Posts filed under ‘Career’

Trying to Have It All

SuperwomanI’ll never be SuperMom, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try and have it all.

If there’s anything that turning 40 and watching your 39-year-old husband battle cancer teaches you, it’s that thinking you’ll always have later to live the life you really want is foolhardiness. Later is NOW and I’d rather not be the fool who on my death bed rattles off my list of “should’a, could’a, would’ves” to my loved ones in a pathetic attempt to add meaning to my life.

That is what I kept thinking when I knew I’d have to give up being a full-time, stay-at-home Mom to return to work. If I now had to give up some of my time caring for my family (which is all I wanted to do), so that I could provide for them, I’d better love what I do. Otherwise, it felt like we were all being cheated.

Gretchen Reid of Motherhood Transitions helped me to see clear of the box I had put myself in, which is why I’ve written a guest post on her blog today about where I started over a year ago and how this month, I finally find myself Coming Full Circle…

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August 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

Hey! Where’d my blog go? And more important matters.

dead houseplantWhile I’m sure no one really noticed, *ahem* it has been over TWO MONTHS since my last post! Ack! Hellooooo… anybody out there? You’ve all gone on to more important things than checking in to see if I’ve come back from the dead, I know. After my first successful year of regular (okay, somewhat regular) posts, I let a few weeks lapse give my perfectionist ego all the justification it needed to apply the “all-or-nothing clause” and wait for my world to stop spinning on its’ axis so I’d have a good hour to devote to a proper post. HA! My poor house plants, which have been brought back from the brink more times than Dick Cheney on a stretcher, were sadly under the same clause. Only, there’s no bringing them back this time.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging over this past year, it’s that you can’t wait to finish the laundry, pay the bills, mop the floors, and have dinner simmering on the stove before you give some love to your blog. Nope. Bloggers are probably some of the worst housekeepers you’ll ever meet, and they’ll be the first to admit it – on their blogs to the whole world. Because it’s all about being genuine, not perfect. And genuine means you may only have 15 minutes to get what’s in your head out on the page; typos and all. I’m still learning to embrace this part of blogging… seizing the moment when inspiration hits. Kind of like a Cialis ad.

There have been many moments of inspiration over these past two months, but since I didn’t seize those moments then, here they are in a nutshell now:

  1. Mile High Mamas at Denver Childrens MuseumReagan and I attended the new bubbles exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Denver with the Mile High Mamas. We had a blast!
  2. Jim Kelly’s Second Annual Crawfish Boil was held. Reagan managed to eat the tops off of 6 cupcakes without me seeing, until I found the evidence all over Jim’s yard.
  3. I was finally making progress on my New Year’s resolution to go back to the gym when a short-term, full-time contract position was plopped in my lap. Given a little lapse in my freelance work, I gladly accepted it and started work the next day.
  4. After 2+ years on disability because of cancer, my husband won his fight to return to the Air Force Reserves! He won’t be able to fly with his C-130 unit at Petersen Air Force Base for another 3 years, but, will be cross-trained into another position. A letter from Senator Mary Landrieu of Danny’s home state of Louisiana was sure to have helped and we are forever grateful.
  5. Danny receives the long-awaited letter from the FAA telling him he can return to work at Frontier! Our livelihood is finally restored!
  6. Danny is studying full-time while I’m working full-time and Reagan is at daycare full-time. *Ugh*
  7. Working full-time, taking care of my family and the house, begins to take it’s toll. I’m bone-tired and the house is slowly sliding into a sinkhole of disorganization. My perfectionist side gives up.
  8. Danny’s first day back at work at Frontier (in training)!
  9. My iMac goes in for repair for the 3rd time in as many years. It has now had more parts replaced than Tara Reid. Or Heidi Montag. Take your pick.
  10. Apple refuses to see it my way and give me a new computer to replace the lemon they gave me after all the trouble I’ve had. *fuming* But, they will fix it.
  11. Reagan gets a new princess sleeping bag and we have the easiest bedtime routine ever every night for the next week!
  12. 4th of July in Steamboat SpringsWe spend a glorious 4th of July weekend in Steamboat Springs with friends!
  13. My contract job is finally up and I’ve decided that two parents working outside the home is definitely not for us.
  14. Reagan’s first sleepover birthday party for her friend, Ana (4) in Winter Park!
  15. City Park Jazz in Denver with our friends, the Kellys!
  16. Packed up Reagan’s baby monitor. Forever. *milestone*
  17. My iMac is ready! (2 weeks later) Now for the miserable task of restoring all my files from back-up. *blech*
  18. Back to the gym and feeling good again!
  19. Another friend turns 4! Good times with the Bickings!
  20. Reagan takes her first swim class!

cockpitAnd last night, Danny passes his check ride and we pop open the champagne to toast to his official return to the friendly skies as soon as next week!

But the biggest news of all… today Danny got the official word from his Oncologist that his most recent PET Scan shows no signs of Lymphoma and that he is AS GOOD AS CURED!!!! Hallelujah!!!

Time to pop open another bottle of champagne!

