Tuesday, October 28, 2014

GetRealMama, it's time to put on some heels!

The times, they are a changing.

This mama is going back to work FULL TIME. IN AN OFFICE.

This is a big deal.  I went back to working full time after my eldest was 12 weeks, and my maternity leave was completed.  That lasted only a couple of months before my mama heartstrings were pulled and I felt that I needed more time with my cute little bundle of wonderful.  So I cut back to a four days per week schedule.  I had Friday's off for mommy and me classes, play groups, and errands.  I cherished those Fridays, and I don't for a second regret that decision.  In the years since his birth my work schedule has fluctuated, particularity as we added brother #2 and brother #3. I experimented with staying at home full time, which while was an *epic fail*  taught me a few things.  One, I'm not crafty. I'm not going to be the kind of stay at home mama who sews awesome dinosaur Halloween costumes, makes bento box lunches that artfully craft food to resemble Dora The Explorer, or uses recycled egg cartons to create anything. Second, I get bored easily. I can only read that God damn Lighting McQueen book so many times before I start to lose it. My attention span for playing Hotwheels is about 3.2 minutes. Third, I'm claustrophobic and I like to spend money way, way way too much. "Staying at home" meant one too many $250 purchases at Target, just to..."get out."  So over the next few years I did contract and part time work.   Most recently I have worked somewhere between 24-32 hours a week, from home and while in many ways it has been wonderful, it has also left me feeling lonely and unfulfilled. I have felt as though I was straddling two worlds, part stay at home mom, part working mom, but I didn't quite fit into either category.  Too busy and stressed to volunteer for the PTA and not dedicated enough to advance my career. I knew that something had to give.

 I am a recruiter, a woman who has always derived her energy from interacting with others.  While working from home afforded me amazing flexibility which has been nice for my family, it has slowly sucked the life out of me.  I need to be around people. Specifically grown-ups. And while I dearly love my children, I feel the need to be in the workforce.  I want face to face adult relationships, staff meetings and occasional happy hours. I want to feel I'm a valuable player on an awesome team.  I want  to get the hell out of my ratty yoga pants and into a decent pair of heels.

So I did it.  I accepted a full time recruiting gig with a great company. I have an office in downtown Denver. I will have coworkers, business cards and occasional travel.  I am thrilled.  Excited. And yes a little scared.  Change is scary. Will I be successful? Will my kids be happy? Will I? Does this decision make me a bad mother?

I'm a firm believer that reasonable risk is a good thing.  This is a big step, and a bit of a risk, but I'm ready. I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to leave my basement and reenter the world. I'm ready to take the leap of faith, that if I am happier and more fulfilled, my family will reap the benefits too.

So cheers to all of you moms and dads out there who have made these difficult decisions for yourselves. Cheers to the stay at home dads, the part time working moms, the parents who don't have a choice and those that decide to work outside the home. We all try and do what's best for our families, and we will keep trying until we get it right.

I feel I have made the right decision. I'm feel excited about this next chapter in my life.  I feel....good!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What To Expect: Seymour You're Doing It Wrong!

What To Expect When You Are A 40 Year Old Mother Of Three School Aged Boys

Dear Moms (No. You are no longer a mommy. You will never be a mommy again.),

 You no longer have the time to read a full book about parenting while lovingly patting your nice round belly and dreaming of the new life inside.  You no longer have naps. You have been told that plopping your kids in front of electronic devices is a cardinal sin for which you will burn in a fiery hell infested with SpongeBob and very sharp Lego pieces strategically placed to meet your barefoot at 5 o'clock in the morning. With your busy lifestyle, I thought it would be best to simply break life down into bullet points, something you can skim as you single-handedly  whip up three PBJs (one hold the jelly, add honey, one crusts removed light peanut butter and one cut into quarters) while creating a clever Pinterst worthy science project due tomorrow. So here you have it, what to expect when you are a 40-something mother of three school aged boys: 

