Staying Sane: Complete a project


We know that stress is not good for you – emotionally, psychologically, and also physically.   And as working mothers we know stress.  Juggling all of our roles and responsibilities.  It’s a lot.   I’m not sure where I’ve read it or heard it, but I was surprised when I learned that it are the “silent stressors” that actually cause the most damage.  It are those things that you’ve “been meaning to do” but have not gotten around to it yet – that weigh you down and it is THIS stress that accumulates and causes you damage.

Just think of those things on your “to-do” list.   The things that you know you need to get to, but for some reason do not.   But you keep thinking of them.  And it weighs on you.  And you know in the back of your mind you have these unfinished tasks that need to get done.  It’s difficult to let go.

I’m trying to teach my children the importance of finishing what they start.  Go full circle.  Finish the puzzle, finish the story, you get it.  Perseverance and also focus.

The feeling of completion is great.  Think back on projects that you have done to completion.  Either yourself or with your kids.   It could be as simple as a photo-book project, the creativity of a fun Halloween costume, or even complex like the birth of a garden… moving to a new home… completing a degree.

Since my move, my office area was sort of the “dumping ground” for boxes in purgatory… and the set up that I originally had (big office table, two big filing cabinets) just was not working AT ALL.   Those that have been reading this know that I recently bought an entire office of furniture at IKEA – a computer workstation (for me), a double desk, 2 single desks, 2 sets of drawers, and 4 stools — read this post.

Well, Friday night after I dropped the kids off at co-parent’s, I decided to go to the Apple store and buy myself a new Apple computer.   I made the purchase in about 15 minutes total.  I then went home and proceeded to build the IKEA office furniture.   Drinking a Guinness, listening to music… until midnight or so.   Then I woke up on Saturday very early and immediately went to work on the same project.  I am an expert now at IKEA furniture assembly.    I was racing to complete the task before the kids were dropped of at my place at 4 PM.   I just made it in time.

And the looks on their faces when they each saw their own desk was priceless.  And there were NO fights over who was going to sit where.  They just gravitated to their own spaces and were so happy.  They pulled open their drawers and I told them that is where they can put their stuff.  Crayons, markers, paper, art, whatever they would like.   And Big Bro was so excited about doing his homework at his desk.  They loved it and spent time doing art projects in the room over the weekend.

And for me, the room is about 75% complete – I still want to get some things for their spaces.  I still need to hang curtains.  And also get the rest of the old stuff out.  But I’m almost there.  And the biggest part for me was completing the heavy lifting and transforming this room from what it was to what it is now.    A place where we can be together and “work” and create.  A place where a child can go and have their own space.   A place where we can be together.

What kinds of projects do you do that make you feel accomplished?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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Random Thoughts: Interesting article – “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”


THANK YOU Mama V for sharing this  –

http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/6/

So much of this article resonated for me; the expectations, feeling of failure, stress.   If she is correct and we need society to change to make it better for the rest, I fear we will be waiting a LONG time – even though there are so  many working females out there.

I don’t know what the answer is but happiness for me at least is the CHOICE to do what you want to do; for me, working from home, flexible work schedule, telling myself that its OK to “side step” a career for a portion of my life, the notion of “investment intervals”….   Many people do not have the luxury of choice – if you have it, don’t be fearful but EMBRACE IT.   Do what you need to do for yourself and for your family.

What are your thoughts ladies???

Please read and let us know!

http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/6/

– Mama K

Staying Sane: SLEEP!


I had some really good ideas of subjects to write about for this week’s Staying Sane. And many will still be very relevant in the weeks to come. But what I need to write about now, or at least NOT write about, is the need to listen to your body and give in to the abyss of sleep when you need it.

I need it now.

Moving. Divorce. Bought a car yesterday. Picked weeds beyond belief. Entertained neighbors impromptu. Put together two bedroom sets with the help of amazing friends. Lifting. Sneezing (weeds). Pulling, dragging. More sneezing.

I need to rest. I need to sleep.

I WILL get to those other topics at some point. But for now, I’m going to call it a night and SLEEP.

Have a great week everyone

– Mama K

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May 4: Bawling with balloons


Today was a day that I should have been elated. My loan FINALLY was “cleared to close” and I was given the green light to put my downpayment in escrow; docs to sign early next week and closing on Wednesday! So now, I am so much closer to becoming a homeowner and providing for my family.

And the kids were ridiculously cute, as usual. Twin Husky and Big Bro stealing icing from the cupcakes, Twin Crazy with her boots, and Red. The almost-birthday-girl. She had a cute Cinqo de Mayo party at her school – we brought in cupcakes and she wore a little crown and her class sang to her. I was there to help her celebrate and her sly little smile was so cute my heart just melted.

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But my heart was very, very heavy. Despite the small rays of good that are happening in my life right now.

