Staying Sane: Waiting is a bitch – be patient


I love my neighborhood.   It has a bunch of hard-working families with young kids like mine.  We tend to look out for each other.  We do care-packages for each other – for example, the family across the street received Twin Crazy’s hand-me down clothes.   And I receive hand-me-downs from a family down the street.   I’ve offloaded a flat-screen TV wall mount to a new family across the street – it didn’t work on my wall and I could not return it.   My next door neighbor gives us food from her garden and even gave us the corn seedlings that grew into the corn (that sucked).   This is just how it is here.

Last weekend, I received a care-package of bulbs for flowers that needed to be planted this month.  I was told how deep they were to go, and I picked out the flowers that I liked.  I’m really not a flower kind of person, but I thought they would actually look pretty good along the front hill of my property.  Plus, that would be a great spot for the neighbor who gave them to me to enjoy them herself.

So, I spent at LEAST 2 hours busy on Saturday morning figuring out where to plant them, pulling the mulch back, planting, sweating, planting, sweating, planting, sweating, roasting in the sun, planting, watering.    I must say that I felt pretty accomplished afterwards.

Later that day, the kids came over and the neighbors got together and all the kids playing in the street, riding bikes, kicking balls, etc.   I got to talking to the husband of the woman who gave me the bulbs.  I thanked him and told him I spent all day planting them, very proud of myself.

I asked him “so how long will it take for them to grow?”.  I was looking forward to seeing sprouts of green from my labor.   I was looking forward to having a front hill that looked GORGEOUS.   His reply shocked me.  Stunned me.  I think I almost shed a tear.  “Spring“.    Are you F*^(*&^ing kidding me??!??!??!?!?!?  SPRING?????!   HOW AM I GOING TO EVER BE ABLE TO WAIT THAT LONG FOR SPRING?   WHO PLANTS THINGS SO FAR IN ADVANCE ANYWAY?   DON’T YOU FORGET THAT THE STUFF IS THERE????????!

I really was not anticipating this answer.  I thought maybe 3 – 6 weeks.   Certainly not 6 months.   OMG.    UGGGGH!

I couldn’t help but see the parallels in being a working mother:

  • set expectations accordingly with your kids/coworkers.  This might stop a tantrum/conflict before it happens
  • don’t expect so much
  • don’t assume that your own expectations are the same as the other person’s (I need to see quick results, and cannot understand how anyone can enjoy bulbs that sprout six months later…)
  • have patience.   breathe in, breathe out.   Repeat.  breathe in, breathe out
  • Laugh it off; see the humor; laugh at yourself
  • still be thankful for what you receive
  • growing and nurturing take time; the seeds that you plant now (lessons with your children) may take time to manifest in their personalities.  Keep nurturing, teaching, believing even if it takes time to see the impact on the kids

Have any of you had experiences similar to this?  What other learnings can be observed from this or other situations you have encountered?

Thanks for listening; have a great week everyone

– Mama K

Advertisements

October 26: VERY busy and happy with the kids


It’s Friday and now I am home alone after dropping off the kids at co-parent’s house.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much we did today.  I loved it.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Twin Crazy was sick the night before with a high fever so I brought her into my room.   However, when I woke up this morning, not only did I have her in my bed, but I also had her twin laying across me as a pillow.   He usually wakes up earlier than the rest, but for some reason I think he came over in the middle of the night.  Strange.  I woke up to Red asking me to get Cocoa.   Climbing back in my bed I was saying to everyone that I will need to go out and get a bigger bed.  How am I going to fit me, 4 kids (older and bigger over time), a guinea pig and possibly a dog in my Full bed??!?!?!?   No way.    We were all laughing.
  • Breakfast was touch and go today.   Red requested pancakes (I made home-made pancakes last Friday) but I tricked her and pulled some out from the freezer.  She tried to eat them but noticed the difference immediately and was completely pissed off at me.   She sulked for most of the breakfast, until the end, when she caved out of hunger and ate what was given to her.  Then she was all smiles.
  • It was a nice ride dropping off Big Bro and Red.   The sun was shining.  I was feeling great.    Drop offs were uneventful.  Except that Red was happy (I brought Twin Crazy and Twin Husky with me).  I think bringing in the twins makes a difference for her during drop offs.
  • On the way home the Twins were talking about having grapes.  There was traffic.  They fell asleep.
  • Once we got back we had our grapes and then our activity.  I loved it.   We worked together in the back yard.  We were raking leaves, transporting leaves, picking “good” leaves from the weeds/sticks and putting them in our tumbler composter, then gathering more leaves around the back yard.  Twin Husky was TOTALLY into it.   He loves the outdoors.  I think this will be “our thing” together.   He is very much a wanderer; a seeker; he wandered off to see the chickens and he loves working in the yard.   I couldn’t tear him away from his little wheel barrel.  I think this garden that I want to build will be special for me and him alike.   Twin Crazy on the other hand had trouble walking up the hill, trouble raking leaves, and wanted to ride her tricycle down on the patio.  To each her own.  It’s just not her thing.  I’m OK with that.
  • After that hard work we had lunch and then naps.  I even took a nap as well.

