was the same way -- was all mommy, all the time. Then, when baby boy was born, all of a sudden I was "contaminated" -- for about 3 weeks, she just wanted daddy, would hardly even kiss me goodnight. I figured it was because I was "attached" to the little guy (nursing) so much of the time. All you can do is be patient and calm and be available when she does decide she wants you again (because as soon as she deigned to allow me to resume bedtime, boom! my little remora was back, attached even stronger than before).

What are your daughter's triggers? What does she love/hate more than anything else? If you can figure out how to fit the baby into that world, it can help smooth things out. For our daughter, it's all about independence and competence -- she SO wants to be a big kid! So we were able to talk to her about how much we would need her help, how she'd be the "big sister" and her little brother would look up to her, how she could teach him to do things. And you could just see her chest puffing up with pride. We also explained that babies need a LOT of mommy time, that sometimes that meant that she would need to wait, but it didn't mean we loved her any less.

Of course, reality was hard for her in any event. I think at that age, you haven't yet learned that you can love something and resent it tremendously at the same time, so it took her a while to adjust. We just kept complimenting her when she did something good, let a lot of the little snits roll off our backs, and let her talk to us even about the scary bad feelings, so that she'd know feeling angry or annoyed doesn't maky you a bad kid.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 10:14 AM

There is no such thing as balance - you are either happy with the way your life is going or you are not. I find that when I was most obsessed about balance was when I was in a job I wasn't happy with so I felt that I should be spending all my time with my son instead of wasting my time on an unfulfilling job. But ever since I started working on my business and reviving up a ministry at church I'm busier than ever but quite satisfied with all the balls I'm juggling - and I'm all spending lots of quality time with my son. So to me the issue is one of satisfaction with one's state in life as opposed to balance.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 30, 2007 10:17 AM

What Laura said earlier.

-------
but, I can not just leave it at that...
"I once cried for four hours when I couldn't get my car to start" It sounds like someone is seriously imbalanced and could benefit from counseling. I say that not just with my usual flippant sense of humor...that too, but there is a bit of concern in there as well. ;-) I am a fairly emotional guy and have been known to cry when I am really hurt. My wife was raised that men don't cry, and it took a LOT of convincing for her to accept that it is a normal human reaction to overwhelming emotion that both females and males can exhibit. THAT said... 4 hours??? Something is seriously wrong. I can see going over the edge and having a bad spot where you feel as if NOTHING is going your way, but when you allow it to consume 4 hours of your life, you just fall further and further away from setting things right. You need to vent to someone and start tackling your main concerns one by one(and I don't mean just write a column), and/or start doing something positive in your life FOR YOU that will put a smile on your face... then again, I'm just a stupid male pig and thus you can brush off anything I say since I NEVER contribute anything worthwhile. In fact, what does this have to do with balance? ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 10:17 AM

Wonderful news , scarry.

Older brother so loves younger. Even when he's gettung into stfpuff and messing it all up. But it is winderful when they sre sitting next to each other in the car and making each other laugh. Or when older brother is inconsolable and says: I want to see younger brother. Or when older bro says: I'm only getting out of bed if younger bro is there. Just go with the flow. The biggest revelation for me was when I couldn't get something for older son cause I was feeding younger, then at some point youngert had to wait for something since I was doing something for older. So I thought-okay, no one is getting everything they need-all is 'balanced.'

As for dr laura-i agree with whoever- go with dr phil. He is soooooo awesome. He doesn't critisize-he asks- how's that working for you? Are you getting what you want with your behavior? Are you being reasonable? Are you fighting with a right fighter? Etc. Get rid of de laura if she makes you feel bad- dr phil would tell you that, too!

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 10:19 AM

Congratulations scarry! I always wondered about jealousy as well because I remember no longer being the center of attention after my sister was born when I was four. I think that's part of the reason I've waited this long to have a second child (my son will be 4 soon).

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 30, 2007 10:19 AM

Bookworm Mom, are you a SAHM?

Posted by: to Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 10:20 AM

There is no such thing as balance. It is a journey that has no end but must be taken. It is never achieved only sought. That is my thought of the day, young grasshopper.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 10:23 AM

Nope. I work full time outside of the home for a non-profit and I'm an adjunct prof. I was a grad student when my first was born and briefly had to stay at home when my second was born because he was ill. But I've been back to work for over two years.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 10:24 AM

I forgot to add that my youngest is 3 1/2.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 10:25 AM

If you can keep your head when all about you...

- Leslie Rudyard Kipling Steiner

Balance is easier to attain if you can handle defeat with dignity, and victory with grace. Usually balance is a fleeting moment on the swingset of life. Picture the pendulum swinging to and fro as you pass the fulcrum on your way to the inevitable imbalance.

My advice?

Never forget to pump.

heh heh pump heh

But you can write a list if that works for you.

Posted by: Fo3 | March 30, 2007 10:34 AM

Scarry-dad spent a LOT of time with big bro and took him to all sorts of special places in the beginning,

When I would try to have alone time with big bro-he always wanted little bro to come along. Or I'd say: we're going to the park-and he'd say: can little bro come too? It was the sweetest thing.

You know mostly what is coming- but all the baby stuff definitely is easier the second time around- you're not so overwhelmed with all the decisions(what car seat-what stroller) and are much more knowledgeable...

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 10:34 AM

http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_if.htm

Posted by: RK | March 30, 2007 10:35 AM

http://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html

Posted by: RF | March 30, 2007 10:36 AM

Chris, what, no caffeine this AM? Where are my neo-jokes, dammit??

But of course you're right as usual. I know when I've gone off the deep end over something trivial, that's usually a sign for me to step back and look at the big picture to figure out what's really going on. Of course, sometimes it's just PMS. :-)

Don't try too hard: all right, I'm gonna go all Dr. Phil on you: what's your payoff for watching Dr. Laura? Seems like you know what the payoff is: the comparison helps you feel better about yourself as a mom and a person. But isn't she undercutting that at the same time -- harping on your insecurities and therefore reinforcing your need for the very affirmation that her show provides? Vicious cycle, anyone? Can you find some other way to get affirmation that doesn't give with one hand and take away with the other?

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 10:39 AM

Who is Dr. Laura?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 10:43 AM

Leslie published her first blog on March 10, 2006.
Since then posters have responded to 252 topics with approximately 57,914 comments to date.

Sincethe beginning, these are the top 40 posters by number of posts:

145 KB
151 niner
152 theoriginalmomof2
153 RoseG
153 TakomaMom
158 Sam
160 anon
161 Texas Dad of 2
163 Lieu
172 Ms L
173 DadWannaBe
186 Proud Papa
197 Megan's Neighbor
208 single mom
217 WorkingMomX
226 Fo3
292 pATRICK
328 Missicat
334 experienced mom
335 Chris
336 momof4
347 rockville
350 Lizzie
353 catlady
362 atlmom
399 Mona
415 Laura
470 moxiemom
500 Meesh
548 pittypat
595 dotted
619 NC lawyer
669 cmac
685 Emily
787 Father of 4
881 Fred
941 foamgnome
948 KLB SS MD
960 Megan
1258 Scarry

Our top poster is the imfamous blank (or anon) weighing in with 10,004 posts.

Posted by: Blog Stats | March 30, 2007 10:43 AM

My dad used to listen to Dr Laura. The few times I listened with him she sounded very judgemental. Everything seemed black and white to her - if he is cheating, just leave; if your family makes you upset, don't go see them. I don't think it is always that easy - way too many shades of gray in my world anyhow.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 10:44 AM

scarry, we made a point of having each of us schedule one on one time with our son when our daughter came. I don't quite understand the statement that Laura made about babies needing lots of MOMMY time, so I guess how you handle making sure that your daughter doesn't see the new arrival as taking away attention and focus from her is a direct reflection of how parenting "chores" are divvied up in your household. Our children are equal opportunity clingers and lovers of their parents. Neither is closer to DH or myself. Both love us each dearly. That gave us the flexibility do draw straws about a wide variety of tasks, opportunities and chores. Maybe your daughter will shift cling-targets, LOL. If she doesn't, maybe your husband can jump in more to handle baby-related fun, so you can give your daughter the attention she might crave.

We started a tradition of taking our a once-a-year mother/son trip to NYC - which he anticipates for months ahead. We also emphasize the activities he can do because he is, and will always be, the older brother. You take it one day at a time and see how your oldest is dealing. Adjust. Repeat.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 10:45 AM

Wow, you guys better step it up and catch up to me.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 10:46 AM

Blog stats - you need to combine Megan's neighbor and NC lawyer as they are the same person. Please let us give credit where credit is due.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 10:46 AM

blog stats needs to get a life

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 10:49 AM

Don't I get some credit for all the guff I've taken for being cowardly/gutless anonymous?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 10:50 AM

Laura, to remove Dr. Laura from the picture I will reference a trite bumper sticker. no Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace. It's deeper than that, but if you can put your faith into something bigger, and KNOW everything will be fine, you will be fine. At the core of your you must put an unshakable belief that no matter what life throws at you, you will never back down or give up. You will face EVERY challenge with honor, determination, and a tenacity that will leave people's head spinning. The Secret just repackages all this down to a material level most people can relate to- but in the end it is dedication and determination that will see you through anything and everything. If you approach everything in life with the attitude that you will survive this and you WILL get through it, you find yourself that much more free of a weight on your shoulders. You will still have to face things, but once you acknowledge them and acknowledge that you will get through them, you feel a lot better and do not need to spend 4 hours in an unbalanced pitty party crying. Crying helps vent things and again, it is fine, but after a bit you need to make a stand to see things through. One thing marriage counselors and church agree on is that marriage, and life, is about this committment, and that is why so many people throw in the towel when things are rough. They forget that it is not always about feelings and gratifying how we feel at one given moment, but about staying committed to ourselves, and a person.

*steps off soapbox* The neobalanced snarking of the above philosophical assertions may now commence. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 10:50 AM

WAHOOO!!!! I made the top 40!!!

Congratulations to the other 39 . . . Together we rock the blog!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 30, 2007 10:51 AM

"My dad used to listen to Dr Laura. The few times I listened with him she sounded very judgemental. Everything seemed black and white to her - if he is cheating, just leave; if your family makes you upset, don't go see them. I don't think it is always that easy - way too many shades of gray in my world anyhow."

