Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When your car is your office {AND} you’re a mom.

Yes, I am going there.

Let’s be honest. Mom cars are not always the pinnacle of cleanliness. Even mine, despite my husband’s neat-freak tendencies. As much as he hates it, my car is my world. My crazy, chaotic, messy world.

Even before kids, my car struggled {yes, I am writing this as though it was the car’s fault. It works out better for me that way.}

When your car is your office, you live in it. It is my commute, my coffee break, my conference call. 

My car tows products, supplies, and me.

It’s also what I use to transport my family. Weekend trips, swim lessons, and regularly scheduled errands. 

So. When your car is your office AND you’re a mom, it might look something like this …

Barbie dolls stuffed in boxes of product samples.

Business suits hanging over car seats.

Sippy cups tucked in next to file folders.

Brochures hidden under the shopping cart cover.

Tap shoes stacked on top of boxes of business cards.

Marketing swag for customers housed in an unused baby wipes container.

Dinosaurs that fell into that extra pair of pumps. 

The list could go on. Today I found a toy Smurf in my laptop bag. It just happens.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lip gloss and real phone

Husband had a business trip yesterday, so I had a rare Monday  evening at home. It was busy, though, so I was checking email on my phone while feeding the kids their dinner.

I try not to do this often, but sometimes it is necessary. I knew I had an important presentation today, so I wanted to make sure nothing changed at the last minute.

I was balancing it all pretty well, which is also a rarity for me. I was able to scan messages and still remain engaged with the kids. We were having a fun little conversation.

All of a sudden, Miss Mighty stopped, looked at me, and said, “Mommy, I wish I had your life. Lip gloss and real phone.”

I cracked up laughing. The comment was sooo true to her personality. But, also because ...

She didn’t see the stress of balancing kids and career. She didn’t notice the struggles I faced trying to fit email and macaroni and conference calls and bath time all into the same hour.


She only saw the positives.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Readjustment Phase

On Friday, some of our very dear friends got married. In Mexico. It was a beautiful wedding, and a great little escape that Husband and I were able to sneak into our schedules.

We had a wonderful time celebrating and relaxing with our friends and reconnecting with each other.

But, as those things go, Monday returned faithfully and greeted us with mounds of emails, voice messages, and other lovely work-related issues that left us with that tiny little question in the back of our minds: sure vacation is great, but is it really worth it?

Are we just bringing more stress on ourselves by allowing work to build, kids to get off schedule, and forcing a readjustment period?

When Husband and I finally collapsed at 9:00 last night to watch a few minutes of TV, the very first scene I saw was a working mom proclaiming that you have to find balance. She seemed to have it all. 

She noted that you just can’t see it as a struggle, or that is how it will all start to fall apart.

I won’t lie. My gut reaction was not very nice. Maybe I wanted to punch her. Just a little.

I was so relieved when she fell apart after the next commercial break, revealing that balancing it all really is a struggle.

Work, family, marriage, self … these things should complement each other, even enhance each other.

But all too often, I find myself feeling like I am never in the right place. I am never where I am needed the most.

I know that these feelings are a bit compounded this week as we are in that post-vacation readjustment phase, which {sarcastic side note} I’m sure the green-colored-everything party day today will be totally helpful in smoothing things over.

I know that we have a plan, a routine, a way of doing things that generally works for us. And, that most days we at least average balance, that even if we are up and down throughout the day, we can call it a wash by bedtime. 

Linking up today ... join us!

Monday, March 9, 2015

4 Things Working Moms Struggle Fit Into Their Spring Schedule

Working moms are often tasked with what seems like a heroic feat: schedule work and life without sacrificing quality from either. And make sure nobody realizes that it takes even a second thought or an ounce of stress.

We know that our single and/or colleagues are constantly scrutinizing our ‘availability’ and the amount of time we spend in the office, so we often find ourselves trying to function as if parenthood does not overlap with our professional life.

As we roll into spring, there are several such instances where this becomes increasingly difficult.

Spring Break. Sure the kids deserve a break, and we can tell they are ready for it … but what do we do with them? Some are lucky enough to have vacation days, time, and budget to take a great trip or spend some quality time at home. But many working moms struggle to figure out exactly what to do with their kids for FIVE days during an otherwise normal work week.

