October 30: Short day


I usually work from home the first 1/2 of the day and then pick up the kids from co-parents. Today was unusual in that I was asked to come into the office – I still took a 1/2 day and was back by 1 PM to become a full-time mom again…

Highlights of the Commute:

  • Woke up early, showered the night before. Cleaned up and dressed quickly. Wore comfortable clothes. It was a leggings type of day.
  • Everyone was fed and dressed by the time the nanny got to my place. She helped finish Big Bro’s lunch packing. I finished getting ready while quizzing him with his spelling words. Red was brushing her hair non-stop but still waited for me to brush her hair. I love that time with her in the AM. Her gorgeous red hair. She wants it straight and is trying to brush it out daily.
  • Twin Husky dumped over the Halloween bin. He was then wearing Buzz Lightyear wings and a masquerade mask.
  • We made it outside to see the kids off at the bus-stop (end of my driveway) and pet the dogs. I love this neighborhood.
  • Drop offs were fast and fine. Nanny dropped me off at the train station. Twin Husky wanted to know again when we would all take the train again. I’m thinking about a train trip into the city during Christmastime to see the lights. And Santa.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:

  • Had three meetings. One conference call where I am trying to negotiate prices down for meeting space. Updated some documents. Need to send some presentations to clients. Will do that later tonight.
  • I left by 12 noon, worked on the train, and arrived at home by 1 PM to release the nanny.
  • Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I had help taking the garbage bins up. Me and Twin Husky like to do this together on Wednesday afternoons.
  • Penny the chicken came back! Twin Crazy was very worried about her and is much happier.
  • We picked up Big Bro from school together. His spelling quiz was post-poned until tomorrow.
  • Big Bro did his math page in 7 minutes flat. They need to be able to know standard addition and subtraction facts within 10 minutes. He was fast and accurate. He actually can deliver when he puts his mind to it. He is too lazy too often though which really drives me nuts.
  • Big Bro disappeared to see his friends.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky napped.
  • Red snacked. Red played with Cocoa the guinea pig. Red napped on top of me while I napped on the couch.
  • All awoke (including me) at dinnertime. We had pasta and stringbeans from our garden.
  • After dinner Big Bro wanted to play with the iPad. I said no. He whined. I suggested vaccuuming instead. He got so excited and proceeded to vaccuum the entire (small) house). It was too funny.
  • While Big Bro vaccuumed I was horseplaying with the kids. I had one girl on each ankle and was walking around with them, tickling them, and dragging them around. Then I was on the floor with kids at my ankles and Twin Husky on my belly. Big Bro was still vaccuuming.
  • We locked up the chickens. Penny was loose again but will hopefully return again tomorrow.
  • We had dessert while watching a new Wild Kratts cartoon – this one about skunks. I pulled up images of skunks on my iPhone and Twin Crazy needed to hold the iPhone, look through the pictures, and kiss them.
  • Bedtime was great with all of them. We were doing lots of talking. I talked too much with them and it was really late by the time they settled down. We talked about teasing, about moths, about growing old, about big brothers, about how little brothers may someday grow taller and stronger than their big brothers, about the passage of time, how in 10 years Twin Husky will be 13 and Big Bro will be 17… how this will happen faster than we realize… … … … I had a great night with them.
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    I loved today. Simply put. I had a few hours at work in the office, was productive, but was back home before I knew it. Then I had the kids. I’m tired from working and doing this at the same time. I don’t know how I did it for so long and at such intensity before. I cringe thinking about it. It was so hard for me. So much has happened since then. The passage of time has been good for me, I think. I still am unsure in many ways. I feel good knowing that I am at least headed in some sort of direction. And that I’ve right-sized my life. I’m not totally there yet, and am still very much work in progress. Today was a good day. And this week has been amazing for me.

    But there is still so much happening in other parts of my head; issues with my family, feeling like a decade of my life is being burried, fighting for strength for my kids, struggling but being happier with less.

