Archive for the 'Working Mom' Category

Daytime TV with David, Robert and Rocco

Rocco DiSpirito

Rocco DiSpirito

My family moved to Austin, Texas more than a year ago. There were many changes big and small to endure: finding a new home, sending my child to Kindergarten, figuring out how to find the grocery store, and the biggie for me, learning how to work from home.

I have worked for the same company for nearly 11 years, so I know my colleagues like family. I have the inside jokes, the rants and raves, and the daily interactions. Working from my home-office can make me feel isolated and, quite honestly, lonely.

So, I turn to my beloved TV… and a whole new kind of Laptop TV was born. Laptop TV at night is easy because I sit on my couch with a glass of wine, fire up the laptop, and finish up my work for the day. Laptop TV during the day is a different beast. I am actually cranking on work, and the TV just provides background noise to break the silence and to keep me company.

Because I am in the business of news, I spend a lot of time watching CNBC and CNN during the day. But there are some days I simply need a break from the doom-and-gloom of a failing economy, the political pundits frothing at the mouth and the loss of innocent lives. So I found some new guilty pleasures for Daytime Laptop TV:

My Fair Wedding with David Tutera = This is my ultimate guilty pleasure. The premise of the show is easy: seemingly nice brides plan uber-tacky weddings, and celebrity wedding planner David Tutera saves the day by planning (and paying for) ultimate dream weddings. I have a massive crush on David, he is so sweet, thoughtful and creative. I’m already married, so maybe I’ll plan a tacky renewal ceremony and call David for help? Find this show on WeTV.

Restaurant Impossible = This is my new favorite show on Food Network. Celebrity chef Robert Irvine gives a failing restaurant a massive makeover. (Think Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, but for restaurants.) I tell you what, there are some disgusting restaurants out there… think grease, grime and dead rats. This delicious show is like a train wreck and I can’t look away.

Say Yes to the Dress = A show about brides with big budgets trying on glam gowns? Please! I have a daughter and I rushed through my wedding. This show is pure fantasy and pleasure… and on TLC.

Dr. Phil = Say what you want about Dr. Phil and his psychology-based advice show, but I love the dude. I appreciate his “Get Real” attitude and the fact he does not coddle his guests. I respect that he calls BS when he hears BS. Of course, the real reason I watch this show is because Dr. Phil’s guests make me feel somewhat normal.

Rocco’s Dinner Party = I’m so happy to see my boyfriend Rocco get his own show on Bravo. Sigh. This show is competition where three highly skilled chefs have the opportunity to create the perfect dinner party for Rocco and his celebrity guests, including A-listers like Kenneth Cole and Liza Minelli. My six-year-old daughter and I never miss an episode!

– LTV Mom

Photo credit: Bravo TV

“Like Mother, Like Daughter”

I was fortunate to attend the Mom 2.0 Summit in April, where I spent time with the wonderful people from the “Milk Mustache” campaign. I’ve always liked the campaign, I think it’s a clever way to engage celebrities to promote a healthy lifestyle that includes vitamin-rich milk.
At the conference in April, I learned of a new initiative from the Why Milk Foundation where they examined role modeling and influencing the next generation of women. The campaign — beautifully called “Like Mother, Like Daughter” — is anchored by a commisioned-study that suggests that mothers have a unique opportunity, and a powerful responsibility, to influence the next generation of women. Research shows a mother’s lifestyle and eating habits have a profound effect on her daughter’s health, weight and self-image. Read the report HERE.
The campaign also powerfully reminds us that the first female role model most of us have in our lives is our mother.  I was inspired to reflect on the values, morality and kindness my mother has role-modeled for me. I also acknowledge that it’s now my turn to be that role model for my young daughter.
To promote the “Like Mother, Like Daughter” campaign, a collection of moms attending the Mom 2.0 Summit participated in a video called “Thank you, Mom” to offer thanks and gratitude to the moms who have been inspirational role models in our lives. I was honored to participate in this video. Link can be found HERE.
Find more information on the “Like Mother, Like Daughter” campaign by following @MilkMustache on Twitter or find them on Facebook.
– LTV Mom

What is my bedtime strategy? (and other signs of “corporate seepage” in my house!)

