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Mommy Making It Work
How Does She Do It? In-Laws!
Published on October 3, 2011 by guest author: Cindy F. Crawford

As editor of a major business news publication in Birmingham, Ala., I do a lot of public speaking, mostly about the newspaper itself or about the economy.

Occasionally – if an audience member actually reads my bio and sees the ages of my kids (4 and 22 months) - I get some work/life balance questions. Like Sarah Jessica Parker in the movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” they want some secret to working 60-70 hours a week and raising two small children, who are both, as my buddy and fellow blogger Sara Foss would call them “spirited.”

My answer: In-laws.

I couldn’t do the demanding hours of journalism and management and TV and radio appearances without the help of my husband and his banker hours and his parents who don’t work.

Now, including the in-laws this heavily in the parenting schedule comes with its ups and downs. When William, my almost five-year-old, passed the sweet phase and hit the demonic-talk-back phase at 3, my retired-Marine father-in-law threatened to pull out the belt. Turns out threatening is all it takes with William. We now swing by the nursing home near our neighborhood and pull through the drive-up entrance and say we’re dropping him off there to live. This has worked wonders, since he’s been to my grandfather’s assisted living home and it gives him the creeps.

Since we’re all in this together, we often pow-wow with the in-laws to discuss which techniques are OK and which aren’t, and figure out which work and which don’t. Time out is essentially useless with William. He isn’t all that embarrassed or put off by being made to sit in a corner and usually entertains himself with something around him or sweet-talks his poor 22-month-old sister into joining him there. So we switched to taking away things he likes to do, like read before bed his “Weird Creatures” and “Most Venomous Animals” books that give me the willies.

As for Alli, the 22-month old girlie girl, we’re tackling the terrible 2 tantrums. William never threw himself to the floor in the middle of the main aisle of Target, but Alli does – for all of us. I’ve been told to ignore it, but it’s hard to do when people are staring at you, saying with their eyes, “Make it stop!” I’ve actually tried (at home, mind you) getting on the floor and throwing a tantrum alongside her – which is supposed to make her laugh and see how silly it is, but just enrages her even more and sends the fit into oblivion. It’s a communication barrier, so I’m secretly hoping the tubes we got inserted surgically in her eardrums last week will clear out her head and help her hear my demands to stop more clearly, but I may be setting myself up for disappointment.

Parenting is challenging, whether you work or not, whether you have family help or not.

 I figure blogging about my experiences might help you feel like you’re not alone – and give me a place to vent – so come along with me and share your thoughts, too.

Cindy F. Crawford is the editor of a news publication in Birmingham, Ala., and the proud parent of two spirited young children.

 

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