Camping! Dos and Don’ts

I have to admit, I was not totally looking  forward to this camping trip last week. I booked it and was SUPER excited until the week before. Then I made a packing list and was like, oh sh*t.

Because this is what I came up with:

Sleeping Eating Clothing Sitting Other Maggie
Tents/ Mallet Snacks 3 outfits 4 chairs First aid kit Bowls
Sleeping bags Meals (see food list) Rain jackets Old blankets Wipes Toys
Lamp Plates Diapers Sunscreen Crate
Tarps Cups/ water bottles Watershoes/sneakers/ keens Bug spray Towels
Pillows Silverware Suits TP Food
Flashlights Small table Beach towels toiletries Bones
Animals Baggies  Life jackets  toys  tether
Book Trash bags  Fire starter
Paper towels  Lighter

Packed into:

  • Little boy nighttime backpacks
  • Clothing Bag
  • Cooler
  • Food Bag
  • Supply Bag
  • Maggie Bag


And boy, was Saturday morning interesting getting all this stuff into the car.

But I’ll tell you what–once we pulled out of the driveway, we had an AMAZING weekend. We are in love with the NC mountains are are already planning our next trip.

So, what did we learn from this trip?


Find a campground well in advance. I booked 6 weeks in advance and it was totally booked almost everywhere. We ended up at Ash Grove and it was lovely, but wish I had started sooner.

Make a packing list. Only way to avoid forgetting things–because you have to take ALL THE THINGS. And do as much pre-work as possible (chopping, dividing, organizing). It was tough up front, but easy when we got there.

Plan SIMPLE meals. We ate hot dogs, fruit salad, and chips for dinner and cereal for breakfast. And of course, S’mores. This made things so easy.

Do lots of leisurely nature walks. The boys were simply enthralled by the woods. It was a joy to experience with them.

Make a camping bin. We will do this next time–a plastic bin that has all the camping supplies in it that we can just grab and go.


Schedule too tightly. I over scheduled us on the first day and I hate being late–so I ended up stressed. It takes longer to drive places in the mountains, enjoy the moment and the scenery.

Be too strict about bedtime. I’m normally a bedtime stickler, but the boys had a blast playing in the tent together and eventually fell asleep around 10pm. And with us in the tents and not getting dark until 9pm, the normal schedule just isn’t going to happen.

(don’t) Think about being murdered. I got spooked in the middle of the night and was ready to kill someone with a maglite. Don’t be me.

Forget toiletries. See number 2 in the “Dos.” Whoops.

I am still surprised how much I loved it. And Maggie did great–we are looking forward to the day when she doesn’t have to be crated–that will make a lot of space in the car!

Any camping tips for us for next time?



Day in the Life

My life on a normal Wednesday. Here we go!

6:15am: Wake up on my own. Alarm not needed. I wish it was–I can never sleep much past 6:30am. If the dog isn’t up yet, I look at Instagram/fb for a bit until she starts whining. Clay lets her out today so I can lay around a bit longer, which is very sweet. I get dressed and brush my teeth groggily.

6:30am: Take Maggie for a walk. Very excited to see that Clay has already pushed out the trash can for trash day.

While on the walk I listen to a podcast. Today, I listen to the rest of a This American Life and start a new Moth. Other podcasts I love are WDW Prep School, Radiolab, Limetown (waiting for the second season!!) and Simplify Everything.

7:10am: Clay is ready and itching to go to work when I get back. He filled Maggie’s bowl and she starts eating. The boys are in bed watching Disney Junior on my iPad. I do a 4  minute crazy workout that makes me feel like I want to die.

7:20am: I head up to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher and put George’s snack/water from the fridge into his already packed camp bag. Clay has already made his coffee, so I put his lunch out (leftovers I packed last night). He informs me that he has a work lunch today and I put it away with a fake huff. 🙂 I kiss him goodbye and he is out the door.

7:30am: Time to tidy. I walk through every room in the house and make sure that everything is put away. This gets done before bed as well, so its generally quick little things. I turn on lights, put ice cubes in my orchids (since its Wednesday) and make the boys beds. Today is not a laundry day, but if it was, I would put in a load.

