It comes once a month…

I‘m referring to my blog posts. :) Gone are the days of daily blogging! I had a client ask me recently about my blog and I had to explain that while I always liked blogging, my bigger interest was in MAKING the blog, not so much writing on it. Hence the beginning of Scriptygoddess and then the beginning of my new job/business.

But I do like looking back on life. So here’s this past month’s rundown.

My daughter is wrapping up her part in the local theatre/musical group’s production of Cats. She has an ensemble part – but really does seem to enjoy doing the shows. She wants to do the next show too – against my better judgement, I’m pretty much decided to let her. Her grades were hurting in the beginning, but she’s pulled them up (I can take some credit here too because I’ve been seriously on her case about keeping up) – she’s cooperated for the most part – so I think we’ll do the show. Cats has been fun for me too – the program requires parent volunteer hours and I signed up for makeup. I *love* doing facepaint/makeup – especially cat makeup. At the same time, it’s also crazy stressful as there are A LOT of kids in the show. There’s a bunch of us working on makeup – I have about 6 kids I need to do makeup for – but we only get a little less than 2 hours before the show to do it. For each show, I’ve had the kids waiting in line, waiting waiting waiting for their turn. I’m going as fast as I can, but I feel bad about making anyone wait for me! There’s three more shows left – I’m sure by the last one I’ll be so fast!

Zach just finished up his first soccer season. He is really good at it and I think we’ve got him convinced to do it again. I wish they had a spring session for his age group but they don’t (not unless we want to drive a few towns over each time!) So we’re stuck waiting for fall! I’d like to sign him up for another sport for the spring to keep him active, but I’m not sure what’s available and what programs are good. The ones through the town I wasn’t terribly impressed with. (The soccer program was great – it was through AYSO) There’s T-ball – but I really wanted something where he’d be more active (more than just waiting around for someone to hit a ball – or waiting for his turn to hit the ball… etc.) Flag football might be good if they have a group his age – but I wonder whether he’d be able to STOP himself from wanting to tackle other kids. LOL! Maybe I’ll just invest in a giant gerbil wheel… That would do the job. 😉

Work is the same. Feast or famine. This month has been more on the “lean” side. But we’ll see how long that keeps up. (It usually doesn’t last) I’m thankful for the breaks anyway.

If you follow me on pinterest, you may have noticed a crazy amount of pinning recently for “doodles.” I’ve really gotten into this and started collecting inspiring doodles there. I almost always doodle while talking on the phone – next to my notes etc. but these would usually end up getting tossed in the trash. Some of them were actually kind of cool. So I got a few notebooks I’m solely dedicating to doodles. In fact, I’m thinking of buying a real “sketchbook” (since the paper in the notebook is ruled and isn’t the greatest quality) – maybe even pick up a few super fine point artist pens. I’d like to post some of the things I’ve done – but there always seems to be some little thing that bugs me about the drawing that makes me not want to share it. Sometimes, I just do a partial drawing. If I ever get anything that feels “complete” and “clean”, I’ll finally post it.

Life Lesson I Learned from doing my presentation

The presentation I gave at WordCamp Utah went really well. It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. I prepped as much as humanly possible. I practiced as often as I could. I must have updated my slides several times every day for about a month leading up to the conference. AND I also had anxiety dreams almost every night especially the week before. In my nightmares, everything that could go wrong, did. I’d left my power cord at home. I left my laser pointer somewhere. I lost wifi connection and couldn’t find my presentation. My nose began to bleed spontaneously. I mean literally everything my subconscious could do to undermine my confidence, it fed it into my nightmares.

The irony is that I’m not here to tell you that “… and NONE of it came true… everything was fine!”. Well, everything was fine, but that’s not the end of the story. The truth is that almost everything I dreamed actually came true. I did accidentally leave my computer’s power cord at home. I couldn’t find my laser pointer when I needed it. The wifi did get disconnected from my laptop in the middle of my presentation. Really, if you told me that all of that stuff would really happen, I would have run from the room screaming, called up Joseph Scott and told him to forget it, I couldn’t do it! In the nightmares, when all of these things happened, the world basically ended. My presentation was a complete failure and life ended there. Every night, in the middle of the night, I’d wake up, jot something down on a piece of paper I needed to remember so that I could prevent the catastrophe I had just envisioned.

