Another milestone, another headache

Posted by Lorain County Moms

My daughter can read: the end of my life as I know it.

It’s over. My kid can now read. Okay, not Tolstoy or even Nancy Drew but “I just saw your profile and you seem really nice” or “I need to up my meds,” yeah, that, THAT she’s all over.

Now you’d think I’d be thrilled my little baby can read and if it were to help me to somehow make my life as a mother easier, I would say, “Yay, great” but my emails? I’m starting to think I should have let her repeat another year of pre-school. I wear my heart on my sleeve and the filter on my mouth got lost somewhere in the birth canal, so the way I’ve dealt with it since my child was born, was to write and spell everything.

Now, I knew this day was coming and I’m not fully unprepared as I’d decided many months ago to learn Spanish, only that alternative doesn’t seem to be working too well as no one in my circle of friends understands anything that falls in between when I say “hola” and “Adio.”

On top it all, I know have yet another thing to remember and that is to log off after I’m done reading my emails. I can no longer just put my computer to “sleep” as I’m accustomed to doing. I have to push all these extra buttons and THEN go to bed and then I have to wake up and press MORE buttons.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Boy am I glad summer is here. Phew, and I thought I loved camp as a child? As an adult, I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Hopefully, for the next 12 weeks she’ll learn nothing more than how to swim better, apply her own sunscreen and make me a cute little necklace and maybe if I’m lucky, she might even forget how to read.

–Jessica Bern is the creator/producer of the Web series bern this about a neurotic woman’s journey through her weekly visits to her therapist’s office and an advice columnist for the mouthy housewives. She also is a contributor to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com.


Oh no, is it time for the MOM JEANS?

Posted by Lorain County Moms

All of my pants are low rise. Not show the tip of my crack when I sit or squat low rise, but on the hips most definitely. This did not used to be a problem. Even though I have long considered myself to carry a little extra weight around my middle, I never needed to skip the low rise pants until now.

Another day, another chunk of time wasted, standing in front of my full length mirror, trying to find a shirt that would help disguise the muffin top ballooning out the top of my jeans. After the fifth shirt, it occurred to me,

“Hey. I don’t need a different shirt, I need different pants. If these jeans would just come up a little higher …”

I began to tug them up my waistline a bit until the horrible thought struck me,

“Sweet Lord. This is how they invented mom jeans.”

I don’t want to wear mom jeans. Really, I don’t. It was just a fleeting thought of how nice it would be to have my pants offer a little help in holding in the bulge that lingers after giving birth. Giving birth 15 months ago, but still.

The jeans taunted me as I hiked them up to my waist. From the front, they did look better. From the side, they looked like I stepped out of 1985 with three kids, some oversized glasses, a Pepsi Free in one hand, and a giant bag phone in the other.

What surprises me most is that I actually weigh less now than when I got pregnant with my son. It shouldn’t be a surprise. I had plenty of friends tell me that “things shift.” They couldn’t have been more right.

However, after this weekend, I think the mom jeans have been replaced. Hanging out at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C., proved that the mom jeans of today is the halter tankini with a skirt bottom. And although I missed out on the Mom Tattoo memo, I totally rocked the new mommy trend with my tankini and requisite baby on hip with pride.


This is an original post from the Silocon Valley  Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. Marty also blogs at http://canapesun.blogspot.com/ and http://trianglemamas.typepad.com/triangle—mamas/.



Multipe Moms Madness: Kate Plus 8 Versus Octomom

Posted by Lorain County Moms

I have watched the TLC reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8” (a family consisting of older twins and younger sextuplets) for the last year or so. As a mom of twins and an older sibling, I related to their challenges. I appreciated that Jon & Kate Gosselin showed the not so perfect side of parenting by losing their cool now and then. I reveled when they would discuss that with multiples there is always someone unhappy at any given moment, which describes my daily struggles. I stood up for Kate Gosselin when many said she was too controlling because the kids all looked well fed, dressed and overall happy. I saw the way Kate took care of the sextuplets when they were babies and thought that her nursing skills were very helpful in treating the kids ailments. I aspired to be as organized as Kate was in planning out her days. The fact that Jon & Kate Gosselin invited cameras into their daily lives seemed to be the price they paid to earn enough money to stay home with their kids while upgrading their house to make room for their big family.

