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Finally Finding My Own Balance

Recently, I did what I once thought would be unthinkable. I drove to the office one final time, packed my boxes and left my desk a clean -- well, rather dusty, actually -- slate.

Seventeen years of sweating it out in journalism and it all comes down to this: Is the juggle between being constantly "on" for the job and meeting the needs of my family working? Yes, Sarah Palin has become the most recent poster woman for doing and having it all -- five kids and a vice presidential nomination. Yes, much talk has been given to parents finding ways to have both career and family.

In my much smaller family, everyone's been managing thus far. The dull roar of clutter hasn't quite overtaken us. But certain intangibles have been lost. Like last week when I happened upon an impromptu conversation of moms at school about a group of elementary schoolers forming a Junior Lego Club. Or finding time to exercise without feeling like something else important isn't getting done. Or teaching my elementary schooler good homework habits after school.

Thankfully, I'm able to cut my hours and telecommute --- at least for now. And it's good to hear from authors such as Emma Gilbey Keller that women can off-ramp and jump back into the fray when they're ready. Keller, who appeared this week on ABC News, interviewed former stay-at-home moms about how they on-ramped their careers. She published seven women's stories in "The Comeback."

"None of us lead planned lives," Keller told ABC. "The book is full of women who seized opportunities when they came their way." Those opportunities come from simply talking with friends, she said.

Two moms who are in the book and appeared with Keller concurred. "You have many more skills than you're aware of," said Judith Feder. "Part of you just didn't die. It just got put on the shelf for awhile."

"It's good to plunge if you want to get back there. And be flexible," said photographer Ellen Warner, another mom profiled in Keller's book.

What kinds of work-life tradeoffs do you find yourself making? What does your ideal work/parenting world look like?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  September 15, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
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Comments


Stacey, I'm having a hard time getting the point of your topic. Did the WashPo ask you to bring in your box? What does this have to do with Sarah Palin, or is she just someone you threw out there for hits? Are you promoting a mommy book other than our hero, Leslie?

Atta girl on deleting the first few comments this morning! Keep it up!

Posted by: OnBalance? | September 15, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I struggle with the balance too. (I kind of miss On Balance in fact:)).

After my (Canadian) year of maternity leave I negotiated a part-time schedule with my work, working from home, which was supposedly the ideal situation. It was for a while, but I started to feel like I wasn't doing a good job at either parenting or working (my mind always being on what I wasn't getting done), and I wasn't progressing in my career. When a dream job came up I took the plunge back to full time work and I love the job part of my life.

While my son's preschool aged it seems pretty simple: he goes to daycare for the minimum number of hours my husband and I can manage by swinging our work hours a bit, and is really well cared for there. When he's not, we're home together doing our family thing.

But as he comes into school-aged and will have totally different needs - sports and other activities, friends to go hang out with, and in some ways more difficult problems I'm guessing. I'm not sure what our solution will be at that point, but I'm trying to plump up our savings so we have some options.

Posted by: Shandra | September 15, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the issues you raised and struggle regularly with the same questions myself trying to balance life with two preschoolers. All of my work choices since having my kids are made to allow me the most time and flexibility for home life. That said, I am the primary breadwinner and have the most secure job, so a real issue and challenge for me is accepting that I don't have the ability, and maybe never will, to stay home for any extended period of time (other than maternity leave) with my kids. We may make a choice for my husband to stay home, which would be great and better for us than extended care, but I will really miss that opportunity and would love to hear how other women have come terms with that.

Posted by: Fedlawyer | September 15, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I think you have to be willing and able to recognize when things aren't working, not just for you but for your family. And also be willing and able to implement change, in whatever form you can manage/tolerate. Whether that means cutting back on your hours (or your partner cutting back), your activities, your kids' activities, etc. And definitely lowering your expectations helps! I personally try to avoid people who are negative (though I'm drawn to this blog like a train wreck some days) or "crazymakers". I find inspiration in women who are happy and satisfied with their lives -- whether they're stay-at-home moms, working moms, single women -- people who've decided to be happy with their situation.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 15, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

That said, I am the primary breadwinner and have the most secure job, so a real issue and challenge for me is accepting that I don't have the ability, and maybe never will, to stay home for any extended period of time (other than maternity leave) with my kids. We may make a choice for my husband to stay home, which would be great and better for us than extended care, but I will really miss that opportunity and would love to hear how other women have come terms with that.

