Monday, September 29, 2008

Being a mom who works outside the home full time is tough. My friends tell me that being a stay at home mom is also tough. Many women straddle them both by working either in or out of the home during non-traditional work hours. All of us moms face challenges no matter what our category. We are all the same - it's the challenges that are different.

There are days when I just want to give up working and trade it in - I want to stay home, if only to make my life's logistics easier. Tomorrow is a day off from school, and my usual child care provider is out of the country. Back up plans fell through, so I'm left making yet more arrangements. Would this be an issue if I stayed home full time, or worked non-traditional hours? Probably not.

But then I ask myself if that is the right decision, or just the emotionally right decision right now. Would it make logistics easier? Absolutely. Would my children be able to play more than one sport or activity at one time? Heck, yeah. Would I be able to volunteer more at church, the elementary school, or for some other cause? Probably. Would I be happy? Probably not.

I know me - and I know that staying home full time would only result in resentment years from now. I need to be away from my home and my kids and do the work I really like doing in order to be fulfilled. Without that, I could not be a good parent or a good wife because I would not be happy. And then there's the economic impact it would have on my family which, especially these days, is a frightening thought.

So I figure out my childcare situation, I only volunteer in the classroom for Halloween and Valentine's day (one party per kid), and participate in church when I can either go to evening meetings, or take my kids with me. My kids pick one sport/activity at a time, and usually only those that happen on weekends.

Mostly, I rely heavily on all of my friends - a lot of whom are SAHMs - to fill in the gaps when they can. Somehow, they always do. They offer help before I even ask. They don't get aggravated with me when I do ask, again! for help with transportation, child care, or anything else. I don't know how they do it.

Thank you friends. For you all, I'm incredibly grateful. You've taught me that it really does take a village.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have writer's block. Three blogs under my belt, and now I'm at a loss. I guess all I had on my mind that was dying to get out was how I had a self-revelation in Florida, how addicted I am to facebook, and that I'm a proud Jersey Girl. Nice. I always thought I was deeper than that.

I think I'm just too tired to think straight. I've been up too late this week writing those posts, watching TV, and chatting on Facebook. I've got a busy weekend ahead with Mark's elbow surgery, my son's 8th birthday party, his baseball game, my daughter's Irish Dance class, a friend's surprise birthday party, and a new dog that my daughter won't even be in the same zip code with.

So I'll turn off the computer early tonight, maybe watch the season premire of my favorite TV show Criminal Minds (Shermar Moore can profile me any day!) and then get some sleep.

Stay tuned; I'm sure after this weekend, I'll have lots to say...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jersey Girl

I've only recently totally embraced my identity as a Jersey Girl. Oh yes, back in the day the hair was sprayed with cans and cans of Aqua Net - I may be solely responsible for that hole in the ozone layer; I sported a gold "J" inital ring on my right index finger; and had an "Italian Princess" charm necklace thanks to an Aunt who indulged me (my parents would NEVER have bought that for me). Our family went "down the shore" in the summer, and my friends and I loved going to Great Adventure when we could. My favorite music was Billy Joel (NOT Jersey; I think I was somehow part Long Island Princess) and Bruce Springsteen - a native Jersey boy. I had a soft spot for anything Sinatra. But I wasn't into hair bands then - that was a little too "wild" for me. Regretfully, I didn't appreciate Jon Bon Jovi until much more recently.

When I moved out of Jersey for college, and summers during college, and then post-college to the DC area, I really didn't miss it. I have to admit that I was a little ashamed to be from NJ - it tends to be the armpit of the Tri-State area (Staten Island being a close second.) So I was glad to be able to establish an identity outside of what mall I shopped at and what exit I lived near. I was certainly glad to drop the "Joisy" accent that still subconciously creeps back when I spend any amount of time there. The hair is no longer permed and teased within an inch of it's life, the gold jewelry got pushed to the back of the jewelry box (the "J" ring was lost on a beach somewhere - thankfully!), and I really don't remember when I was last "down the shore."

But almost two years back, Jon Bon Jovi triggered my re-connection to Jersey, and now I wear my Jersey Girl identity on my sleeve. I saw him interviewed by Larry King late one night - ironically while staying at my mom's house in NJ - and developed a whole new appreciation for him. He is a ridiculously smart businessman, incredibly talented singer/songwriter, and quite cute (uh... understatement of the year; my husband reads this blog). And he's really proud of being from New Jersey. I now know the lyrics to most Bon Jovi songs, and I'm teaching them to my kids. My 5 year old daughter even wants to go to the next concert with me. And in case you missed it, this blog got its name from a Bon Jovi lyric.