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July 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm 9 comments

Office Hours

We’re already into week three of our new family routine and I’m just starting to emerge from the haze. Amoxicillin is owed part of the credit after two weeks of suffering a sinus infection. The rest, is owed to being able to finally catch-up on my to-do list. Not that I’ll ever get to the end of it, but progress is being made. And that progress is a result of finally accepting that…

I am a working Mom.

Though I’ve been a working Mom since last April, it’s something I’ve struggled with daily. The struggle has been not only a mental, guilt-ridden one, but a physical, office-challenged one. Working from home with a two-year-old afoot would prove to be more than a minor trial, my roles shifting from minute-to-minute. An attention-starved, hungry, nap-time toddler cares not that you’re on a deadline or that you have a very important client on the other end of the phone. Your computer is her competition and she’ll do whatever it takes to get in between you and it. And even though we are a two-parent-at-home family, that never seemed to help in carving out what was my “work” time and what was my “mommy” time. It all  blends together. After all, you’re there, why can’t you change this diaper or take care of lunch, help with the laundry or read The Very Hungry Caterpillar? No matter how hard I tried, I was never successful at setting “office hours” that everyone else in the family would dutifully observe.

After 10 months, we have finally reached a crossroads. Danny is about to return to work as a pilot after two years of FAA-enforced medical leave. We will no-longer be a two-parent-at-home family. It’s just gonna be me. And, while at the beginning of this return-to-work-adventure I had no idea whether this would be a short or long-term commitment, it is clear now that to do what’s best for my family means I’m in it for the long-haul. And, my “office hours” were about to get even shorter. We had one thing working for us: Reagan turns three this month. And three, means preschool.

We spent several weeks exploring our options. I took Reagan with me for a whole day, visiting four preschools where she not only got to try out the classrooms, but the playgrounds too. Our favorite was the school where she got to dress as a cowgirl and pass the rope and spurs around to the rest of the kids. When the teacher called for everyone “wearing pink” to get in line, she got up and ran to her place in line as if she were already part of the class. As I put her to bed that night, she asked “Mommy, we go to more preschools tomorrow? Find Reggie’s best!”

And, we did. Reagan now goes every day to a full-time, in-home pre-school/daycare and gets the very best care, play-time, nap-time and education that we found available. I’m thrilled that she’s taken on weekly outings to puppet shows, skating rinks, the zoo and more, and comes home every day with amazing art projects and singing new songs. She loves learning, exploring and playing with other kids all day, and no doubt, would’ve been happier had we done this 10 months ago. I miss her every moment she’s away and wish I could be the one doing all those things with her. But, the time apart has also made it easier for me to accept my role as a working mom and given me the clearly defined office hours I so desperately needed to fulfill that role. And when Reagan’s home from her day of reciting the alphabet and doing the Hokey Pokey, the night is all mine. It’s all mommy time.

February 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm 4 comments

A Bird’s-Eye Perspective on Role Reversal

I’ve only been working outside the home for three weeks and I’m already wondering how other working moms do it?! For the past six months, I’ve been working from home part-time while my husband waits to be allowed to return to work at Frontier Airlines after his bout with cancer. My work has been irregular, to say the least. So, when a short-term contract position came up working on-site full-time, I had to take it. Not only for the regular income, but also because I knew it would be good for both Danny and I to have the complete role-reversal experience. I had to see if I could handle it, and, it gives Danny the opportunity to be the full-time caregiver for our daughter; something he has both enjoyed and grown from. It has been a great learning experience for both of us. But, in times of health, we have never been so exhausted! Well, there was that first three months of round-the-clock feedings as new parents…

My work day typically starts with long hugs and kisses from my baby, followed by sliding out the door while listening to her wail “No, Mommy, wait!” It is gut-wrenching. I think about her all day… wondering what mischief she’s up to now and how potty-training is going. My husband texts me the highs and lows: new playground friends and crib accidents. By the time I get home at night I am craving just to hold her. It is like a little slice of heaven when I come through the door to my baby running into my arms, yelling “Mommy!” with a huge smile on her face. The embrace doesn’t last long before she’s telling me her most pressing need: Dora or milk.

Until 9:00 p.m. when I can finally get her down to bed, my evening is all about Reagan. We play together, watch Blue’s Clues; there’s bath time and books. After that, I have an hour to eat dinner with Danny and relax before it’s time for bed. Never mind my exploding e-mail in-box or the fact that I haven’t posted to my blog in over a week. It is rare that I actually make it to bed by 10:00 p.m. Okay. Never. Come Friday, I am barely conscious. I’m TGIF’ing like never before! The weekends are all about family and squeezing in as much of my freelance work as I can before Monday rolls around again. Quicker than I’d like.

So, while I have put in more than 25 years of my life working in some capacity (in my 20’s I even managed to hold down three jobs at once) nothing has prepared me for the pace of balancing a full-time career and family at the same time without losing my mind. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have family near, can afford help, or have a domestically inclined husband, chances are, there is still a lot left to do when returning home from work and on the weekends as there is in my house. I am heartened by the fact that this is only a temporary situation for us, and thankful for the perspective it has given us for when we return to our “traditional” roles.

