Or, at a minimum, I am hanging out with 4 Bad Mommies today, as a guest blogger. Although, I’ll tell you a secret: they’re not bad mommies. They’re honest, funny and definitely worth a visit.
Come over and check out Why I Am Glad School is Almost Out!
I have been a little MIA here lately. I have written many posts… in my head. Trust me, I have some brilliant thoughts at 3:00 am that I never put to paper (or keyboard) the next morning. So what have I been doing instead of blogging? Why am I up thinking at 3:00 am?
I have been shopping. Well, window shopping actually.
I have put a lot of energy into window shopping for my purpose and passion.
I am a happy person. I love my life and feel blessed with the things in it. I have a wonderful husband, two adorable children, a stable and rewarding career… but…
…I feel like I am wearing a shirt I love that doesn’t fit quite right.
…I feel like I am meant to do something else, something more in line with my passions and strengths.
…I feel like my happy life could be happier.
I feel like I am searching for my “purpose”. Yes, I am a mother and wife, those things are paramount. But when I take away relationship titles, who am I?
Is this just a career search? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. I have a career, but does it speak to who I am? I am not sure. Does it capitalize on my strengths? Not all of them. The time we spend working is significant, shouldn’t it or couldn’t it represent us?
In search of quieting the questions in my head, I have invested more time in my work while researching new careers. I have been trying to gauge how much I love my job and if it is the right one. I have been searching for the ideal job that fits multi-faceted me.
Then something great happened, a chance conversation. A wise friend, who I respect very much, recently shared with me that he is trying to figure out what is next for him after he wraps up his current corporate gig. He explained he might put more effort into a few small companies he runs, he might do philanthropic work, or he might do something totally different. It sounded like he might dabble in several things.
As I reflected on our conversation, it hit me that I was trying to get all of my passion and purpose in a few places. I realized that I have more than one purpose and I need to figure out how to prioritize them, not combine them. I am the queen of multi-tasking, but you can’t multi-task life. I think life is meant to be enjoyed and lived in separate streams. Career, motherhood, charity work, friendships, hobbies – they are each deserving of their own time. And I deserve to enjoy each of them without distraction (on the ideal days – don’t get literal with a woman with young children).
The other important thing I am figuring out is that I need to focus on the details and let go of the big picture. No, I didn’t write that backwards. I would like to better appreciate the happiness and passion I already have instead of trying to connect them to one purpose in life. I read a quote by MeiMei Fox that I love:
“The key to happiness is not enjoying every single moment of every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for disappointment. The key is to celebrate every tiny but glorious, extraordinary and surprising experience you have.” She goes on to provide the critical reminder that:
“When something miraculous takes place — and by miraculous, I mean any of the seemingly small yet phenomenal events that unfold all the time, from your child laughing in your arms, to your best friend calling in tears to tell you her mother has cancer — stop. Put down your smart phone. Watch. Listen. Taste. Touch. Show up.”
sometimes often forget to stop and show up. I over multi-task, I miss the passion, the purpose that already exists. So I am still window shopping from time to time, but I am trying to spend more time just experiencing.
The restless feeling hasn’t completely left me, but now I interpret it as excitement and anticipation for the many blessings that I will experience in the moments, days, months and years ahead. My personal challenge is taking them one moment at a time.
Do you feel like you know your purpose? Do you experience life? Do you show up?
I had just finished getting dressed. I was feeling good, because although I have gained a few pounds from business trips, vacation and Lent being over, I could still button my shorts. Some may say I set the bar low, but when you like food as much as I do, hoping for shorts that button is sometimes aggressive.
My son walked in and said, “Mommy, what’s on your shirt”? I looked at my shirt thinking there might be a stain or a hole, but saw nothing.
“Honey, where, what are you talking about?”
He drags his cute little hand across my mid section – you know, the gut area, and says, “This, what is this?”
Shorts buttoning doesn’t guarantee there will be no “leakage” – why can chubby boobs falling out of tops be cute, but muffin top is not? When is muffin top coming into style?! And although, I will usually be my own worst critic, the muffin top was not bad (on this day, in these shorts, with this shirt).