Posted by: Fedlawyer | September 15, 2008 8:45 AM

I come to terms with it by considering the life I would have had if I had married the more career-oriented men I could have married. I married a man who loves me dearly. His skills and interests are more creative and less lucrative. He isn't really great at playing the politics of large corporations. Like you, my career stability and opportunities provide 80% of our income and resources. Like you, I also will never have the option of backing off or cutting back. This is the tradeoff I made for marrying a man who helps me stay true to my soul, smell the roses, is an awesome parent, and whose priorities are not about competing with the Joneses. When I think of the alternative, what I've given up -- a flexible work schedule - is ever so small compared to what I have chosen.

Posted by: Kellie | September 15, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

My situation is a bit different because I really want to work. However, I don't really have the option to work in my field PT, but my husband does in his. He will be staying home PT when our second is born. I think it's great. He has the ability to focus on fun with kids that I just don't have. I don't have many expectations that much will get done around the house, but I know the kids will be out and about having a great time with Daddy. How many kids get that? On the flip side, I also really love what daycare has to offer. I would work PT even if every penny of what I was earning went to daycare, just to get my kids that exposure and to get me the adult time. As long as you make the time with your kids quality time, you'll more than make up for less quantity. And try to find a little couple time in there as well. Chores are at the bottom of the list!

------------------------------
That said, I am the primary breadwinner and have the most secure job, so a real issue and challenge for me is accepting that I don't have the ability, and maybe never will, to stay home for any extended period of time (other than maternity leave) with my kids. We may make a choice for my husband to stay home, which would be great and better for us than extended care, but I will really miss that opportunity and would love to hear how other women have come terms with that.

Posted by: Fedlawyer | September 15, 2008 8:45 AM

Posted by: atb | September 15, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

You like wearing the pants in the family huh?

(pw)

Posted by: to Kellie | September 15, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Great post WorkingMomX!

I found that the best balance is 1) never permanent; and, 2) usually achieved when I admit something isn't working.

Also I've discovered that as long as I'm happy, DH's happy and my children are happy, it really doesn't matter what other are doing. I've been everything from a full-time WOHM to a full-time SAHM, depending on my and my family's needs. What is really great is that my husband and children have also supported these decisions - we are, after all, in this together.

Posted by: slacker mom | September 15, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

fedlawyer, even though I make way more $ than my husband, I decided I wanted to try the stay at home mom thing and did it for 2 years. WE used money I had saved up to do it.

I don't want to say I regret it, but economically it was foolish-- that was over $200k of income that I could have earned, but didn't. For my second i went right back to work after 6 weeks (and would have gone the Palin route of bringing the baby into work even earlier if that had been an option) and I have absolutely no regrets. If anything, she seems happier than my son was because she loves her friends and her daycare routine so much. I don't have the time to work out like I used to, but otherwise being a working parent has been a pleasure compared to staying at home (going to the bathroom without someone following you in-- yay!)

So, been there, done that-- think of what advantage my son would have in college funds, etc. if I had earned that $200k rather than stayed home with him? Ask him in 15 years whether I made the right choice and I imagine he'll say "no!" Oh well-- it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Live and learn.

Posted by: capitol hill mom | September 15, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

You like wearing the pants in the family huh?

(pw)

Posted by: to Kellie | September 15, 2008 9:23 AM

Don't you have some stale Cheetos to finish before your mom comes home?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The question isn't whether Kelly likes wearing the pants in the family, heck, women have been wearing pants as long as I can remember.

The question is if her husband likes wearing the panties!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 15, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Don't you have some stale Cheetos to finish before your mom comes home?

Nope, no Cheetos, Cheerios with fresh fruit and milk which I had before work. I like to let my spouse sleep when I can. Mom is long gone.

Posted by: to Kellie | September 15, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I come to terms with it by considering the life I would have had if I had married the more career-oriented women I could have married. I married a woman who loves me dearly. Her skills and interests are more creative and less lucrative. She isn't really great at playing the politics of large corporations. Like you, my career stability and opportunities provide 80% of our income and resources. Like you, I also will never have the option of backing off or cutting back. This is the tradeoff I made for marrying a woman who helps me stay true to my soul, smell the roses, is an awesome parent, and whose priorities are not about competing with the Joneses. When I think of the alternative, what I've given up -- a flexible work schedule - is ever so small compared to what I have chosen.

