30 Reasons Being a Stay-at-Home Mom is a Sucky Job

stay_at_home_mom_kid_chaosEvery stay-at-home parent is well aware of the benefits of the job: the ability to be home with your children during their formative years, no scrambling for child care, and pajamas are perfectly acceptable “work clothes,” just to name a few. Unfortunately, few moms or dads have a realistic view of the pitfalls of the job when they decide to become a stay-at-home parent. That’s why you have me, dear readers. I’m willing to tell it like it is even if that means risking the ire of the happy, happy, stay-at-home mommy mafia.

I will admit that I drafted this list after a particularly trying week. Ad Man has informed me that he will be out of town for much of the next month…a month that will feature Small’s 7th birthday party and family visiting from out of town. Did I mention that he’ll be in Austin at South By Southwest for “business?” Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Anyway, please feel free to pass this along to anyone who may be considering dedicating his or her life to this challenging job. Friends don’t let friends become stay-at-home moms without full disclosure of the risks. Knowledge is power.

30 Reasons being a stay-at-home mom is a sucky job:

  1. Pay is far, far below minimum wage
  2. Kiss adult conversations goodbye
  3. Zero growth potential
  4. Physically demanding
  5. Tiny “employers” are often vocally critical of your work
  6. Most accomplishments go unnoticed
  7. No days off, no vacation time, no sick leave
  8. No combat pay for physically or emotionally dangerous work
  9. Feedback from superiors generally limited to silent reproach and judging from afar
  10. Requires an impossibly wide breadth of knowledge including, but not limited to: identity and recommended treatment for various rashes, latest research on the effect of BPAs on growing brains, rules of obscure playground games, names of all characters from every Star Wars episode (even the one with JarJar Binks), removal techniques for a wide range of stains, trigonometry, etc, etc…
  11. Despite #10, you’re left with absolutely nothing to add to your resume
  12. At least one person is actively working to thwart your progress at all times
  13. Stating dissatisfaction with, or openly criticizing, the job is strongly frowned upon (Oops!)
  14. Rules of the game are always changing
  15. Increased risk of substance abuse
  16. Limits social opportunities
  17. No training program
  18. Wardrobe options are limited
  19. Workplace is always messy and often sticky
  20. Drinking on the job is frowned upon
  21. Requires contact with bodily fluids that are not your own
  22. Must be available to work early mornings and late nights
  23. No awards, promotions or perks
  24. Very little opportunity for travel
  25. Excessive contact with brain numbing children’s entertainment
  26. Company car is crusted with food and perpetually smells of spoiled milk and old vomit
  27. Job causes irreparable brain damage
  28. Your boss is unpredictable, irrational and prone to emotional outbursts
  29. Schedule may change at any time with no warning
  30. Much of the day is spent trying to keep employers from killing themselves

Do you have anything to add to my list? What about you moms who work full-time outside the home? Would you describe your jobs as sucky for any of the reasons above? Surely at least one of you has a boss who’s unpredictable, irrational and prone to emotional outbursts, right?

Getting Nerdy with Frog Guts

getting nerdy lab with frameMy friends Melissa and Gretchen (“Mel and Gerdy”) are middle-school life science teachers who resigned from their teaching positions last year to focus on their awesome blog and company Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy. During their years in the classroom, Mel and Gerdy struggled to find the time to create science lesson plans that today’s students would find engaging and entertaining. Much like when I was in school (back in the olden days, as my kids would say), Mel and Gerdy found that available resources for life science lessons were often dry and lack luster.

So these two dedicated teachers set out to develop their own creative and informative lesson plans and, as you’ll see, they have an amazing talent for it. Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy is targeted toward life science teachers, but is an equally great resource for parents, especially those who homeschool. Biggie and Smalls, who are little science geeks, love to try out experiments Mel and Gerdy post on their blog and Pinterest page.

Right now, Getting Nerdy is holding a giveaway for a 3-D frog dissection model and lesson plan and providing their tips for managing the dissection classroom mayhem. Looking back, I have clear memories of chaos and flying frog guts on the day we did dissection in science class. My teacher could have definitely used a little help from Mel and Gerdy!

