December 12: Keeping up with the Joneses


Another Monday. This one cold and gray. I’m coming off a great weekend with the kids. We went to the library (quite a treat, even for the 2 yr olds), toured closeby neighborhoods looking at lights, and went on another steam train ride.

We started doing the “responsibility boards” with the kids again where you put little magnet “jobs” on the board and the kids and you evaluate their performance on those jobs – if they did well, they get a happy face magnet for that job on that day. Some of the jobs include making the bed, getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. and we find that these boards really do make a difference in their behavior, at least in the short term while there is still novelty to it.

So this morning the kids were way ahead of me:

Highlights of the Morning and My Commute:

  • Big Bro and I were getting dressed and he came into our room and said he wanted to do a getting dressed race. We’re on! He won, of course.
  • He then came in and proudly said, “Mommy, I already woke up, went pee, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and even made my bed all by myself.” I made a big deal of this and then walked into the room to check his work. He was so proud. I looked over and then also saw that Red did the same with her bed – and also arranged her dolls and put her favorite sleep animal on her pillow. I made a big deal about this too and later when she decided she wanted the animal I walked up with her and noticed her proud smile creeping across her face with each step upwards. By the time we reached her room and her bed, her face was alight with pride and she had to cover her face in her bed with her smiles and her laughter. I both love and hate how these kids are getting so big so fast – on one hand I love to see the people they are becoming but on another hand they are growing out of the age of innocence.

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  • Twin Husky was busy downstairs rolling things. Luggage bags, shopping carts, play strollers. He was just busy busy busy strolling and rolling all over the place and around the downstairs.

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  • Twin Crazy was walking around looking mad. Her eyebrows were furrowed since Hubby reprimanded her for something. She holds a grudge. Her face looked so cute all mad. I talked with her about how she looked mad and how that feels. I’m talking a lot with these younger kids about their feelings and what they are feeling and how even I have those feelings. After spending so much time with the little ones, I think I need to be spending the same amount of time with the 3 and 5 year old too. Sometimes I just assume that they “get it” since they are older but it’s probably good to spend the time on this subject with them too.
  • I took Red to school today and sat with her while she traced a candy cane. I asked her to save it for me so I can see it tonight. She asked me to write her name on it and I said each letter as I wrote it. She also wanted my name on it so again, M, O, M, M, Y. She seemed satisfied with this so she continued her art and smiled at me as I walked away.

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I’m feeling a bit down today. Folks on the ferry are talking about how this area is over-priced and how their going to buy for an investment but only stay 4 or so years until they have kids and find another place to live. This has been such an issue in our family and it is hard for me to accept. What started this funk that I’m in today?? I think I know what it is…

Over the weekend we received a holiday card where the whole card was an array of pictures during a private-blimp tour of the city. Yes, a blimp.  Three generations of the family each with beaming smiles while they were on their own private blimp-ride.  Yes, there are pictures of the grandchildren wearing headphones and pictures of the windows overlooking the city and everyone with big smiles. Yes, it was just them, in the blimp. A blimp.   Did I say a blimp????!?!?!?

The city where I live is essentially comprised of people that “have”, and “have not”. There really isn’t an in-between. And folks/families like ours have to work our asses off just to get by – and not even live lavishly. Mind you, I don’t need or want fancy clothes or a fancy car or decadent vacations. But I would like to be able to afford a house of my own to shelter my kids with a yard where they can play, and not have to feel like I have to work like mad to get there. At 41 and with an MBA, shouldn’t I be able to do this??? So I looked at that holiday card and became less hopeful of the area in which we live and my feeling of just “not belonging.” Mmmmm. That’s a bit deep for now. So not to dwell on things I cannot change, I should focus my energy on what I can change. I can play a pivotal role in how my children develop as people. So I guess it that is where I should focus my energy going forward, right??!!? Right.

Today at work I have some clean up items to begin with my client deliverable but honestly the rest of the day is a bit scattered. I will take this time to clean up some loose ends from our last forums and set myself up to start the planning for the next forums happening in April.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • We had an hour team sales meeting; during this time I updated the team on the sales efforts I am leading. I spent time talking about how I am trying to generate incremental revenues from the forums I am managing — the two forums are very different in nature and I am using different strategies to generate sales for each (selling new services to existing members, versus gaining new clients to grow membership). I speak with authority during these discussions since I own the forums and associated sales efforts. What needs to happen in the next 4 – 6 months though is to actually CONVERT these efforts to revenue. I need to make this happen so that this reduced work arrangement can be safe.
  • We also had a team lunch meeting where we did a White Elephant holiday exchange. I wrapped up two big stuffed animal dolls that neither Red or Twin Crazy have EVER played with and it was selected by my firm’s CEO. Too funny. I walked away with a pair of comfy wool socks. Especially made for a left foot vs. right foot! I never owned a pair so am looking forward to busting into them tonight (its the simple pleasures in life, right?).
  • I had a conference call with an ex-colleague of mine from 10+ years ago. I’ve managed to stay in touch pretty well with the people I have personally worked with through the years. This has been paying off for me lately. I am able to leverage them to get closer to business opportunities and now this friend/ex-colleague has come to us with a very interesting idea for another forum we can possibly create. It is an interesting idea, and potentially one that could change the industry over time if it works and works well. My Director is pretty excited by it, and we have the right contacts at other organizations to help push this idea further. This could be something big… and something that came about for our Firm because of my network. I want to see this happen and if it does, it can be big for me and my credibility within the company and maybe even the industry. DREAM BIG!!!

