Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just another fun day at work....

Today marks one year that I've been at my job full-time. I worked for them part-time for a couple of years beforehand. Anyway, this is a typical day with them...full of fun activities and juggling. It's not "easy" but the rewards of being a part of their lives cannot even begin to be measured. I'm so blessed. Seriously.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The promised little rant.....

If I had a dollar for every time some well-meaning mother said to me "I know you think raising kids is easy, but when you have your own it's totally different than what you do in your job"... I would be a millionaire. I love how some (notice I said some, not ALL) mothers try to make themselves feel better by saying this instead of just admitting they're struggling and need to do things differently (ie: put their child on a schedule, manage their time better, let the house be a little messy on some days, stop obsessing over their child's outfit matching perfectly, etc.).

If I were a high school babysitter who showed up at 6:45 PM each evening and colored two pictures with one child that had already been fed and bathed and in their PJ's, and then put them in bed and proceeded to watch TV for the rest of the evening, moms would have the right make that statement to me.

However, I am most certainly NOT a babysitter. I am a governess/household manager. In layman's terms.. I am a stay at home mom who is paid a salary and believe me, I earn every cent.

Here's a typical day....

I walk into the house between 7:40-7:45 AM if I haven't spent the night (which I do quite frequently). I get F up, direct him to get himself dressed and make his own bed, and start preparing breakfast for him while packing his lunch and snack for school. Somewhere in there, I'm also making E's breakfast and Baby S's breakfast. If the dishwasher is clean, I'm emptying that and putting it away where it belongs. After the food is ready, I grab S, give him his bottle with meds, and then head to get E up and out of bed and dressed for the day. Then it's breakfast time for her and Baby S, and I'm running around the kitchen making sure F's lunch gets put into his backpack along with any notes/forms/checks, etc that need to be sent to school with him. F finishes breakfast, we wash his hands and face, I give him his inhaler treatment, and we go through brushing teeth and hair. F leaves for school courtesy of carpool most mornings, but some mornings I pack all three kids up in the car and take him myself, breakfast is over, and the kitchen is tidied up and countertops/kids' eating areas wiped down.

I'll start the laundry if it needs to be done at some point and rotate it throughout the day, fold it, put it away, etc. Depending on nap schedules for the younger two, we may head to the grocery store or to run errands for household supplies (Target, dry cleaning, CVS, Blockbuster, you name it). I keep a running list during the week of what we need or are getting low on. Naps commence - and I busy myself with projects that need to be done - sometimes the kids outgrow clothes and the clothes need to be put into the age appropriate storage boxes in one of the two attics in the house. Or the playroom needs to be reorganized. There is always something that needs to be done. Oh, and my employers never tell me what needs to be done. I basically run the house my way and everything is always kept neat and organized. I am never told what needs to be done...because it's done before they can even give it a thought.

The mail comes and I go out and get it and sort it. I pull any of the kids' health insurance or medical bills and make sure the bills match up with our insurance statements. If they do, I write the checks from my joint account with the parents, sign them, and mail them. If they don't, it requires a phone call to the billing department to fix the error. (Tell me what "babysitter" does this, I dare you...) The rest of the mail waits for another free moment during the day and is all opened and filed away appropriately...any of the bills that aren't paid automatically have checks written for them and are mailed out. Lunchtime for kids.... Baby S gets homemade baby food (yes, I make this for him also in large batches every two weeks - which was also completely my idea, I had to convince his mom that it was best for him), and E gets a typical toddler lunch. Kitchen is straightened up again, playtime, and either F is dropped off by carpool or we all go get him from school. Afternoon activities vary...we might head to the Zoo, Aquarium, park, Children's Museum, playdate, etc. Just depends on the day. Home for naps, and F and I do a special project of some sort. Baking, art, or outside to play a game of baseball or soccer.

Afternoon naps end, and dinner starts cooking for the kids.... menu changes nightly - I plan it, so whatever I want to make for them. I do everything from macaroni and cheese (from scratch, not from the box!) to chicken and vegetables. I'm not a fan of nuggets and fish sticks with french fries and make an effort to actually cook a healthy meal for F. After dinner, kitchen is cleaned again (the kitchen is ALWAYS clean in any house that I am present in... it's kind of my "thing") and bathtime starts. Baths, teeth/hair brushed, PJ's on, and then playtime... then clean up.... more often than not, I put the children to bed as well. Baby S gets his nighttime dose of medication. At the end of the day I do a house walk through to make sure everything is in its place and ready for the next day if I'm going home that night. If I'm not going home that night, I still do the walk through but try to get to bed early since I might be up during the night with one or more of the kids, and definitely will be up at 6 AM or so to start the day over again when Baby S wakes up.

What's that you say? Oh, yes I DO take the children to the pediatrician and dentist. I schedule all of their vaccinations and well visits. I also write the checks for any visits we make. I fill the prescriptions and make sure they're refilled before we run out. I've dealt with seizures, stitches for head injuries and other areas, broken bones, CPR, the Heimlich, croup, and the flu. I discipline F as necessary and appropriate, and yes... that includes spanking. I also take them to get their hair cut if I notice it's getting a little long, and I buy them clothing and shoes in the appropriate size as needed. I research all the summer camp options and select the camps, fill out the paperwork, and register for them and make sure the balances are paid by their due dates so we don't get dropped from the roster. I sign F up for all of his extracurricular activities that I also research and select by myself and will do the same for E when she's a little older. I also have two part-time nannies who work for me so that I can get F to his sports practices or run more intensive errands without the children. I also travel with the family frequently, and move in for a couple of weeks at a time if their parents have to be out of town. I work, on average 100 hours per week, so no, I don't "get weekends off". I can't remember the last time I slept in on a weekend, because I'm usually at work. I do all of the above in addition to managing my own life and having a husband who needs my attention too, so even when I do have "free" time it is spent managing my own life (laundry, grocery shopping, errands), not sitting poolside sipping a frozen pina colada.

