Top 21 Of Going Back To Work

I’d like to be able to say which is easier: being a stay-at-home mom or career mom. My verdict? Differing daily functions, yet both are equally challenging and rewarding in their own way.

Random observations from my first two weeks back at working in hospital sales and management and juggling family:

  1. Ditched my summer Yellowbox sandals habit for some stylish heels to match every black outfit in my closet arsenal. BLISTERS y’all. Blisters after ONE hour! I like fashion. I like comfort more. Amazon…two day shipping…$25 comfy, basic pumps. BOOM.
  2. I love the way a hospital smells. Minus rare C diff encounters and such, of course.
  3. Developing a keen distaste for hospital fluorescent lights. They bring out every facial flaw, eye bag, wrinkle and stray gray root hairs within seconds of exposure. I’m a 41 year old mom of three. Help a sister out!
  4. I like to get to work early. That means leaving the house an hour early for kid drop off.  Thank goodness for my in-laws with summer camp schedules. One word: Phew!
  5. My oldest two are becoming more responsible because they have to. Thumbs up.
  6. The wild child is LOVING full-time versus part-time daycare. Begged to go to school on a Saturday. Celebrate the win.
  7. I work with a lot of quality people. Since we spend just as much time, if not more, with our work family than we do our own family, that helps my heart.
  8. One night, the kids missed me so much they snuck their mattresses into our bedroom and camped out. Those mattresses are STILL there. It’s summer and mama picks her battles. New meaning to “piling in like pigs.”
  9. I’m so busy at work I don’t have time for luxuries like a lunch break. I scarf down something semi-healthy I bring from home and I’ve lost some weight. Raise the flourescent ridden roof people!
  10. I cleaned toilets one night at 10pm.
  11. Just found some dried slime on my couch from wild man intercepting his sissy’s daily collection from the last two weeks. Seriously considering just turning the couch pillow over and walking away.
  12. I wore my supermom cape a few times this week and threw dinner in the crockpot at 5:45am. Say what?
  13. One night I was so tired I completely forgot about the food in the crockpot and left it there overnight. (Yes, I remembered to at least turn the dang thing off.)
  14. I’m drinking more coffee.
  15. More socialization. Work has been like one ginormous family reunion because I know so many people and have missed getting to see them.
  16. I have ALOT to learn but I’m a lucky girl. I get to work in a job that mirrors my strengths. No job and no one is perfect but I’m going to be good at this.
  17. I haven’t mastered giving the family all of me when I’m home because I’m still adjusting to the transition. However, I will and it’s a positive that I understand that should be the end goal.
  18. The gym is still a priority because that’s my outlet and the one thing I do for myself. (Fist bump.)
  19. I ate a donut this morning. It was GOOD.
  20. Haven’t watched the news in two weeks and it’s been FANTABULOUS.
  21. Woke up spooning the dog this morning. Scandalous.

This season in life is an adjustment but it’s kind of one of those times where you dust off your super mom cape, maybe even iron it a few times (after you dust off the iron), and save the world one snotty nose, raging preteen hormone and customer complaint at a time. But first, more coffee and nerdy web content surfing…because it’s Saturday. 🙂

 

 

Finding Value As A Mother

I’ll let you in on a little secret I have learned. It doesn’t matter if you are a mother who works outside of the home or one that spends every waking hour with your children. All mothers struggle with finding their value.

In fact, every individual desperately desires significance and we often look for that in all the wrong places before ideally understanding our purpose.

Life circumstances, divine intervention and the financial reality that my husband and I will most likely have three children in college over a span of TEN years, has resulted in a major life change for us. Mama is going back to paid work! In fact, I start TOMORROW. Fortunately, I thrive on change and I’ll be resuming career work in a field that I thoroughly enjoy. However, regardless of job status, my “value” remains unchanged.

Interestingly enough, when my oldest two were little and I worked outside of the home, I always felt guilty for being away from them so much. Ironically, for the first three years of being with them full-time and adding on a third kid, I felt guilt for not contributing financially and frustrated with having little tangible goal achievement. In either role, I had a hard time determining my value. For the last three years, I found contentment in my role and changed my mindset. Now that my daily duties are changing again, I now know that my value is steadfast.

If you are a mother struggling to find your value in whatever season of life you are in, I share these three truths on motherhood that I have learned.

1. Our purpose as mothers is to love our children

It’s quality time not quantity. When we are with them, make the time count. Play with them, make lasting memories, meet their daily needs, allow them to grow up in the healthiest family environment you can provide and show them the discipline when they need it.

Also, when you have bad days and feel you have accomplished no loving of any kind, then that means you are normal.

2. Our purpose as mothers is to communicate with our children

This one is particularly tough. Why can’t they all be the same and why are we always tired, right? Of my three kids, one tends to keep emotions bottled in, the other won’t stop talking and the third tends to want to have heart to heart discussions right at bedtime after he has stalled for forty five minutes and I’m about to drop from exhaustion.

As they get older and spend more time at school and with friends more than they do with us, we have to make the increasingly limited one on one time intentional, introspective and investigative. Regardless of our employment status, there is the certain reality that our influence and talk time will become less but diligently working to communicate a safe and honest open door policy is a must.

3. Our purpose as mothers is to provide for our children

Whether that means through food on the table, a trip to the park, college funds, our limited free hours spent at their extracurriculars, etc., mothers make it happen.

Learning and accepting our value as mothers is a process and it isn’t how much money we can save for or spend on them. Nor is it how many awards our children can accumulate. Value also isn’t necessarily defined if our children choose to make the right choices 100% of their adult lives because at some point they become accountable for their own actions.

What mother is perfect? None. What mother tries their best? Most. What mother has value in what they do and who they are? ALL.

As I return back to career work tomorrow, I take these truths with me and believe myself to be a better mother and employee. When mothers are at work, we’ve got this, because we can juggle chaos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. When mothers are at home, we’ve got this, because we know that loving our family means putting the family unit first when we are together.

Mothers are imperfect, yet perfection in our own unique way.

Do what you do and how you do it mama because the value of motherhood is priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Stay-At-Home” Mom Needs to Go!

stayathomemomMy days look much different than that of five years ago.

I get to be available for my kids and spouse anytime they need me. I have more time to cook healthy meals and have a clean home (more time doesn’t always equate reality). I’m no stranger to the gym. If a kid is sick, I am the primary caregiver. My life is no longer privy to much of the narcissism, deadlines and undue stress of the corporate working world.

I am a stay-at-home mom. At least, that’s what society tells me anyway.

After resigning from a medical sales career, there is one silly thing that still bothers me: listing my occupation on forms!

I despise the phrase. Why? “Stay-at-home” is not what I do all day! It’s about as inaccurate as what our government tells us about its actions on a daily basis. It indirectly implies that a mother is “at home” and carefree during daylight hours. Rarely am I in one location for hours on end. When stay-at-home moms are at home, the majority are insanely busy, rushing to get things completed before the kids gets home.  This mother is on the go, working 24/7.

Interestingly enough, when I was caring for two young children working a full-time career, I still never felt the title of “Sales and Marketing Professional” to be precise. I may have been employed with a paycheck, but I was STILL a full-time mom.

If you really think about it, how we label mothers in our society can be offensive to all and is a great source of the whole “mommy wars” dilemma.

When faced with an instance where an occupation listing is required, I cringe inside. Of course, a title should never determine one’s worth. I just prefer that the terminology provided be ACCURATE.

Let’s get some things straight about motherhood and labels:

“FULL-TIME”

Every mama that lovingly invests and wholeheartedly involves herself in the life of her offspring is a “Full-time” mother.

Women that work a paying job outside of the home don’t stop being full-time mothers just because they draw a paycheck. An assumption that their paid employment title is more defining for them than being with their children all day isn’t fair. I’ve been there. The paying jobs they serve in may be something they love with their whole heart or endure for necessity but their children are always on their minds and actions. Many feel guilty for not being able to be with them more.

Furthermore, just because a mother is in a constant position of service to her family without pay CERTAINLY doesn’t suggest that her role is any less time-consuming or important. There is often guilt for not providing more to the family finances or concern that they are losing professional skills as a trade-off.

Regardless of the set up, all mothers are full-time. Period.

 “STAY-AT-HOME” versus “WORKING”

My pet peeve! This is just the worst.

To someone who has never been one, the phrase “stay-at-home” mom flashes up visions of a mother in her PJs, eating gobs of chocolate and watching Grade C reality TV all day. Wrong! It’s insulting. Ever had to explain a gap in employment with that title on your resume? Generally speaking, employers don’t get it.

Many are envied, yet are the recipients of mean-spirited remarks.

Mothers working in corporate careers get the shaft also. Why? Just because a woman works 40+ hours a week outside of the home should NEVER imply that she is not working in her home. When she is on the job she is thinking of her children incessantly and when home, she rarely sits.

Many a mother spending every waking moment with her kid envies the career mom because she gets financial validation, adult socialization and tangible successes.

Never bad mouth a mom for her occupational season in life. They are all busy, stressed and have their own set of guilt issues.

Every kind of mother is a working mama. Period.

NOW WHAT?

The next time I have to submit an occupation title on any form, in my current role, I plan on listing “Full-time, working mother.”

When I reenter the corporate world at some point, I also plan on indicating “Full-time, working mother.”

Why? Regardless of work circumstances, all dedicated mamas fit this description. It’s a title that unites us and doesn’t divide.

Sure, I’ll have to provide some answers. However, it gives me an opportunity to validate that mom working AWAY from her kids, struggling to give 100% of herself to family and employer. To build up the confidence of the mother that has little adult interaction and is desperate for confirmation of a job well done. To find commonality. A chance to help lift any guilt a mother may be experiencing regardless of what her motherhood role looks like.

There is zero percent chance of being a perfect mama but a 100% chance of being a good one.

Full-time, working mothers…period.

 

 

 

The White Picket Fence of Parenting

white-picket-fence-png-and-we-all-need-something-to-believe-in-you-may-not-know-the-songMaybe I am the only mother on the face of the planet that feels impassioned insecurities as a parent but just maybe there are other completely sane and rational people lifting up a fist bump into the air right now in solidarity. Some parents are perfectionists and can seamlessly deliver organization with ease. You never see their children fight, whine and are predictably agreeable. They ask their kids to do something ONE TIME and it goes down without a fight. Their house and car are spotless and their kid’s shirts are crisply ironed.

In fact, all public portrayal of their lives will lead one to believe that their children never sass, keep clean rooms, make straight A’s, succeed in all areas of life, independently brush their teeth and even clean the toilet weekly. It’s the white picket fence portrayal of motherhood.

Their children are perfect, therefore their parenting must be perfect and it indirectly causes all the rest of us to feel seemingly inadequate at basically everything.

Although I’m wise enough to know better and that people only let you see what they want you to see, I still find myself wishing I was better at many things as a mother.

The current state of affairs in my home:

Hygiene Challenges: My three-year old refuses to potty train. He wears me out 24/7 and thinks it’s a game of hide and seek when it’s time to brush his teeth. My oldest has an unfortunate affinity for ineffective teeth brushing and deodorant application. Also, my daughter has braces and keeping those things spotless is the stuff of make-believe. Showers…my daughter is the ray of sunshine in this department but then the hair detangling. Even with the special hair spray, it’s like trying to put a cat in water.

Furthermore, our dog has been so screwed up with potty training since her brother died and let’s just say that yours truly slightly missed the spaying window. Oops. I blinked and she became a woman a week ago. She is currently sporting a Doc McStuffins Pull Up and I DON’T EVEN CARE.

The Electronic Generation: My kids are on the iPad WAY too much. It’s blistering hot outside and they expect mama to entertain them otherwise. I mean, it’s not like mom sits around watching the Kardashians all day. I have too much to do and never enough time to do it. Everybody has to have clean underwear, right?

Housekeeper Smousekeeper: The house is never 100% clean. In fact, I would argue it’s more around the 60% mark. No tangible satisfaction of a job well done. I’m busy working on it constantly it seems. For example, I worked six hours the other day cleaning and getting ready for our babysitter to come over. Dinner was ready, major rooms were respectably presentable, she comes in and then the sunlight entered the windows at just the right angle.

All of that work only to see an impressive layer of dust on furniture in the living room that I missed, toys already monopolizing the main floor again and remnants of a magic eraser the dog swiped all underneath the table. Ugh! We really hope she comes back after seeing us in all our messy glory.

Personality Plus: So many intense opinions and so often! My boys are strong-willed to the hilt and my daughter is the needy, dramatic middle child. One or both of her brothers are always up in her business annoying the fire out of her and they fight way too much for my liking. The shrill screaming she can dish out is like nails on a chalkboard.

All three of my kids are lively and I love that. It’s just adjusting parenting for the different personality spectrums is exhausting, confusing and I have no idea if I’m doing a decent job or not!

Mealtime Mayem: I am not a short order cook, my kids don’t all like the same foods and the hubs and I need to eat healthy. Like every other parent on the planet, I want them to eat more fruits and veggies. My kids are built like I was at their age…a little on the “healthy” side. I didn’t lose my pudgy belly until seventh grade and then leaned out.

For the most part, I try to have fresh options available in public sight for them. Sometimes it’s a win, sometimes it’s Chick-fil-a, sometimes I find a whole banana left on the counter with only one bite missing but, rest assured, they NEVER like the same fruit or veggie at the same time unless it’s some deep-fried okra they were served at grandma’s house. It’s fine stuff. I can’t blame them.

Bedtime: Seriously, we are so tired we don’t even realize they are in the bed with us until we roll over onto a limb or hairy paw. Now, if the full-grown beast child enters the living quarters, we KNOW. He sweats, moves constantly and no king size bed can accommodate all three of us.

This is the primary challenge I have experienced going from a corporate working mother to stay-at-home working mother: there is little tangible evidence that tells you if you are doing a great job or failing miserably at your occupation. Before, there were ratings and raises. Now, who in the world knows!

Maybe there are really parents out there that are perfectionists at their craft and everything goes off without a hitch all the time. It’s hard to admit that I am not and will never be one of them.

I guess when we have rough days, it’s best to remind ourselves that our kids are happy, healthy enough and loved. Our picket fence is more like a camouflage look. We stand out like a sore thumb when placed next to the perfect family persona but we are a very nice blend of our uniqueness.

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Consider this the white picket fence of HONESTY in parenting. 🙂