Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

It’s Friday night, Daddy’s away and it’s been a hell of a week. Lets go out for a girls dinner. Sounds like a great idea, right? Me, the two Shorties, a nice meal, no dishes. What could be bad about this? Rather than explain, I’ll just share the riveting dinner conversation…

Me: Okay – what do you guys want to order? Pizza, pasta. Great. Done. And juice to drink. Cool.

A moment of calm after the order is placed. Hmm, this could be quite nice.

Three seconds elapse.

Shorty #2 begins to blow bubbles in her drink

Shorty #1 takes away her straw.

#2: Ahhhhhhhhh. My stwaw.

She then pinches #1.

#1: Waaaaahhhhh (crying)!!!!! That hurt. MOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!

#2: Waaaahhhhhhh (also crying)!!!!

Me: Keep your hands on your own body, we don’t hurt each other. #2!! No blowing bubbles, that’s rude. #1 don’t boss your little sister around so much.

By now, the hipsters two tables over are eye-rolling so hard, I can hear their corneas scraping along their eyelids.

#2 burps loudly.

#1: That’s not ok, you shouldn’t burp at the table.

A moment of calm, so we pull out toys to pass the time. #1 has a pile of Barbies that were in some dramatic play where people were falling off cliffs and miraculously rising from the dead. Note to self to monitor her Netflix watching even more closely. #2 has a couple of cars, one of which is now hovering over her juice. Crisis averted the car is now back on the table. Just then #2 inadvertently leans on #1 and she FREAKS out.

#1: Arggghh – quit touching me!!!!

Now #2 is sliding off the banquet.

Me: Where are you going:

She grunts.

#2: I poo.

Stand up diaper change takes place in the change table-less bathroom while #1 holds the fort. Luckily the food is on the table when we get back and there’s a moment of serenity and we actually start to each talk about our day…. For about 35 seconds.

#2: Mo pizza.

#1: I want some of that pizza.

#2 (or maybe #1, I think I’ve blocked it out): What’s for dessert?

#1: I just farted.

Me: Um, cheque please.

Maybe we’ll stay home next time….

Our House

So…we are about to put our house on the market.  Can you imagine the fun and hilarity that is ensuing in our household right now?  Right?  You can see it – boxes piled up, clutter being de-cluttered, windows and walls being scrubbed.  This is SUPER fun.  Now we add 2 kids in the equation and the need to be doing all this in the evenings after work.  We are talking an incredible time had by all.  This is amazing.  I could cry.

Channeling my inner '50's housewife.  Polishing the silver in my CoH velvet jeans, not so bright....

Channeling my inner ’50’s housewife. Polishing the silver in my CoH velvet jeans, not so bright….

It all started with the stager.  Perfectly coiffed lady arrives at the door.  She is PAID to tell me what’s wrong with my house.  You can imagine how much I enjoyed that.  I wouldn’t let her in without a clear acknowledgement of the fact that we had only moved in to this space 3 months before and in that time I was on the road for about 2.5 months, so the house wasn’t exactly in top form.  She began to make the rounds… TV has to go, that mirror is too small, your art is hung too low, oh and this playroom is confusing – it needs to be a bedroom.  Excellent.  That was a great experience.  The short story is that in order to sell your house, you basically need to move out and hire Queen Hairdo to completely refurnish and redecorate the place, all for a very small fortune (ie: far more than it would cost to actually purchase the stuff she says we need to make the place passable).  Oh!  To make this even more fun, Her Highness doesn’t even do any of the heavy lifting.  We’re on the hook for the packing, cleaning, light fixture replacing anyways.

So I said “Screw you” to the Duchess of Decor.  I got this!  And you know what, I think I kind of do… Its starting to look pretty good as we pack up the storage pod outside the front door and give the windows a wipe.  A couple new mirrors and lamp here and there, a bouquet of fresh flowers, we can do this.  We’ll let you know if it actually works when its time to actually start showing the place.

