Gig Tip: Do not reveal? Hmmmm.


I had a lunch today with a woman in my industry who is extremely well-known and successful.  She climbed through the ranks within her company and wound up running a subsidiary for many years, innovating and taking the company to new places based upon her vision.   She is now retired from that organization but still busy at work doing “her own thing”.   I had a meeting with her in our offices and it was following this meeting when we went to lunch together, just me and her.  This gave me an opportunity to move beyond the topics we were discussing and ask her thoughts and advice on what worked for her during her career, juggling the roles of a mother and extremely successful businesswoman.

As you can imagine, her situation is unique and unlike many of ours. Her first response was “live-in help who we continued to employ even after the kids went to college.” Uugghhh. That does not apply to me/you very well.

She quickly recognized this and her next piece of advice was something more relevant to me at least. However, I’m not certain if the advice has kept up with the times. Her thoughts were that you separate the kids from work. You don’t reveal too much information. Your co-workers don’t need to know the details. You don’t mention “sick kid” or “soccer practice” but you rather talk about “a needed change in plans” or “a conflict”.

Shush!

I have mixed reactions on her piece of advice of “do not reveal”.

  • I can see her point.  Some people just do not feel comfortable hearing to much information so you may have to be careful with what information you choose to share and with whom (e.g., who really wants to hear about gas movements of your baby or hear you say the same stories over and over??!??!).  Obviously, it is difficult enough to do your job, do your job exceptionally well, and do your job exceptionally well compared to your peers.   Let alone stand out even farther from the pack and exceed all expectations.   Packaging is important.   Perceptions are important.   You do not want to be perceived as not being able to achieve super-stardom because of potential dependability or predictability situations due to children (e.g., sick children).
  • However, she also is in her 60’s and likely made her climb in the 70’s and 80’s, a very different time than today.  There are more women in the workforce these days, with more choices on how to care for children while at work (nannies, daycare, nanny-shares, etc.).  With technology, work is bleeding more and more into the home, therefore isn’t it reasonable that home bleed into work? Are there situations when is it OK?  How private does one need to be to be successful?

I think it depends on the office culture, the dynamics between you and your boss, the kind of work that you do, the industry that you are in, your own personality, the personalities of others in your office, the portfolio of back-up childcare providers you have at your fingertips if/when your kids get sick, and a whole host of other reasons.

But her tone, her packaging, her poise as she gave me the “do not reveal” advice stopped me in my tracks.   I do not think I will ever be a closed-book in the workplace (that just isn’t me, right?), but maybe I should stop and think before I disclose too much of the block and tackling required on the kid-front.   And maybe save the good stories for when the stories are meaningful to those that want to hear them.

I never wanted to be in a job where I felt like my children were liabilities.   Maybe that is why I was so unhappy as a management consultant for so long.  Where I felt like I could not do the basic requirements of the job because of my kids.   Like having a child was analogous to having an illness.  I never wanted to put my children in that kind of position within my own mind or within the minds of others.   I want to CELEBRATE them — BUT if I am NOT working in an industry that celebrates children, or with a company that celebrates children, or with people that celebrate children, then I guess it may be worth thinking about how much information (e.g., limitations because of the kids) I share with my coworkers.

I have not figured this out yet obviously and I am still thinking through the application of this advice in my own situation — in an industry that is typically dominated by men where work is intense and expectations high.    My company has already created hybrid roles and work schedules to better fit my needs.  So the cards are out there.   I guess going forward I will think before I offer up too much information about my hand or the cards that I hold.

Thoughts ladies?  How much do you share?  Do you feel comfortable talking about the kids in your workplace?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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Random Thoughts: Forget it! There is no way to stop time


A friend of mine sent me the below article link tonight and wanted me to share with you.  Thank you Mama G!  I agree that this is worth sharing – I believe it will strike a chord in you.   It’s something that we all know, something that we may wish away, and something that we may try in our own way to slow.   But you and I both know that you can’t stop time from passing us by.

Photo source:  inasinglestroke.com

I think of myself – how I try to document the kids’ milestones, how I take pictures endlessly, and how I do hope if I am lucky enough to live to an old age, that I can somehow, some way, remember what it is like now to be a mother to my children.

This post says it well:

http://www.blogher.com/letter-my-51-year-old-self?page=full

In my case I think I’m a bit older than this author 🙂   For me it might be a letter to my 65ish old self.   🙂   But still…. a good read and a good reminder to stop and simply enjoy your kids.

