Name: Kim Tracy Prince
Web Site: http://www.kimtracyprince.com/about-me/
Bio: I am a writer. Most of my material is on the web, but the best stuff is still in my journal under the bed.
Posts by ktprince:
I like my version of the lyrics better. “Got a long list of ex-lovers” may be relatable, but so is coffee.
Okay, so I’m not exactly a Taylor Swift fan (my friend Michelle will tell you how much I hate hate hate hate hate her song “Shake It Off”) but you can’t turn on the car radio without hearing “Blank Space” and I have to be honest, her tunes from the album “1989” that pop into my Lorde Pandora station are pretty fly.
Yeah, I said it.
Anyway, so I often catch “Blank Space” running through my head, or being hummed by my vocal chords. It’s a catchy tune. And I thought “Come on all you Starbucks lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane. I’ve got a blank space baby, and I’ll write your name” made sense because the cup is blank until they Sharpie it up with whatever name they think you said. Or whatever name they want to write, just to mess with you.
I can see Swift as a perky barista, can’t you?
Photo from Splash News via Elle
Because I am raising my own little family far away from other relatives, I work hard to uphold holiday traditions that everyone in my house enjoys. One of them is Christmas morning breakfast – I always bake an apple puffed pancake like my mother did when I was growing up. It’s more work than pouring some cereal and milk into bowls, but the house gets filled with the aroma of baking apples and butter, and the payoff is delicious. I headed to Smart & Final to stock up on the ingredients for this recipe.
The key element is granny smith apples – and the produce at Smart & Final is always fresh and colorful. Prices are great and leave room for a little something extra to add a festive flair. I like to keep it simple because my kids are so boisterous and likely to knock over pretty things. I always forget how beautiful apples can be, and how simply they make your table look beautiful.
I usually start making breakfast right after the children open their presents – they play with their new toys while I am cooking, and then we all gather at the table, flush with Christmas morning joy. This whole project takes about 45 minutes but you can prep some items ahead of time to make it go faster.
Apple Puffed Pancake
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 lb butter
2-3 tbs brown sugar
Preheat oven to 425. In a blender or large bowl, mix eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon till blended. If using a mixer, batter will remain slightly lumpy. Set aside.
Peel apples and slice them thinly. I never bother to core them. Thinner slices are better because they allow the apples to cook through.
Melt butter in a 12″ fluted porcelain quiche dish or a 13×9 baking dish in oven. Add apple slices to baking dish and stir to coat with melted butter. Return to oven until butter sizzles. Do not let brown.
Remove dish from oven and immediately pour batter over apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes or until puffed and brown. The pancake will puff up over the edges of the dish – it will settle down by the time you get it to the table, so make sure you call the kids over to see it when you pull it out of the oven!
Serve immediately with maple syrup, crispy bacon and berries.
Store leftovers (if any) in sealed containers in the refrigerator. Pancake warms up well in the microwave and makes a great late-night snack!
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 lb butter
2 apples, peeled & thinly sliced
2-3 tbs brown sugar
Preheat oven to 425. In a blender or large bowl, mix eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon till blended. If using a mixer, batter will remain slightly lumpy. Melt butter in a 12″ fluted porcelain quiche dish or a 13×9 baking dish in oven. Add apple slices to baking dish. Return to oven until butter sizzles. Do not let brown. Remove dish from oven and immediately pour batter over apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes or until puffed and brown.
I’m going celebrate my little life.
I’m going to be proud of trying to be a good mother. Trying to be a good housekeeper, a good wife, a good PTA president, a good member of my community, a good writer, a good daughter, sister, friend. (What else am I? I try to be good at all of those other things too.)
Here’s what I did today: PTA meeting, another PTA meeting, return ill-fitting children’s clothes at TJ Maxx, pick up flag football uniforms, send 1,000 emails, drafted a blog post, made two content creation deals, 2 loads of laundry, put out Christmas decorations, fed the kids a snack, drove the kids to flag football practice, cold-called a local bank for a PTA donation, cleaned the kitchen, made the beds.
