Dec 5 2013
It was a Wednesday afternoon when I received an email from a fellow comedian friend asking me if I wanted to do a seven-minute guest spot at The Comedy Store on Sunset the next night.
I was reading the email moments after my daughter threw most of her lunch onto the floor, and as I went under her highchair to clean it, tossed the rest onto my back… so my first reaction was laughter followed by an instinct to hit “delete.” The show was at 10:30 p.m., my bedtime. I read and reread the email. Did I really want to stay up that late? Could I? It’s been so long since I’ve had a show, do I remember how to tell a joke? Would I be comfortable? What jokes would I even tell?
It would have been very easy to have just said no and continue through my typical evening routine of putting my daughter to bed, cleaning a wide variety of baby-related items, getting her food ready for the next day, looking at the fridge and figuring out how to create a dinner for my husband and myself from yogurt, eggs, and pickled ginger, and doing our best to clear some shows from the DVR. And while I do truly enjoy our time binge watching “Mad Men” on Netflix or catching the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” I’m sure you can surmise that I didn’t decide to write an article about how I kept to my routine, but instead, decided (with the appreciated encouragement from my husband) that it was time for me to have a little madness. My routine could use a big bang of its own. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 2 2013
Do you watch Parenthood? I don’t mean this in some sort of existential, depersonalized way. I mean, do you watch the NBC hour-long drama called Parenthood, loosely based on the instrumental film from 1989, the one that starred Steve Martin and Dianne Wiest and tore your heart out? If not, oh friends, you should. Parenthood had its season premiere last Thursday and it’s not too late to catch up. I am here to help.
The fictional Bravermans are a huge family clan living in Berkeley. Details of all of the characters (and the awesome actors who play them) can be found by clicking here. Basically, this is a show about their quotidian (attractive, well-dressed) lives. If you like realist fiction, you’ll like this show. If you like to afford yourself a good, based-on-nothing-other-than-you’re-a-sentient-human cry fest once a week, you’ll like this show. If, at heart, you’re a sap who grew up in a family where people said “I love you” a whole lot, you’ll like this show. If you like ogling beautiful craftsman style bungalow homes perfectly decorated but appropriately lived in, you’ll like this show. And perhaps most importantly, if, like me, you find yourself appreciating something earnest more and more these days, and you think that letting people know you feel things and you are not an automaton who runs on organic coffee and snark, then, well, you’ll like this show.
I could dissect Thursday night’s premiere episode with you, but who has time for that? We have another episode coming up tomorrow and also, my kids need to be fed. Instead, I am going to focus on one character. Today, it’s Kristina Braverman (played with soul by Monica Potter). Kristina is a mother of three and married to fictional Adam (who will always be Nate from Six Feet Under). She has incredible skin and very shiny hair, but she’s flawed and I love her. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 14 2013
I 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 →
Aug 12 2013
When my daughter was 12 weeks old, I dropped her off at her new home daycare.
It was not the calmest of days. My grandfather’s shiva was concluding, my husband and I had flown back from our impromptu trip to Canada on the first flight of the morning, he was returning to work at the end of his paternity leave, and I was returning to work (late) after President’s day vacation. My entire family had some horrible flu-like bug we think we picked up at the hospice and my blissful 12-week-old was the only one not hurling. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 1 2013
Being a teacher is one of those jobs that is SUPER-challenging from September to May, and then SUPER-easy from June through August–because having the summer off is a huge perk! In the past, I haven’t been the biggest fan of this unpaid vacation, because I like to keep busy and this two and a half month break tends to lag after the first few weeks. In the past, I’ve taught summer school or gotten a summer job doing something full time, anything I could do to make money during the break.
However, this is my first summer off being a mommy; it’s super-busy, super-fun, and it’s a whole new world! Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 30 2013
When my husband and I moved our family from Brooklyn to the wilds of the Long Island suburbs eight months ago, our chief concern was securing great childcare for our twin toddlers. In Brooklyn, from the time they were 3 months old, Avi and Maya had been cared for part-time by Charlotte, a superhero dressed as a 25-year-old aspiring opera singer. Charlotte (Sha-Sha, to everyone in our family who loved her, which was everyone) could do anything our two babies needed, including arrive at our apartment at 8 a.m. so that I could hop the subway to Manhattan while the girls splatter-painted the walls with oatmeal. Charlotte glided into our lives and made it infinitely better. Alas, Sha-Sha wasn’t interested in moving to the ‘burbs with us. Go figure.
And so, when we landed on the (north) shores of this island, we weighed our options. I would still be working part-time, but really, it was more like three quarters when you considered the longer commute. We didn’t know many people in our new town and worried that a nanny wouldn’t have much to do with the girls, what with the whole everyone-needs-a-car-to-get-anywhere culture. We didn’t like the idea of the girls sitting in the house all day. In addition, at 18 months, Avi and Maya were starting to pick things up, and it seemed like they might just benefit from being in a Jewish environment. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 5 2013
I 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 30 2013
We’ve been following along with Emily on her path to becoming a single mother by choice. She is now 32 weeks pregnant.
Something happened back in October that I was too nervous to share at the time. It was the day before my embryo transfer. I was scheduled to be in the city in meetings for most of the day, but in the morning, I did some work from home and had a phone call with a potential new client.
The call went very well. We spoke for about an hour and I learned a lot about this mom and her sophomore son. He sounded like a great kid. I explained my work and how I would help her family and her son navigate the college admissions process from both a strategic and human development viewpoint. The mom asked several thoughtful questions. She also mentioned to me that she was a business consultant and had some strong opinions about what would work best for her son. She signed off saying she would likely be back in touch the following week to set up our first meeting. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 29 2013
I 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 19 2013
Chinese ancients may have something on us modern Westerners. An old Chinese acupuncturist told my husband that back in the old country, women were made to stay in bed and fed soup for two solid months after giving birth.
Old-style Yiddish mamas have a special name for the postpartum woman: she’s a kimpeturin and is chided for lifting a finger to help with housework.
Modern-day America doesn’t seem to have the same respect for the recuperation needs of postpartum women (which explains why so many of them never heal properly from the experience of hosting a live baby in their wombs and then ejecting said baby in a miraculous but painful process that puts their bodies through extreme stress and acrobatics). Read the rest of this entry →