Booked!

After much indecision on where to go on vacation this year, we decided we just wanted a relaxing, don’t-have-to-think-about-anything kind of trip. So, we booked a week in Jamaica! We leave in April and I could not be more excited. Love having something to look forward to…

Hilton Rose Hall

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Lately

 

All my “guilt” issues seem to be a reoccurring theme on this blog, but being a family with two working parents can come with its complexities. Here’s my lately:

Friday

Reid wakes up and says he doesn’t feel well. I panic. I have work! I have meetings! I am busy! I find this sickness to be inconvenient. I keep saying hopeful things like, “Maybe you’ll feel better after you eat something!” until Reid proceeds to actually get sick. I realize he definitely won’t be going to school. This is bad.

My husband and I proceed to negotiate on how we are going to cover the day, which results in Paul working from home in the morning and me working from home in the afternoon. Hooray for teamwork!

Saturday

Reid is feeling better so Paul and I decide to take the kids and overnight in Toronto for a fun family weekend. The visit had some highs (a trip to the aquarium) and some lows (Ramona making a bit of a “scene” in a restaurant), but nonetheless we had a great time.

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P.S. The new Delta is really nice.

Sunday

After getting home from Toronto, I take the kids to the playground to take advantage of the mild weather. Reid proceeds to jump off the playground structure a few times until we lands on his foot funny. He can’t walk. Once again, I begin to panic. After we get home, I take him to the emergency room. We wait three hours, get X-rays, but are told nothing is broken (hooray!) and that after a good night’s sleep all will be well in the morning (phew!).

But nobody proceeds to get any sleep that night because Reid makes it known his foot hurts. Side note: I really do not do well when I have not slept.

Monday

Reid can’t put pressure on his foot. I panic. I have work! I have meetings! I am busy! My husband saves the day by staying home with him.

That evening, I take him to the walk-in clinic for some advice on how to proceed. I ask if there’s something we can put on his foot because “we are two working parents who can’t stay home with him infinitely”. She gives me a look like, “Lady, it’s part of the job” but tells me it’s not broken and likely just sore. “Another good nights sleep and it should be fine!”

I feel a tentative sense of relief.

Tuesday

I wake Reid up. “Time to try putting pressure on your foot! The doctor said you’d be good as new today!”, I say enthusiastically. Reid starts wailing and refuses to try. I lose my cool, to put it nicely. “REID, I NEED TO GO TO WORK AND SO YOU NEED TO TRY!”. He continues to refuse and I have to walk away.

My husband takes over the negotiation and eventually Reid walks (albeit with a bit of a limp). I think Reid may be exaggerating his injury and the limp. I take him to school.

Later that day, I come home from work to a message that the radiologist has now reviewed the results and she sees that he has a fractured baby toe (bad). No cast need and it will heal on its own (good).

Then I feel so bad! Bad because I hate that I think of my children’s sickness as a total inconvenience. Bad that I feel more sympathy for myself and the fact that we have nobody to help us when the kids are sick, rather than feeling sympathy for my poor, sick child. Bad that I shuffle them off to childcare before they are probably ready to go back. All in the name of work.

Maybe it comes with the territory of working mom, but dammit if it doesn’t feel really shitty sometimes.

*End* Long-winded story about my mom guilt.

 

What Do You Outsource?

A couple of months ago, I got a cleaner. I did this for a few different reasons:

(1) We are two working parents with two active children. I wanted needed something on our plate to go.

(2) Life was feeling so mundane: Work. Make dinner. Sleep. Repeat. Spend weekend getting groceries and running errands. I wanted to free up some time for some “fun” somewhere along the way.

(3) Cleaning did not qualify as fun.

Cleaning

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But, honestly, for the past few months I’ve just felt so guilty about paying somebody to do something I’m fully capable of doing.

I worry I’m wasting money. I worry I’m being lazy. I worry that I could do a better job anyways.

