Monthly Archives: August 2012

Should you lie about being a mom to get a job?

As if being a mom wasn’t hard enough (what with the mommy wars, sleeplessness, constant worry, and puberty), a new study shows that there may be a “motherhood penalty” when it comes to landing a new job. Brian Serafini, a University of Washington doctoral candidate in sociology, and Michelle Maroto, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, co-authored the study, which sheds light on the employment disparities between moms, dads, and single women.

The study found that married moms are going longer between jobs, are less likely to even find a job at the end of the day, and if they’re lucky enough to get a job, will make considerably less than married fathers or single women doing the same work.

I have read a lot of articles, op-eds, and blog posts about this topic over the last week, and I am seeing one bit of advice over and over again: lie. As in, do not reveal during the interview process that you are a mother. It’s against the law, after all, for an employer to ask if you have children or if you are pregnant; however, if it comes up in casual conversation or in a roundabout way, simply lie.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I get that a job is a job and it’s none of their business if you have children or not. You should be hired on your abilities and merit and not discriminated against because the hiring manager buys into some stupid, misguided stereotype that moms don’t care about their work.

On the other hand, I would have to ask myself if I really want to work for a company that a) wouldn’t hire me simply because I am a mom and b) clearly doesn’t have any respect for work/life balance or the fact that family should come first. Again, beggars can’t be choosers, and a paycheck is a paycheck, but I would have to think long and hard before lying about my daughter (or even feeling the need to withhold that information).

Just say you do lie about having children and you get the job, then what? The first time daycare calls to say your baby is throwing up and has to go home and your husband can’t be reached. . . yeah, that’s going to be one awkward conversation with your boss.

If employers can’t see that being a mom essentially makes you the ultimate multitasking, conflict mediating, resourceful, efficient working machine, then they have either never had kids or they’ve handed their kids off to their spouses to raise while they stuck their heads in the sand (or their paperwork).

In my experience, some of the most dedicated and focused career women I know are moms—and they don’t lie about it. They come into work, they get their shit done, and they leave on time—they don’t waste their day visiting their coworkers or checking Facebook or taking long lunches. Because they have little hugs and bath time and bedtime stories waiting for them when they get home, which are all the motivation they need to get the job done.


Stromboli to Feed a Crowd

My dad makes this stromboli whenever we need something relatively easy to feed a large (and sometimes picky) crowd. He also makes a super easy no-cook marinara that is slightly sweet, and it’s perfect with the stromboli. Instead of making one large stromboli, you can even split the dough ball and make up to four small stromboli, each with a different filling to satisfy even your pickiest eater.

For dinner at the beach last week, we made four stromboli, which fed nine adults and one toddler with plenty left over for lunch the next day.

Stromboli
Yields one stromboli

1 pizza dough ball (you can find these in most refrigerated sections at the grocery store)
1 cup flour
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 lb ground sausage, browned and drained
20 slices of pepperoni
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium green pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Note: These are just the toppings we used, but you can use something completely different with as little or as many toppings as you’d like. {My sister’s favorite combo is chicken, honey, onions, and just a little cheese—sounds strange, but it’s delicious!}

Sauce:
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
12 oz warm water
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
4 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400°.

Place the dough in a large glass bowl coated with olive oil and cover with a dish towel. Allow it to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until it at least doubles in size.

While the dough is rising, make the marinara. Combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Clean off a flat surface for rolling out the dough and cover the surface with flour. Using a large rolling pin, flatten and roll out the dough into a large square. You may need to sprinkle on more flour and flip over the dough while you’re rolling.

Place the sheet of dough on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lined with nonstick foil. Spread the sauce over top, keeping to the center of the dough, and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Layer your toppings on and drizzle with a little extra sauce and olive oil.

Bring the sides of the dough up so they slightly overlap and then roll them together so the dough seals over the fillings. Do the same with the ends to fully close the stromboli. Brush the seams with a little bit of olive oil.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Allow the stromboli to sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the leftover sauce, slightly warmed.


Make Bathroom Cleaning {a little} Easier

I hate cleaning the bathroom. I don’t mind vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the kitchen, basically any other form of cleaning, but I hate cleaning the bathroom. I think it all comes down to the fact that there is simply so much to clean and it’s NEVER easy. Plus, you always have to deal with hair and that just grosses me out —and yes, I know most of it is mine, but it’s still wet and disgusting and ewwww!(Don’t get me wrong, I do actually clean—my bathroom doesn’t look like a frat house or anything.)

