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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.

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.

 

The Grass is Not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

October 14, 2010 13 comments

As I have lamented the last few weeks about my job, I have also started to fantasize about being a stay at home mom (SAHM).  To provide balance (or to stop my whining) my friend Sarah graciously put together the following for me (and I post it with her permission – little does she know the only payment she’ll receive is a glass of wine). 

10 Reasons the Grass is not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

Help I’m sick!!  When I call in sick, nobody covers for me.   No matter how sick I am, kids still need to get to school; lunches still need to be made.  There is no daycare to drop them off at, no nanny to speak of, just me doing the same thing I do everyday with the exception of barfing ever 20 minutes.

The inevitable party question. “What do you do?” “I’m a stay at home mom”.   Responses range anywhere from the cliché “wow isn’t that great” to blank stares of confusion.  Insult to injury is when the response is followed by the droll discussion of things like how expensive diapers are and The Wiggles, as if those must be the only things I am interested in.  My favorite follow-up to date is still “Do you do anything else??”  NOPE!  Just stay home and stare at the baby.

Only Mom Can Help.  When you spend your day assisting in every menial task for your children from helping brush their teeth to tying shoes 3 or 4 times, your children develop a “only mom can help me” complex.  My children will walk right past their dad sitting in the kitchen, through the entryway, up a flight of stairs, and into my bedroom to ask ME to open a fruit snack package for them…?

Fun Overkill.  Yes it is possible to have too much fun.  My husband and I are on completely opposite “fun” schedules.  By the time my husband gets home I have been on mom duty for 9+ hours.  I have played 25 hands of Go Fish, read 10 books, put together 3 puzzles and even pretended to be the fairy princess locked in the tower. (ok the princess was my idea and I actually locked myself in my room to make a quick 10 minute phone call.)  However, understandably, my husband wants to spend time not only with the kids, but as a family.   I want a chance to be a grown-up and a wife, my husband wants time to be a dad.  “Let’s play soccer” “Come on mom!”……..I’m coming.

Divorce! The D word.  Hate to think about it, but it happens.   My fear as a SAHM is that if this does happen I will be an average aged, average looking, minivan driving no name with a 9 year gap in my resume. I picture my first job interview going something like this “no Mrs. SAHM we stopped running DOS 2.0 about 7 years ago.”

Quantity Does Not Equal Quality.  Some people assume that because I spend MORE time with my kids it is better.  That is NOT the case.  More time just equals more time to screw them up.  There were days when I thought my kids would be better off at day interacting with other children rather than at home with me watching me pay bills and vacuum.

Tomorrow.  The curse word of the SAHM.  Only you know the expectation that you set for yourself.  Therefore what doesn’t happen today can always happen tomorrow, and no one is the wiser.  Instructions are easy..when tomorrow comes…repeat.

Blizzards/ Tornados & Other Natural Disasters.   Being in your home with any number of children 24 hours a day and trying to keep the house clean is impossible.  It is like shoveling snow in a blizzard.  I don’t even try anymore. 

Fashionista.  NOT!  I used to be a decent dresser.  Really.  As I grew tired of washing Cheetos hand prints and baby poop/spit-up off nice clothes, I retired my nice things and adopted the SAHM “uniform”: Workout clothes and tennis shoes that rarely actually make it inside a gym.  You know you have lost your inner fashionista when you put on a pair of jeans and a necklace and your kids ask you “why are you so fancy mommy?”

I Am Out the Running for Mother of the Year.  No awards to polish around here.  No plaques to cover my walls, no raises.  You can work your fanny off at your “job” as a SAHM but no one is there to pat your back.   I would like to say that your child’s smile is payment enough but let’s be honest, when’s the last time a smile bought you a purse?  And a promotion??  The only time my husband uses the word promotion is when he wants sex, and by “promotion” he means another baby.

There are days I start to think, gosh it would be nice to have a job, one where I got to talk to people about politics or books without pictures, or dare I say an R rated movie.  Then I realize that the grass in not greener, it’s just a different shade.

