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.

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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

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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 4: First day is a success


I’m traveling for work and we had our first true day of meetings.   I was in charge of facilitating the discussion, welcoming the guest speakers, and also presenting facts/data and the implications to the group – and also facilitating discussion versus only reporting numbers (how boring).   It was a great day.   Folks gave me great feedback and I’ve already tried to do things a bit differently to engage with the group and hopefully drive consulting sales.

 

It has been a very long day.  I woke up at 6:15 Eastern (3:15 Pacific) and the work was non-stop.   All day meetings, post-meeting debrief, cocktail hour/schmoozing, and dinner/schmoozing.   I found several others who went to Columbia University (very, very strange since most tend to stay in NYC).   I also had a great dinner conversation about 80’s metal bands and I even had fun singing Cinderella’s “Nobody’s Fool” and “Shake Me”.   I had a second filet mignon.  And too much wine.  This will be a fun bunch.  They are smart and also fun.    I’m going to like this.

 

But the day is long.  And I have tomorrow and Thursday left.   I am exhausted already and have more to go…. and of course I miss home.

 

The report from home today was that there was kissing of the monkeys on the cereal box “Gorilla Munch”.   I bet you anything it was Twin Crazy.

 

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 3: Off to the races….


I am coming off of a wonderful weekend with the kids. On Sat we went to a fishing pier, looked at fisherman and their crabs, ate snacks, and ran away from bees. Later that night we went out to dinner. People were looking at me like I was crazy — one woman and 4 kids out to eat??!?!?!? They were all great; coloring all around and they devoured their food. Then we went to feed the ducks. On Sunday, I took them to a museum along the coast and learned about crabs – we walked out on tide pools and slipped in seaweed (Twin Crazy and Twin Husky slipped and wiped out head first – their hands and feet reaching in the air – it was too funny – I would have taken pictures but they were so upset I didn’t have time. I needed to rescue them). We had long naps and a quiet rest of the day.

Today I had to wake up extremely early and leave for the airport – my flight was at 8 AM so I missed seeing everyone get up. I’ll be gone through Thursday evening – and will probably not see them in time before they go to bed.

This is a week of two big meetings that I am responsible for, starting with tonight’s dinner all through Thursday afternoon. I’m ready, I think. I’m actually tired before it begins. I should have tried for more sleep last night.

Well, that’s about all for now; I am in a taxi now headed to the hotel, will have a conference call in about 8 minutes that I will likely take from the taxi, need to meet with the consultant who is helping me with logistics and the data, get ready and go to a cocktail reception for attendees and then stay awake and get to know everybody over dinner. And THEN…. prepare my self to be “on” for tomorrow AM.

Missing my kids already –

– Mama K

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