Friday, July 28, 2006


This just in -- there's a scientific reason why some kids don't eat their veggies. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found preschoolers with sensitive taste buds just can't stand the taste:

A new drug combination may offer hope to women who suffer repeat miscarriages:

And perhaps this should have been the headline -- Can you TRAIN your husband to keep his socks off the floor and remember to put the toilet seat down?

An essay published in the New York Times has garnered alot of attention and attracted some controversy by saying yes, you can. In researching a book on animal training, writer Amy Sutherland picked up some techniques that she tried at home -- not on her dog, but on her husband!

While I was watching an interview with Ms. Sutherland on TV this morning, my husband called out from the kitchen, "Don't even think of trying that on me!"

Happy reading and have a great weekend.

News Mom "V"

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Remember a couple of weeks ago (in “Mondays,” July 10) when I wrote (read: fantasized) how as working parents, all of our time with our kids can be fun time? Well, that little foray into LaLa Land is over.

This past weekend, we were home for the first time in almost a month. That meant errands to run, piles of laundry to tackle, cleaning to catch up on. Not much fun for us, the parents -- and pretty boring for the kids who had to sit around and wait for us while we did those chores.

On Saturday afternoon, my 3-year-old son woke up from his nap screaming, walked into the bathroom where I was taking a long-awaited shower and threw up on the floor. Poor little guy. His fever was nearly 102 and he didn’t sleep at all that night or the next – which meant I didn’t sleep at all either.

(And my husband and I cancelled our first planned dinner out with friends in MONTHS.)

Monday came and went. I barely survived. It was one of those days when everyone asks “What’s wrong?” or “Are you OK?”

I felt like I needed to make an announcement: “I didn’t get a blink of sleep and I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup -- that's why I look so terrible!”

Of course, not wearing makeup has become the norm for me since baby number two came along – and to think, I NEVER used to step out of the house without it. But something's got to give when your time is limited.

Tuesday came and I started to recover. Wednesday, I felt better and even put on some makeup!

Today, I’m finally feeling like myself again. No makeup -- but hey, my skin looks better since I stopped wearing it every day. And I don’t have to put on a pretty face to post an entry.

News Mom “V”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Today's news you can use:

Today Congress passed the "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act," named for the 6-year-old whose kidnapping and murder touched off a nationwide campaign to track and punish child molesters. President Bush plans to sign it into law Thursday. I thought you should know what it will do:
  • Establishes a national sex offender registry online. All 50 states now have them, but they are not coordinated, and they're not always up to date. This will be an Internet database available to the public and searchable by zip code, so you can see exactly who's living in your neighborhood. The bill creates penalties for convicted offenders who don't keep their information up to date. Shocking fact: According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 100-thousand convicted sex offenders are MISSING from existing databases!
  • Establishes a federal DNA database for sex offenders. In many states, sex offenders are already required to give DNA samples. This bill makes that requirement a federal law. The samples will be entered in a national database to make it easier to compare cases and find or rule out suspects when a child has been harmed.
  • Eliminates "electronic privacy" for sex offenders. They'd have to make computers and other data storage devices immediately available for search by police without a warrant at any time. I'm curious if the ACLU has or will weigh in on that.
  • Establishes mandatory minimum sentences for a number of sex offenses involving children. For example, a minimum 30 years for rape of a child. Up to 20 years for selling date rape drugs online. Up to 20 years for using misleading words to lure children to pornographic web sites (remember And 10 years for transporting children across state lines to molest them.

There are concerns about that last provision. Technically, an 18-year-old who lives in Maryland and takes his 17-year-old girlfriend to a friend's house in Virginia to have consensual sex with her, could get 10 years behind bars. Supporters say that's not the intent and prosecutors shouldn't use the law that way. But opponents are concerned. that it could happen, and that the punishment is way too harsh. As one lawmaker put it: "Prom season in the Maryland-DC-Virginia area could have nightmarish consequences."

Another concern: is this yet another law with no teeth? Though the penalties are harsh, the offenses to which they apply are generally state offenses, not federal crimes.

Finally, this is interesting: the bill provides federal money for states to run three-year pilot programs using GPS technology.

