Monday, January 26, 2009

Here, Honey, Let Me Help You With That. . .

     For the last few weeks my husband has been between jobs.  He was let go from his last position on New Year's Eve.  Needless to say, that night was a little more red wine than champagne. The good news is, he accepted a position with a new company today and will begin work this coming Monday.

     Now, before we go any further, I feel that I must reassure you that I DO love my husband.  However, three weeks of complete togetherness is like getting a third child without the preparation of pregnancy, or the two complete years it takes the infant to learn how to voice their opinions. (Breathing in . . . . breathing out. . . .)  Such togetherness can sometimes be, how shall I put it politely, challenging. (Read: He's lucky to have his limbs left).  Granted, I am no angel and come complete with my own set of flaws, idiosyncrasies and boundaries. But here is where I draw the line. . . .

     For the last almost eight years, I have been the primary bather/feeder/nose and bottom wiper/ discipliner/homework guide/kids carting/house keeper/launderer/still working three part time jobs outside the home parent. It's my job. I'm perfectly fine with it.  We agreed when we decided to join the parenting club that one of us would need to have this position.  To be fair, he does help some, but this particular workload falls to me most of the time.  More often than not, I do a pretty fair job.  But the last three weeks have been filled with little comments such as. . . 

     "You know honey, if you would just . . . ."

"You really should do it like this. . . ."

"What in the world are you trying to do over there. . . ?"

"Oh my- what happened here?"

"See- nothing to it!"

About sometime this weekend, I looked at him after one of those insightful remarks were made and simply said,"My love, I know you want to help. But indulge me a moment. Allow me to offer you a little insight. You are an IT Project Manager, yes? And I am a musician, correct? As a musician, I would never, EVER presume to walk into your office and start offering you copious amounts of unsolicited advice because, well, I just don't know that much about your job.  And to be frank, it is getting on my last nerve and I'm not sure that even that last one is whole."

He looked in my eyes, took my hand and said,"You are an amazing wife and mother. I'm going to go into the other room now."

Smart, smart, man. The kind of man that knows how to keep all his body parts.

Yours, looking forward to a little bit of my own space in the coming days,


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Long does it Take To do That?

So if you read my little "about me snippet", you know that I'm a writer.  A songwriter, mostly, but up for whatever comes my way.  This week I am in Nashville, chasing that songwriting dream. I know that I'm fortunate that I have a husband who supports me chasing a dream that requires me to be away for a week at a time.  I totally get that and don't take it lightly. 

BUT. . . . 

It is amazing to me how different it is when the one who is in charge of the kids travels. Here is an abbreviated list of what I have to think through and do before I leave town for a few days:

1. Schedule the trip around all school and spousal functions. GOOD LUCK.

2. Find and schedule and pay enough baby sitters to hold down the fort while the spouse is at work. This may mean three to four different sitters with a back-up plan or two. 

3. Get the house in reasonable order so things can be found. Read: Put everything in order and then all the things that need to be found- put them right out in plain view. On the counter. With florescent colored sticky notes with instructions.

4. Wash, dry, fold and put away the laundry.  I suppose they could do it while I'm away, but the result of having some of my delicates mixed in with the towels is unappealing. Plus, if he puts it away, I may never find it again. Ever.

5.  Prepare a few meals and put them in the freezer. Or just be okay with the fact that pizza contains the four food groups and if they eat it for the next four days, then, well, it's a balanced diet.

6. Put the book out where it can be found. Otherwise, I will be texted/called/e-mailed at all times.  And it's hard to be in a serious conversation with a publisher while saying,"Yes, honey, she needs tights, tap shoes and a leotard. And YES, you have to stay there the WHOLE time." 

7. Write out the schedule for the next 4-5 days. (Of course, mine is in the book. Yes, traveling like this is one big reason it was written). Send copies of the schedule to everyone involved- the hubby (yes, I DO actually e-mail it so that he will be able to find it), aunts, teachers, friends taking care of the kids, and every back up person I know. Yes. I am a little neurotic about it. Sue me.

8. Pack the kids' backpacks for the next school day. 

9. Oh yeah- pack my OWN clothes, supplies, writing stuff and put it in the car.

10. Kiss each child as they are sleeping and try not to split my heart in half knowing I'm not going to see them for the next 4-5 days.

11. Write cute "Mommy misses you!' notes and put them all over the house.

12. Try to get a some sleep in the few remaining hours I have- sometimes- before I have to leave.

So what does the one who is NOT in charge of the kids do? See #9. And you know that means about 20 minutes of packing, if that. OYE.