 

 

Highlights of the Afternoon:

  • My phone alarm rang at 1:50 PM.  I jumped out of bed and gathered extra clothes, 4 water bottles, 3 fans (see Halloween gifts from Nana from  yesterday), and snacks to last 4 kids and one tired Mommy for 3 hours.  I scooped up the kids and told them to go back to sleep on the ride.   They did.
  • Pick up for Big Bro was great.  I got a chance to see their gardening project, with above-ground planting beds made out of wood.  I was totally  impressed.   I asked them how they made it and if they have plans.  The teacher said that boy-scouts made it for her.  A parent from Big Bro’s class asked me if I even have ROOM for a planter like that…. I said yes, we are divorced now… I live in [XXX] and have 1/2 acre of property and am starting a garden.  She grew up in that town.  She knows that I can grow things in the summer and in the winter.  She said she was jealous.  She does not have space for such a planter at her house.  I was beaming.
  • We picked up Red.  She is adorable.  Her smile lights up the room and my heart.   She put away her things and ran to me.   She held my hand tight as we ran to the van together.
  • Once we were all together I took out the snacks and drove to our first destination:  the airplane museum.  There is a part of the museum where you do not have to pay anything to enjoy.  So we stayed outside for free, and the kids had fun climbing into the airplanes and pretending that they were air traffic control.   Big Bro stole my phone camera and took some pictures of things that were important to him, like his hurt finger with a band-aide on it.  I read about the planes and gave the kids their snacks.  The owner came out and I explained my story, about living paycheck to paycheck and being divorced with four kids.   He gave me his card and told me to call in advance if I ever wanted to bring the kids inside.  He was very sweet.   We used the restroom and there was a water cooler outside with cone-paper cups.  The kids went crazy over this and I just couldn’t believe the joy and wonder that can be brought to a child without paying for anything.  It really is the simple things in life.
  • After the airplane museum we went to buy Red her shoes.  Her old sneakers were embarrassing.  She even mentioned that people in her class have been telling her to get new shoes.  I was appalled.  We went to Payless and even Big Bro was picking out some choices for her from sizes 11 and 11 1/2.   He was great.  They all knew that the only thing on the list was Red’s shoes.  So all in all they were very well behaved.  Except for Twin Husky.  He found a pair of blue rain boots that he fell in love with and was totally upset when I told him that they weren’t on the list.  We paid for Red’s sneakers and off we went.
  • Our next stop was a cove where you can see tide-pools, lots of birds, and huge rocks with sea-weed.  The kids had a great time.  Big Bro, Red, and Twin Husky kept scrambling up rocks, Big Bro and Red adventured out towards the bay and collected treasure (shells), Twin Crazy collected her treasure of rocks, and Twin Husky was so adventurous.  At one point he decided to take off his socks and shoes and start wading in some of the tide pools.  I was not thrilled with this but I loved his sense of adventure and he was safe.   I didn’t care if his pants got wet.   The kids were great when I said it was time to go.   I love giving them these kinds of experiences.  And it didn’t cost me a thing.
  • Drop off was fine.  I will see them tomorrow at 4 PM.

After dropping them off I went food shopping to prepare for next week.  I will have more time with them since co-parent will be traveling for work.   I only buy things that are fresh veggies / fruits, and other things on sale.  I do not buy anything (besides fresh fruits / veggies) if it is full price.  I just can’t these days.  There was a snag at the register that shorted me $2 and I am not proud to say that I waited for another transaction to get my $2 back.  That will pay for 2 days of parking next week at my train station.  I am living paycheck to paycheck these days, but still probably the happiest that I’ve ever been nonetheless.  I am making it on my own.  As a single mother of four kids, working part-time, in a god-awful expensive part of the country.  I have my own, beautiful (small) home with lots of land for me and these kids.   And I am making it.

Tonight I will need to do some work related to the divorce.  I cannot wait for this to be finalized and have this leech off of my back.  I was carrying him for too long in the past and he is still sucking whatever he can out of me and I need to rid myself of him legally and financially.   That is my priority now that my big meetings for work have passed.

