Tag Archive | Working Mom

Motherhood, Menopause and the Time Succubus

by Shannon Penrod

Okay, I admit it, I’m crabby today.  And don’t tell me it’s hormonal, that just makes me crabbier.  Is it just me?  I know I got an extra hour handed to me over the weekend because of Daylight Savings, but does anyone else feel like it came at the cost of ten or so other hours?  It reminds of when I go to big sale at a department store, 50% off of everything, only everything was marked up 75% to begin with.  Did I mention I’m crabby?

Where does the time go?  On Friday there was the trip to the Pumpkin Patch, on Saturday the trip to the Fall Carnival100_8846 and trick or treating afterward.  Yesterday there was a birthday party.  Sure I gained an hour, but it was spent on the Halloween treadmill.  

Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, all of them.  I love anything that interupts the monotony and gives us a reason to celebrate and create memories.  I love it, but I am always glad to get back to normalcy.  Today was supposed to be normalcy.  I scheduled it.  It’s in my plannner.  Which apparently no one else bothered to check. Noooooo.

Instead the powers that be decided to change school picture retake day to today!  Except in my planner it is clearly written that the picture retake is tomorrow.  Today is taking my son to get a haircut, to fix the hack job I did on it so he could be Spock for Halloween.  Today is the day I am going to wash and iron his blue shirt for the picture.  It’s in my planner! Today is not the day that we are taking pictures!  Except it is.  So now I am home finding another shirt, muttering, grabbing scissors and running back up to school to give my precious bug at least a trim so he doesn’t have the life long horror of a first grade picture that looks like his mother was drunk when she cut his hair. 

I get to school just in time to hear one of my son’s classmates say that his head is itching again.  This is the little boy that has had lice outbreaks twice this year already.  So far we have remained louse free, but really how long do we think my luck can hold out at this rate? Heavy sigh.  Lice is definately not in the planner for today.

I know that in the realm of things these are small problems.  I know that my frustration and inability to go with the flow has to do with the estrogen that is leaving my body like rats abandoning a sinking ship.  It all comes down to time.  Time is passing.  I’m getting older by the minute, more importantly my child is getting older by the minute.  There’s so much I want to teach him, so much I want to do with him. There is never enough time.  The time succubus marches on.  My job is to learn to release my expectations, relinquish my control issues and enjoy the moment.  Yeah…..well wish me luck with that.  Maybe if I schedule it in my planner…..

Working Mum’s Network by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Working Mums’ Network by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

By Sandra Beck

 

It was definitely harder to set up play dates with the workings Mums. It was less ‘see you at Club’ and more ‘let’s check the calendar’.  However, I found that the time pressure seemed to put the friendships on fast-forward. When I ‘clicked’ with someone, we quickly progressed to ‘come to my house on Saturday afternoon’ – rather than shyly circling around each other ‘see you same place next week, I chocoguess’.

 

My closest mum friend is a lady from my company. We briefly spoke when we were both pregnant with our second. She went back to work quite quickly – but her occasional phone calls were always a treat. Our kids went to the same nursery for six months – and constantly nag us to set up play dates. When we do get together, the kids go and do something destructive in the corner, while we drink strong coffee and share scandalous office gossip. She was disarmingly frank about the challenges of working motherhood – we don’t need to feel defensive of our choices around each other. 

 

I like to think of my working mum friends as an underground network. We don’t have clubs, schedules, groups or premises. We sometimes go for six months without speaking – but pick up seamlessly where we left off.

 

We’re not visible as a group.

 

Occasionally sighted but only in pairs. Communicating electronically with late night emails and the occasional one liner from a palm top computer. I’m sometimes amazed where my friends networks go – hierarchy gets forgotten when you have children the same age. I wouldn’t be without them. They’re an invisible net of support – feeding me crucial information when I’m out of the office, generously sharing childcare anecdotes when I’m in the office. We watch each others backs – we always hear about it if a mum gets discriminated against, or when a working mum does well. Mummy mafia? Perhaps…

 

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

www.sandrabeck.com

 

Working Mum's Network by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

It was definitely harder to set up play dates with the workings Mums. It was less ‘see you at Club’ and more ‘let’s check the calendar’.  However, I found that the time pressure seemed to put the friendships on fast-forward. When I ‘clicked’ with someone, we quickly progressed to ‘come to my house on Saturday afternoon’ – rather than shyly circling around each other ‘see you same place next week, I chocoguess’.

My closest mum friend is a lady from my company. We briefly spoke when we were both pregnant with our second. She went back to work quite quickly – but her occasional phone calls were always a treat. Our kids went to the same nursery for six months – and constantly nag us to set up play dates. When we do get together, the kids go and do something destructive in the corner, while we drink strong coffee and share scandalous office gossip. She was disarmingly frank about the challenges of working motherhood – we don’t need to feel defensive of our choices around each other. 

I like to think of my working mum friends as an underground network. We don’t have clubs, schedules, groups or premises. We sometimes go for six months without speaking – but pick up seamlessly where we left off.

 

We’re not visible as a group.

 

Occasionally sighted but only in pairs. Communicating electronically with late night emails and the occasional one liner from a palm top computer. I’m sometimes amazed where my friends networks go – hierarchy gets forgotten when you have children the same age. I wouldn’t be without them. They’re an invisible net of support – feeding me crucial information when I’m out of the office, generously sharing childcare anecdotes when I’m in the office. We watch each others backs – we always hear about it if a mum gets discriminated against, or when a working mum does well. Mummy mafia? Perhaps…

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

www.sandrabeck.com

 

What’s Cooking? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

 

 

It’s ironic. Cooking is meant to be the ultimate domestic goddess occupation. Why is it that the aftermath makes my kitchen look like a hovel?

 

I’d lovingly plan, chop, sauté, and present the food attractively. The kids would push it around their plate. “It’s a bit spicy for me” my som would comment “and today I don’t like peppers. Can I have just bread instead?”. My effort would have earned me the sound of ‘scrape scrape scrape’ into the bin, and a kitchen full of dirty pans and chopping boards at the point of the day when I just needed to lie down.apples

 

Then I found it. The cheapest, scruffiest part of my kitchen armory, costing less that a decent saucepan. I love it so much I’d kiss it, if it wasn’t generally full of scalding hot stew. It’s my little secret shortcut – the ‘wife’ I’d love to have. “Come by for dinner tonight” I can now boldly say. These days, I’m not inviting people to watch me sweat in the kitchen, keeping toddlers away from the hot oven by pushing them back with my feet. It’s the working mother’s best friend – the slow cooker!

 

I’ve learned to plan my meals in advance. It saves money and it helps me eat healthier. Most of all it means I can cook on auto-pilot without using any of my scarce spare brain capacity. When I’m up in the morning, I know what’s meant to be for dinner. I can start the ‘Slocker’ (as we affectionately call it) straight away. I’ll put some chopped onions and celery in there with a teaspoon of oil, and leave it on ‘High’ for forty minutes while I go upstairs to dress the kids. I’ll come back, chuck in some tins of tomatoes, tins of beans and a few flavorings. I turn the dial down to Low, and leave it for the whole day. I arrive back home ten hours later to the homely smell of fresh three bean chilli. Pure comfort food.

 

It does take a bit of trial-and-error, it’s true. I wish my model had a timer, because sometimes the food can taste a bit ‘stewed’. In particular, meat needs to be sealed in a frying pan first. However, I’ve discovered something about my kids’ tastes. They just LOVE bland and mushy.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

 

What is Your Parenting Style? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Inorporated

By Sandra Beck

 

 

          Attachment parenting – just for hippies?

Attachment parenting recommends that, for maximal emotional security, the child co-sleeps, breast-feeds, is carried in a sling, and in all possible ways not forced to be separate from their family adults before they initiate it themselves. Impossible for a working mum? Nicola Horlick – the London fund manager mother of 5 – practiced co-sleeping and breast-feeding. She said that after a long day at work it helped her re-bond with her babies during the night.folwer

 

          Routine based

Reassuringly well planned routines can give you some predictability. You know the baby will sleep for 2 hours at a certain time, so you can plan to do some work or a business phone-call. Routines promise unbroken nights – always a boon for overstretched parents. However, it can all go out the window if your childcare does it differently to you. A little bit of flexibility can save a lot of sanity.

 

          Child centered parenting

Will you ever get out of the house?

 

          Listening to your mom

You might have turned out OK – but bear in mind that many health recommendations have changed.

          .

          Internet parenting

You can get some great, realistic, modern advice from the internet. However, unlike a book, the internet is written by many different authors – some perhaps not so scrupulous about ensuring accuracy, others who recall what they did with their own kids, but jumble up ages and stages – so advise you to to do with you 3 month old what they did with their 8 month old.  Your kids risk becoming little guinea pigs for incompatible theories.

