Blog Posts by A Parent in Silver Spring - Jessica McFadden

  • User Post: Shop Your Closet (Just Organize It First!)

    I'm not buying much spring and summer clothing this season.

    But what I am doing is seriously organizing my inventory.

    The idea is that this spring and (and after I push out my third baby - due any day now!), I'll be able to shop my closet.

    I went through and took a good hard look at every single parcel of clothing and accessory I owned. I grabbed a bunch of cardboard boxes and tackled my clothing with a very critical eye. I labeled one box keep, one box donate, one box rags and one box trash.

    I stored all keepers that I know I will not be wearing until late fall in the guest room closet and in Tupperware bins and sweater boxes. I feel fabulous and so does my closet and dresser!

    My goals?

    • To feel like I have a whole new wardrobe. By getting rid of things I don't need and organizing the items I decided to keep, I feel like I went on a shopping spree and I am giving primo space to the things that I truly like.
    • To re-embrace my old summer clothes. You know,
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  • User Post: Tough Female Bosses: Thank You!

    Fresh out of college at the age of 23 and throughout my early twenties, I worked for some very demanding, tough, mistakes-are-never-an-option bosses.

    All of these bosses were female.

    At the time, I wavered between being scared of disappointing them and incurring their wrath... and irritated that excellence was expected every. single. second.

    And although I may always identify with The Devil Wears Prada a little too closely, there's something I want to say to those women who gave me my start:

    Thank you.

    Looking back at what these female bosses taught me, I could kiss them. They instilled in me a professionalism, code of conduct and pride in my work that I would never have learned without their whipping into shape. And in honor of Women's History Month, I'm paying homage to their toughness. Besides an appreciation for great shoes and poker straight posture, here are the values their hard-as-nails expectations instilled in me.

    Punctuality

    At all of these jobs, work began at 8:30 a.m.

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  • Facebook or Twitter: What's Your Favorite?

    Last year I turned 35. It was my harshest b-day to date. I know there's nothing you can do about getting older besides work to be healthy and happy, but it threw me into an official NOT YOUNG demographic.

    But rather than waste precious time worrying about something I cannot change, on my birthday I instead wasted precious time reading all of the awesome wall posts I received on Facebook.

    The return for having everyone from your past, present and online worlds wish you well and give you compliments was almost worth being that much closer to the Denny's senior citizen special.

    If on the off-off-off chance you're staunchly resisting joining Facebook, I recommend finally joining for the self-esteem boost. It's way cheaper than therapy.

    And then there's Twitter. It's a place for online entities to communicate, brands and entrepreneurs to promo and shill, and for some social media mavens, has replaced emails and text messages as a primo communication tool.

    For

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  • User Post: Family Financial Resolutions -- Easy Changes Add Up

    By Jessica of A Parent in Silver Spring. Ah, winter after the holidays. That soul-sucking time of year when we're faced not only with the cold weather doldrums, but also forced to face the music from our holiday shopping spending AND our upcoming tax payments.

    It's the time of year when I personally decide to clean up my spending act and make subtle changes that effect our family cash flow. Just as others resolve anew to get up at 6 a.m. for morning runs or avoid the beer and cookie aisles at the market, come January, I re-pledge allegiance to excess spending.

    My spouse and I have done everything we can to avoid debt, protect investments, blah blah, but I'm not talking about "the market"...unless you mean the supermarket. I'm no Suze or personal finance manager. Please don't call me about fixing your credit score or for advice on a hedge fund.

    I deal in the shallow end of the baby pool with easy-peasy ways to spend less household cash. I personally am making small changes in our

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  • Students Introduced to Theatre on Ripples of Kindness

    By A Parent in Silver Spring

    Have you made your Ripple of Kindness yet this holiday season? You probably already have, or maybe you've been on the receiving side of some goodwill-tastic works! Ripples of Kindness is Yahoo!'s cool concept that simple acts to brighten others' days will create a ripple effect, and inspire others to do the same. So far over 41,000 kindness updates and good works have been posted!

    Some people have been doing totally random acts of kindness around their towns like paying people's parking meters, bringing goods to homeless people on the street, giving Starbucks gift cards to fellow parents who really look like they could use a cup. Others are organizing dinners for friends who are sick and volunteering with organizations in their community.

    One day while pondering what to do, I headed to volunteer at my child's school during lunchtime. I arrived early to hear Charlie's beloved first grade teacher Ms. Hirsch reading from a Junie B. Jones book to the class.