7:40am: The boys are still watching TV, so I head into my office to get prepped for the day. I get myself some water, take a vitamin, and floss while I look at my email, check YNAB, read the Skimm, and add anything needed to my planner and to-do list that I wrote yesterday before ending my work day. I use this time to shower every other day, but today is an off day.

While doing all that, I also save a caterpillar George finds in the bathroom and chase Maggie down since she has pulled toilet paper all over the bedroom. Puppies, right?

8am: The nanny arrives and whisks the boys upstairs to get ready for their day. I make our bed and get to work.

8:35am: The crew is leaving to take George to camp so I go up and say goodbye, and make my protein shake for breakfast after they leave. I love my vitamix! Maggie settles down for a nap in my office.

10am: After lots of emails and crossing a few things off my to-do list, I break to take Maggie outside. I have meetings from 10:30am-1pm, so need to make sure I’m ready to sit for awhile. I go to the bathroom, refill my water, and stretch a bit.

I check my Wunderlist app for other household to-dos. I order a birthday present for a party this weekend and new sun hats for the boys from Amazon.

1pm: My morning meetings are FINALLY over and I am starving. I heat up some leftovers and have a tiiiiny piece of homemade tres leches cake. Maggie needs her lunch, too. She is a growing girl and eating a ton lately! She also gets a potty break.

I have another block of meetings coming up, so I walk around and tidy up a bit, load the dishwasher, and check the mail. No dice. When I sit back down I call Firehouse Subs to confirm that they are doing kids eat free on Wednesdays, like the internet says.  Victory! We will go there for dinner tonight. George has been asking to go there since he saw it from the road and found out the name.

3pm: Afternoon meetings over. I check the mail again. Its arrived, but its boring. Sigh. There are two boxes, but they are just 2 out of my 8 June subscribe and save items. I love how much money I save using subscribe and save, but its still hard to get excited about miralax and swim diapers. Ha.

4pm: Work day is done. The last thing I do is write my to-do list for tomorrow and update my planner. The boys are having a snack and watching a show upstairs. So begins the hardest/most fun part of my day!

4:30pm: I tidy again, take Maggie outside and get the swimming bag and my kid bag ready to go (since we are going out to dinner after swimming). I take a deep breath and get ready to wrangle the kids into shoes and out the door.

4:40pm: Henry will not get his shorts. He cannot FIND his shorts. Finally, I go up to his room to help him. Shorts on on the floor in front of him. “OH, THERE THEY ARE!” he says.

4:45pm: Maggie in her crate. Boys in the car and off to the pool.

5pm: Get George into his suit and lined up for his swim team picture. It takes FOREVER and is adorable and hilarious to watch the swim coaches handled all those kids. Henry is chillin’ in the pool while all this goes on.

5:30pm: George goes to practice and Henry is still swimming. He makes a little girl friend and shows off for her. He gets out of the pool repeatedly and says: “Mommy, A GIRL!!” and then jumps back in the water.

5:50pm: Adult swim is called and I get Henry out of the water and change him into his clothes. I realize that the kid bag is in the car, so I have no real diapers. I debate what to do with myself for about 5 min before just putting on his shorts. I tell him not to pee.

6:01pm: Henry pees walking to the car.

6:05pm: I make the executive decision to drive right by the house and not get Henry another pair of shorts. I’m too hungry and he is two–meaning no pants required.

6:30pm: We eat subs and the boys watch TV. Clay and I chat about our day and alternate reminding the boys to eat.

7:00pm: On the way out the door, Henry realizes he is not wearing pants.

7:15pm: The boys run outside to play when we get home and Clay and I zone out on our phones for a bit. When we come to at 7:45pm we realize that NO it is in fact NOT bath night like we thought it was. Never was. Nope. TOMORROW is bath night. What a team!

8pm: Stories, songs, and tucked into bed. Clay and I settle in and watch some of The Bachelorette on Hulu.

9pm: I set up for my work meeting with Guam. Realize the meeting is actually tomorrow at 9pm. That international dateline is a B. Clay takes Maggie for a walk. I do one last tidy and run the dishwasher.

