April 12: The never-ending day

Long day, but nice day with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. Even though the week before my big meetings…. I couldn’t get their daycare provider today but it was a good thing; it gave me time to play with them since I will be away all of next week.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I had some cuddle time with Twin Husky
  • Red showed me one of her drawings and we put it on the clip-wall hanging in my room. She was excited to see her art displayed and enjoyed looking at the other pieces of art and pictures that were clipped up there.
  • Big Bro rode his bike to school and I took the Twins in the stroller. Twin Crazy was wearing her rainboots. Twin Husky wanted to bring sidewalk chalk.
  • At home, Twin Crazy had a poop accident so we had to change her clothes. She enjoyed walking around the house in just her underwear. So Twin Husky decided to strip down too and was walking around in only his diaper.
  • We did laundry together. Putting a load in, watching the water fill, watching it turn and do its work. Taking the clean clothes out, putting them in the dryer together. And then starting a new load. Me handing them a pile of clothes, and them putting the pieces into the washer. They really enjoy that. I found a flashlight in the washer – glad I looked before I put any soap in. Twin Husky wanted to fold the clothes too which was cute. Him rolling up the clothing in a ball and putting it on top of a pile and patting it down. So cute.
  • We ate, played, tickled.
  • While they played I tried to get some work done. Mostly emails to keep things moving. There was one or two conference calls that were comical since I had two boisterous toddlers on my hands.
  • Twins were fighting over sitting on a tin canister. Twin Crazy is very aggressive. I have to watch what they do because she bullies him.
  • They had fun playing with water when eating their lunch. They’re having issues with water-play during food time that I do not like.
  • When they napped, I worked: finishing touches on Agendas, reaching out to confirm and get more info from speakers, looking at presentations, confirming attendee lists. I also had to get an analyst set up to populate a presentation for me… I will need to look and work on that tonight.
  • 20120412-220345.jpg







The Rest of the Day:

  • Twins woke up and ate oatmeal for a snack.
  • We went to pick up Red – Twin Husky wanted to sit in Big Bro’s carseat, and Twin Crazy was in Red’s. They were having so much fun. Red’s pickup was fast. Big Bro rode his bike home, along the lagoon. He took the other way around our our house and I drove slowly so he could beat us there.
  • We went food shopping for Red’s Green Smoothie ingredients. They were having a great time picking out other food items and helping me put things into plastic bags. Big Bro tried to sneak in a big package of cup-cakes. They were all well behaved.
  • At home I had a roast cooking; so it was play-time. Tickle-time. The kids decided to give each other manicures and pedicures.
  • After dinner we had smoothies. They all helped to put in the ingredients and liked the treat with their straws.
  • We sat down to some TV, cuddled, and Twin Husky pumped on sugar wanted to push the rocking chair that we were sitting on.
  • I had bedtime with Big Bro and Red. I read a book where there was reference to a princess that had died. Big Bro said that it made him feel sad. I was surprised that he was talking that way since his teachers have told us that he doesn’t share his feelings. I’m happy that he’s talking like that with me. We’ve been working together on “feelings” and it’s making me feel better that we can start to talk like this.
  • There was thunder and lightening. They were asking a lot of questions. Big Bro passed out without a problem. Red was trickier, but I said it was OK to feel scared and that she was doing great and almost 1/2 asleep already. I’m downstairs typing on the desktop since I locked myself out of my room – co-parent is upstairs in the hallway and she is quiet.
  • 20120412-220524.jpg





My locksmith just left; I am now able to get back into my room and get to my computer. Now the third shift starts. I need to get some presentations finished.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

February 9: A hard day’s work

I was not working today as a management consultant. Today I was working as a mom. So, the day just evolved and the hours blended into one another. It was a great, but tiring day. Some highlights:

  • I strolled Twin Crazy and Twin Husky while Big Bro rode his bike to school. We were a bit on the late side but he made it there just in time. He was out of breath when we got there.
  • 20120209-210215.jpg

  • I took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to the park with sand. They climbed on the structure and slid down the slide. They got dirty. They got wet. They ate graham crackers. They looked at dogs. Twin Husky scaled a part of the structure I never thought he would. Twin Crazy held back a smile as she walked across the bridge.
  • 20120209-210233.jpg