So, no, sorry to all those "justifying" moms... what I do on a daily basis is NOT any different than what you do, no matter how much you want to believe it is. Here's the difference: I get paid to do my job, and you don't. I take care of children that aren't mine and that I didn't carry for nine months and love more than I love myself. (although I do love my kids and put them first, it is NOT the same as the love you have for YOUR children). You have one of the BEST jobs in the world... you take care of children who are YOURS. I don't do that yet... I don't know when or if I ever will have that privilege but you can bet that I will do things the exact same way that I do now if that day ever comes! And you know what? It'll be a heck of a lot EASIER than what I do now... sorry if that offends some of you moms, but it's the truth. I know that I'll be doing everything that I do now, but I'll be doing it out of love for my precious children, and I'll be able to do things exactly the way I would do them....without having to think about anyone else but my own family.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cupcakes, birthday parties, etc

F's 5th birthday is today, and Baby S is 7 months old today! This morning I made F chocolate chip pancakes and gave him a Darth Vader light saber that lights up and makes the electronic humming noises when you slice it through the air. He absolutely loves it. The above photo is of the cupcakes that we finished yesterday. I baked them all on Sunday, and when F and I came home from school, I set to work frosting the cupcakes with a 1M tip. F took care of sprinkling on the sprinkles and placing the Darth Vader and Stormtrooper rings in the middle of each one. His parents took them to school this morning and the kids went nutso over them. Apparently, so did the teachers and other adults in the classroom. I knew they would, because the cupcakes are amazingly good. Meringue powder will help with that! I had forgotten how much I loved to work with icing until yesterday.... can't wait to make the cake for F's party this weekend!

F's mom decided at the last minute she wanted to have a birthday party for him, and since it seems to fall to me to make things happen....even the "impossible" I pulled everything together and we're set for his party at a local rock climbing gym this weekend. I am actually going to make the cake for his party as well... if they thought the cupcakes were good, WAIT until they taste the cake. I tort the layers, fill it with chocolate pudding and liberally cover it with buttercream. We'll have red candles on it and a Darth Vader mask. F has sensitivities to dye, so the mask is the best solution... he can wash it off and keep it for dress up play with his new light saber. Must get the goody bags done this week too... the theme, of course, is Star Wars.

I am very much looking forward to Memorial Day weekend... I am desperately in need of a vacation and no agenda! I have a little "rant" post coming up.... so be prepared for that!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Things that go bump in the night....

Even though I knew that the alarm went off yesterday due to E throwing her pail into the empty bathtub, causing a loud clatter which results in the "shatter sensor" setting off I will still a little bit on edge when I went to sleep.

Maybe I have watched too many Lifetime movies over the course of my life....or maybe I just have a vivid imagination. I know I definitely watch WAY too many "Cold Case Files" and "Law and Order: SVU" episodes...

I ended up not going to sleep right away last night because I found that I wasn't THAT tired. So I used the time to catch up on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice ( is great). After I finished those, I did another welfare check on all the kids and went to sleep. Around 2 AM there was an extremely LOUD crash. Has your heart ever started pounding so hard that it literally hurt your chest? Almost like it was trying to claw its way out of your chest and flee from the perceived danger? Yeah, that was my heart when that crash happened. I froze in the bed thinking to myself, "Breathe, Wilkie, BREATHE!" When I worked up the nerve, I sat up in bed (while fervently hoping I wasn't going to find an intruder standing above me and formulating a plan to fight back while protecting the kids if there was) and realized that one of the curtains had fallen down. Whew. Heart was still hammering to the point that it was ridiculous.

It still took me about an hour to fall asleep again.

On the more positive side, Baby S slept through the night from 7:45 PM to 4:30 AM. I gave him a bottle at 4:30 and he went right back to sleep, so I was able to sleep until almost 8 AM. Pretty nice, especially considering that I am usually awake at 7:25, so it was almost like sleeping in a little bit.


It's now 3:45 and I am sitting down for a moment. I'd love to take a nap but the kids will be up soon so there's no point. I'll just go to bed early (for real this time!) tonight. I spent their naptime making baby food for Baby S. We now have sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and pea baby food freezing in ice cube containers. Tomorrow I'll pop them out of the containers and put them into labeled ziploc bags. 2 cubes are equivalent to 1/4 of a cup of baby food, and we're up to about 4 cubes per day now. F and I also made some buttercream icing for his cupcakes that he's taking to school on Tuesday for his 5th birthday. He wanted Star Wars cupcakes, so I ordered some molded plastic rings with Darth Vader and stormtroopers. After I pipe on the icing, F will sprinkle them liberally with chocolate sprinkles and then stick a ring into the center of each one. I'm sure they'll be a hit. It's been a while since I've whipped up a batch of buttercream. I remember making it all the time a few years ago after I earned my Wilton Cake decorating certificate. Haven't done a full-on cake in a while, but the cupcakes will be fun. Unfortunately, the buttercream we made won't nearly be enough, so I'll have to make some more tomorrow to add to what we made today. We'll definitely bake the cupcakes tomorrow during naptime as a special project.

Ethan is coming over after he finishes studying (finals are next week) and spending the night. I'll feel a lot better having a man with a gun sleeping next to me after all the excitement of yesterday and last night! We're ordering Mellow Mushroom and it'll be fun to just chill with my husband.