It’s hard as a working mother.  The weekends are not long enough.  And the weeknights are entirely too short.   But take in that time with your kids and leave the dishes aside.   Watch them interact and play.    Try to take that picture in your mind.  Or better yet, stop to think about the way these kids make you FEEL.   Because it’s probably not the minutia of the day that you will remember.  It won’t be the milestone of when the child lost that first tooth.  It will be the way you FEEL around your child that you will (hopefully) remember.   The fierceness of love, the never ending desire and dedication to do anything and everything that you can for that child.  The way that child could make you laugh from the deepest parts of your being.  The way you FEEL when you look into your child’s eyes.  The PRIDE you have for your child as you have a conversation with your little (or not so little anymore) one.

Take notice of those things.  Take mental notes — no “heart notes” of these FEELINGS.   Some will be good, crazed, anxious… but you will likely treasure those just as you do the pride, joy, admiration, connection, and undying love for each of your kids.

That’s all I will say for now –

I will have an emotional day tomorrow and I will likely need to write about it; so, until then;

– Mama K

April 18: Wiped out


It is 11:30 PM on Wednesday night and I am 1/2 through this busy week.  I feel crushed.  I feel like I have nothing left in me.  We are beginning a new meeting tomorrow and I feel like crawling under a rock.  I’m winded.  I’ve hit the wall.   I’m juggling and the balls are coming down.

  • The end of our first event went well; we received great feedback.
  • Our second meeting went well due to attendance; but there is more work to do to see if it can be monitized.  I also am having difficulty working with the partner we are working with.  I don’t trust him.  He is too salesy.  I don’t feel like he is genuine.  So it’s hard for me to get excited about working with him to make this work.  
  • An old friend of mine was part of this second event.   I filled him in on the personal matters in my life.  He is stunned.  And worried for me.  He knew of my quest and need for change.   The look of disappointment was hard on his face.  And he was NOT disappointed in me.   He gave me a huge hug goodbye tonight.  

Seeing my old friend/co-worker just put me in a bad place.  A place like I felt last year.  A place where I am reliving old dreams and frustrations; and disappointments and missed expectations.   And feeling wiped out.  Emotionally, intellectually, and physically.   I feel like I’m at that place again.  Where I have nothing left and I don’t understand how I got here.   Where I’m running and running and running but not getting anywhere.   Where I feel alone.

I tried to call the kids tonight but did not make it passed the co-parent.  I was hung up on.

So now I’m feeling sorry for myself I guess, feeling like there’s still so much to do with this week and with my life, but feeling drained.   Feeling like I’ve taken on too much.   Feeling defeated.

I’m hoping to get some sleep tonight.  I will miss this featherbed and fluffy sheets but am aching to be in the arms of my kids.  Eight sticky hands to reach out to and four smiley faces to kiss.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

March 30: Pizza, Pasta, and Ice-cream


It’s Friday night past 10 PM and I finished up a fantastic night with the kids, solo. I enjoy these times so much better with co-parent not around. Things are easier. More relaxed. The evening just unfolds.

Highlights of the Day:

  • Red helped Twin Crazy pick out her underwear for the day.
  • Both girls were wearing princess pajama dresses and I made a fuss about them looking like twins. Red wore hers for bed last night, but then Twin Crazy saw the matching purple dress and wanted to wear it over her pajamas. I wound up picking her up today from daycare wearing the same princess dress so I guess she refused to get changed out of it. They looked adorable together.
  • Twin Husky wanted to get his diaper changed on our big reclining chair. He loves that chair. It was ridiculous for me to change him on it but he was loving the attention and the siblings were thinking it was too funny. Big Bro took a lot of pictures of the diaper change with Twin Husky all reclined and relaxed.
  • I took some time to cuddle with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky; I was going to take them to daycare today since I had personal work to do, so was going to miss my time with them. It was nice to sit there and feel them on my lap, and see their heads slowly drift towards each other. They were head to head, sitting on my lap, each sucking their thumbs. My twins.
  • Big Bro helped them get into their strollers this AM. I love how the bigger kids help the little guys. It actually goes all the way around. They all help each other – I love catching these moments.

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I spent the day working. I was exhausted afterwards. I picked up the kids a bit early.