I’m thinking of cancelling the service just so I can stop feeling so damn guilty.

So, my question is: As a family, is there anything you outsource?

I’m thinking I’d feel less guilty about the money if I outsourced something I hate and am terrible at, like gardening…

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Getting Tired of Reading Blogs, Even Though I Have One (Alternatively Titled: Stop Boring Me With Blue Apron Ads)

As a mother of two, social media and blogs have provided both a source of salvation (moms supporting moms), a source of frustration (moms judging moms) and a source of information (moms helping moms).

It turns out that parents are heavy users of social media and mothers, in particular, interact with their social media channels frequently to share information and access emotional support. “Mom blogs” (like mine) also provide an additional platform for women to share with each other. It’s not surprising, then, that many companies are trying to engage with moms online and be a part of that conversation.

Desk

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I read “mom” and lifestyle blogs frequently and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the volume of sponsored posts has increased. For those bloggers that are in a position to make money from their blog, it’s only natural that this revenue come in the form of sponsored content as marketers move away from banner ads.

Blogger outreach has provided a tremendous opportunity for companies to partner with bloggers to “[have] their story become part of hers” (in the words of former blogger Catherine Connors). This is a critical strategy because in a recent survey, findings showed that most people trust the recommendations of friends. A blogger you follow is that trusted friend; exactly what the customers want and the marketers need.

Of course, this blogger partnership comes in many forms. Not only may a blogger create a post for their blog advertising the product, but they may also post to their social media accounts, furthering the brand’s reach. See: the staged Instagram shot.

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The thing is, as sponsored posts become more frequent, they inevitably feel less authentic and become less effective. As an example, the other day, I read a post by another “mom blogger”. After reading the post, I realized it was an ad for a fertility product. Honestly, I felt a bit “had”. One blog commenter summed it up perfectly:

“I think reading a heartfelt post like this and then finding out that it is sponsored is a bit like meeting an old friend for coffee, catching up, and then at the end of the conversation she asks you if you are interested in starting beachbody. The conversation/post was great, but you leave feeling a bit used.” – Claire

(Please note, while we have the same first name, this commenter was not me!)

My point is in order for companies to drive sales through bloggers and sponsored content, sponsored content has to feel fully integrated into the blogger’s story and brand. Otherwise it just feels like a plain ol’ ad.

And, honestly, everything is feeling like a plain old ad lately which is why I’m getting bored of blogs. How many mom or lifestyle blogs have you looked at lately where there is a Blue Apron post? WE GET IT. Two free meals with your first order!

In time, I think revenue bloggers will need to adapt and reinvent the ways in which they obtain their blogging income, just as print publications were forced to adapt. If you aren’t providing authentic content, eventually the audience will tire of what you are producing and stop visiting.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. I guess I just want to say to my fellow bloggers: Stop trying to sell me beachbody and instead just relate to me.

The Day I Become a Mother

Six years ago today, I became a mother.

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A trip down memory lane reminds me how nervous I was for my c-section surgery. I was about to embark on this parenting journey and I was petrified I wouldn’t be any good at the job.

I recall laying in the operating room, listening to the doctors mundanely talk to each other about their weekend plans and thinking how crazy it was that this single event was changing the trajectory of my life and yet it was just another day for the team conducting the surgery.

I remember asking my doctor, “Are we going to start soon?” and my doctor saying in disbelief, “Claire! We are almost done!”. And, with that, I heard a cry and the doctor announced, “It’s a boy!”.

I have a boy.

After a quick evaluation, a tiny, swaddled baby was placed on my chest. I looked at him, introduced myself and started to cry. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I named him Reid.

It’s hard to believe that this tiny baby is now my six-year old boy. Time passes so quickly, I just don’t even know what to make of it. Some days, motherhood is challenging. Others, I’m so full of love, I feel I could burst.

Reid, you forever changed my life. You made me a mother- your mother. I am so grateful.

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Photos by the amazing Carson & Holm Photography