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Feb 25 2014

A Tale of Two Olympics (Now with Kids!)

By at 10:58 am

Figure_Skating_Venue_in_Sochi

I worked my first Winter Olympic Games in 1998, as a member of TNT’s production team (where I immortalized one skater’s costume as “She looks like she was mauled by a lion while escaping a brothel.” I noted it off-handedly, but commentator Rosalynn Sumners liked it so much she repeated it on-air. It was like the movie, “Broadcast News.” I say it here, it comes out there….).

I spent close to a month in Nagano, Japan, working 28-hour days with no weekends, and came home so exhausted that I proceeded to spend the next 48 hours near-catatonic in front of the TV, catching up on all the shows I’d taped. (This was before Tivo or downloading or watching on demand, so I actually had to pre-program my entire primetime line-up weeks in advance. All on a tape that could only record for eight hours. Truly the dark ages, kids.)

My oldest son was born in 1999. And though I tried to continue working in figure skating production, his refusing to acknowledge my presence after I’d returned from yet another business trip when he was 18 months old pretty much put the kibosh on that plan. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 4 2013

My Children vs. My Passion: Can I Really Do it All?

By at 2:29 pm

where was i? typed on typewiriter

I know I am not the first person to write a novel with my right hand while changing a diaper with my left. It’s just that when I do, the contents of the novel end up very similar to the contents of the diaper.

“Being here now” is difficult when you have to be in three places at once. But if you have a passion, a day job, and you’re an involved parent, then you must learn to compartmentalize on a dime. You know you’re dealing with a passion when you simply have no choice but to do so. Crystal meth has a limp handshake when compared to the grip of a passion. It’s not a desire; it’s an obsession. It’s an elemental–

“DAD!”

Excuse me.

“What?”

“Sarah called me stupid and said my dress is too small!”

“Are you stupid?”

“No.” Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 14 2013

What the Opt-Out Generation Really Wants

By at 10:59 am

working mother with babyI am a non-practicing lawyer, a freelance journalist, an aspiring novelist (where does the time go, anyway? Let me look in my 10-month-old’s mouth to see if she ate it like she eats everything else) and mother of four, soon to be five. I work from home when I can, in scraps of time salvaged between carpools and Mommy and Me classes and library time and cooking. I suppose that in the macro scheme of things, I have “opted out.”

I am not on a partnership track. I do the proverbial hustle for new assignments as often as I can and that in and of itself is full-time work. There are no lockstep promotions or bonuses in being a work from home mother. There is also no guarantee that at any point, you will be able to work outside the home again, in an environment where a 2-year-old doesn’t carefully water your computer keyboard with a sippy cup or where you don’t have to pry open the 10-month-old’s mouth to retrieve your letter “l” key (seriously, she eats EVERYTHING). Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 9 2013

Learning to Dress Like a Grown Up

By at 10:46 am

closetAt a recent professional conference we broke the ice with a rousing game of “two truths and a lie.” My shocking truth that fooled them all? I can get ready for work in less than four minutes. I should have guessed by the gasps that this wasn’t something to be proud of.

I’m a working mom with one son in grade school and another in preschool. On a typical morning during the school year I wake up, do dishes, rouse the kids, feed them breakfast, get them dressed, make their lunches, pack their backpacks and only then, in the few last minutes before we make a mad dash for the bus, figure out what I’m wearing that day. If it’s clean, matches, and basically fits, it’s a win.

It’s not just about the kids, though it’s certainly exacerbated the situation. The truth is, I’ve always been low maintenance. It was a point of pride–shopping and fashion were vanity, style without substance, right? Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 5 2013

Notes From a 9 Months Pregnant CEO

By at 11:00 am

pregwbriefcaseI had only just met this woman, and our conversation, as I heard it, went like this:

Her: What do you do?

Me: I’m a rabbi. I direct a national Jewish human rights organization that. . .

Her: No, no—when are you due?

Me: Oh. Beginning of July.

Her: That’s so wonderful! Do you know what you’re having? Is it your first? How are you feeling?

And so on.

