Monthly Archives: September 2017

Self-Care Saturday: Taking Care of Yourself on a Busy Day

So, today is the celebration of my daughter’s birth, even though her birthday was Tuesday and the stars aligned to drag out her birthday for a couple of days anyway.  That, of course, means it’s going to be a busy day. Writing this before we get underway, this is what I have planned:

  • Yard Sales
  • Breakfast donuts
  • Nap
  • Car ride to a city an hour away.
  • Hay ride, pumpkin patch, apple picking and treats (apple pie or caramel apples.)
  • International Festival, an event that the city throws to showcase the diverse population. Hope there’s a Russia booth so we can hit it up. (Baby Girl’s name is Russian.)
  • Dinner, if we haven’t eaten enough at the International Festival
  • Car ride back home.

Even with my husband, it’s going to be a long day. Baby Girl is bound to get fussy for some of it. I’m probably going to get stressed about something (her fussing, or money, or parking…). So I am devising some strategies for self-care on a really stressful, busy day.

  1.  Celebrate mistakes and roll with the punches. Oh? They’re out of caramel apples? Let’s have pie. Or ice cream. No Russia booth? Well, there’s always the British Isles (for her middle name.) Flat tire? At least no one’s injured and Daddy is handy with tools. I think you get my point.
  2. Ask for help. Directions, information, or just asking my husband to do something. There will also be one other adult with us for the orchard part of the day, so I can rely on her, too!
  3. Focus on the basics. Try to get plenty of sleep the night before and make sure we aren’t so caught up that we don’t eat well. Yes, treats are nice, but we need real food, too.
  4.  Take deep breaths. Just a moment or two to step out of the hectic-ness of the day. It doesn’t have to be a full-on meditation.
  5. Minimize technology. Yes, I will need my cell phone for coordination with the other people who are coming and for navigation, and I will use it to take pictures. But I will be mindful of how many pictures I take, I will ask others to take pictures (see the asking for help) and I will put my phone away when it is not doing one of these useful tasks. No Facebook, no Twitter, no random information searches and no games.

 

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Flashback Friday: My Last Day of Work

What to talk about…. I’m still not ready to talk about what I wanted to talk about with last Friday’s post, so perhaps I will attempt to skirt the issue by talking about this instead: my last day of work before Baby Girl was born.

Baby Girl was two weeks overdue. My midwife was freaking out; she had never had a first-time mother go overdue, and I was terribly uncooperative. I wanted everything to happen in its own time. She kept reading me statistics, trying to scare me.

Looking back, I really did not have great luck with the medical professionals available to me. But that is a post for another time.

I didn’t want to waste any of my maternity leave pre-birth unless there was a medical reason for it.  I felt like that was the least I owed to my employer and myself and all the women who came before me who fought to be able to even work while they were pregnant. I wasn’t an invalid; I was just pregnant. However, my co-workers were… infuriating. “Why are you here?” they would ask. “Go home and rest,” they would say.

The final straw came about three days before I actually went into labor. I was in the bathroom, and one of the faculty came into library. I emerged from the bathroom (just around the corner and out of sight of said faculty member) just as she said these words,

“Oh, where is she? Did she finally go into labor?!”

I get that the people I work with took in an interest in what was going on with me, but this faculty member was not a particularly close acquaintance, much less friend. I have much better established working relationships with other faculty members. Not saying my relationship with this one is bad by any means, but I felt like this was prying.

As I came up behind her, I said, jaw clenched, “No, I haven’t yet. I was just out of the room.”

Then I politely took care of what she needed from me (reserve materials for her class, IIRC.) When we was gone, I emailed my HR representative and said that I was officially starting maternity leave. I would deal with the exact ramifications of that decision later. I needed it for my mental health.

Thematic Thursday: Date Night Vacation

Hi there, y’all! This week’s Thematic Thursday is a date night idea I had last summer. I’ve only done it once, because it took a little bit of prep work, but I’d like to share it with you.

For our date night, we went on a virtual vacation to Istanbul!  I surprised my husband with these fake plane tickets and printed a vacation passport and stamps from this kid’s activity. I even made a stamp for the Istanbul airport because our particular location wasn’t in the activity kit.

I decorated our kitchen table with inexpensive trinkets that seemed reminiscent of Turkey, including gold-edged paper plates and napkins from the party store. I even broke out my gold colored chargers from the holidays.

