Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Family Friendly" Workplaces

My kids came by last Friday for my office Halloween party. Since I live an hour away it was a lot to as of our nanny but she did it anyway. It was fun to be able to show my kids off. They are at that age (especially Josephine) where it appears to outside observers that everything they say or do is adorable. I'm not sure everyone would have that opinion were they to actually try to put all three to bed but they are good kids so I'm happy to have co-workers tell me how adorable they are. I usually agree.

Josephine went up to my boss as said "Bzzz...bzzz. I sting you!" Ned said "Choo! Choo!" and Penny said "I'm a fairy!" and fluttered her hands.

My current job has lots of face time - people just don't work remotely. It makes my commute a daily grind (I spend more time in the car than with my kids). I did know the commute would suck before I took this job so I try to focus on the upside. I still do the "morning" with my kids - our nanny comes at 8:15 am like we did when I worked for Big Firm. I get to work by 9:30 am and usually leave around 6:30 pm so I often get home in time to sing the kids a bedtime song. My boss is flexible with items (like Halloween!) that require me to leave early. And honestly, I hardly ever work at night - after dinner is made for us grown ups I just veg out for an hour or so in front of the TV. I bought a book on freezer dinners to try and get my act together better about dinner - it would be nice if we could eat right after the kids were down for bed instead of having to make dinner and eating close to 9 pm most nights.  Obviously I would still have to get up early to do any exercise so that hasn't happened yet.

I keep telling myself I'm "transitioning" but I've been doing this for a year now so I'm trying to get my act together on the meal and exercise side of things. I'll keep you all posted.

What do you always tell yourself you'll be better about but always find yourself failing on?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tax Man Leaveth

I've been day dreaming a multi-part posts about differences from Big Firm law and In-House. But screw cohesion and detail.

Here's one benefit: Taxes.  Husband asked me to send him a paystub so we can make sure we are handling our withholding properly (my first full tax year on an in-house salary). I took a HUGE paycut to move in-house. Big enough that I would worry about what I was doing even though it was totally the right call and the hope is I get back there someday.

In any event, Husband noted that our tax liability is now half from the prior year even though his income is unchanged. Just goes to show how that "additional" Big Firm income benefitted Uncle Sam as much as the Esqs.

It also perhaps speaks to incentives - if you do your math and realize that for every dollar you're taking home $1 minus X then maybe making a move in-house should be a little less frightening. Or perhaps since it was inevitable in my case - more justifiable.

We'll leave the real tax incentive debate to Obama and Romney. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Saving the Schedule for our DVR

In August my DVR broke. It ate up all the shows I had recorded and erased all future recordings. After many reboots and a call to Verizon they happily sent me a new one. They even threw in extra memory. So I had to sit down and think about what shows I used to record and what new ones (Fall TV!) I wanted to try.

At the same time as my TV show crisis I was deciding about whether to sign the kids up for activities. Which soccer program do moms like (every kid in New England does soccer, right?), should Ned try martial arts to help his level of focus, Jo loved "swimming" in the lake this summer, should I sign her up? Do all of these have Saturday or Sunday games/practices*? How far do we have to drive? Are there overlapping options?

My DVR is pretty empty these days. Other than pre-school my kids are complete unscheduled.

My husband is a big fan of unstructured weekends. With the rush of the fall and pre-school I never managed to get the right "schedule" going for activities for the kids. You know what, though, I'm starting to love our lack of structure. I want my kids to be "bored" and say to them - figure out something (other than TV) that is interesting. Do you want to ride bikes? Hey, how about a short "road trip" for apple-picking?

At first I felt "lazy" - like if we weren't going anywhere that I needed to be cleaning the house or doing laundry or making some sort of food from scratch or running errands.

And to some moms I am probably judged as such. But in my house I'm having family time. If you need something I'll get back to you Monday. If I remember.

* Our nanny takes care of my three kids plus hers and all kids require naps (her son still has two a day) and there is morning preschool. No way we can make this work during the week at the moment.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bacon Smiles

A lot of people went someplace for Labor Day weekend to catch that last little bit of summer. We spent all three days at home. We attempted some bike riding on their new training wheel bikes and ran races in the park but it was a quiet weekend overall.

I often want to get us up to my folks place in Maine because I feel like I focus more on the kids when there isn't yard work or grocery shopping or 8 million other household chores.  Husband, however, actually wants to get that stuff done.

About once a month I make pancakes and bacon for the family on a Sunday morning. We are more the "eat breakfast together" instead of "eating dinner together" type family. I make them from scratch using Joy of Cooking recipe.  As in not using Bisquick. And even though I probably have the recipe memorized I look at it each time anyway.

I like baking because there are so few "substitutions". You follow the recipe to the letter and it comes out great. Awesome carbohydrate-filled treats.

My husband falls into the "figure it out as you go" cook. Experimenting with techniques and ingredients. That drives me crazy - I want to know what has to be done and how long it will take to finish.

I think all people fall into the baker v. "skillet" (for lack of a better word choice) category.

Which camp do you fall into?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Burning the Midnight Oil

The title of this post reminds me of my old life waiting up all night for partner comments on contract markups that just had to get out the door. In my new normal, last night I got home in time to kiss the kids for bed, grab a bottle of wine and meet up with some other Moms of Twins for Book Club.* 

After getting home at 9:45 pm I decided to catch up with Husband - I've had a few early meetings at work so we hadn't seen much of each other. That lead to another glass of definitely unnecessary wine and lots of Husband-Wife conversations.

Conversations including work ideas, kid stories/nature/personalities, home projects, moving (when? what town?), paying for college**.  We stayed up until 12:30 am talking.

Sure, I'm exhausted today (and okay I have a headache too).  But having the occasional spontaneously talking-for-many-hours night with my spouse feels nice, connecting, hopeful***.

*In a valiant attempt to "have a life" I joined a Book Club - my house is frankly too small/disorganized to host but I did pick a book (Andy Cohen's Most Talkative) and I always contributed wine.

**My co-worker told me yesterday that her son (at a private college that is definitely not an ivy) that she and her husband are paying $59,000 a year for his room, board and tuition. Let that sink in. Image that multiplied by increases and 3 kids.

***Well, except that paying for college part. Hard to be hopeful there.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Future Can Wait

I've been absent. Since Christmas last year. I have no idea why it has been hard to post when I largely have nights and weekends to myself now that I traded a Big Firm for In-House Counsel. I'm trying to sell my husband on the idea it is because I need a tablet or new laptop so I can blog while I go through my DVR. My sister A has shamed me. I pay for this URL so time to put it back in use. You've all missed me, right?

Everyone is putting up first day of school photos on Facebook. Ned and Penny just turned four so we have another year of pre-school. I need that extra year - I am not ready. Not ready to deal with packing lunches, field trips, buses, bullies, homework. How do I fit that into our daily routine?

When they are spending just 3 hours a day in pre-school I know they are usually with Nanny April - they are safe, she fills me in on funny stories, activities, text messages with photos.

So another year just like this year. I'll take it.