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Friday, April 23, 2010

Someone get me a Diet Coke and some Advil…Please

I don’t need to look at the clock to know when it’s 3 p.m. My body has an automatic internal mechanism that kicks into gear at 3 p.m. every week day. It manifests itself in the form of a dull headache followed by the inability to focus on whatever task is at hand.

If I’m in a meeting, I’m outta luck and have to tough it out. But I’m no hero when I’m in my office. I make a quick trip to the medicine cabinet followed by feeding the vending machine a couple of quarters for a Diet Coke.

***POOF***

Headache gone. It’s magic.

One of the nice benefits of working for a financial institution with a branch on the main floor is the convenience of getting coins for my Diet Coke emergencies. If you viewed my monthly checking account statements, you’d note several cash withdrawals for 50 cents.

My Diet Coke habit is well-known among my work associates. Last year, for Boss’s Day, my team bought me a two month supply of Diet Coke refills at the store across the street. True story. I hired them because they are smart…and being smart includes knowing how to keep your boss happy.

At home, the fridge is always stocked with a 12-pack of Coke Zero with Vanilla. We keep bottles of Advil in the kitchen and in the bathroom. It keeps mom motivated, coherent and pain free on the weekends.

For my family, friends and acquaintances who think I will never kick-the-habit, I have news for you…I already did. During both pregnancies, I actually went without caffeine and ibuprofen for nine months.

Twenty minutes after our second daughter was born, my attentive husband asked me if I needed anything.

My response?

“Yes…a Diet Coke.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Career Is A Sham

I have a secret.

I work because it gives me an excuse to wear high heel shoes every day.

Seriously.

The whole “I-work-to-help-financially-support-the-family” statement is just a front for my high heel shoes addiction. My career is a sham…it’s really about the footwear.

I suppose I could sashay around the house in my heels, but it just wouldn’t feel right. Home is for flip flops, comfy slippers and Crocs.

Confession: I have a pair of hot pink Crocs. OH YES I DO!

Crocs are great for trudging around the basement, working in the yard, and taking out the trash. However, I vow never to wear them outside the perimeter of our one-third acre lot.

Wearing heels certainly doesn’t revolve around foot comfort. In fact, experience has taught me that the cuter the shoes the more they hurt my feet. Of course, there’s probably nothing wrong with the shoes…it’s almost certainly my abnormally long second toe(s).

As long as I’m blogging about toes, I’m going to make my annual plea to the ladies: If you’re going to wear open-toed high heels P-L-E-A-S-E get a pedicure. You may get away with funky feet when you’re wearing casual flip flops, but high heels require a little bit more TLC for your footsies.

For me, a little bit of heaven is sneaking over to the nail salon on my lunch break for a pedi foot spa. ***BLISS!!!***

Here’s a helpful hint: Take a pair of “fancy flip flops” (my second favorite shoe category) with you to the salon to slip back into your workplace so you don’t mess up the new polish.

(According to our corporate dress code, even fancy flip flops are prohibited…so I must be stealth in my flip flop re-entrance into the building and hide in my office for the next hour or two. Dangerous? Yes…but just about everything related to wearing heels is precarious.)

I was on a business trip one time and had a couple of hours to kill so I found salon for a quick pedi. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my flip flops with me so I had to use the salon’s fake-y flip flops and those are awful…so now I keep a spare pair with me at all times in case of emergency.

As I strive for balance in my mom + career world, I’ve asked myself this question: “What kind of example are you setting for your young daughters with your heels obsession?”

My eight year-old daughter can already tell you this: “There is no such thing as too many pairs of shoes.” I taught her young, and I taught her well.

As for the four year-old girl, I’m beaming with pride and approval as I see her prancing around the house in my high heel shoes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

I can’t remember the last time I saw a phone booth, but I sure could use one.

You know, like the phone booth Clark Kent uses when he becomes Superman.

Sometimes I switch from mommy mode to professional-career–woman mode faster than a speeding bullet.

Like today…dropped off the four-year old at daycare and ten minutes later I’m sitting in a top-floor management meeting discussing the implications that Reg E legislation will have on company revenue.

A couple of hours afterward I’m at the pediatrician’s office for my four year-old’s pre-kindergarten check-up… helping her pee in a cup. A few of minutes after holding her down for immunization shots, I found myself at the McDonald’s PlayPlace eating something I’d rather not discuss. In between sips of Diet Coke, I’m reading office email from my Blackberry.

Then it’s back to the daycare and over to the office while checking voicemail. Another few hours of cranking out reports, putting out fires, and bringing home the bacon then I’m back at the daycare to begin the commute and figure out what’s for dinner.

On the home front it’s a three-ring circus with the girls comprising of homework, play time, bath time, story time, and bed time.

(Wait…that would be a five-ring circus, wouldn’t it? There’s a good reason I’m the company marketing director and not the accounting manager.)

Let’s not forget there is a man who lives in my house. I’ll call him my husband/sidekick for helping me leap tall buildings in a single bound. (Did Superman have a sidekick, or was that Batman?)

My husband/sidekick is a good partner for fighting crime, mowing the lawn, emptying the cat’s litter box, and making pancakes on Saturday morning so I can sleep in. Love that guy!

Now if he could only find me a phone booth…

Monday, April 12, 2010

Flexibility at Work, at School, and in the Community

A recent study found no evidence that workplace flexibility harmed productivity.

Hmmm…

The same study, commissioned by the White House, states the following:

  • Nearly one-third of workers consider work-life balance and flexibility to be the most important factor in considering job offers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of HR managers cite family-supportive policies and flexible hours as the single most important factor in attracting and retaining employees.
  • Flexible workplace practices reduce turnover rates, enhance recruitment efforts, reduce absenteeism, improve employee health, and increase productivity.

It’s not just the workplace that can benefit from providing flexibility. Schools can benefit from providing flexibility to parent-volunteers and community-sponsored venues can benefit from providing flexibility to patrons.

The weekly e-newsletters from my kid's school invited “new faces” to the PTSO meeting on Monday at 9:30 a.m. and the community council meeting at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

News Flash: sometimes parents who are working during the day have the best connections for the fundraisers and other such activities.

For example, I am a person who has considerable influence at my place of employment for donating to charitable and community events. Furthermore, in my professional network I am acquainted with other decision makers at local businesses. I could be a valuable part of the PTSO-fundraising team. Can't make it to the meetings though...I'm at the office.

More examples of inflexibility include swimming lessons at the public pool and story hour at the public library that are only offered during the day. These are facilities/events are funded by public tax dollars, but available only to people who can conform to their schedules.

I could go on...but I'll get to the point.

Schools and charities could raise more money by tapping into the resources of working parents. Furthermore, community events/venues would produce higher revenues by conforming to the schedules of people who find themselves in the workplace during the day.

Most important of all, flexibility allows kids and their parents to spend more quality time together. Time strengthens families, and strong families strengthen communities.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Living In The Moment

I’m a mom + career woman in a non-stop balancing act between maintaining home front happiness and striving for workplace success. It’s enough to drive a girl mad! About a month ago I went to the local library to look for some self-help books on finding peace and balance in my world-gone-crazy.

I found three books and checked them out. I didn’t even have the time to crack the spine of two books before they were due back to the library. The third book, Slowing Down To The Speed of Life by Richard Carlson (author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff) and Joseph Bailey, I finished last night…after extending the check-out time by a week.

(Does anyone else find it ironic that I can’t find time to read books about maintaining life balance?)

The book presents ideas for managing thought processes, which translate into feelings and moods. As I’ve erratically picked up the book over the last month, it’s been manifest to me that I’m a champion worrier…which translates into stress overload and eventual emotional mayhem. (This revelation comes as no shock to my husband.)

How does a mom + career woman control her thoughts when they are all over the place like Mexican jumping beans in a hot tin can?

The authors suggest that we shouldn’t dwell on the past or worry about the future so that we may “live in the moment” and thus slow down to a more enjoyable lifestyle.

(Really? I’m responsible for a highly-publicized event that includes 2,000+ people and I’m not supposed to stress about it?!?! Do you think these events just plan themselves?)

What I have learned is this: “living in the moment” doesn’t exclude planning for the future. If we never thought about the future, we wouldn’t need our careers to help us make the next mortgage payment, provide health benefits for our families, build a college savings fund for the children, and stash away money for retirement.

Living in the moment requires that we focus on what is happening right now. When I’m at home, I enjoy being with family, and the feelings of love, acceptance and repose. When I’m at the office, I benefit from spending time in a productive environment, working with co-workers towards common professional goals. When I focus on what’s happening right now, I can feel a sense of accomplishment on both the home front and at the workplace.

I like this quote by Frank Herbert: “There is no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.”

I am determined to ride the waves as they come and keep my thoughts focused on the moment. My goal is to make the most out of every minute of every day…regardless of my location or the task at hand.

Carpe Diem girlfriends!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Huxtable-Type Family

Last night I was thinking that our family is kinda like the Huxtable Family from "The Cosby Show" in the 80s.

Cliff Huxtable worked from home like my husband works from home. And I work from an office, just like Claire works from an office.

Only my husband isn't a doctor and I'm not an attorney. And we have two kids instead of five. And we live in a small Utah town instead of a big city in New York. And we're Caucasians, not African Americans. And my husband can be funny, but not nearly as funny as Bill Cosby.

So I guess we're really not much like the Huxtable family after all. Bummer!