I generally like Dr. Laura and generally don't like her. I think she often gives the hard real answer to some people who need it. Too many friends will let you burn yourself up because they don't want to offend you with the truth. The flip side is that she is enormously wealthy and telling people with modest means to quit stay home etc is irresponsible.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 10:51 AM

Wow, that's some crazy numbers.

Also, foamgnome and Emily used to post under different names as well, and Ms. L changed her name too, so those folks might rise in the ranks a bit if we could account for that.

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 10:52 AM

pATRICK, I agree with you people languishing - that some people do need the verbal kick in the ... that she gives them.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 10:54 AM

One of my favorite quotes:

When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Don't know who said it, but it puts a lot into perspective, I think.

So when things are kerflooey, figure out why and what you can do about it (that one is all me)

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 10:55 AM

We should be careful Megan, We might have to relinquish our 1-2-3 positions if we keep this up.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 10:56 AM

I feel as proud as the day Navin Johnson saw his name in the phone book. sigh.

The cans! The cans! They hate the cans!

Tonight I shall kick the cat, and lift a draught off the C02 powered beer dispensing refridgerator to America's Top 40!

er I mean I'll do that right after I do the dishes, vaccuum the house, fold the laundry and make sure my kids eat their homework.

Posted by: Fo3 | March 30, 2007 11:06 AM

Whoo-hoo! I'm top 14!

Megan's Neighbor -- to clarify for you and Scarry: when I referred to baby needing a lot of "mommy time," I was trying to foreshadow what my daughter would be most aware of for the first couple of months -- me not dad) breastfeeding and staying home with the baby. Plus I was also responding to her being a mommy's girl. So in other words, she'd be losing more of my time, and she'd resent it more than what she lost of daddy's time. I wasn't trying to imply that the baby was my sole responsibility, just -- like you said -- responding to our reality at the time.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 11:07 AM

Balance is a myth. The key is figuring out how to do all of the things you NEED to do, as much of the things you WANT to do as you can, and avoid letting anyone down as much as possible. In the end, someone's getting screwed. Balance implies equilibrium. Balance is not a good word... I like juggling a lot better because everyone knows jugglers drop the balls, especially when they're just starting out.

Posted by: Get real | March 30, 2007 11:10 AM

So, why do we call it breastfeeding? You're feeding the baby, so why not call it babyfeeding?

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 11:12 AM

breast feeding is more titilating

That's why.

Posted by: semantics | March 30, 2007 11:14 AM

You do NOT need children to require balance. Life isn't all about children, and I'm assuming most of us on here have a life. (Or not--we DO spend a lot of time blogging!) But as many vehement posters have pointed out to me repeatedly, somewhere in the description of this blog (I can't seem to find it), it specifically mentions balancing kids and work. In terms of the blog, that's fine with me, because that's something I want to learn about, but children are not the only thing that can throw you off balance in life.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 11:15 AM

Laura, that makes sense - thanks for clarifying since I usually read your posts in anticipation of a certain worldview and knew I was missing something. The early baby weeks, reactions of siblings and pets, etc., are SO very family-dynamic specific. Thanks again!

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 11:16 AM

Scarry, congrats! I bet you're excited!

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 11:20 AM

TITilating? come on... was that intentional? I thought I was the king of bad puns here!

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 11:21 AM

Another thing-scarry. We talked *a lot* about how babiesd need special baby milk from mommy and that it is only for babies-im sure he'd seen babies being nursed before and knew this a little. And how he's a big boy and he drinks regular milk, etc-and he doesn't use a bottle but babies do, etc.

Jeez, I'm going to have to keep posting to get my numbers up...

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 11:21 AM

Megan's Neighbor -- what, are you implying I'm predictable? :-)

BTW, irony du jour: baby boy is now all daddy, all the time. Looks like Little Miss Thang once again managed to make the universe conform to her desires.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 11:23 AM

To me, a key about balance is that it's dynamic, not static. It's like riding a bike or sailing - the combination of an overall goal plus constant little adjustments gets you where you're going. When something's off, everything feels like too much work, but when you're really in the flow, it feels great. But (to beat the metaphor to death) you can't be flowing along all the time; you also have to spend some prep time taking care of the equipment or looking at the maps.

Posted by: otterb | March 30, 2007 11:27 AM

"When something's off, everything feels like too much work, but when you're really in the flow, it feels great. "- posted by otterby

That captures it in a nutshell. We can pack up and go home to begin enjoying the weekend!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 30, 2007 11:32 AM

"I know you're right...so why do I get some guilty pleasure out of reading her website and making myself NUTS!!!!"

Maybe you like the jolt of seeing the perspective of someone who is so different from you, or who is pretty crazy herself. Maybe her ridiculous perspectives are entertaining to you. "Dr." Laura is about the biggest hypocrite I've ever heard of. But I understand what you mean. I have been known to read Falwell and Limbaugh (of course, I'll read anything put in front of me), just for the laughs.

And YAY! I made top 40!

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 11:33 AM

Scarry, congratulations!
I love talking babies!
I was very nervous about bringing #2 into the picture, wondering how #1 would feel, and would like to add to the suggestions and tips so far.

We were very careful to give #1 some special time, but the reaity is, there was a lot of time it was the 3 of us together. Especially in the first month or two. I'd play with #1, but then #2 would need to eat, the playing had to stop temporarily.

When #2 started crying, we'd say "Oh! the baby needs to eat... AGAIN!!" And he'd sit with me and ask me questions about when he was a baby. Like, did I eat this much? Cry this much? Did you dress me up?

He really enjoyed being with the new baby, and hearing his own baby stories. He also liked being my helper, getting new burp clothes, diapers, etc. Too bad he never had a desire to CHANGE the diaper!

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 30, 2007 11:37 AM

Balance for me, is when I get through a hectic week not feeling like I went through a hectic week! Between school, HW, sports, work and household stuff, it gets pretty crazy! But when we manage it all, and we don't feel like we've been running around like nuts, it's pretty nice.

My balance has been all out of whack this week, as my son had the flu, my car has been in the shop for 5 extra days, so my dh and I had to commute together all week, which was actually nice to have that time, but a whole host of logistical planning needed to happen! And, we are leaving for a vacation this Sat, so on top of that, I've had midweek laundry to do, and last years summer clothes to sort through.

But, it's Friday, and I'm leaving for some sun and fun, so I'm not complaining!

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 30, 2007 11:44 AM

"We talked *a lot* about how babiesd need special baby milk from mommy and that it is only for babies-im sure he'd seen babies being nursed before and knew this a little. And how he's a big boy and he drinks regular milk, etc"

I'll pass on a bit of advice I overheard a lactation consultant give to a woman who was having her second. The mother was specifically worried about the older child being jealous of the time spent breastfeeding or of that connection. The consultant said that if the older child gets really focused on the breastfeeding thing and wants to know why he or she can't also nurse or have breastmilk, to just hand express some into a spoon to let the older child taste it. She said usually they won't even taste it, if they do they don't like it being warm (assuming they've gotten used to having cold milk from the fridge). The older child doesn't really want the milk anyway, so you're kind of calling their bluff and at the same time letting them into the circle. Can't vouch for it, I only have one, but that's what I heard.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 11:45 AM

All those comments about how to prepare the big kid for the new comer....remember balance.

I bent over backward to make sure that my son was not jealous at 4 when his sister arrived. He has never displayed jealously just justifiable annoyance when she would break something, spitup on a toy, walk into his room unannounced now he is a teen.... Great job right?

Not if you look at the number two in the birth order. I now have a rabidly jealous preteen who, when I look at old videos, realize that even as a 4 month old she would protest anytime I got near her brother. Did I not balance motherly attention correctly? Did I go overboard reassuring my son to the point of neglecting number 2?

I am relatively sure that we have been pretty balanced in our attention of the children BUT some kids are just naturally comparing/aware/tuned in to the smallest nuanced difference. If you get one of those, no matter what the birth order, count on jealousy. She loves her brother. They can often interact really well. She just wants to make sure that love/attention/fights/allowance/etc are split equally all the time and she always has the current tally in mind and can tick off who is currently exhibiting a deficit (down to sticks of gum and number of reprimands over table manners!).

Balance, for my daughter and our family will come when she recognizes that fair doesn't mean exactly equal. She will be a mother when that happens, but it will happen.

Posted by: relativelynewtoblog | March 30, 2007 11:49 AM

BTW, irony du jour: baby boy is now all daddy, all the time. Looks like Little Miss Thang once again managed to make the universe conform to her desires.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 11:23 AM

Our oldest does not believe that he has sufficiently conformed the universe to his desires, but anyone else would think he has, LOL.

p.s. you're predictable like Hax, in that way thoughtful, reasonable people are, which makes their friends say things like, "I'll ask Laura. I know she'll have good advice so when I do the opposite, I'll know I'm really blowing it."

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 11:51 AM

Before our second came, we read a lot of the baby's coming books and talked a lot about "her sister" rather than "the new baby" or other alternative phrases. Our 2-year-old took it to heart and called her "my baby." She really acted like it was her baby too, over-loving her and trying to stop her from crying (either through distraction or ordering, "Mommy, FEED HER!"). We didn't really see any jealousy the first year or more-- and the older one was a real mamma's girl. It helped that I could talk to her or (the usual thing) watch her dance while I nursed, so nursing was still a special time for our older child.

Now that they are 3 and 5, there is some squabbling over toys, etc, but I think the older one still has the same "my baby" mentality she had when her sister was born. She's willing to forgive her sister practically anything (which brings its own set of problems, of course).

Of course, this may not work for everyone-- our older child had a real maternal streak already. Our younger one would probably not welcome a new sibling as readily!

Posted by: Neighbor | March 30, 2007 11:51 AM

Where is my supporter, "Fred Wins" to boost me over the top? Yesterday, I was No. 3 and now I am No. 5? My ego is shattered!

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 11:52 AM

Ooooh, JerseyGirl, yes yes yes!! After 4.5 yrs of trying to convince the world she was a grownup, since the baby was born our girl LOVES hearing stories of when she was a baby!! I think it reassures her that she used to get all that same attention that he does now.

Oh, Scarry, one more thing I forgot: when the little one arrives, take him or her to daycare/preschool dropoff or pickup once or twice. BIG cachet at preschool to have a little bro or sis! My daughter's initial resentment drained away pretty quickly once she realized how much attention she was getting from her friends because of him!

