Category Archives: working moms

Resolved: ‘March’ing On!

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Ok, I promised. Now that it’s officially March, I can share my new Resolution of the Month with you! Aren’t you excited?? I can feel your anticipation vibrating through my keyboard as I type this. Seriously, I can. I’m sure that you’ve been doing nothing at all for a month but waiting to hear about my next resolution. (If you haven’t detected the sarcasm yet, I’m truly sorry for you.) But for the three – or four, on a good day – of you who actually read this, I’ve got a new goal. And it actually fits in with my Life Plan, so that’s a win-win, right? I sure think so. Hold onto your hats – here it is…

Writing.

Yep, that’s right. Writing. See, I’ve been pretty good about daily blogging lately. At least the mechanics of it. The quality? Not so much. My brain has been in a dry period the last couple of weeks, so some days have been a real stretch as far as finding a topic. But I’m not just talking about blogging here.

If I really want to be a Writer (and the capital ‘W’ is oh-so-important) I need to make writing more of a priority. I already carry a journal with me everywhere, in case something just hits me or I need to vomit excess thoughts out of my brain to make space for the day-to-day stuff. That’s not what I’m talking about here.

I need a dedicated time and space for Writing. Daily. I mean it. Not just a few minutes in the park between checking Facebook, eating lunch and reading my book o’ the day. Serious Writing Time. I want to make it a priority. Which makes sense, if I want to turn this little passion of mine into a career someday. Trouble is, time is at a premium for me. Correction – time during which my brain is coherent is at a premium. I’ve got plenty of time if you count the hour in the morning before my coffee kicks in or the two hours after the minions are in bed. But it’s hard for me to count that as Serious Writing Time when my brain resembles a greenish poof of cotton candy during those times instead of seriously alert gray matter.

See my dilemma? It’s a biggie. So I’m asking for suggestions here. Writers – how do you schedule non-negotiable time for writing into your day? How did you transition into a Writer? Moms – how do you find that solitude that’s necessary for free-flowing thoughts? What’s your perfect writing space? Manuscript or computer?

I’m open to any and all ideas here – please keep ’em coming!!

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Filed under Careers, Hobbies, time management, Uncategorized, working moms

This Was My Brain…

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… last night. See, I had a dream. And it was seriously messed up. It was pretty disturbing. Like, beyond disturbing. For some reason I was back playing oboe – all of a sudden, at my current age with kids, fam and all that – and auditioning for summer programs. That was a beatdown. Forget about my old nemesis, extreme performance anxiety. For some reason this particular summer program was located in Big D and had an interview component to the audition process.

Yuck. Throw in the fact that I was, um, at least a decade (and that’s putting it mildly) older than the other applicants. I don’t even remember the playing part of this weird dream audition. But apparently it was good enough, because I got in.

Fast forward to The Night of The Big Concert. I met the Spouse and minions for early dinner across town. (? why didn’t they just bring me dinner?) I’d asked them to bring my concert attire with them and decided to change in the bathroom. This was a bad idea. For two very important reasons. First – I’d asked them to bring one of my OLD concert dresses. Like, from my Former Life as a Musician. Before I had kids. That’s bad enough, right? Wrong. Second – apparently I hadn’t tried it on before asking them to bring it to me.

Of course it didn’t fit. But you know what? I made that sucker fit. And headed back across town with a tight deadline.

And then it hit. Traffic. Awful, horrific traffic. Gridlocked. The kind of traffic that makes it impossible to get more than a mile every fifteen minutes. I was stuck. Panicked. Performance anxiety? That was nothing compared to my normal Type A anal-retentiveness about time – magnified ad infinitum by the stupid traffic situation. Finally made it to the concert hall – just had to park the car.

There were no parking spaces in the parking garage or on any surrounding streets. None. Zip. Zero. It’s a miracle I didn’t pop the already-strained seams on that dress hyperventilating while running for it to make it on time.

Didn’t happen. I was late. By five minutes. Had to wait outside the concert hall for the first piece to finish. And then had to walk past the Spouse and minions – seated in the front row – up to the stage to explain to my section leader why I was late.

He wasn’t having it. Yelled and belittled me as only a true musician-egoist can. Dismissed me. Totally. Told me to forget it and go home, then proceeded to ignore me while I dragged my sausage-casing black taffeta self back to the car. Oh, and I’d forgotten where I put the car in my delirium – and hadn’t remembered to snap the ‘Find My Car’ app on. Seriously. I was a blubbering, sniffling mess in that stupid dress and heels, limping up and down parking ramps.

