Try Planning a Parentmoon

By Sara

You get married… you go on a honeymoon.

You get pregnant…you go on a babymoon.

You have kids…and you go to Disney World.


Ask around. How many couples go away alone without their kids?  I promise you will get answers that sound a lot like this:

“The last time we went away was our honeymoon or before we had kids,”  or “Oh, wow, that sounds nice,” or  “We don’t go away without our kids.”

Why do our lives have to change so much just because we have kids?   Of course money is a huge factor and clearly the vacation funds are now going towards school and mortgage payments, but a parentmoon doesn’t have to be an African safari.  Maybe it is just a “staycation” where you go hiking,  spend a day at the spa, or a night out in the city or at a B&B.

Sometimes the best parentmoons are the ones that are basically planned for you, like destination weddings.  Next time you get invited to one, say YES.  It is a great excuse to go away somewhere you hadn’t planned, plus you get a fun party included (see below our destination wedding trip this summer to the Czech Republic).  Business trips can also make for great parentmoons.   My husband travels to Los Angeles a lot, so I sometimes will fly out there on a Thursday and spend the weekend with him.  Build a weekend around a business trip, and it will feel like a much needed break for the both of you.

We all know how super hard it is to carve out time to just be together, never mind planning a trip….but with a little effort, you can reconnect, laugh, talk and enjoy lots of wine TOGETHER!





The 6:05 it is!

By Michael Strouse

The stress of commuting is hard to look at with a wide angle lens. Like parenting, it changes from moment to moment and requires a bit of internal counseling.

It’s with that in mind that I am pushing to send a set of emails before 5:00 on Friday afternoon. I know that if I leave right at 5, I can make the 5:45 train home. I want to start August with a nice night with the kids!

Despite my very best effort, though, I leave at 5:04.

But there’s a part of me that thinks I may still make the train!

That part of me is a ruthless time-centric ogre that will happily push my way onto subways and get annoyed with people holding hands on the sidewalk because I can’t get beyond them. (Find a park bench!) The commuting ogre growls as pedestrian traffic stops for yellow lights or points at a landmark and labels anyone who seems a little off course as having had one too many at happy hour. (Obviously! It’s Friday after all!) And the delay heading into the Journal Square station elicits an internal monologue on my hatred of PATH that would basically be one continuous bleep if ever broadcast. (Seriously, I could push the train faster than this!)

My nerves are frayed and my anger continues to swell. There’s no reasoning with my commuter voice. It’s the 5:45 or the world will end!

Or not…

There’s a 6:05.

Is 20 minutes more with the kids worth the stress? Yes- sort of…

Even though I’m home earlier, I know I can’t check that stress at the door and my push to make the 5:45 will color my whole night! That ogre will growl again when I step on a block or get splashed during bath time. He doesn’t like to chase kids on the lawn or dance to Frozen. He’s just as much of an impatient bully as he was when he decided that holding hands was inconsiderate.

And who wants an ogre as a parent?

So, the 6:05 it is! I may not be happy sitting here but I know my family and I won’t be miserable


To read more posts by Michael, visit

Mom Confession: My Kids Gross Me Out!

by Kim



And after spending a few days on vacation together as a family, I have a confession to make… my kids gross me out sometimes!

For example,  when they combine all of their foods into one meal, you know the pickle, mac-n-cheese, peanut butter sandwich with a vanilla milkshake to wash it all down… I’m not sure if my oldest is a five-year-old with strange taste buds or a very pregnant woman.

Or when we’re playing a game of “I Spy” to pass the time at a restaurant and instead of using primary colors to describe something, you know, RED, YELLOW & BLUE, they use words like “I Spy something with my little eye that’s POOP color” – really? POOP color?!

Then there’s the obsession with public restrooms; it’s over the top!  My little guy LOVES to go check them out just to tell me how “disgusting” the bathroom is; while my older son LOVES to go in to wash his hands so he can smell the soap.  Even if it’s “gross” he’ll share it with me “mommy smell this, it’s gross!”