9:15pm: Bath (with a lavender bomb), then into bed to play some games on my iPad.

9:58pm: I put on hand lotion, chap stick, and drink some water before lights out.

Good night!

WHEW. If you hung in this long, I’m impressed. Hope you had a good day, too! 🙂






Bravery and Fear

I glance over to the other side of the pool and see George standing in the corner of his lane. He is bouncing up and down and when he catches my eye he smiles and give me a thumbs up. Before I can respond, I feel the ton of bricks that is Henry land on me. He knocks my glasses off and water goes up my nose. He swims up into my arms and shouts “AGAIN” through sputters. I set him on the side of the pool and do an irritated search for my glasses.I am not irritated at Henry. I’m positively fuming at George. Yes, the one that just smiled sweetly at me from across the pool. I turn my attention to Henry and throw my arms out and he jumps into them swimming and kicking his little heart out. Looking over at George, he is still standing there. Not swimming. The source of a surprising amount of annoyance that I’m not sure how to handle.

As a parent, I like to think of myself as pretty chill and “hands off.” This involves a lot of waiting. My method of potty training involves waiting until they tell me they are ready. If they fall down, I wait to see what they do before jumping in with my reaction. When the boys fight, I stay out of it for the most part. I don’t feel the need for them to be “the best” at anything. I hope they find things they love to do.

But to my surprise, this swimming thing is driving me batty. Letting him go at his own pace is incredibly tough. Cause here is the rub. George CAN swim. I’ve seen it at his private swim lessons (that we paid a boatload of money for, by the way). The boy can dive down and get a ring, and even swim unassisted for about half a length.

The fact that he can and won’t was causing serious annoyance, and to be frank, downright anger. At a parenting low point, he asked me for his puddle jumper and I said no. He begged me. I said no again, and in fact, I was going to get rid of it. He cried—real tears. It was a wake-up call.

Why in the world is this bothering me so much?

The water is my natural ally. I swam independently at 2 years old. No one “taught” me really, I was exposed to swimming and had an innate skill. My mom tells a story about me learning to swim when I fell in the pool and she rushed to the side (but note: she did NOT panic or try to pull me out immediately—she waited, giving me space to try) and I swam up to her. Eyes open. And that was that.

So that’s one piece. I don’t get his hesitation. But, he is cautious by nature. He takes his time. And I want him to TRY. Right away. Try and fail. I want to see him struggle. I don’t need him to be GOOD at something, I just want him try it. I value persistence over all other skills. When I stopped to really think about it, I have actually felt this annoyance with him before, but was able to brush it off. Because playing soccer, or going down a slide, or writing his name doesn’t really matter. He will get there. He will learn, get braver, and accomplish all sorts of wonderful things. I make him try, get annoyed when he pushes back, decide to pick my battles and move on. To the point that it’s unconscious.

So back to: Why this? Why can I deal with his timid, deliberate nature (so opposite from mine) in most of areas, but not with swimming?

After spending a lot of time thinking about this, I can tell you in one word: FEAR.

Water is dangerous. Swimming saves lives. Swimming saved MY life. I fell into a river at his age. Only the fact that I could swim saved me from dark water. I feel the urge to push him so hard because I am deathly afraid of him drowning. It’s the leading cause of death in kids his age.

I need him to be brave because I am terrified.

So, as usual, it’s my problem. Not his. Writing this out has helped me see that I need to utilize one of the hardest things for me: patience. I’m going to take some deep breaths and work with him. Let him have his floaty. Let him love the water. Keep teaching him to swim, keep him exposed to water. And keep my eyes on him like a hawk.

Be brave enough to give George space to be George.

Puppy Time

I’m not sure exactly how this happened, but we are getting a puppy on Saturday. Clay has been pushing for a dog for years and I have said a very firm NO. But then, I mentioned I could be ready and now he claims that the dog was MY IDEA.

Well, marriage communication issues aside. Maggie is coming. And like a newborn, puppies need lots of prep.