However, from the beginning, I dismissed the Octomom Nadya Suleman (who now has 14 kids, the last octuplets) as a publicity hungry, Angelina Jolie wannabe, narcissistic person who had kids as props to further her fantasy of becoming famous. At the hospital after delivering her babies, Nadya Suleman had perfect makeup, long fake nails with a FRENCH MANICURE and an insincere way with the babies. Any multiple mom knows that you need to cut your nails short when taking care of infants. I felt nothing but pity for her kids.

But Nadya Suleman really lost points in my eyes when she “dubbed Kate Gosselin ‘a cheater’ for relying on plastic surgery to get her bod back in bikini shape”. As many multiple mom I know believe, tummy tucks should be a standard medical expense after having multiples.

I can’t wait to see the natural methods that Nadya Suleman uses to get in shape.

I even made a joke while lying on the operation table, loopy from anesthesia during my C-Section delivering twins. I said, “Hey doc, can ya do a tummy tuck while you are in there?” My doctor did not think it was funny.

But lately with all the new scandals I feel as though I lost some close (reality TV) friends.

Jon is caught up in a cheating scandal and Kate is overtanning, over cutting/coloring her hair and spending more time away from the family. All of this leaves me wondering if it is over for their show.

I myself received my first spray tan when going to the LA Moms Blog launch party and have been coloring my hair for years, so I appreciate the need for moms to spend some time on their appearance when in front of cameras. But I always returned to my pastey white, non tummy tucked, sweat wearing self when back on mom duty. The kind of look that if I was a celebrity, paparazzi would have a field day taking pictures of me walking around in sweats wearing no makeup. In a twist of reality meets reality TV, the paparazzi have been going wild taking pictures of the both Nadya Suleman and Jon & Kate Gosselin.

As a mom blogger sharing her mom experiences with the public, I regularly question if I should even judge reality TV moms/dads for putting their families in front of the camera. I do try to keep the cameras off my kids, but know that starting at age 13 or even younger they will be putting cameras on themselves and sharing their lives online.

So — is sharing lives on TV and online is just the new reality anyway?

If I were to ask myself who has the better mothering skills — Kate plus 8 (Kate Gosselin) or Octomom (Nadya Suleman)? Then my opinion is that Kate plus 8 wins out no questions asked.

I just feel lucky that Octomom’s new reality TV series has not been picked up by US networks yet.



This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. When Beth is not obsessing over multiple mom reality TV gossip, she is a Co-Founder of the Silicon Valley Moms Group. Her personal blog is TechMamas.com, a blog where technology meets parenting — sometimes they get along.


Overscheduled kids? No, overscheduled mom

Posted by Lorain County Moms

A mom friend told me she was feeling kind of rundown recently, then asked how I was feeling. When I said I was tired, my friend perked up and said that she thinks it is something in the water. “I know a lot of moms who feel kind of frumpy. It has to be the water.” I laughed until I realized she was serious. I tried to explain that I think the tired, stretched-thin feeling comes with the job. Moms have a lot to juggle: kid activities, work (inside or out of the home) and a disproportionate amount of household chores, to name a few. Short of round-the-clock nannies, it’s hard to imagine feeling rested until the kids are sent off to college.

A lot is made of the downside of overscheduling kids, and rightly so, as the benefits of play are clear. But what’s left out of the discussion is something which many of us suffer from: overscheduled mom syndrome. My kids are young, which means that while they each have their own activities, neither participates in anything requiring traveling tournaments or extensive practicing. Yet, even though they are only modestly scheduled, having multiple kids with a few activities apiece produces a parent with a lot of driving, scheduling and organizing to make this work. I find myself frequently feeling overextended, bouncing from one activity to the next or one chore to the next, all in an effort to keep the train on the tracks, so to speak. This leaves me wondering if researchers are studying the effects of no play time for mom.

I doubt I will ever see a headline touting a Harvard study on the importance of free play for moms. Or a government-sponsored pedicure program for struggling moms. If playtime is important for kids, doesn’t it correspond that moms would benefit from some free time to read or knit or rest in the sun, not including the typical one minute that turns into 10 minute break to check Facebook or email that punctuate most days.

It’s hard to stay at the top of one’s game with so many demands. I rarely feel like I give my full attention to much when there is so much to balance and I’m in a constant state of multi-tasking. Folding laundry while diluting some orange juice for my son, while on a phone organizing a project, while hearing my daughter call “MooooOOOOoommm,” all at once is nothing new, not to me or to any mom. It’s even to the point where I’ve had to remind myself to stop what I’m doing and look my children in the eyes when they speak to me. While not abusive, it’s not the type of parenting I’d had in mind.

