Monthly Archives: January 2014

Why Introverted Moms Rock

KathyNo one would ever accuse me of being the perfect mom. Like many people, though, I think I’m my own worst critic. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I often feel guilty about how my introversion affects my parenting.

So today I present an anti-guilt post. Because, you know what? It’s actually pretty awesome to have an introverted mom. Here’s why.

Book recommendations for life. I’ve already introduced Doodlebug to Lilly and her purple plastic purse, Trixie and Knuffle Bunny, Fancy Nancy, King Arthur, Laura Ingalls, Betsy Ray, Ramona Quimby, Chet Gecko, and Calvin and Hobbes. On deck: Harry Potter, Anne Shirley, Jo March, Hercule Poirot, Thursday Next, and many (MANY!) more.

No overscheduling. Right now, Doodlebug goes to Brownies every other week. That’s it. No all-day soccer Saturdays, no squeezing in an art class on Tuesday afternoons, no Spanish class before school. If she ever indicates that she wants to do one of those things, great. But so far she hasn’t, and I completely get it. My downtime was so crucial to me as a kid that I will respect and protect hers for her.

Braaaains. If kids came with instruction manuals, Doodlebug’s would definitely include a prescription for an hour of hard outside play every day. She needs it and we try to make sure she gets it, but let’s just say that I’m more… indoorsy. The good news about that is, many of my favorite activities are brain-builders in disguise, including:

  • Jigsaw puzzles – Doodlebug is currently helping me with a bike-themed one.
  • Trivia – my plan to turn her into a fellow Jeopardy addict is coming along nicely.
  • Mad Libs – hilarious, yes, but with a painless introduction to the parts of speech.

It’s pretty awesome to have an introverted dad, too – iDad is handling the engineering, computer science, and chemistry portions of her smart-by-way-of-fun curriculum.

Baked goods. Maybe this isn’t true for all introverts, but I love to get in the kitchen with some measuring cups. I will seize upon the slightest reason to bake something yummy, which means we usually celebrate Doodlebug’s half birthday with a half chocolate/half vanilla cake, and last May the 4th (aka Star Wars Day), this happened.


So the next time I find my lack of faith in myself… disturbing, I will come back and read this post. And I hope you’ll remind yourself (often!) why your kids are lucky to have you, too.

— Kathy

Let’s Not Call These “Resolutions”

We know, we know – New Year’s resolutions are so two weeks ago. So instead we’re thinking about what we’d like to focus on this year. Call them goals, or, if you want to channel your inner Frenchwoman, perhaps “Mindful Mots.” Bonne année, fellow introverts!


KathyMy major goal for the year is this: preserve my energy for my family. I have a tendency to spend too much time on other (usually worthy) pursuits, only to find that I have nothing left over at home. That doesn’t seem fair to iDad and Doodlebug, and it’s not making me happy.

So this year, I will:

Plan more family outings. If I’m using up energy, I might as well use it with them, right? We just instituted Museum Mondays – each month we’ll pick a museum to visit on one of Doodlebug’s early dismissal days. For the first one, we picked her up from school, drove downtown, enjoyed a planetarium show and some ice cream, and scooted home in the HOV lane. It was a quick trip and the museum wasn’t crowded, so I didn’t even feel too wiped out. Success!

Figure out this whole volunteering thing. I’ve got a handle on the classroom situation this year, but now the Brownie troop requests are piling up. I have to keep reminding myself that there are ten kids in the troop, thus ten sets of parents. It’s not my job to cover everything. The plan: pitch in, but in a way that doesn’t put me in charge of a gaggle of girls any more than absolutely necessary.

Work on the “witching hours” between school pickup and bedtime. Doodlebug often needs time to unwind in the afternoon, which I completely understand. While she chills out, I always seem to find myself sucked in to Facebook and/or cramming in one more work session. Before I know it, it’s past time to start dinner and everyone’s frazzled.  I already have a self-imposed Internet blackout between 6:30 and 8:30, but I’m wondering if I should extend that. I might also try making the time a work-free zone. We used to have a good routine going with game time after dinner, and I’d like to work that back in, too.

My other goal for the year, which I hope will help everything else in my life run more smoothly, is to get more sleep. Seriously and for real. Last night I tried Tiffany’s patented method of going to bed early with a book. I was asleep earlier than usual, but I woke up at 5 AM. Progress?

— Kathy

tiffany_head_128So here they are.  Four things of which I will be mindful in 2014.

1.  Stick to the Schedule. Although part of me loathes being this Type A, maintaining a routine helps enormously. The most important part: a firm bedtime and a firm lights-out time. After a few consecutive nights I start waking up before the alarm goes off. For anyone who knows me well, this is roughly equivalent to the Jesus-turning-water-into-wine thing: a MIRACLE.

The goal here is not only to ensure adequate rest but to start getting up earlier so I can …

2.  Move My Ass. In 2009, motivated by the abject fear of wearing a bathing suit on a Hawaiian vacation, I hired a personal trainer. It was mentally and physically transformative. After the trip I got pregnant with Lunchbox and well, let’s just say three and a half years later I have some baby jiggle to jettison. And for transparency’s sake there’s cookie, pasta, and wine jiggle to firm up too.

My trainer moved to the West Coast and hiring a new one isn’t in the budget. So I’ve discovered the Cafemom channel on YouTube; FitBottomedGirls is also another helpful site. At work I’ve started printing documents to a machine three flights of stairs above my office. And, in defiance of the Desk Lunch culture in my office, I’ve begun walking for thirty minutes after eating.

My goals are small and appropriate given my life right now. This helps to …

3.  Set Up for Success. Yes, this is a phrase most likely found on one of those cheesy posters in the Dunder Mifflin office. Establishing achievable objectives, however, is key to keeping my introvert self happy.

