Working Mom

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It’s that time of year.  You know, when everyone at work goes to sit-down lunches and when you can actually get to work in the amount of time MapQuest tells you it will take. It’s vacation time!

But for us moms (ok, me), “vacation” in its truest form doesn’t really exist.  Even if I take time off of work and go somewhere warm.  I have a tough time relaxing anywhere, anyhow.  Even on my “days off” from work, I find myself more exhausted than when I am in the office for 10 hours  because I am running around doing stuff.

That’s why this year I’m taking my son to visit his grandparents for “vacation.” We’re packing up the kid and heading to Florida and letting grandpa and step-grandma pitch in on the childcare. 

I believe this arrangement will maximize my chances for relaxation and make me feel like I’m on vacation.  But being my type A self, I can’t totally break away from reality.  So I’ve decided to set some goals for myself during my trip:

– Read the book I’ve been trying to finish for the past 6 months
– Workout at least 3 times (that would be more than I have in the last 6 months)
– Dry my hair nicely every time I wash it (key word here is nicely, not dry)
– Wear a bathing suit if it’s warm enough (this is after day 3 of working out, of course)
– Not change my son’s diaper for one whole day
– Finish building my new blog site (details forthcoming after the new year)

I think these can be accomplished with the right amount of dilligence and strategy.  All play and no work can make mom a dull woman!

Happy Holidays.


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I’m bringing my son to the office tomorrow to meet my coworkers – so why am I so excited? I feel like a little schoolgirl who’s bringing in her favorite doll for show and tell.

I think it’s because when you work and then get pregnant and then basically disappear for a few months on maternity leave, you want everyone to know what you got for being out so long.  You want to validate the reason you only came back part-time to work, or why you leave work at 5 on the dot.

By bringing your kid into work, you can show your coworkers how cute he is, and how you care about that little dude more than anything else in the world.

Kind of like the little doll you used to carry around with you everywhere when you were little.

The New York Times ran another article on Sunday regarding the dearth of women bosses in Fortune 500 companies.  The article covered familiar ground- lack of visible women corporate leaders, lack of women on company boards, women trying to balance work and family, etc.

So what’s my beef? I’m glad the NYT is keeping the discussion going of the inequities in the workplace between women and men.  But what I’m not seeing a lot of are stories about working moms like ME. Where are the stories of those in the middle of the management heap?  The regular “moms” trying to get ahead?

Come on reporters- play to the masses! Give us something to relate to!

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Our company’s annual holiday party is tonight.  It’s my third party, but first as a mom, so I think the rules are a little bit different for me.  Some dos and don’ts for moms at work holiday parties:

Do feel free to dance to the music; it’s a good chance to show your coworkers that you’re still alive.
Don’t get caught karaoke-ing “Like a Virgin” – you never know who’s got a cell phone camera out there and where your children may find those photos online (this is NOT a personal experience).

Do get dolled up for work that day; spend the 15 extra minutes to wash and dry your hair!
Don’t wear anything remotely similar to the photo to the left (Thank you, Tamara and Jeffrey).

Do gorge yourself on all the party apps. I’m quite sure they’re better than any dinner you were going to have at home.
Don’t stuff the dinner rolls in your purse for lunch tomorrow.  That’s not being a resourceful mom, it’s just tacky.

Do have a drink, or two (or three), if you please. You did get the night off for a reason.
Don’t overdo it. Your husband will NOT be sympathetic tomorrow and get up with the kids when you don’t feel well.

Enjoy the holiday party season!

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After reading a recent article in The Wall Street Journal about kids who feel “orphaned” by their parents’ BlackBerries, I determined that I too, was putting my son at risk with my BlackBerry-ing behaviors.  But I am not orphaning my son by using my BlackBerry.  Rather, I believe I suffer from a case of BlackBerry-itis.  It’s a sickness that is long-term in nature and very hard to cure. 

BlackBerry-itis can be defined as “an unnatural and obsessive addiction to checking one’s BlackBerry.”  There are many strains of BlackBerry-itis.  Type M (the obsessive need to check one’s BlackBerry during Meetings), Type PT (the addiction to checking one’s BlackBerry on Public Transportation, and the most severe form, the type I suffer from, Type F (when checking one’s BlackBerry interferes with Familial duties).

Unfortunately, Type F is hard to discern, since many observers of the disease are children not of speaking age.  And, the sickness is subtle at first.  It may start with a casual checking of the BlackBerry when you wake up in the morning before you get baby out of the crib.  But full-blown BlackBerry-itis Type F is hard to miss.

Here are some of the key indicators:

r     You check your BlackBerry even when your child is in the highchair screaming bloody murder for his food.
r     You bring your BlackBerry into bed with you in the morning and email instead of cuddling with your child.
r     You find that your thumbs are too sore to play with your baby’s blocks.
r     You bring the BlackBerry to mom/baby classes and check it immediately when class is over.
r     You’d rather sit at your counter and “BlackBerry” than sit on your floor and play with your child.
r     Your mother actually knows what the device is, and expresses her disdain for it.

However problematic BlackBerry-itis can be there are some little-known cures:
r     Husband threatens to “throw that thing in Lake Michigan or other large body of water” if he sees the BlackBerry in the bedroom one more time.
r     People at work send you nasty emails telling you to stop emailing on your day off.
r     Email servers at work go down, making the BlackBerry non-functioning (note: this is only a temporary cure until the servers are restored).
r     You leave BlackBerry on different floor of your house so that you are too lazy to walk upstairs and get it.
Unfortunately, I’ve tried all of the remedies above to no avail.  After trying to cure my illness, I think that the best solution for BlackBerry-itis is not having a BlackBerry at all.  But I don’t think I’m quite ready to try that solution yet.   

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Check out The Juggle, a new blog by Wall Street Journal columnist Sara Schaefer Munoz.  (I’m not 100% sold on the name, but it might grow on me.) “The Juggle” aims to discuss all the issues that pertain to the modern family- stress of finding the right caregiver, trying to finish your neverending “to do” list, and managing to do your actual day job – all at the same time.

I liked what I read at first, especially about fake workplace productivity problems  (for those who care, I suffer from PCAST with a small case of my own diagnosis,”Nannyitis“).  And I’m totally glad to see another mainstream paper getting on the blogosphere bandwagon.  Guess I’ll add it to my Feeds… how will I ever “Juggle” all the stuff I have to read!?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, new mothers are dropping out of the workforce at a higher rate.  According to the data, the percentage of married mothers of infants in the workforce dropped from 59 percent in 1997 to 51 percent in 2004.  Reasons cited for the drop include mothers wanting to nurture their children during the first year, and the increase of childcare.

Not suprisingly, other reasons cited are workplace related- not enough flexible return-to-work options, or lack of extended maternity leave.  Heck, read this story and you’ll see why us moms are tentative about returning to work.

Point is, as I’ve said before – if you lose moms in the workforce, you’ll lose employees who have stamina, the ability to multitask like nobody’s business and who can cope with long, tiring hours.  Employers – it pays to keep your moms coming back to work!

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