Tag Archives: work

Juggling Change

14 Aug

I’m experiencing one of those seasons of my life where everything seems to be going right. I told a friend last night that it all seems a little too good to be true lately and that I’m just waiting for a ball {or a few, but hopefully not all} to drop. I can’t help it, it’s the pessimist in me.

The kids and I are squeezing the last drops out of summer with evenings at the pool, Tuesdays at the farm, and playdates with friends before school starts up again next month. We had a blast at the beach last weekend, the kids brought home sand in every.single.thing, but it was so worth the smiles on their faces I caught on camera while they dug, made pizzas and strawberry pies and rolled in it for hours.

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I started my part-time job yesterday, and so far, so good. I am confident it is going to work out. But it’ll likely be November before we really know if it’ll be the right fit for the long-term. I hope so.

We have one last trip before we can settle in for the real end of summer and the start of fall. One of my husband’s cousins is getting married, so we’ll be heading out to Wisconsin for the festivities and I’m so excited to get to spend time with the family. Saying prayers to the travel gods for safe, tantrum-free travel with our little people.

These years of our kids being little, this season of our life is right now. I’m trying to teach myself every day to stay present and enjoy this time because I know when I look back I’ll feel it flew by too fast. It already seems like the past five years have buzzed by.

I used to dread change, would feel the anxiety and fearful anticipation crawl under my skin, but I can sense my attitude shifting. I’m beginning to love the transformations of the seasons of my life. I never realized when I was in the throes of a career which I loved and which loved me back, that within a few years I’d want to have a family and things would have to change.

My illness emerged before I’d have a chance to come face-to-face with the issue of opt-in or opt-out. I had to opt-out for a very different reason and I’ll never know how life would have played out in the career arena for me, had I not been dealt the mental illness card.

The thing is, I’m okay with not having a traditional career. I’m content with being able to use all of my skills to their greatest capabilities because I’m dividing my time efficiently and effectively. I’m a wife, a mom, working part-time, writing part-time, and I’m also producing a show over these next nine months. Sure, there are plenty of times when I feel like I’m spread too thin. But ask any mom if she ever feels she has the perfect amount of time for everything and everyone in her life and of course she’s going to say No. No way, Jose.

This life which my husband and I have built is not perfect. But its perfectly ours. And each time a new change arises, I’m the first to lean in for extra hugs because they help. He’s always there, with a smile, to wrap his arms around me and say a simple, “It’s okay.”

He’s right. If a ball drops, it’ll be okay. I’ll just pick it back up and start juggling again.

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We All Got Bruises

5 Aug

You know what I love about blogging? I love getting a chance to read a glimpse of a stranger’s life. I love when someone opens their heart and pours everything out, showing you that they are just as human as you are. The incredible thing about living your life out loud, for the world to read, is that people connect with you. You get to know them. You connect with them. Pretty soon you’re no longer strangers, you’re friends. And if you’re lucky, you get to meet them one day.

You might just become friends for life.

We all have bruises, they’re what make us interesting. How boring would life be if it was all roses and sunshine every day? It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone in our struggles. Whether it be mental illness, alcoholism, financial troubles, parenting issues, divorce, the death of a child, or countless other curve balls life throws at us. We all have obstacles to overcome in our lives.

Music is healing for me and of all the things it’s done for me, the most important lesson it has taught me is easily, “What will be, will be” and I need to put my trust in fate.

If a song speaks to me, I play it on repeat for weeks. I lose myself in the lyrics and belt the tune out while driving to the farm or the grocery story. I used to be drawn to pop hits produced by music giants whose record labels end up writing the songs for them, pumping beats into the background of the synthesized dance tracks. These days I’m much more into singer/songwriters who tell a life story through their music. The kind of songs which make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, giving you goosebumps as you listen to the words.

You feel yourself nodding, “Me too,” as your soul soaks in the sweet melody. A good song gives me a new perspective on my troubles.

I’ve got Train’s newest album, California 37, on a loop lately.

These bruises make for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
It’s good to let you in again
You’re not alone in how you’ve been
Everybody loses, we all got bruises
We all got bruises

I’ve been a little overwhelmed by life lately. Wanting to pursue my dreams, but realizing that writing doesn’t exactly pay the bills {at least, not yet}.

A lump formed in my throat the other day when looking at finances. It was obvious that I need to pick up a part-time job. We live in one of the most expensive areas in the US, and the reality is that it’s really hard to cut it on one income. So I had a rough couple of days last week when Ben was traveling for work, filled with fear and self-pity and hugging my best friend while tears poured from my eyes, the kids looking up at me wondering what was wrong with mommy.

Once I calmed down and started to look at things with a clearer head, I quickly realized that things aren’t nearly as dire as I had thought. I was talking with my brother over the weekend about what was bringing me down and he told me to call one of our oldest friends who was looking for help with his business. It’s the type of work I’ll be able to do around the kids’ schedules, allowing me time to continue with my writing projects, exactly what I need right now.