I am a proud writer for the Silicon Valley Moms Group, and every month, we have virtual book club meetings. A handful of bloggers read the same book, and we each post our thoughts on our personal blogs. It’s a great way to be part of a book club, especially when I don’t have time for non-family socialization… and I really love books. This month’s book is Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop, editor of Real Simple magazine.

I immediately fell in love with the book title, and then became enamored with the sub-title: necessary terms for the half-insane working mom. Instantly connecting to the subject-matter, I dived into the book.

Yep, I am a half-insane working mom: I choose to be a working mom, and respect any mom who is working (in the home, outside the home, and everywhere in between) to provide and care for her family. I connect with working moms, well, because I am one.  I get the madness of driving from home to school to work (takes me at least an hour everyday), leaving work early to watch 15 minutes of dance class and eating dinner as a family, and then working until midnight to make up the time. We all do it. We all have our reality. And this book made me know I am not alone. It even made me laugh at the madness of my wonderfully crazy (and never boring!) working-mama life.

As the sub-title alludes, the book provides an “A to Z” look at newly created lexicon for working moms to embrace as they journey through life. Kristin created a “Mom 2.0 dictionary” peppered with wit and sarcasm (two of my favorite things!) leaving me with a sense of “Good Lord, being a working mom is hilarious.”

Corporate Seepage: All that said, I want to deep-dive and focus on my favorite “necessary term” from the book: corporate seepage. This term is self-explanatory, it’s when corporate-speak spills into the home. And then your kid starts using phrases and expressions that a toddler should not know exist, such as “Mommy, what is my bed time strategy?” in response to “honey, bed time is in 10 minutes.” Oy.

Recently, corporate seepage has been taken a step further. You see, my five-year-old daughter has taken it upon herself to set-up an “office” with a faux workstation, computer and office supplies.  The other day, my husband was trying to get the kid’s attention, and simply heard the reply “Daddy, I am on a conference call, can you please hold for a moment?!” In fact, my daughter loves the conference call excuse. The other day, I was at home making dinner as Daddy and Kid were on their way home from dance class. The Kid blasts into the kitchen to hear me proclaim, “welcome home, honey, can I have a hug?” And what did I hear? “Mommy, I can’t talk right now! I have a conference call in 11 minutes!” So, she ran upstairs to her office… just in time to make her call. Whew!

Capturing her imagination: Despite the copious amounts of corporate seepage in my house, I also see some amazing and wondrous benefits of having two working parents in our house. I mentioned my five-year-old kid has a faux office in our house, but did I mention she uses her office to design buildings? She creates blue-prints, has meetings with clients, and has imaginary discussions about how beautiful her buildings look once they are engineered. She currently is working on designing a movie theater and an animal hospital. I swear, she comes up with all these ideas on her own… and I am bursting with pride.

Like any mother, I don’t care what career my kid chooses when she grows up. But I use these moments to remind her that she can be whatever she wants to be. I promise I am not pushing her into a world of competition and madness. But I love that she is learning to tap into her talents and imagination… just as long as she doesn’t miss that conference call in exactly 11 minutes!

Just Let Me Lie Down is available on Amazon.

– LTV Mom

Photo with Gina von Esmarch of Bowl Licker fame; Kristin van Ogtrop of “Just Let Me Lie Down” and Real Simple magazine; and yours truly.

Thank you to the Silicon Valley Moms Group for organizing a wonderful luncheon allowing us to meet Kristin and enjoy her wit and wisdom.

Sharpie Blog: Write out Loud!

Sharpie Pen

Let’s take a quick moment to pay homage to one of my favorite household staples, the Sharpie pen!

This mom always has a handful of Sharpie pens in my house for three reasons: 

  1. I use my fine-tipped Sharpie to write my kid’s name on everything that goes to school. It’s a must-do if I ever want to see that sweater, coat or Tupperwear ever again.
  2. My Sharpie is a must-have when sending packages from Calif. to my family in Iowa.  The names and addresses won’t smear or smudge, so I don’t worry about sleet or snow.
  3. My favorite Sharpie secret is that I use my trusty pens to “fix” the annoying little scrapes in my black high-heeled boots.  I fix the toes and the heels, keeping my black boots looking clean and lasting a little longer!