    I will be a bunny tomorrow since Red asked me; I’m looking forward to the simplicity and wearing comfortable bunny slippers, all day. This is how I pamper myself these days.

    I’ll try to write tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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    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

    April 30: Gifts


    It has been awhile since I’ve written anything on this blog. I guess it is because I’m feeling a bit lost as to my own relevance with the role of being a “working mother”.   This is because of the divorce and shared physical custody.  The first half of my week I am a “worker” without kids, and the second half of my week I am a stay-at-home mom. So, I really am not faced with the day to day challenges that “real” working mothers experience.

    Until this week. Co-parent is on a work trip and I have the kids all week. It feels like a gift to me. I’ve been smiling most of today and I feel so much stronger now that my kiddos are with me. So, I feel the need to write.

    Highlights of the Morning and the Commute:

    • I woke up earlier than usual to get the routine going while the kids still slept. I showered the night before so getting myself ready was a snap. I took the opportunity to start my coffee, change a load of laundry, and start to pack Big Bro’s lunch.
    • Twin Crazy woke up first. We had a fight the night before because of her not wanting to go to bed. She lost dessert tonight. So we talked about that and I told her that I still loved her even though I was mad at her. She hugged me hard. It was just me and her for a long time this morning. Chocolate Tuesday. And her stuffed animal duck which she was caring for, kissing, and making sit up to look at her. She kept me company as I continued to pack Big Bro’s lunch.
    • Twin Husky was up next. He was confused about the day of the week. He didn’t realize it was a school day and went over to the couch to lay down and cuddle with his Tiger. I held him in my lap (I LOVED that part!) and explained Chocolate Tuesday but he wanted a breakfast bar “on the road” just like his big brother does. So I worked with him to get dressed instead. He is really liking pants/shorts with pockets so I had them ready. We counted the pockets and he had fun putting his stuff in his pockets.
    • Red was up next and sleepy (due to Twin Crazy keeping her up last night). I sat with her on the couch, again her on my lap (I LOVED this part!) and held her until she woke up more. She was smiling for Chocolate Tuesday.
    • Red and I were laughing at how much chocolate she was putting on her tortilla
    • Twin Crazy went off to get changed by herself and she picked out a skirt because she “wants to look pretty”. Lately she is picking out multiple shirts, multiple underwear, multiple shorts, multiple socks. She often looks silly but I encourage her creativity and love of clothes. Today she surprised me with a headband and tap-dance shoes. Her hair was all over the place with the headband and she actually looked like a muffin-head.  She looked ridiculous but also adorable.
    • Twin Crazy had a screaming incident due to too many shirts on. I ran in to get one shirt off. At the same time, Red started screaming about a spider. I then ran with Twin Crazy’s shirt and smashed the spider. I was out of breath and exaggerating the whole scene as I shook the spider from the shirt at the back porch. The kids were giggling.
    • Twin Husky was excited to be holding a breakfast bar for the ride like his big brother.
    • Kids were great getting dressed and shoes on.
    • Big Bro woke up quickly and got out quickly, breakfast bar in hand.
    • As I walked outside another spider was caught onto me from its web. So I was busy dancing and swatting outside of my house while all the kids were in the car waiting. Again, they were giggling at me. I had so much fun.
    • I watered parts of my garden before leaving. Some of my sprinkers need to be adjusted.
    • On the way we talked about the funny morning, the breakfast bars, the night before and how the girls did not want to go to sleep, Twin Husky’s pockets, garbage trucks, how the hills are starting to turn brown because of the sun, and how I was likely going to be late for the ferry and therefore have to work at Starbucks. Big Bro quickly requested hot chocolate for the pick up, with whipped cream. Unbelievable.
    • Big Bro was on time.
    • Drop offs for Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky were great. Twin Husky was clingy, but got through it.
    • I drove to Starbucks with a HUGE smile on my face. I love being their mother. I love these kids and how we make each other laugh. I love how they will be waiting for me to pick them up. And yes, I will get hot chocolate for them to divide and share on the long commute home.

