Thursday, October 3, 2013

Being a working mom...

I have been working full time now for over two years, an average of 40-45 hours a week. Hours: Weekdays 10-7 and Saturdays 10-6. At first it was voluntary to help things get off the ground...then it became necessary...and now it has hit a very nice cross roads in which it is necessary, but also a means to an end. Tom's job at Real Salt Lake has been a VERY good step in the right direction, but it doesn't pay hardly anything. So I am working to help support our little family so Tom's job can lead to something bigger and better. It is hard to get a foot in the door in the sporting industry and we are thrilled that he is "In"! So now its just a waiting game between him gaining experience and waiting for the next step up.

I enjoy my job. I sell musical instruments, more specifically intermediate and professional string instruments: violin, viola, cello, and bass. I love using my music knowledge every day. I love helping students find the perfect match of an instrument/bow/case. I love the excitement of helping a child pick their first instrument. I love bonding with other customers and teachers over music and parenting. I love the company I work for. It is a family owned business and for the most part, I feel like part of the family. My boss loves me and pretty much lets me do what I want when it comes to my department. My manager loves loves and likes to push me to my full potential, even if I give him crap for it along the way. Right now I love my coworkers, they are all nice and friendly and we share a mutual respect for each other and play on each others strengths. I wish I earned more, but to be completely honest...for the job I have, I am kind of cleaning up on commissions - I'm really good at my job. So that's good I guess :) I have to say I feel lucky for having a job that I can honestly say I look forward to going to most of the time.

Now, having said all the positive things about my job, there were some unknown side effects that I did not see coming. I've been trying to pin point what it is exactly that makes being a working mom so hard and I have come up with a few bullet points:

Guilt. Endless, endless guilt. I feel guilty as I walk out the door and leave my children to be raised by someone else. I feel guilty as my children smile and say, "Have a nice day at work mom! See you tonight!" I feel guilty as I drop off my daughter at kindergarten, watch her blow me a kiss, and know I won't see her until bedtime. I feel guilty that I don't know any of her little friends from school because I'm not there to pick her up. I feel guilty that I don't know any of the other moms to schedule play dates with. I don't even know which friends of hers to invite to her birthday party in three weeks because I've never met any of them. I feel guilty that I've never met my sons preschool teacher because it is in the middle of the day. I feel guilty that I won't know if they had a good day or not because by the time bed time rolls around, they most likely will have forgotten what it was that needed comforting. I feel guilty while I'm at work, knowing I'm missing the bonding and general caring that I signed up for when I decided to be a mom. I feel guilty for not being there to answer their questions, soothe their worries, and calm their concerns. I feel guilty when I come home at 7:15 or later and only have time to quickly eat dinner with the family, get the babies in their pajamas, do bed time, kiss them good night, then attempt to stay awake and actually have some quality time with Tom. I feel guilty that I am only around them a total of four hours a work day: two in the morning and two at night. I feel guilty that I cannot be the mom or wife we all signed up for me to be.

Stress. Placed on myself by myself and others. I am constantly under stress to be a better wife and mother and employee. Some of this I do to myself and I am working on just doing the best I can and accepting that, but other stress is placed on me by others with constant reminding that there is more I could be doing. I think I handle the stress pretty well. Usually, I take a deep breath, remind myself to take it one moment at a time, and regroup so I can keep going without feeling overwhelmed. I know there is more I could be doing: more attention given, more love shown, more time allotted. All this pressure can feel crippling to the point that I just quit. It's terrible and I hate that part of me. The side that says, "this is so hard and I just don't know what to do, that I'm just going to stop." It doesn't last forever, but then in creeps in that guilt again...

Selfishness. My independent nature is already geared up and trained for selfishness. I know that I am a pretty self-centered person. It is difficult for me to think of others first and it is especially difficult for me to put my own wishes and desires aside for something else, especially if I don't really want to do it. (My husband can attest to that). I don't mean to do it, it just kind of happens. I am stubborn and a know-it-all. My way is the best way. I am always right...and even when I'm wrong....I'm right. My job has allowed me the freedom to prove my worth and I am pretty much in charge of my entire department. I love the freedom. I love the independence. I love the constant reassurance that I am awesome. This doesn't translate well when I go home. When I go home, I am back to being wife and mother. These rolls are less visibly rewarding and I certainly don't have the independence to do what I want when rooms need to be picked up, babies need to be bathed, and the family needs to be given more attention. When I wasn't working, it was much easier to adapt to the "We are a unit" mentality, instead of at work where "I am in charge". This is a constant struggle and I am frequently reminded to put my selfish needs on the back burner.