Now, if you’re still reading, you’re thinking one of two things. Either – she’s crazy, or – that is some wild kind of messed-up stuff going on in her head.

You’re probably right either way. But here’s the catch:

I DID get stuck in horrible traffic on my way home last night. In fact, it took two hours to drive my normal 21 miles. Ridiculous. And I was late to the minions’ Cub Scout thingy because of it. So that almost makes this dream a sensible reaction, right? Right. At least that’s what I thought.

Until I mentioned it to my boss. Not all of it, just the fact that I dreamed about getting stuck in traffic and panicking about it. She freaked out, asking me if I feel trapped in my current work environment. Turns out she’s big on dream analysis. So of course I had to be curious and Google around.

You ready for what I found? It’s creepy. Sure you’re ready? Ok, I warned you… Here’s what Google dream analysis had to say:

“Gridlocked traffic could represent a feeling that things in some aspect of your life are bogged down, or it could represent your state of mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

“Walking, driving, or any form of traveling can represent: The passage of time, or making progress or moving forward in life, or moving along your life path.

“Being stuck can represent: feeling unable to make progress or make changes in your life, feeling stuck in a certain situation, possibly an awkward one, or feeling that you’re “stuck in a rut” somehow.

“Playing a musical instrument can mean that you have something to express or say, or you have a need for a creative outlet.

“Performing for others can represent: the idea of attention focused on you, or of your or your efforts being noticed or highlighted, a feeling of self-consciousness, of being observed, or of being especially concerned about others’ opinions about you. Some possible meanings include: an actual, expected, or imagined audition, feeling evaluated, judged, or “put on the spot” by others, applying for a job, university, etc., wanting approval from others, being tested, or trying to make a certain impression on others.

Dang. If that doesn’t hit all the nails smack dab on the head. Huh.

As a matter of fact, I am frustrated. Feeling stuck. Knowing the long-term goals but caught in the day-to-day vicious circle of routines. Creative? Um, hello? This whole writing thing? Check. Attention? Yeah, that’s been lacking lately.
Everything in that stupid dream analysis web site is dead on.

Scary, huh? But it sure does make me think.

Now I’ve gotta do something about it.

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Filed under Dreams, Hobbies, Music, working moms, writing

Comedy of Errors

That’s the only way I can describe yesterday. Seriously. The office was actually closed for Presidents Day – something I didn’t realize until last Thursday, so that was a nice surprise – and the minions were off of school. The Spouse had to go in for one of those incredibly stimulating Teacher Work Days (translation – spend the day working through technology competencies online) and the three of us were home alone. So, being the Type A that I am, I attempted to plan the Perfect SAHM Day.

I was a machine. Up and moving way before my normal time, I had dusted, vacuumed, whipped through two loads of laundry and scooped the cat poop before 9:15 AM. Huzzah!! Minion #1 actually got up of his own free will AND MADE HIS OWN BREAKFAST!! Double-score! I was on a roll! Told the minions that we would head out to run some errands around 10. And get this – they were actually getting along and sharing! I settled in with a second (ok, third) cup of coffee and a book.

10 AM – piled into the car with no resistance. Granted, Minion #2 had figured out the Netflix app on my phone, so they were watching a movie – but they SHARED it and actually put the phone in the middle of the backseat so they could both see it. If you’ve got more than one kid – or grew up with siblings – you know exactly the kind of miracle that happened here. Surreal.

Stop 1 – getting the car serviced. Normally a 20-minute job.

And that’s when everything changed.

“Ma’am, there’s something that’s not working here, and we’ll need to get it replaced as soon as possible.” ** And can I just tell you how much I hate it when anyone over the age of 20 calls me ‘ma’am’??

“OK, can I just pull over now and have you take a look?”

“Well, no – see, we’re really backed up today. But you can call Corporate from here and book an appointment to come back. ASAP.”

First of all, I’m confused why they can’t schedule their own stinking appointments. But I smiled, nodded, called the 800 number and got an appointment – for 3:30 in the afternoon. Ok, so the roller rink was out. But surely there was something else fun we could substitute, right?

Stop 2 – Haircuts for Minions. I don’t make them appointments. I have NEVER made them an appointment. We always go to the same place, walk in, and walk out 30 minutes later with two fresh cuts. Hannibal Lector said it best here: “But not today…”

Apparently, since school was out, every other parent in H-town made their kid an appointment for a haircut today. At the ONE place we always go. Was told that there was ‘at least a 40-minute wait.’

