Behind every great woman is an even greater man??

Women are constantly trying to get out from behind a man’s success be it in the business world or beyond, but what about when the great success of the family is the woman?

That’s why I loved this piece in yesterday’s New York Times about Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the soon-to-be chair of the Democratic National Committee. She not only kicks butt as a Congresswoman, but also as a mother. And she gives due credit to where much of it is clearly due — to her husband. Wasserman says in the article:

“I promote that you don’t have to choose between work and family.” But, she adds, “I married a great guy.”

He’s apparently so great that he doesn’t even need hired help around the house when she’s off in Washington working. Unreal!

It’s refreshing when I read accounts of women who are uber-successful in their professional life cop to the fact that they have a husband at home bearing the weight of child care or personal responsibilities. I keep thinking all those awesome working moms I meet are somehow making it all happen on their own (FWIW Design Mom says Ben Blair does his half – love it!).

So a big thanks to Ms. Schultz for being so forthcoming to all us curious bystanders about how she gets it done.

Kim Clijsters is my hero

Kim Clijsters is my new-ish hero. It’s not the first time I’ve written about her on this blog before. The first time I mentioned her was when New York Times author Selena Roberts took her to task for “opting out” of tennis at the young age of 23.

I bet Roberts is eating her words now.

Clijsters just won her FOURTH Grand Slam last weekend — the Australian Open — in Melbourne last weekend. She won her second — the U.S. Open — after taking the last 2.5 years off to birth and raise her daughter. And won another U.S. Open last year.

How’s that for opting back in? I hope my re-entry into the workforce is one-bazillionth as successful.

And what did she credit for her stirring “comeback” to tennis?

Why, the maturity she feels she has now that she’s a mother. I heard her say that on TV too.

It’s scary to opt-out of the workforce for whatever reason – injury, age, kids, whatever. And it’s equally as scary to opt back in not knowing what challenges might lie ahead. But I get what Clijsters is feeling. In some ways, taking the time off (if you’re lucky enough to be able to do so) only to go back in gives you the drive and insights you might not have had otherwise.

I’m a firm believer that having children has only helped my career, not hindered it. I may not have won any Opens, but knowing I have those little (and one big) dudes to come home to every night makes me feel like a champion.

It’s no Accident there are two Good new shows for fall

I really didn’t need to add any more television shows to my repetoire. But my friend Beth has a way of looping me into her world of lovely CBS television shows, chances for conference calls with TV stars and on-set visits (which of course I can’t do being 7 months pregnant) that get my dorky Midwest heart all-a-flutter. I just can’t say no to someone asking me to watch a new television show.

Especially when they’re good. 

So last week I sat down to watch two new shows appearing on CBS’s lineup this fall – The Good Wife and Accidentally on Purpose. Starring Julianna Margulies and Jenna Elfman, respectively, these shows deal with the issues I write often about here: re-entry into the workforce after having kids. Of course, I have no experience about dealing with the issues of an unfaithful husband or getting accidentallky knocked up at age 37, but whatever, I’m always trying to be transparent about putting reviews about anything up here on this blog.

Because they’re good.

According to CBS press materials, The Good Wife is:

a drama starring Emmy Award winner Julianna Margulies as a wife and mother who boldly assumes full responsibility for her family and re-enters the workforce after her husband’s very public sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail.  Pushing aside the betrayal and crushing public humiliation caused by her husband Peter (Chris Noth), Alicia Florrick (Margulies) starts over by pursuing her original career as a defense attorney.  As a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, she joins her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles), who is interested to see how Alicia will perform after 13 years out of the courtroom. Alicia is grateful the firm’s top litigator, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), offers to mentor her but discovers the offer has conditions and realizes she’s going to need to succeed on her own merit.

Hello, you had me at Chris Noth. (Even if does play the biggest prick to cross the TV screen since Elliott Spitzer.) Margulies looks great and shows a depth of emotion in her character as a jilted wife. I’ll be back to see if she sticks by her husband’s side for much longer.

You can watch a clip here:

 Accidentally on Purpose is a little lighter and a little, well, less realistic. But it’s still fun. According to CBS the show is:

is a comedy starring Golden Globe Award winner Jenna Elfman as Billie, a single woman who finds herself “accidentally” pregnant after a one-night stand with a much younger guy, and decides to keep the baby… and the guy.  A newspaper film critic, Billie is barely surviving a humiliating breakup with her charming boss, James (Grant Show), who’s still trying to resume their relationship.  Suddenly expecting a child with her “boy toy,” Zack (Jon Foster), Billie and Zack make an arrangement: to live together platonically. Billie’s party girl best friend Olivia (Ashley Jensen), and Abby (Lennon Parham), her conventional, younger married sister, eagerly look forward to the new addition and offer their own brands of advice and encouragement.  But when Zack and his freeloading friends, including Davis (Nicolas Wright), start to turn her place into a frat house, Billie isn’t sure if she’s living with a boyfriend, a roommate, or if she just has another child to raise.