Click here to go directly to their store. Use this link to enter the giveaway and, while you’re there, sign up for Getting Nerdy’s newsletter and “like” their Facebook page. Maybe you’ll find out whether frog eyeballs actually do bounce before your students or kids try a live demonstration.

Feeling Like a Failure? Lower Your Expectations!

antidepressants_funnyWhen I was working in production in Los Angeles, my boss and friend, Tom made a point of sitting down every January to write out his personal and professional goals for the year. At the same time, he’d revisit his previous list to determine which goals he’d successfully completed, which ones he’d fallen short on, and which ones to reevaluate and revise going forward. Thankfully, he got me in the habit of doing the same.

Now, I’m great at writing down my goals for the year, but I have to admit, I kind of suck at looking back and evaluating my success. I’d like to believe it’s because I’m such an optimist, always looking to the future with no time to dwell on negatives. Sadly, pretty much everyone who knows me, knows that’s far from the truth. In reality, looking back at things I intended, but failed, to do is just really f*cking depressing and I generally like to avoid it at all costs.

This January, however, I am forcing myself to confront the 2014 list and acknowledge my progress (or lack thereof). Lucky me, I also ran across my goals for 2013, so I have even more data to consider…and to haunt me for the next twelve months. Without further ado, let’s strip me bare and judge me. It’s for my own good.

My Goals for 2013

  1. Heal back and neck
  2. Get fit
  3. Drink green smoothie or juice every day
  4. Atlanta or LA — make a decision and make it happen!
  5. Get a job (or not, depending on #4)
  6. Get finances in order (Make appointment with financial planner)
  7. Refinance house
  8. Be more creative (drawing and writing)
  9. Read more nonfiction
  10. Exercise brain — learn one new thing every day
  11. Learn French
  12. View aging as an interesting science experiment, not a failure
  13. Stay in better touch with family and friends
  14. Spend the holidays on a beach

Reading through it now, I find this list charming in its naivaté. 2015 is looking back at it and shaking its head with a knowing smile. “Aw, bless 2013’s heart…so young, so hopeful…” There are exactly two items above that I can cross off with authority. I have, indeed, been more creative, with writing at least. And, I suppose cake decorating. I have also succeeded in reading more nonfiction. So there, 2013!

As far as the other thirteen items on the list go, well, I can say I gave at least most of them a shot. I actually did get more fit and drank a lake of green smoothies in 2013. Had I evaluated this list in January of 2014 as previously scheduled, I’d have proudly checked off those two goals. But no, I had to give myself an additional year to backslide on my fitness progress and go on a kale strike. So, let’s say success in 2013, less so in 2014.

I did French lessons online and was very consistent for a few months. Unfortunately, as I wrote more, I conversely spent less time studying French. You’ll see that this trend continues through 2014. Something had to give! There are only so many hours in the day! I have two children and a puppy to raise! Other excuses like that!

Goal number four is the one that makes me chuckle the most (sometimes, we laugh to hide the pain). This particular goal…deciding between staying in Atlanta or moving back to Los Angeles…has been on every single one of my annual goals lists since our first January in Atlanta. I’ve made exhaustive pros and cons lists for each possibility and the race always ends in a dead heat, hence, the inaction. I suppose we’re choosing to stay where we are by not choosing to leave. Alas, the internal cage match continues. And, now, on to my goals for 2014:

Things I Will Do In 2014:

  1. Paint our bedroom
  2. Spend more time writing
  3. Spend way less time aimlessly wandering around on the internet
  4. Read four classic books I should have read in high school
  5. Exercise five times a week…even if just thirty minutes of walking
  6. Learn to bake a pie
  7. Practice French five days a week
  8. Have at least two girls’ weekends away
  9. Get back to LA
  10. Cook one new recipe a week
  11. Write at least two blog posts a week
  12. Build a file of blog posts so I’m not always playing catch-up
  13. Volunteer at the girls’ school
  14. Meet with financial planner
  15. Introduce kids to one new veg and one new fruit each week
  16. Take a knife skills class

Reading through this list, you’ll see that I attempted to be much more firm with myself. No more of that wishy-washy “get fit” or “learn French” crap. This time, I threw some numbers behind my promises…”practice French 5 days a week.” Five and nothing less! How is one supposed to succeed unless one has her goals very clearly defined?