Posted by: Another View | September 15, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the input on being the primary breadwinner. It's something I wish were addressed more often in all of the discussions about working v. staying at home.

Another View, I don't really see it as mattering whether it's the mother or the father that "has" to work full-time (often it's both, of course). You're making the point, I suppose, that men reguarly have to come to terms with not being home with the kids. Yes, but that doesn't make it easier for me, and maybe for some other women who always thought it would be an option. This will change in a couple more generations maybe, but right now, as a broad generalization of what I see, more women than men expect or want to stay home, while more men are comfortable working full-time.

Posted by: Fedlawyer | September 15, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I come to terms with it by having married an extremely wealthy man. It is so much easier this way. The hardest thing I do all day is pick a menu for dinner and make sure the wine will complement the meal.

Posted by: Yet another view | September 15, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"You have many more skills than you're aware of," said Judith Feder. "Part of you just didn't die. It just got put on the shelf for awhile."

I would never hire a SAHM over a mother who has been working. I just wouldn't do it. The problem is that they think they should just get to jump right in where they left off when in reality, they have lost lots of skills. Being PTA president doesn't cut it either. I am not being mean, just honest.

Posted by: Anon for this one. | September 15, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I come to terms with it by having married an extremely wealthy man. It is so much easier this way. The hardest thing I do all day is pick a menu for dinner and make sure the wine will complement the meal
============================================

Are you the one who is making life hell for the summer au pair?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Who says it's working for Palin?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

No, we don't have an au pair. We have a nanny and tutors. Please. Au pairs are so bourgeois.

Posted by: to Anonymous | September 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"You have many more skills than you're aware of," said Judith Feder. "Part of you just didn't die. It just got put on the shelf for awhile."

Who signs off on your Performance Evaluations when you are are SAH?

Posted by: Curious | September 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Fedlawyer that is the point I am making. Men also have to come to terms about children.

But I can't understand why anyone today would not understand the concept that he or she needs to be self supporting totally. With the concept of feminism and the fact that over 50% of college graduates are now female no one, man or woman, should assume that another would be willing or interesting in giving lifetime support to another.

Posted by: Another View | September 15, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

But I can't understand why anyone today would not understand the concept that he or she needs to be self supporting totally. With the concept of feminism and the fact that over 50% of college graduates are now female no one, man or woman, should assume that another would be willing or interesting in giving lifetime support to another.

Posted by: Another View | September 15, 2008 10:50 AM

Most Americans have grown up with provider fathers and live-in servant mothers. It is a very difficult cultural cycle to break. Diapers, anyone?

Posted by: Because | September 15, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Stacey - I get it. I've just gone to a reduced schedule at work (temporary, unpaid, FMLA-based) so that I can teach my foster high-schooler good homework habits after school. I am the primary breadwinner AND the family gets benefits thru my employer, but my husband and I felt that we had such a short window to get this child engaged in academics (and you don't get a "do over" of a high school year), the short term financial hit is worth this child's future academic success. On a lighter note, maybe I'll finally catch up on laundry?

Posted by: Just another mom | September 15, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Most Americans have grown up with provider fathers and live-in servant mothers. It is a very difficult cultural cycle to break. Diapers, anyone?
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Time to learn the whole meaning of equality! Women can now enjoy 50 years of soul sucking employment outside the house.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I've just gone to a reduced schedule at work (temporary, unpaid, FMLA-based) so that I can teach my foster high-schooler good homework habits after school. I am the primary breadwinner AND the family gets benefits thru my employer, but my husband and I felt that we had such a short window to get this child engaged in academics (and you don't get a "do over" of a high school year), the short term financial hit is worth this child's future academic success. On a lighter note, maybe I'll finally catch up on laundry?

Posted by: Just another mom | September 15, 2008 11:19 AM

Why can't your husband teach the foster high-schooler good homework habits after school?

Posted by: ? | September 15, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

why can't hubby step up and find decent employment?

Posted by: ??? | September 15, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

why can't hubby step up and find decent employment?

