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When staying at home is not an option: A working mom’s frustration

Have you ever been so tired, had too much on your mind and so much work to do that you wonder how you’ll muster up the energy to get through the day?

That was how I felt recently and to make matters worse, I overheard our receptionist talking with a client in the lobby. They were talking about kids.

Client: “How is Kendra doing? How is her baby?”

Receptionist: “She is doing great! Her little one is 13 months old already and his first birthday was a hit.”

Client: “Do you have kids?”

Receptionist: “Yes, I have three. They are all grown now but I was able to stay home with them throughout their younger years.”

Client: “Oh, that’s nice.”

Receptionist: “Yeah, I just didn’t want a babysitter or anyone else raising my kids for me. I wanted to be the one to do it.”

Really?!?!? I’m in earshot, lady.

Reminder to all Working Parents: You’re doing a great job!

Today I wanted to give a shout out to all of the working moms and dads out there that are making it happen every. single. day.

Here’s to you busting your hump at work then getting home to do the same there too. Here’s to taking crap on the job (figuratively) and the parents of babies cleaning up crap at home (literally).

Here’s to long hours, unrealistic demands, and crappy pay. Oh, and the same goes for at work too.

Here’s to the grind… Early alarm seeming like a cruel joke, get everyone out the door, daycare drop off, commute, zombie at work masterly productive at work, daycare pickup, commute home, dinner, countdown to bedtime, small window for rest, lights out.  Rinse and Repeat.

Here’s to kissing your spouse goodbye and wishing them to, “have a good day” while wondering when you will get to actually spend some quality time with that person in the near future. Quality time which doesn’t consist of discussions about work drama, daycare, baby’s bowel movements, or quoting lines from Cars.

Here’s to getting an opportunity for quality time with that spouse but spending it relaxing on the couch together watching mindless television and being in bed by 9pm because you truly have no energy for anything else.

Here’s to bashing your head against a wall attempting to rationalize with a human being but they aren’t getting a word you say because their tiny little brains aren’t developed enough to reason with you yet. {Insert boss or toddler}

Here’s to supporting your family by any means possible. Juggling a work/life balance that never seems to get easier. And getting through any obstacle or hurdle that comes your way.

You are amazing and I get it. I live it and some days we need to be reminded that we are fighting the good fight and not completely sucking at it. Because after all…

Here’s to having a job. Here’s to the empowerment that comes with providing for your family by any means possible. Here’s to having a partner to juggle life with. Here’s to those sweet little babies that wash away even the most stressful day with a simple, perfect smile.

Here’s to the good days that make us feel like we can tackle the world and handle it all!

Here’s to you, working moms and dads. You rock and no matter what, you make it happen every. single. day.

My hat’s off to you!

And to all of the SAHM’s, the WAHM’s, the working couple’s without kids, the single parents, the single ladies, the single gents, and anyone else I may have forgotten…  You rock too! Everyone busts their humps every day no matter what our circumstance and we all could stand to be reminded that we are doing a darn good job!

Kudos to all, and to all a good night!

Kendra is a full-time working mom to a precocious three year old boy, a head-strong one year old girl and wife to her long-time sweetheart. At “My Full-Thyme Life (http://myfullthymelife.blogspot.com) she writes about how she attempts to balance her cherished roles and all the fun (and chaos) along the way. 

photo credit: www.thegrindstone.com

Hello Working World, Remember Me? A Denver mom’s reluctant return

Growing up, all I wanted was to be a mom. It was the answer I gave whenever someone asked what I wanted to do with my life. Even through college, honestly. I had a terrible time picking a major because no career path drew me in the way motherhood did. Of course I knew the pay was nonexistent so dutifully went to college and chose a theatre major because it was the only thing I could stand doing with my time. If I had to work, I guessed I wouldn’t be miserable working in theatre, biding my time until I got my big break in the parenting world.

Then reality hit when my husband and I were ready to start our family. After a handful of years sticking my feet in stage doors, I found myself happy and comfortable in a reasonably secure theatre job in New York City. Without noticing I was settled into a working world I had resisted for years in a place that had always scared the daylights out of me. I was proud of myself. Still yearning for motherhood, I had no trouble switching gears a bit but had to change my long held vision of four children to one. Living an artist’s life in New York City does not translate into the amount of living space one typically looks for with a large family.

Long story short, we had a baby and a year later decided to change our life plan. My husband applied to grad school and we moved to Colorado. While here we managed to create another human being and kept our noses to the grindstone. I got a job as a Resident Manager which allowed me to stay home with the kids and keep our heads just barely above water financially.

I’ve known my return to work outside my home is inevitable. We have to start chipping away at our debt as soon as that piece of paper hits my husband’s hands. In theory going back to work doesn’t scare me, despite having treasured my stay at home mom life. My time in New York taught me I do actually enjoy being a working mom, but envisioning specifics of my post grad school life has been impossible. Our work here has been grueling and rumors of the post grad school job market mysterious and scary. So I’ve done my best to live in the moment, day by day, for five years.

Now, here we are at the end of our Colorado chapter and I’m faced with it. In theory, I’m excited. I’m game. I’m also terrified and sad. I’m wrestling with what I know and what I feel, searching for harmony and finding none. I know once I get to work, I will find my rhythm but my feet are stuck in some serious mud on the path there and I need a hand getting out. Or maybe I just step out of my shoes and leave them behind.

Sarah Stith lives in Boulder with her husband and 2 children (2.5 and 5.5) while her husband attends grad school.  Before moving to Colorado, the family lived in Brooklyn, NY where Sarah worked as a dresser at The Lion King on Broadway.  She now works from home and manages to find time between diaper changes to build her organization, “Raising Little Heroes” (http://raisinglittleheroes.wordpress.com/), a group devoted to finding volunteer opportunities for families with young children.

Working Mom Moments: My kids are always with me

Rooooaaaar.”

The first sound I hear from my toddler as he wakes up in the cold, dark morning. It isn’t a loud or ferocious “roar,” it is a faint whisper.

I let him carry on for a bit as I move as fast as I can to finish getting myself ready for work. I finish applying my make-up and I listen intently to my boy’s imagination come to life at this very early hour.

There is a full rendition of the A, B, C’s, more roaring, then out of nowhere he starts singing “Happy Birthday.” 

The New J-O-B: Defined by Innovative Denver Moms

There is something about your youngest heading off to kindergarten. It makes you feel as if you will suddenly have time on your hands. It fills your head with ideas about working out again, reading again, taking up a hobby, and of course, going back to work.

We too once wore lipstick and shoes with heels that click-clicked down long marble hallways. We used to close our office door when we needed to think. We had lunch meetings.

We strategized and launched businesses, wrote white papers and crunched numbers for annual reports. We hired and fired people who did our bidding. Despite the high heels, we climbed corporate ladders… some to glass ceilings, which we sometimes broke. We put in hours and hours at the office, with our next promotion always top of mind.

Then we took time off while our kids were young. The suits we did not donate to Goodwill are out of style and do not fit quite like they used to. The technology and business lingo we spoke has been replaced many times over. The companies we knew have merged with others, and our contact lists we saved are useless. The managers we labored for have disappeared into the mist of memory, rarely logging into LinkedIn where we have our only chance of tracking them down for a reference. Do they remember how good I was? Are they still mad at me for having kids?

How to Balance It All (Yes, It’s Possible!)

balance scalesSupposing all priorities were created equal, your day may look something like this:

  • 4 hours at work,
  • 4 hours with kids,
  • 4 hours for hubs,
  • 4 hours blogging,
  • 4 hours for me; and
  • 4 hours for sleep.

But guess what? All priorities are not equal. Plus,

Is Your Volunteering Truly Benefiting Your Child?

When I was growing up, my mom was always involved in our elementary school. She was active in the PTA, served as president and worked as a teacher’s aide in my later years. I enjoyed having my mom be a part of my education and visible in the school.

This left such an impact on me that I am now involved in my daughters’ school.

Like my mom, I am active, but work to give my children space to be themselves and find their own place without their mother hovering. Unlike my mom, I work outside the home. Also unlike my mom, I do not participate in the PTA directly, but help out in other capacities.

I help in the classroom, fill Friday folders, act as room parent, organize the science fair and sit on the school improvement committee. I also ran a science club last fall.

After that list, I’m wondering if I am giving them space, or enough of my undivided attention.

Stay-at-homers or working moms: do you ever envy the other side?

The thing about moms who work outside their homes is that we love to hate the moms who don’t.

Not as individuals. But as a demographic of nameless, faceless minivan drivers toward whom we direct a venomous mix of resentment, bewilderment and envy.

We spot them in their workout clothes and tell ourselves their days must be so mindless.

Every time we mooch their graham crackers, every time we borrow their Handi Wipes and every time we ask them, last minute, to cover for us in carpools, we’re reminded of our own half measures.

What a waste of talent and ambition, we try to convince ourselves, congratulating ourselves on our choices.

I write this after having spent a week off living like a stay-at-homer.

For the first time ever, I got to linger among the moms after drop-off at day camp, joining their ritual coffee klatch.

“We’ve never had your type in the mornings,” one of them told me.

“My type?” I