Maggie and her sisters, she is on the far left

My first step was to find a reputable breeder that we could drive to–I’m not into shipping puppies. We (ME) decided to go with a non-shedding variety because of my aversion to dog hair all over my house. I had a standard poodle previously and looooved that she didn’t shed. I’ve heard great things goldendoodles –great with kids, sweet and easy to train. So, we decided that was a good fit for our family.

I did a TON a research and developed a spread sheet of breeder locations, litter timing, and availability. I spent a lot of time on the phone with breeders asking questions about their practices and eventually found one I really liked that also had a puppy available in our time frame. Let me just say–waiting lists are looong for these dogs everywhere–they are popular. We waited about 2.5 months for Maggie. Most litters fill up before the puppies are born, sometimes even before the dogs “honeymoon!”

In the end, everything lined up with Appalachian Goldendoodles. I’ve been very happy with my choice so far–great communication and lots of pictures!

Maggie at 5 weeks

My next step was to to create another excel sheet of to-dos and get going on them. I located and visited a training facility, groomer (goldendoodles are groomed every 4-8wks), boarding facility, and made a list of things we needed to purchase. I made a vet appointment for her the Monday after she arrives and she will begin puppy preschool the following Saturday at Zoom Room.

Maggie’s got a schedule. 😉

Here is what I purchased for Maggie in advance of her arrival. I got almost everything on Amazon. I set up a shopping list and price monitoring since I had so much lead time.

Crate with divider (don’t mind the child):

The crate is on rollers so that she can sleep in our room at night and hang with me in the office when she needs a break from the boys–and especially while we are house training.

Toys (picked out by the boys):

Leash, collar (girly!!) and tag, brush:

Training items (treat bag, treats, clicker):

Clean up:

Food (bowls, outside water bowl, food storage, food):

We are feeding what the breeder fed, Blue Buffalo puppy lamb and rice.

All ready!

And this bag  for her stuff because I HAD to have it:

I can’t wait to see the boys with her! We have set up some rules, but I imagine those will adjust as we see how they handle her. I feel like we have prepared the best we can, but I really have no idea what to expect. I worked at a vet for a long time and was crazy about my previous dog, but the reality is that I haven’t had a dog myself in about 8 years.

This is what I’m taking when we go pick her up: old sheet, towels, treats, her collar/leash, and a toy.

Wish us luck–and send me tips! 🙂


Weekend Away Prep

The past weekend we left the boys overnight for the first time together. We had left them individually, but they have always had one parent overnight.

That also means Clay and I hadn’t spent a weekend just the two of us in 4.5 years. It was time!!

My mom and step dad (Nana and Pop Pop) came to Charlotte to stay with the boys for the weekend and I wanted to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for them. The boys ADORE them, so I knew they would be fine emotionally, but the more smoothly things run the happier everyone is!

I did three main things to prepare: meal planning, communicating, and writing it all down.

Meal Planning

Food is clearly the most important part of a weekend. 🙂 I wanted to make sure that my parents had food that was yummy for them, but also appealing to the kids to make meal time smooth. I also wanted to have some variety/options and snacks so that weren’t locked into a certain meal if they/the boys weren’t into it.

I wrote down each day and meals for the weekend and filled it in. I came up with:


Cinnamon rolls, eggs, pancakes, cereal


Sandwich fixings, grilled cheese and tomato soup, leftovers


Make your own pizza (lots of adult and kid topping options), taco dinner

They boys also get vitamins, miralax and special milk at meals so made sure I had all of that available and easy to find.


I prepped us, my mom (and Chris by extension), and the boys for our time away. Clay and I got on the same page about our plans and I conveyed them my mom early so that she knew what we were thinking, and weighed in with her schedule. She and I walked through the plans a few time on the phone before the weekend even started (this is easy because my mom and I talk almost every day!).

We also talked on many occasions to the boys well in advance so that they would know what was happening, who would be with them, and when we would be back. There were no surprises for anyone in the weekend.

Writing it All Down

This is the most important thing in my mind. I know my mom well, and much like me (surprise, surprise), she likes schedules and plans.I tried to give as much information as possible while keeping it flexible–I was not trying to control what happened while we were away. I wanted them to have options, not feel boxed in. I totally trust them to take care of the boys.

