Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting Past Messy By Maureen Eich VanWalleghan

So is anyone still going strong with their New Year’s resolutions? It’s 18 days in and the hard work of making a life change, which often resolutions are, has began.

There is something so refreshing about having a new plan for life and implementing it at the new year. It’s perfect and that’s the problem. Trying to implement perfection is impossible. It’s like trying to write neatly page after page in a new very beautiful journal. Who wants messy in that journal: tear stains, pens smudges or chocolate crumbs? So naturally the inability to attain perfection wins in the struggle to make the desired change.

Okay, what to do about this? Start early…no really, start your New Year’s resolution in October. That’s what I did and I can’t believe how great my New Year is going.

Last October, I watched the movie Julie/Julia for the umpteenth time, balling my eyes out has I had every time I’ve seen it. “I can write a blog…I have ideas” and my other favorite line: “Julia Childs wasn’t always Julia Childs“ really resonate with me. I love Julie and loved that Julia Childs found her passion at dang near 50 years old. Ahhh, I turned 49 on December 31st. (Talk about pressure and issues of perfection…) After that viewing I watched the special features and when the real Julie said that she knew that if she wrote her blog her life would look different in a year, I thought me too, me too!!!

Maybe it was my upcoming birthday or may it was the confluence of my stars, but finally I said to myself: I am going to run a marathon for my 50th birthday (one year and two months away) and I am going to blog about the process. The best thing about a blog is the accountability and the cheering section. Now here’s the funny part: I was going to run a marathon during my 40th year. For my birthday I bought the books, the clothes, the shoes, everything. Mmm, let’s see I lasted probably a month and I didn’t even start reading the books.

But now there’s blogging (and I have ideas too). I started my blog, Run Mo Run in October. I started to read the books. And then I floundered, but I tried again. I floundered and whined some more, but I tried again. Up and down through my fits and starts I actually began the process, slowly. The process of committing time to my training wasn’t just about time, there was a lot of emotional baggage about putting my needs and desires first, at times before my wifely and motherly duties, that was and is difficult for me. During the two months I let go of perfection and just kept moving forward emotionally and physically.

The process of making the commitment publicly to run a marathon has also empowered me to rent an office and write full time. Amazingly, ironically, coincidently the process for getting into the office, something I have dreamed about for quite some time, was exactly the same as beginning the training for a marathon. There was and is a lot of emotional baggage to cut free.

But, here’s the best part, during the two months it took to paint, move in and start writing matched up with the new year. Now it’s January I find my self training for a marathon and writing in my new office. Perfect.

The failure of New Year’s resolutions isn’t about the lack of discipline to do the task, it’s about stepping over the emotional baggage that holds one back. Working through that is messy and messy is hard to do at the beginning of the new year.



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Friday, March 09, 2012

From Plants to Ramps by Robin Gorman Newman

What does a day in the life of a “later” mom look like? Depends on the day of the week, but of late in particular, it's jam-packed and not altogether fun.

I feel like a chicken without a head. (A fitting expression.…but where did it come from?!) Jumping from one task to the next, many of which are unrelated, it's a wonder I can track everything. Thankfully, I excel at preparing copious TO DO lists...though in my effort to be organized, sometimes it feels overwhelming. My notes are handwritten. Not in my Blackberry. For me, there is something to be said for the tangibility of paper, even if it involves sporting around a clunky hard covered date book. No way I can be confused with a techie, but it works for me.

That said, one of my fellow “later” mom friends called me last week to touch base. She asked how my day was going.

I told her I was involved with plants and ramps. What? she asked.

It was a true representation of my sandwich generation life.

Though I’m not much of a PTA baby, I decided to join the Plant Sale committee. It is the biggest fundraiser for my son’s elementary school (who knew?!), and despite my not having a particularly green thumb, somehow it called out to me. An email was sent by the committee head to those who expressed interest in serving. There were about 15 names on the list. An initial meeting was planned, and it wound up being just three of us. I was surprised by the lack of present bodies. I was looking forward to a meeting where ideas would be shared. This turned out to be a session reviewing the plant catalog and deciding upon which planters to order. (Are you yawning yet?!) The committee head had already made the decisions for the most part, and was looking for confirmation re: her choices. The next meeting (don't get too excited) will be when the actual plant selection is done. And, I'll be volunteering at the sale itself in May.

