September 28: Feeling valued in all directions

New seasons. New beginnings. New starts.

This morning was about reconnecting with my eldest children since I did not spend much time with them last night. They even said that they didn’t get enough “mommy time” that night so I promised them if they woke up early, got dressed, and ate breakfast that I PROMISED that each of them would have special “mommy time” in the morning. They agreed and started to think about what activities they wanted to do with me. They also agreed that it was OK for the other to take part in each other’s selected “mommy time”. How cute.

Highlights of my Morning and Commute:

  • Surprisingly, BIG BRO is the first one awake. Unbelievable. He starts talking about how he wants me to read the book he has in his hands for his mommy time. I say, OK. We go in to get Red. She is excited about “mommy time” too.
  • Both kids get dressed SO FAST and the three of us head downstairs. The Twins are not even up yet!!
  • We have a guest bedroom downstairs so each of us cuddle in the bed and I read the book to the two of them.
  • Red decides that she wants me to put her kid make up on her for her “mommy time”. I suggest that we eat breakfast first. She agrees.
  • Twins are busy eating cereal with Hubby. They are so cute. Twin Husky is busy pointing at things and saying words. Twin Crazy is just busy trying to balance the cereal on her spoon. Both seem very happy. I can’t believe how big they are getting.
  • I fix Big Bro and Red their breakfast; Big Bro gets a trio of jelly on his bagel and Red eats TWO packages of oatmeal. “Oatmeal, oatmeal” repeat both Twins. So they get some oatmeal too.
  • Diaper changes with the Twins gives me a chance to connect with them too, albeit too briefly. Twin Husky is in such a good mood this morning. Crouching and jumping, crouching and jumping. So active. Twin Crazy is a bit cranky this morning for some reason.
  • I get changed, pack up the daycare bag, and we pack up the kids. Hubby and I are dividing and conquering again today. He’ll take Red, I take the Twins and Big Bro.
  • OK time to go!!!!!!!! Again, I feel like we’re running late, so I’m blasting music and hauling ass. The Doors are on. I’m feeling good. Twin drop off was great; Twin Crazy felt compelled to bring in ALL her stuffed animals from the van into daycare. She is needy today. Twin Husky is all smiles.
  • Drop off for Big Bro is so sweet. He is so big. He towers over most kids in his Kindergarten class – but I know he is so sensitive, reflective. He isn’t a “bully” kind of big boy.
  • I make the ferry in time.

Today for work I have more to do about the conferences for next week.   It’s coming up!

Highlights of my Working Day:
I was so busy today!!!! It was great – got lots done and getting ready for next week.

  • Reworked some agendas, reviewed presentations, provided presenter feedback, finalized one agenda and sent it out to all meeting attendees, etc. etc. etc.
  • Also started refining the two other meetings we will have; finalized presenters, set up meetings to refine content topics
  • Set up “sales” meeting for another initiative we were launching
  • Held an “off the cuff” strategy meeting over lunch with 2 Directors; thinking through who on our team could provide leadership capability and decided on a core group to create and drive strategy. I’m on that team!!!
  • I was in a relatively great mood; I actually belly laughed several times — one time so loudly that even though my office door was shut, and a Director’s office door was shut, the sound of my laughter found its way into his office.    It felt wonderful to laugh like that.

I’m coming from today’s work feeling very valued and appreciated. Folks internally are pulling together to work with me to make the meetings next week a success; I am the go-to person but we’re all pulling together and I feel very energized.

I’m on the ferry back and thinking of my children. I love coming home early to pick them up. I’ve discussed here on this blog over the last several weeks/months about going on a reduced work-week; well this will happen after I get through next week’s meetings. I am very much looking forward to that.

My kids really enjoyed their “mommy time” this morning. I want to think of more “mommy time” stuff for the evenings as well. I want to show them that they each matter individually. I can’t wait to see them now. Now more than ever. I can’t wait to see their faces and I HOPE I see smiles. I need smiles from them today. I want to help create those smiles. Smiles will keep me going.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro and he immediately said that he wanted more mommy-time.   Both of us drove over to pick up Red.
  • In the parking lot, I felt like I had a bug bite or something on my butt.   So of course I make a big deal of it – “I think I have a bug bite on my butt.  How silly.  Why on earth would a bug want to bite a butt?????”  Big Bro replies:   “I can check for you when we get home Mommy.”   How cute.
  • Red wanted to hold Big Bro’s hand across the parking lot (one of our rules is that to cross a street or in a parking lot, EVERYONE must hold a hand).
  • Both of them decide that they want us to go home first for a mommy-time activity before going to get the Twins.   How cute.   It was 5:30 so I gave in to them.
  • At home, they decided that their mommy-time activity would be water-color painting.   I really didn’t do much, so I’m not sure how they saw it as mommy-time, but I did help them with paper (Me:  “I’m on paper duty”.  Big Bro:  “I’m on color duty”).  I also helped them with the water changes, and encouraged their art.   They really are creative and I always make a big deal out of the stuff they make.

