Mom Versus Career

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

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
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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?

 

345,600 Seconds August 22, 2011

Filed under: Career — MomVersusCareer @ 12:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

Have you ever noticed how long it takes for Friday to finally arrive? It takes four days to get from Monday to Friday. Broken down incrementally, that’s 96 hours or 5,760 minutes or 345,600 seconds.

At my current place of employment, there is a specific conversation that occurs every Friday morning without fail. It goes something like this:

Employee #1 enters elevator, smiles and says: “It’s finally Friday!”

Employee #2: “No kidding!”

Employee #1: “It’s been a really long week. I can’t wait to get home and _____ (fill in the blank).”

Employee #2: “Yeah, Monday just seemed to drag, didn’t it?”

Employee #1: “I know what you mean. Only eight more hours and we’re free!

As the elevator reaches its destination, Employee #2 says: “Thank goodness! Have a good weekend!”

This conversation has many variations, but you get the point. It fascinates me because without fail, it has always and will always take exactly four days or 96 hours or 5,760 minutes or 345,600 seconds to get from Monday to Friday. Unless it’s a leap year, then I think we have some justification in saying it’s been a “long week.”

Why do we think the week is longer than it actually is? Why do we eagerly anticipate Friday’s arrival at the end of the week?

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of waiting impatiently to punch the time clock at 5 p.m. on Fridays, we were disappointed to leave? What would that company look like? What kind of jobs would it offer? What kind of people would work there?

I’ll have to ponder that myself, but if I ever work at a company where I’m actually disappointed to leave at 5 p.m. on a Friday, I’ll stay there until I retire!

 

Messed Up Mondays August 9, 2011

Filed under: Life — MomVersusCareer @ 8:49 am
Tags: , , ,

Apparently, I should no longer eat frozen pizza. This was the logical conclusion I came to after a pizza pan fell on my head Monday morning.

Maybe that conclusion isn’t as logical as I initially thought it was, but my head hurt at the time. I shouldn’t be held responsible for my thought process after being hit in the head by a vengeful pizza pan.

So, yeah. Monday morning kind of sucked for me. It’s not like that every Monday morning, but I think Mondays are messed up for four reasons:

1. Mondays are Manic
The Bangles got it right with their single, Manic Monday. Mondays are “the days when you wish your bed was already made” and that you were still sleeping in that bed.

2. Monday Work Greetings
Typically, on Monday mornings the first comment I hear is “Is it Friday, yet?” Why are we in such a rush to get through Monday, the first day of the work week? (See Reason 3)

3. The word ‘Monday’ literally means ‘moon day.’
If there is any truth to the theory that the phases of the moon can cause people to act differently or experience odd things during different phases, why would anyone willingly name a day ‘moon day?’ I want my Mondays to be free of odd occurrences, like falling pizza pans.

4. It’s the first day back to work after two days of not working. Enough said.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get through your Mondays:

1. Pretend there are two Tuesdays in each week.
It’s pretty simple. By pretending there are two Tuesdays in each week, you omit the Monday Blues, the curse of the ‘moon day,’ and have eliminated the stigma of Monday being the first day back to work after the weekend.

2. Delete ‘Manic Monday’ from your iTunes library.
If Monday no longer exists in your world, Manic Monday no longer exists. That was easy.

3. Plan extra-fun activities on the first Tuesday of each week, since there are now two Tuesdays, so you have something to look forward to.
Tuesdays should be fun! Now that you have two Tuesdays each week, it’s double the fun!

I think I may be on to something. This three-step program is copyrighted and pending patenting. 😀

 

“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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