I guess you can take the girl out of Jersey, but you'll never, ever take Jersey out of the girl. I have quite a few Jersey Girl friends here in Maryland and I think we all feel the same way. None of us really want to go back to live there (even I'll admit it still smells a lot) but we are proud of our Jersey Girl status. We'll always be Jersey Girls no matter where we live. And I guess we're so cool that we have at least one "wanna be a Jersey Girl" friend. We've given her "honorary" Jersey Girl status. Now if only we could get her an initial ring for her right index finger.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So as not to make my friend cry, I've decided to not write about anything serious today. Instead, I'll write about Facebook.

I've known about Facebook for quite sometime, due to an incredibly smart husband who knew what "social media" was and the power of it long before it was even invented. But only recently did I create my page and really start using it. And it's become an addiction. There's really no better description than that. Someone else's Facebook friend called it "Facecrack" and it's totally true in my case. Right up there with my daily Starbucks.

There are a few things that surprise me: first, I commuicate on there more with friends who I see more often than with friends I rarely see. I thought it would be opposite, but I guess it makes sense that even though I see them every day - or just about - I still have the most to say to them.

Second - the family I've reconnected with. We've had two family weddings this past spring and I was lucky to connect with two particuar cousins at my sister's that I hadn't seen in at least 10 years. We don't communicate every day, but we'll send each other virtual drinks, add to each other's sea gardens, or just shoot a quick comment to on occassion. I've learned so much more about another cousin, his new baby and his recent successful book tour that I MIGHT have heard about a few months from now after the next time my aunt talked to my mom - and my mom, much as I love her, would have gotten some detail wrong - like the book tour being in Paris instead of London. So I'm really happy to have the personal connection myself. And the encouragement to keep writing from an actual writer who enjoyed my first blog post. (So blame him if the rest suck!)

And finally - the most recent connections I've made are with a few friends from college. At first I felt unsure about opening all those doors again. I thought that if we were such good friends, why did we lose touch to begin with? And I'm such a different person now than I was back then. But connecting with two particular friends today was such a good experience, I really think I'm ready for more. Yes, I'm a different person than I was 15 years ago. But then, aren't we all??

So I'm sure I'll be even more and more addicted as time goes on. I'll talk to some friends more than others; send more flair, bumper stickers, and shots; take stupid quizzes; chat; share and tag pictures; brag about my husband and kids. And to all friends and family not (YET!) on Facebook, get on there and be my friend. I'm dying to know more about you.

One more thing... if anyone out there can feed, water and pet my virtual dog Brownie, please do so. I'll be too busy super-poking more and more friends.

Monday, September 22, 2008


My husband has had a blog (two actually) for quite some time. A good friend recently started one as well. So I thought it was now my turn. Not long ago when my son asked why I didn't have a blog, I told him I didn't have much to say. I realize that's not true - I have a lot to say, but the question is, I don't know who wants to hear it. I guess I'll find out.

There are four priorities in my life - my husband, my children, my friends and my family. I'm sure most of my posts will be about those subjects. This time, I'll start with my friends.

I had an amazing weekend with my friends. It was Moms Gone Wild 2 - a weekend we started when two close friends moved to Texas and Florida. I thought it would be all fun and games - drinking games actually. But when I returned home last year, when I was asked how the weekend was, all I could answer was: spiritual. Not in the religious sense, but in that my spirit was touched - deeply touched - by these 7 women of various ages, strengths, backgrounds. Our kids may all be in the same age range and the reason we know each other, but we each brought something different that weekend and each of them touched my life, my spirit, in ways I had never imagined.

I returned home this year with another, different revelation. I was again expecting fun and games - again, drinking games; I was again expecting to be spiritually touched, perhaps in different ways. But more importantly, I realized something about myself that I've probably always known. I'm the "responsible one" - I was like that when I was 10 years old, and I continue to be that way now. I took care of my siblings then, and I take care of my friends now (and my family of course, but that should go without saying!). It's who I was, who I am, and who I always will be.

Why is this a revelation? As I said, I've probably known, realized, been aware of this forever. But this weekend made me face it head on. It connects me, validates me, gives me purpose. I HAVE to take care of others - it's not what I do, it's who I am. I am the one who sits in the visitor chair and gets my hand squeezed when the doctor gives the prognosis. Yes, any of the other four strong women could and would have done that in a heartbeat. But I MUST be that person. Not because I think they can't, but because I can't not.

Thanks to my friends for teaching me this without even knowing it. I look forward to learning so much more from you than you'll ever know.