Deer In Headlights

The leaves are falling all around. I have been looking for the deer in our woods. I haven’t seen any yet. However, in our own household there are two deer in headlights.

According to Urbandictionary.com,  “Deer in Headlights” is  mental state of high arousal caused by anxiety, fear, panic, surprise and/or confusion[, or substance abuse].  A person experiencing the “deer in headlights” syndrome often shows behavioral signs reminding those of a deer subjected to a car’s headlights, such as widely opened eyes and a transient lack of motor reactions.

Yup, we got ourselves a couple of those around these parts.

I’ll start with me.

The last 2 months have been pretty rough on my mental and emotional state.

During this time period, I have been looking for a job. Remember my 4-part blog series “Lost and Found Identity” ? Although I sent a few resumes through the year, I decided to start the “real job search” when the boys returned back to school at the end of August.  So, I’m no dummy. I know the economy is in dire straights and that unemployment is at an all-time high.  I know I haven’t had a “real” (i.e. Paid) job for over 10 years. I know there are many qualified people out there, many of them recent college grads, looking for jobs.  I also realize that my job search has many limiting factors—location, hours, and experience level. So, I really *shouldn’t* be surprised with the lack of phone calls or responses. My resume, if not put in the circular file, is definitely at the bottom of any pile.

I read the job descriptions….and I KNOW I CAN DO WHAT IS ASKED. I tweek my resume on a daily basis.  I become transfixed with my lap top….constantly checking monster.com, indeed.com, Craigslist, staffing agency websites, professional group websites for new job postings.  I check my email. My voicemail.  NOTHING.  I can’t tell you how it has affected my self-esteem. Even if I KNOW the factors behind it. I KNOW it’s only been two months—some folks have been looking for  a job for two years!  But, in the past, I never had a problem getting a phone call for an interview……

It has turned me into a Deer In Headlights.  Anxiety. Fear. Panic. Surprise.

What compounds it is that I am SO BORED at home. I don’t have any pressing projects–no more remodeling/redecorating, no upcoming travel plans, no kids at home.  I could probably do my “home chores” in the space of one day. Maybe half a day. But I say “space it out throughout the week.” So I end up sitting and playing Free Cell on the computer.  I don’t want to leave the house. But I need to.  I should.  For my sanity. Each morning, I get anxiety butterflies in my stomach because I DREAD the nothingness that lies in the day ahead.  When I told my Hubby about this anxiety, he suggested I make lists to get through my day (he thought I was anxious because of my workload).  HELLOOOOOOO…..has he not noticed the line of sticky-notes at my table or desk with “Things to Do”? Are the essentials not getting done—laundry, dishes, cooking, bathrooms? Everything is getting done. I am just bored and tired of it all.   I NEED MORE. (I’ve had friends and Hubby suggest volunteering or going back to school….I’ve been volunteering for 10 years now, and I don’t think “additional” education is going to help me at this point. I already have an over-priced brain).

Which leads me to the other Deer in Headlights at our house. My Hubby.  And if you recall, that is exactly how I described his reaction when I asked him 10 months ago if he might possibly have a copy of my resume in his files or computer.  It hasn’t gotten any better. He claims that he has accepted the fact that I want a job and that I am sending out my resume.  However, for a man who used to be so supportive of my goals, he has shown little or no interest in my job search.   He used to send me flowers each time I took the Bar Exam to wish me luck.  Not once has he asked to see my resume. Rarely does he ask how the job search is going.  Actually, I’m not sure he does. But if I say something about a job posting I saw and responded too, he will make the appropriate “Good Luck” comment. And he has made it pretty clear that if I do find a job, everything will still be on me, and I will have to sort out the kids and schedules the house, etc…..especially if he is travelling or working late.

I understand that he is busy. He has a LOT on his plate at work. But with each passing day, I feel that my role in his life as a partner is becoming less significant.

Remember the scene in “Pretty Woman” where Richard Gere’s character says to Julia Roberts, “I’ve never treated you like a prostitute.” She responds “You just did.”