Since I’ve become visibly pregnant with my second child, I’ve often felt that others perceive me not as a capable CEO and religious leader, but instead as a walking, talking uterus. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2013

How Adina Kay-Gross, Writer, Teacher, and Mother of Twins, Does It

By at 3:17 pm

maya wakes up

Ever wonder how other parents handle (or try to handle) the day-to-day grind of raising young kids? We were, which is why we started this series to shed light on how real women do it–from wake-up to bedtime and everything in between.

So how does Adina Kay-Gross, mother of twin 2-year-old girls, writer, contributing editor at Kveller.com, and adjunct faculty at Stern College and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion do it? Here’s a day in her life:

6 a.m.: Maya bursts into song from her crib. It’s generally a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, though some mornings she mixes it up and goes with Twinkle Twinkle or the ABCs, which, as we know, is the same song. Avi, her twin sister, yells some form of Stop it Maya or Maya noooooo. 

6:15 a.m.: Maya stops singing. Everything goes quiet. I try not breathe, praying they’ve gone back to sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 5 2013

Don’t We All Need Better Work-Life Balance, Regardless of Our Genitalia?

By at 2:40 pm

working dad coming home to daughterI recently read an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek entitled, “Alpha Dads: Men Get Serious About Work-Life Balance.” Don’t be fooled, though–these are not dads who fight for work-life balance for all. Rather, they’re serious about work-life balance…for dads. Deloitte Dads, one such organization, is a group to help fathers with time management and family issues in the name of spending more time with their kids. Dads, they contend, are an unacknowledged victim of all the talk about mothers’ work-life balancing act.

“Men have to feel valued and wanted for the balance of their skills,” as Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap–and What Women Can Do About It puts it. “People don’t invite the man who raised his children really well back to the 50th high school reunion to talk about it.” Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2013

Back to the Daily Grind After Seven Years

By at 10:25 am

grand central stationI am writing this blog post on the 5:55 a.m. train from Manhattan heading to Stamford, CT (after having taken two subways to get to Grand Central Station, first). Because, for the first time since before my daughter was born, I have a job that requires reporting to an office.

Seven years ago, pregnant with my third child and too sick and tired to keep making what, in retrospect, was a ridiculously short, five subways stops commute, I gave up my office gig for the freelancer’s life. I was, however, remarkably fortunate in that my then employer, Procter & Gamble Productions, producers of the soap operas “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” promptly hired me to keep on doing more or less what I’d been doing up to that point, only from home and at a lower salary–which I deemed infinitely fair.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 5 2013

When a Working Mom Spends 10 Days with Her Kids

By at 11:56 am

hotel signI recently returned from spending Passover at a beautiful hotel in California with my two kids. One of the great perks of being married to a musician (and don’t throw a virtual shoe at me; there are negatives to being a wife in music life, too) is that so far, I get to go away for Passover, and thus bypass all the meticulous cleaning, multi-meal cooking, and various other daunting tasks that the holiday entails.

Now, I had realized that once we returned home,  if we wanted to eat, we’d have to actually cook something ourselves; there would be no lavish tea room to quell hunger pangs between meals and I correctly anticipated seven loads of laundry (my baby likes to spit up on a brand-new dress approximately three seconds after I change her into it). Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 25 2013

Yahoo and Facebook Execs: Screwing It Up For The Rest Of Us

By at 1:23 pm

It’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. I’m not sure if I’m speaking for all of us in saying this, but I haven’t even read it: I live it.

Friday morning, I shut the door in the face of my crying child who was yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! No go!” with guilt-inducing gusto. I was leaving her in order to go into New York to tape a television show which discussed, in part, feminism and work-life balance. Ah, irony: you’re so subtle.

It’s not just me, of course. The discussion on women in the workplace was kick started on the national scale this week.

On the one hand, prominent consulting group McKinsey has started quietly reaching out to female former employees who left to start families to see if they are now ready to come back to work. Goldman Sachs also runs a “returnship” program: paid short-term jobs for professionals who’ve been out of the workforce for a few years. In a 2010 report, the Wall Street Journal noted, “female senior executives cited the ‘double burden syndrome’ of balancing motherhood and work as the main obstacle to women attaining more top roles in companies.” Read the rest of this entry →

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