  • Twins first, then Big Bro. Big Bro rode to Red’s pre-school and then rode back home to drop off the bike.
  • I took them all out to dinner. To a local pizza and pasta place that is VERY good with kids. We had to briefly wait for a table but the kids were all mesmerized by the man making pizza and the fire oven. They all colored and were very well behaved. Red drew a smiley face. Big Bro drew a helicopter. Both Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy drawing their “art”. I also call Twin Husky doing his “work” (he acts intense when he draws). Twin Crazy had a small accident so we all went to the bathroom to clean up. I brought an extra change of clothes just in case. By the time we all made it back the food was there and everyone ate like champs.
  • Afterwards we went for ice-cream. The kids were having a great time sitting next to a plastic dog and cat. They were blowing kisses and also pretending to give them drinks of their water. Twin Husky ate his cone in about 1 1/2 minutes. Red loves mint chocolate chip. Big Bro loves cookies and cream. I get the Twins “baby” cones of vanilla with raspberry swirl. I got a HUGE chocolate fantasy. YUM. I love going out with these four. I can’t begin to tell you the looks I get and people actually coming up to me asking me if they are all mine. YES. And YES there are a set of twins. YES I’m keeping myself busy and YES I AM LOVING IT. LOVING EVERY MINUTE WITH THESE CHILDREN. These people look at me and shake their heads in exhaustion but they don’t know half the story….
  • At home the kids were great; everyone went upstairs, and I got the Twins dressed. We did our kisses and they were asleep in no time.
  • I spent some time with Big Bro and Red downstairs – just the big kids. We wrote down the activities to do over the weekend and they drank lots of milk. I hope there are no accidents tonight since I could use the sleep.

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I had a wonderful day today and feel lucky to have had this alone time with them. I know I’m headed in the right direction, but just hope that these kids make it through to the other side OK too.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

 

p.s.  THERE WAS NO CRYING TONIGHT FROM RED.  She just asked me to put her in her covers (through the kid monitor) and I did.  She rested her body and SHE WENT TO SLEEP WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.    This is the way it should be.   Soooooo much better this way.

February 20: Ending the 3-day weekend


The end of a 3-day weekend – bittersweet in many ways. Weekends are hard for me these days so 3 days makes it tough to get excited about. Today was a good day though –

  • I woke up early and continued laundry; the kids were up so I grabbed all the sheets for the last load of the week. I love the smell of fabric softener. I find it comforting.
  • All kids were up and sitting across on the couch getting ready for some T.V. Thankfully, Big Bro did not buy any movies. I still can’t believe he knows how to do this now. Then 3 of the kids broke out the funny animal hats and started playing with each other and pretending they were birds, dogs, ducks…. so cute.
  • I made a huge pancake breakfast; got the kids dressed; played a bit.
  • I took Big Bro and Red out for the morning. We just did some shopping – Big Bro needed some shoes and I needed a laundry bag. Both kids were GREAT with these activities. Big Bro originally wanted shoes with pictures on them or ones that lit up, but he’s in a size now for bigger kids and the shoes don’t really have those styles. He picked out a decent pair of black and bright yellow sneakers. He likes them. They both helped me at Bed Bath and Beyond for a laundry bag, and even saved me money since they both picked the cheapest one. I’m watching what I’m spending like a hawk now since I have to. I never thought I would go backwards in my standard of living but now it is inevitable so I’m changing behaviors definitely now.
  • At home, all kids were re-united and Big Bro initiated an activity for them all. He brought out markers and stickers and paper and had everyone on the floor creating art. I loved watching them and thought it was great that Big Bro took the initiative like that and that they were all sharing stickers and helping each other with caps, pulling the stickers off the sheets, etc.
  • Made lunch at home; kids napped in clean sheets.
  • They woke up and I gave them baths and showers. I love the smell and feel of clean kids. I love how they cuddle up to you. I cut 80 fingernails and toenails, my weekly ritual.
  • I made home-made pizza for them for dinner – Trader Joe’s has pre-made doughs that I keep in the freezer. Afterwards we had ice-cream. And watched TV. Big Bro played a Spongebob 2x since I didn’t watch it with him appropriately the first time. He really notices if I am watching it with him. He likes to do things with me and if I am distracted even sitting next to him is not good enough. So I paid attention the second time around, and made sure to comment throughout the show so we were talking about what happened.
  • Bedtime for the Twins tonight. I get Big Bro and Red tomorrow night. This didn’t work out well for Big Bro and Red. They were both crying and clinging to me. Big Bro more so than Red. He is very attached and this forced separation while I am still in the house will be difficult for us. I need to talk to our Child Custody mediator about this. Maybe/hopefully it will get easier for him during the week. Even Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were consoling him tonight after he barged into their room while I was sitting with them reading a book.
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So, the 3-day weekend is over, I survived. We divided and I had good fun with both groups of kids; attended a birthday party, went to the zoo, and did normal day-to-day routine things with the kids.