I started off 2014 strong. Did I paint my bedroom? Yes, I did! Did I spend more time writing? Absolutely! Did I spend way less time aimlessly wandering around on the internet? Well, um, not exactly. But, I did take one whole week off from my computer. That should count for something, right?

I managed to get away for one girls’ weekend this year. Fifty percent isn’t too bad. I started walking at least thirty minutes a day starting from when we brought Birdie home and taught her to walk on a leash (a triumph in itself). I also started doing hot yoga, which I thought I would hate, but ended up loving. Hey, I could count that as learning something new! Oh, never mind…that was 2013. As for doing actual, vigorous exercise at least five days a week, well, that was a lofty goal so I’m giving myself a pass on that one. On this year’s list, I’ll shoot for a much less onerous three times a week. Or maybe twice. Twice is good.

Actually, that may be just what I need to do in order to reach a 100% success rate…make my goals less ambitious! In an effort to end this post on a positive note, I have drafted a list of goals for 2015 that I know I can achieve:

MommyEnnui’s Far More Attainable Goals for 2015:

  1. Get out of my pajamas at some point every day (even if just to change into a fresh pair)
  2. Make a healthy, non-processed meal containing actual fruits or vegetables once a week
  3. Complete the Monday New York Times crossword puzzle at least once a month
  4. Walk the dog a minimum of once a day
  5. Think about getting a job
  6. Listen to others tell me what an important job I’m doing as a stay-at-home mom (try to believe it)
  7. Volunteer at the girls’ school, or at least boldly write my name on the sign-up sheet and then claim I have an unforeseen conflict when the date rolls around
  8. Learn to bake a pie (I’m adding this one, because I plan to do it this weekend. I’ve even bought ingredients. See? I’m well on my way to success!)
  9. Learn to see aging as a natural process that occurs between Botox appointments
  10. Speak to my husband in the evenings instead of sending him an occasional text from the adjacent couch while watching Project Runway
  11. Stop believing I’ll ever make a decision whether to stay in Atlanta or move back to LA
  12. Apply sunscreen to my face at least as often as I sunscreen my tattoos

Think I can check off twelve out of twelve when next January rolls around? I’m suddenly feeling more confident than I have in years! This is going to be very good for my self-esteem. How about you? What are your goals for the year? Need help making them more achievable? I’m here for you.

It’s a New Year and I Don’t Give a Shit

As we enter a new year, it seems only fitting that I give you an update/wrap-up of 2014. First, you may remember that one of my goals for ‘14 was to create a home office to act as MommyEnnui headquarters in a corner of our downstairs living room. I dove head first into research and organization, dreaming up big plans for the space.

office_post_flood_crop_0414

My “office” before

That was until a broken pipe flooded half of the downstairs and put the project on hold for months. Instead, I spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy dealing with the insurance company, water remediation company, contractors, painters, carpet installers, etc., etc. Throughout this process, I learned two very valuable lessons: 1) construction or renovation takes at least three times longer to complete than you expect it will; and 2) contractors are the flakiest, least reliable people you’ll ever deal with.

In light of these discoveries, it’s all the more miraculous that I now have a lovely, almost-finished, fairly well-functioning home office. I’ve included before-and-after photos in an attempt to convince myself that all the time and effort were worth it. In addition to creating the office space, we replaced all the carpeting and repainted all the rooms on the lower level so everything is fresh and new. I even managed to pick out all the paint colors in just a few days. This was quite a feat as, you may remember, it took Ad Man and I almost two years to decide on a paint color for our bedroom.

Office after

Office after, with Biggie’s sewing table

I just need to hang some shelves, organize my supplies and find a new place for all the crap Ad Man and the kids generally pile on my desk, and I’ll officially be done-done. I don’t love the ugly IKEA table I’m currently using as a desk but it’ll work for the near future. If anyone sees a fabulous mid-century desk on Craig’s List or eBay that costs virtually nothing, let me know and I’ll be your best friend.

