Stroller Stress.

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I’ve thought these thoughts before but haven’t yet gathered them for the blog but after events over the last 24 hours hours, here I go.  So, up until recently, I have carried Zachary in a carrier 80% of the time.  But, he is getting big, my back is starting to hurt, and the weather is nicer so he doesn’t need to be bundled into me as much.  So, with my increased use of the stroller, I am starting to see JUST HOW HARD IT IS TO NAVIGATE around the city with a stroller!  And this had me thinking:  how hard must it be for handicapped people to get around in the city?  It is ABSURD.  THREE places I went to over the last 24 hours were nearly impossible to navigate my stroller within.  So, I assume they are not handicapped accessible either?  The three places:

Williams Sonoma in the Belleuve:  The doors are incredibly heavy to the Belleuve, there is no ramp and the store itself is crowded and hard to navigate.

Philadelphia Runner:  Could NOT get the stroller through the displays. At. All.  And let’s not even talk about how I truly felt as if the sales people thought I was crazy for a.  being there with a jogging stroller at all and b.  asking to (gasp!) breast feed in the dressing room.  Seriously.

Reading Terminal Market- forgettaboutit.

So yes, I understand we are in the city. The city is crowded, the stores are small, and therefore the layout will be challenging for strollers, wheelchairs and the like.  BUT, there is no excuse to not have ramps. I am going to be checking out this situation at various places around the city and will report back  😉  Have you ever noticed this atrocity where you live? There have GOT to be bylaws about this (handicap-accessibility)…I will check it out.  Anyway, look what Zach learned how to do (in said stroller)…CLAP!:


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“I think breast feeding a four year old child is DISGUSTING.” I just heard on Dr. Phil. He is doing a special on “controversial parenting.” They happen to be discussing attachment parenting; which, apparently, is controversial. Hm. Another story for another day. But really…disgusting?! You think it is DISGUSTING!? I mean I generally reserve that word for things that truly turn my stomach; vomit, moldy fruit, or even more serious: sick twisted people who kill. Those things are disgusting. But breast feeding a four month old does not strike me as being worthy of this word. Clearly, some people do not agree with the practice of extended breastfeeding (past one year). I mean, even my own family has made negative comments about my decision to continue breastfeeding Zachary past a year indefinitely. Again, another story for another day. But disgusting? I think not. Why do we, as a society, feel it appropriate to be so judgmental of others’ lives, especially parents’? It is as if, when you chose to become a parent, you chose to subject yourself to the scrutiny of others, both privately and publicly. I think with the increased usage of social media, this phenomenon has been made worse. And it blows my mind. Being a parent is a new chapter in one’s life, as is puberty, or seniority. But it is, somehow, the only one that makes people feel as if it is appropriate to judge. Or at least it seems as much. It is UNREAL how many people have opinions on why you should or shouldn’t sleep with your child, why you should or shouldn’t breastfeed, when you should start solids, why you should or shouldn’t wear your child, why you should or shouldn’t put your child on a schedule, etc…. I mean, in reality, we are all human, and we chose to do things differently; isn’t that one of the greatest things about being human? The opportunity to be different; to make choices? And even further in reality…these choices have NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER on the people who are judging them! Anyway, I know I sound like I am ranting, which I partially am, but I am trying to get the point across. Being a parent is already scary enough as it is; it brings out a feeling of severe vulnerability. We do not need to be subject of judgement by others for the decisions we make, thereby increasing our vulnerability even more. And that is where I think the root of problem lies; those who have children are weary of their decision making. Of course! We want what is best for our children naturally, so it is possible to feel insecure about personal decisions, and the way some deal with insecurity is to scrutinize others. And those who do not have children who judge, well…they just don’t understand. Do I think Zachary will be breast feeding when he is four? Probably not. But do I think it is disgusting?! ABSOLUTELY not. It truly blows my mind how much time people spend on judging the choices of others, and I think it is time that we stop, and instead enjoy the choices we, ourselves have made.