  • We went back home and had a bath since they were wet and covered in sand.
  • 20120209-210312.jpg


  • Afterwards I did some laundry (they helped) and we decided to also clean Twin Husky’s Tigers. The problem was that they are battery-operated and I couldn’t rip out the mechanical parts so we decided to scrub-brush them clean. We had a great time doing that and of course the kids got soaking wet again so that just meant another change of clothes. We put the Tigers in the dryer and Big Bro was fine with that. They came out all fluffy and clean and we were talking about them for the rest of the day.
  • 20120209-210341.jpg



  • We had a quick snack, and then decided to pick up Big Bro early – right after his Kindergarten – no aftercare. So we gathered ourselves back into the stroller with our clean Tigers and strolled to his school. We spied on him a bit in the playground and I chatted with some moms. They asked me how I’m loving my work schedule and they mentioned how they are seeing the difference in my kids. Some have also taken steps back to spend more time with their kids and the changes and impact on the children is noticeable almost immediately. We often talk about why we didn’t do this sooner.
  • Recess was over and the kids were lining up so I hid with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky elsewhere – Big Bro gets too anxious when he sees us and we were on the early side. So we ran around in a field while we were waiting for his classroom to let out. We had a great time – I was chasing the kids and they were loving running around in the grass at their brother’s school. I’m glad we got there too early so we could have this special running time in the field together.
  • 20120209-210429.jpg

  • Big Bro was surprised to see us so early. He was excited to ride his bike home. Our back door neighbor was also there so they rode home together. It was really cute watching Big Bro with his friend. Just the two of them. He does much better in smaller settings. It takes him awhile to get comfortable with someone and this child is so sweet and easy going. It was great seeing them ride and talking and laughing with each other.
  • 20120209-210439.jpg


  • At home, we had lunch. Big Bro had lunch with us too so that was his 2nd lunch. Then Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were happily ready for their naps.
  • 20120209-210502.jpg

  • They nap for 2 hours so I grabbed the monitor and Big Bro and I went behind the house to the cul-de-sac where the other kids live. They rode bikes and ran through their houses for at least 2 hours. I kept checking on Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and they eventually were ready to get up.
  • 20120209-210515.jpg

  • I went with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to pick up Red. The kids were playing in the playground when I got there. The kids love the Twins and the Twins loved their playground. It was so cute seeing how all of the kids were caring for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky…. showing them around, helping them up their structure, holding their hands. Red was a proud big sister.
  • When we got back I started to make dinner and the neighbors sent Big Bro over at 5 PM. I made some flat meat pork with a marinade and dinner was on the table really quickly. That is when the problems started. Big Bro just did not want to stop riding his bike. He rejected the backyard while I was making dinner and kept defying me when I told him not to go out front. He refused to sit at dinner, and also took out the toy bins and started dumping the toys on the ground. I’m not used to this kind of defiance so I just told him to leave the room. That we didn’t want him in the room anymore. We went back and forth and he spent some time in his room but he eventually just sat on the floor while we ate dinner. He ate nothing in defiance. I held my ground.
  • Afterwards he whined that he was hungry for close to 2 hours afterwards and I would not give in. He decided to boycott dinner so I wanted him to feel the consequences. I only offer the kids milk when they decide not to eat dinner (when I know they do like something that has been offered to them). So I offered him milk, he refused, and he went to bed hungry.
  • He was reasonably good at bedtime. He brushed his teeth, read his books, and cuddled up to me when I read some other books. The poor guy was just exhausted. I think he was riding his bike for close to 4 hours so his body must have really been tired.
  • So I’m sitting in bed, very tired, but it’s a happy tired. I feel good that I was able to spend the day with the littlest ones the way I did. And I had a lot of time with Big Bro (some great, some not so great) and was thrilled to surprise Big Bro the way that I did. It was interesting to see him interact in a way with his friends that I have not seen previously. Whizzing by on bikes, circling each other, sharing food, saying “that’s cool”. How did he grow up so quickly? I know he’s not even six and there’s so much more to come but my god it just hits you so fast and all of the sudden he’s talking and using reason and laughing at complex situations and just being such a person. I almost can’t wait for a house full of “real” people and the kind of interactions we will have… but yet I am ready and happy to wait… the time will come fast enough and I want this time while they are little and still want me close.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Pay for help!!!!

