Summer Fun Coordinator

May 29th, 2014

I have a new old job.  I’m staying home with the crew this summer.  This time of year is always rough for A and things need to be taken care of  that demand a parent.  (I’ll dive into more of that later)  It’s bittersweet leaving AQUENT.  I’ve met so many amazing people and have gotten so much from those interactions and conversations.  It’s a great job when you get to be awed by the people’s strength, talent and intelligence people.

After being a SAHM, a WAHM, and Working Mom over the last 12 years I have some mixed emotions about going back to just being a SAHM.

I’m excited!  So excited that they are older and don’t need diapers and can buckle themselves.  This means we can do things… fun spontaneous things!  Little Dude’s first comment, “Yay, now we can drive to Florida.”  The others, “Uhm, Mom hates road trips.”

Then I realize that’s a lot of time to be with my kids.  Who I love but who bicker a lot and when I try to hide in the bathroom they follow me.  NO ONE AT WORK FOLLOWS ME TO THE BATHROOM!

And then I realized that the whole laundry grocery shopping fun day-to-day stuff was going to be all mine again not shared with Mike. I HATE THE LAUNDRY.  Also, I get to the point where I am so tired of picking up their crap I start throwing things and this crazy lady comes out of me.  I’m worried about her.

So, these have been the kinds of conversations I have had as I tell people my last day is June 6.  And everyone has said, “Good for you.”   “You are so lucky!” and even “I’m so jealous.”   Because it’s true.

I am so lucky to have this choice and to have this time.  I only have these 5 kids and I only get to do this parenting thing once with them.

the crew

 

UPDATE:Giving up Birth

May 15th, 2013

UPDATE: Some of my feelings have changed a bit after being up most the of the night with my awesome nephew.

Ugh…. One evening when I finally got the kids down I watched “Call the Midwife” and had a big old pity party. Apparently there is a part of me that is a little sad about the hysterectomy. The midwives, the home birth, the beautiful babies brought back the emotions of the births of my five kids.  And those were some pretty big emotions that always left me blissfully happy and completely exhausted which all came rushing back to me.  I gave birth to B just before my 26th birthday and now with my 37th birthday just weeks away I close the door on that part of my life.

*Funny enough B was a c-section and I worked hard to make sure my other births were not.

**And truly funny…I asked if I could bring my uterus home to plant with the placentas.  The doctor was a little thrown off and apparently it’s a bit more complicated than placentas.

Mother’s Day 2013

May 12th, 2013

A not too public (but now really public) fact is that I need to have a hysterectomy.  5 kids, of which I delivered my first via c-section and then was focused on no more surgeries, my  child bearing years come to an end at 36.

I’m not complaining.  My quality of life has taken a pretty big hit and we don’t plan on having any more kids.  In all honesty I’ve had a quirky approach to the whole thing. I don’t want it to just be surgical.  After years with a phenomenal midwife, blessingways, an amazing friend attending a birth and buried placentas a boring modern “take it out and throw it away” surgery just seems wrong.

If this is the path I’m on I don’t just want to check in to a hospital and 4 days later walk away as if nothing happened.  Let’s be honest my uterus has served me well.  And now I need to mourn the loss of my uterus.  I need to honor they incredible work it has done.  Tomorrow that will be part of the conversation I have with my doctor.  

Not the Big Name at BlogHer ’12

August 10th, 2012

I have attended a few blogging events and the number one question is “What is your blog about?”  I usually answer, “Me.”  I then have to explain that my blog is seriously under loved and I use it to play with plug-ins and test things out.

 

I don’t mind writing but for the last 10 years I have felt the need to protect myself.  We were constantly in court with Mike’s ex and as much as I liked being online I needed to protect myself.  Over the years this need was replaced by the need to learn and network. When Mike lost his job one month before Little Dude was born we freaked out.  I had never been so far away from the job market.  Until I had kids I always had a  job – since I was 14 years old.

But with  the new baby we now had 5 kids and a 6th we pay serious child support for with no break even when Mike made less.  How the eff was I going to make money?

I turned to the things I do best a) learning and b) the computer and started learning as much as I could.  I used social media to network and connect with people outside my SAHM world.

That was 4 yrs ago last month.  In that time I have worked with Kate Hall at Richmondmom.com, started a small consulting business and am now starting a FT position at Aquent as an agent recruiting.

None of this happened because I posted everyday to my blog or became a household name.  Instead, my little personal blog helped me build the skills I needed to get back into the workforce when my family was ready.

BlogHer ’12

was huge and that was  ok by me as I like my anonymity. I got to meet some ‘old’ friends IRL and make some new ones. But most importantly I was able to hear some incredible stories of how individuals leveraged their sites/blogs to take them new places.  Blogging, like anything in life, is what you make it.

The Road Ahead

August 2nd, 2012

What lies ahead?

I’m on the train to NYC headed to BlogHer 12.  Funny considering how long it has been since I have posted on my own blog. I have been busy building sites for others and learning about new opportunities.

The true motivation to attend BlogHer is to meet some of my favorite people.  Women who have become dear friends although many of us have never met.  For years (I can’t believe it) this group has been a part of lonely nights at home as Mike travelled, parenting highs and lows, and our own personal highs a lows.

This trip will also be a major marker as I leave my days of being a SAHM/WAHM and return to full time employment outside the home.  I am full of emotions and reflection. Part of embracing the journey ahead is looking back at all the steps that got me where I am today.

When Kids Hold a Mirror Up to Adults – The Election Process?

April 28th, 2012

This week the kids decided to hold an election.

It went something like this…

Campaign promises

Announcing the candidates

Speeches


Rebuttal

The votes are in!

Why is Working Mom vs SAHM Such a Powerful Tool Against Women

April 12th, 2012

Is this all my opinions are worth?

Twitter is a buzz today with the comments of Hilary Rosen on CNN last night (@hilaryr on Twitter)  ”What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.” And the response by Ann Romney who joined Twitter to respond (but is not following anyone and does not seem to be participating in any more discussion) @AnnDRomney “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Apparently the DNC is distancing itself from Rosen but the bigger issue it what American women heard from these two ladies.

Does a SAHM mom not work?  Do SAHM’s not contribute? Is being a SAHM a life of privilege? Yikes, what does this say about me?! I do think that I am lucky that I can stay at home with my 5 kids but it hasn’t been easy and a life of luxury.

Does a working mom just not care the same as a SAHM? Does she give up her ‘motherhood’ by working? If I decide to take on more work or an office job am I less committed to my children or family?

Or is the anger about luxury of choice?

And, then if you have the choice to stay home do you have less knowledge/understanding regarding economic issues facing American families?

Can we have this conversation without women polarizing each other?  Women are at a new place in history in the terms of the job market and college graduation.  That’s a lot of strength if we can work together.

Thanks to @PunditMom for sharing this (first place I saw this conversation) and my friend @MotherhoodMag for the conversation this topic led us to!

 

The Question is Not Are We Escalating the Fear but What Are We Afraid Of?

March 28th, 2012

When I heard the news of the shooting and death of Trayvon Martin I was shocked. WTF happened? I went in search of more information only to go from shock to outrage. A kid is dead.  Walking home through his family’s neighborhood?!?  What happened?

image from newsone.com

image from newsone.com

All we know is what one person has to say.  The one alive, facing no charges, who carried a gun and was told NOT to follow this boy.

The other day I heard ‘The Professionals’ on The Today Show talking about Trayvon and the current media attention and question came up.  Is all the attention a good thing or bad thing?  Is all this attention escalating the fear level?  

I’m worried – what fear are you talking about?

Here’s is what scares me.  An African-American mother living right down the street to me has to teach her child to look both ways when you cross the street, wear a helmet when you ride your bike, don’t talk to strangers and know that people will assume the worst of you because of your skin color? I don’t know any Caucasian moms that have that on their list of things to talk about.  That’s not just wrong it’s sick.

It is time for folks to stop acting as if the burden is on African-Americans to act some way that is ‘right’ and accept that the responsibility is on each of us to not tolerate any kind of bigotry and racism.

Friends of the shooter say he is not a racist.  But he made a judgement about someone based solely on their looks.  What kind of decision making is that?

I don’t agree with Donny Deutch thinking that it is escalating the fear (Normally The Today Show likes to put up clips from this segment but oddly I can’t find anything when I Google except this post from ebonymompolitics.wordpress.com not affiliate with the show) but I do hear what he is saying about his kids.  When talking about Trayvon with my kids there was an incredible beauty to their confusion.

Kids – But why? But what did he do?

Me – Nothing. He was walking through the neighborhood back from the convenience store wearing a hoodie.

Kids – What was wrong with his hoodie?

Me – We are concerned that African-American boys are being judged by their skin color and the way they dress.

Kids – I still don’t understand.

Me – For some people there is a false idea any African-American man is suspicious.  That’s bigotry and racism.

Kids – Well, boys are meaner than girls at school.  Well, girls are meaner but boys push and trip. And, it’s always the kids that think they are better than others that are the meanest. But, I still don’t understand.  What did he do?

Me – He scared another man walking through a neighborhood wearing a hoodie.  Just existing in that space at that time.

Kids – Well that guy had a gun so I bet Trayvon was more scared.

It’s my job to teach my my kids continue to see past skin color, hair color, tattoos, dialects and hoodies.  It is also my job to lead by example but and STAND UP for others.  By allowing bigoted or racists jokes, comments and judgements to continue we are a part of the problem.

 

Please also read this great post from Lisa Duggan, The Parent Du Jour and The Motherhood Blog, about her experience at the Million Hoodie March at Union Square.

Richmond Needs a Full-Service Children’s Hospital

March 28th, 2012

Taken directly from my email…

You know I am passionate about health care. I’m also passionate about kids. I have been an advocate for a full care children’s hospital in Richmond for years. As I have had to call on more specialists over the years for a variety of reasons I have found myself all over town trying to track down the best pediatric ENT, the best pediatric Ortho/Sports Medicine, pediatric Endocrinologist specializing in growth and etc. In each place I start all over again with new paperwork, new introductions, new staff and new relationships. Each time I have I to take my kids to a new facility they worry about what kind of doctor they are going to get. Do they like kids? Will they be patient with me?

Kids are not little adults. There are many facets of dealing with kids beyond their physical size that makes caring for them unique. Although I trained to be an EMT in thinking of one day becoming a PA this was never more clear to me until I became a parent.

This story even hit closer to home when Little Dude was in a situation that required more extensive follow up. He sat in a waiting room full of adults. The crash cart ‘had pediatric equipment available’. And my 3 year went to recovery in an area he was the only pediatric patient. He was brave. I was upset. The environment was not set up for him. He was a token of all the patients being seen.

Richmond needs complete care Children’s Hospital where we bring the best pediatric providers in each speciality together. Where we create an environment that helps them communicate. And a place that kids feel they come first.

We have a team working towards this goals who are meeting this week. Let’s show them our support. We want them to know that we appreciate their commitment and hard work to providing the best health care experience for all metro Richmond area children.

If you could please take some time out of your day to go to The Jefferson Hotel and just stroll around. I want them to see our children’s faces and remember who they are working for and that they have our support. As a parent, when our kids are sick or hurt we are scared and we want a place that puts them first just as we do.

I have also attached a flyer with some information.

Join us Thursday, March 29 at The Jefferson Hotel.

More information can be found at ikidshealth.org and check out our Facebook page.

Oh, I have a another request. Would you please share this message and flyer?

Busch Gardens Williamsburg New Ride Verbolten

March 22nd, 2012

I have been a huge fan of rollercoasters my whole life so it was a given when I attended William & Mary in Williamsburg I would go to Busch Gardens regularly; the beer tour wasn’t bad either.

Since I have lived in Richmond we have continued to go to BGW regularly. Although many people like to remind me KD is closer we love Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.

My kids measure their growth based on what color they are in and which rides they are FINALLY eligible to ride. Instead of birthday parties my kids ask to go to BGW. For M2′s 5th birthday we took our family and extended family to Christmastown. My dad still talks about how much fun he had. And this year B asked for Quik Queue passes.

My love for BGW and social media collided a couple years back when I was invited to a SM Howl-O-Scream event. It was a great chance to learn about the behind-the-scenes of what it takes to prep the whole park for their annual spooktacular event. And, then they have to do it all over again for Christmastown.

Recently I was invited back to be a part of the Hard Hat Tour of Verbolten. One of the main reasons I’m excited about this ride opening is it’s one my kids can ride. Like the Mach Tower it has a 48″ height requirement.

Verbolten is a multi-launch ride through the Black Forest set to open ‘late spring’. Below are images from the tour.

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