So, what’s the deal with the boats?  I’d been a passenger on a boat before, and I had always enjoyed it. I also love spending time near the ocean.  Ocean air relaxes me like nothing else does.  I’d been wanting to try boating for years, and this summer I finally took the plunge.  We joined a boat club (essentially “Zipcars” for boats) called Carefree Boat Club. We’re members of the Southern Connecticut branch.

Being a passenger on a boat was fun, but it didn’t prepare me for the sheer thrill of operating one.  I still recall the first time I left the harbor and pushed the throttle forward.   The engine roared to life, the sea breeze washed over me and relaxed me instantly, and I looked back to watch my wake split the water behind us.  How did I feel?  Freedom, joy, energy, and a sense of empowerment.  I was the captain of our ship, and I could take us anywhere.

That sense of empowerment carried over to other aspects of my life.  Sometimes I’ll try to get out on the water a day or two before an important hearing or deposition.  It focuses me and gives me more of an edge.

Working moms, in particular, are notorious for failing to take time for themselves- we feel guilty about it because there are so many obligations and chores.   That is a big mistake, which I had made for years.  Do one thing each week that lifts your spirits and empowers you.  It could be a fitness class, a girl’s night out, or, in my case, pushing that throttle forward.   You are worth it.  But if that doesn’t convince you, I’ll give you a guilt-free reason to do it-  it will make you a better mother, coworker, spouse, daughter, etc.  Really, it will.

Money Saver: Split a Sitter

Working parents know that childcare gets pricey.  Between all-day preschool and afterschool babysitting for my older daughter, I could easily spend $500 or more per week on childcare.  And that doesn’t even include money spent on dance classes, swim lessons, and other activities.  My yearly childcare expenses far exceed what I paid in annual tuition when I attended law school in-state at UConn.  My four-year old won’t be able to write a legal brief when she graduates, though, trust me, her negotiation and oral argument skills are top notch.

To save money on afterschool care, we and another family in our district jointly hired a babysitter.  Both of our kids get off the bus at one of the two families’ houses, where our babysitter is waiting.  Our sitter is happy because she earns a few more dollars per hour than she would have earned to care for one family’s child, and each family pays far less than we would have if we had each hired our own sitters.