Financial mediation in a divorce is not pleasant. I didn’t expect it to be pleasant. But I didn’t expect to be sucker-punched today. And I was, big time. I had no idea what was coming. Absolutely none. The ironic part about all of this is that I had/ have had tremendous anxiety WHILE married about our quality of life out here in California and how we weren’t making it even though we owned property…. and then came divorce… and then whatever safety net I THOUGHT I had was ripped away from me today. How can this happen? How can this happen me? I’m a mother to his FOUR children! I suffered a breakdown from working too hard to support OUR family! I’m trying and fighting to create an environment where our kids can have the BEST opportunities that they DESERVE!!! I just don’t understand. I don’t know how this is possible.

So I was bawling for most of the day. So much that the corners of my eyes are red and burning. So much that I was not elated when I was at the Title company handing over my check for a downpayment for a new home for my family. So much that my eyes were burning while I was smiling with my daughter at her birthday celebration. So much that I was crying again tonight while at the grocery store buying balloons for the birthday party for Big Bro and Red tomorrow. And now still crying as I finish this up. And the corners of my eyes are cracked and raw and painful.

How did this happen to me? How did I get here? When will it get better?
How could he do this to me?

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

December 6: Morning glory, busy afternoon, unknown evening…


The kids woke up very needy for Mommy this AM since I was not able to see them last night. I took it all in and reveled in it.

Highlights of the Morning and My Commute:

  • I woke up with Red in the bed. She crawled in, in the middle of the night. I remember A LOT of tossing and turning, so I didn’t sleep well again last night.
  • Big Bro and Red got dressed without a problem. The kids setting out their clothes the night before really seems to help. There are no arguments over clothes and the kids are eager to dress themselves.
  • There was a feather on Red’s leg (pillow?) and I made a joke about “what is THAT doing there? Are you turning into a bird??!??!?” She giggled and Big Bro chuckled.
  • Chocolate Tuesday! All kids were lined up at the kitchen counter. Twin Husky was playing peek-a-boo with his bread. Twin Crazy was double-fisted with spoons, one for each cereal bowl (hers, her brother’s), Big Bro and Red were eagerly eating their chocolate and all were really quiet.
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  • I helped with lunches and Twin Crazy helped me put things away. She loves doing that with me. I pick her up to the cabinets and she helps put the packages of stuff away.
  • Red had some breakdowns this AM over drinking cups, her bread being served to her with the crusts on, food containers in her lunch, her forgetting her lunch box at school, etc. I think this was the affect of her interrupted sleep. I understand how she feels and I told her that.
  • I took Twins and Big Bro while Hubby took Red. Big Bro is looking forward to tomorrow, since I told him we would buy sneakers after his school. His soles are coming apart so he is psyched for that. Another trip to Kohl’s!
  • I’m now on the ferry and I’m actually looking forward to work. Today will be the day where my client deliverable takes close-to-final form. I’m looking forward to that. After procrastinating for so long looking at white pages, now there is actual thinking and content and information to work with and refine. Unfortunately, we will be telling our client something that he does NOT want to hear, so we need to think through the delivery of the presentation since it will be a difficult one to give on Thursday.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I spent the majority of the day working on my client deliverable. There is work that still needs to be done — I will likely work after the kiddos go to bed since tomorrow I have meetings during the day and our client meeting is on Thursday! I must get a draft sent to my Partner for his review TONIGHT or else we will not meet our deadline and will not be as prepared as we should be for the meeting. Ugggh. This means that I know I will have this hanging over my head tonight. I will be with the kids but not “with” them 100% – which I hate. I will be anxious as they get ready for bed and will be thinking of this work. I’ve been here so many times in the past over the past 5.5 years of management consulting with kids. It’s hard. It’s very hard. I want to be 100% connected with them tonight but I know it will be hard if not impossible for me to do.
  • I also wanted to share a picture of our office holiday tree. I am the one responsible for the rubber chicken, binder clips, post it note, and blue “flags” (particularly the ones on the breasts of the rubber chicken). A bit of comedy infused in a busy day always helps.
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    I’m on the ferry now and am solo tonight with the kids. My goal tonight is to be as present as I can possibly be, and not worry about cleanup – rely on the Mother’s Helper as much as I can. I will try not to think about work. I will try to get the kiddos to bed earlier (which benefits them anyway). I will try to get this post out quickly tonight so I can focus on my deliverable and get to sleep by a decent hour. So, I will call it a night from here. You won’t hear from me again until tomorrow.

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    p.s. at home now making dinner with the kids — having fun, drawing, blogging, and connecting, talking….. so far going GREAT!!!! 🙂

    Staying Sane: 9 reasons to communicate when something upsets you


    Hi Mamas.

    It’s Sunday night and I spend time on these evenings writing about something that I believe helps me to “stay sane”.  However, I am not the best person to follow such advice and certainly am not an expert.  So these are just my thoughts, take them for what they are.