Somehow this feels a little lopsided.  Anybody got a book to help me?

Yours, happy just to have a few days away, even if it DOES take moving mountains,


Friday, January 9, 2009

Yeah, It's In the Book

   "Melissa, any moron can have a baby. YOU will make a fine mother," said my doctor.  I was late in my seventh month of my first pregnancy.  He had just asked me how I was feeling- emotionally. At that moment I began, much to my husband's horror, weeping uncontrollably. If you ever want to freak a man out, just begin weeping uncontrollably. Gets them every time. My husband and doctor looked at each other with the infamous "Dare We Tread Here" Look and The Doc asked me,"What's wrong, dear?"

"Doc, I just don't think I can do this. I've been thinking about it for three days now and I have decided that I am going to have to give the baby up for adoption," I stated with resignation.

"ADOPTION!?!?!" shrieked the men in unison. In a split second my husband was at my side and The Doc asked,"What do you mean? Don't think you can do what?"

Sniff-gasp-sniff-gasp-"Take care of this-sniff-gasp- baby," I replied between sobs. "There's just too-sniff-gasp-much to remember. What if I miss something? -sniff-gasp- I just know I'm going to do something wrong and screw up my child for the rest of his or her life!"  Mwaaaaaaahhhhhh!

"Okay, okay, wait a minute," said The Doc. "Melissaaaa. . . . .have you been reading that book I told you to throw away?"

Silence. Sniff-gasp. Guilty face. Sniff-gasp. Head hung low, I whispered a sheepish,"Yes." 

The Doc slapped his hand to his forehead."Honey, that's why I told you to throw it away. It's a horrible book. Melissa, any moron can have a baby. YOU will make a fine mother."

That was over seven years ago. I don't know how fine a mother I am, but I do know I've read countless books, watched more TV programs, scanned innumerable magazine articles and discussed ad nauseum this adventure of motherhood.  I've even written a manual for my OWN children with a friend of mine. And not a day goes by that I don't think,"Hhmph. Never read about THAT in the books!"

If you're a mom, parent, caregiver, aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher, day care provider, anyone who cares for children in any capacity, then you know what I say is true. And at some point, you've probably experienced those same emotions that have told you," I canNOT do this! I am totally incapable!" Yet something happens and you reach a little deeper, pick up the child, hold them for a moment (or, depending on the situation, send them to their room for their own safety) and we travel on.  But one thing's for sure, there's no book that covers everything caring for a child means, requires and gives back.

Yours, unable to believe it's been over seven years already!


Thursday, January 1, 2009



Melissa is a wife and mother of two school aged children, a boy (Z1) and a girl (Z2). She is also a musician, teacher and songwriter, just trying to to keep it all together!


Karen is a happily married mother of twin school aged boys, a dog, a cat, and many fish. She loves not working for “Corporate America” any longer and is now doing something she feels passionate about. She loves her book, blogging, reading, exercising, vacationing at the beach (any beach will do!) and spending time with her family. Life is grand!


Melissa was a work at home mom with 2 preschoolers. As a musician, she couldn’t always take a phone call on the job. She was constantly leaving lengthy notes for the sitter- over and over again. And she kept misplacing all those notes over and over again. Every time there was a new sitter, there was a new batch of notes.

Karen was a mother who worked outside the home. Having a nanny taking care of her twin preschoolers was a good thing, but there were still tons of notes for the nanny, plus the daily phone calls of questions. And at the end of the day, Karen often wondered what their day was like.

Karen and Melissa met when their children began attending the same preschool. Their boys became friends and with that came playdates and many mommy conversations. During those conversations they realized there HAD to be a better way to organize all that information about their children for their caregivers. It was then The Caregiver Organizer was born.

Karen and Melissa began working on the book in November of 2005. By the summer of 2006 they formed Karmel Publishing, LLC. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Karen and Melissa are pursuing the dream of making things easier for other parents by providing quality products to organize it all.


Our blog chronicles our adventures through parenthood. The ups, the downs, the helpful hints, the venting, the contemplating of issues and all the laughter that comes out of those quirky moments with kids. We’re all on the journey together, so why not make it fun?


The Caregiver Organizer is designed to keep all of the information about YOUR child in one place for your caregivers. Easy to use for any parent, sitter, grandma, nanny, whomever is in charge! Check us out at