Posted by: ??? | September 15, 2008 11:29 AM

Crappy degrees from crappy state schools ...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm the primary breadwinner and my husband stays home with our two preschoolers. Yeah, we hear the comments (especially from my mom) about why doesn't HE get a job, you wear the pants, etc. Whatever, it's our family and we're doing the best that we can for it. My husband can work part-time as a grahpic designer and I work from home three days a week so we get lots of family time.

It really was hard to come to terms with my husband being the primary caregiver though. I think my lowest point was when he told me how our then 4 month liked to be played with. But both our boys are still extremely mama-centric so it ends up that my husband feels slighted by them!

Posted by: Another | September 15, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I have tried half a dozen different schedules and setups over the last 15 years. The one common thread that has allowed us to be reasonably successful parents is to live cheaply. We bought a cheap house, drive much less than average, keep the frills to the minimum. It takes an enormous amount of worry off of our plates to know that we can afford to have one of us work part time or not at all. He's a chef, and sometimes that line of work can be, shall we say, inconsistent. It's a little bit of a bummer that we don't have the cool toys that our friends have, but it works really, really well for us that we've stayed in a house that we can afford on one income.
It sounds silly, but having savings makes it possible to be flexible at home and bold at work.

Posted by: mom of 2 | September 15, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I like to let my spouse sleep when I can.

Posted by: to Kellie | September 15, 2008 9:54 AM

What a peach you are to permit her to sleep. Would you like applause for your generosity?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"But I can't understand why anyone today would not understand the concept that he or she needs to be self supporting totally. With the concept of feminism and the fact that over 50% of college graduates are now female no one, man or woman, should assume that another would be willing or interesting in giving lifetime support to another."

I don't completely agree with this. Marriage is a partnership, and the two partners work together to do what is best for the family as a whole. Sometimes that means one of them stops working to stay home with kids for a while. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as the two agree.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Most Americans have grown up with provider fathers and live-in servant mothers. It is a very difficult cultural cycle to break. Diapers, anyone?

Posted by: Because | September 15, 2008 11:15 AM "

That may have been the culture in the affluent neighborhood where you grew up, but it certainly didn't apply in my neck of the woods. My mother worked almost the entire time I was growing up, and the vast majority of the other mothers also worked. It was a matter of economic necessity.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Are you seriously making fun of a family who has done what most of us never will do, which is to provide a home to a teenager--a TEENAGER--who is in foster care? This is a family who cares enough to take a financial hit in order to teach that teenager good homework habits, mind you. Is it that hard to say "wow, that's incredible and best of luck to your family"?

Posted by: To 11:29/31/36 | September 15, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

My mother worked almost the entire time I was growing up, and the vast majority of the other mothers also worked. It was a matter of economic necessity.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:14 PM

Who did the housework in your house?

Posted by: ? | September 15, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Stacey: here's an amusing piece you might find of interest that delves into another aspect of parents trying to find the right balance. See Writing Frontier's "Child's Play" at http://writingfrontier.com/2008/09/08/childs-play/

Enjoy.

Posted by: Writing Frontier | September 15, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

My mother worked almost the entire time I was growing up, and the vast majority of the other mothers also worked. It was a matter of economic necessity.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:14 PM

Who did the housework in your house?

Posted by: ? | September 15, 2008 12:18 PM

I'm not the original poster, but I can answer this one for our home: Everybody. Especially us kids.
My own kids do a fair amount of housework, now. Even some of the cooking.

Posted by: Mom of 2 | September 15, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

My mother worked almost the entire time I was growing up, and the vast majority of the other mothers also worked. It was a matter of economic necessity.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:14 PM

Who did the housework in your house?

Posted by: ? | September 15, 2008 12:18 PM

There's not much housework to do in a trailer!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

There's not much housework to do in a trailer!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 12:31 PM

Bull. Less storage means constant struggle against clutter.
Poor window and door seals means more dirt.
No vestibule area means more tracking in crud.

Posted by: ftlop | September 15, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Mom of 2, that is great advice. We've done the same in many ways - especially by not getting into a big mortgage.

Posted by: Shandra | September 15, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"Who did the housework in your house?

Posted by: ? | September 15, 2008 12:18 PM "

Mom of 2 answered this: everybody, and especially us kids.

"trailer"? Did you say "trailer"? Try "Government-issued NCO quarters on every military post from here to West Germany." A "trailer" would have constituted luxury, bub.

