Dec 11 2013

Pulling the Single Mom Card (Holiday Edition)

singlemomcard

 

It’s almost 11pm and I’m still working. Yes, I know lots of people work late (I was in the restaurant biz for 13 years). I’m not complaining. I chose a job (read: I got tired of being laid off) in which I get to work late in order to have a somewhat flexible work schedule. 

More flexibility means I get to play a SAHM during the day and burn the midnight oil every night. It’s as close to having it all as I can imagine. Case in point: I brought lemonade to the teacher staff meeting at 2 pm on Monday. I got extra points because it was “homemade” (It wasn’t. I made it from concentrate but I sliced a lemon and tossed it in the pitcher. #singlemomhack).

But I digress. The reason I’m working late tonight is because I missed a deadline. A very important deadline. One that could mean the difference between working while my children are in fun camps every day this summer or working while my kids whine “I’m bored” every day this summer. 

Because I missed the deadline, just sending the proposal just won’t work. I must include a persuasive e-mail to convince the recipient of my proposal (a very attractive, young, child-free woman) to accept it. And because I can’t face an entire summer listening to whining kids, I’ve done something I’m not proud of. 

I pulled the single mom card (holiday edition). Don’t judge me.

Dear Young & Child-free Colleague,

Please find attached to this e-mail my proposal for your consideration. You may notice, from the date stamp on this e-mail, that I missed Friday’s deadline so clearly expressed in the guidelines you graciously provided in October. I’m asking you to accept my proposal anyway because I am a single mom.

It may be tempting to ignore this fact as irrelevant but I implore you to allow me to explain.

Consider that from the moment a mother-to-be announces “I’m two weeks late,” the way she experiences the passage of time changes forever. And after three years of different methods of checking off time (from trimesters to days to weeks to months), noting the passage of time returns to semi-normal and the yearly calendar reappears in our homes (along with living room furniture and some select fragile items).

But, while the majority of our work culture sees the calendar as a way to mark the passage of time from deadline to deadline, mothers of children older than three mark the passage of time from holiday to holiday. And, especially for working moms, this adds complication to meeting any deadline, especially ones set after the month of October.

You see, while November and December may offer opportunities for the child-free worker to take a personal day to shop, punch out a few minutes early to do some home decorating, bake goodies for co-workers, or use a lunch hour to mail hand-addressed Christmas cards, November and December offer working mothers (especially single mothers) no such opportunities. Single mothers must protect every single personal day in the case that Junior gets sick. Oh, it’s tempting to leave a little early on Friday like your co-workers but single mothers know they must be the last one to leave to make up for the times they left early in the spring to see the last inning of their kid’s baseball game or attend a parent-teacher conference at the last possible time slot (which is offered at 3:30 pm). And the only thing single moms are bringing to the office to share are the germs they picked up from the daycare center.

And so, as a working single mother, I am asking you to accept my submission two days past the deadline. Of course, I acknowledge your thoughtfulness in formatting “Submissions due November 30, 2013” in big, bold, red font. But I ask you to understand that  I hope you will appreciate that mothers everywhere know that date as THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING.

Commonly referred to as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is the dreaded day in which moms across these great United States finish washing dishes and attempt to keep the kids from killing each other while their husbands (if they have one) watch football for 22 hours. There is no way any mother is getting near a computer on this day.

And as much as I appreciate that you generously e-mailed the proposal guidelines 30 days prior to the November 30th deadline, I must point out to you that is THE DAY BEFORE HALLOWEEN. I don’t believe I need to explain the madness of that day.

And so, on behalf of all mothers and in especially single mothers everywhere, I ask you to accept my belated proposal.

Respectfully Yours,

Susan

about.me: gomommy

Twitter: gomommy


Dec 3 2012

Workin’ on my Fitness…

…ugh.

I don’t want to go to the gym.

I quit one of my (3) jobs so I could have time to exercise during lunch. I wasn’t making enough money for the time I was spending so it was an easy(ish) decision. And so now it’s approaching lunchtime.

And. I . Do. Not. Want. To. Go.

But I’m loading my new audio book on my iPhone now so I will go.

Even though I’m pretty sure I can access it using an app on my phone. But I’m doing it the “old” way just in case.

Not only am I lazy, I’m old. And set in my ways.

sigh.

