Tag Archives: work life balance

Working Mothers

11 Apr

I’ll never forget the day I left my son at day care when I first went back to work.  I knew I had no choice.  DB wasn’t going to support us in any real way nor was he interested in taking care of our newborn infant on a full-time basis (nor could he be trusted to do so).  It was a very difficult decision and one that I relented over for a very long time afterward – how I would be missing all of his growth and changes that occur so rapidly when they are that young. 

Of course, pain has subsided over the last 4-5 years but I will never forget the agony of leaving my infant and the anger I had at the US government for not supporting working families in a way that would allow a women to spend more time with her infant – even if unpaid – 12 weeks doesn’t seem to be enough time to bond with your baby when they just seem so small and helpless at just 3 months old – weighing at times less than 16 llbs!  What I learned is that many women are back in the office after 6 weeks for financial reasons – I can’t even imagine that!

Our country has so many problems but if we can ever clean up our current problems (like getting people employed, tax reform and saving the middle class from extinction), I would love to see our federal government sponsor some type of legislation that supports Working Mothers returning or not returning to work so soon after the birth of their children.

I saw this clip of iVillage’s Woman of the Week and I thought I should share it.  I think this women is a great role model for her daughter and for the Working Mother’s of Italy.  We are not all able to bring our children to work but she found a way to do it in the public eye raising awareness about the dilemmas of working mothers.

Here’s the link to the video – I can’t figure out how to actually embed the video here:

http://www.ivillage.com/ivillage-woman-week/1-j-392786?ice=iv:dailycandy:promoweek2

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Jelly Beans and Peeps

6 Apr
This is a picture i took for the Candy article.

This is a picture i took for the Candy article. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t it funny how food can bring comfort?  I’ve been having a rough week.  Running and I are still having issues and without running I feel like I’m on the brink of losing my sanity.  I was picking up a prescription medicine at the pharmacy earlier this week and I saw some Easter peeps and old fashion jelly beans (not jelly belly or starburst) on the shelf.  I picked them up and took a walk through midtown munching on them – trying to escape the office and my thoughts for just a few minutes.

As soon as I took a bite into the yellow peep, I had a rush of happiness.  My memories of Easter Sundays searching for eggs in my childhood home with my sister became so vivid – a rush of happiness ran through me. 

Spring is on the horizon and with its reminders of new beginnings, new life and hopefully better running days.

My Best Friend

31 Mar

My boyfriend, Running, and I have been having some difficulties in our relationship again lately.   While we’ve still been spending at least 3 days a week together and we are training for a half marathon in late spring, my right leg and foot have again been giving me issues on my runs.  My hamstring feels tight and my legs feel heavy during my runs.  My right foot even cramped several times.  I am now convinced that it is a result of a prescription medication that I am taking – – some of the side effects state that it impacts the electrolyte levels in your body.  I’m a bit disappointed but I know that I will need to take the medication for several weeks so that my health issue improves.  It’s hard because for me to have a bad run because spending time with Running has benefits to me in more ways than just enjoying time alone.   Running makes me feel empowered, strong, attractive and, of course, helps to relieve stress.  Not only does Running support me in so many ways but I also love looking forward to preparing myself to spend time with Running for a long race – like a half marathon distance.

While I’ve been a little frustrated because of this setback, I’ve consulted my new best friend, Foam Roller.  Foam Roller has helped release some of the tightness in my right leg before a run and has limited the right foot cramping.  I met Foam Roller during my break up with Running last year and Foam Roller hasn’t let me down since.  I’m hoping to do a long run today and I’m expecting to have Foam Roller address some of my problems with Running so that before I go out to spend time with Running again today – I feel a little less stressed.

2008 NYC Half Marathon

2008 NYC Half Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Request for Some Digits

4 Feb
PHONE

Image via Wikipedia

I have a secret stress weapon that lives in my building.  Her name is M.  She is 14 years old and charges $8 an hour to babysit.  She is the  best deal I found in Manhattan.  My son adores her.  She is almost always available when I ask her to babysit.  If it wasn’t for her, I probably would not have been able to develop my relationship with Mid-Western Boy.  She stayed with my son on almost all of our dates in the early part of our relationship and she even watched him last weekend so we can go out on a Friday night. 