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

October 25: Rain, hot, cold


It is the end of a Thursday, one that I shared with my kids. I love working part-time. Twin Crazy had a fever last night so we did not sleep well. I was excited since I used my heating system in the house for the very first time. It is very cool. Programmable for different sections of the day. I am new to all of this. I love owning this home and being able to set the heat at whatever temperature I feel is appropriate for the kids and me.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Nutella “Chocolate Thursday”. The kids were pumped. Of course Twin Husky and Twin Crazy needed to spread the chocolate by themselves.
  • It was raining outside. It feels like fall. Foggy, raining. My grass is turning brown to green.
  • On the ride we saw a huge amount of pigeons on the electrical lines. I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many. Big Bro said that they need to put up more lines so that the birds could have more room for their “meeting”. Twin Husky called it a “party”. We made it in time for Big Bro’s drop off. Drop off for Red went much better this week. I think it is easier for her when Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are with us during the drop off. Afterwards, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were playing with chairs and kitchen sets and climbing structures at school. It was hard to get them out of there. Twin Crazy was talking about how her “vagina hurts” in front of everyone which made me laugh and also indicated to me that she needed to take a bath.
  • On the ride back Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. I love that they are in a proper daycare environment where they are learning these things. Twin Husky was fully potty trained his first week of being there.
  • I took them to the library in my neighborhood so we could return some borrowed DVDs. We got there too early so we talked about flowers, looked at worms, and they balanced on low walls around the bushes and flowers and had a great time. Once the library opened, we went in and they each returned one of the DVDs with the automatic return center, where they put the book/DVD in and it scans the bar-code. They loved it.
  • We went back to my place and took baths. I pulled out “new” (hand me downs from a neighbor) bath toys that the kids loved. A watering can, Dora and Boots, pots with spouts. Twin Husky needs to shampoo his own hair by himself. Afterwards he wanted to get dressed in a bathing suit top and a bathing suit bottom since they are very soft and silky.
  • Lunch and naps!
  • While the kids took naps, I had a conference call and sent out some emails to prospective clients.

20121025-205254.jpg

20121025-205308.jpg

20121025-205326.jpg

20121025-205333.jpg

20121025-205342.jpg

20121025-205351.jpg

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I swept the kids up and drove in to pick up Big Bro and Red.  It was hot outside.  We were early so Twin Crazy and Twin Husky had fun playing in the playground while we waited. They both liked the swings. Twin Husky liked the play structure and the structure where you throw a ball in… but we didn’t have a ball with us so he was throwing his Tiger. It was very, very cute.
  • Twin Crazy was not feeling well by this point and felt feverish to me – and it was hot outside in general so I’m sure she felt like crap. She was very cranky. We grabbed Big Bro and fled to Red. Pick up was fast since Twin Crazy was feverish. I told Red that I was going to buy her shoes today, but asked her if it was OK if we did that tomorrow since Twin Crazy was sick and needed medicine. She was agreeable.
  • When we got home Big Bro was sleeping in the back seat. I gave Twin Crazy medicine. It was cold outside.  I turned the fireplace on. Red and Twin Husky were playing with LeapPads. I was holding Twin Crazy to comfort her and check her fever. She felt good in my arms.
  • Big Bro woke up; the medicine kicked in and Twin Crazy was happy. The kids opened up a care package from my mom with Halloween cards, “fans” with candy in the arms, and two baking sets with haunted house brownies and skull cupcakes with brains. We will do these on Sunday.
  • Red and Twin Crazy were busy with scissors and cutting out pictures out of magazines.
  • Dinner was fast and good.
  • After dinner, we colored together while I also did laundry.

20121025-210116.jpg

20121025-210125.jpg

20121025-205430.jpg

20121025-205437.jpg

20121025-205458.jpg

20121025-205503.jpg

20121025-205508.jpg

I read to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and put them to bed. Then Red, solo. And then Big Bro. I’m not sure if they like reading all of them together (then they get to hear 4 books) or if they like the one-on-one time. I think it depends on their mood. I just need to remain flexible with them.

I loved today. It was a great way to spend my time after the intensity from work at the beginning of the week.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 24: A recap of the last few days


I came home tonight after leading and facilitating a series of meetings for one of the forums that I manage for my company – I left on Monday AM and returned at 7 PM Wednesday night – picking up the kids from co-parent’s on the way from the airport and to my house. They are in bed now and I missed them so much;
Highlights of the past few days:

  • Eating a big breakfast at the airport; sleeping on the plane the entire way cross-country.
  • Seeing the GORGEOUS leaves turning colors during my drive from the airport. Lots of yellows and bright reds. I attempted to take a picture from the taxi but the pictures does the scene absolutely no justice whatsoever.
  • Getting assigned to a room that did not exist and getting lost on the floor (not) finding it.  Getting set up in my real room – a suite. Lots of chairs and rooms and space for me to lose my things.
  • FABULOUS dinner and drinks with clients on Monday night. I joked with my clients about my “garden” and the “corn” that we grew which was terrible; they were laughing with (at) me.
  • First day of meetings was amazing. I presented data and analyses to the group and it went very well. The group overall was very engaged the entire day and there was a lot of interaction and discussion – that is how I know that the meeting is going well.
  • ANOTHER FABULOUS DINNER WHERE I DRANK TOO MUCH WINE – THE FOOD WAS AMAZING AND I HUGGED THE CHEF. Afterwards, I took out prospective members to some Irish bars and we had way too much fun.
  • Next day of meetings went great. I lead the day solo and facilitated the end of the meeting getting their ideas on subject matter and topics for the next meeting in six months. We’ll be heading to Miami in the Spring!
  • Took a town car to the airport.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.   Too good to be true.  I miss that.
  • I had plenty of time – had some lunch/wine, and worked on sales for the other forum I manage. I sold three new memberships today and will work on others through the rest of the week where I can.
  • Plane ride back was fine; I slept and also listened to a lot of music.