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 11:54 AM

scarry - congrats! we were doing fine with DS#1 on the pre-natal sibling rivalry thing until mommy lost her lap! right around then, a friend gave us a copy of fred hiatt's lovely children's book "Baby Talk". DS#1 loved it. we read it every day for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. DS#1 even insisted on bringing it to the hospital so he could "read" it to the new baby. DS#2 is now 2 1/2, but DS#1 still pulls this book out about once a month to read it to DS#2. perhaps you local library has it?

Posted by: 2terrificboys | March 30, 2007 11:55 AM

Megan's Neighbor, thanks -- now can you pass that along to my mother? :-)

Fred, sorry, I'll go do some paying work now so you can make up some numbers today. Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred!!

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 12:01 PM

One more thing that we did-- on the day that our baby was born, she (baby) gave a big-sister gift to her big sister. In our case, it was the Ikea "spinning egg" chair as we call it in our house-- a great place for big siblings to hide from their little siblings when times get rough.

http://www.ikea.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?topcategoryId=15567&catalogId=10103&storeId=12&productId=21922&langId=-1&chosenPartNumber=80100251

This really helped set the scene that the baby coming along was a gain rather than a loss.

Posted by: Neighbor | March 30, 2007 12:06 PM

I LOVE that chair, and I really wish we had purchased one when we lived near an Ikea. I'm not one of those people who adores everything Ikea, but man does their kids' stuff rule.

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 12:08 PM

"Dr." Laura is about the biggest hypocrite I've ever heard of. But I understand what you mean."

This is actually not true. A hypocrite says one thing and does another. A person who has done things and then repudiates them and tries to help other learn from their mistakes is not a hypocite. I would not call a recovering alcoholic a hypocrite if they spoke out against drinking.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:10 PM

Scarry, I would definitely recommend reading to your daughter about the new sibling. Some of the books we read were "I'm a Big Brother" by Joanna Cole (I think she has this one for girls as well), "Waiting for Baby" by Harriet Ziefert, and "The New Baby" (Little Critter Series). I also am now reading "Siblings without Rivalry".

I was completely wigged out about how my relationship with my older child would change when I had another. It did change, but we're still close. I have also heard anecdotally (is that a word?) that girls are more nurturing with infant siblings than boys were. My son was interested, but not enthralled by any means. Good luck to you!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 30, 2007 12:13 PM

This is actually not true. A hypocrite says one thing and does another. A person who has done things and then repudiates them and tries to help other learn from their mistakes is not a hypocite. I would not call a recovering alcoholic a hypocrite if they spoke out against drinking.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:10 PM

*******************************************

With wisdom like this, pATRICK should be on the top of the list.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 12:14 PM

Also try "A New Baby for Francis" and "Don't touch my Room".

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 12:16 PM

"With wisdom like this, pATRICK should be on the top of the list. "

Isn't pATRICK one of the guys with a pencil dick?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 12:16 PM

" A hypocrite says one thing and does another."

But isn't that what are people are saying she does - she has this big business, makes mega bucks and travels and is away from her kids but chides other women for working? I don't know if that's all true (I don't know squat about her) but that's what it seems like people are saying, which seems like it fits right in with your definition of hypocrite (which I agree with)

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 12:21 PM

I agree with pATRICK.

Not to be the contrarian, but I like listening to Dr. Laura, on occasion (her show isn't on at a time that I am consistently in my car). If she's raising your blood pressure, turn her off, but IMHO she's refreshingly bereft of namby-pamby, all approaches are equally valid, feel-goodness. If you call her, and you are seeking approval for nonsense, you are well aware that you will be slapped about the face and head.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 12:21 PM

"Isn't pATRICK one of the guys with a pencil dick?"

HAHA, Only if the pencil is the size of a summer sausage.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:25 PM

DD2 was born within a week of DD1's fourth birthday. DD2 slept in a crib in her own room from day 1 - never in parent's room, so no jealousy of baby sleeping with us. DD1 was in private home day care which we stopped the entire maternity leave, so she never felt like she was being sent away while baby stayed home. I took DD1 and DD2 to the daycare to visit occasionally, but never left DD1 there.

I don't remember DD1 ever questioning bf beyond the explanation of "that's how babies eat". I nursed in the living room in a big comfy chair where there was enough room for DD1 to sit while I was nursing. Usually there was a Care Bears video playing and toys on the floor. DD1 could play or watch the video or snuggle with me, and she did all three.

Sometimes she helped me with baby and sometimes she played independently. She definitely thought sister was her baby too.

Posted by: to scarry | March 30, 2007 12:26 PM

"Isn't pATRICK one of the guys with a pencil dick?"


HAHA, Only if the pencil is the size of a summer sausage.'

pATRICK

I stand corrected.

You are the guy with the pea brain.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 12:28 PM

Dr Laura's only child was born in 1985.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 12:30 PM

"Isn't pATRICK one of the guys with a pencil dick?"


HAHA, Only if the pencil is the size of a summer sausage.'

pATRICK

I stand corrected.

You are the guy with the pea brain."

Please, please tell me you can do better than that. This is the big leagues, not a sandbox for infants.


Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:30 PM

"A hypocrite says one thing and does another."

This is a woman who travels the world making money by preaching at women to stay at home, pointing fingers at working women with one hand and raking in the cash with the other.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 12:31 PM

Scarry,

I was fortunate in that when my #2 was born, #1 was way into being Daddy's girl at the time. So it wasn't too traumatic for her that mommy was forever feeding the baby. Didn't work so well with #3 because #2 girl was, and still is, much more into mommy than daddy. So if at all possible, try an abundance of daddy now so that it will be more acceptable for your daughter when you are less available. But if she still wants mommy a lot, that can be okay, too. It's amazing what you can learn to do while carrying an infant and having another one clinging to your leg. And the older one can always read with you too while sitting beside you or at your feet while you're feeding the baby.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | March 30, 2007 12:32 PM

OFF TOPIC: true confessions time. Yesterday we had a bunch of kids in the lab, about 30, to tour the place and learn about our fish. I showed up at the end of their tour, and heard them shrieking on the other side of the lab. I didn't even have to spend any time with them at all, but that many kids all together freaked me out nonetheless, and I was relieved when they left. I can handle a few kids in small doses, but not 24/7. Is this a sign of something bigger? Should I just forget this whole parenting thing, and be with someone who doesn't want kids?

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 12:34 PM

"I would not call a recovering alcoholic a hypocrite if they spoke out against drinking."

I may soon become an alcoholic after reading today's posts!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 12:35 PM

"Should I just forget this whole parenting thing, and be with someone who doesn't want kids"


No! Because other people's children always aggravate people more than their own. No matter how many kids you have, a group of other peoples' kids is a pain in the butt. No authority, total responsibility.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:36 PM

12:35, You must be the Mrs. Hyde to our very own "Dr." Laura. I wonder if she found time to make cookies/pie too?!?!

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 12:40 PM

Scarry, congrats. We just had an 8-week sonogram and saw and heard our baby's heartbeat. Completely amazing. Pretty sure DH didn't really "get" that I was prego before that.

I've wondered about the jealousy thing too. And the balance thing and how I'm going to balance two children and if DS will suffer at all. But this has all been touched upon before in previous blogs. DS will only be 2 years older than the new baby and I am already feeling guilty about not giving him more time to be an only child. I'm sure this has also been addressed here before, but I wonder what people think about age differences. Not that it matters at this point for us, but I'd be interested in folks' thoughts about the age differences in their children.

Posted by: londonmom | March 30, 2007 12:40 PM

Try Dr. Joy Browne's radio show on WOR out of NYC (has a website and posts podcasts of shows w/o commercials on iTunes). Smart and sassy alternative to the Dr. Phils and Dr. Lauras. No guilt trips - just good strategies for getting results.

When I'm feeling stressed/out of balance - People Magazine online. Quick and easy bit of fantasy. It's like eating candy. Bad for you but such a guilty pleasure.

Posted by: alternative to pop psychology | March 30, 2007 12:40 PM

I was a GS leader while also working full time. I got involved because I saw it as something I could do with my daughters as while volunteering in something that was good for the community. It was more time-consuming than I imagined. there is a lot of behind the scenes paperwork, phone calls, planning, etc. At the time, I could not do any of this while at work, unless it was lunchtime.

It was great for a few years, though busy. At some point, as the girls got older and had more homework, it was harder to find the time to perform the duties. I did have help from other parents, but ultimately I was responsible. I don't think we ever did an activity requiring a permission slip where all were returned on time. Followup calls were always required.

Anyway, one evening my daughter wanted me for something and I found myself short-tempered and saying, "Leave me alone, I have to do GS stuff". It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I got into GS to do things with my daughters, not push them away. I finished out the year, but then resigned my involvement in GS.

Sometimes you just have to let things go in order to achieve balance. The troop folded because no one took over the leadership. My girls were not terribly disappointed and we did things as a family instead of as part of a troop.

Posted by: on topic | March 30, 2007 12:41 PM

Mona, It's a sign of something, all right. Namely, that you shouldn't have 30 kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 12:42 PM

Mona,

your intolerance for a whole slew of disruptive, loud children you don't know, and who are plopped into your workplace at the end of day, doesn't say anything about who much you'll love or not love or enjoy parenting your very own well-behaved, obedient, compliant, reasonable, quite children. *rolls eyes* That's why some of us can imagine no more horrible end than if we had to teach elementary school, but we can be fab parents of one or two of our own perfect angels.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 12:42 PM

"Smart and sassy alternative to the Dr. Phils and Dr. Lauras. No guilt trips - just good strategies for getting results. "


You might enjoy Stuart Smalley's Daily Affirmation show-"I'm good enough, smart enough and doggone it people like me"

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:45 PM

12:42, good one! :-D

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 12:45 PM

"So if at all possible, try an abundance of daddy now so that it will be more acceptable for your daughter when you are less available"

I found that I was more available to the first child because I was home and not at work all day long.

Duh!!

Posted by: lurker | March 30, 2007 12:47 PM

Scarry, First of all, Congradulations!

2nd, the best way to handle the jealousy issue, if you ask me, is to get big sister involved. She should be not only allowed to hold the baby, but be asked to do it if for not any other reason than to help you out. Then you should try to convince big sister that she is loved by everyone.

When we know we are loved, we are happy.

When we fear we are not loved, we become unhappy, and thoughts filled with jealousy, a form of hatred, enter our minds and consume our emotions, thereby causing our hearts to seek revenge.

Although a toddler lacks the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of and adult, they are as emotionally as intelligent as any adult. The worst, worst, worst thing you can possibly do is to punish big sister for wanting to be part of the family relationship. Just keep that in mind when big sister acts up when baby has needs. Apply patience.