I wrote everything down for them, including: Schedule, Meals options, Contact/Emergency numbers, and local activities they could do with addresses and directions. I gave numbers for Clay’s mom, our cell, and the Greenbrier. I included phone number and address for the pediatrician, our urgent care and ER. Luckily, they didn’t need it!

I also told them where the first aid kit was–and of course with two little boys, they did need that! Haha.

I put all the papers in a plastic folder with my car and house keys, discovery place membership cards, and health insurance card. We left my car with the car seat installed for ease.
While things went extremely well, we still had some bumps. They car battery died, so they couldn’t go anywhere with the boys–but there is plenty to do around here–so they were okay. Other than that, everyone was happy!

The boys didn’t even care when we left, so we take that as a very good sign that everyone was prepared and happy! I walked my mom through everything when they got to our house, but said that she really liked having everything written down and referred to it frequently. 🙂

And we all had a GREAT time.

And look how well rested we are…

What a fun weekend!

(and thank to mom for all the pictures!!)

Talking to Kids about Work

Inevitably, kids are going to ask, “why do you have to go to work?”

And of course they ask it in the morning while everyone is rushing to get ready and tired and hungry. In these instances, its really tempting to answer, “I HAVE to go to make money to buy your food, house, toys…etc.”

As I heard this coming out of my mouth one morning, I realized that’s not how I want my boys to think about work–and WHY I go to work. Even though I am tired and may not want to go to work that minute, and they clearly want me to play with them instead (and I would love to do that, too!), that’s not the message I want to convey.

Instead, I have started talking to them about how much I love my job.

“Mommy really likes to solve problems with her coworkers–just like when you built that really tall tower the other day with Henry.”

“I have a project due today and the people at work are counting on me! Isn’t it fun to finish something, like when we made pancakes together and then got to eat them?”

“My job is fun! Today I’m going to [insert whatever thing here].”

The boys respond really well to these answers. Kids like to see their parents happy, it creates security. My tone sets their tone. They ask questions about what I do and who I talk to on the phone.

There is nothing wrong with going to work, and while money is great, I also get a ton of fulfillment from my career. Why wouldn’t I want my kids to focus on that? They certainly understand why I would do something I love all day better than the abstract concept of the electric bill.

Doesn’t it make more sense for kids to see us going to do something we love (or at least like) when we aren’t with them?

And don’t forget, they will work one day. I model for them that work is a good thing. It isn’t a four letter word (most of the time!). And as a mom of boys I model that women work and like it, so it doesn’t surprise them later in life, hahaha.

And I want them to see that ideally work is not something they will do just for money of because they HAVE to, but hopefully to make the world, their families and themselves better.

A note on privilege: I have lots and this is written from my experience of life and work. 




Quiet Companions

My friend Denise asked me to look at this cat she had found, Frankie. She was so young, but with one glance I knew she was pregnant. We anxiously waited for the birth–I knew I would take one, because even though I had two cats and a dog already. Who can resist a fresh kitten?

I was there when Bea was born. I helped remove her little sack–and chased Frankie’s doggie roommate away. Six weeks later, I took her home.  She broke her leg a few months later. She was trying to jump onto the counter from the kitchen table to get some ham. The whole head of her femur broke off, but she barely limped. Cats have such a different experience of pain. An FHO surgery later, it was like it never happened. She stayed in her crate with that bitter apple stuff on her leg for a few weeks, but never complained. Was back to normal in no time.

I almost didn’t keep her. When in a break up, the pets were divided, the plan wasn’t originally for me to take her. But, things changed, and in the end I had Bea and Alcy. My tortie pair.

And soon, they will both be gone.

My entire adult life, these cats have been with me. I got them when I was 20 and 21 and in a totally different place in my life. So much has changed since then, but they were my constant.

She started drooling a few weeks ago. I thought it was her teeth. She has terrible teeth. I joked with the vet that we should just remove them all, but as we were talking about a dental, he found the mass on her tongue.

He looked at me with sad eyes and I couldn’t breathe. He gave me some other possible explanations, but I knew by his tone. She had a dental and a biopsy the next day. Yesterday, he called to tell me what I already knew. She only has a few weeks left.