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    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • Got set up at Starbucks with a plug for my computer AND a plug for my phone.
    • Figured out billing/invoicing for one of the big meetings that just passed.
    • Called speakers to personally thank them for attending and speaking at the meetings that just passed.
    • Left messages and sent invitations for membership for several organizations that attended the meetings. Hopefully I can convert some of these relationships into members…
    • Did other administrative things that needed to get done.
    • I decided to pack up and get the kids a bit early. I grabbed a large hot chocolate divided into 4 little cups with some whipped cream on the side. I knew the kids would be psyched.
    • It was a great, productive work day.

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    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

    • Pick ups were easy – they were excited about hot chocolate. Red was busy at school today. She had tons of art ready as well as a beaded necklace that she made. She asked me to wear it. I happily put it on. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky also had tons of art
    • There was lots of discussion about hot chocolate on the way home. There was some discussion on who was saving theirs, drinking theirs the longest, not drinking at all and saving for dessert since the girls were not getting dessert tonight from me (bad behavior from the night before), how we could make hot chocolate at home, etc.
    • Twin Crazy was singing particularly loud on the way home.
    • I saw Big Bro swat Twin Husky from the rear-view mirror so he got a 7 minute “rest time” in his room when we got back. Then Twin Crazy was showing some attitude so she got 3 minutes. I even think Twin Husky was banished for 3 minutes for something.
    • Afterwards, Big Bro sat with me in the kitchen while I cooked dinner. We listened to music. He does not like U2’s “zoo station”.
    • I went to the garden to pick stuff for dinner. Kale, sweet peas, herbs. I picked a broccoli leaf for Cocoa. I had to chase a chicken from next door out of my garden yard. It kept running into the deer netting that I put up which made me laugh.
    • The rest of the kids were playing with forts, and also hand-me-down “Lincoln logs” that we got from a friend. They were all busy building and using their imaginations. There were little fights but it was manageable. Big Bro joined the fun with side walk chalk.  Twin Husky wanted to water the garden but I got him to water my newly planted bushes in the front yard instead.  He looked so happy.  He came in when he was done and even said that he turned the water off by himself (he did, succesfully). 
    • We ate dinner outside and loved it. They all ate well.
    • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky decided to go and pick “flowers” (weeds).
    • After dinner I sat with Big Bro so he could finish his homework. The rest of the kids were playing Lincoln logs.
    • Time for bed happened on-time tonight; little ones went down relatively easily; Twin Crazy was a bit scared about alligators but stayed in her room. Twin Husky kept coming out for water. It was hot and he asked for a wet paper towel for his back (I do that instead of air conditioning). He then asked for two more for his two Tigers.
    • Talk time with Red and Big Bro was fun. We also received a “latch hook” set from our neighbors and I showed them two sets that I did as a kid. Believe it or not, my mom sent them to me when I turned 40. The kids were interested in my projects as a kid. Big Bro said that he would show these to his kids someday and then started to pretend that he had kids, showing them my latch hook projects and then telling them to go to bed, laughing. He cracks me up.
    • We talked about birthdays and the unopened Amazon box in my room. That kid knew it was the Lego sets that I bought for him for his birthday and he was jumping up and down.
    • We talked about mosquitoes for a bit.
    • I gave the older ones piggy-back-rides to their beds; Red tried to ask me who was my “favorite” out of all the kids but I kept skirting her question.

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    They are all asleep now, I am showered to get a jump start on tomorrow, and am feeling great. I loved today. The entire day was a gift to me. I don’t usually have this much time with them. I survived getting four kids in / out and working and going through long commutes on two highways. I feel lucky that I have a job that can offer me so much flexibility and the ability to work out of office at the last minute. I feel lucky that I have families that support us and think of us – we appreciate all that they give. I feel lucky to have this home where we can eat outside, eat the food that the garden provides to us, and gives the kids a chance to explore the yard and pick flowers. I feel lucky that I have reminders from my past that the kids are interested in them – they are getting to know me in new and different ways.

