Mom Versus Career

Finding the balance between being a competent decision-maker, a desirable spouse, and a kick-ass mom.

Teen Mom: Trash or Truth? September 21, 2011

Filed under: Life,Mommy Dearest — MomVersusCareer @ 10:00 am
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I admit it. I watch Teen Mom. I’m sure the show is not complete reality for these girls, but I do think it provides a platform for discussing sex openly with teenagers. I am not yet to that point with my daughter, but I hope I’ll be able to be open and honest with her when she has questions. I would rather she ask me about sex instead of experimenting first and asking questions later.

I simultaneously admire and sympathize with the young mothers on that show. Raising a child when you’re in a stable relationship is hard enough. I can’t imagine how they are able to manage raising their children, going to school, dealing with parents/ex-boyfriends, and being young single mothers all at the same time.

Tuesday night’s episode was the season finale. It was a tear-jerker. Here’s a brief summary:

1. Farrah decides to move to Florida and is torn between taking her daughter Sophia with her or leaving Sophia with Grandma for two years while Farrah completes her Bachelor’s degree.

2. Amber’s no-contact order with her ex-boyfriend is lifted, but she can’t see him while their daughter Leah is around.

3. Maci and her son Bentley’s father, Ryan, can’t stop fighting and Maci wants to marry her current boyfriend Kyle, but he’s not ready. He makes an excellent point that they are both only 19 years old.

4. Catelyn and her boyfriend Tyler, who made the mature and extremely difficult decision to allow another couple to adopt their daughter, allow Tyler’s dad/Catelyn’s stepdad (same person) Butch to live with them while he is on parole and in rehab. Butch gets arrested again and Catelyn and Tyler decide it would be too emotional if their daughter and her adoptive parents attended the couple’s high school graduation ceremony.

Each of the young women featured face extremely difficult, potentially volatile, emotional situations and decisions. I don’t envy them.

The young women featured in this episode are strong, ambitious, scared and doing their best to be good mothers. Some of them have the support of their families while others are forced to forge their own paths as parents and adults. I admire their courage and tenacity. Regardless of their individual situations, each of the young women featured in this show keep pushing themselves to be better mothers, better people.

I know some people think the show makes the lives of these women look glamorous, but I think it provides a glimpse into their lives and some of the realities they face as young mothers. They don’t always make the best the choices, but they are trying, as all mothers do, to do their best.

I have seen first-hand the difficulties teen moms face, but I have also seen them persevere and overcome insurmountable obstacles to become strong, independent women who fiercely love their children. I doubt any of the teen moms featured on the show will read this post, but I hope they realize just how strong they are and that they have so much to look forward to. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. I sincerely wish them well.

Do you watch Teen Mom? What do you think about this show? Why?

 

Family First September 20, 2011

About two weeks ago, I posted this on my Facebook/Twitter accounts:

“Never second-guess yourself when it comes to making your family your first priority.”

I decided to literally and figuratively take a step back. I gave up my title in favor of putting my family first and doing more of what I enjoy doing at work: writing and editing. This was not an easy decision and it was completely contrary to my second post (“There’s Gotta Be Somethin’ More”).

No, it’s not the ideal solution, but it’s the best option given my current situation. Will it be a difficult transition? Likely. Will it cause my peers to view me in a different light? Also, likely. Do I care what they think? Not as much as I care about my family and doing what’s right for us.

For a long time I was struggling with trying to be a Super Mom: the one who can do it all and still has time to make a home-cooked meal every night of the week. Yeah, she doesn’t exist; at least not in my world. I have nothing but complete respect and admiration for those mothers who can do the things I want to do. Please share your secrets with me!

Someone asked me: “Who says you have to pursue your career while your daughter is still young? She’ll be in school for 12 more years. You’ll likely be working for at least another 20 years after she graduates from high school. Plenty of time to pursue your career.”

That may sound like a cop-out to some, but no one had ever presented me with that option. You would think I would have come to that conclusion on my own since my mom did that very thing. But I couldn’t see past my desire to succeed as a career professional, a great mom and an amazing wife.

I don’t need to sacrifice any of those roles, but I need to put them in perspective and assign them appropriate priority. So I did.

This decision did not come easily. I weighed the pros and cons in my life as well as the effect it would have on my team. Overall, I think the solution presented will provide all of us with greater flexibility and a chance to truly work as a team. At least, that is my hope.

A weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I look forward to doing more of what I love and to fostering better relationships with my family and my coworkers. It’s a new day. 🙂

 

Meltdown August 30, 2011

My daughter had a meltdown during her violin lesson last week. She was done. Several days without any naps had finally caught up with her and she had reached her breaking point when her violin lesson seemed too difficult.

I wanted to cry right along with her. I had also reached my breaking point, something that seems to be occurring more often lately.

Lia was able to sleep off her stress. She went to bed as soon as we arrived home from her violin lesson and slept straight through the night. Poor thing. I know what that kind of exhaustion feels like. Thankfully, she woke up the next morning in a great mood.

Sometimes all we need is a little rest, some diversion to take our minds off of the things that cause the most stress in our lives. Rest is what Lia needed. I’m not sure what I need.