John Walsh, Adam's father and "America's Most Wanted" host, plans to be on hand when President Bush signs the bill Thursday.

Now let's hope they put it into action.


Monday, July 24, 2006


As a journalist, my job is to expose. As a mother, my instinct is to protect. My two roles often crash into conflict when it comes to my children and the day's news.

As a rule, I don't let my two- and five-year olds watch the news. In fact, I don't let them watch much TV at all beyond a few shows on Noggin and PBS. My attitude about that has completely changed. BEFORE having kids, I always vowed to have them reading a daily newspaper by first grade. I wanted them to be well-informed.

All that changed when I saw those little innocent faces.

My heart yearns to protect them from the very images I broadcast to the world each day. I cringe when my daughter occasionally catches a glimpse of the news and says: "Mommy, somebody got hurt" or "Mommy, that's a gun." During the Michael Jackson trial (she must've heard about it at school) she asked: "Why do people think he's bad?' I was SO not prepared to explain those issues to her!

But how long can we really protect our little ones from reality? How long should we?

My middle child is headed to kindergarten in a month, and I'm bracing for all the ideas, language and behaviors she'll be exposed to -- things I can't control. I guess we'll both do some growing up. Clearly I don't want to shield her from reality forever -- nor do I want to. But as a mom, I'm starting to think about how we'll address these issues as they occur.

Back to news. There are some current events that I think children could benefit from understanding. Immigration reform, for example (a topic we covered today). What a great lesson to teach kids about cultures, differences, laws and responsibility.

Unfortunately, at 6 tonight that story will be buried beneath the day's worst shootings, car accidents and sex crimes -- and I'm just not ready to make all that a part of my children's world.

News Mom "T"

Friday, July 21, 2006


Our week:
It was another frenetic week at work for the News Moms – one that found us staying later than usual and had us rushing home to feed the kids and put them to bed. I almost missed my baby’s bedtime one evening -- but fortunately, my husband was too occupied with my 3-year-old son to put her to sleep!

If you’re interested – this week we covered the embryonic stem cell debate in Congress, which led to President Bush’s first-ever veto; and we did a story on the President’s first-ever appearance before the NAACP’s national convention.

Today, we file on American citizens evacuated from Lebanon and their return to the U.S.

If you’ve been watching coverage of the conflict in the Middle East, as a parent I’m sure you’ll agree that the most disturbing visuals are those of injured children.

Watching a baby whose face was riddled with what looked like debris from an explosion cry out in pain this morning moved me to tears. There’s something about a child’s cry that stirs up a universal feeling of heartache in parents. I say PARENTS rather than MOTHERS because I saw a male anchor (who I know has three young children) visibly moved as he watched the same story.

Your comments:
We hope our entries spark conversation between you and your friends or colleagues -- because your comments certainly initiated conversations here on our end.

In response to “Feeling Judged as a Parent” (Tuesday, July 18), “Anonymous” wrote of an experience at the aquarium when she grabbed her escaping 3-year-old only to hear her scream, “Mommy you’re hurting me!” “T” and I sympathized and laughed simultaneously, because who as a mom hasn’t been in a similar situation – grocery store, park, anywhere really – when your child has done something that left you red-faced and mortified?

I must admit -- before having children -- I did wonder why those mothers at the grocery store with three unruly kids hanging out of their cart, yelling and tipping over cereal boxes -- couldn’t control their little ones better. Oh, how times have changed.

“L” responded to the same entry by saying that although she doesn’t like “mother-judgers” she does learn from watching other moms who may be more experienced than she is.

Along that vein, “K” responded to an entry from News Mom “T” (“Why Do We Do It?,” Tuesday, July 11), suggesting that “T” missed an opportunity to teach her son that he shouldn’t make a mess of his sister’s cassette tape. “T” agreed that in hindsight, that would have been a better option.

In short -- we found these comments (and ones from previous weeks) to be funny, informative and thought-provoking…and we hope you’ll continue sharing your thoughts.