Red is asking when she will be able to share a room with Twin Crazy – a “girl” room – I reply “someday soon” and cannot wait to be painting a room pink for my little girls. I have to be patient and know that soon that day will come. It will just be tough getting there.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

;

Recipe: Tandoori chicken with yogurt sauce


This recipe was submitted from a Mama all the way in India!!!! So you know this one will be exotic… sounds great! Thank you so much Mama S!!! Keep them coming and post some pics on the Mama In Motion Facebook page!

You can find this recipe at her own blog “What I Eat”. Check it out!

“I first mentioned this recipe from Everyday Food a few weeks ago because it inspired the apple yogurt slaw I like to serve with other dishes. Sometimes though we like to do this complete recipe.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

[Mama K comment: I use jarred minced garlic, to save time]

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

[Mama K comment: you can also find ground ginger in small jars that keep in the refrigerator, to save time]

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts halves (10 to 12 ounces each)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro [Mama K comment: you can also try Trader Joe’s spice cubes of cilantro – they are in the freezer section of the store and essentially are little cubes of real spices already chopped up real fine – saves time]

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475°. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup yogurt, garlic, turmeric, ginger, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat.

2. Transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) registers 160°, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel apple; coarsely grate into a medium bowl. Add cilantro and remaining 1/2 cup yogurt; season with salt and pepper. Serve sauce alongside chicken, with rice, if desired.

“I like to use 2 boneless chicken breasts instead, for faster, easier cooking. Also, I use whatever apples I have on-hand and I like to add lime juice to the apple slaw. And we always make rice for the side.”

Prep time: 5 minutes, 10 minutes for slaw while chicken is cooking

Cook time: 30 minutes

THANK YOU MAMA S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let us know how you are doing over in India! And post some pics!
Mama K

 

Update on 12/28/2011:   I made this dinner tonight.  It was sooooooooooooo simple, and simply amazing.  A good amount of flavor for the kids.  My boys loved it but the girls, not so much.  Me and Hubby were raving about it.   And seriously, very, very, very simple.  I used jarred garlic, dried turmeric and ginger, and also cubes of cilantro from Trader Joes.   It was FAST FAST FAST and YUMMY.

Thank you again Mama S!!!!

December 13: Reconnecting with my little ones


Chocolate Tuesday! Last night I arrived late and was not able to spend much time with Big Bro and Red (and no time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky). So this morning was great for me and I spent a lot of time re-connecting with the kids — I also feel like I have a lot more to say about my morning with them since I missed them last night.

HIghlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Twins got up, “Mommy, mommy, mommy!!” I gently kissed their heads, touched their faces, said good-morning to them and that I missed them last night – we didn’t get to see each other last night….. they both seemed to be in an EXCELLENT mood.
  • We all went into Big Bro and Red’s room — Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were having a great time running around while Big Bro and Red were still stretching and waking up. Somehow we got on the conversation of things the kids used to say when they were toddlers. For Big Bro, it was, “OK? OK.” and we were laughing. Then Big Bro got excited to tell me about a story. “Remember when [Red] used to say, “I love play, I love play.”? [She used to say it in a sing-song voice with inflection, so cute]. “Well remember that time when she was saying “I love play, I love play” and you said: “[Red], I know that you like to play. But it’s not time to play right now. Now it’s time to go to bed.” And he started laughing. Both were laughing. I guess it was amusing to him that night long ago as well. How does he remember that? I certainly don’t. But I do recognize how she would have said that, and how that would have been my response to her given that same situation. I had him record the story so I could post it here, but I’m having technical difficulty UGGGGH — I’d like to figure this out so he can start doing more voice recordings… I suspect it would help his story-telling and boost his self-confidence.
  • Big Bro and Red had their clothes all ready for the AM….

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  • Red made her bed and ran into my room to tell me. So of course I had to go and check her work and make a big deal about it….

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  • Downstairs, Big Bro and Red fought over the bar-stool at the corner of the counter. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were busy eating breakfast right on top of each other. They really are inseperable.

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  • I made a mistake about referring to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky as “the babies”. And then I immediately looked at everyone and said “wait a minute…. you are not BABIES…. why did I say that???!?!??! You [Twin Crazy] are a little GIRL….. and you [Twin Husky] are a little BOY. Why did I call you babies????!?!!? That is so silly.” And everyone was laughing and then Twin Crazy and Twin Husky in their own little way were participating in the story — Twin Husky by uttering one or two one-word phrases (baby, boy), and Twin Crazy by mumbling something and using inflection and long sentences that are not understandable by anyone (well, except maybe by her twin brother).
  • Twin Crazy told me that Twin Husky’s animal (tiger) had suffered a spill, in her own way….. mumbling, inflecting, “spill”, pointing. I understood and repeated what I thought she was saying and told them that “it’s OK, its just a spill, I will clean it up”…. and then “there, I’m cleaning it up, and that seems better. Is that better?” And both Twin Husky and Twin Crazy agreed. “Better” they both said. I love that we are having “conversations” at this point. I just have to be careful not to make it too easy for them to just mumble something. I want them to try to get the words out. But this stage is honestly a lot of fun. Their development as individuals and hearing and understanding what they are thinking about.
  • We decided to make the drop-offs all together today, but it was going to be tight. I dropped of Red and it went very smoothly. She knew I was in a rush so she went to her teacher with open arms very quickly. We hit traffic on the way to drop offs #2 and #3 so I decided to take Big Bro off at a stop sign and continue with the Big Bro drop off while Hubby took the Twins. Hubby then picked me up and we made it just in time to the ferry.

The commute on the ferry was interesting today. I’m getting to know the people who make this trip daily. Today I sat with “Joe” who is probably in his 60s but is on his 3rd masters degree – he is a New Yorker who relocated to the West Coast in 1992. He was complaining about his class – something about applied mathematics in physics or astronomy or something – and how it was so over-the-top. I love people like this. Still with energy. Still going for his dreams. Talking with people and interacting and living life. I am automatically drawn to people like this. I love people who LIVE their lives versus those that just go day-by-day. You only get one life in my opinion and you have to make the most of it. It seems like Joe is.

We couldn’t help but talk about New York City – and how I used to live there and miss it there and how I feel comfort in hearing his voice and hearing his accent. I told him my story about how I knew I would someday live where I am now – and how after my MBA I just picked up and moved cross-country by myself to fulfill that dream. But also how now, 10+ years and four children later, I believe this city is not the best place anymore for me or my family. Joe agrees. He says “Yes, well if you put your children first, there are a lot of other places that you should be looking at to live.” Yes. I agree. 100%. But some things I cannot change. No matter how much reason and logic and communication goes into the effort. Hoooooo hummm. What to do? Go to work and make the best of the situation.

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • I had the bulk of my day as quiet time. No meetings scheduled. So I used this time to focus on completing / refining my client deliverable. It was good to get that part done. Once we get feedback from the client I will have an analyst complete the work based upon the structure that I developed today.
  • I also spent some time preparing for my day tomorrow (my work-from-home day). I gathered documents that I will need to reference for some work I plan to do.

It was a quiet day. It was a relatively productive day. I am on the ferry home now and thinking about dinner. I think we’ll have flat-meat steak tonight. I miss the kids. I miss them from not being there with them last night. I hope to reconnect with EACH of them tonight. And maybe get some more voice recordings out of Big Bro.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I had all pick-ups tonight and got Red first. She was excited to show me Christmas confetti. She told me all about it – how it is smooth, and shiny, and how the pieces are hard to pick up when they fall on the floor. She struck me as such a big girl then – how she was talking, the words she was using, and how she was teaching me something “new”.

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  • I then picked up Big Bro, and Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. There was one house on the cul-de-sac at the Twins’ daycare that was completely drenched in lights. So we went further down the road to check it out. I heard “ohhs” and “ahhhs” and we talked about all of the lights, the trees, the reindeer, how they ran the lights up the driveway, etc. On our way out Twin Husky started the song of “bye-bye lights”.
  • I cooked dinner while the kids entertained themselves. Red shared her confetti with Big Bro after Big Bro asked her politely (and with my guidance and prompting). I am proud of both of them.
  • Twin Crazy kept standing on the stool and turning on and off the kitchen lights.
  • Kids ate well – steak, string beans, cous-cous. Hubby came in and everyone was well behaved and eating great.
  • After dinner was bathtime. I had fun playing with Twin Crazy about “bath, book, night-night”. She was so excited for a bath. She was literally jumping up and down dancing. Imagine each week cutting 80 fingernails and toenails. Yes, I do it.
  • Bedtime was easy for the Twins, but was really rough for Red and Big Bro. Red was cranky when I got to her. I helped her brush her teeth but sat her in water. So we changed. Then I made the mistake of making her laugh while she was rinsing, so she spit the water all over herself. We both cracked up and then got changed again.
  • Now Big Bro is STILL crying outside of my door because of his “owie” skinned knee. I already went in there once to talk about his feelings and how its normal for owies to hurt like this, and that there really isn’t that much that I can do except to tell him that I understand, to tell him that I know it hurts, to tell him that I know he must be mad and frustrated, but to also know that his body is doing its work by healing itself — and the best thing he could do is to get some sleep so his body can be strong enough to heal itself better, faster. Now I know it hurts him, but there’s something more to this… I personally think he needs more “mommy time” – looking back on tonight, I spent a lot of time with the Twins and then with Red since she was cranky. The most he got out of me tonight was the time I had with him cutting his nails! He didn’t get booktime with me or individual time with me… I really need to fix this tomorrow. I’ll pick him up early tomorrow afternoon.

So today was a long day; filled of things that I am reflecting on. I feel like Tuesdays in particular are intense for me since I’m trying to reconnect with everyone and sometimes I fall short on a child. In this case it’s Big Bro. I need to better figure out how to divide my time and make it seem more equitable – if at all possible…

Till tomorrow –
– Mama K

December 8: All day keeping me on my toes…


Today was a bit of a strange day. I am normally off from work on Thursdays. But when I started my “new” work arrangement with my company, one of their conditions was that I would/could be flexible if push came to shove, particularly supporting client projects. So of course I granted them that wish. After all, this is management consulting, and flexibility to meet your client need is an absolute minimum requirement for the job. So, I worked today since I had a client meeting scheduled for today.

But, Hubby had a meeting at 7:45 AM, and I had a conference call at 8:30 AM, which complicated things a bit… I would be on my own for all drop offs and we also had to leave earlier so I could be back in time for my conference call….

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Older kids were up and excited to get dressed by themselves, since their piles were already out and they were looking for positive reinforcement. Big Bro was excited to wear a new spiderman shirt I got him yesterday.
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  • We were talking about the need for everyone to be ready to leave early, and for Big Bro to have his backpack ready (as an example). The next thing we knew, Twin Husky came walking into the kitchen dragging Big Bro’s backpack and using all of his body strength to lift it up and hand it over to Big Bro to help. That was just so cute I couldn’t stand it.
  • Honestly, the rest of the morning was a bit of a blur. I can’t think of anything else that stood out…there were the diaper changes, the lunches to pack, the shoes to put on, the jackets to put on, loading the kids in the car…..
  • I did all the drop offs; Red first, then Twins, then Big Bro. I made it back home with 10 minutes to spare to prepare for my conference call. I re-filled my coffee mug and booted up my computer.
  • Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had the conference call and got some good feedback from one of the participants of the forum that we are trying to sell a membership to. He liked the forum but their business may not be big enough to be relevant for the group. I would not take “no” for an answer so I invited him again as a guest for the next meeting in April in hopes that he wants to become a member.
  • I jumped in the van, and drove into the city. I was starved. I was contemplating a McDonald’s run, but feared I would be late. This was a good call, since there was traffic on the highway. So I blasted loud music and enjoyed my drive into the city, yes, with a minivan. uggh.
  • I made it to the office just in time to shove some graham crackers in my mouth and then start at 10 AM conference call with a Director and another new member to one of our forums. I lead the meeting and focused more on how this particular person could help us drive additional members. I’m in sales mode. He has contacts at great companies and he is really easy to collaborate with – I’m enjoying working with him to build this forum and grow it to something much bigger than it currently is….
  • I grabbed lunch. Grilled cheese. Comfort food. I’m starved and it is cold outside.
  • We then had our client meeting. We’ve done good work for them, but this is a kind of project where you just want to shake some sense into your client. Their business idea doesn’t make sense given the risk and reward and they are very naive about some obvious aspects of the business. So I’m hoping things go well with them, but we’ve raised the issues so we’ve done what we can do to provide our advice.
  • I did some admin items afterwards and then headed home. I picked up take out dinner (BBQ) and picked up the Twins.
  • Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Dinner was BBQ. It was delicious. Kids ate well. Twin Husky was eating ribs like they were going out of style and I was calling them “dinosaur bones”. He is such a boy. Almost reminds me of a pint-sized man.
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  • After dinner, Hubby took out a “Santa train” that essentially goes around the Christmas tree. All kids were going nuts. Twin Crazy wanted to dance with me to the Chrismas music. Big Bro was all over the tracks, the trains, and the controls. He was observing everything and figured out why the train wouldn’t work at any given time. He loved controlling the thing. Red was being such a big sister/mother to Twin Husky and to Twin Crazy. It was really too cute to witness. She was instructing them on where to sit (far away from the tracks) and how it works, and hugging them and holding their hands. It really was too much for me to watch. They are so sweet with each other it is almost crazy.
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  • Bedtime with the Twins was great. They grabbed their animals/blankets and walked upstairs, blew kisses to folks below, brushed teeth, read books, sang a song, and willingly went to bed in their cribs.
  • Bedtime for the older ones were a different story. Whining, crying, defiance, more crying, etc. etc. I finally had to leave. I said I would not read books if they did not cooperate. I gave them a chance to cooperate. They did not. So I left. I left Hubby up there dealing with two cranky crazy kids because I want to teach them to understand that I follow through with what I say. If they don’t follow instructions and are defiant even if I’m trying to understand the issue, I warn them what will happen and then I need to follow through. So I left. They’re quiet now so I guess they were just super-tired.
  • I had two glasses of wine tonight. I am not working tomorrow. I may take the Twins to the doctor if they have room in their schedule for us. If not, I want to take them to a museum. I’m sure I’ll figure something out over a big pot of coffee….