And off topic on blog stats: Awe, man, coming in behind Fred, again? Shucks! I have to add though, it does feel cozy next to Emily. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 30, 2007 12:52 PM

Dr Laura is not a psychologist or psychiatrist even tho she does have counseling certification. PHD is in Physiology.

BS, Biological Sciences, SUNY Stonybrook, Long Island, NY

MS, M Phil, Ph.D. (Physiology), Columbia University (College of Physicians and Surgeons), NY

Post-Doctoral Certification in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, Human Relations Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor (MFCC), California, formerly in private practice for 12 years

Past member of the Biological Sciences faculty of the University of Southern California (five years) and the graduate Psychology faculty of Pepperdine University (eight years)

UCLA and UC Irvine Extension course instructor

Posted by: DC lurker | March 30, 2007 12:52 PM

"I waited over 40 years to own my cats, so their tumbleweeds don't bother me a bit!

I waited 12 years for my daughter, so her dolls strewn throughout the house don't bother me either.

Posted by: liz | March 30, 2007 09:41 AM "

liz: I will be waiting a while before we adopt (if it even happens--still up in the air) so I hope I'll be able to make my peace with it too! Thanks for the perspective! I think I'm all too often in the headspace of wanting things to be perfect and forgetting that they're already great.

Posted by: worker bee | March 30, 2007 12:54 PM

On a different note. Close to where I work, a new business "Sprinkles of Beverly Hills" opened. They sell cupcakes for 3.25 a piece and I am NOT exaggerating, they have all day 20-25 people standing in line to buy a 3.25 cupcake. Seems insane, anyone heard of them?

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 12:56 PM

Chris -- Well, I made chocolate pudding, but no cookies or pie. Do I get partial credit?

Mona -- what everyone else said.

One of worst times with DD: field trip chaperone. Bus ride (carsick) to farm (hay fever) with 23 shrieking 4-yr-olds (giant headache). Went home after and took a nap. She, of course, was over the moon and has asked ever since when we can do it again. Hahahahahahahahahaha. . . .

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 12:58 PM

When I considered applying to Pepperdine for law school, I was confronted with the task of writing an essay in answer to the question, "As a law student, what would you do to further the Christian ideals of Pepperdine University?"

I just sat there scratching my head. What COULD I do, aside from, you know, not killing people and generally being a good person? Some people are good at faking religion; I'm not, and if I'm not a Christian, I have a hard time figuring out ways to promote their ideals.

I didn't end up applying, and I don't feel bad about that.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 12:58 PM

Balance isn't something you achieve on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Balance is how your life plays out in the long run. Some days are crazy; some days are calm. You go through lots of life stages with varying degrees of success. But I think that only in the end of it all will you see the balance. After you're gone, will you be remembered with affection? Will people smile to think of what you've been in their lives? And will the world continue to function without you? If the answer to those is yes, then you've lived a life with blance. At least those are my thoughts as I go through my 55th year.

Posted by: Older mom | March 30, 2007 12:58 PM

pATRICK: Beverly Hills? Maybe they're calorie-free and laced with cocaine.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 12:59 PM

$3.25 for ONE cupcake???

pATRICK, you'll never find me (or my money) in that line, either. What say let's start an "On Balance" pact to eschew such places, OK?

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 12:59 PM

pATRICK,

Do I recall that you live in Dallas? If yes, the popularity of a $3.25 cupcake does not surprise me. After consuming one, each fake blonde then heads to the gym to spend 4 hours on the elliptical.

Are they good? I remember when Mrs. Fields cookies first opened near me I laughed that anyone would spend almost $2 for a single cookie. About 10 days later, I was willing to designate one of those cookies "lunch" in order to stay within my weekly budget. Crack comes in many forms.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 1:00 PM

Hope the following isn't a repeat, but when my friend sent this, I thought you might enjoy it:

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country - if they could find the time - and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who is running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it but, if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority gay feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

AND

12. None of these is read by the guy who is running the country.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 1:02 PM

We don't need balance, that is boring! We need neo-balance! Come on, where are all the posts blaming men for everything, or did you all get worn out from it yesterday? :-P

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 1:03 PM

"There is no such thing as balance - you are either happy with the way your life is going or you are not."

There is most definitely such a thing as balance, and the second part of your sentence defines it.

Unhealthy parenting situation #1: People who break down and cry or complain on a regular basis because they're overwhelmed with work. This is not balance, it's not normal, and people who are happy with their lives don't do this. And it's caused by - ding ding - working too much. How can that be remedied? Don't work so much.

Unhealthy parenting situation #2 - People who break down and cry or complain on a regular basis because they're overwhelmed with parenthood. This is not balance, it's not normal, and people who are happy with their lives don't do this. And it's caused by either taking on too much outside of parenthood (see #1) or not taking on enough outside of parenthood. If you have the right amount on the other side of the scale, you're in....balance! Ta da!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:06 PM

Marian- that was awesome!

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 1:06 PM

"They sell cupcakes for 3.25 a piece and I am NOT exaggerating, they have all day 20-25 people standing in line to buy a 3.25 cupcake."

Duh, in a lot of big American cities $3.25 is reasonable for a quality cupcake.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:07 PM

Fo4,

You ought to be happy next to Emily, she throws you panties, not me!

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 1:09 PM

"She, of course, was over the moon and has asked ever since when we can do it again. Hahahahahahahahahaha. . . ."

So by all means, go to work and leave the field trip chaperoning to the SAHMs (they never get carsick or have allergies, and they're used to screaming all day long), your daughter's feelings be darned.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:10 PM

$3.25 for ONE cupcake - heck, you can git a whole box of ding dongs for that!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 1:10 PM

Fred wrote to Fof4: "You ought to be happy next to Emily, she throws you panties, not me!"

I'm sure Fof4 is happy to know that Emily doesn't throw you at him -- LOL! (Yes, yes, I know all about indirect objects).

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 1:12 PM

Mona, Mona, Mona

You didn't apply to Pepperdine Law School in
MALIBU, California?

You passed up 3 years in Malibu?????????

Posted by: YLS '85 | March 30, 2007 1:13 PM

"She, of course, was over the moon and has asked ever since when we can do it again. Hahahahahahahahahaha. . . ."

So by all means, go to work and leave the field trip chaperoning to the SAHMs (they never get carsick or have allergies, and they're used to screaming all day long), your daughter's feelings be darned.

Posted by: | March 30, 2007 01:10 PM

ALERT. ALERT. anon at 1:10 is having a bad case of self-righteousness. Apply two doses of humility, one teaspoon of perspective and call us in the morning.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:13 PM

Hey, Chris, Well, maybe we could try to determine whether it was a businessMAN or businessWOMAN who came up with the idea of a $3.25 cupcake.

Regardless, some people just assume that if something costs more it automatically must be better -- yup, a sucker born every minute!

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 1:15 PM

$3.25 a cupcake, reasonable? My GOSH that's about as bad as people willing to pay money for a bottle of water that spells naive when written backwards.

Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 1:16 PM

Better self-righteous than self-absorbed.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:17 PM

EVIAN = NAIVE -- good one, Chris!

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 1:20 PM

Better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 1:20 PM

Better self-righteous than self-absorbed.


Posted by: | March 30, 2007 01:17 PM


because . . . .? why? because that's what you think?

you'll have to do better than that, anon snarker.

Posted by: anon for tomorrow | March 30, 2007 1:21 PM

"$3.25 for ONE cupcake - heck, you can git a whole box of ding dongs for that!"

Read the list of ingredients on the box of ding dongs; pretty nasty stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:22 PM

Better safe than sorry.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 1:22 PM

"Mona, Mona, Mona

You didn't apply to Pepperdine Law School in
MALIBU, California?

You passed up 3 years in Malibu?????????"

I'm actually NOT a fan of sun or beach. I don't wear shorts or bikinis (okay, occasionally), and I don't tan (who wants the cancer, anyway?). Even Northern California was a stretch for me, but I was placated by the fact that they have mild summers, even though they don't have winter. Besides, Ppd wasn't the best school for me, and I wasn't really basing my decision on the weather, unlike my old UG friend, who wanted to go to med school in St. Baart so she could lie on the beach all day.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 1:23 PM

"Read the list of ingredients on the box of ding dongs; pretty nasty stuff."

Duh - it was a joke.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 1:23 PM

Better self-absorbed than self-obsessed.

Posted by: Anon for all time | March 30, 2007 1:24 PM

"They sell cupcakes for 3.25 a piece and I am NOT exaggerating, they have all day 20-25 people standing in line to buy a 3.25 cupcake."

Duh, in a lot of big American cities $3.25 is reasonable for a quality cupcake"

Mr. Trump, Nice to hear from you, How's NY?

Seriously, I don't know anyone who thinks 3.25 is an ok price for a cupcake. Apparently I need to know more because they are lined up out the door. I would rather die than buy a 3.25 cupcake. Seems ridiculous. $39 dollars for a dozen? crazy

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 1:24 PM

I wouldn't take a cupcake if it was free.

Posted by: worker bee | March 30, 2007 1:27 PM

"So by all means, go to work and leave the field trip chaperoning to the SAHMs (they never get carsick or have allergies, and they're used to screaming all day long), your daughter's feelings be darned."

Hmmmm, well, let's see. In any given day, my daughter asks me to: let her do [insert new sport here], use her easy-bake oven with her, make macaroni and cheese with her, watch her color, watch her dance, don't watch her dance, don't even look at her, feed her frogs, clean her frog's tank, let her feed her frogs, take her to Chick-fil-A, take her to Bob Evans, watch a cartoon with her, let her watch a cartoon by herself, let her run the clicker, read her a story, listen to her read me a story, look at her "paperwork," play a game with her, play in the backyard with her, ride bikes with her, go for a run with her, teach her how to fold her clothes, give her a bath, stay in the room with her while she puts her jammies on, and give her just "one extra" hug and kiss goodnight.

Hmmmm, yeah, you got me pegged: clearly, I'm a lazy-a$$ failure as a mother.

Dr. Laura, what are you doing here?

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 1:27 PM

Emily can make it up to me but the first pair has to be hot pink!

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 1:28 PM

I think 3.25 a cupcake is a bargain in NY.

A friend of mine went to pepperdine for law school. She said people go cause it is near the beach.

