Stay-cation. ha. For the working mom this can mean one of 2 things. Taking off when the kids are off from school in order to spend time with them, take some day trips, or whatever. This usually happens over the summer for me and towards the beginning of the school year. The second reason for a working mom stay-cation is to get some shit done around the house and maybe carve out a little de-stress time as well. This for me happens in January. Like right now. After the hurricane of the retail holiday season that spit me out and left me with dry cracked hands, bags (not the designer kind) under my eyes, and about 7 extra pounds from all that candy that exists as a meal during early morning and late night shifts. So “stay-cation” #2 it is.
Being a mom is the hardest job anyone will ever have whether stay at home or working. We should all just get over ourselves right now with all the back and forth about who has it harder or easier because the truth is that its hard all around.
I am the first to admit that I would have been terrible at staying at home with the 1-4 year old stage. I was pretty good with the infant stage and wish I could have stayed home for a whole year during both experiences. But 1-4 is a whole other ball game. I don’t think I would have survived. My patience level is not that high. I thank God everyday for the amazing childcare and preschool and also for the endless grandparent help during those years. The of you who stay home with these small hurricanes are a special breed. I know quite a few of you who are absolute rock stars at toddlerdom. (Also, most of you are younger than me.)
I think I’d be ok at this next stage. With one at 4 and one at 9, I feel like if I was home I’d be able to be more involved with school stuff and that is something that I do miss out on. But I do my best to be there for everything and grill the hell out of them about their day at the “dinner table”. So I’m in pretend stay at home mode this week. Being my structured self, I have some goals of course.
What I intend to do for my home, my family and my sanity:
– sleep till 7am. (this is a 2 hour upgrade people)
– Laundry, clean out the fridge,clean the oven, clean the house for real (not just Clorox wipes and Febreez…not that there’s anything wrong with that).
– Pack up old toys (without the kids seeing), and old clothes etc.. Call Purple Heart and get that crap hauled out of here. Oh how I wish I had the patience to sell things online. I would make a killing. I can’t though. I need it gone. Like tomorrow.
– Run. Try and get back to 3 miles without stopping. Or stopping just twice. I consider that a win.
– get a facial and a pedicure. Things I used to take for granted at 29. Only now I rely on people giving me gift cards so I am forced to treat myself. Hopefully the aesthetician won’t judge me too much on my sun exposure and let me relax for a minute.
– let my 3rd grader take the bus home all week. This is a very big deal for him. No after school care. I get it.
– spend 2 days doing fun 4-year-old things with my 4-year-old. Too often her life is steered in whatever direction her 9-year-old brother is taking. All the sports and activities and driving around leave very little time for her to be…little.
– have lunch with my mom.
– cook. dinner.
* Now I know that this list contains things that I would probably not be doing frequently if I stayed at home full-time (facial, pedicure) but we all need to do things for ourselves once in a while that make us happy, relaxed and able to be better moms, wives etc.
I started this list already this weekend by running, taking my kids to see Big Hero 6 (we NEVER go to the movies it seems), and cooking dinner tonight. I thought I’d share what I consider to be an easy but satisfying for all parties dinner; one that I vary on ingredients each time but rely on the same method.
Pasta and veggies with “homemade” sauce…
Any kind of pasta; Extra Virgin Olive Oil; 1/2 lb. chicken breast or tenders (optional); any or all of these veggies or use your own combo: Asparagus, grape tomatoes, one onion chopped, 2-3 cloves of garlic sliced or minced, medium sized artichoke hearts in olive oil (Wegmans antipasto bar is amazing for these); chicken broth; dry white wine (optional); 1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes; about 1/2 cup of your favorite tomato sauce and some parmesan and/or romano cheese
It goes like this. There are really no measurements. and that’s ok. The whole thing should take about 20 minutes.
– Boil water for pasta/ add pasta/ cook, drain and set aside.
– Saute your chicken (cut into cubes and salt and peppered) in the olive oil for a couple of minutes. Then add the onion and garlic. Sauté for another couple of minutes and add a glug of white wine. Let it cook off and smell the fragrance…mmmm
– pour yourself a glass of the wine. take a sip.
– Add the asparagus and tomatoes. I use about 2/3 cup of each.
– Let them simmer for a few minutes while the tomatoes burst a little. then add the chicken broth. let it simmer.
– Take another sip of wine.
– Add your artichoke hearts. I use about 10 of the medium ones and cut them in half. the add the fire roasted tomatoes (drain them a little before adding)
– Finally add some of your favorite sauce (this is really just to thicken it up a bit) and a bunch of parm or romano cheese if desired.
– Simmer, sip your wine and voila. fini.
– Sit down at the table with your family. eat.
I failed to mention that I took some of the chicken out early and set it aside for the kids. Their meal is buttered and cheesed noodles with a side of plain chicken. And applesauce. For those of you who have children that eat what you eat, Awesome for you. I have the kids who want everything plain. So, after years of miserable dinners I accommodate. This doesn’t mean I cook different dinners for everyone; It just means I accommodate by making it fit for them too. Everyone is happy. Until they start fighting about who kicked who and “do I have to eat my last piece of chicken?” and “can I have a snack???”
So be it. Here’s to a stay-cation. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a standing date with Katy and Brittney (Perry and Spears respectively) on my Pandora while I attempt that 3 miles….
happy new year!