 

20121024-212815.jpg

20121024-212823.jpg

20121024-212839.jpg

20121024-212846.jpg

 

Getting the Kids:

  • AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME
  • They ran to me. Red jumped in my lap. Twin Husky was jumping up and down saying “Mommy Mommy Mommy”. Twin Crazy came out laughing and hugging and smiling. Big Bro came out and was gathering his things. I guess he’s past the hugging stage of his life. 😦
  • Twin Husky had on new sneakers and he was showing me how they work and light up when he slams his foot down. They are Buzz Lightyear sneakers. Twin Crazy then started saying how she can do that too and had to show me. Then Red too. So I had 3 kids around me stomping their feet and making their shoes light up. It was like fireworks.
  • I learned that Twin Crazy has been sick the past 3 days – up at night with high fevers and puking. Great.
  • On the ride back, Big Bro and Red were playing games with their LeapPads together; laughing. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were singing together and laughing. I was quiet and just let them entertain themselves. I wanted to hear them in their natural states without forcing conversation. I loved the ride home.
  • We quickly did bedtime routine and read books, scratched backs. Twin Crazy complained a bit that she was cold (slight fever) so I gave her medicine. I hope she sleeps through the night. I need the sleep and am exhausted from the day and also time difference.

 

20121024-212851.jpg

I had an amazing 3 days. Work is going so well for me and I’m really enjoying what I do. I have fun with it during the meetings and afterwards. I like bringing on new clients/members. I like the entertaining aspect and making sure that everyone is happy. It is fun and easy work for me. Coming home to the kids was also amazing. Their hugs, their excitement, their laughter. All of us sitting together on the couch with the fireplace on reading books together and laughing and talking about the books. It was a great moment for me.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: More new friends


Saturday is a day that I get to wake up late and enjoy a day getting things done while I wait for the kids. They are with co-parent until I see them at 4 PM.  This Saturday AM I spent my time cleaning up my front yard and planting about 50 bulbs for the Spring – but that is a story for another time.

During this planting, I had the opportunity to meet some kids who were walking their dog Hershey. They usually don’t walk this way in front of my house, but they were on this day because their dog is new to their family. Rescued from a dog pound 2 days before he was about to be put to “rest”.

I learned that they were the neighbors at the end of the street whom I did not yet meet. Two boys, ages 11, 7, and a girl, age 6. I had fun with Hershey and talking with them. I guess I don’t mind talking to kids when I am solo since it is in my nature now to talk to kids since I have so many. Anyway, they asked about my kids and they asked why they weren’t around until 4 PM. I explained that they were with their Dad and that they have “two houses” and that they spend time with me, and they spend time with their dad. How they have two rooms, two sets of books, two sets of toys, etc. (my normal explanation about the separation).   Usually this story works out well since I end with “two sets of toys”. But this was the first time I was talking with a sort-of older kid – and that’s when the 11-year old told his siblings “yeah she’s talking about Divorce. When things don’t work out.”…..

Anyway, I told them that the kids would be at my house at 4 PM and ready to ride bikes. So for them to come back. They walked off with their dog and I continued with my yard.

*****

At 4:02, the new kids came back, with their bikes. They were waiting to meet my kids. The van pulled up. My kids came out and met the “new kids” (it’s so ironic since the “new kids” have actually lived on that block all of their lives, and WE are the family of the “new kids”). Big Bro got out immediately and started riding. Red was a little bit apprehensive, since these were older kids, who ride fast. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were anxious to get their bikes and get going!  Twin Husky helped me put out the traffic cones in the street. The kids next door were calling out through the window that they were coming out too. The kids across the street were getting their bikes out and helmets on. The boys up the hill were coming down with their bikes with their mom who had a margarita in a cup. And then the 6-year old twins from way up the hill were seen to be coming down with their bikes and their shark and fish helmets. The fun began…

Kids on bikes. Kids running from house to house. Kids on the tree swing next door in the front yard.  Big Bro coming out with some balls to kick in the street. Big Bro wanting a snack so I went in and got Ritz Crackers and asked him to bring out the entire box for everyone to share. I asked him to ask everyone if they wanted any… and he did – such a good host and such a “giver”. The neighbors congregated on my stoop. Some had never met since there are new folks here. I met the parents from the corner house. Some disappeared and came back with bottles of wine. Boys were running from house to house. Red just wanted to be an acrobat on me. Twins were riding bikes. Big Bro hit it off with the “new kid” who is 7.   Everyone looking out for cars and having the kids pull over when one would drive by, very slowly, just looking at all of the people/kids in the street and maneuvering through the “kids at play” signs and my traffic cones with flags.

