2

Imaginary Mean Mom

In my imaginary world where I’m perfect at everything, I am a mean mom.  Not gratuitously cruel, just very strict. And as a result, my child behaves impeccably.

In the real world, I’m a pushover. I never in a million years thought I’d turn out to be a pushover parent.  In those years before-child, I had a sharp tongue, quick to judge any parent who showed the slightest inclination to cave to the whining of their offspring.

Then life happened. A life in which I am quite literally paid to fight with people all day. All very long day as a matter of fact. And by the time I get home, for the love of Pete I just don’t want to fight with people any more, can we just let it go?

And consequently, I let my kid get away with a lot of nonsense. I feel like a lame parent about it, but we’re talking about me letting her slide for jumping on the couch when her dad’s not looking or letting her eat noodles with her fingers, it’s not like I’m letting her smoke crack in the closet.

Then, of course, Tuesday happened.

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Baby Beez was in quite a pathetic sickly state when I picked her up from daycare Monday. She was actually laying on the floor, moaning. She didn’t have a fever, but she clearly did not feel well. And then we went through Monday night. She kept me up almost all night, alternating between coughing her head off, whining to come into bed with me, me caving and saying “fine, just climb in my bed” and then after 20 minutes of her spinning around in the sheets like a whirling dervish, I snap “GO BACK TO YOUR BED, I NEED SOME REST.”

I kept the sicky child home on Tuesday.  She spent the morning resting calmly. As the day wore on, she was clearly feeling better, because she went from resting on the couch to climbing on the ceiling.  Before bedtime, I spent an hour with her playing “scaring simulator,” which involved putting a stuffed animal on the recliner, and then we snuck up and ROARED. Six hundred times.

Then it was bedtime, and she roared her terrible roars and showed her terrible claws and gnashed her terrible teeth. But I tossed her in the bed and said “SLEEP” because I was desperate to get some exercise in. And I went downstairs and plugged my earphones in my ears and hopped on the treadmill and jogged jogged jogged and then…..there is Baby Beez. Downstairs. Coloring at her easel. Because naturally, what else would she be doing when she didn’t feel like sleeping?

I feel like if Regulator Daddy were home she wouldn’t have dared sneak out of bed. But he’s not. And so she’s under the supervision of a sucker. And you know what I did…of course I said “Hey kid, I’ve got 20 minutes left in this workout. So enjoy the time while you’ve got it.”

SERIOUSLY, WHO DOES THAT.

Once my workout was over, I hauled her back upstairs, put her back in bed. And a few moments later, the door creaked open. I scolded her to get back in bed. She started the whining about “But I want yoooo” and dear lord I wanted to take a shower and I needed just one minute away from whining and I stirred up a deep roar of “GET. BACK. IN. YOUR. BED. NOW. AND. GO. TO. SLEEP.”

And that room was silent the rest of the night. I need to try this enforcer stuff more often.

1

The PA Conference for Women– 10th Anniversary @PennWomen #PennWomen

This is my second year attending the PA Conference for Women, and I’m counting down the days until next year’s conference. How to describe this phenomenal event? Simply: It inspires me to take over the world.

Q&A Chat with Madeleine Albright

Q&A Chat with Madeleine Albright

The gist of it is this: The conference pulls in exceptionally successful women for the day, who teach the thousands of eager attendees their life lessons of their climb to the top of the ladder. There is a huge representation in science, tech and politics, who share their failures and successes. This is a conference for women who aren’t afraid to work hard, who are proud of their accomplishments, and who are eager to keep learning, growing and achieving. There were so many standing ovations. The crowd was so proud for how these brilliant accomplished women have taken their place at the table, shown gratitude for the support they’ve received, and helped those around them succeed as well.

Judge Glenda Hatchett

Judge Glenda Hatchett

There are sessions focused on risk taking, leadership, entrepreneurship, professionalism, inter-generational communications, work/life integration and stress management. The first year I attended, I attended entirely sessions about leadership. This year I spread things around a little more and attended a session on risk taking, a session on stress management/health for productivity, and a session on happiness. I learned so much that I can’t adequately summarize it all at once, but I did a fairly good job of capturing the best takeaways on twitter:

Linda Cliatt-Wayman being honored for her amazing work at Strawberry Mansion High School

Linda Cliatt-Wayman being honored for her amazing work at Strawberry Mansion High School