(Okay, "every" post is an exaggeration, but there were a bunch of them. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat

Your father did housework?

Posted by: Wow! | September 15, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat

Your father did housework?

Posted by: Wow! | September 15, 2008 12:39 PM

Yours didn't? How'd he get away with that?

Posted by: mom of 2 says "wow" right back | September 15, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

seriously -- for my dad, half the joy of retirement is not having to iron quite so much now that he doesn't wear dress shirts every day.
Is this really that unusual?

Posted by: mom of 2 doesn't want to come off as a snark .... | September 15, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

mom of 2 is channeling my family - yes, when he was home my father did housework. Of course, when he was in Vietnam, or in Korea, or out in the field on maneuvers he got out of housework, but I'm not sure he considered that a "win".

The man could mop, sweep, spit-shine boots and make a bed with the best of them. He could also kick the butt of anyone who couldn't do those things.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The man could mop, sweep, spit-shine boots and make a bed with the best of them. He could also kick the butt of anyone who couldn't do those things.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:49 PM

Pathetic. Really pathetic....

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Pathetic. Really pathetic....

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 12:52 PM

What's pathetic about a man pulling his weight?

Posted by: seriously? | September 15, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse


ArmyBrat

Your father did housework?

Posted by: Wow! | September 15, 2008 12:39 PM

Yours didn't? How'd he get away with that?

Posted by: mom of 2 says "wow" right back | September 15, 2008 12:45 PM

He was born in 1921.....

Posted by: Wow! | September 15, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

My widowed granddad was born in 1908. He kept house for his 3 kids solo for 20 years before he remarried.
He was a terrific cook, but his basement was pretty cluttered.
There's nothing remotely new about family that doesn't fit a Norman Rockwell template.

Posted by: ftlop | September 15, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Army Brat, I'm more impressed that your mom was able to find lucrative, gainful employment every time you moved! I'm an Army wife with quite a few credentials and I haven't been nearly that lucky -- teaching jobs at schools tend to be handed out in terms of whose husband is most senior, and occasionally who's really going to crack if someone doesn't create a job for her (the great sheltered workshop); most other jobs seem to consist of bagging groceries in the commissary (particularly overseas) or working in the daycare center.

Was your mother a doctor? a Nobel Prize winning scientist? How the heck did she manage to jump the queue and grab a great job every time you moved? I know of NO ONE who's been that lucky -- especially overseas.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't completely agree with this. Marriage is a partnership,

AB, reread what I said. I did not say that an agreement could and would not be reached by those in a marriage.

What I said is that no one should assume a lifetime of being taken care of is out there waiting on anyone anymore. No more "Mrs. degrees" are being granted.

Posted by: Another View | September 15, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't ArmyBrat's mom a teacher?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 15, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't ArmyBrat's mom a teacher?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 15, 2008 1:48 PM

Yes, and so was Laura Bush & Lynne Spears...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't ArmyBrat's mom a teacher?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 15, 2008 1:48 PM

Yes, and so was Laura Bush & Lynne Spears...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 1:53 PM


Not sure what your point is. Mine was that school teachers often have an easier time finding jobs.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 15, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

anonymous @ 1:17 - yes, my mother was a teacher (retired a few years ago). She was certified to teach both English and Latin. She preferred high school but would teach wherever there was an opening - middle school, even higher elementary grades.

As far as how she got jobs pretty much everywhere we went, it was usually a matter of starting out as a sub and impressing the staff to the point that they hired her to fill the next vacancy. That's what happened in Germany.

Other places, the ability to teach Latin got her jobs in schools "on the economy." (Always in public schools - you'd be surprised at the school districts that would like to offer a Latin class but can't find anybody qualified to teach it.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

anonymous @ 1:17 - yes, my mother was a teacher (retired a few years ago). She was certified to teach both English and Latin. She preferred high school but would teach wherever there was an opening - middle school, even higher elementary grades.

As far as how she got jobs pretty much everywhere we went, it was usually a matter of starting out as a sub and impressing the staff to the point that they hired her to fill the next vacancy. That's what happened in Germany.

