Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Working Mom Post

Pretty soon that will be us: That person you run into in the grocery store, the one with the gleam in their eyes while they take in a moment you are sharing (good or bad) with your children and tell you..

"It goes so fast, enjoy it while it lasts."

And then you nod and agree and inside roll your eyes.. yadda yadda.. we've read enough posts lately about how much this makes us crazy inside, all while knowing it to be true merely because we hear it constantly and because.. well, it's true.

I've known for a long time that this post was going to be coming. These months, with these little ones, this is really the time to write this. While I'm in the thick of it.

To myself next year, in five years, 15 years from now and 30 years from now (while you are standing in a grocery pod telegraph staring at some family who just teleported into your sight line.. getting a tear in your eye, thinking about life in 2013)



Mom, working - Season 3 complete! SHP
My first maternity leave was so completely different than this one. Different ups and downs for sure, but I really did love that time I had with Pavel, all to myself.

With two, it's different. Having a baby in July with a long, long winter ahead to endure is different (and so depressing). Having a more difficult baby than Pavel.. was different. Having to drive Pavel and pick him up from play school 3 days a week, was different.

I'm trying to remember the first few months of Sasha's life. I know it was hot. I know I was sick for a while. I know he cried and cried and I cried and Pavel cried and I banged my hands on the ground and said things like "I hate this! I HATE THIS!" and Pavel said.. don't cry mommy, take a deep breath, it will all be okay.

It's a foggy few months, but I am not totally proud of myself during that time. I really didn't handle it well. I still don't some days.

I also knew that I had a contract coming up in January that I was really looking forward to working on. My first big contract in my new going solo career.

The Contract - EHGS!
The Media Kits
The Adams Agency was born a few years back, and I always said I'd give it a real go after I had two children. With one major client on the hook, I watched a few Brene Brown Ted Talks, grew some serious courage and kicked my own ass into gear. I told myself that there wasn't a chance that I would allow myself to take a full time job with another company. That if I didn't get out there and hustle, my family wouldn't have money to pay the bills.

I promised myself I would do everything in my power to give myself some flexibility to see the kids as much as I could, while still staying sane. I knew deep down that I could do this, I just had to somehow ignore the absolute terror I felt and DO IT.

So, I quit my maternity leave 7 months early (WTH!!!)

( I actually blame the crazy nursing hormones. You know how they mellow you out. They make me weird and rather fearless. Thank you mother nature, I couldn't have done this without you.)
EHGS Contract - Hanging with Fun Peeps
J and J From FreshFM
The Crew - Pavel is still perplexed that I was on TV with Bob and didn't bring him over
(Little did he know, Bob slept in the trunk of mommy's car!)

Bryan and Paul.. my EHGS Pals
I've been so very, very blessed and thank the universe everyday - my business is thriving. I have numerous clients. I adore each of them for different reasons. I love getting up and leaving my driveway saying - I am my own boss. As much as I work is as much as I'll make. I have Fridays off. I am home often by 3. I am lucky to have a huge circle of support, of people I have relationships with who have referred me, hired me, trusted me..
I won't lie though, it can be a bit nuts. It's a lot. I work a lot at night - which is why I rarely blog and I don't read and I don't really watch any good shows. I give myself an 11pm computer deadline. Relax for an hour. Go to bed and wake up an hour later with Sasha.

(Life of a working entrepreneurial mom with a baby who doesn't like a bottle and who starves himself all day while I'm gone. He then wants to eat all night and since he is so small, I let him. Mommy guilt, of course.)

I have to say I'm shocked at how hard the childcare situation has been. Things fell into place, but not without a ton of effort and my amazing mom and her flexible schedule.

Between her dropping everything and running in to watch the boys when she's in town and the grandma who used to watch Pavel while I was at Southgate, we were set.
The grandma became exhausted after a month and then I was back to square one. I found an amazing, amazing, amazing lady named Carrie who is a mother's helper. She has helped us take care of the house and is so great with the boys, but I could only have her 10 hours a week and only until June!
In comes Steph. Steph is the 22 year old education grad that is an incredible babysitter. She is so awesome with the kids. Such a smart lady and really saved my ass over the last month. (afternoons only) And now she's off to fulfil her teaching career in Red Deer.

All while looking for a full time nanny. Which I finally found (after paying an agency to help me). She starts tomorrow.

Sheldon says my life is going to change. (Did I mention he got a huge promotion, which is amazing for him, amazing for our family.. but he's working much later, learning the ropes?)
I think he is right. I don't realize sometimes all the juggling that takes place - especially with 3 different people helping with the kids. The schedules I've been managing!

The boys will have some consistency.  I will have a bit more freedom - perhaps I will exercise or golf? I think I deserve that. And it will make running a busy business a lot less stressful, having so much more flexibility and not literally having to RUN from my office to the parkade to make it home quickly before someone has to leave and the kids are mine again.

Running home for baby snuggles during the EHGS in March 

I think the best part of having The Adams Agency and our nanny (amazing lady named Christina. SO great with the kids. The family she just left is moving back to the states and they gave her a GLOWING recommendation!) is that I can come in and out of the house all day. I can see the boys off and on. I can take Pavel to do something fun while Sasha gets his much needed naps - stays in his routine.

I really feel so blessed.

So you, lady who is judging me and mad at me 30 years from now. Yes, ME. Stop. In this moment, right now, you feel 100% confident that you have done the best thing for your family and for yourself in these last months. A career life is the life you were brought up to thrive in, to enjoy.. it's such a huge defining part of who you are. Don't be mad, and don't feel guilty that you didn't spend every waking minutes with the kids - I believe, in our circumstance, they would like you less if that was the case. What's important is learning now how to be in the moment with them, when I am with them. I'm working on it. I promise.
Because of the last six months working on the business, we now have the flexibility and gift of time going forward for hopefully years, instead of only having just one year with them. Many, many more moments to enjoy.. while they last.

It makes sense. It made sense. We are lucky.

- Jenny

** If I had to do it all over again, I would make sure Pavel had a full day, dayhome to go to twice a week so I could have alone time with just Sasha and he could be off doing fun things with kids. Daddy would drop him off on his way to work, I'd pick him up around 3. I think I did think of that actually.. but it didn't end up working out. **

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Decision Has Been Made

This one has really bothered me. It's been weighing on my mind for weeks or months even.

I'm not sure why, as I know in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big one.. but I'm still struggling with it.

Pavel, I want you to know, that today I made a decision that was best for the family. I think it may even be best for you, although it doesn't seem like it right now. On this very day, our hearts are broken.. time is moving on.

Play School. Yes, this heart ache and agony is over play school. The one that, this time last year, we were so excited we had got a spot within the school. The one that, this time last year, we couldn't wait to go with one of our good little buddies and his mom. The school that forced me to potty train Pavel in just a few days, or face expulsion. This school treated us to Pavel's first day of school.. With his new backpack, and his outfit all picked out.

Pavel, you were so brave that first day of school. There have been days you haven't wanted to go to school, and there were days I wasn't sure if you had any friends to play with.. but you've thrived. And you are sad. You didn't cry.. although you wanted to, when mommy broke the news to you today that a final decision had been made. I think you will miss Mrs. Reinhart and your lessons so very much. (Did I mention I was crying???)

Montessori - This school has strict rules, and sees me often getting in trouble for lace up shoes, or not practising enough putting our belongings away without mom's help. The school that taught Pavel Swahili, about extinction, about Jackson Pollock, and how to sing and drum and dance.. and do yoga.

Pavel was just 2.5 when he started going to this school. And now he is 3.5. A whole year, gone by. Perhaps this is what is bothering me more than the school.. Our first school experience  it's in the books. Time to move on.


Okay now, here are the numbers and sense behind the new decision, so when I read this years from now.. I'm reminded why it made sense.

Pavel's current school is changing to five days a week next year. From 1215pm - 255pm. $560/month. Yes, that's almost $6000/year for play school.. and not even full time!
My company is thriving, I just can not pick him up and drop him off everyday. It doesn't make sense. It also doesn't make sense for me to hire a driver. We're getting crazy now.

There is a program at the rec centre through the Catholic School Board - 100 Voices. It's supposed to be fantastic. There will be swimming and playing in the gym and going outside as well as learning.
This is four days a week.. and MUCH less money.

That and, the nanny can pick him up and drop him off within ten mins (direct) on the bus. This really helps out our family a lot.. This means I can be home for the day by 2 or 3 instead of having to interrupt my day and then go back to work until 5pm.

It's also a chance for Sasha to get out of the house, to take a class at the rec centre, play with other kids.

So there you have it. The decision. I feel heartbroken today that I can't give Pavel what he wants, what he thinks he needs. I know that a new routine and schedule will comfort him once we get used to it. I know that Pavel has his whole life to learn Swahili and yoga, and painting. I also realize that this will be the first of many choices we'll have to make.. for the good of our family, and not just for one individual.

Way to go buddy. Mommy is so very proud of you. You are such a gentle boy, learning your way with new friends. You've taught me so much this year and I couldn't be more proud of you.

One year down, 13 to go. xo