  • Having more women in senior leadership positions matters. @SallieKrawcheck
  • If it comes down to your ethics versus your job, you can always find another job. @SallieKrawcheck (she was such an amazing speaker. Getting my application in to join @85Pittsburgh is on my short to-do list)
  • If my gut fails me, I ask the woman I want to be what she would do, and she always leads me to the right answer. @SallieKrawcheck
  • Women are overmentored and undersponsored. There is a difference. @SallieKrawcheck.
  • There is no such thing as failure, it’s warming up for success. @JudgeGHatchett
  • When you get to the pages in life’s book that are torn, you can’t give up.  You have to write your own story of hope.  @JudgeGHatchett
  • Know what you are talking about, and interrupt.  @Madeleine
  • There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other. @Madeleine
  • Women need to be politically and economically empowered, because it makes their socieites more stable. @Madeleine

HillaryRodhamClinton

  • If you are overwhelmed by options, don’t try to sort through all the possibilities. Throw together a prototype and get some feedback and go from there.
  • List your negotiables and nonnegotiables. When a potential risk/opportunity presents itself, check your lists, and the answer will crystallize.
  • Keep your authentic voice, when you have that, people will want to work with you. Stay with your integrity.
  • When you get bad news, you get 24 hours of self pity. Use it well. Then move forward.
  • If you suspect you made a bad decision, trust your instincts, don’t burn any bridges, and move on.
  • Happiness is a habit, and it needs practice.

KathyKinneyWhere have you found inspiration recently?

1

Autumn Activities and Stubborn Like a Mule

Autumn Activities and Stubborn Like a Mule

Baby Beez and I had quite the weekend.  Sadly, Mr. Beez also had a lot of separate activities going on, so I feel like I haven’t seen my husband for ages.  And we’ve got a busy week, so it’s going to be a few more days until I see him again. It’s a good thing we’ve managed to fit in a couple of date nights in the previous couple weeks. Because Husbaaaand, where are you?

So this weekend Baby Beez and I lived up the weekend activities. We started things off by visiting Zoo Boo at the Pittsburgh Zoo with our pals Sandy and Elena.  We have gone the last couple years as well, but this is the first year that Baby Beez was big enough to really enjoy it.  Her favorite animal at the zoo is the shark, and we did get to see a few sharks, so she was very pleased.  Also this outing to the zoo involved candy, and she was able to show off her newly learned “Trick or treat! Smell my feet!. . .” Of which she was very proud. (I plead guilty to that one).

Princesses

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Today we continued with the Halloween festivities with a visit to Trax Farms with more friends.  This too was an ideal outing, because Baby Beez is now big enough to really have fun.  Things were temporarily derailed for a few minutes when Baby Beez got the HANGRY but then I filled her with granola bars and it was all good. Baby Beez is infamous for begging to ride a pony and then we stand in a big stupid long line for the pony, and then when we finally get up to the stupid pony Baby Beez decides she is stupid scared and won’t get on the stupid pony.  This year however was SUCCESS and she climbed upon the gentle beast, Tonto, and was very proud to take a little ride.

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Carnie food! The best!

Carnie food! The best!


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And since it is late October, and since for the last six years November has insisted on being the most absolutely insane month for work in the entire year, this weekend of course brought with it a ridonkulous amount of work that needed to be done.  The well-rested, conservatively scheduled, and possibly more prudent me would have called off the plans, spent my weekend mornings in the office, and squared away those things.  Over the last several years, and in particular as Baby Beez has gotten bigger and has exclaimed in her cute little voice “Mama, you’re my best friend!” I simply cannot bring myself to call off social events for this purpose. Oh yes, the work gets done. That point is non-negotiable. And thank goodness for good remote access and the ability to work on things on the couch while Baby Beez watches Monsters, Inc. for the 9,000th time. What I’ve found over the last several years is that in order to keep my family and personal life healthy, the work gets done at odd hours, whether that means getting up stupid early on a Saturday or spending that Sunday evening wind-down time not winding down at all, but rather getting work done.  Lawyers work on weekends. It’s in the job description. It’s nothing special or new. But I’m stubborn and have gotten stubborner about making sure I make that quality family time on the weekend (with work squeezed in before the kid wakes up, or while she naps, or while she watches TV, etc), because lord knows that QT during the week is minimal.

If you have work obligations on the weekends, how do you balance out family time and work time?

PS– Upon reviewing this post, I have no right to wonder where Baby Beez learned the word “stupid.”

16

A Working Woman’s Paradox (this time with the comments issue fixed…)

So I posted this same entry below, but somehow disabled the comments and the only way I can figure to fix it is to re-post it. I think this is a topic that merits discussion, and I’m not a fan of comment disabled posts generally, so I welcome your feedback (yes, I even welcome disagreement)

I think and talk so much about being a “working mom” and “work/life balance” that I’m bored of it. Mr. Beez and I had the rare opportunity to grab a workday lunch together on Monday, and I asked him “you’re working all the time, and bouncing around with things at home, how are you not complaining about being burned out?” It turns out he is. Just as much as me. He just keeps his big mouth shut.

I admit it—sometimes I’m jealous of stay at home moms. You can chat my ear off all day about how hard it is to be a parent and keep a house, but it still demands minimal accountability. You don’t get fired for being a mediocre parent or having mountains of unwashed laundry. There’s a lot of stuff to do in keeping a house, but you can spend a day on the couch if you want to. Working involves external accountability. It involves risk. It involves prioritizing and balancing and playing politics. It is hard. Maybe not with all jobs, not every job is hard. But being a litigator is hard. It involves all those things at rapid pace and in an unpredictable environment.

I am thrilled that issues of work-life balance have come to the forefront, and employers and employees alike are focusing on how workers can thrive in the office while also being satisfied in their personal lives. We’re talking about this struggle, and it shows me that I’m not a special snowflake after all. I’m tired of my pity party about how hard it is to do the juggle. And every time I read a new response to something Ann-Marie Slaughter or Sheryl Sandberg or Marissa Mayer has said or done, I realize that the work-life struggle is not unique. Not in the least. And if everyone is having the same difficult time, well there really isn’t much to whine there about is there?

Today on Hello Ladies, I read through this infographic.

As I scrolled down, more and more things rang true. Yes, I agree that women often are less likely to take breaks during the workday (It took years for me to convince myself that, as the guys in the office have demonstrated, it really IS ok to go to the gym for a bit during the workday).

But then I hit the bottom portion:
47% of working moms say they would be happier if they didn’t work.
36% of working moms say they resent their partner for not making enough money for them to stay home with the baby/kids.

I’m sickened by the idea of an entitlement to stay home. If we are to achieve any real balance between the sexes, we need to stop this farcical argument that keeping a house is equally demanding (and beneficial to the family unit) as staying home. Not every person needs to work—income and family responsibilities can be divided in all kinds of different ways. But the idea that women resent their partner for not making enough money for them to stay home is abhorrent.

So I’m saying it: The idea that women have some birthright to not work and tend to the children and home is absurd and antiquated. And buying into the idea that women somehow deserve to not work undermines the value of those in the workplace who do.

Dear ladies: GET A JOB.
And quit complaining.

Off

A Working Woman’s Paradox

I think and talk so much about being a “working mom” and “work/life balance” that I’m bored of it. Mr. Beez and I had the rare opportunity to grab a workday lunch together on Monday, and I asked him “you’re working all the time, and bouncing around with things at home, how are you not complaining about being burned out?” It turns out he is. Just as much as me. He just keeps his big mouth shut.

I admit it—sometimes I’m jealous of stay at home moms. You can chat my ear off all day about how hard it is to be a parent and keep a house, but it still demands minimal accountability. You don’t get fired for being a mediocre parent or having mountains of unwashed laundry. There’s a lot of stuff to do in keeping a house, but you can spend a day on the couch if you want to. Working involves external accountability. It involves risk. It involves prioritizing and balancing and playing politics. It is hard. Maybe not with all jobs, not every job is hard. But being a litigator is hard. It involves all those things at rapid pace and in an unpredictable environment.

I am thrilled that issues of work-life balance have come to the forefront, and employers and employees alike are focusing on how workers can thrive in the office while also being satisfied in their personal lives. We’re talking about this struggle, and it shows me that I’m not a special snowflake after all. I’m tired of my pity party about how hard it is to do the juggle. And every time I read a new response to something Ann-Marie Slaughter or Sheryl Sandberg or Marissa Mayer has said or done, I realize that the work-life struggle is not unique. Not in the least. And if everyone is having the same difficult time, well there really isn’t much to whine there about is there?

Today on Hello Ladies, I read through this infographic.

As I scrolled down, more and more things rang true. Yes, I agree that women often are less likely to take breaks during the workday (It took years for me to convince myself that, as the guys in the office have demonstrated, it really IS ok to go to the gym for a bit during the workday).

But then I hit the bottom portion:
47% of working moms say they would be happier if they didn’t work.
36% of working moms say they resent their partner for not making enough money for them to stay home with the baby/kids.

I’m sickened by the idea of an entitlement to stay home. If we are to achieve any real balance between the sexes, we need to stop this farcical argument that keeping a house is equally demanding (and beneficial to the family unit) as staying home. Not every person needs to work—income and family responsibilities can be divided in all kinds of different ways. But the idea that women resent their partner for not making enough money for them to stay home is abhorrent.

So I’m saying it: The idea that women have some birthright to not work and tend to the children and home is absurd and antiquated. And buying into the idea that women somehow deserve to not work undermines the value of those in the workplace who do.

Dear ladies: GET A JOB.
And quit complaining.