    It seems that life these days is so much more complicated than it has to be.  When I was growing up, it seemed that life was less complex and we had a steady stream of visitors, neighbors, and relatives in and out of our house almost daily.  It seemed like we had that “live in a village” type of set up where folks helped each other out, and our family was all close-by.

    Fast-forward 35 years.   People are more remote than ever – which has its pros and cons.   We are far away from both of our families and we live in a bigger city where we do not have that “village” community.  People tend to stick to themselves during the week.  Me and Hubby cannot rely on close family or friends to care for our kids (or care for us).  We also both work full-time — so everything falls on us.  And everything DID fall on us, until about a year ago when we came to terms with our situation and said THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE – we need to start delegating our load and paying for help.   I also wrote about how you shouldn’t expect to be able to do everything   and that you need to rely and team with your partner.    Well after these two important points, another way to “stay sane” is to think through EVERYTHING that can POSSIBLY be outsourced within your means and then cross those responsibilities off your list. Daycare is a tricky one since you likely have to work (I’ll talk about that in a separate post).  But think through what you do on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis….. the task could be a candidate for outsourcing IF:

    • the task does not necessarily need to be done by you or your partner
    • having the task done by someone else will not impede your relationship building with any of your children or your partner
    • the task can be done quicker, faster, easier by someone else
    • the cost of outsourcing the task is worth the time it frees up — either for yourself, for you and your partner, or for you and your children
    • the cost of outsourcing the task is worth the convenience and/or improved quality of life it enables
    • you or your partner do not gain personal satisfaction with the task
    • your budget can allow for it; the cost of outsourcing is worth it compared to other things you could spend your money on

    From our own household and talking with other working mothers, here are some ideas and approaches on delegating work loads and paying for help (obviously the reality will depend on your budget and tolerance for spending):

    • Housecleaning.
        • Find a housekeeper that is flexible — find one where you can call on them to clean your house when you want, and at whatever frequency you need. If you hire one less often, you will still need to the tidying between visits but the housekeeper can do the deep cleaning, dusting, special projects that you know you will never want to do.
        • Hire a younger college student to do the basic cleaning tasks you can’t keep up with (sweeping, mopping floors, cleaning the bathrooms). Post on “gigs” section of Craig’s List for this kind of help.
        • In our house, we hire a housekeeper about 1x a quarter (we need to go every other week I think. We have a Mother’s Helper who comes during week nights to help with dinner clean up, laundry, and general straightening up.)
    Pay for help!

    Pay for help!

    • Laundry.   Consider a Mother’s Helper (see above) or dry cleaner where you can pay by the pound. Someone mentioned blueskycleaners.com, a service where they pick up and drop off and use environmentally friendly methods (it is more expensive but saves time since they do the pickup and drop off of clothes).  Some nannies will also do laundry, make breakfast in the morning, lunch, and keep the house clean (however they are very expensive).
    • Shopping.  I like to outsource grocery shopping to Safeway.com (Hubby hates when I do this because he thinks we spend more money this way) and I am also a HUGE fan of Amazon.com for just about any other shopping I need to do — they sell everything imaginable.
    • Mother’s helper to help with homework (our eldest is in Kindergarten so this does not apply to us yet — but I would want to take this on personally)
    • Washing the car (Hubby loves doing this – he always has. And now he loves doing this with Big Bro and Red by his side as they “help”).
    • Cooking (maybe some nannies can do? We don’t have a nanny and we would never be able to afford a personal chef).

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our dual-working families could afford to have teams of people at our fingertips so we could enjoy our time with our kids??!?!?!?!??! Of course our budgets are NOT endless, which is why we are probably working in the first place. I think the key is to figure out what are the things need to be done but you and your partner choose NOT to do to free up your time to spend with your kids, get some alone time together, or get some alone time alone! It’s another balancing act but one that I believe pays off. The extra money spent can be well worth the stress relief and freeing up of time to do the things you and your partner WANT to do. In the end I think it’s well worth it, within reason.

