Tag Archives: Working Moms

Working Mom Needs Problem-Solving Skills!!

Newsflash – I’ve got issues. Don’t we all?

And here’s the deal: a friend gave me some advice a while back in regards to blogging. I need to be less despondent. Good point. So today I’m not despondent.

I’m frustrated. Really frustrated. About a few things.

See, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about my conversations with certain people and their comments towards my ‘lifestyle.’ I’m still mad about that. Mad because one of those people a) obviously hasn’t read what I wrote or b) didn’t recognize themselves in the writing. If they had they would have told me, right? Too bad other people don’t think and act the way I want them to!

Well, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment. I’m tired. Really tired. I need a mental health day. But there’s no time for that. And for once, I’m also motivated to get some stuff done around the house and for the fam. But there’s no time for that while I’m sitting at an office computer for nine hours a day. By the time I finish the hour-plus commute home I have about two hours to get anything done before I just drop.

And there’s actually stuff I want to get done!!

Wait, here’s where that person needs to insert his comment about ‘the lifestyle I chose’ when I was 20. How I knew this is how it would be and should just suck it up. Seriously. I wouldn’t put it past him.

And no, I’m NOT trying to pull the ‘poor me’ card. Sorry if it seems that way, but I’m not. I’m really frustrated. Because after I take care of any errands during my commute (since some of them just can’t get done at lunch), get home, put on my pj’s (yes, that comes first), eat dinner, spend some time with the minions and get them into bed – it’s after 9:00 and I can’t stay awake any more.

When am I supposed to do anything creative? Bake my mom’s pumpkin bread? Zumba? Yoga? Read a book? Journal? Heck, just watch a movie? The problem is I’m most energetic and motivated to do this stuff during the day. And my lifestyle trumps that. Which reminds me…

About a year ago, I mentioned a particular person and their smug-lifestyle-I’ve-got-it-better-than-you blog. I’m sure they didn’t read what I wrote either – or if they did, they didn’t recognize themselves. See, this person wrote a detailed blow-by-blow description of their day. It went something like this (keep in mind she’s talking about a weekday):

Today was the first really cold day of fall! I loved it! My day was spent:

Cooking and eating yummy pancakes for breakfast

Reading by a warm fire

Putting dinner in the crock pot

Cuddling in warm blankets

Eating yummy snacks

Unpacking Christmas decorations

Listening to Christmas music on my iPod

Knitting

Eating more yummy snacks and drinking hot cocoa

Taking a nap by the warm fire

That wasn’t even the end of the list, y’all! Really! And she was smugly humble-bragging about it! AND supposedly homeschooling her kids. Guess it was a homeschool holiday or something, since kids and teaching weren’t mentioned once. I really wanted to smack her upside the head.

Why does this make me mad? Because it was such an in-your-face ‘I’ve got it better than everyone else’ attitude. Dang. I wish I could have ONE day like that. I sure wouldn’t spend all of it eating.

What would I do if I got a day like that? Let’s see… Zumba or a long walk/run outside. Dinner in crockpot. Quiet time to read/study. Paint. Clean out the fridge, pantry and the minions’ closets (since trying to do that when anyone is home is a nightmare – they hoard). Errands. Lunch with minions at school. Chick flick or LMN and maybe a nap. Journal. Scour the bathrooms the way I can’t when anyone else is home (because as soon as I start, someone’s gotta go). Bake cookies so the boys can come home to that fresh-baked-cookie smell. Help them with homework. Family dinner time.

And THAT’s why I’m frustrated, folks. How can I find the time to do any of it?? Like I said, this is NOT a despondent post. I’m seriously looking for help here!! I know plenty of working moms who are able to actually function at home. How do you do it?? Advice please!

 

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Risin’ Above My Station, Mum…

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It’s Monday, and I’m a bit steamed. But not because it’s Monday.

I’m steamed because apparently – as the Dowager Countess would say – I ‘aspire beyond my station.’

WHAAT?

That’s right, folks. I wasn’t really aware of it until now, but a couple of conversations over the last few weeks have let me in on the fact that there are people out there who think I belong Downstairs. Not just random people out there. People I know. Here’s what I mean:

I was chatting with a colleague a while back. This colleague happens to be in the planning-the-family stage, so what they consider a ‘busy’ day comes with a big grain of salt. Anyhoo, I’ll go ahead and remind y’all that I work in the world of Sales. No, I don’t sell anything. But this colleague is one of the Sales Guys. Meaning Big Commissions (that may or may not actually come to pass) and job security based on bringing in the Big Commissions. Basically it’s feast or famine. Which will be relevant in a couple of sentences, I promise.