    And now Red is screaming upstairs so I guess I’d better go and see what’s wrong…

    Until tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 7: Learning more about my kids every day


    I get to work from home today! YEAH!

    Highlights of My Morning and “Commute”:

      • I went into Big Bro’s room to gather clothes, and he was just waking up. He was stretching, saw me, and then said: “Mommy, today is going to be special for TWO reasons.” Me: “Yes sweetie? What are those reasons?” Big Bro: “Today I get to go on a scooter ride to school with you, and later today you are going to pick me up early so we can buy new sneakers.” I just stood there. Speechless. Then I reached over to him and gave him a very gentle good morning kiss on his head. He does not know how happy he made me at that moment, and even now as I type this. I asked him if he likes it now that I get to work from home and also not work everyday and he said yes, he likes it alot. We both agreed that I should have done this alot sooner… 🙂
      • Kids were eating breakfast at the counter again this AM – the only problem is that we only have three bar-stools. Big Bro did not want to kneel on a chair or use a step-stool. So does that mean I have to buy another bar-stool???? Uhhh, yeah, with four kids that require EVERYTHING to be the same, ummm, yes I should probably bite the bullet and get one. UGHHHGHGHHG. Hopefully I can find one that matches the other three.

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      • Red was funny today – she put a stuffed animal under her shirt and said she had a baby in there. It was funny and everyone was poking her belly saying “baby”. Then we realized that it was Big Bro’s stuffed animal in there and then some fights/tantrums started. Ugggh. Can’t a cute moment just STAY a cute moment??@??!?!?
      • I was running around upstairs getting things and running from room to room but all the doors mysteriously were closing on me. Seriously. I’d turn around an the door would be shut. It was like Poltergeist or something. I opened a door and there was Twin Husky laughing at me. So now I guess he knows how to open and close doors.
      • We gathered our things and set out for our scooter ride. Twins were in the stroller. It was cold. We were late. I was hustling. My heart was thumping. Nose running. I am OUT OF SHAPE. Big Bro couldn’t help but scooter through a big pile of leaves when he saw it. So cute.

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      • After Big Bro drop off I strolled the Twins to daycare. Along the way Twin Crazy and Twin Husky each started to look up at me and play peek-a-boo. I wasn’t in a rush so I took my time and played with them. One would look up, and I’d smile and laugh and giggle and tickle their neck and touch their cheek. Each time one would look up, that is the routine I would do. We had a great time walking several blocks like this. Twin Husky is also now fixated at pointing to all of the basketball nets along the way (there are lots in the suburbs).

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      • My commute home was relaxing. The stroller was light so it was less of a workout. I was thinking about work. I was checking work email on my way home. Getting meetings scheduled and checking to see that we were getting content in to include in our client deliverable.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

      • I set up my computer, phones, blanket, coffee, water, and a candle. I made breakfast for myself.
      • I had several conference calls today debriefing from our forums. Again, received great thoughts on how to improve and provide more value to the group.
      • I spent the rest of my 1/2 day working on my client deliverable. It is in really good shape. It went out to the client in the early afternoon. Now we just have the meeting tomorrow.