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  • We then go to pick up Twins.   I make it fun by saying they can get in the van WITHOUT ANY SHOES ON!!  How fun!!!!
  • Twins squeal when they see me – open arms, laughs, and “mommy!  mommy!  mommy!”
  • At home we have to trouble-shoot a bit with the kids.   Red is having a hard time; Big Bro is also teasing her a bit.  Twins are great.  I ask our mother’s helper to help entertain the Twins so Hubby and I can focus on the bigger ones; they seem more needy today.
  • Dinner is a hit; so much so that everyone had vanilla pudding afterwards.
  • All kids went completely crazy next.  There was a lot of jumping, falling on the floor, jumping over the Elmo chair…. I think this was prompted by me asking Twin Crazy to do his “crouch and jump”.   It just cracked me up so much.  Belly-laughs.    This little toddler doing crouch and jump and falling backwards and saying “crouch and jump” the whole time… and then the rest of the kids jumping and running and falling on the floor.   There was “look-it mommy!” going all over the place and I had to make sure I was watching everyone and making my laughs seem like they were for everyone too.
  • At bedtime we changed the Twins and talked about some pictures in a book and sang some songs and did kisses all around.   They go out like a charm.
  • Big Bro and Red were fast tonight too.   I think all the running around wore them out.  Red wanted me to help her with her PJs; she wanted me to look in backpacks to find her favorite yellow shirt; Big Bro wanted me to read the story to them, and he had his head on my lap the entire time.
I had a very, very, full day.   It was a good day.    Filled with people around me who showed their appreciation and how much I’m needed — both at work and with my little ones.   Honestly a working mother couldn’t ask for much more.
Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected

My life as a working mom is hectic, presents itself with various logistical challenges, causes great tension, confusion, and anxiety in my day to day life. I am absolutely amazed at how quickly and easily I can get completely immersed in my own world, with blinders on separating me from everything else going on around me.   Sometimes it takes days or weeks for me to call back a family member or friend.   Looking at things globally, of course I know we are at war but it is difficult for me to talk intelligently about the specific combat tensions that are currently going on or even worse, the number of lives that have been lost.   I am also like this with politics. I know that the Speaker of the House cries a lot, but I’m not really sure why exactly he is crying or if he is particularly effective at what he does.

I am also acutely aware that when I DO succesfully peel the blinders back, there is of course an impact but honestly it fades over time. Situations can be etched in my memory, but my day to day continues.   On a light note, I’ve certainly experienced this resulting from travels to far away places – for example, I was able to see, smell, and witness different ways of living in Cambodia, Laos, India, Africa…. children in streets, villages and huts, harvesting rice fields…. but then these memories fade several weeks if not days after my return back to Western civilization.  The impact of 9/11 has forever shaped my outlook on life but I no longer dwell on it day to day.  The deaths of my friends that I have already experienced, particularly young people who have died ENTIRELY too young, do haunt me from time to time but the pain and intensity of emotion have subsided — now I think back on them happily instead of with a heavy heart or demanding an answer the question “Why?!!?!?!?!?“.


World Trade Center, post 9/11

World Trade Center, post 9/11

"Mama L" and our friend, Chris Dincuff, who died on 9/11. He was 31.

"Mama L" and our friend, Chris Dincuff, who died on 9/11. He was 31.

I would like to change this. I believe that if I peek outside of my “normal”, and make a conscious effort to build this into my thinking, I will be able to better appreciate what I DO have despite my perceived craziness of my life.  The incident in Oslo, Norway is one example. The devestation, starvation, death and flight in Somalia is too intense for me to really wrap my head around. I just can’t believe that so many people can be living and dying in such conditions yet so many people in the world do not even know the true extent of the tragedy (including myself until a few days ago). This overall lack of awareness is sad – but I am part of it too.   Is it that people just cannot mentally process too much pain? Disbelief? Is it easier just to turn away?

I am happy to report that consciously peeling back my own blinders and opening up my own awareness has really helped me to recognize the good in my life. I’m able to better appreciate what I have in my life even though it is so crazy and crushing at times. I have four wonderful, beautiful, healthy children. I have a husband who loves me. I have a job where people look to me for my opinion. I have a house that keeps my children safe and warm. I have two refrigerators. I have lots of shoes in my closet. I think I look good for my age. I am finally beyond the baby stage. My kids make me laugh. I’m wearing something comfortable right now. There is cold beer waiting for me at home right now.

I’ve also decided to try to make a difference where I think I can.

For one, I am going to work at making more of a difference to those around me…. to be a better friend and family member, to connect and reach out when I see people in need. I’ve learned that everyone has their own “worlds and issues” and I may have a small way making a difference. Like how friends of mine reached out to me when I started having a difficult time several months ago (THANK YOU by the way!!!).  It makes me feel better when I let go of my blinders and connect with others on a deeper, personal level. The other day an acquaitence from the ferry reached out to me and I could see so clearly the pain in her own face… the rat race and juggling with kids – “You are not alone” is all I had to say to her, along with a hug, and we were both feeling better.

Second, I am going to try to stay abreast of world events even though most of what you hear these days is terribly disturbing. I’ve been absolutely haunted about Somalia. It did not take much… one photograph. I then I researched more, and saw more, and then got more and more upset about what was happening and why I have not opened myself up to become aware of how bad the situation is. No food, no water, people fleeing their homes. And suffering. There are many reputable organizations focusing on these issues and I want to do my part. If you would like to join me in this effort, please consider donating to Unicef or Doctors without Borders.

These are just some thoughts for now. I’ll let you know the progress. But also keep me honest!!!!!! I’d appreciate feedback and also reminders from time to time. And if you get a random email or phone call from me just to see how you’re doing, then you know that I’m trying to stay connected, keeping perspective, and am working to do it!

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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