Thanks Sarah for the perspective!  I’ll share the color of my pasture as a working mom tomorrow.

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: ,

I Choose

October 1, 2010 1 comment
  • I choose balance
  • I choose to be kind to myself
  • I choose to hold my tongue and not try to “set somebody else straight”
  • I choose to look for the good in a day and the good in a person
  • I choose to smile at strangers and sometimes even help them
  • I choose to give an empathetic smile to a mom with a screaming child
  • I choose to work and be a mom
  • I choose to put my family first, usually
  • I choose to parent like Child Protective Services is watching
  • I choose to love

I don’t make these great choices everyday, but when I don’t, I choose to try again tomorrow.

What do you choose?

Mother’s Gone Wild

September 30, 2010 6 comments

Please do not be alarmed.  You are not about to be subjected to thirtysomething mama’s flashing video cameras.  But I have seen such an occurrence… 

I am taking about working mothers on business trips or  any mamas on a girls night out.  It is amazing how you can take your typical suburban soccer mom, remove the kids, add alcohol and see the transformation.  She goes from pony-tail, hoodie wearing mom to plunging neckline, trippin’ in her stilettos mama.

I had such an evening (minus the plunging neckline – it was a work event people!) this week while on a business trip.  A few co-workers and I went out for drinks.  I broke my two cocktail at a work function limit (okay, I more than doubled it…).  I knew it was time to switch to water when I am in a photo booth with one of MY EMPLOYEES, hamming it up for the camera.  After the photos we stop to each call our kids to say goodnight and then start researching karaoke bars…  that’s when not only did I need water, but a taxi back to the hotel!

What makes moms (and dads) go from nose wiping angels to boozin’ babes?  I will tell you:  We live to close to the brink of insanity!  When given a small break from parenting we digress.  Not only do we shed some responsibility temporarily, we shed our ‘set the example’, ‘do the right thing’ personas. And guess what – it feels great!  Well, actually it feels hazy and not as great the next morning, but still worth it!

Pictures have been omitted to protect the guilty!

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?

The 7 Deadly Sins of Parenting

September 9, 2010 1 comment

MSN did a piece yesterday about the Seven Deadly Sins .  It got me to thinking about my sins as a parent:

Lust:  With our busy schedules, traditional lust is not a daily occurrence around here.  However, I will admit to lusting after shoes and purses.  My shopping budget is about as scarce as lust, so I lust after the material things I gave up when I gave birth to the products of traditional lust.

Wrath: I have shared with you the dangers of the crazy mama bear.  They say there is no greater wrath/fury than a woman scorned.  Wrong!  There is no greater wrath than me if you so much as look at my children in a threatening way.  Only I can give them that look. 

Pride: This is practically a gimme for parents.  Have I told you my six-year-old and three-year old can water ski?  Yes, I have, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to tell you brag again.  I would post pictures of my kids to show the world how stinkin’ cute they are, but it goes back to that wrath and over-protective mama thing.  So, pride – check.

Greed: If honesty compensates for greed than let me be clear: I would love to be rich, but not famous.  I want enough money to choose my activities, to only work on things I am passionate about, to work less and enjoy life more.  But it’s not just money, I want more time too.  Time with the kids, time with my husband, time for myself, time for my friends.  Call me Veruca: I want more and I want it now.

Envy:  I envy moms (and dads) who appear to have more balance in their lives than me.  I say “appear” because if they are anything like me, you shouldn’t look behind their curtain either. 

Gluttony:  Covered that with my post about Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I use sweets and cocktails to achieve balance in my slightly off-balance life.  When I really want to show my kids how much I care for them I say, “I love you more than chocolate” and sometimes I mean it.

Sloth:  I have had 7 different posts that mention my inconsistent showering habits (really, I counted).  Sloth is practically my middle name!  I dare say I envy those who have more opportunities to be lazy than me.  Do I get double points for a sin about a sin?

Bringing little angels into the world drives us to commit sin on a daily basis.  Does that make me a great parent, a bad parent or just totally normal?