WTHeck? Really? A place that cuts kids’ hair expects me to wait 40+ minutes and try to keep two BOYS entertained? On a school holiday? Seriously, they could have planned ahead and scheduled more staff. I wasn’t having it. We left – to go to the other haircut location. And it started raining. And we drove uphill, through blinding hail, both ways…

… to find that there was only a 20 minute wait there. Sigh. After all that, I was bound and determined that these kids would get their hair cut. So we waited. I gritted my teeth and smiled when the A/C blasted us into chill-blivion. I gritted my teeth harder and smiled when a woman with three kids signed in after us and got taken back first. She had an appointment.

Lesson learned, OK?? Got it! I will NEVER take my sons for haircuts without appointments on a school holiday again!

Minions were – still – surprisingly well-behaved, so we stopped and got ice cream to soothe their shorn-headed dignity. Then it was on to get Minion #1 new glasses – since he has somehow managed to break both nose pieces off of his. Don’t know when or how, but it is what it is. Quick jaunt into Vision Center, right?

On ANY OTHER DAY, yes. Presidents Day? Heck no. Two opticians. One occupied with a lady who spoke little, if no, English. So she passed the woman over to the Spanish-speaking optician. Ok, our turn, right?

Wrong. The first optician patiently waited for the second one to translate for her instead of just switching customers and helping us.  Really? I’ve worked in retail. Believe me, I’d want the harrassed-looking woman with two kids dripping ice cream on the floor (that was me, at that point) out of the store as fast as possible – and would have done anything to make it happen.

Not these opticians. No way. I held my ground. Dangit, we were there to get glasses and we weren’t leaving without ordering glasses.

Until I realized that the Spanish-speaking lady was ordering not one, but five pair of glasses. For five different people. Who weren’t there. She was nice enough to try and take their preferences for frames over the phone – while we all waited.

Stick a fork in me. I was done. Sticky drippy sugared-up minions back in car and home.

That only took three hours. Oh, and two hours later I was at it again, back to the auto shop. At least by then the Spouse was able to get the minions from me and take them home. So much for my perfect SAHM day with the kiddoes.

And the kicker?? This morning I get tears from Minion #2, who said, ‘I want to stay home with you today. We didn’t do anything fun yesterday. It was boring.’ You have to insert the 7-year-0ld whiny voice on the italics to get the full effect. Trust me.

Sigh. I agree, kid. I agree. Teachable moment – life happens.

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Filed under Houston, kids, life lessons, Moms, working moms

Suffering for Fashion

Why do I do this? Every stinkin’ time I swear that I won’t do it again, and every single time I fall back into the trap. Honestly, it must be an addiction. Maybe I need an intervention. What is this stupid mistake I keep making, you ask?

I suffer for fashion.

I can’t help it. Maybe I’m a victim of those subliminal media campaigns against women that the conspiracy theorists and feminists always decry. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Maybe I subconsciously have some weird addiction to pain. (Ok, that’s a stretch. I hate paper cuts. Much less anything that would cause me really serious physical pain.)

Whatever it is, I’m miserable today. And I’ve got no one to blame but myself. And Anthropologie. See, it’s their fault for advertising the skirt I bought put together as a cute little work outfit with gray tights and booties. It was something I would NEVER have put together on my own, but I had to do it. The new brown suede boots I found over Thanksgiving were just clamoring to get out of the box, you know.

My feet are killing me. My feet were killing me before I left the house. But I was too stubborn to give up and to lazy to change. (After all, it’s easier to grin and bear it than try an on-the-spot change on my way out the door, right?) I spent most of my commute rationalizing that I’d be OK now that I have this desk job. I mean, most of my day is spent sitting, right?

Not today. Of course not. Two new guys starting today (one a complete surprise) and a major graphic design project mean that I’m spending my time running around the office. Yes, running. The deadlines are that tight. At this rate I’ll be lucky not to end up with a stress fracture by noon. And why? Because I was so danged determined to be just a bit fashionable. Wonder if I could claim Worker’s Comp on that one? Somehow I doubt it.

For a person who likes to think that appearances don’t matter all that much, I’m embarrassed that I fell into the trap. I’d rather think that my actions and performance are more important. But I’m also enough of a girl to drool over InStyle every month too. But really – women should unite and protest the platform shoe epidemic before someone loses a limb.