In the meantime, we’ll be funneling our money into putting in a gate to enclose Birdie’s Backyard Oasis and a privacy fence to block our view from the hideous, vacant house next door. Which brings me to my next big update. You may recall my mentioning the falling-down house neighboring ours that’s been empty since we moved in more than seven years ago. (Here’s my original post in case you missed it.) Well, shortly after that post, I wrote a letter about the house to the Director of the Atlanta Office of Code Enforcement, cc’ed a couple political bigwigs and attached pages of photographs of the offending structure. In addition, Ad Man and I gathered two pages of signatures from neighbors and I included those and the photographs with my letter. It was an impressive document if I might say so myself.

I got an almost immediate response from the director’s assistant (admittedly, not the most powerful person in the office). She acknowledged his receipt of my letter, told me that they’d assigned an officer to the case and that the property would be inspected in two weeks. Now that was the kind of action I was looking for! Unfortunately, that’s where things stalled.

I never saw an inspector at the house on the date the inspection was scheduled to take place, but I was in and out, so I couldn’t be sure whether it had occurred or not. Online records regarding the many past complaints regarding the house mysteriously disappeared and the assistant (who I determined would only answer my emails when I cc’ed her boss) was unsuccessful in tracking down the information though she assured me that she’d made numerous requests for info from the assigned officer.

The hovel next door

The hovel next door

Just as I was planning to take a trip downtown to speak to the Director personally, something strange happened. One day, I came home to find that a yard crew had spread craploads of mulch in the yard next door. Why the owner’s daughter (let’s call her Lindy) would spend money on mulch to “spruce up” a crumbling house was a mystery to me. The other neighbors and I chewed on a few theories, but it wasn’t until I received an email from Lindy that it became clear that the city had, indeed, served her with a notice of zoning violations.

In her email, Lindy had the gall to ask Ad Man and me if she could use our water and electricity so workers could powerwash the house and paint the trim (remember, the utilities next door have been turned off for seven years). She assured us that she’d reimburse us for all costs. Upon reading her email, my brain short circuited and exploded into a million tiny bits. After reassembling my scattered gray matter (with the help of a large glass of wine), I drafted the email excerpted below and sent it off to Lindy…

“…I fail to see what good painting the house and doing yet more band-aid repair work will do. Are you planning to put the house on the market or just appease the Office of Code Enforcement? [Ad Man] and I, and all the neighbors for that matter, are beyond fed up having a dangerous vacant building on our block…

Your inaction is the ultimate insult to the neighborhood which you’ve mentioned having such fond memories of growing up in. If you still have a vague plan to rebuild and move into the neighborhood yourself, I’m afraid you’ll find that the people of [our neighborhood] will be far from welcoming.

I’m sorry it has come to this, but I’m done being patient and understanding and attempting to deal with the situation in an amicable manner. I’d really rather my children not have memories of growing up with an abandoned house next door. I cannot help you with the water and power issue. [Ad Man] and I will not assist you in continuing to put lipstick on this rat-infested pig.”

I sent a copy of Lindy’s email and my response to the neighbors and one immediately texted me, “You kind of scare me and I like you even more for that.” Best compliment I’ve gotten all year! A few hours later, I heard back from Lindy…

“We will be recovering items from the house this Winter. We are in the process of getting bids now to tear it down in March – we will notify you of the specific date. There will only be a lot that we will maintain with a landscaping company until we sell it to a builder. In the meantime we are addressing the items on the City of Atlanta complaint.”

After reading the above message, I let out an evil cackle, steepled my hands together a’la Mr. Burns and exclaimed to no one in particular, “Victory is mine!” Of course, the owners have never been ones to follow through on promises, so I shall remain cautiously optimistic. Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to post photos of the demolition come spring…preferably not including an exodus of rats marching toward my house.

I must mention one other accomplishment I achieved in 2014 because it’s the thing of which I am most proud (short pause while I pat myself on the back). This year, I was successful in giving much less of a shit, as they say. In the past, just the thought of sending a pointedly harsh letter to anyone would have caused me to break out into hives. I’ve always avoided confrontation and hated having anyone not like me. As you can imagine, that trait often made my job as a litigation attorney a little tricky.

The thing that has changed most about me since entering my 40s, it’s that I care far less what people think of me and I’m OK with the fact that I can’t make everyone happy. I will write nasty emails when they are warranted. I will wear my pajamas in the front yard while taking the dog out to pee. I will run all over town doing errands with no makeup on. I will take away my daughter’s TV privileges when she’s being a pain-in-the-ass and I will not waver. I simply don’t give a shit…and it feels fantastic!