Re: the ramp portion of my day. My father recently suffered a stroke and has been in rehab. Anticipating his return home in a couple of weeks, I’ve been conducting meetings with ramp companies to explore the preparation of his ranch house for wheelchair accessibility. In in a short period of time, I’ve learned more about ramps, lifts, etc. that I’ve ever thought necessary. Fortunately in the mix of meetings, a friend recommended a reasonably-priced contractor who proposed the most economical and what seems like the most feasible approach, so I’m grateful to have a direction that feels right.

It’s no surprise that there are nights I don’t sleep well…with visions of plants and ramps swirling through my mind. And, that was just for that particular week.

On any given day, I’m tackling a multitude of projects, not to mention professional pursuits. Can’t say the life of a work at home mom is boring, though choosing planters is a far cry from the career I once had in what feels like a lifetime ago….working as a public relations professional in NYC….the Vice President of a mid sized firm. (I later went on to open my own PR practice.)

I know that on the professional front there are exciting things ahead, but personally, a midlife mom's gotta do what she's gotta do, even if it means deliberating about wood vs. metal and hibiscus vs. herbs.

What do you have on your personal plate that isn't as exciting as you wish? Do share.....

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Becoming Right Liimu

Well, my baby is turning one in exactly one week and I have lost a total of three pounds since I came home from the hospital. Three pounds! Well, that's not exactly true. I've lost and gained the same ten pounds at least twice. Which is why I've been working very hard to re-learn how to eat intuitively. I've apparently come to the end of the line as far as diets are concerned. They simply no longer work for me.

I actually grieved this fact in my therapist's office this week. Cried big, fat alligator tears over the fact that I had to mourn the loss of the illusion of control. That's what I held on to all those years I tried the latest and greatest fad diet - the grapefruit diet, the 9-day diet, the Scarsdale diet, SlimFast, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Body for Life, you name it...I've tried it. Don't get me wrong. They all worked - temporarily. But the problem is that none of them taught me what I really needed to know, which is how to learn to trust my body and feed it when, what and how much it actually needs. What I'm learning now is that it's not about being in control, it's about being in charge. (Thank you, Michelle May.) There's a huge difference between the two, no pun intended.

So, I've been trying to relearn all over again how to trust my body's hunger and satiety cues the way I did when I was, oh, I don't I've been doing a lot of reading, which seems to be helping, albeit slowly. I've read Naturally Thin, by Bethenny Frankel, Women, Food and God, by Geneen Roth, Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, and most recently, Eat What You Love, Love What you Eat, by Michelle May. They all have been extemely helpful and enlightening and slowly but surely, I feel like the diet fog is lifting. For the first time in a very long time, I'm actually hearing the voice in my head that's talking crazy to me all the time, telling me I need to eat twice as much as I need or that chocolate will solve all my problems. For the first time in a very long time, I'm actually waiting to eat until I'm hungry and paying attention while I do it, rather than reading a book. Because of that, I'm able to tell when I'm full and I don't mind stopping.

Unlike all those wonderful women, however, it hasn't yet led me to some miraculous weight loss, I'm not going to lie. Because of this, I have been tempted time and time again to fall back on a diet - maybe one of the really good ones, I tell myself, like Weight Watchers or Body for Life. Or, maybe I'll just count calories. Up till now, I have resisted the urge. It feels like I was on this roller coaster ride for years that was way more scary than fun and I finally got off. And even though I can look at the people at the top of the hill and hear their screams and tell myself it's thrilling, I know if it were me, it would just be screaming. I can't do it anymore. It was making me sick. It was making me unhappy. And the truth is, I'd rather be fat, sane and happy than thin, crazy and miserable.

So just for today, I'm a little thick around the middle. I still have beautiful hair, great cheekbones and sexy legs (even if they are supersized at the moment). But on any given day, I am making wonderfully healthy choices for my body - like juicing green vegetables, beets and carrots every day, roasting cauliflower and cabbage and eating that for lunch and dinner, using my crockpot to make yummy soups, and adding new foods like ezekiel bread and avocado to my diet on a regular basis. So, whatever size I end up becoming is just going to have to be good enough. I'd love if it were a size 10, but we'll just have to wait and see.

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Friday, March 02, 2012

ROBIN'S SHOW REVIEW: Rated P...For Parenthood

Book and Lyrics by Sandy Rustin
Music and Lyrics b yDan Lipton and David Rossmer
Directed by Jeremy Dobrish
Featuring Courtney Balan, Chris Hoch, David Josefsberg and Joanna Young

Rated P…For Parenthood chronicles various stages of modern-day parenting, from conception to college. The likeable, versatile cast of four takes the audience through the ups and downs of childrearing through a series of comic and musical vignettes in under 90 minutes. They play both adults and kids of varying ages, some more convincingly portrayed than others.

