Random thoughts: using good judgment

As working mothers we hope that we are always using good judgment in the decisions that we make – and the implications to our family in the short and long term.

As you know, I’ve made some recent decisions in my own life that have forever changed how I lead my life – and these changes will obviously have an impact on me and the kids in the shorter as well as longer term. I can only hope that I used good judgment when I had the ability to make a choice.  For example, scaling back at work, settling in a new community, trying to right-side my life on my terms…. All difficult choices that, at the time, were based upon critical thinking and judgement on my beliefs, my personal experience from the past, and thoughts on the potential implications to myself and my family.

image source:  warren-walker.com
Think back at different decisions in your own life.  Looking back, when have you used good judegment ? Bad judgment?

I believe it is important to teach kids early the importance of using good judgment. Of recognizing when they are faced in a situation where there are choices that need to be thought through and decisions made. We need to help them along in this learning… Help them hone in on the skills needed for decision making and exercising good judgment. We cannot always be there for them.  And we will not always be making decisions for them. They need to learn this on their own. They need to practice this and be faced with life situations and experiences where they can develop these skills – experiences of success and of failure. In the midst of drugs and peer pressure and the overwhelming need to fit in, teaching the importance of using good judgment is just a necessity.

I remember several years back being at a campsite with a family with children older than our own. One of the children came over and asked their mother if it was ok to play with the fire with the s’mores sticks the way that the other kids were doing. I was amazed and taken back when her response was “I’m not going to tell you what to do. You use your own judgment as to what to do. You know the fire and the smoke and the length of the stick and you use your own judgment. Don’t look at the other kids to give you that judgment. They are standing in a different spot than you and they have different sticks so you need to use your own judgment.”

I loved this conversation with her child. I was not expecting it. I was expecting a “NO”.  I vowed to myself that this would be a lesson that I would teach the kids. And in those words and in that “matter-of-fact” way.

This past weekend we had a great time with a new blow-up pool that I bought from Target. It was over 90 degrees and it pissed me off knowing that this same pool would be on deep discount in 2 weeks time, but I digress. I also bought Target-brand aerosol sunscreen. I promise that this is important to the story.

Many neighborhood kids had the benefit of playing in this pool over the weekend…. In fact 3 different families… But I digress, yet again.

On Sunday, we had only one other child with us. So, it was relatively relaxing. All was great until I went inside to make pudding as a snack…. Instant pudding no less. So seriously, I was gone for literally 5 minutes and during that time I also checked in on them from my office window to make sure that everyone was safe.

I came back outside to see a pool filled with white murky water

  • “What is this?”
  • “Sunscreen.”
  • “How did it get in here?”
  • “We sprayed it.”
  • “Are you kidding me???!?!?!? Who did this? Whose idea was this???? Does sunscreen belong in a pool???” … [Thinking to myself (*&^(*&^*(^)… )*(&^*&^(*&^)… ]

Needless to say, Big Bro was exiled to his room, the neighbor was sent home and instructed to tell his parents what happened, the pool was dumped out, pool time was over for ALL kids, and the blown up pool was shoved in my shed.

I let the rest of the day proceed with Big Bro in his room and the rest of the kids were angels, on purpose I believe.

Later that day, I brought all the kids together for a conversation. I talked about judgment and the importance of using good judgment. Big Bro asked “What us judgment?”  It’s the decisions you make in situations. It’s how you think things are going to happen if you make certain devious or do certain things or behave a certain way. For example, feeding Cocoa every day is using good judgment. Changing your clothes, underwear, and socks each day is good judgment. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables everyday is using good judgment.  But sometimes people, and kids, use bad judgment. Today, putting sunscreen in the pool was bad judgment. It is sooooooo important for each of you to try to use good judgment. And if you see someone using bad judgment around you, you have to speak up and say so.

Big Bro asked, “Well, what are we supposed to say?”

I told him that he can say that’s not ok. Or that he doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Or if it’s easier, just blame it on me “my mommy is going to be soooo mad”.

