Staying Sane: Soak it in

I was traveling for work all last week. I missed the kids but was busy with clients all week. I talked to the kids on Monday night and Tuesday night which was fun. I was not able to talk to them the rest of the week due to difficulties with co-parent.

So I was feeling a little lost by the end of the week. This changed during my return.

I walked into the house while Red was crying over something. As soon as she saw me she stopped crying and ran to me smiling. Big Bro gave me a big hug. Twin Crazy was excited. Twin Husky just walked around aimlessly and went over to play with the hose. I had to go to him and ask him where I could kiss him, he pointed to the top of his head, so that’s where I went with a big kiss.

The kids were all playing outside with water and sprinklers – and all with no clothes on. No inhibitions. Just themselves. Nothing to hide behind. Playing and enjoying the water. And laughing. And I was glad to be back with them.

And later that evening, Twin Crazy came to me and sat on my lap and gave me a HUGE hug and would not let go and started singing to me. And I just sat there with her rocking her and not interrupting her song.


Imagine how I felt.

The rest of the weekend felt the same way. Even if the kids were not singing so directly. Smiles. Requests for help. Holding my hand. Wanting me to come on a walk too. And usually I am boisterous and initiating the craziness. But this time I was still wiped out and just wanted to see them in a pure state. They were the leaders and I the follower.

And I felt happy to be back with them again.
Great week to all –
– Mama K

April 19: almost there

The end of the third full day. Very tired and full from a fabulous dinner. Appraisal came in today and house was valued over offer price!!!! I am one BIG step closer to being a homeowner!!!!! Meetings went well. I’m not even going to try to call home tonight.

Going to sleep now
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

April 17: A barrette

The end of the first full day of meetings – all went well – some highlights:

  • I presented two presentations and actually received good feedback in terms of participation levels; one client told one of my Directors tonight at dinner that these were some of the best presentations he’s seen from us in years.  I’m psyched.  There’s still more that I wanted to do with them so they’ll see those improvements next meeting, six months from now.
  • facilitated the day, with 3 guest speakers and group discussion.
  • Came back to the room for the “break” before dinner and did preparation work for the next two big meetings; then I got ready for dinner and saw a barrette that the room cleaner found somewhere… it is Twin Crazy’s barrette and I couldn’t help but smile and think of her.


  • Fabulous dinner


  • During dinner I found out that my mortgage loan was approved!!!!   And the conditions are all super-reasonable and easy for me to execute!   So psyched.   I can’t believe that I’m almost a homeowner!   I’m able to get my kids to an amazing public school system!   I wired my additional good-faith down payment to escrow today.  Final closing is next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I had a chance to talk to the kids tonight before they went to bed.   Red was so cute, screaming into the phone.  They were asking when I was coming back.  I mentioned that today is chocolate Tuesday, so we have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then Saturday afternoon.  That this time would go by very fast since they have fun at school.  I would be back before you know it!
  • I tell them that I think of them because of my dog-tag necklace and my birthstone stacking rings.   I tell them that my hands are resting so that I can tickle them extra-strong when I get back.  I tell them to catch my kisses through the phone.   I miss them but it is bearable.   I am busy and they are doing well.  

I have so much work to do…. finishing up one meeting and then going straight into another “sell” meeting where I am leading it and pulling everything together…. wish me luck.   I wish I had some Advil.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

November 4: Back home!

This morning I wore a newly purchased outfit and finished up our meeting.   I had to leave a bit early to catch my flight home, but I made a point to personally say goodbye to each of the clients that I met on this trip.   All in all, it was a good trip.  I had time to myself to relax and soak in life.  I also had a good time with the meetings and things were relatively interesting.  I had amazing food and even came home with jackets and trousers to round out my wardrobe.

I missed my children but I knew I would have some extra time with them today since I took an earlier flight back.   I met my dad at home and walked into a house that smelled of a roast cooking.   Together we walked to pick up the Twins.   It was so sweet reuniting with them.   Twin Crazy was jumping up and down and jumping on me and throwing her arms around my neck.  Twin Husky was excited, but he was playing “cool”.   My dad was with us so they also thought that was interesting.   They are not used to being picked up early.   Twin Crazy was busy scaling up the stroller to get in – Twin Husky was hesitant – it seemed like he wanted to stay there and play a bit.   I feel like both have changed somewhat in the 3 days I’ve been away.  Twin Husky looks bigger to me.   Twin Crazy seems more expressive. Both are adorable and my dad (a Twin himself) is so proud to be the grandfather of twins.

We then went to pick up Big Bro.  He was happy to see Pop Pop and also happy to hear that his new bike lock came in the mail.   We all walked home together.  He held my hand and talked about the past few days to fill me in on what I missed.  Apparently Twin Crazy unwrapped a lollipop and ate it.   So cute.   It was a beautiful day.  We passed a playground but Big Bro wanted to get home quickly instead.

Pop pop stayed back with the kids while I picked up Red.   Her face was beaming.  I love that child to pieces.   We walked in and she immediately ran to Pop pop.  He has a way with her.   They are always goofy together.    We had a great dinner, then all sat down to Shrek and some popcorn.