Not much surprising here in the material, but two scenes featuring dad characters were particularly refreshing and witty. In Mind Over Playground, two fathers watching their children navigate a playground find themselves attempting to navigate a potential friendship (thinking in silence, yet aloud to the audience, what the other might be imaging about them). In a rap duet with the two dads, in Parent Teacher Conference, the fathers bust a move anticipating the challenge of speaking with their respective kids teachers, only to find out that they're doing well in school.

The simulated mom/dad texting (peppered with sexting) on the illuminated set backdrop contributed the most to comical moments, which often didn't come across all that well through the quick skit format.

All in all, if you crave a moms night out, you might want to check out the show. No doubt you'll find something to relate to, even if no particular revelation is shared.


In need of babysitting? Playtime! is the first program to provide childcare during theatrical shows in NYC. It is available for Rated P...For Parenthood, as well as other shows. Check it out at

Playtime! was established to bring parents back to the theater by providing excellent childcare at (or steps from) the theater at an extremely affordable rate. The service is available to any type of ticket buyer for participating shows, regardless of the price paid for the ticket, and is just $15 per child. Sitters Studio is fully bonded and insured, and their rigorous background checks and training ensure that they provide not only an artistic and fun experience for children, but also one that complies with top-notch safety standards. It is available for children ages 4 - 12.

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ROBIN'S SHOW REVIEW: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

The 50th Anniversary production of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical comedy HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING currently stars teen heartthrob and youngest member of the Jonas Brothers singing trio, Nick Jonas, as J. Pierrepont Finch, Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winning star of screen, television and stage Beau Bridges as J.B. Biggley, and making his Broadway debut, star of stage and television’s “Ugly Betty,” Michael Urie as Bud Frump.

They join Rose Hemingway in her Broadway debut as Jonas’ onstage romantic interest Rosemary Pilkington, 2011 Tony nominee Tammy Blanchard as Hedy La Rue, Rob Bartlett as Twimble/Wally Womper, Mary Faber as Smitty, Ellen Harvey as Miss Jones, 2011 Emmy Award winner Michael Park as Bert Bratt, and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist Anderson Cooper making his Broadway debut as the voice of the narrator. The cast of 30 includes Timothy J. Alex, Cleve Asbury, Tanya Birl, Holly Ann Butler, Abby Church, Kevin Covert, J. Austin Eyer, Paige Faure, David Hull, Justin Keyes, Marty Lawson, Shannon Lewis, Ian Liberto, Andrew Madsen, Nick Mayo, Sarah O'Gleby, Colt Prattes, Stephanie Rothenberg, Charlie Williams and Samantha Zack.

With the aid of a dated yet trusty self-help book "How to Succeed in Business," wily window washer J. Pierrepont Finch enjoys a rise up the corporate ladder at the World-Wide Wicket Company. Along the way, he romances secretary Rosemary Pilkington, charms the head honchos, outsmarts competitors and proves you can judge a book by its cover, even if it's corny.

The show is light-hearted fun. Urie is a hoot. Pilkington is a standout. Bridges is crusty and charismatic. My 9 year old son enjoyed. He was excited to see Jonas, though he his singing chops could use amplification for the Broadway stage. He gave it a valiant effort, and the many teen girls in the audience applauded his admirable efforts. He delivered best in the Act II showstopper “Brotherhood of Man.” The cast overall is impressive, as is the set, and it’s a feel good, family-friendly theatrical experience.

Nominated for eight 2011 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, directed and choreographed by Tony and Emmy Award-winner Rob Ashford, began previews Saturday, February 26, 2011 and opened Sunday, March 27 at Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street in NYC). Breakout star of Fox’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning television show “GLEE” Darren Criss recently concluded his limited run as J. Pierrepont Finch on January 22, 2012. Daniel Radcliffe and 2011 Tony Award winner John Larroquette both played their final performance on January 1, 2012.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING has music and lyrics by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Frank Loesser, and a book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, based on the book by Shepherd Mead. The creative team includes Derek McLane (Sets) Catherine Zuber (Costumes), Howell Binkley (Lighting), Jon Weston (Sound), Tom Watson (Hair), Doug Besterman (Orchestrations), and David Chase (Music Director and Arranger).

Tickets for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING range from $52 - $132, and are available at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre box office and at (212-239-6200). A special family four pack offer is available; Visit

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Fond Liimu

No, I'm not done blogging and my weight loss journey is certainly still ongoing. I'm not going anywhere any time soon. So, what am I saying "Farewell" to? To dieting and all my diet paraphernalia. I deleted all my apps, tossed all my magazines, even cancelled my "Biggest Loser" season pass.

