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. 🙂

 

Americans NEED Vacation – Darren Hardy says so. August 25, 2011

Filed under: Career,Life — MomVersusCareer @ 4:45 pm
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A friend of mine who actually reads my blog, not my mom (no offense, Mom :)), sent this link to me today. It relates to my post about how long it takes to get to Friday.

I have another post in mind that is similarly related. 🙂

Enjoy!

Your Competitive Advantage: Rest

 

Being the ‘Loud and Obnoxious’ Person and Not Knowing It August 24, 2011

So, I think I’m ‘that girl.’ The one who is loud and obnoxious. I noticed this during a meeting yesterday. I laughed a lot and loudly. My voice raised in volume while I was telling a story. I over-exaggerated with my inflection.

The weird thing is that I don’t do that all the time. It’s usually only when I feel comfortable with certain groups of people. I guess that’s good, but I wonder how those groups of people view me when I am loud and obnoxious?

I’ve never asked anyone. I just had this mini-revelation yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance to take a survey. Up to this point, it’s not something I’ve been able to control. It comes out naturally in certain settings. Maybe I should be thankful that I feel so comfortable with certain people. However, I wonder if sometimes I go too far.

Thankfully, I had a receptive audience yesterday, so I don’t think I offended anyone. 🙂

Do you ever get the sneaky suspicion that you’re the loud, obnoxious person in the room? Are you ok with that, or do you wish you could control it more?

 

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.

 

“The Grass is Always Greener” Syndrome August 8, 2011

Do you ever feel out of place? As if you belong somewhere else?

I do.

I think we all feel that way at some point in our lives.

In the eight years I’ve been married, I’ve moved five times. I loathe moving, so I’m not sure why I agreed to move each time the opportunity presented itself. Our move to northern Minnesota was born out of necessity, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

I think the allure of moving somewhere new clouds our judgement. It’s “The Grass is Always Greener” syndrome. We convince ourselves that moving to a new apartment, city, state, etc. will ‘fix’ everything, whatever it is. I’m not unhappy with my life as it is, but I am restless. There are several factors contributing to my restlessness, but I know the main reason is that I try to convince myself that my life will be better, everything will fall into place, if I can just get to ____. Fill in the blank.

It’s a lie we try to convince ourselves is true. Any problems we have in our lives, unless directly related to our locations, will be packed up along with our clothes, dishes, furniture, plastic squirrels, and antique typewriters and move right along with us to our new homes. My hang-ups at work? They are mine. My struggle with perfectionism? It comes with me, too.

Once we realize that all of those ‘problems’ will stay with us, moving loses its appeal.

The key is to realize that we, you and me, are the common denomenators and that we can’t solve our problems by running away from them. Instead we must face them head on and declare our intentions to get rid of them. Some do this by planning. Others seek council from friends, relatives and/or professionals. All are great choices because they require action on our part.

A wise man, Jon Acuff, once said, “The dream you never act on, fails 100% of the time.” This can also apply to solving the problems, hang-ups, and hurts in our lives. If we never do anything to change our situations, our situations will never change.

If you want to live a better life, do something about it. Don’t wait passively for an opportunity to present itself. Yes, it’s hard. But you’re worth the effort!

 

 
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