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Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm So Lame!

I’m lame. WE'RE lame. SO LAME!

When I was single and newly married, we used to have plans EVERY three-day weekend. BIG PLANS!

We would go to Vegas or Jackson Hole or Yellowstone or Texas or California or Idaho… well, Idaho isn’t too exciting. But the point is we would GO! Get the heck outta Dodge! Bon Voyage! Hasta La Vista Baby!

Now we have a house. And two children. The house and the kids come with lots of responsibilities. And bills. Taking a three-day whirlwind trip conflicts with those responsibilities and bills.

So now we stay home. We clean the house. We work in the yard. And we run around doing all of those little things that we don’t have time to do in a normal five-day work week.

Oh, we may head over to a backyard BBQ. (Shout out to my sis and bro-in-law who make awesome ribs with all the fixins'.) But that’s about it. We have to be refreshed to start the week early Tuesday morning. Because we all know that a three-day weekend is followed by cramming five days of work at the office into four days.

But I still love three-day weekends. L-O-V-E! Even if they aren’t as fun-filled and action-packed as they used to be, I get to spend more quality time with my husband and girls. And sometimes, having no plans turns out to be the best plan of all!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fantastic 40th



I just turned 40 years old!

I was depressed for a year about my 30th b-day. But for some reason 40 is different. And I’m not just talking about the 20 lbs I’ve put on in the last 10 years.


I definitely have more confidence at 40 than I did at 30. Sometime in the last decade I developed an “I don’t care what you think about me…I’m just doing my thing” attitude. I’m living life the best I know how. I consider myself blessed to have a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters, a fulfilling career, a lovely home and great friends.

My husband gave me a surprise “80s theme” party for my 40th. I graduated from high school in ’88, still listen to 80s music and love to watch old movies from that decade. Many of my friends showed up in 80s attire. It was HILARIOUS! My bro-in-law made 80s music CDs, my husband recorded hours of 80s music videos, and there is a ginormous copy of my senior picture that’s still hanging on my wall.



Also…my husband gave me the BEST GIFT EVER for my b-day. He knew that I’d freak out with a bunch of people at our dirty house. So, he hired two ladies to clean our house from top to bottom. Windows washed, bathtub scrubbed, oven cleaned, fridge wiped out, ceiling fans dusted… EVERYTHING! For a working mom who loves a tidy home but doesn’t have much time, this tops every other birthday present I have ever received.

Thanks Ryan!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mommy Politics

I finally finished reading Going Rogue by Sarah Palin.

For the record, I’m not 100% in-synch with former Governor Sarah Palin’s political philosophies. But that’s okay…I can appreciate and respect different points of view.

Love her or not, she’s an interesting study of a successful woman managing a family and career.

From the beginning, Sarah included her children in political campaigns. When she ran for City Council, she would go door to door pulling her young kids in a wagon. At City Council meetings, her baby would sit at her feet in the carrier.

Sarah’s children helped her campaign for Mayor, Lt. Governor and Governor. The children would go with their parents to public events all over the state. Sarah and her “First Dude” husband Todd loved Alaska, and wanted to share it with their children.

Ironically, several ethics complaints were filed against the Governor for inviting her family to travel with her on official state business. While I realize there must be a separation of personal and tax-funded expenses, I believe that working parents should be able to include their young children in the work place when appropriate… especially when extensive travel is required.

It was only natural that her children would participate in the 2008 presidential campaign when Sarah was on the ticket with John McCain. At the events, many people were more excited about meeting Sarah’s kids than the candidates.

Sarah talks about becoming a “Mama Grizzly” when the media and other politicos attacked her children during the presidential campaign. I’m sure Michelle Obama would have reacted in a similar fashion if her children had been unforgiving targets of the media. That’s how us moms roll…we protect our young.

The five Palin children aren’t perfect kids. Todd and Sarah Palin aren’t perfect parents. They are all dealing with real life issues…a son serving in the military during wartime, a teenage daughter who is a single mother, and a toddler son with Down syndrome.

The two Windley children aren’t perfect either. Ryan and I aren’t perfect parents. Our “real life” issues may not be as dramatic as the Palin’s, but we have our challenges. Who doesn’t? That’s life.

Throughout the book, Sarah turns to God for help with raising her children. I truly relate with Sarah in this regard. I can’t imagine not turning to my Father for guidance when it comes to family matters. Especially when I’m away from them 50+ hours each week…I say an extra prayer each day that my kids will be safe and well-cared for while we are apart.

Working moms…if you can find time in your crazy schedules, I recommend you read this book. You can skip over the battles with city hall and the big oil companies. Pay attention to the sections on how Sarah balances marriage, family and her career.

