Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to be a working mom?

Ha! You'd think I'd have it down pat...right? Wrong? First off, I don't know how you could be a SAHM. I think it is such a demanding, stressful, hard job. I also don't know how to be a FT working mom. It's the same: demanding, stressful, hard. Yet both are extremely rewarding.

Growing up, I wanted to be a SAHM. My hubby and I talked about it when we were dating, and that was the plan: I stay home with the kids and he works.

About 2 years into our marriage, that went out the window. I was a full time realtor, and he was a full time financial advisor. He hated it. Not all of it, but most of it and while we were on a trip to the BWCA, he decided he would pursue his dream: to become a teacher. Shocking? Yes. Best decision for his career? Yes. A tough pill to swallow that I would HAVE to work? Yes.

Fast forward a year, and we were expecting our 1st child.
Mike was a special education assistant (making less than $20K/year), he was going to school full-time (nights and weekends), and I was working full-time for a pharmaceutical company. I had the world's WORST manager. WORST, WORST, WORST. She sucked. Big time!

After our first was born, I had the strongest desire to stay home. Mike said we can make it work, but we may have to sell our house and move into an apartment. I hated that idea and had a very hard time letting go of my ideal of staying home.

When Blake was about 7 months old,  I  started a job with a different company and was blessed with the world's greatest manager.  He totally understood what it meant to be a working mom. He still expected 100% at work, yet understood that appointments and sick kids certainly came first. 

Most days, however mornings are crazy!  I typically get up early (5:15) and then work out. When I come home, I make lunches, take a quick shower, help with any remaining homework and get the kids in the car.  It seems so easy and written down, but it is far from easy.  Unfortunately. tears can be shed and I sometimes lose my cool with rushing to get out the door by 7:25. 

At this point in my life, I bring the boys to daycare and drive Kenna to her school and have her there by 8 AM.  Again, it seems so simple.... But we have been late plenty of times. So much so that I got a letter stating that if she were to be late to school one more time that the county iwould be contacting us. I am not sure what that really means, so I have shredded her late slips and worked really hard to get her seated in her classroom before the kids that ride the bus get there!  

Aside from our crazy, rushed mornings, I have found it easiest to plan our dinner and set out parts of what we'll have for dinner in the morning.   I will grab stuff out of the freezer that needs to be thawed and set it in the sink, or remind myself to buy ingredients as needed for whatever it is that I am making.  

After picking up the kids from daycare and school, it is a mad dash to cram in some fun at night!  Now that it is spring out, the kids play outside either playing a sport or playing on the swing set or trying to capture our chickens!  

I will make dinner and we eat as a family, then finish up homework and head to bed.  It is completely exhausting, but I get the best of both worlds!  I get to do a job that I love and I get to spend time with my family...I wouldn't have it any other way.  (Unless I could have summers off, like Mike) 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christmas Letter

I try to send out letters to everyone, but inevitably, I miss people. I'm sorry. If you missed out letter, here is mine from 2011:

Yes, you may be a bit surprised…we’ve added to our family. I found Crosby’s birth announcements recently…about a year after I finished making them. What a perfect time to send them out…for his 18 month birthday!? ?????

Welcome to life with 3 little ones! Poor Crosby. No really, he’s not a poor kid. He’s a doted over, happy-go-lucky, smiley little guy. He’s into everything. Especially playing football with his daddy, “Bay-ey” (Blakey) and “Nenna” (Makenna). He loves to run around the kitchen and have us chase him, and then he’ll run into the living room and throw himself up onto the chair or couch. He thinks it’s the best game, and we think it’s pretty fun as well! He’s chatting up a storm and recently started to say “Bible” when we read from it to do our advent calendar. Have you ever heard a little person say “Bible”? You should. You’d be asking him to say it almost as much as we do, if not more!

At 5, Blake is all boy and sweet as can be. He played soccer and t-ball this year and learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. He loves to go biking with me when I go for runs. He is gearing up for kindergarten next year and enjoys learning about letter sounds and spelling. His other love is Lego’s. He’s obsessed….’nuff said. He is strong-willed, kind-hearted and has a minimum word count he has to hit each day before he goes to bed. Many nights we can hear him chatting away with anyone who will listen while he lies in bed!

Makenna, Makenna, oh how we love thee! Our spirited 3-going on 13-year old who is into all things her brothers are, as well as taking care of her babies. The only thing she asked Santa for this year is “jewelries…. Lots of jewelries”. When asked why, she said because she wants to wear them to work when she turns 4. She mimics many of the things I do or say and definitely adds a little emphasis to her words when she wants to by adding a little lip smack to it! She is into fashion and accessories, as well as wearing skirts while playing soccer and bike riding. She has gotten pretty good at biking and is a determined little thing!

Mike is in his 5th year teaching kids with Autism. He teaches in the Ghetto…Minneapolis. Actually, it’s a nice school. I just like to tease him. He took up shooting a bow this summer, which has now turned into bow hunting. Saturday mornings are typically spent in his tree standing waiting, waiting, waiting for a deer to come. Someday he’ll get one and then I’ll have to cook venison. No thanks! Maybe we can donate it?

I am still in pharmaceutical sales with Daiichi Sankyo… Sounds like God Bless You! I’ve picked up woodworking this year and built our headboard and a craft table, among other items. It’s great… when I actually finish a product! I have some pictures of our bed frame on our blog:

In other news, we got a cat. His name is Buzz and he lives in the “old garage” and has already earned his keep by catching a chipmunk. We got him in September and he weighed less than 5 pounds. I’d guess he weighs 10-15 now. He has a healthy appetite, to say the least!

Kali, our 8 year old Labrador, thinks Buzz is pretty cool, except when he bites her tail. She loves to go in and play with him, as well as snoop around his “house”. Speaking of houses, we built a dog house for her. Fully insulated and with roofing to match our house. She’s pretty stylish!

We hope you have a fabulous year, we KNOW we will… Attitude is a choice!

Love always,
Mike, Nicole, Blake, Makenna, Crosby,
Kali (the dog) and Buzz (the cat)

And the picture to go with it?