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How I Am Going to Get Smart

January 11, 2011 24 comments

I am used to be smart.

I have never been a news junkie, but I at least was up on the world and could follow an adult conversation on current events.

Then I had kids.

Between my full-time, job, my two cherubs and all that those two worlds require, I have run out of news time.  Well that’s kind of a lie.  My husband has the same life as me, parenting included because he’s my better half.  But, he still reads the paper, watches the news and reads internet news every day.  It is embarrassing to be with co-workers and not have any idea what they are talking about.  People assume because I work and have adult conversations, I am current.  No way.  At work I discuss work or I get updates on people’s families, lives, etc. 

So what am I doing while my husband keeps up on current events?  Facebook, Twitter and blogging.  Or reading, but I bounce between literary masterpieces and vampire books.  Hmmm… as I think through my recent reads, there has been more smut than ‘noble’ books.

But I really want to know some of what’s going on the world.  The news is depressing day in and day out and I get sad thinking about what my grandkids and beyond might inherit, but I really do want to be more aware.

And I have a solution…

One of my wisest, and up-to speed friends (why does she keep me around) reads “The Week” and turned me onto it.  She even gave me a subscription.  (Is she trying to tell me something?)  My first issue came on Friday and I read it cover to cover on Sunday in between breaking up fights and by allowing extra Wii time.  It was great!  Before I go on and on, I must make it clear.  I have no affiliation to this publication, I am not being paid to endorse it, nor do they have any idea who I am. – For some reason I don’t make the top of their Rolodex (Rolodex? Who says that these days?) Ahem.  They don’t follow me or seek my editorial contributions.

Back to my free endorsement – it contains well-organized, straight-forward summaries of what’s going on in the world.  For big issues they summarize multiple perspectives and give credit to the original source.  Do you know what this means?!  I can cite the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (just to name a few) all in one decade.

I am on my way to being sounding like a smarty-pants!

Does this mean you’ll see some extra intelligence in this blog?  Not likely.  I am exhausted and can’t remember any of those brainy quotes!

What do you do to keep up on the world and still make time for YOUR world?

I Almost Stole a Car… Again

November 5, 2010 16 comments

I really need to pull it together.  I am on a business trip and when I landed I went to retrieve my rental car from Avis.  I looked on the board, saw my name, P. Moran and headed for the parking space where my car was.  I loaded all my stuff, got in, adjusted the mirror and prepared to start the car.  I glanced up at the rental card, because since I have stolen a rental car once, I always double-check. 

Stop – you know you’re curious about the first stolen car, go read it, I’ll wait here. Do you want me to hold your keys?  If you’re in a hurry just read the part under fairy amusing.   

Welcome back.  So, I checked the card on the dashboard.  Yep, P. Moran, that’s me.  Wait, P. Moran, I am actually P. Morgan you silly people. 

I thought it was strange that they spelled my name wrong since I have my whole profile saved in the system, so I flipped the card over – who the heck is Pam Moran?!  Could they have really goofed my name up that badly?  Since I already have a special mark next to my name in the Avis system as someone who grabs any car lying around, I thought it best to go back and check the board again.  I take all my stuff out of the car and start walking back towards the Avis Podium.  An Avis employee sees me walking back with my stuff.  “Ma’am, is everything ok with the car?” (I wish he would have said Miss). “I think I may have almost gotten in the wrong car or you have some typos on my rental card,” I explain. 

We look at the board and there is P. Moran and, what do you know, P. Morgan is right below it…

Make me feel better, share with me a blooper you have committed.

I am much more subtle...

Working Moms Raise Their Kids Too

October 26, 2010 23 comments

“I thought about going back to work too, but I didn’t want someone else raising my kids.” 

This is what a very sweet, well-meaning, mother said to me this morning at my daughter’s gymnastics class.  I wanted to respond with something like, “Yep, I wanted to have children for the picture frames and then send them off and check in with them on holidays”, but this mom was very nice and she meant well, so I smiled and said, “Yep, it’s a balance”.

Our nanny usually takes my daughter to the class since I work, but today, I took her and was given the once over and “Oh you must be her mom…”.  Yes, my daughter has a mother.  No, the nanny doesn’t leave her with a pack of female wolves at the end of the day.