Friday Mommy News:
Everyone said it was an old wives’ tale – but a new study from Malaysia shows that having sex close to your due date may in fact induce labor:

No more birth control pills? The FDA has approved an implantable rod that can stay in your upper arm for up to three years:

And finally – a useful link you may want to bookmark and check periodically: The Consumer Product Safety Commission website informs you on all the latest recalls—including toys. The most recent recall is on a chair/sofa bed from IKEA with a locking mechanism problem that resulted in one fingertip amputation.

Not a very pleasant note to leave you on, I know.

News Mom “V”

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Yesterday my younger sister said: "I think you're such a "together mom." I laughed and thought: how easily we can deceive! :) As any woman knows, we often don't feel inside like the person the world sees outside.

She explained that I often seem so certain about my choices and decisions. Clearly I' m not, but I thought that over. And I realized that over the years -- despite my shortcomings -- I have developed a better sense of who I am and what I want.

There are things that I'm passionate about... knowledgeable about... and good at -- things that developed over time. I also realize that I have plenty left to learn and correct. As they say, "you're never as smart as your mother."

But it does feel good to get to a point in life where you have a reasonable degree of confidence in yourself. For me, I attribute that to God (He's first for me) and a really supportive and loving family who keep me going.

I realize not everyone's blessed to have that. I encourage women who don't, to support yourself. Recognize that there's something unique about you. Something good. Something beautiful. Something creative. Something wonderful! Something another woman can admire.

Find that thing that makes you feel good about yourself, and pursue it. It will help you build confidence.

If you're young, enjoy your youth and relish your experiences. Immerse yourself in them. Learn from them. They are shaping the woman you will become. And don't be in a hurry -- it takes time.

If you're older, draw joy from your accomplisments: the husbands you supported, the children you raised, the home you created, the career at which you excelled, the church or community groups you supported, the people you uplifted, and most importantly, the challenges you overcame.

And please don't forget to share your pearls of wisdom with those of us following in your path. We may not always say it, but we appreciate each and every one.

News Mom "T"


Hi friends --

What a week! I've missed blogging, and there are so many things I've wanted to chat about -- like the "O" words. (Not Oprah.)

They are two of the scariest words in the English language: "overweight"... and its cousin "obese."

This week a Harvard University researcher reported that girls who are overweight or obese when they turn 18 are 66% more likely to die early as adults. And since the government adjusted weight charts downward several years ago, many more of us are finding ourselves slipping into those dreaded categories.

The major causes of death were heart disease and cancer. But there's even a higher rate of suicide among those of us who are tipping the scales.

For me, it's personal. Just this week our family doctor warned us we need to exercise more. The federal government recommends an hour a day just to MAINTAIN a healthy weight. Clearly that goes hand in hand with a healthy diet.

"V" blogged about feeling judged as a parent, and I must admit, I've been on both sides of that coin. While I try to shove as many fruits and veggies down my kids throats as possible, I sometimes heed the call of the Happy Meal. In fact, my two-year-old son can't pass a Chick fil A without screaming "nuggets!"

What's ironic:

In doing the teen obesity story, the delightful (and slim) young lady I interviewed said her doctor told her to avoid snacking on sodium-laden Lunchables. So after interviewing her, going across town to interview a doctor, then rushing back to meet an early deadline -- guess what I ended up grabbing for a late lunch? (It was ham and swiss).

I want to eat better. I want to exercise more. But too often desire loses out to convenience.

I need to go back and re-read "Guilt Be Gone."

Then maybe I'll eat a salad and go jogging. :)


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Do you ever feel as if someone -- friend, relative, co-worker -- is judging you as a parent?

Someone who doesn’t buy frozen food for their children when your freezer is stocked with chicken nuggets, french fries and pizza?

Someone whose child eats broccoli with gusto when the closest thing you can get to a fruit or vegetable inside your toddler is the peach flavoring in their yogurt?

Someone whose little angel is in bed by seven o'clock every night when you’re happy if your kid goes down before 10:00pm?

As you may have picked up, I recently felt judged. And what was more of an affront was not the action over which I was being judged, but the fact that this fellow mother would judge me.

Being a parent is hard enough without having to do it under a microscope.

I do my share of stressing over my kids’ nutrition, their tantrums (are they MY fault?), their ear infections (are they also my fault?)…but I know that I am the best mother I can be to the kids I have. NOONE is perfect in every way as a parent, just as not every 3-year-old will eat broccoli and salmon and go to bed at 7:00pm.