Why is this? Why are otherwise smart, independent women so willing to suffer for fashion’s sake? Why am I cringing at my throbbing feet just so I can feel stylish? Maybe it’s a midlife thing. I’ve been feeling old, I want to look reasonably young, so I’m gonna torture my poor feet? It sounds even more stupid as I’m rereading this. Seriously.

Whatever. I’m resigned to a day of sore feet. But is that going to make me think twice next time? Probably not. But hey – it will help the budget. I mean, with my dogs barking like this there’s no WAY I’m going out to run the errands I’d planned for lunch. Uh uh. Not. At. All.

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Filed under Fashion, Moms, Platforms, Women, working moms

Mom Fail

It’s happened. To my kid. And it all hit the fan this morning. I guess I should be glad that it’s taken this long for us to hit this particular road block, but it still sucks. And I can officially claim the title of Worst Mom Ever.

What happened, you ask? Here’s the dirt. Minion 1 brings home a conduct card every Wednesday from school. I go to sign it this morning and see notes from both teachers about missing homework. TWO WEEKS OF MISSING HOMEWORK. I saw red. Seriously. That kid has been telling us for three weeks that he’s had no homework because of testing at school. Made sense to me, since that was the policy at the minions’ old school, and this one is in the same district.

That was stupid of me. I should have known. This school doesn’t mess around with homework. Ever. So why would I think that they would actually cancel homework because of testing? Stupid, stupid me. Basically my kid has been lying to me for almost three straight weeks and I had no clue. None. Zero. Zilch.

HOW STUPID CAN I BE?? I’ve had this conversation for years with parents of my students. Kids lie, they all do, and it’s just part of parenting, right? That’s what I’ve always said – every kid lies at some point to try and see what they can get away with. Doesn’t make them bad kids and doesn’t make parents bad parents.

So why in the heck do I feel like the Worst Mom Ever?

Because, that’s why. I tend to look in the mirror whenever there’s a problem, no matter what kind of problem it is. Raining today? What did I do to cause that? Part of it is my ego getting in the way (since everything MUST be all about me, right?) and part of it is my self esteem cracking the whip (you MUST have done something to screw this up somehow). And that’s a problem.

I was a stellar mom this morning. Take the homework issue in stride? Calmly talk it out? Right. Granted, I started out that way, but things escalated, I lost my temper, and completely blew the issue out of proportion. By the end of it I had unloaded all over the Spouse about how the real problem is my job and its long hours, and if I stayed home the minions would never turn in homework late, lie or fail to clean up their rooms when asked the first time.

That’s total crap. They’re kids. And boys. They’re going to screw up now and then, and it isn’t ALWAYS going to be my fault. But losing my temper IS my fault and that’s where I am feeling the guilt today. And where I also unloaded on the Spouse, saying that if it weren’t for my job I wouldn’t be so stinkin’ tired, nasty and crabby. Which may be partially true.

I’m dropping the ball all over the place. Parenting, work, spouse, home – it’s been a crapshoot this week. We haven’t gotten home before 8:00 yet. My grand weekend plan? Forget it – not this week. I’m doing good to remember to take out my contacts before I pass out in the bed, usually by 9.

Somebody throw me a bone here. Or a floatie. Because I feel like I’m drowning and the shore is nowhere in sight. Mayday!!

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Filed under Homework Issues, kids, Parenting, working moms

Kick in the Teeth

So, I came back from my weekend retreat refreshed, relaxed and inspired. My brain was literally overflowing with ideas and plans. I got my groove back and had a new outlook on life.

Guess what? Life happened. My pink cloud didn’t last much past 9 AM yesterday morning. I got seriously bummed at having to spend the day in the office working – which had absolutely nothing to do with my new attitude for self-fulfillment and personal growth. Didn’t help that it was a nasty, humid, rainy 76 degrees outside either. Even my hair rebelled, which is nothing strange. But it didn’t help my mood. And by the time I got home last night – exhausted – I just wanted to crawl into bed. No reading, Zumba, journal writing or thinking of any kind. To tell the truth, I fell asleep in front of Pawn Stars.

This morning, determined to find the groove I worked so hard to get back, I shut myself away for some quiet time. Reflecting and surfing. Which always solves the problem, right? A little Facebook makes everything better. Ha. Usually those types of days are the ones where my news feed is stacked with everyone’s vaca photos from Costa Rica or a SAHM’s latest Pinterest project.

