Sunday, June 23, 2013

What I Miss Most About My Former Life as a Housewife—Time

A Facebook post: June 19 near Saint Paul via mobile 2 mile run outside, dog walked, drove weight training carpool, dashed into Caribou coffee, Target run, and in my office by 9 am. Whew! Time to start my day! Comment: I'm tired just reading your status update.

Does this sound like the start of your day? Yes! Then I'm glad I'm not alone. As I approach the end my sixth month on the job, I realize what I'm missing most about returning to work is time. I have no time! What did I do with all of that time when I was a stay-at-home Mom?

With babies, toddlers, and preschoolers under my charge for at least 10 of the last 15 years, I know where that time went. All into care and maintenance of growing children, preparing them to leave the nest and enter Kindergarten. But where did those last 5 years disappear?

I now realize what an incredible gift I was given to spent all of those years at home with my kids. Those last five years were for them, but also for me. Five years of blogging, training for races, hours spent in the gardens, growing a graphic design business, and far too much time wandering around Target. Home-cooked meals for nearly every dinner, book club, volunteering at the elementary school, hours spent watching kids compete in their various ballgames, waiting out evening orchestra rehearsals at Starbucks, and thousands of miles logged driving kids around. Let's not forget those years spent searching for a job and finally landing in a perfect fit.

Simply put:  staying home with the kids is far from easy. It's quite exhausting, but very fulfilling. I wouldn't trade those years for anything!

I do miss the time that I had for all of my activities from my previous life. Since I returned to working out of the house, I've had a crash course in time management. Prioritize tasks, combine errands, organize carpools, and use time wisely. Life is short, and so is our time. Count yourself lucky if you can spend time doing something you love and surrounded by those you love.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Celebration of Fathers

Today we celebrate our fathers and grandfathers. The gifts they have given us, life lessons taught, and knowledge passed down. It is quite impossible to thank them for all they've done for us on just this one Sunday in June. Use today to cherish your father, remember your grandfathers, and encourage our own children to draw inspiration from their fathers and grandfathers.

My own father turned 70 this year. Luckily for my own kids he has a close relationship with them and all three have gotten to really know their grandfather. He continues to inspire me as he teaches me to grow into my adult self.

What a legacy he has created!

To my dad, my husband, and all you fathers out there who continue to inspire me, Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Aveda's Annoying Abandonment

Corporate Aveda seems to have an uncanny knack for discontinuing my favorite items on a stealthy, yet regular schedule. It seems whenever I run out of a favorite product and head over to an Aveda salon to refill, guess what? "Sorry that's just been discontinued."

While in my favorite Aveda salon this afternoon to cash in a coupon for a "personal blends product for free," i.e., my back-up perfume, I discover that the base used to create my "Christianna" blend has been discontinued. This now discontinued Key Element Aroma #3 Fire Nature is vanishing quickly. The receptionist at the salon who mixes up the personal perfumes had a quick consultation with her counterpart at the front desk, and she dashed out of the door to the supply room. The receptionist/aroma mixer explained that she kept a hidden cache of Fire Nature #3 in the back room because she personally loved it and used it for her customers. A spark of hope. Sadly my hopes were dashed. Seems that someone else discovered the secret stash of #3 and used it all up. I'm adding Fire Nature #3 to my growing list of favorite discontinued Aveda products.

I absolutely love the Aveda uruku eye accent line that was abruptly cut off. My stash of these eye accents is quickly diminishing. Despite the stamp on the tube stating a 6 month shelf life, I've managed to sustain mine for quite a bit longer than 6 months without a trace of an eye infection. Again I'm wondering why expiration labels exist other than to make us run out and buy more product to replace the "expired" eye accent.

My biggest disappointment that eventually turned into joy was when Aveda discontinued their All Sensitive line. No more silky and perfect All Sensitive moisturizer available for my incredibly sensitive skin. I had a stash of tiny plastic bottles that I abducted from numerous hotel stays. Little did I know that all those tiny bottles would tide me over until Aveda corporate returned to their senses and reinstated the All Sensitive line.

The list goes on: Chamomile shampoo, the amazing lip tints with SPF that could easily make it through a steamy round of 18-holes on the golf course, and the much missed Sap Moss shampoo and conditioner. All vanished without any fanfare.

Meanwhile the search continues. I'm still holding out hope that I can track down a bottle of Fire Nature #3 to mix my back-up scent. The Aveda corporate office and factory is near my house and one would think Aveda might have a couple of extra bottles lying around somewhere. If not, there's always that $90 bottle on e-Bay from the back of someones dusty medicine cabinet. (Not quite that desperate, thank you.) Perhaps other Aveda fans out there also wish that Aveda would abolish the trend of discontinuing these popular items or at least let their customer's know their favorite items disappearing so we can stock up.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Striking a Balance

I'm learning about striking a balance between work, family, and myself the only way I know. Jumping in with everything I've got and living, working, entertaining, driving, cooking, walking the dog, etc, until I collapse into bed every night. I have a feeling I'm not alone.

As I start on my sixth month as someone else's employee, I continue on in my life roles as Mom, wife, Communications, Director, and volunteer. This is where life gets sticky. I have learned what really matters to me and what I'm not willing to give up. My new life priorities? Family and all of their activities, consistent exercising, maintaining a healthy diet for my family, keeping the laundry in control, digging around in my gardens, and my writing projects. So I must apologize that writing frequently on my blog has slipped due to the time crunch. I promise to post once a week, but three times a week is just not possible anymore. 

I believe realizing your limitations is really important for Moms who want to balance their lives. Do what is most important and let the rest go. A very difficult lesson for me to learn!

Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” is intriguing me given that now I'm a woman who works and certainly has the will to lead. The themes that urge women to lean in and take a seat at the table certainly are appropriate. I am ambitious, willing to lead, and have the drive to succeed. The problem is that I also have a family that takes up the bulk of any free time I might find. Here lies the challenge—succeeding at work while keeping the home front happy and healthy. Some days this goals seems quite unattainable. Maybe Sandberg offers some helpful advice. I'll let you know.

For now the sprint to the end of the weekend continues on as I try to balance it all. Running shoe shopping (exercise commitment) tossed in after my daughter's French Horn audition for orchestra (family commitment). That is an equal balance for me. Still the most amazing part is that I was given a chance to return to the office, given a position in my field after a nearly 15-year hiatus, and now I'm thriving in my new role. The family seems is somehow surviving life with Mom at work.