The real trouble now is how do we live in this place with the Shorties for the next who knows how long.  That’s the part that’s got me.  Shorty #2 is a walking mess these days.  She’s like PigPen from the Peanuts cartoons only the swirling dust storm around her also includes yogurt and lipgloss.  Have you ever tried to clean dried yogurt off the wall?  And NO, I’m not a savage, I do not neglect the mess so it dries – these are the hidden messes those little fingers create completely unbeknownst to you!  Plus Shorty #1 is like a 3 outfits a day kind of girl.  Not to mention her deep emotional attachment to every single piece of paper on which she’s written, drawn, scribbled or even tested a pen – we NEED to keep them all.  I swear to God this kid has hoarding tendencies.  We’ll be buried soon.  If I don’t post for a while, send a search party.  I’m serious.

My experience though has lead me to build my top tips for Staging Your House with Young Children:

1. Get a hotel room and stay there until the subjects are lifted from the offer.

2. Repeat if necessary.

3. Pray, hope, meditate – whatever it takes that this whole thing is done quick.

Wish us luck!

 

 

Life on the Road

I’m writing to you today from Kowloon, overlooking Victoria Harbour with the Hong Kong skyline as the perfect backdrop.  I’ve been on the road for over a week now on an around the world tour it seems.  Started in Vancouver, stopped in London for 4 days and am now in Hong Kong before I head home in just two more sleeps!

Life on the road is a very interesting parallel universe.  You can get used to the cushy treatment and rockstar amenities.  But its certainly a little weird.  Sure, its definitely glamorous jetting into a world class city and being whisked into fantastic hotels with local hosts striving to keep you happy.  The truth is that running around this alternate reality has its downside – especially as the traveling Mom.  I hear all your eyes rolling all the way over here in Asia.  “wahhhh poor you, R&R Mom.”  I recognize that this is a very ass-y thing to say.  I GET it!!!  Believe me, I am exceedingly grateful for all these incredible chances to see this amazing world and work withs some fantastic people along the way.  But being away from the Shorties and J is gut wrenching.

Thank Steve Jobs for FaceTime.  It makes it so much easier to be able to lay eyes on my loves.  Its no substitute for cuddles but being able to see each other is a godsend no matter how long the trip.  But time zones are a killer.  Inevitably, the moment I’m free for a chat its bath/ bed/ meal time at home so my call only adds to the chaos.  Not to mention the great fun of FaceTiming with little shorties who are far more interested in how they look in the picture.  They are like miniature Paris Hilton’s only rather than preening at their own image are zooming in on their eyeballs, sharing the half-chewed pizza in their mouths or shaking their butts at the camera (well, I guess this last one Paris Hilton would do too).

And forget about actually catching up with your partner on the call.  These little narcissists hold a tight grip on the technology, monopolizing the conversation with silly noises, singing and quite often burps.  Mom & Dad are NOT getting a word in edgewise.  You’re lucky to have a quiet second to get through the necessary day to day business of the household (did you remember that today is garbage day?) let alone actually sharing an intimate moment or at the VERY least “how are you doing”.

Miss this guy!

Miss this guy!

These are hard moments.  When hearts ache to connect with the loves and it just can’t happen.  So back we go into the isolation of the dark, too cold (or too hot) hotel room to bury yourself in emails and work mode.  Whether its a 2 day trip or 2 week trip this happens and it just is what it is.

The good news is that I can start counting the hours when I’ll see those bright little faces (and a bright bigger face) at the arrivals area in the airport and can go back to the real world.  Changing diapers, wiping noses and cozy snuggles.  I would take that over a 5 star hotel any day!

... and these two too.

… and these two too.

I’m Baaaaack!

Um, no thanks...

Um, no thanks…

Oh, hi.  Yeah, its been a while.  With heartfelt apologies, the past 6 weeks have been something of a blur.  In no particular order I have traveled to LA, London, Oslo, Lisbon, Amsterdam (well just a layover), NY (twice) and Toronto.  I have also moved house and juggled a two week span in which our poor Nanny was off sick.  I have successfully navigated the past six weeks WITHOUT suffering a nervous breakdown.  Almost, but not quite.  WINNING!!!!

The craziness is set to continue for a while longer but you’ll get no complaints here.  Sure, I am leaving my toiletry bag packed and my lipstick lives in a ziploc bag in my purse these days – but how can I complain?  Its been great fun following the Foxes around the world (PS – if you know what they say then mission accomplished).  The biggest downside is being away from my own little Foxes (and Mr. Fox of course), but they seem to be enjoying the Daddy time and steady stream of guilt driven toys brought home as souvenirs.

