Sunday, January 31, 2010

Everybody's Doing It: Is Three the New Two?

Some people say the body does not remember pain. I am not sure if that’s true, but just in case, I am writing little notes to myself to read at a future date. I’ve also scripted certain conversations and given my husband his lines. Because in five months, when we stick a party hat on my youngest and celebrate 24 months of maturity, you can bet that the slightest whiff of baby powder will send me musing---should we have a third?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Logo-Commotion

There’s been a lot of talk here during the Lunch Box Mom editorial meetings about our new logo. If you haven’t noticed, the one we have now is a suitcase decked out with surfer decals. It bears a passing resemblance to a lunchbox, in that it’s square, and at $19.99, was almost under budget. It’s always been seen as a temporary logo, just good enough to signal our existence on Facebook and Twitter, where, the image is so small, you can’t really tell what it is not, much less what it is.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Home $ Work, The Hypothetical Salary of a SAHM vs. the Real World

You may have already heard that Salary.com has come up with an income stay-at-home moms would make if they actually got paid for their work. But did you know that they’ve also suggested a crafty little gift-giving idea for dad? They recommend it for Mother’s Day, but really, anytime my husband followed their suggestion, printed out my hypothetical paycheck, and gave it to me as a---gift---he’d end up in the dog house. Wow. A homemade pay stub. I’ll take that to the bank and cash it. Or Maybe I’ll invest the $122,732 in Boardwalk property and collect $200 when I pass go.

Salary.com interviewed 12,000 moms and apparently went to great lengths to figure out that stay-at-home moms do the job of ten people. But did they forget there actually are women who get paid to take care of the home? They are called nannies and housekeepers. And, they are not making six figures.

If eBay has taught us anything about the marketplace, it’s that the value of something is determined by what people are willing to pay. And, domestic workers, a term being re-appropriated by some groups including Domestic Workers United, are sometimes not even making minimum wage. In the world of creative salary calculation, the care of the home is valued. In the real world, it is not.

It is not a perfect comparison. A stay-at-home mom cannot be replaced by a nanny or housekeeper in every respect, but their spheres and tasks are largely identical. And, certainly there are many instances in which a worker is treated with respect, paid well, and embraced as an essential part of a busy household. Many readers of this blog might attest to that. Still, what is the point of calculating the monetary value of a SAHM while ignoring the reality that the group that does get paid to work in the home usually earns very little? Some say we should use the high hypothetical salary to prove the SAHM’s value.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fall in Love, or Theatre Games 101

Romeo and Juliet had a good romance going, as far as love affairs that end in grievous miscommunication and death go. I’m a sucker for the balcony scene, no matter how much of a cliché it has become, and think Juliet’s got a lot of spunk to shack up with bad boy Romeo while her parents plan her marriage to the soporific nobleman Paris. Still, I now understand why Shakespeare had to kill off these two in Act V. A star-crossed courtship may have driven them to their death, but the routine familiarity of marriage would have driven them insane.

I’m a romantic by nature, but lately, it’s the poem of William Carlos Williams, the modernist, that runs through my head. So much depends…so much depends….so much depends on an unloaded dishwasher. The pace of my entire day hinges on this simple truth. My husband unloads our KitchenAid every morning before our kids have even finished breakfast. It may be nice to get roses, but when he brings me home a box of Sparkle dishwasher pellets—without any prompting—I feel love.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's a New Year, Baby

How long does it take to make a cup of tea? The answer depends on whether or not you like burning the bottom of your tea kettle. I tend to “not like to”, so every time I have to leave the kitchen, I turn the stove off. Today it took me two and a half hours to boil water. Once I poured the water to brew, my 18 month old began tossing shoes down the grandfather clock. Finally, a half hour later, I made it back to the kitchen, found the tea cold, microwaved it and spilled it all over the floor.

Thus begins my tea party resolution for 2010. I decided to be formal with this, so I am using a template from Congress, H. Res 970, that seminal piece of legislation that made June 30th National Corvette Day.

Whereas I would like my tea hot, or at least lukewarm.

Whereas I would like to read a book whose protagonist is not a duck.

Whereas “I’m going to the gym” should not be a set up to a joke.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by me and….me..that March 1st, 2010 beings the official “find the extra hour” campaign.

Happy New Year, folks, but this year, I’ll be following the ancient Roman calendar. Yes, the New Year, and my resolution, begin March 1st. I need time to prepare.