I’m also completely grossed out by their over abuse of “The 5-second Rule“;   I mean yes we’ve all been known to break it from time to time, but these two put me to shame!  Even when I’m screaming at them to put it down, my little guy just laughs and puts it in his mouth anyway!

Oh, and I’m sorry that I just don’t share their love for wet, sandy, slightly boogied Doritos…I guess it’s an acquired taste!

Don’t get me wrong, I love them, I really do, I just never realized how gross they are!



5 Things I Will Miss About My Child’s Childhood

by Kim



My oldest son graduated from PreK last week; and for me,  along with celebrating this rather large milestone in his life, came a flood of emotions.   I watched this little boy who I struggled to have (,  who I sat in the backseat with on our ride home from the hospital, who I rocked to sleep in my arms (more times than I probably should have), walk into a room full of adults, with his head held high, ready to take on the next stage of his life.

For me, I thought about all of the changes that his graduation stood for; and even though I know he will always be my first-born, in September he will start Kindergarten, where his life and our relationship, will change forever.  So as stood there, fighting back the tears, I turned my sadness into thoughts, my thoughts into words, and my words into this post which I call:

5 Things I Will Miss About My Child’s Childhood

#5  LITTLE KIDS, LITTLE PROBLEMS – BIG KIDS, BIG PROBLEMS  This is an easy one… I know that soon I’m going to long for the days of an 8 o’clock bedtime and   5-minutes of extra TV time!

#4  BEDTIME    And speaking of bedtime, for as chaotic as every night seems to be, my boys still need/want me.  Whether it’s them asking me to read another book, sing another song, or even just to lay with them to help them fall asleep; in a few short years instead of asking for “5 more minutes” of my time, they’ll be asking for more time in their rooms, without me.

#3  PICKING OUT THEIR CLOTHES   I remember how exciting it used to be to go shopping for my kids; (yes, even though they are boys, I still loved shopping for them!) but at five and three-and-a-half, I’ve already lost this battle. Gone are the days of cute overalls, polo shirts, even a nice pair of jeans.  If given the choice, my boys would trade in every single piece of clothing they own for a few pairs of sweatpants, some basketball shorts,  some baseball jerseys, and good, old-fashioned, plain, white undershirts.  (I know, I know, try to focus on all of the $$$ money I’m saving!)

#2  HUGS & KISSES   I love being able to hug & kiss my kids wherever AND whenever I want (and I remind them that as their mom, I can do that!);  BUT truth be told, my days of “public” hugs & kisses are numbered, as I know the embarrassment factor is going to come into play and soon I’ll be lucky if I get a kiss on the check, even at home.

#1 – HEARING THEM SAY ” MOMMY, HOLD MY HAND”   Maybe it’s just that I know when I’m holding their hands, they’re safe; and that letting them go, even just to walk in front of me, symbolizes their independence…and ultimately, letting go.



Tackling First Everythings

By Sara

Last week was the first bus ride for the incoming kindergarten class. I took my daughter Olivia to her new school and as the bus pulled up, every child ran onto it. There was one child that didn’t get on…Mine! She cried and clung to me and my heart ached.

It made me think about how our lives are filled with so many scary first experiences that we have to go through… And the bus ride is only the beginning.

Just think about it:
….sleep away camp is full of fun mixed with being homesick.
…going off to college is exciting yet scary.
…graduating college is a huge accomplishment, yet the fear of the big open world is right in front if you.
…getting a new job is exciting but terrifying.
…getting promoted is rewarding but comes with more responsibility and higher expectations– which can be totally daunting.
…getting laid off, fired or leaving the workforce… All SCARY!
…receiving an award, is an honor yet having to give an acceptance speech can be debilitating.
…having kids! The fear that you are not going to know how to take care of a baby.