I responded to her advertisement  in the laundry room of our building and we have been developing a nice relationship.  I learned recently that her parents are divorced and that her dad lives 4 blocks away.  She understands my need for help.  She is the oldest child and her mom has three girls. 

There is a very friendly neighbor in my building who always offers to help me (although I haven’t asked her to).  She has two sons and one of them is my son’s age.  She and her husband have been incredibly kind and even invited my son to their son’s birthday party.   We went “trick or treating” together on Halloween.  I’m looking forward to getting to know her when my son joins her son at the local elementary school.  I’m sure the boys will get along well.  It will be great as the boys get older and can spend time together.  It will be nice for me to have a friend in the building – if a relationship develops between us.

Earlier this week she asked me if I had babysitter. I said “yes”.  She asked me who? I said she is 14 and lives in the building.  She said I can’t believe “”you” already have a babysitter in the building!  You have to give me her number!”

I paused.  It was as if she asked for my boyfriend’s number.  I don’t want to share it.  I became really quiet.  My friendly neighbor is a psychiatric nurse practioner, she sensed my closing up.  She said “I’ll run my dates that I need her by you first if you give me her number.”

I didn’t respond.  I just don’t want to share this secret weapon with anyone.  She is the only outside help I have.

My friendly neighbor has a lovely full time Nanny that even comes on Saturdays.  Her parents and her husband’s parents live within walking distance of the building and fill in gaps when her Nanny isn’t available.  She has ALOT of help.   She makes her own hours for her business.  She works 4 days a week (my other fantasy),

She asked me how the heck I found a babysitter in the building – “I told her I do my own laundry.”  It was her turn to be quiet.  It proved my point, I need the help and I can’t share this little help that I engage.   I know my friendly neighbor’s Nanny better than I actually know her because we spend time together in the laundry room with the kids.

This is the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  I need to fend for myself.

Persistence of Time

1 Feb
Old Post Office Pavillion clock tower

Image via Wikipedia

It has been a very long time since I’ve had a few minutes of time all to myself.  A few moments of time to gather my thoughts and write about city life and my son.  Time  to be creative and passionate.

I never realized how important this time to  myself was until I didn’t have a whole minute alone.  I always knew I was a person that liked to be by myself but I never realized how much I would crave solitude as I have over the past several months.

My son’s father hasn’t taken my son for an overnight visit for over one month now.  My days have been exclusively dedicated to spending time with my precious four year old son, who demands my attention, with screams and constant yells of “mommeeee!”  All of this time together has brought us closer together.  I wake up to my son calling out to me, we spend the morning commuting  to the office on the city bus doing puzzles or reading books.  I spend the day at my office working, negotiating and thinking about various issues that each day brings.  At the end of the day, I pick up my son from school and we spend the evening talking, eating dinner nd getting ready for bed.  All of My time is either spent at the office or doing something with my son.    If my son is cooperative in the evening and gets to bed at a decent hour, I can have a few minutes to myself to clean up the kitchen and pack up our food for lunch.  However, this is not my time.  this is what i call Family Time.  Just like cooking is Family Time.  It is an activity that is meant for the family to enjoy.

What I really want is a break – some time to myself; so I’m not rushing from work to the bus to the connecting bus and then home.

I have no one to blame but myself.  I wished for my son’s dad to fade out of our life.   And now it appears he is fading out.  I feared that the fading out would have a negative impact on my son because he was losing this male figure in his life.  His Dad. 

What I instead observe is that my son is better adjusted.  He listens to me, is not as aggressive and is very affectionate with me.  I don’t sense that underlying anger that my son seemed to have exhibited during the summer and early fall when he was seeing more of his father. 

