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The New York Times today covers the rising trend of “mom lit” – that genre of literature that used to be chick lit, now all grown up with babies and strollers.  Apparently, the term is causing quite a ruckus in the writing world.  Jennifer Weiner, the writer of “In Her Shoes,” “resents that women writing domestic dramas are categorized in ways male writers aren’t.” 

Mommy blogger Heather B. Armstrong of thinks that mom lit “reads like someone sat around in a marketing meeting and said, ‘What can we sell to this generation of mothers?”

My question is, so what?  So what if some of the mommy lit out there isn’t going to win a Pulitzer Prize? I like that when I write I can be light and fluffy – it makes all the craziness of being a mom a little more funny, a little easier to handle.  And seriously, moms out there, who really wants or can read a dense novel right after you have baby? I couldn’t. 

And why can’t “mommy lit” encompass the serious and the light?  I bet there is room in the genre and for the buyers (key here for a writer) for both.  So for those moms who write in this genre and want to fight for equal treatment, great.  But I think having that mommy voice at all, fluffy or not, is a great achievement in and of itself.

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I have a dilemma.  Next week, my company is hosting a “kids” holiday party, fit with a live Santa and all things holiday-related. But there is a problem.  I hate the holiday season.  I’ve always hated the holiday season.  You can’t get any of your normal activities done with relative ease, and the mus-aack is way to cheery for me.  I’m don’t even celebrate Christmas for crying out loud! Bah Humbug.

There are plenty of secular Jews out there who decorate a tree and pretend that Christmas is their holiday too.  Not this one.  Call me Scrooge, but I don’t want my son celebrating Christmas.  I don’t want silly photos of him on Santa’s lap – they’ll just end up at the bottom of our junk drawer.  I don’t want him to leave cookies out for Santa on Christmas eve – I’ll just end up eating them.  I don’t want him opening presents on Christmas Day – he’ll get plenty of stuff for Hannukah. 

So this is my plan of attack: I’m going to avoid clueing him into Christmas at all costs until he’s old enough to figure it out himself.  This means: no photos, no holiday outfits, no cheesy songs.  No Christmas.

I may sound like Mrs. Grinch, but I think this approach is better than me having to tell him in 10 years that Santa doesn’t really exist.  Bah Humbug.

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Our company’s annual holiday party is tonight.  It’s my third party, but first as a mom, so I think the rules are a little bit different for me.  Some dos and don’ts for moms at work holiday parties:

Do feel free to dance to the music; it’s a good chance to show your coworkers that you’re still alive.
Don’t get caught karaoke-ing “Like a Virgin” – you never know who’s got a cell phone camera out there and where your children may find those photos online (this is NOT a personal experience).

Do get dolled up for work that day; spend the 15 extra minutes to wash and dry your hair!
Don’t wear anything remotely similar to the photo to the left (Thank you, Tamara and Jeffrey).

Do gorge yourself on all the party apps. I’m quite sure they’re better than any dinner you were going to have at home.
Don’t stuff the dinner rolls in your purse for lunch tomorrow.  That’s not being a resourceful mom, it’s just tacky.

Do have a drink, or two (or three), if you please. You did get the night off for a reason.
Don’t overdo it. Your husband will NOT be sympathetic tomorrow and get up with the kids when you don’t feel well.

Enjoy the holiday party season!

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I’m not a website critic, but I thought readers of Interior Office would be interested to know about websites for parents that I find.   So in that vein, I’ll review from my perspective a new off-beat parenting webzine, Babble, that launched today.  It’s from the creators of the webzine, Nerve, which I’ll admit I’d never heard of nor visited before today. 

Anyway, Babble is geared towards the “new urban parent.” I’m assuming, from looking at the site and reading the press release that this means anyone who lives in a rather urban environment (check), recently had kids, or has youngsters (check) and doesn’t want to be bothered with advice like, “how do I put my baby on a sleep schedule” advice and tips (check).  I like the site’s irreverant attitude towards the nuances of parenting.

Overall, there seems to be a lot (I mean A LOT) of interesting content to read.  Having not breastfed, I enjoyed Marjorie Ingall’s article, “The Breastfeeding Conspiracy.” I like that you can comment on such articles.  Babble also contains many blogs, which at first glance seem to use the f-word at liberty.  Hey, we are on the internet, right?

Babble also contains a fashion section and products section where I found the cutest hand-knit cowboy boots for my son (thank you honey) and an entertainment section where you can find great children’s books.  You can even upload your own baby video (I’ll pass, I don’t like to pimp out my son on the internet even though he’s damn cute), and chat on the various message boards.

I think the site’s only real downfall is that there is almost TOO much to read.  I’m not sure how often they are going to update the content, but as a working mom, I think it would take me a week just to get through what is on the site today.  And that’s if I did nothing else than read or comment on Babble.

But maybe that’s the point- is there ever an end to a baby’s babbling?

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My friend tipped me off to the next offender in a series of companies that sell to parents with unwise marketing-speak. The company is the maker of many allergy, flu and cold remedies – Triaminic.  But this one is so blatantly obvious that I think it may take the cake of unwise marketing.  Apparently, Triaminic seems to think that moms are in charge of the medicinal needs of their children.  Come on, their tag line “The Medicine of Motherhood,” says so.

