What kind of upbringing allows the creation of human beings who are capable OF THIS or OF THIS??

Are all of us capable of behaving this way under the "right" circumstances? Does the fact that so many Germans were complicit in the Holocaust suggest that this is true?

All I know is that I want to raise my children to stand up bravely and, if necessary, be willing to risk their personal well-being for justice, peace and human rights at home and around the world.

more jon & elliot

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

baby names

I've always been a bit obsessed with baby names, so I just love this cool BABY NAME WIZARD THINGIE. Type in a name, any name...

I was surprised to see that "Athena," which is what my bro and sister in law plan to name their new baby if it's a girl (mama is Greek) has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.


quote o' the day

"Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises."

-Samuel Butler


tony randall and larry king must've missed the memo


what will the pro-life movement response be.... THIS NEW STUDY that argues that the rhythym method of birth control results in more embryo "deaths" than using a good, old condom?

more on shiloh

I finally figured out why the name "Shiloh Jolie-Pitt" reminds me so much of a loveable puppy.

To wit:


happy birthday nicole

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Thank you for marrying our little brother. We are not sure how he managed to convince you to marry him, move to Bell Buckle from Chicago and have four children with him, but we are all very grateful



Kate & Betsy

heat pumps

So I am getting a new heat pump (new heat and A/C system), and am a bit overwhelmed with picking what kind I should get.

I don't even know what all these mean:

-Air source heat pump
-Ground water source heat pump
-Earth coupled heat pump
-Direct exchange ground source heat pump
-multi speed or dual compressor heat pump
-comfort zone heat pump system

Anybody have one of these and any thoughts about its pros and cons? I'm willing to spend a little more to get the most efficient kind ...

Clearly, I need to do some major research this week.


shiloh jolie-pitt

Oh dear. Brad and Angelina have named their newborn daughter, SHILOH NOUVEL JOLIE-PITT.

"Shiloh" is a simply terrible name. It's the site of a horrifying, bloody Civil War battle. It's also the name of any number of dogs in the southeastern U.S., as well as a popular name for tacky subdivisions.


i want to write about your house

Well, once again I have a slew of freelance assignments on which I need to get crackin' (for HGTV) and I'm looking for homeowner interviewees. If you have any of these features in your house/condo/apt and would be willing to talk to me about them, please be in touch. I'd be very grateful. Feel free to pass this message along to friends/family.

-A combo kitchen/family room
-A floor in your kitchen made of cork, brick, hardwood or laminate
-An unusual kitchen sink: farmhouse style/above counter or "wet surface"


big(ger) families

I have three kids and would like at least one, maybe two more. Often I feel like a weirdo among my friends for having this opinion, so it was interesting to read THIS ARTICLE about the new "mini trend" of how "three is the new two."

My little brother Robert and his wife Nicole, both lawyers, are pregnant with their fourth baby, due in July. They also have Jones (5), Anna (3) and Helen (2).


hottfest 2006

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Saw a bit of Hottfest last night and it was great. This is me chatting with Brandon from the Westside Daredevils. I am their # 1 groupie.

More photos RIGHT HERE

henry is a high school student

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

More photos from his 8th grade graduation RIGHT HERE

Yeah. He's really adorable ;-)

three monkeys

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

jon & elliot wrestle

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

elliot, eleanor and mclean listen to street performer on market square - may 26, 2006

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

uncle monkey

uncle monkey
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

I hope to be able to get to Nashville next weekend for my BABY COUSIN THOMAS'S CD release party at 12th & Porter.

Thomas is my youngest first cousin and probably the coolest person in our family. Definitely the best looking of the lot of us. He's a physicist by academic training, but also an incredible drummer. He also does Reiki. And climbs trees. He was also the first person to introduce me to Buddhism about a decade ago.


Tim McGraw - who knew?

I had no idea that Tim McGraw is a VOCAL DEMOCRAT with aspirations to one day be Tennessee governor.

may 26, 1990

Tomorrow would have been my 16th wedding anniversary.

Such a stupid, pointless tragedy. It would be so, so much better for the children if we were married. And when things were good, they were really nice. I wish I could have stayed married. I really loved him. I always will, actually. And I'm pretty sure he loved me, too.

labor inductions

Interesting discussion on the topic of all the unecessary LABOR INDUCTIONS IN THE COUNTRY happening.

janet jackson's belly...color me skeptical

Check out these BEFORE AND AFTER photos of Janet's recent, dramatic weight loss.