Final thought: we need more working moms in the political scene to represent our needs and interests.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Multi-Tasking Should Be An Olympic Sport

I recently came upon this interesting statistic:

People classified as “Generation Y” can fit 44 hours of tasks into a single day.

I don’t want to take anything away from Gen Y, but I complete 44 hours of tasks long before the sun sets on a daily basis. I’m a multi-tasking working mom who proudly hails from Gen X.

At the office I’m checking voicemail, answering email, returning text messages, viewing website analytics, organizing files, and signing invoices all while taking notes during a webinar.

On my lunch break I’m driving the pre-school carpool, followed by the dry cleaner, pharmacy, post office, gas station, car wash, library, and/or sometimes the salon for a quick pedicure.

When I get home I’m making dinner, unloading the dishwasher, loading the clothes washer, listening to the playground politics report, and checking homework all at once.

(The other day I tried to “Tweet” on my Blackberry while walking on the treadmill. I found out that I’m not coordinated enough for that type of multi-tasking.)

There are only 24 hours in a day. If I’m going to sleep for at least six of those hours, I’ve got to make the other 18 hours count!

If multi-tasking ever becomes an Olympic sport, I’ll place my bets on the working moms in the race. The mom + career women I know are already training for the multi-tasking Olympics 24/7/365.

I’ve become so multi-tasking oriented that I have to remind myself that when it comes to family time, I really need to focus on my husband and our children. And nothing else. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I keep thinking (hoping, wishing, dreaming) my life my will S-L-O-W down. I just must make it happen. With the lazy (?) days of summer before us, I’ve set a goal to spend more time dedicated 100% to my family.

I think that I’ll call it solo-tasking.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who's The Boss?

Nightly battle...getting the kids in the bath and ready for bed.

In tonight's episode my husband, shall we say, is "encouraging" the 8 year-old to get in the bath immediately. A argument ensues in which the 4 year-old intervenes in her sister's defense and declares:

"Dad...you are not the boss of us!"

I'm in the other room as a casual listener to the exchange...and bust out laughing!

The 4 year-old comes running in to find me so I put on my poker face and ask her:

"Jenna...who is the boss of you?"

***Giggle***Smile***

"You are Mom!"

Out of the mouths of babes...

Monday, May 10, 2010

You CAN have it all…just not all at once

I can honestly say that I “have it all.”

I have a wonderful husband, two precious children, a great job, a beautiful home, and a loving extended family.

When you “have it all” you sometimes “get more” than you bargained for…such as an additional layer of dirt on the windows, a stack of unread self-help books on the nightstand, a DVR full of unviewed television programs, and a healthy crop of dandelions growing in the yard.

Oh yes…I have it all and then some.

I have husband who is so helpful around the house that I can’t find anything in my kitchen after he unloads the dishwasher. Apparently 12 years of marriage doesn’t automatically mean we think alike when it comes to which cupboard so obviously holds the cheese grater.

It’s true that by having a two-income household our financial situation is a little more comfortable than if we just had one paycheck to live on. However, our comfort isn’t at a level where we have a nanny, a housekeeper, and/or paid yard care. My husband and I are the homework checkers, the carpool drivers, the laundry folders, the bathtub scrubbers, the garden weeders, and the lawn mowers at our home.

The kids come first, so that means the house and the yard aren’t always up to my standards. (My husband really doesn't have standards so I must impose mine upon him.)

I used to be a great housekeeper…I only wish I had taken photos to prove it! And my well-groomed rose bushes could have won awards! That was in my B.C. (Before Children) lifetime.

Now I have two kids, a somewhat demanding yet rewarding career, and a commute from the city to our semi-rural hometown. It’s our A.D. lifetime (After Daughters) and some items have fallen down on my priority list.


Now I’m not saying that Niecy Nash from “Clean House” is on her way over to our address. However,
Good Housekeeping magazine won’t be sending me their seal of approval any time soon.

The dirt level in our house falls someplace in between “you-can-write-your-name-with-your-finger-on-the-bookshelf” and “is-that-the-cat-or-an-enormous-dust-ball-in-the-corner?”

You CAN have it all…just not all at once.

If you’re a mom + career woman, something has got to give. The “give” list for me includes less time sleeping, cleaning the house, working in the yard, and nurturing hobbies. Reading and watching TV are luxuries. My golf game is beyond hope.

