What it’s Like to Work from Home… with Kids

When you have kids, it can be tough to juggle life. Especially when both you and your spouse work outside the home and daycare (aka school) is closed. Today was one of those days. One of those long, long days.

I just started a new job. I’m on week 4. So I’m still trying to gain trust and establish myself. It used to be so easy. I was focused. I was ambitious. I wanted to learn and do my best and shine like a star powered by the strong glow of fluorescent office lighting. Climb that corporate ladder like the yodeler character in that Price is Right game.

That all changed when I had my son. Now a mom of 2, all corporate ambition vanished. I realized that with 2 kids, “Outstanding” performance reviews are a thing of the past. Work no longer came first. Or even second. It couldn’t.  For some reason, I was able to manage the juggle better with one kid. Probably because I’m not one of those Super Woman Moms. I’m a real person. Some might say it’s more specifically because I’m not “organized” and I don’t “plan ahead”. But at least I’m pretty, right? That’s a positive that can get me ahead in the “juggling work and family and friends and dreams and working out and meal prep and not forgetting my prepped meals and selecting the correct number of tax deductions on my pre-employment forms” game for sure. Did I just let $200 worth of veggies go bad? Yes. But my smokey eye is on point today so that totally makes up for it.

Anyway, today was not a productive work day. Today was a day that consisted of just trying to keep up with emails and not much else. My daughter is great at letting me do my thing. If she has a tv, she’s good to go. Unless she sees me on my personal computer.  Then she wants to use said computer to “check her status”, which means she wants to take the quiz to see if she’s still in House of Slitherin.  #Priorities.  My son, on the other hand, would totally crawl back into my uterus and live happily ever after if it were at all possible. He wants me with him AT ALL TIMES. If he can’t see me, he finds me. If he can’t find me, he yells for me. That’s very problematic when I need to get things done for work.

For example, today he decided to be a member of the band Ratt. Remember them? He just met their music thanks to Sirius XM’s hairband station. And he loves them. So he wanted me to find their music videos on YouTube. That way, he could sing and play guitar with them. While dressed in his Brock Lesnar costume. Meanwhile, my daughter watched 4 episodes of Scooby Doo and 9 episodes of Monk. So when the doctor asks how much screen time she gets at her next appointment, please know I will lie. I will straight up lie. She gets 30 minutes of screen time and that’s all the doc needs to know. And all the moms who actually REMEMBER to cook the asparagus BEFORE it liquifies in the fridge can judge all they want. I welcome it. Cuz I judge them while peering from the top of my wine glass at the next PTA meeting.

At some point today the kids asked if they could go to Toys R Us and spend the $30 my grandmother gave them for Christmas. Seemed like a great way to get them out of the house for a bit. The visit was a success. Both walked out with goodies and stayed within budget so #blessed.

The trip to the grocery store, however, not so great. I only needed items for dinner (b.t.dubs, I made an AMAZING steak salad tonight. It was so good). Anyway, the kids were going crazy. Running all over the place. Bella putting Roman up to shenanigans. Shenanigans all over Fresh Market. And, yes, I yelled. And threatened to leave them. A few times. All the while, I was not getting any work done. I left with flank steak, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro-lime dressing, and the 2 kids I walked in with so… yay!

When I got home I did some work. And then it was time to cook dinner.

Ever feel like life is flying by and you’re holding on, white-knuckled, barely buckled in, and you know that if it would just slow down a little bit you could see what’s passing you. And maybe not fall off the roller coaster? Ugh.

Also, since we’re on a slight tangent, at what age do you start to gain weight by NOT eating? When did this start? I used to be able to skip a meal and lose 5 pounds! Now I skip a meal and gain 15. Son of a bitch. And don’t tell me it happens to everyone. If it did, I wouldn’t have skinny friends. Beautiful, skinny friends who “bounced back” 3 weeks after baby #4.  At least I’m pretty.  Starving, with 10 pounds to lose, but pretty.

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Christmas Card Chaos

Each year, I send a cute Christmas card to all 10,000 of my closest friends and family members.

{Yes, I exaggerate.  Maybe I get confused because I spend $10,000 on stamps.}

The first year we sent cards we didn’t have a ton of time or money to find a photographer so our card was a hodgepodge of candid pictures through the year.  Christmas Card 2011

Super cute, inexpensive, got the job done.

Then the hubs we raised the bar.

My hubs is a classic overachiever.  Bachelor’s degree + TWO Master’s degrees = super-smart.  He didn’t get to where he is now by being average.

And I love that he pushes me to rise to his level of over-achievement.  I appreciate this about him very much.

HOWEVER, the reason it takes him pushing is because I know that once that pesky little bar has been raised, it’s hard to shove it back down.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  A lot.

{“Wow, E.  You birthed a 9 lb. baby boy with a head the size of a bowling ball for my birthday!  That’s the best present ever!”  Dam.}

“Hey, E, we need to have family pictures taken.  Like the nice ones we see all over Facebook.  Not the ones that we take ourselves.”

{He has a point.  But I must tread lightly.  One misstep and by the time the kids are in high school I’ll end up with no place to go but the Kardashian Kristmas card.}

Kardashian Kristmas
nicksaglimbeni.com

 

Yes, we should send all of our enemies friends a 3-D Christmas card!  Should we include the glasses???  No, I’m sure everyone has the 3-D app on their iPhone 10.

Surprisingly, I am a perfectionist.  I want everything I touch, ESPECIALLY our Christmas card, to be perfect.  A beautiful representation of my sweet little family on our best day.

BUT, I realized early on that I didn’t want to die of a heart attack by age 15.

Because I know I can’t control everything and everyone, I step back.

