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. 🙂

 

I Got Nothin’ September 1, 2011

Writers block has reared its ugly head again. I had some great ideas yesterday and promptly forgot them because I didn’t jot them down in my new favorite cross-platform app, Evernote.

So, now I am trying to remember my ideas but I’m not having much luck. I’m hoping that just writing anything, like this post about nothing, will help jog my memory. Nothing yet.

It’s like when someone’s name is “on the tip of your tongue;” my ideas are just out of my mental grasp.

My ideas are playing hide and seek in my brain. I have a vague notion of the direction at least one of my ideas is heading, but I can’t seem to catch it before it turns a corner or finds a better hiding spot elsewhere in my mind.

I’ll probably remember my ideas tonight while I’m sleeping or tomorrow morning while I’m in the shower. That’s how it usually goes. 🙂

What do you do to work through writer’s block or any other creative block? What do you do to get your ‘creative juices’ flowing?

 

“Quitter, me, and the Resistance” or “I am a Writer, Part 2” (via Keeks) August 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — MomVersusCareer @ 8:03 am
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Great post from Keeks about writing.

Enjoy. 🙂

There are a million excuses not to do this. To not meet the paper with the ink. I am worrying about my schedule. How am I going to get it all done? What can I do to transition more easily? And the fear of writing new content for the blog? Ugh. I'm more paralyzed than excited. What if I say too much? What if I fail? And what if I can't stage a comeback from the failure? I have to practice writing. I have to practice – that is a fact. I can't just … Read More

via Keeks

 

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. 🙂

 

Eye of the Tiger August 10, 2011

Filed under: Life,Paperback Writer — MomVersusCareer @ 7:30 am
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My college professor, Dr. Hensley, is partially responsible for my love affair with literature and writing. (My grandmother contributed to my passion for writing, too. :)) Many students were introduced to his strict teaching style through his freshman English course. Dr. Hensley expected his students to be on time to a class that started at 7:45 a.m. three days a week. (I’m not sure why it was harder in college than it was in high school to get up for an early class. Maybe it’s because mom wasn’t there to make sure I got up in time. :))

He expected his students to try their best and never settled for less. If you happened to love English and literature, the class was relatively easy. If you paid attention in class and took good notes, you were likely to do well. The ultimate goal was to get what he called the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or ‘EOTT.’

To achieve the EOTT, you had to receive three As in a row on consecutive tests. The first time a student achieved EOTT status, my professor presented that student with a cassette tape – yes, cassette tape – of Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, a small tiger that plays Eye of the Tiger when you press its belly, and ‘EOTT’ across the top of the third test. He chose Eye of the Tiger because of its message to try your best, to keep fighting, to ‘rise up to the challenge of your rival.’

This song has remained a theme song for me since I received my first EOTT from Dr. Hensley. This song is one of many on my EOTT Playlist, which includes songs that inspire and motivate me to chase my dreams, to fight mediocrity, to pursue excellence.

Below is my current EOTT Playlist. It’s a work in progress, so feel free to make suggestions! Do you have a theme song? What is it? What songs are on your inspirational/motivational playlist?

Erica’s EOTT Playlist
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

Dog Days are Over – Florence & The Machine

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

Paperback Writer – The Beatles

Beautiful Day – U2

Your Love Lifted Me Higher – Audio Adrenaline

Let My Love Open the Door – Audio Adrenaline

Free Ride – Audio Adrenaline

God Will Lift Up Your Head – Jars of Clay

Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

It’s My Life – Bon Jovi

Dare You to Move – Switchfoot

Taking Chances – Celine Dion

Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac

Raise Your Glass – Pink

Firework – Katy Perry

Light Up the World – Glee

 

In the Heat of the Moment August 5, 2011

Filed under: Paperback Writer — MomVersusCareer @ 7:30 am
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I tend to write in the heat of the moment with whatever emotion I’m feeling fueling my writing. It’s usually just a first draft, but that’s where the initial idea is born.

Is it better to write out of raw emotion, or to jot down your thoughts and come back to them later?

Personally, I think if you wait, your writing can be watered down and have less effect. The flip side is that you more clearly state your thoughts after you have had time to reflect on them.

Emotional writing tends to be more raw and honest, but it can also be counterproductive to the point of the piece. You can get lost in the passion of the emotion and miss out on an opportunity to make a great observation about life if you focus on the emotion itself.

I like writing in the heat of the moment. It’s therapeutic. However, not everything I think and feel needs to be published. That’s the challenge of writing when fueled by emotion. It’s harder to edit myself and not publish something I shouldn’t and normally wouldn’t publish. But that’s also the attraction. It keeps me honest.

I don’t know the answer to the question I posed above. I think the best, healthiest method is a combination of both. I usually start writing in the midst of an emotion and come back to it later to edit it. Sometimes the passion has subsided so much that I no longer want to publish the thought. Sometimes it’s renewed and new ideas are incorporated into the piece.

It’s fun to experiment and discover what works.

Wow. I’m a nerd. I love writing. 🙂

 

Recalculating August 3, 2011

Filed under: Life,Paperback Writer — MomVersusCareer @ 8:38 am
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I have not been impressed by my GPS lately. What good does it do if the GPS can’t locate a satellite signal until I’m nearly halfway to my destination? I like exploring unfamiliar towns now and then, but I’d prefer to limit my exploration to days when I am not expected for appointments.

I have a terrible sense of direction. I’m the first to admit that. (I suspect it’s because I don’t have enough iron in my nose like men do. Maybe I should get my nose pierced. I wonder if that would help.) I rely on street signs, written directions, and landmarks to navigate. Telling me to turn North on 7th Avenue means nothing to me. Telling me to turn Right at the Blue House with White Shutters gives me a landmark to go by.

I’ve determined my brain has been working a lot like my GPS lately. I decide what I want to do and request directions from my brain to complete that task. Unfortunately, my brain sometimes has difficulty locating a ‘satellite signal’ or gets detoured by ‘road blocks,’ much like my GPS.  I tend to get in my own way when it comes to doing something I really want to do. I put up those mental road blocks by devaluing my dream and my talent. I allow my brain to have a ‘weak signal’ by not following God’s direction for my life.

I make it nearly impossible to reach my destination because I choose to follow my own path and take wrong turns instead of following the path God has laid out for me. I keep running into myself as I try to reach my goal, and I’m starting to bruise.

Wouldn’t it be great if my brain could just recalculate like my GPS when I choose to go my own way? It would magically guide me back to God’s path. Sure, it will take longer to get there and there will likely be more weak signals and road blocks, but at least I’ll be on the right path.

That’s where I am today: finding my way back to God’s path for my life that He mapped out long ago. Why would He give me a passion for writing if it wasn’t part of His plan for me? All I have to do is get those mental road blocks out of the way and maintain a ‘strong signal’ so God’s path is clear.

 

 
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