Clearly, the girl's lost some serious poundage, but that photo of her abs? The after photo? I'm calling Photoshop on that one.



This new trend toward superwhitr=e teeth should be a good thing. After all, white teeth look nicer than not-so-white teeth. But increasingly, I see people whose teeth are just....freaky white. Too white. Eerily white. And people's teeth are all starting to look exactly alike. Just like people. Women look more and more like one another in the U.S., don't you think?


Don't forget the cool, group-mama-writer-blogging-project that is MAMASINK.

kag's adoption guidelines

I don't think people who would name a child something ridiculous LIKE "LIBERTY" should be allowed to adopt. No, seriously.

Adoption agencies should ask what the prospective parents intend to name the baby, and if it's something like "Moxie Crimefighter" or "Pilot Inspektor" or "Sunshine Marmoset," they should be turned down cold.

school's out

Only two more days until school is out for the year and I absolutely cannot wait. No more homework. No more demanding morning schedules. Of course, some of that hassle is replaced by dealing with the patchwork of childcare I sling together to keep everyone under a watchful eye during the summer, but that's generally easier than school stuff. We all need a break from school stuff.

Once again I end the year feeling very guilty about how uninvolved I am at my kids' school as a result of my paid employment. Their school is 25 miles from my office and I have a job where it's hard for me to leave for an afternoon for a field trip or whatever. I always feel like the worst mother on th eplanet when I get calls from the Super Organizer Moms who are baking cookies, planning class parties, etc. I just can't do that stuff. My mother never did either and it always bothered me a little (just a little, Mom! really!), but I now understand what her limitations were. She, too, had a full time job in media many, many miles away from where we went to school each day.

But we made it through another year. Henry has finished 8th grade (yes, I am now the mother of a high school student. how weird is THAT?), Jane has finished 5th and my baby, Elliot, is a proud graduate of the second grade.


Granju family - June '05

hottfest 2006!!

Maybe you haven't heard about the Knoxville music scene's best kept secret. It's called HOTTFEST and it's a four-day pop music festival at my favorite local venue/watering hole, THE CORNER LOUNGE, just a few short blocks from Knoxville's Old City.

Hottfest STARTED LAST YEAR and was the brainchild of local record producer, current TIM LEE BAND drummer and former drummer for FOR SUPERDRAG, Don "Hott" Coffey, Jr.

This year's festival will feature more than 20 local and regional pop acts,including:

-John T. Baker and Econopop
-Westside Daredevils
-Tim Lee Band
-Lost Brakemen
-Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere
-Stewart Pack & the Royal Treatment well as a headliner visit from the band HEALTHY WHITE BABY. And best of all, the cost is only $5 per day. That's right, for only $5, you can see three or four top notch acts at the Corner Lounge every night this weekend.

Check out the full schedule at the official HOTTFEST WEBSITE



Big congrats to my friends Spike Gillespie, who is GETTING MARRIED TONIGHT and Rich Hailey, who is GOING TO BE A GRANDFATHER


Al Gore's comeback

The Al Gore '08 buzz is REACHING FEVER PITCH

still tired

I am still quite sleepy and tired after my flu/bronchitis bout. Every day I feel like I'll be "all better" and I still find that my energy isn't back up to snuff yet. I think I need to focus on eating healthier and being sure to take my vitamins and being at home more while I get my strength back (what an old fashioned phrase, but it's what I need - to get my strength back). My trip to Atlanta over the weekend was probably too much too soon after having been so sick.


I try very hard to look at the bright side of my post-divorce parenting situation. After all, sometimes it's nice to have a little break from caring for my children. But sometimes, I am struck by how tragic the whole thing is and a wave of sadness engulfs me for a while. That's how I'm feeling lately. On the day I signed my divorce agreement, I essentially signed away 40% of my children's childhoods. It's lost to me forever. Because they are with thier father, who isn't with me, I miss 40% of bed times, dinners, stories, lego creations, amazing ideas blurted out, mudpies, impromptu plays, etc, etc, etc. It's horrible. They come home today after 5 days away and I feel ravenously hungry for time with them. But the day they come home after a long weekend like this is always a little bit of a transition for all of us. The going back and forth is probably harder for them than I can even imagine. I know the separations are horrible for me and I don't even have to schlep back and forth between two households.