So, like I said, this guy and I were chatting and the talk wound around to kids, babies, timing, etc. I asked what his wife (a career gal in her own right) was planning to do after they had a baby. His response? “Oh, she’s gonna pop the kid out and never work another day outside the home in her life.”

Let’s skip the whole ‘SAHM’s vs. Working Moms debate’ for now and just go with his response as meaning that she plans to be a fulltime mom for the rest of her life, OK? Ok.

My natural response was, ‘Wow, good for her. That would be nice. I’d love that!’ Which is exactly what I said. Keeping in mind that, at this point in the conversation, I was four days into a 40-hour work week with a three-hour (give or take) round trip commute, two minions involved in scouts and soccer, grocery shopping from hell, and a stalled home renovation. Not to mention my loving cat who occasionally forgets where to pee and chooses the couch instead.

And then he dropped the axe. The bomb. Napalm. Wanna know what he said??? I’m sure that all two of you are dying to hear… Wait for it…

“Yeah, but you married a teacher. A teacher. You live a completely different lifestyle and can’t expect to be able to do that. You knew that when you got married.”

EXCUSE ME???!! REALLY?? Because I married a TEACHER I have to accept my lot in life as the poor red-headed stepchild forever doomed to work fulltime?? Because I married a TEACHER I will never have access to a home in ‘your’ kind of neighborhood? Because I married a TEACHER I should have known (when I was TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD) that I was choosing a life of ‘poor but happy ‘drudgery?

No, he didn’t say all that. But it was implied. And you know what?

I’m pissed. NOT because what he said was true, but that anyone would pigeonhole me that way.

So let me get this straight. Because I married a TEACHER, we are incapable of making a financial plan. Because I married a TEACHER, I should not aspire to go out to trendy restaurants with friends, shop in non-big box stores, travel abroad, or aspire to stay home with my kids.

In other words, I’m supposed to hang with the staff and not Upstairs. Know what made me even angrier? A repeat of almost the same conversation, verbatim – with someone I know really well.

And yes, I know that ‘other people’s opinions of me are none of my business.’ But this hit home. It hurts to know that (apparently) this is not an uncommon opinion.

I’m sorry, but we are not ‘poor.’ Do we live on a budget? Yes. But my TEACHER spouse has job security. And insurance. AND we don’t use credit cards. My minions are well-fed and clothed. I know how to put together a pretty stylin’ ensemble – even if most of it does come from Targé, Old Navy and the local outlet mall. I know the difference between a salad fork and a dinner fork. Yes, the Spouse mows our lawn himself. Yes, our cleaning lady looks just like me. My kids think a luxury vacation is to San Antonio, not to a fully-staffed villa in Belize. We DO actually go out to eat as a family – and not just to Taco Bell. For the record, I hate Taco Bell and haven’t eaten there in about ten years.

I guess my main point here is this: (shouty capitals alert…)

DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT MY ‘LIFESTYLE’ IS OR SHOULD BE BASED ON MONEY. OR A JOB. OR WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE.

How dare they??

For the record, I smiled, turned away and ended both conversations. Filter full-on. That’s a first – but here I am venting about it…

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Trophy Wife

I just posted this on Facebook, but I feel so convicted about it at the moment that I’m gonna double-dip. Ready?

Today, being a trophy wife sounds pretty darn good.

That’s it. That’s where I’m at right now. I wouldn’t mind taking the time to carefully assemble and accessorize my LOTD. I’d actually feel like doing something with my hair besides a) shave my head or b) sling it back in a ponytail like it’s been for a month. Heck, I’d relish the thought of cleaning my house – or, in a dream world, picking up clutter to save the cleaning lady some time. Cooking dinner? Sure thing, all with my perfectly-manicured hands.

Call me shallow. And selfish. You wouldn’t be saying anything I haven’t already said to myself. I know. But that’s where my brain is today. Tired. Beyond tired. SO over the nearly-three-hours-both-ways commute. It ain’t glamorous to work in town anymore. Fuggetaboutit.

