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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10 Side Jobs to Make money & Help Pay Off Debt

Image from lynnegolodner.com

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.

Image from kidspot.com

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~

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

The In Between Holidays

4th of julyThis post hits right in my working mommy guilt spot. I am horrible at the in between holidays. It is not that they aren’t important! It is just that I don’t have time for the special details that I like to add.

When I say in between holidays I mean anything after Christmas and before Thanksgiving. When it comes to November and December I am all over the tradition building, memory making fun. July 4th, Valentines Day and St. Patty’s Day…. etc…. have me running for the hills.

I look at cute craft ideas and I usually buy a couple of decorations, but they either don’t make it up or the craft is half squeezed in between swim lessons and nap time. Occasionally, we do make time for a good old fashioned cook out, but missing are the cute plates and napkins.

Insert Mommy Guilt! I know it shouldn’t matter. So I am giving us all permission to let the little things like paper plates go. As long as we discuss the importance of these days (especially the ones honoring our soldiers) with our kids then I think we have hit a home run.

What do you do for the holidays. Do have simple family traditions that are easy to implement? If so, please share!

Peace, Love and Happy 4th,

Kristen

Cherishing the In Between Moments

When you are a working parent you spend a lot of time away for your kids. In fact, most of the time you are able to spend with them is during the difficult moments of getting ready in the morning and going to bed. Getting a toddler and infant ready for the day is never easy and unlike mom and dad I don’t think they ever “want” to go to bed.

cowboy boats and dressing a toddler

H, in cowboy boots and hat for school.

A few mornings ago I had this conversation with H.

H: I want cowboy boots Mommy!

Me: H,  you will need tennis shoes to play on the playground. Don’t you want to be able to run around with your friends?

H: Cowboy boots!

Me: How about we wear the cowboy boots and take your tennis shoes?

H: Ok!

After putting on cowboy boots, I pick up the tennis shoes.

H: No, mommy! No! (while grabbing the tennis shoes and throwing them back in the closet…

This is all over just shoes. We still have to get dressed, brush our hair and teeth, get breakfast and get into the car. I am tired already. These moments are not what I would consider quality time.

For all of these reasons the quality time I do get to spend with my children is very special. It is the in between times that I feel have the most impact and quality. Those are the times that they are able to open up to you, enjoy you and you them. For me it is like watching a flower bloom or a beautiful sunset creep over the horizon. I wish I could bottle the joy that they see in everyday things.  Lately, this special time is being eaten away by obligations I have. Conference calls in the evening for work are taking away from my talks with the boys on their way home from school. Both Andy and I have needed to handle work items on the weekend or other obligations. It makes my heart sick.

Hearing H describe his day in toddler speak is incredible. Watching Baby C2 light up when I pay attention to just him is priceless. I can’t even describe the excitement in the car when I am able to say yes to going to the park before dinner because we got home a few minutes early. Taking the extra few minutes to understand the important things in their worlds help us connect as a family. Isn’t that the important stuff life is made of?

Other than adding more hours to the day, I don’t know how to fix my problem. I am pretty sure adding hours to the day has already been thought. However, I am hoping by being cognizant of the issue I can limit the encroaching priorities and make the little time I do have sacred.

How do you handle when obligations interfere with time with your kids?

Peace, Love & Cherishing Their Time,

Kristen

 

Image credit: Blogspot.com

Hey! What About Me?

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Image credit: http://www.african-sweetheart.com

As I sit here, getting some much needed “ME time”, I realize that I have been neglecting myself. 

● I haven’t had a structured workout routine since I was 5 months pregnant with Junior and my hips started to “pop and lock” as I walked on the treadmill.

● I eat whatever I can, whenever I can, from wherever I can and it usually ends up being fast and unhealthy.

● I admitted to Hubby this morning that I only wear a full face of makeup (which for me is eyeshadow and blush) to church and date night.

● I don’t even take the time to comb my hair on a regular basis.  I just pull it up and keep it movin’.  I got my hair done the other day (for the first time in a whole year) and it was so tangled the poor hairdresser could barely comb through it.  Po’ thang must have been sweatin’ bullets.

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Image credit: hollistics.com

On this Mother’s Day, try to remember that it’s okay to take care of yourself all year long.  That doesn’t mean you have to spend goo gobs of money to do it.  Just make sure you take the time to make yourself a priority every now and then.  It is important to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. When you take care of yourself by:

eating right – you don’t have to hire a personal chef, just make sure to include fresh fruits, veggies and other whole foods in your daily diet

exercising – you don’t have to join an exclusive gym (or any gym, for that matter), just walk the track at your local high school or walk around your neighborhood

looking your best – you don’t have to hire a makeup artist, shop at a high end boutique or look like you’re about to hit the runway or red carpet, just wash your face and make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free

feeling your best – you don’t have to visit the spa on a biweekly basis, just run some hot water in the tub, place some candles around it and let Calgon take you away, until you hear..