As far as we know, we have 21 children ages 11 and under on this block.  And we had 19 of them out this past Saturday night with their parents congregated on the stoop of my house.  The only ones that I have not yet met are a family with 2-year old twins (more twins!!) who are hosting a Halloween party for everyone on Halloween night.

All kids were going non-stop – and then the sun started to go down and families started to separate. I wound up with some stragglers at my place as I cooked dinner. I didn’t mind.

20121021-200421.jpg

20121021-200428.jpg

*****

The next day, Sunday, Big Bro went over to “the new kids'” house to play wall-ball. And then after lunch I had 4 extra neighborhood kids in my house along with the dog, Hershey. In the late afternoon, I took my kids back to co-parent’s house. And then when I was alone, there was a knock on the door and it was the “new” kids again, boy aged 7 and girl aged 6, and Hershey. Again it was hard for them I guess to understand that even though I was there, my kids were not. They are only at this house some of the time. But now at least they know that we live in this house and that the four kids are here every Saturday starting at 4 PM.

20121021-200440.jpg

****

I love how Big Bro just hit it off with these new kids – especially how in the past he was so shy. I love how welcoming in general children are. I love how they see fun in each other and how quickly the activities can change when so many kids are getting together. I remember nights like this as a kid. I am happy that I can give these experiences with my kids now and that we, together, get a chance to explore these new beginnings together.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

October 19: A good friday


Today was unusual. Big Bro did not have school. So we all had a “home” day at my home and LOVED it.

Highlights:

  • Woke up to Twin Husky (as usual) and cuddled in bed. Red came in with Cocoa (guinea pig).
  • Breakfast included the fireplace, oatmeal, home-made pancakes, and bread and butter (their new favorite).
  • Bikes outside; kids were in a great mood. Halloween costumes were on again. I showered while they had fun.
  • We went to Target to return some lightbulbs and get the right size. They loved the escalator ride. I loved that they know about the “list” and that they didn’t even waver towards any toys or ANYTHING else since it was not on our “list”. We were in and out in 5 minutes. On the escalator down, Twin Crazy had a spill and hurt her knee which fouled things up. Red was left up top, scared, but I asked her to hold tight and I’ll come back for her. Big Bro stayed with Twin Husky at the bottom and I carried Twin Crazy up the escalator again and we rescued Red. The girls were now laughing.
  • We went to the library afterwards. The kids picked out books almost immediately and 2 DVDs too; Big Bro checked out the books by himself with the bar-code reader. Red decided she wanted to be “old school” and go to the librarian to check out her books.
  • We went to the playground afterwards and the kids had fun climbing on trains, swinging, going down slides, and scaling structures.
  • We had a great lunch;
  • Twins were great taking their naps. Big Bro watched a Tinkerbell DVD while Red and I colored.
  • We had a delivery from Amazon – a guinea-pig play pen. I think she likes it. The kids do at least.
  • There was another delivery – the Buzz Lightyear t-shirt for Twin Husky to go with his blow-up wings. He was psyched.
  • Big Bro went over to a neighbor’s house to play Legos.
  • The rest of us were at home riding bikes, sweeping leaves, and decorating the house for Halloween.
  • Before you knew it, it was time for me to take them to co-parent’s. It turned dark and foggy on the way. As did my mood. So typical.

I spent other times during the day on email and on the phone with my office. A big meeting is next week that I will be leading; the heavy lifting all has been done. Now it’s just getting there, being smart, connecting with my clients, trying to “sell” membership to two different guest organizations, and facilitating 1 1/2 days of meetings and speakers. I am not concerned at all for this – I’m actually looking forward to it.

20121019-200824.jpg

20121019-200838.jpg

20121019-200849.jpg

20121019-200857.jpg

20121019-200911.jpg

20121019-200922.jpg

20121019-200929.jpg

20121019-200945.jpg

20121019-201001.jpg

20121019-201017.jpg

20121019-201025.jpg

20121019-201031.jpg

20121019-201043.jpg

20121019-201102.jpg

20121019-201111.jpg

20121019-201116.jpg

After dropping off the kids I needed to sit in the ferry parking lot with the car (and heat) on and cry. There are so many things about all of this that are so unfair. After I let it out I got back on the road. I felt much better as soon as I got on the highway and got closer to my house. I pulled up to the house and saw the decorations hanging from our trees and I couldn’t help but smile. I love it here. I felt so much better as soon as I pulled up the driveway. I came inside with a fresh perspective. I made a great dinner of sauteed brussell sprouts, baby kale, leftover rice, and some Guinness poured in. It was amazing. And drank the rest of the Guinness. Yes, feeling much better now. So much better in my own space, with my own things, and with memories of each of my kids with so much joy here.