The older kids get, the more jobs get added to the list of parental demands. Classroom volunteers are needed at school, coaches are needed for soccer, snack shack workers for baseball, drivers are needed for field trips, all adding up to a full calender and a frenzied life. If only there was a “I gave at the office,” loophole for all of the activities asking for help, like a set number of volunteer hours for the year. “I coached basketball, so I get a pass for softball this year.” I’m tired of feeling guilty for saying no when I’ve definitely done my share, but cannot sacrifice my sanity further. This year I had to talk my way out of the building during soccer sign ups because I was being pressuring to take on a volunteer role for which I didn’t have any interest or time.

Massages for moms. That is all I am asking. (And not the type of massage that comes with strings attached.) It’s not the water, a little free play would help every mom.


This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. Kimberly also blogs at Tippy Toes and Tantrums (http://tippytoesandtantrums.typepad.com/).


Clothes make the girl

Posted by Lorain County Moms

Bright pink socks with little yellow flowers. That was the first thing that caught my eye as my daughter came downstairs the other morning, all dressed and ready to walk to school with me. She was wearing turquoise capri leggings that ended about 6 inches above her ankle, leaving her calf-length socks visible in all their fuschia glory. I ventured tentatively, “You know, I don’t think you’re supposed to wear capri leggings with long socks.” Her response: “Of course you are! How else am I going to show off my socks?”

My daughter has always had a style all her own. From the time she could talk, she would insist on different-colored socks (“Yellow! Pink!”). I know most toddlers go through this stage, but at the ripe old age of 8, she still likes to combine her colors and styles in ways that remind me of Cyndi Lauper. She thinks her hair looks better when it’s uncombed (“tousled,” she calls it). And she can be extremely stubborn about wearing her favorite shirts, even when they no longer cover her belly button (giving her that high-waisted Steve Urkel look). On the days she goes out looking like Dobby the Elf, I wonder if anyone is wondering: Who dressed that child?

I’ve been slow and reluctant to hand over the reins to this little clotheshorse, but it’s an inevitable part of growing up and letting go. Yes, I still pre-coordinate her options by buying mix-and-match separates, and steer her away from anything overly commercialized or anything that requires ironing. And I exercise my veto power when she chooses outfits that I deem age-inappropriate, weather-inappropriate or stained/torn beyond repair (she, in turn can reject anything I buy for her that she doesn’t like). But other than that, she’s her own stylist.

I love what she wears most of the time and wouldn’t change a thing. Yes, I do sometimes look wistfully at the perfectly coordinated outfits in the cute kid catalogs, or some really well-dressed kid at school. And when she goes out looking like Dobby the Elf, I really, really want to tell her, “Your outfit doesn’t really match, honey!” But it’s not worth having her face crumple in disappointment. Anyway, who am I to judge? I’m not exactly fashion-forward myself. And is it any better for me to say she ought to dress the way fashion magazines and peers dictate? At least she has no interest in wearing prostitot-ty outfits, or T-shirts with Bratz or Hannah Montana or “High School Musical” or clothing with any sort of bling on them. She’s got her own style! So all you sanctimommies, look at The Pea all you want. You may be looking at the fashion icon of 2020. She dressed herself, thank you very much. And she looks great.



This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. Bonggamom doesn’t always obsess about other people’s opinion of her and her family; on Finding Bonggamom (http://www.bonggamom.com/) she obsesses about other things like food and free stuff and how cute her kids are.


Dear husband …

Posted by besttech

Dear Husband,

Can you please stop with the damn “eat your food” tirades at the kids at meal time? We offer them healthy food for the most part and forcing them to clean their plate just makes everyone miserable. They are not going to starve themselves. I promise. They will eventually like vegetables if we keep just putting it in front of them and talking about how yummy they are. You are making family dinner no fun at all for our Silicon Valley family.

I know it’s frustrating when they don’t eat, but the yelling and bribery is not working. Stop putting so much focus on what they eat and I guarantee you will notice a difference. Denying them a glass of milk until they finish their dinner is just silly.

I love you to pieces but if you can’t let it go you will not be allowed to eat dinner with us anymore.


Your wife



This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. When not writing notes to her husband, Kirsten also blogs at The Norwindians.



