October 25: Too many emotions….


Hmmmm. What did we do today? I’m right now in bed, feeling completely wiped out and trying to think through to this morning, which feels like months ago.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I know there was an early morning waking from Twin Husky. The East Coast time difference has been the hardest on him. He eventually went back to sleep after some reassurance, but then Red crawled into our bed 10 minutes later. She rested while playing with her fingers.
  • The morning was our usual… except that we were still struggling with lack of food. We managed to do Chocolate Tuesday tortillas and raisin bread, and pasta for lunch. The Twins ate an enormous amount of oatmeal. I think Twin Crazy had 2 1/2 packages just on her own.
  • I got the kids dressed in their Halloween t-shirts and tried to get a picture of all of them together, but Red was not cooperating.

20111025-224304.jpg

20111025-224431.jpg

  • The 3 drop offs with Hubby drop off went fine. I was working from home today.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • Pot of coffee. No shower. Fistfulls of Cheerios shoved in my mouth.
  • Conference call for 1.5 hours to review analysis that we will present at the forum next week. I provided my thoughts for improvements and how to pull out the “drivers” of what we were seeing in the numbers.
  • I took a break to get to Big Bro’s school since I was volunteering for his lunch hour. He held it together a little bit, but completely lost it. He gets so upset and anxious when his worlds collide. And it breaks my heart. Especially since now the kids are old enough to notice and ask why he is crying. I don’t know what to do in these instances. Come to his rescue, which only exacerbates the problem — or, throw him to the world and force him to deal with the situation? I am at a loss now since I’ve also signed up for other volunteer spots through this week and I just can’t bear to see him in the anguish and it takes such a toll on me too…
  • I go to lunch afterwards and force down some Pad Thai. My head is killing me. My body is aching and my head is spinning. I feel like crawling in a fetal position under the table at the restaurant.
  • As soon as I get back home, I learn that one of our speakers has dropped out of the Agenda for next week’s meeting. OMFG. Now what am I going to do? How will I even manage to secure a speaker in one week’s time?
  • I then start a conference call with a prospective client who attended the forums we recently conducted — he reached out to me personally and our company is going to propose on a business strategy related to our area of expertise – this could potentially be a VERY large project, and we are very well positioned to win it. And it was MY relationship and MY lead!!! I will likely develop the proposal and serve as an advisor to the project but am hesitant to take on too much of the heavy-lifting if we win it.
  • I then grabbed Big Bro early from after-care and took him jacket shopping. I like doing these kinds of things one on one with him; especially after the emotional day he had at school.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Mac-n-cheese and broccoli! Thank goodness Safeway arrived with our delivery! We now have food in the house! Yeah!!!

I can’t write much more tonight; I’ve had a pretty emotional evening and overall day – filled with ups and downs, mostly downs I think. I’m mentally drained and can’t believe I’m at the keyboard now.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

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October 5: Self Realization and Coming Home


I am on a plane right now headed home from my business trip. I’ve been gone since Monday early morning, and my kids will certainly be asleep when I return tonight. So, Friday morning will be our reunion – ending our entire 4 day separation from each other. I’m looking forward to seeing their sweet faces.

Let me quickly recap today’s work activities. It was a really big day. We had 5 hours today to wrap up our event — and today was much harder because it involved MUCH more facilitation and work on our (my) end — a good part of the day went beyond managing speakers but instead managing brainstorming sessions with the ENTIRE group to 1) progress further in mapping out plans for a potential service offering for the group and 2) to identify key areas of concern/interest to be addressed the next time we meet, 6 months later. On my end, this was also my last real opportunity for face-to-face “selling” of the forum to our many guests, and building those relationships to position our company well for consulting services even if they chose NOT to join our forum. So the pressure was on. I think it went VERY well today and I took total control over the meeting, leading the entire group through the day:

  • the presentations went well. For one presentation I needed to help facilitate and support the presenter to make him and the session successful.
  • the brainstorming session and planning session were extremely interactive and the group came together to identify great areas of focus for our next meeting. It was great to see the participants interacting and feeding off of each other. And I had fun helping them spur their thinking by making references and comparisons to the presentations as well as their brainstorming work. I think we’re in great shape to start planning our next meeting 6 months from now.
  • Our team received great feedback and handshakes from the participants — the members as well as the guests. I even got a few hugs! It was great to see the energy and enthusiasm from them, and to FEEL appreciated and successful.

So overall, today and the previous days went very well. I leveraged skillsets developed over my career such as detailed planning, problem solving and thinking through implications of the many presentations to the two different groups, facilitating discussion and drawing out different perspectives, listening to what the groups were saying, selling and proving the concept to our guests — while also letting my personality shine… showing warmth, hospitality, empathy, energy, and FUN. But I obviously did not do it alone. I had help from a great team of people to make it all come together.