I looked at all the kids when I was explaining judgment. And looked at each of them when I described examples of good and bad judgment. And asked them if they understood. I think at 6, Big Bro gets it. I am not certain of Red, age 4. The 2 year old twins were there for completeness sake. I’m not sure they picked up on a thing. But sometimes Twin Crazy REALLY surprises me.

So that was the beginning of a life lesson on judgment. One that I will reinforce with each of them as time goes on. One that I myself and as an adult continuously question as well. Am I making decisions for myself and my family based upon good judgment? Is it truly good judgment or just what I believe to be good judgment? Am I rationalizing the choices I make or justifying them in any way?

I can point to PLENTY examples in my past where I KNOW I used poor judgment. Like the time I stole a Christmas tree from a college dorm lobby and shoved it in a shower stall.  Like the time I signed up for Debt Markets in my M.B.A. program, a course that I am convinced will never help me now or in the future.  Like the time I sold Starbucks stock in 1994 so I could earn a whooping $300 profit [ugggh, that one hurts].

But as time goes on, I like to think that I have more life experiences to draw from and inform decisions.  But I also know that 20 years from now (if I am lucky to have the opportunity 20 years from now), I will likely look back on my life in my 30s and 40s and question my judgment. This is part of living and life and growing. But it is important for me, for people, and for kids as little people, to understand and recognize that we have choices, our decisions have consequences, and it is important to try to use good judgment.

What situations have you faced with your kids on the value of using good judgment? How have you reinforced this concept? At what ages do kids really start to understand?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: You and electricity

The massive power outage that happened in India recently affected over 600 million people and lasted for days.  Imagine that.  Have you ever BEEN to India?  I have… I enjoyed my month traveling throughout the country but I can honestly not imagine the place plagued with no electricity.  No lights.  Darkness.  Going further back to basics than the country already is.

image source:  http://www.inflexwetrust.com/2012/08/01/indias-power-restored-after-historic-blackout/

This got me thinking about our world and our reliance of electricity.  We had our own issues in early 2000 – the Bay Area had several outages.   And in 2001/2002 there were problems in NYC as well as Chicago, I believe.  And recent outages last winter due to snowstorms and downed power lines…

No traffic lights.  No elevators.  No air conditioner.   No trains.  No TV.  No radio.  No computers… Silence, or perhaps… panic?

Think through your power usage in the morning while you’re getting yourself and your kids ready for the day…. think about your day at work… and then again about your evening at home with the kids – and how many devices requiring electricity you use in the normal, daily routine…. what would your life look like if power went down for 1 day?  2 days?  How long could you last?

Humor me and take these polls:

Thanks for listening!!

– Mama K

Random Thought: Do you have time for the Olympics?

I’m not a very big sports person.  I never really participated in sports as a child.  I never really followed a professional team (and I’m from PHILLY!!!  Imagine that… a Philadelphian who is not a fanatic).   To this day, I really don’t care to watch sports.

I remember one time participating in a football pool and I picked the teams based upon “food”.   For example, if Chicago would play Buffalo, I would pick the Windy City since I like deep dish pizza better than hot wings.   Philly would win over San Francisco since I like cheesesteaks better than sourdough bread.   You get it.  Well, I won the pool that year.  $500.   The guys in the office were NOT happy that I won, especially when they found out my strategy.

Anyway, I am like this even with the Olympics.  Although there are some events I don’t mind seeing if forced to.   I liked watching swimming with Phelps involved (the record and also the eye candy).   I like some aspects of gymnastics because it does not seem possible that a human body can do these things.  I also don’t mind ice-skating for the costumes and the drama.

Image source:  www.wikipedia.org

But this year’s Olympics.  There is so much going on with me right now that I find in my spare time I am either gardening, putting together the house, or reading.   I have not watched ONE aspect of ANY of the Olympics.  Am I an outlier?  Am I the only such creature on the planet?  Am I out of the ordinary?   Please participate in this poll to find out:

Thanks for participating!

– Mama K

Random Thought: Biggest bargain office ever?