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 1:28 PM

Laura, I think I love you.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 1:29 PM

just one comment... your kids are not going to have fond memories of a clean house and clean laundry in their childhood. they WILL remember that time that mom came home from work early one day to take the kids to a picnic in the park or the day that mom and dad took them to fly a kite instead of going to costco. chores are important yes, but the memories that you make with your children will stay with them forever, and don't ever ever discount that.

Posted by: nyc | March 30, 2007 1:29 PM

What nyc said. Who wants their obituary to say mainly that they kept a spectacularly clean house? Dulllllllll.

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 1:31 PM

pATRICK

"Seriously, I don't know anyone who thinks 3.25 is an ok price for a cupcake."

Seriously, do you know anyone who is willing to pay for quality?

Try one of the cupcakes and find out what all the fuss is about or if it's a bunch of hooey.

People who aren't willing to take the time and trouble to do their own cooking will pay others to do so.

Consider the price of wedding cakes.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:31 PM

pATRICK,

Okay. Seriously. There's nothing good or bad about a price. All prices are equally valid if you are, fundamentally, a believer in free markets. The consumers will quickly indicate whether a price is too high, but in this instance, it appears as though the cupcake boys set the price a little low? I mean there's a line out the door, so maybe they could push the price to $4.99 a cupcake and donate the difference to Katrina relief.

That's not to say that we cannot still laugh at the perceived intelligence / values of the purchasers. Just beware, somewhere there's someone who thinks it's absurd that I pay $95 a month for parking for my job or that maybe Proud Papa pays $200 per month on greens fees or that anyone purchases Manolo Blahnik shoes, and I'd have to argue with them on the last even though I own nary a pair.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 1:32 PM

Reading these comments makes me feel far more balanced. Misery loves company.

Laura: 1. Cry [made me laugh so hard]

So did Fo4's description of your house last night. Exactly like mine. Minor details different.

And Armchair Mom, I hate those forms too.

Scarry -- I think when kid #1 sees how excited you are about kid #2, they become LESS jealous. The most jealous kids are the ones whose parents try too hard to shield kid #1 from upcoming baby #2. A mama's girl will want to share in whatever makes you happy, even if it's a little competition.

Posted by: Leslie | March 30, 2007 1:35 PM

and the winner by TKO is: Laura!

Posted by: anon for this moment | March 30, 2007 1:35 PM

Laura

I hope you are joking about Chick-fil-A and Bob Evans, 'cause the food at those places is really, really bad for your family.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:36 PM

I guess I am now in league with my FIL who will never pay 3.xx for a starbucks coffee. Sucks to grow old and cheap. I still will not pay 3.25 for a cupcake. My wife on the other hand is already planning to go buy her and my daughter one. A house divided! Damn Cupcakes!

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 1:36 PM

Consider the price of wedding cakes.

Posted by: | March 30, 2007 01:31 PM


Elaborate wedding receptions are another racket. See Hax re this, she rocks.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:37 PM

pATRICK,

it does indeed suck to grow old and cheap, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 1:39 PM

pATRICK,
Maybe they are really really big cupcakes? Are you sure they aren't muffins? Isn't a cupcake just a muffin with frosting on it?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 1:40 PM

"Seriously, I don't know anyone who thinks 3.25 is an ok price for a cupcake."

pATRICK, I don't know how old you or your FIL are, but I agree with him on starbucks. I can count how many times I have been to Starbucks on one hand and still have a digit or two left.

I think it's more about personal values of what you think is worth spending your money on rather than being cheap.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:41 PM

Hey, I pay $240 for my parking! And it is due on Sunday!

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 1:42 PM

pATRICK

You shouldn't drink coffee:

It's bad for you
It stains your teeth
It makes your breath reek to high heaven

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:43 PM

"I hope you are joking about Chick-fil-A and Bob Evans, 'cause the food at those places is really, really bad for your family."

I really, really wish I were. But my Granny was southern/country, so if it ain't stewed with bacon for 3 hours, it ain't a veggie.

I have fought this every day since I grew up, mostly successfully. Then they opened up a %^*$&@%@$%@&# Bob Evans 1/2 mile from my daughter's school. Right across from Chick-fil-A. I resist the temptation as much as I can, but as Megan's Neighbor said earlier, crack comes in many forms.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 1:45 PM

Coffee also makes your pee stanky.

Posted by: To pATRICK | March 30, 2007 1:45 PM

anon at 1:41, I'll vouch for that. Mr Bee recently used his Visa on a parking meter just so that he could pay $2.85 exactly, instead of "overpaying" with $3 in cash. This caused me to sit right down on the pavement I was laughing so hard. We were outside an audio store where Mr Bee was about to buy $4000 speakers.

Posted by: worker bee | March 30, 2007 1:46 PM

Who invited the food police?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:46 PM

"Laura, I think I love you.
Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 01:29 PM "

Forget my plans to sell cupcakes. There is money to be had here!


Posted by: Chris | March 30, 2007 1:46 PM

What I love is the people who complain about gas prices will do so while driving their yellow Hummer to Starbucks a block away to buy a $6 400-calorie caramel-mocha-chocolatto-whipped cream-sundae concoction that they call coffee.

Seriously, Starbucks coffee is among the best I've had, and it's under $2 for 16 oz. But that's their COFFEE. Anything else you buy there you can get at Baskin Robbins.

Posted by: Mona | March 30, 2007 1:46 PM

Who invited the food police?

Posted by: | March 30, 2007 01:46 PM


Actually, what you have here is the free-market economy, combined with a dollop of 1st Amendment. The food police would be the govt.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:49 PM

Dunkin donuts coffee is much better than Starbucks.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:54 PM

"Who invited the food police?"

The food police are a subgroup of the Nursing Nazis - the Uber Food Police!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 1:56 PM

To those of you, who say (and those of you who agree with the statement) that children will never remember the clean house -- a friend of mine was embarrased to invite her classmates home, because her mom followed this philosophy. Everybody knew somehow anyway. Children sure remember messy houses. IF (big IF) teenagers love their parents, they want the parents to be perfect. Big boss, good looking, perfect house, all the right stuff. At least, they like to see us trying.

Posted by: Clean house | March 30, 2007 1:56 PM

We're talking middle-ground here, not extremes of health-threatening filth vs. bubble-boy sterile rooms.

Posted by: To Clean house | March 30, 2007 1:58 PM

Congratulations Scarry! My older was a twoyear old mama's girl when younger arrived. We tried to prep her with "big girl, helper.." stuff, but she was pretty upset. Ignored the baby for a long time. But now, they are the best of friends, look for each other in the playground at day care and never want to be without each other. Older has also become Daddy's girl and Mama's helper, right around the time she turned 4. Rationality really helps! I highly recommend scheduling a little one on one time for your older with you and your DH and make hime the "go to guy". All the best!

Posted by: Sunniday | March 30, 2007 2:02 PM

pATRICK, I checked out Sprinkles' website. Interesting place. Yes, I would agree that 3.25 is steep for a cupcake, but so are the prices for "gourmet" ice cream a la Coldstone Creamery and Maggie Moo; coffee a la Starbucks, etc. Is it worth it? Hard to say- their ingredient list certainly is impressive.

It's all just part of the upscale marketing fad, I guess. As someone up-thread posted, there's an assumption that if something costs more it's better, and you can carry that on for quite a while before getting found out sometimes.

(For us in the DC area, there's one "coming soon" in this area, although no location is given. Nothing for all the North Carolinians on the blog, though.)

Posted by: Army Brat | March 30, 2007 2:05 PM

I may have hit that moment atlmom described where "not working for me was not good after a while."

This morning I was volunteering at DD's school library. This uses one of three 2-1/2 hour periods a week I have while my son is at preschool. I really should be using all three mornings to exercise. Here I was, feeling fat in my jeans, half the time sitting or kneeling on the floor to shelve books.

Well, today there happened to be an event at the school. Some authors and local politicos were going around to the classrooms reading to the 1st graders. After they were finished, they came to the library for refreshments. A few PTA mothers were there because they were in charge of refreshments. The principal also was there. All were coiffed and heeled--yada yada.

You would have thought that the other bluejeaned, schlepping, shelving mom and I were the janitors the way these women (principal included!) looked through us, and we were wearing volunteer badges. Of course the PTA moms probably think they're contributing so much because they picked up a couple of Starbucks coffee boxes and trays of bagels.

Thank goodness the other mom was there shelving books or I would have lost it. The library clerk and school librarian do appreciate our help, but the principal really showed her true colors. It was a real junior high moment with the alpha girls.

Man, if your work isn't paid, so often you really aren't valued in the public arena.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 2:09 PM

Mona, my brother's friend seriously went to med school in St. Thomas (or one of those St. islands) because of the weather.

About the price of some things: I'm with MN about the perceived value being different for lots of people. Recall the VLI conversation.

I would never pay money for prepared coffee or tea, or for a manicure or pedicure. Those are ridiculous wastes of money to me. But I pay top dollar for dog food that is fit for human consumption because I think it's healthier. Those people think that cupcake is worth every penny for some reason.

Posted by: Meesh | March 30, 2007 2:10 PM

Once I read that there is beef fat in ding dongs and twinkies ( and all hostess stuff) I never wanted to eat them again. Even if I *did* eat meat. Just sayin'.

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 2:12 PM

Marian, bummer, but here's a recommendation - talk to the President of the PTA or the Principal directly about the way you were treated, when you get the chance. Most likely they were simply stressed out because of the "important" company and forgot their manners for a moment. They'll probably apologize profusely. If they don't, well, then you know they're jerks instead of just high-strung.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 30, 2007 2:14 PM

"But I pay top dollar for dog food that is fit for human consumption because I think it's healthier"

LOL - healthier than what - other food for human consumption? who eats it, you or the dog?

Posted by: to Meesh | March 30, 2007 2:14 PM

"You would have thought that the other bluejeaned, schlepping, shelving mom and I were the janitors the way these women (principal included!) looked through us, and we were wearing volunteer badges."

A little condescending to the janitors, you think? It would be OK to look through the janitors, but not you? Come off your high horse.

Posted by: to Marian | March 30, 2007 2:16 PM

"Better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 01:20 PM "

This reminds me of another #2 child tip. My first never did anything without asking. Snack, tv, going outside, whatever. #2 has taken to the above mentioned philosophy wholeheartedly!

#2: shouldn't we ask mom?
#1: no, i don't think so.

(i've heard it said!)

mom: (voice from the other room, b/c they don't seem to know what a whisper is yet) ASK ME WHAT???????

