Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Highs and Lows

I just got off the phone with my boss and the CFO of my company. It's 10pm my time and 10am their time in China. I presented two proposals for reforecasting the 2010 marketing budget. My business (the Canadian site) is performing incredibly well this year - beyond all expectations. So, this is the 5th time I have reforecasted spend for 2010 because we keep investing to support the phenomenal response. In comparison, we budgeted and reforecasted for all of 2009 only 3 times. And, it's only March. It's good news overall. But, budgeting/forecasting is incredibly time-consuming if done well. And, I'm a perfectionist. Seriously, I annoy myself because of it.

I literally spent all day Friday (because I was on vacation earlier in the week), time over the weekend, all day yesterday - break for dinner and kids' bedtime - and then worked again until 1am. I was back at the office by 7:30am this morning and emailed the presentation at 3pm today - when I finally stopped to have 'lunch' (or a banana with peanut butter).

I arrived home just before 6pm since I had plenty of other work to do that had been neglected. Ate dinner. Had a cute little FHE with the kids that was delayed from yesterday. Got back online and ready for my 10pm call.

And . . . wait for it . . . the one thing they wanted me to focus on (April forecasting) was the only thing I didn't do. I had already received incremental money for April - so, I spent all of my time on May-December. I was looking back through emails while presenting - to see how I misunderstood the assignment. Anyway . . . the details don't matter. It's confusing anyway.

The bottom line is . . . all of that work . . . all of that time. Spreadsheets, models, presentations, manipulating numbers, haggling with agencies . . .

They laughed and said that I was ahead of the curve . . . that total 2010 reforecasting would be due in two weeks anyway.

We - on the spot - made a decision for April in 5 minutes.

It didn't matter at that point . . . I still felt like a complete

Honestly, it's just amazing to me how a grown woman, a 'Career Woman' (ha ha), can experience the same emotions that you feel when you are sent to the Principal's office (which is a terrible example for me since I was such a goody two shoes back in the day). But, it's that same mixture of disappointment, annoyance, concerns, etc., etc.

I've had much worse happen at work. Much more stressful times. Much more worrying.

This isn't that bad. They didn't really care. But, I don't get my weekend back. I won't get my sleep back (I never had that in the first place). And, I felt like an idiot in front of the new CFO.


So, that's a great day in the life of a working mom. Not too different from anyone else really. Not exceptional. Just an example.

Isn't it funny how different all of our lives are? I tell Jeff all the time . . . even though our lives are one . . . we live completely different experiences during the day. Everyone does.

I guess that's why I've found myself recently reading blogs on other people's lives . . . women I don't even know that are stay-at-home parents . . . instead of posting about my own life. I am intrigued by the life that other women lead. Not comparing . . . never comparing. I'm not saying one is harder or more stressful or more rewarding or any other impossible measure. It would never be acceptable for a working man to make this comparison . . . and I wouldn't either . . . and I've been on both sides. I can say there are times that the grass looks greener . . . from both sides.

There are just not many other women that I know personally that share my working experiences right now. For sure, in a tight-knit LDS community, it's a rarity. But, there are a few . . . several that read this blog. It's just that you don't see a lot of blogs out there from full-time working moms documenting their working life.

After my 'Career Woman' post - Jeff and I joked about me starting up a blog that would share all the details of my working day since I seem to be obsessed with reading about the daily details of stay-at-home moms' lives. I don't think there would be a lot of readers.

I'll try get back to posting about kids and family and all that stuff, too. No promises. I'm pretty obsessed right now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

While shopping for a gift for our friend's little girl, I walked by the Strawberry Shortcake section of Wal-Mart. I loved her when I was young.

We had already agreed that the kids weren't getting any toys or treats. Being on vacation is treat enough! But, I could not resist the little Strawberry Shortcake doll that was on clearance. She even came with Custard, her kitten, and a DVD . . . all for $3. Jeff joked that it was quite obviously a gift for me. And, I assured him that I'd let Autumn play with her now and then. :)

I couldn't wait to rip open the package and smell her. And, the instant I did, it immediately took me back in time to the back seat of our old white van . . . on a road trip with my parents to Tennessee, where my mom grew up. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of a cooler that sat on the floor between my Mom and Dad's seat. And, I met my great-grandmother and a distant cousin - who shared my name. I remember asking her if she had Michael Jackson where she lived, too (my family teased me about that for a while . . . I was really young and clearly not well-traveled).

And, we played Strawberry Shortcake.

I love memories like that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Career Woman

I sat down at the desk again tonight with a long list of 'to do's' in my head. I was going to create a meal plan for the upcoming week - complete with grocery list, plan out a few months of nursery lessons with a printable for the parents, organize my latest recipes into the binder and add divider sections . . . and then I remembered a few people that I needed to email back.

So, I emailed some friends . . . and, then I got lost on Facebook for a few minutes.

Okay . . . shake it off. Focus.

Back to online resources that can help me plan meals and nursery lessons.

One blog led to another and another and another. I couldn't even hit {back} enough to get back to where I started.

What WAS I doing?

Okay, back on track. Looking at sites with craft ideas for young children. Perfect.

Wait . . . she (a blogger I do not know - not even distantly) not only posts about family home evening resources and nursery ideas, she used PVC pipes as drapery rods in her family room. It looks amazing . . . She said the idea came from another blog written by a mom that home schools eight children, adds a new recipe and FHE lesson every week, and has colored 100s of pictures that anyone can download to use on flannel boards . . . Her blog linked to another blog of a mom that printed out those 100s of pictures onto t-shirt transfer fabric which she ironed to flannel and then cut out and organized into individual folders with supporting lessons and stories.

Enough. I will link to all these blogs on my blog so I can refer back to them . . . later.

While I'm on my blog, I'll just check out some of my actual friend's sites to see if they've made any updates. I think at least half of the girls I know are pregnant - including Katherine, who has just made her second gorgeous quilt in just a few months.

ARGH! Sure, I know I should just be happy for all of these amazing women and for all they do. And, I am. I really am. But, now I'm also feeling completely inadequate.

Long gone (or at least shelved) is the notion that I will be this kind of crafty mom. Forget the homeschooling or even the quilts. I'd just be happy to update my blog regularly for my own records, have a schedule for nursery beyond 1 or 2 weeks, organize my 'craft room' (poor, neglected, dusty craft room), and organize . . . well . . . my life.

There are women all around that seem to have everything at home ticking like clockwork. Plus, they throw in a bit of patience, spiritual calm, and insight.


And, then I try to think about what I am really good at. Hmmmm . . .

Well, I am good at my job. And, it's not just your normal job. It's a busy one. Not just busy, but . . . complicated. Hard. Challenging. Pivotal. No wonder I like it.

And, then . . . I realized (really and truly) for the first time that I am . . . {gasp} . . . a CAREER WOMAN. A business professional.

Sure, everyone else probably realized that long ago. Not me.

I have been an in denial wanna-be stay-at-home crafty, creative mom that worked just for insurance and money . . . for five years now. Wow.

I think part of me thought that by admitting I have come to enjoy my job that I would also somehow be saying that I wouldn't prefer to be home raising my kids. And, that's not true.

But, I sense the judging sometimes. I have brushed off the comments by people completely unaware of our situation and Gavin's needs. Those insensitive self-righteous comments.

And, I always get a little chuckle at the people who feel sorry for Jeff. Poor Jeff that has somehow given up everything so that I can work. He has been worried over by everyone much more than your typical stay-at-home parent, I guarantee. Much more than a wanna-be full-time mom. Funny (in an ironic kind of way) . . .

No one can deny how amazing he is. I sent him a note yesterday - from the office - when he sounded uncharacteristically frustrated by cleaning the kitchen yet again - that said that I didn't know any other man that could rebuild a car's engine, construct a house, be more financially savvy or athletic while serving as a go-to babysitter, doing laundry, teaching Gavin the alphabet, being the most amazing patient daddy ever . . . all while loving and supporting an all-too-often frazzled wife. I love him. No . . . I adore him.

So, perhaps he's doing a better job at being a stay-at-home parent than I would.


I'll admit . . . it's not easy to keep a balance. Not at all. When I could be stretching my creative muscles at night, you can typically find me with my computer on my lap, conducting some kind of regression analysis to create a model to forecast the proper daily media spend based on the number of registrants we gain each day at varying levels of TV spend and viewer impressions. And, I hated that I told Autumn to "wait just a second" for me to read her a book tonight because I needed to check my Blackberry. Again.


I'm a career woman. Not a stay-at-home mom. But, I'm still a mommy.

I bet if I were one of those other amazing mom bloggers, I'd wrap this post up with a little bow of wisdom. A little spiritual thought that proves I have grown yet again today.

But, I'm not going to do that. I'm too deflated to try. I'm not even going to do anything that was on my original list. I'll be honest . . . I'll likely go answer some work emails.

Everything else will wait for another night, another list . . . another shelf.