Part of becoming an intuitive eater is letting go of the diet mentality. It's funny, because there's a saying in recovery that in order to successfully achieve sobriety, you have to let go of any reservation in your mind that you might one day successfully drink again. Similarly, successfully becoming an intuitive eater means letting go of any reservation that you might one day successfully diet again. Fortunately for me, I have experience with doing this in sobriety and know firsthand that adopting this mentality of full surrender really does work and leads to success. So now, I just have to apply this to intuitive eating.

For the first few months, I did harbor a reservation - I felt like if this "intuitive eating thing" didn't work out, I could always hop on a diet and lose the weight real quick. That has changed. This "intuitive eating thing" is now the only thing. It's more important to me, even, than the weight loss, which I now see as a likely by product of successfully becoming an intuitive eater. I look forward to that happening, but am even more thrilled to be freed from the bondage of the dieting/binging cycle. For example, this week I learned how to sense my own fullness during a meal and how to stop before I hit fullness - that is, to stop eating once I was no longer hungry. CRAZY, man. I can't even tell you how long it's been since I've done that at one MEAL (unless the food was gross) let alone, an entire week of eating.

When I stopped smoking, one of the tricks I used to stay stopped was to identify myself as a "nonsmoker" as much as possible. So, here I am now, becoming a new person once again - an intuitive eater who simply doesn't diet.

Post a comment if you want more information on intuitive eating. I'd be happy to help you begin your journey!

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is This a Playdate or Unpaid Caregiving? - by Cara Potapshyn Meyers

My son, as many of the regular readers know, is the epitome of eight-year-old social chairman. He regularly has playdates all weekend long. Sometimes with a couple different children on the same day. I enjoy having his friends over or him being invited to other’s homes. It takes a "do nothing day" and makes it into something a little more special.
Lately, I have noticed that a couple of the Moms of my son's friends seem to be slowly taking advantage of my generosity in having their child over for a playdate. As an example, one Mom begged me to have her son over for "a couple hours," which turned into six. Later, I found out that her "emergency" was a workout at the gym followed by a manicure!
A different Mom said she needed somewhere for her son to go because they lost heat in her home. I readily obliged to have her son over and extended the invitation to her as well. She said that she was able to go somewhere else. Where did the Mom go? Out to lunch and then drinks with some friends! I can't help but wonder...have playdates turned into unpaid caregiving?
I sympathize with with some of these Moms. They either work full-time or are working, single Moms and need a break. But a little reciprocation would be appreciated. Most Moms will have my son over for a couple hours, maybe three. Just enough time for me to do a good grocery shopping. However, I am using my time for an essential activity. It is not a haircut or a massage. Also, when I have my son's friends over, for hours, I end up doing marathon laundry or a massive clean up of an overstuffed closet. Certainly not the most exciting things in the world. In fact, my son has one of his friends over right now. I was told this kid's Mom was getting the spider veins removed from her legs. Not only did her procedure take hours, I had to drop her son home because her legs swelled up and she couldn’t come to pick him up! At least I'm doing something productive like writing this blog. She's having an elective cosmetic procedure!
When the weather is nicer, the kids can play outside, we can go to the park, visit local farms, enjoy the pleasure of the outdoors. It is just these winter months that are the most irritating. And a day without a playdate...let's just say I would rather deal with the monsoon of toys that get strewn around my entire house.
One Mom asked me to drive her child home because she was "exhausted." I've had a Mom text me that she was running late, would I mind getting a pizza for the kids, and she never even offered to reimburse me for the food! This was at the end of an almost 7 hour playdate!
I've also noticed that none of my son's friend's help clean up the monsoon they created when it is time for them to go. I always ask my son if he helped clean up before we leave a friend’s home. Most of these Moms just rudely sit in their warm cars in my driveway, blasting the horn until their charge appears. To the contrary, I always walk to the front door of the friend’s home, even if the weather is brutal. I inquire about how the playdate went, then make sure that my son helped to clean up. I also make sure to remind my son to say “thank you” for the playdate to his friend as well as his friend’s Mom.
With a couple Moms, I decided to put my foot down. When my dog was sick and needed rest, not two wild, rambunctious kids bothering him, I said to a Mom that I would give her money to take my son to the movies or bowling together with her son, but I just couldn't have the kids playing at my house. The poor dog hides from them when he is feeling well! He didn't need these wild kids piling things on him when he wasn't feeling his best. The Mom appeared a little affronted, but I had reached my limit.
Playdates outside the home will also need to be either paid for upfront or by the other Mom at the counter. I went to get tickets for a popular movie an hour before the movie started, dropping my son off at his friend’s house on the way. I paid $58 for 2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets and 4,  3D glasses (they are no longer free.) How did she reciprocate? By buying a tub of popcorn, which included free refills, and a drink. The second drink came with the popcorn. I told her how much I spent and when she said she would pay for the popcorn and drinks, my reaction was, “huh”?
So what's a Mom to do? I have enough on my plate than to take on the position of unpaid caregiver. I already scheduled an activity for my son on Sunday mornings, so that other Moms wouldn’t be able to just drop their child off at 11 am and pick them up at dinner time (or later!). I tell the Moms that there is a 3 or 4 hour playdate limit at my house. I certainly don't expect my child to exceed that limit on his playdates at other's homes either. More than a few hours becomes a burden and the kids end up spiraling out of control. My son needs to realize that a whole day does not purely revolve around him. There is now also a “clean up rule.” Fifteen minutes before the playdate ends, both kids put the house back in order. 
Maybe then, playdates will be something to be looked forward to by both my son and me!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Here He Grows Again by Margaret Hart