It looks quite like any other day. Unless it’s a weekend. Then there’s much more togetherness with the kids and husband. So much more.
It’s not big. It’s not glamorous. I do get little splashes of adventure and glamor and excitement here and there, but otherwise that’s my life.
I fill out permission slips. I put the kids’ projects on my to-do list. I make sure they get to school on time, in (mostly) intact outfits. I make their lunches and drop them off at school if they forget.
I also love them very much.
Here’s why I’m telling you this. There are many very popular blogs and other websites that celebrate the slacker parent. “We’re imperfect!” they cry. “We suck at this!” Or worse “My kids are assholes!” or “Here are a ton of pictures of kids in embarrassing situations!” And people laugh and you think it’s funny because it’s not you.
I’m kind of over it. It’s a backlash against the backlash against good parenting.
I get it – it’s irreverent and funny and if you can’t make fun of yourself you will go crazy. I’ve also made fun of the perfect photo-spread-worthy birthday parties and the Pinterest boards and the Hallmark-card-ready family stories. But that doesn’t mean I have to swing far in the other direction, smugly declaring how much of a slacker I am, to make myself feel better.
I can feel good about my pathetic attempts at crafty projects because at least I tried. I can feel good about choosing to stay home with my children instead of running a network show and juggling work/life balance. I can be proud of making dinner most nights and wanting the kids to eat more vegetables.
A few weeks ago a friend texted me. “What do you call those people who look past you when they find out you’re a stay at home mom, like you have nothing to offer to the conversation?” she asked.
“Douchebags,” I answered. I didn’t know there was a term for them. Maybe that’s the one.
A lot of us feel like we have to justify our choices or make fun of them. I’m over that too. Can’t this just be my life? Can’t I just have this, without forming an argument in support of it?
Go ahead, argue with me. I’m not even going to engage. Because that’s the experiment: I’m just being proud of who I am and what I do, instead of feeling inferior because this other woman works and is a great mom, or she runs a business and is a great mom, or she is a celebrated artist and is a great mom.
Right now that’s my gig, man. I’m a mom. And I’m doing the best I can. That’s something to be proud of. Anything else I accomplish is icing on the cake.
Because this is my little life. I know I’m not changing the world.
Or maybe I am.
She enters the room every day. Most days, she sits down and writes. Some days, when there is more activity in the house, she perches on the edge of the chair, pushes around a thing or two, and then gets up and leaves, returning after dark, after all else is quiet.
While the computer is booting up, or rebooting, she puts all the things away. Pencils and pens in their cups. Lip balm, baseball hat, rolled up socks in the bedroom. Papers in the in-box, or the receipt box, or the recycle bag. Handbags hung in the closet. Notebooks and calendars spiraled closed, stacked on the bright red bench meant for visitors, children to sit, stay a spell.
Nobody ever really stays a spell because this is her space. She turns when you enter, “What do you want?” written on her face but a softer tone in her voice.
When everything is in its place, she pops her headphones in, turns up the speaker, and dives in. One moment she’s in another world, eyes glazed over, fingers flying over the keys, tap-tapping a rhythm that her children hear as they fall asleep – the clacking forms a tuneless song and drifts on the air down the hallway. Another moment, she’s lost, resting her head in her hands, twirling her hair into clouds and tangles, listening to the music, wanting the words to be brilliant, knowing they’re not, hating them.
And then it’s back again and she’s on fire, and the words are flowing out of her, and she’s not a suburban mother of two who just got back from a sweaty last-minute trip to the grocery store because she forgot to buy the rolls for dinner. She’s a spirit on the air flying high above the world, watching what everyone in it is doing, and writing it all down.
Luxury? Ha! The working spouse is hardly putting his feet up, watching the game and drinking a beer with his buddies. Neither is the stay-at-home parent. The only luxury of having a stay-at-home-mom is felt by the children. And that’s how it should be. One dad responds to the whole “the stay-at-home spouse is a luxury to the working parent” concept, below.