  • Random strangers will stop telling you how adorable your children are, and if they do, you should be afraid. No seriously back away from the creepy pedophile-child abductor and flee.
  • Worried about your social calendar? Don't be! It will be booked solid for the foreseeable future with school fundraisers, soccer games, school fundraisers, baseball games, school fundraisers, basketball games, school fundraisers, birthday parties and hey, did I mention, school fundraisers?
  • You will now actually have to actively budget for birthday party gifts and.... school fundraisers. 
  • Yes! You will still get me-time, have no fear.  It's called, the dentist, the gyno, cleaning the bathrooms*, a mammogram and maybe, just maybe, a haircut.
  • *Clean & bathroom are two words that will actually never be uttered (honestly) again. 
  • You will be stumped, on a regular basis by your third graders math homework. 
  • You may find yourself horrified when your six year old asks, upon seeing your naked belly if he is going to have a new brother. 
  • You will smile when you hear "Hi Zack's Mom" and cringe when you here "Mam" far more often than you would like. 
  • You will still get plenty of free parenting advice, don't worry! Nobody will be shy about telling you what you are doing wrong and how you are permanently damaging your offspring with  too much sugar, glutton, rules, lack of discipline, over protection, coddling, swearing, PG movies, processed food and.... you get the point. Seymour, You're doing it wrong! (Random Simpsons reference for you fans.) 
  • You will feel guilty on a daily basis for your lack of participation in the PTA, unless you are in the PTA, in which case you will feel resented on a daily basis by non-participating parents who believe you should "get a life." 
  • You might contemplate getting a bumper sticker, like "soccer mom" or "proud parent of an honor role student" and then you will be overcome with an overwhelming disgust for yourself.
  • You are totally accustomed to seeing a pair of dirty underwear on your coffee table or a naked butt on the sofa. 
  • You are reminded on at least a weekly basis that you do not in fact have a penis, but a "gina", and this is regarded as an utter tragedy. 
  • You see your grocery bill skyrocketing, realizing that it is only going to get worse and worse and you wonder how the the Pilgrims did it without Walmart. 

I could go on, and perhaps there will be a second edition of What to Expect, but it's 9:30 on a Saturday night, and I'm a 40 year old mom of three school aged boys, and I need get to bed...... 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kargas Inc, Code of Conduct

Kargas Inc Code Of Conduct. 

Dear Kargas Inc Employees,

Thank for your time at our last all staff.  Based on the fact that several employees were shoving fingers in their ears while humming "I can't hear you" and no noticeable changes have resulted from our meeting I am concerned that my points did not come across.  In an effort to be very clear about company expectations I have created a Code Of Conduct.  I expect you to read these over until committed to memory. For staff members who are unable to read, we are working on an animated tutorial featuring Spongebob, Dora and Bart Simpson.  

  1. In this company all staff members deserve to be treated with respect.  From this point forward if I witness name calling, physical threats, door slamming or eye rolling, I will take a 30 minute break in my personal office with a bottle of wine.  
  2. Regarding our company's eating areas, it is imperative that all staff members wear pants to meals.  In addition, as you know the restroom is located directly adjacent to the common eating area.  It is required that you close the door when using the facility. 
  3. While we here at Kargas Inc appreciate artistic expression it is not acceptable to carve tick-tack-toe games into fine furniture, or to use permanent marker on clothing, walls, body parts, floors, furniture or bedding.
  4. In order to reduce the risk of a rat infestation we request that you do not leave cups of milk or half eaten sandwiches in hidden places throughout the facility.  
  5. Please remember that I am the CEO of this company, not Stupid-Idiot-Jerk-Snot-Butt-Fart. Please call me "Mom" "Boss" or "Our Queen." 
  6. Our current finances due not allow for us to hire an entire kitchen staff.  Thus, we will require you eat the meal that is provided. We assure you that you will not die from the consumption of lasagna, vegetable soup or chicken teriyaki. While senior leadership do not possess culinary degrees, we are trained in food safety and we have yet to kill anyone with our cooking. 
  7. Please take pride in your environment.  Office space and furnishings are expensive.  Please refrain from destroying company property whenever possible. We realize that our big screen tv was recently "accidentally" smashed when a Wii controller was inadvertently hurled at it after a lost game of Super Mario Brothers Galaxy, but please, please lets have fewer accidents.  