“Honey, that is mommy’s tummy pushing against the waistband of her shorts. As you get older it is harder to have a flat stomach (my son has an 8-pack)”.
My son giggles a little, “Why is it harder to have a flat stomach”?
“Well, honey because grown-ups don’t have as much time to play and get exercise. You ride bikes, swim and play outside all day. You get plenty of exercise. Mommy has to try to make time in her day for exercise.”
Here’s the part I didn’t say out loud:
See if I wasn’t working full-time, I would have more time to exercise too. And if I wasn’t your typical stressed mother of young children, I wouldn’t need wine and cocktails and chocolate.
Actually, that’s a lie. If I wasn’t working full-time, I would have more wine and cocktails and would still find things to do besides exercise, like read, write and take naps.
Back to the conversation.
“So if you get enough exercise, your shirt doesn’t look like that?”
Now here’s the part where I should be that great mom, that thinks about promoting healthy body image and fitness over appearance. But I was on an emotional roller coaster. Starting on that high of my shorts buttoned, then slammed down to “What is that?”.
I dug deep, looking for the good mommy who makes this a positive lesson…
“Honey, let’s stop talking about Mommy’s fat and get going”.
Yep, that was all I could muster.
I’ll try harder next time.
And I’ll eat healthier. And drink less. And work out more.
Or just buy bigger shorts.
No, not the financial kind that involves dumping the house. If I controlled our finances, that could happen, but my husband is smart and I am smart enough to listen to him.
I am approaching email bankruptcy. The spam is smothering me, my inbox is intimidated me and the number of unreads are unimaginable. If I leave it unchecked for one day, it feels like the spiders in my least favorite movie, Arachnophobia (because I hate spiders), pouring out of the drain.
I have had the same personal email account for many years (too many to remember) and have used it fo silly sweepstakes, mailing lists and online shopping. Those uses lead to a bunch of other emails I never wanted. Unfortunately, only some of it goes into my spam folder and I am much too lazy to go in and unsubscribe to every one.
So I am considering the unthinkable – strategic default. Walking away. Giving up my identity and starting over.
Will I feel cleansed or lonely? Will I miss a great sale? Will I lose touch with someone important?
I need guidance, I need personal stories. Have any of you gone through email bankruptcy? Was it for the best?
Two weeks of business travel meant more full-day meetings than this work-from-home-mom is used to. I swear it takes a special sort of endurance to sit through a day long meeting, regardless of how engaging the topic is. To show my appreciation to all of you for coming back to read after my extended absence, I am now offering the following meeting survival services free of charge (and free of any proven effectiveness):
- Meetings Do’s and Dont’s
- Emergency Interventions
- Meeting Absence Excuses
Below is a sampling of each product:
Meetings Do’s and Dont’s
- Do not attempt to carbo-load through the meeting. There will not be a chance to burn it off and instead you will find yourself in a coma at 2:30 right when the vice president asks your thoughts on a topic you have confused for a Duncan Hines commercial.
- Do get up and stand in the back of the room, during a particular tedious section, while maintaining eye contact with the speaker. This will reduce the tingling in your backside, make you look more alert than the guy sitting next to you with his eyes half closed and likely keep you from being called on. But don’t stand too close to others in the back of the room, they might be back there because of their gas-inducing boxed lunch.
- Do drink lots of water. Yeah, it will keep you hydrated, but it also give you the excuse to use the bathroom frequently, at which point you can check Facebook or text a co-worker to stage a fake crisis to get you out of the meeting. Keep the crisis global, but vague. “Sorry, I have to slip out the India thing is going sideways.”
If you can’t make up an India Crisis (or some other work calamity) and escape is not an option, let me help you with a diversion. Send me a text when your boredom or chances of nodding off are dangerously high. I will lead you through a serious of “activities” to keep you “alert”. I cannot be responsible for you laughing out loud in a quiet conference room. Activities include:
- Identify the two worst hair-dos in the room.
- Categorize people by corporate cheerleader, just-here-for-the-paycheck, genuinely interested and looking for new jobs.