As I see it, I do raise my children.  Yes, there are 7 hours of preschool and 33 hours of a nanny per week, but otherwise, the buck stops here.  The preschool is one I picked based on my personal beliefs on what is most important at this age.  I interviewed 7 preschools before choosing this one.  I provide direction for our nanny.  I set the parameters for discipline and I set the tone for how they are cared for.  In other words, I work AND I raise my children.  I have people who help me, just as we have teachers who help instruct our children.  But I ensure my daughter is raised as the demanding, hilarious diva I had hoped for and I am diligent in raising a control-freak, OCD son who will likely be CEO of a major corporation someday (how else will I retire?).  And before I step off my soapbox, here is some evidence that my children are a product of my influence:

  • My son will not leave his room if a drawer is open and he cannot sleep if the closet door isn’t closed
  • My daughter likes to dance in her underwear on a chair
  • My son will correct you if you’re doing it wrong
  • My daughter will not stay in her room for time out “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”
  • My son will stick up for the picked on kid at school
  • My daughter has a snuggling addiction
  • My son likes to know the rules
  • My daughter likes to break the rules
  • My son is super-competitive
  • My daughter cheats to win

OMG, wait, I take it all back!  I work full-time, who the hell raised these kids?! 

I did, I do and I am proud of the results.  All parents raise their kids, we just employ different methods of doing it.

What’s the biggest impact you have made on your kids or your parents have made on you? 

There’s Very Little Grass in the Working Mom Pasture

October 15, 2010 18 comments

Yesterday, my witty friend Sarah shared with us 10 reasons why the grass is not greener being a Stay At Home Mom.  For those who know Sarah, she is a great mom and certainly has the skills and abilities to go back to work, but she has made a commitment to her family and she’s happy with her decision… most of the time.

So now it’s my turn.  Here’s my top 10 on why moms (or dads – I think you are under-represented) should not flock to the office.

  1. Is this your mommy? When I am out with my children, people come up and act as if my children are with a stranger.  “Are you her mom?” This is why my children and I wear nametags, it helps us and those around us.
  2. The inevitable party follow-up question? Unlike Sarah, when I tell people I have a full-time job, they naturally ask, “Well who cares for your children?”.  So I am compelled to explain – “I leave them with a pack of wolves.  But I am a responsible mother, so I only leave them with female wolves, they’re more nurturing”.
  3. Nobody thinks you can help Because I do not care for my children, the kids, and others, assume I have no domestic or child-rearing abilities.  Okay, okay, I have very few domestic abilities, but I do know how to care for my children.  I can wash a disposable diaper just like a pro.
  4. Keeping up with the SAHM’s  I have never made my own baby food, sewn a Halloween costume or chaired a school fundraiser.  (I am not sure I would do those things if I were a SAHM).
  5. Playdates  Playdates are tougher for kids with working parents.  Typically playdates start because two mothers who become friends get their kids together.  Mothers of the other kids have a hard time be-friending my 21-year-old gorgeous nanny.  (I can’t blame them, she wears heels to drive carpool – she intimidates me too.)
  6. Life plus work deadlines  We still have to do homework with the kids, wash soccer uniforms, bake (I mean buy) sweets for bake sales, but then I also have to manage my team at work (aka my day-time parenting job), write presentations and go on business trips.  Time is my most precious resource.
  7. Being MIA  Weeks go by where I don’t see a girlfriend, because once work is done, then I need to focus on my kids.  Girl time or alone time with my husband gets pushed down the priority list.  By the time I have an opening on my calendar, my friends are tired from all the fun they had without me.
  8. I Am Not in the Running for Anything there’s no way to win mother of the year and since I try to balance being a mom as much as I can, I am not up for employee of the year either.  I might win Juggling Lunatic of the Year though, as long as they don’t deduct points for what I drop.

Yes, I owe you two more, but I have a work deadline, no clean underwear and the kids need help with homework, so let me sum up 9 and 10 with my favorite comment of all time:

“Do you think your son is having a hard time because you travel so much?” Well no, but I think he would have a hard time if I didn’t get time away!

While being a working mom is tough, so is being a stay at home mom.  We each have amazing days and horrible days.  We each struggle with balance, we each want to do our best.  The best thing we can do as mothers (and fathers) is support each other, regardless if we get a paycheck for our hard work or not.