Sure, I feel the judgmental glares from the Supermoms.  I am conspicuous in my absence.  But I keep reminding myself that this much hectic business travel is (a) temporary, (b) fun and (c) ultimately good for everyone in our house.  Luckily, they are all Fox fans so they don’t seem to mind me going off to fight for the cause.

These days we are most grateful for our Moms, Sisters, grocery delivery and the deep freeze.  After a recent whirlwind promo trip with 18 hour press days, I came home with so much adrenaline pumping I couldn’t stop.  In addition to the several loads of laundry, we cooked pots of stew and pasta sauce to freeze for J to easily whip up for les petites for the next time I would be on the road.  Why won’t anyone in this house eat a casserole?  The perfect meal in one pan… if only they weren’t so gross!

The thing when you’re on the road this much is you start to forget where you are.  Beyond just the middle of the night wake-up – this happened in the airport the other day.  For a fleeting moment, I couldn’t remember where I was going!  I need an app that will remind me of my hotel room number.  Never mind jetlag – no time for that!  That’s why I invested in the YSL Touche Eclat to make me look much less sleep deprived than I actually am.

The next few months promise a continually hectic schedule, so I hope to be able to post as much as I can.  But in the meantime, its freezer filling, touche eclat wearing, ziploc bag toting time!  Who can complain about that?

What the Fox!

Hi!  I wanted to apologize for the long stretch of radio silence.  Looks like it will be a little while before I can get back to posting as I’d like.  A little career fun is adding to the chaos and I’m working around the clock.  I promise to get back to posting once the dust settles.

xoxoxo

Something every busy working woman needs.  A place to put your phone when you pee....

Something every busy working woman needs. A place to put your phone when you pee….

Success

How do you measure success?  Is success attainable?  Once you’ve obtained success – is that it or are we constantly moving those goal posts?  Its a tough concept and is so often perceived as the root to happiness.  At one point are we content with what we have achieved?

I feel like my life has always been in pursuit of more.  Bigger, better… more.  I can’t say its a bad thing.  I could rest on my laurels at any point and say “there I’ve done it” – nabbed that client, achieved that promotion, started a family etc.  But I can’t – I am always striving for more.  Whether that’s a good thing is tough to say.  Am I putting too much pressure on myself to achieve?  Am I creating stress in my life in not settling for what I have already?  Sure, I guess that’s always the case.

Now get ready – are you sitting down?  Here’s where I get all existential on your poor ass.  I think this is the meaning of life.  Simply put – experience.  Learning more, striving for more, feeling more.  Its all a spiritual education and experience is the teacher.

When I think about life this way, I feel more open to whatever is thrown my way.  Good or bad – this is just further education.  Take from it what you can – learn from mistakes, learn from triumphs.  It certainly makes things easier to handle when taking this view.

And achieving SUCCESS is simply striving to learn more.  Happiness is enjoying the process.

PS – this one is for you Maman!

Dinner.

Fine dining with Shorty #2

Fine dining with Shorty #2

Who knew a meal could be such a pain in the ass!  Seriously.  Every day around 1pm as I sit down to lunch I realize I haven’t done a damn thing about dinner.  Next follows the mad panic to figure it out.  The daily hunting and gathering is a constant irritation which provides nothing but stress… oh yeah and in the end sustenance.

We roll in the door sometime between 5:45 and 6 – the kids are starved, we’re pooped and bedtime is just around the corner.  The first order of business is pulling together some sort of quasi-healthy, hopefully palatable meal that will please 2 kids and 2 adults.  And to think we can face this incredible challenge not once a week – but 5 nights in a row.  Awesome!

I know what you’re thinking – make a plan, cook ahead, yada yada yada.  Tried it all – the simple fact of the matter is that no matter how organized we can be on this front, I’m still the person who hits the supermarket during the after work commute hoping to find something for dinner!  Don’t even get me started on groceries – that my friends is a whole other blog!