If you are a Sharpie fan like me, check out the new Sharpie Blog for other creative ideas for the ink.  You also can connect with Sharpie on Twitter, just reach out to @sharpiesusan for a personalized touch!

My only request for the blog is the folks at Sharpie share some great photos of David Beckham (he certainly will make me “write out loud!”)

– LTV Mom

Even Moms explore reading with Leapfrog

Leapfrog Tag

While I blog about my obsession with television and random pop culture, I actually am a passionate reader who desperately hopes to share my love for books with my daughter.  (If you doubt me, I just finished 900-page Pillars of the Earth and quickly dived into 1000-page World Without End!)

Humor aside, I take reading seriously and quickly jumped at the chance to join the ladies of the Silicon Valley Moms blog for an afternoon event hosted by the good people at Leapfrog. I have always admired Leapfrog from afar, first as a non-parent and then the parent of an infant.  But now my infant is a toddler, and she is prime for Leapfrog products.  Needless to say, I was an eager participant in this meet-up.

The foundation of the afternoon was a Q&A session with Leapfrog Advisory Board member Dr. Anne Cunningham, University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education.  Dr. Cunningham shared her ideas and research on how to help children learn to read… and how they can learn to love reading.  As an avid reader, I desperately want my child to love and appreciate books the way I do.  Thanks to Dr. Cunningham, I realize (or at least appreciate) how reading to a child is much more than a hoping for a lifelong hobby, rather setting the foundation for a life of education and success.  Here are highlights of the conversation with Dr. Cunningham and my blogging mama friends (in my words):

  • Expose your children to “rare, rich and extensive” language from 0-3 years.  The results have a huge effect on your child’s language development and reading skills.
  • Developmental milestones for literacy must be acquired at home or Pre-K to succeed in Kindergarten.
  • This can easily be achieved by talking to your kids and exposing them to multi-syllabic words and complex subjects. Just talk, don’t worry about them “getting” it all… they are absorbing words and concepts which are so important for language development.
  • Read out loud to your kids every day… they learn new words, and equally important, they learn the meaning of language and the structure of language.
  • The key to success is phonics… teaching kids how to sound-out and decode words.
  • Intelligence is not what you’re born with, but what you do with it.
  • Studies show that avid readers can trump people who are considered “smarter.”
  • The goal is a rich vocabulary by 3rd grade; if that does not occur, the delay becomes a bottleneck in 4th or 5th grade academics.
  • Teachers agree that most “overachievers” are the result of parental involvement with school.

Thank you, Dr. Cunningham, for your time and wisdom. I walked away feeling empowered and (quite honestly) more equipped to help my child read.  What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Of course, the huge bonus of a Leapfrog event is receiving Leapfrog gear to try at home. I came home with a Leapfrog Tag reading system for my 4-year-old daughter, and she has not put it down since we opened it.  She works with it (literally) every day, and I highly suggest it for other moms who want to help kids explore reading. 

If you want to learn more about Leapfrog, please explore the Leapfrog Community which can be found HERE. If you need smart holiday presents, go HERE and feel free to use the blogger discount code HY8BHPR at check-out!

– LTV Mom

I am a snackoholic.

At the start of
the New Year, like many moms, I make a pledge to get healthy both
physically and mentally.  This means exercising, thinking positive
thoughts, attending church, honoring my family, and (oh yes, the
biggie) eating right.

It’s amazing. I have been so good at the first four goals.  I hit
the treadmill 2 times a week (not as often as pre-baby, but more often
than in 2007); I try to keep a positive attitude, I attend my wonderful
and loving church; I spend time with my husband and daughter; and I eat healthy, home-cooked meals.

