Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Lunch Box Mom Podcast: Training Wheels

Every so often, I like to keep readers up to date with the Lunch Box Mom staff meetings. Here are the minutes from one held a few months ago:

Me: I’d like to create a podcast.
Husband/Head of IT: Good luck with that.

So, like so many other businesses, I’ve had to outsource.

In this case, to a junior in college.

This is the short version of how I found my new staff member: I crashed an internship fair at a local university and looked for guys.

There are so many things wrong in that sentence, I don’t know where to begin, but let’s start with the last part: do young men—more than young women—know more about the mechanics of podcasting? I’m not sure, but I tested my theory at the end of the buffet line at the internship luncheon with the first young man I saw:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Talkin 'Bout My Generation--No Really, My Generation

Back in my day, we wore flannel shirts and jeans up to our navels...and we liked it.

Yes, Gen X’ers, I’m talking to you.

We few, we happy few.

We who were born sometime between West Side Story (1961) and Ordinary People (1981).

We who were suckled on formula, schooled on "Sesame Street" (old school, rated R) and inspired by Julie on “The Love Boat”, the time has come for us to stand in the spotlight.

No, not as Commander in Chief (although the President is not only a citizen of the United States, he’s arguably a citizen of Generation X) but as part of a grass roots effort far more powerful.

No, not the Tea Party.

I’m talking about the PTA.

In his fascinating blog, The Gen X Files, Dave Sohigian speaks directly to this phenomenon. A generation that is far smaller than the one that preceded it (the Baby Boomers) and the one that followed (the Millennials), has reached a tipping point noticeable in the make-up of parents to current seventh and eighth graders. For the first time, Gen X’ers are in the majority.

And, teachers, he cautions, should be warned.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Missing Miss Manners on the 181 from New York

Elmo and figures of royalty are not the only ones who refer to themselves in the third person. So too does Judith Martin, the imitable Miss Manners. I read her syndicated column for many years. But, like my fellow passengers on Amtrak train 181, I might stand to read it for a few more. Miss Manners, this one’s for you.

Dear Gentle Readers,

Miss Lunchbox Mom recently returned from an excursion to our nation’s capital, a trip she endeavored by rail, with the companionship of two less seasoned travelers, Heidi (5) and Ava (23 months).

The journey affirmed Miss Lunchbox Mom’s deep conviction that it is always better to travel with one’s mate, especially when heavy luggage is involved.

Absent a spouse, one must depend upon the kindness of strangers, a Red Cap, or a perilous attempt to strap a twenty five pound toddler and her sippy cup to the top of a rolling suitcase.

For in contrast to the nineteenth century technology dominating rail travel, the etiquette aboard the iron horse is astonishing modern.

One need not worry about the awkward pause as a gentleman allows a woman and her children to board ahead of him. Nowadays, trains entering a station do not actually come to a complete stop. Lines are obviated by a custom in which passengers run, grab and jump aboard, much like trolley riders in a commercial for that great San Francisco treat, Rice-A- Ronnie.

Once aboard, gender has little to do with civility; all in need of assistance are equally ignored.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


It’s a wonderful tribute to the complexity of motherhood that most moms I know secretly wish to celebrate the holiday by getting a break from the very things that entitle them to it.

Just give me a day off.

I’ve never actually asked for that, and to be honest, I don’t know many moms who have. We don’t need a Grimm’s Fairy Tale to caution us about the dangers of such extravagance. Somewhere in our subconscious, we all know that if you take one full day off, you’ll return to find the three little pigs asleep on the couch and Rumpelstiltskin in the backyard playing with fireworks.

Or something like that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Prima Donna: She's 25 Pounds and Almost Two

Living with a twenty month old is a lot like having a temperamental diva in the house. Not modern pop star, more classic Madame Butterfly—who just got panned in the New York Times.

Newspapers flying, glasses breaking, tears, screams and histrionics. And, that’s before the first diaper change.

One major difference between my pint-sized Prima Donna and one of a larger scale, besides her more limited repertoire of Puccini, is that my daughter’s period of solipsistic moodiness is supposed to be temporary.

Once her vocabulary catches up with her new-found sense of independence, her career in melodrama needs to end.

When might this happen? I read up a bit on the terrible twos on About.Com, and they offered a nifty little calculator to determine the timing of this curtain call.

You have 413 days - 10 hours - 9 minutes - and 9 seconds until your child is out of the terrible twos phase.

This was designed to make me feel better.