Even the sickly sweet cartoon of a baby elephant latching onto its mom on the front page of their website shows who they think runs the snotty nose and watery eye show in the house.  To their little credit, they do try to make a case for EEOP (that’s Exaggerated-attempt to Equal Opportunity Parent) on the same page.  As seen in the “For Parents” section of the site:  

“Moms and Dads can explore the Parents’ area to access useful information to help you care for your family. Get in touch with a Triaminic® expert in the Triaminic Clinic® to learn more about special offers and events.”

That is not enough to please this mom.  ‘Scuse me while I decongest myself. 

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After reading a recent article in The Wall Street Journal about kids who feel “orphaned” by their parents’ BlackBerries, I determined that I too, was putting my son at risk with my BlackBerry-ing behaviors.  But I am not orphaning my son by using my BlackBerry.  Rather, I believe I suffer from a case of BlackBerry-itis.  It’s a sickness that is long-term in nature and very hard to cure. 

BlackBerry-itis can be defined as “an unnatural and obsessive addiction to checking one’s BlackBerry.”  There are many strains of BlackBerry-itis.  Type M (the obsessive need to check one’s BlackBerry during Meetings), Type PT (the addiction to checking one’s BlackBerry on Public Transportation, and the most severe form, the type I suffer from, Type F (when checking one’s BlackBerry interferes with Familial duties).

Unfortunately, Type F is hard to discern, since many observers of the disease are children not of speaking age.  And, the sickness is subtle at first.  It may start with a casual checking of the BlackBerry when you wake up in the morning before you get baby out of the crib.  But full-blown BlackBerry-itis Type F is hard to miss.

Here are some of the key indicators:

r     You check your BlackBerry even when your child is in the highchair screaming bloody murder for his food.
r     You bring your BlackBerry into bed with you in the morning and email instead of cuddling with your child.
r     You find that your thumbs are too sore to play with your baby’s blocks.
r     You bring the BlackBerry to mom/baby classes and check it immediately when class is over.
r     You’d rather sit at your counter and “BlackBerry” than sit on your floor and play with your child.
r     Your mother actually knows what the device is, and expresses her disdain for it.

However problematic BlackBerry-itis can be there are some little-known cures:
r     Husband threatens to “throw that thing in Lake Michigan or other large body of water” if he sees the BlackBerry in the bedroom one more time.
r     People at work send you nasty emails telling you to stop emailing on your day off.
r     Email servers at work go down, making the BlackBerry non-functioning (note: this is only a temporary cure until the servers are restored).
r     You leave BlackBerry on different floor of your house so that you are too lazy to walk upstairs and get it.
Unfortunately, I’ve tried all of the remedies above to no avail.  After trying to cure my illness, I think that the best solution for BlackBerry-itis is not having a BlackBerry at all.  But I don’t think I’m quite ready to try that solution yet.   

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I’m trying hard to keep the “mom” talk out of a good girl’s night out. 

I don’t want to be THAT mom who only talks about her kids.  It’s like going out with people from work and only talking about the latest projects you’re working on.  Who wants to discuss the pros and cons of matrix organizations over a martini?  Not me.

And when I go out with the girls, I try hard to not mix baby talk with girl talk.  Sleep schedules and solid foods just don’t seem to pair well with a glass of Shiraz. 


I was recently faced with this dilemma when I went out with my friends for my birthday.  My M.O. was to attempt to have an “old school” night out (i.e. dinner then dancing).  I even tried to dress the part.  New jeans, high-heeled boots, and a cute top were a throwback to my single years.  Overall, I looked somewhat respectable for a new mom who works part-time and just got in from a business trip in New York.

Most important, I was ready for a baby-free and work-free night. 

We all met at a wine bar in a hip neighborhood. At the table were some of my NMFs (new mom friends), some married friends, some work friends, and some single or engaged friends. It was a proprietary blend of my old and new life.  

As we settled into our new surroundings of wood-paneled walls versus garish-orange kiddie gyms, we began to peruse the menu.  I began to peruse my new mom friends sitting at the table – hair done and heels on.  One claimed she had never seen me wear lipstick before (the horror!).  We began to order our wine and apps (“Sexy Reds” for me, please).  It was then that things turned from sexy to stagnant.


A taste of the conversation:

Me: (sips wine, eats some brie)

NMF across the table:  “So, tell me, what foods have you started Junior on?”

Me: “I really like the Cabernet, what did you get?”

NMF: “Well, I talked to the doctor and he said not to start meats until 8 months.”

Me: “This parmesan is to die for.”


Discussing the varietals of baby meat was not what I had planned for my girl’s night out.  

I craned my neck to hear how my single friend landed a hot date last weekend.  And tried to listen as my other friend described a fabulous pair of shoes she just bought.


But as the conversation varied from pureed chicken to potential hotties sitting across from us, I found myself more and more drawn to the current rather than the past. And as the hot button topic of “baby-proofing” came up, my attitude turned from “old school” to feeling just plain old. 

I thought, as I sipped my Merlot, how did it all end up this way? 

Would I really rather talk about burps and poop than the gossip rags? (Ok, I still have a subscription to People, but still…).  When did buying a fashionable pair of sweats matter more than a cute “going out” top?


Was I really becoming THAT mom?


It was then that the dilemma was cast in a new light.  I like to play dress up, but I am much more comfortable without the red lipstick and tight jeans. The complex bouquet of my life suits my palate just fine.