Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cancer Sucks

At least that's what the button I picked up off my dinner table said. And it does.

Last night I attended a Gilda's Club fundraiser, held at Hugh's Room in Toronto. The event was called "Stand Up For Your Sisters" and it featured the very funny Elvira Kurt (who was a guest on a radio show pilot I recently did and clearly we should have used her more - hysterical).

She introduced the sell-out crowd to a bunch of brave, new, and humourous female comediennes (most of whom still hang on to their day jobs), and they did a fantastic job of getting us all to laugh at ourselves, and of course, at men. There were probably about 10 brave men in attendance. Well done guys.

If you'd like to know more about Gilda's Club and the terrific work they do with cancer patients, check out the Toronto Clubhouse at, or visit their main site at for a clubhouse near you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Totally Unbalanced

Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter from the Edmonton Journal, for a 3 part series she's writing on Motherhood and Careers.

We covered everything from how to know when it's the best time career wise to take the plunge (if I had the answer to that...), as well as how to plan for a maternity leave, and how to transition back into the workforce.

I'll admit it made me think about issues I faced through four maternity leaves, that I hadn't given much thought to lately. My first maternity leave was almost 18 years ago - I vaguely recall worrying about my shoulder-padded suits not fitting me after my first trimester - and my last leave was about six years ago, when I made the decision to drop the briefcase and turn my maternity leave into my eternity leave.

The worst thing about the first pregnancy and subsequent maternity leave from work is the total unknown - about how you'll react to having a new, bigger priority, and the juggling that goes with it. And, I have to say, the best thing about the first pregnancy and mat leave is the same thing - the total unknown. It's an adventure at the best of times, and a soul sucking experience at the worst.

We talked about the elusive balance, which for me is always more about setting goals and managing trade-offs.

Like deciding to skip a morning of writing and heading out for a well-needed pedicure.

I'll post a link to the articles when they run, but only if I was able to sound sensible about the whole thing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Dream House

Recently I wrote a blog for Health & Harmony talking about what my dream house would look like...versus the one my six-year-old son just "built" for his pet Webkinz.

You can read all about it here:

Tell me I'm not alone in this.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coffee, My Savior

Yesterday morning I got up at 4:45 to head down to the CityTV Breakfast Television studio (the threat of a snowstorm and the promise of a tanker full of coffee beforehand was my motivation).

I spoke with the lovely Dina Pugliese about my proposed 2009 Parenting Solutions.

Maybe I didn't get enough coffee, as I didn't speak quickly enough to get all of them out. Here they are in their entirety:

- Recognize that parenting theories are not "one-size-fits-all". While it's fine to read all of the books and do the research, your baby is your baby. Go with your instincts.
- Remember that Mom & Dad are people too! Newborns can take over your whole world if you let them, and its important to find adult time, and alone time. It's healthy for all of you.
- Accept that advice is just that...advice. Most people dispensing advice are doing it to make you, or themselves, feel better. Take what you need and get rid of the rest - without feeling judged.
- Just because you are a Mom....doesn't mean you have to look like one all the time. You know what I mean.

- Realize "Toddler Time" is not the same as "Real Time". Unless you have to hit a precise schedule, allow time for leaf examining, putting the boots on "just so", and hunching over puddles.
- Know that "Perfect" is just a concept. The child you saw in the store acting perfectly, was. For that minute. Yours can be perfect for a moment as well. Indulge when it happens.
- They're adorable and they know it. Toddlers will get away with almost anything. Sometimes we have to let them.
School Age:
- People who say their kids never fight with each other are lying. When yours fight, just lay down the ground rules. Try not to referee. They're learning negotiation skills!
- Bedtime is bedtime. If you haven't established rules for sleeping already, its crucial when they hit the school age. Don't give in to "one more hour". It's not worth it
- If you don't have the time or the money to sign your child up for that team or this lesson, don't do it. The stress and pressure won't outweigh the benefits. Introduce them to "hide and seek" as an extracurricular activity.

- Accept that the teenage brain is different. And annoying, belligerent, arrogant, and mostly, always right. Spend a few minutes and reminisce about the times when you knew everything as well.
- Let them sleep in when they can. It's a stress reliever for them, and for you. What are they missing...fighting with their siblings?
- Acknowledge that you will lose your temper and swear at them. Words you've only heard on cable will come out of your mouth. Let it go. Apologize and move on. There are worse things you can do.
- Get in their face more. At this age, it's more important than ever to connect and communicate. Best way is over a family dinner, at least twice a week. Adjust your "regular" meal time around lessons etc if you have to. It's worth it.

My overall parenting resolution would be to not feel guilty about not wanting to be "Mom" or "Dad" all the time. We need to have fun, friends, and success too. Remember that work and career are important to everyone...even parents. Take pride in your accomplishments both inside and outside of the home and your kids will ultimately benefit.