To those who sometimes feel judged: Don’t let it get to you. You know what’s right for your family and for your children. And if you’ve got faults, I’m sure you’re the first to acknowledge them.

To those who are tempted to judge: Parenting is not a perfect science and cannot always be done by the book. In the course of raising your kids, you’ll come across your own bumps in the road – and most likely, the mothers you were judging will be the ones who can offer you the best advice.

(Whew...I'm glad I got THAT out of my system!)

News Mom “V”

Friday, July 14, 2006


It's been a busy week at work for the News Moms...with the escalation of violence in the Middle East, and the announcement from Valerie Plame Wilson that she is suing Vice President Cheney and others at the White House for revealing her identity to columnist Robert Novak.

These stories have been our primary focus here in the newsroom, and since the 24-hour news channels have had wall to wall coverage, I'm sure you're up-to-date with what's going on as well.

Today, though, I wanted to share some links for other news -- let's call it "mommy-related" news that I might make a regular Friday posting if there's interest.

*First the good news:
The makers of a new chocolate bar say it cures PMS symptoms. Somebody pinch me! I'm definitely going to hunt this down.

*Then the bad:
Working long hours is dangerous to women's health because when we work long hours we eat more high fat food, drink more caffeine, exercise less and smoke more (if you're a smoker.) According to the British study, men are not negatively impacted in the same way.

This describes me! When I'm working late, I make too many trips to the vending machine, have take-out pizza for dinner and drink a whole lot of diet soda. I won't lie and say I get less exercise than I normally do --because I don't normally get enough exercise to begin with!

*And the useful:
According to Canadian researchers, making TV and video game time a reward for exercising is effective in getting overweight children off the couch and onto the ball field.

And if you're pregnant and haven't yet read Tuesday's post by News Mom "T" -- make sure you take a look. She gives you some important information about newborn screening.

One final note:

Thank you to the fellow moms who've responded to our invitation to be our test readers. We appreciate the feedback you've given us. Please keep reading -- and if you can, post your thoughts on our daily entries right here on the News Moms site.

Have a wonderful weekend.

News Mom "V"

Thursday, July 13, 2006


For a few years now, I've been on a one-woman crusade for better customer service. And I'm big on personal boycotts. If I walk into a nearly-empty store and three clerks are too busy chatting to greet me, I take my wallet and walk right out. If I have a bad experience with a service or product and the store doesn't try to fix it, I shop elsewhere. I've written letters, confronted managers and even gone out of my way to shop at a (slightly) more expensive store, just to make the point: customer service matters!

Here's my theory: when I spend $20 for an item that cost the store just $5 to produce and ship, I've paid not only for my blouse, but for a smile and a reasonably intelligent person to help me. Anything less and I feel I've been ripped off.

Poll after poll show that consumers are dissatisfied with the level of service they receive. Nearly every one has a story, and nearly every industry is affected. Just this week, released a poll that shows a third of consumers have moved their bank accounts -- not to get better rates -- but because they were dissatisfied with customer service.

So merchants, listen up: I've already paid for excellent customer service, in those huge markups. So GIVE IT TO ME!!!

But more often than not, I find substandard products and employees who couldn't care less about helping a customer. I used to be a bargain shopper, but now I find myself becoming "brand-loyal" -- because once I find a brand I like or a store that cares, it's worth my time and the extra pennies I may spend to avoid the hassle.

Speaking of hassle, these days I find myself as much of a troubleshooter as an advocate. Just this week:

  • I wrote a merchant who shared my personal information with a third party that resulted in me being signed up for a $60/month service I didn't ask for.
  • I'm soliciting help from my son's asthma specialist to fight my HOA, which wants us to remove the window air unit that cools his room.
  • I'm finally going to pay a doctor bill that was whittled down from $250 to $6 after months of back and forth with the insurance company that didn't pay it properly in the first place.

It seems I'm spending more and more time dealing with matters that could have been solved up front if companies were more efficient and employees were more focused on doing their jobs well. Is it because they're not paid well enough, so they don't care? Are workers no longer loyal to their companies because the companies are no longer loyal to them?