    The Rest of the Day:

      • I went to Big Bro’s parent-teacher conference. She is wonderful. So much patience and such a sweet disposition with the kids. I like her a lot. She says that Big Bro is the “reliable guy” but could use more help with self-confidence and being able to describe his opinion and thoughts and how he feels and examples of situations from his own life in the classroom. He has a hard time when his “home” world and “school” worlds collide. There was a bit that was a surprise to me but I’m already thinking of ways to work with him on certain things to help him get better at stating his opinion and offering more of himself during conversation. I guess we all have trouble with that but in his case its a bit harder for him compared to his peers. So I left the meeting a bit scarred, and feeling like I needed to protect my little big boy first born.
      • I grabbed him and we went to buy new shoes. During our one-on-one time I took the opportunity to practice “thought” and “feeling” questions with him. We both have some practicing to do. He loves his shoes. I’m glad I was able to spend the time with him and make him happy.

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      • We picked up Red, and Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. All kids were going crazy looking at the holiday lights on all of the houses. We also played a game where we would flubber our lips each time we past a house with lights. All kids were doing this. And me. We had fun.
      • We realized that daycare dressed Twin Husky in a Phillies shirt – the same one that Big Bro was wearing! We laughed that they were twins.

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      • During dinner prep I had the music on loud and was dancing with Twin Crazy while holding her. She loves this. She loves to dance in my arms. She loves me jumping and swaying and spinning. She cracks up. Surprisingly, Big Bro joined us for the dancing in the kitchen. He never really has done this before. It was great! We were really dancing hard in the kitchen and thats when Hubby came in. We calmed down after that and ate dinner.
      • After dinner I did horsie-back rides with all of the kids. They each stayed on the 2nd/3rd step and waited their turn while I went around with a kid. They were loving it. Again, I feel like I’m out of shape.
      • Then bathtime. All kids needed it. Twins went to bed early. Bigger kids followed soon thereafter.

    I had a great day. We got a reasonably good piece of work out to the client for discussion tomorrow. I also had time at home and with the kids to play, dance, and laugh. I also learned a little more about my son. I learned a side to him that does not surprise me after thinking about it, but still upsets me a bit since he is a quiet, empathetic, and sensitive little guy. So I feel for him. And I want to work with him to make it better for him. So today was a good day. I’m learning more about my kids and my family with each passing day.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 5: A day of Balance!


    Another Monday. And it is a cold one. Red woke up screaming in her sleep (nightmare – she never woke up from it) so I did not get a good night’s sleep. I’m headed on the ferry now to work.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I had a race with Big Bro to see who could get dressed first. Big Bro and Red picked out their clothes last night so it was easy for him to pounce on his pile and change. He won.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky started screaming at each other over a roll of wrapping paper. I think Twin Crazy had it first, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I grabbed the paper and put it in the garage to avoid further conflict.
  • Twin Husky has a rash that is progressing across his body. I will call the doctor today and if it does not clear up by Wednesday I might take him in to see her.
  • It is frigid outside but Big Bro insists on wearing shorts and a short sleeve (superhero) shirt. I tried to get him to wear a long sleeved shirt under his spiderman shirt, but he rejected it. The poor kid is going to freeze his ass of this morning – hopefully it warms up in the afternoon.
  • Red was cute climbing from chair to chair today – the floor was “hot lava”
  • Twin Crazy was covered in oatmeal and seemed cranky until I cleaned her off. She is particular with dirt and gets really upset if her hands are dirty.
  • It was a rush to get out this morning; Hubby took Big Bro and Twins, I took Red. Red was clingy but smiling.
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    For work today I have some debrief conference calls and I also want to create a good first draft of the client deliverable. We have a meeting with the client on Thursday so I need to get the first draft done for a detailed review by the Partners. It will be a busy day.

    I’m on the ferry, it is cold outside, and I am tired. And hungry. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a hot breakfast this AM – that way I can fill up and focus on what I need to accomplish for the day.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I led several “debriefing” conference calls related to our forums and we continue to get great feedback and are thinking of ways to change the services and agenda for the forums. So these discussions have not been a waste of time.
  • I also had a good chunk of time to work on the client deliverable for our meeting on Thursday. I have only one meeting scheduled for tomorrow so will have more time to do the finishing touches.
  • Someone brought in a small holiday tree and I promptly began decorating it with office supplies, and a rubber chicken that was handed down to me from a retiring Director several years ago.
  • Work was great today. I like the office environment and people around people, the energy of the rush between meetings, coupled with several hours of “quiet time” where I can devote to getting work done. This was a working day with great balance between meetings and put your head down and work time.

    I’m now waiting for an appointment so will not get to see the kiddos tonight. Well, maybe Big Bro and Red if they are up by the time I get home. I will likely get a beer from an old fishing bar that I love while waiting for the ferry. It will be a Guinness. And I will love it. And will hopefully feel content with my life and how things are going.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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