Hi Ladies,

Anyone home now? I am!

It’s Saturday night, and our babysitter wasn’t able to sit. Just put the last child to bed and am gonna watch the Hockey Game on TV. I’m totally wiped.

The good news… we had our FIRST double sleep-out last night. My kids slept at my parents’ house. Woo hoo!! I dropped them both off at 4PM. My mom took them downtown for dinner, and they all slept in her bed. It was great fun for them. My hubby and I went for dinner at 6PM, were home by 7:30PM, and asleep by 9:30PM! LOSERS! We slept until 8:30AM this morning. It was heaven!  The last time I slept 11 straight hours I was a teenager with a hangover. It was AWESOME!

Today, my two year old FINALLY got his first pair of ice skates. He has been waiting since the ripe old age of ten months. No joke! Those who know him, know he has been begging to play ice hockey for the past eighteen months. He is seriously obsessed.  So, lessons start Monday, and he’s ready to go. He’s worn his  skates around the house ALL DAY. I kid you not. And now, they sleep on the floor beside his crib. He cried for 30 minutes tonight to sleep with them in his crib, but my husband said he would Edward Scissorhands himself during the night. Based on last week’s drama, that’s the last thing we need right now!!! He’s utterly delicious.

Tomorrow’s my son’s 6th birthday party. Some glow-in-the-dark mini golf with 20 of his grade 1 friends. He’s been waiting all week. I have not.

The new website is almost up. I can’t wait for the discussion board. Now you girls can visit any time and chat with other ladies about some of the issues. Am loving the Blog. My brain is finally functioning to maximum capacity. It’s refreshing!

Thank you all for your great suggestions and input for the Women On The Fence Blog. Don’t forget to keep commenting or emailing me about the topics you want to hear about.  Your suggestions are what will keeps the wheel turning.

Until next week, I bid you all good night.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/womenonthefence and join our group on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=137325556863&ref=mf .

Love,

Erica

xoxEDxox

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It’s Saturday morning. Right now, as I’m writing, the Wii is going strong in one room, another child  is climbing on me, and my husband is calling out some order down the hallway. And guess what… I just don’t feel like it all today. I just feel like sitting on a secluded beach, aqua blue water, waves crashing, sun shining, sand and ipod, and me, lovely wonderful me, ALONE. Silencio.

Naturally, I don’t feel like this all the time, but I can be honest with you readers, I do feel like this sometimes. This feeling of needing more alone time came when I sold my business and started a new career as a “full-time mom.” That is actually why I started this blog. I know that, for me, I need something to occupy my mind beyond my children.  I need a purpose to my life beyond my wonderful family. I need to use my brain again. It was starting to go soft on me.

But all back to the point of this blog. Experts do say that for a woman to stay mentally happy and healthy, everyone needs personal time– time just for themselves. I know this. If I go too long without a girls night out, a fast getaway with my hubby, or even a long walk alone, I start to LOSE IT! I mean lose it. I do.

And I know I’m not alone, cuz many of you have written in complaining about the lack of personal time. The inability to even go to the bathroom without a little person at your feet. The laundry, the bills, your work, your children, your responsibilities… it all takes its toll, that by the time the kids finally get to bed, who even can appreciate that alone time? You just wanna kerplunk on the floor.

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In fact, in the book I mentioned a few blogs ago, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” Dr. John Gray explains the notion of men needing time in “caves” in order to relax and cope with stress. His explanation of this concept gives all your husbands, fiancés and boyfriends across the world permission to have time alone to decompress after work. Now, while I agree with Gray that men need time to decompress, my argument is that women need it too. Women need “cave” time too. Most women I know would love to hide out in a cave for “me” time, if not just for a little.

I encourage you, if you are one who is desperately craving for alone time, or even if you’re someone who might feel lonely or bored being alone, take the time! While you’re at work, go for a walk alone on your lunch time. If you’re a stay at home mom, read a book on your porch or balcony while your child naps. Turn off you cell phone. Zone out. Be alone. Close your eyes and meditate. Turn off your ringer in your bedroom. Regroup. Rejuvenate. Reenergize. It often doesn’t take much to recharge the battery during the day if you’re feeling depleted.

And ask your husbands after they have had their cave time, to let you take yours. Be it on a Saturday, like right now for me. Or on any other day. In fact, all hell is breaking loose right outside my door, but I’m off duty right now. I have my coffee, the sun is shining in my office, my cozy bathrobe is on, and I’m recharging. Come to think of it, I’m feeling better than when I started the blog entry!

So, take some “me” time when you can.  I’m telling you, you’d be surprised what a little time alone can do for your spirit.

I gotta run now ladies. I think my “me” time is officially over. My husband is calling. So are the kids.

