HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I’m originally from Southern Ohio and now live in Northwest Illinois
ON THE WEB Earful of Cider Blog
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two, plus a cat who doesn’t know I’m not his natural mother.
DAY JOB Full-time librarian
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK This isn’t a fair question! Our house is filled with favorites, including some vintage Seuss–you can tell an heirloom children’s book by the toothmarks in the binding. Sandra Boynton and Mo Willems taught our older daughter how to read and now they’re working their magic on our younger daughter, too, so their books are certainly at the top of the piles right now, if that counts? And Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter & Tabby books are a bedtime or cuddle-time staple.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
My husband is a yoga instructor and teaches several evening classes, while I work full time–which includes every other Saturday–so we tag team and my Mother-in-law, who lives with us, fills in the gaps. I’m in charge of packing lunches and dropping the kids off at school (now that they’re attending the same one), and my husband is in charge of breakfasts, forgotten homework/piano books/lunches, pediatrician appointments, and picking them up from school.
When our work schedules overlap, my mother-in-law watches the kids until one of us comes home. I do baths and hair washing, he does laundry, and we all do homework, cook dinner and read. But nothing is set in stone but school and work!
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I’d say I was sillier, but my entire family would immediately call me on that, so . . . I’ve had to change my way of explaining things and make sure my instructions and expectations are clear: children are very literal (or mine are, anyway) and don’t always make the assumptions or jumps of logic that an adult would. They’re also little loophole lawyers who will challenge you on where exactly in the Rules it states that brushing one’s teeth must involve toothpaste.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED/ CHANGED/ IMPACTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
We’ve learned that even if we barely see each other for a few days, texting and e-mailing is still communication — and communication is key. We’ve also learned to CC each other on everything. At one point, we simultaneously accepted and declined a party invitation, which is actually worse than not responding at all because we thought the other one had RSVP’d. But despite the chaos, dinners are rock solid tv-free family time, which rarely happened before the kids.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
Starting this fall, both of our kids will be in their school’s After Care program a few times a week, as my husband’s schedule has changed. We didn’t ask my Mother-in-law to live with us to get free babysitting, but she’s been an absolute godsend after school and it’s nice to know she’s there when we hire the occasional sitter. My sister-in-law, who is visiting over the summer, has single-handedly saved my older daughter’s softball season by taking her to her afternoon games.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
So far, The Great Ear Piercing Disaster of 2011. It was one of those Learning Experiences™ every parent dreads.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
The best moments involve spontaneous hugs and/or drawings of one of the kids holding hands with a woman wearing a crown and a beautiful dress who I’m told is me, because I’m the bestest ever (they might also want me to level up my wardrobe, but I’m taking it as a compliment). We also tell each other bedtime stories.