It's that time of year again. The time when the perennial flowers start to peak through the ground in New England. When the birds start to chirp loudly outside my bedroom window at dawn. And when my son goes through his annual growth spurt. But this time, the spurt is more like a season of change.

For years I've been complaining that my son doesn't eat enough. He eats two peas and he's full. I can hear my mother saying, "Well, just wait until he becomes a teenager and eats you out of house and home." First of all, that's redundant. Second, since when has anyone literally eaten everything there is to eat in their house? I get it. Everyone says teenage boys eat like mad. I'm half Italian. I love food. Bring me your appetite.

Over the years, I've been told by friends that I should be grateful my son is not a big eater. I am happy that I haven't had to deal with an overweight child, and my heart goes out to parents who have children who are struggling with their weight. It hasn't been easy, however, to raise a child who is a picky eater, and to worry that he's not getting enough nutrition. I remember my pediatrician advising not too long ago, after an annual wellness exam, to add a little extra butter and cheese to my son's food on occasion, and supplement his meals with Pediasure. She wasn't concerned, but said it couldn't hurt to sneak in a few extra calories. My son has always been consistent with his weight and height since birth. And my pediatrician also told me that she felt he was healthy, and was going to be tall and slender. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Somewhere along the way, he learned about healthy eating and good food choices. I like to think he got some of that knowledge from me. I also think the schools have done a really good job. Beginning with preschool. My son has never been one to eat a lot of salty snacks or sweets, and he didn't have his first ice cream cone until he was about 3 years old—he just wasn't interested. He eats a very small portion at every meal, and is full. He rarely finishes everything on his plate. This used to frustrate me until I figured out the secret: give him a small portion, he will usually eat it all, and it will make mom feel good seeing that he ate everything on his plate! And if he asks for more, mom will be even happier! And supplement his diet with vitamins and a daily "special milkshake"(aka Pediasure). This has gone on for the last five years.

The last few months, however, have been different. Even before he turned seven this past December, and more so since then, his appetite had increased dramatically. I began to notice that he was hungry more often, wanted to eat larger portions, asked for second helpings, and was "asking" for food—something he rarely did in the past. Now, half a sandwich for lunch is often not enough. He needs a whole sandwich! And despite the fact he gets less than 20 minutes for lunch, he manages to eat most everything in his lunchbox, which usually consists of a sandwich, a yogurt, a milk or juice, and a fruit (and sometimes a cookie). In the past, he'd typically come home with uneaten fruit and the cookie, but these days, the lunchbox is empty. And by the time he gets off the bus, he's asking for a snack.

Along with the increase in his appetite, there's been a noticeable growth in his height and shoe size—nearly two sizes in less than a year! The jeans I bought him in September are now good only for wading in ponds. And the expensive sneakers he "needed," are now too tight, and only slightly worn. Fortunately, there's a good consignment shop nearby where I hope to recoup a few dollars for the sneakers.
So now I wonder. Is it beginning? The "eating me out of house and home" thing? Maybe this is the first step in that direction. Tonight, the boy was really hungry. He ate an entire cheeseburger. For a child who eats two peas, and is full, this is big. It has only happened once or twice before. This is news I had to report to my husband right away. News flash: the boy ate an entire cheeseburger. Including the bun. Seriously. Can you believe it?

If my mom is right, and she usually is, forget the burger, next he'll be asking me for a side of beef!

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