    I spent years biting my tongue over certain situations.   This has not been healthy for me, or my family.  Years later, my stance is that it’s best to face potential conflict and communicate when something is upsetting, regardless of how awkward or difficult it may be, because [please don’t take me too seriously]:

    1. Issues will just fester and cause greater distress
    2. Relationships will become strained, for those directly and indirectly involved
    3. Over time, the littlest things that happen appear and “feel” to be so much bigger than they are
    4. You have too much to worry about with work and with kids — why add another point of stress in your life?
    5. Keeping things bottled up could affect you physically – think zits, furrowed brows, headaches, grimaces
    6. The people/person may not even know that their behavior has upset you
    7. Communicating will provide an opportunity for future situations to change or the behavior to cease
    8. Communicating over some beers/wine is just another great excuse for some cocktails
    9. It is great to embrace situations where difficult communication is required – this provides great practice and can improve your effectiveness and self-confidence at it over time

    So, let me get to what happened this past weekend.  I had a relatively enjoyable weekend.   The kids shined with great behavior but unfortunately there was other behavior happening in my house that I did not like or appreciate.  My in-laws were here for Hubby’s birthday and their visits always bring me an added sense of anxiety.   There has been a tug-of-war happening between them and I ever since the kiddos arrived.   I understand their need to form a bond between themselves and the kids, and I support this – however, not at the expense of the relationship that Hubby and I each have with the kids, our roles as parents, or at the expense of the children’s overall welfare.

    I know that email communication is not the best.  In fact, I think it’s cowardly given this type of situation.  What I would like to do with the audience tonight is preview a [cowardly] email communication that I would like to send to my in-laws.   Please provide feedback because I would like to send it soon before the situation festers too long for me.  Or, maybe I’ll decide not to send it and just the below in black and white will be therapeutic enough for me.   Or, maybe Hubby will step in and lobby on my behalf.
     
     
     
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    [In law], [In law],

    Thanks for coming this weekend to celebrate [Hubby’s] birthday and also to babysit on Friday night.   I think [Hubby] had a great weekend.   Also thanks for helping with the fence and cleaning – every bit is appreciated!!!

    I would like to get something off of my chest though, in the spirit of open communication.   There were two situations that happened that appear small, however there are things that underlie the following actions that are very upsetting to me.

    • Big Bro informed me on Sunday that during Saturday’s lunch with [in-law], he had something sweet but he wasn’t supposed to tell me.   He said that Daddy knew, but he was specifically asked by [in-law] not to tell Mommy.
    • On Saturday morning I overheard conversations that [in-law] was having with Big Bro, about how both of you were not going to be here for Christmas this year and how you were not sure if Santa was going to come to Big Bro’s house, but that Santa was definitely coming to your house and that maybe Big Bro should come to your place.   Or, you would maybe save Big Bro a present or two from Santa.

    I’ve talked to [hubby] about it and he agrees that this is not appropriate behavior.  First of all, it completely undermines the role of a parent.  Children, particularly young and vulnerable children, should not be taught that it is OK to keep secrets from their parents.   This is just common sense.   We are there to protect them and in fact we are teaching them the exact opposite — that they should always feel comfortable coming to us at any time, with anything that is on their mind.   We are teaching them that there should be no secrets from Daddy or Mommy.   But what is most upsetting is that it puts a very young child — 5 years old!!!! — completely in the middle of any issues that may exist between you and me, which is not acceptable and not OK.   I understand and respect your need to build a bond with the children and I support that — however certainly not at the expense of my role as a parent OR by putting any of our young children in the middle of a confusing and/or tense situation.

    It honestly is not healthy to do this to the children.   If this was done in humor, I would think the humor to be too complex for just a five-year old, and I do not appreciate it.    As a family you need to understand that [Hubby] and I are the parents to these children and people should respect this.  I also hope that you see how putting the children in the middle can create situations that are awkward for them — hopefully you agree that the health of these children should come first.   Having such conversations with the kids to strengthen your bond makes matters worse for us as a family and impedes creating a healthy environment for our children.

    My parents have always respected [Hubby’s] role as father, our roles as parents, and have NEVER said anything to the contrary in front of the children – I would expect the same treatment from you.

    Hopefully with your maturity you will see how this can negatively impact the kids.  I therefore ask that these types of discussions and insinuations with our children stop immediately.

    Thanks so much – if anything is unclear please let me know.  My intent is not to cause a big issue out of this, but my first priority is to my children and if I think they are being harmed or put in an unhealthy, confusing, or un-necessary situation on purpose,  I need to get myself involved.

    [Mama K]

    ******

    So ladies, am I over-reacting?   Should I bite my tongue?   Are these truly just petty comments and am I a victim of Reason # 3, above?   Have these power-plays happened with you in the past and how have you handled them?  

    Even in separation situations, it is common knowledge that you should NEVER put the children in the middle.  This simply is not fair.   And I’ve been hearing comments like the above for years now.    My father in-law starts the power-play with me all the time and his comments are well thought out and purposeful.   He knows what he’s saying and knows what he’s doing.

    Comments please!!!

    Thanks for listening,

    – Mama K

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