But not today. The first thing that popped up was a link to a new post on Legacyunleashed.org. And if you haven’t checked out her stuff, it’s fantastic. Motivational, thoughtful and spiritual. So I clicked. and read. And what she had to say was a wakeup call for me.

Boy, was I glad I did. Today’s post is all about keeping your vision alive. Keeping the groove. Keeping the spring in your step while living life on life’s terms. It was truly a God thing. Given my current state of mind, it was a reminder that He hasn’t just given me these ideas and plans for nothing. There is a plan. And I need to keep the joy and remember that things don’t happen on my schedule.

While I was reading her post, the minions were playing some new app in the other room. Some bike racing thing. And I heard minion 1 say, ‘Man, I hate the bumps in the road.’

Son, I do too. And what I felt yesterday was one of those bumps. But there’s always level ground after a bump and sometimes a hill or two. I wrote down a quote from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn over the weekend. It totally fits here, I just need to remember it. So do you. Ready? Here it is:

All of us are what we have to be and everyone lives the kind of life it’s in him to live.

Profound, huh? But I also need to remember that I have some choice in what kind of person I am. That’s my challenge this afternoon. Well, that and having enough energy to put plans into action tonight!

Riker – I just don’t like the bumps in the road.

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Filed under Attitude, goals, Personal growth, Perspective, Plans, working moms

The Mom Brain

I have to give kudos to my friend Karen for the idea for this post. See, last week on Facebook she posted her frustration about trying to go to the bank and not being able to find it. Turns out she was a block away and finally wondered if it was early Alzheimer’s or just the Mom Brain. Thanks, lady! You’re my inspiration today!

Sweetie, it’s the Mom Brain. We all get it sooner or later. It’s inevitable. The Mom Brain is the reason I have the ‘Take Me to My Car’ app on my phone. Yes, there really is one. Check it out. But I’m notorious for having so much on my mind at any given moment that my brain just kicks out the location of my car in any parking lot. Seriously. And since I don’t drink I can’t blame it on alcohol. It just is what it is. The Olympic feat of trying to go to the grocery store, Walmart, Target, or anywhere else with kids – with or without stroller, etc. – has become too much and my brain can’t handle it all. So it decides to ‘forget’ what it considers unimportant. Usually the location of my car. And that’s a problem when you’re leaving the store with cart, bags and minions in tow – usually when they’re arguing or whining. A quick exit would be ideal.

The kicker? I used to have a pretty good memory. Really. Almost photographic. The Spouse has a freakishly accurate memory, so that always made disagreements more interesting. We should have sold ringside tickets. “You left the toilet seat up exactly seventeen times last month!” ‘No, actually it was fifteen, and the first three of those were actually the last day of last month.’ You think I’m kidding? I’ve said it before – I can’t make this stuff up. Really.

Anyhoo, growing the minions must have sucked up more than a few brain cells along the way. My ability to remember my to-do list for the day fell apart. Granted, I always write down my to-do list – just because I’m Type A enough to enjoy crossing things off the list – but the minions moved my cheese and there was suddenly much more to keep track of. Need diapers, stat. Add it to the list. Only I’d tell myself that I’d add it to the list as soon as I finished XXX (insert random housekeeping, work-related or kid-rearing task here). Guess what? That’s right, folks. I would forget to add it to the list. I tried telling the Spouse, ‘Remind me to add XX to the list.’ Guess what? I would forget that he reminded me, or he’d choose a really bad time for his reminder. Men – choosing the ONE time your wife/girlfriend is in the shower for more than five minutes at a stretch (which is unheard of with babies) is probably NOT the best time for a memory check. She’s not listening to you. Or anyone. No offense, guys. Just the facts.
My next step? I resorted to carrying post-it’s with me. So I could write down those random to-dos whenever they hit me. Guess what? I STARTED FORGETTING WHERE I PUT THE FREAKING POST-ITS AFTER I WROTE ON THEM!!

And now, ten years after minion #1 was born, the Mom Brain is getting worse. I could forget a conversation we had ten minutes ago. Why? Not because I wasn’t listening, but because my stinking’ brain is just so used to thinking about a million things a mile a minute that there’s not enough room in there. Something’s got to go. I really feel for my kids in about ten years. They’ll probably have to tattoo a map of the house on my arm so I can find the bathroom.

So no, Karen – it’s not early Alzheimer’s. Unless we’ve both got it. What about you all? What are your symptoms? What’s the cure for the Mom Brain??

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Filed under Mom Brain, Moms, Multitasking, Parenting, working moms