I’m NOT saying that Hubby  treats me like a prostitute.  However, when I argue that he wants me to stay home to continue my “maid-like” responsibilities and take care of his (and the kids) needs–dry cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc—he denies it.  Then, a couple of days later, he makes a statement “My truck needs an oil change.”  Is this a request? A demand? A statement? Or when he doesn’t ask me what I have planned for the day. Or when he doesn’t remember that I have an appointment scheduled for that day. About a month ago, he went FOUR DAYS without asking me anything about my day (either in the morning or after work).  How do you think that makes me feel? Like I’m just here to make sure the kids are fed, dressed, off to school, that his dry cleaning is picked up/dropped off, and the oil is changed in the cars. My life doesn’t count. When I confront him with these feelings, rather than providing positive encouragement to improve my life, he suggests that maybe we move so that “dealing with move would give me TONS to do.” OR…….”Maybe you can join a country club, play tennis, make friends and have lunch with the ladies.”  REALLY?!??  That is the type of woman you married? One who wants to go to a country club? This while I hear at least ONCE A WEEK from him “I got a great compliment today on my presentation from my boss.”  OR  “I am working with a really great, intelligent bunch of people.  When you hang around smart people, it rubs off and motivates you to work hard and do better.”  Really….tell me more….because I really have no idea what you are talking about.

I sit and think about why Hubby isn’t more supportive? Years ago, I know some of the reasons he fell in love with me was because of my independence, my education, my goals, my ambition. Granted, my goals have changed. My outlook has changed. Maybe it’s become more realistic.  Wanting to be a US Senator was a fantasy of a 16 year old girl.  Becoming an attorney was a dream of a college student from 20 years ago.  Maybe it was something  I wanted to do to make my parents proud of me. Maybe I wasn’t ready to find a “real career” so I used eduction as a way to postpone it.  However, I never signed-on to be a full time SAHM for such an extended period of time.  I expected us to be partners. Both of us would be successful working parents. Hubby knows that. But he’s become comfortable with the way things are. I don’t see him changing his habits or thinking–his job will always be more important. He’s the successful one in the relationship, and I have helped and supported him become successful because as VP of Domestic Affairs, I’ve always taken care of the daily mundane stuff. And if I go back to work that will change. He’s become A Deer in Headlights.

Today is the first time in a month that I felt like crying.  My BF remembered I have an interview today and she sent me a Good Luck text message.

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Job Search Update

Well, friends, we are approaching the end of August. Or, more specifically, we have just passed mid-August.  This is the time of year I declared that I would start my job search in earnest. And I have. In fact,  I have set a goal for myself.  Send out at least 3 resumes per week. And network.

How goes it? you ask.

Well…..

I have sent out my resume a record FOUR times this week.   I’m being slightly picky–I’ve decided to narrow my search to Human Resource positions, and within a 15 min drive from home. Which is such a shame because there are so many intersting positions just a bit too far out of my “scope.”  I have, however,  expanded my search to full-time positions–if it sounds intersting enough, and/or is close enough to home.  In fact, I have sent in my resume for 2 full-time positions. They just sounded SO RIGHT and SO INTERESTING, that I figured if I DID get an interview, then I could ask/request/plead to make it 30 hours rather than 40 hrs per week.

I am still occasionally looking at administrative assistant positions–but when I read the job descriptions, I’m not that excited.  Answering phones, photocopying. Been there, done that. More than once.  I’m looking for something slightly juicier.

For the most part, I’ve ruled out paralegal/legal asst positions. I have looked, and the jobs available are in areas of law I have NO INTEREST IN.  Truthfully, I had THE BEST paralegal job before I moved to California–and that is the standard I will compare all law-related jobs to.

I decided to expand my search to Office Manager jobs. Why? It’s very similar to an Admin Asst position, but with a little more responsibility. Usually in a smaller office, so they lay the workload on.  I found one in a nearby town, but I couldn’t seem to send the resume.  I’ve had TWO FRIENDS tell me this week that it’s OK to be choosy/picky, because “I deserve it.”  Not sure what that means, but I figured that since Human Resources really interests me, I rather pursue any and all avenues in that field before I decide to “settle.”

AND…..I’ve networked this week. I’m not a big fan of networking. It’s a necessary evil.  I reached out to two former co-workers and a former associate of Hubby’s in order to “put myself out there.”  As I told my BFF, if nothing comes out of it, I’m OK–at least I get to meet up with a couple of old friends. On the other hand, both of the former co-workers I have contacted are pretty well connected. And they both wrote back to me with an interest to meet. Fingers crossed, please!