    What other things can be outsourced in your home? What works with your family? What hasn’t worked? What other information can others share????? 

    Thanks for listening –

    – Mama K

    August 9: Too much laundry but we’ve been saved by another “New” Mother’s Helper!

    Today was a bit rushed; we woke up later than normal – 7:20 AM and we need to leave by 8 AM with 4 kids! We posted for another ad in Craig’s List so hopefully we’ll find someone soon. OUr place is a wreck – we tried to keep up last summer when I went back to work but it was physically and emotionally depleting. I just couldn’t do it with four kids and work FT. Hopefully someone good answers our ad soon.

    • Twin Crazy was playing with a brush, and Red was also with her. Twin Crazy trapped Red in the closet – she is getting very good with her muscles and she loves to open and close sliding closets (to my fear)
    • Twin Husky then comes out and the four of us start playing with puzzles on the floor. That was really sweet.
    • Everyone heads down for Chocolate Tuesday!
    • I can’t find my brush so I head downstairs and there it is on the floor.
    • I take out dry stuff out of dryer and put on top of the growing mountain of clean clothes to be folded in the back bedroom
    • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are eating yogurt for breakfast so I clean them up and get them out of their chairs
    • Twin Crazy “helps” me put the wet clean clothes into the dryer. That was cute.
    • I put in another load of wash.
    • Red and Big Bro are REALLY busy with Chocolate Tuesday – they are eating their faces off.
    • I make Big Bro’s lunch and pack up the bag for daycare.
    • We change the Twins and then help Red and Big Bro change. They are old enough, and they can do it by themselves, I think they just want the attention from us so I can’t help but give in. Big Bro and I discuss the system we had where he picked out the clothes by himself and came downstairs already dressed, and how great that was. We’re going to try that tomorrow.
    • Twins are playing with the stereo components and wind up turning it on. Big Bro laughs at this — he is so sweet; he looks at what they do, but hangs back. Will only intervene if their safety is in question. Otherwise, he enjoys seeing them develop and do funny things, just as I do. I’m so proud of him as a big brother.
    • OK – 8 AM!! Time to go! Everyone get their shoes on!!! Twin Husky went to the garage and found his shoes so I could pack them in the bag. How cute.
    • Twin Husky was difficult getting into the car seat today. He kept wanting to turn around and laugh at Big Bro. You can really see the development between the two brothers recently. It is so sweet.

    So now I’m on the ferry, no makeup, no breakfast, and no coffee. I feel like shit.   For work today, I will need to:

    • Work with one of the directors to map out one proposal. We need to complete it by today or tomorrow – So I’ll need to focus on that.
    • Think about high level approach for the big proposal we will submit in two weeks.
    • I will need to participate in a coordination/status meeting for the big meeting in October. THis will take 1 hour out of my day
    • I will also likely lead a different meeting for the firm initiative with our partner – I’ll need to walk through the go-to-market materials I sent out yesterday.

    So, lots to do today. I think I’m going to treat myself to a big breakfast and HUGE coffee on the way to work today.   On the ferry the people around me are talking about t-ball, swimming, soccer, baseball, and birthday parties, and camps. The people around here are so Type-A and everything appears to be done to the extreme. Giant trampolines. Swim lessons since they’re 3. Hearing this makes me feel so guilty that we’re not able to do this with our kids – there just isn’t enough time and the last thing we want to do on weekends is run around with extra activities and/or formalized commitments.   I’ll probably post something on this topic at a later time.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • I grabbed an excellent breakfast this morning on the way to work – breakfast tacos, a HUGE coffee, and I decided to splurge on orange juice.
    • Got myself together in the ladies room before going to office. Now I feel more like myself.
    • Rearranged some meetings today
    • Started to work on the presentation for Thursday’s huge meeting with the folks from the project that just wrapped up. I had no fear going in to present to the Senior EVP of the bank, but these types of meetings where you need to present to the workers… the doers… is very stressful for me. Everything in black and white is a critique on how they do their jobs – sometimes they react favorably to this type of work because maybe their fighting for investment budget for automation and to make their jobs easier — however sometimes it just looks like plain criticism — and in this case we were evaluating potential areas for outsourcing so some of these people will be fearful of their jobs (or their teams) as a result of this work. So, I’m not really looking forward to Thursday’s meeting. It will be tougher. It will be harder emotionally.
    • Ate fig newtons for lunch. Sent out a Random Thoughts post during lunch.
    • Sent follow-up to our Whitepaper partner to see if she is happy with the results; I’d like to get more work from her. The work is not complicated and it would give us a great way to supplement our existing work and keep our junior staff busy.
    • Started working on a “Best Practices” document to send to the institutions we interviewed for our last project.
    • Started fleshing out the objectives for one proposal – we are supposed to deliver it to the prospective client this week but I don’t know how that is going to happen… I have face-to-face business development meetings tomorrow and I am traveling on Thursday…..
    • Conducted the touchpoint status meeting for the initiative with our partners; there are some updates to the go-to-market materials which I incorporated and then re-sent everything out to the team so we can begin our sales efforts. I will need to start reaching out to companies before the next status meeting in 2 weeks.
    • Fired our undependable Mother’s Helper, and arranged for someone who answered our ad to come visit with us tonight. I’m going to put her to work with all of our laundry and all of our hand-washables. Our house is a disaster.