At least I’m not sick anymore.

Had the flu. After I got the flu shot. It sucked. Now it’s better.

And now I must stop procrastinating. And go. To the Y. And work.  On my fitness.


Nov 27 2012

My Village

My little one

WAIT.

She’s not little anymore.

My 9 year old was sick. She missed 3 and 1/2 days of school. I took time off from work and took care of her. She kept telling me I was “the best mommy in the world.” I kept telling her that it is an absolute pleasure to be able to take care of her.

Then I got sick.

Now, I don’t have a mommy to take time off from work and take care of me. But I do have something I wish that all people had.  I have My Village. And My Village includes (but is not limited to):

  • Two independent, loving girls who to tuck me in and put themselves to bed.
  • One neighborhood with schools close enough for my girls to walk to in the morning.
  • One neighbor of many who picks up my elementary kid from school so I can take a nap.
  • One loving boyfriend who makes dinner for both our families and lets me nap in his bed on Thanksgiving day, who takes me to dinner when I just don’t have the energy to cook, and who puts up with my grumpy mood becase, well, who can be happy when you’re sick?
  • One ZPack prescribed by a PA at my local Minute Clinic

As a single mom who has all too often been tempted to feel sorry for myself, I’m eternally grateful to My Village because what a friend told me recently is so very true: “No one does it by herself” and I can only do it with the help and support of My Village.


Nov 16 2012

The 150 Minute Clinic

I was at Minute Clinic today.  Actually, I was at the 150 Minute Clinic.

There was some sort of computer issue.

So I drug my sick kid around to the pharmacy section and hooked her up with “Tiger Beat” (hey, don’t judge, she read it AND did a quiz) while I got my flu shot.  My insurance covered it.  All of it.  And then they gave me a 20% coupon.

So I did what any good mother would do.

I shopped.

I also remembered that I had one more day to return an item that has been in my purse for about 6 weeks.  I also took two phone calls, one of them business related (don’t you ever wish you were a lawyer and you could bill for that time?).  I strolled up and down each isle about 4 times while on the phone (I’m not the best multi-tasker).

And  then I found this:

I just knew they’d be perfect in Christmas stockings.  I thought about how my friends often marvel at my ability to leave chocolate alone in the house.  Sigh, I’m so strong willed.

Fast forward another 150 minutes and I’m at my desk having just submitted my article.  Deadline met (by 5 minutes).  And I started to wonder about those little blue and white candies.

I dug through my stash of Christmas presents (oh, not only am I strong-willed, I am prepared) and found the bag.  I turned the bag over and over in my hands being careful not to read the nutritional information.

And I opened the bag.

And I grabbed a handful.

And I knew.  These things are NOT going to last until Christmas.  I’m not even sure they’ll  last another 150 minutes.


Nov 12 2012

It’s November and you know what that means…

A gratitude post.

I know, I know.  My Facebook friends are posting something they’re grateful for every day this month, too.  But I just have to tell you what happened five minutes ago:

I was standing at my closet wondering what to wear (to a free neighborhood dinner) when I heard myself whine “I am sick of all my clothes.”  I immediately started to pout (a little) and thought about how I don’t have any justification (or money) to buy a whole new wardrobe.

And then this thought happened:

“I need to be grateful I have them.”

Clearly, it wasn’t mine.  Maybe it was my mother or her mother’s (she did live through The Great Depression, you know), or maybe it was God.  In any case, I got the message.

I quickly found a pair (out of several) of jeans, knew what (old) sweater to wear with them and selected a pair (out of of several) boots to wear.

And then I ran to my computer to write for the first time in a long time (thank you Anna B).  And maybe I’ll remember to be grateful every day this month before I whine.

 


Apr 21 2011

I Wanted Something Else…

A friend sent me an e-mail asking how I decided, with two kids and no husband, to go out and try to start my own business. Here’s what I told her:

I’m a natural entrepreneur. I’ve had a lot of different work experiences in my life so I think it was not such a hard jump…WAIT! Omgosh, I’m forgetting something! I’m forgetting EVERYTHING! Let me refocus…

8 years ago, I was a homemaker and mother. I was good at it.  And I had friends who called me for advice on parenting. I was a natural.  I’d already been a teacher and I loved staying home with my baby but I wanted something else…

Then I got divorced. I went back to teaching but it was a miserable year. I took my girls, moved In-town and started my life over. I got an administrative job, continued to give parenting advice and I pursued my love of photography.