Please note that this list is fluid and we reserve the right to continually amend and add to our code of conduct.   

Thank you for your time. 

With Little Hope Of Real Change,

Mom, CEO, Queen, Boss.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Yom Kippur: At Home

So we are in the midst of the High Holidays. Today in fact,  most of my fellow MOT's are in   synagogue. They will fast. They will reflect. They will repent.

I don't belong to a temple. I don't observe most of the Jewish holidays.  Over the past few years I have made half-hearted attempts to embrace Jewish culture and tradition mostly because I wanted to share this with my children. Zachary and Evan attended a Jewish preschool. Each year we light the menorah, I have taken the boys solo to family friendly Rosh Hashanah services and we have attempted to create something that resembles a seder.

But this year, on the holiest of Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur, I sit at home.  We had soccer this morning. Errands to run. My husband is in Kansas City for the weekend. And in all honestly, I have had a pretty lousy week.

Monday, I rear ended a truck. Yes. It was my fault.

Thursday a visit to the orthopedist resulted in orders for an MRI, which will likely reveal that my ankle has not properly healed and I will require surgery.

Friday morning after discussing a variety of symptoms at my annual physical my doctor informed me that I am in fact probably in peri-menopause.  She said something about my ovaries petering out. Drying up. I received orders for my first mammogram and a bone density scan.  Welcome to FORTY.

Friday afternoon, my boss called me and basically told me that I am being replaced by a local recruiter, and that the remote situation was not meeting the business needs. It came as a surprise as I had felt very good about work in the past couple of months.

And my husband is in Kansas City.

So I was prepared to be in poor spirits this weekend. In no mood for services. In no mood to repent for my sins when it feels like this whole week has been one punishment after the next.

At 11:00 last night as I lay awake, unable to find sleep once again, I started thinking. Perhaps the timing of all of this couldn't be more perfect.  Whether I like it or not circumstances have pushed me into a time of change and uncertainty. I can bury my head under the covers and cry, or I can embrace a new start and learn from my experiences.  I can reflect on what I have done in this past year to contribute to my misfortune, and I can admit to myself what I need to work on in the coming year.

This new year is full of opportunity. In addition to the mistakes I have made in the past twelve months, I have also done some pretty awesome shit. I have made strides in understanding where I excel professionally, and now I will have the chance to follow my passions. I have learned a great deal about self acceptance, and I can live more comfortably with my perceived "flaws." I have opened my mind in many ways which I believe will ultimately  open myself up to greater happiness.

Although not I'm not in synagogue, I believe this weekend I have embraced the spirit of the this holy day, perhaps more than in any year past.

So I wish my friends and family Shana Tova, a sweet New Year, and G'mar Chatima Tova, may you be inscribed for goodness.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dinner Dilemmas: Pizza Cupcakes, You Are Welcome!

LinkedIn & Wine. Living the dream!
Some weeks it is really about the small victories you know? This past week included an epic meltdown brought on by a sugar crash after a birthday doughnut binge, a six year old expressing his artistic side by creating a "mural" on our back fence with a black sharpie, and too many evenings shared with a glass of wine as I scoured LinkedIn for candidates. So yes. This week I was all about the little "wins."
Evan's artwork 

A year or two ago I did a series called "Dinner Dilemmas" because at that time I felt I had picky eaters! I laugh now. What did I know about picky eaters then? Fast forward to 2014. Today I am an expert with picky eaters. To be fair, my nine and three year old boys don't give me too much trouble, it's the six year old, Evan. . Evan would subside on a diet of skittles, Honey Nut Cheerios, milk and cake topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and extra sugar for good measure. Sure sometimes fruit and plain noodles are acceptable, but I can't push my luck.