 

          A bit of everything

Your baby doesn’t sleep. You read a book with a snazzy title like ‘Sleeping through in three days’. With messianic zeal you fix the blackout blinds and massage your baby’s tootsies. Four hours later crying mummy is still going back and forth to a crying baby. The next day you buy a new book and decide that you will carry your baby everywhere in a little papoose, perhaps with some womb noises to reassure him.

 

          Just doing your best

It’s what it all boils down to in the end!

 

I find that if I have given my best, done all that I could do, no matter what the outcome – even if I did throw nappies at the dog to get him out of the kitchen, I did my best and that is – as we all need to agree – enough.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

What is Your Parenting Style? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

 

          Attachment parenting – just for hippies?

Attachment parenting recommends that, for maximal emotional security, the child co-sleeps, breast-feeds, is carried in a sling, and in all possible ways not forced to be separate from their family adults before they initiate it themselves. Impossible for a working mum? Nicola Horlick – the London fund manager mother of 5 – practiced co-sleeping and breast-feeding. She said that after a long day at work it helped her re-bond with her babies during the night.folwer

          Routine based

Reassuringly well planned routines can give you some predictability. You know the baby will sleep for 2 hours at a certain time, so you can plan to do some work or a business phone-call. Routines promise unbroken nights – always a boon for overstretched parents. However, it can all go out the window if your childcare does it differently to you. A little bit of flexibility can save a lot of sanity.

          Child centered parenting

Will you ever get out of the house?

          Listening to your mom

You might have turned out OK – but bear in mind that many health recommendations have changed.

          .

          Internet parenting

You can get some great, realistic, modern advice from the internet. However, unlike a book, the internet is written by many different authors – some perhaps not so scrupulous about ensuring accuracy, others who recall what they did with their own kids, but jumble up ages and stages – so advise you to to do with you 3 month old what they did with their 8 month old.  Your kids risk becoming little guinea pigs for incompatible theories.

          A bit of everything

Your baby doesn’t sleep. You read a book with a snazzy title like ‘Sleeping through in three days’. With messianic zeal you fix the blackout blinds and massage your baby’s tootsies. Four hours later crying mummy is still going back and forth to a crying baby. The next day you buy a new book and decide that you will carry your baby everywhere in a little papoose, perhaps with some womb noises to reassure him.

          Just doing your best

It’s what it all boils down to in the end!

I find that if I have given my best, done all that I could do, no matter what the outcome – even if I did throw nappies at the dog to get him out of the kitchen, I did my best and that is – as we all need to agree – enough.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

What is the Hardest Age to Balance With Work By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

       

The baby is so small, your body still remembers it. It breaks your heart to leave it. The baby squints vaguely at the light, before reaching its arms out… mmmm, milk.

 

The baby starts to move. He understands the hazards of the world a bit clearer now. He’ll make his disapproval known if he’s left – whether you’re going to work or just to the bathroom.poppies

 

The baby is walking around; getting palpable pleasure from hitting other children with his teddies. He leaves you quite happily – but on your way out you catch a faint… was that a new word? You squint through the hinge of the closing door until the tip of your nose gets pinched.

 

You’ve now got a fully fledged preschooler. As they jabber to you about Alison and Maxwell and Simon’s red fire truck toy you jot down the names. You really must get to the bottom of who these ruffians are. Really, some parents don’t instill any manners in their three year olds.

 

Then they go to school. It’s a rude shock to find that, as parent, you’re no longer seen as the customer. More like the secretary-chauffeur, Your child is also less of a guest and more of a pupil.  You vaguely consider changing careers to become a classroom assistant so that you can make sure your child uses the bathroom regularly and wear a hat outdoors.

 

Then they hit the Tweens. They talk in long sentences alluding to their friends parents who are apparently in every way more accomplished, kind and liberal than you are. You are torn between applying for a position on the Board in order to set your kid a good example, and chucking it all in to stay at home baking cookies, vetting all their friends with a 100 point questionnaire.

 

Finally teenagers. Is it blissful to have someone who sleeps in in the mornings? The life of ease, to not need to help with their bathing or toilet. They even eat direct from the fridge you say? And don’t say a word for hours on end? My, you must have it so easy!

 

Take your pick, according to me – every age is hard while you are trying to balance your work with your life.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com