Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

  • Back to Work

    Date: 2015.07.21 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Luke, Me, Norah, Sarah, Twins, Vera, Work | Response: 1

    For the third time, I returned to work last week after being on maternity leave.

    Of course there was that inevitable sadness that comes with separation from your baby (or babies in this case), but this time, it was MUCH better.

    I am so thankful that I work in a place that is very supportive of families and has been very willing to be flexible with my schedule so I could enjoy three months home with my babies (three months, I might add, that were crucial to us being able to establish breastfeeding and allowing me to recover fully from my c-section.. *trying hard not to step on post partum recovery soapbox*).

    In the past, when it was time for me to return to work, I took the older girls to a daycare. It was a very good daycare, but it was still a place that wasn’t my home full of people I did not know well. And that absolutely crushed me to have to leave my baby with strangers in a strange place all day long. With Sarah, that sense of “awayness” was the worst. In addition to her being my first child, I had post partum depression and severe separation anxiety from my baby. I would go to work and sob every time I broke out the breast pump as I thought about strangers, albeit very capable and nurturing strangers, taking all my time I should have with her. It was a horrible, dark well of emptiness inside me that made me question if I was doing the right thing constantly. But, eventually, I got to know everyone at the daycare, recovered from PPD and saw how much fun she was having when we took her there and felt better that she was in capable hands and making friends, even though she got sick nonstop for nearly two years while she was there.

    With Norah, it was better. When I took her to daycare, I already knew everyone who worked there and, after watching them with Sarah over the years, had no worries about her being in good hands. But it was still hard. Again I felt like I was abandoning my baby to a strange place away from me where she couldn’t nurse and take comfort from her mother. I bounced back more quickly that time though and again got use to it as I watched my baby flourish and interact with her little friends.

    This time though, things were different.

    Putting four children in full time daycare was financially impossible for us, but so was me quitting my job. So we started on a quest to figure out something that would work. I lost so many nights of sleep and shed many a tear over what I was going to do with my babies when I had to return to work. I prayed over this issue repeatedly, and my prayers were answered. We managed to find someone we know and trust very well to come into our home to keep our children part time, at least until September. Then the youngest three will go to an amazing part-time place where my mom works and their caregiver will be at home with them the other part of the time. All of these puzzle pieces falling into place has been the biggest blessing. Mark and I are still having to juggle our work schedules to accommodate this scenario for now, but it’s working, and for that, I am so thankful.

    So when I had to go back to work again this time, I was able to leave my babies at home with someone I trusted, away from the sickness that permeates day cares, and in a place I knew they were comfortable in. I am so especially thankful for this scenario this time with my teeny tiny little Vera and my son who had oxygen problems initially. It’s such a gift to be able to keep them away from other small kiddos for a little while, at least until they chunk up and get a little older, a little bigger and a little healthier.

    And now I’m going to confess something else: I LOVE being back at work. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was back in my office, doing a job that I love. I think my coworkers must worry that I’ve gone off the deep end because I tend to hole up, put my earbuds in and work. True, I have a LOT to catch up on, but I am also blissfully enjoying a little quiet and the time to focus on my work and stretch my creative arms again. It helps that we just won two pretty big awards for our magazine, and it also helps that it is undergoing a major design change and expansion (which thrills me!) Plus I’m getting a new Mac next week at work. Add that all together and I’m practically tap dancing into work every day.

    Do I miss my kids during the day? So much! I love those sweet little smiles and hugs and coos and snuggles. But I also love coming home every day and being inundated with hugs and shouts for “Mama!” My patience with everyone is infinitely better, and I think their patience with me is better too. And, when I tell them their nanny is coming in the morning, they cheer her name and shout, “Yay!”

    Going back to work this time has been better than I could have ever imagined. I am so thankful for answered prayers, both for my kiddos and for myself.

    And now I’m extra grateful for afternoon and night time snuggles.

  • Stay Off Your Feet!

    Date: 2015.02.16 | Category: Family, Health, Home, Life, Mark, Me, Norah, Pregnancy, Sarah, Toddler Time, Work | Response: 1

    “Stay off your feet as much as possible.”

    Those are words you might think would be wonderful to hear – and perhaps they would be if it were vacation and I had a handy dandy foot servant to tend to my needs, but the reality is something much harder.

    A few weeks ago I started experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions – not something unfamiliar to me. I recognized the cramping and tightness for what it was, but it still made me uneasy with my high risk for premature labor. I asked both my high risk OB and my regular OB about them. Good news is that they aren’t active contractions – my cervix is just fine – which is great! The bad news is that they are triggered when I’m on my feet or bending too often and lots of contractions still aren’t a great thing to be experiencing when we are hoping to make it at least seven more weeks before we deliver.

    My regular OB told me she didn’t want to put me on bed rest for a number of reasons, but the primary one was how stressful something like that is for a family: loss of income, the burden of everything falling on one partner and the kids without easy and constant access to Mama creates chaos. So, she didn’t put me on bed rest – yet. However, I have been threatened with it if I don’t “stop and sit down already.”

    I am very fortunate that my job allows me to sit most of the time, and the parts of my job that require me to be on my feet – namely photography – are slowly being handed off to other capable hands for now. In fact work has proven to be the best thing for me right now. I can arrive, sit at my desk and work, slowly meander to the bathroom across the hall on occasion (or really LOTS of occasions), and just be.

    Home life, however, has proven to be much more difficult. Having two children, ages 3 and 16 months who are still very dependent on their parents makes staying off my feet extremely difficult and nearly impossible. There are so many things I have taken for granted that are now an obstacle to overcome. My husband has risen to the occasion valiantly. Where we once both shared cooking responsibilities, he has taken over almost all of them (though I still offer to sit and peel and chop veggies!) The grocery shopping, which has always been my chore, has had to be passed off to Mark as well. I can still fold laundry, but not rotate it.

    Oh, that must be so nice, you think, having someone take care of all that for you. Well, here’s the problem, I like things done the way and on the time frame I’m used to doing them on, and I feel bad nagging my husband once he finally sits down to get up and rotate laundry. Not to mention there are so many things I want to do that are no longer an option. I really wanted to go to the Mardi Gras parades this past weekend, but my OB said, “If you’re thinking about going, just don’t.”

    My girls want me to get up and play. Sarah is always begging me to dance with her or go to another room to see her latest creation. My 16-month-old is constantly digging into and climbing on things she shouldn’t be, and when daddy is trying to man the cooking and dishes, it falls to me to try to keep an eye on her ever-busy body. And that little toot has figured out that she can run from me and I can’t give chase! She will scoop up a penny or an ink pen and take off, laughing as she watches me try to hurry after her.

    Just last week Mark was sick in bed with a 103 fever and Norah was super sick, too. In the process of trying to take care of everyone, I had a round of regular, scary contractions. Any time I think, “Oh, I’ve got this, just a short amount of time on my feet,” it backfires.

    I know complaints from pregnant women can be annoying, and I am so very thrilled and blessed to meet these twins, but man, oh man, never did I think “taking it easy” would prove to be so hard.

  • Winning at Balance

    Date: 2014.06.25 | Category: Family, Me, Norah, OMG YAY!, Travel, Work | Response: 5

    It may have taken me a few months, but I finally feel like I have this working mommy-of-two warrior princess thing down (most of the time).

    And I am happy to say that even with (or maybe despite) the demands of motherhood and family life, I love my job. When I’m at work, I do my best. I love a challenge and am always looking for ways to improve our magazine and keep people reading.

    Sometimes the role of Mother and the role of Editor clash though. This year that happened when I had to miss my annual work conference because I’m still breastfeeding Norah. I really really wanted to go. It’s the one chance I have all year to meet up with my counterparts across North America; a place where we all share the same language and the same problems. And this year it was in Charlotte, NC.

    Could I have figured out a way to make it work? Probably. But it wouldn’t have been something I was completely happy about. My milk supply is slowly dwindling as Norah races towards that one year mark and I haven’t been able to produce enough extra to store for the length of time I would be gone.  I knew that going to that conference would be the death nail in breastfeeding – something I’m not quite ready to give up yet. Even the thought of my baby outgrowing nursing in a few months makes me a little weepy.

    So, I made the decision, a little heavy heartedly, to skip the conference this year and prepare for next year instead.

    But, that’s not the end of this story.

    You see, that conference is where they announce the awards for the various publications in my field. Friday night a New Orleans number appeared on my phone. When I answered it was my counterpart  there calling to tell me that we had won a second place award for “Best Family Life Column.”

    Last year was our first time to win an award since I’ve been Editor. And last year we took third place in the same category. It was a jump up in rank and I was so very proud of our columnist, Katie, for that great achievement. Thrilled, I immediately sent Katie a message, then went to sleep and prepared for a busy day of work the next morning.

    When I got home from the morning’s work, I checked the award website to see who had come in first place in the family life category and I discovered something even more exciting – we had also won Second Place in Overall General Excellence in our magazine category. My jaw dropped. That’s a huge award y’all and the biggest recognition the magazine has received since I took its helm a little over six years ago.

    Alone at home, I sat there stunned… I may have cried a little. My husband had the kids at their grandparents and wouldn’t answer the phone, so I proceeded to call and message everyone I know who works with me on the magazine. While I may manage it all, it’s truly a combined effort of some amazing writing talents. What an awesome moment!

    The response at work on Monday was great, too. Lots of congratulations from my coworkers, supervisor and even a warm and excited personal congratulations from the very top. It was a good week.

    I should probably mention that out of the three issues I submitted for the General Excellence Award, two of them were put together while I was at home with a newborn – taking that whole family / work balance thing to a new level.

    I love my job and I love what I do. I am fortunate to work in a place that is not shy about sharing joy and happiness when things are done well, but sometimes things like this give me a great deal of validation, validation to keep me motivated and keep me pushing towards creating something even better, even stronger. And it’s moments like this that make me stop and realize that even when I feel like I’m having trouble keeping the work /family balance, I am doing it and somehow doing it right.

  • The Process of Writing

    Date: 2014.06.23 | Category: Life, Me, Work | Response: 3

    My friend Kelly of Mrs. Bachelor Girl recently asked me to join in the discussion about my writing process. I love reading about what inspires others to write and how they manage to pull it all together. Kelly has a great gift for humor and her posts on living in the South often have me laughing and nodding along knowingly.

    Without further ado, here are my answers to this blog link up.

    1)   What are you working on right now?

    Because I run a small monthly publication, I tend to wear all hats: editor, graphic designer, writer and even webmaster. Most of my time is consumed with the editor part of that job. This means I do a lot of editorial planning, article assignments, photo set-ups, photo journalism and copyediting. But the great thing about being an editor, is that when a story comes my way that really captures my heart and attention, I get to lay claim to the story and write the piece myself.

    Right now I’m planning our next three issues, assigning writers and figuring out what I’m personally going to tackle.  A couple of those items include write ups on the ordination of two men to the priesthood and their celebration by a Swahili choir and a piece on a couple of big awards our magazine recently won (Whoop!)

    I’m also giving some much needed love to my blog that has been limping along since I gave birth to our second child last September.

    2)   How does your work differ from others of its genre?

    As far as my professional writing goes, I like to find the heart of the story – what motivates people to do the things they do: help people, go to an amazing international event, sponsor a ministry. I like to connect with people on an emotional level and try to share their stories in a way that will make people read and care.

    When I blog, I try to do the same thing in a way. I share things that deeply touch my own heart. Sometimes those are serious things like secondary infertility or encountering families in extreme need, and sometimes they are lighthearted things like celebrating “Mermaid Day” as imagined by my 3-year-old.

    3)   Why do you write what you do?

    For my day job I write and assign stories based on what I think will inspire our readers to pick up the magazine and read more than a glancing word. We are so imbedded in a culture of scanning readers that it’s hard to grab their attention and keep it. I try to write and share in a way that makes people want to read more.

    In the blogging world I write because I believe in a community of sharing and support. Sometimes sharing my most difficult and emotional moments has helped others or garnered an amazing and caring support network.

    Also, I really like to brag on my kids. I can be an annoying mom like that.

    4)   How does your writing process work?

    My writing process really varies depending on what I’m writing. For example, this past weekend I attended an ordination to the priesthood for two men: one was Kenyan and one was Indian. And while that, in itself, was a neat celebration, what really captured me was the joy and overflowing enthusiasm of the Swahili choir in attendance. Their joy pushed through the somewhat usual stiff structure of the Mass and had everyone on their feet and celebrating. That clash of culture and infusion of joy really inspired me to go home and write immediately.

    Other times my writing process is meandering: I’ll start to write about my day and in the process realize that one of the details I’m mentioning needs a whole blog post to itself. I start over, delete and re-shape often. You can’t be afraid to scrap something that doesn’t work and try again.

    As part of the link up I’m to tag three of my favorite writers.

    Lori: a co-worker and real life friend who has been a great inspiration to helping our family move to a healthier lifestyle blogs over at Purpose Driven Mom and DomandLori.net. She has a beautiful gift with words and has had me sobbing with her beautiful and inspiring posts about her recently deceased pup and member of the family, Mason.

    Cassie: initially a blog friend and now a real life friend, shares in an honest, no-nonsense way and I am often humbled by the things she and her family do for one another and their community.

    Bluz: a blog friend of mine I met many years ago now. He can spin a good yarn and make me laugh. And while he and I may not see eye-to-eye on everything, we can always talk and discuss civilly and he always teaches me a thing or two about sports.

  • Back at Work

    Date: 2014.01.07 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Me, Norah, Work | Response: 4

    Although I’ve been working from home for a while now, yesterday was the first official day that I returned to the office. This meant it was also the first day that Norah went to daycare, or, as we like to call it, school.

    Let me back up and tell you about the first time I dropped Sarah off at daycare. It was bad for all kinds of reasons.

    1. Sarah was my first, precious baby and in my mind not a soul could care for her like I could, therefore no one else was worthy to care for her.
    2. Sarah refused to take a bottle, so I feared my baby would starve herself.
    3. I had post partum depression and anxiety, one of the symptoms of which made me want to hold my baby in a dark room and not let anyone touch her but me.
    4. I didn’t know anyone at the daycare, so I was leaving my baby with strangers.
    5. The baby teacher at the time was good and capable, but not very friendly and I wanted someone who would reassure me. The office staff did, but they weren’t the ones with my baby all day.

    And so I cried a lot when we took Sarah to daycare and my depression deepened into full on crazy. This lasted for several months and, although Sarah blossomed at daycare and eventually caved to taking bottles, I wasn’t well for a long time.

    Flash forward to now, or, Sunday really. The night before I was a big, giant, anxious mess. I kept thinking back to how things were with Sarah. And like Sarah, Norah hates bottles. But I reassured myself because I know all the teachers and staff now (and the teachers are much friendlier this time around). And, so far, the PPD has stayed at bay. I was trying to make sure we had all the things ready for Sarah and Norah to go to school (thankfully they are both in the same place). Norah must have been picking up on my anxiety, because she refused to go to sleep and screamed her head off for two hours until 11pm. As a consequence, both of us were getting more and more worked up. The next morning Mark and I were so busy hustling to get it all together that I didn’t dwell much on the whole dropping Norah off part.

    Side note: You should just SEE how much stuff we were carrying. We seriously looked like we were preparing to vacation for a week.

    We got there and took Sarah to her room first. We don’t have trouble with dropping her off at all anymore. She has an amazing teacher and loves going to learn with her and spend time with her friends.

    Then it came time to drop Norah off. I did so well with the emotions until I walked in that baby room, then I immediately started tearing up. The thought of being away from my baby for the most of the day, combined with the guilt that motherhood inherently brings with it anytime we think we might greatly upset our kids, combined with the thought of Norah not taking bottles, starting getting to me. I held it together until I got into my car, then I had a good cry and got all that anxiety and emotion out of my system. After that, I pulled it together and went into work.

    And guess what? Everything was just fine. My coworkers welcomed me back with open arms and chocolate. I called and checked on Norah throughout the day and no one at the daycare made me feel even remotely bad about that. She did refuse her first bottle, but took her second and part of her third (girl doesn’t want to miss a meal). And yes, she fussed and had to be rocked asleep in the office for a while, but I don’t think any of those ladies minded rocking a sleeping baby. Overall, it was a bit emotional, but a good first day back. I even got to listen to one of my audio books while I worked and felt like a little piece of myself was coming really and truly back.

    Today is day two and I was feeling much more confident about things… that is until Sarah woke up with a fever that meant she couldn’t go to school. All our carefully laid plans of Mark dropping the girls off quickly got scrapped. He volunteered to stay home with Sarah while I took Norah on to school – and while that worked, it also mean that I was 45 minutes late to work on my second day back. I was worried about drop off again, but guess what, it was just fine! Norah’s teacher embraced her and made me feel better immediately. I walked out of there shedding no tears, and when I called to check on her mid-day, she had taken her bottle and was napping.

    So now we  are embracing the normal, and I’m happy to say that it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

  • Life’s Surprises

    Date: 2013.09.17 | Category: Baby, Family, Friends, Health, Home, Life, Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 3

    This is my last week of work before baby arrives. Some people have made it clear that they think I should be at home by now… I guess sitting around and waiting on baby? True, last time the week before baby arrived I was home, but that was only because I landed myself with a terrible upper respiratory infection.  This time I’ve opted to keep on going. After all, the only thing I’d be doing at home is sitting around, staring at my feet and making myself even more anxious. Maybe baking. I’ve been doing a lot of that to relieve pre-baby anxiousness. But then I would eat all the baking too.

    Plus, I have a mostly desk job and I’d rather be sitting around doing something, keeping my mind off of things and earning a paycheck.

    I’ve been surprised by how much pre-baby anxiety I’ve been facing this time. But it’s not about what you would think. I’m not worried at all about having another baby or bringing baby home. I’ve done that before. I have every confidence that I can do that again, and hopefully better this time.

    Instead I’ve been waking up at 3 am worrying about the financial implications of having another baby, work while I’m out and how Sarah will do when I bring baby home – and how she’s going to be while we’re at the hospital for that matter. I also worry about the actual process of the c-section and pray that my mind will be in a good place that day.

    Yesterday was the hangover from one such night. I got to work tired and anxious and had trouble focusing on everything. The work day slowly clicked into place though, and I went about tying up lose ends and settling into the daily rhythm, focusing on other things.

    On my lunch break I went to the police station and collected the police report on my car accident and learned, much to my great relief, that the other driver did have car insurance. I’m not sure what all it will cover health bill wise, but it will definitely cover all the damage to my car. We will wait and see what happens now.

    After lunch I learned that our magazine had been recognized in a national newspaper again – this time for a story I wrote on some local kids who went to World Youth Day in Brazil! That gave my spirits a huge lift and the great boost in confidence I needed.

    And then, at the end of the day, something really amazing happened. I can’t go into all the details here, but through the kindness of people I work with, one in particular, I learned that I will not have to stress about finances during the course of my maternity leave. This is the biggest blessing I could have ever hoped for. I teared up and felt a huge weight slide off my shoulders. Suddenly, I could breathe again and move forward during the last week of my pregnancy with one of the anxiety balls that’s been sitting in my stomach gone.

    Not to be outdone, after work, both of my sisters came by to return my jogging stroller. And while I was fixing dinner, they took it upon themselves to clean up my living room.

    It’s days like yesterday that really open my eyes to how really and truly blessed I am by God and the people in my life.

    Now, today we try to do something about Sarah’s hair twirling problem that has spiraled out of control.

    Six more days.

  • Denver or Bust!

    Date: 2013.06.25 | Category: Food, Friends, Me, Sarah, Travel, Work | Response: 10

    I spent most of last week in Colorado at a conference for work.

    I had a great time while I was there, but I’m still trying to recover from the overwhelming exhaustion of the constant work, travel, late nights and altitude changes. And I haven’t even had a change to zombie out since I returned because I have so much more work waiting on me. But, as my husband always says, best to make hay while the sun is shining.

    So let me tell you a little bit about my trip (in bullet points because I’m tired).

    • They have direct flights from Denver from our airport now!
    • When we flew into Denver there were tornadoes everywhere, which meant we had to stay in the air and fly around for a bit until it was safe to land. The view from above was sort of creepy. But at least I didn’t end up in an airport tornado shelter like many of my colleagues!
    • My friend Becki traveled and roomed with me.

    • Her boyfriend’s family is from Denver and he was there too with a vehicle, which meant we had an extremely kind and dedicated chauffeur the entire time.
    • I think our hotel room bathroom had a poltergeist. We had to call maintenance FOUR times to repair our tub drain and toilet. At least we scored some breakfast room service as a consequence.
    • The conference was mostly great. I feel so much more well versed in the ins and outs of social media in the workplace.
    • I got to hear a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist speak on “finding the story” and it was amazing.
    • Lots of free swag!
    • We won a national award for our family life column! I am so proud of Katie for all her hard work each month.
    • My friend and counterpart in New Orleans, Peter, won the highest journalistic award there. So proud of him and our state!
    • There was an awful cheer camp going on outside my hotel window. Soooo many teeny boppers!
    • In my free time, Becki and I sampled two Diner, Drive in and Dive locations: Bagel Deli (a Jewish delicatessen) and Steuben’s (a hipster diner). Both were amazing. Katie Ett should be especially thrilled that I finally ate a lobster roll.
    • Oh we and also went to Downtown Denver. It’s really beautiful down there and very pedestrian friendly!
    • I went to the top of Pike’s Peak (elevation 14,110) on a cog train. There was snow at the top and I only got a little dizzy!

    • I saw some big horn sheep and a marmot on the way.
    • I made the entire train wait on me while I made a painful and panicked run to the porta potty halfway down the mountain. At least I could blame pregnancy!
    • I went to Garden of the Gods and was blown away by the giant red rock formations.
    • I also went to a great kitschy Old Wild West museum where I learned all about the gold rush.
    • Foods I tried for the first time included: lobster roll, brussle sprouts, boboa tea, matzo ball soup, knish, kishke and latke.
    • We went to a crazy candy store that sold things like ranch dressing and buffalo wing sauce soda, as well as bacon frosting. I played it safe and bought a key lime pie soda.
    • That was the longest I’ve ever been away from my baby and I only sort of cried once!
    • I came home to this beautiful face at the airport.
  • Working Mom

    Date: 2013.04.21 | Category: Life, Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 22

    This list could be really long, but I’ll keep it to a couple of things that have really gotten to me. I try not to respond to these things when I see them on social media, because my immediate response is inflammatory and I don’t want to permanently ruin any relationships. That being said, maybe people should think before they post.

    1. I have the utmost respect for stay at home moms. As I’ve posted here before, I’ve realized just from staying home with a sick kid for a week what a monumental tasks they face every day. That being said, I would really like it for the respect to go both ways. This week on Facebook I have seen the following: 1. A mom saying she doesn’t understand how working mothers can leave their children every day. And 2. Someone who posted a picture of the “ideal” family structure showing the father as the provider and bread winner with the mother sheltered comfortably under him with her only responsibilities being the children and home management. The comment that went with this photo was, “Every family would be happier if they followed this model.”

    Now, as I’ve said before, I have the utmost respect for families who do follow that model. But please do not assume we are an unhappier family because we do not. I take great pride in my job and my work and deep satisfaction in being about to financially support my family. I need creative work to keep me happy, and I need dedicated time at home with my child and my husband too. This does not make me a bad mother and we are a very happy family.

    2. I had a grown woman tell me today that having a 2 or 3 year old means that your life shuts down. She said that they are just so bad you can’t go anywhere with them anymore. Normally I would have just rolled my eyes and moved on, but this same woman had recently woken a baby I spent 20 minutes rocking to sleep. So, I turned to her and said, “I have a two-year-old and our life certainly does not stop. She has had to learn to roll with it, or pay the consequences if she refuses to. She needs to learn that she doesn’t get her way just by fussing about it.” The woman looked at me and said, “That’s because you only have one, I have two grandchildren I have to look after and we can’t go anywhere.” I left the room. Sometimes you just have to walk away.

    I realize that motherhood comes with a lot of advice and opinions, and I have been guilty of sometimes asserting mine where it doesn’t belong in the past. But what I’ve learned is that sometimes you have to take a step back, respect all mothers as long as they are raising a healthy kid and doing the best they can, and try not to assume you know what’s best for all families.

    Yes, being a working mother is tough sometimes. I get frustrated when daycare means several months of sickness and doctor visits, or when I have to make the decision that Sarah is “well enough” to go to daycare. But there are so many wonderful sides to it too. Sarah has been socialized so well by the other kids at school, she spends the day with her cousin Jacob, her teachers have all been amazing and seem to genuinely care about her and us as parents (as evidenced just this past week by their willingness to help us with the involved routine I created to kill her yeast infection). I am personally able to have a fulfilling, creative work life in a mission I love and care about, socialize with my adult co-workers, provide financially for our family, marvel when my daughter comes home from school counting to 10, and really enjoy those hours in the mornings and evenings, and especially weekends, when we  hang out with Sarah. So yes, it’s tough, but I’m proud to be a working mother and I’m proud that I just keep going with Sarah and show her what real life is all about.

  • Overdoing It

    Date: 2013.03.25 | Category: Family, Health, Life, Mark, Pregnancy, Sarah, Work | Response: 12

    I like to stay busy. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy a few hours with a good book, but for the most part, “go go go” is a regular part of my life. I work full time, manage a toddler the best I can, make a stab at keeping some sort of order to my house (at least we’re all wearing clean clothes anyway) and then work freelance again in the evenings. On weekends I use my “free time” to go to the grocery store, visit with friends and family, do some photography and attempt to entertain the almost-two-year-old. Of course my husband is there to help, but it’s in my nature to charge full speed ahead and I like to do it. (This, of course, makes him nuts and there have been many occasions when I’m trying to recover from being sick that he makes me stay home).

    The problem is this goofy heart pregnancy thing keeps rearing its ugly head. Any time I go full speed ahead for longer than two hours, it knocks on my rib cage, or rather skips a knock, takes my breath away and tells me to sit down already.

    This weekend was BUSY. Saturday morning we went to visit dad at his store and let Sarah look at the fish and his bird.

    After that I enforced her “quiet time” while I went to the grocery store. Then we walked over to our neighbors for a two-hour long two-year-old twin birthday extravaganza (that was amazing, busy and fun), and then went to visit my friend Susan.

    Needless to say, my heart was displeased. Several times throughout the day it took me down, and then that night it was annoying and insistent. I woke up the next morning feeling like I had the flu. Body aches, nausea and a headache had me in the fetal position.

    That morning Mark gave me a nice, firm talk on overdoing it. I went back to bed, missed Palm Sunday Mass and tried to chill. We did end up driving to see my grandfather after lunch, who is having a very tough time recovering from surgery, but I let Mark drive and sat in the room with my grandfather. No funny business. And amazingly, no whacky heart stuff.

    Even the motions of Mass have taken me down. No more standing, kneeling and sitting in quick succession. I have to plant it in the pew and try not to let the Catholic guilt set in.

    In all seriousness, this has been tough on my normally very busy body. While I still want to go go go all the time, I’m having to sit and relinquish the responsibilities to other people (namely my husband). But, I give myself pep talks. I don’t want to be on bed rest, and Sarah certainly doesn’t need to be carried all the time anymore.

    I’m trying, but it’s tough. Who would have ever thought trying to be lazy would be so hard?

  • Saying No

    Date: 2013.01.11 | Category: Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 15

    I can’t help it, I’m a bit of a people pleaser. Maybe it’s the Libra in me trying to find balance, or maybe I just don’t like people to be angry, especially at me. But, both in my line of work and at home, I’ve had to learn to say no.

    We have an overfull issue of the magazine this month. Too many articles, not enough space. While that’s technically a good problem to have, after all not enough is the real problem, it means I had to tell people their stuff wasn’t going to make the cut this month. I base it on a number of things including whether or not the material is time sensitive, importance relative to other articles, reader popularity and, sometimes, the writer’s own busy schedule. And I always try to be fair.

    Even with that, I find myself up against writers who are not happy by my decisions.  They think their item is more important than everybody else’s. And when I first started this job, I was more of a pushover on that sort of thing. But, I’ve finally learned that I have to be firm and let them know that I have the final decision on that and not them. A firm and decisive “no” is sometimes the only thing that works.  And even then I feel their wrath, but at least I’ve set the bar.

    At home I’ve also had to learn the firm and decisive “no,” but with a frustrated almost two-year-old. And while the stubbornness in some of these angry writers is mirrored in Sarah, the difference is that I love her with all my heart and I have a stake in the person she becomes.

    Sarah had developed a nasty habit of eating until she was full and then hurling the plate, usually still with food on it, across the room. Not only would food fly everywhere, but it would make a horrible noise and she would burst out laughing. After several half-hearted “no’s,” I had to make a stand. The next time it happened, I grabbed the throwing hand and popped it and said, “NO!” Now the pop was light and didn’t hurt her, but it got her attention. The look she gave me was one of pure betrayal and it cut straight to my heart. It killed me, but I held firm. And guess what? No more plate throwing.

    We’ve waged some more battles over dumping and cleaning up crayons and other toys, but we’ve won those too, mostly by not giving in and lasting longer than her despite the temper tantrums.

    All this to say, while I love to be the person who makes you happy and says “yes,” I’ve learned to be strong and give a firm “no” when I need to.