    But most of all I feel lucky to have four little pumpkins/monkeys/sweeties in my life.  I can’t get enough of them!!!

    Thanks for listening –

    – Mama K

    March 20: Down time


    This morning was another gift with my kids.  Co-parent is on a work-trip and I had them with me.   I normally work ½ day at home and then pick them up in the afternoon, but today since I have them in the AM, we needed to get up and out – and I am working now at a Starbucks while my kids are at school/daycare.

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • I woke up after only one “snooze” on the alarm.  I didn’t bother to shower since I was going to be at Starbucks.  I’m not trying to impress anyone.
    • Twin Husky was up first and in an amazing mood.  For some reason the others were still sleeping soundly so it was just Twin Husky and I alone.  I let the others sleep.   I rarely have alone time with Twin Husky so I gladly took it with him this AM.  We ate breakfast together.  I made coffee and packed Big Bro’s lunch.   Twin Husky was in a goofy mood and trying to make me laugh.  He was pretending to dance and then also making goofy faces.   Lifting his leg up in the air for no reason.  It was working.  I was cracking up.   We talked about school and his friends.  He said his only friend is Twin Crazy (I will need to ask his daycare about this).   He talked about his bagels and the circle I made on his plate with the pieces of bagels.  He talked about how he likes cream cheese and he saw one of the next-door chickens that escaped and was at our back door.  He finished his breakfast fast so we got him dressed.  I wanted him to dress himself.   I spent time with him talking him through getting undressed.  He is great with his shirt.  He needed to be talked through the rest, especially his socks.  I loved the time with him.  I loved talking him through putting his clothes on.   I was patient with him.   It was just the two of us.  He did everything himself with me just talking him through it and saying “shimmy shimmy shimmy” with his legs going through his pants and his feet going into his socks.  He was grinning and happy and looked proud at his accomplishment.   I am happy that I had the alone time with him this morning to do this with him.
    • Twin Crazy was up and ate breakfast fast.   She changed fast.  Red was slower.  She changed into her new clothes but did not want to eat – she whispered in my ear that she wanted a breakfast bar in the car.  She saw that I did this with Big Bro yesterday so she wanted the same treatment this morning.  I whispered back “OK” and gave her a big hug.  Again, this is time that has been given to me and my hugs felt stronger to me and more meaningful.
    • Big Bro got up slowly again, but was very easy and we were all out the door without any problems.   Shoes were set up, jackets set up, and kids in the car when they were each ready.
    • During the drive we talked about the new goats at the neighbor’s across the street, how their family is having a divorce and how we don’t know what schedule they have for their family, the rain drops on the cars, the traffic, the accident on the side of the road, how kids get “owies” and that is just part of their job being kids.   I was joking about “PLAY PLAY PLAY BANG OWWWWIE!!!!” and the kids were cracking up.
    • Drop offs went fine.  After Big Bro’s drop off we went to see the Ferry pull away.  I like not having a strict time schedule over my shoulder.  I like relaxing with the kids and taking in these moments.  We sat in the van and watched the ferry head into the city until we couldn’t see it any longer.
    • Red was less clingy – but Twin Crazy was extremely clingy – did not want to let go of me and kept grabbing my clothes.  Poor thing.  I will see them all soon.

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    I’m at Starbucks right now and feeling really good.  I am close to the kids.  They are all nearby.  I am at work at a Starbucks in a comfy chair with internet access and power outlets.  I have work to do today that is very relevant for remote work…. Emails, etc.   It will be a good day and I will see the kids at 1:50 PM today.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • I made some progress on the Agendas for the two meetings coming up and confirmed details with certain speakers.  I reached out to others as prospective members and invited them as guests.
    • I did some background research on LinkedIn for business development and other potential targets.

    I was feeling like shit.   I’ve been coming down with a cold from the kids.  Bad, bad cough.  One that keeps you up at night.  And a headache.  I wasn’t sure if I was hungry or needed to throw up.  I felt week.  I grabbed some lunch and headed out for the kids.

    But I was early.  One hour too early to be exact.  So Red, Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and me hung out in the mini-van in front of Big Bro’s school until he came out.   Red was busy doing math equations.  She frightens me a bit.  She loves to learn.  You see it in her face as she figures out a math problem.  She is thirsty for more equations, more equations.  “Mommy, these are easy for me.”   WTF?!??!?!?

    Twin Crazy was getting bossy and yelling at me and I told her I don’t like that.  That made her feel worse.   My head was pounding.

    Big Bro ran to the car when he saw us sitting there.

    The ride home was really, really hard for me.  I couldn’t wait to get home with everyone.

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    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

    • I informed the kids that I was feeling really lousy and that I needed their cooperation for the rest of the day.  I suggested it would be a lounge on the couch movie kind of afternoon.  It was raining and the kids eagerly agreed.
    • I think I dosed with all of my kiddos around me.   Twin Husky even dozed on me a bit.  I loved it.
    • Big Bro and Red were playing “Math Bingo”.  Then Twin Crazy started playing it by them telling her what numbers to press.  It was cute seeing them play this game together.
    • I felt better and went out to water my garden and check on the growth.  It is amazing what is going on in there.  I’m not sure when to “harvest” but I will figure it out.
    • Dinner was home-made mac-n-cheese, spinach, broccoli.  I started doing an “eating broccoli” dance as each kid ate their broccoli.   The boys totally got into it.  I don’t think I’ve seen Big Bro dance that much but he was going crazy dancing tonight.   The kids were cracking up and we were holding hands in a circle jumping up and down to “eating broccoli”.
    • We had fruit for dessert; watched a movie.  
    • Kids were tired and I got Twin Husky down in about 30 seconds.  Twin Crazy was a bit longer.  She gets scared these days.  I allowed her to sit at the edge of the living room during my “alone time” with Red and Big Bro.  I’ve been doing “alone time” with them since they feel a bit jealous about the home time I get with the younger ones on Thursdays and Fridays.  So we hang out a bit, read, and talk.
    • The topic of conversation tonight was evolution.  I think it was because we watched the movie “Ice Age” earlier.   So I showed the kids the theory of evolution in pictures; that got us talking about tailbones.  Then Red found some funny pictures and the kids were laughing so hard they were almost gagging.

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    I told Red how I love that she loves to learn.  And how you can still stay like that even when you are not a kid anymore.  You are never too old to learn new things.  I told her that I see her face light up when she is learning and that she is special because of this.

    I told Big Bro how much fun I had with them today.  How I loved hanging out with them and spending time with them.   And I thanked him for cooperating today especially when I felt sick.

    *****

    I’m in bed now.  Showered.  Tired.  Happy.

    –        Mama K

    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

    Happy birthday twin crazy and twin husky!!!!


    The sun is shining the birds are singing and my babies are 3 today. I called them this morning and they were all giggling. I will be at co-parent’s tonight and am bringing cakes and balloons. I am thrilled today. They are growing into amazing people and I am so happy to be their mother.

    Have a great day everyone!!!

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    Recipe: Potato Sandwich “With a Spin”


    Potato Sandwich “With a Spin”

    This recipe was submitted by Lail of “With A Spin”. Check out their website! Looks fun and sounds yummy!!!

    http://withaspin.com/2012/11/02/sandwich-wrap-or-an-art-piece/

    art-piece-sandwich-10

    Source: http://withaspin.com/2012/11/02/sandwich-wrap-or-an-art-piece/

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large potatoes
    • 2 tablespoon oil
    • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
    • 1-2 green chili
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 cup mixed vegetable (chopped carrots, peas, green beans, cauliflower) (Optional)

    ;

    • Whole grain sandwich bread
    • Lettuce
    • Cilantro for garnish

    Directions to cook the filling:

    1. Boil potatoes until soft.

    2. Peel the boiled potatoes and semi mash keeping few small chunks. Set aside.

    3. Heat pan and add oil.

    4. Add onion and garlic and sauté until slightly brown.

    5. Add cumin seeds and green chili.

    6. Add mixed vegetables, if using.

    7. Mix smashed potatoes in the oil mixture.

    8. Add turmeric and mix well.

    9. Cook 3-4 minutes stirring often until everything is mixed.

    Directions to assemble sandwich:

    1. Take two slices of bread.

    2. Toast, if desired.

    3. Add filling, lettuce and enjoy.

    art-piece-sandwich-9 art-piece-sandwich-8

    Notes :

    i. I like this sandwich in untoasted whole grain bread. It tastes great on toasted bread too.
    ii. The filling will be great with other breads, such as naan, tortilla, etc.
    iii. You may add boiled and sliced eggs to the filling.

    Preparation Time: 5
    Cooking Time: 15

    THANK YOU LAIL!!!

    Reader contribution: Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Your Kids


    From time to time, readers reach out to me with topics or commentary that are important to them and that they feel our community of working mothers can benefit from. Because of this, I am encouraging our community to contribute to this blog/website — and the below is our first crack at doing just that.

    Children diabetes is something that we as parents should be concerned about. And our society as well. Times have changed since we were children ourselves. I remember as a kid playing and running outside like mad… swinging on swings and running and laughing with friends. But I also remember drinking powdered drinks that were probably loaded with sugar. And lots of “prepackaged” side dish in a pouch type things that were likely loaded with salt. I am wondering that as our society has made it easier for parents to quickly feed their kids, the choices that have been available to us have not had their health on the forefront. I can’t help but wonder if the dilemma of the working mother (shortage of time) has fueled unhealthy eating with our kids – sometimes convenience just trumps healthy because you have to get your hungry/cranky kids fed! Going through that drive thru at the fast food place sure does sound appealing. The prepackaged meals (even at my favorite, Trader Joes!!) sound good, fun, and fast but they are loaded with salt….

    Adding to that is the change in physical activity for kids in general. Again, I was not a kid that grew up with “play dates” or organized activities. I was a kid that just played outside. I ran. I ran until my legs were bursting. I rode my bike relentlessly. On winter/rainy days I’m sure I was running around the house driving my mom batty. “Pong” on Atari or whatever the game was just wasn’t captivating enough for hours and hours of sitting. I just remember running. But now. Video games. Computers. DVRs and recordable TV. iPads. iPhones. These kids know how to use the mouse pad before they turn 2!!! Like adults, are kids retreating more indoors because of this….

    children_running_lowPhoto source: crs.ymca.org

    So, when Carolyn approached me with the below article I was intrigued. She is not a working mother but the topic of children’s diabetes hits home for her. And she knows (albeit second-hand) what it is like for working parents. Sadly it is so hard to have it all… we are not Supermoms. We do not have endless resources of time available to us. So yes we need to do what we need to do. But, raising awareness of the problem may help you make different choices – and/or the below might help you with some ideas of healthy food options and also increasing the exercise levels with your kids – both critical as Carolyn describes below.   Thank you Carolyn!

    1/28/13 Update — Reader comment:   “These tips will only prevent Type 2 diabetes, *not* Type 1 that typically affects children. Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder with a genetic component where the pancreas attacks its own cells and ceases producing insulin forever. This happened to me when I was 8, and I was a thin, active kid with a healthy diet before that. It’s bad enough to know that your child will be dependent on insulin for the rest of their life to stay alive; I don’t want people to think that the parents of Type 1 children could have prevented it. All we can do is a lot of work to manage it once diagnosed and pray for a cure”

     

    Mamas…. what other thoughts do you have about healthy eating, exercise, or children’s diabetes in general?

    “Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Your Kids

”, Carolyn Fallon

    Last November was American Diabetes Month – normally this wouldn’t have had a personal impact on me. However, this year was much different because it just happened to also be the month that one of my young cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I couldn’t believe that someone her age – 13 – could have Type 2 Diabetes, but after talking to the doctor and doing some research, I found out that children are actually the fastest-growing population for Type 2 Diabetes. Also, according to St. Joseph’s Cardiac Services, if left untreated, diabetes can lead to issues later in life such as heart disease, neurological problems, and even amputation.

    Since the two biggest factors in Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis is obesity – and therefore, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity – I decided to work with all of my cousins to get them on the right track for making healthy life choices. All of the changes we have made can be implemented by all families, which I have described below!

    Eating healthy
    One thing that all families can do together to become healthier is to make eating and being healthy a New Year’s resolution. One of the first steps we did was to incorporate a healthy diet plan into our lives. This seemed a bit overwhelming at first since my Aunt and Uncle both work outside of the home. Since we are a close-knit family, we came together to help them plan meals for my cousin – which not only benefited them in that they got extra help in planning and making healthier meals, but all of the parents (my aunts and uncles) were able to learn healthier tips as well that they could use in their own families.

    If there is no junk food in the house, no one will be tempted to eat it. If the entire family follows the same diet plan, there will be no foods in the home that are unhealthy or incredibly high in calories. Sticking to a diet and healthy nutrition plan will be a lot easier for all of you so that it is not as big of an issue. I’ve noticed with the rest of my cousins that this has helped them to stay healthier and lose some weight as well.

    Some easy changes we made right away:

    • cut out sugary and salty sweets for healthier, creative snacks. **note: this may seem time-consuming, but these are the types of things we like to do when we get together as a family, so it helps my Aunt by having more hands to help prepare them!
    • use whole wheat pasta, bread and crackers
    • use stringed squash over regular pasta
    • substitute mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
    • make baked chicken strips with baked sweet potato wedges instead of fried chicken tenders and french fries

    Making Meals by Busy Moms (for those who find it difficult to always make the amazing 3-course meals that all the “perfect moms” somehow manage to make every night):

    • prep ahead of time if possible – while the kids are playing on Sunday afternoon, use this time to prep food for the upcoming week
    • make extras when prepping and freeze them for later use; some great examples include: pasta and noodle dishes, meats, soups and stews, quick-cooking grains (like quinoa)
    • learn to embrace your crockpot! I swear you will never go back…

    Getting healthy through exercise
    Getting regular physical activity is very important. Create an exercise plan that you all can enjoy on a regular basis. Just because the word exercise is used, that doesn’t necessarily just mean going for a run or to the gym. Get creative! For example, you might want to make it a habit as a family to take walks around the block after dinner when the weather permits. You might even want to play video games that encourage physical movement so that you really have fun together (my cousins like to use Wii Fit and play Dance Revolution).

    Again, my Aunt and Uncle work full-time, which can make this somewhat of a challenge each night. I am nearby so many nights I will come over and make sure to do an activity with the kids. When I was growing up, both of my parents worked full-time but they were adamant about us kids staying active and healthy. They used to let us play outside for hours before it got dark out, and we learned to like playing outside and being active instead of being inside for all hours of the night. Also, getting kids from the neighborhood together to play games outside allows the kids to get exercise without the parents having to always be with them.

    Additional activities we have used include:

    • neighborhood games of soccer, kickball, tag, capture-the-flag, etc. **these are great because the kids don’t even realize they are “exercising!”
    • family nature hikes in the nearby woods
    • swimming at the indoor pool at the local college
    • family scavenger hunts and obstacle courses
    • family “Olympics “that use all kinds of activities

    Exercise can help to bond your family and aid in weight loss for those who are struggling with their weight. 

Getting healthy can be very difficult, but it’s important to get healthy as a family so that it is easier for you all to do. You might even find that your family exercise nights are a lot of fun and are something that you actually look forward to. The key to establishing a diet routine and exercise program for your family is to make plans and to create a schedule that will work with everyone in the family. Even though you all live busy lives, this does not mean that you should give up on your health and avoid losing weight.

    Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

    Happy Birthday MLK


    Happy Birthday MLK

    Happy birthday MLK. You are one of the true leaders of our recent history who believed and acted to support your beliefs. I look forward to teaching the kids about you.

    Gig Tip: Do not reveal? Hmmmm.


    I had a lunch today with a woman in my industry who is extremely well-known and successful.  She climbed through the ranks within her company and wound up running a subsidiary for many years, innovating and taking the company to new places based upon her vision.   She is now retired from that organization but still busy at work doing “her own thing”.   I had a meeting with her in our offices and it was following this meeting when we went to lunch together, just me and her.  This gave me an opportunity to move beyond the topics we were discussing and ask her thoughts and advice on what worked for her during her career, juggling the roles of a mother and extremely successful businesswoman.

    As you can imagine, her situation is unique and unlike many of ours. Her first response was “live-in help who we continued to employ even after the kids went to college.” Uugghhh. That does not apply to me/you very well.

    She quickly recognized this and her next piece of advice was something more relevant to me at least. However, I’m not certain if the advice has kept up with the times. Her thoughts were that you separate the kids from work. You don’t reveal too much information. Your co-workers don’t need to know the details. You don’t mention “sick kid” or “soccer practice” but you rather talk about “a needed change in plans” or “a conflict”.

    Shush!

    I have mixed reactions on her piece of advice of “do not reveal”.

    • I can see her point.  Some people just do not feel comfortable hearing to much information so you may have to be careful with what information you choose to share and with whom (e.g., who really wants to hear about gas movements of your baby or hear you say the same stories over and over??!??!).  Obviously, it is difficult enough to do your job, do your job exceptionally well, and do your job exceptionally well compared to your peers.   Let alone stand out even farther from the pack and exceed all expectations.   Packaging is important.   Perceptions are important.   You do not want to be perceived as not being able to achieve super-stardom because of potential dependability or predictability situations due to children (e.g., sick children).
    • However, she also is in her 60’s and likely made her climb in the 70’s and 80’s, a very different time than today.  There are more women in the workforce these days, with more choices on how to care for children while at work (nannies, daycare, nanny-shares, etc.).  With technology, work is bleeding more and more into the home, therefore isn’t it reasonable that home bleed into work? Are there situations when is it OK?  How private does one need to be to be successful?

    I think it depends on the office culture, the dynamics between you and your boss, the kind of work that you do, the industry that you are in, your own personality, the personalities of others in your office, the portfolio of back-up childcare providers you have at your fingertips if/when your kids get sick, and a whole host of other reasons.

    But her tone, her packaging, her poise as she gave me the “do not reveal” advice stopped me in my tracks.   I do not think I will ever be a closed-book in the workplace (that just isn’t me, right?), but maybe I should stop and think before I disclose too much of the block and tackling required on the kid-front.   And maybe save the good stories for when the stories are meaningful to those that want to hear them.

    I never wanted to be in a job where I felt like my children were liabilities.   Maybe that is why I was so unhappy as a management consultant for so long.  Where I felt like I could not do the basic requirements of the job because of my kids.   Like having a child was analogous to having an illness.  I never wanted to put my children in that kind of position within my own mind or within the minds of others.   I want to CELEBRATE them — BUT if I am NOT working in an industry that celebrates children, or with a company that celebrates children, or with people that celebrate children, then I guess it may be worth thinking about how much information (e.g., limitations because of the kids) I share with my coworkers.

    I have not figured this out yet obviously and I am still thinking through the application of this advice in my own situation — in an industry that is typically dominated by men where work is intense and expectations high.    My company has already created hybrid roles and work schedules to better fit my needs.  So the cards are out there.   I guess going forward I will think before I offer up too much information about my hand or the cards that I hold.

    Thoughts ladies?  How much do you share?  Do you feel comfortable talking about the kids in your workplace?

    Thanks for listening –

    – Mama K

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