And I think everyone from both sessions knew about my four small kids waiting for me at home. I find that my story is so unique that it is a VERY effective “ice breaker” for me to connect with people. I play it up. I talk about the craziness of my life and actually thank them (jokingly) for giving me the chance and a break from my day-to-day chaos. I have a great picture of the kids on my computer “wallpaper” that came up when I was starting and ending the day, and sometimes even during the day. It was great to share that part of my life with them and helped me connect with them on a more personal level.

Kids - Christmas 2010

Kids - Christmas 2010

This picture is also funny because the boys were dressed similar as were the girls, and also because it is obvious that Red was in a hiatus of a crying fit when it was taken. In fact, this one quick click is one of hundreds that we took in the span of 5 minutes — between Twins taking every opportunity to crawl away, all kids crying at some point during the photo session, and us “bribing” them with props and cookies. Even though Red is obviously upset, Twin Husky has his thumb in his mouth, Twin Crazy looks startled, and Big Bro is smiling yet his eyes are looking away and his image is fuzzy, it is a PERFECT picture because each of their faces are facing the camera, they are all together, and you can see the diversity of personality between and across them. And this one quick click captures this point in our lives so perfectly.

So this is what my clients and prospective clients from both forums saw during the past 4 days. But they also witnessed how I was 100% “on” with all of them during this time away from my children. This was proof of what a working mother can do. Maybe they even recognized some of my traits that make me a good mother but also cross-over into my working world — how I hustled, how I multi-tasked, how the details were thought through in advance, how I tried to make them feel at home and appreciated, how I managed differing opinions, how I looked into their eyes when I had conversations with them, and how I dedicated myself to them to make their experiences good ones. I wonder if some of them (particularly the women) actually imagined me in the mothering role with my children. And it occurs to me that it isn’t until now that I can fully realize how I’ve grown professionally because of these children. I sort of felt it (or at least I’ve said it to feel better about the working mom struggle), but actually thinking about it now and writing the specific ways I’ve grown in black and white proves it. Wow. This is sort of a breakthrough to me.

These last few days have also proven to me that this role could possibly be perfect for me at my company. It allows me more stability and consistency, but still keeps me in front of clients and also lets me stretch into sales for our firm. My skillsets are completely aligned with the needs for this position. And I believe that I can take this existing baseline and structure and twist it a bit — bringing fresh ideas to the table. Although I will need to travel, it will be contained and COMPLETELY predictable. And I do believe contained travel in small spurts is win/win/win/win for everybody involved – me, my work, Hubby, and the kids. This was the right decision for me at my work – and I have proven over the past 4 days that I am doing a great job – I’ve already received this feedback directly from the clients as well as from firm leadership.

I have two more forums to finish planning for and one more to personally attend. After that I will go on a reduced work-week schedule. I’m feeling really good about the past four days and am looking forward to getting home. I won’t feel completely grounded until tomorrow when I reunite with the kids.

And it won’t be long now until I can see them sleeping, feel their warmth, and give them lingering kisses as I smell their hair. Honestly, too good to be true.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

October 5: Moshing


As you may know, I am out of town on a work trip.  This is the second set of meetings that I am facilitating and I had the first half of the day working with one group/forum, and the second half of the day working with a new set of people/group/forum.   You should have seen the 1 hour in-between – the rush to pack up the old, and get ready for the new.  What a swift shift in mindset —  completely new set of products, completely new group of people.

I am already doing things differently with these meetings.   I am asking for frank feedback and am getting good responses (at least face-to-face).  I guess we’ll see the REAL feedback after folks leave and they complete their conference evaluations.

I ate my third filet mignon tonight after 3 nights here and it was by far the best.

I corralled the group to go out to a dive bar afterwards and moshed to Nirvana.  I miss being in my 20’s without a care in the world.  I felt free when I was dancing / jumping tonight.  I want that feeling back.  I need that feeling back.   I am in my forties and cannot believe how time is passing.  I want to feel free with my children.  I don’t want to worry about adult issues like finances or affordabilty or the state of the economy.  I just want to live and be connected with my kids and FEEL like a person and FEEL like I am LIVING.

This work trip is good in that the reunion with my children will be sweet.  I hope it is making all of us recognize the distance and the feeling of being back together again.  I plan to take off most of Friday.  I plan to keep my kids home with me on that day.  I plan to be a Mom on that day, after being away from them for so long. 

The meeting today was a success.   I think we/ I might have sold more members to the forum.  Tonight I had most of the guests with me.  I hope to see them again as members of our forum.  And I want to feel responsible for the sale of the membership, the value, and being responsible for the cultivation of the relationships and  business development.

OK, I’m going to go to bed tonight after 4 wines and 2 beers and 1 mosh song – Nirvana is still in my head.

And a sorrowful goodbye to Steve Jobs, who was suffering and fighting the past few years.   We have just lost one of the greatest innovators of our time.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

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