Yes, I feel a sense of justice.  I feel that maybe my son will have a fighting chance at growing into a well balanced man if his father fades away into the background.  My son won’t have to learn to deal with the lies and manipulating thoughts he was infecting my son with during the latter part of last year.  Yes, I feel a sense of victory.  I only hope this fade away is consistent because the only thing consistent about DB is that he is inconsistent.

While I do feel a sense of victory, I feel that the battle has been devastating to the warrior (me).  I’m exhausted, I’m spent and I’m searching for time, time to be by myself, time for solitude and time for “being” instead of “doing.”   Maybe this is how all mothers feel at one point or another.  Even if it is how all mothers feel. . . I just don’t think it is acceptable. 

Last night I worked on building in time for solitude in my schedule.  I’m decided o begin with 15 minutes twice a week.  I’m going to deliberately unchain myself from my desk at the office and sit on the benches outside my office building. I’m not going to bring my blackberry or my iphone.  I’m not going to bring documents to review with me. 

I’m going to sit for 15 minutes and do nothing – twice a week.  The idea of it just relaxes me already.  Today will be my first day.  Wish me luck!

Rose Colored Glasses When it Comes to New York City?

6 Dec

I had an interesting conversation this weekend about that special character that plays a huge part in the background of my life – New York City.  But before I get to that conversation, I want to tell you a little bit about my love for Manhattan.  I am a born and raised New Yorker.  I grew up in Brooklyn and I have always been fascinated with the energy of Manhattan.  As a child, I recall the grafitti covered trains that ran from my Brooklyn neighborhood into Manhattan.  I recall going to see my dad at his Tribeca office and the artists sketching and painting in the cobblestone streets of Tribeca. I recall learning about the streetwalkers on the westside highway looking for a John.   As a teenager, I remember walking in the West Village and the East Village and marveling at the shops selling bongs and other drug related  paraphenalia along St. Marks Place.  I remember the first time I drove over the Brooklhyn Bridge – the inspiration I felt as my car entered the streets of Manhattan and I had NO idea what I was doing in my parents HUGE 1970’s car.  I just wanted to feel the energy of New York City run through  my veins.

As I grew, so did New York City.  It became gentrified, it became home to fancier and fancier restaurants.  As  I grew I was fortunate enough to have a career that exposed me to that part of the social scene in New York City.  Notwithstanding this exposure, I also have been keenly aware that this slice of Manhattan society is just that – a small slice.  New York is home to poverty – 1 in 2 students attending the New York City public schools  are living below the poverty line.  I dedicate much of my free time to organizations that offer services to the residents of New York City who are struggling everyday in this tough economy and this expensive, overpriced city.  I believe these organizations can and do make a difference to the lives of my fellow New Yorkers.

New York is indeed an expensive and tough place to live  – the small island of Manhattan has become an even more difficult place to live in more recent years as it becomes more gentrified.   But it is still New York and I believe this is a place where dreams are made.  No, life in New York City ain’t going to be Mayberry everyday – it’s going to be tough and it might even be rough.  But that’s what makes it even more special once you start to feel a part of that  energy of the city – while you try to fight your way through the crowds and compete with the greatest competitors you might ever find in your field.  I believe it is the satisfcation that you know you gave your dream a shot – a shot at doing the best you can in a city that welcomes you with the Statute of Liberty in her harbor – a place where people from all over the world are welcome and come to seek their dreams. 

New York City is really not about people like me – the people who live in New York City and call it home.   People like me keep the city stable and constant.   New York City is about the people who come to New York with their dreams – they are the ones who give the energy to the city.   It is these people that make Manhattan one of the most special places in the world and maybe the only city in the world to represent the diversity of the human culture on the planet.

Yes, I’m not naive, it’s a tough place to live.  Yes, a penthouse on Park Avenue and shopping on Madison Avenue may always be inaccessible to you – but knowing that you have come to New York and have experienced the energy and melting pot of people in this great city should be at the very least appreciated, don’t you think?   I think these dreamers who come to New York to make their dreams come true should give a gentlemanly nod to Lady New York and say thank you for giving me a shot to try to make it in this fiercely competitive city – I did my best but my competitor beat me. 