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Hi everyone!  It is (finally) starting to look like spring (aka no snow, sun is shining) YAY!  I haven’t checked in for a few days so I wanted to do so, but first thing’s first: I am (publicly) declaring my intent to GET OFF MY PHONE 😉  Seriously, be it my ADHD and inability to concentrate on only one thing, my need to multi task, my type A personality, or most likely a combination of the three, I am finding myself on my phone WAY more often than I would like to be.  The thing has become an appendage and I am a slave to its every vibration. It. Needs. To. Stop;  Zachary is at the age where he WILL understand that Mama is not devoting her full attention to him, and quite frankly, I want to try being more present.  There is NO NEED TO DO IT ALL, ALL THE TIME.  Work emails, texts, etc. can WAIT!

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OK, so more on my mind:

-Meal planning:  I will return with a fresh new one for next week, and am working on a blog post chronicling MANY of my easy meals by type (meat, ease level, etc).  But this week was crazy. I actually had dinner out (gasp!) with a great friend, and dinner over another friend’s house.  Our kiddos ate together and it was ADORBS!

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OH, and her husband cooked me dinner which was amazing.  I love a good home cooked meal (especially not made by me!). He packed leftovers and let me say, they did not stand a CHANCE!  My fingers were in the rice by the time I got on the highway.  Both unsafe and gross.  Anyway, tonight I am making crock meatballs and will have next week’s meal plan up this weekend.  As a preview, I will tell you Sunday will entail a traditional Easter dinner of Ham, Lasagna, Easter bread (yup, bring on the carbs) and roasted broccoli or asparagus (gonna see what the market has).

-Blogging: I am currently attempting to better organize the blog so it is easier to navigate, primarily by going to all archived posts and tagging, so that when you click on a category, you will TRULY get all posts related to the tag (ex: baby, opinion, crock pot).  It is quite the endeavor, but it needs to be done. It is an easy mindless after-baby-goes-to-bed task that will help me do a “favorites” post as well.  Coming soon.

-OK, so does anyone see any problem with this?  We were at my Mom’s for family dinner and she doesn’t have a high chair yet for Zach, so we “made do.”  See below contraption.

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He seems happy!  RIGHT!?!? Gotta be resourceful!  Better than him sitting on the floor!

-Also, I NEED to get him a sort of tunnel-like thing. HE LOOVES playing in these.  This is him playing at playgroup in a tunnel-like train contraption. SO CUTE.

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-Ed Sheran is on Live with Kelly and Michael. I LOVE LOVE LOVE his songs but they make me sad (sorry side note).

-Zach is now standing on his own! It had definitely added to his cuteness!

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-My shin is MUCH better. Last week’s four day rest allowed me to complete a pain-free 12 miler.  I am SO happy.  I saw this picture on HRG blog.

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True Story.

-I am SOOO looking forward to my half on my BIRTHDAY in two weeks. I admit, I am a bit afraid of the hills that Central Park will bring, but I am not looking to PR (I want to do this on the flat Philly rock n roll half in september when I plan to go Balls. To. The. Wall.) just to finish and feel good.  And maybe not stop at all.

-Speaking of running, Mantras. I have been thinking about this lately.  Do you have a mantra you use for anything? Exercise?  Stress?  I realize I do and didn’t even notice.  I just say “PUSH, PUSH” and sometimes “YOU CAN DO THIS.”  But mainly PUSH. Inhale, exhale PUSHHHHHHH 😉

OK, sorry for being TOTALLY all over the place today.  I guess it is that kind of week!  Hope everyone is well!!!!!

I.C.E. and the Taper Plan

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I. (Ice)

C. (Compression)

E. (Elevation)

The name of my game.