- Make up stories about what people are really writing in their notebooks.
Meeting Absence Excuses
If you’re one of those proactive types, it is best to come up with an excuse for not attending the meeting, such as:
- You’re having trouble with your eyes (you can’t see yourself sitting through that meeting)
- You’ve been approached on Twitter to do an interview with US News on your industry. It makes you sound hip, authoritative and important.
- Go with the good ol’ (and vague), “Gosh, wish I could make it, I am triple booked that day. Send me the slides, I am interested in the content.”
- You’re spending the day volunteering in your community. Let the meeting owner know you will be wearing your corporate t-shirt while you’re there. Volunteering always sounds like more fun than a meeting to me.
The choice is up to you – get out of the meeting, survive the meeting or turn it into extreme people watching. Whatever you choose, operators are standing by…
The National Enquirer reported that I was the first person ever to actually fall off the face of the Earth. While it may have felt like that, it wasn’t entirely true (just like most articles in the National Enquirer).
It is true that I have not logged into my blog dashboard in several weeks – the last few blogs I posted we’re on an automatic timer, similar to all the lights in my mental and real house.
I have spent the last three weeks on business trips and vacation. I am not even sure my bed at home feels like my “real” bed yet.
But I am back – did you get a chill? It’s okay to lie to me ya know.
There are so many stories I want to share with you. I wrote so many posts in my head, but never took notes on them, so they are as forgotten as my exercise routine. Here’s one that really seems to want to be written, because it has been rattling around in my mind (that was the tin pinging sound you heard) for days:
DEFCON is the Defense Readiness Condition used by the Armed Forces. After spending a week in Disneyland with my kids, I felt it was my civic duty to share the following:
5 - Lowest state of readiness. You haven’t told the kids you’re going to Disneyland. Life is peaceful.
4 – Increased intelligence and strengthened security measures. The kids know they are going to Disneyland. Care must be taken to ensure that they do not injure themselves when bouncing off the walls. You also now have the opportunity to throw the entirely empty threat of cancelling the trip if they do not behave on the long car ride. Good luck with that…
3 - Increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness. You need a strategy for crowds, lines, food and the endless toy displays. Here’s mine:
- Crowds – The best defense is a good offense. I started the week trying to avoid small children and other strollers. After losing every toenail I own, I treated navigating Disneyland, during Spring Break, like a full contact, extreme sport. Show no mercy.
- Lines – Don’t be the sweet mom that stops to let the kids climb on sculptures, take pictures and play on slides. Stick to the mission – rides! Get them in early, then go back and take pictures with characters, play on the fake cars, ride the carousel and watch the shows while everyone else is standing in hour-long lines in the beating sun.
- Food – Decide up front – are you a militant mom or a mom looking for a little peace? I just wanted a little peace so I bought popcorn, churros and ice cream. I also bought some food for my kids.
- Toys – I decided before I left that each kid would get one toy/souvenir, period. I even brought their tiaras and light sabers from home so I wouldn’t get hit up for those. Before you second guess me, I did stick to the one souvenir rule, sort of. They each got one thing – but each thing was bigger than I had planned. I admit I am a sucker for a $65 Cinderella costume and since they didn’t have one in my size, I bought it for my daughter. With my son, I had a rare opportunity to trump my husband and spontaneously buy a Lego for my son while my husband was getting the car. I am usually the mean mom and it felt amazing to play the role of Disney Dad!
2 – Further increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness. DEFCON 2 hit on
day 2 days 1, 2 and 3 for us. Be prepared for a scene, but take solace in the fact that your child’s screams will be drowned out by Disney music (I swear they have speakers as close as trash cans), the sound of the rides and 5,000 other screaming children.
1 – War is imminent. Proceed directly to California Adventure where they serve alcohol.
We hit DEFCON 1 on our final day in the park. We still had planned to spend a few more hours there. We went to California Adventure, drank two beers and left the park. A full nuclear response was narrowly avoided.
Tell me a funny story from one of your family vacations. And by funny, I mean one where I don’t look like the only crazy mom!