I've often thought that once I leave the news business, I'd love to become a "professional troubleshooter," helping people who don't have the know-how or resources to take care of such annoying problems. What do you think, ladies?

News Mom "T"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I'm roughly a month late reacting to this (as you know, extracurricular reading is difficult when you've got little ones) -- but if you get a chance, read the article in last month's issue of Rolling Stone magazine entitled "Sex and Scandal at Duke." And breathe easy; the story is NOT about the alleged rape involving members of the Duke lacrosse team.

Here's the link:

The story IS about the culture of sex at the school.

Promising university students Sarah, Naomi, Anna (not their real names) and others give Rolling Stone reporter Janet Reitman a peek at their lives. They strive to have it all -- perfect grades, perfect bodies, perfect clothes and an active social (and sex) life.

You've got to hand it to them...their balancing act is pretty good: classes, studying, working out and partying into the wee hours of the night. I went to class, and did my share of partying in college -- but the working out and looking perfect part pretty much went out the window.

What's disconcerting -- and disappointing -- is the girls' lack of self-respect when it comes to their relationships with boys.

These girls -- former high school class presidents, sports stars and honor students -- say they'll "hook up" with a popular lacrosse player or fraternity boy, knowing the boy may very well be having sex with several other girls that night... in hopes of being invited to a formal or the next frat party.

There's more...but I'll let you read it and form your own opinions. One line that really struck me came from "Allison" -- she said that if her mother knew of how she behaved, she'd "smack me across the face... because I was not brought up in that kind of environment."

If you're a parent with children in college or nearing college, you'll probably have some strong emotions after reading this. I think it’s worth showing your children and talking to them about it. Not just girls, but boys too. Because self-respect goes hand in hand with respecting others.

I'm anxious to hear your comments.

News Mom "V"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


One of the things I like about blogging is the chance to share with other parents some of the really important info about our kids that crosses my desk daily.

This one's near the top of the list.

When my children were born, I never thought to ask if they'd be screened for birth defects. I assumed the hospital's routine tests would detect any problems.

Boy was I wrong.

I've since found out it depends on where you live. Each state decides which of 29 newborn screening tests are required. Until this year, some states tested for just a few.

Today the March of Dimes reported good news and bad news about newborn screening. The good news is that since new guidelines came out from the medical community last year, many states have expanded their screening programs. The MOD says twice as many babies are being tested than just a year ago! Five states (Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia) plus the District of Columbia test for all 29 disorders. Most other states have expanded their screening programs and now test for more than 20 of the 29 disorders.

But the bad -- and perhaps tragic -- news for parents is, there are still 8 states in the U.S. that test for fewer than 10 of these conditions. To find out where your state stands, check the with March of Dimes ( or the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center (

Here's why it's a big deal:

This week I had the chance to talk with a mother whose beautiful baby girl died in her sleep the day she came home from the hospital. An autopsy later revealed she had a rare metabolic condition that could've been managed through diet and supplements. Both parents were carriers and had no idea -- neither had a family history of this rare disease.

Admirably, she and other parents fought successfully to change the law in their state. But the fact remains, it's up to YOU to ask about it.

Here's more good news:

If you live in a state that doesn't test for all 29 disorders, YOU can have it done yourself. The tests for all 29 only costs about $100 and may be covered by insurance.

What a small price to pay for our children's health.

News Mom "T"


It's 1am, and I just finished unraveling about 50 feet of tape that my two-year-old son thought would be fun to pull out of my 5-year-old daughter's favorite cassette.

He did it this morning as I was rushing out the door. I set the tape aside to deal with later.

MUCH later -- after the kids were fast asleep -- I saw the tape on my nightstand. I really didn't have the energy to deal with it. I'd had a busy evening: a hospital visit, dinner, a bedtime story. I helped my cousin write a grant proposal then I stayed up late to watch a really corny movie that my 17-year-old had been dying to see with me. (I'd already put it off once.)

Finally, around midnight, I headed to bed. On the way I ran across dishes (not quite done)... laundry (I added a new load)... and the kids' work desk christened in Elmer's glue (I cleaned it.)