Just don't call me if you see me on the street breaking any of these. I promise to uphold the swearing one.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Motherhood Hurts - When I Laugh

On Friday night I was invited to attend the Opening Night of Diane Flacks' one-woman show, Bear With Me, based on her book of the same name.

The play is running at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street, Toronto) until January if you have the time to go between now and then, you should.

Diane is hysterical - I've only met her once before and clearly it was not enough time to appreciate her talent for creative dance (while shaking a fake pregnant belly), stuffing herself into a trunk (while miming morning sickness) and the ability to mimic everyone in her life that she met during her pregnancy and labour/delivery period.

Her impression of the mellow voiced yoga instructor going through her own personal crisis was just ridiculously funny.

Armed only with a Pilates ball, her childbirth scene was bang on.

"What's the one question every mother asks the minute her baby comes out into the world?"

(Wait for it.)

"Did I poo?"

If you can't get to the show, pick up her book.

If you need something more serious, I'll be on City TV's Breakfast Television (Toronto) tomorrow morning to talk about "Parenting Resolutions".

Laughing more should be one for everyone.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Make sure you get my good side...

Forget about what they say about why people go into radio - I just met some lovely people who should be seen as well as heard.

Earlier this week I dropped in to 97.3 EZRock in Toronto to talk about Resolution Solutions. I met Kim Stockwood, Colleen Rusholme, and Humble Howard early on a snowy day, and they were just as fun and funny in person as you'd think. All of them bright, bubbly and good-looking first thing in the morning.

Humble and I commiserated about the joys of teenage girls, Kim and I compared notes on the younger set, and Colleen and I did a cheer for her 3 month anniversary of not smoking. Awesome group.

Kim offered me her chair without knowing that I was disguising the fact I was hobbling in to see them on a broken toe. (How sweet is she? Her song "You Jerk" is still one of my all time favourites.) I'll admit it was tough to shake off the codeine effects when I got up at 5:00 that morning, but hopefully they didn't notice.

They normally have some really cool guests on (must have been a slow day when they booked me) so listen in when you can.

I limped back to my snow laden car and drove out to Mississauga to visit my friends at Rogers Daytime Television where we also talked about sticking to our resolutions...and fortunately they had a new set which included low chairs...and the ability to tuck my sorry foot under their new coffee table.

Okay, the toe. It's not "childbirth" painful, but it's a pain, nonetheless. The hardest part for me has been having to buy slippers to mitigate the damage of accidental foot stomps from my six-year-old. I HATE slippers - they make women frumpy and men look like wimps. I'm sort of a wimpy frump with mine on.

Next Tuesday morning I'll be on Breakfast Television talking about some Parenting Resolutions for 2009...hopefully by then I'll be able to wear camera-worthy footwear to show off while perched on their teetering chairs against their glass tabletop.

The only side-benefit? The doctor has ordered me NOT to work out for two weeks. Just when the gym is full of folks determined to stick to their resolutions. Lucky them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Resolve This

The good news? The holidays are over - and so is the eating, the drinking, the late hours, the over-spending, etc.

The bad news? The holidays are over - and so is the eating, the drinking, the late hours, the spending, etc.

The two weeks over Christmas & New Year's can seem like a pause in our real lives - schedules are thrown out the window, we socialize with people we don't see for months at a time (including our families) - and if you're like me, you allow yourself to eat and drink with abandon.

A trainer at my gym once said "Don't worry about what you eat and drink between Christmas & New Year. Worry about what you eat and drink between New Year and Christmas."


She's right.

And now is the time to worry. Because if I don't, the top button on my jeans certainly will.

At least it's still cold enough to dress in bulky clothes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolutionary Thinking

Happy 2009!

I'll be kicking my year off with two shows tomorrow - starting with Canada AM and an early start (I'll be on at about 7:40). I'll be talking about trying to get the entire family organized in the New Year - of course with the end goal of trying to split the workload around here with the four kids. And minimize the fighting. And have a clean house once in a while. And get to the gym.

Hey, it's the New Year - I have to at least try.

Then I'll be driving down to the CityTV studios to talk about 3 "Resolution Solutions" I've been working on with the Proctor & Gamble folks. If you want a preview, go to my website and click on the Tide logo. The show will be live at 12:30 p.m., and its a phone-in, so if you can, please do.

Then I'm letting my family organize themselves, and the resolutions land where they may as I head out for a girls' weekend skiing. There may be more apres than ski, but it'll be a good ending to this holiday season before I'm back in the routine on Monday.

(Actually the real holiday starts when the school bus rolls by - with my kids on it. Don't tell me you weren't thinking the same thing.)

Happy New Year.