Till next time,

xoxEDxo

ps – How do you escape for some “me” time? Can you suggest some tips for our readers?

If there is one daily question in our house that is sure to get me aggravated, it’s “What’s for dinner?” This is because dinnertime has been, and continues to be a thing of frustration for me. Just the sound of the question drives me bananas.  Trying to accommodate the nutritional needs and eating preferences of 4 different people. So, dinnertime in our house kinda goes something like this. Kids eat 5:30PM. Parents eat anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30PM, (while the kids eat their fruits so at least we’re sitting as a family).

Truth is, we no longer eat dinner as a family unit since my big son started grade 1 this month. I find it just too difficult. The boys start whining about dinner around 5pm, “I’m starving, I can’t wait for daddy to come home”. My husband gets home from the office anywhere between 6:30 – 7:30PM, so waiting for him since my big son started grade 1, no longer happens (grade 1 finishes at 4, and I understand his need for a nice meal soon after homework is done). This saddens me greatly, but hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I really believe, “Why would I give them a snack at 5:30, when they’re hungry for dinner at that time?” I have never been a big believer in giving snacks at mealtimes, or snacks to stall meals. I like to feed them when they’re hungry. I have been known to make whole wheat and organic cheese Kraft Dinner at 10am, grilled cheese at 10:30am, hamburgers at 3:55pm. I feed on demand. I know this makes me sound like a parent being dominated by a tiny person, but when you have a son who barely eats, I like to strike while it’s hot. So, I always sit with the boys at 5:30PM and they eat, and I watch and pray. And then I sit down for my own meal at 7 with my husband.

Now, this is how the real dinner dilemma goes for me.  A meal for 3 (myself, my husband, my 2-year old), and another meal for 1 (my grade 1 boy). ALL THE TIME. I try and cook healthy, and I pride myself on preparing nice fresh and healthy meals. There’s always a soup or salad to start, followed by a protein, carb and vegetable. Just  like Mary Poppins, thank you very much! That’s the case of course, for the group of 3.  The 4th meal, for my big son, barely contains a vegetable (he only eats corn on the cob and celery), and it’s always a WHITE LOOKING MEAL (or orange… Kraft Dinner, grilled cheese, plain noodles… you see where I’m going with this?). We can get a little spaghetti and meatsauce or hamburger in once in a while, but not with a veggie, and he takes 2 bites. Now, I’M NOT EVEN A GOOD COOK, NOT DO I EVEN ENJOY IT, so this shit stresses me out when I go to the grocery store. What am I making for the threesome, what am I making  for the big kid? Top that off with the fact that my husband eats like a bird. I have really  no one to cook for, other than myself and my two year old who, god bless him, has my appetite, but I don’t think my metabolism!!! So, unless I plan on continuing to make myself crazy, or turn everyone into a pizza, I’m gonna have to find a solution. I’m truly tired of making two meals, but I’m not ready yet to send my thin older son to bed without dinner. My friends say “Offer Johnny, (we’ll call my 6 year old) what the rest of the family is eating, and if he doesn’t like it, tough!” Ladies, I just ain’t there yet. Maybe I baby him, but I’m just not gonna do it.

So, if this insanity sounds familiar, at least be happy you’re not alone. Misery loves company!

Oh ya, and every time my “Johnny” asks for fish sticks, I just cringe. He was brought up on all organic and home cooked vegetables. I fed him like a prince. And now he only asks for the white foods. My little one, feed him acetone, and he takes it all in, every last drop, and with a smile might I add. Gotta love kids. Born to the same parents, same gene pool, completely different creatures.

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So, here are some useful tips to solving the dinner dilemma and believe me ladies, I’m trying desperately to incorporate them into my own house. Again, like my BBF Oprah says, I’m just “a work in progress.”