We have successfully followed a cook ahead plan – a freezer full of curries and soups has been a blessing – but man, I’m BORED of chicken soup.  The nightly meal plan (Mon – Chicken, Tues – Pasta etc) never works.  Who wants to live life so rigidly?  Not to mention the long term planning that needs to go into those menus.

So here we are again, 1pm and I’m texting J – “what do you feel like for supper?” and the response follows one of 3 routes.

1. “I have no idea.  Whatever you want is fine.”  Which translates to: “I have no idea so you think of something.”

2. “Let’s have soup.” Which translates to a pantry lucky dip.

3. “Take out?”  Which translates to “Take out.”

We’re lucky, we live in a great foodie city and can order cheap, fantastic and bonus – healthy food on the way home.  We eat sushi like its McDonald’s in this town.  However, we can’t do this every night.  So begins the conversation – pasta?  No.  Chicken?  No.  Delicious braised lamb with couscous and white bean ragout?  Are you kidding me?  I wish.

This doesn’t even factor in the curve ball of Shorty #1.  A great eater initially, #1 has grown pickier in her old age.  She loves a finely grilled hot dog or a delicate macaroni with cheese.  Occasionally she enjoys a beautiful cheese pizza.  She goes absolutely crazy when anything comes served in a sauce (save for her beloved pasta of course).  We are trying to re-broaden her culinary horizons, but so far this continues to be an uphill battle.

Shorty #2 is far less… discerning.  She will venture into the more exotic territories of the spice route with curries and other savoury dishes.  But she too has her moods and sometimes only scrambled eggs and bapbap (aka ketchup) will do.

So how do we plan a meal for 4 that will appeal to all?  That is sauce, gluten and dairy free.  That tastes amazing to everyone and won’t contribute to our culinary ennui.  Beats me – but whoever figures this out should win the Nobel Prize!

Dear Random Lady

Dear Random Lady I Met at a Party,

Thank you for taking the time to assess my ability to manage my work life and parenthood.  I appreciate your unsolicited opinion on whether I am able to sufficiently care for my kids while working, in your assessment, 17 hour days.  It was incredible to hear your views on the time I spend telecommuting as you seem to be an expert in the field.  I particularly enjoyed your statement that I wasn’t really there for my kids if I was working remotely.

Our 90 second conversation where you initially confused me with someone else was clearly sufficient time for you to accurately determine the health of my relationship with my kids and my husband.  It was also plenty of time for you to fully comprehend both my professional and parenting styles.

Since you have such a prescient viewpoint of how I live my life, you may enjoy reading my blogs to see if your evaluations are correct.  Might I suggest What Do You Do or you may see something more in tune with your own proclivities for mothering in I am, I am, I am Supermom.  I personally would like to recommend Profoundly Profane.  Then you’ll learn the incredible restraint and composure I enacted at said party when I didn’t tell you to mind your own f$&!ing business.

Love,

The Rock and Roll Mom

This is a Man’s World

Life on the road with dudes

I work in the music business.  One of the last bastions of male domination.  Sure, there are lots of amazing women that work in this business, but the upper echelons are still held by men.

Its ok.  I actually don’t mind it.  Some of these guys that I’ve had the privilege to work with harken back to an era of when women were dames and men wore fedoras – and not in some weird fad-ish way.  Like the real deal Don Draper-styles.  These guys are something else.  Aside from male domination, this is also an industry that’s fed by youth and here they are running the machine, still relevant, still getting their calls returned.  I love it when they call me “Babe” when they forget my name.  Somehow they have earned the right.  Now if some little hotshot straight out of recording engineering school tried that he would get the freeze from me!

I don’t mind being one of the few women at the table.  The women that are here are for the most part pretty damn cool and have more chutzpah in their baby finger than you can imagine.  Women who have built major companies while nursing babies and traveling the country.  Pushing a stroller side stage, they created their own empires.  And they did this in the ’70s and ’80s when you were a pariah for even considering the working mom title.  Women who have chosen to make the artists their families and work around the clock, dedicating themselves to the business.  Female artists who have had to overcome the need for physical beauty to find success and respect for their artistry in spite of their looks.

I always wanted to go down to Chinatown and buy those jangley Chinese meditation balls and send them to all my female colleagues. The way I see it you always need a good set of balls in this business.