Other places, the ability to teach Latin got her jobs in schools "on the economy." (Always in public schools - you'd be surprised at the school districts that would like to offer a Latin class but can't find anybody qualified to teach it.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 1:59 PM

Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

Posted by: Ahem | September 15, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

MONITOR THIS BLOG OR CUT IT OFF.

MONITOR THIS BLOG OR CUT IT OFF.

MONITOR THIS BLOG OR CUT IT OFF.

MONITOR THIS BLOG OR CUT IT OFF.

MONITOR THIS BLOG OR CUT IT OFF.

If the Washington Post wants to maintain its reputation as a professional news organization, monitoring its blogs and removing extended cut and paste action, personal insults and cross-postings, and gratuitous references to anal sex are a start.

WaPO's qualification for protection under each of the DMCA and CDA Safe Harbor mechanisms aren't threatened by removing posts that don't satisfy your own rules governing commentaries and discussions.

Posted by: to Stacey | September 13, 2008 12:42 PM

Will working from home give Stacey more time to monitor this blog?

Posted by: READ YOUR OWN BLOG | September 15, 2008 9:48 AM

This was deleted from this blog this morning, but the gratuitous insults targeting atlmom and ArmyBrat remain. Interesting moral compass.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat:

Accipere quam facere praestat injuriam.

(Bet your mom would approve.)

Ignore the haters.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 15, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The man could mop, sweep, spit-shine boots and make a bed with the best of them.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:49 PM

You are talking about a MAN, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"This was deleted from this blog this morning, but the gratuitous insults targeting atlmom and ArmyBrat remain. Interesting moral compass.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:16 PM"

Umm, the stuff today (except maybe one) has been pretty mild. I don't mind some amount of insults and snarking in a productive discussion. I *AM* long-winded and pompous on occasion - a little deflation every now and then is a useful thing. :-)

The stuff at the end of last week was definitely way, way over the top, though.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Umm, the stuff today (except maybe one) has been pretty mild. I don't mind some amount of insults and snarking in a productive discussion. I *AM* long-winded and pompous on occasion - a little deflation every now and then is a useful thing. :-)

The stuff at the end of last week was definitely way, way over the top, though.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 2:23 PM

Captivating. Simply captivating.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"You are talking about a MAN, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:23 PM "

Yes - specifically, the highly-decorated First Sergeant who wasn't afraid to take off his stripes and knock some sense into some knucklehead.

If you don't understand that a MAN can do housework/chores around the barracks, then I'm afraid you don't understand much about being a man.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Has Anonymous ever had an original thought or can he/she/it only regurgitate what it reads?

Posted by: Me | September 15, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Has Anonymous ever had an original thought or can he/she/it only regurgitate what it reads?

Posted by: Me | September 15, 2008 2:32 PM

Have you?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid you don't understand much about being a man.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 2:32 PM

Interesting coming from a pillow biter like you, who likes to get serviced and have "tune ups."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

No question, ArmyBrat is the "Otto Preminger" of the OP.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous makes my point - thank you.

Posted by: Me | September 15, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous makes my point - thank you.

Posted by: Me | September 15, 2008 2:53 PM

How is Perry?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

No question, ArmyBrat is the "Otto Preminger" of the OP.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:51 PM

I thought he was the Rock Hudson of the OP? Or maybe Clay Aiken? Or how about Nathan Lane?

Posted by: AB supporter | September 15, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The man could mop, sweep, spit-shine boots and make a bed with the best of them.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 15, 2008 12:49 PM

You are talking about a MAN, right?
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Yes, Anonymous at 2:23 p.m., a man. Apparently you grew up after the Draft ended. Those 8 weeks of Basic Training were not totally consumed with marching and other outdoor activities. The trainees had to mop floors, clean toilets, make a bunk so tight that a quarter could be bounced off of it by the commanding officer, peel potatoes, wash pots and pans....well, you get the idea. Those activities were not optional--they were required.

Today's boys don't learn such things unless their parents require them to learn them. I'm not crazy about the Draft, but I think 8 weeks of Basic Training would do a lot of boys (and girls) a lot of good.

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not crazy about the Draft, but I think 8 weeks of Basic Training would do a lot of boys (and girls) a lot of good.

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 3:03 PM

I know a LOT of men and a couple of women who have completed Basic Training. They all do as little housework as possible. Nice theory, but no stats support it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

No stats to support it is fine--at least they know HOW to do such things. If they decide to live in slovenly splendor, that's their choice.