Good Friday. There are very few professional companies that offer a holiday on Good Friday, but schools and day cares are often closed. At least, they are here in the South. Easter Monday can also be a school holiday. So working moms scramble to find baby sitters, have personal days approved, or sometimes just suck it up and take time off without pay. Right on the heels of spring break, too.

Time Change. Parents around the country are either celebrating or cursing this right now. We are all a bit off as our routines adjust to daylight savings time. But we try not to let it show. Whether we have to drag our kids out of bed in the morning or fight them into their new bed time, readjusting schedules is always tough. And nobody really wants to hear about it around the water cooler.

Field trips, spring programs, standardized tests, and other milestones. We already miss out on so much in the daily lives of our kids. We already ask for a ton of time off, late arrivals, early departures, and sick days. We hate to miss the fun stuff and we will not miss the milestones, but scheduling those in on top of what we have already had going on this spring … it’s a tough balancing act, for sure.

I actually have a coworker – he is young, unmarried, and does not have children  yet – who spent years watching those of us with kids come and go from the office for various kid-related issues. He jokingly made up a birthday for his ‘child’ and all of the non-parents would take off early every year on this date to celebrate Kasie’s Birthday at a local happy hour.  

Personally, I think it is hilarious, and I do not blame them one bit for feeling like they get the short end of the stick when it comes to flexibility in their work schedule.

My hope, however, is that those without children realize that we do not consider this balancing act to be a perk of any kind. Sure, we absolutely appreciate the jobs that allow flexibility when necessary, but we also feel like we are always letting somebody down.

I think about how executives have personal assistants, sometimes for the sole purpose of keeping their calendar updated, efficient, and accurate. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all (working) moms were able to have a personal assistant to help balance work obligations with personal life events?!  

What schedule struggles do you have this spring? 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

When your work BFF has big news ...

I barely squeaked out of Texas yesterday before the big icy cold front hit.

Three hours later, I arrived in sunny Southern California, ready for two packed days of meetings and a little catching up with my work BFF. We live in different parts of the country, so we really only get to see each other a few times a year.

I had my suspicions, but I was really excited when she shared with me that she is expecting a baby.

I am thrilled for her.

Of course, I also had a few other thoughts run through my head, too.

The travel required for our job is not for the faint of heart. It is also not for most moms, unless you have a solid support system at home. And, by support, I mean somebody who can simultaneously hold down the fort with the kids and tolerate your level of mom-guilt-crazy that can flare up without warning.

I am so happy for my friend, but I wonder if she will make it work. I wonder if she will find the balance. I wonder if this might be the last time I ever see her.

It can be bittersweet when your work BFF has big news. I am not a huge fan of change, but I have been around for a long time. I have seen almost everybody come and go.

And I really hope she doesn't go.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How do you keep your family healthy?

When rumors of sickness start to trickle in, you can almost see the panic etched permanently on every mother’s face.

We working moms? We put in our time those first 2 years of day care. Aren’t we supposed to have moved passed the point of constant ickiness?

Still, we take extreme measures to do everything in our power to keep our kids healthy.

Stories of the enterovirus had me Facebook messaging our day care director. In the middle of the night. About hand sanitizer. Yes, I am that mom.

(FYI – day care cannot give hand sanitizer to kids.)

Yesterday, I began hearing rumors that a new, violent stomach flu is making the rounds in our area.

So ….

We diffused thieves oil.

We rubbed more thieves on the kids’ feet before school.

We sent thermos cups of Emergen-C ‘juice’ for them to drink today.

We have told them at least thirty times … Do NOT drink out of the water fountain! Wash your hands! Sing Happy Birthday THREE times while you scrub the soap. Do NOT share cups!

When they come home, we will go straight to the bathtub.

And, I am still sure this bug will find us anyway.

Because I have a cross-country business trip tomorrow. And it might ice over on Thursday morning while I am out of the state. And Husband and I have a wedding next week. In Mexico. So, what better time to throw a wrench in the plans?

Please pray for Husband this week. His sanity may be tested just a bit.


How do you keep your family healthy when rumors of sickness swirl? Please share your suggestions with us!