Archive | May 2008

Overwhelmed

by Shannon Penrod

Just so we are clear, I love words.  The word overwhelmed has come up so much in the last few days that I found myself wondering if it is possible to be simply whelmed, without being overwhelmed.  Which brought up the question, Is whelmed even a word?  I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m feeling whelmed.”  So I looked it up in the online dictionary, and it turns out whelmed is a word.  It means submerged or covered with water. Ah, well that makes sense.

As a Mom who works I often feel whelmed and lets face it once you are whelmed it’s a very short putt to overwhelmed.  A client needs something 48 hours sooner than they thought they needed it.  I start to feel whelmed, and before I can even acknowledge that I’m whelmed, my 4 year old decides that he is absolutely starving despite the fact that dinner is only an hour away. The phone rings as he pulls an entire bag of pears out of the refrigerator dumping them all over the floor and ladies and gentleman we have overwhelmed!

I have to admit that I am ashamed at how often and how easily I feel overwhelmed as a Mom.  Overwhelmed wasn’t even part of my vocabulary before I was a Mom, it was something I associated with being incompetent.  I always thought “What is the use of being overwhelmed?  It only slows you from doing the thing you need to do – focus and forge ahead!”  Ahh, silly naive thoughts, before motherhood.

I’ve decided I need a new association for the word overwhelmed, more fitting to its actual meaning.  From now on when I am overwhelmed I’m going to picture myself underwater.  Nice cool, quiet, blissful water, where it’s serene, no phones ring, no emails appear, I am light and buoyant and my breasts defy gravity.  It turns out overwhelmed isn’t so bad after all!

Keeping a Pre-Schooler Busy while You Work

Over the last three months I have been juggling child care while I work.  Because my husband travels a lot, I am often stuck with the kids 24-7 trying to get it all done.  I don’t have anyone who comes on a regular basis and rely on a team of women who help me when I need it.  This weekend the gals I usually depend on all were busy. Because of the flexing in my work and husband’s travel schedule it is impossible to hire someone full time.  So I struggle with the part-time two step.

My kids love it because the different women all bring different things to the baby sitting party.  Jasmin loves to sing and dance.  Brinna loves to pretend play and makes towns out of our Thomas Tracks.   Gloria is the outdoor maniac and there is hiking, swimming and hours at the park.  Mita loves to cook and we all enjoy her creations from cakes to casseroles – and she often makes enough for a few days!

This weekend, the holiday weekend,  I was alone. No husband, no help and I had a huge project to complete.  I needed about 10 uniterrupted hours.  I phoned a mom friend and was complaining when she told me about some fantastic websites that kept her toddler busy while her baby napped.  Sounded to good to be true, but you know what? It wasn’t.

Each day I put my son down for a two-hour nap and brought my other son into my office. I set him up on the computer and he got the hang of it a lot quicker than I ever did.  We went to the site my friend recommended and were amazed at all the free online games that were educational and entertaining — best of all they are FREE!  I am not an advocate of plunking your kid in front of the tv or computer for hours, but in an emergency these do the trick!  And, my son and I decided that for 30 minutes each day he gets to use mommy’s computer and do his “work.” 

He has learned all about recycling and warns us all not to waste water.  He shows his little brother Elmo’s Potty game and tells everyone he meets “it’s not good to hold it – when you feel like you have to go, go!”  Its fun and he’s learned a lot of really valuable and charming things — a lot better than his recent playdate learning of how to blow your spit and suck it back in — which usually means spitting on his brother.

So here are the sites – I suggest you check them out — I am glad I did…

www.pbskids.org

www.preschoolcoloringbook.com

www.perpectualpreschool.com

www.noggin.com

www.starfall.com  (this one is a great one to prepare for school!)

www.disney.com

www.nickjr.com

www.prongo.com

www.hitentertainment.com

 Have a great day and hope you like them!

xo! Sandra

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

www.sandrabeck.com

Dinner With the Past – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

A couple months ago I wrote a profile on an 80-year-old pianist/singer who currently headlines a piano bar at a historic hotel in my area. She is incredibly talented, beautiful and worldly beyond my comprehension. She has traveled the world singing for troops in Greenland, the mafia in Boston and tourists in Mexico, just to name a few.

Well, we hit it off that night and in correspondence, she sent me a copy of a book she had written about one little chunk of her experiences and it was fascinating – I couldn’t stop reading it until I was done. So the other night she invited me over for dinner and we spent almost five hours talking about her life and some of her adventures.

For most of her life she was a single working mother struggling as a lounge act to keep food on her table during a time when women were not normally allowed the freedom we so regularly take advantage of today.

She tells of going through dumpsters on Thursdays because that’s when the markets would discard their produce, whether it was bad or not. There were the furnishings in her apartment – rejects from nicer neighborhoods that had been placed on the street as garbage.

And then the jobs. She took the jobs she could get, which often meant travel or unsavory characters who expected more than her talent on the ivories – sexual harassment was the rule, not the exception. She says that there were many times she knew a job would last only as long as she could fake a recent hysterectomy or buy herself a week by saying “Aunt Flo was in town.”

It made me realize how good we have it these days thanks to women like her who fought everyday to be respected and taken seriously, and with far fewer options than are available to us now. Take some time to listen to their stories and be sure to thank them for the trails they blazed.

Haciendo La Transición: ¿Qué vas hacer?

Por: Julia Rodriguez

 

Si estás como yo, estás tratando de hacer la transición de una mamá que trabaja a una mama que trabaja de casa corriendo su propio negocio, y permiteme que te diga, pero es duro. Entre el trabajo y la casa, no tengo mucho tiempo de organizarme para hacer la transición rápidamente. Así que yo tomo pasitos de bebé hacia mi objetivo.  

