Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Staycation

This past weekend, I got the opportunity to do a “stay”cation at the local hotel- it is a premier 4-star hotel that offers quite a bit- golfing, spa treatments, kids’ activities, swimming pools (several tiers), and food aplenty. In any case, it was a deal my husband got by virtue of his employment and it was fun. As I was getting my massage treatment on Saturday morning and pedicure, I started to think about all the wonderful things of a VACATION and all the even better things about a STAYCATION so here goes:

A vacation is great because you truly “get away”. There is no choice of whether you go home or not- your hotel or place where you are staying is a temporary home, a resting place of sorts. So, a vacation makes you truly get away from it all – no house to clean up, no problems to worry about because you are physically gone away. However, the negative to this, it is all waiting for you when you get back and sometimes you may need to deal with emergencies remotely. You also have to physically travel which is hard with two kids – packing just the right amount and the right things can be daunting. With two kids, it is even more of a juggling act. You have to also buy tickets to go to that place which adds up in cost. A staycation tends to just cost you the gas to get back and forth. In the end, you go away on a vacation and support the tourism industry of another state.

A staycation supports the local community – the local masseuse, the local concierge, the local bell boy, the local hotel, the local restaurant, and of course, if it is right in your backyard, you have supported your community and your State. A staycation permits you some flexibility. You do not have the arduous task of planning – you do not have to pack everything because if you should forget something, it is not the end of the world, unless you go 2 hours away that is. But the drawbacks are that because you did not plan, you may end up going back and forth a lot between home and “stay”cation site. In any case, a staycation can be cheaper and more relaxing but may leave you longing for a true vacation as well. All in all, I had a great stay cation but recommend the following – if you do live within 30-45 minutes of the staycation site, you may want to forego the room/lodging because home is truly better to be at. The better suggestion may be to do a trip 1.5hours or 2 hours from your home so you truly get away and get the benefit of being close to home as well.

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An Umbrella in Colorado? Really?

Since May, we have had some strange weather in Colorado – lots and lots of rain. In fact, I think it started in April. It is strange but the way things have been I am considering buying a couple of umbrellas. I have never purchased an umbrella in Colorado – it is just so unnecessary. When I moved here 7 years ago, I parted with my umbrella stash. I needed them in Germany and of course in St. Louis and New Orleans but Colorado – come on! Well, this year I am considering purchasing one for the office because every day I leave work it is raining and we cannot have my hair getting wet- after all, straighening it is no picnic for me.

So, I think I may make a trip to Wal mart tomorrow and pick up an umbrella to keep at my office. I may actually buy a slicker for the little one as well – my toddler has a rain jacket but my infant obviously does not and I think this season she will need one – we are almost in July and there is no end in sight to these horrific storms but one thing is for sure, I do not have to turn my sprinklers on and my grass is doing great so who can complain really? Buy an umbrella and a nice rain coat and enjoy getting “caught in the rain” – it is a great monsoon in an otherwise DRY Colorado.

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The Generation Gap

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that my husband sent my way and I realized how true most of it was. This generation (our generation) is relying more and more on their parents to provide child care. I started thinking about this because it is a phenomenon really. When we grew up, for the average family in the 70s and 80s, one parent stayed home and took care of the kids- generally, the mom. That is how things were. Despite the cost of living, it was just understood that one parent would be at home, and somehow things would work out on one salary. More and more families lived within their means too. I saw another news story on NBC the other night that talked about how people these days (in our generation) are buying homes beyond their means. It was the norm to have a 900-1500 sq ft home in the 80s and not to exceed your means. Your entire life savings was not going into your home and a home was a place to live and on one income, a 15-year mortgage was the best because after all, you needed shelter.

Most families were able to live on one income and still save somewhat for retirement. Family came first and child care was not an option. Most moms were not professionals either – they were either teachers, secretaries or not educated enough – so, it was not worth it anyway.