It’s a Monday. A day without the children. I usually would do daily journals capturing the transitions between being a mom and working, and then working and being a mom again. Since my separation/divorce, these daily journals just don’t make much sense anymore so I am changing up my normal routine.

Last night after I dropped the kids off, I decided to go shopping. I knew where I was going. IKEA.

Remember those days of dorm living? Remember those days after college when you got a place of your own? Remember the deals and steals at IKEA? The particle-board furniture that looked pretty damn good?

Well, I went to IKEA last night. And believe it or not, I bought an ENTIRE room of office furniture for me and the kids for get this…. $526 including sales tax. This included: one computer workstation, two sets of drawers, one double-desk, two single desks, and four little white stools for the little ones. So I get my office, plus the four kids get their OWN desks and chairs for homework (Big Bro) and “work” (aka creative arts) for the other ones! I’m so excited!!!! And hopefully it will look good/reasonable/passable…. oh I’ll just through some plants around and cute drapes and I’m sure it will be fine.



Now the hard part…. getting the OLD stuff out (conference room table that is HUGE and heavy, two filing cabinet drawers that are HUGE and heavy) and the new stuff built…. I just brought all the boxes from my car to the house and almost tore my voice-box out when one of the boxes slammed from my step into my throat. Now I sound like Demi Moore.

Wish me luck with the Swedish wrench tool.

Where are you finding unbelievable steals/deals to prepare for the next school year????

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Random Thoughts: How do you commute?

My commute has changed over time.

  • When I first started to work when I was single, I still lived with my dad and I drove to work each day.


  • When I moved to the NYC metro area, my commute changed based upon the location of my job. When I worked downtown at the World Financial Center, I would mostly walk and then take the subway. On glorious spring and summer days, I would walk to the ferry station and take the ferry across the Hudson with a breathtaking view of the Trade Towers. I remember thinking to myself that my daily commute would never be as spectacular as that. I was right. When I changed jobs mid-town, I would either take the bus or the subway, depending on my mood at the time.
  • When I was working abroad in Frankfurt Germany, I walked exclusively.
  • When I was working abroad in Zurich Switzerland, I took a tram. It was lovely.
  • When back in NYC going to MBA school, I would take one subway and one bus.
  • When I moved to California, I first drove and then sometimes took a bus. Then I moved in with soon-to-be hubby and I walked. Then the kids came and I walked with a stroller, and then a double stroller. When we moved to burbs I was back on a ferry with a fast walk to/from the office.
  • Now I am in the burbs of the burbs. I drive to the train, take the train, and fast-walk to work.

To be honest, I like being on the train again. I like looking out the windows of the world passing by. I like the changes in the neighborhoods and the movement of the people… going places. I like that you have to be on your toes. Aware of your surroundings. It makes me feel alive again. I like the fact that when you get off of the train the fast-walking begins. I feel like a piece of me is back in NYC but at a much slower, nicer pace. It is funny the difference between west coast and east coast subway/train commuting. There is still a smell of urine, only sometimes is there music, but generally all of the time there is patience, and right of way. People line up at the train station which is really not the norm in NYC, unless things have changed over the past 10 years since I’ve been there (I think not).

Which has gotten me to thinking about commutes in general – humor me and participate in these polls:


Thanks for participating!
– Mama K


Random Thoughts: Creativity that calms

At our core, people are driven to create.

Image source:  BrainyQuote.com

I’ve often said to myself and others that having children is the best thing I have ever “did” in my life; in terms of doing something.  Creating something.  Bringing something to be that once was not.   I still believe this to be true.  I bet many of you do as well.  Creating our children is probably the ultimate. 

And then there is our work.  We create things there too.   For me, I create ideas out of information –  it is very abstract but it does come along with a lot of paper, PowerPoint presentations, and reports.    Some of you may be like me, working in an office “creating” services or products that you really can’t touch or feel.  Others of you may create actual, physical things.  

And then there is our down-time.  We may not have much of it.   You may have found that your free-time comes back as your children age.  I find that the baby / toddler years are very demanding but as the kids get older you get some of your time back.  But I’m finding myself with more and more of it lately for other reasons.