When I got laid off, I started my photography business. I tapped into a creative side of myself that I hadn’t listened to in a long time.  My clients were happy, I was happy but I just wasn’t earning enough to make ends meet and I still had this feeling that I wanted something else…

An unexpected phone call came one day and I accepted a position with one of the companies I used to represent at my former job. Whew!  I could finally relax and enjoy my single parenting, my full time job and my part time job. But I wanted something else…

Just before Christmas, I got laid off.  Again.  And then three things happened:

  • I got WAY into social media and rediscovered my love of writing.
  • I started dating on-line so I started another business to help people with their social media pictures and profiles.  I used this as an opportunity to blog my heart out (with every heart break).
  • And, all the while, I kept on advising my friends about parenting (only when asked, of course).   One such mom, knowing I was a fan of John Rosemond’s Traditional Parenting, forwarded me information about his Leadership Parenting Institute. I scraped the money together and started the process of my certification.

And then, days away from starting the foreclosure process I met a man at church who offered me a full-time marketing job.  Whew (again)! There I was, single parenting, dating, blogging, photographing, advising parents, studying for my certification and working full-time.  But I was still looking for something else…

I heard about an opportunity from a high school BFF and I called a friend of mine (we always said we wanted to be in business together) and we launched a new business. My social media connections, writing and marketing experience were invaluable!

I quit my marketing job (major leap of faith), stopped working on photography and profiles, worked for a summer camp run by friends of mine and concentrated on building my new business.  And I started dating a very nice man.  This was a very exciting and scary time.  I went “all in.”

By the end of the summer, the camp I worked for refused to pay me (I had nothing in writing), the economy was not doing what my partner and I were hoping it would do, and I made two tough decisions.  I sued my friends and closed up shop.  I was scared.  All I could do was pray.  And then I knew that I really wanted something else…

I was offered me a part-time job with insurance benefits.  I took it. I won my court case and I got paid.  I finished my coursework and became a Certified Leadership Parenting Coach.  I fell in love.

Today I get paid for my parenting advice, and I get paid to teach classes and workshops.  I also get paid to write.  I still get paid for my photography every once in a while and if you ever met my kids, you could see how my application of Love and Leadership in parenting has paid off, too!  All those risks, even falling in love, is paying off for me. After 8 years of footwork, exciting opportunities and failures, I can finally say that I don’t want anything else.

And after 8 years, here are the 8 lessons I’ve learned:

  1. Don’t give away your product or your time. Set your price because you are worth it!
  2. Every job is a learning experience
  3. God’s got your back
  4. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself
  5. Winning rocks!
  6. Don’t give up, see #3.
  7. Get it in writing!
  8. Nothing (not heart aches, not job losses, not even divorce), absolutely NOTHING happens in God’s world by mistake.

Apr 22 2010

My Martha Moment

I know.  It’s weird.  But I had a moment.  It’s kind of like Haley’s Comet…it comes but only once in a lifetime.  But the other day I had it.

My Martha Moment.

Let me tell you how it happened.

I went with my business partner to Laurie Byrne Originals’ showroom (in the most adorable basement in Vinings).  There I saw the cutest teacher gifts in the world (among a million other cute, preppy, polka-dotted, monogramed and adorable things).  I thought nothing of it.  You see, I’m not preppy, I’m Decatur.  I recycle and have nothing (and I mean NOTHING) that could even come close to polka dot in my home.  Put simply, there is no prep in my step!

But that Preppy Paper Girl in Vinings must have put something in her ventilation system.  Because the very next day, while at TJMaxx Northlake shopping for running shorts, I saw the most adorable clip boards.  They were wrapped in pretty paper and had cute notepads attached.

I looked left.  I looked right.  Then I grabbed six of them and casually but swiftly hoofed it to the check-out counter.

But that’s not all.

As I left the TJ Maxx parking lot, I noticed Michael’s Arts and Crafts store in the next shopping center.  I went there.  Swear.  I walked around looking for just the right thing and then I found it.  Pretty, yellow flowers to hot glue (yeah, I actually own one) to the metal of the clip board.  Cute.  Preppy.  And, semi-hand made.