Good-bye pajamas, Hello work from home

Posted by besttech

Late last year I started a new role at the software company where I work. The role was a global one requiring early morning conference calls with London and late night calls with India or Hong Kong. I didn’t mind the change in the schedule because the job came with one special perk. I could work from home as much as I wanted. Being on a global team meant crazy hours, but those hours were flexible and fit perfectly into my busy life a working mom.

So I’ve been working from home. A lot. As in practically every day. Ever since I became a mom nearly five years ago, I’ve demanded to have a flexible work schedule. I’ve always negotiated for working from home days and a core schedule where I got to decide whether to start early or stay late. But I’ve never worked from home more than I’ve worked in the office. And the transition was tougher than I imagined.

We all know that working from home has its benefits. I can have dinner on the table when the rest of my brood arrives home. And I don’t have to eat cafeteria food. I never miss a UPS delivery. Oh and I can work all day long in my pajamas.

But after a couple of months (yes, months) of being in my PJs all day long realizing at 5pm that I hadn’t brushed my teeth, I was kinda over the whole working from home thing. It didn’t help that on a few of those nights where I still looked like I had rolled out of bed, my spouse asked me point blank “What exactly did you do today?”

I could feel my work slacking off with my wardrobe and personal hygiene. It’s a lot harder to take yourself seriously when you go to bed wearing the same clothes you not only wore all day long but also wore the day before. The house was getting more and more cluttered. It was easy to steal away to watch Oprah — knowing full well that anyone in the office was actually still working.

About three weeks ago, I decided that I needed to show a little self-discipline. So I’ve started a routine. Like getting up in the morning and getting dressed. I know, I know… I’m revolutionary. Dressing for success is hard to do when you are the only one you see in a day. I don’t have to “wow” people with fancy clothes. But I’ve noticed that by pulling myself together — even just a little bit — makes me feel better. It puts me in the right place to be thinking and acting professionally.

Pulling my hair back into a nice braid, putting on a clean sweater and a pair of jeans, even putting in a pair of earrings or slapping on a colored lip gloss make me feel less like an overworked, stressed-out, often frazzled working mother.

I may have only a handful of patience and a drop of brain power by day’s end, but that doesn’t mean I have to look the part of a crazy woman.


This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. Robyn Roark is a full-time working mom. During the day, she bosses around men that are old enough to be her father. At home, she gets bossed around by a little boy who refuses to wear pants. She writes at Who’s the Boss?


A father puts the `F’ in FDIC

Posted by besttech

My daughter recently asked what she should do with some money she’s been saving these past few months. As a teen she makes the most of her limited income opportunities. She occasionally babysits, referees soccer games (mainly for gas money), saves money received from gifts, and pulls down allowance and chore money in both her mom’s house and dad’s house. (And she didn’t get a $20 billion end-of-year bonus.)

Her mom and I are divorced, and while we do our best to co-parent amicably, we do have different views on money, and offer our kids different guidance. Their mom is all about being a conscientious consumer. She has the kids buy their own clothes, pay for sports equipment and pet supplies, and put aside whatever’s left over for a dream purchase. Solid financial concepts.

I encourage them to strike a balance between disposable spending and investments. I’m happy to provide essentials like clothes and basic sports equipment. I also admit, I’m a father who fills his daughter’s tank sometimes at the pump. For their part, I have them pay for a reasonable amount of entertainment, including music downloads, movies and lunches with friends. After that, I encourage them to save for the long term.

To this end, I’ve set up custodial accounts for them to invest in stocks and mutual funds, with me and my financial planner guiding the show. It’s not much money, but over the years they’ve saved enough that they are able to learn first-hand about risk and reward.

“Want to add to your investment account?” I asked.

“Not really,” my daughter said. “The economy sucks. I don’t want lose any more money.”

Ouch. Problem is, she’s kind of right. Even small portfolios have tanked. Still, I don’t want a down economy to make her afraid to invest.

Several years ago, I opened bank accounts for my kids. The interest paid was appallingly low. I took this as an opportunity to teach them about investing. By putting their money in a certificate of deposit, and agreeing not to touch it for a certain amount of time (like one year), they would earn higher interest.

“Great,” my kids said. “Let’s do it!”

Do it we did. They earned more money. But the stock market did even better. My kids had learned about stocks in school when they bought and sold pretend shares in Disney and Google with pretend money the teacher gave them. Not only that, but living in Silicon Valley like we do, every school child knows some family who has hit it big (even if those millionaires don’t feel rich.) My kids are well aware of stocks.