The kid is impossible. What's for dinner mom? Doesn't matter what I answer.  The words barely escape my mouth before they are met with "I don't like that!" Lasagna? No. Tuna casserole? No. Homemade mac & cheese? No. Eggs? No. Tacos? No. Turkey sandwich? No. Soup of any kind? No. Mashed potatoes? No. Chili? No. NO NO NO NO.  You get the idea. It is infuriating, not to mention I think child services may show up at my door at any moment since my kid potentially borders on malnourished.

Last Sunday I pledged to find something my six year old would eat. I went to trusty Google and typed in "Dinner recipes, kids, picky eaters." Well my search returned plenty of recipes for... mac & cheese, tuna casserole, scrambled eggs and lasagna. Right. Not going to help me with my problem.  I was about to give up and fill my grocery cart with noodles and cereal when I stumbled on a recipe for Pizza Cupcakes.  You can follow the link for the actual recipe, but it could not have been any easier, which as a working mom with two kids in soccer practice most evenings is what I am all about.  If I have to peel, measure, puree, blend or beat too many ingredients, it ain't happening.

Pizza Cupcakes met the five ingredient criteria so I was sold.

What you need:

Refrigerator pizza dough (like Pillsbury)
Pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Mini pepperoni
Ground Italian sausage.

What you do:

Grease a muffin pan
Line each pan with pizza dough to create little cups that will be filled with a mixture of cooked sausage, pepperoni, sauce and cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 16 minutes

Garnish plates with sauteed green beans that *may* go uneaten but that will make your feel like a good, health conscious parent.


Too my shock and amazement all three children consumed and enjoyed them. Read that one more time. ALL THREE CHILDREN CONSUMED AND ENJOYED MY PIZZA CUPCAKES.  (No green beans were even touched during this experiment however.)

I brought back my trusty five star rating system and the results are in:

Bon Appetit! And here is to a week with many more small victories

Saturday, September 20, 2014

All About The Bass: "Skinny Bitch" Speaks Out.

Yeah. It's catchy. So damn catchy I find my self repeating it over and over all day.  While making breakfast "I'm all about the bass, about the bass, no treble." In the shower "You know my mama she told me don't worry about your size." In the car "i'm no stick figure silicon barbie doll."

All freaking day. That song. I thought it was a guilty pleasure. The bubble gum pop I'm supposed to be "too sophisticated" to enjoy. And I'm not above that. Fuck. I can admit that I like Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" (although I do take exception to the whole hammer licking video.) At first I thought it was a woman boldly singing a body-positive message, encouraging larger women not to "worry about your size."  Then I really listened to the lyrics, and I scratched my head.  Then I watched the Video, and I got pissed.

This is not a song about all women embracing their size. No. This is just another form of body shamming , albeit the reverse of what we usually see in our weight-obsessed society. What may seem like the anthem for the  full figured woman, still promotes a dangerous philosophy that one body type is better than another and that women are valued most for their sexuality, as defined by how many boys chase their "booty."

In case you are not familiar with the song, which means you probably don't listen to Alice 105 (guilty as charged,) it is performed by Meghan Trainor and here are the lyrics:

Yeah it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to do
'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
All the right junk in all the right places
I see the magazines working that Photoshop
We know that shit ain't real
Come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won't be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that's what's you're into then go ahead and move along 

Because you know I'm all about that bass,
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass
I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches Hey
No, I'm just playing I know you think you're fat,
But I'm here to tell you that,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won't be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that's what's you're into
Then go ahead and move along

I'm sorry lady, but did you just call me a bitch? I have a problem with that. As far as I know my weight does not define my level of bitchiness. What if we changed the lyrics to "go ahead and tell them big bitches?" I think it would be seen as what it is, an insult based on weight. Yes. I understand that heavier women (and men) face more discrimination than their skinnier counterparts, yet, I don't think promoting disdain for either body type is healthy for our society, or for the young, developing girls listening.

The song, and the video in particular demonizes "skinny bitches" telling us that thin women aren't sexy, thin women cant "shake it" and thin women are fake (silicon barbie dolls.)  The one skinny woman in the video is a caricature   She is overly sexualized and foolish, looking on in amazement at the big booties she ain't got. The song tells us our bodies are perfect from the "bottom to the top" (as long as you aren't a skinny bitch, right?)  