I am, I am, I am SuperMom

Take your daughter to work day - Shorty #2

Take your daughter to work day – Shorty #2

I was just reading Devon Corneal’s blog on Huffingtonpost.com about what not to say to a working mom.  (Here’s the link – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devon-corneal/what-not-to-say-to-a-working-mom_b_2566952.html)  Its incredible to me that in 2013 women have to defend their decision to return to work after having kids!  Kinda like what not to say to a pregnant lady – working moms can be just as vulnerable when hit below the belt with the judge-y comments hurled at them by other moms.

Heading back to the workforce is a really hard thing to do.  At the end of the blessed mat leave, Mom’s returning to the office are torn. Hormones are still supercharged still, the work clothes only kinda fit and your sweet little bundle has been left in the care of some stranger!  The last thing anyone needs is some jackass SuperMom judging the choice to re-enter the work force.

DISCLAIMER: Just so we’re clear before people start tearing my head off in the comments section – this post is NOT targeting Mom’s who make the choice of full time parenting.  I applaud those parents for their choice and respect (and even envy) their position.  This post is about those blabbermouth know-it-alls that give working mom’s grief for choosing careers over staying at home with the kids.

When Shorty #1 hit the one year mark, I had to extricate myself out of the sweatpants and back into my heels.  IT SUCKED!  Big time.  I cried and cried.  The hunt for childcare was horrendous (THAT is a whole other post) and I was a wreck leaving her every day.  But then, once I was well back in the swing, the hormones had balanced and my good jeans were just starting to fit again – it hit me.  I was sitting on a plane waiting to fly somewhere to meet up with a client on tour, beating myself up for leaving Shorty and J.  In a this moment of self-flagellation, it suddenly all came together;  I have to do my job.  Its an important part of who I am and leaving the job I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old would actually be a disservice to my kids.  By doing the job I loved, I was showing Shorty #1 (and eventually Shorty #2) that a woman CAN do whatever she wants to do, she can be whatever she wants to be.  And I haven’t looked back since… until we started school and I met the SUPERMOM.

SU-PER-MOM – n. informal – A Mom who does not work outside of the home, who bakes proficiently and volunteers incessantly while at the same time judges all other Moms for their short-comings, life choices and perceived failings.

SUPERMOMS are a whole new breed compared to the Daycare Moms I had encountered in the past.  Daycare Moms share sympathetic smiles at drop-off time, nodding in solidarity at the peanut butter on your lapel or the fact that you forgot the kid’s lunch.  Some SUPERMOMS can be equally as sympathetic and cool as the Daycare Moms – but always in every class there is one SUPERMOM who wears the badge of SuperMomdom like no one else!  She breezes in with her little one.   She doesn’t worry about forgetting lunch, why Junior eats lunch at home everyday.  She says things like “Are you staying for carpet time?  Oh right, you have to go to work.”  She invites you to midday playdates and when you decline says “Oh right, you have to work.”  The SUPERMOM scares the sh*& out of me with her ability to make cupcakes, host a party and write up a whole class of Valentines in one fell swoop.

SUPERMOMS also stick together.  I see their sideways glances as I drop off the Shorties with my phone in hand and a conference call waiting.  I hear their asides – judging Working Moms for choosing careers over kids.  One time was much like being back in High School.  I was with Shorty at the playground after one midday preschool pick-up.  The SUPERMOMS were huddled on the other side of the jungle gym and were talking loudly about their maternity leaves and plans to stay at home.  One SUPERMOM was recounting a story about a former co-worker who had negotiated the ability to work from home on certain days to be home with her kids, “Can you believe it?  She is so selfish and our boss always gives her whatever she wants!”  I was shocked.  These SUPERMOMS knew me and they knew that I was currently working from home so I could continue to nurse Shorty #2.  Me and the SUPERMOMS weren’t really friends after that.

Take your daughter to work day - Shorty #1

Take your daughter to work day – Shorty #1

Its a juggle managing everything for sure, but all Moms are juggling no matter what their career path holds.  Its the expectation for Moms to be June Cleaver and Hillary Clinton that makes it so hard.  Loving our kids and living our lives as an example is all we can do!