I can not wait until this divorce is finalized. Being entwined with him is damaging. I know that there will be better days for me ahead. This is a bump in the road but hopefully this bump will not last for long.

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

October 18: Are you kidding me??!?!?


It was a reasonably good Thursday because of the kids; but the day sucked due to the divorce. I need to be done with this already – I am soooo over it.

Highlights of the Day:

  • I of course woke up to Twin Husky climbing into my bed. He is like a living alarm-clock. His routine is so predictable.
  • Chocolate Thursday! Kids were helping themselves and spreading their own Nutella on their tortillas. We were running a bit late.
  • Out of the driveway I ran over my side lawn and got stuck. One neighbor and one stranger walking down the street helped to push me out. It was pretty funny when my bumper almost got pulled off of my car. It’s just a piece of metal.
  • Drop off for Big Bro was fine; Drop off for Red was TERRIBLE. Lots of hugs, clinging to legs, tears. This happens every Thursday now. I hate it.
  • I took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to a science museum in a closeby neighborhood. They had a great time playing with balls/air, floating things/air, tumbling, riding bikes with square wheels, doing puppet shows, etc. etc. etc. They really had a great time as did I.

It was an early pick up day for Big Bro from school. So at 12:30 we picked him up, and then Red. We headed back to my place and had a great time.

  • We painted fingernails.
  • Got the mail, watered the plants front and back
  • Dressed in Halloween costumes
  • Had a smoothie snack outside on the steps
  • Twins took a bath, I gave Twin Husky a haircut (he looks very handsome)
  • Had some neighborhood kids over to play
  • Played with Cocoa
  • Ate a fast dinner outside with our new patio furniture
  • Cleaned up, read books, scratched backs, tickled and hugged and said lots of “I love you”s.

In between all of this were emails and phone calls/ conference calls for work. Both related to the big meeting next week, and a new client project that we will likely bid on. It was great from a work perspective even though it was my day off.

20121018-213921.jpg

20121018-213928.jpg

20121018-213936.jpg

20121018-213945.jpg

20121018-213951.jpg

20121018-214001.jpg

20121018-214008.jpg

20121018-214014.jpg

20121018-214021.jpg

20121018-214037.jpg

20121018-214042.jpg

In between all of this also were emails and phone calls from co-parent related to the divorce. He wants to be reimbursed for his out of pocket healthcare expenses – is still on my health plan. Are you kidding me?????? I need to be rid of this. I want to move forward but he keeps holding me back. I can not wait to be free of this. I have never met such a cheap man before in my life. He would fight you for a roasting pan, believe me, he is fighting me for ours and the majority of our wedding gifts.

Ok, now that’s off my chest, I breathe deep and let it pass. I am in my own home now. And my children are sleeping happily in their rooms. They ate well tonight. They had two different houses of neighborhood friends come over. They are clean. They were playing with each other and the girls were laughing and playing tonight like best friends.  I received a TON of hugs from them and lots of good conversation with each of them tonight.  I look at them in their eyes when they talk to me and they are able to finish their sentences and thoughts with me and get a reaction from me.   I drank good, cheap wine tonight.  I have a guinea-pig who is running around her cage right now and who kisses Red non-stop and obviously loves Red the best.  The crickets are chirping. And work is going well. So I really can’t complain. I’m moving forward and am ready for what is ahead and I am hopeful that it will be wonderful and worth the journey.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 17: Full day, except for the corn…


I love Wednesdays! This one was JAMMED PACKED. A very full day at work, and a very good day with the kids. Yeah!

Highlights of my working day:

  • Got cracking at 8 AM at home. Was well fed and had lots of coffee. Very comfortable on the couch.
  • Had amazing business development phone calls to convert members to the meeting we recently had. There is a lot of excitement with the new members! So far I think I have four of them and I need to get our membership agreements in order! YEAH!!!!!!!!!
  • I have another big meeting next week and have TWO presentations to develop and deliver. I worked on each in parallel today with consultants helping me with each. The day consisted of me checking in with each of them, getting drafts, reviewing/refining/revising, sending back, receiving back, sending to Directors for review. Getting comments, answering comments, and getting them out again. We need them out to the clients this week, and we are way ahead of schedule for that. Plus we are doing things in terms of analytics that we NEVER did before, which is making my boss HAPPY. YEAH!
  • I received a lead for a potential consulting project based upon relationships formed through the meetings I lead. This is positioning me well in terms of sales and cultivating relationships for the firm. I feel very secure in my job right now. I gathered the proposal team and we are talking with the potential client tomorrow to better understand what they need so we (not me) can develop a thoughtful and compelling proposal to get their work.
  • I spent the “non working” part of my day in the car on phone calls coordinating all of the above.
  • I started the “second shift” of my work day after the kids went to bed. Reviewed and edited the two presentations for the big meeting next week. I feel good about them.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I went food shopping with Big Bro before getting the rest of the kids. This is becomming our little routine together on Wednesdays. I enjoy the time with him alone, and I like how we work together to come up with our list and how he helps me pick out the stuff. He also asks questions about the food he sees (like eggplant… that was new to him today).
  • I had fun throwing Ritz Crackers to the kids on the way home for snacks
  • I FOUND MY WALLET! YEAH!!!
  • We picked some weeds and fed the chickens together.
  • I brought up the garbage bins with Twin Husky. That is becomming our routine together.
  • We opened up packages from Amazon and Big Bro received his Halloween mask and Star Wars gun. He immediately put on the rest of his costume. Twin Husky then put on his Buzz Lightyear wings. Red and Twin Crazy put “jewels” on their headbands for their “crowns”. They all looked so cute and were so excited.
  • We picked our corn!!!! It looked a bit ridiculous – some looked genetically-challenged. But the kids had fun picking it and seeing that it looked like the stuff they see in the store!
  • We ate outside. The corn sucked.
  • After dinner we cleaned out Cocoa’s new cage; I put in a rug and fleece in her “living area” and a towel and bedding in her “food and shit/pee” area. Right now she is running around and jumping in her cage. She loves it. A friend called it a “condo” which cracks me up.
  • I spent some time coloring with Red.
  • Books and bedime was FAST. I love having the kids back with me.

20121017-230502.jpg

20121017-230516.jpg

20121017-230526.jpg

20121017-230535.jpg

20121017-230544.jpg

20121017-230549.jpg

20121017-230556.jpg

20121017-230610.jpg

20121017-230615.jpg

I had such a full day – and actually put in almost a full day of work along with being reunited with the kids – and having FUN with them instead of being stressed about work. There is no stress at work now. We are so ahead of where we need to be for the meeting next week. There is just a lot of other stuff going on now too (like wrapping up our last meeting and selling memberships) that are important to me. But when the kids got here the calls stopped. I still checked and responded to emails where needed, but there were few.

I HAD AN AMAZING DAY EVEN THOUGH THE CORN SUCKED!!!!

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Gig Tips: Focus and Concentrate!!


Do you sometimes feel like you are running in all directions and not getting anywhere?   Think of the roles that we play:  mother, spouse, co-worker, boss, subordinate, sister, daughter, friend….   and all the things that we are meant to do to be successful at each.

But this post is about being able to focus and concentrate at work…

Photo source:  http://www.subliminalmessagecds.com/html/subliminal_message_cds/focus_concentration.htm

Do you find that you can’t help but let these kinds of thoughts creep into your head:

  • What are we going to have for dinner tonight?
  • Shit… I forgot to defrost something
  • What about my kids’ hives the other day?  Is this some sort of food allergy?
  • What do I need to do to get that promotion at work?
  • How am I going to get this stuff done by 5:00 PM when I have to rush out of here?
  • I wonder what is on TV tonight?
  • Will husband help me with the laundry?
  • This daydreaming has got to stop…. his body, his hands… his smell…  I want to get sweaty right now.   Wait a minute, are those kegels that I’m doing right now?
  • Let’s check my personal email again.   I know it’s been 15 minutes, but still…
  • I still need to order things for the kids for Halloween….
  • Shit we have 3 birthday parties this weekend….
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….

If you’ve come here thinking that I’m going to share my wisdom on how I focus at work, this is the wrong post for you baby.   I have been distracted lately with big work meetings, ramping up and ramping down, my personal love life heating up (think FIRE, think “talent”), the divorce process wearing on my patience, sick kids, and a draining bank account…. Work has been good for me at this time since these meetings are keeping me on track, a bit.  But still….

How to focus?  How to concentrate in the midst of all of this?   Maybe I’ll start a list and then lose my focus and come back to it (HA).    Sound like a plan?    Here it goes:

  • Write out a do-able list at the beginning of the day.  It has to be realistic, it has to be manageable.
  • Schedule meetings that need to be done that day and the next that will help you to push your work along.  My work is always dependent upon someone else at some point in time, so it’s important for me to carve out appointments in advance to give me a deadline to shoot for.
  • Turn off your personal email.
  • If really pressed, and if you can actually do this, turn off your work email too.
  • Get your desk organized.  Clear away clutter.
  • Get a big glass of water to refresh yourself.
  • Every 30 minutes or so, get up and stretch.  Walk away and take a break.  Then come back to what you are doing.
  • If something enters your mind that is distracting like a to-do item, write it down, or email it to yourself, etc. so that you feel like you’ve captured the thought but you can move on away from it.
  • Think about why it is that you are doing this particular task.  What is the end result?  What will be the impact?   How important is this?
  • Just get started.  Sometimes starting the effort is the hardest part.  Just dive in.