I was told this weekend that New York City is all hype.  This person argued that there’s nothing special about it – you can get the same things in smaller cities across the country for cheaper.  Yes, maybe you can get the same beer in a small city out west for half the price – but are you going to be able to have the same conversation at the bar with the bartender and your fellow patrons.  I’m not so sure – because what New York is about is the people who and New Yorkers born and bred and the ones who adopt this city as home – are not like any other people I have met – New Yorkers (born and raised and adopt this city as their home) are the most passionate of people.

Yes, I was insulted by this insult toLady  New York.  I took it personally.  I know I probably shouldn’t have but New York runs in my blood.  And so, I vehemently disagreed.  I think one is closed minded if they think New York is all hype – there is no island in the world that acts as a commercial center and at the same time filled with art and hundres of different foods and languages.  I challenge you to find one other city that delivers what New York City can deliver in culture and passion.

 I don’t have rose colored glasses – it is my hometown and I do love it and I love the people and my daily experiences; notwithstanding that, I know New York City is  a tough city but it is not hype – New York is exactly who she presents to people – there is nothing hidden – New York is a place filled with dreams – dreams that can be achieved so long as you are ready for the competition and hard work.  I know this because I worked hard to achieve success and I need to believe it for my friends and for all the beautiful residents of this city who make this place their home – they live in the city, have their own dreams – not matter how small or how big – and are working hard to achieve thei dream for themselves and their family.  So, yes insulting New York City is personal to me – it is my life line and it is the life line to millions of people who love this city and call it home.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMX1sc3eOTE&feature=related]

 

A Personal Day

19 Nov
Relaxing

Image by Niels Linneberg via Flickr

A 20 segment panoramic image of the New York M...
Image via Wikipedia

When do you make time for yourself?  Just to rest, to do nothing, to clear your mind, to spend a day doing things that you enjoy at your own pace?  I rarely, if ever, do  that.  I went to get a facial and my estithetician remarked how she couldn’t belive how I wouldnt’ close my eyes to relax.  I told her that I find it impossible to  relax.  I’m always doing something or thing about the next thing to do.  The things that I am thinking about or planning are not just related to work or my son but also to try to fit in some type of social activities for myself.   Trying to balance work, making quality time for my son, my home responsibilities (cleaning, cooking, etc)  and nurturing a new relationship has become exhausting.

On Sunday, I struggled to get out of bed.   My stomach was not settled and I hardly was able to eat.  On Monday morning I woke up for work and felt like I had a terrible cold.  I decided to call in sick.  I haven’t called in sick in a long time.  Probably in over two years.   There are always meetings to attend, conference calls and deadlines to meet.  I checked my calendar – and it was clear.  If I was going to relax – this was the day to do it.

My son went to school and I logged into work.  I made calls to my staff and reviewed documents for a few hours and felt worse.  I decided to log out and watch a movie – a mindless one – X-Men:First Class.  After the movie was over, I read my book, Sea of Poppies, and was lost in Amitav Ghosh‘s amazing story.  I noticed I was gaining energy and feeling better.  I then cooked a new vegetarian dish – Red Rice, Quinoa, Kale and Mushroom stuffing.   I was  thinking about preparing this dish all week.   It was delicious!  After a few hours of reading more I decided to go for a short run – it ended up being a 5 mile run.

I felt like a new person.  All I needed was for my body to rest.  Rest is something most parents (working, married, stay at home) take for granted.  We all need a day to ourselves to do nothing but recuperate from life, especially life in a busy place like New York City where you can always feel the vibrant energy of the city – even during the early morning hours.  As the rush of the  holiday season begins – we should be sure to take  time to do nothing every once in awhile – without any guilt – and before the stress and exhaustion set in.  I have tried to take 10 minutes a day to relax – by listening to Deepak Chopra’s meditations on my Ipod.  I hope you find something that will take you away from your busy life even for a few minutes.

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