Envy. I envy other moms who don't need to work, who have work schedules that allow them to be home with their kids the majority of the day, or of moms who actually make enough money to REALLY support their families instead of living paycheck to paycheck. I envy women without children; not that I would ever want to get rid of my children, but I do remember easier less stressful days B.C. (Before Children). Seeing others around me with so much success in the business world and wanting it so badly, and knowing I am capable of it, but not wanting to sacrifice my family even more. Sometimes I'm even envious that I'm not a man - where I could leave my children in the trusting love of a wife and mother that would nurture and raise them, while I went off to my successful career. I'm envious that I'm not that wife and mother. Envious and slightly bitter that my years of practicing the piano and the talent and ability I spent years perfecting has literally taken a back seat to everything else in my life. It is impossible to practice the piano while the kids are awake, and then I feel guilty for not giving my husband the attention he deserves when they are asleep. I used to go practice in the morning before work, but again - guilt slides in and I don't want to miss any time with my kids. I envy women with the freedom to take the time they want to perfect a skill they desire.

Helplessness. A sense of never-ending. A sense of loss-of-control. Not knowing the next best step and the constant fear of making the wrong move. Constantly questioning if I am doing the right thing and being afraid to ask for reassurance. The inability to ask for help because a) I chose to put myself in this situation and now am reaping what I sowed or b) because I'm too prideful to admit I need help. The feeling of never quite getting your head above water. If I'm doing great in my job, my family life suffers because now I am neglecting them. If I'm doing great as a wife and mother, my work suffers and I am either late in the morning, or so anxious to get home that I am unfocused. The constant feeling of needing a second ME to fill in all the holes where I need to be in two places at once: soccer games, dropping off my toddler at preschool, important work appointments, etc.

Disappointment. Not being able to shake the crushing disappointment that this isn't what life is supposed to be like. I read that article on why Generation Y individuals pretty much suck. I agreed with a lot of it and found that I am definitely falling into that category of constantly being disappointed because of the expectations that were laid in front of me. I think part of the difference, though, is that I felt I made all the right decisions. I got good grades. I went to a prestigious university. I graduated. We waited to have children until I thought we were financially stable. I also felt like I chose all the right spiritual choices. I attend church every week. I pay my tithing. I try to listen to the promptings that I receive, including the decision of when to have children. I got married in the temple. I continue keeping the commandments and maintain a temple worthiness, even though the temptation to drink looks better and better all the time...I see others around me making the same decisions and it seems as though they are being awarded for their efforts. I know I shouldn't compare, and I keep telling myself that "our time will come" or "put the work in now, and the benefits will come later" or "there's a light at the end of the tunnel". Well, I am angry and I am sick of waiting. I am 28 years old, I have two children and one on the way. We have been married for almost 10 years and have constantly tried making the RIGHT, SMART, and BEST decisions for the paths that lay in front of us. And where are we now? Living in an 840 square foot apartment, hovering on the poverty line, both of us with bachelors degrees, and Tom with a masters. We own nothing of real financial value, aside from our cars. I feel like our life is a big joke that we keep walking into the punch line of.

Where is all this coming from, you ask? Well, my husband is constantly telling me that I need to be more emotional and talk about my feelings, otherwise it is going to just build up and have serious physical side effects. For those of you who know me, I believe myself to be a strong, tough woman - one who doesn't cry, one who can keep her head up when the going gets tough, and one who doesn't need anyone for emotional support. I feel like I have to always stay positive and be the one smiling politely saying, "Oh, things are going great!" I feel like an actor in my own life - one who plays the strong protagonist who drags along the silent side kick of how I really feel and repeatedly beats it into submission to keep it from creeping onto center stage. I know this sounds dramatic and pathetic, but right now I don't care. As my husband says, "I'm letting it all out". This is my release that has been building up and at least I can type it out, instead of lashing out in temper tantrums.