Happy 2015, y’all!

Christmas Miracles and Everyday Madness

xmas_tree_before_1214It’s been an eventful few weeks since I posted anything fresh here for you. First, a bit of an explanation. Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday. The tree was always up on the day after Thanksgiving and every inch of the house was covered in something that lit up, jingled or played holiday songs. More than once, I walked into the room at my parent’s house and had a motion-sensing, dancing, singing Santa scare the living shit out of me. As far as holidays go, my mom never wavered. She was all in.

Not surprisingly, since her death, the holidays kind of suck for me. Add to that an always lingering residual bit of depression, a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder and the stress that comes with planning a major holiday and a child’s birthday party at the same time, and you’ve got the perfect storm. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at writing in the midst of a storm.

Now for a little public service announcement…If you are considering getting pregnant (or knocking up your wife, significant other, or surrogate) I would highly recommend that you carefully plan the fateful insemination so as to avoid having a child born in December. Or the beginning of January, for that matter. Many moons ago, my darling Biggie was our Christmas miracle. She was born on December 12th after three years of trying to get pregnant culminating in three rounds of in vitro. But here’s the thing…we really should have timed the whole miracle thing much better.

Everyone worries about the kid when they find out he or she has a Christmastime birthday. “Oh, the poor thing! He/she really gets the shaft having his/her birthday so close to the holidays.” But, I say…remember the parents! (Or, in our case, the mother. Let’s be honest.) Ever try making candy flames while shopping online and addressing holiday cards at the same time? It’s a challenge even for the sanest parent and we all know that’s not me.

The last few weeks have been such a blur, I’ll just try to fill you in with a few main events. First, there was the aforementioned birthday party, which was another sleepover because I’m a masochist. I did put my foot down this year, though, telling Biggie she could invite only two girls from school and two girls from the neighborhood. Last year’s sleepover was significantly bigger and a bit of a debacle actually (at least for me).

campfire_cake_1214For once, Biggie liked and went along with my idea for the party theme… a camping themed, birthday slumber party. The girls slept in an eight-person tent Ad Man and I just barely managed to erect in our downstairs living room. But, before that, there was an outdoor scavenger hunt, pizza, a movie by the fireplace and a campfire birthday cake. I’ve included a photo of the cake here because I think I got more comments about it on Facebook than I’ve gotten on any cute kid or puppy post ever. Honestly, that cake was the highlight of my last few weeks. It came out so much better than I’d ever imagined. In fact, I’m considering never baking another cake for as long as I live. Why not retire at the top of my game, right?

Despite all the preparation that went into Biggie’s party, it actually turned out to be fairly easy and she was happy. Yay for me! I have to savor the little victories in parenthood because, lord knows, they can be few and far between.

Unfortunately, there have been some low points in the last few weeks as well…for example, when our Christmas tree came crashing down yesterday. I will elaborate, but I should first mention the wonderful way my day began. I was lucky enough to spend the day with a friend’s sweet, beautiful, eight week old (ish) baby boy. Oh man, is he delicious! We had a lovely day of snuggling, snoozing (him, not me), smiling (both of us) and sniffing his luscious new baby smell (Birdie and I). It was a bit of a challenge managing a puppy and a newborn at the same time, but I still found myself thinking, “See? I’m not too old for a baby. I could totally do this again!”

That is until I was attempting to calm little man who was squawking with hunger while I tried to heat up his bottle as fast as humanly possible when we heard an ungodly crash from the adjacent living room. Squawking turned to screaming, Birdie ran around like there was a squirrel in the house, and I reluctantly peeked around the corner only to find shards of glass and spilled water everywhere! The poor Christmas tree that had been so elegantly dressed just moments before, lay sadly in a bed of its own debris.

xmas_tree_after_1214I had the sense to put the the baby in his bouncy seat and unplug the tree lights before one of us was electrocuted in a pine-scented cloud of sparks. That was the last coherent thought I had, however. I looked at the mess, the hungry baby, the bottle of precious breast milk warming on the stove and the puppy threatening to run through broken glass and picked up the phone to call Ad Man. Luckily, another Christmas miracle occurred and he actually answered the phone. I said something like, “I need you! Come quick! The tree fell and there’s glass and water and I have a baby and a dog!” in not my calmest voice. Ad Man’s office is only three miles away, so after telling me to put the damn dog in her crate and doing about twelve additional things at the office, he headed home to face the destruction.