They are trade-offs I’m more than happy to make to give our daughters the love, attention, and support they need. Because for me, “having it all” means nothing if I’m not “giving my all” to my family.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Full Time Job, Part Time Slob

My neighbors probably don’t recognize my profile photo. I’ll admit that there is a little Photoshop action going on…but that’s not the reason. My neighbors won’t recognize me because when I’m at home, I look like a slob.

I love to put on my high heels and accessorize for the office, but by the time I get home after six o’clock I’m kicking off my shoes and slipping into something a little more comfortable. And by “comfortable” I mean old jeans with holes, vintage t-shirts with stains, and my hair pulled back with claw clips.

It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s quite frumpy.


A quick check of my closet and you’ll find the following attire categories:


  • #1 business professional;

  • #2 business casual; and,

  • #3 at-home frumpy.
I have little money for cute “casual weekend” outfits due to the clothing demands of #1 and #2.

This can be a problem for the random Saturday night date with my sidekick or a more rare girls’ day out.


“I have nothing to wear,” I’ll yell from my overflowing walk-in closet.


I realize this is not true…I have plenty to wear. It’s just I have nothing quite suitable for the fun, light-spirited occasion at hand.


And let’s be brutally honest…if I’d drop 15 lbs there would be more options from my “hope closet” in the other room.


***SIGH***


The combination of a limited budget for clothes and little will-power to “just say no” to carbs has created a frumpy, slobby person that I see every time I pass by the mirrors in my house.


In all reality, I’m living a double life.


My neighbors couldn’t pick me out of a line-up at the corporate office.


Just a few weeks ago I noticed my neighbor in the corporate building and walked up to say “hello”. He gave me an odd look so I introduced myself. His guarded response, “Oh… I thought you looked familiar.”

I’m hedging my bets that he had no clue who I was and may still be trying to figure it out.


And my co-workers couldn’t spot me in my neighborhood even if I was wearing a vintage “GWCU Staff 5K For Schools” t-shirt working out in the yard…

...or at the very least wouldn’t admit our acquaintance if they did in fact recognize my frumpy alter ego.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Forbes.com...what???

Little ol' me mentioned in Forbes.com about how I use social media.

That's right FORBES...the people with lots and lots and lots and lots of money.

And lots and lots and lots and lots of readers who want to make lots and lots and lots and lots of money.

I'll admit I'm a Facebook "fan" or "liker" of ForbesWoman.com. And I follow them on Twitter.

But that's not the point...the point is that they mentioned ME! A mere mother of two and credit union marketer living in semi-rural Utah.

AND, a link to my blog about my life as a mom + career woman.

Wow! Nice to get some free publicity. (And I should know...in my job I go after free PR all of the time!)

Check it out: http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/26/popular-social-networking-sites-forbes-woman-time-facebook-twitter.html

Saturday, May 1, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

In my mom + career lifetime, we’ve always paid for daycare. ALWAYS. We’ve never had a nearby family member or friend to provide that service at a reduced rate, for free, or on trade.

Fortunately, our girls have gone to the same daycare provider, Lori, their entire lives. For 20+ years Lori has run a state-licensed daycare in her home. Lori has been a great partner in helping us raise our children. I thank God that we found her.

Daycare isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s our second highest monthly expense after our mortgage. And the basic daycare cost doesn’t include additional activities such as pre-school, music lessons, and swim classes.

From time-to-time someone who has never paid for daycare will ask how much it costs.

I tell them.

Their eyes bug out as they respond, “How can you afford that?”

At this point I’m not quite sure what to say. There are lots of things that I could say, but my momma raised me better than that. So I’ll just blog about it.

For example, I could say:

“You know, we’ve never done the math …I’m not sure if we can afford it!”

I have a college degree. Furthermore, in the past 11+ years I’ve worked for two different banks and now a credit union. But even without my BYU education and financial services background, I'm certain that I could have run the numbers to determine if we can monetarily afford to pay for daycare.

But they are missing the point when they ask if we can afford daycare. Really missing the point.

Paying for daycare is a dollar amount. You can always find someone who will do it for less money.

But there is a difference between caring for a child, and babysitting a child. If you want a provider to care for your child with love, attention, encouragement, and discipline, you should pay more…even if it’s to a family member. If you simply want someone to keep your child out of trouble and feed them a sandwich at noon, then pay less.

You get what you pay for.

What I typically say is:

“Yes, it’s expensive. However, we feel it is more than fair to pay someone that much to care for our children while we’re working. In fact, I think most parents in our situation would pay that much or more to ensure their children are receiving the best possible care when they are away from home.”

Treat your children’s daycare providers with respect. Thank them for doing their job well. Pay them on time, and give them bonuses and perks. In short, treat them the way you want your boss to treat you. Your children are worth it!