In my opinion, while slovenly living is certainly easy to attain, it is a rather unsatisfactory life style for more than a few days at most--while on vacation, for example. For me, it's a matter of personal comfort to have things clean and neat--but not obsessively so. Anyone who can't manage to mop a floor, clean a toilet, or wipe down a counter top is a slacker and a drag on the family.

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

No stats to support it is fine--at least they know HOW to do such things. If they decide to live in slovenly splendor, that's their choice.

In my opinion, while slovenly living is certainly easy to attain, it is a rather unsatisfactory life style for more than a few days at most--while on vacation, for example. For me, it's a matter of personal comfort to have things clean and neat--but not obsessively so. Anyone who can't manage to mop a floor, clean a toilet, or wipe down a counter top is a slacker and a drag on the family.

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 3:23 PM

Is "Lynne" the ever-famous wife of Dick Cheney? The war-mongerer? Dick Cheney, the man who manipulated his way out of serving his country during Vietnam, but has no problem sending thousands of our kids to Iraq to get killed so that Halliburton continues to make billions of dollars?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Interesting coming from a pillow biter like you, who likes to get serviced and have "tune ups."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 2:47 PM

Anon, In Merriam-Webster's, your photo is right next to the term, "tool."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Is "Lynne" the ever-famous wife of Dick Cheney? The war-mongerer? Dick Cheney, the man who manipulated his way out of serving his country during Vietnam, but has no problem sending thousands of our kids to Iraq to get killed so that Halliburton continues to make billions of dollars?

-------------------------------------

Nope. We just spell our names the same way. No relationship at all.

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, everyone learns housekeeping skills in the military. DH and I met in the Air Force, and we're both competent cleaners - but neither of us enjoys it, so we both do the minimum to keep the health department from condemning the house.

He's by far the better child-care giver. He worked for several years in a residential treatment center for severely emotionally disturbed adolescents. After that, our kids aren't that tough - for him.

I'm so much happier leaving for work while older son is starting his morning shower and DH and younger son are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes. I'm in my office cubicle about the same time DH is loading the boys in the car for the trip to school.

By the time I get home in the evening, the homework is finished, both kids are done with their music practice (okay, I would enjoy hearing them playing, so I do miss that) and DH has something delicious cooking for dinner.

We're coming up on 17 years of this arrangement, and it's good for us. DH hated the six years he spent in a cubicle farm, and was very good at the office politics, but mostly didn't care enough to bother with playing those games.

I'm very much like my mother, but because I didn't follow her life example and instead found my own way, I've never abused my children or let them be abused, and I've stayed on the outside of the locked hospital wards with the padded walls.

Do whatever works.

Ignore anyone who criticizes what's working.

If it makes the anonymous trolls feel good to make comments about sexist gender roles - whatever...

Posted by: Sue | September 15, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Nope. We just spell our names the same way. No relationship at all.

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 3:43 PM

You sure sound like her. full of hate, underlying racist attitudes, and intolerant.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Sue, you are right on the money. I agree with your point of view regarding doing what works for you, how to deal with those who criticize, and those pitiful trolls. They need to get out of the basement occasionally. :)

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

full of hate, underlying racist attitudes, and intolerant.

-----------------------------------------

How you extrapolated those things from what I've said today is beyond comprehension. What are you smoking?

Posted by: Lynne | September 15, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Is "Lynne" the ever-famous wife of Dick Cheney? The war-mongerer? Dick Cheney, the man who manipulated his way out of serving his country during Vietnam, but has no problem sending thousands of our kids to Iraq to get killed so that Halliburton continues to make billions of dollars?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2008 3:32 PM


And with that, this blog has officially jumped the shark. Yes, I'm so sure that Lynne Cheney is posting on "On Parenting".

Posted by: wtf | September 15, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

They need to get out of the basement occasionally. :)

No, please leave them in their basements, turn off their electricity and computer hookups, lock all the doors and windows, and throw away the keys.

Posted by: OP regular | September 15, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

turn off their electricity and computer hookups, lock all the doors and windows, and throw away the keys.

Posted by: OP regular | September 15, 2008 8:43 PM

Can we toss a couple of bug-bombs into the basement first? Please?

Posted by: Another regular | September 17, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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