Writing tends to be the best form of stress relief for me, but I don’t do it nearly as often as I should. Writing helps me view any situation from different angles and forces me to ask myself, “How would others respond in the same situation?”

I don’t always come up with the right answer. I try to  ignore the answers I don’t like, even when I know they are right. I’m not perfect. There are days when I just want to have a meltdown and cry until I’m too exhausted to cry any more. And that’s ok. I’m allowed to feel that way… for a short while. I can’t allow myself to wallow in it, though. Even though Lia was done that day, she is excited to go to her violin lesson again.

I know my life isn’t perfect. Whose life is? But it won’t be better if I don’t live it and practice it every day.

Sometimes a meltdown is necessary if only to release the mounting stress. Sometimes you just need to drown your sorrows by sleeping the day away, eating a pint of ice cream all by yourself, or writing it out. It’s therapeutic.

Here’s to another stress-relieving ‘therapy’ session. 🙂

 

Let’s All Move to Europe! August 29, 2011

Filed under: Attentive Wife,Life,Mommy Dearest — MomVersusCareer @ 11:42 am

Why not? Europeans seem to embrace life and view working as a way to fund their enjoyment of life. Most Europeans get up to six weeks of paid vacation. Many of my international business acquaintances live in Europe. I envy their ability to take two weeks of vacation and actually go on a vacation.

Last week, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article by Darren Hardy that states the United States “ranks No. 1 in depression and mental health problems” because many Americans do not use their vacation days.

According to this article, Americans failed to use 483 million vacation days in 2007 (based on results obtained by the Harris Interactive research group). According to the article, that is “more than any other industrialized nation.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to work my life away. Yes, work is rewarding and gives us a sense of purpose and achievement, but our places of employment should be one of many avenues in which we seek fulfillment in our lives.

I would like to use my vacation time to travel, relax, forget about work, recharge, enjoy spending time with my family and enjoy life.

So, I say we all move to Europe! I think we would all be much more content and productive.

Do you use your vacation days, or do you ‘lose’ them?

 

Turning the Page August 11, 2011

Filed under: Attentive Wife,Life,Mommy Dearest — MomVersusCareer @ 10:16 am
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If you’re in a long-distance relationship, I suggest deciding where you’re going to live before you get married. It’s a minor detail.

Two days after Jason and I got married, we moved to Minnesota. It was basically a race to see who got a job first. Jason won, so we moved to St. Cloud, MN. Had I found a job in Indiana first, we would likely be living there.

I don’t regret moving away from my family and my hometown, but adjusting to married life and a new city where we knew only Jason’s brother was difficult for me. Thankfully, we found a church and fostered some great friendships while we lived in St. Cloud. After our daughter Lia was born, I began to feel homesick. I wanted so badly for my family to spend time with her, but the distance made that difficult. Indiana may be only a few states away, but it’s a long drive.

Before Lia’s first birthday, she had pneumonia three times and was hospitalized twice. We had no family nearby to help us during that time, so we decided to move closer to Jason’s family in northwestern Minnesota; Thief River Falls to be exact.

I was less than thrilled about this move, but at the time it seemed like the most logical choice. We needed help and we needed family.

Fast forward four years and nine months to today. To my surprise, our family has flourished here. Jason and I have great jobs. He’s been able to go back to school to pursue his dream. Lia is too smart for her own good and extremely funny and caring. She has had the benefit of living near at least one set of grandparents and a large extended family for most of her life.

It’s great, but…

I’m still homesick. It’s become increasingly difficult to visit my family in Indiana and return to Minnesota without getting misty-eyed during our goodbyes. My parents are coming to visit this weekend. I can’t wait to see them again, but I wish we were going to Indiana with them when they leave.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m homesick for. I like my hometown, but I don’t feel a pull to move back there because of it. I would be okay moving anywhere as long as my family was within an acceptable driving distance.

Maybe I’m not really homesick. Maybe I’m searching for something to fill a void, to meet a need I don’t yet understand.

I’m not sure what I’m searching for or what’s missing from my life, if anything.

I don’t really have a closing for this post. It’s like I just finished a riveting chapter in a book and I’m about to turn the page but have no idea what will happen in the next chapter.

Guess I’ll have to turn the page to find out.

 

Spreading Manure (Not Literally…Well, Kind of) July 20, 2011

Filed under: Attentive Wife,Mommy Dearest — MomVersusCareer @ 4:32 pm

Tonight, Lia and I will be representing the local hardware store/implement dealership in our annual county parade. Our mode of transportation? A brand-new, shiny manure spreader. My life is now complete.

Riding around in a manure spreader is not how I spend most of my evenings, nor would it be on my ‘bucket list‘ if I had one. So, why did I agree to ride in a brand-new, shiny manure spreader? First, my husband, Jason, assured me there has never been any manure in this particular spreader…yet. Secondly and most importantly, quality time with Lia and Jason, who has been working day and night (literally) at his full-time job and at his internship at the local sheriff’s department for the past few weeks. We haven’t seen him much and his absence is taking its toll on me and Lia. It’s temporary, but it seems like it will last much longer than a few weeks.

So, tonight we shall ride in a manure spreader, but we will do it together, as a family. Hopefully without spreading any manure. It will be memorable if nothing else. Ha!

 

 
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