I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm not looking for a reaction or reassurance. I'm not whining and I'm not complaining. I am simply STATING. This entire post is simply an ode to me being a working mom and saying how I feel. I'm angry about how I feel and that I can't control it so I'm putting into words instead of my rage just floating around inside of me. Don't leave me comments about how "things will get better" or any advice on how to feel. And I already know that "the grass is always greener on the other side". I was a Stay at Home Mom for a while, too, and wanted out of the house. My ideal situation would be working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 12-4.

In fact, don't even let me know you've read this. It's incredibly difficult for me to be this open with my feelings, so if you do see me and say, "How are things going?" I'm going to respond with, "Oh! So good! What about you?" 

So in case you were really wondering about how I really feel - now you know.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

More Parenting :)

Parenting is a very interesting phenomenon. You sacrifice your time, body, and mind, to take care of a little noise-making succubus. Why would you do that??

But how cute are they? Even when they are cranky?

I would say they're pretty dang cute. And it's a good thing, too, otherwise there would be a lot less children in the world. Humans would start eating their young...I've always said the fact that a mother thinks her kid is BEAUTIFUL no matter how grotesque they really look - it's a defense mechanism to keep the child alive...
Even though my babies continue suck the life, time, youth, and money out of me...I'd give even more if I could. We don't have the most money and I certainly don't have enough time in the day to spend with them that I would like, but I pray they understand how much I love them. I love my babies.

Thoughts on Parenthood...

***Disclaimer! This is one of the most scatter-brained posts I've ever written, so I apologize that is barely cohesive! Ha! Read at your own risk :) ***

I've been reading a lot of blogs, posts, news articles, etc. regarding motherhood/parenthood/etc. and it seems like they are all carrying the same theme: "don't compare yourself to other are doing a fine job."

While these are all uplifting and mostly motivational, it made me think about WHY these posts are necessary? Are parents really that insecure? Are there really so many moms and dads that feel completely inadequate? Apparently so. So I've come to the most obvious conclusion that our society is overly competitive and comparative. Now we could analyze both the men and women side of this, but right now I just want to talk about the woman side of this.

Why is it that we feel so competitive? Where does it start? How do we stop it?

Now, I happen to be the mother of an extremely bright, observant, and sassy almost six year old daughter. She is two weeks into kindergarten and already they have bombarded her with fundraiser things to sell: cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, kitchen supplies, wrapping paper, etc. She came home and the first thing she said was, "Mom! I want to sell the most because I want to win!" She didn't understand the concept of fundraising and was very upset that I didn't make cookie dough and drop it off at school (which she thought was part of the fundraising, not understanding that they provide the cookie dough you sell).

Part of me was proud of her competitive nature, and the other part of me was wanting to cry because they are already teaching her that she needs to win. She is in kindergarten. Leave her alone. I want Ella to be more concerned with what color table she is going to sit at that day, than if the other kids around her are getting prizes because their parents are buying ten and twelve tubs of $13 cookie dough. Ella didn't get any prizes. **Not yet anyway, because I AM competitive by nature so I, of course, canvased my co-workers and am now canvasing my family to buy $13 tubs of cookie dough so Ella can get a prize. What is wrong with this picture??**

I feel like girls can't escape it! Look prettier. Be nicer. Be funnier. Have shinier hair. Be more likeable. Be smarter. Don't be so smart. And it doesn't stop when you finally are an adult. I think it gets worse: Be a better parent. Provide for your children. Look at how much better Pinterest is at being a parent than you are. Look at all the moms who are managing to do it better than you.

I read today a blog post about school lunches, too. Well, I can tell you that Ella is going to get the same school lunch that I did: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a piece of fruit, some slices of carrots, a packet of fruit snacks, and a capri sun. She will probably get that every day for the next ten years until she can pack her own lunch. Just like I did. And it was fine. (Of course, there was one day in high school that my older brother packed my brown paper bagged lunch, which consisted of: a raw potato, a bag of uncooked rice, and an onion...but that's a story for another day).

The writer was saying that they couldn't keep up with the "Pottery Barn" lifestyle, which includes $45 personalized lunch boxes, and pre-written motivational lunch notes. (You realize you can do both of those with a $.99 sharpie, right?) As I was reading the article, I became sad for the writer. It made me sad that they are so disappointed with themselves and are trying to convince themselves they are okay with NOT being "Pottery Barn"esque.

I can tell you now that I am NEVER buying "pre-written" lunch notes. And I certainly am not paying $45 for a personalized lunch box. I don't care if I am a multi millionaire...there are some things that are just ridiculous. Why are we constantly in competition with what magazines, Hollywood, and pinterest are telling us?? Leave it alone people! So what if you DO spend 50 hours making beautiful homemade Valentines for your first grader? Good for you! And for those of you that buy the big bag of Nerds at the dollar store and simply make your kid write their name on them - Good for you, too! Chances are you're kids won't know the difference. All they will know is that they had Valentines to pass out.

I remember one year I went to a girl scout camp for a week with my next door neighbor, Sarah. Before I left, my mom packed me a bag of toiletries that had a single note attached to each item with a funny phrase. I can't remember them all, but the one I do was tagged onto a travel size bottle of shampoo that said, "Poo in your hair and not in your pants!" I was about eight years old and I STILL vividly remember that. Not because my mom used the word "poo", which we were not allowed to use, and not because I knew they cost a lot of money (or didn't), but it was because of the time she put into it and because she knew it was something I would think was special. Small daily reminders that she was thinking about me.

Now is my daughter going to think about me every time she opens her $45 lunch box and reads her pre-written "Have a great day!" note on fancy paper? Probably not. And if she does, she will probably start equating a dollar amount to how much I love her. But I guarantee if I leave little hand written notes every now and then that say things like, "Hey baby girl! Don't be too sassy in class today! And Don't beat up the boys!" She will know I'm thinking about HER and that I know HER...not the generic her that is available from "Pottery Barn".

Anyway, this is getting long and the whole point of this was supposed to be: Parents. Just stop. Take a good look at your son or daughter and figure out what THEY need...not what society is telling you they need. Stop comparing yourself to pinterest or Pottery Barn or whatever. If you are Mrs. Pinterest - GREAT! Just don't let it take away from getting to know your kid for real. If you happen to worship everything Pottery Barn and your home is the spitting image of one of their catalogs - fabulous! You just better be willing to spend a little dough on what your kid really wants, not what you want them to want.

Now I'm not claiming to be the perfect parent: far from it. But who cares? I know my kids and I'll tell you some things my kids need. My daughter needs conversation. She craves talking. She needs verbal stimulation to make her feel important. My son needs physical attention. He loves to cuddle and needs that cuddle time in the evening before he goes to bed. My daughter needs choices. She needs to be able to choose between two shirts and pick her favorite for school. My son needs boundaries. When boundaries are set, he is a happier child by far. And none of these are available on Pinterest.

What does your kid need??  Every kid is different so you better figure it out and stop looking to magazines and pinterest to tell you.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


 Mmmm....who is this delectable morsel you ask? This, my Patrick Sharp. Pray tell us who Patrick Sharp is! Oooooh, Patrick Sharp is one of the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Players...

 But I thought your favorite hockey player was Marion Hossa?? a player...yes....he is...but as a looker....Mmmm...Patrick Sharp....

Patrick Sharp was rated Chicago's best looking man last year by GQ Magazine. Yep. Pretty much. Sorry to bash my fellow red heads, but a red head man just isn't going to make it to the cover of GQ Magazine...

Sorry, Ron...not even you are going to make the cut...though I did ADORE you in the first and second Harry Potter movies before you got your weird girlie haircut....