Tomemos el primer pasito contestando estas preguntas. ¿Qué tipo te trabajo haras en casa? ¿Qué servicios o productos vas a ofrecer?  ¿Qué disfrutas hacer que también puedes ganar dinero? ¿Qué puedes ofrecer a tus clientes de tu hogar? ¿Te considerará tu jefe trabajar para él o ella de casa?

 Comienza por pensar en estas preguntas y escribelo en un cuaderno. Escribe todo en tu cuaderno que tenga que ver con tus ideas para tu nuevo negocio. Recuerda de llevar tu cuaderno por todas partes para que puedas anotar cualquier idea que quizás te entre a la cabeza durante el día.  

Making The Transition: What are you going do?

If youre like me, you are trying to make the transition from a working mom to a work at home mom running my own business and let me tell you, its tough. Between work and home, I dont have much time to organize myself to make the transition quickly.  So I am taking baby steps towards my goal.

 

Lets take the first baby step by answering these questions. What are you going to do? What services or products do you want to offer? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing that can also provide you with income? What can you offer your clients from the comfort of your home? Will your boss consider you working for him/her from home?  Start by thinking about these questions and write it down in a notebook.  Write everything in your notebook that has to do with your new business idea.  Remember to carry your notebook everywhere so that you can write down any ideas that might pop in your head during the day. 

Cell Phones, PDAs, Laptops – SCValley Mommies

TAKE THAT OLD CELL PHONE, DIGITAL CAMERA, PDA AND LAPTOP OUT OF RETIREMENT AND PUT IT TO WORK!Please donate your used cell phones, digital cameras, PDA’s and laptops to help raise much needed funds for SCValleyMommies.com. SCValleyMommies.com is collecting used cell phones, digital cameras, PDA’s and laptops on June 8th. We will receive a monetary donation for each piece that we collect during this Fund-Raising Program.

According to a new study by environmental research group Inform, people in the US will soon be getting rid of about 130 million cell phones each year. “That’s about 65,000 tons of cell phones and ultimately they are thrown away,” says Joanna Underwood, spokesperson for Inform. Cell phones, digital cameras, PDA’s and laptops contain toxic materials such as arsenic, lead and zinc.

Electronics donated through the Phone Fund Program, however, are given new life. Your throw-away phones, digital cameras, PDA’s and laptops are desirable to people living in developing nations. Phone Fund makes your unused technology available to those who can use it, while keeping it out of the landfill. Those items that cannot be resold are recycled for their component parts according to EPA standards.

“We’re very excited about this program”. “This recycling program not only benefits SCValleyMommies.com but assists in preserving the environment and bringing communications to people who could not otherwise afford it.”

All cell phones, digital cameras, PDA’s and laptops are accepted. Please donate at the following location and date:

June 8th
11-3
Central Park in Santa Clarita (by the play area)
Come join us for our Family day and don’t forget to bring your electronics!!

If you are unable to attend this event, please send me an e-mail (Melissa@SCValleyMommies.com).  We will figure out a way to collect your electronics.

And don’t forget to spread the word to all your friends and family members!!

Mommy, You need to be Wonder Woman by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by sandra beck

 

I was talking to my husband about the running of my company www.motherhoodincorporated.com and how I was feeling run down, overworked and getting really stressed out as my company continues to grow in leaps and bounds.  Some days it feels like I am wrangling 6 horses that want to charge out of control while I hold on to the reigns for dear life.  In the beginning, I fretted about too little work …now I fret about too much. My son who is four looked up at me and said, “Mommy, you just need to be Wonder Woman.”

 

He was right.

 

But I am no Wonder Woman. No snazzy cuffs. No invisible jet. No magic lasso. 

 

I went online to find some tips on time management.  I often complain about not having the time to get things done and boy was I surprised to find so much of the on-line advice blaming me for wasting time and constantly! What I found was that many experts said on average that interruptions happen approximately 8 times a day and adds up to about 2-3 hours of wasted time.  I was also instructed that I can control these interruptions with just a little persistence and planning.

 

My first thought was, “You are out of your cotton-picking mind!”

 

My second thought was, “You are not a working mother!”

 

In my effort to “plan, plan, plan” and “if you fail to plan, plan to fail,” I realized a few things as I plan for Motherhood Incorporated’s day..

 

  1. No matter how much you plan or organize, a bloody nose, a dirty diaper or a high fever throws you off your plan.

 

  1. You are only as good as your support systems allow you to be – babysitters flaking, kids home sick from daycare,  or husbands out of town throw you off your plan.

 

  1. Planning gets the dinner done faster, but won’t do the grocery shopping, the cooking or the cleanup while battling with your children over the “Yuk!” dinner you prepared.

 

  1. Established working hours only work if your kids, dogs, husbands and the planet Mercury are in alignment. Check your astronomy guide for that part of your “plan.”

 

  1. Planning to get everything done on your to-do list is like taking off all the baby weight you gained in your third pregnancy, plus the first and second, by this weekend.

 

It sounds like I am actively against planning, but I am really not.  I am actively against UNREALISTIC planning. I have found that my own system  at www.motherhoodincorporated.com works best.  I write down everything I have to do each day prior to starting my work day.  I put everything in one of three categories:

 

  1. Things that MUST get done today.
  2. Things I COULD get done today.
  3. Things that CAN WAIT.

 

I made a promise to myself that I will be proud of myself if I just accomplish the things that MUST get done.   If I have time, I get to the could ones…but that is pretty rare.  As for the things that are in the can wait category – well they wait and that is okay.

 

My advice for everyone reading this article – do the best you can, set realistic expectations taking into consideration your responsibilities, and hide two matching bracelets in your desk for the times you need to repel evil clients!