I am feeling very resentful of time other people get with my children that I don't get, even though I am their mother. Their father is remarrying and even though this person has only known my children for a few months, she gets entire weekends with them that I don't get. That hurts. I think it's really important for children to have many adults who love them and care for them in their lives - not just parents - but I'll admit to intense resentment when I fall asleep at night knowing that some other woman, who didn't birth them or nurse them or raise them is getting to enjoy reading them to sleep that night. It's a pointless emotion, but there it is.

I hope I have the opportunity to mother again, full time, one day. I'd like to have another baby. But damn, I surely do miss the three I have.

it's a girl!

I just finished reading my friend Andrea Buchanan's new anthology and I loved it. My favorite essay is by BY JOYCE MAYNARD. It's about what it's like to be the mother of an exceptionally pretty daughter - as I am - and how hard it is not to get all invested in your beautiful child's physical appearance.

ayun's state of the union

How weird it must be for my friend Ayun to have her marriage immortalized in the SUNDAY NYT STYLE SECTION.


current listening

(Get to see them on Sunday. Yippee!)

hillbilly gothic

Check it out: my friend ADRIENNE MARTINI'S new book is now listed for pre-order on Amazon:

I was lucky enough to read a galley and it's a funny, heartbreaking memoir about her own struggles with PPD. But she digs deeper and uncovers a history of Appalachian women in her family going slightly crazy after giving birth.

Highly, highly recommended.

the room where testicles go to die

Someone very close to me had a vasectomy this week. He says it hurt(s) about 100 times worse than "they" said it would.

I'll have to ask him if this RATHER AMUSING DESCRIPTION of one guy's snippage is accurate.


Check out this McDonald's ad showing a baby suckling at a SESAME SEED BUN.


britney and baby, redux

Uh oh.



My housekeeper, Dana, quit today.


She was a lifesaver.

don't you hate it when... wear cute, new shoes for the first time and realize they are so damnably uncomfortable that they are pretty much never going to be worn again?
Knoxville rock icons, and my pals, Tim & Susan Lee made an APPEARANCE ON WBIR this week. It's a sweet story focusing on the fact that they've been together for 25 years and still love working and playing together. Falstaff Lee the Bassett Hound even makes an appearance.

jane, shoe fashionista

This morning Jane said to me, "Mom, I like those new wedges you're wearing, but you know they would work a lot better in cork."


I have now missed three days of work from being sick, but I think I may have turned the corner today. I also finally went back to the doctor today and she gave me antibiotics for my lungs, which she thinks are inflamed/infected. Also gave me some cough syrup with codeine, so I'm hoping I'll sleep well tonight and not wake up coughing. I am seriously behind at work now.

Henry and Elliot and I are snuggled up on the sofa watching a Ben Folds DVD that came with "Songs for Silverman." We all love Ben Folds around here.I've been listening to "Rockin' the SUburbs" a bunch since we saw him live week before last.

This weekend the children will be with their father and I'm going to Atlanta. I know I am going to see Flaming Lips and Big Star (!!!!) and am hoping to squeeze in K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Yeeehaw.


still sick

Boy, this flu has really taken me out.


britney & baby

You know, I just don't get what's up with this particular mom. In THESE PHOTOS, a be-rollered Britney Spears is shown driving a convertible with her baby strapped into his carseat in the back.

Carseat sounds good, right?

Problem is, the baby in the carseat is flopped over in a totally unsafe way and the seat is forward-facing when the baby is still CLEARLY too young to be forward- facing.

Britney, hon, you need to turn the carseat around and install it at an angle that reclines his wee head and neck properly. Go to your local Highway Patrol office and ask them to show you how. That's what I did. Plus, since you live in SOuthern California, you might get lucky and have Ponch or Jon offer to do the installation instruction for you. Score!

Also, I'd recommend a hat for a tiny baby being driven around in an open-top car.


I am so sick. I've been sick for days and can't seem to shake it. I tried going to work today but was so weak and exhausted that I came home midday and slept. Now Henry has it, too.

I am grateful that my kids' father and grandparents have agreed to help by taking the children overnight so I can sleep. I don't see any way I could fix supper and get anyone to bed, much less give poor, sick H the attention he needs tonight. But I hate being away from any one of them when they are sick.