  • Plan ahead. I don’t do this often enough but I should. Don’t just whip something up at the last minute. I’m not saying don’t cook quick and healthy meals. I mean have the ingredients in your house, BEFOREHAND, so when it’s time to start dinner, you have what you need. If you work, make a big order on the weekends and freeze. Pull out your daily chicken or meats the morning you leave for work, and have your veggies and rice and potatoes already in the fridge or pantry from your weekend shopping. Try getting to the fruit store at least twice during the week, so there are lots of healthy choices for snacks and side dishes.
  • Foods that kids like can often be made healthy. Make your own whole wheat dough, get some organic tomato sauce, some organic cheese, throw some veggies on top, with a side salad, and you have yourself a delicious and healthy meal for the whole family. Try to compromise. Have your hubby eat pizza one night, and the kids eat steak or salmon another night. Explain to your husband that even though they want a big plate of pasta and meatsauce, or steak,  some nights they have to eat a simple BBQ chicken, cuz that’s what the kids like. Plus you don’t want to turn in to me, and start making a millions meals for everyone. Start that early, my friends!
  • Make extra, and get your family used to eating left-overs. Again, not something my husband likes… AT ALL but it’s something he’s getting used to. Some chicken breasts on the BBQ one night can serve as a great chicken salad the next night. Just a thought.
  • Have your family members suggest what they like. Why wrack your brain? Supply and demand. If they can suggest something healthy and good for the whole family, why not give in? And if budget permits, an occasional splurge on chinese food take out or whatever the family loves to order in could be fun.
  • Try out a few different recipes and see what works. Even a horrible cook like me can whip up some great and easy with recipes online, or from friends. Open yourself up a good bottle of wine, play some tunes, and try and have fun with it. Don’t make mealtime something so serious. Try new recipes. Maybe someone in your family will like it, and hey, that’s one more step in the right direction.
  • And finally, if they don’t like it, THEY CAN MAKE IT THEMSELVES! We aren’t martyrs. We are human beings with feelings, and  I say, if they all don’t like what we’re whippin up, let ’em whip it up themselves.

Ladies, I would love to know how it works in your families, and how you’re surviving mealtimes! Please share your comments below to help us all get off the fence with the dinner dilemma!

xoxEDxox

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For those of you who are not big tennis fans, you don’t have to be to appreciate this story. Kim Clijsters, formerly the number one ranked tennis player in the world, had retired. For two years she left professional tennis, the game she loved, the vehicle of her income, to get married and have her daughter, Jada. How many of us can relate to that joyful feeling of maternity leave, only to reemerge back into the work force, dazed and confused. You come back like a rusty nail, worrying how your new child is fairing in daycare, or at home while you’re off trying to prove yourself to the world again.

“I didn’t understand fully how tricky retirement would be. Every athlete will tell you, when they stop at a young age it is tough to find the kind of fulfilment you want. Some need to come out of retirement to find it, people get bored, they want to play at the level they once enjoyed – but that wasn’t me. I was never in it for the money, or the limelight. I played to win.” Pete Sampras.

Pete Sampras was 31 when he retired, with 14 Grand Slam titles to his name and nothing left to prove. Kim Clijsters is 25 and proving her comeback after her two-year retirement.

Lots of people counted her out. When I heard she was playing Venus Williams, I thought like many others… no chance.  I watched an incredible match. “I’m not even going to tell you what was going on in my mind,” Clijsters said. “I was shaking.” Still, she broke Venus down. The new mom. The rusty nail broke No. 3 in the world.

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Then, after one of the biggest controversial matches in women’s tennis history, against a completely outraged Serena Williams, she reigned again. To keep you in the loop, in case you hadn’t seen or heard what transpired, Clijsters was just two points from victory when Serena was called for a foot fault on her second serve, which gave Clijsters match point in the process. Serena then proceeded to the line judge to argue the claim, where she yelled something to the note of  ““I’d take this f–king ball and shove it down your f–king throat,” which then of course led to a code violation for her misconduct.

But last night was truly triumphant. All her preparing had paid off again. The doubt she had probably felt heading back to the gym to train, back to the courts to prepare for her comeback, had all disappeared last night. The fear of having to prove herself and make her way back to the top of the rankings vanished last night when she beat Caroline Wozniacki and claimed the title of 2009 US Open Tennis Champion. She had overcome. She reemerged as a force to be reckoned with. And for that, I respect her. I’m always a cheerer of the underdog. All those naysayers that said once she had left the game and would never be able to return, have been proven wrong. And with this, I kinda chuckle. I root for women like this. I cheer for women like this.

That’s why this story touched home for me. I too left the workforce for three years to raise my family. I have been on the fence about whether or not to return. What to do. It’s not easy to re-emerge and reinvent yourself. Our priorities somehow shift after that first baby is pushed out of our wombs. And I don’t think we ever truly go back. I’m not saying we don’t reemerge strong and fighting, I’m just saying kids change us. The daily grind of life, but even more so, life with kids somehow cuts away our edginess. At least it did mine, and I was pretty edgy. The guilt, the phone calls to pick your child up at school, that she has fever, that she just barfed all over the kids in her class, that she just bit two kids in daycare… this all takes its toll on our ability to function as multi-taskers. I’m going to leave it at this, as I feel this is a whole other topic I will get into another day. The impossible juggle and balance of home and work.

So the picture at the very top of Clijsters is what truly brings tears to my eyes. Trophy in one hand, young daughter in the other. A picture which slightly resembles “a woman having it all.” What a moment. Kim Clijsters is not only the 2009 US Open Tennis Champion, she is every woman’s champion! And, in the words of my father, “one classy broad!”

xoxEDxox