The biggest issue I am facing in my job hunt is….what to do with my law degree?? Despite all the “advice” from professionals to keep it in my resume as a way to distinguish myself from other candidates, and to show that I have brains and a willingness to work hard towards a (challenging) goal………….I feel like it hurts my chances to get a job. The jobs I am applying for, do not necessarily need or require a law degree.  A Master’s degree might be too much. I’m afraid that hiring managers see the “JD” and say “WTF?” and discard my resume.  I’m nearing the point where I think I may omit it from my resume.  Your thoughts?

Well…I’ll keep you posted on how things go the next few weeks…..

In Transition

I feel like I’m in a transition period, and it’s somewhat unsettling and making me anxious. I’m neither here or there….and I don’t know where I am going.

I am determined to make changes to my  life in 2011…

However, the infamous “job search” that I talked about in January/February is on hold until the end of the summer.  I did send out about 5 resumes this Spring.   I was probably unrealistically optimistic that I would get an interview call.  But as Spring rolled on, I stopped searching for jobs, partially because I was being extremely picky and choosy–the job had to be part-time, with hours close to that of my sons’ school hours (which isn’t many), nearby, and it had to fit my skill-set and seem interesting. Demanding, aren’t I?  Needless to say, there weren’t THAT MANY OPTIONS. The other reason why I stopped looking is that with school summer vacation approaching, and my kids enrolled in a different camp situation each week, it would be HELLLLLLLL  to juggle a new job and taxi service.

Towards the end of July/beg of August, I will begin in earnest again. My search will be broader as I will have more flexibility for hours, and would even consider a job in Boston. 

I am also thinking about the “What else can I do?” scenario.  I have always been a volunteer for something.  Over the last 10 years, I have been very active in my local Mothers of Twins chapter. I started out as newsletter editor, then membership secretary, national representative, president, and this past year, I was treasurer.  Many moms start dropping out of the club when their twins reach school age.  Since leaving “the presidency” I decided it was probably time for me to move on as well, since sports and school and other activities were taking up more and more of my time and energy.  I told the current president that the year I hold the treasurer position would be my last (on the board? in the club? I never made that clear).  When she sent out the email for volunteers for the next year’s board, I hesitated writing back. I said nothing. I just didn’t know.  I wanted to stand firm in my decision to say “good-bye” to the club, but on the other hand, it has become part of me.  In the last minute (literally) I volunteered to hold a “co” position with an elder member who could use some assistance.  There is also the option of getting more involved in the state or national levels.

Another option is to join a very vibrant woman’s volunteer organization in my town. Some of the things they have accomplished are amazing.  What’s stopping me? Granted, I don’t know many moms / people in this town (if you don’t know my kid, chances are I don’t know you), and from what I’ve seen the majority of the volunteers I’ve met/spoken with, live on the other side of town.  Ok, Ok…. you’re saying “why does that matter?” I know it doesn’t really, but that shy part of me who didn’t like the “clique” groups of HS is preventing me from joining.  Sad thing is, those women that I do know that belong this club, I do like. I know. I’m strange and full of insecurities.

Volunteering more at our church is another option. The assistant pastor asked me to consider helping out in Sunday School. I’ve also thought my energy might be used well with the Outreach Committee.

Or maybe something else will come along……

I JUST DON’T KNOW!!!! (can you say “mid-life crisis”?)

Lost and Found Identity-Part 4

(hopefully the last one for a while)

Time to tie it all together.

I love being a mom. I love my boys. But the SAHM bit is getting old.  And at the end of the last blog post, it clicked.  The same old-same old argument I have with hubby, but I can’t seem to make him understand….clicked.  I love being a mom, but I’m tired of being a stay-at-home-mom. The two are separate. Period.

I mentioned that I’ve been reading a book, “Back on the Career Track: A Guide for SAHMs Who Want to Return to Work.” Published in 2007, the authors seem to have gone into my head and extracted my thoughts and put them on paper.