Eventually, Ad Man arrived, cleaned up the mess and we took inventory of our destroyed ornaments. By then, the baby was sleeping contentedly with a belly full of warm milk while Birdie slept off the adrenaline rush from dodging an enormous falling tree. As it was too early for a drink and I was babysitting, I got my stress relief from gazing at the perfect, peaceful face of little man. Demonstrating my remarkable skills of denial and self-delusion, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought again, “I could totally do this.”

The following day, I was again entrusted with the care and keeping of another living being, but the outcome was less successful. Birdie tends to be a pain in the ass about getting her nails clipped, so I’ve given up trying to do it myself and now take her to Petco for monthly pedicures. Because she apparently has the same short memory as her adoptive mother, she blocks out her nail terrors and is super excited to go to the pet store every single time.

Yesterday’s trip was no exception. She bounded out of the house with her tail wagging as soon as I said, “Birdie, want to go to the store?” We hopped into the car and I carefully lowered her window to a level where she could stick out her snout and enjoy the breeze, but not hang half her body out the window like a teenage boy in a limo after prom. In an abundance of caution, I hold onto her leash with a death grip the entire time she rides with me. I’d like to point out that Ad Man thinks I’m a neurotic freak (for this, and many other reasons). He just loops her leash through the seat belt and lets her hang out and gulp oxygen to her heart’s content.

Luckily, I can rarely, if ever, be convinced that his method of doing something is better than mine. And, it’s a damn good thing I stuck to my neurotic guns, because I’d just pulled into the Petco parking lot when Birdie jumped out the damn window! Of a moving automobile! Who does that?! Freaking the f*ck out, I managed to pull the car over and park all the while clinging to her leash. I’ll never forget the panicked look she gave me as she dangled outside, with just her eyeballs reaching the level of the now completely lowered window. I steeled myself for what I would see as my mind ran wild with images of her wrecked body flashing before my eyes.

Instead, I opened the passenger door and she hopped right back in, fresh as a daisy. It was as though she jumped out of a moving vehicle on a daily basis! A woman in the parking lot who had witnessed the whole scene called to me, “Is your dog OK? Are you OK?!” In a state of shocked disbelief, I told her yes. Birdie and I caught our breath and continued into the store as planned because, well, I didn’t know what else to do.

Not once did I think to wonder how the car window had gotten rolled down. That is, until we were back in the car on our way home and Birdie had her nose and paws out the 3 inches of open window I allowed her when the stupid thing rolled down again! All I could figure was that it was broken and would roll down whenever she put pressure on it. However, after we returned home and my scrambled brain started chugging back into action, I thought to myself, “You dumbass, the dog was stepping on the window button!” Erg. Anyway, this was the very difficult way I learned to always, always turn on the child safe window locks whenever doggie Evel Knievel is riding shotgun. Public service announcement #2.

Aren’t you glad you read this whole rambling post? I provided you with two nuggets of wisdom so you don’t have to learn them the hard way like I did. I also told you a couple stories that undoubtedly made you sit back and think, “Holy crap…I’m glad I’m not her!” Don’t say I never gave you anything. Have a great holiday! I’ll have lots of updates in the new year. Now, go tether that Christmas tree to the closest immovable object you can find. You’ll thank me someday.

Our Christmas Letter Is Better than Yours 2, Electric Boogaloo

clife thu Rockettes 1118_1165.JPGBefore I sit down to shop online for cheap, plastic items for Biggie’s birthday goodie bags then address 1,000 holiday cards, I thought I’d repost a piece from last year and provide a photo of my close, personal friends The Rockettes for your entertainment. Thank you so much for not mutinying against me for the stale content! I promise, when my brain returns to working condition, I’ll be all over that writing shit. xoxo

http://mommyennui.com/2013/12/23/our-christmas-letter-is-better-than-yours/

I Have Decision Fatigue! What Should I Wear?

carolina_herreraI recently read an article about successful people who have chosen to wear the same thing every day in order to avoid a psychological condition called “decision fatigue.” Decision fatigue refers to the declining quality of the decisions a person makes after a long session of decision-making. As you can imagine, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company makes thousands of decisions daily, virtually all of which are more important than choosing his or her outfit du jour. Why not take that one decision off the table permanently?