Now, because I live in a cultural wasteland (okay, that’s harsh… it is just not a very diverse area.) I ended up making some authentic Turkish food. Including baklava! If you’re in a more ethnic area or your destination isn’t quite as exotic, you can serve up some takeout instead and save yourself some trouble. I plan to do that when we reprise this date night for Japan!

I made a cute little menu in the style of a Turkish restaurant with what I had made; I made two separate entrees just like if we were at a real restaurant.

Then, after dinner, we settled in for the “sightseeing” – we watched YouTube videos of the locations that we wanted to go to, picking them from a handy map of Istanbul that I printed out.

My husband was thrilled; he has always wanted to go to Istanbul, but there are about a million reasons why it will probably never happen. You’ll love the virtual vacation too, and I’m sure you’ll want to do it more than once, so take my advice:  Keep the passport for future vacations!

Working Wednesday: Hello, I’m a CareerMom

I am going to try not to change up Wednesdays at all – that is, I’m going to continue having all Wednesdays be Working Wednesdays – because, first and foremost, I want this blog to be about the career in CareerMom.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to this week’s topic:

Introducing Yourself as a CareerMom

For some of you, that may not be a big deal; it’ll depend on where you live, what kind of career you have, how affluent the area you live in is, all sorts of things. As far as I can tell, the idea of the woman in a relationship being a breadwinner – or even the only breadwinner – is easier for most people to take now than it used to be. Your individual circumstances (who watches your kids, if you’re single/co-parenting without being married/etc.) might color this conversation a little bit, so do watch out for that – but only you will be able to correctly judge your area.

That being said, I live in the Bible Belt. So I have heard a thing or two about well meaning people’s opinions about me working outside the home – and worse yet, me being the breadwinner while my husband is a SAHD. (There is a corny but depressing joke in there about that acronym sounding like “sad.”) Here is my best advice if you are caught off guard by a question and have to address the fact that your are a career mom.

  • Keep it simple. Do not bore the questioner with why or how or even when, unless it’s directly pertinent to the question. If they want to know more, they will ask.
  • If they keep questioning… Be polite and positive. Example: “Based on [factor], this is the best decision for our family right now.” I usually use my husband’s educational level, but the economy is usually a good replacement.
  • Keep the conversation moving. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to steer the conversation in another direction! You don’t need to defend your decision to anyone else.

The responses I have got following these rules have been overwhelmingly positive – and for the blessed few that weren’t, I was able to steer the conversation away. I hope that this simple advice will aid you as well.

 

Together Tuesday: Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Taking today off from the blog to spend with the birthday girl… See you all tomorrow!

Motivation Monday: Stop Waiting

Another alternative category, this time for Mondays! Yes, I’m jumping on this bandwagon, that I have seen more frequently on Twitter and Instagram as the hashtag #MondayMotivation.

I could use a little motivation for this week; it started out last night with making Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting for a coworker’s birthday, baby girl fighting sleep, and then baby girl waking up in the middle of the night for so long I had to wake my husband. Frosted the cupcakes this morning after I jolted out of bed 45 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, and delivered them to an admittedly ECSTATIC recipient. I was going to write a Menu Monday post about them, but there isn’t much to say except go make them. Browning butter isn’t really hard.

Work has been full of cold-contacting and super awkward emails as I try to organize a speaker for this campus for the spring. We’ve never done a major spring event here so it would be nice if I can get it together.

So, back to Motivation Monday – in honor of the fact that I am already dreaming of Friday (and more importantly, my little girl’s birthday party on Saturday), I am inviting you all to take a step back with me and ponder this:

Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.

 

Savings Sunday: Buying in Bulk

Today, we’re going to talk about something I should do to save money, but don’t, really.

With very few exceptions, I don’t generally buy in bulk. While I plan ahead and take advantage of good sales, I don’t buy a ton of anything, even if it’s non-perishable. Most of that is because of space considerations- I don’t have a lot of cabinet/pantry space in my kitchen and I don’t have a chest freezer. 

I also don’t have a membership to Sam’s Club (or Costco, but that’s not relevant anyway- the nearest one is an hour and a half away.)

I keep saying that these are all things I will get around to doing, and I even have tentative plans on how to conveniently add pantry space to my old house, but I have no idea when I’ll get to any of it, because so much needs to be done to this house, first.

Until then, buying in bulk is mostly out of my reach.