The kids are all in bed now — I think sufficiently exhausted.  I think my dad’s exhausted too.   We’re going to sit back and relax for a bit now and will likely call it a night early.   My dad only has tomorrow and will leave very early on Sunday morning.    We will be with Big Bro and Red, while Hubby heads to his folks’ place with the Twins.

I’m not sure what we’ll do tomorrow, but I bet there will be some time devoted to Big Bro’s bike and his new bike lock.

Till next week –
– Mama K

November 3: Managing just fine being away, sometimes, well… not really.

Today I am away from home for work.   I arrived yesterday, and will go back home tomorrow.   First of all, I need to describe to you the hotel I’m at – think water fountains everywhere, HUGE comfy bed, spa, pools, ocean view from my private balcony.    I am not used to living like this.   I am not used to the quiet.   I immediately signed up for spa services yesterday when I arrived, knowing that I would not have an opportunity to take advantage of them the rest of the trip.    The picture below briefly documents the type of experience – whirlpools, spa, massage.  Bliss.


Today we had an all day meeting with several speakers and the audience were various clients.   I was not responsible for leading or facilitating this meeting, unlike the others where I had full responsibility.   So this was really a look and learn experience for me, as well as client management/ relationship building/ “making people feel comfortable” role.    I learned a lot, as usual.  I connected with old faces and new faces.   My force of personality makes me comfortable in these situations.   I like meeting new people.  I like connecting with them on some level.   And I particularly like doing this when not under pressure.

During a break I reviewed and sent out a draft proposal for consulting services, for a lead that I cultivated.   Hopefully he will agree on the scope and approach so that we may price it accordingly – I hope we win this one.   I also arranged/accepted various meetings for the upcoming week.

After the day long meeting I decided to go shopping.   I think I grabbed the last of the “must have” pieces for my new wardrobe.   Is the “Year of [Mama K]” shopping spree over?   I’m not sure yet….

I had a  fabulous dinner and then finished the evening next to a fire-pit with s’mores, with our clients, talking about traveling, families, and tragedies like 9/11.

This was not the best way to end my evening.   I’m already on shaking ground in terms of outlook and this just reinforced my feelings of unhappiness and anxiety.  I am so scared.  Scared for me, my family and my children.   Scared that I cannot provide the kind of life and opportunities that I should for them.   Scared to pull back from work, frightened that as a family we are not using good judgement for the choices that we should make for the sake of these children.  Scared that we are not living by the mantra of “family first”.   I need to feel like we are doing everything we should for these kids.  And now I just want to curl up and go to sleep, and stop thinking about these things, because so many of these choices are not within my control.

On that note I will finish the day and hope that tomorrow is better; it has to be — I will be re-united with my kids.   🙂

Til tomorrow

-Mama K

November 2: Away and alone

Today I packed up and left on a flight for a work trip. I don’t know if I’m happy or sad. I feel like I’m just going through the motions.

My flight wasn’t scheduled until after 1:30 so I took the opportunity to work from home this am. It also allowed me to ride with Big Bro this am and stroll with the Twins. I said goodbye to Red and asked her if it was ok to pick her up early on Friday. She said yes with a smile. I will also have my dad with me since he’s flying in for a weekend visit. I’m looking forward to that.

The ride with Big Bro was quiet. We went alone without the “pack” of riders from Monday. It was peaceful. He took his time without the need or pressure to keep up with the bigger kids. I was with him. The Twins were with him. We quietly made our way to the school. He asked for me to get him a lock for his bike, which I promptly ordered from amazon when I got home. The Twins enjoyed their stroll. Twin Husky was busy at the edge of his seat looking around at everything and saying words. Twin Crazy was quiet – the breeze flowing through her hair. She would sneak a look up towards me from time to time and grin like you wouldn’t believe. I would hold her face and look into her eyes and call her my “sweetie” each and every time.

Once everyone was dropped off I just felt very alone. I walked home with the empty stroller and REALLY wanted the tears to come but for some reason they just couldn’t. Again the feeling of numbness. Crispness in the air. Brown leaves on the ground. Starting to feel connected to a community yet still feeling lost, unwound, broken. Almost glad to be leaving this for a couple of days.

I got home and did some work. I headed to the airport. I had a call with two Directors about a reduced workweek. They support this idea for me. They need to discuss it with some others though first before it becomes official. I can wait for that. I have the patience of an elephant although it has been tested and pushed to the limit this past year and even years prior. I need this job. But I need more of me back. For myself and for my kids. I want to be a mom first above everything else. I’ve sacrificed too much and for too long. Now it’s my turn.

I’m on the plane now and am feeling ok. A bit sad. Not as energized as I would like to be. Missing the kids already and aching for more clarity in my life. Wondering where the old me went and if I’ll be able to get her back. Wanting to laugh but feeling too tired.

It will be good to be out tonight with colleagues and clients. I know I’ll be able to rustle up the energy I need for that. I’m thankful for having this outlet and small break to reflect on things and hopefully enjoy myself and squeeze in some laughs. Even if they are forced.

Til tomorrow,
– Mama K

p.s. I’m now at the hotel and have had an amazing change of heart! Look at this place!!!! I’m going to see if there is room for me for a massage before dinner! At a minimum, I’m going to use the outside hot-tub and pool! And maybe get a frosty drink! Life does not suck now. 🙂


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

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