Page ix, in the Introduction, co-author Vivian Steir Rabin, who had been a SAHM for 7 years and was about to attend her 15th reunion for Harvard Business School, writes:

“Although I loved mothering and was busy with volunteer work and other activities, I missed the excitement and intellectual stimulation I had enjoyed during my career. I felt the longer I put off trying to reenter [the workforce], the tougher it was going to get. When I thought about the specifics of returning to work, however, I was overwhelmed. What could I do that was compelling, but also allows me the flexibility to spend time with my children? Were my skills and experience still valuable, or was I so rusty that nobody would want to hire me?”

On Page xiv:

“For many women, contemplating a relaunch [into the workforce] involves confrontation between the dueling aspects of the self–between the mother who wants to be there for her kids and the career woman she suppressed for years, but never quite forgot.”

Does that sound familiar, or what?  Go back to “Lost and Found Identity–Part 1…..where I felt that “A PIECE OF ME WAS MISSING” just because I couldn’t find a copy of my resume!

The start of Chapter 1, the co-author Carol Fishman Cohen begins with her story–

“I always assumed I would return to my job at X-Company after maternity leave [due to a very successful career path]…..I loved my firstborn son and was applying my customary intensity to becoming a good mother…..As the first year of motherhood passed, I slowly adjusted to my new role. I gradually stopped defining myself in terms of career–or lack of one…..After my second child was born, I had thrown myself into motherhood with enthusiasm. As any mother knows, there are HIGHS and LOWS. But I loved it and derived profound satisfaction from providing a caring and enriching environment for my children…..

I began to volunteer at the children’s school. For the next five years, I poured my energy into the PTO….serving as treasurer, then co-president, enlisting volunteers, securing grants…….But as interesting and rewarding as I found these pursuits, there also seemed to be a NEVER ENDING pile of laundry, dishes, doctor appointments, and the like at home.

Gradually, troubling questions started to gnaw at me:  WHY, despite my education and experience, was I in the same place as a generation before me—the traditional volunteer/housewife?”

And then there’s the role of “ROLE MODEL.”  I hadn’t considered this aspect, which is discussed on pages 21 and 22. Well, maybe I had, in the sense that “This isn’t a Holiday Inn, where ‘housekeeping’ picks up after you.” But the book hits on some key points:

“How do your children view you if you’ve been home since they were born? Do they see you as an intellectual being, a warm loving soul, or even just as a servant? How do you want them to view you?”

Co-author Vivian wanted to show her daughters there was as a dimension to her life beyond running a household.  Jill, a mother of 3 boys, wanted her sons to see that “mommies can go out and earn a living just like daddies can.”

I find this a great point, because I DON’T want my boys to grow up believing that women stay home to take care of them. I want them to grow up to be able to do their own laundry, cook, take care of things that traditionally might be considered “mommy jobs.” We do have friends whose “mommies” work, so my boys do know that mommies weren’t meant to stay at home. But I think they are all (including the Big Guy) getting complacent with the fact that I have been home for so long to take care of their needs.

Recently, Hubby has been teaching the kids to play chess–even Little Guy. He suggested to the boys that they should play against me (I happen to be a pretty good chess player, I just don’t do it very often).  They looked up at Hubby and said “Heh? Mom can play chess? It’s a boys game.”  Ya right. Clearly, I’m not looked at as a thinking-machine around here. 

And there you have it, folks…..Pretty much the same stuff I’ve been dumping on you for the last 3 posts (and maybe some more in the past.  I don’t dislike being a mom. I love my children. There are days I don’t like them very much, but the love is still there.  I was raised with the message that a strong education would take me places and the expectation that a daughter of 2 immigrants would be a successful career woman. While I desired and welcomed motherhood, I did not expect it to define who I was.  In another passage in the book, the authors write “Most women enjoy their maternal roles, but being at home full time makes them stir-crazy. For some, a lack of intellectual excitement in your lives drives you to think about re-entering.”  Hence, the yearly discussion with Hubby that “this isn’t enough.”

So now that I have a resume copy in hand, that I am constantly “tweeking,” I’ll be looking to relaunch myself. Not sure what I’ll be doing, or where. But my goal is to have a job when the boys start school next September–plenty of time to work out the kinks and ease myself, and them, into this new chapter in my life.

Lost and Found Identity-part 2

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I’ve been toying with the idea of returning to the workforce. I thought I would elaborate on that.