Hi Friends.  (Insert downcast voice here)  Unfortunately my shin is hurting again, I believe due to my race Sunday.  Bummer.  Definitely should’ve taken the time to ice, stretch, etc.  But, there was a swim class to get to with my Baby so there was no time for that. Then, I was SUPER sore Monday and thought it to be a good idea to do 5 shake down miles to “get the blood” flowing in order to be abel to stretch out.  I probably should’ve done one mile then stretched it out.  Grrrrr. I HATE injury.  I took yesterday off thinking it would help, but a little too late I believe.  I felt great during my seven miler today but immediately after cool down was feeling the pain again.  SO, with my race three weeks away, here is my plan… I will take off tomorrow (Thursdays are normal rest days for me anyway due to crazy schedules). Friday I will cross train (take a spin class) and put no pressure on it. Saturday I will take off.  Then Sunday, I will attempt my long run (again, only three weeks left before race and I can’t really bear to throw away all of my training thus far).  As a side bar, this is interesting information from HRGs blog about “losing running fitness…” (From Hansen’s Marathon Method)

1-2 days missed: “Training can resume normally without scaling back mileage or intensity. You lose a couple days of running; no harm done.   While a number of missed workouts can spell your doom for your marathon goals, a single lost workout will never be your demise.”

3-6 days missed: There will be very small physiological regressions from taking this many days off.  ”After 3-4 days of missed training, come back slowly by running easy for 2-3 days, then pick the schedule back up and follow it as usual.  If 5-6 days are missed, run easy for 3-4 days and then revert to the previous week’s training regimen.”

7-10 days missed:  ”At this point the body starts to lose some of those hard-earned physiological gains you have made.  Keep in mind that if you can still manage to run some short, easy runs during this period and have the go-ahead from your doctor, the time it takes to return to normal training will be significantly less.  If running isn’t possible, commit to cross training to prevent a drop-off in fitness. Upon your return to running, you should run easy for the same number of days that were missed.”

More than 10 days missed:  ”After two weeks of lost training, the decrease in physiological gains are quite significant- as much as 3-5%  After 21 days away from running, 10% or more of fitness is forfeited.”

“The key to cross training during injury is to find an activity that mimics running as closely as possible, such as using an elliptical or a stationary bike.”

 ANYWAY, I  will reassess at that point to see if I can handle the long run on Sunday.  It is supposed to be 12.  If not, I will adjust.  OK, so that brings me to my taper plan.  For long races (anything over 10K-for 10k I just take the day off before, although maybe I should reassess given my latest injuries) such as a half marathon, you need to taper.  The miles you don’t run are just as important and the ones you do in a successful training plan.  I did a bunch of research via the trusty www, and picked the taper plan I felt would make my race the most successful.  I didn’t want to taper TOO much (I love running) but I also wanted to be fresh and avoid injury.  Anyway, The taper plan I chose to follow was from and  The gist from ACTIVE is:


Start cutting your mileage two weeks before the race. The first week, run 75 percent of your normal mileage; the final week, run 50 percent. The first week, run 4 x 800 meters at your 10K race pace with a 400-meter jog between repeats.

The final week, run 4 x 400 meters at 5K race pace with a 200-meter jog between repeats. A few days before the race, jog two miles, then run 6 to 8 x 100-meter strides at 90 percent effort.

On track days: 1) Wear the shoes you plan to use in the marathon; 2) jog four laps before and after the workout; 3) walk or jog slowly during the recovery interval.

On “easy” days: 1) Run no faster than marathon goal pace; and 2) add walking breaks if you plan to walk at times during the marathon.

On rest days: Don’t even cross-train. Rest.

So, my taper plan will look like the following.  It is based on the fact that I run average 30 miles a week during most of my training:

2 weeks out (week of 3/31-4/6)> 75% (22 miles total) Long run=9 (33% less of longest run to taper long run)

– 4×800 (half miles) at 10k pace with 400s jog repeats (1/4 mile) in between

1 week out (4/7>4/13)>50% (15 miles total), long run being in the beginning of that week, 6 miles (reduced by another 33% of longest)

-4×400 (1/4 miles) at 5k pace with 200s jog repeats in between

Anyway, that is my general plan.

AAAND, in one more piece of running news, my stats from Sunday somehow changed (?)…


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14>16 and 64>68 but 32=32 LOL.  Oh, and this:

get your rear in gear 2013

SO, that was a lot of running nitty gritty!  Now for your daily dose of cuteness:)



Easy Indian

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I forgot about this meal; I used to make it all the time. Then again, I’ve quit my Indian food habit since breastfeeding but I’m back as I feel his belly can handle the spices now. Anyways this meal is so good And easy I had to share. You need
One pound chicken diced and browned
One package frozen veggies. I usually like the steam fresh mushroom and peas but only had the ones below on hand
Patak’s simmer sauce. I love the tikka masala.