    I had a good day today but am still feeling down – I am not recovering as quickly as I would like from my bout of depression from the weekend. I can’t shake this. The city where we live is too stressful and extremely expensive. I have no choice but to work the way I do. I feel like I have no choices at all anymore. I’m feeling alone again and need to snap out of this. OK I’m off to the Ferry. Will likely start to write-up another blog entry on the way home.

     Dinner and Bedtime:

    • Red came out of daycare today with her hair pulled back in a pony-tail (she has very, very little hair so I’m always amazed when people are able to do this for her – I certainly cannot).  I made such a big deal out of this.  We later kept giggling to each other that we both have pony-tails and we put them together and said how our pony-tails were mixed together.
    • Twin Husky absolutely loves Big Bro.  It is tough to get him in the car seat because he’d rather stand up and look at Big Bro.   We talk about what kinds of toys they can play with each other when we get home and Big Bro decides on “cars”.   Then Red proclaims that she wants to play “Princess” with Twin Crazy when we get home.
    • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy have a blast on the slide structure.   They keep taking turns and running around — one slides while the other climbs up the structure… on and on and on and on…..  Too cute.  They were laughing their butts off.
    • Our potential new mother’s helper came over.  She is great with kids and works in summer camps and social work programs with kids for a living.  I think she’ll be great with our family.  Red took to her right away and we had fun showing her around the house.  We went outside (all the kids) to show her the apple tree.  I picked an apple for each kid and used that as leverage to get them to eat their food.
    • A conversation with Big Bro went like this tonight….     Big Bro:  “If you had a monster, what would you do with it?”  “Well, is it a good monster or bad monster?”   “It’s anything you want it to be.” “OK.  I’d like it to be a good monster.   But would you kids be scared of it?”   “I wouldn’t, but Red might, and Twin Husky and Twin Crazy would be too.”  “OK.  Well in that case, on a day when I work from home and you kids are at school and daycare, I would invite the monster over for lunch.   That’s what I’d do with the monster.”
    • And yet another conversation with Big Bro….  Big Bro:  “I’d like to have a dinosaur and have them in the house.   I’d like to ride them.”   He then starts to mention all of them by name and I don’t remember what they are but we did have a long conversation about the ones that fly and how we would love to fly on them if they were nice to us and kept us safe when we were in the air.
    • All ate well.   Big Bro ate so many carrots I thought he was going to turn orange. Big Bro and Red wound up on my lap after dinner eating apples.  I loved it.
    • Big Bro wanted to play a game with me where you connect “dots” to form squares and the person who forms the most squares wins.   I’m telling you, this kid was strategizing.   I actually had to pay attention to what I was doing.   Hubby thinks that I’ll be no match for this kid in 1-2 years.
    • Twin Crazy started to do something funny with her sippy cup tonight — shaking the milk out into a spoon and then drinking the milk from the spoon
    • MH puts the Twins down for bed – everything seemed to go well.
    • Big Bro had a tantrum about a blanket.   Red is still saying she’s scared.  I think she’s at the top of the stairs again now….
    The older kids are just so funny at these ages.   I feel like Big Bro and Red are full-fledged people.   The way they banter, the way they joke around with me, the way they interact and the give and take to the conversations.   I love it.   I sometimes get side tracked and forget things for them when too much is going on, but I ask them to PLEASE remind me when that happens.   They are so good with that.   For example, Big Bro had to remind me that I didn’t answer his question about what I would do with a monster.    I love how he accepted that I got pulled away, was mature enough to wait, and then approached me when he knew he could get my full attention.   It is so easy with him and with Red sometimes but then just 10 minutes later they regress and throw tantrums about a blanket of all things.   So I guess I have some more time to wait but by then it will be a different issue so I just have to be happy for what I have now!!!    AND, I AM THRILLED AT THE POTENTIAL OF OUR NEW MOTHER’S HELPER!!!!    There is a mound of I think 5 loads of laundry that she will need to conquer…. I’m going to sit down now and maybe watch some True Blood.
    All in all, a good day.
    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: A Mother’s Helper is worth his/her weight in gold