Having had my kids in school – all day! – for over a year now, I’ve relaxed a bit about being super productive with every possible minute of my kid-free time. I still have the overarching sentiment that I must do things during school hours that I can’t do when they are at home. Things like writing, exercising, meeting with colleagues or friends. I save housework, for the most part, for when they are here, because I naturally do that while I am supervising homework or reading time or play dates.
You know what else I can do while my boys are at school? I can take a nap. Or see the doctor. Or get my hair done.
Yes, those things are luxuries. But it’s not like I do them every day. And if I was working full time out of the house, guess when I would do them? On the weekends, or at the expense of my work, or while a hired babysitter is with the children. There’s a tradeoff no matter when I take a moment for myself.
All the ladies writing now about motherhood and parenting and stay at home vs. working are saying the same things we said five years ago and even farther back, and I’m sure that when we wrote those posts in the Early Internet Age, we were repeating the same struggles that women who came before us did, but using more current technology. It’s the same old story.
One thing that has changed, however, is that more men are talking about it, writing about it, and discussing it amongst themselves. It’s no longer just us housewives or “working moms” who wring our hands and shake our heads in resignation – we can discuss the work/life balance conundrum with our husbands or friends or male colleagues who are fathers. In fact, it was the dad of a traditional-model family (dad works at an office, mom is in charge of the house and kids all day while he is gone, dad feel overworked and pressured, mom teeters between exasperation and extreme gratitude) who sent me the link to this article, which was a reaction to this article, and while the public’s reaction to both was off the mark, I understand what the writers’ points are. They’re new to this gig, which is a struggle. They realize that parenting is easier with a partner, one who picks up the slack where you can’t reach to catch it yourself. But you dangle the word “luxury” out in front of a readership that is supercharged for controversy over working/parenthood, and you create a lovely little internet firestorm for yourself. Well played, newcomers.
I urge readers not to take the bait. Parenting is hard no matter how you do it. The only people who are lounging around in “luxury” are the children, because that’s the whole point.
You all know how I feel about this issue: make your own choices. Find what works best for you and your family. If others criticize you, they can suck it. But I found my friend’s response, the perspective of the working dad responsible for financially supporting a family of five, refreshing, insightful, and heartwarming. He gave me permission to share it here.
Reaction to the “Luxury” Article, by Chris Tjaden:
I think what frosts Elena’s cookies the most is the notion that her sacrifices of being a stay-at-home mom in some way provides a luxury for me. That it enables me to work late when I want have to, travel when I want have to, and render her utterly powerless under the demands of my job. Or as she may question, my abilities to control my own time & my ‘desires’ to conveniently avoid coming home. All very valid questions that I want to reassure are totally not true.
- We are living far from home (and therefore family & friends support) and are constantly reminded of what we don’t have by friends who conveniently have parents come over to cover the kids on a whim. I am sure you can relate.
- We are in the throes of [caring for three] very demanding, and still dependent, children.
- We are extremely money-strapped…something that we are trying to come to grips with.
- Finally, is the issue of Elena’s dealing with some substantially extraordinary health issues.
- Time: because of all that she does, we have the luxury of our weekends. Sure there’s the growing chaos of shuttling kids to activities, but we actually can spend time together as a family (whether it’s going apple–picking, or simply being with the kids in the driveway).
- Sanity: because she stays home, we avoid the “awake at 5am so we can get ourselves and the kids out the door” phenomenon that comes with working. We avoid the evening mad dash of figuring what to make for dinner/making dinner/getting the kids in bath & bed that has to fit within the 2hr time frame of 6-8pm. And then the ensuing clean the kitchen/do the laundry/get lunches made/pull-out outfits for the next day that follows.
- Complexity: We avoid the negotiations of who can take time off when one of them is sick or needs to go to the doctor, or what to do if and when my job requires me to stay late or travel. Not to mention the lost weekends between having to squeeze in a week’s worth of chores & shopping, while trying to spend quality time with our kids, whom neither of us has seen during the course of the week. All very real issues.
- And this would go on, if I had a longer lunch break (which I rarely take)