I spent the rest of the day doing admin-related items; tomorrow my day looks very free so I will be able to put my head down and actually do some work.

The Rest of My Day:

I’m on my way now to an appointment. So I’ll be late seeing the older kids tonight. Again, I’m not in a great mood. At any rate, I’ll close out this day with a Guinness for my dinner and hopefully will be able to talk to Big Bro and Red tonight before they go to bed. And then I’ll put on my new socks and join their slumber in my own room.

Till tomorrow –
– Mama K

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for your guidance. I will look forward to any postings you come up with. It is a shame that I am in my 40’s because I truly feel like I am 23….and I think I can split the difference and pass for 30’s. Surely, I must have an identity crisis.

  2. Good Morning Mama K, I empathize with your need to be in a less expensive area. As I have shared before, I too have lived in a similar place to where you now reside. But as a true vagabond, I will offer some hard won insight. As a child, I moved every school year with my dad’s job and as an adult, I have moved every 2 1/2 years with my husband’s military career. I have literally lived everywhere. The “haves” and the “have nots” are the most vocal and visible. The wealthy can have an “in your face” kind of vibe because after all, what is the fun in having if you can’t broadcast it. The “have nots” are equally in your face, not because they flaunt it but various other groups will spot light them for various agendas. The middle ground people that you so sorely find absent are merely invisible. I know this because I am one of them. As a stay at home mom, you won’t meet me unless we have a similar kids activity. In my spare time, I run in the dark AM hours alone and I read on my very solitary sofa. I felt very much like you for many years so I have taken steps to depart from my cloaked existence. I go to classes at the gym now and have met some great women. I make a point of initiating neighborhood get togethers to connect with my neighbors. I also still plan to go back to work part time though, my forward momentum has been stagnant (sadly)
    My very long winded point is that you will find those individuals who are like you because your focus is drawn to the plight. For your most recent years, you have been inundated with work and rearing young children with little time for anything other. Now, you are working less, your kids are growing older and embarking on their school careers. You will find the silent middlers in the schools, in kids activities and in all the great “self therapy” indulgences that you are sure to enjoy in the coming months (since you have more free time). You have undergone great change recently (and probably constantly over the last 5 years). With change comes new relationships and experiences. Put yourself out there in some new venues. You will find some people that you may really like (just ignore the ones that make you twitch because they will be there too).
    Since most of this melancholy was likely derived from Christmas correspondence, I will offer fair warning. Take all Christmas letters and attachments with a grain of salt. The annual Christmas letter is like the High School reunion experience. Though the intention of the letter is to apprise you of the events of the last year of those acquaintances that we don’t regularly talk with, it mostly now represents the facade of how perfect we want our lives to be. No one will send a letter stating that their marriage is in shambles or that their children are hooked on Xbox and overindulged. If they shared such information we could feel better about ourselves. Instead, the letter is a glowing report of how well our children perform, how successful our careers are, and the fantastic travels that we could afford to take. Such information tends to make us feel inadequate. So the next Christmas letter you read, keep in mind that you only get a glimpse of the best moments of the year. Every one has obstacles and hardships….they just don’t write about them. But I will say, that I am so very glad that you do….it makes your very REAL!

    • Mama S – again, you are wonderful. I know they are out there too, but you are right I will need to put myself out there and be open to connect with them. Over the past 1 1/2 we’ve been living in a “temporary” place which has been a disaster for us. We are in a perpetual holding pattern with no end in sight. Had I known this, I would have been more open to the people around me and my neighborhood. Since it was temporary (in only my mind apparently) I held back — leading to more lonliness and isolation. Yes, there has been a lot of change up to this point, but honestly I’m looking forward to the changes in 2012. 2011 was a bad year and I’m looking up for the turnaround.

      You are so insightful and you write so well – you have talent and hopefully you can leverage these skills in your profession – please let me know how you are doing on that front and if there is any way I can help? I feel like you’ve done so much for me and I want to help YOU in some way, if I can…. 🙂

      • You are wonderfully supportive. Thanks a ton. I have an incredibly impressive wardrobe and a very outgoing personality so if a potential employer can meet me….then I have a decent opportunity for an interview. (lack of confidence is obviously not a stumbling block for me). Unfortunately, we live in the day of electronic resume submission and a sixteen year gap in employment doesn’t scream employable. I took an accounting class to brush up on concepts and I just completed a Microsoft Office class (since MS office is not required for internet shopping…I am less than proficient). In the New Year, my plan of attack will be to offer my MBA educated self at slave labor wages. I only need a launch. Once I get some experience and an employment reference, I can be a more demanding wench. If this doesn’t pan out…..I think I could be an amazing bartender!

      • FYI
        I am going to start to put some attention to “career” tips on the website. Helpful information, articles, etc. I’ll see what kind of response I’ll get. One interesting article was on Twitter yesterday – I re-tweeted it. It was about women going on interviews in their 40s. They stressed you are who you are, but market who you want to be. Have that vision in your head and you know that you will achive “her”.

        It was on Forbes.

        How to Get a Job If You’re a Forty-Something Woman
        http://onforb.es/ue6Pg3

        I need to figure out a way to post things like this on the website; I will continue to follow and if I find interesting stuff I will post on Mama In Motion…

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