- Just say no to mommy guilt and anxiety attacks. For me, exercise is actually an excuse to "run away, run away!" and it does help counteract work and family stress.
- God invented cleaning ladies for a reason. If you don't have one, it's not your fault the house is a mess, it's the non-existent cleaning lady's fault.
- You’re doing the best you can for your kids, and you might actually like doing grown up things away from them, and it is okay. God invented day care for a reason.
- Your children are luckier than most, and it won’t harm them to watch t.v. or play video games in the evening so you can catch a break or take a hot bath.
- Take long baths every night. The running water drowns out the kid’s and husband’s whining, and you can say “I can’t hear you, I'm taking a bath, you’ll have to wait until I’m done!” Sing while the water’s running. This improves your mood and makes it clear to everyone around you that you’re busy and can’t hear them.
- You’re not crazy if you talk to yourself all the time. It’s actually quite normal, and helps you figure out how to deal with work stress before it eats you alive. Also, the dog actually enjoys listening to you talk to yourself, it makes her feel useful.
- Cheezy paperbacks were written for a reason: “escape.” Spending a Saturday reading in the living room is a clever trick; the kids can jump around you and still feel like you’re with them, but your brain can take a break. You can smile and nod when forced to watch them jump off the back of the couch 100 times in a row, while you’re still thinking about the character in your book, who is doing something engaging, like getting ready to have sex or catching a thief. Don’t read “Important” or “Useful” books on Saturdays or this tactic won’t work. I recommend Janet Evonovich’s “Stephanie Plum” series, they are like little soap operas, and you can read them in a few hours. Stephanie’s an accidental bounty hunter from New Jersey. Enough said.
- Despite what French women say, there is nothing wrong with cooking frozen pizza for dinner. It’s actually quite normal, and if your kids will eat it with green peppers or spinach on top, voila, veggies! Also, orange juice counts as a fruit, and the kids can drink it at dinner with their pizza so you can feel smug about giving them fruits and veggies at dinner.
- Drink wine within a half an hour of walking in the house at night, and definitely while cooking dinner. You may even feel like playing a game with the kids after dinner, if you drink enough wine. Careful, though, if you drink too much, even the little ones will beat you at checkers, so pace yourself. Of course, you can tell yourself that the four year old is just above average to notice that triple jump, it does not have anything to do with her drunk mommy not paying attention. Also, if you drink too much, you’ll fall asleep, miss your bath, and your husband will get crabby because he knows he won't be getting any sex.
- Try to have sex regularly, even if you’re tired, because you’re husband will be much less crabby, and so will you, actually. Also, and this is really important: God invented vibrators for a reason. Just don't use one in the bathtub.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
My friend in France is going back to work after staying home with three kids for the past 8 years. She asked me from some practical mommy advice to help her through the transition, so here are my top ten clever tricks for working moms: