October 29: One roast and one lost chicken


I work a full day on Tuesdays. But usually I work from the office. I was asked to be in the office on Wednesday, so I decided to stay home today and work. But, since I have the four kids with me due to co-parent’s work trip, today was quite unusual.

Highlights of the Morning Commute:

  • I woke up to little pitter pat steps through the kitchen and into my room. Twin Husky was great and slept all night in his bed and made it into mine shortly before the alarm rang. He had his duck with him. He had his duck kiss me. I kissed the duck back. I kissed him. He smiled. He kissed me back. We called each other by our names. We tickled. I love waking up like this.
  • I got ready quickly. Twin Husky found my feminine hygiene products. He’s extremely talkative and we have conversations all the time. He of course asked what those were for. I said they were for women. “Not Daddy?” “No, not Daddy”. “Only for women?” “Yes, only for women. Like mommy.” “Oh. I didn’t know that you’re a woman.” Thanks Twin Husky. Thanks a lot.
  • I decided to honor the Chocolate Tuesday tradition. It was a quick breakfast. Thank goodness since we were running late.
  • The outside bus came and went… all of us missed the neighborhood kids. Now we know we’re really running late.
  • Lunches, getting dressed, combing hair, getting shoes, getting in the car…. off we go!
  • Drop off was great for Red and Big Bro. I forgot to mention yesterday that their school is about 2 miles from my house. Co-parent bought a house about a mile away from that school. So we’re finally all close, and now able to settle. I am able to breathe so much better now. Writing about it also makes me feel so much better. These kids are able to root. They are able to grow up with their friends. We know what school they are going to. We know what middle school they will go to. And High School. This is the best school district around, with somewhat affordable housing (all is relative). I did the absolute best that I could do as a single mother, four kids, working part time. I still can’t believe I am able to pull this off. It does not come without its sacrifices though. But I am getting used to this way of living.
  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and I met the nanny back at my house. I was not sure if I was going to have my car today – the plan was for her to take care of the kids at co-parent’s house since I was going to work from home. She would use my car. So, I took the opportunity to go food shopping to buy a roast. I felt like taking advantage of working from home, and also for this extra time with the kids. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky had fun in their “car cart”.
  • I dropped them off at co-parent’s house. They didn’t want me to leave. I gave them piggy back rides. They gave me kisses. They watched me drive off. I honked the horn for them.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:

  • I got home and let the chickens out of the coop. It is strange that the one chicken Penny is still not around. She usually shows up in the morning…
  • I had much more coffee and got at it.
  • A few conference calls, lots of emails, some re-working of presentations. Planning for some transitions. I’ll be taking on more work but hopefully we will be hiring good resources on the data side of the job to free me up for client management and planning.
  • During breaks I started the roast, did some dishes, took down the trash, enjoyed the sun.
  • I picked up Big Bro at 2:30. The rest of the kids were with the nanny at co-parents. I wanted to do this for some alone time with him, and since he prefers (“thrives on”) playing with his friends. We did homework. I tested him at math for 10 minutes and he did pretty well. I quizzed him at spelling. He hit the road like a bat out of hell to play with his friends.
  • I did some more work. Nothing eventful. I decided to pick up the rest of the kids at 4:30.
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    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I arrived at co-parents with the nanny outside doing crafts with the kids. This is good. But…. they were cranky and fighting. This is bad. They had no naps. This is really bad. And Twin Crazy has a bite mark on her arm. This is terrible. I don’t understand. How do 3 year olds have control over this woman? Are there no boundaries? Why does Twin Husky bite? I don’t see this anymore. I am angry; these kids should have slept. Now I have to deal with the cranky kids.
  • At home I decided that resting on the couch was the answer for the kids while I wrapped up dinner. I went to the garden and picked a ton of carrots. Big Bro was in and out with his friends. We received a care package of left over vegetables for Cocoa our guinea pig from one of the neighbors. We sat down to an outrageous dinner.
  • After dinner I quickly cleaned up. I downloaded workbooks for Red for her cutting project (she makes up projects for herself). I worked with her on the project which involved putting her cut-outs in a zip-lock bag and also her pieces of trash in a trashcan. She would hand me the paper and say “ding”. I checked email while working with her.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were passed out immediately after dinner. I let them sleep on the couch while the rest of us were up, and then carried them into their rooms for bed.
  • Bedtime was easy for Red and Big Bro. Red was fine because I had a lot of alone time with her and her workbook projects. Big Bro felt the need to clean up his entire room. He was proud of his work and wanted me to see it.
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    I loved being a mom to these kids today. I loved cooking a real dinner. I felt needed by the kids.

    I have some work to do to prepare for some meetings tomorrow but I think I’ll be able to handle it in the AM when I get in the office, first thing. So I’m not going to work tonight. I’m going to watch some more “The Good Wife” and maybe wonder where Penny the chicken is. The kids already think she’s dead. No tears have been shed, yet.

    I’m hoping to write again tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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    October 5: Home with three


    It’s Friday and the end of the week.  Today is my day to be home with the kids.  Co-parent is taking the kids for a full weekend, so I will not see them again until Wednesday afternoon. What to do between now and then? Relax and get some “me” time in, I suppose.

    Highlights of the Day:

    • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are sick. So I wound up to both of them in my bed this morning. They all got ready so quickly and helped with their own breakfasts. I love this. The mornings are getting very easy with them. They love the independence and doing things for themselves. The fact that the Twins are potty trained with few accidents helps as well. They like doing the same routine as the “big kids” and I love directing all four them of them now as equals.
    • Twin Crazy picked out her clothes and she wanted to wear a long sleeve black shirt with light jeans. She looked soooooooooooooo New York City to me. Upper East side. I was calling her my “city girl” all day today.
    • Big Bro decided to put some finishing touches on his “house” made from an Amazon box. He wanted to draw more things to make it more like a house. He drew a garden with corn, broccoli, strawberries, and apple trees. I love the fact that he connects the garden with the concept of home. That’s meaningful for me, too.
    • The ride was fine; we talked about fog, made a game where we had to catch up to certain cars on the highway, I sang to AC/DC for a bit, we saw Twin Crazy’s “castles” in the city and they had their lights on for the fog.
    • I decided to “steal” Red from daycare today since it would be awhile since I saw her. She is the most emotionally needy of the four, I think. She had a great time with us. During the day she asked me if this is what we always do together while she is at daycare – if we go anywhere. I told her honestly that no, we really just hang around the house and play while I also do things around the house. She had a great time today with her siblings and me.
    • The kids were very creative today. There was lots of cutting with scissors, coloring, and doing “paperwork”. I read to the Twins several books. Snack time was the “yogurt bar” with three different kinds of yogurt and fruit that is quickly going bad. Red got lots of time in with Cocoa.
    • I wanted to start my “renovation” of the office to organize the kids bins of toys and redo the entire closet. While I attempted to do this they played kitchen and Red also did “work” at her desk. I played music from my Apple and danced with Twin Husky and then Twin Crazy. They love this. Or maybe I love it more.
    • I caught Twin Crazy “reading” a stack of books outloud by herself in the backyard. She said that now since she read her books she was ready for a nap. The kids played with tricycles and scooters as I got lunch ready. They were playing follow the leader and singing songs together. Twin Husky was on a two wheeled scooter and was really good at balancing.
    • While the Twins took naps Red was very anxious to do something “just with” me. We made a calendar together. She drew the boxes and the numbers in the boxes, cut the boxes out, and then I taped them back together in calendar format. It was a project that took awhile which was nice. It looked and felt like rain outside so we did this together in the living room with the fireplace on. I loved it.
    • Red got more quality time with Cocoa so I think she’s feeling sufficiently loved. Hopefully enough from me and Cocoa to last her for the next several days.
    • Co-parent picked up Big Bro from school and swung by my house to pick up the rest on their way to their weekend getaway. I was grateful for two drives back and forth that I did not have to do. I am in relaxation mode now.

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    After they left I slept for 2 hours. I did not sleep well the past few nights because of sick kids. This weekend will be a lot of time alone for me. I’m struggling with what to do. Maybe I’ll go to the movies along with house stuff – I need to venture out of this house and throw myself out there. I’m ready for that.

    Have a great weekend everyone –

    – Mama K

    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

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    Repost and Poll: Money vs. Quality of time with your kids????