Clay has a soft spot for her. He looks at her now and sighs, says, “My girl” while rubbing her butt like she likes. The boys say everyday that they will miss her. These little mentions of the importance of Bea in our home break my heart into tiny pieces.

She is already declining. Not sitting with me as much and the drooling is excessive. She has a lot of trouble eating. Soon, the hard decision will come, but we will know when its time. I will hold her and say goodbye, just like I did with Alcy a year and a half ago.  Its amazing how much these cats crawl into out hearts. They are such quiet companions. I hate to admit it, but I took her for granted. Her purr, her comfort, petting her absentmindedly. Bea sat with me everyday in my office. My kitty coworker.

I will miss her so much.



Straightening Up the Off Kilter

The last few weeks have been tough–and work-life balance has felt quite elusive. I’ve been working a ton and getting up early/staying up late to get stuff done. Henry had surgery which was super scary for mama. Not getting down time make things feel even more overwhelming.

I’ve been turning things in late, on work calls with kids screaming in the background and relied on take out more often than usual. Sent emails to the WRONG person. The house was messier and the kids got less time with me. I tossed and turned worrying about Henry, so was cranky and tired during the day. BUT, while I’ve done a TON of complaining these past few weeks I also need to focus on the good stuff that took the pressure off and made me feel like I could keep going. Its amazing how far a little encouragement can go.

  • Clay watching the finale of the Bachelor with me and totally putting up with me swooning over Ben.
  • A great review and nice comments from my supervisor.
  • My MIL coming over to play with the boys when my work day ran over.
  • Compliments from a colleague I haven’t worked with before–and on a new type of work for me.
  • Henry taking my face in his hands and saying he loves me SO MUCH!
  • My mom listening to me ramble on about everything and nothing.
  • George bringing me a High Five magazine and asking if we can make the project together.
  • A surprise birthday gift from my dad on the front step (helloooo instant pot!)
  • I had SO MANY emails, texts and calls with sweet messages about Henry. Even though I was alone at the hospital (by choice) I felt the presence of our whole community. It really made a difference.

Luckily, things seem to be turning back around, with tasks easing up a bit at work and the surgery behind us. I’m traveling for the next two weeks (San Francisco and Columbia, SC), and then hopefully things will return to a normal pace.  But in the meantime, I’ll keep thinking about the good things. Like these two.

Also, its my birthday this weekend, so can’t complain too much! 🙂

I can’t have it all and it doesn’t suck

Let’s talk privilege for a hot second: I am privileged as hell and this post makes that pretty clear. 

I’ve seen an article floating around Facebook the last couple of days entitled, “having it all kinda sucks.”

And to be honest, it got my heckles up every time I saw it. I didn’t read it at first, because I didn’t want to get mad–because I couldn’t help but feeling–that title is referring to ME. And guess what, MY LIFE DOESN’T SUCK!

But, I am also well versed enough in the internet to know that titles like that are meant to get a reaction. And it worked. After thinking about it a lot, and muttering to myself about it in the shower, I finally sat down and read the article. It was pretty good and on the surface I agree with a lot of what Amy Westervelt lays down. We need to have better support for women–better parental leave, better child care options, less double standards.

She makes a ton of great points and she really validates the super tough position women in our society face. It is literally impossible to do everything well at one time (to which I have to say, DUH). If you feel validated by this article, great. But I didn’t.

The general tone of the article (set by the title) is such a downer. She says, “Here’s the truth: You want to have a career and kids? You totally can, but both will suffer.”

Is this the truth? Maybe. I see Instagram photos of moms who do AMAZING projects and outings with their kids. Things I could never think of if someone had a hot poker to my eyeball. I can’t go into a craft store and buy cotton balls and build the taj mahal out of it (I didn’t get the craft gene). I don’t even have time to look up things on pinterest and get the supplies.

Two colleagues that started at the same time as me are now above me in our hierarchy. They got promotions that I didn’t. They spend longer hours in the office and take on more work–they are awesome. I can’t do that as much because of my obligations with my kids. I also took 7 months off and had two babies in two years.

