March 19: A Gift


It’s been awhile since I have written a daily journal as a true working mother.   Now, my week is halved due to the divorce.  Half of the week I do not have the kids, and I work.  The other half of the week I DO have the kids, and I’m a stay-at-home mom.   Wednesday is a hybrid day – I work from home for ½ the day and then go pick up my kids and am with them the remainder of the day.  So, it’s been difficult for me to still be relevant for a blog trying to navigate the challenges of a working mother, and the balancing act of these two roles that occur daily for many women.

Today was different.

Co-parent has a work trip so he dropped the kids off to me last night.   I eagerly prepared for their drop off – cleaning the house and making their arrival comfortable.  They arrived at my home to a warm fire in the fireplace and the smell of clean laundry drying – but, it was 8 PM, not ideal since that is their bedtime.  It was confusing for them.  They arrived and wanted to play, especially the younger ones Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   So it was hard for them to arrive at my place and immediately go into books and bed.   But we did it.  I loved having them with me last night and reading to them and hugging them and telling them that I love them.  It was a special gift for me.  One by one they were put to bed.   After Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were in their rooms, I witnessed the end of Big Bro reading to Red.  It was so sweet.  He decided he was shy so I gave them privacy to read to each other without me looking over their shoulder.

I spent the rest of the evening getting ready for the next morning.  Shoes were laid out for the kids.    Clothes were folded and more were put in the dryer.  I took a shower.  I was a bit anxious about being able to get all four kids (and me) ready and out the door, doing the 20 mile/45 minute commute, doing two drop offs, and then hopefully making the ONE ferry to work.

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Highlights of the Morning:

  • I hit the snooze button out of habit and then woke up late.  Thank goodness I showered the night before.   I got dressed in 1 minute flat and started with the kids’ breakfast.   Chocolate Tuesday.
  • I got Twin Crazy and Twin Husky started.   Twin Crazy was causing me a problem because she felt I was giving more time to Twin Husky.  I spent some time talking to her and then she was fine.    Red ran into the kitchen for chocolate Tuesday and spread the Nutella on her tortilla by herself (lover her age and her independence).
  • I started to get the kids dressed one by one with clothes they liked.  Their reward for getting dressed is vitamins.   I talked all the time about having to get out early and needing everyone’s co-operation.  I got it no problems.  Kids were fed, dressed, and in the car one by one.   Not all together, but one at a time I had each kid into the car and ready to go.
  • Big Bro is always the last to get up.   I gently woke him up and unwrapped him from his blanket, but gently.   He was so warm and toasty and it felt like Christmas for me to open up such a gift – a school day for my eldest child who no longer looks like a baby but reminds me of one at that moment.  He got dressed and I gave him a breakfast bar to eat during the commute.   Red was not happy about that but got over it quickly.
  • Twin Husky wanted his red fire truck.   Red helped me find my keys.  I call her “eagle eyes” now.  She is so observant – in so many ways.
  • We were out of the house on time!   I loved the drive with them.  We talked about how it felt like a different day since the normal schedule got a bit disrupted.   Kids were pointing to the trucks on the highway.   Big Bro was playing Angry Birds on my iPad.  We talked about the bedtime routine last night and how it was a bit hard at first but everyone did great.  How the boys went to sleep without a problem but the girls kept laughing and talking and then whining that they were scared (just for my attention).   And how I said a new rule at my house would be if anyone causes an un-necessary problem at bedtime then they lose dessert the next day.   Quickly Red and twin Crazy ran back to their rooms and I didn’t hear a peep out of them.  We laughed about that this morning together.   Twin Crazy was busy singing the “day of the week song”.   Big Bro asked her to be quiet since after 15 times it started to bother him.
  • I realized I missed a conference call in the rush to get out and on the road.  I was supposed to lead a 7:45 AM conference call to hire a lawyer for one of the forums I manage but I realized at 8 AM that I missed it.   So, I had to organize with my admin to get back to him and apologize and reschedule for later in the AM.
  • We did crazy-fast drop offs.  Big Bro off at his school on time.   Then the second drop off with the rest of the kids.  They were all speedy.  Red had a problem saying goodbye to me, as usual.  I had to pry her hands off of me and her teacher pulled her in close to him.  This is our normal routine for her when I do drop offs and transitions from me to her school.
  • I raced to the ferry and actually made it!!!!

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Now I’m on the ferry and it feels the same yet different.   I feel the anxiety of having to rush, rush, rush to get ready and out with the kids.  The ONE ferry deadline is extremely stressful.    Again, I have no make up on.  Hair is a mess.   It looks like I just crawled out of bed.  No breakfast.   I’m seeing some familiar faces and am finding that I really don’t miss this at all.  This is like groundhog day.  I remember these days so well and am so glad that I am not in that place again.   The dark, run run run days where I tried/begged for help and change but my spouse was unwilling to do so.   Feeling lost, cold, and alone.  And scared.  I’m in a better place now.

Today at work I will need to:

  • Negotiate price and hire the lawyer that I needed to talk to this AM
  • Confirm  details with two forum meetings that I am managing
  • Do one last round of sales efforts to Guests that came to previous meetings in the past
  • Be part of a kick-off phone call for a project I sold – I am not on project  delivery but am involved in the project for client relationship reasons.

Ferry is pulling in now!   Gotta sign off and get ready for the day.  I feel great.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • Great day.  Received more positive responses for Guests for the upcoming meetings.
  • I approved a web-based survey to go out to the participants of one of the meetings I am organizing.  It feels good to have that part kicked off.  I will have a consultant run with it and feel good about that too.  That frees up time for me to do client relationship type stuff.
  • Had a conversation with potential new legal representation for our one forum and negotiated price down – so great – we are both so happy.   I’m excited about getting this new firm on board.   And he seems eager to get involved in our group.
  • The day just went by real fast.  I was busy and enjoying myself.

On the ferry back I saw an old friend from over 20 years ago (I can’t believe that!).  I used to work with him when I was in NYC and we both wound up on the west coast.  It has been the first time I’ve seen him since the divorce.   It felt good to connect with him again.  I find that people react differently when faced with these kinds of discussions.  I try to strip out the awkwardness and focus on the positive.  The positive parts in my life now.  How I am enjoying work (at 50% even!) for the first time ever and being a stay-at-home mom for half the week for the first time ever.  How the kids are doing great (I think) and how I’m finding happiness.  Once I describe how my life has changed in a good way, these people tend to feel more at ease, share their thoughts, and actually look me in the eye.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • Pick up for Red was great.  Her teacher commented on her new shirts.   Red and I went shopping the other day at Target to pick out shirts – she is extremely picky about clothes and it was a problem with her in the mornings.
  • Pick up for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky was so cute.  I usually get them from daycare when they are in the middle of their naps.  But today they were full on playing.  Twin Crazy was pretending to read a book to the class.  Twin Husky was showing me how he can support his body with his arms like a pull-up but under a table.   I signed up for parent-“teacher” conferences for all 3.
  • Pick up for Big Bro was fun.  He stays with a neighbor on Monday and Tuesday afternoons (a stay at home mom with four kids of her own).  It was the first time I’ve picked him up there.  I walked into a house of freshly baked blueberry muffins.  The kids there are wonderful.  I spent a lot of time with their daughter.  It has been awhile since I’ve seen her – she is the youngest with 3 older brothers so she is tough – but today she was wearing the sweetest dress and she looked so grown up.  So sweet.
  • On the ride home we ate muffins and graham crackers.  Twin Crazy was singing again.  Big Bro was playing with the iPad.  Twin Husky kept pointing out trucks.  Red found a gray porta-potty which we all thought was an unusual color for a porta-potty.
  • It was fun with the kids on Tuesday night in my neighborhood.   We took out the trash.  We were greeted by a neighbor with two wrapped gifts for each of the Twins for their birthday.   And unbelieveably, the neighbor across the street got two goats.  The kids were going nuts (as was I).   He was talking about it because of all of the grass we all have.   He’s keeping them and I am psyched.  So now we have chickens to the left of us and goats across the street.  Unbelievable.  And I grew up in Philly.   I love where I live and I love the people that I am surrounded by – they are wonderful neighbors and people.
  • Big Bro was reading Twin Crazy and Twin Husky their books during dinner prep, instead of doing his homework.
  • Kids ate well but it was late.  The long drive home and the goat escapade put us back a bit.
  • After dinner I did homework with Big Bro and set up the rest with their own “homework”.  Red with some workbooks, Twin Crazy tracing her name, and Twin Husky just coloring and making a mess with pencils and crayons.   I love doing homework with Big Bro.   I really enjoy it.   I love learning about what he knows and how he is learning.
  • Bedtime was a bit rough.   Putting them down one by one, trying to give them individual attention is hard.
  • I cleaned up from dinner and folded more clothes.  I’m gearing up for tomorrow.

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I’m in bed now feeling really tired but really really full inside.  It was a busy day for me but a return to “working motherhood” that I was so used to before.  I am glad that the days of multiple drop offs while racing for one ferry are over for me.  This coupled with a 45 minute drive was difficult.  I felt bad for the kids since they ate dinner so late.   It is now past 10 PM and the boys are sound asleep but the girls are still being girls, talking.  I don’t know how they do it.

I loved today.  The extra time with my kids is a gift that I do not take for granted.

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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October 10: The colors of Halloween


I love Wednesdays. For many reasons – first, I get to work from home in the AM and then in the early afternoon I get to see my kids. Today was an even bigger day. I have not seen them since Friday night – so it had been quite a long time since we’ve been together. It was a GREAT day.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up late, drank coffee, ate breakfast. I put the fireplace on since it was chilly. I set up my computer and work in my living room. I was so comfortable and so at ease that I was smiling from ear to ear. I got a lot of work done…
  • I’m trying to start up another forum and put an Agenda together for that.
  • I am thinking through the launch of yet another forum, and am getting consultants help me with background research on the companies to target.
  • I followed up with feedback from my last forum and we received more responses. Terrific feedback on the event and on me personally, which I am stoked about. I lead a session and at this point it is the highest rated out of all – plus lots of good commentary about the event, speakers, and how it was orchestrated. This is a direct reflection on my work and I am so pumped.
  • I continued to get ready for the next forum in two weeks time – following up on surveys, etc.
  • I packed up snacks for the kids, ate a cheese stick, and hit the road.

 

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Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I loved playing AC/DC “Dirty Deeds” on my way to the kids. I rolled down the window and turned the volume WAY up.
  • I got there a bit early – actually 1 hour early. My mistake. Got the timing wrong. So, I used the time to go Halloween shopping at a second-hand store and bought TONS of stuff; decorations for the house, costumes for me, costumes for the kids. I love Halloween.
  • I stopped at a car mechanic and made an appointment for tomorrow.
  • I had a conference call that got botched since the other parties were completely unorganized and missed the call. We will have to try again tomorrow, which I’m not thrilled about.
  • I picked up Big Bro and we got his bike. He remarked that Red will be upset if he has his bike but she does not have hers. So he said that “we should not ride bikes when we get home that way [Red] doesn’t get upset.” OMG I thought it was so cute how he was considering her feelings.
  • Big Bro and I went food shopping for guinea pig food, cream for home-made ice cream, chicken, fruit, and bread. I love the one on one time with him.
  • Pick up for Red was sweet. The teachers commend her writing skills. I’m proud of her. Pick up for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky went fine. They ran into my arms. The best feeling in the world…
  • On our way home we talked about how I made some changes at the house (renovated a closet into toy shelves) and also bought some new things for the guinea pig. We talked about Halloween and the different costumes. They were really excited to see the stuff that I got as well as the stuff that I have stored.
  • We got home and pulled out Halloween gear. Twin Husky is thrilled with the Buzz Lightyear blow-up wings. Big Bro is excited about a Star Wars costume I found for him. Red is excited about a Tinker Bell dress. Twin Crazy was just acting crazy and I’m not sure what she will be… but there are lots of choices for her.
  • Big Bro went over to his new friend’s house to play Legos. Twin Husky was busy showing off his Buzz Lightyear wings to the neighbors. He was getting embarrassed and sucking in his lips. So cute.
  • Red, Twin Husky and Twin Crazy helped me to pull the garbage bins up the driveway. Red did one on her own and she wants that to be “her job” for now on.
  • I cooked dinner as the kids set the table outside. They wanted to sit at the “kid table” (even me) which was fine. They set the entire table by themselves which was very helpful.
  • We ate – Twin Husky still had his Buzz Lightyear wings on.
  • We heard kids from the house in back of ours, so we went up our hill to meet them. Two girls ages 6 and 4. Apparently there is a courtyard where they live with lots of kids there. I’m thinking that the fence I get should have a gate on it so the kids can have access to that side of the neighborhood too. There are kids in all directions over here, all at young ages. I AM PUMPED. The family seemed really nice.
  • All kids helped with dinner clean up and dessert (pudding) preparation. At dusk the colors in the backyard were STUNNING so I quickly got the kids together for some photos. The cooperated because they knew their dessert was at risk.
  • Big Bro helped Red with a “calendar” project she wants to do.   Creating the numbers and squares and then setting up the calendar with the days of the week for the month.   He asked if he could help and she gladly accepted his help.  We read Halloween books tonight.   The girls were acting silly at bedtime.  Sisters.
  • I told each of the kids at bedtime the things they did during the day that made me so happy … listening, helping, thinking about each others’ feelings, the big hugs and kisses, etc. I want each of them to feel loved.

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I had an amazing day. The kids are getting to be so much fun. There was little crying or fighting tonight. Things fell into place with us. I’m looking forward to Halloween and the days leading up to it. It is a really special time of year for me.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

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