Hello, you had me at Grant Show. Like I said, not so realistic, but Jenna Elfman is way cuter and less annoying as she was as the wacky wife on Dharma and Greg, and the dad-to-be is rather adorable and endearing. Plus, you had me at Grant Show.

Watch a clip here:

Both shows air this fall.

Where I am…

I’ve been back and forth writing and editing a post that I’m not sure I have the guts to publish, but in the meantime, I’ve not been totally silent.

If you’re not totally bored or grossed out by potty training stories, I’ve shared mine here at the Chicago Moms Blog.

If you live in NYC and want to hear the stories of some fabulously funny moms, then head out to the Comic Strip this Thursday to see Liz, Jen, and Tracy read their hilarious essays from Beth of RoleMommy’s new book, C://Mom Run: Sidesplitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Blogging Moms.

I’m telling you this because OMG I’m actually going to be PUBLISHED in this book alongside these incredible writers and OMG maybe someone may be reading my essay to the audience on Thursday as well. I am bummed that I couldn’t be there in person, but I know it’ll be a great event if Beth has anything to do with it. Details are here.

Other than that, I’ve taken on a substantial load of writing (for me, at least) from Chicago Parent for the next few months, which alternatively excites and scares me, because I actually have commitments now and deadlines and stuff.  But, I like to be busy, so I’ll take it.

And I’ll keep thinking about that post I’m working on. I hope I don’t chicken out.

Let it Grow Like Katie

I have this thing about my hair. I always change my mind about what kind of style I want.  Currently, I’m in the midst of wanting my hair to be super long. 

I actually once had really long hair. With bangs! (collective gasp begin now)

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 I’m fully blaming “new mom brain” for this look.

A few cuts later and it was the Katie Holmes bob-o-rama of 2007

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I swear I didn’t mean for this to happen.

Which brings me to 2009 or, Operation: Growing It Out. Otherwise known as a painful ordeal where I partially revist “The Rachel” cut. Not on purpose.

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Had I known I was going to go back in time with my hairstyle I WOULD HAVE NEVER CUT MY HAIR!

Of course, when I found out this week that Katie went from bob to bombshell overnight with magical hair extensions I went loony.  Now I only have one mission in mind: Must Look Like Holmes Again.

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 It’s just not fair that us frugal peons have to do the grow out the old-fashioned way.

I know PunditMom and ChickyChickyBaby are also leading the quest for long hair.  Are you? Let’s all share photos of our progress.  We can live in grow-out misery together.

Until then, I’m wearing my hair back and in headbands daily.

trust me, I watch too much TV. Trust me.

It’s January, and that means all my tv shows are back on the air with new episodes.  Right now I’ve got a heavy television load to bear.  I’m in serial drama hell and I can’t recuse myself from all the new shows of LOST, Damages, Nip/Tuck and Grey’s Anatomy. These four shows alone are eating up all my down time. So when Beth, my link to all TV stars, asked if I wanted a sneak peak of a new drama on TNT I got worried. There’s no way I could add a new show to my roster.

But then Beth also offered me an invite to a luncheon as a part of the package.

Hmm… food + free TV DVD? How could I say no?

So last week, I caught up on the first two episodes of trust me and attended a luncheon with one of the show’s stars, Monica Potter. Schwing!

I loved so many parts of the show. It brought back memories of the days when I worked for a large PR firm, the cutthroat meetings, the last minute creative ideas, the stress!

And I really loved getting to see so many of my old blog friends and chat with Ms. Potter (Monica?) in person. She was so hot and so, uhm normal? I’m not allowed to disclose all the stuff we dished about, but let’s just say, she’s really down to earth. I mean, she has three kids, ate the food on her plate AND held other people’s babies without worry they’d spit up on her.

 

Photo courtesy of the other Beth. Cute and astonishingly well-behaved babies courtesy of Steph and Sarah. Tall women relegated to the back of the photo courtesy of me and Jen.

By the end of it all I was so full (clam chowder, cheeseburger and creamed spinach will do it to you) I almost forgot I had to go home to a toddler rather than back to my office in the sky.  But I think I found a new show to latch onto. I think I’ll have the time to fit it in. Trust me.