But despite all these things coming true, life did not end. In fact, nothing happened. Thankfully, my battery lasted long enough to survive the length of my presentation. It did die eventually, but not until about halfway through the day – hours later. The wifi timed out on my laptop and disconnected, but I kept going even though the cool slide remote I had on my iPhone no longer worked. (In my opinion: a design flaw in the app to have it only rely on wifi and not bluetooth!!) The arrow keys work perfectly well to move the slides!! And the laser pointer I realized later I left buried in my purse so I just made do without it.

All the anxiety and thinking the sky would fall if any of these things happened, and even my desperate attempts to prevent them – they happened. When they did, there was a logical solution. And life went on.

I think I know I spend too much time worrying about what could happen. I spend too much time trying to plan for all conceivable contingencies. And the truth of the matter is that, when a problem is real, there is usually a solution at hand as well. I won’t say always. But usually. It certainly isn’t worth the time spent worrying about the “what ifs.”

Pre-vacation Panic

Why is it that just to take a week off requires several weeks prior of insanity. I’ve easily gone a week without anyone contacting me here and there, or with clients forgetting to get me stuff. But as soon as I say the words “I’m going to be taking a few days off” it’s like I’ve just told them I’ll be gone for several months and they’ll be on their own. My brother and his family are coming into town and he’s rented a townhouse up in the mountains for the week. So this was part of the push for me to learn how to ski this year, because I wanted to to be able to ski with everyone.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing. The Pre-vacation Panic. It sounds like it should be some kind of line-dance. I’ll bet it looks alot like people running around and bumping into each other and getting knocked out. At least, that’s what I’ve felt like I’ve done at the end of each day.

Crash and Burnout

I was going to pull a late night tonight and try to get a lot of things that have piled up on my todo list out of the way (it’s going to be another crazy hectic week)… but we went to a BBQ today (which was totally fun!) and now I’m totally wiped. It’s only 10:45pm. I don’t see myself staying up past midnight… =sigh= Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in some work-time tomorrow. This to-do list is never going to be a done-list. :/

On being a working mom (and the real “mommy wars”)

There seems to always be discussion about the “mommy wars” – the stay at home mom vs the working mom. I have seen threads where these debates can get pretty downright mean, but to be honest, those virulent conversations I’ve found are the exception, not the norm. The majority of these external conversations I’ve seen are women telling other women to “make the right decision for themselves and their families.” A lot more women understand that everyone and everyone’s family is different. But the sensationalism of a “mommy war” sounds so much more interesting – so that’s what the magazines will try to sell you. This so called “war” still rages, but I think the reality is it takes place within ourselves. It’s hard to be 100% happy in the path we’ve chosen because it’s always easier to look at the greener grass on the other side.

For me personally, I am content in the path I’ve chosen but only now after I’ve given all the other paths a try. I was, at first, a full time working mom. Rachel went to daycare at just 6 weeks old and I returned to work. We did that for a number of years. Then when I got pregnant with Zach, I quit everything and tried being a stay at home mom. As he got older, I started working from home. So now I’m straddling the fence. I work full time from home. This has the best balance for me.

That’s not to say that I don’t still often question if I’m doing it “right”. I think I’m doing it the best way I can. Every path has it’s pros and cons. When I was a full time working mom, I was making more money, I had a steady paycheck, I was advancing my career, I had better health insurance. BUT if my daughter was sick, I had to somehow get myself out of work without getting into trouble to take care of her. I missed being with my daughter and felt like the weekend wasn’t enough time. When I was a stay at home mom, I was with my kids all day, we didn’t have to pay for day care. BUT I felt like I was losing a very important part of who I was, I felt like I needed more mental challenges and I missed the feeling of being able to contribute financially to the stability of my family. What I’m doing now, I can be home if my kids need me, but I’m still getting the mental workout I need. I’m bringing in my own money. BUT there is a downside to this too. I’ve talked before about how this life is every bit as hectic as the full time working mom life. In some ways more hectic. I’ve talked before about how I am walking a fine line next to burning out. Here’s a perfect example: On Thursday, I was cooking a fever of 102, sweating and chills, and I’m sitting in bed on my laptop trying to finish a project for a client because *I* am their resource. And unless I want them to dump me and find someone else, I need to do the work, sick with the flu or not.

I read on someone’s blog about how the blogger was a working mom and absolutely hated it. If you’re in that boat, then you need to step back and evaluate what can you do to make changes to live a life that you can tolerate. It won’t ever be perfect – but if you absolutely hate it, then this does not sound like a decision that is “right for you and your family”. You may not have the option of being a stay at home mom, or it may require changes in your life that you’re not willing to make. But that’s the tradeoff I guess. I was originally a full time working mom because I thought I didn’t have a choice. We lived in a very expensive state, in a very expensive house. (I LOVED that house. It was the house I dreamed of living in my whole life. I still mourn the loss of that house to this day!) But there are always choices. It just might be that you’re not willing to accept the alternative. Yet.

We struggled to get pregnant with my son, and when we finally did, after what we’d been through, I was willing to accept any alternative to avoid going back to work after he was born. Years of trying to get pregnant, only to hand him over to daycare at 6 weeks old? No freaking way! So we gave up living in the expensive state. We gave up the house (=sniff=), we gave up living near family (=BIG SNIFF= this is definitely the hardest part!!) and moved to a less expensive state and a less expensive house so I could stay home. (At least for that first year) The life we’re living now is definitely not perfect. I still worry if 20 years from now, will my kids be in therapy talking about how their horrible mother spent hours on the computer doing web design instead of sitting next to them on the couch watching Wow Wow Wubzy. But I think my working is good for them too. I can see that my daughter is an extremely bright little girl. I want her to see that women can have a family and a career. I want her to go on and do things that challenge her and help her grow, even as an adult. Even as I am working, I am teaching my daughter about being an independent and strong woman. Since I work from home, every day is bring your daughter to work day.

This is just me explaining my life and choices however. I have a number of friends who are stay at home moms or fulltime working moms and who are perfectly happy in that choice. They are teaching their children, just as much as I am, the same lessons. Do what is important to you. Do what will make you happy and what will work with your family. Life is all about choices, trade-offs, compromises. End that war raging in your own mind and be happy.

The Slippery Slope

I got a big pile of work dumped on me last week. I worked over the weekend, including the evenings. I’m kinda freaking out because it’s just a LOT to get done. I don’t have any doubt I’ll be able to do it – just not sure what it’s going to cost me in terms of time and sanity.

Some people say they don’t know how they’d get anything done working from home – that there’s too many distractions. For me it’s the opposite. I have a hard time focusing on anything else when there’s a big to do list on my desk. So instead of taking the night off, I’ll just keep working. Or even if my brain is fried and I really can’t focus any more, I’m still at my computer, attempting to get some of the work done. (Of course, the problem is that there is always more work (a good thing and a bad thing) – so there is always a to-do list. It never really goes away. So I never really just stop stressing about it)

I was supposed to go to the gym last night and do the weights (which is hard to get motivated to do in the first place) but I didn’t go. I did run on Sunday, but the whole time I was running, I was stressing out about the work I could have been doing. This is the slippery slope that got me into trouble the last year – almost right around this same time. I stopped working out, and I stopped my diet – and BAM! 10lbs later… Some people go to workout to help them relax and “let go” of work – and if my to-do list isn’t too long, sure, I can do that too, somewhat. But right now? Working out is incredibly stressful.

Still, every day I don’t workout brings its own stress. Especially given the fact that this past weekend I wasn’t as on target as I could have been. (Yeah, there was that whole bottle of wine incident). So, there’s an Aqua aerobics class tomorrow – no better time to try something new than when I’m super stressed out and feeling very unmotivated to exercise!!