Monday, December 23, 2013

Becoming a WAHM

The acronym WAHM is not as well known as SAHM, but I'm sure that most people will be able to figure it out. The problem lies in figuring out how to be a WAHM.

There are three parts:
  • WORK
  • HOME
  • MOM
First, you have the WORK. The biggest issue here probably falls on finding a real job. Once you find an actual company that is hiring people to work at home, you have to get them to hire you. Next is the annoying part (and after spending a considerable amount of time looking for a real "from home" job, I wouldn't think that anything would be more annoying than all of the fakes out there)

Technical specifications! 

These are evil words. I am smart; I know a lot about computers and how they work, but all the tech talk really makes me feel like an uncultured, uneducated neanderthal.

So, you find yourself hired and having figured out the technical ups and downs; you even have a date for your training. Of course the scheduling issues start right away. Training is not during your normal availability, so you need to figure out childcare and how to stay awake and focused at 10 pm, while wearing your PJs.

Work is work.

You sit down and do your job, all the while thinking how wonderful it is that you can be in your PJs (and not wear a bra). Plus, when you get your break you can wash those dishes that you left last night. But, then it starts to get to you - all of the things that you should be doing, could be doing, if you were not working, they are right out of reach. This is the second issue: HOME

I would find myself working in my living-room, facing my kitchen and just thinking about those dishes. Then take my first break to finish them up, just to realize that I need to vacuum, during a slow down in calls. The down time is hard, because there is so much to do! 

My daughter would often stay after school when I worked and because we only have one car, I couldn't even pick her up. The MOM issue is a hard one for any mom that works. I even missed decorating my parents' house for the holidays with my daughter and hubby. These are things that I had to deal with as a working-mom, but I was sad and lonely, at home; not at work, able to vent to my co-workers. (I only made one friendly contact during training and she quit a couple weeks before the season ended.)

Now this is a reputable company, but their expectations were a bit high when it came to the agents' availability. You were required to check your schedule in the morning and at 10 pm each day. On top of that, they claim to post schedules 2 weeks in advance, but every week my schedule was changed (and sometimes drastically - aka affecting my after school care needs) four days before the start of that week.

I hadn't mentioned that this was a seasonal position that I was hired on for as a customer service and sales agent. We were hired until 12/24 and had little flexibility: we were not allowed to request off. There were ongoing technical issues all the while, too. I was not happy; the money turned out to be not so great either, as they appeared to have over-hired for the season.

Still, I love doing customer service and the PJ wardrobe was fantastic. It was also nice, not to have a supervisor breathing down my neck, while still having the support of mentors and team leaders all the time. The negatives really out weighed the positives in this experiment, which ended a week early (to my joy), but I got to experience something new and got a taste of how things should (not) be.

I am going back to work in an office in the middle of January. Yes, I already have a new job lined up, but it is probably temporary and part-time. But, this time I know all of my co-workers and I will be out at 3:30. Kind of a miracle for the working mom.

Monday, August 19, 2013

To be or not to be a SAHM

I was laid off this summer. This was something that I had seen coming for months. I had not been at my position with the company very long. However, I really liked my job. As far as jobs go, it was golden. So, I am home with my 5 year old.

 Having the summer off really took a toll on us financially, but I got to spend the summer with my daughter. Still it is much different being at home without a car (both cars broke down at some point this summer) and without money. We had fun, but all of those grand plans of adventures and bonding - well, they kind of got forgotten in the mist of everyday stuff like laundry and me hurting my back.
My daughter is everything to me and I love being her mom.

But I have to ask myself is it better for ME to be a SAHM or working-mom?

I stayed at home with my daughter went she was born, mostly because I couldn't work. Physically, I was a mess. This created a lot of great bonding time in my daughter's memory, but I remember struggling and fighting with my boyfriend about the lack of housework being done. When I was able to again, I worked here and there for a temp service and had months when I was a working mom. There was a time when I worked and 'dad' stayed home with the girl. They are awesome together! 
When she turned 3 years old, things started to change. I saw the signs and knew that she was ready to start pre-school. I had no very little idea of how much it would cost to put her in a pre-school program, just for a half day. There was only one option. GO BACK TO WORK - FULL TIME!

I went back into daycare (I have a love/hate relationship with working at daycares that goes back 10 years). We moved. I was laid off from the daycare and I got my dream job (sort of). The company that I worked for actually didn't care that I would have to blow off at 10 am because the daycare called and my kid has a fever. I worked from home at times and had amazing relationships with my manager and co-worker. 

I felt empowered. I felt useful. I was using my mind - after knocking the cobwebs loose - and it was great. I remembered that I was important to more people than my daughter and boyfriend. I remembered that I was smart, funny and really great at customer service, marketing, and office work. I even got to use my amazing skills at social marketing. 

I loved going to work. 
I loved being with my family on the weekends.

I did not love coming home from work, it was too much - yet, something that you just did. As a mom there is an emotional energy that is expected from your child that, after 8 hours of customer service and marketing, I just didn't have for her.

I still haven't found a job. We do need the money. My daughter starts kindergarten in September. I just have to figure out how to balance working and being a stay-at-home-mom and in the meantime enjoy the rest of the summer home with my daughter!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I never gave up my Barbie

I kept my Barbie dolls in a blue and green suitcase that was my Aunt Denise's in the 1970s. I loved those dolls and loved that suitcase. My SAHM watched a lot of All My Children while she folded laundry and I played with my dolls. These dolls had similar drama in their lives complete with love triangles, long lost evil twins and wicked step-sisters.

