Mad Dog Mom
When I’m asked that seemingly innocuous cocktail party ice-breaker: “So, what do you do?” my stock answer is this: “I keep three kids alive.” (Internal voice, tone indignant: “Isn’t that enough!”) To me, somehow it sounds better than “stay-at-home mom.” In what I think is an injustice to mothers everywhere, “stay-at-home mom” just doesn’t cut it as a job description. It sounds a little like you’re sitting on the couch eating fruit rollups and watching Spongebob reruns. And if I can speak for all of motherdom here, we are not sitting on the couch.
If I left it at keeping kids alive, I’d probably be sane. Saner, anyway. Of course, I don’t. My husband and I are outdoors people and we are forever dragging our kids on hikes, bike rides, camping trips, ski trips, hut trips, et al. It’s our family time. On the side, I am a freelance writer. Magazines, newspapers, and most recently a book on camping with kids.
Most days, I’m just hanging on by a thread like the rest of you. Which is sort of where the Mad Dog Mom idea came in. Having three kids in elementary school, a freelance writing career, and a new book—not to mention being a kindergarten room parent, the soccer team manager, a lacrosse mom, baseball mom, gymnastics mom, and biking mom—it’s a pretty bonkers existence. I just hope I can make it out the door with my pants on right-side out. (It must be said, I have left the house with my pants on inside out.)
In another crazy chapter in my life, some million years ago, my college roommates called me Mad Dog. I’ve evolved. Now I’m Mad Dog Mom.
Good question. Mothering is the hardest job I’ve ever had and I’ve had some doozies. (Working as an attendant in a laundromat in a bad part of one of Long Island’s seedier towns comes to mind.) There are so many moments of unadulterated insanity in my day as a mom, and thankfully they are punctuated by moments of sheer joy, or else I’d really lose my crackers. So often, I feel the need to share. To reach out to my fellow moms and commiserate. It’s my therapy.
One of my favorite ways to blow off steam is to go out with my mommy pals for a beer. We dish on the kids and the husbands, our sagging post-partum midsections and our raging hormones. The laughs and the tears we’ve shared during these pub nights are cherished. Blogging is my way of bringing that collective experience to a larger community. To share, commiserate, console, reach out. To feel we are not alone in our adventures with kids.
In the era BK (before kids)
Here’s how I used to answer that ice-breaker (So, what do you do…?) I worked for 10 years at Skiing Magazine, where I ultimately became the executive editor. During my tenure at the magazine, I tested skis, wrote travel features, and otherwise helped to shape the editorial of that 400,000 circulation magazine. Beyond the pages of Skiing, my stories have appeared in Self, The New York Times, Women’s Sports & Fitness, Sports Illustrated for Women, and Skiing for Women, Delicious Living, Women’s Adventure, Elevation Outdoors, and more.
I grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., skiing and ski racing at Kissing Bridge. I continued to ski race during high school and college. The college team was not serious. Our motto: “Another race….another case.” Think beer. Skiing has remained a passion in my life. I also taught munchkins to ski for several years at Snow Ridge, N.Y. and Alta, Utah. It was good practice for teaching my own kids to ski.
In June of 1977, I was awarded a “certificate” for a spelling bee. It’s framed and on my office wall. I’m not sure if that means I did well in the competition or I simply participated in it. I suspect the latter. Much later in my career, I did win the Canadian Tourism’s Northern Lights journalism award for magazine writing and was a finalist in the Women’s Sports Foundation Sports Journalism Awards.
Also on my wall is a diploma from Hamilton College. I graduated in 1988 with a with a B.A. degree in English Literature. Minor in art history. I was first called Maddog during those undergraduate years. No doubt it was my voracious frothing-at-the-mouth appetite for learning.