So yes. For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, the hockey playoffs are happening right now, and the Blackhawks are doing AWESOME! But aren't you from Los Angeles? And aren't the Blackhawks playing the KINGS?! Yes, yes...I know, I know. I am quite torn...but I have to say, the Kings won the Stanley cup last year...and this year, it is the Hawk's turn. And I don't own a Kings jersey, so I can't really root for them while I wear a Hossa jersey. It just doesn't work that way :) hehe

Anyway, this post is mostly a shout out to my fabulous hockey-loving husband, too. He is pretty fabulous. Not only has he introduced me and got me hooked to the ONE sport I can actually stand (hockey), he also patiently describes the rules, reasoning, and strategy behind it.
Stupid question after stupid question (sometimes the same stupid question....) he patiently explains....then re-explains :)

My hunny has also been going through a lot this week! For those of you not friends with me on facebook:

That's his hand...his finger is supposed to be going straight. *gag*, I know. Tom was playing indoor soccer and was the goalie. He jumped to block a shot and jammed his hand into the upper bar. He played the rest of the game and afterwards was like, "uh...I think I broke my finger." GROSS! Yes, it is broken with a torn tendon. So, he is in a finger splint for six weeks. It also knocked his shoulder all out of whack, so he is pretty beat up: messes up shoulder, sore legs, and a broken finger....all in the name of the game! :)

He is also doing his internship at Real Salt Lake, which he likes a lot, but can sometimes be tedious.

We also found a babysitter - hip hip hooray!! The kids were in day care for a few days and it was NOT working out. Apparently, my stubborn daughter refused to hold still during "nap time", so she was constantly in trouble. It was leading to HUUUUGE temper tantrums and crying fits when it came to me leaving for work. Sooooo, we found a nanny. Good thing is: she is cheaper than day care! YAY! The kids love her and she takes them out for all sorts of activities - so that's good :)

Anyway, that's about all that is new for now. :) More updates when the Hawks win the Stanley Cup.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Who Cares?

Who really reads a blog? I've decided that blogs are kind of funny. Are blogs totally pointless? Oh yes. Are they simply a way to advertise the fact that you are talking about yourself? Yep. Will I continue reading peoples? Yes. Am I going to hopefully keep mine updated, too? Yep. Why? WHY NOT - is the question! Ha! So ridiculous...As if I didn't have other things to do...and as if you didn't have other things to do either besides read my simple, self serving, day-to-day commentary. Haha :)

 Oh, here is an adorable picture of my babies. Why? Because they are mine and I love them.

Here's one of Tommy doing his "crazy" face with his hair after I blow dried it. Hehe :) Such volume. 

 Babies love swings...even if they have to share. Why can't they be this happy about sharing all the time?!

Ella and I on a ferris wheel. Seriously - so adorable. My kids are cuter than yours. Why? Because this is my blog and I can say that without anyone arguing with me...and if you do argue in the comments...."DELETE"  - no more arguing. Haha! The power of a blog! 

Oh hi! It's Tom and me! I can't remember when this is from or where we were...and now you get to see me in my librarian glasses. Don't I look like an intellectual?

Anyway, since this is my blog and I don't care who reads it, or who doesn't - here are my top ten recent observations:

1. Sacrament meeting at 3:00p.m. after two hours of church already is a TERRIBLE idea. The kids are cranky, hungry, bored, and sick of being at church. Do I want to slit my wrists after an hour of sacrament meeting from 3-4? Yes. What is the only thing keeping me from doing that? I don't keep razor blades in my purse for fear of the children getting them. 3-4p.m. on Sundays is seriously the longest hour of the week. When the clock finally strikes four: in the words of Lisa Simpson "Finally! It's the longest time until more church!"

2. I don't get paid enough. I work my butt off in a department where the customers are as high maintenance as a beauty pageant contestant and as hard to please as a bride on a budget. Everyone wants something for nothing, no one understands how things actually work, and after I make a sale, I spend the rest of the day wondering if they are going to return it because my customers are just like that. Yes I make commission, but it is well deserved after dealing with the type of customers I deal with. I've decided that there are A LOT of things about my current job that are super frustrating. If I was in charge, I would do things differently...

3. Project Runway Season 11 is over and that makes me sad. I'm glad Michelle won - she was my favorite from the beginning. Now I don't have anything to look forward to on a Thursday night, though. Sad day.

