Posts filed under ‘Working from Home’

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

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

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

58757764_e384192d83Drifting. For the past year and a half. Life definitely has a course of its’ own and we have no control of the rudder. What is the lesson here? Still trying to figure that out. For every lighthouse in the distance, a new reef has emerged.

Truth? After two months of working from home, I miss being a full-time Mom to Reagan. I’m good at it. Not liking this role reversal thing. It’s just not me. And, no surprise, it’s not for Danny either.

I came back to work kicking and screaming, but have given it my all because I have no choice. It’s either earn a living or see my family become homeless. Now, as I had feared, the results have not been good for any of us. I know there are families out there making this work. I wish I knew how. It has only caused us much strife, stress and malaise.

During this past weekend away from home, I spent much time pondering and praying the answer be revealed to me and came up short. All I know for sure is that Danny and I are definitely happiest in our traditional roles of Ralph and Alice. Does this mean that will happen? Not for at least another six months when Danny may be medically allowed to return to his job as a glorified bus driver (pilot). So, how do we get through our time adrift on this great, big ocean of crashing waves and scorching sun? I don’t have an answer to that. I’m just leaning on God with all my might and praying He put the wind back in our sails and send us in the direction of safe harbor once again.

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Photo credit: Dbuc

June 10, 2009 at 1:33 am 3 comments

Balancing Life Online and in Reality

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Oh, I’m sorry, did you come here looking for answers? Didn’t mean to mislead you. All I really have are questions. Maybe you can help me?

Question #1: When you have just one more thing to get done on your computer, the daylight hours are dwindling and your kid hasn’t had any fresh air today, do you:

a. Make-up some excuse to e-mail your client why you didn’t meet the deadline and take your kid out for ice cream.

b. Put on Nemo (that should give you a good hour and a half), continue working and then finally get out of the house with just enough time for a couple pushes on the swing and trips down the slide before dinner.

c. Open the windows.

Question #2: Even though you’ve had barely any sleep in the past 3 days, you really want to catch up on Facebook before going to bed. Do you:

a. Decide you can go just one more night on 5 hours of sleep.

b. Quickly read the status updates and your Inbox messages and skip sending rounds of drinks, “Pick 5” and taking quizzes on how well you know Sesame Street and what color your rainbow is.

c. Get so sucked into figuring out which Disney, Grease or Wizard of Oz character you are, collecting eggs and playing “Mafia Wars” that you decide you didn’t need that 5 hours of sleep after all!

Question #3: Your online to-do list is a mile long. You have bills to pay, e-mails to return, appointments to set and research to do for your client. Do you:

a. First check your Twitter feed to see what’s what and then get caught up in Tweeting and Re-Tweets for the next few hours.

b. Get your work done before ever logging into Twitter or Facebook, but keep tabs on your e-mail alerts for anything juicy at the same time.

c. Suddenly realize it’s 5pm and, oh well, it’s too late to do any of those to-do items now, might as well start fresh tomorrow!

Question #4: You’re meeting up with another Mom in an hour for a playdate and you haven’t had a chance to get that technical e-mail written that needs to be sent out today. You also haven’t showered. Do you:

a. Decide to take a chance there will still be time to get it out sometime after your afternoon playdate and before 5pm, jump in the shower and still have time to primp before running out the door.

b. Finish the e-mail, wash your face, put your hair in a pony-tail and apply extra deodorant, because it’s a play date, not a blind date.

c. Choose to use this time to squeeze in a little Oprah.

Question #5: Your significant other has planned a date night, but you were really looking forward to chatting with your friends on-line about the latest gossip. Do you:

a. Ask if you can order in Chinese because you have some important work still left to do before the weekend.

b. Quickly text your friends that you’ll catch up with them over the weekend, you have plans that involve white linen—beginning with a tablecloth and ending with sheets!

c. Bring your iPhone with you and send text messages back and forth all night about whether you should order the fries or salad with your entreé, what you overheard the couple in the booth next to you arguing about and how bad your shoes hurt.

I appreciate your input!

Photo by: almekinders

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May 29, 2009 at 4:51 am 2 comments

Jon and Kate’s Final Curtain Call?

kateonpeopleYeah, I watched. But, I haven’t gone so far as to read any of the tabloids. I don’t know what the mystery woman looks like and I don’t care. What intrigued me as I watched the 5th season opener of Jon & Kate Plus 8 was how I could in an “Off-Broadway sense,” empathize with Kate, a woman who makes me cringe every time I see part of myself in her “Type-A Mom” personality. Intrigued, not because my husband has gone off and done something untoward (at least not in public) for which I can never forgive him (get over yourself, Kate), but because of the underlying role reversal challenges that the two of them hinted at, in between all of the innuendo of an alleged affair. Has anyone else caught on to this?

She’s now the breadwinner while he stays home with the kids and resents her for being away while wishing she’d stay away at the same time — loosely translated from Jon. Anyone else experiencing something similar who doesn’t also have eight kids, full-time staff and a major prime-time hit television show? Direct quote from my husband: “Men just weren’t made to do this.