“Can’t we invest in Apple?” they asked.

As a forty-something adult who’s been investing for decades, I know the financial system goes through ups and downs. I’ve lived through the eras of Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, Gordon Gecko (from the movie “Wall Street”), Frank Quattrone and Bernard Madoff. I made and lost money through the dot-com boom and bust. I know people who’ve gone bankrupt. I know people who are billionaires. Anything can happen. It’s all about risk. I’ve learned to weather the storms.

While I’m quite comfortable talking about sex with my daughter, or explaining financial basics to my preteen son, I’m not as savvy when it comes to guiding their custodial investment accounts. I asked for help from my financial planner, and we picked a mutual fund for each of my kids to put their money in.

That was over a year ago. The economy took a nosedive since then. Even with a financial planner’s expertise, their investments have lost significant value. My kids aren’t interested in losing more money, and who can blame them?

While investment risk can offer painful lessons, I also don’t want them scared off from ever investing again. A diversified portfolio is generally better than hiding their money in a mattress.

“Want me to insure it?” I asked my daughter.

“You mean, if it goes down in value, you make up the difference?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

Sounded good to her.

And so this Father is now putting the “F” in FDIC for his kids. Which means I’m being even more careful with my own spending. As a single dad on the dating scene, I’m going on fewer blind dinner dates, cocktail meet ups, sexy and funny wine country excursions, and expensive nights out with friends.

You’re probably saying, “I thought your kids were learning first-hand about risk!”

Well, if I don’t watch their investment backs, they’re just going to hit me up for more allowance. Either way, in a down economy, I pay.



This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. David Mott is cofounder of the Single Parents Connection Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid

22920523770), and authors the blog Dad’s House — Dating and Parenting by a Single Dad (http://dadshouseblog.com/).


Jedi don’t pick their noses

Posted by besttech

I always planned on speaking cheerful, positively constructed words of guidance to my children — never making “no” statements, but rather describing what actions they should take instead, making encouraging conversation, and never letting slip a snarky comment. That, of course, was before I became the mother of small boys. Here are words I never thought would come out of my mouth.

10. Don’t lick that railing.

9. Don’t pick your nose.

8. Don’t lick your brother.

7. That bag is not a toy.

6. That’s a big poop. Good job.

5. Bye-bye, poop.

4. If you lick that cookie, that’s the one you take.

3. Big boys don’t pick their noses.

2. Don’t lick anything.

1. Jedi don’t pick their noses.

Please tell me you’ve said worse.



This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. Monica writes about life, dance, and adventures with a toddler and newborn at Lady M (http://www.empress-m.com/). Her household is consumed by all things “Star Wars.”



Operation cry-it-out has commenced

Posted by besttech

Last night marked the beginning of Operation Cry-It-Out in the Maynard household. And boy are we tired. But the Operation must continue and failure is NOT an option.

Our first child is and always has been a sleeping champ, so sleep training was never a necessity. Then baby No. 2 arrived. Actually, she was sleeping 12 hours a night by the time she was 4 months old. Then, when she was 8 months, we went on a monthlong vacation. She shared a room with us while we were away and it was the beginning of the end. The kid has not been able to get through the night since.

We have been planning to sleep train her for months … but something always comes up. We have company in town. It’s the holidays. She gets sick. Well, last night, when she started crying, nay screaming, even after being breastfed, I was done. No more. She can cry ‘til the cows come home. She is not getting out of that bed!

What has been interesting about the process is discovering that Dad is the tender-hearted parent and I’m the cold-hearted snake. My babies’ cries have never really affected me emotionally. I can’t explain it. (For the record, if there is actually something wrong with my baby, then of course the crying makes me sad — I’m not that heartless.) My sweet husband is the one who is being tormented by the cries. I think it is good we are opposite in this regard — we keep each other balanced out.

I am hoping that Operation Cry-It-Out only takes a few days, and not the full week that the pediatrician predicts. I have to say, even though it’s not fun, I am so relieved we are finally doing this. Life is going to be better for everyone in the long run, even if this week is tough. In the meantime, I am baking “I’m so sorry my baby screams all night” cookies for my neighbors, which will be delivered with several pairs of earplugs!



This is an original post from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, http://www.svmoms.com. Jane Maynard also blogs at This Week for Dinner (http://www.thisweekfordinner.com/), where she cooks, eats and takes pretty pictures of food.