 

Seven Reasons Not to Quit

October 12, 2010 11 comments

I have two choices – write about how unhappy I am in my job or have a little fun with it.

C’mon!  You know what I picked (it was close though, boy did you get lucky)!  My goal was 10 reasons I love my job, but I am not that creative, so here’s seven.

Ten Seven Reasons I Love My Job

  1. The paycheck – I love it, I need it, it’s why my husband loves me
  2. The escape – no job = no nanny = no break from the kids
  3. The corporate credit card – nothing like sampling the best restaurants and bars on somebody else’s dime
  4. The excuse – I need this fabulous necklace and shoes and purse and coat and… for work
  5. The awards – who could give up the cheesy crystal awards that my kids try to play with 😉
  6. The distraction – if I didn’t work, I might have to actually work-out more – ugh!
  7. The miles and points – we take many vacations thanks to our frequent flier miles and hotel points

If you’re looking for me to mention the role or something deep, keep looking, I am too…

If you don’t work, why would you want to?  If you do work, what’s the best part for you?

Categories: Humor, Lists, Working Tags: ,

My Son Has a Garden?

September 24, 2010 4 comments

I am learning so much from scaling back my career to spend more time with my family.

But let me give you some background.  I have always over-scheduled myself and wanted to be involved in everything at the same time.  I was Student Body President in middle school, Panhellenic President in college and have served on more committees since I was in the 5th grade than I can count.  So naturally, when my son started kindergarten I over-committed myself.  I signed up to be assistant room mom, field trip chaperone, classroom helper and art docent.  It ended in disaster with me having to break my commitments and be rescued by my stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) friends so I could fulfill the requirements of my day job.

This year, with my son in first grade, I didn’t sign up for ANYTHING, but did tell my son’s teacher that I would volunteer in the classroom as time permits. (See, I can learn from my mistakes!)  With my conscious decision to balance my life and devote more time to my family, I have been spending more time at my son’s school.  The trick is I am not in charge of anything, but I show up and act as a worker-bee whenever possible.  Today this worker-bee got to help teach my son’s class about bees and pollination (wanna know something interesting about bees?). 

I met the other mom in the school office and we headed for the classroom, then she continued to walk past it – where the heck was she going???  I followed her and found myself in the elementary school garden.  The garden?  Who knew?  Not me.  It was big enough to have one or two classrooms full of kids inside exploring its treasures.  But wait, there is more…  We then walked down to the “lower garden” that was even bigger.  How did I not know about this magical place?  Do other parents know this is here?  I bet the working ones don’t…

If I start a list (and I love lists) on the benefits of cutting back at work I will definitely include discovering that my son has a garden and the joy of visiting it with him!

What discoveries have you made that brought you joy?

Stolen Rental Cars and Naked Hotel Guests

August 24, 2010 2 comments

I am currently on business travel.  I got up at 4:00 am yesterday morning (don’t ask me how I feel about this) and was at my destination by 9:30 in the morning.  I travel approximately once per month to the same location.  My destination and itinerary have become familiar and I am typically on auto-pilot for the duration of the trip.  Herein lies the problem – as I was driving from the airport to the office, I was on auto-pilot and almost took the wrong freeway.  This reminded me of previous business trips mishaps that were more amusing than getting on the wrong freeway.  So here are three in order of mildly amusing to so funny that if you’re not laughing, there might be something wrong with you.

Mildly Amusing (though not at the time):

I did my 4:00 am wake up call and flew in, I worked all day in the office, correction, I worked until 9:30 pm in the office.  I then drove two blocks to my hotel, desperate to crash.  I gave my rental car to the valet.  I normally self-park, but was so tired, I decided not to bother.  I stumbled into the hotel blurry eyed and on fumes.  I went up to the front desk, threw my corporate card and elite card on the desk like I owned the place and hoped they could get me to my room before I slept in the lobby.  I didn’t notice at first that he was typing more than usual.  Finally, he said, “Mrs. Morgan, I am sorry, but are you sure you have a reservation?”  What?!  I physically shook my head hoping it would help me process his question.  It dawned on me that I was in town for a conference and had not made my own travel arrangements…  It turned out my hotel was 30 minutes away and it was now approaching 10:00 at night (remember, I got up at 4:00 am).  I now had to rescue my bags from the bellman, wait 15 minutes for the valet to bring my car back and head to the correct hotel.  I was tired and frustrated; so as a further poke from the universe, my GPS wasn’t working.  I got lost three times trying to find my hotel!  When I finally got into my room, sometime after 11:00, I turned on my computer to cancel my early morning call and my laptop died!