I have to “Let it Go” in order to get anything done.  Otherwise, I’d work on my hair for 3 hours, spend 3 hours ironing my pants, another 8 hours scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush, 10 hours organizing bills and stuff, 5 hours folding laundry perfectly… you get the idea.

So, when I take a picture of my family at home there may be a pile of crap in the background:

Crap in background

In my defense, we were renovating… that’s why the bed’s not made.

My clothes sometimes look like this:

Wrinkles

All the wrinkles will keep each other company!

My hair sometimes looks like this:

Gross Haire

Just. Gross.

I’ve learned to let things go for the sake of sanity.  Once I learned how it was like a thousand butterflies lifted the dumb bells off my shoulders and angels embraced me.  Aaaaahhhh.  For my tightly-wound friends I highly recommend trying it.

{Luckily, I don’t live in a town that will put me on the prayer list if someone “calls” on me and my bed isn’t made.  I’m just on the prayer list because I have the mouth of a convict sailor, drink alcohol on occasion, and have tattoos.}

Now, back to Christmas cards (You were wondering, weren’t you?)

{Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for riding Tangent Airways.}

The second year we sent out Christmas cards we used a picture from our first family experience with a professional photographer.  Shameless plug, if you’re in Atlanta, Claire Elise is amazing.

Christmas Card 2012

Bar.  Officially.  Raised.

The third year we used the same photographer (she really is awesome).  This time we were dressed up a little more, all color-coordinated, on location at Piedmont Park.  Our card was breathtaking.  Especially when I MISSPELLED OUR LAST NAME.  Ooops.  Ma bad.  (I snipped the name part out of the card for the post so it’s like it didn’t really happen.  I’m still perfect.)

Christmas Card 201

What I love about this picture is that no one would have any idea that Bella decided it was hilarious to honk my boobs during much of the shoot.

{Bar raised, then lowered by half on account of the spelling mishap.}

So began our descent.

I knew this year the pressure was on.  All I had to do was nail spelling our last name correctly.  I got this.

I made the appointment with Claire in October, carefully taking into account my hubs’ call schedule, kids’ activity calendar, and any miscellaneous events I’ve over-committed to.

Every detail was planned.  Claire was going to meet us at the square and we were going to be all dolled up in our best holiday attire.  Heck, I was feeling so sassy that the cray-cray dogs were even going to be included!

I felt very prepared and accomplished… and then it rained.

Part of me was relieved.

The hubs wanted the opportunity to buy clothes specifically for the occasion and he hadn’t had the chance.  Maybe this would give him the window of time he needed to find the perfect Christmas outfit.

{Isn’t finding the perfect Christmas outfit top of mind for every man???}

Reno 911!
youtube.d3.ru

 

Hi Officers!  Just on my way to have my Christmas pictures taken.  No big deal.(Really I just wanted to reference “Reno 911!”)

 Plus, I found a corduroy blazer for Roman but the store was out of his size at the time I needed it for pictures.  Maybe now I had the chance to put my little guy in an old guy blazer!

{I love to see little boys dressed up like old men.  It’s like watching a Hallmark commercial.}

I also needed a “perfect” bow for Bella’s hair.

AND, I was looking a little pasty.  SPRAY TAN TIME!!!

Only none of those things ended up happening.

Instead of investing in the perfect family Christmas pictures we had to have our hardwood floors replaced because our furnace leaked.

We lived in a hotel for a week while our floors were being fixed.  Sooooo, that chunk of time was out of the question.

And then the kids started karate twice a week which narrowed our opportunities for free time even more.

But, around the middle of November I thought, “No big deal!  Our first Christmas card was totally adorable {“totes adorb” for those under age 25}.  We can revive the candid pic card!”

MM-MM.  Nope.  Not so cute.

We rarely get the chance to take a family picture.

When we do, chances are one of us has a wonky eye or a runny nose, someone {Roman} is crying, a random dog is pooping in the background, or I decide, “Today is the day I choose to not wash my hair.  I’m not doing anything important today.”

Joke’s on you, E.

Today is the day you will take a memorable, candid picture with your family during an impromptu ice skating adventure.  Today is the day everyone is adorably cute and perfectly poised.

And your hair will shine like the Star of David.  Your friends will ask why they just purchased cooking grease from the store when they could have harvested it from your head.

Also, today is the day your face decides to retain all the water you’ve been drinking for the past year.

Ugh.

I’ll take one for the team.

However, as the days ticked by, I thought, “Maybe I don’t have to use the swollen-face-dirty-hair picture.  I’ll dress the kids up in their cute Christmas pj’s and get a beautiful picture of them by the tree!  Who needs a pro??  I GOT THIS.”

Nope.  I attract jokes like a magnet.

I dressed the kids up and positioned them in front of the perfectly lit tree.  I got out my professional DLS Nokia phone.  AAAAAAAAAND our new black lab puppy who weighs 1,000 pounds photo bombs our picture.

What the face, Georgia!  MOOOOOOVE!

Bella, who is terrified of Georgia when she acts like a puppy (which is all the time), freaked out and just about pooped her pants.

Move Georgia

{The look on her face says enough.}

Roman decided it was time to tackle Georgia because all he’s ever wanted to be is a Football Player Boy.

Lola, our Chihuahua, was laid up on the couch with her eye hanging out.

{Different story for a different time.}

Sometimes in life (especially where kids are involved) you just have to say “at least we’re pretty”.  Or “shudda called Claire”.  But then I wouldn’t have this horribly transparent blog post.

So, without further ado, I present our 2014 “Swollen Face-Dirty Hair-Black Lab Bombed-Oops I Crapped My Pants” Christmas card:Christmas Card 2014

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