Yes, I am grateful. Grateful to have a family with two minions. A house. A job. Well, that’s debatable today – since I’d rather have the ‘job’ of sitting at home looking pretty. But given that I’ve spent the last week’s worth of lunch hours napping in my car (yes, really), something’s gotta give.

And you know what? Facebook sucks! For some reason my newsfeed has been full of ‘inspirational’ stuff like “take a moment just for you, breathe, focus on the goodness in your life, and refresh your soul.” A moment? Seriously?? Maybe an hour. Or two. With a nap thrown in.

Or this one – just as I was feeling thankful, warm and even a bit cozy about my life: “Just booked a trip to Europe for the WHOLE FAM! SO excited!!” That one was followed by a link to the private villa booked by said family. With the two kids under five. Who are fluently bilingual, Suzuki-fied musicians and members of the Fashionistas.

My kids play soccer, do Boy Scouts, and their idea of the ‘fanciest trip ever’ was to their uncle’s wedding – because the bathroom at the hotel had a really big tub, a rain shower head and conditioner.

See what a short trip it is from ‘I could totally be a trophy wife,’ to ‘I’m really tired,’ to ‘My-kids-will-never-succeed-in-life-because-they-don’t-speak-multiple-languages-and-play-instruments-and-have-passports?’

Man.

Sorry for the rant – but had to just vomit it out there into cyberspace today. For the 0.5 people who might actually look at it. And for me.

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Working Mom’s Rant

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This was definitely NOT me this morning.

It’s time. Time for a rant, that is. Not because I feel any kind of huge need to vent or anything, but because I need some kind of vindication. Surely I can’t be the only woman out there who deals with all of this crap. Surely my kids can’t be disorganized, dishonest, screwed-up minions yet, right?

I really hope not. But if they are and I am – I need to know this stuff now. So I’m venting. And ranting.

See, here’s the deal. One thing I LOVE about my job is that I get a pretty hefty amount of time in the morning to spend with the minions before we all have to be out the door. Their school starts later than others in the district and I’m not on the clock until 9. So it should be a win-win, right?

You’d think so. In a perfect world. Unfortunately my world is far from perfect.

Case in point – this morning. Minion #1 is (finally) finished with the multiple days of standardized testing hell. That means that today is the first day this week that the kid is actually allowed to bring his backpack, binder and other crap to school. That’s right, folks. In the Great State of Texas, kids can’t bring ANYTHING to school on testing days. Apparently the geniuses in Austin think that an eight- or ten-year-old would try and cheat on the almighty STAAR. Ridiculous, but be that as it may. What that meant for us this morning is that – after four days of sitting idle – the backpack and binder actually needed to be organized. Which shouldn’t have been a problem. I mean, really, if you just leave something alone, it doesn’t change. Right?

Wrong. Apparently that backpack unpacked itself. I asked Minion #1 to get his stuff together – in plenty of time, mind you – before he started playing, reading, and whatever else he does with morning free time. And did he?

No, of course not. So, when I gave the five minute warning, up he came running to me – an envelope in hand and a panicked look on his face. The fundraiser envelope was due today and he was going to get in trouble for not returning it with my pledge money inside. I calmly explained that I’d paid online – only to get a panicked story about how the teacher was going to be mad if I didn’t fill out the envelope form TODAY. I soothed the guy by promising to email the teacher a screen shot of the online payment. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. Then the kid tells me his house key is missing. He knows EXACTLY where it is, though. Of course it isn’t there. Or anywhere else. I drafted Minion #2 into helping look for it – only his level of focus is about the same as the dog’s in the movie Up. Nonexistent, especially looking for something important with a tight deadline. So I proceeded to tear around the house looking for that stinkin’ key. It HAD to be somewhere, since the minions had obviously gotten in the house the day before. Granted, they’re only home about ten minutes before the Spouse on any given day – but it’s a safety thing.

Key issue resolved, only in checking the couch cushions for the missing key (at this point only five minutes LATE leaving the house, of course) I noticed that Gambit – my mentally-challenged cat – has sunk to a new low and left us a surprise ON TOP OF all the tin foil and plastic bags protecting the couch. You gotta hand it to him  – the guy is determined.

Feline cleanup in record time, and out the door, right?

Wrong. Minion #2 is still wandering around looking for a sock.

