The Plate Spinner
An Assignment: Romance Nonfiction Collection
108 pages/Non-fiction/Mom Humor
What working parent hasn’t considered delivering a performance review to their child prior to granting a salary, er, allowance increase?
The Plate Spinner Chronicles: A Working Mother’s Epic Adventure is a hybrid memoir/how-to guide that is stuffed with multi-tasking advice and relevant, but nostalgic anecdotes, all written in the wry tone of a harried working mother who’d rather laugh than cry over the length of her to-do list.
This book is a compilation of The Plate Spinner columns which originally ran in the Chicago Tribune.
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Telecommuting. For most breadwinning parents, the very word conjures a vision of a perfectly balanced lifestyle, one in which work and home are seamlessly intertwined.
I’ll be the first to admit that working from home is not without its advantages. Experience, however, has taught me that if kids are about, the line dividing work and home can quickly become blurred.
To help redraw the line, we have a list of mutually-agreed-upon rules to keep the two straight.
- If my office door is closed, do not open it. Ever.
On a recent frantic morning, one of my sons alerted me to the fact that his supply of clean underwear had been depleted. Throwing a quick load in the wash, I ascended to my office to prepare for a mandatory cannot-miss, must-participate-in meeting with members of my project team. Just as we were diving into the gritty details of said plan, my son burst in with, “Hey Mom, the underwear’s done!”
“Great… Thanks, honey,” I replied after hitting the mute button on my phone with enough force to push my car down the driveway and onto the street.
For most people, Erma Bombeck nailed being a homemaker, mother and general truth sayer of everything that went on in the typical household back in the 1960’s – 1980’s. When she died we lost a voice of humor, reason and the mirror in front of our face. If you are truly missing someone to relate to these days, look no further than Barbara Valentin. OMG, so many laugh out loud pieces of wisdom, lots of head nodding and even some poignant moments truly stand out for me.
And yes, my mother and grandmother’s read Erma and passed those books on to me. I also hold 1st edition copies of Hints from Heloise, too. I realize that this a non-fiction book but you really need to read it. If not for the laughs, for the head nodding anecdotes that we are all familiar with. Kids, laundry, work, calendar maintenance (love the color coding). She does talk about her husband and the days before all the plate spinning. Hey, I still have all of the cards that my husband has ever giving me. Don’t judge me.
What is even better about the book is its honest and heartfelt. The things that our children say and the honesty, too. I only have a 10-year-old son but the things that come out of his mouth. Priceless…just like this book. I would recommend it to anyone and every woman that I know. It makes you realize that you are not alone in the plate spinning business. Buy this book, give it as a gift to your own mother, aunt, grandmother. They will thank you for the laughs and realization that not much has changed.
BTW, my plate spinner mentor is my cousin. Married for over 36 years, 2 sons and now grandparents. She made it work with a husband that worked all the time and her own career. I will always be grateful to her.
Barb is a freelance writer, over-scheduled parent, and connoisseur of fine chocolate. A second-generation journalist, her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and its affiliates. The exploits of her five boys provided fodder for her column, The Plate Spinner Chronicles, a long-running feature in the Chicago Tribune, which snagged her a runner-up spot in an Erma Bombeck Humor Contest. A member of RWA’s Windy City chapter, she still dreams of the day when her to-do list includes “Send NY Times book critic thank you note” and “Accept Godiva’s request to be a taste-tester.”
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