Things I don’t expect to see while on vacation

A snowstorm in April:

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This is not what I call “spring skiing.”

A random product I reviewed a long time ago (so long that I can’t even find it in my archives) staring at me from the bar where I was enjoying a drink called, “The Geisha.”

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To my knowledge, Gloves in a Bottle is NOT a key ingredient to the Geisha drink.

Making it onto Alltop Moms. I can’t even believe I’m in the company listed on this site. I’m all the way at the bottom, but who cares, I’m there! (Thanks, Nicole.)

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Kim, thanks for the button. That about sums it up for me too!

Seeing many friends of mine in the blogosphere meeting KATIE COURIC in NYC. Beth, next time you offer me a chance like this, remind me that my husband will always be there, while Katie may not be. You guys rock!!

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Vacationing alone with hubby is overrated compared to meeting #1 female celebrity. Just kidding, honey.

That’s all until I get back from snowy paradise…

Edited to add: I SO did NOT meet Katie!! I think re-reading the caption it makes me sound like I did, but I didn’t. Just jealous of those that did. Next time I’ll get out of my vacation haze and proof before I write!

At least she’s honest – Julianna Margulies on being a working mom

marguliesx.jpgIt’s always fun to see how celebrities are quoted about how they handle motherhood and work.  So when I came across this story in USA Today I couldn’t resist quoting yet the newest working mom on the block – Julianna Margulies, who’s starring in a new show, Canterbury’s Law, this Monday night. In the series, she plays a ball-buster lawyer. In real life, she’s mom to six-week-old Kieran.  I’m sure she was asked the obligatory, “how did you handle pregnancy and working?” question, which elicited this response:

I got pregnant by surprise at the end of April, and in May, we found out we were picked up. I don’t want to be the working mother. We’ve seen it a million times. How do you juggle? And it is impossibly difficult, as I’m now finding out.

Furthermore, she was against writing her pregnancy into the show. Most times I find it irritating when celebrities wax poetic or give unrealistic advice about the beauty of working and raising their children on movie sets or whatever.  So, thanks Julianna for keeping it real. It is impossible to juggle.

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The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom – Is it reality?

slsm.jpgI just finished watching the premiere episode of TLC’s new show, “The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom,” and I have to be honest – I liked it way more than I thought I would.  I knew plenty about the show after talking to the host, Tracey Gold, yesterday, but typically I don’t let my DVR record things that have the words “Secret” and “Mom” in the same title (sounds kind of like a bad Lifetime move, don’t you think?).  However, after whizzing through the show in about 45 minutes, I found myself with a bit of a lump in my throat and a little more happiness about the choice I made to be a SAHM.

The first episode centered on Adrian Stark, wife of a doctor and a mom of three.  A wannabe fashion designer before she had kids, the show gave Ms. Stark the opportunity to work for fashion designer Bianca Nero for a week under the guise that she was “going to a spa.” (Hence, the “secret.” Lifetime references abound.) So while she went off to her new “job,” her husband stayed at home watching the girls. It was your typical here’s-what-happens-when-the-mom-works-scenario with the kids running wild and the house in disarray. Let’s just say if there are assistants who cook the food all day while you’re away it’s not that realistic.

And watching Ms. Stark do her assignment was kind of like watching a summer intern at work.  The bosses came down hard and fast and Ms. Stark looked frazzled and nervous.  I can only imagine, though, how she must have felt, considering before I interviewed Ms. Gold yesterday (my first “real” story since I stopped working) I was sweating like a pig.  The point? It’s hard to rejigger your brain into work mode after you’ve been in SAHM mode. I thought the show treated that shift well.

Some folks were a little bothered by the secretive nature of the show, but I just chalked it up to the fact that it’s on TV. I mean, how else were they going to get those moms out of the house? I know if I want to leave for a day I have to book it like 3 weeks in advance, call in major reinforcements and clear it with a slew of people. Anyway, *spoiler alert* at the end of the show, Ms. Stark does a great job, gets the job of her dreams and accepts a full-time position with the designer. Dad seemed truly happy for her and the kids were thrilled. (This is the part where I got a lump in my throat.)  It was sweet, really. You could tell that she loved staying at home with her kids, but wanted to try something new, so kudos to her!

This show isn’t going to be for everyone, though. Some will think it’s going to fuel the Mommy Wars and devalue women’s choices.  But I’d like to think more positively about it after watching it. It gives a little insight into a typical my SAHM life and what can happen down the road. And I think it’s good for moms in general to watch other mothers go through what many of us think about as well as show employers that even if you are out of the workforce for awhile you still got ‘skillz (er, skills.)