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  • User post: Moms, can we please stop making kids parties so over the top?

    Hey parents! Can you we stop renting out ballrooms for preschool-aged children's birthday parties and save it for the bar mitzvah?

    Seriously, if I receive another gold-engraved invitation to attend a celebration for a person born in the last five years, I am going to march right over to those parents' home and pin a tail on their donkey asses.

    I'm a huge fan of the old school birthday party. You invite over some family or playmates, blow up a few balloons, set out some healthy snacks or order a gooey pizza, play a couple age-appropriate games and sing around a cake.

    Maybe you spring for a piñata, give out some modest goodie bags of lollipops and new pencils, or have the kids make a simple craft to take home. If you're inviting the kid attendees' parents to hang around too, brew some coffee or pick up some sodas. I also think beer or "game day" cocktails are a nice, mellowing touch since these events can be a bit shrill, but maybe that's just the lush in me.

    And that's it.

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  • User post: Drive-through Starbucks saves mom's life

    Both my children fell asleep in the car today on the drive home from school. They're six and four and have never been much for napping, so this was a cause for a celebration ...

    of the caffeinated, skim, double pump and extra shot kind!

    Quiet Starbucks drive-through run, oh how I've missed you.

    For four years straight I lived in that purgatory of child rearing with children who still napped BUT if they fell asleep in the car for one nanosecond they "counted" that teensy wink as their nap. And then they were exhausted messes for the remainder of the day.

    Thankfully, the drive-through Starbucks in my area saved my sanity AND my kids' sleep schedules.

    Now some of you industrious individuals may know a secret to keeping your child awake with music and snacks and the sighting of wild game outdoors. Keeping her awake you are able to (safely) speed home and deposit her in the crib.

    Other, more saintly types, may simply go about your usual schedule, let the child nap

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  • I Interviewed Ellen Pompeo and She Believes in Helping Families In Need

    I had the chance to meet and interview Ellen Pompeo this month when she and I both were in New York City for a Huggies Every Little Bottom diaper drive event. Held at the huge Babies R Us in Union Square, the event formally introduced Ellen as the spokesperson for Huggies' effort to inform the public about the issue of diaper need.

    When Ellen Pompeo heard that 1 in 3 mothers in America are struggling to provide diapers for their children, she said that she knew she had to take up this cause and do what she could to help. And Ellen proved that she was lending more than her considerable star power to the cause: She passionately cited findings from the recent study that revealed that moms have had to reuse soiled diapers and miss work because they didn't have adequate diapers for their children's daycare.

    Ellen was down-to-earth, accessible, real and besides being committed to this cause, gloriously in love with her daughter, one-year-old Stella. Ellen seemed an involved parent

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  • User post: Does letting my kids eat their way through the grocery store make me a bad mommy?

    It's not my fault!

    As a new mom, those La Leche League meetings validated my right to feed my babies whenever, wherever they demanded.

    When they graduated to solids, those domes of cheese and bread cubes at Whole Foods really started it.

    The Costco vendors of mini bagel dogs, potstickers and one-gulp fruit smoothies reinforced it.

    Then a Trader Joe's came to my 'hood and took it to a whole new level, with the kid cups of cat-shaped cookies and apple cider poured right into their sippy cups at every visit, not to mention near-entree size samples of carne asada, smoked salmon and other yummies.

    The Bad Mommy result?

    My children cannot get through a grocery run without eating their way through the store.

    And I let them. One whine and I am a goner. Anything to get through the hunting and gathering for the family with a minimum of meltdowns from my children.

    I can feel my Southern belle grandma tsk-tsking me from heaven. She would think my popping open of the

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  • User post: Professional mom blogging--living the (exhausting) dream

    Today is Sunday and I am so tired. Thank you God for way back when calling one day of the weekend an official day of rest. I've never needed it more than now.

    As an almost full-time stay at home mom, I'm just exhausted from making three meals a day, keeping the house from looking like something out of Hoarders, grocery shopping and other errands, fulfilling "room mother" and other volunteer duties at my children's school, driving the kids to and fro, cheering at soccer games, and appearing at an impromptu teacher conference for behavior (sigh).

    As an almost full-time working mom, I also had a full week of work...from my house. Often in my pajamas. Doing what I love: writing. But also doing the other stuff too that comes with the working-world territory: conference calls, team meetings, brainstorming sessions, trainings, and hundreds, thousands of emails. This coming week I'm traveling to New York for a quick 24 hours of meetings and to appear at a media event to help mothers in need.

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