I'm beginning to realize that what I likely have is the flu. My sister had it last week and the doc gave her antibiotics but she says they didn't really help, so I am guessing viral. The symptoms are textbook flu. I think I jinxed myself by saying out loud the other day - I kid you not - "Wow. I haven't had the flu in two years!" How stupid was that? I usually get the flu once per winter/spring and one year I had it TWICE.

Other than that, I'm usually pretty hale and hearty, but I do seem to be a favorite flu-bug landing pad.

"formula 4 success"

Prepare to gag.

These baby onesies from Target feature a baby bottle and the slogan "Formula 4 Success"

How about "Formula 4 Violating the WHO CODE"


just a nibble

So I have a good, strong nibble from a very well respected small publisher for a book proposal I've written. The proposal is about how we "over parent" kids today; pushing babies toward independence far too early and treating older kids and teens like babies for far too long.

I first wrote the proposal more than two years ago and it's gone through several iterations. My original literary agent shopped it around with no luck and then a second agent shopped it some, too. No success.

I was pretty discouraged, so I put it away until recently, when I decided I still really believe in it and want to send it out to some smaller presses, sans agent.

So I did, and now I have some interest, which is good. I really wanna write this book.

So keep your fingers crossed for me.



Jane wrote me a lovely poem (about me, as a mom) for Mother's Day.

This is my favorite line:

"You work your tail off to keep food on the table, and you let us have our dog, named Mabel."


happy mother's day

Three years ago on Mother's Day, I wa sreally broke and couldn't afford to buy my mama anything. So instead I wrote THIS FOR HER.

Now I put it online every year around Mother's Day.

This year, I also sent her somethin' nice, because I'm slightly less broke ;-)


Originally uploaded by kgranju.

With hat tip to THIS GUY


my bro and sistah in law

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

The Cinco de Mayo party was fun. Probably their last big bash before baby # 4 (!!!) is born in July.

mac, jedi knight

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Suzanne made this cool Jedi cape thingie for my nephew McLean's 4th birthday. His birthday request was that we all eat at "The Taco" last night, so we did.

the new homemaker

Keep my friend Lynn, one of the coolest mamas in America (seriously) IN YOUR THOUGHTS

neal pollack, deriva-dad

Funny writer NEAL POLLACK has a new book coming out called "Alternadad." It's about how he's a hip papa, which he probably is. I'm sure he's a nice fella.

It's a great idea for a book, as all the women who have been writing about it for the past ten years or more would tell you.

My friend MARRIT INGMAN makes note of how derivative Pollack's idea for a book is in her NEWEST COLUMN for AustinMama. She rightly points out that groundbreaking mamas like ARIEL GORE, BEE LAVENDER and my dear pal (and former Knoxville grrl) SPIKE GILLESPIE have been covering this beat for a decade.

Heck, even I wrote something about GenX parenting and how it's different in a 2003 PIECE FOR

Marrit's new column also gently (in my opinion, considering it appears she was ripped off)points out that a recent piece Pollack wrote on his hipster dad status for the New York Times seems to draw quite specifically on a piece she had published before his called "Preschool of Rock." The similiarities are, ahem, highly coincidental.

Go read Marrit's column before you read Pollack's new book.

Then go read some back issues of THE EAST VILLAGE INKY, HIP MAMA and even MOTHERING magazine if you want to know what WOMEN have been saying on this topic for a good while now.


mothers genderflection

Kudos to my friend Andi on the nice write-up about her two recent anthologies, "It's a Boy" and "It's a Girl" (Seal Press) featured in USA Today.

Both books are awesome (though I'm probably biased because one of my essays is featured in "It's a Boy")

what i wish i'd known about marriage

That's the title of the article Lance Armstrong's ex-wife wrote for Glamour magazine. She was on Oprah yesterday promoting it, saying she felt smothered and defeated by her four years with L.A.

It was an interesting interview and she talks more about it RIGHT HERE. (But don't you think she looks a bit like JENNIFER WILBANKS' MUGSHOT in that photo?)


virginity pledges don't work

See some interesting EVIDENCE HERE.

Maybe I'm an outlier here, but I don't want my teenagers to take a virginity pledge.