#1, #2 (in unison): Never Mind!

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 30, 2007 2:17 PM

Thanks everyine for the practical and thoughtful advice and congrats to everyone else who is expecting.

On the cupcake issue, I think I would have to try one just to see what the hubbub was about, but I can't see myself buying very many. I bet you they aren't as good as the BettyKaye Bakery in Carrolton Ohio. You can get a whole dozen for 3.25 back ther and they are good.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 2:20 PM

Of course I don't think it's OK to look through the janitors, but I'll bet these women look down their noses at the janitors too. My point is that anyone doing (and dressed for) physical labor vs. work that can be done in heels isn't likely to be treated with dignity.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 2:21 PM

Jersey mom,
Sounds so familiar. Just like the guys here at work :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 2:21 PM

2:14, really? Is there seriously any confusion about who eats the dog food?

Posted by: Meesh | March 30, 2007 2:21 PM

A little condescending to the janitors, you think? It would be OK to look through the janitors, but not you? Come off your high horse.

Posted by: to Marian | March 30, 2007 02:16 PM

That is not what she meant at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 2:26 PM

2:14, really? Is there seriously any confusion about who eats the dog food?

Seriously, no confusion. You could have made your point by saying "But I pay top dollar for dog food because I think it's healthier" It was throwing in the "fit for human consumption" that hit my funny bone. Weird Friday afternoon, what can I say?

Posted by: 2:14 | March 30, 2007 2:27 PM

I don't know, when I go to work and "company" comes through, not everyone is introduced. sometimes, it's just a matter of scheduling and purpose of the visit. Should the visitors have been introduced to everyone that they passed while in the school?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 2:30 PM

Hostess Ding Dongs:

The name was given to coincide with a television ad campaign featuring a ringing bell.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 2:30 PM

Meesh -- I've been buying my dog food for a while from OnlyNaturalPet.com. (I'm not affiliated with the company, just a happy customer.) It's not like my boys are gourmet chow hounds or anything but I tell you, they CANNOT WAIT to get their food. And their coats are healthier looking and the skin problems are no more. I was making my own food for a while, but this stuff is better for sure.

Posted by: Chiclet | March 30, 2007 2:31 PM

Twinkies are a guilty pleasure.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 2:31 PM

Marian,

I could care less what the PTA ladies thinks about me and you should feel the same way. Don't let them bother you. Don't let them make you feel fat or invisible, you have a right to be at the school just as much as they do. It also sounds to me like you are doing real work.

The principal on the other hand is another story, I would stop by her office or call her on the phone to let her know how she made you feel.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 2:32 PM

"The principal on the other hand is another story, I would stop by her office or call her on the phone to let her know how she made you feel."

Marian's time is better spent standing up straight with her shoulders back, calling a good girlfriend, laughing and mixing herself a pitcher of mimosas.

balance is not spending fifteen minutes of your day to discuss with another adult how that adult made you feel. That's for 20 year olds and women with too much time on their hands. Marian doesn't sound like a woman with too much time on her hands.

Posted by: anon for the galaxy | March 30, 2007 2:38 PM

Or, Marian could console herself with a $3.25 cupcake.

Posted by: Anon to infinity and beyond | March 30, 2007 2:41 PM

"The principal on the other hand is another story, I would stop by her office or call her on the phone to let her know how she made you feel."


Actually Marian can control her reaction to the behavior of other people.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 2:45 PM

Oh, I disagree. If marian feels that way, she needs to express that to the principal-so that the principal at a school with young children, where they are teaching them- knows how to act properly and how she conveys to each child that thy are important no matter what job they are doing or who they are.

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 2:55 PM

"balance is not spending fifteen minutes of your day to discuss with another adult how that adult made you feel. That's for 20 year olds and women with too much time on their hands."

I love that.

Posted by: Arilington Dad | March 30, 2007 2:55 PM

"Actually Marian can control her reaction to the behavior of other people."

My Dad and I one time were playing basketball when I was about 12. He kept fouling me and playing dirty. This went on for a while until he fouled me so hard I went flying into the dirt. I screamed at him that he was not playing fair. He then got a smile on his face, helped me up and said" Don't wait so long to object to be treated unfairly". I never forgot that and it was an invaluable piece of advice in my life. MARIAN stop taking the foul and speak up.

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 2:56 PM

What is Marian supposed to say to the principal that won't make her sound whiny? What can she say that won't be easily dismissd by the Queen Bees? I just can't hear the productive conversation in my head, so what do you folk suggest?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 30, 2007 2:59 PM

Yeah. It was the principal that bothered me. It's not like I haven't passed her in the hall about 10 times this year on my way to the library. She could have just said "Good morning, thanks for helping" I realize she was busy, but it takes nothing to say good morning.

It just made me think twice about being able to volunteer in the schools (at least that school) as something on the plusses side when listing plusses for staying home a year or two more vs. pushing to go back to work sooner.

Thanks for the words of support/suggestions. Just venting it helps get it out of my system.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 3:01 PM

Nice story, pATRICK.

Yes, Marian can control her reaction. And she did so -- at least, judging by her not ripping everyone a new one right there.

But that doesn't mean that she shouldn't calmly go back to the principal later and discuss it. As atlmom said, the principal's actions show the children how you treat others.

Posted by: Laura | March 30, 2007 3:03 PM

EMr. Principal, it seems like these women want to help. Don't you think that they could be better utilized in book shelving rather than bringing coffee and bagels? I know that since they are so committed that we could probably sign them up right now for saturday, Don't you think? Smile

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 3:03 PM

MOna:
On the subject of other people's kids, there was actually a study somebody did where they made the subjects smell all these diapers and everyone ranked their own child's diapers as 'least stinky'. So there's actual objective evidence that we're somehow programmed to prefer our own children and their behavior and whatnot over other people's kids. BTW, I also hated babysitting but really like my own kids.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | March 30, 2007 3:03 PM

pATRICK,

I love your story. Part of my job is helping people who have been discriminated against stand up and demand to be treated fairly. When one person speaks out it's often supprising how many people appreciate it because they were experiencing the same thing.

Marion,

Just let the principal know that you felt her actions implied you weren't valuable. She might not have realized it, and either way it will hopefully change her actions for the better.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | March 30, 2007 3:05 PM

There really isn't much I could say to the principal without sounding whiny. Better to have a stiff mimosa and spend my time on something more productive.

I might say something to the effect that based on the way the other volunteer and I were treated and based on some other issues of staffing in that school library, that I don't think that the library is valued and that my volunteer hours would be better spent elsewhere in the community. I doubt it would change her way of thinking though. It's more likely that I'll finish my commitment to the library staff (through the end of the school year). Then I'll find somewhere else to volunteer, exercise, or research my return to the paid work force.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 3:10 PM

"On the subject of other people's kids, there was actually a study somebody did where they made the subjects smell all these diapers and everyone ranked their own child's diapers as 'least stinky'"

DH was not part of the study. He would have fainted dead away with the first diaper.

Posted by: trixie | March 30, 2007 3:11 PM

I don't imagine there is enough money to pay me to participate in that study.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 3:13 PM

"I don't imagine there is enough money to pay me to participate in that study."

How about some cupcakes?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 3:16 PM

Marian,

I mean this is the best possible way. Are you volunteering to help the school or are you volunteering to get recognition?

The principal either (a) was absorbed in what she was doing, or lost in thought or (b) intentionally snubbed you. Neither of these scenarios is worth this much emotional energy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 3:16 PM

Mr. Principal, it seems like these women want to help. Don't you think that they could be better utilized in book shelving rather than bringing coffee and bagels? I know that since they are so committed that we could probably sign them up right now for saturday, Don't you think? Smile

Posted by: pATRICK | March 30, 2007 3:16 PM

"I know that since they are so committed that we could probably sign them up right now for saturday"

No can do on Saturday, it's the Sabbath, pATRICK.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 3:20 PM

To anon at 3:16:

But if this is how the person who taught my kids acted, I would want to make her aware of it and explain that while I (marian) know that it was unintentional, and I am an adult, etc., the children are impressionable and they are learning hot to treat people from the adults in the school- and they would be learning that this is acceptable behavior-etc...

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 3:32 PM

Principals don't teach kids

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 30, 2007 3:33 PM

Well, I am not 20 or whiny and I would have said something or at the very least introduced myself.

You guys are right that she shouldn't waste her energy on it if it isn't important to her. However, if you want to raise kids who respect all people and stand up for theirselves I wouldn't let them see people walk on me.

My sister is a door mat. When something happens she calls me. It's annoying.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 3:36 PM

"I mean this is the best possible way. Are you volunteering to help the school or are you volunteering to get recognition?"

It shouldn't matter. If the heels ladies get a nod she should too.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 3:41 PM

I'm guilty of buying a cone Coldcreamery icecream for about $3.50 - there's always a line but they are SO GOOD! I don't do it often (once every few months) - it is a truly guilty pleasure of mine.

About liking other peoples kids -- before I had kids I was afraid I wouldn't be a good mother because I wasn't into friend's or relatives' kids. That all changed when I had my DS - I can't get enough of him!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 30, 2007 3:42 PM

Marian has worked as a professional Librarian and this crap happened in the Library of her kid's School..

Nope, she really can't ignore the disrespect.

Posted by: I Love Bush | March 30, 2007 3:42 PM

The beer, the president or the .......

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 3:46 PM

Of course the principal teaches the kids-maybe not in a formal classroom setting-but she/he sets the tone for the whole school.

Everyone who comes into contact with your child teaches them. And in parrticular, when the principal is in the position of. Authority they are in you can bet that the kids are aware of what is going on.

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 3:55 PM

But Marian, here is the real question. Did the principal see you drive up in a creepy van?

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 3:59 PM

"...You would have thought that the other bluejeaned, schlepping, shelving mom and I were the janitors the way these women (principal included!) looked through us, and we were wearing volunteer badges."

Not recognizing and acknowledging other people is plain R-U-D-E.

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 4:08 PM

On the pricey cupcakes, coffee and ice cream - I will happily pay more for a reeealllly good treat like that, but I think almost uniformly the high priced chains suck and are just riding on the illusion.

Cold Stone Creamery, Maggie Moos - blech! I really think their ice cream is kind of crappy. I think Starbucks is ok, but not any better than some of the good (and cheaper) coffee shops. It's not just a gut reaction to chains, I promise (though I have that problem too) - I really have tried Maggie Moos and Cold Stone several times because it seems like they SHOULD be good, but they're just not!