After browning chicken, add veggies and simmer sauce. I usually put a bit of water in the jar and shake to “get it all out”


Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
This works because the rice takes about that long. I like basmati or jasmine rice with it. Yum!


All at once

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Today was crazy! I find Mondays always are. So I there I Found myself around 12:30 PM doing many things all at once. Thank heavens I didn’t mess any of them up.
-Putting away groceries
-loading the dishwasher
-Chasing after zach crawling around the kitchen (and then getting a clue and putting him in his high chair)
-Making Zach his first pancakes

-baking cookies

Yes. It was kind of crazy, and the kitchen is a mess to prove it. But i got a lot done all at once. And how about this for a daily dose of cuteness? My two boys.


Push For the Tush! Get your Rear in Gear 2013 Race Review


Hi everyone!  Hope you all are enjoying your weekends!!!  So, I don’t normally “review races per say,” but I love when SR does and I had an abnormal amount of thoughts about this race, so I thought I’d do a little review.  First, let me say, this is a GREAT cause and I was SO happy to be able to participate in this year’s Get Your Rear in Gear.  I was VERY pregnant last year so running was it was out.  And it is funny because the year before, I ran it in a TANK TOP that I made that said “Push for the tush!”


TWO years ago, same race…way different conditions!

Today though, there was NO tank top.  IT was FRIGID this am!

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I was dressed in a LOT of layers.  Compression socks, fleece running tights, a performance zip up under another performance hoodie with a throw away shirt on top (that I got rid of when they were coating down for the start of the race).  Oh, and gloves.  Gloves were KEY!

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The race was set to start at 9am with the 10k starting first, followed by the 5k and the 2 mile walk.  Ok, so big petpeave:  the race started almost 9 minutes late because they were still setting up water stations.  The race announcer was super nice, apologetic and explained the delay, but 9 minutes is a LONG time in 32 degree weather.  Matters were definitely made worse by the insane porta potty lines, and I was unable to use them prior to the race because I needed to be at the start (parking was also horrible, but I did exit my car at 8:54!).  BUT, I couldn’t gone given that the race was 9 minutes late to start, and it was pretty uncomfortable holding it for 6.2 miles.  ANYWAY, the race finally started.  It was a tough course.  It began at the Please Touch museum, winded through Fairmount park, then down an enormous hill to MLK drive, back UP said horrible hill and back to Please Touch.  The elevation changes were tough, especially for this treadmill nerd and ESPECIALLY on the final hill at about mile 5.3…I can’t find the elevation map anymore, but here is the link to the course map.  The highest elevation was 126 and lowest 26, so I assume that last horrific hill was a 100 ft climb.  Anyway, another petpeave of mine is when courses are long.  This course was particularly long.  My Garmin said 6.2 miles (53:52) about .15 or .2 away from the finish.  My official race time was 54:17, so this means I ran almost a minute longer!  I don’t like that.  And I would blame it on weaving, etc., but there really wasn’t much room to do that, so I think it was just a particularly long course.  But we did get a big reward of amazing snacks.  There was fruit and a TON of bars. I love bars.

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I had my headphones on still, so I am hoping they didn’t say “please take one.” oops!

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I am proud of myself.  16 in my age group!  68 among females!  By the way, my 5k split was 24:20!  Rookie mistake; went out too fast.  Oh, well.  Still super stoked.

UPDATE:  here is the elevation map from my Garmin

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So, the price was reasonable; $27 for both the 5 &10k.  Packet pick-up was easy and low-key at a local church.  The “expo” was VERY small, but better for a budget conscious Jess 😉  Overall, I am so glad to have run this race and I am proud of myself; I did PUSH for the tush!

In other running news, I got the most AMAZING running skirt from Athleta.  It fits SOOO well and is just the right length.  It is called the Swagger Skort.  I normally race in running skirts (obviously not today) and was looking for one for my half in April. I am going to go buy another right when I click publish!