I had to tackle the guest bathroom recently, since my mom was coming to visit, and I was dreading it. However, the last time we were in Target, my husband grabbed a Scotch-Brite Tub Soap Scum Eraser and I could kiss him for it! They are amazing!! I usually have to use an awful headache-inducing chemical cleaner and some serious elbow grease to get the tub to sparkle. But with this little scrubber, it only took about 5 minutes (no chemicals) and it was spotless.

I was seriously impressed. I went online to look it up and found that they have a shower tile scrubber and a grout scrubber too- oh happy day! How did I not know about these before?! This might actually make bathroom cleaning more tolerable.


Mom’s Key Lime Pie

Literally, this is my mama’s recipe, and it is one of my favorite desserts ever! I cannot go a summer without having some of this pie. Luckily there’s going to be one of these bad boys waiting for me when I get back from the beach, which will make going back to work after vacation at least a tiny bit easier.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup key lime juice
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp lime zest

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands.  Press the mixture firmly into a 10-inch pie pan and bake until brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325°.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, eggs, and 1 tbsp lime zest.  Whisk until well-blended and pour the filling into the cooled pie shell.  Bake for 15 minutes and then allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream, powdered sugar, and the rest of the lime zest. Spread the mixture over the top of the pie using a spatula.  Put the pie back in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours and then serve chilled.


Heidi Klum’s New Line for BRU

Heidi Klum’s new line, Truly Scrumptious, will hit stores on September 15th and will include everything from clothing to bedding to strollers. The first adjective that popped in my head when I saw the collection was “colorful.” My next thought was, thank goodness this is a children’s line that actually looks like it should be worn by children. I can’t stand those outfits that make toddlers look like they’re two going on 17!

This new collection is appropriately playful and whimsical, and you can tell it’s designed by a mom with young kids—everything is made to mix and match!

Here are a few of my favorite looks, but you can click here and sign in with Facebook for a sneak peek of the entire collection.

 


Simple Summer Vegetable Tart

This easy tart can be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Because it calls for pre-made pie crust, it’s a quick, healthy weeknight fix, and it looks deceptively impressive. I recommend getting a quiche/tart pan if you want the fancy scalloped edges; plus, it makes getting the tart out so much easier because the sides lift right off. Although Olivia initially squealed “Avocado!” when I set the plate down in front of her and was not-so-pleasantly surprised to find that “avocado” was really zucchini, she seemed to like it and ate almost her full helping.

Summer Vegetable Tart

1 refrigerated pie crust, brought to room temperature
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 yellow squash, sliced thin
1 tomato, sliced thin
15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
5 leaves of fresh basil*, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary*, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley*, chopped
olive oil
salt
pepper
goat cheese crumbles

*I used basil, rosemary, and parsley in mine because those were the fresh herbs I had out back, but you can use dried herbs as well. I’ve also used thyme, dill, and mint, but it’s really whatever you prefer.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Spray your tart or pie pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Unroll the pie crust and place it into the pan, pressing gently along the edges. Bake the shell for about 3-4 minutes, and then allow to cool for just a few minutes.

Lightly sauté the zucchini and squash with a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat to soften the vegetables.

In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese and herbs, and then salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture evenly into the pie crust. Top the tart with your vegetables, placing them in a circular pattern working from the outside in, one type of vegetable at a time.

Bake the tart for about 5 minutes or until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Pull the tart out and top it with goat cheese crumbles. Continue to bake until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.


Best Public Nursing Spots (If You Want a Little Privacy)

To continue our posts for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. . . 

A friend of mine recently had her first baby and posted a status update on Facebook about nursing in the Anthropologie dressing room while shopping. Breastfeeding definitely gives new meaning to a quick shopping trip, as in be prepared to do it if you’ll be out longer than a couple of hours.

I breastfed my daughter for over a year, but it took me quite a while to become comfortable with nursing her out in the open using just a cover. Nursing was so painful for me at first that I often sat in tears while Olivia ate, and that wasn’t something I wanted to share with every shopper that walked by me in the mall. So I became adept at scouting out the most nursing-friendly stores, restrooms with lounge areas, and lactation rooms that afforded me a little bit of privacy. I also became an expert at nursing in the backseat of the car in a pinch!

I eventually worked my way up to claiming a bench outside Lord and Taylor as my favorite nursing spot at the mall, but until then, this was my go-to list of the best public nursing spots. Please leave a comment to add your favorite(s) if it’s not on the list so we can help some new mamas out!

Nordstrom (nursing room in the women’s restroom as well as a lounge area)
Baby Gap (nursing/dressing room)
BuyBuy Baby (Mother’s Room)
Babies R Us (Mother’s Room)
IKEA
Lord and Taylor
Bloomingdale’s
Saks Fifth Avenue
Macy’s

Did you have a go-to nursing spot when you were breastfeeding, or do you currently? Leave a comment to share! 