Now, before anyone takes offense to this, of course there are some terrific stay-at-home Dads out there who can run circles around many of us Moms. But, please, let’s be real. Most Dads when put to the test aren’t going to last long at cleaning up after pre-schooler playdates, preparing three square meals a day, activity schedules, bath-time and just the general noise level of it all. Then there’s the housekeeping, grocery shopping, cooking, Dr. appointments and errand-running. Did I mention laundry? Now, most likely Jon doesn’t do much of this by himself; did I mention the full-time staff? But, he is used to being the provider, not the caregiver. To me, it was detectable throughout the interview that Jon just wasn’t comfortable staying home while Kate traveled earning a paycheck on her book tour. He quit his job to stay home with the kids, because “Kate can write and he can’t.” Ergo, if he could provide in that way, he would choose that role. Don’t underestimate the sense of pride and accomplishment being the provider carries with it, most especially for men.

The challenge for Kate, is to not be overly critical of the job Jon is doing when she returns home. And, if you’ve ever watched the show, you can just imagine how this is playing out. Kate has decidedly defined for all of America what a “hen-pecked husband” truly looks like up close and in his own natural habitat. While I pray that my husband would never describe himself as a member of the hen house, I empathize with Kate’s challenge. I find myself biting my tongue a whole heck of a lot more than Danny probably realizes, because I know he really is doing the best job that he can do. While we haven’t chosen our new roles, the parts we play are similar to those of Jon and Kate in that they require perspective on what is important as a family, not on who does what.

Has Jon finally had enough? Many of us have wondered when Jon’s breaking point would be reached. Is it possible that now that Kate is no longer in charge of her castle, the scrutiny she inflicts on Jon combined with a general distaste for the life he gave up for her has upset that delicate balance they’ve maintained through four seasons of TV-dom? It was clear at the end of last season, Jon was no longer on board with a public life. Has he made his final stand? I hope that family wins out on this one. In the best interest of those eight precious young hearts, I pray that the curtain is never called on this marriage.

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May 28, 2009 at 3:07 am 9 comments

So How’s Working From Home Going?

As the basis of starting this blog exactly one month ago, it’s a timely question. Well, work is the reason for my absence of new posts this week! I have a website redesign in progress, a blog and social media marketing plan starting up for an established online company, regular contract print design work waiting on me and I just finished editing the first chapter of a book for a new client. Whew! And, it’s only Thursday! So much for the down economy I was afraid of.

Actually, I didn’t know if I’d be working from home or from a little cubicle in a windowless building when I first began raising my career from the dead a couple months ago. But, I prayed that I would be blessed with work coming in to me so I could still give my daughter hugs throughout the day and take her to the park occasionally. Besides, Danny isn’t quite Dustin Hoffman in a dress just yet.

I put the new tools of the web to work from my little corner of Colorado and have yet to “apply” for one job. Well, if you don’t count that social media marketing internship that I applied for as part of my “reinvent yourself at 40(ish)” pep talk. Apparently I was passed up by the pimply-faced, 18-year old “My-Spacer” for that one. Thank you, God! He had better plans for me. Networking and the Man upstairs that I’ve been begging to every night have made this all possible. Ask you shall receive! Who needs Monster.com anyway?

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May 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm 4 comments

After Midnight

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Photo by ilse

Why is it that I can’t seem to post my blogs before midnight? I have been a night owl my whole life and would often spend my evenings in the art building in college working on assignments until the sun came up. This habit does not come in handy when our own little alarm clock in footies goes off every morning between 6 and 7am. What makes things worse, is that I’m also married to a night owl who like a kid who knows he’s getting away with something, will stay up watching Reno 911 and Deadliest Catch until I’m done working for the night. Everyone is suffering, most of all Reagan who has two zombies for parents in the morning whose last goal is to get themselves and her dressed and drive to the park where the sunlight and fresh air might bring them back to life.

Currently, my official “work” day rarely starts before Reagan goes down for her nap sometime after 1pm. Work right now consists of networking, marketing myself online, writing design proposals and this blog. After weeks of creating my online portfolio, re-writing several versions of my resume, registering at all the right networking websites, writing profile info. for those sites and getting my blog up and running, I have yet to apply for one job. Instead, networking has provided opportunities for me to freelance from home in the short term. I’m not convinced this is a blessing yet as no one told me the position would still include changing diapers, meals and early mornings at the park; all of which I would love if I didn’t then have to pay the bills at night. Daddy is catching on that Mommy needs to keep regular “business hours” and this means his late night TV viewing habits have to come to an end. Me? I’m working on rewiring my creativity clock to daylight hours and shopping for some noise-canceling headphones to simulate that beautiful sound of nothingness that only truly happens after midnight.

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May 8, 2009 at 2:27 am 2 comments


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

Life is a misadventure mixed with mayhem.

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