I have been a SAHM for just about 10 years now. I don’t have a “career” to go back to.  I never became a practicing attorney, and I was just getting my “foot in the door” into the HR world. Most of my work experience is administrative or paralegal in nature.

During my 10 year tenure at Thomas Inc, I have tried my best to keep the mind sharp. I am an expert at research on the internet and I’m pretty-gosh-darn-good at Soduku puzzles. I attempted to be crafty–making cards and scrapbooks. But that just filled the time in between naps and preschool.

I volunteered a lot. It started when I joined my local Mom of Twins group. I went to a few meetings and felt like I could contribute to this organization that saved me from the stress of having twins.  Within a year, I became co-editor of the club’s newsletter–a position that I held for 2.5 years. I became the Membership Secretary, and President. I am currently club treasurer.  While writing for the club’s newsletter, I was approached by the National Mothers of Twins Organization to write for their publication–which has 26,000 readers!! I wrote articles bi-monthly for two years. I was a nationally published author!! (ok, maybe that’s a stretch….but it IS true).  While we lived in England, this little American was even PTA President for a year! 

So, contrary to what some may think, I have not spent the last 10 years of my life sitting around eating bon-bons while watching soap operas.   OK—I’ll fess up. Everyday, at 1pm–it’s MY TV TIME.  I watch “All My Children.” It’s the only “luxury” I allow myself between laundry, vacuuming, oil changes, battling insurance companies, taxiing kids, groceries, etc.

And….as you may recall, last year I started a home-based travel agency, hoping to use all the travel knowledge I’ve picked up over the years and put it to good use and help others. “So, how goes it?” you ask.  Mediocre, at best.  Granted, I have not put on a mega-media-blitz to get my name out there. My “marketing” has been low-key and “grass-roots.” But it has saddened me to see friends and family make their own travel plans without contacting me. 

I figured that if I were to get a “real” job, that I could still do the travel thing on the side—or at least just get REAL GOOD deals for myself!

[Surprisingly, though, two people contacted me within the last 2 weeks to help them with their travel plans. And, they seem VERY HAPPY with my research!! They have both asked for business cards to pass along to their friends. (Yippee)]

Let’s get back on track….

Two thoughts left on returning to work:  (1) Why? (2) Why not?

WHY? My boys seem to need ME less and less.  All 3 boys are in school “full time” now. At home, they always ask Hubby to play with them. Hubby has been doing bath/shower time since I became pregnant w/ Little Guy. Speaking of Little Guy, he has started asking that Daddy read to him at night instead of me. My presence is less and less needed/wanted.

Unless, of course, if it concerns laundry or food. And then it’s EXPECTED. No appreciation or gratefulness. 

I am Hubby’s biggest fan, but after 10 years of “working from home”, it is tiring (not the right word, but I don’t know what to put in here)….I envy…. when he comes home from the office and tells me how well his meeting went, or how so-and-so complimented his presentation, or how is boss gave him a “juicy” project.  He gets to interact with people on a daily basis and he gets the praise and recognition he deserves. (Yes, “work” is a 4-letter word, and he has more than his fair-share of bad days…but still…)  I hope you catch my drift . No one compliments me on a shiny toilet bowl or thanks me for making sure their basketball shirt was washed in time for the game.

I feel as if my “Joie de Vivre” is missing. Because I am in charge of homework, clean-up, and other “sticky points” as a mom of 3 boys, I feel like (and truthfully, they feel like) I am always yelling at them. I am the Bad Guy. I don’t want to be remembered later in life as the “mean mom.” I just get SOOOOO TIRED of the asking, pleading, nagging, snapping. They simply wear me out. No wonder they don’t ask me to play with them (although their games are more “testosterone-based”)  I simply feel like I’ve misplaced my fun. I used to be fun and cheerful and bubbly. Really. I was.

So, my thinking is…..if I return to work and interact with other grown-ups, they (the grown-ups) will be cheerful to me and say “thank you” and that will make me a happier person. And if I’m not home all day, there will be an expectation of others to contribute to life at Thomas Inc, since I won’t be there to cater to them.

Flawed logic? Or am I on to something?

WHY NOT? I’m afraid. It’s a tough job market out there.  I have been out of work for TEN years. I have very few “SKILLS” to offer an employer that would be better than the next guy. My skills are “soft” skills rather than “hard” skills. I worry about finding an employer that understands snow days and sick kids and half-days and vacations (as we do seem to take a lot of those).

So, in the meantime, I will work on my resume……….making myself sound as impressive as I can………..continue to volunteer at Little Guy’s K-class, complete my “home projects”, work on the Travel Agency some more, and then start actively looking for a job near the end of the summer to start around the time school starts.  That is my plan.

Lost and Found Identity

Shortly after Christmas–when the relatives left and the decorations were put away–I became a little frustrated with the length of my “To Do List” and the fact that the other members of Thomas Inc decided, that instead of helping, they would just add to that long friggin’ list.

I was exhausted. I was beginning to feel that my efforts were being wasted on a bunch of uncaring and unappreciative men. I’d been catering to them for far too long.

During one of my “10 minute breaks” I decided—for shits and giggles–to look at the job market on Monster.com.  I found a Part-time administrative assistant position available in a nearby town.    

Hmmmmm………..what IF (for shits and giggles, of course) I applied for said-position? Without telling anyone? Wouldn’t it be SWEET if I got an interview and….God help me….a job offer?? What would they all think then? 

I went to the office to look for my resume. I know I had updated it….back in 2005. 

Ummmmm……………resume missing.  Checked the file drawer. My padfolio. My “human resource” folders. The resume writing books. My momento box. My new laptop. My old laptop.  NOTHING.( I had this very sneaking suspicion a copy might be on the computer hard-drive that we recently destroyed….the computer hadn’t worked in 2 years…..)

I became FRANTIC!!!! 

I found some packages of “resume paper.” Nope, not in there either. Searched through Hubby’s file drawer. I had a vague recollection that he and I might have made a “resume folder” together and, MAYBE he had it.

Up to the frigid 10 degree attic. Searched through boxes. My boxes. His boxes. Joint boxes. NOTHING TURNED UP…..except hubby’s resumes from college! Lot of good that would do me.

The last time I held a (paying) job was December 2000—I quit right after I found out I was preggo w/ twins and moving back to Boston. I had a pretty sweet resume.  I had even kept it “up to date” with my “work” with the Mother of Twins club stuff I had done. And now it was gone.

I know this may sound completely looney, but I honestly felt that a piece of me was missing. I was a great employee–my employers always took a chance on hiring me, and I never let them down–always went above-and-beyond. I had amassed such great experience in the legal/HR world. And that resume did a FANTASTIC JOB of conveying that. I don’t think I could recreate (on paper) my working career from 1993-2000.

When Hubby came home, I had to fess up. I asked if he had a copy of my resume anywhere. Talk about a deer in headlights. “WHY do you need a copy of your resume?”  At this point it was no longer about looking for a job…..I just needed to have a copy of my resume.  Maybe as a reminder that once upon a time I was important…..felt appreciated by my co-workers and bosses.

Hubby took a look around, and came up empty handed. Not good enough. THERE HAD TO BE A COPY SOMEWHERE.

The following week, during a brief “thaw”, I ventured back into the attic. There were 3 boxes I hadn’t opened, because I knew they contained Bar Exam review books and some Law texts (a part of my past that I don’t quite know how to deal with or face). It was time to open them. Deep into box #2, I found a file folder that lo-and-behold held 3 copies of a resume dating from 1997-1998. 

Something I could work with. It contained everything up until my last job in California. I could come up with something for that job. And then all my volunteer work over the past 9 years would have to be added.

BIG SIGH OF RELIEF. 

A part of me was found.

A Mom’s “work-life balance”

While stealing a few moments from a VERY busy day, I decided to check email, FB postings, and the latest news on Boston.com. I came across a MOST FASCINATING headline/link: Worklife Balance for Moms? Yeah Right.  Of course, this became a MUST-READ while gulping down last night’s leftovers.  The topic is PERFECT for the week I’m having and for Mother’s Day this Sunday.

The article (in case You don’t click the link and read it yourself) has 3 real-life mom stories–2 working moms and one work-from-home mom (the author) about whether they have “Work-Life Balance.” Clearly the answer is NO. One working mom was clothes shopping for her daughter at 9pm. The other working mom had to clarify to her son that Santa does exist because clearly Mom doesn’t have the time to go out and buy/wrap presents. And then the author, who was doing a radio show, was being constantly interrupted by her child.

As a STAY AT HOME MOM (and you know the VP does not care for that moniker), I can say that it is incredibly difficult to find “work-life” balance. Some folks might have the impression that I drop the kids off at school and then either go to the gym for the next 3 hours (Not me. You should know that by now) or sit with a glass of wine and read romance novels (I wish).

Since this week has been incredibly busy, I’ll try to break down how a typical couple of days are for me. 

For starters, the alarm goes off at 5:30am. This is when Hubby goes to shower and get ready for work, while I stay in bed (I need 8 hrs). We go down at about 6:15-6:20 for breakfast together. T-man, my early riser is usually downstairs by 6am. Sometimes M-man joins him, sometimes M, who likes to sleep, sleeps. And Little Guy will venture downstairs between 6:30-6:45am.

After breakfast, Hubby and I go over our days, any “honey-do’s” (usually directed at me), check email/news, and then he’s off to work at 6:45am.  From 6:45-7am, I get breakfast for the boys. At 7am, I shower and dress. I’m usually done by 7:20 (PLEASE, I have no extra time to spare). Go downstairs, get Little Guy’s snack (and lunch, if necessary) packed, empty dishwasher, put in dirty dishes. At 7:30, I get the kids upstairs to dress. I help Little Guy out, put my contacts and eye-make-up on, put in a load of laundry. Back downstairs to check on backpacks. And then, 8am….shoes and pee-potty time.

Climb into the mommy-van.  Drop the twins at the bus-stop, and go pick up preschool friend for our little carpool. Drop the kidlets off at preschool.

NOW THE FUN BEGINS. (Here is what Tues, Wed, and Thurs of this week were like)

TUESDAY: Call the BFF to “quickly” catch-up (I have hands-free in my car) before I reach my destination, which just happens to be home. I walk the dogs and pick up their poop. Check on the  laundry, put it in the dryer and put a new load in.  Go the hairdresser for my perm. Yes, perms take 2 hours, and so you may be thinking “Well, there’s time for yourself Ms. VP.”  What if I told you I haven’t had a haircut since OCTOBER???? I think I’m due, thank you very much.  Luckily, Little Guy was invited to a spontaneous playdate on Tuesday, which was helpful because my hair appt was running late, and then I had to go to the grocery store to buy Milk, Juice boxes, fruit, and other necessary items. Oh, lunch? Hmmm….grabbed a sandwich and took 2 bites in the car while I drove to the elementary school because I promised T-man I would be there for the book fair. (his scheduled time was 1pm).  Guess the trip to CVS to buy Mother’s Day cards and Birthday cards would just have to wait.  Done with book fair, go home and take out the groceries, say “Hi” to the dogs. SIT FOR 10 MINUTES…with a cup of coffee…and back in the car to pick-up Little Guy. Then BACK to the elementary school to pick-up T&M.  Back at home, I divvy out snacks, go take out the clothes from the dryer, and put the wet clothes in the dryer. Back downstairs to start homework at 3:30. And did I mention….Tuesday the boys were scheduled for baseball practice, so they HAD to finish the homework quickly and I had to make dinner early. And check my email to take care MOT club stuff and plans for this weekend (mine and the kids).  Again, a small bit of luck fell on me….baseball practice was cancelled due to rain. I got to rest on the couch for 30 minutes or so. Then the fam decided to go to CVS and get those cards. And an Ice Cream Treat. Yay.

