Friday, May 21, 2010


Reading is my favorite hobby! I try to read a little every night before bed, but obviously since having children, my nightly hour of reading is down to a few pages most nights. But if the kids are in bed and my husband is watching a show I do not care about (or, worse, working late), I'll head to bed early and cozy up with my book!

My favorite author of all time is: Jodi Piccoult
I own every single book she has written and can barely contain myself from heading to the store the day a new release is on the shelves.

My favorite book of all time is Pillars of the Earth
I really like most everything Ken Follett writes, but this book is my favorite. I used to think it was because my dad gave it to me and said "this is my favorite book", but have since discovered a lot of people consider this a favorite!

My guilty pleasure is romance novels. I also own almost every book (because seriously, she has written a LOT of books) by Nora Roberts
My other guilty pleasure (in the romance, comedy, mystery section) is the numbers series by Janet Evanovich

What I am reading right now...Lowcountry books. I have been a fan of Pat Conroy for years. I just discovered his wife, Cassandra King, is also an author! And, my mom just discovered two authors I am obsessed with right now: Dorthea Benton Frank and Mary Alice Monroe. If you do not know about Lowcountry books, they are fictional novels based in South Carolina low country (marsh, beach area), and are generally interesting, romantic, historically based, novels about family, life, love, and generations.  I have read about 5 of their books so far and plan to read as many as I can this summer!

If you think I am kidding about my love of reading, ask my husband about our honeymoon. Some people packed handcuffs and other such fun "honeymoon" toys; I packed 10 books. And read about 6!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Question: Who has more time? Answer: No one!

In yesterday's post about balance, I mentioned that I work full-time. I want to clarify that I do not think a SAHM would necessarily have any more balance than I do, though if she does, kudos to that mom!

I have a group of girl friends that I love dearly.  This group includes two working moms (one is me), one SAHM, and two working single women (one is my sister).  I know the two working single women often feel as if the rest of us think they have more time and less responsibility.  While it may be true the lack of children gives them less responsibility, I do not think their lives are easier at all.  First off, I get to share all my chores, my issues, my everything with my husband.  Single people do not have that luxury.  Even if you have a roommate, she is not co-invested in your life the way a spouse is.  Secondly, they are career women.  I consider myself to be a career woman as well, but my focus is split between my career and my home.  My sister works so many hours doing so many things to advance her career and build her network, I totally think she deserves a cleaning person and a cook as much - if not sometimes, more - than I do.  And lastly, most single people are looking for a spouse.  This is no futile effort.  I think if I were single right now, I might drive over to a convent and sign right up, because watching my single friends do this dating dance disaster thing is frequently more awful than awesome.

I have been thinking about staying at home lately (another post for another day), and imagining this amazing world in which my house is clean, my laundry is done, I am an amazing cook, and so on.  Obviously I know this is not the case.  I do think if I stayed home I would have more time to do those things because I will not be commuting or working all day.  But, the reality is, I would not get up at 5am and use the 3 hours before my kids are awake to be productive; I would be sleeping too.  I might not work 8 hours a day, but I would be taking care of my children 16 hours a day.  16 hours a day is a LONG time.  I like my kids, but I also like time away from kids and happily send them off to daycare - there are weekends when Sunday night cannot come soon enough for me.  I read a blog post by A Shorter Mama about time and balance as a SAHM - she recently went from a working mom to a SAHM and thought all these same things I did/do.  But, the truth is, her days are just as busy, but they are busy with different things. 

Sometimes I think working moms have it easiest.  Because of work, my days are naturally routine and scheduled; therefore, adding laundry and cleaning to schedule is relatively easy.  If I go to the store on Monday night, I know I will not have time/energy for other stuff, but if I make extra for dinner Monday, I know that I can use dinner prep time to clean on Tuesday.  If I were a SAHM, there would be nothing pushing me to this type of schedule because for the most part any schedule we would have (with the exception of scheduled activities) would be self-imposed and easily changed. 

In the end, I just have to realize while the grass usually looks greener on the other side, it is important to stop and realize that my yard is just how I want it to be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I quite one of the most irritating conversations with my mother a few weeks ago, so irritating in fact, that I am still stewing over her words! We were chatting and I was telling her all about our weekend. We did whole bunch of things - saw family, played with friends, went to new playgrounds. I thought it sounded like a really great weekend. But, then my mom asked "when do you get your laundry and cleaning done?" I half-jokingly said "never", but then clarified and said, "at different times, sometimes Saturday morning, sometimes through the week, and sometimes it does not get done." So, then she says in her mom tone of voice that means I am saying something nice and normal but it is mean and hurtful: "It is great that you do not care if your stuff is done. That would really bother me, but it sounds like you do not mind if your house is not clean and your laundry is not done. That is great."

My feelings were hurt. Really hurt. Does she really think I do not give a hoot if my house is unclean? Really? Of course I want my house to be clean. I want my family to have clean clothes. I want, I want...But the reality is, I am a mom. I have to manage the kids, the household, chores, bills, etc, and I work a full work week, which requires me to commute 37 miles each way. I want a lot of things, but mostly I want the energy, time, and motivation do them all!

The truth is I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilty about my messy (and sometimes dirty) house, the lack of clean clothes, the lack of folded put away clean clothes, the numerous unfinished or even unstarted house projects, and the disorganization of so many storage areas. I also feel guilyy about only working my 40-44 hours a week. I am frequently the person in my group who works the least number of hours - I am more efficient than most of the team members, but quantitative data does not reflect my productivity in those 40 hours. I feel guilty every time I leave work early for a kid's doctor appointment or school show, and I feel guilty that I take more sick days because I have to stay home with my sick kids. I also feel guilty that my kids have to go to daycare. My toddler thrives there, and honestly, I would send her there even if I did stay home - provided we could afford to do so, but the baby I think would do better at home for a while. I feel guilty when I am home with my kids for one hour and get so fed up I want to send them back to school!

So, the guilt. It is always there. Sometimes it is crushing, sometimes all these guilt inducing things balance each other out and I feel fine. But I am okay with this. While I may feel guilty a lot, while I may never find a "balance" (aka, nirvana), I do feel content 90-95% of the time. As long as I maintain that 90-95%, I am okay!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crazy Work Life!

I am really organized at work. My home, not so much (at all!), but at work, I am all over organization. I make to-do lists and I LOVE crossing stuff off my list. To the point that if I do something not on the list, I will write it down on the list just so I can cross it off the list! A few years ago I started using colored flags to color code e-mail into groups. This system was AMAZING.

And then I started my new job. For one thing, Outlook 2007 does not have colored flags - gasp! scratch my head! shake in fear! I thought I may need therapy. Then I discovered categories, and I was back on track! Now, I have all of my e-mail categorized into colored blocks. But, the flags were not the only problem at this new job. The MO of this organization is crazy. Almost daily I find myself saying "the circus is in session" to a co-worker. Everything is top priority. Everything on my to-do list is overcome by events. I went from creating a new to-do list every Friday to creating a new to-do list once a month, or whenever the paper had too many random notes scribbled in the margins to make any sense. My order here is all out of whack. And the worst part is, I cannot fix this system. I am as organized as I can be; I just do not have the time to get on top of these little things I want to get done!

I wish I could say I have a plan. Or that I know how to fix this. But, in reality, what I have is so much better. I have learned to accept that I cannot control how things work in this organization. I cannot worry about my to-do list because if those things were important, I would get them done. I do my job well and am rewarded for a job well done. It is okay to let my list go. My colors, though, I will never let go!

One thing I do like is that I work the early shift (6:30/7-3/3:30) - so I can get the girls from daycare earlier (my husband does the drop off). Getting to work in quiet hours of the morning gives me time to sort through e-mails and read documents that are too difficult to focus on during the loud, crazy time of day. By the time the office starts filling up, conference calls start going, and the volume rises, I can jump into the circus post-caffination. Because, really, morning coffee is all that matters! Now if only I could figure out how to organize my home life. I read about a home management app for the iPhone, but sadly, my blackberry does not get any app love.