Part of the reason I was so upset last week was because I was afraid that I’d have to give up writing to go back to work, and my heart was breaking at the thought of having to stop pursuing my passion. Sure, I’d still try to write in the evenings, but I know how hard it is to juggle everything and at the end of the day you’re just exhausted. I’m hopeful that this situation will provide the best of both worlds: the income we need with time to still pursue my dreams.

In the meantime, it’s songs like this that remind me to embrace the ups and downs of life for what they are.

Que sera. {What will be, will be.}
 
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The artist in him

27 Feb

{I’m a day late, but I still wanted to link-up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary’s Just Write series. Better late than never, right?}

It was day three of Baby Girl’s stomach bug. She had woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and because of this, threw three massive tantrums in a row during the course of breakfast. By 9:30, she was wiped. So much so, that she laid down and fell asleep in the middle of the family room.

I asked my Little Man if he wanted to color beside me while I worked so that he wouldn’t disturb his little sister’s much-needed nap. He nodded enthusiastically, asking for the coloring book that his Grandma had given him the week before. “The one that teaches you how to draw, Mommy.”

I set him up in the seat next to me and we both dove into our work. He was studying the lines so carefully as he moved his marker over the white paper. I love how he draws grass on most all the pictures he colors. And the way he draws faces on his stick people is so incredibly cute. Big holes for eyes and a nose, then a huge line of a smile that goes all the way from one ear to the other.

Makes me wonder what my drawings of people looked like from when I was his age.

The only one I remember is a dinner plate that I drew on at preschool for my mom and brought home as a Mother’s Day gift. It was a big circle of a head and the arms came right out of the sides of the head.

My son is obviously much more of a gifted artist than I was at that age.

I’ve always had a fascination with art and it warms my heart to see my son so happy as he colors, draws, or paints. He makes me so proud.

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I looked over at him drawing this picture of a giant man and said, “You’re a very good drawler, bud.” {I know there’s no “L”, I just remember how I used to say it that way when I was young. I was speaking his language.}

“Am I like an artist?” he asked, a serious tone to his voice.

“You sure are,” I replied.

“I’m your little artist,” he declared.

 

My creative heart skipped a beat. And smiled with pride.

Work stress

29 Jan

School cancelled again. This morning due to icy rain and super slick road conditions. Okay then. I’ll just have to keep the kids entertained with various busywork activities all day while I attempt to get work done so my boss doesn’t notice I’m completely distracted by these little people who are constantly nagging me for more snack! More milk! More shows!

God help me.

Morning started off well enough. The kids ate a decent breakfast and then settled into the couch to watch a few of their favorite shows. I was able to get a few things done and then the reminder of the conference call popped onto my screen.

Shit.

Ran over to plead with the kids to be quiet while Mommy made a very important work phone call.

Dialed into the conference call and immediately realized that I was supposed to have been logged into the video chat room for the call which I wasn’t able to do because I could not remember my password for these particular occasions. I immediately became extremely embarrassed (red cheeks and all, although they couldn’t see that through the phone, obviously, because I wasn’t logged into the video call).

Still, I was mortified. Especially because the call started at 1pm and I was supposed to be delivering a mini-presentation to the group. At least I had emailed my boss the list of points I was going to cover ahead of time, because I had to hop off the call and call IT Support to have them help me get into the video call. By the time I got back onto the conference call (sans video, because IT wasn’t able to get me the password I needed), it was pretty much wrapping up.

This all happened because my boss had accidentally forgotten to extend my contract via paperwork she should have submitted, therefore, I was logged out of some of the company systems. I had also received a very large empty box this morning, complete with packing materials to ship my equipment back to them because my 6-month stint had *expired*. The good news is that she is keeping me on longer than initially planned, which is wonderful. The bad thing is what I had to experience today. Complete and utter embarrassment.

It was easy for me to brush it off and move on though. An old co-worker caught me looking at her LinkedIn profile this morning and she emailed me to say that if I ever needed a job (part-time, full-time, work-from-home) that I was to call her immediately.

The feeling of being wanted and appreciated will always erase any inkling of a rough day in my book.

And the kids were happily playing away in the other room together as I worked on for the rest of the day.

An honest letter to my babies {2}

13 Sep

Dear Mister Man and Sweet Pea,

The past few weeks have been filled with a bunch of new changes. With the change of seasons comes changes in schedules, and it always stresses me out even though it really shouldn’t.

Last week was really rough. First off, you both had croup so it made for an extremely long week of lots of tears, moping around and general whining about not feeling good and being stuck in the house. It wore me out to the core. So much so, that I practically forgot your Grandma’s birthday.

Luckily for you, Mister Man, although you had to skip your “Meet the Teachers” day at school, you were well enough to start school on time and last Friday was your first day. You ROCKED it. And I was very impressed with myself for not crying.

You made me so proud when your sister and I walked you into your new classroom and you gave me a quick hug goodbye, walked right up to your new teacher, smiled and jumped right into your day with your classmates. It went so smoothly.

When we picked you up later in the afternoon and I asked you to tell me all about your day on the way home, you got annoyed easily with me because I was asking for too many details. Whenever you get that scrunched up tight-lipped smile and cross your arms, I know you’re overtired. I was worried about it because you do still nap sometimes, but the afternoon program was the only spot that we were offered since it is such a popular, well-regarded program in our area.

I’ve been having some mommy-guilt. I feel like I’ve been missing out on things lately because I’m trying to juggle this part-time job and also be totally present with you two. There were times last week when I would need to put in an hour or two in the morning and Sweet Pea you would come toddling over to me with a sad smile because you knew I couldn’t play at that moment. You’d tug at my hand as if the weight of your little body could pull me out of my chair and into the family room where you had some blocks sitting in a pile ready to build a tower.

It was breaking my heart. I wanted so badly in that moment to just ignore my work emails that were waiting in my inbox to be answered so that I could take your hand and walk over and build tower after tower until we went on to the next toy or book or puzzle. Sometimes I am torn up inside because your brother had that from me and you aren’t getting that undivided attention from your mommy because I have to split my time between work, your brother, housework, errands, and your daddy who I feel as if I don’t get enough time with either.

But I need to stop thinking like the pessimest that I am and start thinking about the many blessings that we have.

We live in a beautiful house, eat nutritious food every day, have wonderful friends and family around us, and I get to see you both throughout the day, every day.

I love that you said you missed me today, Mister Man, when we were driving in the car. You said you missed me when you were at preschool the other day. I missed you too, bud. But the best thing about being a stay-at-home-mom with a part-time, work-from-home-job is that I get to pick you up from school every. single. day.

And I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I’m going to make the most of the hours and minutes we do have together, when I’m not putting in the work hours.

Sweet Pea, you are amazing me more and more these days. You are constantly wanting to do exactly what your big brother is doing, whether that be climbing the big ladder at the playground or climbing the bar stool in our kitchen to have breakfast in the morning. And when I decided three days ago to add a Mom’s Morning Out for you and your brother on Mondays and Wednesdays to your busy schedules, you didn’t blink an eye. I dropped you both off and I barely got a hug and kiss goodbye before you ran into the room to meet your new teacher and friends. You started playing immediately and I headed home to work for three hours, uninterrupted.

Uninterrupted, if you don’t count the couple of times that I stopped what I was doing to wonder exactly what you two were doing at that moment. Were you coloring or playing dress-up? Maybe play-doh or enjoying snack time with your new friends?

Again, I was so proud when I picked you two up and your teachers said you did so well and they loved having you in class.

I know I’m packing your schedule with Mom’s Morning Out, preschool in the afternoon, and a swim class for each of you, and I sometimes worry that it’s too much. We’ll see how September goes and will make changes in October if we need to. But I know in my heart that you love all the activity. You both are so social and outgoing and it makes me so incredibly happy to see you making friends and playing and learning every day.

Your little hearts are so open to new things, meeting new people and learning about the world.

Stay that way always, my loves.

The seasons are changing, and there are so many good times ahead.

All my love and hugs,

Mommy

xoxoxo

Secret Mommy-hood Confession Saturday

28 Apr

I sometimes often wish I could go back to work. Full-time. 

I can barely remember what it’s like to work full-time. I can imagine it’s a little like staring at a computer screen for 6-7 hours a day, and conversing with co-workers for the other hour or two. Throw in some meetings and conference calls, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, and that probably sums it up. But all I can think about is the quiet, alone time I would have where I could actually hear myself think. The time in the car commuting to the office would be nice. And the lunches. Those glorious lunch hours – either by myself or with colleagues – they would be the perfect way to break up the work day and I would totally enjoy them.

A wave of jealousy washes over me when my husband calls from work to tell me he has to travel. Why can’t I ever have five days to myself? Five whole days without the responsibility of making and serving three meals plus two snacks a day, changing diapers and Pull-ups, driving the kids to and from swim class and preschool, tripping over countless toys left strewn about the house, and refereeing various squabbles over stolen puzzles/books/younameittheyfightoverit. Five days to read books in my down time, enjoy eating out in restaurants, and even exercise at the hotel gym if I wanted to. Sounds heavenly to me.

Don’t get me wrong, when he announces he has a business trip coming up, I am not shy about laying on the guilt trip. I take full advantage of the days leading up to his trip, leaving him with the kids for “quality time” while I get a pedicure, go on a long run, or take a few hours to do some window {or actual} shopping for myself. It’s my way of preparing myself for the days and nights of exhaustion that I will most eloquently endure solo.

And we survive. Somehow, we make it through the week without Daddy. It helps that I have close friends and my in-laws close by, and they usually  offer to help when they know I’m on my own. I seriously do not know how single parents do it. I have a huge amount of respect for them – it’s hard work raising kids on your own.

When he gets back we have a happy reunion full of lots of hugs and kisses. We hear about the latest city he’s visited, he doles out souvenirs to the kids, and I promptly sneak out the laundry room door to the nearest coffee shop with my library book in hand so that I can recover from the week’s escapades over a nice warm cuppa.

I’ve gotta get my me-time, or I would not survive as a Mommy. Plain and simple.

Sending love and prayers to Kim for a speedy recovery from gallbladder surgery. Glad that sucker is finally gone! xoxo

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