We made it, less than ten minutes later than usual. Glad I showered – by that point I’d worked up a sweat… And no less than three kindly drivers were nice enough to honk at me before I got halfway to work. I’m so glad they could tell I was a bit distracted.

Sigh. Is it just me, or should it be about six PM right now??

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Wednesday Cat-astrophe

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This is one of my cats. I absolutely love him.

He is the most big-hearted teddy bear of an animal I’ve ever met. This feline’s got so much love to give it’s ridiculous. He snuggles. He climbs in your lap. He stares up at you – his head on your shoulder, no less – with big green eyes that scream ‘I love you.’ He purrs.

He purrs so much and so hard that he drools. So much that the shelter we found him in had nicknamed him ‘Motor.’ He’s just a big, soft, lug of a bubba cat.

His problem? To put it mildly, he’s just not the sharpest knife in the drawer. By far.

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue. I value a loving purr-sonality above smarts any day. Any day but this one. Because his lack of brain power has one huge caveat.

He pees – NOT where he’s supposed to. Normally it’s on the couch. I can’t really fault him there, since he made that mistake – once – when we first got him, and you can tell that sometimes he just forgets and honestly thinks that the couch is where he’s supposed to do his business. As annoying as it is, that’s manageable. With lots of aluminum foil and plastic grocery bags to cover it, the couch is safe.

But this morning? I should have known. Youngest minion came in to tell me how cute and loving Gambit was acting towards him. Following minion around. Purring. Snuggling. The whole works. Nonstop.

That stupid cat knew he’d royally screwed up and was trying to make amends with his fuzzy cuteness. Seriously.

Luckily for the minion, I had extra time this morning and decided to be nice – unpack the lunch kit from his backpack before school. The kid buys lunch on Wednesdays, so I thought I’d save him a step. Lucky me. That’s when I noticed the other cat sniffing around the backpack. No big deal, I thought, she thinks the straps on the pack are toys. She plays with it all the time.

Then I noticed that the lunch kit was wet. Ok, I thought, the cold pack thingy must have sprung a leak. No problem. Took it to the kitchen sink, rinsed it out, tossed the cold pack and left it to dry.

But the other cat was still sniffing around. Checked the backpack and noticed that the minion’s library books were damp. Picked up the backpack to get the books and…

You know what’s coming…

Saw the puddle of yellow cat pee on the tile next to the backpack. Yep. You guessed it. The ‘leaky cold pack’ was not leaky. Less-than-smart Bubba Cat strikes again. No wonder he was trying to make it up to the kid by being cute.

I just don’t get it. What on earth – other than pure stupidity – would make the cat think he needs to pee on a kid’s backpack? And no, before you ask, it was NOT anywhere near the litter box. Or the couch, for that matter. And the stupid cat KNEW he’d screwed up – why else would he be so extra-sweet to the minion?

So that was just the start my Wednesday needed. Of course it’s library day, so the books had to be cleaned and disinfected, then dried off. Tile cleaned, disinfected and sprayed liberally with No Mark – in hopes that the cat won’t decide repeat his performance. I stuck with my gut feeling and told the minions the boldfaced lie that the leaky lunch kit had ruined the backpack. Those of you moms who are fully convicted that telling any sort of falsehood to your child is morally and ethically wrong – kudos to you. But I would still be at home dealing with TWO meltdowns if I’d stuck to the absolute truth here. I admit it. I chose not to fight the honesty battle and deliberately lied to my kids today. I think they’ll still maintain basic ethics of right and wrong here.

And the end result? I look like my mom today. With all of the drama, here I sit in my nicely conservative gray pencil skirt and silk blouse. All of the cat drama left me with no time to accessorize. So my hip, trendy take on conservative office wear got left at home.

And I look like Melanie Griffith from Working Girl. Minus the shoulder pads. Definitely won’t measure up to the Girls Down the Hall today…

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Gratitude, Schmatitude

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It’s Friday! In celebration – and to detox after the last couple of crazy days – I thought I’d publish my Weekly Gratitude List today. Here are – in no particular order – the top ten things I’m grateful for this week:

  1. It’s Friday! That means movie night at home with the minions – with popcorn!
  2. I get to volunteer (and shop) at the Bayou City Arts Festival tomorrow. H-town peeps, come on out to Memorial Park!
  3. The book I’m reading at the moment, which is giving me some much-needed reality checks
  4. Neither of the minions have had nightmares this week, meaning I’ve actually gotten sleep.
  5. Hydration really does give you more energy.
  6. The Spouse’s flexible job – which meant that he was able to help me with Wednesday’s car debacle.
  7. I have BOYS!! The Spouse is preparing for a major man-to-man with Minion #1. The Big Talk. He’s handling it – not me!
  8. Spring-ish weather
  9. Date Night tomorrow with the Spouse
  10. The Gerbera daisies on my screen background

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I’m Fitspired!!