Developing and sticking with a personal uniform is a compelling idea even for non-CEOs. Imagine the time you’d save if you no longer had to decide what to wear every morning, let alone shop for each item of a typical wardrobe. However, the author of the article cites not one woman among his examples of highly successful people who have chosen personal uniforms.

I, myself, have a personal stay-at-home-mom uniform consisting of a faded Everlane v-neck t-shirt, Hudson skinny jeans and Vans leather slip-ons (because I also can’t be bothered to tie my shoes). Unfortunately, I don’t think my current level of success quite measures up to that of Steve Jobs or Karl Lagerfeld.

I can think of only a handful of extremely accomplished women who have perfected a “look” they return to time and again. Carolina Herrera is known for her crisp, white button-down shirts and you’ll rarely see Fran Lebowitz deviate from her menswear navy-suit-and-white-shirt uniform. However, I can’t think of one successful woman outside of the creative fields who wears the same thing every day.

What do you think? Do you wish you could avoid wardrobe decision-making every morning? Could you see yourself wearing a personal uniform? If so, what would it be? Do you think a female CEO could get away with wearing a t-shirt, black hoodie and jeans å la Mark Zuckerberg to the office every day? How about the same navy or gray suit like decision fatigued Barack Obama? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Friday Favorites: Polar Vortex Edition

Welcome to Friday Favorites, the Polar Vortex edition! I never imagined I’d be writing about the damn Polar Vortex in mid-November, but alas, here we are. So here, dear reader, are a few items to help you get through the fall-turned-dead-of-winter this year:

sweatshirtThug Life Shirts ‘I Am Freaking Cold’ sweatshirt
This sweatshirt is high on my Christmas wish list. I figure it will save me tons of time since I won’t have to spend every day of the next few months whining about how freaking cold I am!

hot_cinn_spice_tea

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea
There are many winter days when the promise of a cup of Harney & Sons’ Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is the only thing that will pry me out of my warm bed in the morning. Hot Cinnamon Spice is a blend of black tea, cinnamon bark and other spices, and orange peel. It’s so naturally sweet, it’s hard to believe there’s no sugar in it. Harney & Sons supplies tea to Caribou Coffee, so you can also find it packaged under the Caribou label.

navy_leather_Uggs

Ugg Australia – Women’s Classic Short Leather in Peacoat
Maybe it’s the former Californian in me talking, but I will give up my Uggs when someone pries them off my cold, dead feet! I don’t care if they’re uncool and I don’t care if they’re ugly. They’re just so damn cozy! My only qualm about Uggs has always been that the suede ones aren’t waterproof…not so much a problem in LA, but definitely an issue just about anywhere else in the winter. That’s why I’m giddy with excitement over this waterproof leather version. The “Peacoat” and “Oxblood” colors are particularly lovely. And, just in case anyone out there is looking for the perfect holiday gift for me, I wear a size 8.

enviro-logEnviro-Log Fire Logs
I love Enviro-Logs. They’re made from 100% waxed cardboard and burn cleaner than firewood. (They emit 30% less greenhouse gases, 80% less carbon monoxide and 86% less creosote.) Enviro-Logs light easily and the 5 lb. firelogs burn for about 3 hours. I usually buy cases of Enviro-Logs at Whole Foods, but they’re now available on Amazon and ship for free using Amazon Prime.

turquoise_hootyHooty Microwaveable Plush Owl
Hooty is one of Biggie’s and Smalls’s favorite things. This little guy is stuffed with millet grains and dried lavender and can be warmed up in the microwave or chilled in the freezer. We’ve never tried chilling it, but we warm up the girls’ owls every night before bed in the winter. Hooty is super soft, smells wonderful and stays warm for about 20 – 25 minutes. We warm our Hooties for about a minute and a half because they tend to get a little “sweaty” if warmed much more than that. (OK, that just sounded all kinds of wrong!)