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Oh, and in non-running news, here is a daily dose of cuteness 😉

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The Mom Haircut

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Ya know, I was the person who always asked “why do people get mom haircuts?! Like, what is the need to cut your hair when you become a mom?! Is it a rite of passage!?” Boy was I judgmental…and SOOOO uninformed. People, ladies get mom hair cuts for the following reasons (as I am now aware):

-To mask baby bangs

-Because the fact is, when you are pregnant, you grow long luscious thick hair. And then when you are no longer pregnant, it all falls out and more. Many women, I am told, are left with bald spots even! Luckily mine just turned into said baby bangs. So, the hair is limp, thin and a good “mom cut” does a mommy good.

-Babies pull hair. Not like a little yank here and a little yank there, but full on, non-stop PULLING! So, the shorter the better.

-Maintenance, duh. Shorter hair=less dry time/styling time (if you even do that anymore)

-Maturity-hahhaha KIDDING!

Anyway, today I got a serious mom cut 😉 No, really though my hair needed a serious cut and a little bang action to mask the baby bangs 😉 Did you get a mom cut when you became a mom?!


Homemade Pizza Dough: Easy Peasy


On the hunt for a good pizza recipe, I had the following guidelines in mind:

-NO need for stand mixer (didn’t feel like the hassle)


I found a good one here but (of course) changed it up a bit to fit my needs. It was DELICIOUS and easy!  I highly recommend you make this now!

You will need:

one package yeast

~tsp sugar

~tsp salt

~tbsp olive oil

~3 cups flour

1 1/4 cup warm water

some extra four for rolling out dough, etc.

First, take your rings off if you wear them.  They will get disgustingly messy and hard to clean.

Then, run a bowl (I used metal) under warm water to warm it up, creating a “nice environment” for the yeast.  Add the warm water, sugar and packet of yeast.


Let mixture sit for about two minutes.  I used this time to measure out the flour.  Gotta make the best use of time!

Then, put in the olive oil and salt.  Stir gently with either a wooden spoon or warm metal spoon (I used a metal spoon that I ran under water to make warm).  Stir in flour slowly.  I used half (1.5 cups each) regular and half whole wheat flour.  Good decision. It made the pizza hearty and textured.


When you are pouring in your last cup of flour, begin to hand knead ONLY A LITTLE so that all ingredients are incorporated, but you don’t want to mess with the dough too much yet.


Leave the dough in the bowl in a ball.  Dampen a cloth and cover the bowl.  Put it in a warm place to rise. I learned a good trick of turning the oven light on and putting it in there. Don’t turn the oven on or you’ll cook the dough prematurely!  The dough only needs to rise for a bout 45 minutes. I left mine for a while as I had errands to do, etc.  And it was fine.  That’s why this recipe works for me!  When you are ready, but at least after 45 minutes, punch the dough down in the bowl gently.  Then take it out of the bowl and place on a floured surface. I put parchment paper down on the entire counter as I had just cleaned prior to starting my pizza dough process (of course; always happens) so it acted both as a shield for mess and a non-stick surface.  Don’t forget to put flour down so the dough doesn’t stick.  Knead the dough a bit. It just needs to be smooth; apparently pizza dough doesn’t take much to make smooth so it doesn’t need a lot of kneading (lol).  Roll your dough out into your pizza.  You can either make one large pizza or separate dough into two smaller pizzas.  Next time, I might roll mine out a little thinner.  I didn’t realize it would puff so much apron baking.  It was still super delish and almost deep-dish-like.  Let the dough sit another few minutes before topping as it will rise a bit more.  I prepped my toppings for the three minutes.


Bake on 400 (I did 375 because my oven tends to be super hot) for about 35 minutes or until the toppings and crust are browned to your liking.  IT was SOOOO good!  Make this now!