And here’s where it gets complex. From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. I eat like Dr. Sears
himself:  cottage cheese, fruit and sliced almonds for breakfast, salad
with grilled chicken for lunch, and lean meats and roasted veggies for
dinner.  And lots and lots and lots of water.  Oh yes, and vitamins and
supplements.  Then, around 9 p.m., I put the Kid to bed, toss a load of
laundry in the washer, load up the dishwasher, and hit the couch with
my laptop for work and television.  And then it starts.

minute (no, the second) my butt hits the couch, the need to eat
overwhelms my brain and I raid the pantry.  I crave chips and salsa,
pretzels, popcorn, edamame, rice crackers, "puffy peas,"
or string cheese.  And, depending on the time of the month, I’ll toss
in a little chocolate to go with that salt.  And let’s not forget the
constant craving: red wine.

It is so frustrating that I am a dietary rock-star for 21 out of 24 hours a day.  But when I reach the magic hours of Laptop Television
– from 9 p.m. to midnight where I sit on the couch trying to be a good
employee and decent homemaker — I feel the need to eat junk food.  Why
is that?  Am I bored?  Stressed?  Confused? Overwhelmed?

I think I reached my low point last week when I was butt-on-couch, eating an entire bag of Almond M&Ms, and watching The Biggest Loser on TV.  At that point, I decided that I am, in fact, the Biggest Loser.

I not-so-secretly want to talk to Biggest Loser hottie Trainer Bob
for answers. In the meantime, can some fellow Moms offer some
cyber-therapy and talk me out of raiding the pantry, and loading up on
unnecessary and empty calories, at 10 p.m. each night?

This post can also be found on Silicon Valley Moms Blog, where I rant and rave about being a mom in the land of high technology and long commutes.

Living the Dream

Calling all moms!

Visit Silicon Valley Moms Blog or go directly to "Living the Dream Chix" to find the T-shirt that best suits your hectic mommy lifestyle.

Here are ideas for other T-shirts:

– Dusty Treadmill Mom
– Dishwasher Mom
– Working ’til Midnight Mom
– Glass of Wine Mom
– Caffeine Mom
– Laptop Mom

What a great idea!  Thanks for making this on-the-go mom smile today!

My Baby or My Job?

Oh yes, it’s back in the news and (even better) being discussed on Oprah. The endless debate about who is superior: working moms or stay-at-home moms. (I am a working mom, so you know where I land.) And let’s be honest, whether you go to an office all day or stay at home all day, *all moms * (okay, most moms) work around the clock and do what we can to raise fantastic children. Neither is easy; both are important.

My message is this: Why do we need to fight about this? Why can’t women respect each other’s decisions and celebrate the fact that we have choices about how we support our children both emotionally and financially?

Oprah said it best, whether you work outside the home or not, “it’s about the commitment to your children.” Case in point, there are stay-at-home moms who are emotionally vacant when they are at home, and there are working moms who never put down the Blackberry when they are at home.

Of course, the debate shifts to the Big Question: Can you really have it all? Dr. Robin, frequent Oprah guest expert, said, “The goal is not to have it all; it’s to be attuned with your children. You don’t want to have it all; you want to make choices and decisions based on your own value system that work for you and bless your child.”


JK Rowling

… and here’s another reason to lover her!  Read this post by Whitney at Pop Candy:

"The Harry Potter creator has posted a message on her website addressing the wealth of super-skinny, extremely social and stunningly stupid celebrities on the scene today. "I’d rather (my children) were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny — a thousand things, before ‘thin,’" she writes.

Without naming name, Rowling calls out "celebrities whose greatest achievement is un-chipped nail polish, whose only aspiration seems to be getting photographed in a different outfit nine times a day, whose only function in the world appears to be supporting the trade in overpriced handbags and rat-sized dogs." Hmm … wonder who she’s talking about?"

Read the full story at

Balancing Act

"People who have learned to answer email on Sunday evenings also need to learn how to go to the movies on Monday afternoons. By redesigning the architecture of time, we can make room for work, leisure, and idleness."
–Ricardo Sempler, president, Semco

From Fast Company’s recently released book, The Rules of Business: 55 Essential Ideas to Help Smart People (and Organizations) Perform At Their Best