But when I look back at all these moments, I only wish I knew at the time, that they were just that… a “moment”. While they feel terrifying, monumental and life changing at the time, they pass by so quickly that we almost forget how scary they were. But all those raw emotions come back to you when you see that fear on your child’s face.

But like most things in life, we take lots of steps forward, and while some steps are more painful than others, we keep climbing and tackling our fears head on. And while we don’t always have mom or dad to hold on too, we find someone to lean on, or find that little bit of inner strength to propel us through it.

But I am glad I experienced all those life changing moments in my life. It made me a better mom and a stronger person. I can speak from experience and can share my “moments” with my kids so they don’t have to feel like they are in this alone. Because of all my firsts, I feel ready to help Olivia take that first step onto the camp bus on Monday.

Let’s just hope I don’t have to be the “first” mom to get on it with her!

Train Mom Chat with Jennifer Muhlrad, President of Montana Datacom

By Sara

I always admire successful women, but I am truly impressed when I meet a woman who runs a business selling electronic wire and cable, plant hardware, fiber optic transmission products, energy control products and more!  I honestly don’t have a clue what any of those things actually are…or do!

But what Jennifer Muhlrad does everyday is far beyond just supplying these materials to the electrical construction industry, she is focused on clearing paths for minorities and women in the construction industry.

Her company, Montana Datacom, is certified as a Women Business Enterprise by multiple Federal and State agencies such as the MTA, Port Authority, and School Construction Authority.  As a business owner, and mother of two girls, Jennifer truly understands the challenges facing today’s minority and women business enterprises (M/WBE’s) and she supports the efforts of those organizations that work diligently to open the doors of opportunity.

We are thrilled to have a Train Mom Chat (#TMC) with Jennifer Muhlrad, who is hip NYC mom, successful entrepreneur and an inspirational leader for women.


 Who was your “working mom” role model growing up? And who is it today?                                                             My working mom role model growing up would be my grandmother Pery Schwartz, although I didn’t know it until I read your question.  She is holocaust survivor from WWII. After the war was over, she went back to school to finish high school. (She did 3 years of high school in 1 year) Then, she went straight to medical school in Cluj, Romania. She graduated with a degree in Medicine in June of 1951.  She moved to Israel in 1962 and practiced medicine.  In April of 1966 she came to the United States, she had to take medical boards again and redo her internship and residency in New York.  She did all of that and practiced as a pediatrician for over 46 years! I think because of her, work ethic has been instilled in me.

I would say that my working mom role model today is every one of us who wake up in the middle of the night to take care of our children and fully function during the day.  I think we have been doing it so long, we forget how remarkable it is to hold it all together.

Your company touts itself as being a “Certified Women Business Enterprise.”  How important is that recognition for your company and for you?                                                                                                                                  I have been very fortunate to be able to take advantage of opportunities that have been set aside for Women in Business in the construction industry.  50% of our opportunities arise from our Federal and State status.  As we grew, our knowledgeable staff and reliable service has allowed us to have great reputation and we have become a leader in our industry.  We are actually a great example of how women and minority opportunity set asides can lead to success.

Would you want your girls to follow in your career footsteps? What do you hope they learn from you?           I want my daughters to follow in my footsteps in the sense that I want them to have something they have built and created, no matter how big or small that they are proud of. I hope they know that nothing is off limits to them and that they can do anything.

What was the one piece of advice someone gave you on balancing career and life that you feel works best?  No one told me this, but I wake up every morning around 5.00 AM and work out.  No matter what type of exercise you do, it gets you moving and ready to conquer the day. I know I am not the only who believes this, because I see tons of people doing it with me at the same time!

As a president of a tech company, do you consider yourself a techy-mom?  If so, what is your “can’t live without” tech device? App?                                                                                                                                                                   I don’t know what I would do without a cell phone with email options and a calendar… It is the only way I can juggle momming and working. I actually don’t need to be at my desk and can be mobile and succeed!