20 Benefits to Catching a Stomach Virus from Your Kids

V0010485 A young Viennese woman, aged 23, depicted before and after

Things have been a little rough here at MommyEnnui headquarters since Halloween turned into a horror story. The girls were adorable in their costumes and both were in high spirits, until Smalls started complaining of a tummy ache. Being closely attuned to my child’s needs, I first suggested she lay off the candy for a while. When her stomach ache worsened, I assumed she had to poop. Smalls denied it, but the child has been known to stare me straight in the face and lie about having gone to the bathroom with pee running down her leg.

It wasn’t until she started vomiting all over the place that Ad Man and I realized we had more than a little Halloween candy-induced tummy ache on our hands. Ad Man took barf-clean-up-duty while I bathed Smalls and began a long night on bucket duty. A few days later, when Smalls was finally back to school and feeling better, Biggie came home complaining of a stomach ache, but insisted it was from reading on the bus. Oh, how I wanted to believe her!

Not surprisingly, Ad Man and I have been the most recent victims of the virus. When I woke up this morning to a migraine brought on by dehydration and caffeine withdrawal, instead of wallowing in misery for the fourth straight day, I challenged myself to come up with some benefits to having a stomach virus. Yep, I’m going to glass-half-full the shit out of this nasty bug! So, here is your list of 20 benefits to catching a stomach virus from your kids. You might want to keep this list handy. I hear it’s going around.

1.  Fewer dirty dishes

2.  Your boyfriend jeans fit like sweatpants again

3.  Good excuse to drink Gatorade instead of green smoothies

4.  No more stealing the kids’ Halloween candy

5.  Newfound appreciation for plain bagels

6.  Teaches the dog to entertain her own damn self

7.  Alcohol intake gets dialed back to zero

8.  Things that haven’t been cleaned in a while get scrubbed to a shine

9.  No judgment for wearing the same pajamas for days on end

10.  Perfect time to binge-watch a new show

11.  Teaches your children to forage for meals

12.  Lessens your attachment to material things, like white flokati rugs

13.  Running a fever makes you track down sweaters and flannel sheets before the end            of February

14.  Kick-starts your pre-holiday cleanse

15.  Housekeeping standards are significantly lowered

16.  Strengthens your resolve to never be pregnant again

17.  Your life of routine and monotony gains a renewed sense of the unexpected

18.  Can’t feel guilty for not going to work or volunteering. You are not wanted there.

19.  Gives you a chance to try out that new no-shampooing trend

20.  You get to go to the bathroom alone again!

Checking In

Hello, my lovely readers! I just wanted to take a minute to check in and let you know that my posting is going to be a little spotty for a while. Alas, life gets in the way. Needy children, a needy puppy and a husband who has been working late most nights are requiring me to put MommyEnnui on the back burner.

I’d also like to take some time to try my hand at writing a few pieces for publication elsewhere. Unfortunately, magazines and other websites often accept only work that has not previously been published, even on a personal blog. So my plan to kill two birds with one stone by submitting pieces I’ve written for the blog isn’t working out as I had hoped.

I promise I’m not disappearing though. I’ll continue to post here and on the MommyEnnui Facebook page. If you’re not following on Facebook, please do. I occasionally post short pieces and things I find on the web that I think you’ll find interesting or funny only on the FB page so the MommyEnnui blog doesn’t get too cluttered.

To thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin, I’ve dug up some WTF Halloween costumes from the internets just for you. It is WTF Wednesday after all!

preg-fairy

I know, I’ll be Tinkerbell. No, wait! Pregnant Tinkerbell…that’s even better!

ham

In case you couldn’t tell.

yellow_guy

Is there a pun here that I’m not getting? A reference to a movie I never saw?

sexy_bert_ernie

Sexy Bert and Ernie, of course.

werewolf_and_cat

Someone call PETA, immediately!

apple

Sweet Jesus…no!!!

unicorn_with_baby

Unicorns prefer classic, camel jackets, and eating babies.

bloody_preg_baby

Um, this CAN’T be good luck.

creepy_bunny

Yes, this appears to be an Easter costume, but if there was ever a photo that belongs on my blog, this is the one.