    As some of you may be aware, I have struggled with the notion of “work” and “family” for quite some time now, and have recently made a signficant career transition based upon my energy levels, my happiness, and advice and pleading from many, many people.    I essentially took a 50% cut in hours and pay which also includes some flex-time and the ability to work from home on one of my three working days.   So this has been a monumental change for me and my family:

    • I am happier, less stressed, and able to connect on a more deeper level with my children.  I am able to participate in school events and spend special 1 on 1 time with the kids.  My relationships with my babies have flourished.   I am more effective at work and take my job much more seriously than I have in the past.
    • My kids seem happier, are coming up with ideas for their 1:1 time with Mommy, and hug me harder, longer, and with more intensity.  I feel like I’m being the kind of mother that they need / want me to be.

    But of course this has come at a cost.  A cost that I am willing to make at this point in my life.

    I thought I would redistribute a post/poll that I wrote several months ago when another Mama In Motion was in the middle of her transition.  It just seems right for me to send this out again since I am going through a transition of my own….

    Humor me and please follow the below link to my post, and also respond to the polls within.  If you have already particpated previously, it is possible that you will be unable to answer a second time (sorry).

    https://mamainmotion.com/2011/08/09/random-thought-when-evaluating-new-job-opportunities-would-you-sacrifice-quality-of-time-with-your-kids-for-more-money/

    Thanks so much for following me – have a great day

    Thanks for listening –

    – Mama K

    Random Thought: When evaluating new job opportunities, would you sacrifice “quality of time with your kids” for “more money”?


    It’s Tuesday and I have a Random Thought.

    I want to thank Mama Serenity for expressing her situation at Meet other Mamas In Motion.   Her description is extremely heartfelt and her tone expressions the confusion and internal conflict that she faces.   It does seem that her existing job treats her well and to some extent suits her balance with her children (but there is travel required and peaks of her business).  She is now presented with another opportunity — and although she has information from which to base a decision, there still is the large “unknown” factor.   I think the “unknown” is what causes stress and pressure in the decision-making process, particularly when these decisions impact not only you, but your entire family.   I believe it is much easier to be a risk taker when you only have to worry about yourself and it becomes harder to venture out into the unknown when these decisions impact your entire family and your little ones.  I feel like I’ve remained in my current job because of my kids – my company knows me, and I know how to navigate to make the most out of my situation with the kids.   There may be better options for me elsewhere – but the unknown does cause me stress particularly if I feel like my current job gives me and my family a sense of stability and security.

    This got  me to thinking.   I’m guessing that collectively, working Mamas In Motion are changing jobs all the time.  Job opportunities present themselves – or we proactively go looking for them.   Does the decision process become more difficult if you have little ones to consider?  Or, maybe its just the opposite — does the decision-making process become EASIER if you feel that the things that are most important to you are NOT being fulfilled in your current job situation?   There are considerations to be made when evaluating opportunities, and there are tradeoffs.  And it becomes more difficult when you are potentially leaving a “known” situation to an “unknown” situation, one that may not be able to fulfill on a bonus that you hope to count on, or one that may not be as family-friendly as you assume.

    Here are some considerations that I can think of – would the new opportunity provide more:

    • money, compensation, benefits?
    • quality time with the kids (e.g., shorter commute, more flexibility in hours, possibly being able to work from home on some days)?
    • responsibility?
    • stability, job security?
    • autonomy in getting the work done?
    • interesting / compelling work?
    • the ability to stretch your skills and grow in new areas?
    • synergies with people — culture, working style alignment?

    This now gets me to a series of polls for the group, for working Mamas:

    2 of 3:   If the choices are narrowed down to “more Money” vs. “more Quality time with the Kids”, which would be most important to you when deciding on whether or not to take a new job???

    3 of 3:   I’d like to understand the threshold where you would select “more Money” instead of “more Quality time with the Kids” when deciding to take a new job.   How much of a raise would you absolutely require to accept a position, where the tradeoff is less quality of time with your kids (recognize that increased income could still improve their quality of living, but, they would have less time with you).  Would the new job HAVE to give you at LEAST a raise of:

    Life is about tradeoffs – earning money for your family to have and do nice things is wonderful, but spending quality time with your children is obviously important as well.   I think the difficulty really sets in when you feel like your life is seriously out of balance; this balance threshold differs for each woman and given each different and distinct situation.   We are all unique Mamas In Motion and I’m sure we will see this in the poll results.   Thank you for participating!

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