It’s Potty Time?!

Olivia is one month and one week away from her second birthday, and she did something recently that sent panic coursing through me. She asked to use the potty.

I was not prepared for this. I knew potty training would be coming soon enough, but our pediatrician told me that Olivia wouldn’t be ready until she was no longer wet in the morning. But now here she is, running after me every time I go to the bathroom, crying, “I wanna potty! My potty! Mine!” Uhhhhhh. . .??

I don’t know if she really wants to try using the potty or if she’s just saying it to say it. The doctor didn’t mention anything about children who beg to use the potty. I don’t think I’ve ever once even mentioned going to the bathroom like a “big girl” because I’ve heard and read so much about not pushing it too early, so I’m not sure where this is coming from.

Anyone else experienced this? Should I ignore it or run out and buy a potty? Any suggestions on a good training potty? I’ve seen the Elmo one at Target and figured I might start with that since she loves Sesame Street. Lots (and lots) of questions! Any tips/advice would be appreciated!


Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

I’ve only ever made quinoa once before (the Near East brand out of the box, which was good), and I decided we needed to incorporate this super grain into more of our meals. The July issue of Cooking Light had a bunch of suggestions for different mix-ins you could use with quinoa. I decided to take one of those ideas and expound upon it, and I ended up with this healthy quinoa salad. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
10 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 avocado, diced
1 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
salt
pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Sauté the shrimp over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil until they curl and turn orange.  {You could also grill the shrimp on a skewer for some great charred flavor, which would be delicious.}

I used frozen corn for this dish, but fresh grilled corn cut off the cob would be amazing! Whichever type you decide to use, cook it (or warm it up) before adding it to the salad.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.


How to Get Rid of Plugged Ducts

Since August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I thought I’d do a series of posts focused on nursing. As a new mom, I was beside myself when it came to breastfeeding troubles. So I am paying it forward in the hopes of helping another new mom through a tough spot.

I nursed my daughter for 13 months, and plugged ducts were the bane of my existence nearly the entire time. I once had one so bad that it was larger than a golf ball! The lactation consultant at our pediatrician’s office told me if it didn’t clear up within 24 hours (I’d been dealing with the pain at that point for about three days), I would have to go to the ER! I was able to clear the duct so it never came down to a trip to the hospital, but those were some of the most excruciatingly painful days of my life.

Here’s hoping you never, ever have to deal with plugged ducts, but if you do, here are a few tips and tricks that worked for me.

Heat and massage. This is a package deal because neither works as well without the other. Try warm compresses and then massage your breast in a circular motion, pushing the plug toward the center. You can also try massage while laying in a hot bath. One method that finally brought me relief was to lean, submerged, over a huge bowl of hot water and massage downward. I will warn you that the massaging hurts, but if it clears the duct, it’s so worth it.

Lecithin. This supplement is what finally helped me prevent plugged ducts. You can get it in capsule or granule form (I recommend the capsule) from Target or Walmart. I took one 1200 mg pill three times a day like clockwork.

Try “dangle feeding.” As if you don’t already feel like a cow, this method just perpetuates the feeling that you exist solely for the purpose of milking. But while it feels strange, it did work for me once. Lay your baby on his or her back on the floor and get on all fours over top. Allow your baby to nurse in this position to allow gravity to help clear the plugged duct.

Don’t stop nursing! I made this mistake the first time I had a plugged duct. It hurt so badly that I stopped nursing on that side. BIG mistake. Even though it hurts, try nursing on the plugged side first. When your baby is really hungry, the suck reflex is stronger, which could end up helping you out. If it’s just too painful to nurse, at least pump on the blocked side. The one thing you don’t want to do is allow more milk to back up in there.

Take care of yourself. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done when you have a little person (or two or three) relying on you for everything, but it’s really important. Be sure to get some rest, drink lots of water, and eat healthfully. Ask for some temporary help if you need it to give yourself a break. I wasn’t very good about doing this at first, but once I did, I think it really made a difference (both for my recurring plugged ducts and for my sanity).

Try Ibuprofen. A plugged duct causes major inflammation, so some Ibuprofen can help with both that and the pain. Check with your doctor to find out exactly how much you should take.

While it may feel like the plug will never go away (my longest one lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of four days!), it does eventually clear up, so try not to panic. If you start to run a fever or show other symptoms, call your doctor. If after several days of nursing and treatment you still have a plugged duct, talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor. There are medical procedures, such as ultrasound, that can help in extreme cases.