Pretending to work

A good way to get the kids to play together is to pretend that you are working.  I felt halfway decent yesterday.  I have to assume the Wildebeest worked. But today I am dying, so thank you blog, for giving me a reason to sit here typing quietly.

Yesterday, it was doing this weird snow/rain mix here all day, so we were stuck inside no matter what.  Snow means comfort cooking to me.  And we needed cold medicine so early in the morning when it was just raining, I ventured out to the store in my Hello Kitty pajamas to get all sorts of comforting ingredients.

I ended up making some chicken soup or as Rachael Ray calls it Chicken and Herb Pot Pie Stoup.  It’s yummy.

I also tackled my first ever homemade apple pie.  I have done the pre-made crust and canned filling thing before, just to smell pie baking in the house, but this was my first ever pie with apples I peeled and sliced myself.  I made the following dutch apple pie recipe from food.com (http://www.food.com/recipe/dutch-apple-pie-43990):

Topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Fit pie crust into pie plate.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sliced apples, lemon juice, both sugars,flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Pile into crust.
  5. Prepare topping:.
  6. In a medium bowl, with a pastry blender or a fork, mix flour, both sugars, and butter until coarsely crumbled.
  7. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes.

It was delicious and will be made again for Thanksgiving.  This is the pie after me and my dad had dessert.

Thank God I invited him for dinner, because after he left I  ate 2 more pieces.  Now I can feel good and say that I didn’t eat an entire pie by myself in two days.  Just 3/4 of a pie.  But I will take whatever comfort I can get.

I blame the pie for my dying today, because if I hadn’t eaten myself sick with pie, I would have had more wine and the Wildebeest would have done its thing.

Today, dinner comes out of the Crockpot, which also seems to be dying.  Hopefully, it will make it through one last pot roast.

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Being sick and having others depend on you for survival sucks

I think I am getting sick.  Not just a headache, not just nausea, not just a cold, but the dreaded combo of all of the above.  And being sick with kids is the absolute worst thing about being a mom.

As much as being sick sucks, I can remember fondly days when I stayed home from school/work watching Saved by the Bell or movies like The Breakfast Club or a sanitized version of Fast Times at Ridgemont High on channel 11 (which was always on when I was home sick for some reason).  When all I had to do was drag myself out of bed to make some instant mashed potatoes or soup so I could survive or better yet, ask my mom/grandma to do it.

But when you have kids, it’s a whole different world.  They want attention and they want to be played with and they apparently need to eat and have diapers changed, etc.  And their voices become infinitely squeakier the worse your head hurts.

When all you want to do is die silently, you must function, no matter what.  You are forced to watch their TV shows (because it’s your best chance of keeping them quiet and immobilized), but you can’t escape to do dishes or play on the computer, because you are paralyzed and will, therefore, be tortured by SpongeBob’s laugh for hours on end.  You have to deal with them standing over you copying your gagging as you throw up, often after you change their diapers.  You have to “play” with them.  I sometimes just lie on the floor and encourage them to play “crush the mommy” just so I can stop moving.

Then you inadvertently get one or both of them sick, and the entire house is cranky and dying (some of us more quietly than others) and hating each other.  One of my kids is upstairs coughing/sneezing as I type this and my youngest was unusually cranky today, probably getting sick.

I’ve tried doubling up on my Vitamin C, echinacea and all those anti-germ drinks.   None of those things ever seem to work (and I would rather die than drink those drinks), so I am going with a much more enjoyable tactic – attempting to drown the germs in a red wine called Wildebeest because it sounds tougher than other wines.  Wish me luck!

Why I am here….

So when people tell me they are starting a blog, I initially ask myself two questions “who really cares what you have to say?” and “hasn’t it all been said before?”  Upon further introspection, my answers to those questions are “I do” and “so what?”.

I read many blogs, from people I know to people I have never heard of in my life, on a variety of topics, food blogs, mommy blogs (especially working mom blogs), humor blogs, etc.  Really, anything and everything.