I mean, I don't want them to have sex until they are mature enough to be safe and responsible, but I certainly don't want them waiting until they are married to have sex. That's a recipe for (likely, I know there are exceptions) disaster, in my opinion...

If your husband leaves you for Tori Spelling...'s good to keep a SENSE OF HUMOR about it.

After all, your husband just left you for Donna Martin.

state of the world's mothers

Take a few minutes to read through this comprehensive report on THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S MOTHERS

Key findings:

-Education for girls saves the lives of mothers and babies

-Access to reliable, modern birth control saves the lives of babies and mothers

-Quote from the report: "Breastfeeding is one of the most effective interventions for newborn survival. It provides nutrients, warmth and stronger immunity for the baby. It also promotes bonding and helps a mother's uterus contract to reduce blood loss." (See CITE RIGHT HERE.


seriously disturbed. seriously funny.

Check out this BLOGGER'S CARTOONS.


RN2, originally uploaded by kgranju.

tattoos on lower back can cause probs during childbirth

At least, that's what THIS STUDY SAYS


Originally uploaded by kgranju.
This is my two year old niece Helen enjoying the Cinco de Mayo party in Bell Buckle this weekend. Isn't she cute?

peonies in bell buckle

Originally uploaded by kgranju.


why i shop at the food co-op

Afterreading my post below about Jane cooking, a friend asked me today why I shop at my neighborhood food co-op so often when it would be much cheaper "and easier" to always shop at Kroger or Bi-Lo or some place.

Well, there are several reasons.

First of all, I hate grocery shopping in big stores. I am forced to do it some and I just find the whole experience - with the harsh lighting and crying children and overwhelming number of choices - unpleasant and overwhelming.

Our Co-op, on the other hand, is cozy and pleasant. It smells spicy and nice and has creaky wooden floors. I like reading the notices on the community bulletin board and it's the only place in town where I can buy The New York Times, Midwifery Today and Hip Mama....all on the same newsrack.

My children like it, too. They feel comfortable and at-home there. They like having a rootbeer from the cooler near the door and enjoy the vegan muffins.

I also like the stuff they sell there. It's the best place to get the frozen Indian food that I eat as often as possible. I can find my favorite Stonyfield Vanilla Truffle yoghurt and prepackaged Pesto from The Tomato Head. I only like serving my kids organic dairy foods and they have the best selection of that in town (maybe that huge EarthFare 25 miles West of me has a better selection, but I've never been there.)

As for prices, I disagree that the food there is THAT much more. You can buy stuff in bulk there, which is cheaper (and which I should do more of). Plus, I don't impulsively load my buggy with stuff I don't need (because they don't have it), so I spend less, I think.

It's in my actual neighborhood, so I run into friends and interesting people there.

It has a small parking lot, so I don't have to deal with a huge parking lot full of other cars. I can get in and out quickly.

I can buy the environmentally less-unfriendly cleaning supplies and paper products I prefer.

The best part, though, is buying at a food co-op offers an easy, no-brainer way for busy, busy me to support causes I believe in. Many of the brands I buy there give a percentage of profits back to things I support. Also, the Co-Op buys produce and dairy from local suppliers, so I am supporting local farms and gardeners. They recycle, so I'm supporting recycling. Just by buying my food, something I have to do anyway, I'm doing Something Good. I like that.



I got to go to BONNAROO last year & cover it COVER IT FOR WORK.

I actually wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it because I'm not much of a camper/roughin' it kinda girl, but AS YOU CAN SEE, I ended up having a pretty great time.

And I am going back this year for work again. This time I will be better prepared with the right supplies and plan to have an even BETTER time.

Any blog readers going?

target as bad as wal-mart?

Oh no! Say this ISN'T TRUE!!!!!!!

jane can cook

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
As those who know me can attest, my kitchen skilss are, uhhhhh, negligible. Strangeley, my mother and grandmother cook well, but I never learned. My mom mostly shooed me out of the kitchen (because she was slammed all the time). Plus, it's just never interested me that much.

But Jane's father is a good cook and so is her paternal grandmother, with whom she spends a lot of time, and also her paternal Uncle Nick is a chef. So the cooking gene is there.

Yesterday Jane announced she had seen someone making bruschetta on The Food Network at her grandmother's house (we don't have cable) and said she wanted to make it for dinner. So we went to the Food Co-Op and she bought the stuff she needed and proceeded to make very tasty bruschetta (french bread, olive oil, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella), including a good dipping sauce she made up.