    It wasn’t until AFTER I ran myself ragged and became utterly exhausted (seriously… both mentally and physically) that I demanded more help.   Our family has always been big proponents for daycare but honestly after working all day and doing multiple drop-offs, cooking dinner, cleaning up, doing dishes, doing bedtime routine, doing laundry, and dealing with crying kids, I was PRAYING for a solution such as nanny to make things easier on our lives.   However, the nanny option is not for everyone and they are also quite expensive where we live.   It is also great to have help from family, but our families do not live that close and sometimes their “help” often came with opinions — or, we just didn’t feel comfortable asking them for the real help we needed.  We came to a conclusion that the busiest time of day was after work up until bedtime.  So we arranged for “help” during those hours only – and this was in the form of hired help — a Mother’s Helper.

    What does this “help” entail?   Essentially everything that you don’t want to do so that you can relax and spend more quality time with your children.   Let me emphasize this further…. EVERYTHING that you DON’T want to do so that you can RELAX and spend more QUALITY time with your children.

    For our family, duties have included:

    • assisting with dinner prep; table set up
    • dinner cleanup
    • primary responsibility for all laundry (gathering, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away) – kids and adults!!!
    • taking out trash, taking out compost daily
    • help with bed-time routine (diaper changes, getting in PJs, reading books, etc.)
    • help entertaining/trouble shooting with any of our children
    • other projects, as needed (vacuum, sweeping, cleaning out refrigerator, going through old/small clothes, etc.)
    • playing with kids, helping kids pick up their toys

    We advertised on Craig’s List and received 10 – 15 responses to our ad.  We did NOT need an experienced person as a nanny.   All we needed was someone who was conscientious, could follow directions, and use common sense with our kids.    We also wanted someone who is punctual, dependable, eager, energetic, and generally enjoys children.  We also wanted someone who lived close by and had their own form of transportation.

    Our Mother’s Helper comes from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.   We start dinner and eat dinner as a family while the Mother’s Helper is at work.  After dinner, we play with our kids and engage with them.   We talk to them.  We play with them.  They climb on us.  We tickle them.    We get them ready for bed and read to them.   We sing and hug them once more and say goodnight.   When we come down from tucking our kids in, the kitchen is spotless, the house is tidied up/organized, the dryer is going, the dishwasher is going, and me and Hubby can sit down and RELAX.

    With our last Mother’s Helper (and we intend to start this soon with our new person once she is ready), we had her stay later one night a week and Hubby and I did “date night” — essentially we put the kids down for bed and the Mother’s Helper is there for them while we are out — so really no need to put extra responsibility on her.   She is there if there is a cry in the night or a plea for water.    And Hubby and I get a date night at a reduced babysitter rate.

    This works wonderfully for our family and the change in stress level was IMMEDIATELY noticed as soon as we hired someone to help us.    I highly recommend this strategy — you ask, they do.   And your kids get more of you.   It’s a win, win, win scenario and I can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner.

    Looking forward to feedback, comments, or other suggestions from folks –

    – Mama K

    %d bloggers like this: