Have It All

“Mommy, what are you writing?”

“I am writing about what I want to be when I grow up”

“But you are already grown up. You can be anything”

“What should I be?”

“You can work around the house on chores.  And then you should be an artist.  That would be good.”

I’ve been awake since 4 am, mindlessly scrolling thru Facebook and Instagram posts- back and forth, looking for what? Today, it seems like affirmation that I am not ‘enough’.

Some examples of my feed: “Bossbabe” Memes and Quotes.  “Dream it and you can Achieve it”.  “MLM” is the same as working for a company. “Don’t let a man take care of you, earn your own money” “Buy your own Chanel Bag, don’t let a man do it for you”. “You can have it all- travel a few months a year, take your son to school, download my e-book”.  “I replaced my income with (Fill in the blank MLM of the week).

To top it all off, instead of feeling empowered, these and other posts, made me feel sick to my stomach.  I have failed, I have not been able to work a full time job,  have a few side hustles, clean a house, raise a child, be a wife, a writer, an artist.  Why can’t I do it all? Not enough positive affirmations each morning? Did I forget to write in my goal orientated planner all I want to accomplish?

Some days, I am thrilled to manage a hot breakfast for Vince, feed the dogs, and get two cups of coffee (decaf these days, baby is on the way).  Other days, I feel like I can take on the world.

Why the guilt? From what I can remember, my girlfriends are all very successful career women raising wonderful families.  We were raised by Mothers with high standards, who told us to have our own money, and go to college for what we wanted before settling down with a family.  They were probably raised by Mothers who were housewives, limited to careers that were in education or nursing- and when the 60’s and 70’s rolled around, told our Mothers to break free and be independent.

For the bulk of my life, that’s the route I went.  A great education, a fantastic career before and during marriage before starting a family.  My ‘own’ money (which led to fights with my ex about his ‘own’ money, and what was a fair way to pay bills).   And bought with my “own” money- a house, two cars, piles of electronics and expensive makeup.

And with that career, I lost track of being a Mother to my son. He spent a large chunk of his first 4 years at my parents home while I worked (out of necessity for several years as a single mother).  I can remember telling him to be quiet when I needed to run a conference call.  I remember taking him to Mcdonald’s drive thru and running a conference call from my car while he sat in his car seat munching chicken nuggets.  Who knows what little gems I missed by shushing him and telling him to go to another room when I had ‘an important call’. I am glad he saw me working hard; In other ways, I can’t forgive myself for the teary eyes he would get when I hustled him to a spot in front of the tv while I worked.  I spent an hour or so with him in the morning before I dropped him off at my Mom’s; then another hour or so at night for bath and bedtime-  what did I miss? I will never know.   I was a single Mother- and those who have spent time as one know the struggle to balance putting food on the table and giving attention to the one you are working to feed.

“Mommy! Look at this!”

These days, I can stop what I am doing and truly look at what he is showing me. I am blessed just for the precious ability to stop and put down whatever I am doing to really listen to my child, and give him my full attention.

What will I teach my daughter? I hope to have enough self confidence to be secure in whatever dream she decides to chase- whether it is a high power, high paying career; or a stay at home mother to her children, or some combination of that.  I just hope to teach her not to listen to the constant stream of what the world thinks she should be- and to some extent, what I would want her to be.  She will have plenty of role models to choose from as she makes her way in this world- but I want her path to be one she chooses- not one that a Facebook Feed tells her to take.

Have It All

Sick Day

My son came down with an ear and sinus infection over the holiday weekend, so today was his sick day.  He is a happy, rambunctious child most days; but when the stuffy head and fever had him stuck on the couch, the entire house slowed down.

In my sales-manager career Past Life, I would have been on the phone, checking emails, calling for sales updates, and conference calls- if I had the luxury of staying home with him at all.

Today, everything was different. My new title is SHM, as the internet has labeled me- Stay at Home Mom.

Time moved at a snail pace.  While he rested, I quietly did chores- remembering my own sick days as a child, and my mother working silently in the next room so I could rest.

I took the time to steam clean the kitchen floor.  It’s a slow process, if you’ve ever tried it. By design, to really clean with the unit you must take your time as the steam hisses out the pad onto the floor.  It’s meditative, the heat radiating from the tile as I walk back and forth listening to the steam do its work.  The only other sound in the home, my son’s stuffy snore from the couch.

I once thought the only joy was in a career with a prize at the top of the corporate ladder- either the paycheck, or the title, or some combination of both.  My new “job” is making this house a home for my husband and children.  No accolades from the boss. No sales awards to hang on the wall.   Just a clean floor, and dishes, and the laundry folded before it’s put away.

My award is the happy smile from my little one telling me it was his best sick day ever.

 

Sick Day

Document That and Send to HR

20160420_210436000_iOSI have only been a Stay at Home Mother full time for 4 full months.  Going into it, I was sure my management background would translate well into my new gig- I had been a manager at various levels for the past few years; some of those skills would have to come in handy now.

One of the questions my former coworkers and my friends ask is “What is life like outside the corporate world?’  Thank the upper management teams you work with, because out here,                                                     folks, you’re on your own–

  • There is no longer an HR department to work with.  When my 5 year old says he won’t do a specific asked task, I no longer have anyone to document his verbal warning to. How can I keep track of where he is on the performance plan without HR to back me up when it comes time to do the write up?
  • Ran out of milk and bread late at night? Or worse, toilet paper? There is no Ops team to email to get that corrected.  Also, no one provides a P&L statement at the end of the month to make sure my budget is on track.
  • DM market visit have you worried? My in-laws just popped by and my house looks like a war-zone.
  • The Xbox won’t log into Live.  The camera ran out of batteries. Wi-fi is down and there’s no ETA for recovery. Not that tech support used to work the same hours my stores were open, at least I had someone to call.  Now I am tech support.
  • There is no Customer Care department to refer complaints to.  Son doesn’t like dinner? Doesn’t like sock color? Tubby time too long or too short?  1-800-Mommy-I-Don’t-Like-This for assistance.

I tell my friends the truth- I have never been so busy, but never so happy either.  There are things I missed out on that I will never get back because when I worked in sales, the bulk of time was spent on the road or in stores. However, I certainly miss all my coworkers and everyone I worked with over the years.  Especially HR.

Document That and Send to HR