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I’m inspired today. By what, you ask?

I’m inspired by two things – a friend’s blog and a reality check.

First off, my friend’s blog. She’s smart, witty, realistic, a working mom and apparently married to a personal-trainer-bodybuilder-like dude. He’s recently become her personal trainer. Somehow I’m thinking that translates to a heckuva lot of tough love, and it definitely wouldn’t work for me and the Spouse, but good for her. She’s keeping it real, sharing her challenges (gaining weight but losing inches), new ventures (Zumba!) and funnies from the weight room (musclebound guys who take themselves way too seriously are always funny.)

You can check her out here: Deadlifts for a Dingbat.

Anyhoo, like I said – she’s inspired me. Because if she can keep it real, so can I. Fitness is a journey, right? And it’s supposed to be about the journey, not the destination. She’s been brutally honest about her fitness journey. And I’m motivated, because she’s starting to see results and have more energy. I want that to be me. As a former gym rat/fitness nut, I’ve gotta be real here.

I’ve let myself go in the fitness department. Badly. And healthy eating? Ha. About the only ‘healthy eating’ tip I’ve followed lately is portion control. As in, ‘I’ll only eat a medium-small portion of these greasy, salty tortilla chips with queso.’ Which sounds like (heck, let’s be real – it IS) a cop-out to my rusty gym rat brain.

Now, I don’t mean that I’ve let myself go in that I’ve gained lots of weight. I haven’t. Well, not much anyway. I could probably stand to gain a few pounds, truth be told. But any smidgeon of muscle tone is pretty much gone. If I were a celebrity, the paparazzi would have me on the front of the Enquirer with my eyes blacked out and ‘skinny fat’ plastered across some part of my body. Guaranteed.

For years I didn’t really have to worry about that. When the minions were little, I had some pretty rockin’ Mama arms – toned, defined, strong, stringy even. Just from wrestling their little behinds into diapers, strollers, car seats, etc.  I kept up my leg muscles with running, stairmaster and countless hours on the elliptical.

Guess what? The minions got bigger. Nowadays the heaviest thing I tote around is my purse.

Which brings me to my second source of inspiration – the reality check. I got the new issue of InStyle the other day and it had the inevitable ‘Best Bikini Body Ever Tips’ feature on the cover. WTHeck? It’s that time already? Yikes. That got my attention, because I’ve been hiding underneath layers, baggy pajamas and thick sweaters for the last couple of months.

So I took a good hard look at the evidence this morning. And there they were: The Problem Areas.

You know what I mean, ladies. We all have them. They may be different for all of us, but let’s get real. EVERY woman has a list – however small – of Trouble Spots that we would gladly nip, tuck, laser, shrink or (rarely) expand with a magic wand if we could. I saw mine loud and clear this morning. In full daylight.

And right now they ain’t pretty.

Side note – I found myself suddenly thinking about a college friend of mine. She was (and is) absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. But I remember her lamenting her Problem Area. Yep, she had one. Know what it was?

Her arms. My friend was so self-conscious that her arms were too skinny (yep, you read that right) that she ended up in a long-sleeved wedding gown. In August. In Texas. I bet she was sweltering. But for her, that was important – to hide that Trouble Spot.

Here’s the scoop. I need to get moving. And NOT just moving to the pantry to get a small portion of junk, either. Really. Moving. Because my Problem Areas are definitely not my skinny arms! And if I eat actual non-processed food that’s remotely healthy and get moving, I just might have a bit more energy after work. Just maybe I’d feel like doing something besides collapsing in the evenings. (Sadly, as I type this, I’m sucking down a Cup o’ Soup. But I PROMISE that dinner will not be powdered and/or processed.)

So thanks, ladies! Thanks for the inspiration and the reality check!

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