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then you will be able to give your family your BEST you all year long!

Happy Mother’s Day to the “best mom ever” – YOU!

Until next time-

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:   Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.   Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:28, 30-31 NIV)

God’s best-

Alexis

Mommy, Can You Please Stay Home Today?

surprise days off

My son, F, will go through stretches where he is fine with me heading out the door to work every morning, pausing during breakfast to give me a hug and say “have a good day!” Other times, he will crawl in bed to snuggle in the morning and beg me to stay home. He will say things like “can’t they just give you money and you can stay home.” (Not really sure who he thinks “they” are, but it sounds like a good deal!) Another day he might say “Don’t you want to stay home with me?” It breaks my heart to tell him I have to go, because I really wish I could stay home. So I’ve started planning “surprise days off” for him when he’s having a tough time with me leaving, but not too often because there are only so many vacation days…

Some of the things we do on Surprise Days are:

–          Snuggle in the morning

–          Have breakfast together

–          Read a big stack of books

–          Play at the park with a picnic lunch

–          Watch a movie together

–          Color together (he loves when we color a page from the giant books together)

–          Field Trip – since we homeschool, these are good days for a field trip to the zoo, museum, apple orchard/cider mill in the fall, a farm, or just about anywhere. It’s often less crowded during the week, so I usually try to take a day off to do these things

What do you do with the kids when you take days off?

Briana

Briana - mommywurk story winnerBriana is married to Dean, stay-at-home/homeschooling dad to their 6 year old son. She works in accounting for a construction firm and helps homeschool on nights and weekends. She is currently fundraising for the JDRF since her son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 2 years old. You can donate to her team at here. 

daycare

The D Word

Daycare. The dreaded term strikes fear in the hearts of many mothers. I know because it used to strike fear in mine. I will never forget touring daycares and leaving my first in tears. It didn’t feel warm and inviting. Instead it seemed institutionalized and cold. Forget about the aesthetics, there is the guilt about “leaving” your baby and the stigma that society places on children that “had” to go to daycare.babies playing

The stigma is not discussed often. The benefits of daycare’s educational environment is down played by stay at home moms just as working outside the home moms taut it. It is as if acknowledging the benefits of one will hurt the existence of the other.

Leaving H for the first time was heartbreaking for me. I had always pictured myself as a stay at home mom. When I was faced with the reality that it was just not possible, I was devastated. In fact, I couldn’t physically drop H off. I made Andy take him the whole first week. Just looking at the daycare gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. How would they know him as well as I did? He was a preemie. What if he had a need they neglected?   Would he sit on a Boppie all day long?

When Baby C2 went to daycare it was a little easier only because I knew the teachers. Otherwise, it was just as difficult. I felt like I was somehow failing them. For me, the older they get the more they learn in an educational environment. H is in music, phonics and they have a lesson plan they do every month in his class to teach him about plants, dinosaurs, families, weather and so many other things. However, when they are so, little like 8-12 weeks, it makes it seem like you are throwing them to the wolves. “Here little baby, here is the big wide world. Jump on in.”

Baby C2 has been in daycare now for several months. He is thriving. He loves it. I recognize that he truly enjoys all of the play time and activities and so that has helped me cope with leaving him in someone else’s care for most of the day. However, I was reminded of the feeling this week as I watched a young mother pick up her baby boy from his first partial day. When I came in to feed Baby C2 I saw her standing in the classroom clutching her infant. She was talking to the teachers and holding him close to her cheek. As she turned to put him in his car seat she kissed him and said, “Did you have a fun? I missed you so much. Mommy missed you sweetie.” My heart went out to her. I walked over and introduced myself. I asked her how she was doing and she told me she was ok, but this was hard. I empathized. I told her it gets easier. I shared that I had a two year old as well and that he loved school. She smiled. We introduced our babies, but as she continued to talk more tears welled up in her eyes. I said, “Alice (we’ll pretend that was her name), would you mind if I hugged you.” “No, not at all and thank you,” she exclaimed as I hugged her hard around the neck.

Alice needed someone to understand. She is trying to be brave. She is telling herself it will be ok. It will, but doesn’t make it any easier because it isn’t easy. Although daycare has a lot of wonderful educational moments most moms never escape the feeling that they should be doing more for their children. However, not spending every second of every day with your child does not make you less of a mom.

As a woman and mother you should never feel guilty for taking care of your family. You should feel proud. Motherhood comes in all shapes, sizes and perspectives. There is no guilt and no stigma here.

How did you feel the first time you left your baby? Share with us.

Peace, Love and Respect,

Kristen

Getting Real

I had an amazing post for all of our readers today. It was going to be well researched and have a pithy, personal anecdote. I was so excited about it, but my conference call ran long and my lunch break didn’t happen. Plus I have another meeting before I run to my children’s school.

Today folks, I just plain ran out of time.

Peace, Love & Being Real,

Kristen

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