So I might be willing to pay 3.25 for a really kick**s cupcake, but I have my doubts about the place pATRICK describes. At my local coffee shop and bakery though, which makes the most fantastic pecan rolls ever - maybe.

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 4:11 PM

Is Turner Lab still open at the University of Maryland? If so, how much do they charge nowadays for a single or a double dip cone? Or a half-gallon carton to take home? I considered their chocolate chip one of the best ice creams I've ever had.

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 4:13 PM

Or maybe she saw you eat a 3.25 cupcake.

Posted by: atlmom | March 30, 2007 4:14 PM

However, if you want to raise kids who respect all people and stand up for theirselves I wouldn't let them see people walk on me.

My sister is a door mat. When something happens she calls me. It's annoying.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 03:36 PM

True, but the focus of the conversation can't be, "how you made me feel". It should be, you did X, X is not appropriate. Consider the impact of X on the children. As a result of X, I am strongly considering shifting my volunteer contribution to another area as a result of this incident."

In the alternative, Marian could consider humming, "Feelings" whenever she walks by the principal's office for the remainder of the school year:

Feelings, nuthin' more than feelings,
Tryin' to forget my,
Feelings of love . . .

Teardrops, rollin' down on my face,
Tryin' to forget my,
Feelings of love . . .

Feelings, for all my life I'll feel it,
I wish I'd never met you girl,
You'll never come again . . .
( You'll never come again, never, never ! )

Feelings, Oh Oh Oh feelings,
Oh Oh Oh feel you,
Again in my arms . . . ( Again, again! )

( Feelings, feelings like I've never lost you,
And feelings like I've never held you again in my arms! )

Feelings, for all my life I'll feel it,
I wish I'd never met you girl,
You'll never come again . . .
( You'll never come again, never, never ! )

Feelings, Oh Oh Oh feelings,
Oh Oh Oh feel you,
Again in my arms . . . ( Again, again! )

Again in my arms!

Posted by: anon with a mimosa | March 30, 2007 4:15 PM

"It shouldn't matter. If the heels ladies get a nod she should too. "

Who said that the heels ladies got a nod? They were being included in the conversations because they were part of the shindig. Marian was not part of the shindig; she was performing a different task. When Marian is there shelving books does she acknowledge the presence of every other adult in the building? Does she speak to the janitor and say "hey, thanks for keeping the building clean." Does she go into every classroom and say to other volunteers "hey, thanks for helping." Does she go up to the PTA women at the school carnival and say "wow, this is a great event. Thanks for organizing it."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 4:17 PM

Marian,

BTW, I worked my way thru my CSS by shelving books in the library. I started in the gov't pubs section but moved to the children section where I spent many a happy semesters shelving books.

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 4:18 PM

Show your kids Princess Bride 10 times over the weekend modifying text as follows:

"My name is Inigo Montoya, you insult my Marian, prepare to die."

Have your child (and their friends) repeatedly ask the principal, "Are you the five fingered man?"

Posted by: Fo3 | March 30, 2007 4:20 PM

Hey, 4:17, lighten up. She's a grown woman. She felt demeaned. Give her a break.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 4:20 PM

"Don't you think that they could be better utilized in book shelving rather than bringing coffee and bagels? "

First of all, who are you to say how volunteers can be best utilized? The principal obviously thought that the book reading was a valuable event and she probably asked the PTA to provide coffee and bagels to the guests.

And second of all, you have no idea what the PTA women are doing in addition to bringing coffee and bagels in. Maybe they're spending 5 hours a week volunteering in the school in addition to coffee and bagel duty. Maybe they're fundraising. Maybe they're at home cutting out bulletin board stencils. Maybe they're check kids' heads for lice. Why the judging of them on one single event?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 4:21 PM

4:20 Maybe Marion should lighten up and not worry about what other people think about her or how they treat her. It's not like they asked her to leave and go home and dress better or slung rotten tomatoes at her. If she's happy shelving books and thinks it's a valuable use of her time and that she's contributing to the school, then that should be enough. Like another poster said, is she volunteering for the recognition or because she thinks it's valuable?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 4:24 PM

Stilletto's?
Heelys?
Blahniks?

Posted by: Heels ladies? | March 30, 2007 4:29 PM

"...is she volunteering for the recognition or because she thinks it's valuable?"

One of the more common complaints of employees is that their bosses do not recognize their efforts. Sure most people work primarily for money but the effective manager knows that a little recognition goes a long way towards employee effectiveness and efficiency. Try this test, think about your worse boss and your best boss. Did your worse boss yell, belittle or ignore you? Did you best boss recognize your efforts, even if only occasionally, and encourage you? How did you feel about working for either? Who would you rather work for?

The fact is that no human being enjoys being taken for granted or ignored over the long term. Volunteers do things out of the goodness of their hearts (mostly). A bit of recognition is the oil that makes society a bearable place.

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 4:41 PM

lots of heel's ladies around here and they're all going for the UNC ladies in the final four. Go heels!

Come on, you all knew I couldn't pass the heels ladies comment up.

Posted by: dotted | March 30, 2007 4:41 PM

dotted - you are the best! I'm impressed, LOL. Good luck to the lady heels!

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 4:43 PM

Hmmm, maybe I am weird or was raised wrong but I say hi to people when they pass me and if the janitor was cleaning in a room I was in, I would say hi.

As to the anon posters who feel that we shouldn't judge the heel ladies, sorry but they did it to theirselves when they were rude.

Posted by: scarry | March 30, 2007 4:47 PM

Stilletto's?
Heelys?
Blahniks?

Posted by: Heels ladies? | March 30, 2007 04:29 PM

Talbots' private label peep-toes with 2" heels - $170 has never been wasted so badly.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 4:53 PM

"$170 has never been wasted so badly."

Yeah, I mean that could buy - what? 52 cupcakes?

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 5:01 PM

Megan wrote: "Yeah, I mean that could buy - what? 52 cupcakes?"

I hereby nominate as a contender for today's prize for pithy saying.

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 5:07 PM

either 52 cupcakes or a much hotter pair of heels of the not-so-sensible variety.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 5:13 PM

Maybe those of us in Blog Stats's Top 40 could share the extra dozen cupcakes with the 12 runnsers-up.

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 5:16 PM

For a long time I was something of a doormat. If someone said something or did something that upset me I would just keep quiet about it as I hate confrontation. The problem is that sooner or later there is a straw that breaks the camel's back and you blow up at something insignificant. At that point you are the bad guy.
It is more difficult but better in the long run if you try to say something at the time of the "infraction" rather than waiting. Most people (note MOST) don't want to hurt you and assuming they do is unfair.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 5:28 PM

KLB's right: It's better to defuse a minor situation than to let it get out of hand.

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 5:31 PM

catlady is right - I am always right:-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 5:32 PM

And KLB's humility is exceeded only by her veracity.

Posted by: catlady | March 30, 2007 5:35 PM

4:20 Maybe Marion should lighten up and not worry about what other people think about her or how they treat her. It's not like they asked her to leave and go home and dress better or slung rotten tomatoes at her.

Posted by: | March 30, 2007 04:24 PM

she's not worried. she's irritated and insulted.

She was disrespected although not in one of the two ways you describe. What difference does it make how she was disrespected?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 5:37 PM

Why thank you.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 5:37 PM

Emily can make it up to me but the first pair has to be hot pink!

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 01:28 PM

Sorry, Fred. Only Fo4 gets my panties. But I'll toss you my bloomers!!
LOL

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 5:58 PM

"she's not worried. she's irritated and insulted."

She's irritated and insulted by the way she was treated by what, 3 people? So because of that she's going to punish the people who do value her and recognize that she's performing a necessary service - she school librarian, library clerk and other library volunteers. She's also punishing the children at the school by withholding her volunteer time from them just because she felt slighted by the "alpha girls." It just seems a little immature to me to say "fine, if you can't fall to your knees and thank me every time you see me, I'm taking my toys and going home." Talk about junior high.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 6:04 PM

Marian,
I can sympathize with your schools story. I would not complain about it, but would talk to the principal, maybe something like this.

"Hello Mrs. Snubber. Perhaps you don't remember me. I am _____'s mom, and I volunteer in the school library. In fact, the other day, when you were hosting the (name event of important people reading to the kids), I was in the library volunteering. I would have loved to say hi to you and the people in the gathering, but you looked so engrossed in your activity that I did not want to bother you. But afterwards I realized that you lost an important opportunity to talk about how hard the school's parents work to support the school's reading programs. We volunteers are a huge part of the infrastructure that makes our school so great. I'm sure that next time an opportunity arises, you want to emphasize that. It is such a very important point. Thanks for your time. blah blah blah blah. Then end.

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 6:13 PM

Oh, and on the blog stats, I was also Rockville, so that puts me right behind Scarry.

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 6:16 PM

Emily, could you help broker a peace treaty in Iraq in your spare time?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 6:17 PM

"Emily, could you help broker a peace treaty in Iraq in your spare time?"

Truly, I am working on it (between finding a cure for cancer and my part-time job as an lingere model).

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 6:18 PM

I've got it! You play Izzy on "Grey's Anatomy"!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 6:20 PM

You got me. I'm outed!!!

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 6:21 PM

Well, happy weekend folks. Back to my regular weekend gig as a middle aged soccer mom. Sigh.

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 6:23 PM

This is the topic I've been waiting for - and there is no way I had time to look at the blog until long after anyone else will read this.

Most of this blog concentrates on balance between family and work, but there is something left out of that which is also important.

bird describes balance as between personal/external responsibilities.

One of our external responsibilities is our civic responsibility as a member of a (supposed-to-be) democratic society. This is important because it is one essential way we can affect the big picture of what kind of society we and our kids will live in, namely, our job situations, communities, the future of our country and the world, all of that.

Many of the posts on this blog revolve around nit-picking about whether or not certain parents are making the right choices, as if the big picture of the society we live in is not an issue, and if we are perfect our lives will be perfect.

Certainly, many of us would find it very difficult to take action regarding our civic responsibilities, given the pressures of making a living and caring for family. However, I think it is completely off balance to not regard civic responsibility as a priority, and only concentrate on the things that affect me, myself, and I and those closest to us.

Meanwhile, I have to wonder how people who are working and/or taking care of small children ever find the time to keep up with this blog during the day!

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | March 30, 2007 6:25 PM

shhhhhh, 6:17!! I selfishly have no interest in Emily devoting her drafting and scripting skills to any more significant activities than posting here.