4. Pennies are dumb. People really should just round up or down and it would all kind of work out. Of course, Ella thinks pennies are "gold dubloons" so I suppose there is some sort of purpose for them. Ella collects pennies, puts them in her piggy bank and says she is saving up to buy a pony. I told her it would take several million pennies...I don't think she grasps that concept.

5. I love my iPhone. My iPhone is like a best friend that never lets me down...except when the GPS gives me the wrong address (Why Google Maps?! WHY!?).

6. My kids are brilliant. Yes, they really are. My two and a half year old son potty trained himself in two days. Brilliant. My five and a half year old daughter has better reasoning skills than most of the adult customers I deal with at work. Often times when we are trying to punish Ella for something, she can usually out reason us and therefore make us think twice about what we are really punishing her for. Also, both my kids have amazing senses of humor. Tommy understands what it means to "tease" and he is TWO! Ella will crack jokes and come up with the funniest things: example:

*while talking to Tom on the phone*
Ella: dad, I've been a really big help! *whispering to me* don't tell him I haven't been. I'm just saying that...

 Tommy: *while sitting in a suitcase* hi mom! I'm going on a trip!
Me: oh yeah? Where are you going?
Tommy: on a trip!
Me: but where to?
Tommy: to Trip!

My kids are awesome...and I don't really like kids. Just mine. They are the best. 

7.  Hockey playoffs! What? You don't watch hockey? should. What's that? You say you don't like hockey? are wrong. Hockey is the best. I am married to an AVID sports lover. I've seen them all. Basketball, football, tennis, golf, baseball, etc. Watching them on t.v., or live...doesn't make a difference. They are all boring. I especially hate football. Don't even get me started on how stupid and ridiculous and BORING football is. But hockey *insert heavenly angels* is AWESOME. The speed. The chance that at any moment they might score. The blood. The attractive players (I'm looking at you Patrick Sharp) and favorite player: Marion Hossa a Ginger from Czech Republic. Mmmm....tasty tasty players. Of course, rugby players are good too...but hockey is happening right now. So far, the Blackhawks are 2-0 in the series. Who are the Blackhawks you ask? Seriously it if you don' tknow. I'm not even going to dignify that with a response. We even had someone ask if that was a baseball team. *sigh* Excuse me while I slam my head against a wall. Hockey's new slogan should be: Hockey - the only sport Laura can tolerate. Haha!

8. It's finally spring! YAAAAAAAY!!!! Enough of close-toed shoes! No more sweaters! No more freezing walks to the car and waiting for the car to heat up! No more SNOW! Yaaaaay!!! Of course, the weather in Utah is extremely bipolar, so who knows - it might snow tomorrow, but right now the forecast is looking warm and sunny with more on the horizon! Hip hip hooray!!!! :) Now all I need is a beach, a good book, and an ice cold Dr. Pepper to keep me satisfied. *siiiiigh*

9. Speaking of the beach - we are going to California in two weeks!! *insert celebratory dance!* Tom is graduating with his MBA from Cal Lutheran so we are going down for the graduation ceremony. I am SOOOOOO excited! I can't wait to smell the ocean air, feel the humidity and let my hair embrace the fro that it is, and eat In n Out at the beach, stop by the local farmers booths and buy some fresh strawberries - that is happiness. I'm not sure what our itinerary will entail, but does it really matter?? I get to go home :) Yaaaay! The babies are excited, too with Ella exclaiming "Mom! We should just live at Papa's house! They have everything and its never cold!" Amen, child....amen. 

10. I'm terrible at writing a blog. Yeah, I did really well keeping updated for the first two years while we were on the island. I figured that since we were so far away, that it was a good way to keep people updated on us without having to make a million phone calls (which I hate talking on the phone anyway...), but since returning from the island its more like, "meh..." But since Tom started his hockey blog, I want to start keeping mine up to date. Not a lot of things happen in our lives that are exciting right now, but I do have a lot of opinions, so I figure my blog is a good enough place as any to share them. Ha! :)

Anyway, that's all for now. I have to go to work. I am working on a couple big sale deals that hopefully will go through - that way I can continue to clothe and feed my family :) ha! Wish me luck and good selling vibes!