The Working Mother Warrior

 

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Finding out I was pregnant was definitely a shock. I’d just completed my divorce and was celebrating with a fleeting friend of mine, or so I thought, when I realized my life was about to totally change…again! I was told year prior that it would be very difficult to conceive with my fibroid and that I should give it a try for quite a while before expecting a child. Apparently my body had other plans. I had no idea what my body might go through over the next few months. I was concerned about the responses I would get from family, close friends, and even my partner at the time. Least of all was I worried about my co-workers and supervisor – they were all women and the talk of having a family had often come up in casual conversation. My workplace was the least of my worries…at the time.

After months of careful watch over my health and seeing that the pregnancy was progressing healthily, I informed my boss and coworkers of my pregnancy. I did not want them to be alarmed at my sudden illness or fatigue without knowing what I was going through internally. The initial reaction was excitement but after a while, I guess reality set in. I slowly realized the downside to being a working Mother in our society.

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Several comments were made about my size and inability to do some of my tasks. I was not far along before my doctor advised me to be very careful on my body because of complications. Even after relaying that to management, I was asked to move furniture. When I objected, I was snarled at and met with a comment about how women used to be able to do so much more when they were carrying children decades prior. Very inappropriate and I did NOT move one piece of furniture…I knew better. Even the day before I was to be induced, I was given an evaluation (stress much?).

The day I had my daughter was the most surprising and challenging experience in my life. After being home 6 weeks, it was time to go back to work. I had to repeatedly request private space for nursing and was still often interrupted. There were comments made about my reliability since I now required so many ‘breaks’. Thankfully, that position ended and I started consulting…with a baby on my hip. It was weird and uncomfortable at times but if Mommy didn’t work, there was no money for childcare let alone bills and food.

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I often received looks of confusion like, Why is she here? Can’t you get a sitter? Where is your family support? At the time I ignored it all and attended trainings, seminars, and networking events all with my well behaved little baby. And let’s not even get started on the nursing! I would be so stressed about the comments and looks I’d get in the office or public places that I started to lose my supply! It was AWEFUL! I was fully determined to nurse my child for at least 6 months but the pumping inconsistencies, toxic work environment, and stress of having to leave my child for 9-10 hours a day just left me inept. I was devastated.

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Many people have different ideas about how to raise their children. As a new Mom, I had to make a decision of whether to succumb to the fear of being embarrassed or simply continue to grind with by daughter in tow. Nowadays, I am thankful for my close friends who have generously agreed to watch my little one when I need the support. At the end of the day, however, I pray that I am able to pursue the kind of career that warrants me financial stability AND flexible time to raise my own child on my terms.

The next big idea should come from the vein of Moms being allowed to either work their same positions from home or having a community of employers who look to hire working Moms, welcoming their small children a space in the workplace or at least the personal office assigned to them. I’d like to see that progression…as well as the change in the culture’s view on nursing in public. ITS LEGAL IN ILLINOIS BTW! So leave these mothers alone and let them feed their babies how they want to! #Conquer2016

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What have been your concerns about being a working Mom?

 

~ladiSims

core friend group

The Fraying Rug of Core Friends

My husband Andy and I have always had a large, diverse group of friends from many different life facets.

  • Childhood friends
  • High school friends
  • College friends
  • Grad school friends
  • Work friends
  • Parent friends
  • Neighborhood friends
  • Friends of friends

These friendships are more than acquaintances. We see these people semi-regularly. We have a history of shared activities, we grab lunch or double date occasionally. It is an incredible blessing to have so many people that we actually call friends and have face-to-face relationships with. However, what we don’t do is hang out on a regular basis because all of these friends have only one thing in common, us.

fringe friendsThroughout our lives together there have been periods of time where we had a core friend home, but circumstances would change, people would move and there we were again stringing together all of our favorite people like a round rug with a fringe.

Fast forward to the realities of working parenthood and the fringe begins to fray. It is hard to keep all of the relationships, even ones you want to have. Now we find ourselves on the edge of others groups and when our friends come over for events or birthdays there is a large group, but most of them don’t know each other or they have only met because of us.

This doesn’t seem to be an uncommon occurrence. Some research suggest that adults on average only have two close friends. Other opinions are that social mediums like Facebook are actually making us less social. The need for shared experience and face-to-face interaction is critical to building relationships and it goes beyond a like or comment on a social status. However, people are spending less time interacting and more time in front of their screens. Thus hurting our ability to build friendships.

Now throw working parents into this crazy ever changing social sphere and things tend to get a little sticky. I occasionally look at the pictures of core friend groups on Facebook and wonder, how did they meet these people. Did they luck out in the neighborhood they picked? Do they make a greater effort than we do? What is the secret? Are we missing out? Or even better, is there something wrong with us? Laugh, I know, but if you are honest with yourself some of you have thought these same things at one point in your life or another. For now, I am holding on to my fraying fringe friend rug. Even if I don’t have a core group to hang out with every Saturday night, I have a lot of friends I care about. Hopefully they understand that this working parent thing is only a part of my now, not a part of my forever.

How does being a working mom hinder your ability to have and make a core group of friends?

Peace, Love & Friendship,

Kristen

Women Empowering Women

I have been thinking a lot about women in corporate America these days. Women comprised 47% of the workforce in 2010. Despite the growing number of women in the workforce, whenever I talk to friends or colleagues I hear the same theme. Women don’t support each other in the workplace.

Sheryl Sandberg recently wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal (Sept. 2015) where she discussed one of the main reasons more women weren’t in leadership roles. One of the key reasons is that women are often not mentored by senior organizational leaders, unlike their male counterparts. Without the peer support they need women often get trapped underneath the glass ceiling given more work and possibly even more responsibility, without the titles and pay raises.

For me this brings up the question, why aren’t women leaders mentoring other women? Shouldn’t women help women succeed and if they aren’t why not?

Time magazine reported as far back as 2012, that women DO NOT help other women for 3 reasons:

  1. Competitive Threat – another woman will be seen as more competent or better
  2. Collective Threat – the stereotyping of women that occurs will rub off on me
  3. Favoritism Threat – I will be seen as playing favorites for my gender (funny how men don’t fear this threat…)

What is even worse is that a study conducted in 2009 found that women bullies target other women 70% of the time!!

I hope you are as infuriated as I am!

climbing the corporate latterWhat all of this information tells me is that the current organizational system that we participate
in does not work for women. It prevents us from being able to use our talents and skills in order to achieve great things for our communities, the economy and our families. Women who succeed in this structure typically have to conform to a male constructed world where the pressure to push out other women in order to continue their own success is very strong. That type of negative environment sounds so draining.

We need a paradigm shift and fellow working moms I can feel it coming. Women are opting out of traditional workforce organizations and instead are creating their own vehicles for financial and personal growth.

Join the movement! 

Peace, Love & Empowering Each Other,

Kristen

 

failing forward

“Live the Life You’ve Imagined”

So many of us are waiting. Waiting for a new year. Waiting until we lose weight. Waiting until we have enough money.

But isn’t waiting just our way of deflecting insecurities, doubt and even (gasp) FEAR!

Of course it is.

We all do it. We delay the our own happiness because we are afraid to fail.

One of the things I love about my journey over the past year is that I am really delving into personal growth. Through blogging with MommyWurk and training I receive with Rodan + Fields, I have learned a concept called failing forward. John C. Maxwell coined the phrase in his book Failing Forward – Turning failures into the stepping stones for success.

He states that the difference between an average person and a person that consistently achieves success isn’t luck, it is how they perceive failure.

Live the life you have imaginedMy wish for all of us in 2016 is to stop the waiting game and to start living the life we imagine. How am I doing that? I started with a journal. I am using the journal to chronicle my wildest dreams as if they have already occurred. Then I reread passages every night in order to envision this amazing year.

How are you going kick off 2016? Are you going to stop waiting and dare to achieve those bigger than life dreams?

Peace, Love & No Fear,

 

Kristen

 

For support and motivation to live the life you’ve imagined, join our working mom team. 

Be Ahhhmazing

Are you ready for 2016? I can’t believe that another year has come and gone. It is crazy. As I reflect back on just a few of the things that happened in 15 I am astounded.

  1. Ran a 5k for the 1st time
  2. Generated money for children in need, global disease, ovarian cancer and breast cancer through ONEHOPE
  3. Had a little boy turn 2 and another little boy turn 1
  4. Started consulting for Rodan + Fields
  5. Taught a PR class at a local university

2016 hasn’t even started and I can already tell it is going to be another wonderful and crazy year!

Being a parent time seems to fly, but being a working mom creates a fast paced life that doesn’t always feel sustainable.

I have a lot of plans for 2016, but one of them is to slow down the pace of my life so that I can really focus on spending my time with the people that matter most to me.

Do you ever feel the need to slow things down? If so, let’s chat. The power of many affects change much faster than the power of one. Working moms working together, now that is something I can get behind!

Peace, Love and Cheers to 2016!

Kristen

 

BIG Hair, Big Deal!

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Don’t get me wrong, I love my natural hair! I think it has been an amazing journey since 2010 when I got my very last ‘perm’. I couldn’t go through with the ‘big chop’ but I was determined to make it through to being completely natural. I wanted to give my hair a chance to grow and be as healthy as possible. In the professional world, however, I had no idea how my process would be taken.

Luckily, I am a wiz with bobbi pins and pinups so they were my saving grace throughout the transitioning phase at work. When I was hired for the office position, I used a relaxer and of course flat irons to keep my hair straight. At the time, I did not think it was a problem, I didn’t feel like I was trying to be something I wasn’t. In fact, I felt like I was grooming myself for a professional look.

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I guess my decision to go natural was a health conscious one that turned into a journey on beauty and self-image. What did I believe was beautiful? What did I think was acceptable? How might I be received? Was I ready for the comments, looks, and remarks for family, friends, and colleagues? My position required me to be the forefront of my company so I knew I would have to deal with the issue head on.

Fortunately for me, I was in an office environment that was non-threatening to my outer appearance and therefore gave me the strength to go out into the world confidently. Not everyone was pleased with my looks but I was taught to have thick skin and care very little for what people thought about me. I got the stares and the comments all the time, and not just from people who did NOT look like me. “What are you doing with your hair these days?” “Why do you look like a cast member for ‘The Color Purple’?” “Are you doing alright? You seemed to have let yourself go!” “Don’t lose your job over your hair!” “What is wrong with wanting to look professional?” “This generation just tries to get away with everything!”

return-of-big-hair-oprah

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Many of the comments were less hurtful and more interesting. I found myself re-visiting my purpose and looking into natural styles I thought were beautiful, healthy, and manageable for my daily life. In a growing culture of natural beauty, I quickly found sanctuary in Youtube channels, healthy hair curriculum, and Pinterest. Although at the time, not everyone in my circle had caught up to the new fad of loving natural hair, I was immersed in the lifestyle. Most have since caught up and I am in love with my new hair, healthy, long, full and all mine! Now if I can just get over how BIG it can be…some people say its big and gorgeous but I am still working on getting the image of “Shonuff” from ‘The Last Dragon’ out of my head when I look in the mirror! Until then, pinups it will be (I’m still a work in progress)! Next stop: healthy body…a process that is taking much longer than I anticipated… #healthylifestyle #fitmom #naturalhair

~ladiSims

 

PS-My new landing page is LIVE! Check me out~

10 Side Jobs to Make money & Help Pay Off Debt

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There are times when we have to realize that our paychecks will only go so far. After penny pinching to make you budget work, you still might be living paycheck-to-paycheck. This type of lifestyle is bearable for a time but not ideal long-term. In order to accelerate your financial goals, additional income may be the resolution you need. But who has extra time? My response to those who approach me with such an inquiry is to ask them about their daily activities. If you missed one episode of your favorite show or had lunch at your desk twice a week instead of out with friends, could you commit 1-2hours/ week to get financial free? Let’s do it!

Seasonal Retail Jobs – Pet Sitter/Dog Walker

These two are self explanatory! My suggestion, sell where you shop and watch the animals you like best (cats vs dogs). You can even search for positions online!~

Image from getrichslowly.org

Home Health Aide

This position can also be called a Patient Care Technician an often require no training or experience. What is the ideal person great for this job? If you are looking for a flexible schedule and are patient enough to assist the elderly and/or disabled with everyday tasks, you can make this position work for you! There are a variety of companies that often post for these jobs and rightfully so! Many people who get these jobs, because they do not require training or experience, are not necessarily interested in working in this field long term…and their attitude on the job shows it! Get your attitude and patience in order, make sure you can lift a small person, and keep your personal vehicle serviced in order to pull off this type of employment.

Referral Programs

Companies such as Ebate, Liberty Tax, and ADT Security Systems offer programs you can join for no/low cost in order to make some extra money. They actually pay you promote their services with fairly easy to use tools and instructions. That means, you’d take the time to sign up and discuss what they have to offer to a potential customer – a neighbor who just suffered from a break in, has collectibles in their home to sell, or recently divorced without a clue on how to file their income taxes. There are other services that although you may use them for discount shopping, travel, or managing your health, if you were to refer 5 other customers you’d get your own service for free each month. This could provide you with automatic savings monthly which can add up very quickly.

Tutoring

You do not have to me a Math whiz or finance major to make some extra money as a tutor. We have to thinking of entrepreneurship as a way to help others do what you know how to do naturally. Tutoring is a good example of that. Are you bilingual? Are you aware of the many organizations looking for YOU? At times companies exclude other required skills like a degree and experience in order to hire someone with the language skills their industry requires. Offer tutoring first through your contacts in your industry or even businesses you frequent in order to build a great resume for tutoring. Not sure of how to get started? I obtained an English degree because I thought I’d be teaching high school English in the Chicago Public School system. Obviously my plans changed but I continue to offer my proofreading, editing, blogging, and content management services as a consultant.

Home-Based Business

There are many options for home-based businesses to choose from. My advice would be to look into possible opportunities that come natural to you. Are you into making other women feel beautiful? Research Direct Sales companies such as Avon and Mary Kay. You can often get started for under $50 without requiring you to purchase equipment or stock. Are you a coffee lover who’s health conscious? Do you have a network of business owners and entrepreneurs? Are you looking to lose weight? Want to offer an innovative way for your church to keep in touch with contacts? Do you enjoy traveling and saving money while you shop your favorite stores? Believe it or not, you can promote all of the above products and services under one company! Join my team for my consistent support, training, and the possibility of residual income.

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Virtual Assistance

Although I’ve dabbled in virtual assistance, I did not know there was an actual term for it! These skills are for those who have a knack for customer service, email management, document management, organization, and the typical office duties of almost any company. I would suggest offer to ‘help’ and organization with an upcoming project and set an hourly rate that you would expect to work on the project with a projected end date for the client’s needs. This could be arranged based on your financial needs or the requirements of the project in question. You can then ask the client to be a reference and continue to build on your resume. This make cost you extra time on the phone, the need for a home office, or additional an additional data plan for your smart phone.

Virtual Garage Sales

Ebay has an interesting option for those seeking to get rid of the clutter in their home. Of course, their system is proven and shipping is attached to the entire process which makes it easier than ever to sale items online. There is no need to necessarily ‘market’ your product. Instead, just posting a picture detailed description can be enough for a customer. Another avenue is to join local Mommy groups on facebook where Moms trade, sell, and purchase items all the time. Some groups are sponsored by a local hospital, medical center, social service agency, church, or nonprofit. There have been times when a co-worker of mine was selling an item I was interested in for my daughter and the only way I knew was from her post online! We do not always have time to discuss everything we need or everything we have with everyone around us – this is where these groups are extremely helpful.

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Etsy & Flea Market/Community Farmer’s Market

If you have a skill for making things that other people could or just find completely enjoyable, this option is one for you! Although many crafty people I know attend Flea Markets, they lack an online presence. Etsy is another option for posting and sharing your products and many customers are already waiting to buy crafts and unique gifts. This is also good for people who are not so social media savvy to get a full website together. It is also a great way to involve family and friends who are not local but still want to support your business – just send out the link to your Etsy page!

Well there you have it! My top 10 side jobs to make money & help pay off debt. Let me know if you pursue any of the above. I’d like to get your feedback at ladiSims55[at]gmail.com to celebrate with you as you pursue your financial goals!

~be blessed

Let me know how I can improve your world~

Is Busy the New Black?

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As my husband and I find ourselves in a season of busyness, we have had several recent discussions about our family’s priorities and what we could potentially let go.

I have become overcommitted and am looking for ways to relieve myself of the stress of busyness.  We have asked ourselves, “Does being busy mean we are also being productive?”  In most cases, I would answer with a resounding “No!” 

Check out one of my earliest blog posts related to this topic – “Multitasking Mayhem”.

As several recent articles suggest, busy has become a badge of honor and the busier you are, the more important you must be.  NOT! 

In my search to simplify and adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle, I came across the following article entitled, “A Helpful Guide to Becoming Unbusy”.

If you find yourself in a constant state of busy, I hope this article helps you reassess your priorities and respond accordingly.

Until next time-

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 NKJV)

God’s best-

Alexis

Image credit: http://www.green-mom.com

Mommy Rx

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As we were getting ready for school this morning, Junior complained of a headache.  Being the caring, great, fantastic, spectacular and wonderful mother that I am, I measured out 2 tsp of children’s acetaminophen, rushed him to drink it and we scooted out the door approximately 3 minutes behind schedule.  I had every intention of sending his teacher an email letting her know that he had complained of a headache before leaving for school and to call me if he continued to complain.  Being the busy, hardworking, overwhelmed, stressed mom that I am, I totally forgot!  Not even an hour later my phone rang.  My first thought, “Please don’t let this be the school calling me to pick up Junior because he is sick.”  Am I a bad mom?  Have you ever been there?

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So, I asked them to give me 15 minutes and I would be right there to pick him up.  When I got to the school they called him back to the office.  He had to go back to his classroom to get his backpack and homework.  As soon as he saw me his eyes welled up with tears.  He’s my dramatic child.  In his defense, he got it from his mama. 😬  (For real, I was the thespian in my family, growing up.)  I immediately gave him a hug and assured him that I would take care of him and help him get better.  You didn’t know I am an M.D.?  A Mommy Doctor, that is.  😉

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On the way home he asked if he could watch TV when we got home.  (Rule #1: No TV or video games during the school week.) Rx #1: TV and video games when you come home from school sick.  Rx #2: Would you like Mommy to fix you some hot tea?  Rx #3:  Let me sit beside you on the couch.

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A few minutes later, I asked, “How do you feel?  Are you feeling better now?”  His perfectly-rehearsed response, “Yes, ma’am.  A little bit.”.  Of course, you don’t want to feel too much better.  You might have to go back to school.  After an afternoon of being nursed back to health, along with some more meds Junior seems to be feeling just fine.  However, he manages to sprinkle in just the right amount of,  “Ooooh, my head hurts.” at just the right times.  😆

Sometimes moms make the best doctors!

Until next time-

But He was  wounded for our transgressions, He  was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)

God’s best,

Alexis

Image credits: best.blankwallpaper.com, http://www.thesaudavoice.com, dangerouslee.biz, bestmomstv.com

Controlling Your Credit Score: Procrastination Bites!

Image from Betterqualified.com

Paying credit cards can seem like such a hassle. At times we often put such things off or simply pay the minimum balance due each month just to keep the collectors off of our backs. It is important to remember, however that the debt is ours to pay…often times with interest! That being said, you do NOT want to wait until you are in the market for buying a home to take a look at your credit report and score. Your credit report can take years to get under control, therefore start NOW! Grab your yearly free credit report and review everything. Make sure that all items are actually yours and seek professional assistance if you are not sure of any charges. Identity theft might also come into play so you want to be sure that you know what your credit report says. If anything is false or incorrect, you have a right to dispute and remove such items. There are laws in place that protect consumers from such threats.

Image from https://5linxsafescore.com/?repId=L690201

The next thing to do is to look at your credit score. It is a sum total of all of your financial behavior and stewardship – yes you are graded on your financial stewardship. This is what lenders look at on whatever document you provide your social security number on, such as mortgage application, vehicle leasing applications, renting applications, credit card applications, home security applications, and so on. When applying for such things, as quickly as it seems to take, you are placing separate inquiries on your credit score and it WILL continue to go down until you stop applying. Ironic isn’t it? Here you are with decent a credit score – between 720 and 800+, and you are applying to lease a car or home and yet with each application and credit inquiry, your score goes down a little each time! There is a difference between a ‘hard inquiry’ which will affect your credit score and a ‘soft inquiry’ which will not affect your score. Before providing the completed application, it’s in your best interest to inquire which type of inquiry the lender is pulling. Most times however, it is a hard inquiry bringing your credit score down with each application.

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It is important to remember that your payment history alone makes up 35% of your credit score. This means that any time you miss a payment or are perpetually late; your personal credit score goes down. What does this mean for you? If you are looking to apply for more lines of personal consumer credit or looking into making a larger purchase that requires a lease or inquiry into your credit history, the majority of the final review will be base on how often your pay your already acquired credit on time.

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Since it takes such a long time to credit the perfect credit score, you want to be sure you are executing behaviors that work in your favor. The best I can explain it is that when your finances are going well, use this time to be sure to keep your payments on credit on time if not early. Four to five days early is best, especially if you have any credit established in a business name. Don’t know how to do this? Subscribe for info on one of my upcoming FREE webinars.

Feel free to share and tweet!

~ladiSims