The Plate Spinner
Barbara Valentin

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.


After a long day of slaving over a hot laptop, I had no sooner collapsed on the couch when one of my sons stood in front of me, holding a pair of his Boy Scout uniform pants.

I looked up at him. "No thanks. Olive green isn't a good color for me."

Without missing a beat, he informed me that they were too short for him. "And we have to leave in ten minutes."

When I didn't respond, he shook them at me. "Please?"

I looked over my head to see how I could've missed the large flashing sign that read Seamstress - Needs Work.

"Mom, just adjust the pins so they're longer." With that, he dumped them on my lap and I tried to figure out what he meant by the strange 'pin' reference. On closer inspection, the memory came flooding back. It was a similar night, three years earlier, when a shorter version of this same son pulled on a pair of new, un-hemmed pants and, in the interest of time, I pulled out a box of safety pins and adjusted the length.

That I completely neglected to go back and properly hem them came as no surprise to my husband. He learned early on in our marriage that if he wanted a button sewn on any of his clothing, he would have to do it himself. After years of walking around with bandaged fingertips, he finally gave in and enlisted the services of our dry cleaner.

Author Bio:

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 the 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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 Available August 4
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  1. Thanks for the post, Sue! I appreciate it.

    1. My pleasure. I wish the rafflecopter had displayed proper. Good luck with your sales - it sounds like a wonderful book


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