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October 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm 5 comments

Mr. Mom Loses His Training Wheels

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It has been six months since I shifted gears from stay-at-home mom to working mom. The transition hasn’t been an easy one, and it just got a little harder. On Friday I started a full-time contract position with Starz Entertainment. This means, Danny is at home full-time with Reagan. Alone. Without a lifeline.

Up until Friday I had been working from home, which was easier for everyone, but me. While I love being able to spend time with my little girl any time I want, it is also extremely unproductive to be so accessible at all times for mommy duty while trying to concentrate on your work. Yesterday, Danny actually noted how much he took my presence for granted and probably abused it a little too much. Nice to hear. Since secretly I had been praying I would get the chance to show him just that. Not that I wanted to stick it to him, but wouldn’t it be nice for him to appreciate how much work being a stay-at-home parent on your own really is? He also remarked how this would be helpful for him to not depend on me so much should I return to working from home. God definitely answers prayers!

I couldn’t help from smiling yesterday when I got a 5pm phone call from Danny asking if I were on my way home yet. I don’t get off work until 6pm. Reagan was crying in the background and Danny was speaking very slowly and deliberately as he expressed his consternation at being unable to calm our toddler in the midst of one of her standard afternoon meltdowns. Usually, I would be there to console Reagan and make things all better. This time, all I could offer him was to pick up a 6-pack of his favorite beer on my way home and pray that by the time I got there, he wouldn’t need it any longer. Lucky for him, I never had to make that stop. And if I had, I’m not sure I would’ve shared anyway.

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Photo by Kate at Yr Own Risk, via Flickr

October 1, 2009 at 1:03 am 6 comments

Cure Your Soap-Addiction with Blogs

My list of the best-written mommy blogs for the newly-initiated blog reader trying to break their soap-opera addiction.

Continue Reading September 16, 2009 at 2:27 am 8 comments

I Cheated on My Daughter

I’ve been toying with writing this post for days now. Not sure if I was comfortable exposing myself to the judgment that this topic brings with it. Fear of judgment seems to be a common theme in motherhood (see prior post here) and one that I’ve found myself embracing more and more since beginning this blog. So, here goes…

When my husband decided to fly home to New Orleans to visit his ailing grandmother this week, we were forced to make another decision. I could either stop working for the week (and longer if necessary) or take Reagan to a drop-in day care. I admit, my current clients would’ve understood if I needed to take a week off.

I chose day care.

Even though this would be a temporary solution, and only for three, half-days in the end, I felt tremendous guilt for choosing it at all. Not only does it go against my values, but also our pocketbook. However, there is this other part of me that is excited about the new career I’ve been building in social media marketing and the one thing that I know doesn’t bode well for it is “going dark” for any length of time. In addition, I still have graphic design clients and was expecting a big job with a quick turn-around to be landing on my desk any day. The last thing I wanted to do was be behind the eight-ball or have to turn down the job when bill-paying is another value of mine. It felt like cheating on Reagan to want to work so badly.

IMG_1531aFortunately, we have been blessed with a very outgoing, fearless, little fireball who craves social interaction with other height and diction-challenged, crumb-crunchers as an only child. One of her first words was “party.” Seeing my daughter’s so obvious enjoyment three hours per week at the pre-school she now attends and at the church day care center did make my decision a little easier. She has never cried nor looked back in fear when we drop her off at either. Instead, she barely acknowledges us as she runs off to make her newest BFF and explore the colorful assortment of tired, bacteria-bathed toys. Just as she did this week at day care. When I came to pick her up before nap time each day, she would practically try to claw her way back into the mosh pit, cigarette lighter blazing. It does make me wonder if she isn’t trying to tell me something… “C’mon Mom! Stop breathin’ down my neck all day and lemme’ hang with my peeps! Jeeesh.”

As comfortable as Reagan seemed to be with the whole arrangement, I wasn’t so. The first morning after I dropped her off, I was feeling as guilty as Gov. Sanford Twittering about the wildlife I encountered while hiking the Appalachian Trail. But, by day three, after seeing positive changes in Reagan’s mood and cooperativeness at home, I was feeling better about my decision. Knowing that while I worked, Reagan was getting structure, play time, activities and games while gaining developmental and social skills began to have greater value to me. And, NO TV! My guilt began to lessen a bit and surprising even myself, I decided to share my secret with all of you!

The truth is, we’ve been discussing part-time day care for Reagan for some time. I have been a big hold-out on this. This week gave me the opportunity to not only see how she would handle it, but more so how I would handle it. As Danny will soon be needing to begin intensive studying, simulator training and cockpit time in the jump seat on Frontier flights to renew his pilot’s license, I’ll need to continue to work until he is fully re-instated. Even sooner still is the possibility he may be able to be re-trained in a new career with the Air Force Reserves since they declared him undeployable with his C-130 unit after his chemo treatment damaged his heart. So, we may soon be in search of the best day care option for Reagan. It is something I never expected I’d be doing, and yet, here I am, possibly deciding who will be watching my kid instead of me.

Okay. You can judge me now. Please share all judgments below. 😛

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June 29, 2009 at 2:36 am 16 comments

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A half-hatched role-reversal takes flight on a wing and a prayer.

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