6:04, she's not punishing anyone, nor was my husband when he decided that coaching our son's soccer team (5 year olds) included too much parent drama. Balance is about not spinning your wheels and not letting the small stuff turn into anxiety-producing drama. Do you always ratchet up the guilt to this extent, by talking about punishing the kids, etc.? It can be about Marion just this once.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 30, 2007 6:26 PM

Happy weekend to you too, Emily! Remember, the question of which is your true identity and which is your secret one is up to you! Whatever that means...

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2007 6:28 PM

"It can be about Marion just this once."

Remember, if momma ain't happy nobody is happy!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 6:33 PM

Maybe Emily will wear her "Super Emily" costume on Monday.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 30, 2007 6:36 PM

Thanks to everyone for some constructive comments. As I said, I certainly will finish my commitment through the end of the school year. My DD actually goes on to the elementary school next year (this school is a k-1 early childhood school). My son will go there in a couple of years though.

While today's incident did indeed irritate me, I guess it just highlighted some questions I was already having about the value of what I was doing. As far as my motivations for volunteering, I certainly am not doing it for any big recognition. I didn't expect to have a conversation with anyone in that setting, nor be introduced. I do expect to be treated with common courtesy, especially by the principal.

Part of why I chose to volunteer in the library is because I thought I could be somewhat useful there since I am a professional librarian. I've done both the grunt work of shelving (which I don't shy away from if that's what is needed) and been trusted to do more complicated tasks by the library staff. I also am new to this community and thought it would be a good way to get a feeling for the tone of the school. I wanted to explore whether I would want to earn certification for school library work (30 graduate credits--basically a teaching certificate from scratch) as a way to have a career that would be both rewarding and compatible with raising school-aged kids.

I have been questioning whether volunteering to do an operational task in the library is a good use of time. In a sense, this enables the school system to understaff the school library. It's the whole "you wouldn't hold a bake sale to build an atom bomb" thing.

So as much as I did feel sensitive to the snubbing (and I think I'm justified in the case of the principal), it was a catalyst to get me thinking about how I want to spend my time. I would have had a much thicker skin (and have had) were I in a paid workplace. I would expect to have put up with some jerks there. This principal probably benefits in her performance evaluations for having an active parent volunteer force saving the district some money.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 6:49 PM

Thanks, Megan's Neighbor! And Fred, can I borrow the creepy van to drive by the principal's house and throw beer cans on her lawn or something? ;-)

And I do take civic responsibility seriously. The principal and school district have shown a lack of priority for this library in staffing policy too. That's one reason I think my energy and time might be better spent elsewhere in the community. I've been here less than a year though, so I'm still figuring out how things here work (small town in big metro area vs. County-wide management of schools and most services).

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 6:55 PM

atlmom:

Luckily, there were no kids in the library at the time, but more and more I get the feeling that the principal does set this kind of tone in the school (among paid staff as well).

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 6:58 PM

Marian,
Sometimes it comes down to what you are passionate about. If you have limited time to volunteer then do something that will be of use to the community and rewarding for you too. Why do something that you could end up resenting spending your time on?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 6:59 PM

"And Fred, can I borrow the creepy van to drive by the principal's house and throw beer cans on her lawn or something?"

If it is Bud or some "light" beer, no. The van does have its standards to uphold!

Now, if you are talking PBR or Schlitz...

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 7:49 PM

Fred, my dad was a PBR man. :-)

KLB SS MD--You're so right. I'm passionate about libraries. That's one reason I've been disillusioned to see that my DD's school principal doesn't seem to value them. I'm sure I'll find a library home in my community, for volunteering or career or both. In the meantime, the upside is that I have met two generous professionals in my community through this volunteer position, one of whom will be DD's school librarian when she goes to the 2-5 elementary school next year.

Posted by: Marian | March 30, 2007 7:56 PM

Sorry, Fred. Only Fo4 gets my panties. But I'll toss you my bloomers!!
LOL

Posted by: Emily | March 30, 2007 05:58 PM

Noooooo Emily, you have destroyed my vision of you as Christie Brinkley and substituted the Queen of England!

(What colour are the bloomers?)

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 7:57 PM

I got my white socks, red neck and blue ribbon beer!

Posted by: Fred | March 30, 2007 7:58 PM

Marian,
Maybe your passion is a way to approach the principal rather than her dissing you?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 30, 2007 8:09 PM

What exactly did the principal do? Look at you and not speak? Maybe rude, maybe not. Maybe a little overwhelmed about the guests who were in the school - principals are people too. Maybe she went blank on your name and was afraid she would look stupid trying to introduce you. Maybe she is just a b***. Clear the air if it makes you feel better.

I freely admit that I have walked past people without acknowledging them and not even realized it because I was preoccupied. I really didn't see them.

If you rarely have time to yourself except when your child is in preschool, I recommend forgetting the volunteering and getting the exercise you mentioned. You will have many more opportunities in the years to come to volunteer. It doesn't all have to be done now.

Posted by: confused | March 30, 2007 8:46 PM

Meanwhile, I have to wonder how people who are working and/or taking care of small children ever find the time to keep up with this blog during the day!

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | March 30, 2007 06:25 PM

My job includes, among other tasks, reviewing and responding to internal-only IMs, e-mail, and pages. I am constantly interrupted by communications. Glancing at this blog throughout the day occupies maybe 5 - 10 minutes of time in the aggregate and is an interruption I control. I don't eat lunch and don't hang out in the breakroom. People make different choices.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2007 11:43 AM

Meanwhile, I have to wonder how people who are working and/or taking care of small children ever find the time to keep up with this blog during the day!

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | March 30, 2007 06:25 PM

Because we live for comments like yours!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2007 11:57 AM

Here's what my balanced life now looks like: I run my own small business from home, and I only own one home (instead of in my previous life when I lived in Chicago and commuted to my job and apartment in Manhattan). I work a reasonable schedule--no more 80 or 90 or 100 hour weeks. When I travel, it's well-planned, with time for myself-it's NOT to put out fires.

My wife and I have dinner together almost every night. Although our children are in college now, we spend time together. We travel to see our kids at school. When the kids came home over spring break, I took my daughter to lunch and breakfast several times, we rented some DVDs together, and hung out with her boyfriend and her friends. We had my son's friends over, and he and I sat down and had a long talk about a book we'd both read - Freakonimics.

All the while I continue to learn and grow by visiting with family and close friends, sitting in on teleclasses, writing, and reading at least a book a week. I make it a point to call one friend each day. Sometimes I get voice mail, sometimes I catch them in the middle of something, but other times we have an hour long that means everything in a friendship.

Posted by: David B. Bohl | March 31, 2007 1:49 PM

This is only my fourth time posting here. I usually post at the very tail end and no one posts after me. I'm just a laggard that way. Anyway, I LOVED Meesh's remark on the 30th about MULCH SEASON. That is classic! I used to love mulch season too before I gave up my house/yard to move to DC-metro. Anyway, TTFN.

Posted by: Childless Masha - TO MEESH | March 31, 2007 3:07 PM

"Cupcakes, More Than A Morsel / The Cupcake Class and Its Contentment: A look at the significance of the boom in bite-sized baked goods"
By Michael J. Madison
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 1, 2007
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07091/774200-109.stm

In his influential "Pittsblog", Michael Madison has identified numerous trends in regional economic development. He was the first to chart the emergence of a "Cupcake Class" in local social demographics. We asked him to draw links between the rise of fine cupcakes and the region's prospects for entrepreneurial vitality.

Does the 21st century belong to cities that attract and nurture young, hip, creative professionals? The so-called "Creative Class"? Or did Richard Florida, the Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon refugee who coined that term, have it all wrong?

Beginning in January, two groups of entrepreneurs set out, perhaps inadvertently, to challenge Florida's thesis. The owners of CoCo's in Shadyside and Dozen Cupcakes in Squirrel Hill are betting that the future of Pittsburgh lies not in the Creative Class, but in the Cupcake Class: people with the time and taste to consume small portions of upscale baked goods at $2.50 a pop.

Search the Internet for custom cupcake retailers and blogs run by cupcake devotees. What you find are cupcake bakeries in cities laden with people who are energetic and entrepreneurial -- San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington. You find hordes of what David Brooks labeled "Bourgeois Bohemians," or BoBos -- not young creatives with more energy and attitude than money, but older hipsters with money and the persistent sense that they can be cool even after they've hit middle age.

And with them, you find growing economies. These aren't necessarily the hippest places, but they are all places that create and recycle wealth in ways that grow the pie. They have entrepreneurial and bottom-up mindsets. They are places that any city today would be proud to emulate. And these are cities that are putting away gourmet cupcakes by the truckload.

Clearly, the more cupcakes-sold-per-capita, the better off a city is likely to be. The informal motto of the Cupcake Class might be: If you bake it, they will come.

Can this possibly be right?


Two cupcake shops does not a future make, and Pittsburgh has a shortage of the bottom-up, entrepreneurial mindset. Moreover, with two cupcake bakeries and cupcakes popping up at Whole Foods and Starbucks, cupcake saturation looms. How long will people be willing to shell out $2.50 per cupcake -- anywhere?

Barriers to entry are low. Anyone with the sense to use fruit- or chocolate- or alcohol-flavored buttercream frosting can get in the game. Upscale $1 cupcakes might be on the horizon.


The cupcake market presents what Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen calls the "innovator's dilemma": Should cupcake bakeries specialize, maintain their margins and move upmarket with ever fancier cakes? In the short term, the money continues to flow. But soon low-cost competitors will move in like sharks and take over the heart of the market.

Or should they give up those fat margins, maintain their market share and commodify their cakes by selling branded cupcakes or even private label cupcakes through restaurants and other bakeries? The bakers don't get rich, and they don't get new, but they do stay in business.

Christensen's way out of this dilemma is for businesses to innovate outside the box. They need to constantly challenge their own business model.

That's the real role of the Cupcake Class, and the real lesson that the Cupcake Class may teach Pittsburgh.

Will the cupcake bakeries lead lives of serial innovation? Will their customers respond? If CoCo's and Dozen can keep their hold on the upscale cupcake market and simultaneously fend off low-cost imitators, we might take their success as a sign that the entrepreneurial mindset might finally be taking hold.

------------------------------------------Michael Madison is associate dean for research and associate professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (professormadison@gmail.com)

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | April 1, 2007 10:42 AM

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