OK, I’m losing focus now and doing my kegels again (stop it!!!!).     I’ll turn back to this topic again, I promise.

In the meantime, what do you do at work to focus and concentrate on the work things that you need to do????  Please share!

Thanks for listening, and humoring me.  Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Home security botched my shower


I have so many ideas that I want to write about for “Staying Sane” for working mothers. Ideas are flooding me at completely random times. And with these thoughts, I can’t help but draw a connection to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I wrote about the Hierarchy of Needs and the implications to working mothers more than one year ago — see post here. It is amazing to me the difference of where I was emotionally and with my life between then and now… but the Hierarchy of Needs still applies to me now – even though my situation has changed so much. I can’t help but think that as I continuously evolve and grow as a person, as a mother, and now as a Head of Household where I must work to not only contribute for my family but also survive… that this Hierarchy of Needs will still apply to me with the different roles that I play. I can’t help but wonder how the levels and extent of my happiness will be correlated with this… this is a topic that I will continue to explore in the future.

****

Anyway, one of the needs closer to the foundation is in this model is Safety. “Security of body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, property.”

When I first moved into my new house, my very FIRST house, as a newly separated mother of four young children, Safety was top on my mind. Safety of the neighborhood, safety of the structure of the house that I just purchased, keeping my family IN and potential trouble OUT. Of course there were other issues of safety as well (e.g., resources, health, etc.) but I want to focus on this house. Of this new home. Of being on my own again after 10 years but now also being solely responsible for the health and safety of four little ones when they were in my care. A house and a home was important to me. But I also wanted to make sure that I was doing everything in my power to keep this new home SAFE for me and my children.

So I caved into the many “new neighbor” flyers and advertisements that were sent to me and a bought a home security system. This does not come without a cost. Installation and set up was expensive. The monthly service fee is expensive for me since my resources are now so strained. But for me, the cost is worth the added piece of mind.

20121013-160036.jpg

20121013-160042.jpg

 

So far the system has worked quite well.  It not only helps me to feel secure, but the kids as well.   When they used to get “scared” at night from the “kitty cats” and the “alligators”, I was able to show them how I lock the doors and set the security alarm.   They watched me intently.  And then we would go back to their rooms and talk about being scared and how they were in fact very safe in this house.   Talking to them helped to make it easier.

Another benefit is the “chime” whenever the front door or back door is opened, even when the alarm is not activated.  This helps me to control my kids.   I know precisely if one of these little explorers is leaving the house.   Very handy indeed.

Regardless of this, I do feel very safe in the neighborhood and I often keep my car unlocked.  And even my doors unlocked during the day.  Today was no different…

*****

I was looking for my wallet (yes, I am forgetful and misplace things easily) and decided to look in my messy minivan.   I started to gather lots of things that needed to be taken out so that I could clean it up a bit (yes, I am messy and the minivan looks like a disaster).   I didn’t realize it but I hit the emergency button on the alarm key fob.   I thought I heard something, but wasn’t sure since I was in the car.    When I got out I realized it was the home alarm and quickly entered my password.  I did not receive a call-back so I thought I was within the normal amount of time that would not trigger a call to the police.  I was wrong.

After cleaning out the car I decided to take a shower since I felt grimy.    It is not often that I am able to enjoy a shower – particularly with four young kids.   So when I get the “alone” time, I relish in the long, hot showers that are uninterrupted.    That is when I heard a loud, deep, male voice.    And almost shit myself while I was in my own shower.   I turned off the water, in shock.   I screamed – who is this?  Who is there??!??!??!?!??!?!??!?!?!??!?!      Wondering what I had to arm myself – which was not much.   Maybe some tweezers or a toe-nail clipper.   Or some high-heeled shoes.    Again, the loud, deep voice.

“SHERIFF!!   ARE YOU OK???!!!?”

I jumped out of the shower and threw on my robe as fast as I could and there were these two huge guys in uniform and guns in my bedroom asking me if I live here (yes) and if I’m OK (yes) and if I was an intruder who decided to take a shower in the owner’s house (ha, not funny assholes, I almost shit myself in my shower just now).   Sure I fantasize about a husky man waiting for me on the other side of my shower, but two guys is a bit much, and certainly two guys from the police department under these circumstances was NOT what I had in mind.

So as these guys left my house, I was still saying to myself “oh shit, oh shit” and thankful for this security system.   And yes, there were neighbors on the street who were outside wondering if anything indeed was wrong at the single-mother of four kids’ house on their block.   I am thankful for their concern.

20121013-160048.jpg
So, now that the security system has been successfully “tested”, I can rest easier tonight and in the future.   And I think I’ll talk to the kids about it too, if I can figure out a way to do so that does not tempt them to “call” the police officers over to our house again on their own.

Hope you are having a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

%d bloggers like this: