HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Grew up in Chicago, now live in Maplewood, NJ
ON THE WEB Carpoolcandy.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Three
DAY JOB Freelance writer and news editor, blogger, mom
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK Choosing a favorite book is hard because we love so many, but I especially loved reading “Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo, to my kids. It’s a simple story so beautifully told, about a girl trying to make friends, who creates a community of characters of all backgrounds and ages to cure them all of their loneliness. And we love the Zen Stories and Zen Shorts books by Jon J Muth. They also tell stories that are simple yet powerful and remind us that we have choices about how to act or react.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
For many years I worked full time as a TV news producer and we had a live-in nanny whom we loved.
I quit that job about 5 years ago and was home with the kids — but after about a year I wanted some kind of professional outlet, so I started freelance writing.
I had a family life column called Carpool Candy on Patch.com for two years and wrote some news and feature stories. I scheduled my writing time around the kids’ schedule which was convenient but not always productive. I started looking for full-time work last year when my youngest son started kindergarten, eventually finding a job as an editor at a news/information website in NY two days a week — and I blog and write features on the other days. So far I have cobbled together babysitting for two afternoons a week when the kids get home, but it’s been hard to find someone for both days and if the kids are sick or have school off, I will have issues so it’s not a perfect situation but hopefully will work for now.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
Parenting has made me more sensitive and empathetic. My kids have also provided a mirror of many personality traits. There’s nothing like recognizing some of your worst traits in your kid, but it can be motivation for change. On the flip side, when I see my sons being gregarious and curious about the world I see a bit of myself and smile.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED/CHANGED/IMPACTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
My husband is an amazing, attentive father so seeing him with my kids always makes me love him more. But sometimes our focus on the kids zaps too much of our energy and we don’t make enough time for each other.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
My husband and I try to always be honest with our kids. When they were younger we explained a lot to them instead of shooing them away or humoring them. We are still frank so they feel comfortable asking questions. Our weaknesses are over-planning and tiring them out, and not agreeing on discipline.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
We have one great sitter who comes once or twice every week and a few others when we need them. My mother also helps in the summer.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
How much time do you have?
I’d say my worst moments are in the morning when my lack of planning has caused a major time crunch. I should make my kids go to sleep earlier so they get up better, I should get up earlier to make their lunches and breakfast, I should lay out clothes, forms, etc the night before. But I don’t do any of that and we are rushing and I’m frustrated that they aren’t moving faster even though I know they have no accelerated speed button.
I am tense and snappy, they are sometimes in tears, and I hate myself.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
My finest moments are when I plan something I know my kids will love and we experience the fun together. I like planning trips, birthday parties, presents, and special activities that are exciting and memorable. I also love small moments like reading together or talking to them about their day at dinner. I think I’m a good listener.