So…reading that…is my career suffering? Are my kids suffering? Suffer means to experience something bad or unpleasant. So, by “society’s” definitions, yes. My career has not moved as quickly and I don’t have time to do as much with my kids. I’m not leaning in. I’m not opting out. But does this mean things are suffering?

And what if it does mean that? What is the solution? The article suggests that “we” need to “make it okay for women to [insert choice here].” She says, “Let’s redefine “having it all,” or better yet let each woman define for herself what the best version of her life might look like.”

I’m going to take this a step further and say, YOU need to make it okay for yourself. You need to find what works for you. You aren’t going to get validation from society. NOBODY feels validation from society. Find your strength. Find your balance. Its not going to look like mine. Its not going to look like Amy’s.

The article stresses the pressure to fit in a (literally impossible) mold of super employee and super mom. Who cares if the laundry isn’t done and your toes look like crap? Who cares if you only took one day off of work to have your baby? If you answer, I CARE! Then change it. Throw the mold on the ground and stomp on it. Make your own mold (if you got the crafty gene).

Prioritize your life based on your skills and your desires (and let’s be real, your needs–eh hem, paycheck). But it will not.all.get.done.well. It just won’t. But make the things that don’t get done well the stuff that you don’t care about as much. I’m slightly chubby and wear yoga pants and no make up. And I don’t give a crap. Only you can decide what is going to slip. Not some “we,” not “society.” You.

And here’s the truth: I am not suffering. I am compromising. And I refuse to be unhappy. I make my own happiness. Do I feel a pang of jealousy when I see skinny, fashionable moms doing 14 nature hikes a week with their kids, or traveling the country homeschooling in an RV, or when someone else gets an accolade that I don’t at work? Yes. Would my kids like to spend more time with me? Yes. Would my boss like me to do more? Yes. But I prioritize my life in way that makes me happy and gets shit done the best I can and I own (and love) my choices.

I can’t have it all and it doesn’t suck.


Childcare (part 2)

Yesterday, I wrote about the loving care that the boys have received and how I have taken help from both in-home daycare and nannies. I’ve been very lucky to have things line up well with minimal effort with both of these options AND have great experiences.

I haven’t been so lucky with preschools.

When George turned three, it was clear he needed a little more structure than daycare was providing–Sunshine just isn’t a preschool and that is okay. I started taking him to a co-op preschool in our area and we (and I say WE intentionally) went from January to May.

This didn’t work out for us for many reasons. George wasn’t a fan and never wanted to go. And it was WAY too much work for me to take on, which is really my own fault. I was trying to make a round peg fit in a square hole. I also felt insecure as a working mom for the first (and only) time. Even though I was meeting all the minimum requirements of the co-op, I still got underhanded comments from the other moms for not doing more. Not a great environment. I feel yucky just thinking about it.

Doing a co-op was the exact opposite of taking help–it completely threw off my work/life balance. Lesson learned!  We did have some fun times!

When we found out we were moving in June, I looked into a few all day preschool/daycare combo programs in Charlotte but wasn’t thrilled. They were either religious or WAY too academic–doing sight words at three? Hell no. Luckily, no co-ops presented themselves. Ha.

And even though I’ve gotten some comments from well meaning folks about the boys not being in preschool right now (eh-hem), it has worked out SO well for them. They are together all day. The nanny teaches them letters and numbers. They go to swim and music class. I’ve felt no need to put them in preschool this year.  That said, George needs some exposure to school before kindergarten. Remember how I talked about compromise in yesterday’s childcare post? I had to give on one of my “want-ums” of non-religious education in favor of the boys having more time together and easier on me because of location (less time in the car means more time for other tasks!). Sigh. Welcome to the South.

I had to remind myself that “be flexible” is also one my strategies for attaining work/life balance!

So, if all goes well, George will go to the church preschool around the corner starting in September four mornings a week. The nanny will take him and pick him up. The boys will still have a ton of time together. I will not spend over an hour in the car a day. Its a great play based school that looks like SO much fun, but I am anticipating a lot of Jesus conversations. But hey, it will be a learning opportunity for all us. I feel good about the compromise overall.  Now, let’s just hope George wants go…

Have you struggled with preschool options/decisions?