Nowadays, things are different – due to the women’s liberation, equal pay and equal rights, more and more women are in the workplace. Women are in unconventional trades- military, science, and the like. More and more women are travelling further and more than their husbands. Men are actually staying at home with the kids now because the wives make more. However, more and more – both mom and dad are working and need to because lifestyles and times have changed. Thus, enter the grandparents. Grandparents are stepping in to raise the grandkids because it breaks their hearts to see them raised by strangers so, more and more of the previous generation are stepping up to do what they should not have to do – raise kids again. Well into their 60s, baby boomers appear to be taking on the burdens of child rearing because our generation cannot get it together – unlike our parents’ generations, we are not willing to make sacrifices- we want the fancy car, the house we cannot afford, and the clothes and shoes that we should not be wearing. Our parents did not go out on dates as often and sacrificed for us and they continued to do so today.

It was an interesting article and put perspective on our present situation. I am a professional and so is my hubbie and neither of us wants to or desires to give up our job to stay home and raise kids. Neither one of us can give up our lifestyle and so it seems, our children are being raised by my parents and with that comes some compromising on our part too – living with grandma at our house, listening to her advice day-in and day out and of course, the fine art of diplomacy and compromise. I do not like it but the level of care that family provides is always better than what strangers and third parties can so, we try to mend the cultural and generational gap and work with our parents. My mom, who was a housewife, does not mind – she wants to feel needed and has no hobbies of her own so once again finds herself wanting to raise a family – mine. It is quite the conundrum and this article from WSJ really sheds light on the entire situation: http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2009/06/24/grandmas-too-indulgent-grandpas-too-strict-child-rearing-disputes-with-grandparents/

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The basement project has begun

I cannot believe that our basement project has finally begun- I came home to an ugly dumpster parked in the street in front of our home, a port-o-let nestled in the bushes to the left of my home and the sweet smell of lumber. After 2 years in the home, we finally are biting the bullet and finishing the basement so we can enjoy it. We do not need the space and while it is practical to have a guest bedroom, it will just be nice to have a home office, and some extra room for my husband to “retreat to” when he needs it – of course, maybe I can retreat there too – after nursing is done that is. In any case, no matter what we use the basement for in the future, for the next 4 weeks, our house is hostage to construction from 730-430pm and so, we have to deal with the dumpster and the other uglies, and the noise, and the constant traffic of strange, smelly men but there are worse things and of course, it is only 4 weeks… as I keep telling myself in Seinfeld -like fashion, “it’s like 2 days really” and before we know it, our basement will be ready for us to move into.

I just hope all goes well and more importantly, on time!

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The dreaded day

Returning to work after a long maternity leave is bitter sweet. It is sweet because you get to return to your world of getting things done, intelligent conversation, and of course, the proverbial feeling of worth as you accomplish what you went to school for. However, it is bitter too because by the time the three to four months of leave pass, you have become quite attached to your little one and if you are a working mom who believes in breastfeeding, then you have formed an attachment to that little guy or gal who has won over your heart with the newest smiles, laughs and cutest looks ever. It is also bitter because you are now pumping instead of nursing, and that is truly sad. The best way to make up for this is to ensure you feed the baby in the evenings on the weekends as much as possible. Of course, if you work weekends like I do, then there may be the need to take some leave or time off.

So the dreaded has come and gone and I am exhausted. The day never ends for working moms and dads. Truly, never ends. It is like a 7-11- open 24/7- you “wake up” all night long and all day spend time at work, then you come home only to have your day really begin with the kids. It is amazing that parents live longer than single women and men and it is even more amazing that on average parents live longer than dual-income no kids couples. Of course, out of those dual income no kids couples, those who have pets, live longer than those without pets. Interesting, considering I have not slept in 2.5 years or something like that and I do not see sleep anytime in my future. As far as working and raising kids though, it is a tough balance. One that each working mom has to work with and deal with and cope with. In the end though, all parties turn out okay and everyone survives but for right now… it just feels horrible. The moms that end up the happiest are the ones that have great employers who permit work from home, part-time work, or the nursery is on another floor in their building. Here’s to working moms everyone! I know- I hear you- I feel your pain. It is not the end of the world but make sure your babies are in a good home care or day care situation – it will lighten your load for sure.

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