I was so impressed! It was really, really good. I want to encourage any interest any of the children have in cooking.

best article on risks of bottle-feeding i've seen in a long time

Thanks to blog reader J.H. for pointing me to THE BEST ARTICLE on the importance of breastfeeding/the risks of artificial feeding that I've seen in several years.

Please read it. It's important stuff.

under the covers

I really expected to love this record. I ADORE Matthew Sweet and like Susanna Hoffs' voice. I like jangly pop from the 60s and 70s. So the recipe was there for me to really enjoy this new record of pop covers by Sweet and Hoffs.

But it's just really dull. I mean, they don't DO anything with the covers but cover them. The originals are better. It's like listening to Hoffs and Sweet sing karaoke (albeit very well).

Not recommended.


I'm an unschooler at heart, but my kids all go to a pretty traditional school full time. There are a lot of reasons for this, but there it is.

One of the things I dislike about traditional schooling - a selfish thing - is that my kids' teachers can sometimes make me feel about three inches tall. That happened today.

ANd I hate homework. Have I mentioned that I HATE HOMEWORK?

Thanks goodness summer is almost here.



This is possibly THE MOST OBNOXIOUS THING I've ever seen. It's a line of infant clothing with slogans like "Pimpalicious" and "My Mom is a MILF"

Dear Gawd.

look! it's ben folds' ass!

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
It was a great show, but this was pretty much the only photo we got of the stage.

J. tries to study at horse show

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

more gardening

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
More pix from my ongoing yard makeover RIGHT HERE

how did san francisco become so gay?

(Hat tip to Micheal)

This article asserts that it was THE MILITARY that turned SanFran into a gay mecca.

vintage children's books

Check out BECI'S COOL SELECTION of vintage children's titles. I know where I'll be doing a lot of my baby shower/birthday/Christmas shopping now.


My 10 year old daughter will have nightmares about "lockjaw" tonight. That's because she was barefoot (actually in socks) at the barn today and she stepped on a board with nails sticking up and poked two nasty holes in her cute little foot.

Our pediatrician says she will have to have a tetanus booster shot in the morning and Jane is so scared of lockjaw (I guess some other kid at the barn got her worried about it) that she was BEGGING to be taken to the ER to get the shot tonight. She doesn't want to wait to have the shot.

She's a tough cookie, but I hate for her to have to have this shot :-(


yeah, i took the post down

Yep. I did take that post about cheating down.

I decided I didn't want to invite comment from folks who inevitably would...


It's almost time for Knoxville weirdest festival!

And my friend Bradley Reeves, a film archivist, gave me this info today about something very neat that he is doing at Vestival this year:

8:30 pm: Film screening
Outdoor film presentation will include an obscure Disney cartoon, rare 1960s Scopitone “Music videos”, and two Appalshop documentaries on Appalachian culture.

Friday, May 12, 2006 -- Candoro Marble Building, Corner of Maryville Pk. and Candora Dr.

It’s FREE! Bring Lawn Chairs


another poem by elliot - second grade

Can You Imagine?
Soccer without a ball.
A Darth without a Maul.
A girl without a shawl.
A world without a mall.
A house without a hall.
A room without a wall.

By Elliot

built to spill

This is a gorgeous, soaring heartbeat of a record.


Before I got divorced, I worked from home most of the time. I traveled some for assignments, etc, but I mostly worked from home as a freelance writer. My husband worked at a "real" job. We both helped support our family.

The best part about this arrangement was the the children and I had plenty of unhurried, no-pressure time at home.

These days, I work 50 hours a week and have no husband at home to help. The children are at their father's house about 40% of the time. We very often do not get home after school/work/after school activities until 7:-7:30 pm. And this is one area of my life that I feel is not working well. We are just rarely hanging out at home gardening, cleaning, playing, making a home together.

We need more time to just veg out at home, with no plan, no agenda. I need more time to clean and organize and even cook some (yes, I coook a little and I like it a lot better when I'm not trying to feed three tired children at 8 pm after having been at work since 7 am.

Optimally, one person in a family should be based at home. This can be mother, father or even paid nanny, but somebody should be able to stay at home and keep the mothership humming along.