After tidying the den... putting away schoolwork... reorganizing the kids' shoes thrown in the closet... and replacing missing pieces to the play mat on the deck (I finally found them!).... I was ready to get some shut-eye.

That's when I saw the cassette lying by my bed. I almost left it there. Then I remembered: it's my daughter's favorite.

So here I am, at 1am, unraveling the twists and turns in the tape. It reminded me of all the twists and turns in my day: the low points (I left my wallet at home) and the high points (my daughter called VERY excited about her first day in college). As I worked out all the kinks and things slowly started to fall into place, the tape reminded me of my day -- a lot of twists and turns that ended up stored neatly in one little package.

Still at 1am, I sat there, winding and winding, wondering "WHY am I doing this?"

Then the answer came to me:

Tomorrow night, when my daughter falls asleep with that little half-smile on her face as she listens to her favorite story, the extra 15 minutes I stayed up will have been forgotten --

but the memory of her sweet, sleeping face will stay with me forever.

Goodnight. :)


Monday, July 10, 2006


It’s Monday. The day, each week, my 3-year-old wakes up and says, “I’m not going to school today, right?”

It's difficult, as any working parent knows, to drop the kids off at daycare after a great weekend. Hard to hear “I don’t want to go to school today” from a little guy who isn’t even in “real” school yet -- and sometimes tear-wrenching to hand your baby over to her caretaker when she’s digging her fingernails into your arms and hanging on for dear life. (OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic.)

We did have a really nice weekend. At the grandparents’ house on the bay, we swam in the pool, took a lovely boat ride and went on after-dinner searches for bunny rabbits and fireflies.

I understand why the kids didn’t want the weekend to end. Neither did I.

I normally come to terms with Mondays by telling myself that I enjoy working (which I do) and that the kids’ socialization is important (which it is.)

Saturday night though, as my son gleefully shrieked at the sight of a bunny rabbit, I had a sort of epiphany: weekends are not EVERY DAY.

What I mean by that is that weekends are especially fun – and special. You get lots of attention from BOTH parents and often, grandparents. You see cousins. You see movies. You eat ice cream -- and if you’re at your grandparent’s house, you get to eat it 3 times a day!

If we were home together all week, we wouldn’t have boats, and swimming pools, and bunny rabbits and excessive amounts of ice cream EVERY DAY. In fact, the kids would probably get bored with me.

I’m sure stay-at-home parents will agree, it’s impossible to offer your kids that level of activity and entertainment each day of the week.

But, as working parents, all of our time with our kids can be fun time – parks, movies and weekends with the grandparents. And knowing that makes it a little easier to say goodbye on Mondays.

That’s my rationalization, and I’m sticking to it. (So please, no defensive comments from my stay-at-home mommy friends!)

Have a good week.

News Mom V.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I was just reading an interesting article by Dr. Gail Saltz about women who feel their husbands lavish more attention on their kids than their wives. Though it wasn't the focus of the article, what caught my attention was how we women harbor our feelings and then feel GUILTY about it.

It reminded me about a book I read recently: "Help Wanted for Busy Moms" by Barbara Mang. She encourages Christian mothers by sharing memorable experiences and passing on practical tips (including quick dinner recipes!). But her major theme is LETTING GO OF GUILT. I was so inspired that I resolved to make a real effort to do just that.

So here goes:

NO MORE GUILT about having a slow day at work when I know there's a pile of laundry waiting at home. It's not going anywhere. Plus, no one pays me to do laundry!

NO MORE GUILT about being off work on a big breaking news day (how frustrating!) I figure it's God's way of paying me back for all the overnights, overtime, 48-hours shifts over the years.
NO MORE GUILT about feeding the kids a Happy Meal for dinner sometimes. It's not like they've never had a vegetable. And the doctor says they're perfectly healthy.

NO MORE GUILT about shopping for ME instead of the kids. Their closets and toyboxes are overflowing. And as my DH (dear husband) often points out, a person who works hard should enjoy the fruits of their labor. Life is too short not to.

And finally (the big one):

NO MORE GUILT about not spending enough time with my kids! As hubby often points out, "Mommy!!!" seems to be their favorite word, so I must be doing something right.