 The whole concept that she isn't a size two, but she has the "boom boom" that the boys really want is disturbing on multiple levels.  First, Meghan, are you trying to tell me that no boys want my "boom boom?" I beg to differ.  Men and women like people of varying body types, including skinny asses and round ones too. Second, as a women are our bodies acceptable only  because men find us sexually attractive? Because that is the message I am hearing.   "Hey it's okay I'm not a size two, because what men really want is a little extra booty."  This isn't a song about self-love or body acceptance, this is a song that tells us a woman's body is acceptable if men want to screw them.  What I first interrupted as a song to empower women is really just another objectification of the female body.

And it is sad. This song could have been so much more.  It could have been a sassy song about shaking what you got, whatever it is you got, because your perfect, from your bottom to your top, no matter what your size.

Someone needs to write that song.

Monday, September 15, 2014

People I Want To Punch In The Face: A Real "Genius"

It has been so long since I have vented in the form of People I Want To Punch In The Face.  It's time. Oh, yes it is time.

It came to me today as I sat in the Apple store with my busted IPhone. The screen shattered when I was on an emergency potty run with my three year old during my six year old's "soccer game." I put soccer game in quotations, because seriously, have you ever watched six year olds play soccer? It's a mix of excessive celebration combined with organized chaos and nose picking. Anyways, while coaxing my youngest child to go potty, my IPhone fell from my pocket and landed face down on the bathroom floor. The screen was shattered.  Long story short I made an appointment at the "Genius Bar." Really? Come on, as far as I can tell the employed "Geniuses" are bored pseudo techies punching a time clock. I don't remember the name of my "Genius" however he wore an official blue shirt, glasses and about a million electronic gadgets affixed to his belt. *HOT*. My Genius took one look at my phone shook his head and actually made a tutt, tutt, sound with his tongue, something I might expect of an 84 year old, but he couldn't have been over 25.

He placed my phone on the table and pressed here and there determining after 22 seconds that my phone was bent. He removed my case and noticed something "sticky" on the back of my phone, and snickered in disgust.  "What is that?" he questioned, eye brows raised and smirking. As my three year old sat beside me mindlessly pounding his chubby fingers on a sample Ipad, I looked him straight in the eye and said: "Have you ever seen inside a mommy's purse? How the hell do I know?"  He quickly announced that I would need a replacement. He picked up my phone and started fiddling around disabling icloud, and resetting passwords. He handed it back to me, informing me I needed to back my phone up and come back later to purchase the new phone. I sighed and texted my husband about the latest expense, and realized that most of my contacts had simply disappeared. Gone. Erased. I panicked. HOW AM I GOING TO REACH IAN'S DAD TO ARRANGE A PLAY DATE? HOW CAN I REACH THAT ONE BABYSITTER WE USED LAST YEAR? HOW WILL I REMEMBER WHO MY KID'S PEDIATRIC DENTIST IS??? Holy crisis.

I asked my Genius, what had just happened. He looked down at my phone in complete dismay, informing me he had no idea, and it was certainly nothing that he had done. Dude. One minute I held my trusty IPhone with all 170 contacts in place. The next after you put your genius hands all over it my contacts are gone.... you are telling me this is a coincidence?  "Miss, I don't know what you want me to do, they are gone." Um... hello.... aren't you called a Genius? This is Genius? Are you kidding me? No. No. Apparently he was not kidding me.  He handed me the work order and told me to return in a few days for a new phone and walked away. Leaving me....contactless.

I left the store, irate, my busted IPhone in my purse and my cranky three year old on my hip screaming for an Ipad and informing me that he had just had an "accident" which was now obvious to anyone within a two mile radius. As I walked my stinky child to the restroom I remembered to secure my phone now devoid of contacts in my purse, since this was in fact how I ended up at the "Genius Bar" in the first place.

So Public Service Announcement: Keep your phone tucked in a safe place when bent over your child in a public restroom, and never trust a genius with your contacts. You are welcome.