Fairly Amusing

Same trip as above (I should have stayed home!).  I checked out of the correct hotel to fly home.  I had asked the valet to have my car waiting because I was going to be cutting it close, having a morning meeting before I scurried to catch my flight home.  I ran out of my morning meeting, handed some money and my ticket to the valet, grabbed my keys and headed for the airport.  Halfway to the airport, I went to turn on the radio and thought, ‘hmm, that’s funny, I could have sworn the button was on the other side’.  I ignored the feeling for a few minutes, then on a hunch, I looked at the key chain, it said Avis, my rental company, so I kept driving.  It was still bugging me, so I grabbed the rental car agreement and flipped it over – “WHO THE HELL IS D. SMITH (name changed to protect the victim) and why do I have their tag?!!!”  I had taken the wrong rental car!  At this point, I am one mile from the airport.  If I turned around, I would certainly miss my flight.  For me that was not an option, because I wanted to get home to see my kids!  I called the hotel valet from the car and made them stay on the phone while I pulled into rental car return.  I did what I do best – I put on my biggest apologetic smile and started talking.  I explained that the valet gave me the wrong car and I was going to miss my flight and inquired if could just return the one I had.  I was in luck, because I had no personal belongs in my car and D. Smith had no belongings in the car I “stole”.  The hotel tracked him down, we made a deal and I flew home.  As a side note, I am sure you all assume it was the same car in the same color – uh, no.  Two different foreign four door cars, one was silver, the other champagne.  Oops, I now try get electric blue cars whenever possible!

The Winner

This was not my brilliance, but certainly wins.  A friend of mine was on a sales trip and had been at a big, wine-filled dinner with clients.  He stumbled into bed pie-eyed and bordering on incoherent.  In the middle of the night, nature called and he staggered out of bed, headed for the bathroom.  Still drunk, he walked through the door and then the door closed with a click.  He had gone out the door to his room!  And, he sleeps naked!  (His wife told me the story, I do not know the sleeping attire of my male friends).  He now has two problems – the urgent need to pee and he is locked out of his room in the middle of the night, naked!   Solution one: he pee’d in the drain of the ice machine.  As he is figuring out problem two, he hears the elevator door open and he throws his naked 6 foot tall, football player frame against the hallway wall in hopes of being missed…  He gets lucky and uses the house phone to call the front desk.   While waiting for security to come up, he finds an unlocked housekeeping closet and grabs a towel that is just enough to cover the ‘public display of indecency’ parts.  When the security guard comes up, he averts his eye, keeps the verbal exchange short and files workman’s comp the next day I am sure.

Whether your work brings in a paycheck or raises a family, we all have those times when auto-pilot (or too much wine) gets the best of us.  Remember that when someone steals your rental car or you see a naked guy in a hotel.

The hotel robe would have come in very handy...

Sunday Blues

August 16, 2010 5 comments

A fabulous, fun-filled weekend is over and my family and I had to face reality today.  I knew the dreaded Monday was coming.  Mondays smack me in the face before they even start.  I call it the Sunday Blues. 

My Sunday Blues typically kick in about 5:00 pm every Sunday when I start worrying about what I need to do for work Monday morning and how busy the week is going to be.  Yesterday the Sunday Blues kicked in early – at 2:00.  Between my anniversary, my son’s first day of school and other fun stuff, I slacked a bit at work last week – okay, truthfully, I was the Ferris Bueller of the corporate world!  So today I am paying the piper, trying to do dammage control.  What did I blow off last week that I shouldn’t have?  Whose waiting on me for a response?  What important milestone did I not approve?  What executive update did I fail to provide?  I will be spending my morning catching up before it catches up to me. 

In addition,  my husband left for a business trip this morning, which means I will juggle getting the kids to school, working, homework, dinner, soccer practice, baths and back to school night by myself.  Once the week gets going, I do just fine, because I am too busy to worry about it.  But I can’t seem to avoid mourning the loss of our relaxed weekend time and dreading the stress of life as Sunday comes to a close. 