I had two beautiful Ken dolls that I borrowed to a friend for her Skipper. It was supposed to be for a short while but her dogs ate them, so I kept her Skipper and had to make do with a boy doll. I had a floppy rabbit and a strange doll that looked like a boy. It worked.

The love for my Barbies became obsessive, so I obviously turned into a Collector. My friend and I took our obsession with Barbies and Arts & Crafts, remodeled her old Barbie house and started collecting Barbie dolls.

I couldn't wait to give my daughter my old dolls. I loved them and it made me feel amazing to be able to pass these dolls to my daughter. It was something that I thought about and dreamed about long before I became a mom. However, we bought her a set of Disney Princess dolls before I could dig out my old dolls and now she has more dolls than I could have imagined. We had to get a whole cabinet for her dolls, they out grew the blue suitcase long ago (and she is only 5 years old).

My favorite doll:
Dancing with the Stars Paso Doble Barbie(r...
Bring the show home to you! [More]
Price: 29.95
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I really want to get this for my, uh, daughter:

BARBIE(r) Sisters Bike for Two!
This adorable bicycle is built for two! [More]
Price: 24.99
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My daughter's favorite Barbie Movie:

Barbie A Perfect Christmas DVD
Celebrate the season with this heartwarming Barbie movie! [More]
Price: 19.98
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*The sun still shines on a few of my dolls that she insisted on keeping, Plus, my Princess of Power, She-Ra doll is one of her favorites and that can't be replaced.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Looking back at the preschool years

Today my daughter graduated from preschool. Her teachers created a wonderful ceremony and gave the perfect gifts.The kids were lined up in their caps and gowns to sign their favorite songs and I watched my daughter and her classmates. I was in love!

Preschool is an amazing time in your child's life! The world is still so new and there are so many things to learn and explore.Each kid stood in front of their parents and random family members smiling and laughing. They were proud, but not sure why they were proud; they were also scared, not sure what to do with the fear and excitement.

I feel like everything is happening so fast and it is very cliche. I remember the doctor's appointment where I knew that I wasn't pregnant and was proven wrong. I remember driving to my boyfriend's house after that appointment and crying because I was so happy. I remember holding my baby, my daughter the moment after she was born. The rest is a blur of hair, chubby cheeks and a little girl that grew way too fast.

Preschool was an amazing time for my toddler. I watched her grow physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. I was really lucky to be working at my daughter's first daycare/preschool and become good friends with her teacher. She did amazing things like recite her first book, learn to paint real pictures, recognize her letters and numbers. She learned about sharing and what it means to play in a group. She learned how to deal with bullies and friends' having a bad day. Most importantly my preschooler learner that school is fun!

My baby girl is growing into a beautiful young girl. She is amazing and I am so proud of her. I need to remember two things:

  1. slow down and watch her play
  2. not to cry until the bus drives away

Friday, June 14, 2013

What I learned from my first year as a dance mom:

  1. Do not register for the 9am class on Saturday with your preschooler. She doesn't want to wake up on the weekend and neither do you
  2. Do bring coffee with you to class; your dancer will have lots of energy when she gets out of class.
  3. Tights will snag. So why not put on the ones that you noticed have a tiny snag right as you need to run out the door? Just say it happened in the car.
  4. Talking to the other Dance Mom can be wonderful. This depends on what type of studio you are at though. If you went with the best (our friend is a teacher there), this will mean that there are mom's with designer jeans and full face of makeup and a iPad for the younger sibling to play with in the waiting room with you. Look for the mom with the frizzy hair or worn out sneakers, she will be cool..
  5. Carefully consider any outing after class. She will be in her dance attire and she will not want to take it off. This means a trip to the mall with a fuzzy green unitard, baby pink tights with roses and nothing else (as it is freezing outside). You will get looks! You will want to kill people giving your child looks.
  6. Tap shoes suck for little girls' feet. 
  7. The hair must be up and detangler spray the night before and morning off is key. Brushing the hair before bed became a regular thing in our house after dance started. Tangles are the enemy!
  8. Breakfast before the 9am class can be a half banana or 5 animal crackers. Oh, don't forget the juice box. (Did I mention that 9am classes suck?)
  9. Little girls love getting makeup on, but hate standing still. Encourage a spin or tap of the feet from time to time.
  10. Pictures are a big deal and the first practice that you will have. Do not freak out over tiny things. Look at the big picture.
  11. The dress rehearsal will come up faster than you think and you will realize that you still don't have any mascara.
  12. Waterproof mascara is a must! (for mom, too)
  13. Don't forget snacks!
  14. Pee before the unitard goes on!
  15. Be early for everything. You will need much more time than you think to get your dancer ready.
  16. Let your husband/SO/other family members be busy elsewhere while doing the prep work.
  17. Become friends with the wonderful lady at the front desk. She knows everything that is going on and you need to know her name. 
  18. Take pictures. Even of the grumpy faces.
  19. Don't forget the tickets!
  20. Stop. Breath. Enjoy your tiny dancer.
Mine is the one in the middle with the serious hip action!

I'm not sure how much this will help anyone. But its what I learned. That and whitening toothpaste is great at getting scuffs out of tap shoes. Please note that I use the term her/she for two reasons: I have a daughter and most tiny dancers are little girl. If you have a little boy that wants to dance, now is the time. When they are little it is cuter for a boy to be in class and he will get the chance to check it out. There was a little boy in class with my daughter the first month. Then *poof* - he must have not liked the shoes!