Don’t worry.  I’m not going to start selling them on my blog.  Preppy Paper Girl has that down pat!  But, I am going to give one to my partner, one for all the teachers for the end-of-the-year gift (with cash attached, of course…I was a teacher myself after all) and then the last one is mine.  Yup.  I’m keeping a cute, preppy, flowery clip board for myself.

How else am I ever going to convince anyone I had My Martha Moment?


Mar 27 2010

To Everything There Is A Season…

…and a time to every purpose under Heaven.

Three weeks ago I would have scoffed at those lyrics.  But today, I can so easily believe them.  For two years I’ve been in a season.  The season of “My life sucks beyond my wildest dreams.”

It was messy, painful, inconvenient and expensive.  Some of you will know what I’m talking about.

According to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, that’s the recipe for personal transformation.

Well, call me transformed (please).

I’ve been unemployed, heart-broken, stood up, let down, depressed, angry, and full (and I mean FULL) of fear.

Nonetheless, I got up (most) every day and took care of my life.

For two years.

And then, one night, I got mad.  And, after being really angry for a day, I thought “I don’t want this.”  And a new season began.

Was it really that simple?  Or was it simply time for a new season?  Or maybe, there really is a time to every purpose under Heaven.


Apr 28 2009

Is Exhausted the New Tired?

If 40 is the new 30 then is Exhausted the new Tired?

So, it’s 11pm and I’m just now sitting down to write a little. Just a little so I can clear my head enough to sleep. I had a very productive day at work (yipee, so grateful for a job that I really like!!!) and a very productive day at work means I’m exhausted. But, as a single parent, it’s hard to be exhausted because there’s only me to do what needs to be done (and is still in a laundry basket in my bedroom as I write this).

Now, I’m not a number cruncher, but if I do the math, if there’s only one parent to do the work of two parents, doesn’t the level of tired need to double before it reaches exhaustion?

Spring is a crazy time of year for everyone. For parents, it’s spring sports, spring schedules, later evenings with the kids (they just don’t want to go to bed when it’s still light outside), activities, festivals, weddings, and parties galore!

For single parents, it’s twice as crazy (remember, there’s only one person doing a two-person job) and then, of course, for some of us, there’s dating. Ugh. There’s a lot of embarrassing things I can do on a date but the YAWN is at the top of my personal list…but how can I not be exhausted…oh, I mean tired?

Last week I met a nice man and he wants to take me out. And, as luck would have it, I’d love for him to take me out. The trouble is, when?!? I’m booked every night or I have my kids. Friends who know my insane schedule are smart and book me well in advance. But this poor guy doesn’t really grasp the reality of the life I lead. We can’t find a day this week so we’re already looking at next week. Oh, and just so you know, today is TUESDAY!

I used to worry about my schedule and dating (I’ve had 4 years of experience of juggling personal, professional, and family life). I used to think that I’d miss out on someone because my schedule is so unappealing. But, I’ve been told, and more importantly, now I believe, that when a suitable suitor comes along, the schedule will not be a deterrent. And until that day comes, my schedule might actually help me weed out men who aren’t serious about getting serious.

And, at 40, or 30, or however old I am, I am ready for serious. “Chatters” and “Players” need not respond to this very happy, very grateful, and very exaust…oops, I mean tired single mom.


Apr 23 2009

Dear Pollen

Look, I know you have a specific purpose to go forth and procreate plant life. I get that. What I don’t appreciate, though, is that you are wreaking havoc on my sinuses and pretty much making everyone I know miserable. I really think you’re overdoing it being so showy and covering everything. I mean, honestly, do you really think you’re going to get anywhere with my car? We both know that was completely unnecessary.

You know what, I’m tired of being nice. Please die and find some other means to procreate. I don’t even care if I never get to taste honey again. My nasal passages have swollen shut because CVS’s generic brand of Zyrtec-D is an epic failure in combating hay fever.

Oh, and tell your friends the dust mites to bite me, but not literally. Or at least tell them to stop defecating on my pillow (see, Wikipedia, “Asthma,” where it says that “the microscopic house dust mite feces that surround a pillow when your head hits it or you turn over in bed” cause allergies and asthma).

Sincerely,

Sneezy McGee (AKA Lady J; my “little” sister)