WEDNESDAY: Same morning scenario as above. Do the preschool drop-off and I head home to walk the dogs and pay the bills. Change the sheets on all 4 beds. Make several phone calls, leave messages for the Sprinkler Guy, the Gutter Cleaning People, and ???? Get in my car….I go to the bank, I go to drop-off/pick-up Hubby’s dry cleaning, go to the grocery store to recycle the giant ball of plastic grocery bags. And I allow myself exactly 20 minutes to look through a clothing store to try to resolve my summer Tshirt issue (yesterday’s blog entry). And in 20 minutes I success in perusing, trying on and paying for 4 new shirts. Yes, I am the Queen of Speed Shopping.  Then, at 11am, I’m off to pick up T&M from school, because T has a Dr.’s appt at 12 noon. (why both? you ask…because it is actually an early dismissal day…which would be 12 noon, and I still had to pick up Little Guy). We zip through McD’s drive-thru for lunch (which was actually smart thinking, since the whole pedi experience took an hour) and then off to preschool to pick-up  little guy. Then off to the pedi. When we left at 12:45, I was just TOO WIPED to do the 2 errands (store returns) I had warned the boys about. Got home, helped T&M with their homework, then at 2:30pm, pack the swim bag, and off to swim lessons. Come home at 4:30, and start making dinner. Luckily, it’s Cinqo de Mayo and I get to “relax” with a very nice Margarita.

THURSDAY: again, same morning scenario. After dropping off Little Guy, my BFF calls on the phone with a parenting issue. I pull into my destination, finish my conversation with her, and go pick up the newsletters I need to send out for my MOT club. I get home, and I start washing last night’s pot, and other “hand-wash” items that I was too tired to tackle. Then I clean all the kitchen counters, kitchen table, and take down all the recycling. The dogs are nipping at my heals to go on a walk—not today Mutts.  Upstairs to throw in a load of laundry (the sheets from yesterday….guess I forgot earlier!). vacuum the upstairs, pack up the boys’ summer clothes (from last year) that don’t fit. Start cleaning all 3 bathrooms. Do another load of laundry.  Wow—people who I left messages for yesterday are calling me back–first the gutter cleaner, then the gym. Finish cleaning bathrooms. I then address the newsletters—no stamps. Damn. Off to the post office, and yes, I might as well return the library books too.  I come home….heat up the left-overs and here we are.  But the day is DEFINITELY not done……since I went to T’s book fair, I’ve been asked to go to M’s book fair today. And Little Guy is BEGGING me to play Wii with him. AND I was asked to donate my time tonight for an event. Because I  like the person, and I know she wouldn’t ask me unless she really couldn’t find anyone else, I agreed (yes, I have the “difficulty saying NO disease”). So I’ll be out from 5pm-10pm tonight “Working.”

Tomorrow’s not looking much better. At 9, Little Guy has his Kindergarten Evaluation. Then I have to drive to a friend’s to drop off a couple of belated Birthday presents and FINALLY return all the crap sitting in the back of my car to 5 different stores.

So there you have it. A “day in the life” of a SAHM. Actually 4 days.  And not a single trip to the gym (had to forgo the 1x/wk Pilates class due to T’s dr. appt) or a romance novel in sight.

I love it when my Hubby comes home all ragged from work complaining that he needs to restore his “work-life” balance. Meaning less work, more life. For him, that’s trips to the gym, spending time with his boys, being at home.

My problem is that I’m always at home, or running around doing errands (oh yes, I discovered MY CAR needs an oil change…when will I squeeze that in??), and spending time with the boys. But it’s not necessarily “quality time”—it’s getting their breakfast, nagging them to get dressed, watching over/helping/correcting their homework, nagging them to clean-up after themselves or their rooms. 

I have VERY LITTLE time for myself. Hubby’s solution is “get a maid.” But we’ve had that blog-chat before. It’s not realistic. From all the stuff I just listed above, how much of that would actually be done by a maid? And what about the times Hubby travels? Not only do I have to cope with the time he’s AWAY, but I’m still pulling “double duty” when he returns because he’s jet-lagged and needs to recuperate. When do I get to recuperate? And I haven’t even listed my job as President of my MOT club (I have to help plan an upcoming brunch, installation, and summer outing) and put some time into my travel business—which has been woefully neglected. Forget about attending seminars.

I think the message here is that whether you are a working mom or a SAHM, there are way too many responsibilities thrown at us to actually have “work-life balance.” And as much as I have to do, I really tip my hat to the go-to-work moms! How do they do it?

It is AWESOME when we can take/make some time for ourselves. But when we cannot, we have to really enjoy the occasional ice cream treats (which initially are more for the kids than for us), family beach trips (after we’ve packed all the stuff!), and the great margarita or glass of wine that we have with our dinner.

Maybe it’s just not easy for any one any more…..