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Let My Friends Help You

February 1, 2011 9 comments

One of the most amazing things about writing this blog is the other writers I have met either virtually or in real-life.  I cherish their friendships and talents.  I also love learning things from them that help make my life easier.  A few such lessons have stuck with me lately and I wanted to pass them on to you:

  • Coping with messesI am a bit of a neat freak.  I have OCD.  Sometimes when the kids make a mess I literally think steam is going to come out of my ears like a cartoon character.  Kelly over at Dances with Chaos takes pictures of her kids messes to laugh and blog about.  Even if you don’t write or blog, taking the picture to laugh about (or blackmail your kids with) really helps bring the situation down from DEFCON 1. 
  • Know your role.  Blessing over at Working Mom Journal talks about our role of inspiring our children.  What a great reminder of thinking past homework and toothbrush enforcer.  Blessing shares 9 elements of how to inspire your children.
  • Tools to get you through the work day. Rene over at Grown Up for Real shared with her readers the Little Pink Book, career wisdom for women.  It’s short articles and videos for all of you, who like me, need career and life-enhancing tools.
  • If all else fails, just keeping up is a good day! Angie over at The Little Mumma reminds us that parenting is a bit like Groundhog Day and our accomplishments from yesterday don’t count for today, so just keeping up is great!

Do you have a helpful tip or sage advice?  I am listening and always in need of wisdom!

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Categories: Life, Parenting, Working Tags: ,

Why I Eat Cookies

January 31, 2011 13 comments

Today has been a roller coaster!  I was scheduled to be on a plane right now headed for another business trip.  Then, an hour before I was due to leave for the airport, my meeting and trip were rescheduled. 

I am thrilled to stay home because I just got back from a week-long trip on Friday.  It was long days of meetings and social events in the evenings.  By 2:00 every day, I was ready for a nap – so I had a cookie instead. 

Once home, I was still tired and didn’t feel like I had enough time this weekend to get everything done.  I ran around until I was close to sleeping standing up – so I ate cookies to keep going.  Sugar is my caffeine.  By last night I had accomplished all I could and enjoyed a bottle (yes, a bottle) of wine, which then affected my judgment so I ate another bag of cookies.

When I got up this morning, I was melancholy about my trip.  I had been home less than 72 hours and needed more time with my husband.  What you’re expecting me to say next is “and I really needed more time with my kids”.

Except I don’t. 

From the moment I walked in the door on Friday, my little pumpkins were lunatics.  They set new temper tantrum records.  My husband was so sweet to share with me that they were great until I came home…  It is so odd, I was sad to part with them this morning, I gave them extra hugs and kisses and truly didn’t want to leave.  But now that I get to stay home, I would like to hide in my office, eat cookies and read a book.  What award do I win for that?

But I am congratulating myself on knowing where I am at and understanding what I need.  I need cookies.  I need rest.  I need cuddling with my kids.  I just don’t want the other stuff like discipline, homework, laundry and bedtime rituals.  Hmmm… I think the business trip might be more restful than parenting…

So I have decided today is I eat cookies day (and it is clearly not ‘I am a literary genius’ day).  You are welcome to join in the celebration.  This is guilt free indulgence.  Will I eat cookies in lieu if my parenting duties? No.  But will the cookies make the duties easier? You betcha!

Next time I will make this brief, I’ll quickly tell you about the isolated times when I don’t eat cookies.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  How do you cope on crazy days?



Treading Wine

January 28, 2011 19 comments

I know what you’re thinking – “Paige, don’t you mean treading water?”

Do I ever mean water over wine? Not unless we’re talking about laundry and I rarely talk about laundry.

For the last several weeks I have been struggling to tread wine.  You see, if I was struggling to tread water, I would have simply gotten out of the pool (or lake, or ocean).  But wine is complex, sometimes surprising, occasionally corked, but usually delightful, just like life.  So therefore, treading wine is worth the struggle.

So what I have been struggling with that has kept me off-balance (and writing very little) for the last few weeks?  I think I have it mostly figured out (how’s that for confidence and conviction?).  I have shared on occasion that I haven’t always been happy in my job.  The thing is, I love what I do and I am good great at it.  But I am a perfectionist and it had gotten out of hand.  I had gotten to a point where nothing felt good enough.  My confidence was slipping and my self-critical side needed a beat-down.  It had started to spill in to my personal life.  Everything felt hollow and I had stopped trusting my own instincts.  Very few people knew how it was affecting me, because, like my dramatic diva of a three-year old, I can put on a show.  The irony is during this time, I received a promotion, a raise and several accolades and still didn’t feel like my work was good enough.

But I am very fortunate, I am surrounded by smart, caring people (and a few paid professionals) who have helped me get things under control.  By examining my perfectionist tendencies, I realized that perhaps I am a wee bit… off-balance, unrealistic and um… crazy.  As I thought about the standard I was holding strangling myself to, I had to laugh.  It was absurd and not the level I hold others to.  My higher self-bar was not because I thought I was better than the average person and could deliver more, it was because of that pesky perfectionism.  This may confuse you since I talk about mold in my shower and all of my follies, but there are parts of life where I feel safe being “normal” and parts where I wasn’t giving myself that same luxury.  (Trust me, the mold is still in the shower and I think the whole house needs dusting).

So I have perfectly cured myself in about two weeks.  (When you’re done laughing, feel free to continue reading).

Welcome back, need some water or a kleenex?

In lieu of an instant cure, which I was dismayed to discover does not exist, I am being more thoughtful about my goals, my decisions and my feelings.  I am letting myself off the hook a bit.  I am taking risks again and know that sometimes I will… eek… fail, and gulp… that’s good for me.   I am also reminding myself that my job is only one facet of my rich, tannin filled life.  I am treating myself the way I would treat any of my precious friends and family members: with support and encouragement.

I know that I will have to keep an eye on that bothersome perfectionist side and I may have to occasionally smack her around, but just being aware makes me feel so much better!

So I am again successfully treading wine and enjoying it.  Not to mention that cabernet-colored skin is more attractive than some of my spray tan debacles in an effort to avoid my natural pasty white color!

Thanks to a Mad Women who inspired me to share the hard, not always funny, parts of life.

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.