And reading different people write about similar experiences is never boring or redundant to me.  In fact, finding multiple people with shared experiences is comforting.

Recently I went to a QRCA conference in Vegas and I decided that I must start a blog of my own (I don’t like using blog as a verb, fyi).

I am a qualitative research consultant (that explains the Q, the R and the C) or market researcher for short.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, that means that companies hire me and people like me to ask their customers or potential customers about a product, service or message they are developing or refining or repositioning.  Don’t worry, many people in my immediate family still have no idea what I do after 12 years, so it’s okay if you are confused.  It’s really not that crucial to understanding the story.

If you look closely you can see how my propensity to read multiple blogs on the same topic and my job traveling around the country to ask multiple people the same questions fit together quite nicely, because the people are different and so are their stories and that always makes life interesting.

Tangent over.

Anyway, while I was at this conference, I was talking to other female market researchers from all over the country and from all walks of life about being a market researcher and a mom and how to balance all of that.  Of course, this is a question that all moms and especially working moms face…a question that has been covered on many blogs and will continue to be covered.

However, it occurred to me that we are somewhat unique in the realm of working moms.  We are in this no-man’s land between part-time workers and full time workers.

While we are on the road A LOT, many of us work from a home office much of the time, so we are not the traditional working moms who are unavailable from 9-5 Monday to Friday and have a nanny or in law handle the school day minutiae (I finally found a reason to use that word I learned in high school!).

For much of the week (at least when we are in the state), we can be there to pack the lunches, take the kids to school and attend an occasional after school activity, making it appear to some that we are stay at home moms.  Yet, we are still working full-time and then some, so we are often not available to grab coffee or have playdates, etc.

Many of the moms who I talk to infrequently assume I don’t work.  I often get asked “What did you do before you had kids?” and I awkwardly reply “Market research and I still do it (and I am doing it right now as I talk to you).”  Although I usually leave that last part out.  How do you tell someone that while you are discussing teachers and the best stores for kids’ shoes that the other part of your brain (and maybe the best part) is structuring a PowerPoint slide to best illustrate the findings of a 4-market study you just flew in from that morning?

It often leaves me in a place where I feel I am constantly defending myself – against what?  I don’t know – maybe against my fears that they will find me unfriendly or unkempt.

“I really do like you and want our kids to be friends, but I have to rush home to a conference call right now!  Yes, I know I was here for soccer and I am wearing flip flops, but I am working, I swear!”

“Really I would love to get together and do X while the kids are in school, but I have a report to write or a meeting to attend”  (X can range from a free day at a country club pool to lunch to a spa visit…all things I REALLY want to do, no matter who is inviting me, but I can’t)

“I normally shower in the morning but came here straight from a redeye, I am not stinky, I promise.”

“I don’t find you boring; I am just yawning because I am exhausted from working 12 hour days in a different time zone this week.”

No one asks me for these explanations but I feel I must give them anyway.

Not to mention the guilt of leaving the kids to go to work or to leave the state for 4 days at a time or telling them to be quiet when you are on a call or to just be silent for 8 minutes while you process your thoughts!

It’s fun watching them act these things out with their dolls and stuffed animals – “Baby, please be quiet, daddy is on a very important call” or “Can you watch my baby for me please?  I must go to California but I don’t want to leave her alone.  Can you watch her?”

And when I say fun, I mean heart-breaking.  But I am hoping that my time home with them is worth it and the fact that I can play tag with them while waiting for a fax or that I can work on the patio while they play in the kiddy pool, makes up for the days I am too short with them or the days when I am just plain not there.

So that’s why I decided it was finally time to start a blog.  I don’t have the attention span to say that this is going to be a market research blog or a mom blog or a humor blog* or a food blog.  Let’s just say that this will be a “me blog” and will likely encompass all the things that I enjoy, at least until I see something shiny, get distracted and forget about this endeavor entirely.

* I don’t really think I am funny, but people laugh when I talk; I assume they are laughing at me, but whatever, it means they are having fun, right?