I’ve been spending a great deal of this time organizing and re-assembling because of my move.  But I’ve also been spending time tearing out my yard and yearning to build a garden.   To create food from the earth.  To see something grow.   To see plants flourish.  To see fruit form.   I guess you would say that this is my new hobby – but one that I’ve been thinking about for years.   For me, a part of the hobby is the relief and the physical part of tearing the weeds from the earth.  Ridding my property of infestation of “yucky stinky weeds” as the kids call them.  Taking something away that should not be.   But then fixing the earth so that good can grow.  I now have 4 trees that are planted in huge pots waiting for the right spots in the yard.  I have strawberry plants that are drooping from their weight.  I have corn stalks given to me by my neighbor.  I have raspberry and blackberry vines thriving.  I now also have a home full of houseplants – and I’m loving it.   It’s a great release for me at this point in my life – a combination of physical and mental energy – a combination of taking away the bad to make room for the good.   To create.   To create good for the family.

Which leads me to thinking… do you also find a cathartic calm from creating?   What is your channel for this creativity?  Please share!

Thanks for listening and sharing –

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Interesting article – “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”

THANK YOU Mama V for sharing this  –


So much of this article resonated for me; the expectations, feeling of failure, stress.   If she is correct and we need society to change to make it better for the rest, I fear we will be waiting a LONG time – even though there are so  many working females out there.

I don’t know what the answer is but happiness for me at least is the CHOICE to do what you want to do; for me, working from home, flexible work schedule, telling myself that its OK to “side step” a career for a portion of my life, the notion of “investment intervals”….   Many people do not have the luxury of choice – if you have it, don’t be fearful but EMBRACE IT.   Do what you need to do for yourself and for your family.

What are your thoughts ladies???

Please read and let us know!


– Mama K

Random Thought: How did you hear of Mama In Motion?

Hi Ladies —

The Mama In Motion audience has grown somewhat and I’d like to resend this poll to see if there are some channels that are working better than others to reach more people.

If you’ve already participated in this poll, you will likely not be able to do so again — but for all of you newer Mamas out there, please participate!   Thank you so much!!    – Mama K

Random Thought: How did you hear of Mama In Motion?.

Repost and Poll: Money vs. Quality of time with your kids????

As some of you may be aware, I have struggled with the notion of “work” and “family” for quite some time now, and have recently made a signficant career transition based upon my energy levels, my happiness, and advice and pleading from many, many people.    I essentially took a 50% cut in hours and pay which also includes some flex-time and the ability to work from home on one of my three working days.   So this has been a monumental change for me and my family:

  • I am happier, less stressed, and able to connect on a more deeper level with my children.  I am able to participate in school events and spend special 1 on 1 time with the kids.  My relationships with my babies have flourished.   I am more effective at work and take my job much more seriously than I have in the past.
  • My kids seem happier, are coming up with ideas for their 1:1 time with Mommy, and hug me harder, longer, and with more intensity.  I feel like I’m being the kind of mother that they need / want me to be.

But of course this has come at a cost.  A cost that I am willing to make at this point in my life.

I thought I would redistribute a post/poll that I wrote several months ago when another Mama In Motion was in the middle of her transition.  It just seems right for me to send this out again since I am going through a transition of my own….

Humor me and please follow the below link to my post, and also respond to the polls within.  If you have already particpated previously, it is possible that you will be unable to answer a second time (sorry).


Thanks so much for following me – have a great day

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Cyber Monday!

So, Cyber Monday came and went. And from what I can tell, it was a big deal for retailers and actual shopping exceeded many’s expectations.

I did not participate in it since I’m trying to tone down my shopping sprees. I KNEW that if I started with holiday shopping for kids (rational purchases), I would go overboard with items for myself (irrational purchases, considering the amount of stuff I’ve purchased for myself over this last year — refer to my post “Staying Sane: 41 ideas for yourself”).

So I’m curious about our shopping activities of our audience. Some questions for you:

Way to go ladies! Kuddos for stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and helping to close the Federal deficit!! Job well done!!

Thank you for (playing) participating!!!

– Mama K

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