A great story about that:

As my colleague "V" will attest, I'm always buying learning toys for my preschoolers. My mom calls it "guilt spending" in lieu of quality time ("They don't need a LeapPad -- they need you and a book!"). As much as I hate to admit it, I think she's partially right. So I'm trying to seize more "teachable moments." Lately, they've happened in the car on the way to and from child care.

Yesterday I taught my 5-year-old the names of the 7 continents and she recited them for Grannie the next day. I was proud that she learned it from ME, not some brightly-colored machine.



Thursday, July 06, 2006


I couldn’t help but laugh out loud (yes, in the newsroom -- although I don’t think anyone noticed) when I read my colleague’s post.

"T" urged you to "stop and smell the roses" even though -- if you’re like the two of us -- you seem to always be running late getting the kids out the door, and consequently, getting yourself to work.

Mostly I laughed because I imagined our boss reading that "T" is taking the time to smell the roses when she's admittedly tardy...but I also laughed because I can relate.

Just this morning, I had a "stop and smell the fresh breath" moment with my three year old son, who normally needs a whole lot of poking and prodding (and sometimes forceful lifting) to get him up from his morning cartoons -- never mind getting him to brush his teeth before school!

Today, after I'd gotten him dressed -- a feat I accomplished while he was sitting on the sofa stuffing Cheerios in his mouth and watching TV-- and after we'd packed lunches, gotten shoes on, and opened the front door -- he disappeared.

"Where are you?" we called.

"I'm getting my tootbrush," he yelled from upstairs. "We forgot to brush my teeth!" (This kid NEVER remembers to brush his teeth on his own.)

He walked down with a proud smile, toothbrush and toothpaste in hand. I took a minute to brush his teeth, making sure I did a thorough job, even though we were late.

And then I kissed him goodbye -- which was all the sweeter because his breath smelled fresh!

So you see, "T" may have her roses, but I have my son's fresh breath.

It's all the same though, and that's the whole point of our musings.

We hope you see yourself in us and know you're not alone. And we hope you too will be able to laugh at yourself - even if you do get to work a few minutes late, only to discover you've missed the morning meeting AGAIN because those roses were calling your name.

News Mom "V"


As any parent knows, morning life with little ones can never be as normal as the self-help books describe. This morning was no exception. The best-laid plans to get up and get out can fall apart with one morning meltdown. "Mom, he's got more Cheerios than I do!" suddenly becomes World War III as Sergeant Mom rushes her soldiers toward the car, keenly aware of the sound of her manager's (real or imagined) foot tapping at the office door. She's late again.

Did I just describe your morning?

I'm not knocking the experts' advice. It's helpful: lay out clothes the night before, pour cereal, prepare the backpacks. But today's adventure reminded me that the BEST advice I ever got came from my own mother:

* Encourage independence - After leaving my 3-year-old with Grannie one day, I was shocked to discover all the things she'd been hiding from me!! She could put on her own clothes. She could make her bed (sort of). She could take off all her barrettes in preparation for the daily hair battle (I mean, styling). In the rush of making sure everything got done, I'd missed the fact that I didn't have to do it all myself. Thankfully, Grannie's eye was keener than my own. So now, I encourage my 2-year-old to put on his OWN socks. It takes more time at first, but in the long run, you'll appreciate that extra 5 minutes in the shower while they're tying their own shoes and pouring their own cereal!!!

* Enlist a helper - One day I had an epiphany: "If she can squeeze her own toothpaste, she can do her brother's, too!" At that age, they LOVE to feel useful. So now nearly every day, little brother's toothbrush is properly "pasted" and ready to go when I bring him in for the morning dip! Laying out out clothes, helping with hair, readying backpacks -- all great jobs for the eager older sibling. (Unless, of course, you followed the experts' advice and did it all the night BEFORE. Yeah, right.)

* Slow down - You're already running late, so taking 30 seconds to let the kids "wander" past the flowers to the car (instead of forcing the 'march to the minivan') won't really make it any worse. What it WILL do is make for happier kids and a less guilty working Mom. Why? Because while you're at work, pining over the fact that you're not at home with your children, you can remind yourself all day that you actually DID take time to let them stop and smell the roses!

P.S. I'm still working on this one! ;-)