However, in the spirit of trying to stay balanced – I will look for the positives.  I will enjoy the 1:1 time with my kids.  I will run the house by my rules.  I will remind myself how independent and organized I can be.  I will take up the whole king bed when I sleep!  And then I will thank God when my husband comes home and rescues me from the brink of insanity!

I’d ask you to wish me luck, but there are single parents who deserve daily Hallmark cards.  I have friends whose spouses travel every week.  There are military families who juggle so much more.  This is not a pity party, this is recognition of the challenge at hand.  I am ultra competitive and will not let the Sunday Blues predict the outcome of this week! 

As I began writing this post, I was feeling mopey and scattered, now Eye of the Tiger (I am not even a huge Rocky fan) is playing in my head and I am ready to get through it!

If all else fails, Plan B involves a bottle of wine and a babysitter!

Sorry Work, It’s The First Day of School

August 11, 2010 2 comments

My son started first grade today.  My husband and I got early to prepare.  He made my son breakfast, packed his lunch and got him dressed.  I primped.  The first day of school is the one day a year I don’t roll up in my pajamas, work-out clothes or a combination thereof looking like a hot mess.  Why?  First day of school pictures silly!  Then years from now we can look back at the pictures and tell the tale that I was June Cleaver and Donna Reed all wrapped up in one.  The only difference, I also work full-time.

Speaking of work – fat chance of getting ANY productivity out of me today!  Yes, school started at 8:00, but I have a whole first day routine:  After we walked him in, found his seat, took more pictures and kissed up to the teacher, we then we did mommy (and daddy) mingling.  Then we came home and I pretended to be a stay at home mom for a few minutes – I emptied the dishwasher, picked up the house and started breakfast. (Not my normal morning routine.)  Then I checked the dismissal schedule – it’s different in first grade than it was in kindergarten.  Uh-oh – I have a meeting during pick-up time.  Well that meeting is CANCELLED. 

You might be asking yourself, seriously, why can’t you work until pick-up and then once you bring him home?  Hello… when I pick him up, I MUST take him out for frozen yogurt and hear about his day.  As to why I can’t work until then, I will be too busy thinking about how fast he’s growing up and wondering if he’s having a good day.  I will call my girlfriends and see how their mornings went and how they are feeling about another milestone.  Yes, I really can waste a whole day doing this!

So if anyone at work is looking for me – good luck!  My baby started 1st grade today and I am playing the role of June Cleaver!

Join Me In My Shower

Okay, it may appear as though I am obsessed with showering with other people based on my recent blog post entitled Can I Shower With You, but allow me to explain:

I was doing my usual of rushing to shower in between conference calls.  As I was racing through the motions, I was thinking about how fast I could get done, I even shave less of my legs to save time.  I often check my email in my robe before I even get dressed, which sometimes results in several work hours spent in my robe with wet hair.  I then thought, why can’t my Blackberry be waterproof?!  Then I would know if I was missing an important email while I was in the shower.   I could take long hot showers (which I love) and scan email the whole time. [This is another fact in support of why my blog is entitled slightly off-balance.]

Sure, part of my rush is because I am feeling guilty for showering in the middle of the day.  Although when you start with conference calls first thing in the morning and still hope to get in a workout, when else would I shower?  Part of the need for email in the shower comes from the speed of business these days.  We are accustomed to being able to reach people anytime.  I do not save lives for a living, so you would think a shower would be reasonable, but the more technology enables me, the more I expect of myself.  Admittedly, I am also addicted to being connected. I take my Blackberry to the gym, on vacation, even just going to other parts of the house.  Our only rule is no devices at the dinner table, and my husband needs to be reminded of that rule every night.

Years ago people predicted the downside of constant connectivity and I certainly feel it.  There are rare occasions when I unplug and then it’s usually due to lack of service.   Why can’t I allow myself to unplug?  When did multi-tasking go from being a useful skill to a detriment to balance in life?  Where does it stop?  If my Blackberry was waterproof, what would I want next?

I think I need to cut the cord (or bandwidth) a little, but how?  How do I become less accessible to the world (and better shaven)?

Categories: Balance, Working