For example I will no longer cram the weekend “To Do” lists full of tasks I know are impossible to finish. This weekend’s list includes:


  • Exercise 30 minutes
  • Complete grocery list
  • Do three loads of laundry
  • Write five thank you notes


  • Exercise 30 minutes
  • Do three loads of laundry
  • Prep and cook two meals
  • Write five thank you notes

You get the idea.  While it is challenging to let go — particularly when staring down Slim’s black hole of a closet or Lunchbox’s toy-bombed room — it helps to repeat “Martha Stewart is not coming over today.” Critical chores get priority and thus downtime becomes available. A bit of spare time allows me to …

4.  Write It Out. Remember this post? No need to repeat why writing is so important to me. I am thankful, dear reader, to have an audience and an excuse to marinate in my own thoughts once a week.

I am hopeful these four simple mots will, as Kathy writes, help to better manage my energy levels and to generate more, if possible, for my family. Because at the end of the day being a happy and sane partner to Dreamy and a good mom to Slim and Lunchbox is the whole point.

Now. Raise your hand if you want Beyoncé to make a workout video.

— Tiffany

Holiday Hot Wash

This week the Moms hot wash their holidays.  One of us got sick and started thinking.  And the other one hit the wall contemplating baked goods.  Read on for their after-action report.


KathyLooking back at my list of strategies, I should feel pretty good about this past holiday season. I successfully avoided shopping at the mall. We had fun at the neighborhood party. I even got a reprieve on the caroling, which was cancelled, woohoo! I mean, bummer.

My overall cookie count was a little low, mostly because I came down with strep throat the weekend before Christmas. Not recommended. But I recovered in time for us to spend the holiday with my family, and the rest of our break included a visit with iDad’s parents, Legos, reading time, and our New Year’s movie night (well, afternoon). We decorated our gingerbread house on January 4, but it was still winter break so that totally counts as a holiday activity. Right?

I successfully engineered the switch to a chocolate advent calendar, but I found myself struggling with other traditions I’ve loved in the past. Our tree didn’t get decorated until the 23rd, partly because I got sick but partly because I just couldn’t motivate myself to start the process. Our cards were late, and again I can only partly blame the strep. Mostly it was because I kept putting them off.

Is that a sign that I should pull back on these traditions, too? I don’t see these things as especially draining – it’s not like we invite twenty people over for a tree-decorating party, we just turn on some holiday music and go for it. And sure, writing notes and addressing cards takes time, but I can do that by myself, with a mug of hot chocolate by my side. These things should be antidotes to the holiday madness of the outside world, but this year they felt like chores.

Still, I can’t imagine Christmas without a tree – I know Doodlebug enjoys decorating it, and that’s definitely a tradition I want her to grow up with. She couldn’t care less about whether we send cards, and truthfully iDad would be fine with dropping them too, but again, sending and receiving cards is a big part of Christmas for me.

So maybe the answer isn’t cutting back on these traditions, but being even more careful about how we spend the rest of our time during the holidays? I did notice that Doodlebug didn’t seem to care about seeing other kids as much as I thought she would – she really seemed to crave time to do her own thing. I think we struck the right balance for her. I’ll keep trying to find it for myself.

— Kathy

tiffany_head_128The holiday break started off inauspiciously:  a busy Friday at work compounded by a soul-sucking two-and-a-half hour commute home. Saturday was booked with errands and a Brownie event for Princess Slim. Sunday was a cookie exchange for which I had absolutely nothing prepared. So by early Saturday afternoon I was an exhausted and sobbing mess.  Merry Christmas, dammit.

Fortunately Dreamy stepped in and took Slim to Brownies. Lunchbox napped and I recovered enough to get a few things done around the house.

On Christmas Eve I baked and puttered and did holiday stuff. Around 3 p.m. Princess Slim went to church with Dreamy and Lunchbox went down for his nap. “Nuts,” I thought, “I need to start that cinnamon roll dough because having homemade rolls on Christmas morning will be the best thing EVER.” Mixletrisetwohoursrolloutslicerisebakefrost.

But I was tired. And sitting on the couch in a quiet house with a cup of tea felt lovely. Thus launched the following rather schizophrenic internal dialogue:

I really want to bake these rolls.

Are they mission-critical to a good Christmas?

No, they aren’t, but they are so delicious and they will be the best thing EVER.  Maybe I could make them tomorrow morning.

So you are going to voluntarily wake up at 5 a.m. to allow enough time for the double-rising and baking?  Right.  Who’s going to eat these things anyway?

Well, I would.  And Dreamy.

The kids?

Probably not.

Relax then.  And your thighs have enough rolls already, k?

But homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning will be the best thing EVER.

Girl, please.

The Great Cinnamon Roll debate perfectly encapsulates what this Christmas was about for me:  listening to that internal voice that asked “Really?  Do you absolutely need to do Thing X and exhaust yourself?  Why are you doing Thing X?  For the kids?  For yourself?  To conform to someone else’s idea of a perfect holiday?”

This year I made a conscious choice to listen to that voice. There were hot baths. There were naps. There was even a little exercise, for God’s sake! Of course there was stress but the overall pace and vibe of the holidays was saner and more civilized than in years past. The kids seemed to sense this too. They played well together, for the most part, and like Doodlebug were fine doing their own things.

While I still returned to work tired and worn out the feeling this year wasn’t nearly as demoralizing and devastating as usual. When people asked how my break was, I replied “Good!” — and actually meant it.

Did I make the rolls? Nope. I snuggled with Lunchbox and slept for two hours. Merry Christmas to ME.

— Tiffany