The Great Divide: SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) VS WMs (Working Moms)


Hi!  So I generally try to stay away from controversial topics on the blog, because in reality, it is, for me at least, a place where I can freely express my opinions, be dumb funny and wax nonsense.  But, this is a topic that has been on my mind a LOT lately and so I wanted to do a little post about my thoughts surrounding it.  If you feel this post may trigger a lot of hatred towards me emotion or will just irritate you, then I encourage you to stop reading and come back later for a pizza dough recipe 😉  Really though.  I feel like there is an unspoken, although often spoken, “divide” between Stay at Home Moms (SAHMs) and WM (working moms).  I think there are many reasons for this, including mom guilt on both sides, insecurities and simply not understanding the hardships and conflict the other experiences on a day-to-day basis. I, myself, am so blessed to be able to stay at home with Zachary.  And I absolutely tip my hat to any parent who works full-time because I cannot imagine doing so at this point in my life.  I hear from a lot of WMs that it is just SO hard to balance work and home life; that they never feel as if they are giving 100% to either, and that seems like a perfect way to describe it.  I can’t speak from experience, but I can imagine how challenging it would be to go to work, whether full or part time, then come home and be a Mom, manage the house, tend to a husband, etc.  It seems SO difficult.  I work one day a week teaching a graduate class and am gone for about four hours.  It is a nightmare both logistically and emotionally, so multiplying that by ten (to create a full-time job) seems so daunting.  But, as a stay at home mom, I feel that l am doing an important “job” as well.  I often need to remind myself of this, which might be my own insecurities speaking, or my feelings of Inadequacy.  I don’t know if it comes from an external source, an internal place, or partially both.  Some SAHMs develop a complex where they feel as if they need to prove their worth; that they are not, in fact, staying home all day lounging on the couch eating bon bons.  Sounds cliche, but I, myself have fallen into the trap of feeling this way and in turn have tried to “overdo” it or spend a lot of time validating myself.

So I thought I would do a little verbal vomit detailing both the things I miss about working, and the things I am grateful for in being a SAHM.

I miss the beginnings that my job entailed: the new year, new students, a new unit, a new program.  The idea that each day brought something different, as that is the nature of my job as a teacher.  I miss adult interaction; telling jokes in the teacher’s room, talking about “adult things,” parent-teacher conferences, even complaining about nonsense. I miss saying hello to the janitor long after the studnets had left for the day, the slippery look of the floors when they had been cleaned, morning banter with the ladies in the office, slipping in just as the clock read 8:20 (and sometimes after lol-never one for being punctual).  I miss listening to KYW in the car, zoning out as the 22 minute report repeated itself approximately three times on my commute, putting makeup on at stop lights (I know, ever the safe driver) and dressing cute without the fear of being spit up on, or wearing sweet potatoes (even though my fancy pants included black yoga bottoms; why not?!).  I miss using my brain in the creative way my job demanded (and not to simply figure out how to methodically get all of the dishes in the dishwasher), assemblies, back to school night, school dances and even faculty meetings.  I miss the community of workers that I was a part of, pow-wowing in coworker’s rooms before the bell rang (and sometimes after whoops), conspiring about how we might be able to get our report card grades done while showing a movie (don’t tell).  I miss the collegiality of a common goal; student success, the language of being a teacher, taking it home at night, the tears, the laughs, the life.

But, being a SAHM mom, there are things that I greatly value about my “new life” (for now).  I love that my alarm is the sound of my son in the morning, and that I am home to watch the Ellen Show during his nap.  I love that I can make doctor’s appointments during “normal business hours” assuming it matches Zach’s nap schedule.  I love that I do not feel the “Sunday evening pit in my stomach” and that I forget which day is which during the week.  I love that I am able to participate in music classes, mommy groups and the like with my son.  I love that I am able to breastfeed this long and that it is ok that he never took a bottle.  I love not having to drive an hour to my job and can wear pajamas (the same one days in a row) and not shower if I can’t fit it in (happens A LOT) because my stench won’t offend anyone.  I love that I am able to make dinner every night, have time to clean my house (albeit while wearing my baby in the Bjorn at times).  But above all,  I love that I will be there for every one of Zachary’s milestones and that I will never miss a smile.

So, these are just my opinions, my perspective, but it shows just that:  there are positives and negatives (to any situation really) and maybe if we can try to see each others’ viewpoints, challenges and triumphs we can close the “divide” between the SAHM and the WM and appreciate each other for our true worth. Because no matter which you are (SAHM or WM) the commonality is the M- MOM, and it is something that will forever bind us.