So if they have to throw in a few television cliches in the process I’m not going to sweat it.  I’m going to record it again next week and maybe catch a good movie on Lifetime while I’m at it.  Hey, we all have to live vicariously once in awhile, right?

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From Growing Pains to Working Mom Role Model: An Interview with Tracey Gold

traceygold.jpgI remember Tracey Gold most from her days as Carol Seaver on the ’80s hit “Growing Pains.”  But Tracey, with her long career in acting, is much more than just a teenage superstar.  Mother of three (with one on the way in 3 1/2 weeks!), Tracey has been through more ups and downs as a woman than anyone I know.  Tonight, she’s starting a new chapter of her career as host of TLC’s new show, “The Secret Life of Soccer Moms.” (The show airs Mondays at 10/9 Central on TLC.) I got the amazing opportunity to talk to Tracey today from my “home office” (who says I’m not working!).  As a mom who just quit her job, I’m selfishly curious about this topic. Read on for my interview and tune back tomorrow for my commentary about the show.

SMM: How did you get involved in “The Secret Life of Soccer Moms”?
TG: I met the head executive of TLC back in June on another project and when he took over TLC he brought me in for this show, and pitched it. He didn’t know I was pregnant, though, so it threw him for a curveball, but I assured him that I could do it being pregnant and that I really relate to all the conflict and guilt of working moms.  Even though it’s a hosting job, I’m a woman and a mom too and I can share in these experiences.  I really thought the show was a great idea, and I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before.

SMM: Have you always been a working mom? Or did you take time off yourself?
TG: I have always worked. My job is such that I can work some and then take time to be a stay at home mom. I absolutely love to work and for me it’s a good balance. I’ve never felt like it’s been too much. The good thing about my job is that it’s conducive to being a mom. I know how lucky I am.

SMM: How was it starting a new job while pregnant?
TG: I was ok with it. If it was my first I would have thought differently, I think. But it’s my fourth child and I have had great pregnancies. At the end of the day, people were generally really accepting of it and I think in my industry it’s more acceptable to be pregnant. It’s become the hot new thing! We finished eight episodes, now I’m working to promote it and hopefully it will et picked up.

SMM: Was it hard to find the stay-at-home mom jobs? Were the jobs typically in the same field from ones they had left?
TG: It wasn’t hard to find the jobs, and in terms of the kind of jobs they worked in, it was mixed.  It’s not hard to find moms who wonder ‘what could have been if I took a different path?’ People were receptive and threw themselves into it. All the families were so different in terms of whether or not the moms took the job – some did and some didn’t.  Some moms were crying because they would have liked to have gone back, but there were logistical issues of day care, etc.  This was real life, not just a reality show.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there are a ton of opportunities for moms who’ve been out of the workforce for 10 years.

SMM: Can you tell me a little bit about how the show works?
TG: In the beginning, the moms really don’t know what they’re getting into. The moms go back, they leave and then they are sequestered for three nights doing their jobs. The dads think they are out doing the spa thing! Then on the last day, we bring the dad in and tell him what’s really going on. You get a mixed kind of reaction from the dads and the families. Some are good and some aren’t. Having the husband there adds a different dimension. And having the dad there changed the wife’s perspective too.  The mom could be loving the job, but the dad isn’t loving the idea of the mom working so much and then the mom decides she wants to stay home. No matter what, though, working brought the moms a new-found confidence to stay at home. Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the most under-appreciated jobs around, but it’s the most important one. Once the moms saw themselves being successful at something else it gave them extra confidence once they went home.

SMM: How did the employers treat the moms who went back to work? Did they need to be re-trained?
TG: The employers were hugely supportive and very receptive to helping them. Some moms fit right in and others needed to be caught up. They’d go into the job really excited but realize how hard it was and want to go home where they were loved and appreciated. They liked the safety of being at home.

SMM: What advice did you give to moms on the show? What kind of advice can you give to stay-at-home moms who want to go back to work when their kids are older?
TG: I always feel like I’m going through the same situation other moms are going through. I’m trying to figure it out too as I go and I’m not going to tell anyone what to do.  I think having a good support team is really important. I’m really lucky, as I have my mom and don’t need to have a nanny – it’s a real blessing. What I learned is that these women don’t necessarily ask what’s good for them all the time. They need to start asking what’s good for them and not fall into a trap of being a marytr at home.
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For an interesting debate about the premise and name of the show, check out Elizabeth’s post. Can’t say I disagree with her arguments all that much, but I’ll wait to watch the show before I fully decide how I feel.

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