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Thursday, April 16, 2015

A - Z Blogging Challenge, Part 3

Welcome to part 2 of my A - Z blogging challenge.




Every day I am using the letter of the day to talk about elements of being a (part-time) working mom. 




Parking Ticket
(Overwhelmed Mom-ents, Part 1)

First off: when I say "parking ticket" I am not talking about the note you get for violating a traffic law. I'm simply referring to the piece of sturdy paper, the size of a credit card that you get when you enter a parking garage. Before exiting you need to insert in into a payment machine. Is there a better name for it?  *confused*



It was a rainy, busy Saturday afternoon. C was still very little. I remember because he was in his baby car seat that faced toward the trunk of the car and I couldn’t see him while driving.  

We were on our way out of the parking garage at the supermarket. Shopping had taken longer than planned and I needed to get him home and fed. 

There were a couple of cars ahead of us at the boom gate.  When it was my turn, my hand felt for the parking ticket where I always put it. It wasn’t there!! Huh? I was now using my eyes but they couldn’t find it either. I groped all of my pockets and started rummaging in my purse and wallet. The ticket was not here! 

The cars behind me started to honk, Colin was getting fussy, the car windows were fogging up from the humidity, and I was sweating. 




I got out of my car and approached the one behind me. I told the driver I couldn’t find my ticket, and if he gave me his, we could both get out if he followed me really tightly. He was polite enough not to say what he was thinking – that’s one crazy bitch – but declined. 

So I got back into my car and set it in reverse. The guy behind me did the same, and the next car and the next... Until I had enough room to escape the exit line and get back into the parking area. 

Remember it was Saturday, and parking spaces are scarce.  I unbuckled hungry Colin, and back up to the supermarket we went. The lady at customer service took pity in me. Usually a replacement ticket costs between 20 and 50 bucks, depending on the business. 

Instead she called the friendly maintenance guy who came down to the garage with us and opened the gate when it was our turn again. 

In the meantime poor baby C ran out of patience and screamed his head off. Time to race home!

  • Have you ever been stuck in a parking garage?

Leave me a comment, I love to hear from you! 

I'm looking forward to welcoming you back! I will update this post on Monday by adding the letter Q.



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Naps (no)


Colin was never a good sleeper. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  The first year or so I had to go for a stroller walk every day in order to get him to sleep. 

When given the choice he'd much rather sit and watch what's going on out there!


Then we tried the crib. Sometimes it worked. 


Other times… not so well.


Then he learned to get up and stand at the bars. He would sing and talk and call for us, for another story and another hug and another sip of water,…

At some point - of course - he figured out how to climb over the bars. Imagine the possibilities!


In June 2011 we removed the bars, and he had a regular bed from which he could get up and out as he pleased. And he did please!!! 


Of course not taking naps at nap time resulted in falling asleep between 5 and 6pm, no matter the location. 


Then he'd be awake for like 10 or 11pm.

I tried lots of tricks and methods. We talked to our regular pediatrician and we went to see a homeopath who gave us some globules. That night was perfect! The next? Nope.

One night when he kept coming out, we told him that he obviously didn't need a bed and removed everything except the frame. (I had read about this on a parenting platform. One desperate family reported great success after they did this.)

Without a word Colin grabbed his stuffed animals, threw in a couple of toys for good measure, lied down - and slept!


I'd love to tell you that from then on naps / bed time were working out. 

Sorry.

He'd still come out of his bed to see what I was doing ALL THE TIME. I desperately needed me-time. Either to work or play on Facebook network. Plus his eyes were sleepy and he was yawning so badly.

One particularly annoying day I said "OK, scr** your nap, put your shoes on" 

His eyes got wide, so did his smile. I buckled his car seat, and he got excited. 

"Where are we going, Mommy?" 

"To Mommy Rehab - that's a place where mothers go once they can't take it anymore because they are just too exhausted. There they get to sleep, read, write, paint, and somebody else is taking care of lunch and dinner and laundry." 

"Can kids come, too?" 

"Nope, but they get to visit on weekends - will you be coming and visiting me?" 

While we were driving and talking about who might be looking after him while I was gone, he dozed off (naturally…) 

We ended up taking a nice walk in the  psychiatric hospital's garden, meeting a couple of donkeys and sheep, having some ice cream, and in the evening he told his Dad that Mommy took him to a nice place, but he still didn't want her to go there so he would try and stay in his room during nap time. 





I'd love to tell you that from then on naps / bed time were working out. 

Sorry.

He's now 6.5 years old. Bedtime is still no walk in the park.

  • What methods worked to get your little ones to go to and actually stay in bed?
  • Have you ever dreamed about going to Mommy rehab?

Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Overwhelmed (mostly OK, though)



I consider myself being OK most of the time. Sometimes I am on top of things (LOVE those moments!) and sometimes – well, once – I drove off at the gas station. With the nozzle still in the tank...

Disclaimer: This is not my car, and I didn't make it to the freeway ;-)

I will tell you about my top three overwhelmed working Mom moments when the appropriate letter is due:

P is for Parking Ticket
S is for Sickness
V is for Vomiting

In the meantime why don't you tell me one of yours?

If you are looking for tips on how to handle times when you feel overwhelmed, this is a helpful article: 5 things to do when you feel overwhelmed

Leave me a comment, I love to hear from you! Also check out my Faceboook page!

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There will only be four posts that are being updated as I go, with the most current letter on top so you don't have to scroll:

Part 4  -  April 23rd - 30:     T - Z 


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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter Bunny Cake

If you came to my blog for the #‎AtoZchallenge‬ click here:

Part-Time working Mom's A - Z challenge




You're very welcome to read on, though, this is good stuff, too:



Even as a chocolate lover it may happen that you end up with lots of chocolate bunnies. How about using some of them to bake a cake?

Ingredients

2      cups    easter bunny chocolate (8.5 squares, 250g)
0.5   cup      butter  (100g)
0.5   cup      milk (120ml)

3                    eggs
0.6    cup      brown sugar (120g)
1       tsp       vanilla sugar

1.6   cups     all purpouse flour (200g)
2      tbsp      cocoa powder
1      tsp        baking powder 
1      pinch    salt

Directions

Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C) and prepare your baking dish. I used two smallish aluminum pans.


In a sauce pan melt chocolate and butter.


Technically, the bear was a Christmas bear. Never mind.
Cream eggs and sugar until fluffy, 



Pour in melted butter, chocolate and milk until combined. 


Add dry ingredients gradually, pour your batter into the baking pans.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven. 






Take out the cake and let cool completely. 

Done!






Friday, April 10, 2015

Use Your words - Purple Rain

Today’s post is another writing challenge as well. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


My words are: 

decorate ~ purple ~ eggplant ~ tropical ~ remember ~ chair

They were submitted by the lovely creator and facilitator of this writing challenge, 
Baking In A Tornado  - thank you, Karen!

Today I am going to take you back to some of the best times music-wise - the mid80s!




Remember Fall 1984 / Winter 1985? So many great songs:

Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters
Tina Turner - What's Love got to do with it
Depeche Mode - Master and Servant
Laura Branigan - Self Control
Limahl - The never ending story
Elton John - Sad Songs (say so much)
Stevie Wonder - I just called to say I love you
Status Quo - The Wanderer
Sade - Smooth Operator
The Cars - Drive
Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas
WHAM! - Last Christmas
Madonna - Like a Virgin
Nik Kershaw - The Riddle
Frankie goes to Hollywood - The Power of Love
Alison Moyet - All cried out
Tears for Fears - Shout
Prince - Purple Rain (click to watch the video - if this platform was any good, I'd embed the song, so it would play while you're reading.)



I could go on and on, but I've got some more words to use, so here goes:

In high school we liked to throw parties at classmate's houses, especially as long as we were under 16 and couldn't get into the cool clubs. 

One time we got to party at the indoor pool area of one guy's parents' villa. The whole class of about 25 people was invited. 

Usually the kids had to limit themselves to a dozen friends which was tough. Who to invite? How to handle the ones who weren't invited? 

Usually an upcoming party was the topic of several days leading up to the day. What to wear, what snack to bring, was the person one had a crush on gonna be there? 

"I need your help", M said one day (no, not that one) "My older brother had a party last month, so this month it's my turn, my parents agreed that I could use the basement party room." 

Fantastic! So where did I come in? Did he want to borrow some of my music tapes?

"Could you do the, you know, creative stuff? Invitations, decoration? I'll take care of the technical equipment, stereo and lights."

OMG, how cool! (Thinking back he actually hired me as a party planner, sort of!) 

I had big plans and crazy ideas, I wanted a starry sky, glitter and disco balls, maybe even roller skates. But we were 15 and didn't have any money. 






So I tried to craft my own disco balls by using aluminum foil. Only it wasn't the thin, twistable kind. It was glitzier and sturdier, and instead of balls the shapes looked more like eggplants. Booo! 

M's brother had some black light bulbs that we were allowed to use. 



I asked my girlfriends to bring potato chips, pretzel rods and cake and set up the buffet. Soda, regular orange juice and mixed tropical fruit juice with pieces of pineapple to decorate the glasses with, that's how fancy it got!



Strictly no alcohol, btw, even though in Europe it'd have been not a huge deal to serve some Baccardi Cola at a private party. The only wine bottle in the room was an empty one that we used for spinning. You know… 



Clearly as teenagers we were beyond playing musical chairs!

I don't remember much about the party itself. There must have been no drama, no new couple, no breakup. Just good friends, great music and no parents! Pretty awesome Saturday night for a 15 year old!

Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:


Baking In A Tornado 
Spatulas on Parade 
The Bergham Chronicles
The Momisodes
Southern Belle Charm
Confessions of a part time working mom 
Someone Else's Genius
Stacy Sews and Schools
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo
Searching for Sanity
Climaxed
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
Juicebox Confession
Battered Hope


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A - Z Blogging Challenge, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my A - Z blogging challenge.




Every day I am using the letter of the day to talk about elements of being a (part-time) working mom. 




Guilty Feelings

If you can introduce me to one working Mom who never feels guilty I'll buy you dinner!

Before I even hit the send button to apply for the airline job I felt guilty. I wanted a baby so badly, and now he was one year old, and already I was thinking about going back to work? What was wrong with me? 

When I dropped him off at daycare for his acclimatization day, I felt guilty.

The one time I had to call daycare to ask them to give me five more minutes after closing because I only just got out of a meeting, I felt guilty. He was the only kid left, sitting there at the wardrobe, fully dressed and ready to go, and one of the lovely ladies was reading a story to him. 

The few times that he was sick, and I couldn't get off work, I felt massively guilty. More about that when the letter S is due.

Oh, and not too long ago there was an incident (scroll all the way down till you see me in a BLOGGER sweater)  that caused me not to be there when he got home from school. Guilty feelings.

Fortunately I read an article just the other day that said quality time is what matters - I should remember that! I will go more into that topic when the letter Q is due...





Oh, and if you ever felt guilty about not contributing (enough) money to the family budget because you're a SAHM or PTWM (part-time working Mom, I can't believe nobody's invented this abbreviation yet!) , think again: this gentleman did the math: I can’t afford my wife



Gas Stations

Depending which route we we took to avoid traffic, we had our favorite gas stations where we filled up everything from our tank to our stomachs. It also gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs. 

Over time Colin made friends with the people who worked there, especially one guy who would always make a joke. Until one day he made one that C didn't think was funny:

I always let C pick something to eat like a bread roll or crackers and he would take it to the counter so I could pay for it. His friend acted surprised, took the bread and said "wow, for meeee? Thank you so much, buddy!" C burst into tears. They guy gave it back immediately, even threw in a chocolate bar, but C was sulky for the rest of our drive home.




  • What do you feel guilty about?
  • Do you commute with your kid(s), how does it work?
  • Was there ever a situation when you were particularly happy to see a gas station? (Scroll all the way down to the last story)

Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Husband

Pregnancy, birth, newborn, baby, toddler,… 

I was barely catching a breath, and already I kind of wanted to apply for a job? How to tell  the husband? 

I did, and he was supportive, with even a hint of „it’ll do you good“.  

Dang. Should have told him I was thinking about sleeping in or going away for a week, alone. 




When things were changing for the worse after a new boss took over plus hubby’s business partner passed away unexpectedly, he casually suggested that I’d come work for him. 

I may not have properly thought about what it means to work for and with a spouse, I was so trhrilled about getting rid of the commute. 

What an increase in quality of life and flexibility

Yeah, just imagine, C peed his bed? Throw the bedding in the machine, use lunch hour to put laundry in the dryer, have a quick bite and go back to the office. (I can’t tell you how many times I’m still doing this..) 

So now is the 4th year hubby is my boss, and we're getting along fine. Most of the times. He works from home one of the days that I am at the office, hahaha!



Hockey Mom

Thanks to living and working at the same village, It was easy to commit to Colin’s attending hockey school.  He’s been doing two seasons so far and loving it, so am I. 


Colin Gerber #23, Robbie Earl #11, Pierre-Marc Bouchard #96, unknown 

So next season he wants to practise how to score like 18 yo Denis Malgin:


Even if it won't come to that, I am proud of how passionate C is about playing hockey. When he started he could barely keep on his skates, but he made progress, and he never gave up!


Home office


I hinted to it when I was talking about flexibility and being behind... There are always the days off. I spent nap times (as far as there were any) to screen resumes, call applicants, prepare paperwork. When else was I supposed to do that when my work days were fully booked? 

Of course there weren't always naps. Colin also helped. I let him stack documents, the ones in the green plastic folders, the yellow and the red ones. 

(Hint: green = invite candidate, yellow = on hold, red = no thanks)

What he loved most was when I talked to candidates on the phone and he was allowed to say hello. I figured he'd leave me alone afterwards as opposed to "who are you talking to, Mommy, are you done yet, I'm hungry…"


  • How does your husband feel about your choice to (not) work?
  • How much can you get done when working from home?
  • Do your kids play sports?

Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Imbalance

You guessed right. Taking work home backfired. At first I didn’t even mind until I was getting more pressure and less appreciation by the new boss. I feared the „if you’re not able to do it all, then you might not be cut out for this.“

What exactly was „this“? 


It took me a while to tell myself (and actually believe) that it was not that I didn't give enough or wasn’t efficent or dedicated enough. There was simply an imbalance of give an take. As a people pleaser you’re always at risk to be taken advantage of.
 

Irony

When I was about to leave, they restructured the whole recruiting acitivites. It was good to see that my 0.5 FET (full time equivalent) was being filled with 1.0, and this after the insourcing I worked on was completed, so more resources for less work.

Ironic. But satisfying to see.  
  •  Can you ever feel an imbalance between giving and taking? How do you deal with it?
Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Juggling 

When you're a mom, no matter if you work outside the house or at home, you feel as if you're constantly juggling. Priorities, responsibilities, tasks. 
Sometimes I hear people say "it's just a question of organization" - yeah, well, what if your kid didn't get that memo? 

I alway find it hard to stick to what it's important. Instead I spend my time putting out fires where people scream the loudest.

I'm not one to make a daily schedule, and I can deal with ambiguity and unforeseen changes, actually I like it better to go with the flow than following a strict routine. Just sometimes I feel like other (little and big) people's needs always come first, and it gets to me. 


This is a collage a friend / life coach made me do in 2012. 

"My stakeholders" hahaha. Son, husband, several employers at the time, parents, daycare, charity, household. 

I'm happy to report that I have consolidated my life in the meantime. 

I'm not doing laundry anymore. 

Kidding. I quit the charity board a year ago, and I'm not doing temporary HR assignments, as interesting and career / network building they may be. 

Instead I blog, bake and see a friend from time to time.


(Traffic) Jam

BC (before Colin) I worked for SBUX, I commuted 33.5 miles on the busiest freeway, and it was a pain, so I knew what I was getting into when I took the airport job. Only 26 miles, but the same tunnels and neuralgic spots. 


The good news was that my then 16 months old son got up early so we could leave the house at 6:30am which was still too late for a jam-free ride, but we usually made it to daycare by 7:45 and to the office by 8.

The bad news was that most accidents happen Monday mornings and Friday late afternoon for obvious reasons. That's when we were on the road as well, and probably every other week we were late because of that. By the time I arrived at the office I was ready for a break!

Fortunately Colin was a really good passenger. We played "spot a blue car / a Coca Cola truck / a white van / a police car / an Easter Bunny car". 


We listened to the radio. Plus (only on our way home) we took gas station breaks. 

I considered public transportation for a millisecond. Net travel time could theoretically be as little as 1 hour 8 minutes, but doesn't take into account walking through Zurich main station with a toddler (because no way was I going to commute on the busy train with a stroller)  and to daycare at the airport! Don't forget taking the bus from home to our local train station and taking another bus from the airport to my actual office. I was crazy, but not that crazy!


  • How do you deal with being stuck in traffic?
  • Is juggling priorities hard for you? Why (not)?

Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!

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K is a tough letter. 

Know-how, Key, Kisses, Kids, knocked out, Kaleidoscope, Knee deep, Karma, Kneading, Krispy Kreme… 

What to write? 

Seeing the world through (my) kid’s eyes is a privilege that makes my life so much more colorful and exciting. 

I love this about being a Mom.

That's all for today.

Try considering your everyday issues through a kid's eyes - they may appear much simpler! 

And have a donut!



  • What did you experience like a child today?

Please leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!

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Lots of laundry loads - don't worry, I won't bore you with that ;-)

  

Lessons
I have learned doing this (part-time) working thing:
  
  • Be prepared: charge your phone, lay out clothes for the next day, leave early, have plans (and groceries) not only for tonight but tomorrow, too!
  • You can’t do everything yourself, ask for help ahead of time
  • Less is more – do what is important, and do it right. Forget about nice  to have
  • White pants are not a good idea as long as you have to carry your toddler
  • Have spare clothes in the car – not only for C but for yourself as well
  • Cut yourself some slack, you’re working hard, and you’re doing fine




  • What valuable lessons does being a (working) parent teach you?
  

Please leave me acomment, I love hearing from you!

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My Mom

She’s the number 1 person I trust to take care of Colin when I can’t myself. She’s not only my Mom and a former Kindergarten teacher, she also lives and breathes for kids, especially her grandkids. I am so grateful to have her nearby.



Me-Time

I need some, on a regular basis. 

I call it „my hour of ultimate freedom“ and it includes a computer with internet access and a caffeinated beverage. That’s the basis. 

It can be at home with a bottle of Coke Zero. Everything on top makes it more perfect: listening to nice music, spending that hour at a SBUX, if it’s actually a bit more than an hour... 

it mellows me out. Other people go to the gym. 

I also share my hour of freedom sometimes.



When C was little it was so very tough to get some uninterrupted me-time.  Now that he is getting independent  I get more time to myself which is probably the only advantage of him growing up so quickly.


Mobile Phone

As a part-time working Mom, don’t give your cell phone number to people at the office. Unless you want them to call or text on your day off, asking if you could help them with X or Y real quick...  I didn’t even give it actively - just used my phone to let them know I was going to be late for a meeting. Mistake.

  • What role does your Mom play in your life?
  • What is an ultimate hour of freedom to you?

Leave me comment below, I love to hear from you!

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I'm looking forward to welcoming you back! 

There will only be four posts that are being updated as I go, with the most current letter on top so you don't have to scroll:

Part 4  -  April 23rd - 30:     T - Z 


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