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

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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

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

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Kiss Strike

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A couple months ago I mentioned that Super F didn’t want me to kiss him in public anymore. It was heartbreaking to say the least, but I knew the day would come. Fast-forward to last week when he asked me not to kiss him at home. I thought, it’s okay, it will pass. Two days later, he still declined my kisses – even at bedtime! I wasn’t sure whether he was trying to get me to beg him to let me give him a goodnight kiss, assert his independence, or just having fun seeing how long he could keep me from kissing him.

My initial urge was to kiss him anyway. But, then I thought about it for a few minutes, and realized this was a teaching opportunity for me. I told him that it was his choice whether he wanted a kiss or not, and if he said no, then that means no. I told him I wouldn’t make him if he didn’t want to. I wanted him to understand that when someone says “no” when it comes to their bodies and personal space/intimacy, that it means no. I want him to respect others and their feelings.

So, after a couple of days and reserving my “best for last” (he ALWAYS wants to be last when saying goodbye) kisses for Daddy, he finally relented and let me start kissing him goodbye and goodnight again.

Briana

I wants…

So, last week I told you that we took Super F to see Marvel Universe Live as part of his birthday gift. Well, we splurged a little and got really good seats, so on the way in to see the show, I mentioned to him that we weren’t going to purchasing any souvenirs during the show, and that I didn’t want to hear any begging. He agreed. So, we walk in and are immediately inundated with souvenir stand after souvenir stand on the way to our seats.

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Super F immediately asks for a plastic sword. We tell him no. We walk past the next stand, same request. Repeat 5 more times as we make our way to our seats. I gently explain to him how much time I would have to spend at work to make enough to pay for the sword. That gets him thinking for a few minutes and he stops asking about it…until intermission, when the vendor walked past our seats selling the darn sword again!

How do you handle souvenirs and the “I wants” with your kids at events like this?

P.S. He did NOT get the sword…

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Birthday Experiences

This year Super F turned 7. We decided that he had plenty of stuff (i.e. toys) and wanted to do something a little different for his birthday this year. So, instead of toys, we got him experiences. He has had a passion for cheetahs for the last couple of years, and we found a program at a zoo that offered a behind the scenes tour of the cheetah exhibit. So, we jumped at the opportunity and bought tickets for the day after Super F’s birthday. We sent him on a treasure hunt for the tickets (another great way for kids to practice their reading/reasoning skills!) and took him the next day. He was excited to get so close to the cheetahs, find out their names, and then get to feed one (through the fence of course).

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Afterwards, he said it was a dream come true, and the experience was “phenomenal”. I’m sure it’s a day he will remember much longer than he would have remembered any toy we got him. We also surprised him with tickets to see Marvel Universe Live, since he is BIG superhero fan (more on that next week).

What are your ideas for a “stuff” free birthday?

Briana

 

936

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That’s the number of Saturdays we get with our kids between birth and when they turn 18. Less than 1,000 Saturdays before they become adults. Since I work full time Monday through Friday, my weekend are pretty sacred to me already. I had never thought about how finite those weekends were until I saw another mom mention it. It’s amazing how fast those Saturdays go. Now that Super F is 7, we only have 572 left! It got me thinking about how I’ve spent those first 364 Saturdays, and whether I’ve made the most of them. We have definitely had some fantastic Saturdays in those years, but I’m sure some were squandered away. Now that I know the number, I’m going to do my best to fill those Saturdays with some awesome memories for him to carry with him after we hit the 936th one.

Briana

 

photo credit: http://maanumberaday.blogspot.com/2013/01/936.html

Birthday Traditions

So, Super F recently turned 7! When he was first born, everyone told me how fast the time would go, that I’d blink and he would be all grown up. At the time, changing diapers, round the clock feedings, and typical parental exhaustion seemed never ending and I often thought those people were crazy. The days seemed like they dragged on and I couldn’t wait for Super F to reach each new milestone. I’m here to tell you, they were right!

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Anyway, I wanted to share our birthday tradition with you. I always take his birthday off work to spend with him and my husband. It’s a family day and we start out by going out to breakfast, followed by a trip to Toys R Us so Super F can get his birthday crown and balloon! He gets to pick out a new toy and then we head home so he can play. I’m sure this tradition will come to an end at some point – he’s not going to want to shop at Toys R Us forever!

Do you have any birthday traditions in your family? How do you celebrate your child’s special day?

Briana

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Marble Jar Miracle!

I wrote before about my attempt at a reward chart for Super F and how it caused things to get worse rather than better, so we stopped using the chart. I had been looking for other ways to get him to take responsibility for himself, his behavior, and his things, and to encourage him to “go above and beyond” with what he does to help around the house.

The new idea came to me thanks to the former nanny and mom of a boy in Super F’s swim class. She said she had spent 15 years as a nanny, and in those years she learned that there is no single approach that works with all kids, and to just keep trying different things until I find what works with Super F. She suggested a marble jar, so I went home and googled the marble jar system, made sure Dean was on board with trying it out (because you have to have a united front on these things), and purchased this one from Amazon.

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We started it the day it arrived and explained to Super F that good behavior would help him earn marbles, but that not following directions would cause him to lose marbles. The most important part of this system is letting him put in and take out the marbles himself. We have been using the system for nearly three weeks now, and he is getting close to filling the jar for his first reward.

What I like about this system is that he is seeing tangible progress towards his reward as he watches the jar fill up. He is also involved in the system by putting in and taking out marbles so he instantly sees how his behavior impacts his goal in filling the jar. Also, it is easy to remind him to think about the marbles when he is struggling with making good choices. It’s also very easy to customize this system depending on the type of behaviors you want to see in your child. Whether you are potty training and your child gets a marble each time they make it to the potty, or trying to get your teenager to stop leaving dirty clothes on the floor by giving them a marble each day that they put it in the hamper, it’s easy to make it work for all ages.

Briana

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Raise the Child You Have…

I learned this lesson the hard way. Super F loved playing ball with us at home in the backyard, or at the park, so the logical step was to sign him up for T-Ball, right? Wrong. He loves playing at SBC_pw-sl-tbhome, but put him on a field with 12 other 5/6 year olds? He didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped he would. I figured it was a right of passage for little boys to play T-ball, as all the boys in my extended family played, and so did my husband when he was little. So, even though he hadn’t expressed much interest in playing on a team, I signed him up anyway. The end result was that he played on the team, but he didn’t enjoy it, or fall in love with the game. T-ball just isn’t for him.

So, now I’m working on raising the child I have, not the one I thought I had. I am going to try harder to listen to him and what he wants to do, and not pressure him into an activity he isn’t interested in. We will keep up with the monthly drawing classes at the library that he LOVES and the weekly swimming lessons, where he is flourishing. We found an acting workshop he is excited to try out, and if he wants to pick up another sport, that will be fine with me, and if not, that will also be fine. The goal is to let him experience different things and find what he loves to do. T-Ball isn’t it. Lesson learned.

Briana

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